like father, like son

Levi and I got the chance to lead worship tonight for our student ministry.  We had a blast! Folks were singing loudly, clapping, dancing around…it was fun for us to get to play together.  My buddy Kevin took this picture of us during sound check:

photo courtesy of Kevin Sliman

photo courtesy of Kevin Sliman

Check out our faces–identical!  And the funny thing is that I’m pretty sure that it’s the same face that my mom makes when she’s concentrating on her music.

I love the fact that my kids get excited about playing music in church, that they want to be part of our worship team.  Team Sublett has always been part of the set-up team for our church (we’ve met at the high school and the State Theatre) for years.  We’ve tried to raise them to see the importance of serving, of being connected in ways that give back and contribute to the cause.

And I love playing and singing, leading worship with my kids.  As a dad, that’s a pretty big highlight.  Even if we do look like we just licked a lemon!

the charlie few see

When it’s just us in the room, Charlie is a ham.  He gets silly and goofy and cuts up like crazy.  But when other folks are around, our little dude tends to get shy. We’re working hard to make sure that he isn’t rude, but he definitely holds back.

Tonight at the supper table (burgers and tater tots, ftw) Sadie had the great idea to toss a tater tot into the air, catching it in her mouth.  Or at least trying to catch it.  Paisley (the dog) was there to clean up the miss.  Levi was next, followed by Kim.  Charlie saw the toss&catch and noticed our reaction, and took things to a whole ‘nother level.

I wish like crazy that we’d gotten this on video.

Charlie ripped off a piece of his hamburger bun, got this wild look in his eyes, and started moving his arms up and down like he was throwing the bun into the air.  Then after four or five gyrations he shoved the bite into his mouth, just like he’d mastered the toss&catch.

We were almost crying from laughing so hard.

At the end of the day, we had a blast at supper, saw our hidden side of Charlie, and the dog was the ultimate winner!

striking the set

Children of Eden has come to a close, and with the final bow, Levi is ever so near the end of his high school thespian career.  It’s been wonderful, full of great friends, beautiful performances, and life lessons.  Being part of this troupe has provided a sense of community and belonging, opportunities to learn and stretch and grow, chances to serve and lead, and a group of friends who have come to be more like family than mere classmates.

I have enjoyed getting to know parents and their children, hearing their stories, learning about the things that matter to them.  Kim and I have made some great friends in the belly of Bravo (the Thespians booster club.)  We’ve been blessed to watch children blossom into young men and women, maturing with each passing season into young adults capable of bringing an audience to its feet–or to tears–with their talents.

We’ve laughed at the goofiness of high school shenanigans, sympathized with the broken hearts that accompany the occasional “showmance,” and encouraged our kids to work through the drama that lives outside the drama.  We’ve survived the late nights of homework after a long rehearsal, tech week, and the Green Room/Cast Party/Strike the Set…

We are grateful for the teachers who go way above and beyond to inspire, train, mold, and encourage our fledgling theatricals, who have seen the potential and called our kids to dig deep.  We are blessed to be part of this community of families who have shared rides, worked concessions, hugged our sweaty kids (still in stage makeup) and celebrated like they were their own.

We have loved our time as part of the State High Thespians, and our lives are richer for the experience.  And with the stable of dramatics that we’re raising, it looks like we’ll be working the concession table for years to come.
Levi, Boompa, Pappy photo 2 Levi & Sean Levi & Lilly HSM guys at CoE

children of eden hit and miss

Levi and Lilly (and the State High Thespians) presented Children of Eden tonight.  It’s Levi’s senior show.  We are rapidly coming to the end of his high school theatre run.  It’s been such a good experience for him, and for us.  I’m planning to spend a couple of days exploring some of the things that we’ve learned over the past few years.

But tonight I’m going to leave you with a hit and a miss.  Which would you like first?  OK, I’ll give you the miss.

I placed an ad in the program for Calvary’s Youth Ministry.  The show is Children of Eden.  Based loosely on the Genesis stories of Adam & Eve, Noah and Mrs. Noah, the show has sparked a lot of great conversation among students.  The cast and crew do an incredible job with this story, but it’s not a good representation of the God we know and love.  I had a chance to write a clever ad that would invite people into a conversation about the True Father…and I missed it.  I didn’t know the show well enough to address that in the ad.  Oh well…

The hit?

photo by Meadow Lane Photography.

photo by Meadow Lane Photography.

This is Michael (Cain) hitting Levi (Abel) with a rock.  It wasn’t a real rock–it was made out of wood.  But the hit was real.  Michael clocked Levi in the nose, narrowly missing his eye. Blood on the stage.  Levi saw stars and almost passed out.  The look of shock on the faces of the other actors–that’s real, too.

That’s the kind of commitment that you’ll get from your actors if you come see Children of Eden this weekend.  Shows are Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm, Sunday at 2pm.

And the show is absolutely worth seeing.

A generosity promise

I’m blogging from my phone. Comcast says we have a working internet connection. Our experience is quite the opposite.

That being said, tonight’s post is going to be short.

This morning I read a huge promise from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth. It’s a promise/principle of generosity. Paul writes:
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully…You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:6, 11 ESV)

I want to live a life marked by radical generosity. God promises to supply and provide so that his people have resources to use to bless others. And the upside down counterintuitive Kingdom thought lies in the first part: when we’re super generous, we will reap bountifully. I want my life to bear fruit for the Kingdom.

So I’m going to be generous.

dad & dudes day

We finally got a little sunshine in Happy Valley, and the boys and I made the most of it. Levi was MIA since it’s tech week for Children of Eden.  He was missed…

Sadie got bunnies for Christmas, and we picked up a great used bunny hutch (thanks Lee Culver!) But one of the door-screens had a hole in it, and last week one of the bunnies quickly discovered his path to freedom.  Today Charlie and I replaced the screens and the bunnies are living the high-life again.

