Showing posts from June, 2007


Vacation. Base word: vacate. To leave, abandon, or get away.

That's what the Balvin family is up to, and it feels great. We are visiting friends in MI for the week. I've really needed some relaxation and fun time with my wife and kids. Today we've all gotten sun-burned at the pool, snacked on garden fresh raspberries, done some reading and enjoyed lots of treats.

I only have a dial-up connection, so it is doubtful I'll post much, but we'll see.

Moving From Word to Flesh

"The overarching movement of the Bible is always from word to flesh." - Rob Bell, paraphraseGreat thought that reminded me of this.

Rob went on to explain that God doesn't just want us to talk about generosity (the word) but to live in such a way that we display (flesh) what generosity is. God doesn't just care about justice (the word) but he desires to see justice served in the world. Therefore as his people we should rise up (flesh) at any injustice that is occurring.

You Should Not Covet

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.” - Exodus 20:17This commandment from Exodus is the final commandment of what are commonly known as the 10 Commandments. It is a familiar commandment. Most people in Christian circles know that to covet is wrong. But what does it really mean to covet something? And why do we hear so much about not coveting someone's wife, but so little about coveting someone's house or donkey?

According to Mr. Webster, to covet means to earnestly wish for, or inordinately desire, something that belongs to someone else. More simply, we covet when the yearning for someone else's stuff replaces contentment and joy with what is already ours. "I want yours more than mine" is the language of coveting. And Christians do it all the time.

Is this a safe place to confess? Of co…

Signs Matter

Church Marketing Sucks posted a blog today that I wrote regarding the importance of good signage. Here's a teaser..
When I was 10 years old there was a song by Tesla that was rocking the airwaves called "Signs." All my friends and I loved the song. You are probably thinking of the chorus right now...

Signs Signs everywhere there's signs, Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind Do this, don't do that, Can't you read the sign

Yesterday I had to take my kids to a medical check-up in a non-familiar place. The check-up was taking place in a local high school in our city and the whole experience felt to me very much like visiting a portable church.
Click here to read the whole thing.

Prayer Please

If you think of it, I'd love a little prayer today around 1:30-3:00 pm. Right about that time I will be talking with a few people about some future options and I am really depending on God to direct me in this. There are some fairly significant implications for my family and I. Prayer for wisdom, clarity, faith, confidence, and the ability to sense God's leading clearly would be great. Thanks.

Counseling, Fight Threats, and Car Sales

The last five days have been extremely not normal for me; since Thursday it seems like my life has been moving in fast forward and God has been stretching me all over the place.

It started with a discussion with some mentors and friends regarding the condition of, and growth in, my life and marriage. It was a beneficial time of both reflection and disclosure. Sharing the inner happenings of my mind and heart does not some naturally for me, but it is an area that I am forcing myself to grow in because I know my future depends on it.

After spending two hours discussing my junk, my wife and I met up with a friend and her husband. They are going through some very difficult times because of some very stupid choices the husband made. We did our best to share our story with them and offer what ever counsel and hope we could. Afterwards I felt like God was using that experience to show me how he is still preparing me for a life of ministry and service with others.

Then Saturday morning brou…

Answered Prayer

Stephanie and I try to model prayer for the kids whenever we can. Stephanie is especially good at stopping an activity and instructing the kids to pray about 'this' or 'that' throughout their day. I thought I would borrow a play from her play book tonight.

As I was buckling the kids into their car seats after some shopping at Cub Food tonight I noticed a man having trouble starting his car. Sounded like a bad starter. So I stopped what I was doing and I asked the kids to pray for the man and ask God to start the car so the man could get home. And I kid you not - before they were even done praying the car started! How awesome is that! Jacob happily remarked, "God helped him!"

And I believe that he did. God heard our prayer and he responded. For my kids. And for me.

