Wednesday, December 25, 2013

So This Is Christmas

Merry Christmas! By now, if you’re taking the time to pause and read this post, any early morning excitement has slowed down and maybe you’re relaxing and enjoying a glass of that wine you bought for your guests (if that doesn’t make sense, check out Ken’s sermon from the 22nd and you’ll get it).

Last night’s services were a holy, mysterious and wonderful celebration of Christ’s birth. Christmas Eve services are my favorite of the year - I’m not much of a morning person so Easter is always a little bit of a challenge. But something about spending the whole afternoon all the way through to midnight in worship of the Savior Child Jesus, in different liturgical styles, renews my spirit like no other day of the year. When I walk out of the church building at midnight, I’m both ridiculously tired and fully refreshed.

Last week, a friend of mine posted this on Facebook:

"I'm astounded Christmas is right around the corner. Can't I just add in an extra week of festivities? Pretty please? I want more tree-lightings and pageants and dressing up in sparkly clothes and people being extra nice to one another, all of it…”

I immediately related to her feelings. Well, except the sparkly clothes part. But no matter how hard I try, it always feels like all of a sudden Christmas Eve is here and I feel like I’ve missed it. I try to catch up on every devotional guide to Advent, say a couple of extra prayers, and even binge-watch Christmas movies to squeeze every last drop of this season. But then I remember something. Christmas isn’t just today. It merely starts today. While most of the world will move on to New Year’s Eve and resolutions and 2014, we get to stay in Christmas. For as long as we want. Everything leading up to this has just been preparation. NOW it’s Christmas. All of those things my friend and I fear are over too quickly don’t have to be.

So before this day winds down and before we give in to the urge to get to 2014 and new things, commit with me to celebrate the season of Christmas for as long as we can. Let’s take the hope we felt last night during worship and make it a permanent part of who we are. You never know, it might just catch on.






Joe Mazza is the Director of Worship Arts at BUMC. You can contact Joe here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Simplicity in a Cup

by Sara Godwin

We are now smack dab in the middle of a time of year when people start to get a little nutty. Almost everyone is in a frenzy of buying, shopping, cooking, decorating and trying to be “merry.” We hear stories of people engaging in fisticuffs over the latest electronic gadget, of individuals standing in a line for hours, days even, in frigid temperatures in an attempt to be one of the few who will purchase an item of some sort, many even foregoing the celebration of Thanksgiving in order to do so. Everyone has a party to go to, a children’s play to attend, one last person’s house to visit, so that they can bestow cheer and merriness upon each other; all in the name of Christmas. What we seem to forget to do is slow down. When do we take time to stop and smell the proverbial flower? When do we take pleasure in the little things?

I have found my way of smelling that flower, through coffee cups.

Coffee cups? What do coffee cups have to do with Christmas? How can they possibly help me stop and take notice of the little things? Well, every morning I deliberately set my alarm 30 minutes earlier than the rest of the household. I go to the kitchen, open my cupboard door and I ponder. I look at my 27 coffee cups and make a crucial (to me at least) decision, “Which cup to drink out of today?” Each cup in that cupboard represents something to me:  a treasured memory of a day spent with my children, a great trip that I took, a funny story about where the cup came from, and even a very special memento from my childhood.

I have a cup that my daughter painted for me when she was two years old. It has “tea time” written on it and scribbles all over it. Tea parties were the epitome of fun when she was two. I have the cup from the fun trip we took to Corn Palace in South Dakota; sipping from that cup brings back the great memories of a crazy road trip. Another cup that has a hand-drawn canoe and whale on it brings back the memories of a silly picture that my dad would draw on my belly when I was little. One cup is a hand thrown pottery cup that is squashed. The man who made it didn’t want to sell it, but his story about how it became squashed was so funny that I just had to buy it from him.


The point is that for thirty minutes each morning, I am able to reminisce, think, ponder, and be joyful. It’s my time to reflect and thank God for the thousands of blessings that He has bestowed upon me. It is my stolen moment to remember not to get sucked into the craziness of the season. Through my coffee cups I can remember wonderful trips, friends that I have made, and silly things that my children have done.  Each one of those cups has a story, a memory, a proverbial flower to smell. They are my way of slowing down.

Taking a moment for YOU is crucial, at all times of the year, but, perhaps, maybe a bit more important now, when those moments are at a premium.

What is your coffee cup? Take a moment to find one, and then sip from it every day.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalms 34:8





Sara Godwin is the Assistant Director and Teacher at Apple Tree Christian Preschool and Kindergarten. She has two wonderful children, Rachel and Ian, a loving husband, Shawn, two awesome kitties, Stanley and Lucy, and a sweet dog, Minnie. She has been a member of BUMC for 10 years. 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.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Faith Through Trials

by Sue Morin

My tombstone should read, “So many books, so little time.” I love to read works by Christian thinkers: Thomas Merton, Charles Spurgeon, C.S. Lewis, A. W. Tozer, Dietrich Bonhoffer, Oswald Chambers, Amy Carmichael, Elisabeth Elliot, to name a few. They teach, challenge and encourage me in  Christian living and they all talk about the blessings of trials--not what a believer exactly wants to hear!

The last year has been filled with health trials. Last Thanksgiving started rounds of doctor visits and tests for my husband's different medical conditions. Some days were hard to endure, as I feared the worst and worried about how to explain it all to our kids, including two middle-schoolers. How could I support him emotionally? How would our family carry on during a prolonged illness? What if there was no healing?  I struggled with God over these questions every day during my prayer time, at work, and doing stuff around the house. It seemed like there was no answer, but I kept praying.

