Showing posts from March, 2012

March in Review: Making Memories

March was an action packed month for the Balvin family.  Here are some of the highlights (not always in order):

- Jacob and I went to the MN Boys Hockey Tournament and watched Duluth East/Lakeville South and then Edina/Benilde-St. Margaret
- the whole family went to the MN Hockey Expo and a U of M women's WCHA playoff hockey game against North Dakota
- we stayed overnight at the Waterpark of America during spring break and swam in the pool for hour with our friends the Towey's
- lunch and playing/shopping at Ikea
- Stephanie started coaching golf in Northfield
- date night for Stephanie and I at the MN Wild hockey game versus Florida
- Isabelle lost two teeth (pulled one herself after getting hit in the mouth with a ball)
- Jacob pulled out a tooth
- built the kids a hockey net and they've been playing lots of roller hockey in the street and garage
- Adult dodgeball night at St. Dominic School
- Olive Garden lunch for Stephanie's birthday
- Famous Dave's lunch for …

Notes on "The Spanx of Church Leadership" by Ed Young

Ed Young's talk at All Access 2012 -  "Spanx for Church Leadership"

spanx - body shaping undergarments of leadership for the "body" of Christ, the local church

1.  Draft impact players, don't hire projects
- check their Facebook, check their spouse, check their references
2.  Develop double vision
- pastor your church like it is twice its current size
3.  Throw a change-up
- change...conflict....growth
- small tweaks take you to giant peeks
4.  Build a big shallow end in your church
- you need a place to plug people in very rapidly
5.  Put on your shades
- its the vision, the vision, the vision
6.  Consult other leaders before you consult a consultant
7.  Pay now or pay later
- you pay peanuts and you'll get monkeys
8.  Maintain a great 'hattitude'
- you have to wear many different hats as a leader
- you can't allow friendship to be placed above leadership
- people respect what you inspect
9.  Small sharks grow into big sharks
- when you fish…

Grateful for Gospel Friendship

This morning I had a great meeting with a couple of guys who mean a lot to me.  They are men who have invested large amounts of time, energy and prayer into my development as a man, husband and father.  They have walked me through some difficult times and I love them much as my brothers in the Lord.

Today I was so grateful for the kindness and wisdom they shared with me.  Rarely do you know so concretely that someone else "has your back."  Today I knew that.  These men helped me to process some thoughts I had.  They shared some wonderful feedback that was filled with wise cautions and great encouragements for the future.  They helped me to see what I was doing, what potential pitfalls there could be, and they prayed for me and confirmed what I feel like God is leading me to.

This is what Gospel Friendship is all about.  Walking one another through all the things that life entails, while maintaining a firm commitment to the Gospel and to helping one another realize the wonder…

Jacob the Evangelist

On Saturday Jacob came home from a friend's house with a big announcement.  He had a big smile on his face and he was so happy as he told Stephanie and I his news.  "Jim is a Christian now!"*
Here's the back story.
Jim has been Jacob's friend since we moved to Northfield in 2007.  Jim and his family don't go to church, and Jim has only come to kids Wednesday night church with Jacob once or twice.  We've spent a lot of time taking with Jacob about how Jim's family has different values than ours.  Its been hard because he likes Jim a lot, but Stephanie and I have had some concerns about the amount of leeway Jim's parent's have regarding what Jim watches and the games he plays.  We've haven't sheltered Jacob, but we've had to set some boundaries and remind Jacob of the values we have the expectations and desire Jesus has for Jacob.
Last weekend Jacob invited Jim to come to church with us.  I was preaching at the local Moravian church …

Resources for Family Worship Time

One of my goals from 2012 was to take more spiritual leadership role as husband and father more seriously and be more intentional about leading my family to love and treasure Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  I have preciously short years with my kids, and I don't want to have any regrets when it comes to the spiritual investments I put in their hearts.  I believe it is my responsibility as a father to plant seeds of faith in the hearts of my kids, and to create a home atmosphere of love and trust that will be space for those seeds to grow into a personal mature faith.

I came across this awesome Family Worship Guide on the Sojourn Church Kids Ministry site.  The guide is a printable PDF that has all kinds of age appropriate resources for leading you family in worship.  I already had many of the recommended resources but I have been using the guide to structure our family worship and to teach my kids in a more intentional way. There is a catechism in the Family Worship Guide that …

Sin Looks Good, but It Kills in the End

Sin looks....
- delightful
- dazzling

Sin is...
- dangerous
- diseased
- deadly
- destructive
- damning
- devouring
- detrimental
- dumb

Don't Know Where This May Lead But....

Over the last 6 or 7 years I have had a growing conviction in the sovereignty of God over all the events in my life.  More and more I am coming to cherish the idea that I see only a small section of the beautiful stained glass window God is building my life into.  Though there have been ups and downs over the years, I am continually reminded of God's loving goodness and provision, as well as his directing each of my steps to lead me in the direction that is best for me.

Tonight I had a brief conversation with a friend that planted a small seed of future hope into my heart.  I have no idea what may come of our conversation but I am trusting in the Lord.  The conversation brought up in my mind some possibilities that seem to align perfectly with my past experiences and some of my hopes for the future.  I wanted to document my thoughts now in the hopes that I may be able to look back some day on the great invisible hand of God leading me into the future.

