Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Open Arms

by Steve Laser

As a young person, I didn't grow up in a church. Most of what I knew about being a Christian came from two outlets: the children's bibles that my grandmother gave me in my Easter basket, and friends, who at the time, thought it was cool to be Atheists and would ignorantly repeat quotes from poets, rock stars and movie stars that shed a negative light on Christianity. I believed church wouldn't be a part of my life as I thought then it meant being perfect, and not being allowed to have fun.

Fast forward to about five years ago. My wife, Andrea, decided she wanted to be baptized with our then one year old son, Paxton. She set out to find a church that could baptize the two of them. After attending a few what I thought were obligatory services, I was amazed at how welcoming the BUMC community was to our family, and how open and accepting everyone was.

It didn't all make sense to me- here I was, a sinner, an obvious outsider- why were these people being so nice to me? The same people who my Atheist friends had told me would hate me for my sin and would try to change me, were now welcoming me here. Needless to say, I was confused- until I happened to read Mark 2: 16-17, And when the scribes and Pharisses saw him eating with tax collectors and sinners they said to his disciples, "How is it that he eats with tax collectors and sinners?" When Jesus heard it, he said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I do not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

I am the guy Jesus is looking for, and my family tree has changed because this church practiced what they preached and opened their doors and arms to us. Later on in Acts 15, the early church moved toward exclusivity but Paul and Barnabus made a stand to allow gentiles the opportunity to become Christians. I hope that as my family continues to be entrenched in the BUMC community, that we always keep our arms open and welcome new faces that we see- a friendly hello just might change someone's life.

Steve Laser has been a member of BUMC for over five years. He will begin serving on the finance committee in 2015, and has previously been involved in the First Friday Fellowship, Theology on Tap, and has served as an usher. He is a native to Broomfield, Colorado, and lives here now with his wife and two children.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Listen to the Sound

by Kyle Rasmussen

Well here we are, it's almost Christmas Eve. As one who perpetually shakes his head at corporate America for its ever inching effort to start the Christmas shopping season sometime in August, I intentionally forced myself to push back the willful effort of expert marketers and advertisers to force me into the Christmas spirit before I was ready. In essence, I had donned “Christmas blinders / earplugs” and was steaming out of November into December content with the interference I was running in my own head. On the first Wednesday of December, I found myself sitting with trombone in hand getting ready to rehearse with the amazing BUMC Cantata choir and orchestra, mind focused on new arrangements and a new conductor (mainly worrying how I’m going to deal with people constantly shouting, “Kyle!” at someone other than me). Before the first note was even played that night, the Kyle with the baton gave one of the most impassioned pre-rehearsal speeches I have ever heard in my life. He reminded each of us that this Christmas Cantata is not just some musical performance, it’s a message that not only each person who would walk into the Sanctuary that Sunday morning would need to hear, but that he himself needed to hear. I was filled and consumed by the words of John the Baptist: “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way for the lord’s coming!’” (John 1:23 NLT)

Not too long after that moment, I was reminded that the Cantata is also not a trombone solo and that even if my soul needed to shout the message of good news and great joy, it should do it at the dynamic marking on the page. Kyle’s impassioned speech about needing to hear THE message, although successful in warp-speeding me into the Christmas spirit, had also numbed one of my core musical (and Christian) principles: Listen.

The lead-up to the greatest story ever told is the so called “400 years of silence”, the time between when Malachi’s prophecies of the Old Testament ended and the birth of Jesus. In reality, the world was not silent. Nations fell, empires rose, the entire global landscape was shifting so that the entrance of the New Testament would look nothing like the one at the close of the Old. God was setting the stage for his human entrance, whether anyone was listening or not.

I’ve found myself within this past year growing impatient; waiting and wanting to hear God’s plans for me, clearly and unmistakably. But at some point, I need to realize that even something as inherently passive as listening can become loud when our own excitement and anxiety drown out what’s going on in God’s plan and God’s story. So this year, as I let the Christmas story wash over me in its different forms, my “Christmas earplugs” are completely removed and I find myself listening with less intent and more openness than perhaps ever before.

