Let me invite you to jump over to my lastest post on YosemiteSummit.org and read a personal challenge from me to you…
It could just be the thing you need today.
Let me invite you to jump over to my lastest post on YosemiteSummit.org and read a personal challenge from me to you…
It could just be the thing you need today.
After decades of people encouraging me to publish this story, it took wanting to explain the incarnation to my own seven year old that finally prompted me to make it a “New Year’s Resolution” for 2013. You can now order directly from the online publisher at: http://tinyurl.com/AndyAntslulu
The story comes to life through the wonderful illustrations created by Lori Butler, who started creating these images without my knowing or asking several years ago because she enjoyed the story so much and wanted to illustrate it for teaching in her own ministry. We’ve now expanded her illustrations and added a colorful cover as well.
On the back of the book I didn’t want to include any “spoilers” but here is a fuller description of the book for those wanting to know what the story is about:
What’s a boy to do when he learns that his beloved ant hill, hidden in a secret hide out, will soon be destroyed to make room for a new shopping center? When all human attempts to save them fail, there is only one thing left to do. Become an ant and warn them in person! This wonderful parable makes the concept of the incarnation understandable to children perhaps for the first time! Beautifully illustrated, this delightful story will have kids and parents turning each page and smiling as they discover the parallels to the true story of the One who gave up everything to warn those He loved and to prepare a better place for us in His Father’s House.
I hope you’ll consider purchasing this book and introducing “Andy and the Ants” to your children!
Purchase immediately at: http://tinyurl.com/AndyAntslulu (10% off right now!)
Available on Kidology.org soon!
Could it be that a recently uncovered document once thought lost forever in the archives of the Kidologist’s vast children’s ministry vault of hand written resources from before the dawn of the computer could reveal a ministry strategy that could revolutionize your ministry today?
Archeologists have discovered a hand drawn ministry strategy document dating back to circa 1993 from when Karl Bastian, aka “The Kidologist,” was just a “Green Thumb” children’s pastor at the historic Moody Church in downtown Chicago. Yet this ministry strategy has been guiding his ministry for over twenty years.
Once guarded as a valuable treasure and only shared with the most trusted colleagues, Karl has now revealed its secrets on his podcast. Will clues within this ancient drawing lead you to gold or a national treasure? Or will it simply make your ministry programing and event planning more strategic and purposeful?
You be the judge. Listen to Kidmin Talk #53 today… and download the full resolution historical document for yourself.
Discover the secret that will set your ministry planning on a whole new Quest!
Last night I went out to see a movie. I’ve had a lot on my plate and many deadlines, and I just needed some “brain candy” as I call it. Unfortunately, my movie app was wrong, and Oblivion, which I headed out to see, was NOT out until today, despite my app giving me movie times last night. But after driving through a blizzard over ten miles to the theater that my app said was showing it, I decided I might as well see something for my troubles in getting there. The only movie remotely interesting to me that fit with the time I was there was The Host. This is NOT a movie I would have seen, especially since it was written by the creator of the Twilight series, a trilogy I am proud to say I’ve never seen, nor will I ever. (!) LOL However, I watched the trailer for The Host on my iPhone, and it seemed bearable. Driving home again in the blizzard suffering a #fail seemed pointless, and I had an AMC gift card to burn.
This blog post is not a review. I’m not going to say rush out and see it. But it was interesting enough. And I am going to give a few spoilers while not totally wrecking it, if you plan to see it, but I suspect most of my readers are like me – they have no intention of seeing it.
The basic premise is that aliens are taking over the bodies of humans.”We” are the hosts of these aliens. By the time of this film, nearly all humans are inhabited by the aliens, which is obvious by their blue eyes. However, as always, there is a remnant of rebels. The main character is a girl who died in a fall while running from the “Seekers” – aliens out looking for the few remaining humans. She was leading them away from a young boy she loved, the brother of her boyfriend. The aliens healed her and she became one of the hosted humans. However, she is a fighter, and throughout the movie you hear the voice of the original human girl inside the mind of the alien who now lives in the girl’s body. This all sounds gross, and it’s all a little confusing to listen to, but you get used to it. If you’ve ever had a conversation with yourself, it’s not much different.
The alien ends up being convinced by the human girl ‘host’ of the virtues of mankind as she leads her to the boyfriend and the younger boy. Of course, she is greeted with suspicion and believed to be leading other Seekers to find them, but trust is built and in the end, the new “alien girl” decides to give her life to allow the original girl to come back and be with those she loves. The alien, who has lived a thousand years on several planets, states that only now, having met this host and her “family” does she finally have something (someone) worth dying for.
