Welcome to Kidologist.com (formerly PastorKarl.com), where Karl Bastian, nicknamed the "Kidologist" by his family for being a 'big kid' and founder of Kidology.org, posts his thoughts and adventures. GET POSTS BY E-MAIL: Subscribe To Kidologist.com

Friday, March 31, 2006

Signs of Spring...

Figures... plan a project to be indoor all day all week, and the weather will be beautiful! There are lots of signs of Spring.... like graffiti!

Yes, I came outside in the dark after painting all day and found my car had been vandalized by the youth of the church. Though, you can't really complain about having "I love Pastor Karl" spralled across your window!

Another view of the artwork... Not visible in the glare is an Apple Mac apple. :-)

That's right! It's a PK Cruiser! (not pt)

So it was off to the car wash to get my car all cleaned at my local BP gas station.

I was curious if the auto car wash could get the lettering off...

It tried really hard, but I still had to hand wash the windows afterward.

This was cool, you could read the "PK Cruiser" in the rear view mirror. It is, of course, reversed on the back window reading from the inside, but reversed again when read in the mirror, so what you are actually seeing is double-reversed. I know, I am easily amused!

Back to "Signs of Spring." On my drive in this morning, I had to stop due to a sleeping turtle in the road! Not sure how many people would stop to help this dumb little guy. (Can you say "road pizza?')

Yes, he was alive, but rather shy. He just kinda glared at me, obviously annoyed that I disturbed his special sleeping spot.... in the middle of the road.

Funny, just a short walk away (for a human anyway) was a nice forrested yard with a lake! So I carried him there and plopped him down by the water.

The view here is much better than the middle of the road.... and no tires rolling toward him!

On my walk back I noticed that hidden in amongst all this bleak winter foliage were three little bright purple flowers forcing their way up and announcing that "Spring is Here."

Funny, how we are often like that turtle. We are on our way to a better place, but often content to stop and rest short of our destination. And sometimes, even putting ourselves in great danger at the same time. But God enjoys stopping, picking us up, and taking us to where we need to be. And he probably chuckles at us too sometimes. And in the midst of a bleak world, he loves to give us little glimpses of good things that are to come.

So get off the road and push on.... the water isn't really that far away!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

This Old Church - Part 3: No Going Back Now!

Well, there is no going back now! The walls have been touched with paint, something they have been needing for a very long time. Now that I see how much it improves the atmosphere, even in the earlier stages, I am feeling bad that I didn't start this sooner!

We are actually doing TWO major projects at the same time, but all in the hallways. The preschool wing is getting a blue base color, but will be mostly covered with murals as we create a Spring garden that is inviting to preschoolers. (Especially in winter!) The blue that remains after the murals will be the sky.

The difference is amazing! The current paint job on the walls and doors in the children's ministry wing hasn't been touched up in at least eight years (when I started working here) and was actually kinda gross in many places if you bothered to look closely. Amazing how blind we become when a place we love becomes 'home.' Hopefully, our new look will make it more inviting for others to make this their church home.

Kelly green? (Our preschool director, Kelly, dressed to match the project!) The door and window frames are being done in a light green, with the actual doors even lighter. There will still be murals incorporated into the doors, but we hope the green adds to the 'outdoor' look as well as add a calmin/soothing feel to ofset the busyness of the murals to come!

In the grade school wing we are trying to create a street in Bible times. We use DiscipleLand curriculum and so we want to create a literal "Disciple Land" where the children are immersed in the time they are studying.

My wife has many hidden talents. Unlike her husband, one of them is painting bricks. :) So far she has painted several hundred and managed to keep smiling at me! (That may be a talent too!)

Turning boring, old, peeling, yucky doors into wood grained doors from Bible times not only looks awesome, but prevents needing a perfectly restored surface to paint. In an old building, that is a blessing. (and a tip!)

Many church people are coming by to help to, BUT (if you are from VCB) we NEED more help! Come join the fun and excitement! What a treat to be able to say later, "I was a part of that!"

Even kids are getting in to the project. (though in spurts!) I think in time they will really appreciate that they were part of creating this Bible times environment! It's awesome that they are able to contribute since we don't need perfect painters, but willing painters to help lay the base colors for the artists to follow and do their magic!