In the process of letting these thoughts shape themselves into words, I created some very quiet space and time to listen without intent and just open myself up to God’s inspiration. Out of that silence came the opening guitar line from Building 429’s “Listen To The Sound.” It has very much become my “song of the season”, reminding me that I need to just be listening, and he’ll reveal all the amazing things he has planned in his time. “You never know what faith is, till you don’t understand. Sometimes it takes the silence to finally hear His plan.”

This Christmas season, no matter where you find yourself - perhaps near God and filled with the season of joy, peace, and love or perhaps feeling further away than ever before – take time to listen to the story and let His blessings and promises wash over you. Then in that silence, my wish is that you find God’s plan for your year ahead and live out the amazing grace he has bestowed upon you.

Merry Christmas.

Kyle and his wife, Jenn are both active members in multiple BUMC ministries, including BUMC 2 India as well as TraffickStop.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Making a Difference

by Roger Fink

Through my years of growing up in Broomfield I was afforded many “Norman Rockwell” moments. Broomfield was a small bedroom community and everyone living here was similar as far as level of income, religion and race. We had two grade schools and one combined junior high and high school. I wouldn’t say it was Mayberry RFD, but for me it was close to wherever the Beaver was raised in the television show: Leave it to Beaver. I am blessed to have experienced growing up in this wonderful community.

What Broomfield didn’t prepare me for were the differences. I wasn’t prepared for the difference in religions and the difference in economical classes (both above and below mine). I also was not prepared for the difference in race. I’m not saying that I didn’t know there were other races. I just thought the differences were simply color of skin, shape of the eyes or the language.

What I learned as a child did not prepare me for my experiences in these areas as an adult. I have found through my years of adulthood that I continue to learn and adjust my thinking about the differences between everyone. When I was younger I believed it was as easy as accepting everyone in my heart and treating everyone equal; that would solve any differences. It is actually a good plan but harder to implement than I thought.

I hear people offer so many quick-fix solutions to the current racial unrest that begin with: “They should...” It seems everyone has a position on race – including me. My position seems to be moving all the time because of the knowledge I gain day-by-day, year-by-year. I’m getting involved in the BUMC Race Initiative to learn more from history and hear from some people much more affected by our race situation then I am. I’m getting involved to turn the “they should” to “I should”. I’m getting involved for me.

I pray you will join us on our march toward justice for all races. Please consider being a part of the visit to the exhibit at the Colorado History Center on December 27th. Then, plan to join us as we continue the discussion on January 6th to consider how we bring Jesus into the conversation.

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6: 8 NIV

For more information on this initiative, please visit Broomfield United Methodist Church's website.

Roger has been a member of BUMC since kindergarten. He follows in his father’s footsteps serving as a head usher welcoming people to worship on Sundays. He also serves as president of Boulder United Methodist Mission Partners, a non-profit faith-based mission organization.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

God is With Us

by Vicki Cromarty

In Pastor Ken’s recent message, he shared about finding our path to peace. He talked about how many of us have walked through some valleys over this last year with situations that we did not anticipate. This brought to mind so many people that I know and love, who have had struggles with health, broken relationships, disappointments, death in their families, and other “valleys” they’ve had to endure. And like most of us, I’ve had some valleys myself. This life we’re in is just very difficult sometimes!

I loved how Pastor Ken then reminded us that through all of these valleys, God is with us. We just have to keep walking with God through the valley. We’ll eventually get to the new path. This resonated with me and caused reflection about things I’ve learned while walking through some valleys this past year.

