Archive for 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.

Categories: Family, Life

Moving From Word to Flesh

“The overarching movement of the Bible is always from word to flesh.” – Rob Bell, paraphrase

Great 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.

Categories: Quotes

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 20:17

This 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 course not, there are millions of people reading this blog (actually the number is much closer to 13 or so). But I’ll confess anyway. My struggle with coveting often revolves around desiring to have the same blessings from God that he has chosen to give prominent pastors around the country. Here’s a sampling of what I covet…

– the leadership and evangelism skills of Bill Hybels
– the passionate preaching style of Steven Furtick
– the pursuit of holiness and joy in God of John Piper
– the insightful and sincere blog content of Ben Arment
– the quotable and insightful writing tone of Mark Batterson
– the depth and relevance in the teaching of Matt Chandler
– the ‘outside-the-box’ style in thinking and teaching of Rob Bell
– the creative and poetic tongue of Ed Young Jr.
– the humor and conviction of Mark Driscoll
– the speaking and writing skill of John Ortberg
– the cultural and futuristic thinking of Erwin McManus
– the confrontational boldness of Perry Noble and Gary Lamb

And it goes on and on. I covet the hand of God on these men’s life when I inordinately wish that my life was theirs. I am blessing jealous. It is wrong. It is sinful.

The truth is that God places his hand in different measures at different times in different ways and it is not my job to lead major global initiatives like Rick Warren. It is my job to be the best Brenton Balvin I can be, and to bring God glory with the blessings he has given specifically to me.

The blessings of another person are their responsibility. I should not seek the blessing reserved for another, but instead I should develop and seek God in my life. Burning for what is not ours is sin. Whether that be another man’s wife, his home, his ministry, his skill set, or his God-ordained blessing. Too often I forget what it really boils down to.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

Categories: Ministry, sin

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.

Categories: Churches, Marketing, Writing

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.

Categories: Family, God's Sovereignty, Life

Counseling, Fight Threats, and Car Sales

June 20, 2007 1 comment

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 brought a couple phone conversations that would rock my weekend. Long story short…the fall-out of a failed financial interaction with an employee at my store resulted in a man yelling profanities at me over the phone and threatening to wait for me after work and beat me. Let me just say this, I am not a fighter. And the thought of being involved in a physical altercation with someone who is possibly psychotic didn’t necessarily excite me. But God was faithful, again, and he used the situation to speak to me and draw me closer to himself. I thought a lot this weekend about Jesus teachings on non-violence, peace-making, the nature of true power, and about how my life as a Christ-follower can bring glory to God in heaven. And in the end, the guy never showed up. Nice.

I also sold my pick-up this weekend. It was sort of sad. I have been driving that truck since 2001. But the car I’m driving now gets much better gas mileage. And I was able to sell it to someone who really needed a vehicle.

Long weekend. I didn’t even say anything about Father’s Day. Thankfully there was no drama involved, just some good times with my family and lots of food. Tiger Woods choked, but that doesn’t matter much.

I gotta sleep now. Big day tomorrow. I’ll tell you more later.

Categories: Life

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.