Isaac and I took advantage of some late afternoon sunshine by tossing a baseball around for about 20 minutes.  It took me a few minutes for my arm to actually remember how to throw…yeah, that was sad.  But pretty soon we were slinging it pretty good.  Isaac is a good little athlete.  I need to find a batting cage to see if the boy can hit.

After a quick bite to eat we headed back outside for another little adventure.  Isaac’s been asking me to cut his hair for a few days now, and Charlie’s looked a little shaggy for weeks, so it was time to bust out the clippers.  I was able to clean Isaac up pretty quickly. Charlie, on the other hand, was a little trickier than I expected.  I almost gave up several times before putting him on a chair in the bathtub and having Kim hold his head still!  I ended up wetting his hair and trimming the top with scissors.  I think they turned out pretty well.
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If the youth pastor thing doesn’t work out, maybe I could go to beauty school!

let it rain

It seemed like spring was on the way.  Warmer days, sunshine, birds chirping.  Then we remembered that spring in Happy Valley means lots of overcast, rainy, dreary days.

And I love it!

When the rains come down the creeks come up.  That translates to days ripe for kayaking some of the creeks in central PA.  A significant portion of them only run for a few weeks every year as the spring rains fall and the snow melts away, so timing is crucial.

This past weekend I got to sneak off with a few friends to run a new one–Shade Creek near Johnstown, PA.  It was a quick (75 minutes) run marked with lots of pour-overs, ledges, little holes, and some fabulous wave-trains.  There was hardly any calm water at all on the 7 mile run.  There were 4 of us on the trip: My buddy Andy, a former youth group student, and a friend who used to guide rafts down big water in Idaho.

I spent most of the day bombing down the creek with a huge grin on my face.  The water level and speed was just about perfect for me/us on our first run of the spring.  I knew that I had to stay focused if I wanted to stay above the freezing cold water that was trying to turn me upside down!  It was a great day, and definitely stoked the fire to get out more often.

But do you know what my favorite part of the day was?  Getting to talk to the former youth group guy about how his faith has become real, how he has grown as a follower of Jesus over the past 4 years.  That was the best…

slow & steady

I’m an Activator, which means that I can only talk about things so long.  I prefer to act now, and adjust as we move forward.  I’m generally an early-adopter of new ideas, gadgets, hobbies, and habits.  I like operating in situations where my actions directly influence our outcomes.  Youth ministry is a great fit for me.

But this year has been a lot more talking and meeting and foundation than action.  I see the value in it.  I appreciate the work that we’re doing.  But some days I find myself wrestling with the frustration that comes from an unsatisfied Activator strength.

Tonight, however, I’m feeling pretty good.  This evening, being the first Thursday of the month, found us gathered in the living room of Casa de Sublett, we happy few, talking about the current state and future vision for the youth ministry of Calvary.

God is bringing together some quality men and women to shape and influence the next generation here in Happy Valley.  We’ve had a number of false starts this year.  Things have not gone according to the plan I drew up back in the summer of ’13.  But we’re taking the long view, laying a solid foundation, starting with the big picture pieces of youth ministry.  We refuse to rush the process; we realize that having the right people in the right roles, headed in the right direction…well, that’s what wins the day.

Slow and steady might be a little out of my comfort zone, but if that sets us up for a faithful and fruitful future, then I’m all in.

that was a first

I’ve been eating breakfasts at the Waffle Shop (the one near Blue Course Dr) for almost 16 years now.  That place has been my office away from the office.  All my breakfasts with my small groups or leaders happen at the BCWS (Blue Course Waffle Shop.)  My order never changes (sausage omelet, swiss cheese, 2 cups of strawberries, and a never-ending cup of coffee), so many of the waitresses know what I’m ordering when I walk in. That’s a pretty sweet feeling.

I know several of the waitresses by name, and a few of them have shared parts of their story over the years.  I always ask them if there’s anything that we can be praying about for them, and some of them have appreciated that.   But today something different happened.

Our waitress was new (at least to me).  I made a little small talk with her to give Ben time to decide what he wanted to eat.  When I asked if we could pray about anything she had something specific.  So we prayed and ate and talked and drank endless coffee.  But when our waitress brought our bill, she also handed me a note.  As she placed it on the table, she said, “If you were serious about praying for me, here are a few things that I’d like you to pray about.”  Ben and I were stunned!

I LOVE the fact that God is opening doors for us to care for the people in our community. And I’m certain that God is up to something here!

tattoos & ice cream

Oh you know, just a normal Tuesday night for Team Sublett.

Kim and the kids decided that they wanted to make my 46th birthday memorable, so they accompanied me to a tattoo shop this evening.  Yep–all 9 of us trucked it downtown, traipsed into the tattoo parlor, and got me a tattoo.  I’m fairly certain that all the kids would have gotten a tattoo if it was possible!  Even Charlie was excited about it…

I’ve been thinking about it for years.  I had a couple of ideas in mind–either a perichoresis (one of the symbols for the Trinity) or a Greek word.  I was leaning toward the word for “set apart, made holy” but it really didn’t settle with me.  In the end I chose the word that means “remain, abide.” In John’s gospel, Jesus told his followers that if they abide in him, and he abides in them, they will bear much fruit, and that fruit will last and bring glory to the Father.

That’s what I want my life to be about: fruit for the Kingdom, glory for the Father.  In order for that to happen, Jesus tells me that I have to abide–to stay close, to remain, to stay connected to him, to let him abide in me.

So that’s the reason for the tattoo.  The ice cream was just a treat for the fam on a beautiful Tuesday night in Happy Valley.IMG_1204 IMG_1200 IMG_1199