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!