Kidologist.com: Karl Bastian's Personal Site and Blog
Archive for March, 2011
O.K. – everyone keeps e-mailing, texting, direct Tweeting, calling… everything short of knocking on the door of the Kidology Top Secret Headquarters deep in the mountains of Colorado to ask me, “Who are YOU voting for?”
First, my mini-rant – I think some people lost the whole point of this – it was to vote for the blogs you liked the best, not use your influence to rally votes for someone. But since everyone seems to be doing that, I’ll give in and lend whatever little influence I have and tell you who I’m voting for.
But when faced with THESE “Final Four” you have four incredible bloggers – two I was very familiar with (Jim and Sam) and two that were newer to me (a great thing about this contest!) So, I’m gonna just be a good sport and go for the guy who beat me in the biggest upset of the second round – Justyn Smith – the guy who I had a 100+ vote lead over who somehow mysterious had a rally that knocked me out in a few mere hours! I don’t know if he had a Saturday evening church service and his third sermon point was “Pull out your cell phone and vote for me” or if he was at a TobyMac concert and hacked into the Jumbo screen and put instructions up there! But somehow he did it!
But I was glad to discover his blog – so I’m still a winner! So…. if you are with me, he’s losing BIG TIME right now, and thanks to HIM, I know that feeling, so go over to the Final Round and see if you can help him.
Justyn Smith wants to win to get an iPad2 – he’s losing by over 100 votes! There is still HALF A WEEK left.
HERE IS MY CHALLENGE!
If he wins, he gets an iPad2 from Tony, BUT if he loses within 25 votes – I’ll buy him an iPad myself! How’s THAT!
Yup, I’ll give to the guy who beat me in Round Two!
(My plan if I won the Final Four was to give
it to the 2nd place winner anyway since I have an iPad2!)
Today, when I took my son to the park I had an experience that got me thinking. You see, my five year old LOVES to swing, and he’ll have me push him for a very long time – and it’s O.K. – I’ll use that time to talk to him, or sometimes just think as he swings and swings and swings. I’ve tried working with him on pumping his legs so he can swing himself, but it’s no use. He’d rather have his daddy push him still. So I do. And I try to just push until he says, “I’m done Daddy.”
Then today after only a few minutes he said, “Daddy, let me push you.” I was a little worried I’d clobber him on one of the return swings, but he did O.K. But then, after only a minute he got tired of pushing and said, “Why don’t you try pumping with your legs, Dad, I think you can probably do it on your own.” And walked away! Just like that! After all the visits to the park where I’d pushed him for loooong periods of time, never stopping until he was done, being such a patient and long suffering Dad, all he had for me was a minute!
I had to laugh to myself.
First, I had visions of when I was an older man and might need my son to push me around. But then I got to thinking of all the times God has been so long suffering and patient with me, and yet when it comes to giving HIM time – what do I do? A quick prayer at a meal? A zapped up prayer when I have a need? Maybe a prayer before a meeting or during a worship service? After all the time He has invested in me? Even my devotional prayers – how can they compare to the time He has invested in me?!?
You know friend, that is what Yosemite Summit is all about. It’s about finally giving back to God some extended time. He’s been supporting you during hard times, and pushing the swing of your family and ministry faithfully, patiently, never stopping to rest even once… it’s time you said,
“God, Let me come spend some time with you.”
Today was a VERY exciting day for my little boy! For he got to go MUSHING!
It was an exciting day for ME, because I got to drive my family on a sled across the snowly plains with mountains on all sides of me! What a thrill it was indeed!
Luke got to see some dogs, which he LOVES but can’t own due to daddy’s alergies (and no e-mails about allergy-proof dogs, we aren’t going there, been there, tried that!)
Here’s proof that I LIKED the dogs, just ain’t gonna OWN one!
But mushing was a BLAST! And being on the sled with my wife and son inside was a really cool feeling! (Quite literally too)
I realize those dogs were in more control than me – but I since another guest DID wipe out (woman driver, ha!) there was some steering to it! And I was the only one that got to do some downhill driving, though it was mostly level the whole way.
We never got over 15 MPH, but it was very windy and snowing, so not sure I’d want to go faster…. nah… I wish I could have, just not with the family on board!
