Kidologist.com: Karl Bastian's Personal Site and Blog
Archive for September, 2009
As I was sweeping up the empty Kidology HQ I noticed a favorite (and heavy!) puppet prop that I almost left behind! I had stashed it under the sink in the utility area so we missed it while packing. It is a pair of Gus, my puppet’s, shoes stuck in concrete! I’m sure the next tenants would have thought the previous occupants of the building were mafia that used to shake young children down for money judging by the size of the shoes! Actually, it is from a construction theme in Kids Church when Gus ignored some warning signs and stepped into wet concrete and got stuck! It took several men to carry him out and pry him loose to free him! Every time I see this prop it brings a chuckle as I remember his painful ordeal!
And yet, at the same time, as I reflect on this funny prop and my silly puppet, I can’t help thinking that I too have my own reminders of times that I ignored warning signs and got stuck in my own messy situations. I too needed godly friends to pry me loose.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are stuck – you have a choice. You can stay there, immobilized by your sin, or you can choose to leave the shoes behind. You can try to do it alone, but if you are normal, like me, you will find that is impossible. You will need to ask for help. The good news is, you will find people eager to help and surprisingly gracious. So whether it is an ensnaring sin, a forbidden relationship, or an unhealthy addiction to unbalanced ministry, or a combination of the above, choose to leave the shoes behind! I didn’t say it would be easy, but it will be worth it. Everyone’s concrete is different, but the solution is always the same: Jesus and His Church.
What are you waiting for? Leave the shoes behind!
I travel to many churches as a guest speaker or trainer and am very often stunned by how little need there is for Bibles in most children’s ministries. I consider teaching with and out of a Bible to be the fundamental basis of my instruction to kids.
While I use puppets, object lessons, media clips, illusions, and more to creatively teach and engage children, these are never a substitute for teaching with and out of a Bible. Only the Bible has God’s promise of effectiveness. And yet, the Bible is a rare object in perhaps most children’s ministries today. This is a tragedy!
Kids learn by what they see – they need to see you teaching with and from an actual Bible. And the learn by what they do – reading in and from an actual Bible.
This is main reason I wrote the “How to Use My Bible“, the second installment in the DiscipleTown Kid’s Church curriculum that we’re producing in conjunction with DiscipleLand. For children, the Bible can be a very intimidating book simply due to its size. This 4-5 week unit will help erase kids’ impressions of the Bible as a giant, overwhelming volume that will take years to wade through.
Kids will get the chance to view the Scriptures as a collection of smaller books written personally for them. “How to Use My Bible” also helps introduce children to exciting tools that will help them delve more deeply into the Bible, building their confidence while they gain a broader understanding of how the Bible is organized.
“How to Use My Bible” is a stand-alone unit, although it makes a great follow-up if you also have DiscipleTown’s “How to Worship God“. Either way, it’s a great tool to motivate kids to practice applying biblical principles to their daily lives. The Bible is not just a book to be studied —- but God’s Book that can change their world!
Pick it up today via immediate download in the Kidology Store. If you are a Kidology Premium Member, you save $5! It’s a great deal to teach the ideals of how to use God’s Word.
On our two day drive from Chicagoland to Colorado, I anticipated at some point our three year old would have a melt down from being strapped in a car seat for hours on end! And while frequent Rest Stops helped pace the trip, I knew sooner or later, the tears would come. So like any wise parent, I was prepared! I had purchased a huge semi-truck toy and stashed in in the back of the mini-van so when the revolt came, I could reward him for being so good and give him a toy to enjoy for the last leg of the trip.
Well, it finally happened. At our last lunch stop, we were looking at toy trucks at a truck stop and when we said it was time to get back in the car the melt down started, but I was able to kneel down, hug my son, and say, “Luke, you’ve been so good. Please don’t cry. I’m so proud of you and how you’ve done these past two days on our trip. Guess what? I have a surprise for you in the car – a truck! If you can stop crying and make it for one more stretch of driving I’ll give you a cool semi-truck in the car.” It was so precious to watch him whip his tears and follow me to the car and when he saw it to light up and say, “Wow! It’s sooo cool!” And we hit the road again. Soon, as facebook friends saw, he was asleep with his new truck/friend.