Awesome Andrew Picture

Minus the ugly uniform (go Red Sox!) this is one of my all time favorite pictures of Andrew.

Should You be Tweeting During Church?

I admit, I have tweeted during church service numerous times.  When I hear something from the pastor that strikes me I want to share it with others.  My wife disapproves of my behavior, but I have always maintained that I can listen and tweet at the same time.  
Today I read some thoughts from Pastor Daniel Montgomery of Sojourn Church on the issue "To tweet or not to tweet during sermons."  As is almost always the case, my wife is more on target than me.  Here's an excerpt from Montgomery's post that struck me, My second concern is in what you are visually communicating to others, if you’re tweeting or doing anything else on your cell phone. Remember that a worship service is a collective “work of the people” (which is the literal definition of “liturgy”). Old people, young people. New Christians, long-time Christians. Black, white. Male, female. Rich, poor. And yes, technologically proficient, technologically clueless.  Even if you’re taking notes on your phone (a…

Attitude is Everything

Today we had a management meeting at work that focused, in part, on evaluating the talent and potential of the people we oversee.  As an introvert I was at a disadvantage because I had not prepped any thoughts for the meeting, but I did appreciate the exercise.  In my opinion it was long overdue.  The hustle and bustle of retail management can make it difficult to dedicate time for leadership development.

One thing that was eye-opening for me was how often we ended up discussing attitude as a leadership characteristic.  We have some leaders with skills in execution and planning and effort, but they are held back because they don't have a corresponding positive attitude.  No one wants somebody on their team who is grumpy, a whiner, a complainer, or a blamer, no matter how skilled they are in merchandising.  A great attitude covers a multitude of skill deficiencies.  The ironic thing is that in a work environment of chaos, change and challenges, your attitude is one of the only thi…

Breaker 19, Don't Worry Good Buddy, I'll See Him Home

I found the following story on this sermon outline. My dad's a truck driver so this story grabbed my attention.  Great story of God's sovereignty and care for his saints.
A trucker tells the story on himself. He was yawning as he passed through rural North Carolina on Interstate 95. Only two more hours of driving, and then a good meal, some TV, a call home, and a warm bed. Most days on the road were like that--not quite as glamorous as some country-western singers suggest. A brown sedan entered the highway just ahead and began weaving back and forth between lanes, causing the trucker to throw his rig into a lower gear. At first he thought it was a drunk, but as the trucker came closer, he saw it was an older man shaking uncontrollably. The trucker was wide awake now. The car swerved violently, whipping its CB antenna like a fishing rod. "That's it," thought the trucker, "the CB." So he called in, "You in the brown Chevy, if you can hear me, pull o…

Balvin Family Hockey Hysteria

Despite the fact that unseasonably warm weather threatened to ruin our indoor activity plans, I took Stephanie and the kids on a hockey trip.  We stated the day at the Hockey Expo in St. Paul.  The expo is such a fun time because you get to walk from booth to booth getting all kinds of freebies, playing games and checking out the latest and greatest in hockey equipment and training.  All three kids came home with bags full of posters, key chains, mini hockey sticks, and water bottles.
After the Expo we drove to Minneapolis for the U of M Women's Hockey game.  My friend Brad Frost is the coach and the Gophers were playing the National Tournament Quarterfinals against North Dakota.  It was a very fun time.  The kids got to sit right on the glass, and they even made it onto the jumbo screen once or twice.  It was also fun because some friends from college were at the game with their families.  I think we'll probably go back to a game or two next season.
After the game we had a b…

High School Hockey Tournament Time

I am so excited for tomorrow night.  Stephanie got me two tickets to the MN Boys High School Hockey Tournament.  I am bringing Jacob for a night of father/son bonding at the Xcel Center.  He was so excited tonight as we did prayers; he had this huge smile on his face and his enthusiasm only added to my own.

The hockey tournament always brings back warm memories for me.  Standing around the lobby watching games during lunch in Junior High, staying home from school just to watch the games on TV and play hockey on the rink my dad built us, getting to stay up late with my mom glued to the overtime thrillers that went late into the night (anyone remember that Duluth East/Apple Valley game?), and heading down to St. Paul to take in the games in person.  And I don't want to leave out Cossetta's pizza or the yearly Hockey Expo.

I've brought the family to the Expo the last two years, but this will be Jacob's first experience at the actually games.  We'll be cheering for our…

Book Review: The Hunger Games

For the last 6 days I have been obsessed with reading The Hunger Games trilogy.  Just about every extra second I've had has been devoted to following the story of Katniss and Peeta and their battle for survival.

Stephanie brought the first book home last Monday and I couldn't put the book down once I started reading it.  The book has that fantastic quality where every chapter ends with a sentence that compels you to read the next one.  Many times I found myself saying, "Just one more chapter...." and before I knew it another 30 minutes had gone by.

There is so much information out there about the books that I won't try and summarize the contents here.  However, I'll share a few things about the books.  The content is occasionally violent and graphic at times describing things that could scare younger readers.  There is no sexually provocative material in the book, however, there are moments describes an embrace or a kiss that do begin to describe some of the…