I almost got inked, and I lost to Charlie

I had a pretty interesting day.

I’m meeting regularly with the young men who lead our student ministry, doing a little coaching and encouraging. Today I visited one of the guys at his lab. AC works with squids–tiny little squidies. That job takes him to Hawaii several times a year. Yeah, it stinks to be him.

While I was meeting with AC, the snow doomed tonight’s XStream. Since we didn’t meet tonight, I gave the leaders the option of getting together to play some board games. I thought I’d get some practice in, playing a quick game of Candy Land with Charlie before supper.

He beat me. Totally serious. It wasn’t a “dad tanked the game” win, either. He just flat out whupped me.

Several folks from Team XStream got together tonight for a few hours. We ended up playing Apples to Apples and being silly for most of the night. I love this group of leaders. In addition to being goofy, they love Jesus and teenagers. I’m looking forward to seeing what God does in us this semester!

highlights of the day

Wow, so much goodness happened today. It’s hard to select a highlight, so here are a few:

Kim went out to breakfast with a friend who was in town for Leadership Advance. That meant I got to stay home and fix breakfast for Charlie. He and I ate omelets and played until Kim came home to take Jase to get some 6-month-baby shots.

A bunch of the folks from Team XStream loaded the van and headed to Millheim. We drank coffee and ate sammies at the Inglebean before walking over to visit Brandon’s cats (Carl and Carl Jr.) I love hanging out with the folks who are shaping the lives of Calvary’s teens. Our team is growing, and it’s good.
Team XStream at Inglebean

Tonight was Lilly’s winter concert at State High. This concert featured the Cecilian Singers (11-12th grade ladies), OMA (Only Men Aloud 11-12th grade men) and the Chamber Singers. As expected, the music was phenomenal, and Mr Drafall once again selected a number of pieces that find the origin in Scripture. I love listening to his choirs perform. It’s almost like going to worship!

After the concert, we hung out in the lobby with a few families that we’ve grown to know and love over the years of shared theatre/choir experiences. It was fun to laugh and catch up with them. Two of the other parents were celebrating birthdays today, and Kim’s birthday is tomorrow. I think we missed an opportunity to go out and celebrate, but I don’t know that the day could have handled much more excitement…

the best part of the game

Tonight we watched Ohio State whup up on Oregon. I didn’t really have a favorite in the game. I like to see Big 10 teams play well and represent the conference with dignity. So while I didn’t think that OSU would pull it off, I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

But the BEST part of the game for me was having a full house for the viewing. Team XStream was in the house! Not everyone showed up, but we had a blast catching up, being silly, telling stories, and building relationships. There were conversations happening all over the place.

This was a night of community being built, and I love what God is doing here.

Team XStream is the name we give our adult leadership team for youth ministry at Calvary. They are the folks who invest in middle school and high school students, who model what it means to live for Jesus, who invite students to walk with them. Kim and I have been praying and keeping our eyes open for young men and women with leadership potential. We’re looking for folks who display the following characteristics:
Faithful–to Jesus, to his teachings, to his call
Available–not too busy doing other things to make a difference
Responsible–they understand commitment and are growing in maturity
Teachable–They want to learn, are hungry to grow

If that sounds like you or someone you know, drop me a line. I’d love to talk to you about joining one of the best teams ever!

turns out I’m positive…

Positivity. I have it. I don’t know if it’s always been present. If so, it lay dormant for a good portion of my adult life.

But listening to some folks dripping with negativity today, I realized that I am generally a positive person. I wanted to counter every negative thing spoken. I had to restrain myself from challenging every down-in-the-mouth comment.

When my outlook on life is positive, most days are pretty good. Today was a good day.

  • I worked hard on some pretty tedious detail-oriented youth ministry stuff for most of the day.
  • Around 1pm I shut down the work mode and spent some time reading the Bible, praying, and worshiping.
  • This afternoon I kicked-off a new round of kayak instruction with my buddy Andy. He and I are teaching some kids from a local high school how to paddle!
  • After a quick supper with the fam, most of Team XStream (our adult volunteers for youth ministry) showed up for a time of planning and praying. I love this team, and believe that we’re going to see God move in our town this year!

There was a time in my life when I would have said that Kim was an optimist, and I was a realist. That was my snarky way of being pessimistic. But God did a work of transformation in my heart, and now I’m a full-blown optimist.

Bring on the rainbows and unicorns.

off to a good start

Last weekend Kim and I took most of our adult volunteers away for a weekend to pray and plan, to train and build relationships. We believe that the heart of every good ministry is a great team, and we’ve got the makings of a great team working with us! Krislund was a great retreat venue. We got to play/think/strategize/teamify on their Initiatives course, experience some of the vertical adventures of their high ropes course, and spend a solid weekend with some high-capacity leaders. We prayed a lot, talked about ministry priorities and strategies, and enjoyed worshiping together. A fire pit gave us a great setting for some late-night chats, and some real bonding happened!
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We kicked off the new XStream year tonight, moving back to Calvary’s building. Some of our friends from 242 (Grace Prep/Stepping Stones/Centre Church) joined us for worship and prayer. Tonight was GOOD! I saw lots of new faces and some folks who were away for most of the summer, as well as most of the peeps who hung out with us at the Barn all summer long. After a good time of worship, I led students through a prayer exercise–ask them about it! I called it the Five Fingers of Prayer.
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We’ve got a great year of ministry ahead of us, and we seem to be building momentum. From a dynamite team to some enthusiasm among students to building relationships and rapport with parents…I believe that God wants to do something special in Happy Valley this year, and that it’s got something to do with teenagers. I can hardly wait to see what develops.

