Archive for June, 2006

church review: River Valley Church

June 30, 2006 1 comment

A couple weeks ago I had the wonderful blessing of helping officiate the wedding of my good friend Chad Anderson. At the reception a familiar looking guy came up to me and asked, “Do you have a blog?” I was kind of surprised -random question- but I said, “Yeah, why?” It turns out this guy reads my blog ever so often and picked out my face while I was doing the ceremony. The world is so small, and blogs seem to be shrinking it even smaller.

After more formal introductions I realized why the guy looked so familiar. His name is Rob Ketterling, and he is the lead pastor at River Valley Church in Apple Valley. Stephanie and I visited there a couple months ago. Rob asked if I did a blog review of River Valley and I don’t think I was able to at the time so I promised him I do one now.

First Impressions
River Valley is located in an industrial park. I didn’t think that the signs from the road were very large or noticeable, but the kids park and entrance at one end of the building was sweet. Once we got into the door I felt totally comfortable and at home. We were welcomed kindly and had the kids sign-in pointed out to us – this is a big deal for families like ours with small kids. The whole church was clean and well decorated.

Children’s Ministry
The sign-in of our kids went very well. The people helping out were friendly and knowledgeable. I think River Valley had just gotten the F1 check-in equipment the week before. That is such an awesome system; ever church that can afford it should use it. Both of our kids went into clean, light filled, window included, well staffed, fun, kid-friendly, age appropriate rooms. The volunteers welcomed the kids and there were no issues. I was very impressed and comfortable with the children’s ministry. Plus my kids had a great time.

Worship Service
I had heard that River Valley was an Assembly of God church and a bit charismatic. This made me a little apprehensive because you knew quite know what that means. Maybe the singing would go for 2 hours? However the service was great. The music was well-performed, high tempo and current. Rob had a good message that dealt with some of the question being raised in the media about Christianity. I remember one part of the sermon where Rob was refuting a claim by a Florida State professor that Jesus walked on a strip of ice and not water. Rob had a great line about the professor’s last name being Doran, which coincidentally rhymes with…well, you figure it out.

We had a great experience at River Valley. The people were welcoming, the children’s area was great and the worship service was edifying. It is easy to see why River Valley is growing and people’s lives are being changed there. The only negatives I saw at the church were the lack of signs outside and a small crowding problem in the lobby. People were having such a good time talking before and after the service that it was difficult to navigate around the room.

Way to go River Valley. Rob, it was great to met you and talk for awhile. I’d enjoy doing it again some time and I’d love the chance to come share on some weekend you need a break.

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a true all nighter

June 30, 2006 1 comment

Yesterday I woke up around 5:45 am. Then I headed down to Bethel Seminary in Roseville where I am working part time as the Executive Assistant to the Director of Admissions and Recruitment.

After putting in a full day there I drove home, had a few hours to hang with my family, and then it was back to Lynde Greenhouse and Nursery in Maple Grove. I worked a shift there from 10 pm until 6:50 this morning watering plants. I finally got home around 7:30 am.

It is a rare occasion that I am awake for 26 consecutive hours. Sometimes you gotta just get it done though.

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the Balvins are back in town, yeah yeah

June 27, 2006 3 comments

Just got home from 10 days in New York/Michigan. It feels good to be home. However there is always that sadness that vacation is over and now real life has to resume. We had no clearer sign of that fact than when I took my son out of the van and realized he had slimy, wet poop all over his pants and car seat. Now we have to wash him and the car seat cover.

Welcome home to us.

I have tons to blog about including some thoughts on our hotel, our day in NY city, some ministry ideas I have, and a new job I start tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to get it all in.

The best part of coming home though was seeing our plant life. I missed my celosia, petunias, gebrera daisy, marigolds and patio tomato. They all look incredible! Thanks Amy for taking care of them.

