Today during Pastor Ken's sermon, he discussed the idea of regret-free living. While it may not be possible, what is possible is leaning on Jesus to be with us during regretful times. Here is his emerging personal statement on regret that he read today:
"With the help of God, I will no longer allow regret to either haunt or
hinder me. Regret informs me. Regret calls out my fears. Regret veils
my hypocrisy. It leads me beside the still waters of confession. Regret
transports me to Jesus' care, again and again and again."
How do you rely on Jesus during times of regret?
Ken Brown is the senior pastor at BUMC. He can be contacted here.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
by Jordan Shute
Back in May of this year I got a crazy idea. I wanted to run - not walk, crawl, whine, skip or leap frog – but actually run a 5K. Now, in this fit state of Colorado, running a 5K seems to be the easiest goal I could possibly set, especially considering that I’ve done the Bolder Boulder, a 10K, about 6 times. Maybe more (FYI- you can leisurely walk all 6.2 miles of the Bolder Boulder and still cross the same finish line as the professional athletes).
Running has never been easy or fun for me. As a kindergartner, my parents signed me up for soccer. After a few practices and games, my dad casually asked me, “So what do you think about soccer?” My response was, “I’m not so sure about all this running business.” Needless to say I hung up my cleats after one season and spent the next 13 or so years in ballet classes; not on sports fields.
But for some reason I just had this itch to run. I downloaded a “Couch to 5K” app (check it out here), and began following the program. I completed the first two weeks, then fell off the band wagon and back into my usual gym routine (and I needed new shoes…don’t try running with old shoes). When the “Run for God” group started again in July I signed up and knew that if anything could get me to run a 5K it was God and scripture.
About 5 weeks into Run for God I participated in a Dri Tri at my gym. The event consisted of a 2000 meter row, 300+ body weight exercises (push-ups, squats, burpees, etc) and a finished with a treadmill 5K. Throughout the first two parts of the Tri I was feeling good…in no way was I going to win the thing, but I was rockin’ it on my time!
Then came the 5K.
Turns out after rowing, and 300 reps of nonsense, I was kind of tired and my legs were starting to get sore. I walked and jogged the first 2 miles, but knew that I wanted to try and run most of the third mile (side note, I was the last person to finish). When I hit mile three I increased the speed on the treadmill and just kept running…with just over half a mile to go, a trainer jumped on a treadmill next to me so I could finish the event with someone by my side. Then everyone in the gym jumped on treadmills and finished with me. My initial thought was, “Dang it…I wanted to walk a bit!” But I knew I couldn’t quit- these people weren’t running with me because they needed to burn calories. I ended up running the last 1.1 mile and finished with a smile on my red, sweaty face.
I have never in my life run a complete mile from first step to last step. Go back to the first line of this blog, I usually start whining. But that sense of accomplishment in the gym was something I will never forget.
Even though I couldn’t remember a single word of scripture that I had read the night before, I knew there was something getting me to the finish line…other than my legs.
Trying something new or different can be downright terrifying. Setting a seemingly crazy goal can seem impossible, until you realize that sometimes these goals, or new things, aren’t of your own creation. Does God care if I run a 5K by the end of the year? I don’t know, but if He can get me through this obstacle and help me accomplish this goal, then my only question is, “What’s next?”
Has there ever been a time in your life when you have felt God carried you to the "finish line"? Please share in a comments below.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
by Thomas Cross
Last week, Ken said something in his sermon which resonated with me: We don’t need another motivational speech; we need a Savior. Honestly, a Savior is exactly what I need. In Jesus I have found the Big Brother who guides my path, the Friend who comforts me when I’m discouraged, the Teacher who gives me new insights each week, the Guide who reminds me what’s truly important.
While I received Jesus as my Savior in the eighth grade, it was in my 40’s when Jesus really became my Savior. During my young adult years, I went about life doing things my own way. Then I turned 40 and I realized my own way wasn’t working so well -- pretty poorly, in fact! Over the past decade, I have had to learn and unlearn many things. But I am grateful for all I have learned; at 51, I feel like a new man.
The onset of midlife wasn’t easy for me. I went through marriage stress, vocational disappointment, divorce, and financial problems. Yet it was in middle age I learned to orient my whole life toward God. What I discovered in the past decade is God’s faithfulness, care, and provision in the midst of heartbreak, stress, and change. And what I’ve discovered at BUMC is a supportive community of people who love me for the guy I am, with all of my shortcomings. I hope you are experiencing the same kind of love here!
According to social scientists, people experience high stress during their 40’s, often due to vocational and family changes. For many people, the 50’s bring new issues, such as the empty nest. With the 60’s comes the prospect of retirement and the need to move beyond vocational success to significance. In this midlife span, most of us experience challenge and loss, but we also experience the opportunity to envision a new future with all the wisdom we’ve gained from actual life experience in God’s presence.
If you’re walking the path through midlife, I invite you to a special BUMC conference on Embracing Midlife Challenges: Charting Your Course to a Productive Future, which is scheduled for Friday, October 4 and Saturday, October 5 here at the church. This conference, sponsored by Wesley Small Groups and Servant Ministries, opens the doors to the plentiful practical and spiritual resources you can use to navigate through midlife.
On Friday evening, we will have two keynote speakers. Bucky Dilts, retired Denver Broncos punter who helped the team get to Super Bowl XII, will bring a guy-centric view of physical and mental health from both on and off the field. Jack Van Ens, a dramatist, historian and newspaper commentator, will portray Jonathan Edwards, a colonial preacher, showing how he faced his own mid-life challenges in a humorous way!
