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.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Wise Guys

Post by: Mwangi Ndonga

A while back I was part of a men’s small group that was studying Proverbs. As you may know, Proverbs is a collection of lessons or pieces of advice that when understood and enacted promote wisdom. You will find that almost all cultures have some form of proverbs that distill wisdom from the wise (old) to the na├»ve (young). Being the wise guys that we were (or thought we were) it was obvious that we had enough wisdom ourselves to add several pages to this Book. If you use an NIV Bible, you’ll see that a lot of proverbs begin with the words “My son…”.

We pondered whether the advisor - let’s assume a father - giving advice to his son had erred often in his life in order to give such good advice. After all, aren’t some of the best lessons you’ve learned come from some very bad choices? If we go with that logic, truly how many of the proverbs that are communicated to the son will be heeded? How many lessons just have to be learned through experience?

Friend, the trajectory of your faith journey has been re-directed every time your conscience is challenged. In regards to sin, Paul says “Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law.” (Romans 7:7) So, the Bible provides us with a myriad of proverbs that, most likely, none of us can heed in their entirety. However, without such guidance, we would have no reference as to what is holy and unholy.

Which proverbs or laws should I focus on to gain the most wisdom?

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and will all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34-40).

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.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Power of Vision

Post by: Thomas Cross

In the June 4 edition of The Denver Post, two articles attracted my attention. The first is a front-page article which chronicles the rise of LoDo; the second is an article in the business section which chronicled the slow decline of Sears.

In the 1980’s, Lower Downtown was a neighborhood with only 200 residents and very little business activity – it was a neighborhood most people avoided. A few brave souls began investing in the area, and Mayor Federico Pena caught their vision for what the neighborhood could become. He worked hard to lure professional baseball to Denver, and he lobbied for the new stadium to be located at 20th and Blake, on a site next to the railyard surrounded by old warehouses. Mayor Pena believed that a downtown baseball stadium would jump-start development in the neighborhood. He was right.

Mayor Pena’s other notable project was a new airport for Denver. His vision for a new airport was grounded on his vision for a city which would grow into a regional business center with flights to cities around the world. The location he chose for DIA seemed remote, to say the least, and many people questioned the need for a new airport. Both projects required taxpayer funding, and Mayor Pena had to sell his visions for the ballpark and the airport to a wide constituency.

At the time these projects were brewing, I lived in Salt Lake City, but I thought both of them were unnecessary and extravagant. Mile High stadium had the capacity to house both football and baseball, so why build Coors Field? Likewise, Stapleton accommodated Denver’s air travel needs adequately, and some of the terminals were relatively new, so why waste money of a new facility?

Twenty-five years later, LoDo is a thriving residential neighborhood with many attractions, including the newly restored Union Station, which is the hub for the region’s multifaceted transportation system. Thousands live in LoDo, and tens of thousands visit every week to enjoy the baseball and the area’s great restaurants. LoDo is beautiful and liveable, with grocery stores, condos, and apartments.

What was once Stapleton Airport is now a thriving mature neighborhood, with tree-lined streets and a wide variety of stores, parks, and restaurants. Denver International Airport is an architectural attraction with a top-notch hotel, the nation’s best airport restaurants, and a light-rail station. Air travel through DIA is nearing the facility’s capacity, which will necessitate a remodeling project to facilitate faster check-ins and security screenings.

The area around the airport is taking shape into a thriving business center, and will soon be home to the Gaylord destination hotel complex.

Denver now has the lowest unemployment rate of any major U.S. city, and people are flocking to the metro are area to work and enjoy the area’s geographical and cultural amenities. One of those amenities, Coors Field, is a delightful place to spend a mild summer evening. Even when the Rockies have a bad game, the view is wonderful, and bad games are becoming pretty rare.

The transformation of Denver has its roots in the vision of a few people who were considered a little bit “out there” when they first discussed their dreams. The vision caught fire and many people were willing to invest in it. While some of us had questions, we cannot argue with Jesus’ old adage, “Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children” (Luke 7:35).

The story of Sears provides a strong contrast. Sears has suffered a long, slow decline with leaders who lacked vision and failed to invest in the property and brands the chain enjoyed. If you can even find a Sears store anymore, it is a discouraging experience to visit it. What you will find is a dated, poorly-maintained store with spotty inventory and service. Many Millennials have never set foot in a Sears. The story of Sears illustrates another biblical proverb, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained…” (Proverbs 29:18a). With no focus, the executives at Sears have experimented with numerous concepts, but committed to none. The result is a hodgepodge of ugly, unappealing, unpopulated stores.

