Links for the Weekend (2024-05-17)

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

Did the Jews Kill Jesus?

With Israel in the news a lot recently and anti-Semitism on the rise, Kevin DeYoung answers an important question: Should we say that the Jews killed Jesus?

But what about the Jews? Isn’t it the case that the Bible repeatedly affirms that the Jews as a people were responsible—perhaps uniquely responsible—for killing Jesus? After all, the crowd in Jerusalem, in clamoring for Jesus to be crucified and for Barabbas to go free, exclaimed, “His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matt. 27:25). Even if the statement is unpopular, aren’t we obliged to say with the Bible that the Jews killed Jesus?

The short answer is: It depends.

Cling to the Light: How to Cope When Suffering with Depression

This article may be helpful for some in our church family, and it may be helpful for others who have friends and family members in this situation. Kathryn Butler offers counsel for Christians suffering with depression.

Dear friend, if you’re among those who cry out to God and yearn for his comfort, know you’re not alone. Your walk in the darkness cannot hide you from the Light of the World (John 8:12). Even when you can’t feel his presence, Jesus remains with you until the end of the age (Matt. 28:20), and nothing—not your shame, your despair, or the agony of depression—can separate you from his love (Rom. 8:38–39).


Our poem of the week: A four-stanza poem about jazz and much more. This one will repay multiple readings.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Ordinary Ingredients of Christian Growth. 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. 

Ordinary Ingredients of Christian Growth

Fad diets exist because healthy diets are boring. We don’t like to hear about vegetables and exercise; we’d rather lose ten pounds in a week by taking some radical step.

But fad diets don’t work. The most reliable path to a healthier body is the one doctors have been recommending for decades.

Ordinary Means

So it is with our spiritual lives. We think mountaintop experiences will provide the jolt we need to grow closer to God.

But the truth is both more mundane and more wonderful. We don’t need to climb the mountain; God has come down! By his Son and by his Spirit, he dwells with his people. As a consequence, God uses ordinary means to make us grow.

Four Ingredients

My recent Bible reading has shown me four ingredients of Christian growth. (This list isn’t comprehensive.)

The Word

God’s word gives us growth.

Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. (1 Peter 2:1–3, NASB)

We need the Bible like newborn babies need milk: desperately!! Surely you’ve seen a hungry baby. We should long for God’s word with the same urgency. Without the Bible, we simply won’t grow.


God has created a healthy interdependence within the church.

  • God gave the apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph 4:11–12). God gives people to equip the saints, and the purpose is the body’s growth.
  • The goal of this building up is “the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God.” Paul wants us to aim for “mature manhood” and “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:13). In the growth of the body, we will find maturity, fullness, and unity. Notice that Paul mentions “knowledge” specifically, so community is not just about emotional support. We are to help each other grow in understanding as well.
  • We are to grow past the adolescent stage, where we are “tossed to and fro by the waves.” Instead, “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Eph 4:14–15). Much has been written about the phrase speaking the truth in love, but in context it must involve steadying, correcting help that leads to growth. By definition, this cannot be done in isolation.
  • The “whole body” is “joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped.” Every single part of the body is necessary to join and hold it together, and “when each part is working properly,” the body grows and “builds itself up in love” (Eph 4:16). Every part of the body is necessary for the body’s growth, and no part grows without the body.


Christians are not to walk as the Gentiles walk. Instead, they have been taught

to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22–24)

This is the process of repentance. Note the three distinct parts: put off, be renewed, put on. We identify and turn away from our sin, we remember our new God-given identity, and we adopt the godly behavior or thought that replaces sin. To help us, Paul lists five examples of this repentance in Eph 4:25–32.

Beholding the Lord

There is a glory present in the new covenant that was veiled in the old. The veil keeping people from God is removed for those who turn to Christ.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:17–18)

As we behold the glory of the Lord, we are transformed from glory to glory. Though “beholding” sounds mysterious, it must include a few actions.

We cannot behold the Lord without delighting in the Bible, the unique place where we hear of Christ’s glorious work. We meditate on God’s glory—thinking about his character and work, thanking him for his love and grace, anticipating the excellencies of his presence. The word leads to our meditation which leads to prayer.

Powerful Means of Growth

It may not be flashy, but God faithfully causes growth from the most ordinary of means: regular Bible intake, membership in a local church, repentance of sin, and beholding the glory of the Lord in meditation and prayer.

God takes weak and ordinary people and uses them in extraordinary ways. He does the same with the ordinary ingredients of Christian growth. They may not be radical, but they are powerful.

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Links for the Weekend (2024-05-10)

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

Fulfilling Your Personal Definition of Happiness Is Not God’s Goal

Here’s a great reminder and explanation from Paul Tripp: God’s goal in all of his dealings with you is your holiness.

