Links for the Weekend (2/26/2021)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Burn Long Not Just Hot

Does passion for Christ look more like zeal or endurance? These are mutually exclusive, yet we may not often link endurance and passion the way the Bible does. Erik Raymond helps us understand what it means to burn long and not just hot.

I’m not saying that Christians should not be passionate. We should. Instead, I’m saying that today too often, we put a disproportionate and unbiblical emphasis upon what appears to be zeal instead of what is clearly endurance.

Homesick

Popular Christian blogger Tim Challies suffered a father’s nightmare when his healthy son died suddenly this past fall. Since then he has been writing more frequently about grief, love, and heaven. This is a nice meditation on what it means for us to call heaven “home.”

But there is far less mystery and far more familiarity to the most precious of its descriptions: home. For each of us, the Father has reserved a room in his home, says Jesus, and he himself has gone to prepare it. To leave behind the body is to be at home with the Lord, assures the Apostle. And so his longing and ours is to be away from this fragile tent and to be safely delivered to the great home that has been so carefully planned by the mind of God, so carefully constructed by the hand of God. What comfort there is in knowing that when we come to the end of our lives, we do not depart into the ether or disappear into the void, but simply go home.

Journey to the Cross

Gospel-Centered Discipleship has published an excerpt from Paul Tripp’s forthcoming book, Journey to the Cross. This is a great excerpt about groaning.

You see, we are not just groaning into the air as some cathartic exercise. No, we groan to someone who has invited us to groan and has promised to hear and to answer. We groan to one who is in us, with us, and for us, who has blessed us with life-altering promises and who will not quit working on our behalf until we have no more reason to groan. We groan to one who has already won the victory over everything for which we groan and who will not rest until all his children are experiencing all the fruits of that victory.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called My Favorite Benediction. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (1/8/2021)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Begin with Worship

Zach Barnhart writes about how we can use the first hours of our day to glorify God. And without making it seem mandatory, he commends private worship early in the day.

On many occasions, people have asked me whether I see any difference between Bible reading in the morning compared to at night. The spirit of the question seems to be asking permission not to study the Bible in the morning. Reasons abound. We are “not morning people.” Our children need our attention. Our morning duties render the thought of meaningful Bible study impossible at sunrise. Each family has its own particular challenges to navigate with time, of course. And no time spent with the Lord, whenever it may be, is deemed inferior or a waste. But the more I have experienced the choice of beginning my day with purposeful worship, the more I believe there is something to it. It seems Scripture itself tells us so.

The Quiet Power of Ordinary Devotions

This seems a good article to pair with the previous one. While we may long for powerful devotional times, filled with dramatic insight and joy, more often we find our times ordinary. And yet, as the title says, there is power in ordinary devotions.

Yet the cause does not always lie in us. If we are reading our Bibles rightly, in fact, we should expect many mornings of ordinary devotions: devotions that do not sparkle with insight or direct-to-life application, but that nevertheless do us good. Just as most meals are ordinary, but still nourish, and just as most conversations with friends are ordinary, but still deepen affection, so most devotions are ordinary, but still grow us in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

The Gospel in a Democracy Under Assault

What happened at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday was shocking, and Russell Moore has written a helpful reflection for Christians.

2021 Bible Reading Plans

If you want to plan your Bible reading for the year but haven’t done it yet, Ligonier has a long list of options for you. You may also want to see what reading plan Tim Challies uses.


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (8/28/2020)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

The Answer to Loneliness?

Across all age groups, loneliness is a growing problem. Andrew Bunt looks briefly at medical attempts to fight the feelings of loneliness and then shows how a better answer is found in the gospel.

Because this is true, we can be open with others, allowing them to know us fully because we know that we all have unlovable parts and yet, in Jesus, we are more loved than we could ever imagine. We can be open, vulnerable, and honest because we know that our identity is not rooted in a fake version of ourselves that we might try to present to others and in their opinion of us, but is rooted in what God says of us: we are his children. This allows us to have relationships where we are fully known and yet fully loved.

Five Ways God’s Anger Is Not Like Ours

I appreciate articles like this which help us distinguish the ways in which God is and is not like us. Colin Smith writes about the anger of God and how it is different than human anger.

The words ‘anger’ and ‘wrath’ make us think about our own experience of these things. You may have suffered because of someone who is habitually angry. Human anger can often be unpredictable, petty, and disproportionate. These things are not true of the anger of God. God’s wrath is the just and measured response of His holiness towards evil.

Lessons In Becoming a Better Listener

Tim Challies offers some truths about good listening from a book by David Mathis.

