Sara did such a great job on our 2008 Christmas letter! If you didn’t get one in the mail… here is a belated Christmas letter! ENJOY!
Bastian Christmas Letter 2008 (676kb PDF)
Sara did such a great job on our 2008 Christmas letter! If you didn’t get one in the mail… here is a belated Christmas letter! ENJOY!
Bastian Christmas Letter 2008 (676kb PDF)
As I have mentioned before, (like here and here), I was blogging before there were blogs. Before Blogger or Type Pad or WordPress, I journaled events online to share with the other few hundred people online who knew what the Internet was. Sadly, many of those posts are long gone (with their respective hosting companies) but a few poss I had saved to floppies, which is how I restored the ones linked in the posts above. (Others I will save until an appropriate reminder.)
ANYWAY – the point of this post is less about blogging, and more about my dad and how proud I am of an accomplishment he just made this month: his first solo flight on his life long quest to become a pilot. He just sent the family the poem below to try and answer the oft asked question, “WHY FLY?” I love the poem and am proud of my dad, but I teased him that he left out the time he took me up for a flight, and he replied that he doesn’t remember it, and to send some “proof.” Which is why I mention the ancient blogging, as I blogged the adventure was back in the early nineties, pre-Y2K!
The original post is here: AIR DAD, but I include a few pictures here for those too lazy to open yet another window. Just ignore the contact info on that page, as it’s a tad bit outdated!
But first, the poem:
WHY DO I FLY?
By Doug Bastian
It’s a question you’ll ask me,
I have asked myself, too.
A clear day pulls my gaze up
And my day-dreams turn blue.
Back in grade school I wandered,
Since my bike set me free,
To the airfield on Broadway
Lots of airplanes to see.
Walked around them, peeked inside,
Wondered how each one flew;
Found some books to explain it,
“I can do this!” I knew.
Years of dreaming passed by me,
Just a ride here and there
With a pilot acquaintance
Lifting me in the air.
The first ride was with Welman
Over Lansing near by.
Then, a cross-country junket,
Mountains, desert, and sky.
Moody Church had some workers
Flying missions and such;
Stayed with David in Haiti,
Flew the island so much.
David once was on furlough
And he offered a trip
Out of Midway…took Jordan,
Overflew school he skipped.
Came the time I was lonely
And my kids took a cue,
Bought me one airplane lesson;
I was hooked for a few.
I became the Red Baron
In son Karl’s view;
We flew South Chicago,
Then he blog’d me so cool.
Later, Jeff was my blessing,
A full CFI, too.
This bush pilot could teach me,
So, real lessons I flew.
Now my logbook had hours,
But, the time was not right.
Many years would flee past me
Without one single flight.
Finally had to decide it…
“To give up, or give in?”
Dash the dream, impossible!
I would try, lose or win.
Now I’ve crossed the first threshold,
I have soloed my plane.
I can do it…I know it.
Life will not be the same.
Have I answered the question
That of, “Why do I fly?”
I can’t think of an answer.
Got to run…”Coming, Sky!”
My dad promised to add a stanza about our trip if I can send some proof of the flight, so this post is my proof along with the pictures from when I had to explain to everyone who saw it, what a “digital camera” was! (‘You mean there is NO FILM?!?!) I love being on the edge of technology!
Here’s your proof, Dad. (entire original post here)
Is that proof enough that your eldest son once flew with you? I love you, Dad, and I’m proud of you!
The Little Red Baron!
As 2009 approaches, I can’t help start thinking about how I want 2009 to be better than 2008 – or more specifically, how I can be a better person, better follower of Christ, better husband, better dad, better friend, better boss, better organized, better EVERYTHING.
I know a lot of people poo-pooh “New Year’s Resolutions.” I’m not sure if they are just realistic or have simply given up on improving themselves or allowed the fact that they are human discourage them. I’ve never kept any “resolutions” for twelve months, so I don’t think that’s the point. (has anyone?)
For me, December is often impacted more than January – as I desperately try to “get ready” to be better in the next year. Rethinking how I do life and ministry – and decluttering my life. I’ve been going through stuff and getting rid of a lot of stuff I don’t need. (Even the Star Wars ‘museum’ in my basement has been gutted!) I’ve been reorganizing my paper stuff as well as my electronic stuff – of which I have much more and is more chaotic and difficult to keep up with. This week I have spent hours reorganzing all my computers and drives to determine what data I’ll keep on which computer and/or drive, which drives will back up both the computers and the other drives. It’s a little hairy to manage it all, electronically, that is.
I have a ton of books – part of being the son AND son-in-law of pastors – you inherit a LOT of books, and the hardest part is, they are all good books. But I need to thin them out. Tempted to read a book a day in 2009 and pitch or donate or give away a book a day! But it wouldn’t even dent the books I have on shelves and in boxes!
