Links for the Weekend (4/16/2021)

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

The Day After Easter

Glenna Marshall mourns her friend who died on Easter Monday. She points us toward true resurrection hope.

Just the day before, we celebrated the resurrection of Christ. For most of my life, I only celebrated His resurrection. I didn’t realize that His resurrection guaranteed my own. But everything we hope for, everything we are staking eternity on, everything we have given up for the sake of Christ hinges upon the fact that He conquered death. He rose again. And we will, too. We bury Sue on Saturday, but one day her grave will be empty like His.

Post-Pandemic, Will China’s Church Be Changed Forever?

The Chinese government imposed new restrictions in 2020 which have drastically affected the church. This article describes how house churches have adapted and what the future might look like.

How Does Chronic Pain Glorify God?

When pain does not go away for those who follow Jesus, how does that bring glory to God? In this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper gives a helpful answer from the Bible. (The second half of this podcast is especially helpful.)

First, when we suffer without cursing God, without forsaking Christ, declaring ourselves to be his friend and servant and disciple and follower and a great lover of his glory and faithfulness, we make plain to others that having Christ is more precious to us than having freedom from pain.


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 (4/9/2021)

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

To Those Who are Frustrated with the Church

Colin Smith writes to those who have felt like giving up on the local church. Perhaps you’ve felt that pull and would benefit from this article.

The church is made up of ordinary people who are in the process of being redeemed, all of us sinners in the process of being renewed. It was Augustine who described the church as “a hospital for sinners.” He said it would be very strange if people were to criticize hospitals because the patients were sick. The whole point of the hospital is that people are there because they’re sick, and they haven’t yet recovered.

Serving Christ When Everyone Needs You

Ann Swindell reflects on what God has been teaching her in this difficult pandemic time. When we feel pulled by family and work and ministry, how do we respond?

I felt like I was serving in a hundred ways but missing out on many of the gifts of relationship and normal life that helped make that service joyful and rewarding. It all felt like too much, and those tears at the kitchen window revealed both my frustration and exhaustion.

My circumstances and responsibilities wouldn’t change anytime soon. But my heart could change, and it needed to.

A Conversation with Pastor Tim Keller about Hope in Times of Fear

Here’s a podcast episode where Russell Moore interviews Tim Keller. Keller was diagnosed with cancer last year and has written a book called Hope in Times of Fear. I find an encouraging freshness in listening to someone who has a palpable sense of their mortality talk about trusting in Christ. Maybe you will too.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Look and See, O Lord! If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!

Thanks to Maggie A for her help 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 (4/2/2021)

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

What Is the Historical Evidence that Jesus Rose from the Dead?

Justin Taylor helpfully points us toward an article which argues for the historical credibility of the claim of Jesus’s resurrection. There are also two videos linked in Justin’s post made by apologists arguing for the resurrection.

Rejoice Together, Suffer Together, Repeat

Christians are to rejoice with each other and weep with each other. Anne Kerhoulas writes about what it means that these commands come in the context of writing about worship. Quite an insight!

Rejoicing is an act of worship. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Phil 4:4). It is always about God because every good and perfect thing comes from Him (James 1:17), and we get to praise Him for what He has done. When my friend got engaged I didn’t tell her good job for her accomplishment. No, we celebrated what God had done and was doing.

Let Go of Lies About Heaven: Eight Myths Many Believe

Years ago, Randy Alcorn wrote a big book about heaven. In this article, he points out eight common myths about heaven. He directs our attention to the Bible to examine what God says about the future.

In an age when people try to make doctrines more appealing by ignoring or twisting biblical truth, here’s the irony—the true biblical doctrine of Heaven is far more attractive than the dull, inhuman view of the afterlife that has long prevailed in evangelicalism.


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 (3/26/2021)

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

What We Celebrate on World Down Syndrome Day

This past Sunday (March 21) was World Down Syndrome Day. Lauren Washer is a mother to a boy with Down Syndrome, and she reflects on some of the difficulties and the gifts that have come along.

I don’t pretend to understand why God allows disability, but I do know he displays his glory in our suffering. For it’s in hardship, challenges, and grief when we grow to know God more. Maybe not at first, but as our faith increases, God uses suffering to produce in us character, perseverance, and hope. Through suffering we come to know Christ more as we share in his suffering. And we grow to long for heaven like never before. When I see my son suffer, I yearn for Jesus to return and make all things new. Will there be Down syndrome in heaven? I don’t know, but if there is, it won’t be accompanied by hardship.