But if we are honest, few of us are good listeners. It’s easy enough to hear others, but very difficult to truly listen to them. That may be particularly true and particularly important in the context of the local church where we are called to love one another, to care for one another, and to bear one another’s burdens. None of this is possible without good listening.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called When Ministry is Like Parenting. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (7/17/2020)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Sipping Poison Won’t Make You Wise (Take My Word for It!)

“Does experience with sin make you more wise or more foolish?” Because of the gripping power of turnaround testimonies, we might end up thinking wrongly here. Benjamin Merkle relates a story from his days in the Marine Corps to the temptations of our culture and reminds us where wisdom originates.

This type of temptation still pulls at each of us with an incredible power. We feel that tasting a forbidden thing will bring us greater wisdom and make us more impressive. In fact, think of how easily we can feel embarrassed by all the sins we haven’t committed! We can actually become ashamed of our own innocence. Who wants to be naïve and inexperienced? How many Christian kids are embarrassed by their virginity, even though they’re convinced they’re right in preserving it until marriage?

Respectable Sins of the Reformed World

Tim Challies writes about “respectable sins,” those which might be accepted by Christians even though the Bible forbids them. He writes about those sins to which we are particularly tempted online.

Impugning. To impugn is to dispute the truth, validity, or honesty of another person’s motives. And closely connected to disputing another person’s motives is suggesting that you know the truth behind them. There is so much of this in the Christian world today, and it generates so little disapproval, that it must be classified as respectable. Yet a little biblically-guided introspection should tell us that we often don’t even know our own motives, and if we do not know our own, how could we possibly know anyone else’s?

Prayer Will Win the Nations

If you’ve ever wondered how to pray for missionaries around the world, here is an article giving some concrete suggestions.

In fact, we must. Prayer isn’t just a passing gesture or a frivolous holiday present. Prayer is supplying missionaries with essentials for their survival. Prayer is partnership in their work, vital to its Spirit-filled efficacy and the rescue of sinners. At the risk of sounding clichéd, prayer is a matter of life and death. Our intercession protects them from harm (2 Corinthians 1:11) and provides for the gospel’s advance (Romans 15:30–32).

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Learning from the Humiliation of Jesus. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (2/21/2020)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Why Do We Read Scripture?

It seems like a pretty basic question, right? What are we hoping will happen when we read the Bible? Andrew Wilson gives one wrong answer and five right ones.

We do not read it to earn. It is so easy to be tricked into thinking like this, but the purpose of reading the Bible is never to present God with a good work that entitles you to a reward. You are no more justified after reading a Bible for an hour than you are after playing Playstation or having breakfast or going for a walk.

To Those Who Send ‘Good Thoughts’

I never know how to respond when someone tells me they’re sending me “good thoughts” or “positive energy.” Nancy Guthrie writes a winsome response to this situation; it is a model of charity and grace. And she brings in the life and work of Jesus in a beautiful way.

I want you to know that whenever I read that you are sending me or someone else “good thoughts,” I’m not going to roll my eyes. Instead, I’m going to close my eyes and meditate for a moment on all of the goodness that has flowed into my life from my heavenly Father, all of the goodness being worked into my life by the Holy Spirit, and all of the goodness I stand to inherit by being joined to Jesus Christ. And I’m going to pray that you will know and experience that goodness too.

A Prayer for Battling a Destructive Desire

We all face desires that could destroy us. How will we respond when that lands on our shoulders? Tim Challies shares a prayer that has helped him.

Faced with this temptation,
I would rather choose you, Jesus—
but I am weak. So be my strength.
I am shadowed. Be my light.
I am selfish. Unmake me now,
and refashion my desires
according to the better designs of your love.


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (10/18/2019)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out. (Just two links for you this week!)

8 Sins You Commit Whenever You Look at Porn

Pornography is a big problem—both in the world at large and in the church. Perhaps it’s obvious that we commit the sin of lust when we view porn, but Tim Challies suggests there are eight other sins we commit as well.

You commit the sin of sloth. We are called in all of life to “redeem the time,” to understand that we live short little lives and are responsible before God to make the most of every moment (Ephesians 5:16). Sloth is laziness, an unwillingness to use time well, and reflects a willingness to use time for destructive instead of constructive purposes. In that way pornography is slothful, a misuse of time. It is using precious moments, hours, and days to harm others instead of help them, to foster sin instead of kill sin, to backslide instead of grow, to pursue an idol instead of the living God.