In early February, my husband had a major heart attack, which was complicated by his other health issues. Sitting in the ER with the hospital chaplain, my fear rose to a new level. Who else could I turn to but God? Jesus graciously took my fear and showed up through the people he sent my way: my sister-in-law, “coincidentally” newly retired, who got on the next plane from Massachusetts; an old friend from youth soccer who “happened” to be working as an ICU nurse that day; the parent of one of my daughter's friends, performing surgery at the hospital that day, who came to offer support; BUMC chaplain who “chanced” to be on the same hospital elevator; respiratory therapist who shared a Bible Study group with me many years ago; Sarah Holstein from BUMC Youth Group who called to offer rides for my girls; my best friend who showed up on my doorstep with an amazing home-cooked meal; and our extended families who prayed and posted via a Facebook family page.

When my husband had another heart attack and surgery last month, I was able to go through it, confident that God was taking care of us.

My story is not unique. Any given Sunday, everyone in the sanctuary has undergone, or continues to undergo, trials of all kinds. We are a community of witnesses of God's love that transforms us through really difficult situations. Discouragement and fear CAN be replaced by peace and faith that can “conquer impossibilities.”

Charles Spurgeon said it so eloquently:

You could not have believed your own weakness had you not been compelled to pass through the rivers;   and you would never have known God's strength had you not been supported amid the water-floods.       Faith increases in solidity, assurance, and intensity, the more it is exercised with tribulation. Faith is precious, and its trial is precious too.

Let not this, however, discourage those who are young in faith. You will have trials enough without seeking them: the full portion will be measured out to you in due season. Meanwhile, if you cannot yet claim the result of long experience, thank God for what grace you have; praise Him for that degree of holy confidence where unto you have attained: walk according to that rule, and you shall yet have more and more of the blessing of God, till your faith shall remove mountains and conquer impossibilities. (Morning Devotional 11/12; spurgeon.org/daily.htm)

 Pastor Ken called my husband “the Miracle Man”, but I think there was another miracle, a fundamental change in my core. I agree with Oswald Chambers who said, “You will never cease to be the most amazed person on earth at what God has done for you on the inside,” (My Utmost for His Highest).

We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! (Romans 5:3-5, The Message)







Sue Morin has been a part of the BUMC community since moving to Broomfield in 1997. She splits her time between work and keeping up with two teenagers at home who have recently taught her all about "Not So Silent Night" and "Snapchat."


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Am I Relevant?

by Shereen Fink

Recently I was listening to an interview and the question, “Am I relevant?” came from a current pop star.  The question stopped me in the middle of what I was doing (because I multi-task a lot with the TV on) and made me reflect on the answer.  Here was a beautiful young woman, whom we all presume would be happier than ourselves because on the surface she has it all: fame, money, and people literally falling over each other to hear her sing.  Yet, she wondered (out loud even) whether she was relevant.

I was so intrigued by this that it kept coming to mind for days.  We all want to feel we are relevant; that our being here means something in the “big picture.”  But it seems being relevant means different things to different people. This pop star had what others felt would bring relevance to one’s life, yet she still seemed to be seeking relevance. 

I spent several days pondering what might bring us the feeling of relevance – thinking of how we spend our time and money; what we do, how we act – actions that might reflect our personal belief of what makes us relevant.  Finally, a situation in my own life gave me the “aha moment” that I believe demonstrates a universal meaning of a relevant life.

My mother is in home hospice care.  The hospice caregivers have told us she is transitioning to end of life.  Several weeks ago, she took a turn downward – meaning, she talks less frequently, eats minimally and frequently drifts into a state of deep thought.  When this time occurred, our family reached out to distant family members and lifelong friends to let them know the end may be near.  We let them know that if they had a desire to see my mother while she is still able to hold a conversation, then now might be a good time.

This has prompted many to come and visit.  Family and friends are showing up to share a lifetime of experiences and memories with my mother.  With each visit my mother’s spirits lift.  Sometimes she finds enough strength to get out of bed and join her visitors at the table.  During these visits there are moments she seems a bit more alert and even surprises us by breaking out in laughter over joyous memories.

My mother’s underlying health situation hasn’t changed.  She is still transitioning to the end of this journey here on earth and preparing for Jesus to come and take her hand and lead her to God’s promise of His Kingdom.  But what has changed is her experience while here.  What has changed is her joy of these remaining days through being present with those she loves.

Seeing this difference in my mother’s experience made me think about the true answer to the question, “Am I relevant?”  Isn’t it about relationships? Isn’t it about being present in another person’s life? Isn’t it about believing you matter to someone else?  Isn’t it about knowing that if you don’t show up (to work, to church, to a family gathering) that someone will notice and take action to find out if you’re okay?

Isn’t feeling relevant knowing you have a purpose for being here; for living your life? And, isn’t being relevant about facing the end of your life here by spending time with those who have been on the journey with you; to know you mattered to their lives as much as they mattered to yours?

My prayer for each of you is that you know you matter.  Each of you has relevance: to the world, to your friends, to your loved ones, and most importantly, to our Creator God.

God bless you in this season of God’s evidence that he loved those of us in this world so much that he gave his only Son to us to show us that we are relevant.


“To the world you are one person; to one person you are the world.”



