Monday, August 14, 2017

Feeling Peaceful

Post by: Steve Laser 

We live in a very I'm busy metro area and in a town that places a high value on upward mobility and status, many of us have households were both spouses work very intense jobs. In most cases we try and give our children every opportunity at our disposal. 

This can cause our time to be stretched into an unrealistic and unhealthy way. I have heard many people in my lifetime talk about work life balance, sometimes time I feel like my scale is balanced... just too much to do on both sides. What I have found is, if I carve out a little time during my day for prayer and meditation the world spins a little slower for me and the whirlwind of my day becomes more manageable and I feel peaceful (a little).

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:4-7

Steve Laser has been a member of BUMC for more than six years. He serves on the finance committee, and has previously been involved in the First Friday Fellowship, Theology on Tap, and has served as an usher. He is a native to Broomfield, Colorado, and lives here now with his fabulous wife and two awesome children. He also makes a mean smoked brisket.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

I Love This Place (and these people)

Post by Joe Mazza, Director of Worship Arts

If you ask me, it’s a great time to be a part of the BUMC community. From where I stand every Sunday, I see passion, excitement, and commitment to God’s mission through our church. I see people who are discovering and then offering their gifts - time, talent, and treasure - freely to those around them. I see people who are serving week in and week out, all year round simply because it’s what God has asked them to do.

While these people exist all over BUMC, I’m talking specifically about the community of the Worship Arts ministry. These are the people I get the pleasure of serving with every week. Together in the band and choirs, we sing and play music that is meant to encourage all of us in ways that only music can. But we do more than that. Some of us serve by running computers that project message notes and lyrics on the screens in our sanctuary and chapel or operating cameras and video editing equipment so that BUMC sermons can be shared globally online. Still others run incredibly complex sound boards, control lights and recording equipment or mentor younger musicians in our student ministry. All the way down to making sure candles on the altar are lit.

You might be wondering what’s so special about this team, and I could give you a hundred examples in response. But to me, the best thing about our ministry is that this group of people is really a family. It’s my family. More than our week to week service through Worship Arts, we share a whole lot of life together. We hang out and spend time together. We support each other in life’s big and small events. We laugh together and we cry together. And, being a family, we’re even dysfunctional together sometimes! Through all of these things, we have become more than just a group of random people who happens to attend the same church.

The other day, this passage was in my daily devotional:

There are always some in the church who say that the best way to express the Christian faith is as a pastor, or missionary, or monk, or nun - or in medicine, or social work, or educational enterprises. There are always some who know exactly what another is best suited for. But no one knows us well enough for that. Each of us has unique gifts, for which there are no precedents, yet which will be used in ministry. And we are quite free to resist anyone who tells us differently.   
“Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people!” 1 Corinthians 12:7

When I read that, I’m reminded that church isn’t a spectator sport. Of course, anyone and everyone is welcome at BUMC to just hang out and soak in our community. In fact, sometimes that’s just what we need. But church works best when, sooner or later, we find a place to jump into. As that passage from Corinthians says, EACH person is given something to do that shows who God is. Each person! Me. You. So, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to find your family at BUMC. It’s way better than real family because you can try a few out until you find the one that fits. We’re always welcoming new family members into the Worship Arts ministry but there are lots of other families too - Small Groups, Family Ministries, Student Ministries, and many many other service opportunities. You don’t have to be a pastor or a missionary, but sitting on the sidelines never gives the same view as being in the game.

Joe Mazza is the Director of Worship Arts at BUMC and leads worship at our 8:30 and 9:45 worship services. He and his wife Theresa and son JJ can always be found making music around BUMC as a part of the larger Worship Arts family. Joe also plays guitar with other local Colorado artists. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Prioritizing Prayer

Post by: Kristan Marsden

For as long as I can remember there has been a sign hanging in my mom’s office that reads “Every Christian needs half an hour of prayer a day except when he’s busy. Then he needs an hour.” I remember reading it over and over as a kid and wondering what it was supposed to mean. I’d forgotten all about that sign until a recent visit to my parents’ house with my two young daughters. Despite a major remodel a few years ago, it still adorns their office wall. On this last trip back home, I realized that now, as an adult and a mom, it makes perfect sense to me. Now I get it.