To short to reach that high spot? Zaccheus climbed a tree.... Mandy climbed a pastor! :)

WHAT?!?!?!? NO DROP CLOTH!!! Hey, I wanna keep my job. Fortunately, new carpet is in the budget this year! The green carpet is original from decades ago! That's one of the reasons we are pushing hard on this project, once the new carpet goes in, it would be harder to paint and remodel!

Steve, Kidology's Web Director, came by today to meet with me while I painted. (Multi-taking always!) Here he is explaining a few of the finer points of Star Wars lego.

This is the dungeon where we will put the bad kids in shackles until they memorize Bible verses to be released. (this is a joke, fyi!)

Here is a taste of what it will look like when we are done. Though the bricks are just the base, there is a LOT more coming! Stay tuned to THIS OLD CHURCH!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

This Old Church - Part 2: Teen Mania

Today was a great day! WOW! "This Old Church" (a new series here on PastorKarl.com) got into full swing! Our high school ministry is having an 'at home retreat' this week, meaning they are using their Spring Break to serve around home, instead of going somewhere. So I was given around twenty teens for today - the day we kicked off our preschool remodeling project.

You know the old saying, "Too many cooks in the kitchen?" Well, at times it felt like "too many teens in the hallway" but boy oh boy did they get a lot done!

We got everything off all the walls where the painting will be done. Good thing the senior pastor is outta town! :-)

It's fun to work with teens that I had in Kids Church when they were little kids. I did a little diggin' on my laptop and managed to find a few. See if you can tell which of the girls above this is: (now painting the same wall!)


AND which of these guys grew up from this little boy:

Too hard? OK, I'll give ya an easier one:

Which of the people in the above picture is this GUY:

Still too hard? OK, fine. I'll give ya an even easier one: (they don't get any easier than this)

Which girl in the above picture is this???

But they weren't the only ones who came to help... here is a few of the others, all to prove that given a good cause, teens CAN be caught workin' hard! (most of them anyway) :)

Taping UNDER the drinking fountain, now THAT is dedication!

Another neat thing to see, is that a bunch of these big cool teens used to be on my KC Krew (serving in Kids Church) and still haven't lost their heart to serve God. The boy above is Chip, and here he is with his KC Krew puppet, who he named Chipper:

Chip and Chipper!

And it was great to meet some teens from the youth group that I'd never met before. But what do teenagers do after hours of hard work....???

Watch VeggieTales! I guess they aren't so grown up after all. Which is a good thing, because I was getting a little emotional here looking at these old pictures and seeing how they've grown up so fast! I'm so glad I got to be a part of their spiritual heritage and that they still love God enough to come back and serve in His House.... even once they became cool 'big' kids.

Always remember, "God made you special, and He loves you very much."

Saturday, March 25, 2006

PARENTS! It's not too late to join us!

THIS SUNDAY, March 26th, weare privleged to have Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller speaking at our church. They will be speaking in my adult sunday school class as the conclusion of my course on Raising Rock Solid Kids (9:30-10:45am) and then teaching a seminar in the afternoon from 4-7pm. The cost is only $20, and a spouse is free. (limit one spouse per person, see Old Testament for details) And, yes, there will be food. WALK INS WELCOME!

These amazing trainers will inspire and entertain while providing excellent and practical training. They are the author of one of my favorite books, and permanent in my personal TOP TEN BEST BOOKS list, Parenting is HEART Work.

Watch the trailor for the seminar, it was very well done!
(Heart Seminar Trailer, 12.4 MB MP4)

Friday, March 24, 2006

This Old Church - Part 1: It has begun!!

After several years of planning and prayer our remodeling of our grade school wing to become a street from Bible Times has finally begun! In fact, Spring Break week will be spent painting and working on this project. I'll post pictures here as we go along, but I'm just excited to see paint actually touch the wall today as our primary artist begins experimenting with textures on the brick walls. We have some pretty cool ideas in the works, but if you have any ideas (or pictures) of ways to help make our hallway look like a street out of Jerusalem, let me know. I will probably make a thread in the Kidology forum once this gets going full steam!