Shereen Fink is the Director of Servant Ministries at Broomfield United Methodist Church. In her role she has developed a comprehensive ministry, curriculum and community service network designed to guide individuals to live purposeful lives through recognition and application of their God-given strengths.  She combines her education in business management, certification in Positive Psychology coaching and extensive self-study in theology with life experiences from years in corporate environments to provide a holistic view of God's meaning and purpose for our lives.  She is the author of a daily devotional book: God's Transformation for Our Lives and a devotional meditation CD. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Creativity Unleashed

by Sarah Holstein

As I think about what I am thankful for this season, a small group of middle school and high school girls comes to mind. Over the summer, I discovered that active in the BUMC youth group were several girls interested in writing fiction. I was excited by their passion, and wanted to encourage it as much as possible, so we started a writing club. It meets on Wednesday nights during the school year.

At first, we spent our time doing writing exercises together, and reading and commenting on short stories written by the members of the group. As October came to a close though, the girls told me of an exciting thing happening in November. I learned that November is National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo). NaNoWriMo is a program for writers across the country, with a goal of writing 50,000 words during the month of November, and the girls were excited to give it a try.

As we’ve worked together to write novels, I’ve been so impressed with their commitment to creativity. They have piles of homework, participate in organized sports, make time for their friends, are actively involved in youth group, and somehow fit in the time to write creatively. Their hard work has inspired me to think about why creativity is so important to them, and to me.

I do not think it is a coincidence that a major mention of creativity in the Bible comes in Exodus, when the Israelites are working to build the tabernacle, or dwelling place for the Lord. Exodus 35 describes the community coming together with leathers, yearns, and precious metals so that God might have a fit dwelling place, even while his people are in exile. The Israelites valued the skills of those who were creative, and could make a place for connection with God. I think there is something about creativity that allows us to connect with our creator, and I’ve witnessed it in these students.


I think that fiction allows us to explore truths of the world, through the “lies” of a made up world. I’ve seen these girls exploring truths about: good and evil, relationships, reality, love, memory, friendships, choice, free will, and the importance of human connection. I’ve been blown away by the insights they share with me in their fiction, and by how clearly I can see the influence of their faith in their writing. Though they may not be writing books about theological topics, I’ve seen that, in coming together to write fiction, they have made a space for connection with the Lord. 



Sarah Holstein works with Dave Johnson and the youth program at BUMC. She has worked with the youth for four years, and enjoys acting silly with middle schoolers, having fun with high schoolers, and watching them discover the transformational power of God’s love in their lives. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Long Distance Dividends

by Kyle Rasmussen

We’ve all heard it: “Think globally, act locally.” We’ve all thought about it, probably overthought about it. If it’s what BUMC was thinking about back in 2011 when the congregation was blessed with complimentary copies of the NRSV Bible, I was blessed to see the concept pay its global dividends to perfection.

My wife Jennifer and I brought home our complimentary copy from BUMC back in 2011. However, since we both had our own personal versions from the 1980s (hard covered, sporting a little duct tape here and there), our complimentary BUMC copy spent the better part of two years, well, somewhere. When beginning to pack for our mission trip in India last summer, I happened to find our “BUMC Bible” on Jenn’s nightstand. Being soft-covered and lighter weight than both of our personal copies (and in the interest of saving space), we agreed that we would share this Bible between the two of us during our trip.

One of the craft projects we did with both the kids and adults we met in India was to make “salvation bracelets” containing five colored beads to remind us of the elements of our relationship with God. There are Bible passages associated with each color, which (to make readily available during the craft project) we tabbed and highlighted in our “joint” copy proudly bearing a BUMC sticker on the cover. These verses are considered to be some of the most essential to Christianity such as Romans 3:23 (For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.), Romans 5:8 (But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.) and John 1:12 (Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God).

During our time in Palakollu, the entire team shared testimony to native church congregations, as well as a meeting of local church planters. Both Jenn and I used our “BUMC Bible” to share some of our favorite verses alongside our personal experiences and faith journey stories. After the church planters meeting, I thought that our companion Bible had completed its overseas role and was ready to journey back halfway around the world to Colorado. But as Isaiah 55:8 states, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways.” God’s plan had been set in motion back in 2011 and it didn’t include that NRSV Bible coming back to Broomfield…


Our last day in India began with a 6 AM train out of Vijayawada for a 7 hour ride to our departure city of Chennai. Kevin White, founder of Global Hope India, and Revo Ocabirt, the photo/video journalist for GHI had taken seats next to an Indian gentleman in the row behind and across the aisle from my seat. Well, Revo wanted to video interview team members (check out the “Reaching India” video on globalhopeindia.org), Kevin wanted to schmooze, and Jenn wanted a native to artistically apply a henna tattoo on her arm…so I gave up my seat and found myself sitting next to the aforementioned gentleman for a while. I don’t remember us exchanging any words; I spent most of the time playing songs on the borrowed acoustic guitar I soon had to return at our station stop in Ongole. He did seem very interested though in the dialogue being exchanged between our team members.

After a while we were back in our original seats and I noticed that Kevin and the Indian gentleman had struck up a conversation. I was focusing on the writing I was doing in my journal, often interrupted by long, hypnotic stares out the window of our train into the Indian countryside. Suddenly from behind and to my right I hear Kevin (in his North Carolina drawl) ask, “Hey Jenn and Kyle: do y’all have a Bible that you’re not attached to?”

God’s plan: put the “BUMC Bible” into the hands of a new believer riding on a train from Vijayawada to Chennai. 

All the pieces fit together perfectly: put this man, stirring with questions about Jesus and Christianity next to a passionate believer (Kevin) with plenty of answers; have a Bible close by that just happened to have some of the most meaningful versus about being a believer pre-tabbed and highlighted weeks earlier 9,000 miles away; have this Bible conveniently close-by as I began to pack my bags for India; and most importantly, have me accept this gift from my local church home two years before that.

