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.