This is the same artist who painted my Kids Church set, he is amazing!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Workshops Online?

One of the things I am hopin' to start doing soon is offering Kidology workshops online. I've already been invited to join the faculty of Children's Ministry University Online, and am teaching my second course right now. (And will be teaching the "Pastoring Children" course for those who sign up before April 1st - join me!)

My goal is to help provide online training 24/7 for children's workers anywhere in the world who have access to the Internet. I've been kinda dabbling it in a little already. I put my Raising Rock Solid Kids classes online on my church CM website and have been encouraged to find out how many people are using those. A children's pastor in Michigan told me today he has been converting them to MP3s to listen to on the road. (He has offered to send me the MP3s and I'll add them to the site) You can check those out at: www.vcbkids.org/rocksolidkids

I also just converted my first conference workshop to an MP3 file. Earlier this month I had the opportunity to minister at OCEA 2006. The only strange thing was that the company that did the recording put a 5-10 second gap every ten seconds in the recording, and ironically, often it was a key phrase that got chopped off. However, one of the nice new features of the MacBook Pro is that you can click one button and record audio, so I 'patched' the gaps with the missing lines. You will hear the brief ambient noise change, but the content is here. Below is a link to this workshop, Kidology 101.

This workshop is my favorite, in that it is my 'core' workshop on my philosophy of ministry: RELATIONAL ministry. Plus, the room was also PACKED with standing room only, so there was great energy in the room and it was refreshing to be in a place so full of fellow children's ministers so eager to learn and be challenged. Feedback from the conference is available in the Kidology forum where I also linked all my powerpoints and workshop handouts for those interested.

I'd love have some feedback on the MP3 link below. More specifically, on whether a regular source of workshops like this would be helpful to children's workers, how you listen to it, whether a podcast would be desired, etc. I am convinced Kidology needs to provide online training - the ideal format / delivery options is still in discussion. Your feedback will influence the direction we go.

Let me know! Enjoy the workshop!

KIDOLOGY 101: Effective Relational Ministry to Kids (75MB, so be patient! But it should stream if you just click on it.)
As presented at OCEA 2006.

Looking forward to your feedback!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Life is STILL Crazy!

Yes, life is still crazy! And time to blog has been nearly impossible! But life has not been dull! It never is if you are passionately following God's call on your life... boredom is never in God's Will! (I'm not saying life has been ALL fun, there have been some signifant challenges and even trials, but those are no fun to blog about!)

So here are some pics and fun links to prove I am still alive and having a blast serving God... even if Proverbs 6:4 seems to be my life verse lately!

This month in Kids Church we are about DANIEL, the DARING DUDE! We are exploring HOPE by studying the life of Daniel and how to continually put his HOPE in God no matter what trial faced him! In each story each week we are looking at how Daniel applied hope:
Our theme is parachuting! And we are learning how to parachute you need to being willing to LET GO and FALL and TRUST the parachute! In life, you also need to LET GO and FALL and TRUST GOD to take care of you. If you never "JUMP" you will never experience the thrills that God has planned for you!
Few things are as fun as parachute games (or as hard to maintain control during!)

KC (short for Kids Church!) is a really cool dude that drops in at our church often, though I've never actually met him! (strange, huh?) I always seem to be gone when he comes around.

Tonight was our Awana Grand Prix, and we had a record 50 kids racing cars! You can read about it on our NEW church website (Which is another reason I haven't blogged in awhile. I have been managing that project, designing and supervising our church website overhaul and it just went live, though is still being completed.)

OK, I hate fish. (Other than Nemo, of course, but you can't smell him!) I can hardly eat a Filet-O-Fish at McD's. So it was only out of extreme love for children and a Christlike submission that I would put one on my head for Nautical Night at Awana!

Mary Rice Hopkins and Darcie Maze at Kid U Chicago 2006!

Oh, yeah, and then we had that little thing called Kid U in Chicago. WOW! What a day!! As usual, (you'd think we'd learn by now), we were overwhelmed by the response as over 450 people came to be Equipped and Encouraged in children's ministry!

Steve, our Web Director in his favorite hat from his favorite city.