He's Only Going To Use Me More

Steven Furtick is sharing some quotes on his blog that have impacted his life in powerful ways. Here is an except from a recent post...As Clayton was trying to talk me into moving to Boiling Springs and living off my speaking honorariums and love offerings instead of taking one of the 3 offers I had to go make a salary at some pretty large churches, he said something that pushed me out of the boat:“Steven, the best is yet to come in your life. God is only going to use you more."
Anyone who has been through a major life transition recently can relate to the intense fear that threatens to paralyze you as you try to figure out what to do next.I related very much with this post because, gosh, I live in that fear almost everyday. After all that my wife and family and I have been through during the last 16 months, I find myself constantly wrestling with questions of doubt and feelings of despair regarding what to do next. I wonder how/if God is ever going to use me again. I don'…

Stranger Than Fiction & God's Authorial Intent

Watched Stranger Than Fiction (2006) last night. It was a pretty cool movie with some humorous lines and an intriguing story line. Will Ferrell plays the main character and he does a great job in a role that is somewhat more serious and more demanding than most of the usual characters he plays.

In the movie Ferrell plays an IRS agent who one day begins hearing a book narrators voice in his mind and quickly discovers that the voice is not only narrating his life, but that it has announced his imminent death. Ferrell then sets forth on a mission to defend his sanity and discover who is writing the story of his life so that he may persuade them not to kill him.

There is one scene in the movie which I think could be used as a sermon illustration (it is about 4 minutes long and occurs in chapter 22 of the film). In the scene Ferrell is asking a off the wall literary professor (played wonderfully by Dustin Hoffman) what he should do about his death in the book. Having read the completed …

U.S. Open Championship

One of my favorite parts of Father's Day weekend is taking in the U.S. Open Championship which occurs at the same time. There's not much I enjoy more that relaxing on Sunday, eating some pizza and watching Tiger Woods with my wife.

Here's a few golfers I'll be keeping an eye on to possibly win the most difficult challenge in professional golf....

Tiger Woods
Adam Scott
Luke Donald
Padraig Harrington
Paul Casey
Ryan Moore

John Piper book deal

Attention John Piper fans. Found this amazing deal on Steve's blog. This is a deal that you don't want to miss out on. Just ordered my copy tonight.
From Abraham Piper at the Desiring God Blog... We would like to offer the book What Jesus Demands from the World for $2.97 to our readers. (It retails for $19.99 and we usually sell it for $12.49.) This may be the first post you've seen here at the DG Blog or you may be a regular reader. Either way, we appreciate your interest and we would be very happy for you to take advantage of this special. To get the discount, add the book to your cart in our store. Proceed through the checkout and on the payment page there will be a field to enter a coupon code. Enter the word blog and then click on "Apply Code." Small print: This special is only available online. One discounted book per order. We've set aside 500 books for this, so it is a while-supplies-last kind of deal. I also ought to add that you can always dow…

Safari Browser

I am writing this post in my new web browser - Safari. It was recently released for Windows and it is the closest I will come to having a Mac for a long time. Highlights....
Apple Safari 3 is now available for Windows XP and Vista. The default search engine is set to Google.Safari installation on Windows was a snap. The inbuilt RSS reader is excellent and the browser is pretty fast Apple claims that Safari loads web pages up to 2 times faster than IE 7 and up to 1.6 times faster than Firefox 2.You will love the "Private Browsing" feature of safari - when turned on, the sites that you visit are not added to the browser's history and searches are not saved in the Google box.(HT: Digital Inspiration)

Download Safari 3

The Lockers

Disclaimer: Sometimes I blog for you, the reader. Sometimes I blog for me, the author. This is one of those personal things that for some insane reason I feel like making public - maybe the sharing of my journey will inspire you in yours.

This is a picture of some lockers in my garage. They caught my eye yesterday when Stephanie and I were sitting in the driveway talking and watching the kids play in the yard. In this picture I saw a metaphor of sorts for my life.

First look at the yellow lockers on the right. They are old, rusty, metal and filled with all kinds of sporting equipment and cobwebs. My dad got them somewhere years ago and when my parents moved he gave them to me. In many unflattering ways these lockers represent my life 2 years ago. Here are some key words as they relate to the lockers and my life...
compartmentalized - everything has a place and can be structured, things are organized, separated and in order
hidden and secret- things can be hidden and buried in a lock…

Belmont Stakes Picks

Today is the Belmont Stakes. The final event in the Triple Crown horse racing series. I haven't done so well in my previous picks, but here we go again.