Of course a big factor in this story is that this native Indian read and spoke English. Most natives in the state of Andhra Pradesh where we visited speak Telugu. We had the privilege to bless some of these believers with their own Telugu Bible. 

Although my “BUMC Bible” story is powerful, I consider it immensely more moving that during an evening church service, a grown man openly wept as I presented him with his gift of a Telugu Bible. 

These native-language Bibles are purchased from Indian publishers for only $3 each. But considering that $3 is approximately the average daily wage for a laborer who spends 12-14 hours working each day, one can easily understand the weight and magnitude of such a gift.




Our team who traveled all the way from BUMC 2 India is hosting our second annual craft fair
on Saturday November 30th in the Family Life Center to raise funds for more Telugu Bibles for GHI and their overseas mission partners. We have dozens of amazing local vendors (did I mention it’s “Small Business Saturday” as well?), many of whom are BUMC members, who are supporting our mission by being present as vendors. I invite you to support them by coming to shop, support GHI by enjoying food and refreshments (which will also benefit TraffickStop), and TRULY live out the vision to “Think globally, act locally.” 


       


Kyle Rasmussen is one of six BUMC members who traveled to India in August 2013.  He and his wife, Jennifer are both active in the children's and music ministries at BUMC.  Their mission team (BUMC 2 India) is raising funds for Global Hope India and their mission partners overseas, and is excited for future India mission teams representing BUMC.  Kyle and Jenn have two kids, Blake and Noellyn, and both own their own creative businesses.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Running the Race Set Before Us

by Kyle Denny

Growing up, my mom would head out the door before sunrise for a jog and return about the time I began pouring a bowl of cereal. In high school I would sarcastically say to her, “Why don’t you just drive?”  Nearly 15 years later, I ended up lining up for the Denver Marathon with my mother by my side. We ran together that day - sharing stories and talking about our lives - as she helped me reach my goal of a sub-5 hour marathon. 

We crossed the finish line in 4:58:14.

Running has brought so many positive things into my life - including a closer relationship with God - and I wanted to find a way to share it with others. 

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”  - Hebrews 12:1

After many failed attempts at blogging, I came across “Run For God - The 5k Challenge,” in the back pages of Runners’ World magazine. Suddenly I had found the inspiration I was looking for: the course is a 12-week training program aimed at running a 5K while maintaining a Christian focus.

Run For God is for all abilities. The class is very conversational and the workouts progress in a matter that is attainable for any level. The first week starts with alternating 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes. Each workout starts with a 5-minute warm-up and cool-down. By the final week the class is churning out 30 minutes of running.

This year in class, we covered inspirational stories such as the amazing story of Team Hoyt - a father and son who compete together in marathons and triathlons with Rick Hoyt pushing his son with cerebral palsy in a wheelchair. We also covered running tips from advice on picking out shoes and what Christian music to put on one’s iPod, to race etiquette. There are a number of inspirational and fun YouTube videos we included throughout class for some added inspiration.

The most enjoyable part was sharing stories with each other about our weekly runs.

What kept me so excited about the course is how it explains the parallels between an endurance sport and the endurance that faith requires. As a believer and runner, I find many references in the Bible relating to journeys of exhaustion, pain and dedication one will experience in life.

“…but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength;  they will soar on wings like eagles;  they will run and not grow weary;  they will walk and not faint.”  - Isaiah 40:31

The second Run For God small group held its race finale last Sunday at “The Great Candy Run.” It was a warm November morning as we gathered for the group photo, pre-run, in Denver’s Washington Park and then everyone set off to complete the 3.1 mile journey.



It has been a fantastic experience leading the Run For God class/small group with my wife Melissa. I could never have done it without her. Every week I am inspired by those in the class. I look forward to the next group starting in the Spring and the new experiences we will share. 


Who would have thought a pair of running shoes would strengthen my faith?









Kyle Denny leads the Run For God 5k Challenge at Broomfield United Methodist Church.  The course features a 12-week plan to run a 5k while maintaining a Christian focus.  Kyle and his wife, Melissa, have led the class twice.  Kyle enjoys the challenge of running, having completed 6 marathons and more than a dozen shorter events.  In the next year he looks forward to his biggest event yet - a 50k - and looks forward to the challenge.

Monday, November 18, 2013

One less hug…

by Kay Rush

One of the perks of being in my position as receptionist at BUMC is getting to really know a lot of the wonderful people who walk through the doors. I realize that some people like to speak and breeze on by, which certainly works, but some are looking for something more personal, which I enjoy offering. Many folks come on such a regular basis that I learn to feel quite warmly toward them because I learn to know about their lives and I often share a part of myself with them. Thus a bond and caring friendship is born. Now, I know that some of those that enter the church are NOT “huggers”, but I’ve learned that many are and even look forward to that type of greeting.

Nancy Roberts was one of those people that entered not only my area but practically every room with open arms. She was full of enthusiasm, warmth and love for everyone in her path. Nancy and I were not only Church friends, sharing our most spiritually intimate thoughts in the “Empty Nesters” small group, but were also “let’s have lunch together” friends. She was safe, wise and fun and we always enjoyed our time together.

Now I know that many of you could write these same words, as she was a wonderful friend to a lot of us, and touched our lives in many ways. She loved her God and showed it by loving those that God placed in her path. Nancy always entered the doors near my desk with a bright, loving smile and then approached my desk expecting a big, warm hug. It was easy to love her…and now I’ll miss her very much…and her warm accepting hug.