Boy, I wished I'd blogged about Kid U, but it is so all-encompassing, and then as soon as it is over, I have to undig from everything I didn't do that week before, plus our new church website going live the same weekend and training all the church staff to use it.... I just never was able to! However, all hope is not lost! Steve did a really great review with a personal touch on his blog, plus there is a feedback discussion in the Kidology forum.

MURPHY's LAW OF BEING THE KIDOGIST: If anything can go wrong in Kids Church, or if you can be embarassed, it will happen when Kidology.org fans are visiting my church.

These nice ladies showed up on Sunday, the day after Kid U to observe my Kid's Church service. So there they are are watching and taking notes in their notebooks when a fight breaks out in Kids Church - I've never had a fight break out in Kids Church! (Ever, I think!) Oh well, I blame it on the parachutes!

Don't miss the face in the window!

Then, on Tuesday night a whole gang of friends I met at CPC came for a visit to see my church while in town for that other little conference in town, what's it called? Oh, yeah, Promiseland or something like that. We often get visitors at our church when Willow Creek is doing their thing. Willow is awesome in many ways, but sometimes it helps to visit a somewhat 'normal' church as well. (Note I said 'normal church,' not 'normal children's pastor!) So, ok, they come for a visit and at least they scheduled it in advance. (Its the surprise visitors with the notepads that can make me nervous!) But what night is it??

Oh, great! Come meet the Kidologist... in his pajamas! :)

But what a fun night! and the kids are all so cute running around church in their PJ's! I told The Story of Bear which is always a winner, especially with the girls.

Me and my bear, which I've had since I was four years old.

For me, the highlight of Kid U was our new Spanish tract. We had around 60 Spanish speaking brothers and sisters in Christ attend, many couldn't speak English! So how did we equip and encourage them? Late last year a youg woman named Susana came to one of my workshops at the EFCA Great Lakes Conference and told me how badly training like this is needed in the Spanish community. I challenged her to be a part of the solution! So she attended Kid U Wisconson, listened to my workshops, translated them from my teaching notes and powerpoints, and taught them at Kid U! I also did a Q and Q session where she translated. Our Spanish Ministry has begun! Soon, we will have the Kidology Handbook in Spanish available as well!

Susana Orellana and Pastor Karl.

Close up of the shirt Susana and her husband Eliseo had made for me!

LIFE IS STILL CRAZY... but it is crazy about GOOD THINGS! When I was nineteen God gave me a very clear mission statement for life. (The story istold in Finding Your Ministry Calling on Kidolgy.org) My Life Mission Statement is 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.

Yes, life gets busy and crazy, and often too busy to 'blog' - but whenever I do finally get a chance to sit here and post some pictures and thoughts, even if no one read this, it would be worth it just for me - to stop and reflect - to remember - to relive - to thank God for the many fun and yet hopefully significant opportunities He gives me to pursue this Mission. THANK YOU for your encouragement and for following God's plan for your life too!

And dat is double true!

PK's Apple MacBook Pro Review - not happy

Has the MacBook Pro lived up to all the hype? Am I still as happy about it as I was when I posted my longest blog post ever?

In One line: Still rather be on a Mac, but not enjoying the return of nervousness.

It is no secret - I am a convert. I love all my Macs and even bought my wife one finally so she could be computer problem free / virus free / spyware free and overall have more time for the rest of life.... but am I still as happy as NOW as I was in the picture above when my MacBook Pro arrived?


I really could have waited, and maybe I should have. Now don't get me wrong, I am as passionate as ever about the Mac, and am still convinced that anyone who loves time, enjoys productivity, and hate viruses/spyware/virus software/ and constant problems should still switch to Mac.... and their life will drastically improve, BUT while I am still very pleased with the OS and all the integration of software on the Mac, my MacBook Pro has significant issues that make me wish I could return it and go back to my G4.

It has lots of fun new features. The Photo Booth is a hoot! The bult in iSight camera has many fun and practical applications. (Sit at your computer and record a training workshop!) I still like everything IN the Mac, but this MacBook Pro has NOT lived up to one of the reasons that I switched to Mac.... the ability to not worry about your computer. For two years I have not had to worry about my computer. I still needed to save regulary (yes, software could once in awhile crash or 'hang' ) but in general (99.999% of the time) it was extremely trust worthy.

not any more.