1. Rags to Riches

1. Hard Spun
2. Curlin

1. Curlin
2. Rags to Riches
3. Tiago

Biblical Manhood

Read this verse from this blog. Can't forget this verse when I get back into pastoral ministry.

Mark Driscoll is preaching through Nehemiah right now. It is a can't miss podcast when he comes to this verse.

Green Grass and Cool Water Please

On Tuesday I spoke with the HR woman from Eagle Brook Church about setting up an interview for the position of Service and Event Producer which I had applied for. We scheduled the interview for Thursday at 2 pm and from my perspective the interview went great. Thank you for all your prayers.

I left the church offices Thursday feeling like I had a good shot at the position. I was unusually upbeat and excited because it seemed to Stephanie and I that God's hands were in the details of this thing, and we hoped that we would soon be venturing out on a much needed new adventure in our lives.

Then I received an email on Friday from the Eagle Brook HR lady which read,Thank you very much for participating in our interviews yesterday. It was great to get to know you, and your skills, experience and career goals. Unfortunately, at this time we will not be asking you back for a 2nd interview. I will be keeping your resume on file, in case we open up the 2nd position later in the year.I h…

Fingerjig Exercies

If you are looking for a fun way to kill 10 minutes and improve your typing at the same time check this out.
Fingerjig is a 6 minute game that tests your typing prowess. Words are randomly chosen from a dictionary of over 70,000. You must try to type them as quickly and accurately as you can!I found Fingerjib linked on a great blog I've been reading lately called Digital Inspiration. My first attempt score was 289,920. How about you? Add you score in the comments.


Thanks to everyone who was thinking and praying for me today. My 2 pm went really well. Won't know anything more until next week. I'm still not at the point to disclose too much information (you never know who reads your blog) but I can reveal that all this has something to do with this place. Let you know more when I can.

Big Day

Today is going to be a big day.

If you think of me at 2 pm please pray for me. Pray that God's hand would be in my circumstance, that I would be bold and confident, and that the desires of my heart would be granted.

Thanks. I'll say more later.

What is Easy, What is Hard

Totally agree with Casey on this...
What is easy for the church to do (the same kinds of sermons, songs, styles, etc.), is difficult for people to talk about. People will not go to work the next day and tell their friend about what you did. But it was easy for you to plug in a few songs where the songs normally go or preach the same style sermon you always do.

What is difficult for the church to do (creativity, edgy, excellence, etc.), is easy for people to talk about. People will go to work the next day and tell their friend about what you did. But it was difficult for you to choose how the welcome could be done creatively or what you could do that people would never expect.

1,000 Posts and 5 Things I've Learned About Blogging

This is blog post #1,000. Wow.

2 and half years ago I started blogging. Mostly because of this guy. I remember checking his blog on every available computer. That was back before I knew about the beauty of this.

I've learned a lot about blogging over the last couple years. Here are just five examples:
1. You will NEVER please everyone with what you write - especially if you blog with some conviction.
2. Blogging is a great way to steward and spread God's creative ideas around.
3. Writing about something personal is more interesting than pontificating on someone else's platform.
4. This gig can be addicting so be careful.
5. Blogging can be a wonderful tool for uniting people and helping one another grow - -it can also be a terribly nasty tool for spreading criticism, gossip and lies.I'm glad I began a blogging journey.

Blogging has helped my clarify my convictions. It has provided me with an outlet for my creative energy. It is a place for me to gather my thoughts, drea…

Random Thoughts and Updates

- I was out of it for most of the day Sunday with a nasty cold. Nose was running like freaking Niagra Falls and the sinus pressure was ridiculous. Major thanks to Stephanie for keeping the house going. I'm feeling much better today.

- Loving the 91' Honda Civic hatchback I semi-bought from my parents. 40 mpg is sweet right now!

- Our sweet Isabelle flushed Mommy's cell phone down the toilet today. We had to dismantle the toilet and use a coat hanger to retrieve the phone after the kids went to bed. Weird not being able to call Stephanie all day. You don't realize how much you use something until it is flushed away.