Many times when I speak at camps, and even this past weekend at a boys retreat, I challenge young people to watch for this theme, even (and especially) in secular films. One of the most powerful verses in the Bible says,
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Why is it that, in so many movies, books, poems and love songs, we see that the Ultimate Gift is someone willing to die for another? Here it was once again. An alien, who was once sent to destroy and replace, is now willing to lay down it’s own life to give life and love back to another. It is just a softer version of Terminator 2, where the “terminator” in the end gives his life to save humanity. “No, there is another,” says the robot, after they defeat the T1000, “but I cannot self destruct, you must destroy me.” Remember that? (See also: The Gospel According to Darth Vader)
Over and over you will see this theme, even in those who do not believe, or are not even aware that Someone gave their life for them. Nonbelievers can’t help it. Deep down they want to be loved so much that someone would die for them. Every single person on earth can’t help it. They wonder, “Would anyone love ME that much?” And this theme pops up over and over again in our films.
The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Some One does, and He already did.
Watch for this in films. Watch for it in books and love songs and poetry. Look for the great themes of the epic story of God to be found throughout modern and ancient literature. They are all there, for the Story of God is written deeply on the hearts of man, even those who do not know His Story (history) or choose not to believe it.
I have a formula of “10 elements of Great Story” that are found in all the great stories and popular films. I won’t blog it, (I don’t want to spread it around too much) but I do share it when I speak at camp or at other in-person events. It is was the basis for my own novel, The Order of the Ancient.
I just thought it was interesting to see the element of sacrifice again in The Host last night. I wish more people would realize Someone died for them, and accept that Gift. If they would, more would be able to live the New Life that is offered as a result.
If you aren’t aware of Who I am speaking of, let me know, and I’ll fill you in.
Did you know that YOU are a Bible character? It’s true! Consider this. An upcoming lesson in DiscipleTown has the theme “Pray and Obey,” and this is the “Connect with Your Kids” element. I wanted to share it with you early, because I think it is relevant to your lesson every week, no matter what you may be teaching this Sunday. It’s all about sharing when you have done what you are asking your students to do. It’s all about BEING what you are TEACHING. That makes YOU a “Bible Character.”
It is one thing to tell kids they need to pray and obey. It is entirely another to give them a real world example from someone they know who has done it. Prayerfully reflect on a time in your life when you have needed to “pray and obey,” and then God gave you the power to do the right thing. Share your story. It can have a powerful impact on your students. Don’t underestimate the power of your story on your students. We often tell Bible stories and forget that these Bible “characters” were just ordinary people like us. They didn’t know their stories would end up in the Bible, they just made choices like you and I have. So, in a sense, your story is as much a Bible story as Joseph or Esther or Ruth or Daniel. And your story will mean as much to your students as theirs. Perhaps more, because your kids actually know you!
(Excerpt from an upcoming “Connect with Your Kids in DT21“)
Know what might be the best thing for your ministry right now?
A new resource?
A new program?
A new book?
A new curriculum?
A new conference?
A new idea?
A new volunteer?
A new senior pastor? :0)
This may surprise you, but the best thing for your ministry right now may be to get as far away from it as possible and to get as close to God as possible.
That is what Yosemite Summit is all about. It is about focusing on what matters most to your ministry: your walk with God. Your soul. NOTHING is more important, and nothing will impact your ministry more than your private walk with God. Come join a few other children’s pastors and walk with God for a few days. Let Him speak to you directly…through nature, though worship, through fellowship, through the Word, through the quietness you may only find at a sunrise at Glacier Point or in the midst of a 1,000-foot waterfall.
You will never be the same after meeting God here. Cast off the excuses, and allow God to provide if He is hinting in your spirit that He wants you to get away with Him soon.
ONLY ONE SPOT LEFT FOR YOSEMITE SUMMIT 2013 and there is a $325 SCHOLARSHIP AVAILABLE SIMPLY FOR THE ASKING!
What are you waiting for? REGISTER TODAY
Over on the Kidology Forums, someone asked:
I need a simple lesson plan explaining the origin of Easter eggs and bunnies.
I don’t think much explanation is necessary. Since the eggs and bunnies have nothing to do with our Christian celebration, I think the simplest explanation is that they related to springtime when we are happy that winter is over. Spring also represents that new life will be coming forth from eggs, and nothing seems to represent new life as cutely as a bunny. However, as Christians, we think nothing represents new life better than JESUS, who proved he can not only bring new life, but he can even raise up the dead to new life!