Here are the issues I have with my MacBook Pro:
  • It crashes. But it is a beautiful crash. A nice horizontal line moves down your screen fading it and then a nice black box comes up that basically tells you in several languages that your computer is screwed. To prove just how unusual this is, the first time it happened at a conference, my PC using room mate ran and grabbed his camera to get a picture of the Mac version of the 'blue screen of death.' So I snapped one too. Instead of a blue screen, it is a "lovely faded transparent multiculturally polite screen of death." It has now crashed three times, once on screen during a workshop at CPC. (I know PC users might laugh at complaining about three crashes, but that is very unMac!)

The MacBook Pro Death Screen

Mulit-Cultural Polite Death Screen

Message after you reboot. DUH. I guess because they don't write many error messages, the ones they do write are pretty lame.

  • It often won't come out of sleep. One of the things I LOVE about Macs is that you almost never have to reboot. Once in awhile when you install something or run an update, or occasionally if you've been running LOTS of applications, a reboot might help speed the system up, but in the two years that I've owned my PowerBook G4, I probably rebooted less than twice a month. AND when you open the lid, it is fully restored in 1.5 seconds and online in under 3 seconds. Gotta go? Just shut the lid. Returning? Just open and before you can count to 2 you are back in business. NOT ANY MORE. I open the lid and get a nice black screen OFTEN. The system restarts, but the screen stayed black. I know it is working, because if iTunes was playing on sleep, a tap of the space bar will start the music again. I have had to crash the computer by holding down the power button and restarting at least 8 times. Again, PC users might laugh at this complaint, but for a Mac user... that is A LOT of reboots!

  • The CD drive ejects at random.... constantly. Whether there is a CD/DVD in the drive or not, constantly while working the CD drive just ejects all by itself. If there is no disc in the drive, it just makes noise trying to. If there is, it spits it out even if I don't want it out! It has not ejected a disc in use, but if it is in there idle, it will most likely get spit out within the hours. VERY ANNOYING!

  • THE WORST: IT HAS A VERY HIGH PITCHED WHINE/HUM THAT IS PAINFUL AND IRITATING. Even co-workers have complained from across the roo. So I have to keep music playing any time I am working to hide the painful whine, but it is stil there and is giving me headaches. I get about to smash this thing. But then I realize I'd have to use a PC, and even with these problems, it was far worse on a PC.
NOTE TO SELF: Never be the first to order anything new again. Let some other suckers sufer through the bugs of new technology.

NOTE TO FRIENDS: Do not rush out to get a MacBook Pro. Stick with the PowerBook G4 for awhile. The new one is not really worth it yet.

NOTE TO BILL GATES: Before you blame Intel for all your PC problems and say, "See, now Mac has all the same issues as PC with Intel inside," during each of these problems, Microsoft applicaations were running, and the review below from a friend sites a problem with Miscrosfot software on the Mac as well.

A FRIEND, WHO I CONVERTED TO MAC, who also was one of the first to get the MacBook Pro, reported to me, "I like it overall. It’s been a good thing for me. There are a few things that I don’t like. It seems like it’s slower at times. A lot of times in Entourage I get the round rainbow circle while it waits to pull images up on emails and stuff. It’s the most frustrating for me in Entourage.... (he didn't have any of my issues) I give mine at 80%. I gave my last one a 95%."

Another interesting review: A twist on 'fire wire'

I would love any feedback on any of these issues. Please don't bother with Mac bashing. I don't bash PCs... I just don't waste time on them any more. :) Honest critics or praise are welcome either way.


I got it back. They changed LCD display and CD superdrive, but I am shipping it back again. I am asking for a new laptop or my money back. "Intell inside" is "PC inside." (NOT GOOD)

It still:
a) wont come out of sleep
b) CD tries to eject at random
c) THE WORST: has a painful high pitched sound that makes working on the laptop almost unbearable.

I'd rather go back to my problem free PowerBook G4 than put up with this. It's like having a PC all over again. :(