On Saturday, you will have your choice of 3 tracks: Potter’s Plan Vision track, a Crisis Management seminar track, and a seminar track on Planning for the Future. You can mix and match the 20 classes to meet your needs! If you’ve already taken the Potter’s Plan, you can also enjoy a follow-up session on Well-Being, “Living a ‘Dessert-First Life.” Enjoy a special Resource Fair during lunch on Saturday, featuring two dozen professional organizations, local resources, and mission groups.
Friday’s events begin at 6:00 p.m. with workshop registration and the keynote presentations at 7:00 p.m. We will gather on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. for coffee and workshops begin at 9:00 a.m. The cost for the conference is $25, which includes refreshments and lunch. If you wish to participate in the Potter’s Plan track, an extra $15 covers the cost of the book, Living Your Strengths, as well as the Clifton StrengthsFinder online inventory. To register, you can use this link: https://www.regonline.com/BUMCEmbracingMidlifeChallenges
There were times I felt other people didn’t understand what I was going through as I confronted my own midlife challenges. Now I know lots of people have been there and they want to support others who are taking the same journey. There is a broad support system which is open to us. Together we’ll find a deeper sense of purpose! I look forward to seeing you on October 4-5 for this very special event!
Thomas is one of the pastors at BUMC, starting his seventh 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! He can be contacted here.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
by Theresa Mazza
According to my mother, I started singing at the age of two. I would pull the step stool up to the bathroom counter, lean forward on my tippy toes, and sing to my own reflection. I didn’t sing in full sentences, I didn’t even sing in full words, and I didn’t sing in perfect pitch. I just sang as loud and long as my family could stand it!
I’m reminded of these moments every time my sisters post videos of my nieces and nephews singing their guts out. It’s hilarious to me how serious toddlers are when they sing. Half of the time I can’t tell what they’re saying, and sometimes no matter how hard I try, I can't even figure out what song they're singing. So why is it I delight so much in hearing children sing so wonderfully bad?
1. I love their passion. It just doesn’t matter to me what they sound like. I soak in the passion and energy children give off because I admire the way they sing with their whole hearts. It makes me smile. If it’s been the worst day ever, their songs will remind me what’s important. If it’s been the best day ever, their songs will remind me what’s important.
2. I love hearing what they know. They sing because they know something. They know that Old MacDonald had a farm, they know what animals he had, and they know what sounds those animals make. They also know that it only takes twenty dollars in their pocket to pop some tags at the thrift shop. Why wouldn’t they sing about this? This is important information and a perfect reason to sing. Children sing what they know; it makes them feel happy, confident, and safe.
3. When they sing, I am invited to join them. Our son JJ’s favorite song used to be “Belly Button” by Veggie Tales. All he had to do was sing, “belly button” and we’d join right in with “uh-uh.” This song was gold. I knew if JJ was upset about something, I could just bust into, “Belly button, uh-uh!” It was an instant cure and an instant invitation into his young fragile moments.
Maybe all of this tells us something about our creator God. How much more does he delight in the voices of us, his children?
He’s not waiting for us to sing perfectly, but he loves to hear the passion in our voices. Any joyful noise will do. We know something worth singing about. We know that God loves us. We know that we are forgiven and living under the grace and redemptive love of Jesus Christ. We can sing about it, and it will make us feel happy, confident, and safe.
When we sing we invite God into our world. I sing all the time. I don’t stand in front of the mirror singing to my reflection anymore (Joe told me that was weird a couple of years ago), but I’ve been known to embarrass my son in the store when I bust out in song in the pasta aisle. When I sing I feel the presence of God joining in all of life with me.
So sing your guts out. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord. Any noise will do!
Theresa is a youth advocate, writer and speaker. She’s also a professional singer who has performed with Travis Cottrell and Beth Moore’s Living Proof Live conferences, Nicole C. Mullen, Truth and many others. She’s married to BUMC’s Worship Arts Director, Joe Mazza. Check out more from Theresa at theresamazza.com.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
by Cristen Underwood
Sometimes I find that my life seems completely overwhelming. As the mom of a tiny terror of a two-year-old with full time Marketing Director position, I often feel like I barely have room to breathe. I don’t think that this is unique to me. It is, I’m sure, a sentiment shared by working and non-working moms all-over the globe.
The responsibility of trying to raise a strong, respectful, kind, responsible, functioning member of society feels like a daunting task. Every time that we take a step forward (learning to pet instead of hit the dog) we take a step back (chucking a plate of macaroni and cheese all the way across the table at a restaurant). There are more good moments than bad, of course. Every time that I hear “Luv yooou Mommeee” my heart melts and all of the grocery store temper tantrums and playground screaming fits are totally worth it.
I lost my dad to an aggressive form of lung cancer in December of last year and I am slowly losing my mom to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease but with the great sadness of that loss comes the silver lining of seeing my parents interact with my son. My dad was able to enjoy the first year of my son’s life. He saw him learn to crawl and walk and grow from a tiny, bundle of a newborn to the strong-willed toddler that he is now. My mom is able to interact with my son with ease and some of my happiest moments are watching her chase her grandson around the back yard.
As difficult as it sometimes seems to keep up with work and home and friends and family, I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to love and be loved by those around me. I often try to focus on Romans 12:12. “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” I am hopeful about the amazing future that lies ahead as my son continues to grow and change daily. I try to be patient with the work/life balance of being a full-time working mom (and putting up with temper tantrums) and I look to God to help me understand how I can be the best mom, daughter and friend to those I love.
Cristen Underwood is a member of the BUMC congregation. You can contact Cristen by email at firstname.lastname@example.org