Showing posts from October, 2013

Note from the Tooth Fairy

Last night during the Red Sox game my son Andrew lost a tooth.  We were at a friend's house when it happened so we put the tooth in a baggie.  When we got home we left the baggie under Andrew's pillow.

Well, because he was exhausted from work and distracted with the World Series, the Tooth Fairy (aka Brenton) forgot to put a dollar under the pillow.  In the words of Scooby Doo, "Ruh-Roh!"  Needless to say, Andrew woke up very upset and sad about the situation.

Thankfully I am married to the most genius woman.  She had a boy in her 6th grade classroom write this note and give it to Andrew during the school day.  Andrew totally bought in and so the baggie with the tooth is back under his pillow tonight.  I...I mean...the Tooth Fairy, can not forget again!

In fact, I better go take care of this right now.

6 Reasons Why I Blog

My friend from church is a great blogger and stay at home mom who writes all kinds of interesting things about faith, family, farm life, and many other topics.  She has been blogging for a long time and I've just gotten into the action reading what she's writing.  Yesterday she wrote these words (in the comment section I think),
"Sometimes blogging can feel so one sided, like you're giving a passionate speech to a wall." I can relate to this.  As someone who has blogged since 2006 I have given lots of passionate speeches to walls.  At first glance it seems like a weird thing to continue doing for seven years.  I'm often asked why I blog, or why I continue to blog, even when I'm unsure about the size of my audience.  There are lots of reasons why I blog and I thought maybe this would be an appropriate time to share them.
1.  I like it.  It makes me happy.  That might not make sense to you, but it doesn't really matter if it makes sense to you, because…

The Importance of Family Worship in Building a Legacy of Faith

I had a great time giving the sermon today at my church in Northfield.  I really felt like God had a word for many people in the congregation, and it was pretty cool to play a part in that.  There was one story about building a legacy of faith in the home that I didn't share during the sermon.  It is so important that families worship together in their home.  This story from Charles Spurgeon illustrates that.
The great Bible commentator Matthew Henry’s father was a man named Philip Henry. Philip was a pastor and he regularly had family worship services in his home.  In his family worship time Philip Henry led his wife and children through a study of the whole Bible, and he accompanied his teaching with times of song and prayer.  It is said that Philip Henry sang with his family because he wanted the songs of praise from his home to be a “distinct confession that the family loved and worshipped God.”

It is from the notes that Matthew Henry took during his father’s home worship meet…

CANVAS Church - Familyhood: Leaving a Legacy of Faith


What Happens When Jesus Changes Your Legacy

Our lives should have a rippling effect on our kids, on our co-workers, our own towns. After Jesus comes into our lives and make a cannonball splash in our souls, our love for Him ripples out of our life as we touch a life, who touches a life, who touches a life - and on and on and on it goes.
He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”  So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the h…

10 Things to Consider Regarding Building a Godly Legacy

As followers of Jesus Christ our primary goal should be to leave a legacy that brings glory and honor to the name of Jesus. And they way that we create that sort of a legacy is by doing our very best, by the grace of God and with the help of his Holy Spirit, to live each day in obedience to His Word and to represent who Christ in everything we do.

Here are 10 things to consider in light of that charge.

1. Treasuring your relationship with Jesus

2. Developing a routine of family worship

3. Committing to a family of faith (church body)

4. Prioritizing your time

5. Assessing how you spend your cash

6. Living a life of service

7. Loving the unlovely

8. Weeding sin from the garden of your soul

9. Pursuing your God given passions

10. Remaining faithful to His calling

Making Memories - Fall Weekend Style

I had the most fantastic weekend.

It started Friday night when we had some friends over for dinner and card games.  It was great to catch up and hear how God is working in their lives.  We hadn't laughed together for a while and it was a wonderful evening.

Saturday was action packed, as always for the Balvin's.  It started with taking the kids to a free breakfast that a local church puts on once a month.  Later in the day we went and watched at the gymnastics center as over 100 people participated in the inagural CANVAS ChurchUltimate Ninja Warrior Challenge.  We had to leave the ninja gathering because, for the first time ever, we had some outdoor family pictures taken.  We did this on the St. Olaf college campus and it was a fun time of playing in the leaves and smiling lots as a family.  After the pictures we met up with some other friends from church and had pizza in a local restaurant.  Rounding the night out, and perhaps most exciting for me, was watching with my boys …

Patience in the Preparation of God for a Peculiar Work in Your Life

The following quote is one of the best descriptions I've ever read of being prepared and shaped by God.

