Kidologist.com: Karl Bastian's Personal Site and Blog
Archive for December, 2009
Here is the Bastian Christmas Letter 2009:
Dear Family & Friends,
It’s hard to believe, but it was during Christmas last year that I said to Sara, “by this time next year, we won’t be in Illinois.” And here I am, writing to you from Colorado, looking out my window at prairie, cattle & mountains! It was mostly wishful thinking at the time – but a brush with death in April made the idea of moving to Colorado a firm plan! After a big magic show Easter weekend, I felt some chest pain and went to the ER hoping to be told I was fine. Instead, I had a stent put in my heart! That brush with death (and the lightening strike in May) focused my resolve to make what mattered most matter now! I read on a blog a quote by Andy Stanley that I could not get out of my head,
“Everyone ends up somewhere, few end up there on purpose.”
So here we are – on purpose, loving our new home, in a new setting, and a fresh start in a new place! Sara and Luke seem to be enjoying our new surroundings. Luke loves his new neighborhood. For starters, it has sidewalks so he can drive his motorized Ford F-150 to the mailbox which is a block away to get the mail, and we have a community playground and lots of little boys his age in the ‘hood to play with. If you visit, he is eager to show his playroom where his ‘car table’ is the center attraction! Sara has made new friends to bake and shop with and is enjoying exploring the new area and especially that when it does snow, it melts within two days and warm weather returns. (unlike Chicago!) She is enjoying having a new home to set up and decorate and especially hosting guests who visit – and yes, the guest room is always available for you should you be in Denver on business, or even if you plan a visit just to visit us! (hint, hint!)
We have found a church we are attending and I’m volunteering on Christmas Eve with Gus (my puppet) to teach, but otherwise we are just enjoying attending and making friends at this point. People often ask if I am looking to be a children’s pastor again – the answer is I give is that right now I am enjoying being the children’s pastor of ONE little boy named Luke, but yes, in time there is nothing I enjoy more than teaching and pastoring children and it’s probably where my gifts and passions are strongest. But right now my plate is full equipping and encouraging other children’s pastors through Kidology.org – especially with the writing assignments I currently have. But I have a sneaking suspicion that in God’s timing the perfect opportunity will present itself and I look forward to the time when I will get to be a children’s pastor again – and hope that I can teach Kids Church while my son is in grade school – and I look forward to that day, in God’s timing. Until then, I have plenty to do!
God has opened doors for writing a new children’s church curriculum for DiscipleLand.com called DiscipleTown and a column in Children’s Ministry Magazine as well as in their Professional Edition. So I’m learning a lot about working at home and what it means to be an author and managing time and deadlines! It’s not easy, but I’m learning! Keeping my own Kidology deadlines has been challenging since I’m my own boss for those. I’m learning you can’t manage time, – only tasks! If you have kids, they may enjoy my new kids videos at www.objecttalks.com
Be sure to keep up with our family via my blog at Kidologist.com and both Sara and I are active on Facebook. If you are on Twitter, you can follow me @Kidologist, if you don’t know what that is, visit www.twitter.com/kidologist and get with the times! ☺
Because Jesus Loves Children,
Karl Bastian (for Sara and Luke too!)
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You gotta love those ad lib moments that become memorable and meaningful! At a family advent event I was speaking at this month, my theme was the name Immanuel and the significance of “God with us.” My ever-present helper, Gus from ChildrensMinistryPodcast.com, suggested that maybe Mary and Joseph nickname Jesus “Baby Manny” – short for Immanuel. I’m not so sure about that – but the kids got a kick out of it.
Luke's Favorite Jesus - Because He's Dressed in Purple!
While I doubt “Baby Manny” will catch on as a name for the baby in the manger, isn’t it wonderful to be reminded that the awesome and powerful Creator of the universe desires to have a close and intimate, even familiar, relationship with us? I think the Almighty God, who once said we could call him Abba Father, or “Daddy,” wouldn’t mind his son being called “Baby Manny” if it endeared us to Him more.
This Christmas, don’t let the hustle and bustle of the season distract you from the Child who cries for your attention. After all, Baby Manny is the Reason for the Season! He is God with Us!
(This is the intro to the Kidology Newsletter this week,
read the entire newsletter online)
I’m in the midst of a REALLY busy week. I don’t have time to blog. I have several deadlines looming, I’m behind on other projects, several events this week to pull me away and put me further behind, and I’m trying to get both caught up and ahead before the holidays arrive so I can be relaxed on focused on family.
I’m trying to juggle it all and the last thing need is another thing to do… and then THIS e-mail arrives, and suddenly, nothing else matters… it’s like a giant PAUSE button gets hit. I sit back and am reminded once again, that in the flurry of it all, it is worth it.