God is Faithful. When in a valley, you can feel all alone and you may feel hopeless. But if you choose to be aware and watching for God, you will see that He will absolutely SHOW UP! It will become evident that God is orchestrating all kinds of little things to encourage you, love you and support you. Watch for His faithfulness! Here’s just a few examples that I’ve experienced:
  • A friend reached out saying that I had popped into her mind a lot recently, and was I ok? Coincidence? My belief is NO! God encouraged me by leading her to check in.
  • An email devotional that I’ve received via my inbox for several years, (but if I’m honest, haven’t always taken the time to read) became a source of hope and encouragement to me daily, like God was speaking directly to me!
  • While often the timing of events or situations didn’t feel so great during the valley, it became obvious that God’s timing was perfect and planned and blessings resulted from the timing. God knows best!
God built us for community. While it may feel easy to isolate when in the valley, this is NOT a good idea! Trusting some Godly friends and asking them to support you and pray for your situation makes a HUGE difference. You don’t have to share all of the details, just ask them to pray! You’ll feel the prayers. Be intentional and do it – it’s ok to be a little vulnerable!

Infuse your mind with things of God. Get into God’s Word more frequently; get to church each week; listen to podcast sermon messages; read something inspirational, jam out often to some uplifting praise music or your favorite hymns! Infuse your mind with things of God. It helps to center us on the right things.

Practice gratitude. Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church in California, writes this, “The healthiest human emotion is not love but gratitude. It actually increases your immunities. It makes you more resistant to stress and less susceptible to illness. People who are grateful are happy.” Thank God for everything, even in the hardest of times. Easy? Not always, but again, it’s a choice, try it!

What practices do you have in place that help you to get through the valleys? Please share them in the comments.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. James 1:2-3 ESV

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 16 years and they have one beautiful daughter, Lauren, who is 12 years old.  She loves spending time with her family and friends, enjoying all that beautiful Colorado has to offer!  You can contact her at

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Gratitude for Gracious Hands

by Ken Brown

Give thanks in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Last week I enjoyed my first vacation ever at Beaver Creek, thanks to a very generous gift from dear friends. On Thanksgiving Eve I leisurely flipped through that morning’s edition of the Wall Street Journal and read an insightful op-ed by Stephen M. McLean. McLean recounted the origins of Thanksgiving. I learned that Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation on March 30, 1863 that predated Thanksgiving’s official proclamation later that same year. The first proclamation sought to share his sense of personal humility, calling for a national day of “Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer.” (I’m glad this vision lost traction. Fasting on Thanksgiving would be ironic!). Lincoln wrote, “We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace…we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.”

Lincoln reminds us of something the prophet Jeremiah taught centuries before the Civil War: The most cunning heart—it’s beyond help. Who can figure it out? (Jeremiah 17:9).

Yes, the heart can lead us to innocently overlook God’s amazing gifts. In fact the heart sometimes convinces the brain to do things we know are not in our best interest. Your heart says you deserve the iPhone 6 even though your iPhone 5 is adequate for your needs. The brain says “OK” and you’re stuck with payments on a $600 new phone during a Black Friday shopping spree. Teaching the brain not to follow the heart is re-learning the lessons of humility, fasting and prayer. Watch and wait before you make major decisions. Count your blessings each day. And “give thanks to God in all circumstances,” a far cry from being grateful “for all circumstances.” The essence of gratitude is to remember The Source, “the gracious hand,” as Lincoln calls it that preserves us each day.

Ken Brown is the Senior Pastor at Broomfield United Methodist Church. You can contact him at

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Perfect Timing

by Jordan Shute

God’s timing is impeccable. One moment I can be praying and the next moment God’s answering that prayer. Sometimes the answered prayer is a week, a month or a long time away, but it’s always at the right time. I’ve learned to be patient (some people will laugh at this sentence!) and accept that God has a plan, and that God’s plan is always better than the one in my head. God doesn’t answer our prayers or do stuff simply because we ask, he does stuff in his time when it’s most beneficial for us.

Just this past weekend, my husband and I became temporary parents to a 5 year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The owner simply couldn’t care of the dog anymore, so we get to love her until her forever home is found. We had an opportunity three weeks ago to care for a puppy, but the timing was awful- my husband had a business trip, we took a short vacation and both had the flu. We could barely take care of ourselves, let alone another dog! God knew that and found a different home for the puppy from three weeks ago. Now we have a sweet, healthy, loving little girl that fits right into our family dynamic.

