Links for the Weekend (7/9/2021)

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

Vacationing to the Glory of God

This article about vacationing seems especially appropriate for the summer.

Jesus told his disciples, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest awhile” (Mark 6:31). This call also applies to present-day disciples. Even though your life in Christ is supernatural; it’s not superhuman. If you do not ever come apart, you’ll fall apart. All of us need times of rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. But remember that Christ’s call to his disciples to come away was a call to go with him to rest, not to go without him. So vacate… with Christ.

What Does Jeremiah 29:11 Mean?

Here’s a good explanation about an often-quoted verse in a little-read book. We need to look at context to understand Jeremiah 29:11.

If you were to take a poll on the most well-known verse in Jeremiah, there is a good chance that Jeremiah 29:11 would rank near the top, if not at the very top. This verse is commonly found on bumper stickers, signs, cards, etc., placed there to encourage people to have hope for the future that God will work things out for them. But is that really what this well-known verse means?

My 30-Second Sermon as We Prepared for a Crash Landing

As his plane was going down, Kyle Donn went through a range of thoughts and emotions.

I have never felt so out of control or totally exposed. Or—honestly—so scared. Three rows from the back of the plane, in a middle seat, with absolutely no ability to change anything that was about to happen. I played through my mind that in the next few minutes I could be meeting God.

What I Told A Teenage Boy Struggling With Lust

Rachel Welcher has written a lot about Christian sexuality. Here she relates a conversation with a teenage boy who sought her advice about his battle against lust.

I started by telling him, “You are not alone.” I explained that lust is a common struggle, something that I and almost everyone I know has dealt with at some point in their lives. And I told him that I was encouraged that he cared enough to do something about it. “It’s a good sign that you aren’t okay with this—that you want to change,” I said. And with this, he lifted his head a little.


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 (6/25/2021)

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

The Ordinary War with Irritability

Here’s a diagnosis of irritability and an offer of the gospel to the irritable. I wish I didn’t need this to read this as much as I do!

As a recipient of God’s unmerited favor, convince yourself that the momentary relief of yielding to the fleshly outburst of anger pales in comparison to yielding yourself to be a witness of God’s mercy and grace. Also acknowledge that we don’t make good self-vindicating judges. We are too prideful and too self-righteous, and we aren’t omni-anything. We don’t have all the facts. We don’t know why someone cut us off on the freeway. He may be rushing to get his pregnant wife to the hospital. There may be good, or at least acceptable, reasons for someone’s behavior of which we are unaware.

My Anchor Holds

You may remember that Tim Challies tragically lost his college-aged son last year. As he continues to grieve, he continues to write. In this article, he writes movingly about how the anchor of his faith has held from the first moment he learned of this tragedy.

The anchor of my faith held in the moment of the first alarming text messages, when the winds began to rise and the waters began to swell. It held when I received the dreaded phone call, when the storm unleashed its fury and great waves began to pound against me. It held through the memorial and funeral services, when the eye of the storm passed over us with its preternatural calm. It held through the aches and agonies that followed, when I could barely hear above the howl of the wind, barely see through the driving rain. My faith, my anchor, has held, but not because I have been rowing hard, not because I have been steering well, not because I am made of rugged stuff, not because I am a man of mighty faith. It has held fast because it is held firm in the nail-scarred hands of the one who died and rose for me.

Gently Now

This article is a bit hard to describe, but you should read it. Courtney Ellis has written a reflection on gentleness that we all need to hear.

I expected Anna, dear friend that she is, to advise me to do everything in the easiest way possible. To go easy on myself and look for the easy option. I’ve given that advice out dozens of times to others. It’s part of our cultural vocabulary. Easy now. I was not expecting the word gentle.


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 (12/18/2020)

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

Is Christmas a Pagan Rip-off?

Kevin DeYoung addresses the idea that Christmas is a copycat of a pagan holiday. Though this is a longstanding and accepted argument, DeYoung says that it’s just not true.

Unlike Easter, which developed as a Christian holiday much earlier, there is no mention of birth celebrations from the earliest church fathers. Christian writers like Irenaeus (130-200) and Tertullian (160-225) say nothing about a festival in honor of Christ’s birth, and Origen (165-264) even mocks Roman celebrations of birth anniversaries as pagan practices. This is a pretty good indication that Christmas was not yet on the ecclesiastical calendar (or at least not widespread), and that if it were, it would not have been tied to a similar Roman holiday.