The message is consistent throughout all of these passages. God is not working to deliver to you your personal definition of happiness. If you’re on that agenda page, you are going to be disappointed with God and you are going to wonder if he loves you. God is after something better—your holiness, that is, the final completion of his redemptive work in you. The difficulties you face are not in the way of God’s plan, they do not show the failure of God’s plan, and they are not signs he has turned his back on you. No, those tough moments are a sure sign of the zeal of his redemptive love.

Social Media (and Overprotective Parents) Changed Childhood

This 8-minute video is worth your time. It distills some ideas from Jonathan Haidt’s book The Anxious Generation into a short, understandable form. It’s especially timely for parents as they consider how their children should interact with social media and opportunities apart from screens.

Judas in the Upper Room

Our poem of the week: a sonnet from the perspective of Judas at the Last Supper. This is worth some time and contemplation!

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 (2024-05-03)

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

Why Daily Bread Is Better

Caleb Davis reflects on the fact that God gives us daily bread, not a year’s (or a lifetime’s) supply at a time.

He’s an artisan baker who crafts fresh loaves each day, not a mere delivery truck driver. Our Father knows what we need better than we do. He gives us better provision than a stockpile. He gives it daily so we’ll keep coming back to him. After all, he’s the best gift.

Warblers and the Question of Gratuitous Beauty

This is an especially appropriate link for the springtime. Kevin Burrell is a birder and he writes about how the “gratuitous beauty” of the warbler points to God as an extravagant Creator.

If God reveals himself in both Word and world, shouldn’t we expect to encounter instances of lavishly prodigal beauty in creation as well as redemption? Look up. There are warblers in the trees, each adorned with prodigal artistry. As artist and writer Makoto Fujimura says, “Beauty is a gratuitous gift of the creator God; it finds its source and its purpose in God’s character. God, out of his gratuitous love, created a world he did not need because he is an artist.”

At a Gathering

Our poem of the week: A delightful sonnet about laughter and the Lord’s Supper.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Charissa Rychcik called Immanuel: God with Us. 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. 

Immanuel: God with Us

I recently read the book Joyful Journey: Listening to Immanuel. The book is helpful in outlining a strategy to journal intimately with God. Although I enjoyed reading about the strategy and have practiced it a few times, the bigger take away from the book for me was a deep dive into Exodus 3:7-8a (emphasis mine).

Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

God not only saw and heard his people. He cared for them and ensured he was with them. He also showed compassion towards them by doing something for them.

God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Therefore, this same God sees us, hears us, knows us, is with us, and will do something for us in our times of struggle!

God sees

God sees us without judgment. He sees our smiles and our tears. He sees our stomachs in knots, our pacing, our nail biting, and kind gestures towards others. As Genesis 16:13 reminds us, God sees all of us. “So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are a God of seeing,’ for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”

God hears

God not only hears our verbal utterances, but he hears our thoughts and words unspoken. He hears our sighs and grumbles, and he hears our thanks and praises. While listening, he does not condemn us and continues to love us. Isaiah 6:24 reiterates the promise that God hears us. “Before they call, I will answer; while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”

God knows and understands

God understands how big and hard our challenges are. He does not minimize our struggles and continues to care for us. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us, “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

God is with us

One of God’s names is Immanuel, which means God with us. He met the Israelites in their time of struggle, and he does the same for us. He is glad to be with us and treats our weaknesses tenderly. Psalm 139:1 gives us reason to rejoice in this promise. “O Lord, you have searched me and known me!”

God cares for us tangibly

God moved the people out of Egypt; he tangibly met their needs. We can lean on the many Scriptural promises that God cares for us and will meet our needs. Romans 8:31 is one example of many promises. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”


I’m grateful to serve a God who takes the time to intimately know me. He could be a God who only rules perfectly from heaven, and yet he makes himself known to me through Christ and the Holy Spirit by knowing the number of hairs on my head (Matthew 10:31), knowing me before I was created in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5), and being a God who is true to his Scripture promise in Exodus 3. He is a God who sees me, hears me, knows and understands me, is with me, and cares for me. Alleluia!

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Links for the Weekend (2024-04-26)

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

Toward Healthier Habits for News Intake

I find that Trevin Wax frequently offers wise, godly advice. In this article he shares how he has thought through his media consumption particularly as it relates to current events and the news. His job is likely not your job, so you may not arrive at his conclusions, but his approach is worth your time.

These are just a few principles I hope make for a healthier news and commentary intake. Whatever you do, be intentional. At all costs, avoid the dreadful “scroll” as your primary (or even secondary) news source. Look for sources that stimulate thought and reflection, and avoid any site or writer that confirms all your previous opinions. Get off the jet skis and go diving.