While my parents loved all the time they got to spend with their grandchildren during our visit, my dad must have told me at least half a dozen times, “There’s a reason you have kids when you’re young.” And it’s true. Parenting, this season of raising kids, is a busy one. It helps to remind myself that someday I’ll miss the noise, the chaos and the mess of having two young children. But right now, it’s hard to imagine. Our life is a never-ending cycle of school and homework, soccer games and gymnastics classes. We’re always trying to make time for friends and squeeze in the occasional date night. We’re supporting friends through weddings, baby showers, lost pregnancies and lay-offs. We’re working toward that perfect balance of prioritizing family and pursuing career goals. I have no doubt that this is the time in my life when I need that hour of prayer. I need God’s guidance more than ever.

Yet the busier we get, the easier it becomes to start prioritizing a quiet morning at home over going to church. It’s easy to focus all my energy on our family and neglect opportunities to serve others. When there is so much in my life that needs my management, it feels necessary to take it all on myself. Amid all the bustle, it’s easy to stop nurturing the close relationship with God that comes with constant and regular prayer.

But I’ve noticed the more I try to manage things on my own, the more difficult everything becomes. Busy turns into an energy-draining list of things that must be accomplished. Every decision becomes impossible to make and every set-back is overwhelming. It’s hard to ask for help. It’s hard to give up control and trust God’s plan and perfect timing for our family. That is what my mom’s sign reminds me to do. When life feels busy, maybe even a little frantic, it becomes even more important to spend time in prayer--to ask for help, to listen for guidance, to keep my focus on what really matters and to be thankful for the countless blessings in my life.

Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually   -Psalms 105:4

Being back home and seeing that familiar sign was a good reminder, at a time when I really needed it. I might even pin the same quote up on my own office wall. I’m sure my six-year-old, who is into reading anything she sees these days, will ask me what it means. And I’ll tell her to remember what it says, even if it doesn’t make sense. File it away and remember it. Because someday, when you most need to understand it, it will make perfect sense.

“Those persons who know the deep peace of God, the unfathomable peace that passeth all understanding, are always men and women of much prayer.”  -~ R. A. Torrey

Kristan spends her days living and learning with her two young daughters, Shay and Grace. In her downtime, you’ll find her running (preferably with friends), skiing, struggling through the occasional yoga class and escaping to the mountains every chance she gets. As a teacher taking time off to raise her own kids, she enjoys volunteering in the Children’s Ministry as well as writing about her experiences as a parent and educator. She and her husband, Britton, have been members of BUMC since 2011.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Christmas in July

Post by : Nicole Stegink

Time sure does fly the older you get. It’s hard to believe 2017 is already half over. It really doesn’t seem all that long ago that we celebrated Christmas. In fact, in a few months, the BUMC combined choirs will be spending our Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings rehearsing for the 2017 Christmas Cantata. I guess it’s not so weird that my brain traveled to Christmas. It’s “Christmas in July” season. You know, that time when stores offer amazing deals in an attempt to boost sales through the doldrums of summer. The problem with these types of promotions is that they are short-lived.

We don’t need limited-time only, retail gimmicks such as “Christmas in July” to find a good deal. God freely offered humanity the best deal of all through His son, Jesus Christ. A deal that has no expiration and runs for all time, so I personally decided this year that “Christmas in July” is my opportunity for a spiritual “gut check”. How am I doing when it comes to preparing and opening myself up to welcome Christ into the World and my life? Sure, that preparedness comes easily enough during Advent, a time full of scripture readings, hymns and candle lightings which celebrates Christ’s arrival and fills us with expectation and anticipation, but how am I doing during the heat of summer? Is my heart still as ready in July for the coming of Christ as it was six and a half months ago?