Here is the e-mail I got today via Facebook, that stopped me in the tracks:
Hey, I came across your facebook page and decided to send you a message. You probably don’t remember me but I’m now a senior in high school and when I was in 6th grade a friend brought me on the Arctic Blast winter retreat with her. Basically I remember the second night of the retreat you gave an awesome talk and it was there where I learned who God was and that night I accepted Christ. It was one of the best weekends of my life and I will always remember that! Now I go to youth group and church and its pretty much my home. I have been growing so much in my relationship with God and I imagine that without having my relationship with Him ever since 6th grade I probably wouldn’t be alive right now. So basically, thank you so so much. – Jill
You can imagine my joy to receive Jill’s note after all these years. I do remember her coming with her friend though I did not know of her decision at that time. Of course, it makes you wonder what other decisions kids have made that you never find out about. I asked Jill if I could share her note and story on my blog to encourage others and use her picture and she gave me permission – and as I was looking through her facebook pictures, this final picture struck me:
You know, it isn’t just the kids we impact in our ministries that is so exciting… but its the kids that THEY in turn will impact with their lives! I have no idea what God has in store for Jill – but I’m so glad that her friend brought her to Arctic Blast, and that despite all my flaws and short comings God in his amazing grace used ME to share the Gospel with her. Jill said I gave an “amazing talk.” That’s pretty neat to read. But I’ve been in ministry long enough to know the amazing thing is that God would use me.
Thanks, Jill, for taking the time to let me know, I look forward to watching how God uses YOU!
And for those of you reading this:
Who do YOU need to thank?
And remember – for all the emails we get – there are many more we’ll never get – so this e-mail from Jill, is for YOU TOO!
I rarely post something I got in an e-mail forward, but I loved this:
Here is the text of the e-mail: (source unknown)
I had to take him down after 2 days. I had more people come screaming up to my house than ever. Great stories. But two things made me take it down. First, the cops advised me that it would cause traffic accidents as they almost wrecked when they drove by. Second, a 55 year old lady grabbed the 75 pound ladder almost killed herself putting it against my house and didn’t realize it was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not happy). By the way, she was one of many people who attempted to do that. My yard couldn’t take it either. I have more than a few tire tracks where people literally drove up my yard.
It was fun while it lasted
Hope you get a kick out of it too! I thought it was pretty creative, but can totally see why the poor guy had to take it down! It’s something I’d do but my wife would make me take it down long before the police would get a chance too! Merry Christmas!
Since 1994 Kidology.org has been the Internet’s leading and ever growing source of supplemental ideas for teaching children in the church. And while there is a LOT of curriculum in our Zones and for sale in our Store, we have never had a complete and comprehensive Bible curriculum available for our members. Until now.
Starting in January 2010, we will have not one, but TWO complete three year comprehensive Bible curricula on Kidology.org!
And are you ready for this? THEY ARE FREE.
One is free for Kidology.org Premium Members – that means for only $60 a year you’ll have access to a complete three year curriculum for your entire elementary education. Too expensive? The other is completely free for Kidology Basic Members. (Yeah, those who sign up for nada, zippo, zilch!)
Check them out:
Discovering God’s Path: a wonderfully designed and visually appealing completely reproducible curriculum. Released quarterly on Kidology.org and downloadable for free for Kidology Premium Members or available in its entirety for purchase in our store. (January is already available with the rest of the first quarter of 2010 available next week!) Again, this curriculum will be free for Kidology Premium Members. It will be released online one quarter at a time. As long as your membership is active – you’ll be able to get the next quarter. Should you desire the entire curriculum (or a quarter not currently live) it will always be available in our store for purchase. However, while most curricula are released on a schedule, where can you get one for only $60 a year? (See complete details on Discovering God’s Path)
Kidology Open Source Curriculum: Rich in content and extremely customizable, this complete three year curriculum will be unveiled in January and will be hosted in the Kidology Forums so that users can collaborate and share ideas and improvements to each lesson as a community of teachers to help the material continually grow and expand – always completely 100% for free! (Ideal for home school families!) Again, this Open Source Curriculum will be 100% free for Basic Members – no charge – no credit card – nothing. Just register on Kidology.org and you will have access to the lessons for use in your home, school or church. Adapt as you want. And if you make improvement (we hope you will!) come back and upload them for others to benefit from! That’s what Open Source is all about! (See complete details on Kidology Open Source Curriculum)
FINALLY, Kidology.org will have what our members have been asking for – a complete “cover to cover” Bible curricula, and not just one, but TWO! Whether you choose to follow one of these weekly or use them like you do the rest of the site, as a supplemental resource to enhance your educational ministry, we are please to add to our ever-growing website another rich resource for YOUR ministry!
