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