Advent I: The Face of God

Brad East has written a nice Advent meditation on the face of God over at Mere Orthodoxy.

Advent is the season when the church remembers—which is to say, is reminded by the Spirit—that as the people of the Messiah, we are defined not by possession but by dispossession, not by having but by hoping, not by leisurely resting but by eagerly waiting. We are waiting on the Lord, whose command is simple: “Keep awake” (Mark 13:37). Waiting is wakefulness, and wakefulness is watchfulness: like the disciples in the Garden, we are tired, weighed down by the weakness of the flesh, but still we must keep watch and be alert as we await the Lord’s return, relying on his Spirit, who ever is willing (cf. Mark 14:32-42).

Liturgy for a Pandemic Christmas

To quote a part of this would be to ruin the whole, so I will just urge you to read this lovely poem written by Jessica Merzdorf at Fathom Magazine about Jesus coming for (and identifying with) his people.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called A Contrast of Kings at Christmas. 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 (12/27/2019)

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

5 Potential (Year-Long) Effects of the Christmas Season

Jason Seville suggests that there are rhythms of the Christmas season that we would be wise to stretch out over the whole calendar year. One of the areas he writes about is hospitality.

At Christmas we buy gifts, bake cookies, send cards, extend meal invites, and throw parties. We get to know fellow church members better, and we welcome strangers. We have people over with the clear intention and purposes of extending Christ’s love.

But hospitality ought to be the Christian’s perennial disposition. We ought to, as Paul wrote, “welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (Rom. 15:7). Let’s circle dates in those first 11 months as well. When will we plan a dinner party for a group of coworkers? When will we invite that new couple from church for dinner? When will we randomly bless the widow down the street with a plate of cookies?

God with us

This article in Fathom Magazine is a short, lovely meditation on the life of Jesus.

He enters into our hearts, flames flickering above our heads as he tears down the old, rotting walls of our souls, the structurally unsound, cracked, termite-ridden foundation. He takes his carpenter’s hands and he rebuilds.

Ten Questions for a New Year

The beginning of the year is a great time to prayerfully consider our ways. Is there anything you should add to your life this year? What should be changed or removed from your life? Don Whitney provides some good questions for us to ponder.

The value of many of these questions is not in their profundity, but in the simple fact that they bring an issue or commitment into focus. For example, just by making a goal to encourage one person in particular this year is more likely to help you remember to encourage that person than if you hadn’t set that goal.


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 (8/23/2019)

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

I’m so glad our vows kept us

Jennie Cesario writes about her marriage and her vows and what’s like when two people are joined together over decades. It’s hard and exposing and beautiful. If you only read one of the recommended articles this week, make it this one; it’s the best writing I’ve read in quite a while.

But this is the trade-off: Our hearts are so very tender toward one another now with the long years, softened to a sweetness hard-won. I can’t imagine a context in which I’d throw a glass now or cut off my hair just to spite him. In my mind, if there are still disappointments, they are not mine but ours. Not me against him, or him against me, but the two of us pressed together. His flaws folding into my imperfections like our fingers entwined on the dance floor.

How To Be Lonely (To The Glory Of God)

Loneliness is all too common these days, both inside and outside of the church. In this article, Cole Deike directs us to Psalm 102, whose author knows deep loneliness.

The gospel, after all, is not the good news that if you believe in Jesus, you will be spared from loneliness. Loneliness discriminates against nobody. You can rip Psalm 102 out the Scriptures and sand down the edges of the cross if you wish to believe that nonsense. The gospel is better. It is the good news that if you believe in Jesus, then Christ will be present with you in your loneliness.

3 Reasons Drifting from the Faith Starts with Drifting from the Church

If the book of Hebrews is an encouragement to persevere in faith, and if one of the commands in that book is that we must not neglect to meet together (Hebrews 10:25), what does this teach us about the church? Michael Kelley gives us three reasons to help us see the importance of church to our perseverance.

We must not abandon the church if we want to persevere in the faith. We must keep going to keep ourselves going. The church is God’s gift to us – each one of us – not so that we have a perfect experience there, but because we are weak, and we really do need the help.


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