Delivered From the Tyranny of Emotions

What is the difference between experiencing emotions and being controlled by them? Megan Johnson explores this question and thinks about the role of her Christian faith.

My emotions have a place, and rightly so, as God made us to be feeling creatures, but my emotions shouldn’t have the final say about what is true in a situation. God, in his severe mercy, has given me a number of opportunities to practice this lately.

How Can I Fight Sin Without Losing Sight of Christ?

John Piper tackles a difficult question about fighting sin on a recent episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast. Here’s the question he addressed.

The following question is the source of my confusion: How can I rest in being justified if I need obedience as the evidence to truly know that I am justified? In other words, how can I rest in the verdict of ‘not guilty’ if in reality the verdict could be ‘guilty’ unless I see obedience in my life? This circular reasoning inevitably puts the focus back on myself instead of Christ, the opposite of what it is intended to do. I am almost sure I am thinking about this the wrong way.


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 (3/19/2021)

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

6 Questions about the Fear of God

The fear of God is a fundamental phrase in the Bible, yet it is also an easy one to misunderstand. Here is an article by Michael Reeves on the fear of God, adapted from his recent book on the same topic.

I want you to rejoice in this strange paradox that the gospel both frees us from fear and gives us fear. It frees us from our crippling fears, giving us instead a most delightful, happy, and wonderful fear. And I want to clear up that often off-putting phrase “the fear of God,” to show through the Bible that for Christians it really does not mean being afraid of God.

An Elephant in the Room-Sized Post on Gluttony

Jared Wilson wrote a longish post on gluttony at For The Church, and I found it helpful. He says what gluttony is and what it isn’t, and he points to the heart posture that gluttony reveals. This is one I’ll be saving and re-reading.

If you’ve ever given much thought to combating this sin, you’ve probably run into the same problem I have: there doesn’t seem to be much help out there. Certainly the sentiments of the world aren’t going to do us any favors. We live in the land of all-you-can-eat buffets, Big Gulps, and super-sizing. When portions at restaurants aren’t big enough to feed three people we feel cheated. We’ve even turned eating into a competitive sport, with one of the umpteen ESPN stations broadcasting battles to eat the most hot dogs.

It Was Finished Upon That Cross

Just in time for Easter, CityAlight released a song about what Jesus did on the cross.

Some lyrics:

Now the curse it has been broken
Jesus paid the price for me
Full, the pardon he has offered
Great, the welcome that I receive
Boldly I approach my Father
Clothed in Jesus’ righteousness
There is no more guilt to carry
It was finished upon that cross


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 (3/12/2021)

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

The Promise Is for You and Your Children

Here’s an article by Iain Duguid about why we baptize children in our church.

There was no area of his life that he held back from the Father. In him, the symbolism of circumcision and baptism became a terrible reality, as God the Father literally cut him off for our sin. He was baptized with the baptism of God’s wrath against sin, so that we might receive the sweet promises of baptism for the remission of sins.

The Counsel and Care of the Elderly

Nick Batzig mourns the way many young Christians consider and relate to older Christians in their church. He urges us to honor, respect, and care for the elderly among us.

A time is coming when you may be able to say with David, “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his children begging bread” (Psalm 37:25). Such a statement is born from years of experiencing the sustaining, delivering, and providing grace of God through many trials and challenges. Until that time, I would humbly encourage younger men and women to seek the counsel of the elderly, to honor and respect them, and to care for them in their time of need.

Helping a Covenant Child Prepare a Testimony

For a child growing up in the church, talking about their “coming to faith” is often difficult. Barry York provides some good questions that parents and grandparents can use to help children in this situation.

For many teen-aged believers who grew up in a Christian home and attended church regularly do not remember a time when they did not believe in Christ. Though they have known experiences with sin and trusting in Christ through their life, they are hesitant about naming a time of conversion. Forcing them to come up with such a time can be a way of unknowingly sowing harmful seeds into their souls, as they start looking for an experience that creates doubt rather than looking to Christ with simple yet real faith.

Jen Wilkin on Grace vs. Permissiveness

Jen Wilkin does a great job in this short (less than one minute) video making the distinction between permissiveness and a Christian understanding of grace.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called The Good News of the Ascension of Jesus. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!

Thanks to Phil A for his help 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 (3/5/2021)

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

Which Christian Best Portrays Christ?

