Thursday, August 18, 2016

Listening to God

Post by: Heidi Schwandt

I have a friend and neighbor who has a gift. He has always had very vivid dreams about things to come. Many of these dreams were about things he has been praying over for days, weeks, months. His wife encouraged him to start writing these dreams down years ago.

Over the last 4 years the company he works at has been laying people off. Praying that God would help them make it through yet another round they nervously escaped the cut time after time. This last year my friend had a dream and kept seeing the number 60. Not sure what this meant he wrote down the dream and kept on praying and waiting. This year was his 60th birthday and he was laid off.

His wife is crazy jealous of these dreams. She always says she would just LOVE to be able to hear from the Lord in such a manner! ME TOO! I think most of us would love to just dream an answer to a prayer or hear the Lord's voice like a resounding gong in our heads and hearts. God spoke to people in the bible all the time. I don’t think He just stopped…maybe we lost the ability to hear Him.

Today it seems we are often too busy. We are so focused on the day ahead of us, what happened yesterday, what we are going to do tomorrow I believe it is becoming harder and harder for us to hear God when he speaks to us. So do I think we need to stop, meditate, listen, pray be still for hours every week- well sure if you can! But I have 2 kids under the age of 4 so that’s not happening in my household…unless I stop sleeping.

I think that listening for God can be as simply as living our lives with more intentionality and awareness each day. We can start by praying each morning that He pings our self-consciousness when we need to listen and work towards being aware enough to notice. We are going to need God’s help in this. In fact, I have learned we need God’s help in most all areas of self-improvement.

In Psalm 143 David Prays, “I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Answer me quickly, O Lord: my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of our unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go for to you I lift of my soul. Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in you. Teach me to do your will for you are my God’ may your good Spirit lead me on level ground”

Last week I had a babysitter for a few short hours while I ran to the Doctor and squeezed in a few errands. I had to make a return at JAX and was running out of time. I parked, hoped out of the car and bee-lined for the door. For a brief moment I noticed an older man park a bike with a large basket in front of the store. He wasn’t dressed in dirty old rags or anything, but as I walked up I noticed he was heading for the garbage bin outside of the store. He had just seen a woman throw away a plate of half eaten food and was rummaging through the bin. When I approach he quickly turned away from what he was doing.

In that moment I was so focused on getting my returns done, I noticed all this but I didn’t SEE what was happening... Plus if he was hungry I didn’t have anything for him anyways, no cash or food. So, I raced past him into the store and made my return. While waiting for the cashier in the store it really dawned on me what he was doing. I suddenly SAW more than just an old man with his bike, looking through the garbage. I SAW a person, who was hungry, ashamed, in need.

Then as I went to collect my receipt I noticed two granola bars and an apple in my purse. REALLY?! Sorry Lord, I just wasn’t paying enough attention. It wasn’t a BIG moment, God wasn’t telling me that the world was going to end or something terrible would happen to one of my children, but he was giving me the opportunity to listen to Him and serve one of His own. And I missed it. And sometimes I think the little moments can make a BIG difference if only we are listening enough to notice them. If only we took the time each morning to ask God, like David did, to show us the way, to speak to us, to lead us.

By the time I got back outside the gentleman was gone. I quickly hoped in the car and drove around the surrounding area for a few minutes hoping I could find him but I could not. This happened 2 weeks ago and the incident has crossed my mind many times since then.

I think God often speaks to use by giving us these opportunities to love one another. To help a complete stranger, to act with Grace and kindness when it is least expected. Maybe you have a granola bar to give, maybe it’s $5 bucks, maybe its your time, your prayers. Whatever it may be the first step is to stop and pray. Pray that God gives you the awareness to HEAR Him, however quiet the whisper, and the courage to act. That nagging voice in the back of your head isn’t just your mother reminding you to do or be something…Sometimes it’s your Father (the heavenly one).


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.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Power of Begging (For Forgiveness)

Like many of my blog posts, this one is, yet again, about how I use church in my daily life, particularly at work. In my high school class, I frequently find myself utilizing the knowledge in sermons, speeches, and stories when I’m in my class. This one comes from a particular interaction with a student who is one of those covert difficult students. This means that he’s not the one throwing paper across the room, or getting physical, or shouting inappropriate language. Instead, this student chose his style of difficulty by giving written feedback at the bottom of assignments such as, “I felt like this was a complete waste of my time,” or by taking the unpopular opinion during debates in the class, just so he can “do battle” with other kids, even if he doesn’t even believe what he’s saying. I’m sure we’ve all met people like him at some point.