one of the hardest things ever

I made the trek to Danville today to be with some friends who are spending a couple of days in the hospital there. A few months ago they got the news that the baby they were expecting wasn’t going to live. He hung on all the way through birth, passing away in his parents’ arms about 95 minutes after his arrival. Mark got to tell Josiah that he loved him, that he was proud of him, and that he did a great job of fighting to spend a precious few moments with mom and dad.
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Lots of family and friends have been praying and loving this couple, and they are so strong, trusting that the Lord is going to heal and restore and help them get through this.

But this is just plain hard. Awful. Terrible. Unfathomable. Unthinkable.

We would love for you to join us as we pray for Mark and Hannah and their family. They’re doing well, but the waves of emotions will continue to roll for who knows how long, and they will need the love and support of family and friends in the days to come. The death of a child is one of the most difficult things I can imagine.

the eldest daughter returns

IMG_1864 IMG_1870It seems like years ago that Joyce and Evangeline appeared in our lives. We were leaving for China to adopt Annabelle, so I stood before our church asking for some of the Chinese college students to help us out upon our return. Several people responded, but Joyce and Evangeline stuck it out with us.

They were at our house every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, helping with translations and transitions. They ate with us, played games and worked on puzzles, sat in on family meetings–they were basically our adopted college daughters. Joyce accompanied Kim and Annabelle on every doctor/dentist/eye doctor appointment, making sure that AB knew what was happening, that she understood and wasn’t scared, that her questions were being asked and answered.

Joyce and her husband Gary were back in town last night, and they were able to hang out with us for several hours. We ate, played some games, and talked about all that they’ve been doing in the last few years. Of course, our family has grown since they left Happy Valley. They met Josie at their wedding, but Isaac and Charlie are new to us since then.
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In our discussion last night we did the math and realized that Joyce was really only part of our family for about 6 months. But they were some of the best and most intense 6 months. She stepped in to our family at a time when we absolutely would have been lost without someone like her.

Sometimes the way God provides for us blows me away.

a pile of married years

A few of the Calvary pastors went away for a day-long meeting Tuesday, working on some big-picture things.  I love these men, and love being part of a team with them. We are a diverse bunch in terms of theological backgrounds, church experience, and even geographical homes! We’re wired differently, approach problems differently, and blow off steam differently. But we’re all united around our love for Jesus, his church, and the call to lead here at Calvary.

We started the morning by taking a few minutes to review, to catch up, to see how things are going in our particular arenas of ministry, to share places we see God at work, and to give thanks for growth in those areas.

That’s when Dan Nold reminded us that today is his wedding anniversary. He’s been married to Lynn for 30 years. Vic and Kay have been married for a whopping 40!  The Dorseys just celebrated their 27th, Kim and I are closing in on 24 years, and Steve married Jess 15 years ago.

That’s 136 years of married life…that hit me with a wave of emotion.

I have learned many and varied lessons from each of these men about life and leadership, ministry and marriage, raising kids and being a man. I am incredibly grateful for these men, blessed beyond belief, and definitely feel challenged to keep up with them!

Mentors are all around us if we’re willing to be teachable.

not a bad day at all

As we wolfed down our dinner tonight Josie was in a particularly good mood. Turns out that it was contagious, and Team Sublett is going to bed feeling pretty swell.

Josie’s rugby season is over, but the team got together today for a practice–just for fun! It didn’t hurt that the coach offered to take them all to Dairy Queen after practice!

Lilly’s dear friend Avery is in town for the first time in 3 years, so they’re having a sleepover, which means they’ll likely be up all night.

Levi’s all jacked up excited because tomorrow is his last official day of high school. Of course, he’s working feverishly on some Spanish homework tonight. His teacher is going to make him go to class next week if he doesn’t get it done and turned in tomorrow!

Tomorrow is Sadie’s 13th birthday, so she spent some time baking cupcakes for her classmates! She’s pretty excited to turn 13, because that means she can officially get a gmail account, which will allow her to change the background on her Chromebook and download apps! What a goober!

The middle school kids performed their Cabaret for the middle school today, and Isaac was one of the featured singers. He got asked to do an encore performance of MaNaMaNa! He’s a hoot, and his schoolmates love him. Sadie got to sing as well, and Annabelle was part of the tech crew.

Kim started off the day with a bang, meeting 11 high school girls for her weekly breakfast at Waffle Shop! She also made lasagna for 2 moms with new babies (I love me some babies!)

The highlight of my day was spending about an hour with 3 of my leadership guys talking about what God was teaching us as we read through the first 7 Psalms. We’re going to be studying the Psalms all summer with our youth group, so we decided to read 7 a week as part of our lifegroup/leadership team.

All in all, that’s a win for Team Sublett. How was your day?IMG_0898 IMG_0900 IMG_1096 IMG_1308