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church review: Granger Community Church

June 21, 2006 2 comments

Since Stephanie and I are staying about 30 minutes north of Granger, we figured we shouldn’t waste the chance to take in a service at Granger Community Church. I’ve been hoping to get to Granger for quite awhile and I wasn’t disappointed. I know that Tony and Mark occasionally check out this blog so I hope this review is helpful feedback to you and your teams.

First Impressions
– The building looked great with clean grounds and good signs (what is that design on the brick on the side of the building?)
-We were 7 minutes late and a motorcycle-riding looking guy and his son were still helping people park
-My pregnant wife couldn’t stop talking about how appreciative she was of the bus ride to the building, complete with a friendly welcome from the driver and a handwritten note inside the bus
-One of the multiple greeters at the door directed us right to an easy to spot sign for ‘New Families Check-In’

Children’s Ministry
-The F1 system was a snap and the women entering our info could not have been more friendly (here is a weird fact: my name and birth date were already in the system even though I’ve never been to Granger before)
-We were completely amazed with the Children’s Ministry. After signing in we were walked right to our rooms by a very kind and sincere woman who offered us a tour of all the rooms after service. Clear signs and visuals.
-Our kids practically ran to their rooms and started playing right away. My son was in the Farm Room and my daughter in the Toddler Room. We all loved the double sided aquarium, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many baby changing stations in one place before.
-The only problem was that after church I lost all control of my over-stimulated son. He was running from room to room and wouldn’t to a thing.

Worship Service
-Unfortunately we missed the worship songs. We came in during the performance of a song by ‘The Wreckers’ which was well done.
-My wife enjoyed the message and said that it was informative and entertaining. She said she could see how people would enjoy going to church there. I thought the message was good as well. It didn’t hit me with any ‘wow’ factor but I realize that I am not the primary target of a message like that. One thing I did appreciate was how Mark Beeson bracketed into his message some good teaching on 1) the authority of Scripture and 2) the strategy of the church.
-The performance of ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay was amazing. I was moved to tears by the combination of song, lyric and video. That song was the best part of the service for me by far.

Overall my whole family enjoyed our time at Granger. The entryway was smaller than I expected but it was impressive none the less. I was also expecting a balcony in the worship center that wasn’t there. I didn’t hang in the coffee area but could have easily if I was kid-less.

One complaint I have is that we were not ushered into the worship service well. A woman who met us at the door basically just said “Over there.” and pointed to some seats at the far side of the room. We had to find a couple centrally located seats on our own.

Thanks Granger Community Church. You guys are rocking and growing the Kingdom. Tell all your teams “Way to go!” See you guys again some time.

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on the road again

June 17, 2006 1 comment

Because Stephanie and I enjoyed our 16 hour road trip to Colorado so much we decided we’d hit the road again. This time we’re taking the kids with us. Our travel plans include a 4 day stay in Michigan with some good friends and then its off to visit Stephanie’s family in New York City for 3 days. Praise the Lord for portable DVD players and fruit snacks. I think they are the keys to us making it all the way East with any bit of our sanity left. Please keep us in your prayers, especially Stephanie who is 7.5 months pregnant.

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more free ministry resources

June 14, 2006 1 comment

Took this right off Pete’s blog

For those of you who love the free resources from, Southeast Christian Church, and Seacoast Church, you will love having even more access to free resources with Ministry Communicorps.

Ministry Communicorps is run by Gene Mason, Communications Minister at The Church at Brook Hills (Birmingham, AL), and his staff. Their downloads section includes:

  • Logos – for specific ministries and events
  • Themes – event and program related graphics
  • Images – pictures and backgrounds
  • Forms – for organizing ministry

Of course, there is plenty more on the site including large lists of resources and various articles.

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writing is the externalization of our brains and souls

I love writing. I hope that some day God will use my passion for communicating both the written and oral word to further advance his Kingdom. I saw this quote at and thought it was magnificent.

Novelist John Updike said that books externalize our brains. I think they also externalize our souls.

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