Well, a while ago, Thomas gave a wonderful sermon about not judging others, and going out of your way to care for people who you find hard to care for. The week after this sermon, I was giving an end-of-the week test to my kids. It’s a simple test where I allow them to use their journal to answer simple and silly questions, just to make sure they’ve been keeping up in class with their notes. One question comes up at the end, where the kids are required to say, “My favorite part of this class is…” and finish that sentence. Since I have smaller classes, and all the kids know each other, I asked them to say it aloud from their seat. You can probably guess how my challenging student handled this test. He ended up walking up to me, saying, “My favorite part of this class is how bureaucratic and irritating this test is.” He followed up by dramatically throwing his paper in the air, and trudging back to his seat. I’ll admit, I felt “that” anger, you know, the one where you feel your face getting warmer, and that strange feeling in your belly, like you’re ready to burst. I got up, walked over to his chair, and calmly pointed him to the door, and told him to get out of my classroom, which I had never said in his class to anyone before. Because this is a student who is usually a covert difficulty, he isn’t actually used to that kind of response.

I walked back towards my chair, but on the way, I could hear the Lord speaking in my ear. I knew exactly what He would say. “Elliott, if you hadn’t made that boy stand up in front of everyone and talk, he never would have said that.” I obviously knew that He was right, so I stopped where I was, turned around, and walked back to his desk. I got down on his level, and talked very quietly. I told the top of his head that I really didn’t like how we handled that interaction, and that I wasn’t comfortable with how it ended up. To my surprise, he looked up with eyes full of tears. I stopped talking due to my shock, as I had never seen this student show emotion before. He spoke very sheepishly and said, “I didn’t like how I handled that either, and I’m so upset with myself.” I only had one thing to say to that, because his response instantly softened my heart. I said, “Will you please accept my apology?” This, I think, is such a big thing for so many people. We throw around the word “sorry” so often, that sometimes, we don’t even think of how miniscule the things we apologize for actually are, like brushing past someone in the supermarket.

For my particular chosen student, the key to get past my difficulty with him was these simple words. They didn’t cost anything, and they didn’t degrade my character (if anything, they added to it). There is so much power in replacing your phrase “I’m sorry” with “Will you accept my apology?” especially when interacting with kids. We can never forget that even when working with the kids in our lives, no matter how difficult they can be, we always need to approach these kinds of situations with humility, and keep their feelings in mind. When they hear adults apologize to them, it teaches them a very powerful lesson, and supports their bond and trust with their parents. Please always keep your best feelings in your hearts, and a generous, loving God in your head at all times.






Elliott has been attending BUMC since 2012 with his wife, Kyla. Since attending, he has worked with technology for services, as well as camera work on Easter and Christmas, while Kyla sings. He is a high school Gifted and Talented teacher at Wheat Ridge High School, and is in his 6th year of teaching. He lives in Arvada with his wife and two dogs.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Positivity and Prayer

I am not a patient person. I really don’t like waiting; for anything. Long lines of people give me angst; interminable traffic lights make me crazy, creeping minutes in a doctor’s office drives me batty. You get the idea. Waiting is hard. That little quirk of mine has made this a somewhat difficult summer for me.

There have been various areas of my life these past weeks, where I really, really wanted, nay, needed an answer. Preferably now or even yesterday would serve my sense of sensibility. It has been super frustrating to have to sit back and let events that I have no control over unfold. I would really like to see everything just fall into place. Like, now. God has a different idea for me, however. I guess He thinks that I need to learn a little lesson in patience.

Every day I have woken up thinking, “This is the day! Today I’ll get the answer that I’ve been seeking!” Then, at the end of the day, when I don’t have my answer, I really have to fight the urge to rail, rant and bluster about the injustice of it all. It would just be so much easier if I could control the actions of other’s to suit my need for an answer. I’ve blogged about this subject before, how I have trouble dealing with things that are out of my control. I’ve been working on it, I really have, but it’s not always an easy thing.

