Monday, December 11, 2017

Tis the season for ….. “Fasting”?

Post by: Frank Oligmuller

In this joyous season of celebrating the birth of Jesus, we find many opportunities involving the flow of food, drink and other goodies – so why have the thought of Fasting? Isn’t that something we think more of doing during Lent? On the other hand – why not this time as well? Maybe that is a bold idea, but let’s ponder for a bit.

During the Advent season, many get caught up in chasing the spirit of the season by the lure of advertising and promotions thrown at us. But, what needs are we really trying to fulfill. My small group recently studied the aspects of Private Discipline for which Fasting was an example to build on our journey to deepen/grow our faith. Fasting is presented in the bible as a practice to abstain from food while focusing our attention to being fed by God’s word. The main purpose is to realize an ability to be sustained by Him and grow our spiritual relationship to always trust. Jesus displayed this during his time of temptation in Matthew 4:4 “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone. But on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” In addition, there are cases where reference is made in letters by Paul as having to go without food for a period of time. But, there is also occasional mention on having to endure other hardships, distresses including sleepless nights as ways to endure and put our reliance on God. As our group discussed fasting, we thought to extend this idea into more than just food. Fasting is definitely the idea, as well as by definition, to abstain from food – buy why only apply food? During the Old and New Testament times, food (whether in fields or livestock) and money were the most coveted of possessions for showing wealth and/or power. Thereby, the example of fasting with food was clearly understandable to those in that time to remove a coveted need of the flesh for focusing on God. And as a secondary outcome of fasting, it can be revealed to us other weaknesses of things that control us other than our faith in God.

Today, food and money are still very much in the mix on how we strongly rely on them. However, though we find a need for food, its possession does not constitute wealth but mostly a need to survive. We now have many other examples of possessions that can convey affluence and wealth – types of cars, latest cell phones, TVs, social media popularity, etc. And, particularly this time of season, there can be added distractions around in getting this, getting that or going here and going there.

So, it is with that idea and thought as why not abstain from our other kind of dependencies each of us find that we feel are needed to sustain us during the day or night. I am sure each of us can find a type of “food” analogy that we feel is needed to sustain us throughout the day/night. Pick your “food” to find a “Silent Night” or “Silent Day” or both. All that said, the challenge to seek what is your “food” is to abstain from during this time of year. And, truly focus to deepen your understanding on the gifts given to us by God with the birth of His Son Jesus. HOPE, JOY, PEACE and above all else LOVE. We may find how they can sustain us and be fruitfully a more highly valued possession.

Have a most Joyous and Merry Christmas.

I grew up in the states of Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. After finishing my Computer Science degree at University California - Irvine, I eventually moved back to Colorado with my wife. Over the past 32 years, I have worked in both the aerospace and commercial industries with my degree getting many opportunities to grow in my professional life. However, there always seemed a gap in the growth of my spiritual life. That gap has began to fill measurably since my attendance and involvement at BUMC for which I praise God to have brought us at a key time of our lives. Outside major interests include playing hockey, but time and the physical ability has been an increasing challenging, planning a yearly 14er climb and trips to Disney - most favorably - Walt Disney World. However, I love spending anytime and anywhere with my wife, family and friends. All the while - inviting Christ with me.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Singing in Silence

Post by: Nicole Stegink

Every December since 1998, I have performed Handel’s Messiah with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Between the multitude of rehearsals and performances over the last 19 years, I have the choral sections of this great oratorio mostly memorized. When the music score is in my hands, it seems as though muscle-memory kicks in, launching me into a kind of performance auto-pilot. I have done this work with countless different CSO and guest conductors, and even though each one has brought his own interpretation to the baton and stage in an attempt to breathe new life into this perennial holiday favorite, for me it’s gotten stale. Have you ever done something over and over and over so many times that it starts to become meaningless? It seemed this year as though nothing could resuscitate this epic piece for me except the knowledge that I will not be performing it this Christmas season.