But how could there be a Leadership Lesson in my day of Mushing? Could there BE any lesson on Leadership from my day Mushing? I think so. These dogs have done this run a thousand times. A few of them have run the Iditarod in Alaska. Some as competitors, others as medical dogs. I’m merely a tourist who gets to feel like I’m doing the real thing here. The reality is, I’m just along for a ride. But they humor me and my family. (For a buck.) But they know the trail and run it well, really just for fun! What they ran with me today is really quite easy for them compared to what they are actually capable of, I’m sure!
Sometimes in life and leadership we get to thinking we are pretty hot stuff (or cold stuff in this case) but the reality is, we are just following a path that has been laid out for us ahead of time. Either by others who went before us, or – if not – by God Himself, who determined that He wanted us to do what we are doing, He chose us, gifted us, and prepared for us the very things we are doing. And while we might think it’s pretty impressive all we are doing, it’s actually a piece of cake for God compared to what He is capable of!
I Corinthians 4:7 is a verse my dad made me memorize as a young boy, “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” He saw that God had given me some gifts that would lead to a certain level of success in life, and wanted to make sure early on I never thought for a moment it had anything to do with me – but that I would always know, I was just riding a sled being pulled by God.
And if I ever got off that path, I’d end up looking like this:
Yup. That’s me. I did go off the trail to see just how deep the snow was, and it IS deep! Luke said later, “I didn’t like when you did that daddy, I thought you were going to sink and I’d have no more daddy!”
I think I’d better stay on the path for my son’s sake!
What am I giving my son for Easter? Of course he will get up and wonder where we have hidden his Easter Basket – and we will play our annual “Hot and Cold” game, just as my father and mother played with me and my sisters.
“Your so cold your toes are gonna freeze and fall off!”
“OUCH! You’d better put your shoes on you’re so hot!”
“Oh, My! You need a pot holder you’re so HOT!”
Soon the basket full of candy and goodies has been discovered, only to be told, “Oh, no! We gotta get ready for church! Hurry up! Where has the time gone!”
But along with the candy and little toys, there was always a gift of spiritual significance. Something to return some meaning to all the secular hoopla and manages to sneak into our Christian holidays now-a-days. And this year, I am so excited that DiscipleLand has JUST the thing for young learners! It’s a brand new Bible Story Book – but it’s more than just a beautiful re-telling of Bible stories, it a parenting tool that helps intentional parents talk to their kids about the character traits our our Amazing God! And that is just what I want to do with my son. So I can’t wait to put the My Awesome God Bible into his Easter Basket in a few weeks.
You can order it on Kidology.org or on DiscipleLand.com and use discount code “Kidologist” and save $3. (An extra buck!) Either way is fine with me! I’m just glad YOUR KIDS are going to have such a wonderful way to be learning 200 stories and with them more about our Amazing God!
Because Jesus Loves Children,
Got some Kingdom Building Plans?
I’ve got a bit of a sober warning and challenge for my fellow ministers today – one written in my personal online journal a few years ago that I’m publishing today. I pray some will consider it slowly and with an open heart. It was written by one who learned these lesson not easily! So it is written not preaching down – not side to side, and perhaps at the time it was written, broken looking up.
OC writes,“These are days of tremendous enterprises, days when we are trying to work for God, and therein lies the snare. Profoundly speaking, we can never work for God.”
Out of deep and sincere devotion to God we can make great effort to work for God, to assist Him in building the Kingdom, but our efforts are like a little boy with a toy hammer banging on the side of a sky scrapper. We may feel really powerful and important, but our efforts are silliness compared what God is doing and has already done. And to think that we can DO anything, is so wrong.
“The men and women He is going to use in His mighty building enterprises are those in whom He has done everything.”
The moment we look at something we have done, is the moment it is no longer a part of what God is doing.
“The only men and women He will use in His building enterprises are those who love Him personally, passionately and devotedly beyond any of the closest ties on earth. The conditions are stern, but they are glorious.”
We talk much of vision, and goals, and objectives (I’ve got published articles all about them!) but the spiritual reality is that GOD alone does the aiming, and we are the mere arrow in His bow. Our work is to chose to remain in the bow (our situation) and in the Hands of God (our Master Archer) while the bow is bending.
“A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the said says – “I cannot stand any more.” God does not heed, He goes on stretching till his purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God’s hands.”
Our aim ought not be ministry, but fellowship with God, and HE will take care of the aiming for us.
“Shipwreck occurs where there is not that mental poise which comes from being established on the eternal truth that God is holy love. Faith is the heroic effort of your life; you fling yourself in reckless confidence in God.”
