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Showing posts from May, 2009

Faith in God's Provision

Love this quote from Perry Noble,
The only question we should wrestle to the ground, “Is this clearly what Jesus wants?” If the answer to that question is yes then we’ve got to understand that if it is God’s will then it is God’s bill.

Are You Humbled By the Fact

Here is a difficult question that Christians can ask themselves as they look introspectively at the condition of their faith,
Are you humbled by conscious awareness that you fight the common besetting temptations of every human heart: pride, fear of man, attachment to money, sexual lust, preoccupation with your own performance, control, judgmentalism, love of various pleasures, and the like?Source: Pastor’s Self-Evaluation Questionnaire

Breaking Free from an Entertainment Addiction

I have been wrestling internally over the past year with the way I spend my time and the large amount of hours I pour into sports. In my quiet moments it scares me to think that I will waste my life away watching Sportscenter and 3 hour baseball games, yet I find myself continually drawn there.

A pastor recently remarked on this very issue and gave some helpful tips on what people can do to break free from an entertainment addiction and to delight themselves in God. His final word on the subject bears repeating,
One last suggestion: think about your death. Think about your death a lot. Ask what you'd like to be doing in the season of life, or hours or days, leading up to meeting Christ. I do that a lot these days. I think about the impact of death, and what I would like to be found doing, and how I would prepare to meet him and give an account to him.

Christianity or Christendom?

Mark Driscoll has an article posted at Fox News that attempts to differentiate Christendom in America from Christianity in America. It is a good article for Driscoll fans and non-fans alike as it is completely free from any theological argumentation. Here is a quote that I think is clarifying for those who are afraid our 'Christian Natin' is disentegrating.
Subsequently, the Newsweek report simply confirms the fact that, just as Christendom has died in Europe and the major American cities, it is now dying in the suburban and rural areas of America as well. With the social benefits of professing to be a Christian no longer in place and the social stigma of not professing to be a Christian now lifted, those who were part of Christendom America are simply no longer pretending to be part of Christian America.Since those who professed faith but did not practice faith were confusing to account for, this is actually a good thing. Now, it is more likely that if someone is a Christian…

No More Preschool for Jacob

My 5 year old son Jacob graduated from preschool today. I am so happy for him. His teacher sent home a packet of drawings they have been collecting during the school year. It was pretty neat to see how his drawing skills have improved. He is pretty excited about the fact that he was the tallest kid in his class, which might be the first time a Balvin has ever been the tallest. His best friend in the class is a nice boy named Oden, who I think was the smallest boy in the class. Pretty funny seeing them next to each other.
I love you Jacob. You are such a blessing. Your kind heart and big smile make you a joy to be around and a faithful son, sibling and friend to all!

It is Hard to be a Dad

There is nothing like children to reveal the depths of your depravity.

I never knew myself to be so impatient until I became a father. The daily push and pull sometimes drives me insane. The behavior that too often comes out and is directed at my children is immature and sinful. I am not so demanding and power hungry with others. Why would I be that way with the tender hearts that I love so much? I hate it in me.

Then there are Scriptures like these that haunt me,
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. - Eph. 6:4

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. - Col. 3:21

Book Review: Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire

The book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala has been on the shelf of my bookcase for over 6 years. I have picked it up and started it numerous times in the past but I could never get into it. Until now.

The book details the beginnings of Brooklyn Tabernacle in NYC, a congregation of 10,000 which begin many years ago with just a handful of fervent prayer warriors. By interweaving stories from his church and examples from the Scriptures Cymbala exhorts Christians to 'call upon the name of the Lord.'

I finally read the whole book this week and was convicted by the lack of prayer in my life. In Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire Cymbala is adamant about the fact that real ministry doesn't happen except for on the strength of the Holy Spirit through prayer.

Here are a couple quotes that reasonated with me:
God is attracted to weakness. He can't resist those who humbly and honestly adit how desperately they need him. Our weakness, in fact, makes room for his power.

God still uses f…

Check This Out: STORY

I can't even begin to tell you how I excited I am about STORY. It is a gathering in Chicago that is being put together by the founder of The Whiteboard Sessions, who also happens to be a friend of mine. From his mouth STORY is,STORY is a first-of-its-kind experience for communicators of the Gospel - the greatest story ever told. It will be held on Wednesday, October 28 at the Paramount Theater in Aurora, Illinois. Speakers include Donald Miller, Nancy Beach, Dave Gibbons, Ed Young, Stacy Spencer, Chris Seay and Mike Foster. A day of workshops will follow on October 29 at nearby Orchard Valley Community Church, featuring illustrators, designers, scholars, authors and communications experts. Register for the conference and enter to win 2 free trips to the Kilns - CS Lewis' home in Oxford, England - at www.StoryChicago.com.What an awesome concept, awesome location, and awesome speak line-up. Make sure you check out the website and clear your calendar for this experience.

A Calm and Quiet Soul

Psalm 1311 O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.3 O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.

Grace

After my day as a dad today this was reassuring to read:
Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace.
And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.from Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace (p. 19)

Simplified Missional Living

Eat with Non-ChristiansWalk, Don’t DriveBe a RegularHobby with Non-ChristiansTalk to Your Co-workers. Volunteer with Non-Profits. Participate in City EventsServe Your Neighbors.(Check out Resurgence.com for more on these behaviors)

Blessed are the Pure in Heart

As I was driving to work last week the words of Jesus came to mind, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." Immediately the image of two windows came into my mind.

Behind the first window was Jesus, waiting to be seen and glorified. The window was clean and fully transparent. However, covering the second window was a nasty dirty film. The film prevented me from seeing what was on the other side but I knew it was Jesus, waiting to be seen and glorified just as he was beyond the first window.

Sin in our life creates a barrier that prevents us from seeing Christ. Over time the filthy slime created by that sin will block out our visibility of Jesus completely. That is why confession and repentance are such vital spiritual disciplines. They are a sort of Windex for our souls.