Friday, October 31, 2014

The Water Bucket Challenge

by Michael Rowley

We are blessed to live in the United States. We have resources at our finger tips that many people throughout the world can only dream of. We use them freely and often times without thought.
I applaud the amount of support and resources that were share with the Ice Bucket Challenge. It captured the imagination, the inner “daredevil” in us, and the philanthropic pulse in our hearts. It even opened the door for me to discuss our church with people who participated in this challenge.

Day after day I watched links to videos and talk to participants. As each person dumped the bucket of water over their head, I thought of Haiti. I also took the opportunity to tell some of the participants how you have been a blessing to people in Haiti these last three years, by furnishing bucket filtration systems to families.

When we gift a water filtration system to a family in Haiti, approximately nine people will no longer drink water plagued with disease or pollution. They will walk to a well or the river and gather five gallons of water to haul home. They will dump the water into the top of the bucket filtration system. They wait four hours and then they have 5 gallons of clean water to share.

The next time you turn on your faucet and the hot and cold water flows freely, thank God for being an American. Then take time to say a prayer for the millions of people worldwide who need better sources of cleaner water.

I now present to you a different kind of bucket challenge, the "BUMC Water Bucket Challenge." If you are thankful for the blessing of clean water every day, and want to know how you can make clean water more accessible, then consider sponsoring a bucket system from your family to a family in Haiti. If you participate, then challenge your family, friends, and small groups to match your action.

Michael joined BUMC in 1995 along with his wife Debra and their two sons Jordan and Grant. They live in Erie. He owns and operate Metro Logic, Inc. which specializes in Printed Circuit Design for technology companies. They participated in Cub Scout with the BUMC Pack and eventually started Troop 49 in Lafayette where both boys received their Eagle Scout Awards. Within BUMC, he is currently serving as a Mission Team Leader for annual trips to Ouanaminthe, Haiti for the past 3 years. He has also been on mission in Romania in '96 and southern Haiti in '04. He has served on the Ministry Council, Youth Steering Committee, led several Discipleship classes, acted as the retreat coordinator for the Stephen Ministries Retreat a few years ago, and have helped with holiday food box packing for the last 10 years.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Beloved

by Sue Morin

It's refreshing to think about known things in a new way. Henri J. M. Nouwen doesn't focus on new doctrine, but instead breaks Christianity into four simple (not easy) parts in his book, Life of the Beloved: Chosen, Blessed, Broken, Given.

Chosen is knowing, deep in our hearts, that we were each created for, and loved eternally by God--just as we are right now. We read the words in the Bible, but do we actually believe that we don't need to lose weight, make more money, live in a fancier neighborhood, do more volunteer work, or do anything else to earn God's love?

Blessed is noticing and acknowledging the gifts God continually bestows on us, such as loving friends, a sunny day, an encouraging co-worker, the view from a fourteener, a great meal, a great parent-teacher conference.

Broken is accepting the parts of ourselves and our lives that are not as we want, our sufferings. Nouwen encourages us to take the time to name the feelings, understand why we feel that way, endure the pain, share it with God and seek His help to heal—sounds simple, but definitely not easy—and a long, continual process.

Given is blessing others. We have been Chosen, Blessed and Broken to serve. Sometimes, giving is obvious—Sunday sermon, praise band, faith guides. Brokenness, though not obvious, can also be a path of service, if it leads us to provide compassion and wisdom to someone going through a similar situation—like a recovering alcoholic leading AA meetings. Recognizing our acts of Giving help us see that God worked through us to help another Chosen one.

Blessed and Given are easier for me, but I struggle with Chosen a lot! I don't stand out from the crowd, have no special talents, job, or achievements. Does God really see me as His Beloved, in all my ordinariness, with all the flaws that I am painfully aware of?