I’m also busy scanning the family archives of photos I inherited when my mom passed away in 1996. She was a great photographer, and I’ve been slowly and steadily scanning, sorting, and organizing that mammoth project.
Have I bored you to death yet? Anyway, I know I’m just rambling, but I’m thinking a lot about what needs to change in 2009 and what I need to do to get to where I can do better in 2009 in many different areas.
The key I am finding is decluttering and getting organzied. I’ve done A LOT of that in 2008 – but there is more to do. Both at home and at the Kidology headquarters. One secret motivator is always something I tell myself, “If you were to die, Karl, someone else would have to go through all this, you know!” Yikes! That alone makes me want to go through all the magic tricks, puppets, props, gadgets, papers, books, samples, action figures, toys, games, sentimental keep-sakes, etc. and narrow it down to what I really need, or more importantly, what I actually USE.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING to make 2009 better? What are your “resolutions?” (if you make those)
Here are some of my ideals I’d like to see myself get better at in 2009: (not in any particular order!)
I love life and I love engaging it creatively and actively – but I also have learned many hard lessons in life about pace and balance and margin and health – and am looking forward to getting even better at managing it all in 2009. I am so blessed by a gracious and sweet wife, an adorable and loving son, an awesome ministry team to work with, and friends along on the journey.
Not sure about “New Year’s Resolutions” but I am eager to see 2009 be even better than 2008. And in the end, it’s not about how you live next year, but how you live today.”
As someone recently said to me, “Today is a Gift from God, that’s why it’s called the Present.” So enjoy it. AMEN to that!
What are your thoughts as 2009 approaches?
I was shocked when someone sent me the link, but it’s true, here it is:
I’m so excited! Why oh why did we buy those season passes? I can’t believe they didn’t notify me before they posted this on the Disney site and broadcast on the news! Whoo-hoooo! I’m trying to figure out now how to call and claim the prize.
Thanks to Trisha Joy who let me know about this via Facebook, you made my day!
(Reprinted from the December ’08 Kidology.org Newsletter)
Getting Christ Back into
Christmas Your Ministry
There is a danger in ministry that is easy to miss. During the Christmas season, we often hear the phrase, “keeping Christ in Christmas,” or reminders that He is the “reason for the season.” But these sentiments have as much to do with our ministry all year long as they do with the celebration of Christmas. While it is certainly disappointing how little of Jesus we see in our culture’s celebration of Christmas, and frustrating to see our Savior being systematically squeezed out more and more every year, there is something far more gradual and eternally dangerous than seeing Christ steadily removed from Christmas. And it is happening every month of the year. It is the slow and unintentional removal of Christ from ministry – or at least the removal of a vibrant relationship with Jesus in the midst of Christ-centered ministry.
I have no doubt that children’s ministry leaders and volunteers will keep “Christ in Christmas” during this season. I am more concerned about whether we will keep a relationship with Jesus at the center of our life and ministry. Christmas serves as a perfect object lesson on this topic because Christ slips away from our ministries the same way He slips out of Christmas. When it comes to the purpose and focus of Christmas, it is true that there are those who are intentionally and strategically trying to remove Christ from Christmas – but they are easy to identify. However, there is a more subtle attack at play. Too often Christ gets lost, not because of overt attacks, but because He just gets drowned out in the midst of many other good things. Shopping for gifts to express love is a good thing. Decorating to make the world a brighter place is a good thing. Cooking up special recipes to make life taste better is a good thing. Playing with children, volunteering to help the poor, giving to the needy, playing music focused on joy, and promoting peace and expressing love are all good things. They aren’t “bad,” and they even please Christ – but at the same time, they can distract us from the very One who inspired them.
The same is true with our lives and ministries. We do have an Enemy who seeks to remove Christ from the center of our lives, and often his distractions or downright seductions work – and we sin. But more often, it is all the GOOD in our lives and ministry that can cause Jesus to be lost in the shuffle. We are about so many good things! Creatively teaching the Bible is good. Getting kids to come to church is good. Making the environment fun and inviting is good. Preparing fun games, engaging crafts and yummy snacks is good. Providing resources is good and staffing our classes and programs is good. Developing safe policies and creating attractive bulletin boards, brochures and websites is all good – and most of it is inspired by our desire to lead children into a saving relationship with Jesus. But just as Christ slips out of Christmas while we are busy sipping the eggnog, so Jesus can slip out of our ministry while we are restocking the resource room with apple juice.
Here a few warning signs that Jesus may have gotten buried in the busyness of ministry:
How does it happen? How can you be doing so much GOOD and seeing LIVES CHANGED and have so many people impressed and pleased with you… but Jesus seems like a stranger to you?
It is because your ministry has become central, when it is only supposed to be an outgrowth of your relationship with Jesus. It’s what you do; it was never intended to become who you are.
