But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

A Brick in the Valley - Apologetic Report
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 23:48

What is a legitimate basis for asking for God’s blessing?

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imagePsalm 67 describes the right sort of motivation for praying for God’s blessing.*

Nearly every week, I close our services at The Red Brick Church in Stillman Valley with a biblical benediction that is thousands of years old: “The LORD bless you and keep you. The LORD make His face shine...

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imagePeople often question how God could hold someone morally responsible who did not have access to the Bible. You may have heard the objections, “How can someone be judged according to a standard he or she didn’t hear or read?” 

The Apostle Paul explained in Romans that all...

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Sunday, 28 January 2018 03:05

G.K. Chesterton Illustrates Why Freedom Needs Boundaries

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imageOur secular age argues that freedom is found in doing whatever we please. G.K. Chesterton illustrates why freedom is not found in the absence of restrictions.

We might fancy some children playing on the flat grassy top of some tall island in the sea. So long as there was a wall round the...

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imageClick through the below link to read Trevin Wax’s interaction with a major Lifeway survey that identifies common traits of children who flourish as Christian adults. 

A central part of our passion at The Red Brick Church is that our young people will follow Christ all of their lives. We...

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Thursday, 14 December 2017 05:25

Leading our Emotions I – Depression

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Depression is such an awful battle. Be assured, in Christ, you can experience mega-joy. — Last week I preached the first sermon in our new series, Leading Our Emotions Through the Holidays. You can listen or read the below summary.

How do we battle depression and sadness...

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Friday, 10 November 2017 00:49

A Gift Idea for a Leader in Your Life

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Give this Proverbs journal (Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation) as a gift and ask for it back when the recipient is through. You will both be blessed: eternally

The book of Proverbs is a gift that God has given to help us find our way through the maze of life. In a...

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Tuesday, 24 October 2017 11:52

Colin Smith: When God Can’t Forgive

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If you’re unpacking forgiveness — and we all are in a broken world — then I highly recommend Colin Smith’s sermon, “When God Can’t Forgive.”

Colin Smith: When God Can’t Forgive Part 1

Colin Smith: When God Can’t Forgive Part 2 


  • His...

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Thursday, 05 October 2017 01:10

Hypocrisy and Illinois Governors. The Beat Goes On.

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imageChristians in the Land of Lincoln (and elsewhere!) will be interested in Dr. Albert Mohler’s 10/5/17 podcast that summarizes what has Archbishop of Chicago calling out Governor Rauner of Illinois. 

I would encourage our church family to listen to Dr. Mohler in an ongoing way. He...

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Wednesday, 27 September 2017 10:58

J.I. Packer: An Outline of the Gospel Message

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If you have questions about the relationship between God’s sovereignty and our sharing of the gospel, I highly recommend J.I.Packer’s classic, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God.

Below I have outlined J.I. Packer’s summary of the gospel message. Keep in mind, this is abridged....

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Wednesday, 30 August 2017 06:40

Compare “Religion” and the Gospel

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Which column describes your approach to the Christian life: religion? or the Gospel? 

The below table taken from Tim Keller’s, Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City, page 65). 

If you have more questions about what is meant by “the...

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Thursday, 24 August 2017 00:34

What does the Bible really teach about giving?

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2 Corinthians 8-9 offers a gold mine of teaching on giving.

Help with sermon prep by making observations on giving found in 2 Corinthians 8-9. Share those with me via the comments or via email. Together let’s clear up some misconceptions about what the Bible really teaches about giving. 


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Thursday, 08 June 2017 13:21

Sabbatical Update: Working at Resting

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imageSunday (6/4/17) Jamie and I were blessed by a sermon from Pastor Bruce McKanna on Sabbath rest. Bruce gave this beautiful challenge: “Don’t give yourself permission to rest so much as hear God’s permission.”

The first Sunday of my sabbatical, I preached in the GSOI. June 4th...

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imageOne of my summer sabbatical goals is to read widely. Below is a book I would recommend for those looking for Christian beach reading. It is written at a level that is easily followed and offers a fresh look at apologetics.

