Links for the Weekend (2024-05-17)

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

Did the Jews Kill Jesus?

With Israel in the news a lot recently and anti-Semitism on the rise, Kevin DeYoung answers an important question: Should we say that the Jews killed Jesus?

But what about the Jews? Isn’t it the case that the Bible repeatedly affirms that the Jews as a people were responsible—perhaps uniquely responsible—for killing Jesus? After all, the crowd in Jerusalem, in clamoring for Jesus to be crucified and for Barabbas to go free, exclaimed, “His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matt. 27:25). Even if the statement is unpopular, aren’t we obliged to say with the Bible that the Jews killed Jesus?

The short answer is: It depends.

Cling to the Light: How to Cope When Suffering with Depression

This article may be helpful for some in our church family, and it may be helpful for others who have friends and family members in this situation. Kathryn Butler offers counsel for Christians suffering with depression.

Dear friend, if you’re among those who cry out to God and yearn for his comfort, know you’re not alone. Your walk in the darkness cannot hide you from the Light of the World (John 8:12). Even when you can’t feel his presence, Jesus remains with you until the end of the age (Matt. 28:20), and nothing—not your shame, your despair, or the agony of depression—can separate you from his love (Rom. 8:38–39).

Jazz

Our poem of the week: A four-stanza poem about jazz and much more. This one will repay multiple readings.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Ordinary Ingredients of Christian Growth. 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 (2024-05-10)

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

Fulfilling Your Personal Definition of Happiness Is Not God’s Goal

Here’s a great reminder and explanation from Paul Tripp: God’s goal in all of his dealings with you is your holiness.

The message is consistent throughout all of these passages. God is not working to deliver to you your personal definition of happiness. If you’re on that agenda page, you are going to be disappointed with God and you are going to wonder if he loves you. God is after something better—your holiness, that is, the final completion of his redemptive work in you. The difficulties you face are not in the way of God’s plan, they do not show the failure of God’s plan, and they are not signs he has turned his back on you. No, those tough moments are a sure sign of the zeal of his redemptive love.

Social Media (and Overprotective Parents) Changed Childhood

This 8-minute video is worth your time. It distills some ideas from Jonathan Haidt’s book The Anxious Generation into a short, understandable form. It’s especially timely for parents as they consider how their children should interact with social media and opportunities apart from screens.

Judas in the Upper Room

Our poem of the week: a sonnet from the perspective of Judas at the Last Supper. This is worth some time and contemplation!


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 (2024-05-03)

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

Why Daily Bread Is Better

Caleb Davis reflects on the fact that God gives us daily bread, not a year’s (or a lifetime’s) supply at a time.

He’s an artisan baker who crafts fresh loaves each day, not a mere delivery truck driver. Our Father knows what we need better than we do. He gives us better provision than a stockpile. He gives it daily so we’ll keep coming back to him. After all, he’s the best gift.

Warblers and the Question of Gratuitous Beauty

This is an especially appropriate link for the springtime. Kevin Burrell is a birder and he writes about how the “gratuitous beauty” of the warbler points to God as an extravagant Creator.

If God reveals himself in both Word and world, shouldn’t we expect to encounter instances of lavishly prodigal beauty in creation as well as redemption? Look up. There are warblers in the trees, each adorned with prodigal artistry. As artist and writer Makoto Fujimura says, “Beauty is a gratuitous gift of the creator God; it finds its source and its purpose in God’s character. God, out of his gratuitous love, created a world he did not need because he is an artist.”

At a Gathering

Our poem of the week: A delightful sonnet about laughter and the Lord’s Supper.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Charissa Rychcik called Immanuel: God with Us. 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 (2024-04-26)

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

Toward Healthier Habits for News Intake

I find that Trevin Wax frequently offers wise, godly advice. In this article he shares how he has thought through his media consumption particularly as it relates to current events and the news. His job is likely not your job, so you may not arrive at his conclusions, but his approach is worth your time.

These are just a few principles I hope make for a healthier news and commentary intake. Whatever you do, be intentional. At all costs, avoid the dreadful “scroll” as your primary (or even secondary) news source. Look for sources that stimulate thought and reflection, and avoid any site or writer that confirms all your previous opinions. Get off the jet skis and go diving.

7 Questions That Teens Need to Answer

If you have a teenager in your house, your family, your neighborhood, or your church, you might want to read this article by Paul Tripp. These questions help teens prepare to live on their own as followers of Jesus.

Since you will be asked to grapple with life-shaping issues in your teen years, you will need reliable, true, and trustworthy guidance. What will be your life GPS? Whose plan for life will you follow? I love what the Bible says in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” God gave you his word to be a guide to you. As you walk through the forest of life, often dark with roots that will trip you up, the Bible has been given to you to light the way so you can be sure of where to go and how to get there. The central theme of the word of God is the story of the transforming grace that is ours because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. 

Grace Winter Woods

Our poem of the week: This lovely, short poem compares God’s grace to snow falling on your face.


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 (2024-04-19)

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

Why Gentile Inclusion Doesn’t Affirm Same-Sex Marriage

One of the arguments made in support of same-sex marriage among Christians is that the opening up of the gospel to the Gentiles demands a radical rethinking of Old Testament positions. Rebecca McLaughlin does a good job in this article showing why the broad inclusion of the Gentiles in the church is the reason we have New Testament teaching against same sex relationships.

Like me and every other sinner who repents and trusts in Jesus, my young friend has been washed, sanctified, and justified in Jesus’s name. The invitation to repent and trust Jesus is on offer to you now, regardless of your sexual attractions, history, or long-embraced identity. The only person who has ever loved you perfectly—so much that he endured the most excruciating death for you—is reaching out his arms to you today. He’s paid the price so you and I and any human on this earth can enter into everlasting life with him. Don’t buy the claim that anyone is barred from this by Christian sexual ethics. And if you have not repented and believed in him, don’t wait.