This summer I spent many hours in prayer and meditation, reading my Bible and writing random thoughts in a notebook. I had simply been feeling a tug to spend some quality time with God and listen. I had no idea what I was listening for, but it’s hard to hear God if you’re not trying to listen. In July, God revealed amazing things. He set me on His path for my life and has opened every necessary door along the way. That’s the beauty of God’s timing. You can trust something is from God when everything works out perfectly.

My serious question for God is, why reveal this amazing information now? Why not ten years ago, or while I was in college or anytime in the five years since I graduated from college? Why was this summer a better time than three years ago or three years from now?

My only answer is this scripture from Ephesians – For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). God has everything prepared, mapped out, planned and a timeline drawn up for our lives. He knows where we’re headed, and He knows we need each life experience to lead us forward and help us stay on His path. I truly believe that every small event in life in perfectly timed by God. And each small event will eventually make up the larger picture and purpose for our lives.

Can you think of moments in your own life that God timed out perfectly? Were these moments big life changes, or small events that simply led to bigger moments? I am 100% committed to letting God manage my life’s timeline. If the path is prepared, all I have to do is keep moving forward.

Jordan Shute is the Executive Ministry Assistant at Broomfield United Methodist Church. Her main role is to assist the senior pastor and organize logistics for Sunday services. You can reach Jordan by email at

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Chris Traeger Pledge

by Theresa Mazza

Chris Traeger is the ultra enthusiastic and constantly upbeat city manager of Pawnee, Indiana on the television series Parks and Recreation. He loves making people around him happy and is very direct with his compliments. Chris Traeger wouldn’t compliment a meal by saying, “This is really good,” he would say, “This is literally (pronounced LIT-e-rally) the best thing I’ve ever eaten.” If Chris Traeger was a member of our church and ran into Thomas and Ken in the hallway, he would not say, “Oh hey Thomas and Ken, good to see you,” he would say, “Thomas Cross! Ken Brown! Literally two of my favorite people on Earth.”

I find this overly positive and optimistic fictional character (performed hilariously by Rob Lowe) ‘literally’ the best thing I’ve ever seen and I am determined to be like Chris Traeger when I grow up.

Are you ready to take the Chris Traeger pledge for life? It goes like this: Instead of assuming the worst in people, we will assume the best. Instead of accepting something as good, we will accept it as the best thing ever. And instead of being simply happy to run into someone, we will be overwhelmingly blessed to be in the same room as them.

I’m not sure I can successfully handle this pledge right away. But here’s where I’m going to start. Right now. Not on January 1st. Starting today, I want to say these things more often to the people God has placed in my life...

I love you. Life is busy. We all have a lot going on. But we should take the time to say this several times a day, because no one, no one, gets tired of hearing these three words. These three words can bring light into the darkest hour. I’ve had the privilege of training youth workers around the country where I encourage them to make sure the students in their ministries know they are loved. I tell them to do this by saying it often, and in as many ways as they can. People don’t know it if you don’t say it. And some of them need to hear it more than once.

I appreciate you. The more and more independent we become, the less and less we appreciate each other. We can all do just about everything on our own, from finding directions from here to there to learning almost anything through a YouTube video. But we do need each other. We are part of a community. Sometimes the most positive force we have in one another’s lives is to simply appreciate each other. We need to more often recognize each other as a gift from God, and say it. “I appreciate you.”

I enjoy you. This is a classic Traeger-ism. Can you say that you really enjoy the people close to you the way you should? For me it requires putting down my smart phone, taking a break from Facebook, and being present. Instead of our minds being somewhere else, maybe we can simply be with the people in the room and enjoy each other. Let’s turn off Netflix, put down our phones, eat more meals at the dinner table together, and enjoy each other. We just might make each other laugh out loud.

By sharing these three sentences more often, maybe we overshadow the negativity surrounding us in a positive way. And maybe, more often than not, we can literally experience heaven on earth.

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Putting the Pieces Together

 by Andrea Laser

From last count, I have a little over seven weeks to secure my “Mom of the Year” nomination. Since there is little time, and I may have a handful of events that will count against my nomination, I figure now is the time to sprint to the finish. That is one reason why I have decided to make both of my children Christmas quilts. Yep, you read that correctly, I am making BOTH of my children quilts.

