Links for the Weekend (9/3/2021)

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

The Gospel According to Ecclesiastes

Here’s a nice summary of the book of Ecclesiastes and some thoughts on its relationship to the gospel.

Too often, our superficial, triumphalistic approach to Christianity in America doesn’t face the real problems of living in a sinful world. In Ecclesiastes 8:14, the Preacher, provides this depressing assessment, “There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity.” Not exactly the kind of descriptions that would make a tourism brochure for the global chamber of commerce. But the preacher in Ecclesiastes follows that statement up with “I commend joy” and “to eat and drink and be joyful” (Ecc 8:15). What is the connection between gut-wrenching, painful injustice and being joyful?

What Do I Do With “Wasted Years?”

Jeremy Howard writes a personal reflection that is worth your time. He wrestles with a question many of us face—how should we think about periods of our life where there is no obvious fruit from our diligent efforts for the kingdom of God?

Due to life circumstances, I left at the end of 2014.  Shortly after that, the school had to close for a myriad of reasons. When I left 6 years after starting, I had changed exactly none of that future for them.  Years of effort and love and passion poured into a project that one day vanished like the mist.  No discernible impact from my perspective. What was it all for?  Was there a purpose in what I did? I cannot speak to the greater impact, only eternity can reveal that. 

What’s the Difference Between Sloth and Rest?

John Piper gives a helpful answer to this question. He describes the difference between the laziness of the sluggard and the restfulness of the diligent.


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 (8/20/2021)

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

Reflections from Week One of an Empty Nest

Jared Wilson writes about the next stage of life and ministry as he drops his youngest off at college.

One thing I keep coming back to in the midst of my nostalgia about my kids’ youth — and, admittedly, in my niggling fears about things I did wrong or at the least could have done better — is that watching your kids grow up and leave the nest is kind of the point of parenting. Sending them out was the goal all along. I do hope of course that our kids remain close to us relationally throughout adulthood. But our job as parents was not to coddle them into codependence with us, but to raise them to love Jesus and neighbor, to train them to be mature grownups. All of the raising in the home and the church was training for their followship of the Lord outside. That was the whole point. It’s silly to run the race to the best of your ability and then begrudge the finish line when it approaches.

Does the Book of Proverbs Over-Promise?

How should we think about those proverbs which don’t seem true in our experience? Are the Proverbs just probabilities, or is there something more going on?

We will partially see these promises in this life—that is, unless God calls us to a higher form of blessing. But, in Jesus, we will see them fully in the next. No one has ever lived the conditions for these promises more perfectly than Jesus Christ, yet God called him to something higher than mere earthly prosperity.

Six Dangers of Podcasts

John Piper offers some potential dangers associated with listening to podcasts. (Of course, the dangers are offered on a podcast, so there’s that.)


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 (7/9/2021)

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 (6/11/2021)

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

Rich and Miserable — How Can It Be?

It is so, so easy to believe the lie that happiness increases proportionally with the number in our bank account. But it’s just not true! Scott Sauls describes several successful, wealthy people who were far from happy. He ends with a needed call for our imaginations to be “shaped by God’s vision for work.”

So how can we explain the apparent contradiction between the words and lifestyle of Jesus and the apostles, and the Old Testament prosperity passages? Can God’s people today lay claim to those Old Testament promises of prosperity? The answers to these questions lie in the fundamental differences between the Old and New Covenants.

Chasing Rest

Here’s a great reflection on sleep and rest by Kristin Couch. It is humbling to think that one of the ways we best acknowledge that God is God and we are not is by closing our eyes at night.

The soul of gentle waters trusts God moment-by-moment in contentment, and remains calm through absolute submission to God, who is wisdom and authority and perfect power. Nothing startles the Lord, and unflappable tranquility is the result of a heart set upon him.

God Has Not Forgotten You

Vaneetha Risner reflects on the promises of God which have sustained her in the hardest times. The promise that God will not forget us is powerful indeed.

But somehow, knowing that God had not forgotten me stirred me to press into him with renewed hope. Those simple words turned my mind and helped me focus on the truths that I needed to remember. That the Lord was with me and would sustain me through this trial. That God was using my suffering to accomplish something far greater than I could see or understand. And that my pain wouldn’t last any longer than was absolutely necessary.


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 (5/28/2021)

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

Do the Old Testament Promises of Prosperity Apply to God’s People Today?

Randy Alcorn writing about money is always worth your time. He tackles the question which serves as the title of his article.

