I think we survived

It might have been the most awkward night of their lives, but nobody left the room screaming tonight when we talked about pornography.

The female leaders (led by my lovely wife Kim) shared some of their own experiences dealing with body image, acceptance, and lies girls believe/the truth that God wants them to know. These leaders are the real deal, and we are blessed to have them working with your daughters. The big idea is that when we understand and know God’s truth we can discern the lies and live according to the truth. I know that the young ladies were encouraged.

The young men met with me and the other guy leaders. I did most of the teaching, but the other leaders chimed in with some very wise and on-point comments. You could have heard a pin drop when I said the word PORNOGRAPHY. I don’t know if they’d ever heard that word in church before (although some of them pointed out that Pastor Dan mentioned it Sunday in his sermon.) We gave them the opportunity to write down questions, but the bigger opportunity for follow up is going to come in the conversations that will happen in small groups.

One young man came up to me at the end of the evening with a big smile on his face. “That’s the most awkward conversation I’ve had since I was 13. That’s when my dad gave me ‘the talk.'”

I’m ok with awkward as long as it leads to future conversations, hope being born in the hearts of young men and women, and freedom being celebrated.

a break or a breakthrough

Moses can’t seem to catch a break.

I’m working my way through the LifeJournal Bible reading plan, and Moses has just led Israel (650,000 men and their families) out of captivity, out of Egypt, out into the wilderness. He’s faced down Pharaoh, court magicians, and an elite army bent on his destruction. He’s wrestled with fears and doubts, naysayers and obstacles. He’s literally seen God part the Red Sea and deliver Israel, drowning all those Egyptians who tried to follow them through the sea. Just after this God sends quail and manna to sustain the wandering tribes.

Now Israel is on the other side of the Red Sea, still wandering in the desert. People are thirsty. They begin to complain against Moses, calling for his head. Moses reacts by asking, “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord?”

In yet another episode of ridonkulous provision, God gives Moses the authority to smack a big honking rock, and promises to give Israel water from the rock. Sure enough, everybody drinks their fill, and their anger passes.

Just when you think Mo’s going to catch a break, the warriors of Amalek attack Israel. Moses now has to coordinate a national defense strategy, run a feeding program, and navigate through the desert to a destination yet unknown to them.

Moses can’t catch a break.

And do you know what I learn from this? God’s not really interested in me catching a break, either. In fact, he likes to let us wander through deserts of desperation. He knows something we don’t: When I don’t need him, I live like I don’t need him.

And he knows that my life is better when I am connected to him. So he lets me (us) go through difficult days to make us grow, to make us lean into him, to develop a trust and a dependence and a hope that endures.

God doesn’t want me to have it easy. But difficult days can still be good days.

Maybe it turns out that I don’t need a break; I need a breakthrough.

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.
IMG_2163IMG_2165

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!
IMG_2166

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…

5 years ago our life changed

5 years ago today we stood got the gift of a lifetime. Annabelle walked out of a waiting room and into our hearts.

The crazy thing is that on the way to the meeting our translator/guide told us to expect the worst–that Annabelle would be unhappy to go with us, that she would likely cry a good bit and want to stay in her homeland with her friends. For the first time Kim and I had to consider that Annabelle might not want to be our daughter. We prayed and walked in, hoping for the best.

You can imagine our surprise (and see it in Kim’s eyes!) when Annabelle greeted us with a smile and a kiss and a “Mommy! Daddy!”

5 years have passed so quickly. And we’re more in love with this young lady now than we were when we first met her.
IMG_0868

IMG_0879

IMG_1165

my brother-in-law, the prophet

We kicked off a series on dating tonight at XStream. Some of the students have been dating for years; some of them think, “Dating? Ew. Gross.” But it’s a topic we need to discuss. Plus it gave me a chance to tell some of my dating stories.

The series is entitled Obsessed, and we looked at how Samson jacked up his life and future (not to mention that of his nation) because he allowed his obsession with the ladies to get in the way of his calling and devotion to God.

Have you seen this?