The word Advent is derived from the Latin word Adventus, meaning “coming”. One of my all-time favorite Advent readings is "Come thou long expected Jesus; come as footprints in the snow and show us your way." It’s an invitation to Christ to come into our lives, but I also believe it’s an invitation to each of us personally. An invitation we need to choose to accept every day to prepare our hearts and minds for the many ways in which Christ comes into our lives. And, if it makes more sense to you since it’s July and not December, maybe just change the reading to, “…come as footprints in the sand and show us your way.

Peace swells in my soul with the assurance of Christ's arrival, and that with this most special birth, we are reconciled to God through Christ. I love the imagery these words from the reading evoke in my mind. I envision myself venturing out into uncharted territory. There, in a vast expanse, I encounter a single set of footprints in clean, soft, white snow (or sand), stretching out as far as I can see to the horizon. It is Christ’s guiding presence; his way of saying “I have arrived in the world; I am here.” The footprints silently and gently convey a clear message to me so I know I am not alone; this way has already been traveled.

How comforting it is for me to realize that in seasons of doubt or isolation, in seasons when I feel forgotten, aimless and adrift, in seasons when I know I need to move forward to forge a new course and trajectory but fear keeps me rooted in place, those merciful and encouraging footprints remind me I don't have to find my own way. I don't have to break the trail. I just have to allow Christ to come into my life, trust that the steps lead where I need to go and then follow the way of the One who went before me.

So this July, don’t rely on your favorite store to run some “Christmas in July” promotion to get what you need. Look inward; prepare your heart every day for the coming of Christ as if it were Advent and see how your life might change.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16 (NIV)

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. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Red Letter Days

Post by: Sara Godwin 

Just a little over a year ago, I wrote a Facebook post about making the most of the little things in your life. I was getting ready to go to the funeral of a friend of my daughter. His name was Joey. He had decided that life was just too hard and he took himself out of it. Just like that. He was gone. It hit me so incredibly hard. I couldn’t believe that a person, a child, could feel so despondent that he felt he couldn’t handle life the way it was any longer. His passing and the impending funeral made me pause and reflect on what it is that makes our lives livable. I posited that it was the little things; the push of a dog’s nose in your hand begging to be petted, the sound of the wind in the trees, lying under a tree and looking at the leaves, a warm blanket on a cold day, or a spontaneous hug from a child. For me it’s the smell of onions and potatoes frying, the sound of my husband’s laughter when I make him laugh and the first taste of coffee every morning. I wrote that our lives are made up of hundreds of little occurrences like these. Little snippets of time in our day that are fairly unremarkable, even unworthy of remembering, but the most necessary and beautiful parts of our lives. The big ticket items, the highlight reels of our lives, while amazing and awesome, are often few and far between. If we rely solely on them to make our lives meaningful, I feel that we will be left searching and wondering, “What next”?

I just finished reading a book by Susan Branch called, “Martha’s Vineyard; Isle of Dreams”. In it she is trying to come to terms with a loss in her life and how to go about living in the aftermath. She struggles for a while before coming to the conclusion that each day one should strive to make it a “red letter day”. Basically, one needs take a moment at the end of each day to remember the little things that made your day really good. This takes some practice. I’ve been working really hard at it and at first I thought that the only things that would make a red letter day would be grand things, like going on vacation or getting a raise or going to an excellent concert. You know; things that don’t happen every day. Nope. Nope. Nope. These things are great, but definitely not the ingredients for a true red letter day. A true red letter day is a day in which a hundred little things happen and you can sit back at the end of the day, sort through all of those moments, and say to yourself, “I really enjoyed that”.

As I write this, I’m thinking to myself, and recalling what my items for my red letter day will be today. So far it’s been pretty darn good. I saw 5 baby raccoons in a tree as I walked my dog this morning, (so cute!), I treated myself to a Coke on ice, (YUM), bought a watermelon that I’m looking forward to cutting up, went to the library to get a book, (reading feeds my soul), and had two, (TWO!) most excellent songs come on the radio in a row. Justin Timberlake and The Kongos had me be- bopping down the road for a solid 6 minutes. It was really excellent. And I still have my son’s incredibly tasty, crave worthy meatballs to look forward to for dinner tonight. It really will be a red letter day.
Sara lying under a tree, enjoying the leaves

I wish with all of my heart that Joey had had a few red letter days. I’m sure that he did, but maybe he just didn’t know how to stop and remember them. He didn’t know how to take a moment or two and look at the little things and realize the little things really are the big things. He had an entire lifetime of moments to look forward to and my heart aches that he won’t know them. Our whole lives are a beautiful mosaic of thousands of teeny tiny little moments that make our lives livable. I implore you to sit and contemplate and remember your little moments. Each moment is a gift from God. As I sign off I’m looking out the window and see the clouds and smell the rain; another moment to add to my red letter day.