In an effort to help his nice cars and trucks last a little longer, I had explained to him that it was an expensive truck and to be very careful with it so that it would not break. Well, when we got to Colorado we were welcomed by some relatives and all went out to dinner. At dinner, while playing, the truck took a nose dive off the table and everyone heard the crash and turned to see what happened. Luke’s response was so cute, and also so representative of our human response when we mess up.
Without even looking to see how the truck was, he immediately ran to me and started hugging me and laying on the love, telling me, “Daddy, I looooove you! You are the best daddy!” and kissing me. Of course, it was very sweet and cute, and yet at the same time, we knew, this sudden expression of love was most likely motivated not by a desire to express love, but by an immediate desire to squelch my anticipated displeasure that the new truck had crashed off the table. However, I accepted his affection and simply asked him to go get the truck, so we could see how it was. Sure enough, one of the tall exhaust pipes had broken off – something easily glued later on. I told him it was O.K., and I knew it was an accident, and I wasn’t upset, but he could be a little more careful. While it isn’t my pattern to get angry or react quickly or get upset in situations like this, I did find it very interesting that he understood right away that I had given him this gift out of love, and he had broken it, and immediately – INSTANTLY, when he thought he had broken it, his response was to express love to me. Perhaps it was defensive love, to soften me up and avoid getting in trouble. Or, perhaps it was perfectly sincere, because he felt badly that my loving gift had been hurt, and so he instantly responded by giving his own gift of love. I could argue it either way.
Ultimately, its irrelevant. Either way, the point is, that when he broke the gift, he turned to his father and tried to make it right by expressing love and his father cared more for his son than for the object and accepted the love and immediately returned love. The ‘thing’ was less important than the relationship.
Why am I blogging about this little incident? Because every day we fail our Heavenly Father. We break, misuse, and break His gifts. And how do we respond toward our Heavenly Father? Our INSTINCT ought to be the same as my little boy! Turn to our Father and simply express love. Whether it is a little defensive to try and and stave off his anger, or whether it is simply to acknowledge we carelessly damaged what He gave us – either way, He will accept us and return our love. For He cares less about the things and objects of our lives and more about His relationship with us, and whether we are willing to embrace Him and say we are sorry.
Have you told your Heavenly Father you love Him today? And that you are sorry for breaking the truck He gave you?
Luke Loves Rest Stops!
As we are driving across the country on our move from Chicago to Colorado we stop at almost every Rest Stop. Not only for the obvious reasons, but also to give our three year old a break from the car seat to run around a bit and play. We run, laugh and play. And while there is a part of me (that logical, practical, productive part I struggle to turn off) that can feel like we are wasting time and losing progress on our journey and delaying our ‘goal’ – the part of me I’m learning to listen to realizes that “getting there” is not always the goal. The quality of the journey is equally important, if not MORE so.
So the Rest Stops are not delays, they are enhancements – bonuses – perks! They are, in fact, the highlights of an otherwise boring trip. When our son begs to stay at a Rest Stop, that tells you something!
Time for Excersize!
We’ve all got goals and objectives in our lives and ministries, but in our eagerness to accomplish them, don’t blow past the Rest Stops. You need them! And not just for the obvious reasons, (prayer and Bible reading), you need regular breaks for other reasons too, just to enjoy life, to rest, play, laugh, learn, listen, read, whatever you enjoy!
And hear me: you don’t need Rest Stops when you ‘have time’ for them, it is when you DON’T have time for them that you need them the most! Just like a Rest Stop on the highway, they don’t have to be long. They can be a short nap, a walk, something entertaining for a good laugh, a phone call to a friend, a trip to Starbucks for a frapathingie or McD’s for a large Coke. You know what it is for you, it’s probably coming to mind right now. An excuse probably is too, why you can’t do do that. Zap that.There is no excuse. Be the boss of your brain. Be the driver of your life, not the stuff on the desk or in your in-box!