The project began a couple weeks ago with a shopping trip to Joann Fabric with my older son Paxton, so he could pick out the fabric he liked and help me pick out fabric for his two year-old brother, Wyatt. Then a couple days ago the meat of the project began- sewing. I don’t exactly follow rules when it comes to sewing projects-while most quilters are very meticulous about precisely cutting and planning out a quilt, I more just cut a small snip, and then rip until I reach the end of the fabric (which, by the way works amazingly if you cut a straight line to start. Not so amazing if your first cut is me on this). After all the cutting (ripping) was complete Paxton and I pieced together all the squares and I began sewing them together.

As I sewed I realized I really have very little idea of what I am doing. I know how to use the basic functions of my sewing machine- but I don’t know what about half of the buttons are for; the squares deviated quite a bit from my original 8” x 8” plan, and many of the “squares” had closer to 45 degree angles than 90. Hence, the start of the first quilt looked more “quilt-like” than a professional quilt. In the midst of the project, I said to Paxton, “This isn’t going to turn out perfect.” To which he replied, “Nothing is perfect, mom.”

Sometimes I feel the same way about my faith life. I don’t know all the ins and outs of scripture. I don’t always say the right thing. I don’t know how to explain God very well to a two year old. I struggle to put all my trust in God at all times. As someone relatively new to the church, I used to worry about getting the details right- so much so that it was a barricade to me even attending church as an adult. The more and more I learn about God, I have come to believe that he isn’t wrapped up in getting all the details right- he’s looking for “quilt-like” living, not quilted perfection.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with 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: 37-40

Andrea is an Early Childhood Special Educator, as well as mom to Paxton, 6, and Wyatt, 2. 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

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Prayer in the Midst of Terror

by Thomas Cross

How do you respond to terrifying events and news stories? We are going through a time when we are greeted by very little good news when we turn on the radio, TV, or computer. Instead we are bombarded by stories about Ebola’s spread, terrorist threats, and stock market declines.

Recently a church member told me how she is praying in the midst of these troubling developments. She is praying Psalm 91. The Psalm begins with these beautiful words: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, 'My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust!'” (verses 1-2, NASB)

The Psalm goes on to recount some of God’s most comforting promises, namely deliverance and the end of our fears. The Psalmist reminds us that in God’s presence, we can find refuge from all that makes us afraid. God’s firm faithfulness acts as a shield for us, and we are enfolded in God’s care. Verses 5-6 are particularly appropriate for our time, “You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.”

Recently I spoke about reading the Bible for God’s promises, and Psalm 91 is a treasure trove of promises. In praying Psalm 91, you can address it to God in a personal way, saying “You” instead of “He.” You can also pray the Psalm using “us” where the word “you” appears. As an example, try praying verses 2-3 this way: “We will say of the Lord, “You are our refuge and our fortress; Our God, in whom we will trust. Surely You shall deliver us from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.”

I am starting each day by reciting this beautiful Psalm, addressing it to God directly, and including all my friends and loved ones – and all of you – in my heart as I pray. This Psalm is a heartening reminder that God is sovereign and more powerful than all the evil let loose on the planet. I have found that entering that secret place of prayer – and declaring my trust in God – releases positive expectations and opens my eyes to God’s work. Trusting in God is a daily discipline that brings the peace of God into my field of awareness.

Proverbs 3:5-6 promises that God will straighten out our paths as we lean into God with complete trust. Sometimes, looking forward, those paths don’t look very straight, but they sure do as I look back -- and observe how God has helped me in the past. So I choose to keep trusting. I cannot put my head in the sand and deny the news. But behind it all, whatever happens, is the presence of God. Underneath it all are God’s everlasting arms. It is easy to dwell upon the headlines, but far more fruitful to dwell upon these things, “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute…” The mind wanders, but Spirit can guide mind to all that is excellent and worthy of praise. Will you join me in praying Psalm 91 – and its promises -- on a daily basis?

 Thomas Cross 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!