Thesaurus.com says that the synonyms for patience are restraint, perseverance, imperturbability, and submission. It’s that last word, submission, which I think God wants me to learn. He keeps throwing up these roadblocks in my life because I have yet to truly, totally, and completely, submit to His PLAN; whatever those plans may be. Trusting in His plan means to surrender control of my plans.

I’ve been trying a new mantra. I chant to myself, in my head, “positivity and prayer, positivity and prayer”. I know in my heart of hearts that it’s right and that everything will fall into place in time. And of course, it did. When I least expected it, God did what He always does. He answered my prayer. He put the final puzzle piece into place and He showed me, once again, that submission to His will and grace will always have an amazing ending.

The Bible says, “The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still. Exodus 14:14. I’m working on that “being still” part. I really am.



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.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Quantum Faith

It’s inspiring to me when I listen to fellow Christians excitedly quote their favorite authors who ignite and guide their faith journey: C.S. Lewis, Max Lucado, Tim Keller, Rob Bell, Beth Moore; the list could take up an entire blog post. I’ve recently been inspired in faith by a name who first encountered in the seats of a college lecture hall – physicist Werner Heisenberg.

The most famous principle that carries his name essentially states that for related physical properties, knowing one with exceptional precision (say the location of a particle) comes at a cost of the precision of the related property (the same particle’s velocity or direction). Now before you stop reading, I promise the quantum physics lesson ends here. I do want to share a couple of Heisenberg’s quotes though and testify to how they’ve helped strengthen and shape my faith.

“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”

A study conducted 10 years ago of research institutions and medical facilities found that approximately 2/3 of all scientists and more than ¾ of doctors stated they believe in God. Despite those encouraging statistics, when I was studying chemistry in college it was truly difficult for me to attend church. I had grown up in the church, went to services every Sunday, could name most of the books of the Bible for memory; but suddenly a questioning attitude and a waterfall of truth in academia left my relationship with Christ short on answers and parched in thirst for truth in Him.

In hindsight I see my “college self” was sold on the idea that somehow “science truth” had to be different from “God truth”. Fortunately He revealed to me that nothing could be farther from the truth! Going through the Disciple Bible Study within our small group at BUMC opened my eyes and ignited a passion for studying scripture. Looking at how things revealed by God in Genesis would play out centuries later through the life of Jesus made the Bible an academic challenge – one I still love to test (both to myself and others) today!

“Quantum theory provides us with a striking illustration of the fact that we can fully understand a connection though we can only speak of it in images and parables.”

I know, I promised no more quantum theory, but stick with me this quote: If you replace “Quantum theory” with “Jesus”, you will find its truth and validity just the same! The documented teachings of Jesus contains dozens of parables he used to illustrate the nature of God to his audiences. How much do we as Christians still struggle today to put into understandable images the Trinitarian nature of God? What Heisenberg reminds me is that the struggle humans face to understand quantum theory is essentially the same struggle humans face to understand God’s plan for us! Therefore, isn’t it only logical that the brain functionality God gave me to comprehend wave-particle duality is the same as I should use to comprehend His very own nature?

“What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.”

Again, if we swap “nature” for “God” (something even a ‘spiritual agnostic’ might allow), we find Heisenberg has made a profound insight of how we accept God’s revelation of himself to us. Acts 17:11 says of Paul and Silas’s arrival in Berea: “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” These early Christians in Berea were practitioners in studying the Scriptures through exegesis (letting the Scriptures “lead them” to the truth. I personally have been guilty of applying eisegesis to the Bible, or “reading into” the text how I want to interpret its meaning. All too often, a single verse of scripture can be pulled out of its context and used to defend an antithetical viewpoint, not only from what the verse is actually representing, but contrary to the essence of God completely!

I’m very proud to be both a science nerd as well as a Christian strong in my faith. I have my favorite Christian authors, but Werner Heisenberg inspires both sides of this character equation. As we learn, grow, and discover more of who we are as a human race, I believe that in doing so we are actually chasing Him and therefore should equally embrace His word at the same time. We still continue to struggle with understanding our connection to God and His image within ourselves, but it’s okay because Jesus himself had to endure human struggles to be that connection. Lastly, God doesn’t want our witness of Him to be one of open interpretation and “feeling our way around our faith”. He has revealed His character to us through the prophets of the Old Testament and Jesus’s teaching here on Earth. It may not help explain quantum physics, but a scholarly study of the Bible will reveal who God truly is in the context that He wants us to know Him.