J. I. Packer, 89, On Losing Sight But Seeing Christ

Here is an interview with J. I. Packer from back in 2016, shortly after he lost his ability to read. Packer is a faithful, long-term writer and speaker who has influenced many, and it is both sobering and encouraging to hear him talk about his condition and his hope.

Overall, would you say you’re encouraged?
Yes, I don’t see how any Christian under any circumstances can’t be encouraged who focuses on God. I don’t see how any Christian can be discouraged, because God is in charge—God knows what he’s doing, all things work together for good for those are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28), and our hope is in Christ. Those things don’t change, and those are the things to focus on.

Thanks to Phil A for his help in rounding up links this week.


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (10/11/2019)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Two Habits of Successful Parents

Tim Challies writes about two trends he has noticed in parenting: “young parents aren’t asking seasoned parents for input or assistance” and “seasoned parents are reluctant to address concerns or offer assistance.” He offers some reasons why this might be and then suggests two habits that would be good for young parents in our churches to adopt.

There are few tasks you will undertake in life that are more important than raising children. It is an incredible honor that God allows us to create, birth, and raise other human beings made in his image. With this incredible honor comes great responsibility. You’re unlikely to fulfill this task well, or as well as you could have, without the input of the community God has given you. So take advantage of it! Learn to implement these basic habits of successful parents.

Wisely Handling the Book of Proverbs

Ligonier has published a nice introduction to Proverbs written by R.C. Sproul.

So, the book of Proverbs is concerned to give us practical guidelines for daily experience. It is a neglected treasure of the Old Testament, with untold riches lying in wait in its pages to guide our lives. It holds real, concrete advice that comes from the mind of God Himself. If we want wisdom, this is the fountain from which to drink. He who is foolish will neglect this fountain. He who is hungry for God’s wisdom will drink deeply from it. We need to listen to the wisdom of God so that we can cut through the many distractions and confusions of modern life. But, as with the entirety of the Word of God, we need to be zealous to learn how to handle the book of Proverbs properly.

Christian Reflections on Anger

Here are 8 theses on anger by David Qaoud, who recently preached on the topic.

Want to know your idols? Show me your unrighteous anger. Whenever you get angry, as I believe I heard Tim Keller once say, you should ask what you are defending. Your pride? What others think of you? Most unrighteous anger comes down to an aspiration to be sovereign over the universe, to have others stroke your ego. The next time you get angry over something silly ask yourself why you’re getting angry. Look closely, and you just might find something that you’re banking on for your identity.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article by Sarah Wisniewski called The Incarnation of Aaron. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (5/31/2019)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Don’t Just ‘Share’ the Gospel

The language we most often use regarding evangelism is “sharing the gospel.” Elliot Clark looks at the New Testament to see if that matches the way those authors wrote about evangelism. (Spoiler: it doesn’t.)

Our English word for evangelism derives from the Greek word euangelizo. It means, most basically, to announce good news. As Don Carson has helpfully demonstrated elsewhere, euangelizo involves heraldic proclamation. It assumes the authoritative declaration of the gospel. In other words, evangelism is an act whereby one cuts straight. You can’t hem and haw and do evangelism. After inviting a friend to church, you don’t get to check the box for doing evangelism. Being faithfully present in your neighborhood doesn’t equal biblical evangelism. Polite spiritual conversations at work or around the dinner table also don’t mean you’ve evangelized anyone. You must announce good news.

What I Pack In My Spiritual First Aid Kit

Much like a first aid kit for medical emergencies, Tim Challies suggests that we have supplies in mind when spiritual emergencies arise. What should we do when we find it impossible to open the Bible or to incline our hearts in prayer? Challies’s suggestions won’t be a good fit for everyone, but I suspect everyone will find something helpful here.

Then, of course, there is the inestimable value of a godly spouse and good friend to whom I can appeal in difficult times with a simple, “Please tell me something that’s true” or “Please pray for me.” In difficult times, I sometimes have to rely on the faith of others, to siphon from them confidence, joy, or hope.

Heresy Often Begins with Boredom

Sometimes heresy begins when people try to resolve a tension the Bible maintains. Other times, writes Brett McCracken, heresy begins because Christians are bored with the Bible, the church, Christians, obedience, or tradition. I appreciate that McCracken ends this article with a suggestion to fight this sort of boredom with wonder.

Ultimately when we become bored with things that should actually inspire in us awe and gratitude, the problem is pride. We think our spiritual path is ours to chart. We think when it comes to knowing God and living rightly, “I got this.” But just as pride came before the fall in Eden, so too does this sort of spiritual pride precede our veering away from orthodoxy.