Nouwen's advice has helped me as I try to see myself as God sees me, and the following actions are ways that I call these parts into my life:

Praying.
“Every time you listen with great attentiveness to the voice that calls you the Beloved, you will discover within yourself a desire to hear that voice longer and more deeply. It is like discovering a well in the desert. Once you have touched wet ground, you want to dig deeper.” (Life of the Beloved)

Reminding ourselves that we are Beloved when we doubt ourselves.
We have to dare to say to ourselves: “These feelings, strong as they are, are not telling me the truth about myself. The truth, even though I can not feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God's eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting embrace.” (Life of the Beloved)

Looking attentively for people and places where we are reminded that we are Beloved.
“The limited, sometimes broken, love of those who share our humanity can often point us to the truth of who we are: precious in God's eyes.” (Life of the Beloved)

Being grateful.
“You have to celebrate your choseness constantly. This means saying “thank you” to God for having chosen you, and “thank you” to all who remind you of your choseness. …When we keep claiming the light, we will find ourselves becoming more and more radiant. ...Gratitude begets gratitude, just as love begets love.” (Life of the Beloved)

I like to think about these four ideas not as steps on a ladder, but as troughs on an endlessly spinning wheel (when I had toddlers at home, I felt Blessed, Broken and Given every day by 10 A.M.!).

Living each day with “Chosen, Blessed, Broken, Given,” as the background soundtrack in my head has helped me notice more of God's blessings and notice more opportunities to bless (be Given) to others.

What do you think about this way of looking at Christianity? Do you feel Chosen? Can you think of times when you have been Blessed, Broken and Given?

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10







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, October 15, 2014

The Candy Crush Paradox

by Sara Godwin

My life, lately, has resembled a game of Candy Crush. If you have ever played Candy Crush, you know: it’s a maddening game of very little skill and a whole lot of luck. I have spent days, weeks even, hunched over my phone, swiping my fingers over the screen, trying to advance to the next level, only to have a bomb explode or chocolate squares squeeze me out before I can accomplish the required task. I will concentrate, I will struggle and I will work so hard to get those sweet candy combinations, only to be defeated over and over again. Why then, you ask, do I continue to play this exasperating game? Because when I least expect it, I win. More often than not, I’m not even concentrating, just randomly swapping candies, paying more attention to a phone conversation or a television program when all of a sudden my phone says, “Sugar Crush.” I look down and (trumpet sounds here), I have completed the level, just like that, without even trying. Wow, what a feeling. It’s a rush, really it is.






How is this like my life? There are so many days when my life feels completely out of my control. Nothing goes the way I need it to. People don’t act the way I want them to act. Events seem to conspire against me and pile up, one by one, threatening to topple over and crush me underneath. The harder I try to make things right, the more I attempt to control everything, the more slippery everything gets. Then, when I stop trying so hard, when I whisper, “God, are you there?” Something amazing happens. My life stops being so difficult. The minute I let go and let God take over, he says something so cool. He says, “Sugar Crush”.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6



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, October 8, 2014

Be the Light

by Lisa Forrey

We stand alone.
In a world of people, we stand alone, each of us with our different experiences, experiences that shape us uniquely. We are molded and twisted by forces that are sometimes beyond our control. It's as if we are wax, waiting to take on whatever form life shapes in us.

Among my friends, and to an extent, for me, this has been a season of harshness, a time of relative darkness even though most of our calendars still read "autumn." We each deal with the darkness in individual ways, some by sharing, some by joking, others by lashing out at the gym, still others by retreating into a period of quiet contemplation. I appreciate these differences; they mark us as uniquely as the darkness that threatens to harden us to the world.

Before the wax hardens and solidifies, I've noticed that something else happens. Jesus taught us this. In Matthew 5:14-16, He said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (NIV) Create an internal fire by whatever means, stand up and shine. Ask for God's help that it might be possible for you to stand alone in the darkness allowing your candle's light shining for others still in the inky abyss.

My friends are amazing in their ability to do this. My friends have helped shine that light for me and I hope that sometimes, I can be that light for them.

For while we stand alone, we have the capability, with heavenly help, to shine through the night, to be light.





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.