Maybe now, if you’re a hugger, I’ll need an extra one from you…





Kay can be reached at kay.rush@broomfieldumc.org

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Grateful

by Vicki Cromarty

I grew up in a Christian home.  My parents were both raised with a Christian background – my mom in Arkansas, in a Baptist Church and my dad in Illinois as a Presbyterian.  When they married and settled in Illinois, they felt that a Methodist Church seemed like a great middle ground for them, and then later, their family as well. 

For me, as a kid and teen, going to church was always part of the natural flow of our life.  Sunday morning included Sunday school, and then worship service as a family.  I fondly and vividly remember all of the old hymns, sitting next to my mom, her singing the alto part.  As I got into the junior high and high school years, I was involved with youth choir, and youth group.  The friends I made there and lifetime memories that I have are what began shaping my faith story. First United Methodist Church in Monmouth, Illinois will always hold that special place in my life.

Fast forward to the next phase of my faith – First United Methodist in Boca Raton, Florida.  It had been a few years since I had been active in church, and I began attending there (and later working there) after realizing that something very important was missing in my life.  It was this church that helped me to own my faith at a different level, where I experienced my first women’s Bible study, and as an adult experienced a new level of fellowship with people who I still love and consider my Florida “family.” They were the ones who saw Dave and I get married, have a child, and see our family through good times and bad, modeling the love of Christ. 

It was also at this church in Florida that God gave me a reality check.  While all of my history sounds like a happy little story, I was missing one HUGE part.  I had taken for granted that I was blessed to be born into a family of faith and church of people living out their faith.  I realized through a neighbor’s faith story that not all people were introduced to God’s love at an early age.  Many people have had to find faith on their own, and those closest to them don’t always support their beliefs.  It was there that my “taking for granted” turned to “grateful.”  God really drove home the importance of what the church can mean in people’s lives - at any age - when it’s working the way He intended.

I’d experienced two churches at that point that modeled what I needed to learn:  it doesn’t matter if we come with a lifetime of church memories or not a clue about what church can be for us. God can use people of a church to impact faith stories and to help others experience God’s love -- no matter their history, faith background, or season of life.    

These days, I am grateful more than ever for my own faith story and the opportunity to witness the faith story of others.  I now call Broomfield United Methodist my home - another amazing church family I’m blessed to know.  BUMC is regularly living out the things I had taken for granted.  I see faith stories being impacted at all walks of life.  Kids and teens are brought to church by parents who want to give them a firm foundation of faith – whether the parents themselves had that or not.  Small groups are growing people from right where they’re at in life – whether having no faith background or a mature life of faith. Rich worship services help us think about our weeks differently and call us to action and service.  All of us get to be present as God is at work and people’s faith stories are formed- not something to take for granted!

When I’m lucky enough to go back and attend my childhood church, I see many of the people who helped to shape my early faith story.  Some of my Sunday school teachers still faithfully sit in the pews.  I can almost count on seeing my elementary PE teacher, Middle School Math teacher, and High School Biology teacher, still actively living out their faith.  Countless friends of my parents who have loved me through my growing up years and beyond are still there too – along with many new faces that call this church home.  Just as these are people for whom I’m extremely grateful, we at BUMC have this great opportunity to be the same for those who grow up here or who currently call our church home.  

Let’s be all these things for each other and the people who walk through our doors! Don’t waste a single Sunday!  What or who are you grateful for today that has made a difference in your faith story? How can you be that for someone in this season of your life?




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 has been married to Dave for 15 years and they have one beautiful daughter, Lauren, who is 11 years old.  She loves spending time with her family and friends, enjoying all that beautiful Colorado has to offer!  You can contact her at vicki.cromarty@broomfieldumc.org. 



Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Small Group Community

by Lisa Forrey

October is a big month for our family. Not only is it the month of my birth, but it is the month that contains the day and night where, for at least 24 hours, we condone and even encourage candy overload. But as I said, it’s also on the list of favorite months because it’s my birthday. And while I've known the people in my small group long enough to know they are capable of almost anything, still I was surprised when I walked into our room Wednesday night. There laid out before me, were all the makings of a fantastic birthday party: cake, cheese straws, awesome gourmet sodas, chocolate, Halloween goodies, more chocolate (one can never have too much good chocolate); generosity abounded. It was a spectacular celebration, mostly because of the people in that room, their thoughtfulness wrapped me up in caring and propped me up.   

As we do at least once a year, we talk, write, and think about what is going well with the group and what could be improved. Thanks to the responses from the previous week, the official report card was in! Primarily, we discovered that we like and value each other most and discussing the books is just a nice secondary function of our crew. What we do best is to care, worry, cajole, encourage and/or make fun of each other. Sometimes in the same night- because that’s just how our small group, "The Fierce and The Humble" rolls. 

Do you ever wonder about Jesus' small group? I do. Do you suppose James ever told embarrassing stories about John from when John was a little kid? Or did Peter and Andrew tell fishing stories about the "Big One" that got away? Did Matthew share stories of the people he was collecting taxes from? Did they wonder about the state of the Jewish church?  How long did Jesus let them roll in their storytelling before reeling them in and starting with the lesson-o-the-day? Did they wonder if the world was more evil than it was when they were children? How often did Jesus roll his eyes at them, laugh with them, cry with them, and try (once again) to get through to them with the world changing news he had?