Over the last year or so, I have been experiencing some difficulty with singing and speaking and recently received a medical diagnosis which has the potential to alter dramatically my ability to sing. I am currently on a leave of absence from the Colorado Symphony Chorus until my doctors and I can figure out a plan of action that allows me to move forward and continue singing. Singing…..the gift God bestowed to me. Singing…the way I serve my church and my community. Singing…the very essence of who I am and how I express myself. Singing…what God actually wants us to do and commands us to do. According to an article I read online, there are over 400 references to singing and 50 direct commands to sing in the Bible. We all know the book of Psalms is, in fact, a book of songs. Psalm 47:6 states, “Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises!” In Psalm 96:1-2, we are directed to “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.”

I don’t know if this is true or not, but John Wesley supposedly once said, “Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half-dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength.” With those words in mind, suddenly, I realized I had been singing as if I were half-dead or half-asleep. This once tired work sung by rote had become meaningless for me and not because the text isn’t as relevant today as it was 10, 20, or even hundreds of years ago. It occurred to me it’s not this masterpiece with a text that comes entirely from the Scriptures which had gotten lifeless, it’s me.

I started my leave of absence sometime in early October, but it wasn’t until recently, over the Thanksgiving holiday, it really hit home that I won’t be performing the Messiah this year. All these many years, I guess I didn’t really understand and embrace how much singing the Messiah in early December initiates the advent season for me and relieves my mind and soul of the previous year’s burdens, preparing my heart to the message of Christ’s coming.

I may not be able to sing the notes this year, but I can still “sing” in silence through my writing. I can look with fresh eyes and a renewed spirit upon the words of the text and lift up my voice with strength in a new way. So I share now with you from Part One (the Christmas section) some of the recitatives and choruses from Handel’s Messiah, along with the corresponding scripture from which they are derived. I invite you to contemplate anew these Scriptures which we all know and which will never get stagnant.

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed. And all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Isaiah 40:5

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel. God with us. Isaiah 7:14

O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion….say unto the cities of Judah: Behold your God! O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, arise, shine for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Isaiah 40:9

For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His Name shall be called: Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace! Isaish 9:6

There were shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them: Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:8-11

Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will towards men. Luke 2:14

Nicole Stegink is a Colorado native and currently lives in Arvada.  She is active in the music ministry of BUMC, singing for both the traditional services and has been a member of the church since 2010.  She received her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Creative Writing but currently works in the legal field and doesn’t get to exercise her writing skills as often as she would like which is why she is excited to be contributing to the church’s blog. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

My Thankfulness Poem

Post by: Sara Godwin

I love the month of November. It’s a great month to be a teacher. The wackiness of Halloween is over, the crazy busyness of December has yet to come, and the holiday of Thanksgiving is upon us. I feel so fortunate to be a teacher in a Christian school. I can talk about being thankful with the students and be able to attribute all that we are thankful for to God. I can pray with the children each day and ask them what they want to thank God for. Every day a new lesson in gratefulness can emerge and grow. It really is inspiring when the children learn how to be joyful and thankful givers and hear all of the things that they appreciate in their own lives.

One of the prayers that I do with my students is a favorite of mine.

“Thank you, God for this good food, for rain and sunny weather.

Thank you for my school and friends and that we are together.”

I am so very thankful for so many blessings in my life. I’ve wanted to try my hand at a little poetry so, I’m going to continue the prayer, in my own words, to try and give thanks to God for all that is good, great and small, in my own life.

Thank you, God, for dogs and cats, for the company they provide.

Thank you for the trees and flowers and gorgeous mountain side.

Thank you, God, for my children, my husband, and my health.

Thank you for my job and church, they provide me with such wealth.

Thank you, God, for pigs and cows and chickens on the farm.

Thank you for my extended family, please protect them all from harm.

Thank you, God, for books and stories and people that can sing.

Thank you for all the year’s good seasons, but especially for spring.

Thank you, God, for my home, for choices and liberty.

Thank you, God, for those that serve and help to keep me free.

Thank you, God, for chocolate, coffee, and peanut butter so yummy.

Thank you for all the fruits and veggies, that they fill my tummy.

Thank you, God, for rivers, streams, for ponds and oceans grand.

Thank you for the deserts, jungles and beaches with white sand.

Thank you, God, most of all, for your everlasting love.

Thank you for your promises of Heaven up above.