- Still waiting to hear back from people on things that could have a major impact the way we experience life. Waiting stinks.

- Had to turn down some free tickets to a conference I was really excited about. Really want to be good stewards of resources right now and felt like someone in vocational ministry at the time deserves the tickets more than I do.

- I…

Dream Job

Really wish my job involved doing something cool with a laptop and multiple screens on my desk.

(photo source)

Random Easter Egg Drop Idea

Not completely sure how churches were executing their Easter Egg Drops but I was thinking about it today (for some odd random reason) and I wanted to write myself a note.

Maybe you could include a 'grand prize number' on each ticket inside the eggs. People would then be encouraged to visit the church/egg drop website and fill out a short informational form or survey before entering their prize number to see if they are the BIG winner.

This would do 3 things: 1) bring traffic to the church website; 2) provide the church with information on who attended the drop; 3) create a list for future mailings and follow-ups.

Building a Foundation for Suffering

Had a heartbreaking conversation yesterday with the wife of one of my best friends from college. From the sounds of things my friend is going through some very deep hurt as a result of something that happened year ago. And sadly he is running from everyone who is trying to help him instead of turning back into his pain and allowing God to bring healing.

Stephanie and I were talking about it last night and I started evaluating our life and the lives of our friends since graduation in 2002. From the looks of things our pretty little Christian lives have been laced with sin and consequences and pain. Among untold trials there have been instances of adultery (both physical and emotional), miscarriages, financial difficulties, job transitions, and struggles with alcoholism.

Our faith in Christ has definitely not left us exempt from suffering and it makes me wonder how well our churches and pastors and faith-based educators prepared us for such instances of suffering.

When was the last t…

More Heroes

No way.

My creative genius is being blown to smithereens. My only defense is that I thought of this last September and have waited to post it until now.


I emailed a blogging pastor friend yesterday with the idea of crafting a sermon series called "Heroes."

My idea is that you could build off of the popular TV series with the same name and look at character traits of different heroes in the Bible - people like the OT patriarchs and general Bible heroes like David and Joshua. You even could use the heroes of the faith listed in Hebrews 11.

Well, it looks like National Community Church is ripping me off. J/K, but they are launching a new series with a very similar premise to mine. Their pastor blogs...
We're kicking off a new series after Chapter Two titled Hero.

We're going to look at some of the unsung heroes of Scripture. Behind every David there is a friend named Jonathan; behind every Esther there is an uncle named Mordecai; behind every Jacob there is a brother named Esau; and behind every Paul there is a sidekick named Barnabas. Why didn't I think of that? Oh wait, I did. :)

Leadership Challenges

Recently I have come to hate the end of the month. The reason: we do inventory and calculate some monthly financials at the restaurant. Things haven't been going so hot here in the last few months and it bothers me. As the General Manager I believe that the responsibility for the store's success ultimately falls on me, and I take it personally when the store doesn't do well.

When I started I had a bunch of excuses that I could use to explain things. "I'm new to this." "I didn't hire these employees." "I am picking up someone else's training failures." Etc, etc. But now that I am nine months into this thing, those old excuses don't work as well anymore and I am starting to question my leadership capabilities.

I feel like I have done my best to hire good kids, to train them well and to trust the people I work with. It is difficult to completely release the feeling of responsibility, but I don't know what else I can do.…

Old Man Hockey Update

My team's play-off run came to an end Wednesday night in a 2-2, shoot out loss to the number one ranked team in the league. I had a nice goal during the game but unfortunately I missed twice in the shoot out.

On my first attempt I faked a deke, moved to my left (the goalie's right) and shot it off the post.

Then, nine rounds later, I came in, faked a shot to the same spot where I hit the post, pulled the puck to my backhand, thought I had the whole net to slide the puck into, and suddenly the goalie dove across and blocked my shot with his stick. I was so mad at myself for not raising it that I slammed my stick into the boards and broke it in half. That made me even more bummed out because I really liked that stick. Not a great decision considering my son was in the stands watching.

I enter anger management classes tomorrow.