One of my favorite parts of the Kim & Stac story is the day we met. I actually met Kim’s brother first. He rode with the fam down to GA to drop Kim off at college (Hey Toccoa Falls!). We were already playing baseball–outside–on January 20, and he tagged along for a little batting practice. He borrowed my glove and was shagging balls in left field when the family conversion van rolled up. He hollered, “Gotta go!” and tossed my glove to another guy, and I didn’t give it another thought. Months later I found out that he hopped in the van and told his parents this stunner:
“I just met the guy Kim is going to go for.”

Can you believe it?!?! I’m so glad he was right.
stac & kim birthday

stac & kim boots

stac & kim 1 year

Stac & Kim wedded bliss

a full heart

Kim and Charlie have this thing between them. At some point they watched Disney’s Tarzan and heard Phil Collins sing “You’ll Be in My Heart.” Kim explained it to Charlie, and he’s taken to saying it to Kim. It’s a pretty sweet thing.

Years ago I bought Kim a heart pendant with the birthstone of each Sublett child on the heart. Then we started adopting, and all of a sudden the heart was too small to hold all the gemstones. I bought a bigger heart (as if that were even possible!) and added a few stones to the collection, thinking we were finished adopting.

Then Jase joined Team Sublett, and the heart was once again outdated.

So for Christmas/New Years I took the heart back to our good friends at Miska Jewelers (they know me by name) and made the correction. Charlie noticed that Kim’s “heart” was gone, and he asked about Mommy’s heart repeatedly. (The boy can focus like few other Sublett kids.) He could hardly wait til the heart was back in its proper place.

8 children. 8 stones. I don’t know if it’s complete or not. (Kim says it is!) but it’s a full heart. I love our family.

IMG_2062

best foot forward

Tonight while the students of XStream were meeting, talking about what it means to FLOW with Jesus in what he calls you to do, Kim and I were meeting with lots of the parents of those students.

We chatted about the vision and values of our student ministry, how things are going, and how they can get involved. Some of the parents had great questions, and it was fun answering them. A few of the parents wanted to know what they could do to be more involved, which is stinkin’ awesome!

It’s my hope to meet with parents on a regular basis. I think we’re gaining momentum, seeing some good things happen with students, leaders, and parents. I believe that our best days are yet to come, and that we’re moving in the right direction. I’m excited about the way the school year has started! Best foot forward, indeed…

photo courtesy of Josh Cone
XStream feet

happy beevday

Hard to believe that it’s been 19 years since Kim and I became parents. Kim was at Back to School night (she was an elementary school teacher) when her water broke. Her sister had to change out of the Clifford the Big Red Dog costume to drive her to the hospital! I was coaching JV soccer for Derry, and didn’t have a cell phone back in them days. I came home to an empty house, all the lights on, and a cryptic/hilarious message on the answering machine from Kim’s mom: “Stacy, don’t leave the house. I’ll be right there!”

Levi, you’ve been a blessing to our family. We hoped and prayed and waited 5 long years before you arrived. You’ve had to bear the brunt of our parenting gaffes and mistakes, walk through all the lessons that a first-born learns with new parents. You’ve made us laugh and cry and pray and dream.

Your sensitive heart and outgoing disposition make you a favorite with little kids. Your ability to converse intelligently draws adults to you. You’re comfortable on the stage in front of crowds and in the basement hanging with the guys.

Most importantly, You love Jesus, and you love people. And we love you! Happy birthday Beev!
IM004357 palm sunday pals cake_3 IMG_2271 IMG_2478 IMG_3428 IMG_7761 IMG_1520 IMG_1534

 

100 years of married life

Both my parents and Kim’s parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversaries this year. My parents hit the mark back in July (we’ll celebrate at Thanksgiving) while Kim’s folks reach the milestone tomorrow. Kim’s parents’ friends threw them a big shindig down in Florida this past spring, but since most of the family couldn’t get down to the Sunshine State, we’re having a family party in Beautiful Bedford tomorrow night.

We have learned so many good things from our parents. They’ve modeled what it means to pursue Jesus as a family, radical generosity, perseverance in the face of adversity, a solid work ethic, parenting with grace, the “blessed to be a blessing” concept, and how to live a life built on the foundation of prayer. We’ve absolutely been blessed to have these four as our parental units.

If you see Rusty and Judy or Ken and Darla, give ‘em a big hug, and tell ‘em that their kids are grateful.
IMG_0445 IMG_1115 thanksgiving 2010 037