Monday, February 25, 2013

Blogs I Read: Chris Brauns' "A Brick in the Valley"

Someday, I'll meet Chris in person, but for now I'm glad that we're online friends.

Chris Brauns is the pastor of The Congregational Christian Church in Stillman Valley, Illinois, an author of multiple books, and a prolific blogger.

His blog is called "A Brick in the Valley"--not because their church building is made of bricks (though it is, and their nickname is "The Red Brick Church,")--but because the bricks are a metaphor for individual believers being united in Christian community.

Chris is very generous. He has sent me free copies of his first two books, Unpacking Forgiveness and When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search. His third book, Bound Together, comes out next week, and I'm already recommending it to people. (Hint, hint, Chris.)

Chris has also given me a great big dose of his time. He served as a critical reader for my doctoral project, reading the first version of my book, and sending in his constructive criticism.  He's given me advice about publishing and introduced me to key people.  He also given me time on his blog with an ordinary pastors interview and a guest post on urban legends.

I highly recommend Chris' blogI regularly link to his site. He is really good at connecting biblical truth with everyday life.

For example, read this recent post where he answers the question (with help from blog readers), "“Why, even amongst Christians, are some of the most incredible statements in human history greeted with yawns of apathy?”

Some of my other favorites through the years:

Gossip Affects Your Spiritual Waistline

The Apostle Paul Sounds Better Than John Lennon at the Nursing Home

The Fear of Man Lays a Snare

Struggling to Find Workers at Your Church? Before You Get Discouraged . . .Read Matthew 9:35-38 and 
Remember: (I love his phrase, "Wear Out the Knees of Your Everyday Jeans.")

Chris obviously loves his family and his church and serves them both well.

I think my all-time favorite posts is 5th Tree Back, Right Side, As You Face the Throne:
My family talks about where we are going to meet when we get to the Heavenly City.
You have to see the picture in your mind. Revelation 22 says that there is a river as clear as crystal flowing from the throne of God down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river is the Tree of life.
Can you see that in your mind? The Lord Jesus sitting gloriously on a throne, a great tree-lined river crashing down from his throne, and vast throngs of people from every part of the world celebrating?
I can’t wait. But, I also want to make sure my friends and family know where to meet. Here is the plan. We are all going to meet at the 5th tree on the right side of the river facing the throne. Be sure it is the right side of the river as you face the throne. Then count 5 trees back.
My daughter Allison is concerned that our spot may already be reserved. What if someone like Daniel has reserved our tree? But, I tell her they’ll just have to share our space. We’re going to be right next to that tree in the Heavenly City.
If you know Christ, can you find just a few moments today to reflect on what you are looking forward to in the Heavenly City? Who are you looking forward to seeing? Can you imagine feeling perfectly healthy? No more death, mourning, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:3-5)!
Amen!  Read Chris' blog for yourself.