Kidologist.com: Karl Bastian's Personal Site and Blog
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Have you ever wanted to UNPLUG from the hectic busy pace of ministry life? That is the entire point of Yosemite Summit. It is a week where you are unplugged in every sense of the word. No computer, no e-mail, no phone calls, no work, no deadlines, no ‘emergencies’, no pressure. Better than a day off spent catching up on personal things – it is a complete break for the sake of complete rest and renewal.
I was once told by a very wise mentor, “Karl, you need to stop being a human doing, and learn to become a human being.”
That is what Yosemite Summit is all about. It is an annual cessation of activity. Too often we confuse busyness with what God is truly seeking from us. Not that we aren’t busy doing good things! But we get so busy doing these good things, that our relationship with God can grow distant, and soon God is wondering, why or who we are truly busy for?
Stopping, completely, once a year is an opportunity to recalibrate. It is a time for reflection and renewal. It is not a time of evaluating ministry goals and seeking a new “ministry vision” from God! It is a time of setting all that down and walking away from it.
Why? God did not save us to gain a worker. He can manage quite fine without us. (Something to consider when you are working so hard – God doesn’t need you!) He saved us that we might enter into a relationship with Him and get to know Him. If we are so busy working that we aren’t getting to know Him – than the working isn’t working. It is actually counter-productive to what God’s true aim is.
We are busy “making Him known,” but we forget the first half – “To know Christ, and to make Him known.” If we forget our relationship in the pursuit of the second half, we are then working to reproduce something that isn’t what God wants. No wonder many non-believers have no interest in becoming a Christian! They see a lot of busy-bodies, instead of disciples of Christ, men and women who walk with God.
To be in awe of God again…
So once a year I stop all the activity and simply walk with God for a week doing nothing else but enjoying Him. And I invite a small group to join me. It changes me and helps me continue that walk when I get back to my God-given work.
Will you join me this May? Only three spots remain.
Take some time and browse through the blog on YosemiteSummit.org – you’ll discover inspiration and the answers you have about this unique event.
I’m already praying for you… I just don’t know who you are yet.
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PS: If you need this Summit and can’t afford it, please let me know.
In my work, I get to edit a lot of stuff. I’m also blessed to have a great editor who edits my own work, since we are often blind to our own mistakes. I’m no master of the English language. My grandmother was the family English grammarian!
But I do have two pet peeves that drive me nuts, and if you write for me (you know who you are) I’ve probably nagged you about these two.
- Double spaces after punctuation.
- Punctuation after quotation marks.
The first is a left-over from type writers which I think have been gone for quite awhile. Type writers had small spaces and folks back then needed to hit the space bar twice to make a single space that looked the same width as the characters. You can read all about the history here if you like: Space Invaders.
The second is simply good grammar. It was taught in grade school. Learn it.
Why am I bringing this up now? As I was driving across this Great Land of America I stopped at a rest area and was surprised to see that a government sponsored ‘monument’ broke both my pet peeves. I wondered what processes were in place for editing? Who approved these metal signs?
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At first I saw the double space (yellow circles) and thought, well, maybe that is just the full justification at work. But then, there it was at the bottom where there is no right justification. I suppose this huge metal relief sign was made on a type writer? Then worse, is the period out side the quotation marks. Fine. I guess they just don’t know their grammar. But it got worse on the other side.
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For on the other side, they couldn’t make up their mind. First the writer does it wrong (yellow circle like the other side) then goes ahead and does it correctly at the end. (green circle.)Oh, well. It does say at the bottom it was erected in 1967. So I supposed some the preparation work was actually done on a type writer at some point, so that will excuse the double spaces. But is it one typo? (green circle) Or three? (yellow circles)I’m so glad I have an editor before anything of mine is put in metal! At least no one signed their name to it.
As I have just spent the last two days driving across the “fruited plains” I have had time at the wheel to think again about the rich (and sobering) history of this Great Land. And I love to day dream about what life would have been like for myself and my family had we lived in a time when crossing it wouldn’t have been in an air-conditioned mini-van with cruise control and fast food stops or look-a-like rest areas on paved Inter-states – but perhaps along the Oregon or California Trails of 1840? A time when it took months at walking pace to travel hundreds of miles into the unknown leaving all comfort behind and going forward with only hope and courage.
What would “Karl the Pioneer” be like? I have often been called a “Pioneer of the Internet.” In today’s definition of a pioneer I suppose that is true. If being a pioneer is to ‘bravely go where few have gone before,’ then sure. O.K. I was a pioneer. I was building webpages in HTML when most people didn’t have an e-mail address and “blogging” before WordPress or Blogger existed. I survived the “Dot Com Crash” because I built my “Dot Org” on a membership model instead of advertising model before PayPal existed and before AOL even had the World Wide Web. So sure, I guess I “pioneered” the Internet.