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, which the birds of the air come and perch in its branches. -Matthew 13: 31-32

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, June 29, 2017

Changing Our Thinking

Post by: Pastor Ken Brown

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted. 18 Jesus came near and spoke to them, “I’ve received all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age. - Matthew 28: 16-20 (CEB)

One of the things I love most about our community is the capacity to change the world by changing how we think. A church attendee sent our staff-parish Relations (SPR) team a link to this Ted Talk by Dan Pallotta: The Way We Think About Charity Is Dead Wrong.

I want you to take 18 minutes and 54 seconds of your life to view it as an Independence Day assignment.

Dan Pallotta underscores radical liberation concepts regarding giving to the local church. And if you’re tired of me talking about money, you’re not alone. So am I! Yes I would be derelict in my office as a senior pastor or chief fundraising officer if I did not daringly broach the subject.
The founders of our nation had an audacious goal with the experiment we call democracy. Their persistence to craft a more perfect union can be inspirational to the church. If the American experience can change the world, imagine what we could do together if we change our thinking as Jesus followers.

Happy Independence Day and may we honor this day with our service to Christ to change the world to the glory of God.

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

Friday, June 23, 2017

Moving Closer To God

Post by: Heidi Schwandt

My family and I just closed on a new home and are in the process of selling our old. It is a mixed bag of emotions. We made the choice to move for a variety of reasons but the primary one was the result of our decision to send our girls to a Christian school. We believed strongly that is something God asked us to do.

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.  -
Proverbs 22:6 

And… the move also happened to get us much closer to the recreation we so love here in Colorado.

BUT the problem was I LOVED my existing home, I had big plans for it- hardwood floors, barn doors… the works! I just finished sanding and painting all the trim and doorways on the main floor--- by hand----by myself! I mean my blood sweat and tears went into this place. I took both my girls home from the hospital to this home, bought chickens, watched countless sunsets and flowers bloom and swore I would never leave. Plus my best friend and her kids lived 10 min. down the road.

When unloading at the new house I felt excited for our new adventure and our lovely new home…but as soon as I drove back to the old home and neighborhood I felt anxious and sad. I would miss my home and my friends (we are moving about 45 minutes away which feels like we are moving to Kansas or something!).

After several emotional phone calls to my mother about moving she finally said “you made this choice to follow what you felt God asked you to do as far as raising your children, He will provide for you – the friends you need, the right neighbors etc”

It was then that I remembered that the house, the neighborhood the friends are all gifts from God. He giveth and He taketh. And I trust that he will provide for me and my family. This is just a temporary place for us God has created an eternal home for us and, while not always easy, I am going to cast my emotions and fears aside and try to focus on that.

In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. -
John 14:2 

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. -
Hebrew 12:2 

I am a Chicago girl living in Colorado for 8 years now. I have been married to Ed for 12 years and have two beautiful children Vivian & Natalie. After spending several years working for the American Red Cross while living overseas in Germany I moved to Colorado and worked in the financial industry for 7 years. Now I have the privilege of being a stay at home mom and wife. I am mostly a homebody but will get out of the house for time on a lake or river (basically any body of water), dinner with friends or fishing! Most of my personal time is spent with my husband and kids or working on yet another one of my home improvement projects, I am a DIY junkie and have done everything from drywall to electrical and carpentry, not to mention hours of painting. I have been a member of BUMC for about 2 years and a follower of Christ for as long as I can remember. It’s been a blessed life thus far and I’m excited to see what else God has in store for me.