And then there was that one day when Jesus washed their feet, where in one humble act, he turned the whole idea of community around; he flipped the concept of what was the most important part of his small group. He demonstrated and insisted that true love served. The most humble act of showing someone that you cared for them is doing something servants would normally do. 

While there is always room for improvement, one of the strengths that we have as a group is as a collective caring community; where we can come and dump our cares and know that others will either help, commiserate, encourage, or make fun of us, whatever is most needed.  I appreciate that. I adore that. I need that. I thank the merry collection of souls with whom I share my Wednesday nights.  They are, indeed, the best of what God gives to us when we are in community with one another. 






Lisa is a single mom to two amazing daughters who try to make her a better person.  She's been involved in various small groups throughout the years and is currently a huge fan of The Fierce and The Humble group.  In her free time she enjoys trying to find balance in the chaos.  


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

So, how was church?

by Joe Mazza

This question probably gets asked a lot around the BUMC community (or any church community) on Sunday afternoons. Maybe it’s asked by a spouse who stayed home with a sick kid or maybe it’s asked by your mom on your weekly Sunday afternoon check-in phone call. Or maybe a variation of it, “So what did you think of the [sermon], [music], [temperature of the sanctuary] today?” gets asked as part of post-church lunch conversation.

You can imagine, I get asked this question a lot, as do most of us on staff. And we probably all have slightly different metrics we use to answer. I might answer based on how faithfully and well we played the music for that morning. Ken may answer based on how much eye contact he saw and connection he felt while preaching (or if anyone was caught snoozing). Someone in our business office may be influenced by the morning’s offering.

But none of those things really matter, do they? I mean, they do on some level. I and the many musicians in our choirs and band work hard to lead music with excellence. We know that wrong notes and mistakes can break the moment of an otherwise Spirit-filled time. Ken knows that while everyone has an off day, it’s a whole lot easier to hear God speak when you’re not counting ceiling tiles during the sermon. And our business office knows that this church belongs to God and God will provide but it never hurts to see a nice week.

Past all of those surface things, what matters to me is if I saw God Sunday morning. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean physically saw God - though when Pete Smith was here and had his beard I once mistook him for Jesus before I’d had my Sunday morning coffee.

What I mean is, did I notice God’s presence

That’s where it gets tricky because I’ve found that God likes to show up in unusual ways. Sometimes I notice him in the music - a song just hits me in a new way or connects directly to part of Ken’s sermon even though we hadn’t discussed it. Other times, it has nothing to do with music at all. I may meet a new person who just happened to pick BUMC as the place to go this Sunday. Or I may have a lengthy conversation with an old friend that takes a turn toward requesting each other’s prayer. And often, I notice God’s presence through what I imagine are the same things going on in you. I see connections being made - some about the service topic, some not - connections that look like they are going to be important. Sometimes I might see someone linger a little bit in their seat after the service is over. I know that time is holy and I’ll do anything to protect it for him or her.

So, how do you answer that question? We don’t just all show up each Sunday for no reason. How do you notice God’s presence that makes you keep coming back for more?






Joe Mazza is the Director of Worship Arts at BUMC. You can contact him at joe.mazza@broomfieldumc.org

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Living on 90%

by Melanie Brush

When I was growing up, my first job was at Publix (a grocery store chain similar to Safeway on the southeastern coast). My dad taught me immediately that when you receive your paycheck you are to first give to God, then give to self (save), and live off the rest. His golden rule in this thought process is simply to live a life where at the end of the month there’s more money rather than at the end of the money there’s more month. Furthermore, his point is that how we spend money is a spiritual issue. God asks for our “first fruits” not our seconds or leftovers (after the mortgage is paid, the groceries have been bought, the electric has been paid, etc.) but to give our first fruits.

I have discovered that my life is not about the abundance of “stuff” it is more about giving to others that which you have been blessed with. It’s not an amassing of stuff that will fill our soul or life. It’s not the purpose of this life and will not satisfy us. When it comes to tithing scripture tells us repeatedly that we are to give our first fruits and give 10% of our earnings. In Luke 12:13, we are told to, “Be on guard for all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”

When you get money are you protecting it like a miser? That is a spiritual issue. Scripture is soaked with talking to us about how we deal with money and “stuff” in our life.

Created by God means created to consume. We have roofs over our head, we use electricity, we wear clothes, we eat food.  By nature, by design, we consume. The problem is when consumption turns from survival to identity; when it becomes our meaning: our value, our identity. When people are judged by what they wear or the car they drive or the home in which they live. Consumerism teaches us that we don’t have enough or the best of the best. It is twisted and completely spiritually destructive when the value of our possessions determines what we feel about ourselves.

Consumerism is based on discontentment. Consumerism teaches us that our iPhone is not the newest so we stand in line for hours fighting people until we get the new one (nothing against the iPhone, I have one…just saying). Then next year when the "new" new one comes out, we're again told that ours will not be good enough and are discontent and in need of something new once more.

Happiness, value, and meaning do not come from shinier, costly, newer things.

As followers of Christ, we are marked with contentment whether we have a lot or a little. We are stable because our foundation is stable and does not change whether we have a lot of “stuff” or a lot of money or if money is tight and we have very little.

We are to be generous as Christians so it may be wise to ask the question: “God why do I have all this? What do you want me to use this for?”

Remember what Luke 12:34 taught us: Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.





Melanie Brush is the Ministry Assistant at Broomfield United Methodist Church. Her main role is to schedule events at Broomfield United Methodist Church and assist Pastor Thomas Cross and the Children’s Ministry Director, Vicki Cromarty. Melanie teaches a small group on the Gospel of Mark on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

We Care, We Give

by Ken Brown

A couple of weeks ago I had coffee with Chuck, a Quaker pastor in Denver.  Fascinating guy!  I was impressed with a strong sense of purpose and his pastoral leadership at one parish for 34 years, a feat that is unheard of in the itinerant Methodist church.