So how can we explain the apparent contradiction between the words and lifestyle of Jesus and the apostles, and the Old Testament prosperity passages? Can God’s people today lay claim to those Old Testament promises of prosperity? The answers to these questions lie in the fundamental differences between the Old and New Covenants.

My Hiding Place

Kristin Couch writes about the way Corrie ten Boom’s testimony affected her in a season of suffering. One cool thing here is the number of years that passed between Kristin hearing of Corrie and when the application was needed.

I can see now, in hindsight, that God designs sufferings, created uniquely for his children. He does not toss hardships at random, like dreadful Christmas gifts from some Great Aunt who bestows the same matching, ill-fitting sweaters to each family member carelessly, with little care. Instead, God gives us our sufferings to fit his good and holy purpose: to grow and form and shape us in likeness to his Son. Our part is to trust and obey and follow our Father, knowing that there is nothing reckless or random in his plan. He is our perfect hiding place; the safest spot to dwell.

Manners for Social Media in Polarized Times

Anyone who spends time interacting with others online (not just on social media) would do well to read this article. Jim Elliff exhorts us to love others online.

Christian friends, we must be careful to watch our heart and our words. Have we adopted the spirit of the age? Most of the time our family and social media friends can get along without our condescending viewpoint. Is all our careless ranting displaying the glory and beauty of Christ? Surely it is time to change.


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 (5/14/2021)

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

Even Dementia Is Not Dark to God

This is a beautiful article by Cynthia Fischer, writing about her mother’s dementia and Psalm 139. It’s worth your time.

My mother can’t call on Jesus to help her. She’s no longer clear who he is. She cannot seek God for peace. She cannot pray to him. She cannot cry out to him—at least not in any verbal way. Who among us has contemplated the end of our days and considered we might not be able to pray aloud?

The Missing Conversation in Our Accountability

At Desiring God, Ryan Griffith writes about an old practice called “holy discourse” which may be able to make our notions of accountability deeper, richer, and more effective.

Holy discourse seeks to apply the blood-bought benefits of Christ to the deepest recesses of the human heart. Holy discourse fans zeal for Christ, strengthens understanding of Scripture, reinforces doctrinal orthodoxy, unearths destructive patterns of thought, addresses beleaguered souls, nurtures preserving prayer, bridles gossip and backbiting, deepens compassion for others, and develops skills of soul care.

Your Weird Church is “Plan A” and There is No “Plan B”

We all know there’s no perfect church, but since we see our church up close, we see its flaws and weirdness more clearly than most. Jared Wilson reassures us about our weird church and about how God calls us to this glorious weirdness.

It’s almost like He prefers losers, cast-offs, and ne’er-do-wells. Like He’s recruiting sinners, in fact. God is prioritizing broken people from broken situations to be His chosen emissaries to a broken world. Which means that as weird and messy as your church may be, you are exactly suited to this weird and messy time. There is no other church than your church to be the church to the people in your community. There is no other people than the church to be an outpost of heaven in your city, in your nation, in this world.


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 (3/19/2021)

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 (1/15/2021)

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

Are Paper Bibles Better?

At Desiring God, David Mathis urges us to read our Bibles deeply and meditatively. And, for some people, this might mean that they need to spend more time with a physical Bible.

I want to invite you, here at the outset of a new year, to join me in doing something countercultural: get a paper Bible and learn to read it differently from your phone and other screens, and make the words of God your rock in a world of multiplied words of sand. You don’t need an old tattered, torn, marked up, and re-covered Bible like mine. You might consider, though, whether paper might make a difference in your time alone with God. There is some research to consider, not just my experience.

A Word of Hope for Those with Chronic Pain

This was written during Advent, but I think it is still helpful. We all experience chronic pain or know someone who does. What does it look like for people with such pain to wait in hope?

Waiting in chronic pain can wear you down, shrivel your love, fill you with self-pity, and poison your heart. Or it can refine your character, build your patience and endurance, and increase your longing for God. Whether our waiting does the one or the other largely depends on what we believe is on the other side of this suffering.

How to Overcome Temptation

Jared Wilson reflects on Jesus’s temptation by the devil and what we can learn from it about fighting sin.

Thanks to Jesus, temptation doesn’t have to be our undoing. Until he returns, we will struggle with sin, but we can fight against it and the constant attraction to it we face, if we will cling to Christ’s grace and follow Christ’s example in staying alert, staying focused, and staying in the word that gives power.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article by Sarah Wisniewski called I Am Not Enough. 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.