My wish for you is that you will be thankful as well and remember to thank God for all of your blessings. “That my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” Psalm30:12

Sara Godwin has been a member of BUMC since 2003. She is the Assistant Director and Teacher at Apple Tree Christian Preschool and Kindergarten where she has worked since 2007. She has two wonderful children, Rachel and Ian, a loving husband, Shawn, two awesome kitties, Lewis and Lucy, and a sweet dog, Minnie. She began at BUMC working in the Children’s Ministry, assisting with Sunday School before moving to the preschool. She also helps with Wacky Wednesday and is the self-described crazy lady who wears all sorts of costumes every year at VBS.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Happy Reflective Day To Me!

Post By: Ken Brown

I confess, I am the Bah Humbug Poster Guy for my birthday which just happened days ago. For a combination of reasons, I never found celebrating my birthday as adult fun. I tell myself I’m too busy adulting to celebrate (which is a lie for failing to intentionally honor the day God chose for me to enter the human family).

Now with a half century of living under my belt and on the back nine with one foot in the grave, birthdays are incredibly reflective for me! This year, I am super grateful for my truest friends. In 2014 (the year of my divorce), I discovered for the first time as an adult, the sheer beauty of friendship. I realize the concept of friendship was always lurking. Yet I never opened myself to be fully known, fully cared for, or fully celebrated by people who love me for being me.

My cadre of friends could care less about my being a pastor. They are actually quite irreverent at times though they immensely respect the place faith has in my life. They love “Ken Brown the man, not Ken Brown the faith brand” is what I surmise. My friends have taught me the healing power of true belonging. My friends carry me in their hearts and I carry them in mine. They live an expansive truth that we belong to each other. We get one another’s triumphs and disasters in less than poetic ways. We’ve learned to practice staying present with one another even when apart. Belonging to one another is our language of acceptance.

So cheers to friends who finally get us and love us deeply, intimately, without judgment, shame or condemnation. My friends give me reasons to celebrate birthdays now because they taught me to appreciate newness even at 50 something.

Jesus was a master teacher of friendship. He celebrated the power of choice when he chose to befriend us –
You didn’t choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you could go and produce fruit and so that your fruit could last. As a result, whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you
– John 15:16

Why not shoot a text to a friend and thank them for choosing to befriend more than Facebook deep. Perhaps, like me, you can reflect on your friends sharing Jesus’ love with you through the gift of choice. Choose wisely, friends love us responsibly.

Ken Brown is the senior pastor at BUMC. You can contact him at

Friday, November 3, 2017

Bobo the Clown

Post by: Andrea Laser

When my brother and I were little we shared a Bobo the Clown toy. For those who are unfamiliar with this magical toy, it was an inflatable clown that had a weighted bottom, built for the sole purpose of punching it and watching it go down and pop back up. The contest that we often engaged in was seeing if we could get Bobo to stay down. Alas, no matter how many times we karate chopped, kicked, or took a running start and then punched Bobo, he always popped back up. It was an equally frustrating and entertaining toy with just an added touch of clown horror.

Lately the image of Bobo keeps creeping up in my head. Sometimes life feels a little like playing with Bobo the Clown- we get knocked down and as soon as we feel like we are standing back up, BOOM! Down again. Not down so hard that we don’t pop back up, but down hard enough that we lose our footing.

In my own life, I’ve started to notice that when there is a major crisis in my life, I naturally posture toward God, asking for help. But when I just feel the little Bobo knockdowns, I rarely turn towards God. I have this tendency to not want to ask for help or to not “burden” him with my little problems. I assume that there are certain things that I alone can just handle so I don’t overwhelm God, as if he was this human figure who had limitations. The reality I am trying to embrace is this: God is already there feeling our hurts. He is heartbroken by the idea of us feeling hurt- in both big and small ways.

Here’s my new goal. Trust God to take on both little and big knockdowns. Trust that he wants to be in a meaningful relationship with us, not just for disaster relief, but for joy, little setbacks, big crises and everything in between.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5: 6-7

Andrea is an Early Childhood Special Educator, as well as mom to Paxton and Wyatt. She and her husband Steve, have been members of BUMC since 2009.