7 Questions That Teens Need to Answer

If you have a teenager in your house, your family, your neighborhood, or your church, you might want to read this article by Paul Tripp. These questions help teens prepare to live on their own as followers of Jesus.

Since you will be asked to grapple with life-shaping issues in your teen years, you will need reliable, true, and trustworthy guidance. What will be your life GPS? Whose plan for life will you follow? I love what the Bible says in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” God gave you his word to be a guide to you. As you walk through the forest of life, often dark with roots that will trip you up, the Bible has been given to you to light the way so you can be sure of where to go and how to get there. The central theme of the word of God is the story of the transforming grace that is ours because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. 

Grace Winter Woods

Our poem of the week: This lovely, short poem compares God’s grace to snow falling on your face.

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 (2024-04-19)

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

Why Gentile Inclusion Doesn’t Affirm Same-Sex Marriage

One of the arguments made in support of same-sex marriage among Christians is that the opening up of the gospel to the Gentiles demands a radical rethinking of Old Testament positions. Rebecca McLaughlin does a good job in this article showing why the broad inclusion of the Gentiles in the church is the reason we have New Testament teaching against same sex relationships.

Like me and every other sinner who repents and trusts in Jesus, my young friend has been washed, sanctified, and justified in Jesus’s name. The invitation to repent and trust Jesus is on offer to you now, regardless of your sexual attractions, history, or long-embraced identity. The only person who has ever loved you perfectly—so much that he endured the most excruciating death for you—is reaching out his arms to you today. He’s paid the price so you and I and any human on this earth can enter into everlasting life with him. Don’t buy the claim that anyone is barred from this by Christian sexual ethics. And if you have not repented and believed in him, don’t wait.

Why Christian history?

Why should Christians pay attention to the history of Christians and the church? This article provides ten short, compelling answers.

Morning After Solstice

Our poem of the week: A delightful sonnet reflecting on time after the summer solstice (the day of the year with the most daylight).

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Six Ways to Respond to God’s Steadfast Love. 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. 

Six Ways to Respond to God’s Steadfast Love

Driving the Pennsylvania Turnpike can be rough, especially when you’re tired. The hills and farms all look the same, and it’s easy to get lulled to sleep by the endless pattern of signs: speed limit, exit, service plaza; speed limit, exit, service plaza.

Many of us read Psalm 136 this way. Every verse contains the refrain “for his steadfast love endures forever.” Though you may exult in this truth in verse one, you weary of it by verse 13. Your eyes skip along to the “interesting parts,” neglecting the other half.

But there’s gold in the repetition.

Behold the Promise of God’s Love

This psalm is a masterpiece, painting God’s work through history with the brushstrokes of his love.

The psalmist begins by highlighting God’s goodness and his supreme position above other gods (Ps 136:1–3). The next six verses describe God’s work as creator; he made the heavens, spread out the earth, and created the sun, moon, and stars (Ps 136:4–9).

Beginning in verse 10, the psalmist writes of the pivotal deliverance from Egypt. The psalm slows down, crediting God with each step along the way—the Passover, the Red Sea, and the defeat of Pharaoh (Ps 136:10–16).

In their journey through the wilderness, God gave his people victory over nations who opposed them. In verses 17–22, the psalmist rehearses God’s military might and his provision of land. This stanza connects God’s promise-keeping love (see God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12:7 and 17:8) to his commitment to fight for his people.

The psalm closes with a summary: God remembered, rescued, and provides for his people (Ps 136:23–25), so we should thank him.

Sing the Refrain of God’s Love

Through all 26 verses, the refrain is the same: “for his steadfast love endures forever.” Behind God’s creative work, his saving work, his fighting work, his providing work—through all the high drama, God’s love is the explanation.

And God’s love is not reserved for the mountain tops. His steadfast love is revealed in the valley of the wilderness years (Ps 136:16) and the mundanity of mealtimes (Ps 136:25).

God’s steadfast love is behind and underneath everything he does. None of his characteristics or actions can be separated from his love. We can easily affirm this integration when considering the exodus or promised land, but it applies equally to God’s justice and wrath (see Ps 136:15, 17–20). From top to bottom, God is love.

Grasp the Steadfastness of God’s Love

If the biblical authors highlight and underline their writing by repetition, we should pay careful attention to this refrain. It appears in each and every verse—26 times in all.

For his steadfast love endures forever.

Notice the whopping three references to time in this refrain. God’s love is steadfast. His love endures. His love endures forever.

It’s hard for finite humans to digest that word, forever. Everything we see, do, or know comes to an end. What is true for food and clothing we also witness in our emotions. We’d like to claim that our love (for a spouse, for a parent, for a child) is steadfast, but we know better. In anger or impatience, apathy or bitterness, we withhold our love from those most dear to us.