Skeel, David. True Paradox: How Christianity Makes Sense of Our Complex World....

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Thursday, 01 June 2017 04:03

Paul Tripp: Parenting is Gospel Ministry

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One of the first videos every parent should watch — whether their children are three or thirty. The audio is available here.

The post Paul Tripp: Parenting is Gospel Ministry appeared first on A Brick in the Valley.

Authors: Chris

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Wednesday, 31 May 2017 12:35

Sabbatical Notes: Working at Resting

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image I’m thankful for the opportunity to recharge! 

A week into my sabbatical and here is some of how I’m working at recharging:

  • Memorizing and meditating on Romans 11:33-36. I can’t believe I haven’t previously memorized.
  • Lots of Scripture review and meditation.&nbsp...

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Wednesday, 24 May 2017 01:57

How do I forgive someone who refuses to say sorry?

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Watch the below video with Dr. Jeremy Pierre. If I ever issue a revised copy of Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds I’m going to pay my own gas money to buy Dr. Pierre lunch so we can talk biblical forgiveness. He interacts with hard...

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Tuesday, 16 May 2017 00:12

Haddon Robinson Study Retreat 2017

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imageI am again privileged to be part of the Haddon Robinson Study Retreat. This we are studying the Old Testament books of Hosea, Amos, and Micah under the instruction of Wheaton’s Danny Carroll.

Each year a group of pastors gather for a week of intense study Covenant Harbor Camp near Lake Geneva,...

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Saturday, 06 May 2017 02:37

Tim Keller on Why We Should Catechize Our Children

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Jamie and I didn’t formally catechize our children. Though we did spend a great deal of time with them in theological instruction and dialogue. But I agree with Tim Keller’s points and if we had it to do over again, I think we would. 

The post Tim Keller on Why We Should Catechize...

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Witness how a grandfather sees color for the first time. Then consider how great will be the Christian’s joy when not just one malady is cured, but EVERY hurt is healed– in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor 15:52). 

Christ’s resurrection assures Christians that we will...

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There is about a 70% chance the man who stopped was an angel. . .

It’s that time of year when we again consider Christian morality and lemonade stands. Below find answers to common questions.

  1. How often should I stop when I see a lemonade stand? 100% of the time.
  2. That seems like a high standard. Is it okay if I bat say .950? No.
  3. How much should
Thursday, 14 July 2016 18:46

The French Spirit

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Our 2 youngest with French veterans at the Arc de Triomphe (2010)

“I began to cry. Not out of sorrow for myself, nor because of my wounds, but at the great joy that I felt at being back on French soil.” Commando Robert Piauge, June 6, 1944

Grieving as we are for our fellow image-bearers in France, I was reminded of this D-Day story that

Monday, 20 June 2016 03:00

Depression: Dr. David Murray at Bethel Church

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One in ten people struggle with depression. Over the course of a lifetime, one in four will battle this condition. In the below sermon at Bethel Church, pastor, author, and professor Dr. David Murray preaches a sermon on Psalm 77 that surveys depression and offers a broad strategy for battling the blues. The audio for this sermon is available on B

Thursday, 16 June 2016 21:00

Can you prayerfully fill in these blanks?

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 See if you can prayerfully fill in the blanks before Sunday’s sermon (6/19/16) at the Red Brick Church. For more on Sunday’s excitement, see this announcement

The people at our church know that I am not generally a fan of “fill in the blank” sermon notes. However, given our baptism service on Sunday — and a

Wednesday, 15 June 2016 23:00

“Sacraments”: Should Protestants Use the Word?

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Protestants can use the term sacraments. What is important is to define the significance of baptism and the Lord’s Supper in an ongoing way.

Regarding use of the term “sacraments,” Grudem writes:

There is disagreement among Protestants even over the general term that should be applied to [baptism and the Lord’s Supper].

Wednesday, 15 June 2016 04:00

Propitiation: Its Meaning / The Gettys Are Right

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In the context of Christian salvation, the word, “propitiation”  means the turning away of wrath or anger usually by an offering.[1] Propitiation appeases the wrath of God rightly brought about by our sin.[2] First John 4:10 summarizes, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be

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