Friday, October 3, 2014

I Am Worthy

by Diane Young

About a year ago, I started doing yoga. I’ve worked at a desk for 25 years, so my very inflexible hamstrings and hips needed some help! It’s proved to be a very nice complement to my regular workout routine, and because I have a stressful job, having a place to go where I can feel like I’m “getting away” has really helped me.

I make an effort to get to class 10-15 minutes early at least 3 times a week so I can have some quiet time. If you’ve done any type of meditation, you know that your mind chatter can really get in the way of your meditation time. You replay your day, your to-do list, the things you said that you wish you hadn’t, the things you wish you had said, what you’re going to make for dinner tomorrow….you get the idea! Even though my mind does chatter, I try to show up on my mat with no agenda – I just sit with my eyes closed and see how God nudges me.

During yoga class (especially in a class where you are holding a pose for a long time), the teachers will encourage you to use a mantra. This is a simple, positive statement to repeat to yourself to help quiet (or sometimes talk over!) your mind chatter. They have suggested things like “I am happy…”, “I am healthy..”, “I am strong…”. I tried many, many different things over the past few months, and none of them really resonated with me. I always seemed to have a rebuttal to the mantra – I would start out “I am healthy…” and immediately my mind would come back with “uh, yeah, except for those fries you ate yesterday!” 

Then one night a few months ago, I was sitting on my mat – the room was dark and there were only a couple of other people in the room. I sat quietly with my eyes closed and just breathed. A voice spoke to me so clearly -- “YOU ARE WORTHTY!” My eyes shot open and I found my own gaze in the mirror and said to myself “I am worthy…” WOW! Calm washed over me and I got weepy at the same time. I AM WORTHY! 

I am worthy and you are worthy!  Not because of anything we have done, but because God has made us and loves us!  We are worthy of God’s love, his blessings, and even the strength that he gives us when things are difficult.

YOU ARE WORTHY!






I have been attending BUMC for about 12 years, and have been involved in the music program in some way the entire time.  I love having a right-brain outlet to offset my left-brain day-to-day job as an accountant!  My husband & I have a daughter that is in her final semester of college – YAY!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A New Season

by Melanie McInnis

This year has had its beautiful seasons. God blessed me with planning a wedding, marrying my best friend, and an amazing honeymoon in Maui. Unfortunately, this year has also had its dark seasons. I would not go so far to say I experienced a “faith crisis,” but none the less this has been a tough year. I lost one of my very good friends and my father-in-law as well this past February. I also recently have had struggles with my own health. To say it’s been a tough year actually sounds like quite an understatement. I do feel that while difficult, these struggles have certainly made me the strongest version of myself. Likewise, they have heightened my faith and drawn me near to God.

During these difficult times, I have felt the pull on my faith. A quick thought that would sometimes seep into my mind was saying something negative toward God (which is not my thought process at all!) or about myself. But I would immediately dismiss these cynical outlooks because I know they are not from God. These dim views are meant to deter me from my walk with God.

I’m not really sure why I considered myself “un-test worthy,” if in fact that is what happened to me this year. One thing I know for sure is that when I pray to God, He hears me and I give Him thanksgiving for hearing me (in the good and bad seasons of life). I have come to realize that what I want is not always going to be answered on my timeline, however I do know that God is faithful and keeps all of His promises.

Perhaps you have found yourself in a lowly state at some point in your life, or maybe you have not experienced a season like that in your life yet. What I have learned is that it is important to realize your lowly state is considered a high position by God that is preparation soil for revealing deep things from the dark places that God desires you to learn.

I’ve learned something interesting recently which I have been applying in my own life. Just like David did with Goliath, it’s best to speak to the giant or mountain of difficulty you’re facing, declare victory, be the victor and not the victim. It’s best not to share with people how big your problems are but instead to share how big our God is!

He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings deep shadows into the light. Job 12:22





Melanie McInnis is the Ministry Assistant at Broomfield United Methodist Church. She leads a fall small group every Tuesday on Beth Moore’s “Beloved Disciple”. She and her husband, Nolan recently welcomed their new Westie, Moses into their home.