Why Christian history?

Why should Christians pay attention to the history of Christians and the church? This article provides ten short, compelling answers.

Morning After Solstice

Our poem of the week: A delightful sonnet reflecting on time after the summer solstice (the day of the year with the most daylight).

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Six Ways to Respond to God’s Steadfast Love. 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 (2024-03-29)

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

Good News! You Can’t Engineer an Experience with God

In this article, Trevin Wax explores the mystery of prayer and why it might be a good thing that we cannot manufacture feelings of closeness with God whenever we want.

Prayer can be frustrating. We’re fully aware of prayer’s importance in the Christian life, but it’s easy to be disappointed by lackluster results. Maybe you see God answering your prayers, but maybe you don’t. Maybe you feel a sense of God’s closeness at times, but maybe you don’t. Maybe your Bible reading pops with insight that leads you to respond to God with thanksgiving, but maybe it doesn’t.

How (and How Not) to Fight Sin

This is a direct, no-nonsense article about sin, providing ways we should (and ways we should not) fight against it.

To avoid the prowling tempter, you must set up intentional protection against temptation. You must “make no provision for the flesh” (Rom. 13:14) by setting up barbwire, as it were, at all access points. Make it as difficult as possible for you to access something that is sin or might lead you to sin.

dependency

Poem of the week: dependency, by Abigail Moma. This is a great little poem about what it means to come to God like a child.


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 (2024-03-15)

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

We Who Have Few Talents and Sparse Gifts

If you’ve ever thought God might use you more for his kingdom if you had more talents, money, or influence, this post from Tim Challies is one you should read. It’s a great lesson about contentment with what God has given us.

The fact is, the God who used spit and dust to cure a man of his blindness can most certainly make use of you. And I assure you that if you had great talents, you would simply compare yourself to those who have more still. If through greater gifting you had greater opportunity, you would still not be satisfied. If you cannot be satisfied with little, you will not be satisfied with much.

How does the Holy Spirit help me pray?

This is another one of those videos from Ligonier that answers an important question in a short, helpful way. Here, Michael Reeves talks about how the Holy Spirit helps us to pray.

Lenten Sonnet | February 26, 2018

Poem of the week: Andrew Peterson with another Lenten sonnet. This one is about nature warming in the spring.


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 (2024-02-23)

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

Even Believers Need to Be Warned:
How Hell Motivates Holiness

Though we might wince at the thought of hell and using it to motivate Christian obedience, this article does a good job showing how Paul often did just this in his epistles. This article is sobering but really helpful.

When we turn to Paul’s letters, we actually notice something even more startling than the notecard over my friend’s sink. Regularly throughout his writings, the apostle not only reminds the churches of their formerly hopeless state; he also warns them of their ongoing danger should they drift from Christ. He says not only, “You deserve hell,” but also, “Make sure you don’t end up there.”

Life is More than Mountaintop Experiences

Aaron Armstrong has written a wise article about the highs and lows of the Christian life and how God’s presence is with us in everything.

But when we start chasing after spiritual highs, we also start to define our faith by them. When we get that high, life is good. We feel as though we are gaining greater insights from Scripture. Our prayers are more focused (and possibly ornate). We’re ready to do big things for God and share the gospel with that friend who doesn’t know Jesus. But when the high starts to fade, our sense of intimacy and our resolve go with it.

Lenten Sonnet | March 17, 2017

The poem of the week is a Lenten sonnet by Andrew Peterson. It’s full of Narnian goodness!

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called The Default Posture of Love. 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 (2024-02-16)

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

Worse Than Any Affliction

It’s always convicting for me to read Joni Eareckson Tada write about her life and her battle against the temptation to complain.

My flesh is wasting away, and who would blame me if I complained? Certainly not the world — it’s natural for them to expect an old lady in a wheelchair to grumble over her losses. But followers of Jesus Christ should expect more from me. Much more.

Gratitude

This article reflects on the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers and draws out some helpful points about thankfulness.

There are times when I’m thankful, but I don’t take the extra step to express that gratitude to God or to the person who’s blessed me. That robs God of the glory He deserves, the other person of the gladness of knowing they made a difference, and me from the delight of counting my blessings and realizing there’s so much more for me than against me!

A Sonnet for Ash Wednesday

Poem of the week: A Sonnet for Ash Wednesday, by Malcolm Guite. Those in our Presbyterian tradition do not usually pay much attention to Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent), but this poem is still worth reading and pondering.


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 (2024-02-02)

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

I Still Feel Shame for My Past Sins. What Should I Do?

Sinclair Ferguson answers this question about shame for Ligonier. This is available as an audio recording (a podcast) as well as a transcript.

10 Things You Should Know about American Criminal Justice

This was eye-opening for me. This Crossway article (and advertisement for one of their books) explains some of the misunderstood facts about the American criminal justice system.

Concerns about and criticism of the criminal justice system is not un-American; rather, it is quintessentially American. The American Revolution often brings to mind tea taxes and the Boston harbor protest of such. But skimming the Declaration of Independence, one realizes that the colonists were also quite concerned about abuses of the criminal justice system by King George III. In the very first Congress, James Madison proposed a series of constitutional amendments—now known as the US Bill of Rights—that were overwhelmingly focused on how criminal prosecutions must be conducted. The American founders understood that the power to criminally punish was an enormous one and the emotional outcry to solve a crime could lead the authorities to run roughshod over the rights of the accused. 

Laughter

Here’s our poem of the week. It’s a great reflection on Sarah’s laughter when she learned of her pregnancy in old age.


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