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. 

I Am Not Enough

When my son was born, due to stay-at-home orders we had none of the external resources we had planned to lean on. Play dates and church programs for our daughter, housekeeping and childcare help for us, even parks and library outings disappeared overnight. 

It was just Zack and me—and we were not enough.

We were not enough to be the sole source for our two-year-old’s social interactions. We were not enough for the bottomless needs of a newborn. I struggled and usually failed to live out the fruits of the Spirit while tired and stressed. Of course, we had never been “enough,” but before we could hide behind all the things we used to supplement our own parenting. 

It’s crushing to know as a parent that you are not enough for your kids. 

A Sufficient Grace

Paul also confronted his own weakness, a mysterious “thorn.” He pleaded with God to remove it, but God did not. Paul wrote:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9–10)

When we are not enough, God’s grace is sufficient. God’s grace is sufficient to preserve my kids through hardship and loneliness. God’s grace is sufficient to forgive my failures, like when I snap at my kids because I’m just done with today. And by God’s grace our weakness makes room for the power of Christ to fill us with the ability to serve and give and love when there’s nothing left in us. 

We are not called to hide our weaknesses or project an image that we’ve got it all together. Paul says he boasts of his weakness, because that makes it clear it is Christ at work, not himself. 

A Sufficient Gospel

God working through weakness sits at the core of the gospel. Paul points out in the following chapter that Christ himself “was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God” (2 Corinthians 13:4). Christ became weak, so weak that he died, and through his “weakness,” God demonstrated his power to save. 

We can lay at Jesus’s scarred feet the places where we feel we are not up to the task. Jesus doesn’t ask us to be enough; he asks us to lean on him. Much like God gave Paul his thorn, he places things in our lives—like pandemics and newborns—that we are unable to handle. These things drive us back to the cross, reminding us that we do not live by our own strength but by Jesus’s power through the Holy Spirit. 

*Record scratch*

There’s a rub here: Some days I still find myself feeling spent by 11 a.m., and Jesus has yet to show up to watch my kids while I take a nap. What does it mean to live in the power of Christ in the day-to-day? 

A lot of prayer, for one. Prayer has (at least) two benefits. One, you truly are soliciting supernatural help from the Lord of the universe. Two, the act of praying leads you to rehearse the truth of the gospel. I find myself repeating back to God his own truths, like God’s patience with us and Jesus’ boundless sacrifice. Bringing these truths to mind can put your own struggles in context and lead you to have more patience with, say, the sixth time you’ve asked the toddler to put on socks. Totally hypothetical example.

God also placed us in a community. It was hard to take care of my family without support—because God designed people to need one another. Christians individually and the church collectively are God’s literal hands and feet in the world. It is unlikely that Jesus will personally show up to do my dishes. But he might remind me that my soapy hands are being used to serve the tiny neighbors in my home, just like Jesus’ pierced ones served me. 

In those early weeks of my son’s life, I felt numb with the truth of my own inadequacy. God had placed more on me than I could handle, and it was crushing me. While I could have happily gone my life long without such a stern reminder, I have also never seen so clearly that every step was not in my own strength. God—in his mercy!—places overwhelming circumstances in our way, not to cause us to rise to the occasion, but to drive us, like the crack of a whip or the sting of spurs, to himself.

Photo credit

Links for the Weekend (5/15/2020)

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

Quarantine Exposes Our Need for Grace

Joshua Zeichik relates some of the frustrations he’s encountered when working from home during the pandemic and some of the sinful ways he has responded. He turns to James 4 to show us how to take inventory of our hearts when we get angry.

The tendency in all of us, when we feel the pressure of not getting what we want, is to get frustrated with those around us. But when we see that kind of response come out of our hearts, we should realize that God is being gracious with us to reveal an area to grow in.

A Six-Part Teaching Series on Parenting

In 2011 Jen and Jeff Wilkin taught a six-part parenting class at their home church in Texas (The Village Church). The sessions are filled with humor and biblical instruction on how to be intentional with the gospel. Parents of children of all ages will find encouragement in these lessons.

Critique Gently, Encourage Fiercely

Scott Sauls writes about loneliness and how we can find family by belonging to a local church.

How do we experience loneliness-slaying love in the midst of imperfect, messy community? It has been said, “Be kind because everyone you meet is fighting a hard, hidden battle.” As we limp toward transparency and community and friendship with our own fears and insecurities, we recognize that we aren’t alone. We are all much afraid. We all feel more insecure than confident, more weak than strong, more unlovable than lovely, more irredeemable than redeemed. When we see that we are not alone, we can reach out to one another. Don’t underestimate the power of words.  While shaming words can take courage out of a soul, encouraging and affirming words can put courage back in.

Thanks to Maggie A and Phil A for their 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.