My conservative temperament makes me cautious in embracing new visions. When something is working well, as Stapleton Airport was 30 years ago, it is hard for me to get excited about an expensive replacement. But the future belongs to visionaries who can see ahead and paint a picture of what can take shape three decades hence. In a dynamic world, change will happen. If that change is not guided by vision, the result will be entropy, as Sears so aptly illustrates.

In all honesty, the great biblical leaders were visionaries, from Joseph with his vision for provision in time of famine, to Moses with his vision for a “land flowing with milk and honey,” to the prophets for their vision of the Peaceable Kingdom. What vision has the Holy Spirit implanted in you? Have you shared your vision with anyone? Have you embraced the visions of other people? Are you willing to take some risks to see a new future unfold? I’m not sure that “fortune favors the bold,” but I have a suspicion God does favor the visionaries.

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! 

Friday, June 2, 2017

A Mother's Love

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to hear Bishop Karen Oliveto preach at a local church. It was one of those sermons that just sticks with me, centers me, helps me to deeply reflect on how my day to day life is either a reflection of me as someone who is Christ-like OR, on the other side, a big fear of mine- someone who says they are a Christian but acts nothing like Christ himself did.

Before the sermon began, someone read a poem titled Pink and Blue. It’s one of those poems that has such deep imagery that it makes me feel like an artist. I can’t read it without getting lost in the words and the meaning. Here’s the “Cliffnotes” version (but seriously, do read it): our tendency as humans is to create this very specific image of God as a powerful father. For me, the image is the merging of Santa combined with Zeus. There is a tenderness and jollyness to him, yet also this powerful authoritative stance. But the poem describes a God who isn’t so categorical. His love is beyond our true comprehension, so to bind that as a “fatherly” love and to disregard the “motherly” love is to only capture part of who God is. His ability to provide motherly love is a huge part of who he is.

I need this love. We need this love.

Listen, there’s times when the love of a father sounds just perfect. The strong, protective father who would do anything to provide what his child needs. But it isn’t complete. We need to rely on the unconditional love from God that we, on earth, typically regard as “motherly” love. The tender hugs, the scratch my back until I fall asleep, the lending of an ear, the wipe away my tears kind of love.

The poem ends in this amazing way:

God our Mother, believing in us. That’s what a mother does: she looks into your eyes
and she says, I believe in you. I know you. I know you were made for great things. A
mother says, you’re not too small or too scared. You’re not too frail or too flawed. You’re
mine. And that’s all you need to know.

God our Mother whispers to each one of us ‘You’re mine. And that’s all you need to know.’ ”

We all wish we could have some love from our mother sometimes. And while I believe that most mothers would love to be there for their child always, we know that distance, death, and division often make that love hard to feel. That’s the amazing thing about God- when relationships here aren’t what we need them to be, his love is always there. As our father when we need it- and as our mother when we need that even more.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:37-39

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.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

I am ___________. I can _________.

You don't have to look very far to find suffering in the world. Tsunamis of information hit us every time we look at our phones. These days we all carry with us a lot of emotional weight. At times the weight is more than we can bear. 

As we do our best to relieve the suffering that is closest to us, caring for a sick family member, serving our neighbors, volunteering in our communities, we may feel like we don't have much left with which to relieve the suffering in the world. 

It's not important that we make a huge effort to change the world and its suffering. It is important and absolutely necessary that we make any effort at all. So often our idea of a worthy effort stops us before we even get started. If we can't do enough, then we choose to do nothing. This is a mistake.

Suffering in the world isn't relieved by big splash efforts alone. Suffering in the world is relieved with one small meaningful effort at a time, made by millions of ordinary people on a daily basis. People willing to admit that they don't have a lot, but what they have they will let go of. If they have a little bit of time, they don't hold onto it, they let go of it by giving that little bit of time to an organization that needs it. If they have a little bit of money, they don't hold onto it, they let go of it, by giving what they can when they can. And if all they have are good thoughts and prayers, they dedicate themselves to these things. 

Let's not wait until we have more time. Let's not wait until we have more money. Let's not wait until we have more energy. Let's join together as ordinary people, doing ordinary things, to end the suffering right in front of us today. Let us start in our homes, in our cities, and then go out into all the world, one small effort at a time. 

My next step is to be more attentive to the need and suffering of my next door neighbors. 
How can I relieve their suffering and add to their happiness? How can I express the love of Jesus. I don't need to take extraordinary measures so all the other neighbors will see how good I am. It's not about me. I just need to knock on the door. 

I am an ordinary person. I can knock on my neighbor's door. 