Let me tell you a true story about a member of Kidology.org. Jean was an extremely active and talented volunteer in her church, leading many aspects of the ministry. So when the church decided to hire a children’s pastor, she asked me to pray as she eagerly applied for the paid position. At the culmination of the search process, the church leadership decided to evaluate the final outside candidate and Jean at the same time. As she describes it, they flew in a “superstar” applicant who they would interview and evaluate along with Jean. “I was scared big time” Jean says, “and failed the interview miserably. I was so frozen with panic that my husband started answering the questions for me!” Jean was sure she wouldn’t get the job. She lacked the education, the experience, and frankly she knew she didn’t answer all their questions very well. Jean was accepting with grace the fact she probably wouldn’t be chosen but was happy to continue serving as a volunteer under whomever the church leadership eventually hired. That was why she was so surprised when the church leadership called her in and offered her the position as the new children’s pastor. Surprised, she asked, “But I thought I gave all the wrong answers?” They replied, “You did. But you also talked about Jesus in all your answers and how you and He would figure it all out. We’d rather have a leader who is in touch with Jesus and working with Him, than a leader who is depending on their education, experience and expertise to lead.”
I applaud Jean’s church leadership for recognizing what truly matters most in a children’s ministry leader – an active trusting relationship with Jesus. She is now getting the experience and education that will only make her a better leader. No school or conference or church can offer her the most important thing for the job: a vibrant relationship with Jesus.
Where does Jesus fit into your life and ministry? Do you have all the right answers? Or do you have Jesus? Are you relying on all your expertise and experience or are you leaning on Jesus and allowing Him to lead you as you lead the ministry?
Friend, Jesus is not only the “Reason for the Season,” he is the Reason for your Ministry, too. “Keeping Christ in Christmas” is not the main challenge – keeping your relationship with Him central in your life and ministry is! Perhaps you need to take some time away from ministry and spend it with Jesus. Show him He is still #1 in your life and that ministry comes only after the relationship. Thatwill give Jesus a Very Merry Christmas indeed!
Discuss this article
(Kidology Network Forums)
If you could benefit from some time away from ministry to focus on your relationship with Jesus, please take a look at Yosemite Summit or Unbridled. Yosemite Summit is a four-day retreat for men in Yosemite National Park, while Unbridled is a three-day women’s retreat in Ohio. Information on both can be found at YosemiteSummit.org
I really rarely use the word ‘hate’ – but even Jesus would have pointed at my my snow blower and made it wither. I finally splurged and got me a decent snow blower at the after season sale in the Spring of 2007. It worked great except that it couldn’t blow snow. At first I assumed the snow was:
a) too thick, so I’d shovel
b) too heavy, so I’d shovel
c) too wet, so I’d shovel
Finally, I did some poking around and found out that the cord that goes from the handle to the motor was too long and wasn’t putting the engine in gear all the way, bending the pull bar worked! WOW! I could blow snow… for about three rows, and then the pull bar snapped.
I took it to Ace Hardware, who promised to replace the pull bar and redo the metal cable at the right length (something you can’t do yourself) and have it back to me in six days.
Anyone remember how much snow we got last year? RECORD SNOW. And they kept my snow blower until Spring, and I shoveled all winter.
Not that I MIND shoveling, I’ve done it for years. I just hate shoveling when I OWN a snow blower that I laid out $300 for!
I get it back as the flowers are blooming.
I’ve gotten to use it three times this winter – even though the snow has been only ONE INCH – I’ve been blowin’ with joy!
Then tonight, we get the first real snowfall that is several inches and wet and heavy and the pull cord snaps in two as I’m starting it and the half still connected to the blower snaps back inside the engine. After removing 24 screws I can see I will need to strip all the way to the engine to get the cord back out. I AM NOT TAKING IT TO ACE! I will destroy it before I take it to another neighborhood hardware store!
Thanks for reading my pity party. It is much appreciated. All I ask is that you feel sorry for me.
Thanks. Well, I gotta go shovel.
No need to pity me any more, be proud of me! I actually fixed something mechanical! That is truly amazing.
FAMOUS IN GAS CITY, INDIANA
It might surprise you that I am famous in a town that I’ve only been to a few times. Well, Karl Bastian is famous anyway! In fact, if I go around town and mention my name, people stop in their tracks and say, “Really? Are you really?!? Nice to meet you!” and shake my hand!