I completely ignore the history of pagan celebrations with children. They are irrelevant and confusing to kids, and they are really just ancient history that has no bearing on today’s culture anyway. That isn’t why the eggs and bunnies are here today, so it’s a bit of a straw man. I would guess most of my non-Christian friends would take a slight offense at (or just laugh off) me accusing them of decorating with eggs and bunnies because of some ancient secular celebration that they probably know little about either!
So keep it simple, and quickly bring things back around to Jesus! Note in Galatians 6:15, Paul didn’t waste time on cultural debates, and instead said, “…what counts is the new creation.”
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17
If you have ever considered Kidology Coaching, read what this recent graduate has to say… (edited down from a much longer detailed account of her experience and how it helped her.)
February 26, 2013
I remember my first experiences in Children’s Ministry as a recent college grad. There were little resources at that time. I researched, listened to your podcasts and read forum conversations with great interest. When I began the Coaching program I was anticipating a quality experience. What I received was something greater than I expected.
Coach Barney has been an invaluable source of encouragement and support. This Coaching experience has been a leadership makeover for me. The journey has been more about remodeling the soul of a minister than adding to my resume. I have wanted to be coached in leadership for years. This process has been life changing. Kidology Coaching has prepared me for a career position in a healthy, mid-size church. Like an athletic coach, Barney came alongside to strengthen my gifts and talents. At the same time, he also helped me redefine my leadership skills plus I even added some new skills. Thanks to my Coaching experience, I am now ready to take my ministry to a whole new level.
Thanks Karl, for this incredible gift. I have been encouraged and equipped to expand my leadership potential. I am looking forward to what the Graduate Program will hold. Kidology has proven to be one of the best investments in my leadership experience.
So I was sitting at Burger King writing while my son was enjoying a kid’s meal and playing in the play area. He was delighted because his meal came with a cool Monster Truck! After a while, he noticed that there were two more Monster Trucks under the play area that had apparently rolled there. We discussed how some poor kids apparently lost their toys and probably left in tears. Luke said he wished we could retrieve them, but they were impossible to reach. One of them was extremely far away, and the other had broken into the two pieces it originally came in, wheel base and top shell. The space under the play area was locked and only accessible by an employee.
I said to him,“They are only impossible to get if you lack the will to accept the challenge and the ability to use the resources at your disposal.”
I replied,“Do you know what a challenge is? It’s when you decide to attempt something that appears impossible, using what you already have. Let see what we have available to us and try to get those Monster Trucks! The worst that can happen is that we’ll fail.”
Luke said, “Those kids’ dads failed; they left them here.”
I answered, “I bet they didn’t even try.” (Do you see the Life Principle here?)
Our first tool was a foldable “Wet Floor” sign that enabled us to get the top half of one car out, but that by itself was pretty useless. I knew we needed to get more creative to reach farther under the play area where the trucks had rolled. I asked Luke what we’d need if we could have anything we wanted – if we had unlimited resources. He said a stick would be perfect. So I said, “Great idea! Then let’s make a stick! I’ll be right back!”
We ended up with quite an audience of cheering kids and curious moms as we worked the trucks toward Luke’s eager fingers!
When he sees something he wants, I want him to go for it, using what he already has, instead of walking away making excuses because he thinks something is out of reach. If I have learned anything in life, it is that nothing is out of reach if you are willing to stretch creatively and reach for it.
And if you are willing to link a bunch of straws together!
Tweet, Facebook and E-mail this URL to all your friends and family: www.kidology.org/hunt
Easter is a pretty big holiday, and while it doesn’t get the attention that Christmas gets, it’s a pretty important event! In fact, all of Christianity rests on this historic event! And yet, often kids don’t know all the important details of this story as well as they do Christmas. So I sat down with my wife a few months ago and we brain-stormed, “What would be a fun game to help kids learn the details of the Resurrection Story in an exciting way?”
We came up with a game based on the classic CLUE game and we think you and your kids are going to LOVE IT! We hired the top artist in children’s ministry, Todd Hampson, who has worked on What’s in the Bible, JellyTelly, Order of the Ancient, Yancy (not Nancy) videos and more – and then got our very own webmaster Steve Tanner, who is a CLUE game connoisseur – and came up with a game that is both fun and educational. Next, I asked a new friend I met at CPC in Orlando, Stanley Mearse, to team up with me on writing twenty short devotionals on the places, objects and people of the Resurrection Story, and he came up with the idea of adding QR codes to the game to add an extra element of interactive fun. Others helped with editing, design, game input and tweaks, and in the end, the collaborative process has resulted in one of the most creative and fun projects from Kidology yet! It is called: Resurrection CLUE HUNT!