Your Kidology.org Ministry Toolbox just got incredibly more powerful!
Why would we give all this away for free? Because we know the need is out there. Churches are struggling. Budgets are being cut. Home school families are needing solid Bible curriculum but not another expense. Bottom line, we wanted to give it away and we trust that God will honor this gift and continue to meet our needs. After all, that’s our mission.
OUR MISSION: To Equip and Encourage Those Who Minister to Children.
This is a Very Merry Christmas for Kidology.org – because we are so delighted to be able to provide these wonderful resources to those who minister to children.
Can I give you another gift? Here is a download to the Discovering God’s Path Christmas Lesson: The Messiah is Born! (Available Only on my Blog!)
TERMS: You are welcome to use this lesson your local church ministry. It may not be re-posted or distributed in any way, it is copyrighted material and all rights are reserved. It is provided here only for your use in your local church ministry. By downloading this file you are agreeing to these terms. Thank you.
To download the file use this link: I have read, understand, and agree to these terms. (188kb)
HOW CAN YOU SAY THANKS?
It is our joy to make both of these Bible curricula free to churches and families in order to be a blessing during these difficult economic times. We hope that many will find this a financial relief and help as they seek to find creative ways to both save money while still laying a solid biblical foundation for their children.
However, providing these curriculums is obviously not free to Kidology.org. If you would like to send a donation to Kidology during this holiday season, consider becoming a Kidology Champion or sending a gift via our donation page.
WE HOPE YOU ARE EXCITED ABOUT OUR BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! WE ARE!
Got questions? You can discuss Discovering God’s Path or the Kidology Open Source curricula in the Kidology Forum. Let us know what you think there, or just leave me a blog comment below:
I’m letting out on of my ‘secrets’ in the upcoming release of Part Two of the Kids Church Cook Book and I thought it might make a good blog post. I was writing about a unique way I start children’s church – (perhaps another post later) and then describing something I do when I am doing my welcome…
“Like the late night talk shows, after the welcome activity, I often do what I call my monologue, it is when I come out and just talk to the kids. I tell a humorous story from the week, I greet the kids. I look for visitors. I comment on things they are wearing or brought with them. I may ask a few kids questions about their personal life, “How’s your grandma doing?” (Shows that child I care, and other children that I’m connected to individual lives.) This time is loose, very short, and very personal, but very intentional. It is just me and the kids connecting. They will feel like I am just shooting the breeze, but often I have almost rehearsed the stories I might tell of something funny that happened during the week and have the kids almost falling on the floor laughing, and then amazingly the story ends up relating to our lesson. (coincidence? not!)
The Eye Ball Game
I make it a point to try and look every child in the eyes during my opening greeting time. I call it the “eyeball game” but it is only a game in my mind. No one but me knows it is a game. As I am talking to the kids I am looking out over their faces and making eye to eye contact with each and every child. If a child isn’t looking at me, I will come back to them. If I need to walk out and among them to look into the eyes of every child – then I do that! If I need to gently put my hand on the shoulder of a child to get them to look up, then I do that. If I need to kneel down to see their eyes, I do that. No child is missed. I have no Bible verse to back this up, but I think this is how Jesus ministered. (Of course, He could see into their hearts!) But He wasn’t about delivering messages – he was about connecting with people – eye to eye.
When you look someone in the eye, you connect with their soul. Think about it, when you are in a crowd and listening to a preacher or speaker and make eye contact – even for a moment – there is suddenly power in that moment! Their words suddenly are for YOU and I bet you remember what they were talking about at that moment later! Perhaps you even wonder if they intended to look at you at that very moment; if the words they were saying were somehow intended more for you than for anyone else in the room. Imagine giving children that same feeling when you are welcoming them! You are glad THEY are there! You want to teach THEM! You have a message for THEM from God’s Word. God has something THEY need to hear today. Don’t under estimate the power of the “eyeball game!” Do it during your opening and during your teaching and again during your challenge at the end of your lesson. You can be an average teacher, but if you master the “eye ball game” your effectiveness will sour because you will be connecting with your little audience and they will go home having heard you.”
Just thought it was time I let me secret out – perhaps you’ll try my “game” the next time you teach. It is challenging at first to concentrate on what you are saying and the mental game of looking at every child and keeping track of who you have looked eye to eye at so far, and who you haven’t – but if you practice, you will get good at it, and soon you will do it naturally – and it will greatly improve your effectiveness and your impact.
And I hesitate to tell you this but…
I do it when I teach workshops too. ;)