Me at the source of my Indiana fame
Here I am at the source of my fame… the Gas City Fire Station. Why am”I” famous here? Let me tell you the story in a fun way… a few years ago, I was in Sweetser, Indiana to visit a friend, Ryan Frank’s, church for a Kidology seminar. (which was really just an excuse to visit Ryan, a guy who shares my passion for reaching kids and encouraging and equipping others who minister to kids, just check out his magazine, K! which he started a year ago for that very purpose.) But I degress…
Ryan with a collage of his kids
When we had a few hours of free time, I told Ryan I wanted to go for a drive, but I didn’t tell him where or why. And I shold mention, I often teased him about being from Indiana, little did he know my roots go back to just a town or two over from his home town. So we headed over to Gas City and the Fire Station, which was locked up because in such a small town, it is a volunteer department. So we headed over to City Hall. I walked in and introduced myself to the receptionist, “Hi, I’m Karl Bastian.” She about dropped her pencil and said, “Really?” I said, “Yup, and if possible, I’d like to get into the Fire Station.” She said, “Certainly! Go over to the Public Works building, just behind here, and they should be able to help you out.” Ryan seemed a little surprised by the welcome I got, but I still didn’t explain anything to him.
Next we walked back to the Public Works building, which was pretty simple and had some various people working at desks, and no one person seemed to be a receptionist, so I finally kinda just spoke out as politely as I could, “Um, hello, excuse me, the receptionist at the City Hall sent me here and said someone here could probably get me into the Fire Station… my name is Karl Bastain.” Everyone stopped and looked up at that point and either said verbally, or with their looks, “Really?” And one person said, “Certainly, let me call the police.” At this point, I was really enjoying Ryan’s surprise at the welcome and recognition I was getting. Soon a police officer arrived and said, “Is it true? Are you Karl Bastian?” I said yes, and asked if I could get into the Fire Station, that I was visiting my friend here from Sweetser and was hoping I could show him inside the Fire Station, and the officer said, “Of course you can. I’ll get a fireman over there right away, sorry I can’t take you myself…” (he had some obligation, I forget exactly) “… but head over there and someone will be there as fast as possible.”
We drove over there and by now Ryan was bugging me to tell him why everyone in Gas City seemed to know who I was when as far as he knew, I was from waaaay out of town. But it wasn’t time yet to tell him. We waited outside the station for no more than ten minutes when a red pick up truck arrived and a man got out and walked up to me and said, “Are you really Karl Bastian?” After I said yes, he heartly shook my hand and said, “It’s an honor to meet you.” The look on Ryan’s face was priceless, but he would soon learn the secret of my fame in Gas City, Indiana.
Karl and Karl
Once we got inside the simple office of the Fire Department, I took a picture off the wall and showed it to him and said, “This is why I’m famous here… check out the name on the bottom.”
“In Memory of Karl C. Bastian”
Gas City Chief of the Fire Department
The family legend (and I call it that to acknowledge that all I have is the family story passed down to me, unconfirmed by outside sources, which are welcome if anyone reading this in Gas City knows more about his story) is that this Karl Bastian died as a hero when he went on an emergency call even though he was retired from being the Fire Chief, and was attempting to save a mother and child from a fire, when he was overcome by smoke and died. He died on May 6th, 1960. He is listed as an American hero on supportingheroes.org even though there is very little info recorded there. On the wall next to the picture is a newspaper article about him that I hope to get a copy of someday.
Oh, and I should probably mention he was my Great Grandfather, and I got his name when I was born on his birthday, September 19th, nine years after his death.
Wondering what he was like…
The story goes that I was to be named Brent Camdon Bastian*, but since I was born on my great grandfather’s birthday, my father changed my name to Karl Douglas Bastian, since my dad’s name is Douglas Karl Bastian. (*if you have read my novel, you now know the source of the main characters name, Brent Camdon!)
Karl Bastian, An American Hero
So if I am ever in a position where I really need a job, I think I’ll head to Gas City and run for mayor, I’ll probably have a good chance at winning! And while the painting is hanging where it belongs, in the Gas City Fire Station, I do hope that someday it can come into my family or at least I hope I can get a copy of it. This painting is the only picture I have of the Karl Bastian from whom I got my name.
I never got to meet him, but I’m proud to share his name.
Karl Douglas Bastian
Son of Douglas Karl Bastain
Son of Ronald Victor Earl Bastian
Son of Karl C. Bastian
By popular demand (via e-mail) the Children’s Ministry Podcast featuring my trusty side-kick, Gus, is back! Only with a twist – in this first in a new series, Gus turns the tables a bit and interviews ME! What’s he wondering? What is the meaning behind the word “Kidology?” And in the process he gets me to share my unusual journey into children’s ministry in his own humorous way.
You can always be sure to know when the next podcast is out by subscribing in one of the following ways:
Subscribe via iTunes
(Updates via Apple’s iTunes)
Subscribe to this Feed
(Updates via RSS)
Discuss the podcast!
(Kidology Network Forums)
Or just remember www.childrensministrypodcast.com and check back often!
BUT WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? DON’T MISS THE LATEST EPISODE HERE!