Chuck’s eyes lit up when I asked, “What does your congregation do exceedingly well in the service arena?”  Eagerly, he replied, “They offer unsung care to others!” Chuck described his church as a community of servants.  No flagship mission partners.  No sustainable outreach programs in the neighborhood.  “As best as I can tell, Ken, we are excelling at serving off the radar in remarkably caring ways.”

I thought about BUMC and where she exceeds in mission and outreach.  While we are blessed to generously support multiple, sustainable ministry partners like Hope House, CASA, Broomfield FISH, Traffick Stop and Global Hope, at our core, we are a community of servants. 

Totally off my radar but joyfully on God’s radar, you quietly change the world with your passion and caring heart

WE CARE, WE GIVE.

Checkout our new giving video and commit to one of our causes. And, most importantly, keep doing “whatcha” do - being a community of servants.



                   We Care, We Give from BroomfieldUMC on Vimeo.



There is no “I” in “we” but there is an “I” in Christ.  May you faithfully celebrate Christ in your lives today.

Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort in love, any sharing in the Spirit, any sympathy, 2 complete my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, being united, and agreeing with each other. 3 Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. 4 Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others. 5 Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:1-5







Ken Brown is the Senior Pastor at Broomfield United Methodist Church. You can reach him at ken.brown@broomfieldumc.org

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Weaving Our Safety Net

by Andrea Laser

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to volunteer at a local food bank during a distribution night.  It was an awesome blessing to help, even if it was in a very small way.  What struck me as being so remarkable about this food bank was that before the distribution began, there was a small church service, with a local musician playing different hymns and songs for a few people who gathered there.  Probably only about ten people were in attendance for the service, but Jesus reminds us that, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew, 18:20 NIV).  

This experience made me think about how different people “do” church.  Growing up, my family was not consistently active in a church, but my Grandma Dottie was always an extremely faith-based, religious woman.  She “did” church every Sunday, in the comfort of her own home.  Her church of choice was the Hour of Power television show with Dr. Robert Schuller.   Whenever my brother and I would spend a weekend there, part of the routine on Sunday morning was my grandfather made his secret recipe French toast, and my grandmother and I sat in what seemed to be giant recliners, and watched Dr. Schuller; eating on tray tables in front of their television.  To be perfectly honest, I was somewhat indifferent to the show.  The guest choirs were interesting to watch, but the message always seemed so distant from my life.  The pieces of Christianity that stuck with me because of my grandmother were the moments she spent telling me about how much God loved me and how he created us to be His light in the world.     

As I think about it now, the message of God’s love and promise on Hour of Power was similar to BUMC, but what was missing was the sense of community and personal relationships I feel is so prevalent at BUMC.  This sense of community at BUMC is part of what makes our Sunday church experience relevant and a priority in our lives.  

Building community has been on my heart for several years; as a teacher and parent I believe that healthy, successful children (and adults) are products of supportive communities.  A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to see Geoffrey Canada, founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone (www.hcz.org) speak about his philosophy on community and education.  He is truly an inspiring man who wants to create a better future for the children whom he serves.  He spoke about his idea of strengthening community, described by The New York Times as it, “combines educational, social and medical services. It starts at birth and follows children to college. It meshes those services into an interlocking web, and then it drops that web over an entire neighborhood….The objective is to create a safety net woven so tightly that children in the neighborhood just can’t slip through.” 

This image of a tightly woven safety net made me think about the services and support our church provides, and the possibility of every member of our congregation and greater community feeling so supported that they could not slip through our safety net. 

I believe as a church community, we have the resources and the intention.  

We have to continue to use and grow both by building community through servant ministry, and continue developing critical relationships through small groups. 

How does BUMC provide a sense of community for you and your family?  Please share in the comments below.


 

Andrea Laser is an Early Childhood Special Educator, as well as mom to Paxton, 5, and Wyatt, 16 months.  She and her husband Steve have been members at BUMC since 2009.  They are active members of the First Friday group, and Andrea leads the Blog Team at BUMC.  To contact Andrea, or if you are interested in writing for the BUMC Blog, please email her at abp818@gmail.com

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

You Can Do This

by Kyle Rasmussen

The essential challenge every person who ventures out on a short term mission faces is to “step out of their comfort zone.”  For most, it’s an emotional comfort zone; fearing the ability to love unconditionally to complete strangers.  For others it’s a confidence comfort zone, having to speak more boldly than we thought our mouths could possibly be.  However in India, it can sometimes be a very physical comfort zone.

Leaving the arid mile-high air of Colorado behind to serve in the tropical climate of India, I knew the weather conditions were going to play a role as a stumbling block to fully carrying out our team’s ministry here.  Fortunately for us, God granted us two cooler, rainy days in Ongole to start our trip.  Once we arrived in the West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh though, it was hot, humid, sticky, sweaty, how-many-times-do-I-feel-like-I-need-to-shower-again-today kind of weather.  Teaching, singing, and dancing with the kids was such a joyous experience, you didn’t realize how much you were sweating until you stopped moving.


Two of the nights, our team went to evening worship services at small village churches in the area.  Here we were blessed with the privilege to distribute bibles in the native language of Telugu to members who could not afford them.  The bibles themselves are only about $3 each, but when you consider that’s about the average daily wage of a day laborer in India…you do the economics and can realize rather quickly that a native language bible can seem downright unattainable for many believers here.  Another blessing on our team was the honor to share our testimony of faith to offer encouragement to these believers.