At the core it might just be the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle that reminds us to maintain balance in our lives. If we get too focused on where we are going, we’ll lose sight of where we are. If we focus too much on our jobs, our family and spiritual lives will suffer. If we get so caught up in trying to control and understand every detail, we’ll forget that God has got this and He’s making all things work together for our good, according to His plan.



Kyle Rasmussen and his family currently live in Centerville, UT and attend The Bridge Community Church. He is a Quality Control Specialist with Holly Energy Partners in the greater Salt Lake City area.

Monday, July 25, 2016

God Uses Our Hard For Good

I got to spend a few hours with a friend the other night. We hung out at her empty house, just about to be sold. We sat on the floor and ate, as we talked about her house closing that was happening a few days later and all that had led up to this day. It was very bittersweet for this friend, as the last year has been one of the hardest of her life. Just over a year ago her life took a turn that she never saw coming. To respect her privacy, just suffice it to say that I’m not sure how I’d ever get through all that she has gotten through. She really is an inspiration.

As we sat on the floor and talked for a few hours, through the laughs and the tears she had such grace. A year ago when all of the hard stuff went down, a few weeks into it I remember her telling me that her theme word as she walked through this rough season was going to be “grace”. GRACE. She had been treated poorly and the easy and very natural way to respond to it all would be resentment, anger, unforgiveness, negativity. Did she have moments of those feelings? Of course. Naturally. But she set her mind on having grace be her goal. She trusted in God in the worst of times to help her through, and to get through it being gracious.

As the night continued on, it turned out to be such a gift for me. As my friend shared story after story of how God has shown up just at the right time in the most amazing ways, we both had tears in our eyes. Her commitment to model grace was so hugely rewarded by God. She shared about little things, like when she needed a new laptop and the next thing she knew, a woman at work needed to sell hers, because she needed money. Both of them were blessed by the transaction, and my friend marveled at the perfect way that God brought all of that to be. What a blessing it was to hear her give God the glory, example after example.

As I drove home that night and reflected on the evening, I was struck with how even in the worst of times that seem like they will destroy us, God is so faithful. He is so gracious with us! We can feel like there is no way we’ll ever live through a situation, but somehow we do. Day by day. And the coolest part of that is that one day all of a sudden in the midst of the hard, if we are paying attention, we can start to see where God has been showing up all along….where God has given us the strength that we needed along the way but didn’t have on our own…..where God has crossed our lives with people who end up being hugely impactful to our journey……where God models grace and love and hope and peace through one circumstance after another…..where you realize that truly through God’s grace, the terrible time feels slightly less terrible now.

I believe that in every instance, God can use our hard for good, somehow. He creates a history of showing up in the hard so that we can look back to that during the next hard thing. While I would NEVER wish such a terrible time on anyone, my friend has such a testimony to share for God’s glory, even as she continues to walk through it.

When has God showed up to help in your “hard?” I’d love to hear your story in the comments below!

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)



Vicki Cromarty is the Family Ministry Director at BUMC. She loves getting to know families and kids and having the privilege to learn with them about God’s amazing love. Vicki and her husband, Dave, have a beautiful daughter, Lauren, who is 13-years-old. Their family also includes Sadie, the Lhasa Apso. Vicki loves spending time with her family and friends, and enjoying all that beautiful Colorado has to offer! You can contact her at vicki.cromarty@broomfieldumc.org.



Friday, July 15, 2016

Seeking God's Love in the Darkness

When starting to write this blog, I started over several times. First, it was the shooting in Orlando, FL, then there was the shooting of the Police Officers in Dallas, and then the bombings across the globe these past few weeks, and now the terrible attack in Nice, France.  I thought about what I could say. And, there was nothing I could say to take away the hurt and pain felt by our nation and the world. What I asked myself was this… What is the path that Jesus has put me on, and what can I do? And, I thought and prayed, and the answer did not come in the form of a lighting bolt or voice from the heavens, it came from the mouth of my 6-year-old son.

Overhearing the news stories I was listening to, he asked me what what was going on, and I told him (sort of). He asked why people were so mad, and I tried to explain it to him. After thinking for a bit, he looked at me and said, "all they need to do is show God’s love like Jesus tells us to and everything will be okay." Then he went back to playing with his toys. And, there it was, the path…

The prayer that I turn to in these tough times, or when I am feeling despair or overwhelmed by the evil in this world, comes from Saint Francis:


“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console,

To be understood as to understand,

To be loved as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life."