But please. The more I learn about the Pioneers of our country, the more insulting it is to them to call anything we do today “pioneering.” We claim to “pioneer” a field of science or sports or entertainment or music. But do we face sickness? Starvation? Or death by some other horrible means if we fall short of our destination?
I’ve been enjoying the AMC series Hell on Wheels on Netflix. Now, I know some of my dear Christian brothers and sisters just choked on their Testimints because I typed the word, “hell,” and if so, they’d better not watch the show. It is a pretty gutsy and probably fairly realistic portrayal of a post-Civil War America that struggles to balance racial tensions, religion, national expansion and good ‘ol American entrepreneurism in the gritty railroad town of “Hell on Wheels” where the railroad is pushing West through Indian territory. It centers around a rough and tough character named Cullen Bohannon, and he ain’t no Roy O’Bannon. (If you know what I’m sayin’ – bonus points in comments if you know who that cowboy is!)
You’ll need to put down your “it has to be Sunday School pure” grid in order to travel back to a time where life was rough and God was hard to see. While certainly not a Christian show, there are glimpses of grace at work in several of the toughest characters and you can see God working if you look carefully. It’s interesting to see that woven in even as the “preacher” isn’t one of the most redeeming characters. It’s a raw show, but then, so was life back then. So it accomplishes it goal of pulling back the curtain on a time that shaped our nation, for better or worse. As the iron tracks made their way across the beautiful pure land, greed and impurity and the worst of fallen human nature came with it. Driving these roads today, it is amazing how much we have “cleaned up” after ourselves, to some extent.
But when I watch things like this (and The Patriot, one of my favorite movies) – I can’t help wondering, “How would I have coped in those times?” Who would I be? How would I have survived and gotten by? What would my occupation be? If I am considered a ‘pioneer’ today, would I have what it took then to be a pioneer?
What you have been? A business owner? A law man? A gun slinger? An outlaw? A farmer? A pioneer? One third of the people heading West were women. So this isn’t just a question for men!
Would have left the security of the East Coast and headed West in search of gold and a promised prosperity? (People expected to pick up gold just lying on the ground in California!)
Would you have what it took to be a Pioneer when the word truly had meaning?
As soon as my plane hits the tarmac in Chicago, I am already thinking about when I will be able to hit a Portillo’s hot dog restaurant. Famous for their themed restaurants, great food, and speedy service, Portillo’s has been a family favorite of mine since 1993! (Don’t miss the Chocolate Cake Shake!)
While I may be almost religious about getting some Portillo’s on every visit to Chicago, there is certainly nothing spiritual about a great bacon cheeseburger or crinkle fries or a large ice cold Coca-Cola. Which would explain my surprise on my recent trip to Chicago to see a Gospel Presentation on every table!
But there it was, as plane as day! Instructions on how to be DELIVERED from the burden of sin. It’s as simple as A-B-C.
I couldn’t believe when I read, “Delivery is as easy as…”
A – Appetite. ADMIT your appetite for sin and realize that no sin will ever truly satisfy. Know that ALL have sinned, and fall short of God’s perfect standard. That’s the bad news. The Good News is that Jesus came and only he can truly satisfy and He has paid the penalty for our sin.
B – Big Decisions. Jesus may have died for the world, but salvation isn’t automatic. Upon learning of what Jesus did for you, you have some Big Decisions to make. Are you going to continue along the wide road that leads to desctruction, or choose the narrow way that leads to life? Life is all about the Big Decision of what you will decide about Jesus. To be delivered, Admit your Appetite, Consider the Big Decision, and then…
C – Call. Yup, it’s that easy! Call on the Name of the Lord and you will be delivered! No more punishment for your sin, no more condemnation – 100% delivery upon calling.
They even provided a phone number to call!
NOTE: If you call that number to ask how to get to heaven, I’m sure whoever answers will be confused and say, “Um, we just do catering.”
But the Gospel is everywhere – for those who have eyes to see!
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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!”
I returned with a hand full of straws. We constructed a stick out of straws, and then from two different locations, with quite a bit of work, we were able to fish for the bottom half of the first car and then the entire second car.
We ended up with quite an audience of cheering kids and curious moms as we worked the trucks toward Luke’s eager fingers!
Finally, the quest was over. What had seemed impossible resulted in Luke having not one, not two, but THREE cool Monster Trucks to take home! But he also went home with an important lesson: When you accept a challenge and put your mind to something, using what you already have, you can do the impossible when others give up and leave good things behind. Even if we had failed in our quest, we would still have succeeded in trying! Life is all about attempting the impossible, and the worst that can happen is that you might fail. I want my son to know that trying and failing is better than not trying at all.
I want him to know that he can REACH FOR THE IMPOSSIBLE
and that failure IS an option.
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!