In the midst of ministry, it is extremely difficult to keep our aim and focus on God, because so much of what we are doing, if not everything, is ABOUT God and His work! Being in the midst of ministry is the most dangerous place to be spiritually, because it is nearly impossible to see when our focus gets off God and instead gets onto His work.
“When once we lose sight of God, we begin to be reckless, we cast off certain restrainsts, we cast off praying, we cast off the vision of God in little things, and begin to act on our own initiative.”
If you are in the midst of ministry, STOP for a moment. PAUSE. Set it all aside – and check your walk with God. Nothing you are doing for God matters, if you are not in close fellowship with Him. It won’t matter for anything, and it can cost you the very things you are striving to maintain.
“The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering. If we take this view, life becomes one great romance, a glorious opportuity for seeing marvelous things all the time. God is discipllinging us into this central place of power.”
Are you building a ministry? Or building our fellowship and relationship with God? THAT is the only building that will last, and the one that will build a stronger and longer lasting ministry anyway. So focus your aim and energy on God, not ministry, and the ministry will take care of itself.
Italics are quotes for Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest
I’ve made a decision, and by God’s grace and power, I’m sticking to it. Are you ready?
Here it is:
Never again am I going to make time for my family!
That’s right. I am DONE making time for my family. No more. Never Again. I Quit. I’ve spent over ten years making time for my wife, and then when I became a dad I started making time for my son too. And I was totally wrong to do so! I have learned my lesson, and have made a personal commitment to never ever again make time for either of them.
Have I lost my mind? No, quite to the contrary – I have finally found it! While I have always claimed to put family first – my proof was in all the time I “made” for them. The days off, the dates, the dinners, the vacations, the coming home for a meal, the night time feedings and play time on the floor… all the things I took a break from ministry to do. What?!?!? Did you just hear the insanity in that last sentence?! The “break from ministry” I took to “make” time for my family? I’m ashamed to admit it, but I don’t think I am alone, so I am taking the risk of being honest and hoping I am not alone in my former illness.
I suspect there are many others that still have it, and are as blind to the symptoms as I was. The illness is called Ministryitis, or more accurately diagnosed, it is closer to Significancia. It is a condition where one finds their significance primarily in their service to God and therefore lives to serve God from the moment they arise in the morning until the time they collapse into their bed exhausted at night. They are serving God with passion, and energy, and creativity, and zeal, and sincerity, and with every good intention to please God and lead others to Him… but they fail to see that God called them FIRST to simply BE a child of His, and secondly to BE a husband, or wife, or parent to the children in their home. There ought not be ANY “carving out of time for family.” Family IS your life. Ministry is just something you do for God. Don’t ever let it become your life. Or the results can be catostrophic. The greatest sigfificance you can have in God’s eyes is by being faithful to the primary relationships He has given you…. your family.
Therefore my new commitment is this:
Never again am I going to make time for my family,
I will instead make time for ministry.
and then I will go home to where my life truly rests.
Live for God, Love your Family,
and if time permits, make some time for ministry too!
This was originally written March 18, 2007 in a personal online journal. Wanted to live it for a few years before I posted it.
O.K. – I usually stay quiet on these things – but since my good buddy Greg Baird isn’t being humble and quietly standing by and watching to see who wins, but using Twitter to drum up votes, and I’m in the same line-up as him – and he’s beating me – (and beat me in my last Karl vs. Greg contest) I figure – this year I’ll go for it and try to at least beat Greg!
What am I talking about? Well, my good buddy Tony Kummer over at www.ministry-to-children.com does a Kidmin Blog March Madness each year to see who will be voted the BEST Kidmin Blog. While everyone hits the Blog and Twitterverse with “vote for me’s” – I’ve usually chosen to stay quiet and just watch and see who wins, (Hey, I’m human – I hope to win!) but I’ve chosen not to try and influence votes or buy votes swing it in any way. Guess I wanted it to be a PURE contest – and, I’m up against friends and GOOD blogs! So I just preferred to wait it out and see who wins. AND I think it’s wrong to vote for yourself anyway, out of principle!
So I’m voting for Greg just to show what a man and sportsman I am – BUT I’m asking YOU to vote for ME ME ME!