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (5/17/2019)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Exercise for More of God

I love this article from Stacy Reaoch at Desiring God. She guides us around worldly motivations for exercise to reasons that befit children of God.

Personally, I exercise as much for the emotional benefits as for the physical benefits. Throughout my adult life, I’ve been prone to emotional highs and lows, and sometimes the lows are pretty deep. Some days, I need to pray for strength to get out of bed and do the next thing, exercise being one of them. I’ve learned that as I keep the discipline of heading to the gym or going out for a jog, I’m rewarded with a happier spirit and an increase in energy. God often uses exercise as a means to turn my sullen mood toward a joyful one.
And when my body is not dragging me down, I find it less difficult to delight myself in the Lord. Exercise has a way of clearing the cobwebs from my brain and helping to hold my focus on the promises of Scripture. It wakes me up to more readily hear the sound of God’s voice through Bible reading and meditation. It can help me to focus on memorizing a particular section of Scripture and keep me engaged as I pray for the needs around me.

8 Ways for Men to Make the Friends They Won’t Admit They Need

William Boekestein has an article at The Gospel Coalition that is worth checking out. He gives eight suggestions for men to succeed in the old-fashioned but desperately needed art of friendship.

Many men today struggle with maintaining male friendships. This claim doesn’t need to be argued. We know it. I personally have a sporadic friendship track-record. Particularly in my early years of ministry, my lack of male friendships was actually inhibiting the full expression of my humanity. I still have a long way to go.

I Love Parenting Teenagers!

It is wonderful to read how a Christian approach to an area of life can completely upend the world’s cynicism. Tim Challies writes about five of the reasons he loves parenting his (three) teenagers.

Now, with my youngest having just turned thirteen and my eldest not yet twenty, we are in a brief period where all we’ve got is teenagers. And I’m glad to report that those skeptics were wrong. These aren’t the worst years, but the best. I wouldn’t say they are the easiest years, but they’re undoubtedly the most joyful. I absolutely love parenting teenagers, and here are a few of the reasons why.


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (4/26/2019)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

What Should I Think About During the Lord’s Supper?

Have you ever wondered what should occupy your mind while you take communion? Erik Raymond gives us “five looks” to consider.

In the Lord’s Supper, we are pledging our ongoing faithfulness to Christ and his people. We are saying that we are still needy of God’s grace in Christ; we are committed to loving Christ and his people; we are saying we are still with Jesus and one another. Baptism then is the front door along with church membership, and the Lord’s Supper is the dining room table where we renew our vows of faithfulness to Christ’s Word. Naturally, then, the Lord’s Supper is for those who profess faith in Christ. The Supper is a sign of fellowship with Christ and his people.

On Graying Toward Glory

Lore Ferguson Wilbert writes about her graying hair and how we view aging as Christians. While our culture views aging only as negative, I like the way Lore writes that she feels more herself as she ages, and this points to the work of God.

We know we are cracking, the veins are working their way down to our very foundation or up to our outer beings, but inwardly we are being renewed day by day. This is what the Bible says. What seems to all the world as cracking, crumbling, graying, and wasting is this very moment being renewed. Headed, as they say, toward glory.

Say No to the Gospel of Self-Forgiveness

In this article, John Beeson interacts with the popular notion that we must forgive ourselves to make true progress in the Christian life. He describes the two kinds of forgiveness found in the Bible, and he notes that self-forgiveness is not among them.

But you know what David never walks through? The process of self-forgiveness. He doesn’t entertain for a second that he must forgive himself or that, once he’s sought forgiveness from God, he must self-flagellate to fully release himself from his sin. In fact, David would probably shock modern therapeutic sensibilities with how quickly he feels release. He admits that, once forgiven, he will have the audacity to sing: “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness” (Ps. 51:14).

It’s Time To Break Free From the Algorithm-Driven Life

Tim Challies writes about how the content we encounter online is served to us through algorithms. This has both benefits and drawbacks, and we should be aware of both. He suggests that we make an attempt to become our own curators of content and not rely on the algorithms of Facebook, Apple, Google, Twitter, etc.

It is true of all technologies that they invariably come with both benefits and drawbacks. Algorithms are no exception, and present us with both strengths and weaknesses. The strengths are obvious. For example, they can sort through the vast amounts of content to cut it down to something manageable, they can distinguish between what’s interesting to you and what’s interesting to me, they can detect nudity and block it from those who don’t wish to see it. The weaknesses, though, can be a little harder to detect.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an essay I wrote, titled King David on the Resurrection. Check it out!

Thanks to Phil A for helping me round up articles this week!


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here.