I have almost no fear of public speaking, and there are plenty of personal and scriptural intersections that I had at my disposal to offer as testimony, so this was not where I was planning to have to “step out of my comfort zone.”  However rural parts of India have inconsistent supplies of electricity.  And what can be considered nothing less than God’s never-dull timing, each night as I stood up to give my testimony, the power went out in the small churches.  No lights, no fans, and suddenly what was a spirited worship service suddenly feels like a visit to the sauna with your clothes on.  Luckily, God had reminded me to pack flashlights with fresh batteries before leaving on the trip, so I was able to shed bright-LED light into the room.  Still, I was tired from a long day of playing with kids, I was sweating in places I wish not to discuss, and as hard as I was trying to be flexible (because that’s a little important in India) I found myself fighting the urge to give in to my physical discomfort and walk out of the church just to be a few degrees cooler with the breeze outside.  But in that moment, as the service was winding down and we began to pray over the attendees, mostly women and children, my physical discomforts disappeared.  I found myself REcentered, REfocused, REenergized, and God REvealed himself in a calming, “you can do this.”  Throughout our trip, praying over congregants, children, and families were some of the most relaxing and revitalizing moments for me.

Please pray for the church in India.  Sometimes the lights go out on the grid, but the light of God never dims in the hearts of the believers here.  Seeing first hand the difference that Christ has made to these people of very little means can only be a foretaste of what the welcoming of Christ into the lives of a nation could do.

Originally posted on Global Hope India's website.






 Pictured left to right are the BUMC Global Hope India Summer 2013 Mission team: Ann Christopher, Frank Oligmueller, Jenn Rasmussen, Kyle Rasmussen, Christine Rector, and Sara Godwin.  Global Hope India is a non-profit organization whose mission is to, "Engage the Church around the world in order to empower the Church in India for the advancement of the Gospel in 3 ways: Church PlantingVillage DevelopmentChild Rescue."  BUMC will be hosting a craft fair to benefit GHI on November 30th, from 9 AM-4 PM in the Family Life Center.  They're currently accepting vendor applications and looking for volunteers to help the day of (snack bar & clean-up).  For more information on the Craft Fair, contact Jenn, jenn_rasmussen@comcast.net.  For more information on Global Hope India, please visit www.globalhopeindia.org

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Brighter Future


by Suzi Karrer

This summer, I was sitting reading the newspaper when I came across an article that Frank DeAngelis, Principal at Columbine High School, had announced his retirement after 34 years at the school.  I had the pleasure of listening and talking to Frank this summer as I attended a national school safety conference.  What sticks with me is hearing Frank talk about his commitment to return to Columbine, even after the tragedy had occurred.

I think everyone of us can recall where we were when we heard the news on April 20, 1999 that two gunman entered Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado determined to kill as many teachers and fellow students as possible.  After all was done, the two violent students killed twelve fellow students, one beloved teacher, and wounded many with their selfish actions.  The shootings at Columbine seem to be one of the events that marks each one of us in some way for the rest of our lives.  In fact I think that for most of us, all it takes is one phrase to conjure an emotional response:  Columbine, Platte Canyon, Aurora Theaters, Sandy Hook. . .

The question that always remains after events like these, is “Why?”  We know that only God truly holds the answers to these questions. As human beings, we can only look at the event surrounding tragedies to try to prevent them from reoccurring.

After Columbine, then Governor Bill Owens commissioned a full investigation into the events surrounding the tragic event.  The findings of the subsequent Columbine Commission Report (http://www.state.co.us/columbine) provide all of us a glimpse on why events like this happen and how we can prevent them; our best answer to “why.”  In the 100+ page report detailing emergency response and policy changes, an overriding theme shared in the report is that as parents, students, and a community we have a duty to each other to identify when a person is struggling or hurting. 

Time and again it is shown that intervening in the life of a young person who might be bullied, struggling with substance abuse or depression, or having suicidal thoughts CAN prevent violent events from occurring. 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”  2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV

How can we as a Christian community support and care for those who are struggling?  I challenge us to think about how we can begin to create a culture of caring in our communities, churches and schools.   How can we engage those who may be feel on the outskirts to walk with God, living in the WORD?  As a body of Christ, let us care for those who are hurting, mentor those young people who need role models, create an environment of welcoming, and be, “the change we want to see in the world.”

In the article about Frank DeAngelis’ retirement he provided a glimmer of hope in the wake of tragedies.  He said when people think about the Columbine shootings, he hopes they think about the teacher and 12 students killed and the lessons they left behind.  Frank said, “Hopefully that'll be inspiration for others to know it doesn't matter how much tragedy enters your life, there's hope for a brighter future.” 

Let US be that hope and future.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope,” Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV).



Suzi Karrer serves as the Director of Development and Partnerships for Safe2Tell (www.safe2tell.org), a non-profit partnership with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, which offers a way for all Colorado students and community members to anonymously report unsafe situations and risky behaviors helping prevent tragedies from occurring.  Since 2004, Safe2Tell has received and thwarted 282 possible school attacks in Colorado, as well as received thousands of tips involving bullying, substance abuse, dating violence, depression, suicide, and other concerning behaviors.  Suzi and her husband, Ben, have participated and led many small groups at BUMC, starting the First Friday Fellowship group and currently teaching the Love and Logic class.  Suzi and her family have been members of BUMC since 2007.