Life’s path is often difficult. So if we expect that God will always give us an easy road, we may be tempted to turn our back on Him when the terrain gets tough. If you’ve ever considered doing that, think about the people of Israel. When they were given freedom from the Egyptians after hundreds of years of bondage, they took off for the Promised Land. But God didn’t send them straight home. He “did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter” (Ex. 13:17). Instead He sent them on the hard road through the desert. In the short run, this helped them avoid wars (v. 17), but in the long run, there was something bigger at work.

God used that time in the desert to instruct and mature the people He had called to follow Him. The easy road would have led them to disaster. The long road prepared the nation of Israel for their successful entry into the Promised Land.

Our God is faithful, and we can trust Him to lead us and care for us no matter what we face. We may not understand the reason for the path we are on, but we can trust Him to help us grow in faith and maturity along the way.

My path is to try to be the light in the world, shining God’s love into the darkness, to help others see that we are all God’s Children, no matter who we are, where we have come from, what we have done, or our past.

Dave Lockley is a lifelong Methodist who has attended Broomfield UMC for the past 8 years, with his wife Jamey and children Eddie and Anabella. He has degrees in History and Education from CU Boulder and is a teacher, for the Adams 12 School District. At BUMC, he teaches classes and small groups studies on Christian History and the Bible. You can contact him at David.Lockley@colorado.edu.  

Friday, July 8, 2016

Focus

I went to motorcycle school this week. For many years I’ve wanted to get a motorcycle. My parents would probably say I wanted a motorcycle since before I could pronounce the word “motorcycle”! I decided some time ago that a smart first step would be to take a riding course. Earlier this year I finally signed up for a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Ridercourse™. Some of the elements of riding a motorcycle defy intuition, while others are common sense. One such common sense lesson I re-learned this week is, “you tend to go where your head is looking.”

As an avid mountain biker and skier, I’d learned this lesson many times. Look at that rock and you’ll tend to point the bike at the rock. Look at that snow-laden tree, and you’ll find your skis pointed toward branches and bark. During the riding portion of our motorcycle training, we were asked to perform ever more complicated tasks as we gained skills. An exercise toward the end of the course involved complicated low-speed figure-8 U-turns in a tight space, followed by a higher speed swerve to avoid an obstacle, followed by a quick stop. None of the students got it exactly right on the first try, but our instructor continued to reminded us of a lesson from our first turning exercise: “the bike will tend to go where your head is looking.”

After one unsuccessful swerve, our instructor asked me why I hit a cone. “I was looking at the cone,” I replied. He nodded and asked, “Can you fix that?” Because I knew that all I had to do was focus on where I wanted to go instead of the obstacle, I answered with a confident, “Definitely!” And I did. I completed the whole exercise without missing a point, all because I began to focus my mind and my eyes on the right things.

God knows this about us, and that’s why Paul wrote to the Philippians, “From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus youth thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8 CEB). Where your head goes, the rest of you will follow. It’s true with bikes and skis, and its true in much of the rest of life as well.

I don’t pretend to know the thoughts of the people who committed acts of violence this week in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas. This I do know: when my head is focused on excellence, truth, justice, purity, and everything that is admirable, lovely, and praiseworthy, I’m much less prone to turn toward darkness. There’s little room for anger, fear, and hate when my eyes are fixed on beauty, truth, and peace.

The problems we face in our individual lives, and in the life of our nation, are not simple. The solutions will almost certainly be multifaceted and challenging to implement. The start, however, might be as simple as recognizing where our heads are pointed. So, where is your head pointed? Where are your eyes looking? On what are you focusing your thoughts? Pay attention, or you might run into a rock, or a tree, or something much darker…

8 From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise. -Philippians 4:8 (CEB) 



Mike is the Director of Student Ministries at BUMC. He’s done ministry with students in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, California, and now Colorado. Mike recently finished his MDiv degree at Fuller Theological Seminary, and his passion is to lead kids of all ages toward adoption into the family of God. If he’s not hanging out with Middle School or High School students, you’ll probably find him on a bicycle or on skis. He makes killer chocolate chip cookies. Reach him at mike.orr@broomfieldumc.org