Monday, October 30, 2017


Post by: Mwangi Ndonga

I used to work in a bakery. During my tenure there my appreciation for freshly baked bread grew to new heights. In many cultures across the world, bread serves a role beyond being just a nutritious element. When we break bread with a neighbor, we are doing more than just consuming a meal.

Recall that the Israelites had to gather Manna daily and could not preserve it. Any Manna they tried to preserve would not keep well. They had to rely upon God daily.

In the prayer you and I recite on Sunday morning, we ask that God “give us this day our daily bread”. This request is for more than just nourishment. What we are asking God for is His blessing to serve us for that day according to his plan. We have to be in daily prayer to receive the fresh Word of God. Just as last month’s bread may not nourish our bodies. The direction that God had for us last month may not suffice because even in that time frame God may have changed you anew. Unless you ask for today’s guidance, you will be off-course.

Even more importantly, God doesn’t want us to wait for tomorrow’s bread. He can fill our souls right now.

“Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more”

Mwangi Ndonga currently lives in Broomfield with his wife, Talesha, and son, Kamundia. They have been members of BUMC since 2010. Mwangi primarily serves on the Worship and Arts Ministry by playing piano and bass guitar during the Contemporary Services. He works as an environmental, health and safety professional in the oil and gas industry. An avid reader, Mwangi loves discussion on almost any topic, especially music and theology.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Kindred Spirits

Post by: Thomas Cross

This fall, we will be celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. When we think of the Reformation, most of us think of Martin Luther and the 95 Theses he nailed on the Wittenburg door.

The story of the Reformation is a fascinating one, but it is truly a story of a movement that welled up in several cities and spread like wildfire, involving dozens of thoughtful, courageous leaders. While the most famous of these leaders were known for their preaching, some of the Reformers were also focused on nurturing the faith of the people through a variety of means.

One of these leaders, Martin Bucer (1491-1551), was an early disciple of Martin Luther, after hearing Luther defend himself and his critique of indulgence selling. Bucer, who was a monk like Luther, asked to be released from his vows, and he married a former nun, Elizabeth Silbereisen.

According to Elaine Heath and Scott Kisker, Bucer arrived in Stasbourg, a free city open to reforming ideas, in 1523. He began to lecture to small groups in a private home. That same year, he published the content of his teaching in a pamphlet entitled, “No one should live for himself but for others.”

Eventually, Bucer became one of the leading Reformers in Strasbourg, where a number of Anabaptists found relative security, and Bucer took their perspectives seriously. During his last years in Strasbourg, Bucer established Christian Fellowships within the authorized church. These were small groups of devout persons who voluntarily gathered together and pledged to submit to mutual discipline and live according to the law of love. (Heath and Kisker, Longing for Spring, p. 26). They were much like the Covenant Discipleship Groups of today.

Bucer eventually moved to England, where he served as the primary author of the 39 Articles of the Church of England. Some two hundred years later, John Wesley, an Anglican Priest, would condense those 39 Articles to 23 to serve as the Confession of Faith for the Methodist movement. Wesley adopted Bucer’s model of accountable Fellowship Groups, which he called Bands and Class Meetings, as he organized his own renewal movement in the Anglican Church. So both the theology and practice of Methodism have their roots in the work of Martin Bucer.

It is always a surprising joy for me to discover that I have a kindred spirit in somebody who lived centuries ago. Recently I ran across one of Bucer’s Prayers. I could not have described my personal mission in Small Groups ministry any better than he does in this beautiful prayer:

Eternal God, gracious Father: Your will is that we work together to create places among your people in which your word and teaching may be preserved and spread.

Grant us your help, who are gathered here in your name, so that all we say or do may serve to make your glory known and contribute to the good of your church.

Through your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever.

Amen and Amen! I give thanks for all those kindred spirits here at BUMC with whom I get to work together to create places among God’s people in which his word and teaching may be preserved and spread. In this way, we all continue to grow in faith and love. 

Thomas Cross is one of the pastors at BUMC, starting his ninth year here.  He loves to help people grow in Christ and start new small groups.  He says his passion is ‘to introduce people to the God I know through Jesus Christ, the God who is merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.’  He enjoys hiking, reading, cooking, going to movies, working out, collecting art, listening to jazz music, and watching the Broncos for fun.  And he has a blast meeting with the diverse small groups he facilitates!