Links for the Weekend (2022-04-01)

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

Prayer Requests for a Critical Heart

Gulp. This one strikes a little too close for my liking! As someone who is often critical in spirit, I appreciated these suggestions of ways to pray for those who need to fight this temptation.

A heart that rejoices in finding fault in others may align with contemporary culture’s values, but it falls short of the character of Christ. As followers of Jesus, we must fight our sinful critical flesh and renew our minds to be transformed into the image of our Savior. This change can happen because we are already new creatures in Him; the old has gone, and the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17). Not only that, but we’ve been indwelt with the Holy Spirit, so we do not fight alone. But fight we must.

FAQ: Does Predestination Mean God Is the Author of Sin?

If you haven’t wrestled with this question yet, you probably will! Does predestination mean God is the author of sin?

God is never the author of sin. God is the author of weaving even our sin into a tapestry that displays his glory and mercy. The Bible doesn’t say that all things are good because God predestines them. It says that God works all things together for good for those who love him, who are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28).

Spiritual Lessons from My Dumb Phone

Dru Johnson bought himself a “dumb phone,” in part because he didn’t like what his smart phone was doing to him. In this article he describes some of his experience and what he learned.

Making myself still, mentally or physically, has always been hard for me. I often have many irons in the fire. But maintaining the discipline of stillness requires a certain level of security with oneself and with God. My smartphone, on the other hand, offered an all-too-easy way to focus my constant motion, without truly slowing me down.

“I, Myself, Will Go Down With You.”

This article is a meditation on God’s promise to be with Jacob. I love thinking about God’s presence, and I’m grateful to have come across this helpful example.

The primary promise that Jacob receives is the promise of presence. I myself will go down with you. Jacob gets a guarantee that the God of his father will be with him. He also receives a secondary promise of presence: the guarantee that his long-lost son will be with him at the time of his death. Joseph’s hands will lower Jacob’s eyelids over his vacant gaze.


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 (2022-03-25)

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

Don’t Expect Instant Gratification from Your ‘Quiet Time’

Jen Wilkin has some great reflections on our expectations for devotional time. Read the article to catch her memorable analogy of a debit-account approach versus a savings-account approach to devotions.

If you have ever walked through the valley of trial, you know what it is like to find years of faithful deposits bearing dividends. A patient, long-term approach is key. The Book of Ezekiel may not fix your day, but it may just sustain you in a lengthy trial if you give it your quiet times. The formational profit of spending time in the Word is more likely to emerge over 15 years than 15 minutes. 

Excellent Parenting is Remarkably Ordinary

Parenting advice is no magic potion, and yet we can learn wisdom from those who have gone before us. In this article, Brad Hambrick shares three simple parenting encouragements that we all probably need.

Yet, when you talk with an adult who is fond of their parents and grateful for their upbringing, their stories don’t sound exceptional. Their parents of these well-adjusted young adults don’t come across as Jedi masters who daily dispensed profound life-changing proverbs. Their weekends were not filled with epic family vacations. The “moments” we want to create as parents are not usually the focal point of what these young adults appreciate most.

To Ben on World Down Syndrome Day

Andrea Sanborn wrote this tender celebration of her son Ben for World Down Syndrome Day. She included some great pictures, too!

You changed our understanding of worship, of prayer. Of faith. Yes, and of the goodness of God who loves the weak, the wounded and the marginalized.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Turning Thanks to Praise. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!

Thanks to Maggie A for her 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 (10/22/2021)

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

Churchgoers May Remember Song Lyrics Over Sermon Quotes

Jen Wilkin writes about the power of song to help us remember. She also challenges her readers to consider the particular formative effects of the songs they sing.

It matters whether those who lead us in song see their task as creating a mood or a memory. If primarily a mood, lyrics can take a back seat to vocals and instrumentation. If primarily a memory, the lyrics are critically important. Like the Psalms, they should be able to stand on their own, combined with music or not.

Not Easily Offended

Part of loving others well is learning how to be not easily offended.

If this is the common experience of true believers, then it means that we should be willing to bear long with others. If we have known the continual battle between the flesh and the Spirit in our own life, then we should be ready to walk with others who know the same experience. This is why Jesus taught Peter that believers are to forgive their brother or sister if he or she comes and repents “seventy-seven times” (Matt. 18:21–22).

Leaving a Legacy of Bible Reading

As we aim to influence others, especially our children, to read the Bible, Sarah Humphrey writes that our example is powerful.

As we lead children into the Word, the best way for them to actually become interested is by seeing us already invested. I can tell my kids to practice the piano all day long, but it’s when I sit down at the bench to play that they come and sit with me. I can encourage them to make their own toast each morning, but it’s when I show them how, that they feel empowered to make their own breakfast. Teaching the Bible is no different. It comes with the patience, explanation, and the beauty of storytelling that will engage and interest them by showing them the worth of what is inside.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Lamenting Like a Christian. 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 (8/27/2021)

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

We Won’t Perfectly Practice What We Preach

Jen Wilkin writes in Christianity Today about being convicted by her own words (quoted back to her) on Instagram. I appreciated what she shares about sanctification and growth as a Christian.

Sanctification is not a swipe but a slog. It rarely looks like an immediate ceasing of a particular sin. Instead, we become slower to step into the familiar traps and quicker to confess when we do. Slower to repeat, quicker to repent. This becomes a mantra of hope. Our hatred of sin is learned across a lifetime.

We Agree, Right?

Holly Mackle discovered she was presuming that her conversation partners agreed with her unspoken opinions when they had other characteristics in common. In her, this led to condescension when there was not agreement. She proposes a wonderful remedy: curiosity.