Tim Challies writes a parable of sorts, comparing Jesus to the Rocky Mountains, and how it’s impossible to capture either in one snapshot (or virtue).

In the end, which of these Christians best portrays Christ? Is it the one who is as kind as Jesus or the one who is as patient? Is it the one who teaches like Jesus or the who extends his warm welcome? The truth is all of them and none of them. All of them capture the part God has assigned to them, but none of them captures the whole, for the subject is simply too vast for any one canvas, for any one person. The closest view of the whole is when the many are gathered together into one gallery, each displaying its small part.

Turning Water to Wine

Megan Taylor writes a reflection on Jesus’s first miracle.

Have you ever secretly thought that Jesus’ first miracle is a bit of a letdown? The audience is small, the master of the feast does not even know something supernatural has taken place, and it seems the main takeaway from the guests is the quality of wine. Many people fixate on ancillary details of this miracle— the way Jesus speaks to His mother, the alcoholic nature of the wine— and it’s easy to miss the glory wrapped up in this passage as Jesus bursts onto the scene as the initiator of the new covenant.

Lament Is for Little Ones, Too

I’ve been thinking a lot about lament recently, so Christina Fox’s post on teaching children to lament was very timely (and helpful!).

Our children have big emotions. Like us, they experience sadness and fear, loneliness and grief. They need to be equipped to navigate their feelings. They need to be discipled to respond to their feelings in a biblical way.

But as parents, we often have a hard enough time dealing with our emotions. We can be uncomfortable even talking about feelings, much less helping our children navigate theirs. We can also default to unhealthy practices learned in our childhood: avoiding emotions, suppressing emotions, or soothing emotions with food or other temporary comforts.


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 (2/26/2021)

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 (2/19/2021)

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

The Seductive Sin We Never Talk About

The sin mentioned in the title of this article is self-pity, and Trevin Wax helps us think about sources of this sin as well as ways to fight it.

Boasting is usually obvious. But self-pity is more subtle. It arises from the wounded ego. The self-pitiful often appear as if they struggle with low self-esteem or feelings of unworthiness. In reality, people who wallow in self-pity are unhappy because their worthiness has gone unnoticed. “I haven’t received what I’m owed. I deserve better. No one treats me according to my worth.”

Those Who Weep

Here is an excerpt from a new book by Tish Harrison Warren, called Prayer in the Night. The book (and hence this excerpt) is about grief, sadness, and lament.

Lament is not only an act of self-expression or exorcising pain: it forms and heals us. The Psalms express every human emotion, but, taken up again and again, they never simply leave us as we are. They are strong medicine. They change us. The transformation they effect isn’t to turn our sadness into happiness; they don’t take grieving people and make them annoyingly peppy and optimistic. They never say “Chin up” or “It’s not so bad.” Nor do they tell us why we suffer.

10 Things You Should Know about the African Church

Here’s an informative post about how God is working in Africa, written by a pastor in Zambia.


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 (2/12/2021)

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

10 Brief Reflections on an Elder’s Character

With officer nominations opening at our church on Sunday (February 14), and with the importance of a man’s character in the qualifications for elder and deacon, this seemed like a good article to promote first this week. As you consider nominating men for church office, please prayerfully consider their character!

The Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness

Kindness seems in short supply these days. Megan Taylor wrote about the nature of true kindness as well as its counterfeit.

Without the Spirit, although our kindness may look as if it is directed towards others, it is brimming with self-love and fueled by pride and fear of man. Without a connection to the True Vine, we can only show false kindness. What is false kindness? False kindness is being useful to others only when it is useful to me. False kindness has contingencies. It will appear at advantageous times, such as when we are being observed, or around those we like, or to get what we want. False kindness is touted by the world as a slogan or a feeling. False kindness is Judas Iscariot feigning concern for the poor while skimming off the top of the money bag.

Pruned to Bear Fruit

Dawn Hill has written a moving reflection on Jesus’s vine-branches analogy in John 15. What does it mean that we—as the branches—are pruned, and that God is the one doing the pruning?

The branches are not the focal point. This is the focus: the vine. The tree. This is what gives life to the branches. It is what causes those branches to be fruitful, stubs abiding in the vine while being nourished to flourish so that more fruit can come forth in due season. It comes full circle in John 15, doesn’t it? Apart from Him we can do nothing. Jesus is the vine. He is the focus. We exist to glorify Him and to bear fruit testifying of the Vine.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Pray According to God’s Character. 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.