Taking the Path Less Traveled

featuredImage.jpg

You’d miss it completely if you weren’t looking for it. Most walked right past it. But we enjoyed a rare treat because we were looking for the path less traveled. I kicked off 2017 with a week of hiking in Yosemite National Park with a good friend. I lead the Yosemite Summit retreat for pastors every May, but we were eager to see this incredible place in winter. God blessed us with both fresh snow and temperatures that made hiking surprisingly easy as we stuffed hats, gloves and jackets into our backpacks… not needed! Ahead of time we did some research on the best spots to see in winter. We discovered a secret spot off the Upper Yosemite Falls trail that afforded an amazing view of the middle falls that otherwise are impossible to see from any other location. It was amazing! We marveled that the slight detour leading to this spot was missed by most, but at the same time enjoyed that the secret was ours alone as other hikers walked on by, just a few feet away and missed it completely. I won’t even name it here, its worthy of secrecy – but if you ask me in …

Continue reading

Reunited after 31 Years!

featuredImage.jpg

Thanks to Facebook, I reconnected with two childhood friends over Christmas break while in California. And what better place than Portillo’s – a popular chain I discovered in Chicago that now has a location in Buena Park, California. (Just down the street from Knott’s Berry Farm.) Dennis I’ve known since we were in a 4th and 5th combination class at Gompers Elementary. I don’t remember now which grade it was, but Dennis transfered in mid-year and soon we were best buds. We met Richard a few years later and by junior high (Bancroft Junior High) and during my freshman year at Lakewood High School, we walked to and from school together every day down Coldbrook Avenue. I moved away to Chicagoland that summer and as often happens, I lost track of them. Over the years I often tried to look them up and a few years ago we found each other online. I believe Richard actually found me and then connected me with Dennis, as they had kept in touch. In fact, until just recently, Richard lived in the same house having inherited from his parents. He lived there for like 40 years! I could have just gone and rang …

Continue reading

Merry Christmas from Kidology

babyjesus1969

Merry Christmas from Karl Bastian and Team Kidology! I was only a few months old when I participated in my first nativity re-creation with my big sister. I don’t remember it, of course, but I am so thankful for my mom and dad who made Christmas special every year – and who made Christ the focus of our celebration. There are so many wonderful distractions this month – most of them good things! But the DAY has finally arrived. No more waiting. No more anticipation. No more shopping or lines! No trying to find a parking spot! The day is here. Time to Chill. Eat. Laugh. Relax. Give gifts. (And get some!) Some of you may not even check e-mail. That’s good! But if you peeked, I just want to wish you a Very Merry Christmas from my family, and everyone at Kidology. Isn’t it cool that on Jesus’ Birthday we all give gifts to each other? But the Greatest Gift can never be topped! In the midst of all the activities, be sure to find that quiet moment to simply reflect on that Gift and how much a difference He has made in your life. We can get so …

Continue reading

Creative Video Bible Story Telling

maryjo2

We’ve all seen and perhaps used videos in children’s church. But did you know you can make your own? Here is a GREAT sample from a church where I’ll be doing some teaching training in the new year (via skype). I think it is a great example of how you can make a video that requires NO MEMORIZED LINES! Kids LOVE to see themselves on video – as well their friends. Plus, the experience of making the video also reinforces the learning process. Here is how the creator of the video described it: This was a project that was Jesus-inspired.  I have NO videography, director, script writing, etc. experience, but after a test run with my kids I thought this could be doable.  It’s shot on my iPhone 6 and as you know, edited on iMovie. The beauty of this project is a) no memorized lines; b) the film shoot can be chaotic and I’m giving directions the whole time, but it’s all muted and voiced over; c) isn’t dependent on kids all showing up on a given Sunday to perform and half of them are out for colds or vacation; d) gives parents something to take home and share; …

Continue reading

Dan Huffman and Creatively Reaching Kids

dan-huffman

Kidology.org is the small ministry publisher. Dan Huffman is one of the most creative Children’s Pastors that I know. He often credits Kidology with helping him get started and providing his “blue print” for ministry – but since then, he has always blown me away with the creative ways he reaches children.One of the BEST Christmas Series I’ve ever seen is Dan’s The Stars of Christmas! Dan understands the value of video teaching – but has created a strategy he called “Media Rich but Teacher Driven.” As Dan says, “kids learn best when they are known and loved,” so small group times are done throughout the entire teaching experience. Best of all – he designed it to be easy! But ‘easy’ doesn’t mean it isn’t excellent. It is Top Notch! He is also the creator of the Great Adventure Cards – something he created to counter the obsession with Pokemon Cards that he observed in his ministry. A spin-off from these amazing Bible Cards is the Good News Cards, one of the most engaging and fun Gospel presentations I’ve ever seen. While the Bible Cards are earned for coming to church, bringing your Bible, friends, participating, etc. – The Good …

Continue reading