Considering the opinions or beliefs of others can be hard. And it takes a supernatural, Holy Spirit level of humility and grace to grant another the space to disagree. It can be an exhausting exercise to continually remind myself to elevate others over my own opinions, plans, or preferences. But I’ve found that expecting others to agree with me all the time can quickly shade the way I approach God, luring me to attempt to poach on his lordship. This habit of presuming I’m in the right and that others will agree is a slippery slope to making God in my own image.

9 Things You Should Know About the Taliban

Sadly, the Taliban are back in the news because of their return to power in Afghanistan. If you’re unfamiliar with this group, here is a helpful explainer from Joe Carter.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Restore Us to Yourself That We May Be Restored. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!

Thanks to Leeanne E for her 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 (7/23/2021)

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

Moms and Dads: Show Your Need

Here’s a profound reminder of an important parenting truth: our children will learn much about how much they need Jesus when we show them how much we need Jesus.

If the true north of our parenting is drawing our children to God, there is nothing more powerful at every stage than showing them that we desire God every bit as much as we want them to. If a healthy parent-child relationship is characterized by trust, vulnerability is a must. Few things strengthen trust in any relationship more than entrusting the other with intimate stories of our failure and hurt. A parent-child relationship isn’t exempt from this reality. Discretion is undoubtedly needed. A child should not be asked to wield burdens too heavy for them. And yet, withholding our failures from our children stunts our relationship with them and their relationship with God in profound ways.

Seem or be?

“Do you want to seem holy or be holy?” The question driving this article is a vital one for us to consider as we pursue growth as Christians.

The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill

This podcast series from Christianity Today is ongoing. Its subject is the late Seattle megachurch Mars Hill and its controversial pastor Mark Driscoll. It helps to explain a lot about the modern American church.


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 (11/1/2019)

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

When Joy Feels Far Away

Over at Desiring God, Scott Hubbard uses Psalm 40 to discuss those times when darkness settles in. He gives solid, helpful encouragement from King David’s experience.

David’s confidence in the coming joy does not mean his darkness was not so deep after all; it means that joy, for those in Christ, is always deeper and surer than the darkness — everlastingly deeper, infinitely surer. You may not feel the truth of it right now. But can you, in hope against hope, imagine yourself singing again, laughing again, telling everyone who will listen, “Great is the Lord!”?

The Cross Is Our Stairway to Heaven

Jen Wilkin writes about the common evangelistic tool known as “the bridge.” She observes some small flaws in the basics of the drawing and explains why it is important that God came down (not across).

But Christ is not merely the stairway, he is also the perfect mediator, superior to angels in his descending and ascending. “To which of the angels did God ever say, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet?’” (Heb. 1:13). In the incarnation Christ descended to Earth. The sinless Son condescended to take on human flesh. And having suffered, died, and raised from the dead, he ascended to the right hand of the Father.

Five Questions about Faith and Works

The doctrine of justification by faith is at the heart of the Reformation, and Kevin DeYoung has a good discussion about some of the important facets of the related debate. The article draws on the work of Francis Turretin for helpful answers.

In short, while our good works are often praiseworthy in Scripture—pleasing to God and truly good—they do not win for us our heavenly reward. There is a true and necessary connection between good works and final glorification, but the connection is not one of merit.

5 Myths about the Reformation

Here’s a brief discussion of five myths that persist about the Protestant Reformation.


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 (4/19/2019)

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

You’re Dead, Start Acting Like It

Chris Thomas exhorts and encourages his readers from the book of Colossians. He tells us (as Paul does) that we’re both dead and alive. Check out the post at For The Church.

Paul’s concern, and what should be our concern as well, is that we’re not acting like dead people should — at least, we’re not acting like dead “Jesus-people” should. We’re still chasing the cheap candy that we thought would nourish our wasting flesh. We’re still enlisting in extra-curricular activities we thought would bolster our chances of winning the game. Paul says, “Quit dancing in the shadows while you disregard the substance.” Deep down we know it; this shadow-game is unfulfilling. The only way out of this shadow theatre is through death. The trouble is, though, we prize life so highly that we don’t want to embrace the grave. But that’s not the way of the gospel. There can be no victorious Sunday without the humiliation of Friday. There is no crown without the cross.

The Brave New World of Bible Reading

How are we influenced by the form our Bible reading takes? Whether we read a print Bible, use a Bible app, or listen to an audio Bible, A. Trevor Sutton argues that we need to slow down and reflect on the technology we’re using.

These affordances provide unique, practical benefits but also powerful, subtler influences. Having your Bible just one tap away from Facebook influences how you experience God’s Word; toggling between an envy-inducing newsfeed and the envy-indicting New Testament creates internal dissonance. Hyperlinking Scripture to the internet can affect your theological understandings, sending you on meandering rabbit trails that can complicate or distort a passage’s meaning. A sea of unfamiliar words on an austere page conveys a certain visual message.

Waiting Time Isn’t Wasted Time

As a people, we’re not great at waiting. But what effect does waiting have on a society? What effect might it have on the church? Ashley Hales has some helpful thoughts to share.

Impatience with waiting is nothing new. From the antsy Israelites who built a golden calf because they were tired of waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain, to the biblical cries of lament (“How long, O Lord?”) and calls for justice, to the early church’s and our own longing for the redemption of all things—we are a waiting people. Waiting ultimately reorients our stories: We are not the primary actor on a stage of our own making or choosing. Rather, God is the hero of the story. Will we be content to wait on his work? In these in-between times, what character will be formed in us as individuals and as a culture?


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