How different God’s love is from ours! His love is steadfast, never diminishing in volume, never weakening in strength, never retreating, never tainted. Though we may feel alone or unloved, reality is different—his love endures forever.

We struggle to digest this truth; we’re prone to dismiss or forget God’s love. In times of suffering, loss, or deep sadness, we often resist with our heart what we know with our mind. Like the psalmist, we need to repeat this truth as often as possible: God’s steadfast love endures forever.

Personalize the Beauty of God’s Love

Here are two ways to internalize God’s love.

Put the psalm on repeat. Read Psalm 136 every morning and evening for a month. (Read every word, careful not to skip the repeated line!) Listen to it on your phone or tablet. Like the woodpecker, a persistent tapping in the same spot sometimes yields a breakthrough.

Write your own version of this psalm. Take up a journal, recount God’s work in your life, and end each line or paragraph the same way: “For his steadfast love endures forever.”

Consider the Cost of God’s Steadfast Love

God’s love for his people reached a crescendo in the incarnation. He aimed to redeem his people, and he had to deal with their sin, once and for all. In his steadfast love, God sent his Son. For his love is a pursuing, costly love.

God demonstrated his abiding, enduring love in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. When Jesus was “made sin for us” on the cross, the Father withdrew his protective love for a time. The Father’s love for his people was manifest in wrath toward sin, and the Son was crushed for our iniquities. Jesus knew the Father’s full fury; he experienced the absence of God’s love so we would know it forever.

Give Thanks for God’s Steadfast Love

Why does the steadfast love of God matter? How does it change us?

One clear application comes out of this psalm: Give thanks. This is the only exhortation in the entire psalm, and it appears four times (Ps 136:1, 2, 3, 26). In fact, all of the descriptions of God, including the refrain about his love, are given as fuel for thanksgiving.

So give thanks to God for who he is. He is the Creator, Savior, Conqueror, and Provider that Israel needed then and that we need now. Thank God for all the ways his steadfast love has rung out in history and in your life. Don’t hesitate to include the routine aspects of your day; from the miraculous Red Sea crossing to God’s provision of food, everything flows from his love.

And as you give thanks to God, remind yourself and everyone around you about his love. It is steadfast, and it endures forever.

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Links for the Weekend (2024-04-12)

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

Prioritizing Our Marriages During the Child-Raising Years

Far too often a couple’s lives revolve around their children and their marriage suffers. This article offers some good counsel.

She was a year away from all the kids being out of the house. While some look forward to this stage of life, my friend was dreading it. She and her husband had grown apart after years of focusing solely on their children. Their marriage was sustained by the distractions of football and soccer games, teen gatherings in their home, and shuffling kids to and fro. Now, the looming prospect of a quieter house with no distractions between them was unwelcome.

Try to Be More Awkward

In order to show love to others at corporate worship, Brianna Lambert wants us to embrace our awkwardness. Find out what she means!

The small greetings I hear from the men and women beside me in church remind me I’m loved. They tell me of the beauty of the fellowship of the body of Christ. They pull me out of my singular focus and remind me I’m part of something bigger—bigger even than the group of families in my small group or who share my similar life circumstances. They lift my eyes to the beauty of the diverse group of church members God has placed around me—people I want to get to know better and learn from. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to revel in this had the people beside me stayed silent. 

What does it mean that God rested?

CCEF counselor Darby Strickland shares a video meditation on what it means that God rested. She suggests some implications this has for us as well.

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 (2024-04-05)

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

Christ’s Resurrection Is the Amen of His Promises

It’s so, so important that we properly understand Christ’s resurrection and what it means for his followers. An eternal existence floating among clouds is not resurrection at all!

If this event is historically true, it makes all other religions false, because Jesus claimed to be the only way to God. To prove this, He predicted He would rise three days after His death. And He did. John Boys (1571–1625), the Dean of Canterbury, put it beautifully: “The resurrection of Christ is the Amen of all His promises.”

God Delivers from the Suffering He Ordains

Many people (including Christians) struggle with the description of God as sovereign. How can God bring us into suffering and then also deliver us from it? Here’s John Piper’s attempt at an answer.

This is why thousands of people have found that the sovereignty of God over their suffering is a precious reality, because it means none of our suffering is meaningless, none of it is owing to the weakness of God or the folly of God or the cruelty of God, but all of it is owing to wise and loving and holy purposes of God for those who trust in his goodness in the midst of it. And the very power and wisdom and love that governs our sorrows now is the same power that will deliver us in God’s all-wise timing.

Tea Cakes with Jesus

Our poem of the week: What might it look like if Jesus visited our messy home and showed us his love there?

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Now, We Laugh. 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.