What's your next step? Start by finishing these statements:

I am ___________________. I can __________________.

Theresa is a youth advocate, writer and speaker, as well as the Outreach Director for El Porvenir, an organization partnering with rural Nicaraguans 
on clean water, sanitation, and reforestation projects. She sings with BUMC's worship team and is married to Worship Arts Director, Joe Mazza. Check out more from Theresa at

Friday, May 19, 2017

Trust Your Gut

Post by: Elliot Holm 

Nowadays, people get their news, information, and even advice from so many different places. So many people treat the Internet, their favorite blogs, and magazines as their decision-makers, which can make for a confusing, and difficult way to go through life. Then you've got the "trust your gut" people. These are the people who use their first impulse as their primary decision-maker. They get themselves into a situation and immediately say to themselves, "What's the first thing I can think of to handle this? Go with that." I'm definitely one of those people very often, and I don't stop to analyze situations before I act. I'm sure we've all been there before, and for some of us, it's gotten us into trouble.

I, of course, always have to relate all of my stories to my teaching job, because I learn so many things from my work with my students. One of my latest lessons, I just had to do with my Seniors, who I'm about to say goodbye to on Friday, so they got me thinking. I was doing a lesson on getting a job and keeping one, and how to go about those things. The author who I'm using for my book study talked about starting a new job and using the powers of observation to learn how to fit in for different office environments; like how to dress, how to talk, how long of lunches you can take, etc. The author said one of the worst things you can do in this instance is to trust your gut before observing what's going on around you. This can get you into all kinds of trouble, when you're new to a job and treat every day like casual Friday while you take 3 hour lunches!

This lesson got me thinking, though, that there must be so many other places you can apply this kind of logic. I began thinking about the lessons I learn at BUMC, and how I don't use the lessons as much as I should. We often use church as a sort of "refueling" process to get set for our week, and go into Monday and beyond with the voice of the Holy Spirit in the forefront of our heads. But as the week goes on, sometimes the voice gets replaced by responsibilities, burdens, and fatigue. That's when our "thinking with my gut" tends to kick in. We forget about the patience, kindness, and compassion we should be showing others by slowing down and listening to our voice, and instead replace it with the quick thinking, fast wit, and decisiveness that the 21st century has come to demand of us.

Now, I'm not saying that trusting your gut doesn't have a place in the world; I've also made some decisions I'm very proud of, that I attribute to going with my first instinct. What I'm saying is this part of life is always about balance. As often as you can, step back, observe what's going on around you before you act on all your impulses, and think back to all the lessons you learn on Sundays, and use those lessons to guide you through your week. I'll be right there with you, doing my best to do the same. 

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.

Monday, May 15, 2017

How do you share your faith?

Post by: Reid Lester

Some Christians are comfortable directly sharing their faith with anyone they meet.  Some try to live their life as an example.  Some are nervous to talk about faith in any way or even bring friends or family to church.   I think each of us has a different comfort level when it comes to how we witness regarding our faith.  I’ve been thinking about how Jesus recruited his disciples and what might have been going through the minds of the disciples as they abandoned their livelihoods to follow Jesus.  Was it scary to leave their jobs and hometowns?  Was it exciting to support Jesus as He shared His message?

And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.  Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Matthew 4:18-20

Every time I hear this verse I can’t help but laugh a little bit.  Pastor Ken joked about our new fly-fishing small group becoming “fishers of fish.”  This has become the mantra of our Living Water Fly-Fishing group.  As we spend time out on the water enjoying the beauty of God’s creation and fellowship with each other, it seems so easy to talk about our faith.  I don’t know why it comes so naturally.  Maybe it’s because we are away from our daily lives.  Maybe it’s because we have a great group of people.  Maybe fishing is a tangible reminder of when Jesus asked the disciples to leave their lives as fishermen and everything they knew to become His followers.

As the summer begins and we try to get out on the water more often, my hope is in addition to the exciting fishing and fun fellowship, this group will lead more people to openly share their faith with family and friends.  We may start out as fishers of fish, but our goal is to follow Jesus and become fishers of men.

If you would like to join the Living Water Fly-Fishing small group, email Reid at

Reid Lester is the Director of Servant Ministries at Broomfield United Methodist Church.  Reid’s job is to help people find ways to serve our Church and the community through our Church Ministries and our Community Partnerships.  Reid and his wife RuthAnn have been attending BUMC for 2 years.  When Reid isn’t at BUMC he serves as a pilot for the Civil Air Patrol.  Reid also umpires Division 1 baseball for the NCAA.