So much of what we think is pressed against us now is for our good in some future work the Lord would like to do through us.  Do not despise the working of Christ when it does not align with your preferential now, but trust in good faith of His plans and future blessings.
During these ten months the Lord had done much for him, but it was chiefly in the way of discipline for a future ministry. He had been taught a minister's heart; he had been tried in the furnace; he had tasted deep personal sorrow, little of which has been recorded; he had felt the fiery darts of temptation; he had been exercised in self-examination and in much prayer; he had proved how flinty is the rock, and had learned that in lifting the rod by which it was to be smitten, success lay in Him alone who enabled him to lift it up. And thus prepared of God for the peculiar work that awaited him, he had turne…

A Biography You MUST Read

I have been reading an ebook biography about a Scottish pastor named Robert Murray M'Cheyne.  He was a pastor in the 1800s and only lived until he was 30 years old.  I have enjoyed reading the biography so much and I have been so energized in my walk with Jesus by reading about the passion and love of M'Cheyne for Christ and for the churches he pastored in.

Pastor M'Cheyne was not born again until he was a teenager, and as a pastor he never lost his amazement of the moment he went from death to life.  He was a tireless preacher of the Gospel and was constantly moved by the urgent need for men and women to be born again and saved from their sin.  I am struck by the commitment of a man so young to the study and application of Scripture, as well as to the seriousness and gravity that consumed his life.  Pastor M'Cheyne was a unique kind of man who was beloved by many, and yet he never skirted around or backed down from a chance to plainly call sinners to repentance.

I loo…

Beware - Bible Studies Are Dangerous

This morning I was listening to a Secret Church sermon from David Platt and he made what at first seemed like a shocking statement about small groups.  He said something to the effect of "small group Bible studies are one of the most dangerous and destructive things Christians do."  I was driving and praise Jesus I didn't swerve into traffic in pure shock when I heard that.

All I've heard for the past 10 years in church ministry is the importance of small groups.  Some people say that small groups are the single most effective way for people to experience life change.  I myself have said something to that effect, so needless to say I was interested in what Platt was going to say next.  What he said actually made a ton of sense and it may be a paradigm shifting moment for me.

Pastor Platt went on to explain it like this.  What often happens in the Christian Bible study is that a group of people sit in a circle, read a Bible verse, and then start asking and answering …

The Danger of Instagram (and Other Social Media)

Thank you Shauna Niequist for this article!
Instagram's Envy Effect is an article that everyone who uses social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram) needs to read.  Right now!  Go read it!

Maybe you didn't listen to my advice and instead of clicking the link and reading the article you decided to stay on my blog.  Well let me say thanks;  I appreciate your reading loyalty.  But seriously, you should read the article.

Maybe you still haven't read the article.  Ok, fine, I probably haven't convinced you and maybe I never will.  If that's the case, here are some things that stuck out to me as I read.
- The danger of the Internet is that it’s very very easy to tell partial truths—to show the fabulous meal but not the mess to clean up afterward.  - I do think it’s important for us to remind ourselves from time to time that watching other peoples’ post-worthy moments on Facebook is always going to yield a prettier version of life than the one you’re living rig…

The Church is Full of Atheists (and I'm One of Them) - Sometimes

For two weeks I've been turning Ephesians 4:1 over and over again in my head.  "Live a life worthy of the calling you have received."  Am I living a worthy life?  Better yet, am I living in such a way that I show the Lord how thankful I am for his calling on my life?
When I was in high school I spent a few years walking in the ways of the world.  I put my faith in Jesus Christ at the back of my life and I did all the things I wanted to do.  Like Solomon I went after the pleasures of the flesh, desiring to experience and feel all the carnal things those around me were chasing after (Ecclesiastes 2).  Eventually the Lord said, "Enough!" and he yanked me back into a state of affection for, and dependance upon, him.
That's the good news, but here's the problem.  During those few years apart from Christ I tasted, and eventually feasted upon, the sugary treats that Satan offers.  What has happened since, is that just like a kid after Halloween, it has been h…