Thursday, August 28, 2014

In Whose Strength? Quandary Peak Part 1

by Christine Rector

On July 30th I climbed my second fourteener, Mt. Sherman. As I prepared I couldn’t help but remember last year when I climbed my first fourteener, Mt. Quandary. Sara Godwin invited me to join on this climb and I was excited to go because climbing a fourteener was on my bucket list. I jumped at the opportunity an it was an incredible experience- one that I will never forget.

We began our climb at Mt. Quandary’s trail head and I was soon enthralled by God’s creation; the smell of fresh air and pine trees, the chatter of squirrels, and chirping of birds and the beautiful colors of the wildflowers were exhilarating. As we hiked toward the summit though I noticed that I was laboring a bit and concerns began to filter through my brain. I knew that I was not at my best but I didn’t think I was that out of shape!

Mt. Quandary’s boulder field is humongous. When we reached the field, my concern turned into distress. Fatigue was starting to set in and I was starting to show signs of altitude sickness. Mt. Quandary has two false peaks which appear to be the summit but are not. When we reached the first of the two false peaks I contemplated turning back, but because I’m not one to quit a challenge, I continued on.

As we climbed over boulders, fatigue had turned to exhaustion. I was dizzy and had started to fear that I was going to pass out. During one of my many rest breaks, I mentally screamed, “I can’t do this”, “I’m really out of shape and need to work out more!” I was ready to quit and didn’t care that I wouldn’t be crossing this item off my bucket list! But then I heard the whisper of a still, small voice, “I can do everything through Him, who gives me strength.” I got up and started to slowly climb over the massive boulders and made my way to the second false peak. With each and every step I took, the voice in my head got louder and louder until I actually screamed, “I CAN DO EVERYTHING THROUGH HIM WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH!” from the summit of the mountain. I suppose you could say I went and told it on the mountain! I relied on God’s strength to get me to the top of Mt Quandary and a few months later I found myself relying on His strength to get me through some pretty tough trials.

God used my fourteener experience to prepare me for my mission trip to India, weeks of caring for my mother as she recovered from stomach cancer, and ultimately my own battle with breast cancer.

As I reflect on that climb I realize that it was really symbolic of the trials that I face in my own life. I relied in my own strength in the beginning of that climb just as I do in my everyday life. I have relied on my own strength to get me through the “easy stuff” but it is not until the “hard stuff” comes along that I rely on God’s strength. Yet even in the “easy stuff,” God wants me to rely on Him whose strength is so much more than my own. He used this experience to teach me this extraordinarily valuable lesson and I thank him for it every day.

I can do everything through Him, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Christine is the Children's Ministry Assistant at BUMC

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I'll Spot You!

by Theresa Mazza

The recent weeks have been weighted with such heaviness. Every time I turn around someone close to me struggles to keep a relationship alive, while others around me face the harsh reality of relationships coming to a hard fought end. Others I love are battling health issues that seem completely unfair. Couldn’t these things pick on someone else, or just disappear all together? To add to it all, every time I pass a television or turn on the radio, the news around the world makes me feel less and less at home on this earth. Sometimes, this life is heavy.

So what are we to do with this less than perfect life, all its hurt, the broken pieces, all this heaviness weighing us down weeks at a time, sometimes months, or years at a time?

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
-Galatians 6:2

I became a determined athlete at a young age. When I was 12 years old I would run loop after loop around my block, imagining I was Flo Jo! I didn’t have the cool long nails, and I had more of a Filipino thing going on, but when I was running around my block, putting in time to be the best middle school track star in all of Boise, Idaho, I was Flo Jo!!!! She was fast and she was ripped. So when my track coach announced we were starting weight training I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. “All I have to do is run faster than everyone else, wear Nikes, and lift these weights.”

First lesson I learned in weight training. You must have a spotter. Any amount of weight that is going to make you stronger requires a spotter. Without a spotter you risk all the weight crashing down on your neck or chest. Crushing yourself with heavy weight is not a good thing. A spotter is there to bare some of the burden of your weight when you can’t bare all the weight with your own strength.

In the 6th Chapter of Galatians, the writer reminds his readers to fulfill the law of Christ. To spot each other. The greatest law Christ gives to us in scripture is to love one another. Loving each other means carrying one anothers burdens, spotting each other when the weight of life is too much for us to handle on our own.

Carrying someone else’s weight on our own shoulders means forgiving each others faults, means taking care of one another when our physical and emotional wells run dry, it means letting someone know, they’re not alone.

Sometimes this life is heavy. So what can we do about it? Spot each other. Don’t be afraid to ask for a spotter when you need one. And don’t hesitate to be a spotter when someone else needs you.

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

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Water of Life

by Tonya Hamilton

From the very beginning water has been used in the bible to represent different images from creation, to destruction, to re-birth. Water is truly one of the most powerful forces in nature; it forms great canyons and enables life to flourish. Psalm 65:9-10 says, “You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth.”

Water has an amazing ability to allow one to relax, slow down and regenerate. I remember as a kid traveling to Colorado every year for vacations. I loved the smell of the pine trees and the majestic sight of the mountains. My dad and brother loved to fish but now that I’m older I realize there was more to it than catching fish. It was about stopping, forgetting for a moment the “stuff” of life that happens to all of us and recharging for another go. The fish fry was just a side bar to the real meaning of the trip.

This past weekend we visited Eldorado Canyon and hiked to a spectacular place where the water was coming through two channels and over two separate waterfalls. The sound was so overwhelming that, for me, time melted away and the troubles of life stopped.

In Revelation, John reminds us of the power of water, “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22: 1-2).

We all have moments when we need to stop, slow down and recharge. We can take advantage of living in a place where mountain streams are just a short drive away and let God use the power of water to speak to our very souls.

Tonya Hamilton is the Director of Communication at BUMC. She moved here with her family in February from OklahomaWhen she’s not at work, she enjoys the great outdoors and spending time with family. You can contact Tonya by email at

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Small Blessings and Happy Times

by Cristen Underwood

Last week, I took my almost-three-year-old son to the zoo, just the two of us. I rarely take him out to do fun things just us. Usually, we run errands or go to the grocery or the bank. The usual working parent weekend needs. So, with a full day off in front of us, we he headed to the zoo and out to lunch. All day long, he said, “We’re at the zoo, just mommy and me, were going to lunch, just mommy and me.” And the most heart-melting in the car on the way home, “I love you, mommy, at home and at the zoo”

I thought to myself that I need to enjoy these precious times before he grows up! I have heard before that the key to happiness is finding joy in each moment and I realize that I need to make this simple concept a focus in my own life.

Recently, my husband and I attended the first ultrasound for our second baby that we are expecting in early January. As we listened to the heart beat and saw the tiny, blurry black and white image moving on the screen, I made myself pause to enjoy the moment and bask in this miracle.

It is so easy to get bogged down in the daily monotony of life; the groceries, the errands, the bank and the tedious work commutes that we can miss the precious and fleeting moments that make us feel happy and so blessed. Now I am striving to find peace and joy in my daily routine. I am trying to slow down and enjoy putting my son to bed, taking my dog for a walk in the cool evening air, seeing the flowers and vegetables in my garden growing and taking time to enjoy all of the other miracles that God blessed me with the ability to appreciate.

Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Cristen Underwood has been a member of BUMC for two years.  She is actively involved in the First Friday Fellowship. She lives in Westminster with her husband and two-year old son.