Hey, Rest Stop ahead in 2 miles, and you CAN stop!
Playing Samson with Daddy
I have a friend who travels a lot by car and I asked his secret to long drives and he said he has a rule, “Drive 50 minutes, stop 10, no matter what.”
Resting in the Leaves
I think that’s good advice in life and ministry too. Well, we are about to stop at another another Rest Stop, so I’d better stop blogging!
We’ll be arriving in Colorado tonight!
Looking Up to Daddy
On Top of the World with my Boy
Yes, we are packing everything up and moving to Colorado this month!
In his book Visioneering, Andy Stanley makes the following statement:
“Everybody ends up somewhere in life. A few people end up somewhere on purpose.”
I have been in Chicagoland since my parents brought me here in 1985. My wife has been here since she married me! I LOVE the city of Chicago! The architecture, the sports teams, the political corruption, the hustle and bustle, the malls (that’s for Sara) the blizzards (yes, I love to snow blow), and the friends made over the years, will all be things I will miss. It is a world class city. I have traveled throughout the world as well as the United States and there is NO CITY like Chicago – not even close.
But in m
y heart I’ve always been an outdoors guy. And after hosting two Yosemite Summit retreats, nearly dying in April, and again in May, it was time to stop putting off for “someday” what could be done now.
I grew up in Colorado where my dad pastored a country church in Elizabeth, Colorado. We got picked up from school on Friday and drove to the country where my
imagination was unleashed and bows and arrows and BB guns and a countryside to explore were all mine before returning to Denver for the week. I even had a horse that was “mine” named Rusty that a rancher we called Rollie let me ride
freely all over his property. My preacher dad’s sermon prep and prayer retreats were also father-son weekend camp outs where I fought off Indians, discovered lost civili
zations and explored abandoned mines and railroad cars while he studied before we made a camp fire and then argued the finer points of Calvinism and Eschatology over s’mores. Those were the days!
Becoming a father myself has changed me deeply in ways I can’t even put into words. T
he ambitions that drove me in my younger days – to be a “mover and shaker” in the world of children’s ministry – to make an impact in as many kids as possible and to equip and encourage as many workers as possible – suddenly slipped behind becoming a better husband and wanting to be the best dad in the world to this ONE boy rather than a great teacher or entertainer to the crowds of children I used to regularly stand in front of.
Don’t get m
e wrong, my Calling has not changed! My life mission is still to Reach and Teach as many children as possible with the Good News of God’s Love and in the process to Enlist, Equip and Encourage others to do the same. But my ministry
hot rod crashed three years ago from going too fast in too many directions for too long and I’ve been rebuilding it for three years from the inside out. And its a much slower vehicle now. And it needs some new roads to drive on and some new scenery. Like Rascal Flatts sings in I’m Moving On, “I never dreamed home would be where I don’t belong.” I’ve reached a point in my life where after nearly 25 years in Chicago, I need a fresh start and it is time to start again back where I began as a boy. (And as a bonus, my dad is back in Colorado too now – so we’ll be close to Grandpa and Grandma for Luke!)
I’m looking forward to a mountain view and hiking trails to walk with the family on – to riding my recumbent bike more and to practicing my photography more. And t
o being in a place where it is easier for me to simply be still and know my Creator more. There is a State Park just minutes from my new home where I plan to hang out with the Maker of that park quite often!
And, yes, I plan to find a church to minister in and will continue to serve the Lord and others thr
ough Kidology.org. But sorry, the hype-active super-busy over-achiever Karl has faded away
and the new, much slower paced, chilled out, freer Karl is moving with his family to Colorado. I’ve called myself a recovering pastor for three years – the recovery is about complete – the final step is this move. A fresh start in a new place.
Thank you for your interest, your support, your grace and your friendship.
Thank you to everyone who showed up to help us LOAD in Illiois and then UNLOAD in Colorado. It was awesome to see folks from Twitter show up to help us unload! (Since we didn’t know anyone in Colorado! Now that is the power of social networking!
NOTE: There is NO change to Kidology.org operations, staff or address.