SO head over to the BLOG MARCH MADNESS and VOTE for
“Is VBS Dead? Or just not worth the bother?” writes Keith Tusing over at CMBuzz.com
VBS – The origins of Vacation Bible School can be traced back to Hopedale, Illinois in 1894. Hey, that means VBS has actually been around longer than me! Many churches have long been committed to an annual VBS as a part of their summer programming for kids. Now, a large percentage of churches have discontinued or they are considering discontinuing this summer tradition. One of the questions that is being tossed around: Is VBS still an effective tool for Children’s Ministry? Let’s take a look at a couple of facts:
A shift in children’s ministry since 1997 has been the 12% decline in the percentage of churches offering Vacation Bible School (or VBS) – from 81% to 69%. The number one reason given for not offering VBS was a lack of available volunteers. – The Barna Group, Ltd, 2009
By contrast V.B.S. continues to have the greatest evangelistic impact in the Southern Baptist Convention with 26% of 2006 baptisms in convention churches coming as a direct result of V.B.S.
Today over three million children attend Vacation Bible School annually.
So what is all the debate about? It seems that many churches believe the expense both financially and in man-power does not yield the desired results. I believe the lack of measurable success may be more a result of the way VBS is presented than anything else. Also, a lack of planned follow up after VBS by the church leads to limited long term benefit.
So what are the some of the benefits to a church that provides a VBS program?
(READ HIS REASONS ON HIS SITE) – they’re good! I didn’t want to repurpose his entire post!!
Then come back and post your thoughts here!
Here is what I posted on his site:
I think it is important for leaders to clearly and accurately define the purpose of VBS before they undertake it. I think the reason many churches cancel it is they start to think it is child care for Christian kids from other churches doing the VBS circuit – which it can be, though there are ways to avoid that (I won’t get into that here.) Many people claim VBS is evangelistic, I actually don’t think that is the purpose of VBS (!) As shocking as that sounds, I think decisions for Christ are a benefit, but not the purpose of VBS – there are far more staff and cost effective ways to reach the lost, and we canceled VBS for two summers to pursue that with success – but then I brought BACK VBS for a more refined purpose: to create significant spiritual memories for children within the church, anchors that would bring them back to the church years later, when 53% of them leave the church, according to research. Yes, some get saved, but 100% of them have a GREAT time, learn and have a positive experience at church. AND, if you do a family VBS, have a family experience at church. So, I think VBS is a great thing to do – if defined well. If you have realistic and clear goals, you are sure to hit them!
What do YOU think?
Yup, I’m Gonna REFUND TWO Orders!
I am SO excited to have the GO FISH VBS KITS on Kidology.org that I’m gonna give a 100% REFUND to one of the first ten orders of EACH of their VBS Kits! Not only do I LOVE their music, but I love the strong emphasis their VBS materials place on Scripture!
You already SAVE $25 just by being a Kidology Member, and now you might just get it free!
Whether you go with their first unit Backstage with the Bible or the brand new release, Kickin’ it Old School – or just order both – I’m gonna give a refund to one of the first ten orders of each! After we sell ten of either VBS, we will randomly select from the first ten orders and do a 100% refund and let the winner know who won via e-mail! So order right away!
WHAT IF YOU’VE ALREADY ORDERED YOUR VBS? Some of you have already picked and are half-way done planning your VBS programs! (You super admins, you!) Well, then, use these for an Awesome Kids Church unit instead!
ORDER YOUR VBS KIT TODAY!
Next entries »
|Tower of Babel
“How big is your children’s ministry?”
I always hate that question. People always assume because I have a big website I am a children’s pastor from some megachurch. I don’t hate the question because my answer has never been a big number. I’ve always enjoyed answering with a small number and enjoyed the look of surprise I see.
I’ve been proud to serve in small to mid-sized churches and be able to relate to the “average” children’s pastor. I hate the question because it equates the size of your church to your value as a pastor.
That is why I never ask children’s pastors the size of their ministry. I ask them to tell me stories about the kids in their church. I ask about their challenges and about what exciting new things they are trying. I ask them about what truly matters. Because, as Yoda said, “Size matters not.”
Instead, now that I am a father, when people ask me how many kids are in my children’s ministry, I answer, “Just one.” After I see the puzzled look on their face, I say, “and his name is Luke.” We have class time every evening. I call it “Pit Stop,” due to his love of cars.
How many kids are in your children’s ministry? If you are living out Deuteronomy 6, your family is your primary children’s ministry. If you don’t have kids or they are grown, don’t focus on the numbers. Focus on the individual kids. Whether you have 20 or 620. It is the stories of changed lives that impress me. Have one ready for when our paths cross, OK?
Originally posted in the Kidology Newsletter March 2011