Thursday, March 26, 2015

Road to Emmaus



They missed it. He was walking right by their side and they missed it. For the followers of Jesus that first Easter wasn't the celebration it is for us today. They were living the story and they were afraid, disappointed, confused, and beginning to doubt. They didn't have the certainty in the moment that we have now as we benefit from knowing the whole story. Jesus told his followers what was going to happen and the prophets of Israel had predicted everything as it had happened, but they missed it.

In Luke chapter 24, two of Jesus' followers were walking to Emmaus from Jerusalem. As they walked they were talking about everything that happened to Jesus. How could they crucify him? Why didn't he save himself? Was he who he claimed to be? Did he rise from the dead or was his body stolen? Why was this happening? According to the Gospel of Luke, as they were talking Jesus joined them on their journey but God kept them from recognizing him.

The unrecognizable Jesus asked them what they were talking about. They couldn't believe this stranger hadn't heard. One his followers replied with complete disbelief, "Are you the only one in Jerusalem who hasn't heard about what they did to Jesus?"

They tell Jesus everything: his capture, the sentence, and crucifixion. They tell him that two women who followed Jesus reported this morning that they went to his tomb and his body wasn't there. But as they shared this their doubt became obvious and their hope seemed shattered. They said to Jesus, not knowing who he was, "We had hoped he was the Messiah." Then Jesus steps in and responds, "Why are you being so foolish? Is it really so hard to believe? Didn't the prophets predict everything that has happened?" As Jesus explains the scriptures with clarity and confidence the followers feel a burning in their hearts, but they still didn't recognize him.

Maybe God kept them from recognizing Jesus to build their faith. In the coming days their faith would need to be strong as they continue to build the church without Jesus on earth to do it for them. The followers would now become the leaders. If they had recognized Jesus right away they might have followed him blindly. Jesus gives them a gift by allowing them to struggle and consider in their own heart if he was their Messiah. He allows them to make their faith their own.

Impressed by this strangers wisdom, the two beg him to join them for dinner.

As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! Luke 24: 30-31

Jesus had broken bread with his followers many times. A simple meal would offer the greatest teaching opportunity and he would explain as he broke the bread, "This is my body, broken for you." Perhaps that is why his identity is revealed as he breaks bread in this story. Maybe in this moment of brokenness his followers truly accept and believe for the first time. Maybe as Jesus broke the bread their doubt was also broken and their shattered hope restored.

What road are you walking on this Easter season that has made it hard for you to recognize Jesus in your own life? How has your hope been shattered? I promise you that he is walking whatever road you’re on with you. Maybe you don't recognize him yet, but he's there and in time your heart will allow you to recognize his presence and the hurt and doubt that you feel now will be stripped away as his love steps into your journey with you.

Jesus was broken so we don't have to stay broken. May our journey to Emmaus draw us closer to the Messiah.

Praying for restored hope this Easter.

-Theresa




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 theresamazza.com.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Altruism in Children

by Shereen Fink

Years ago I read that children have an almost reflexive desire to help and share. At the time I read it I paused to consider the underlying context and considered that children exhibit a raw expression of God at work in their lives. Before the filters of life experiences, before the hardships put a veil over their actions, children genuinely and innocently express their Christ-likeness in the way they intuitively yearn to help others. This past Sunday, I had the privilege of observing first hand children’s reflexive desire to help as I watched three families participate in our first family serve (a new group forming for families interested in serving with their children under 12 years old) event. The activity was sorting donated food brought to our church for the local food bank, FISH. The opportunity was chosen specifically to allow families with their younger children to serve together. Children from ages 5 to 11 worked side-by-side with their parents to organize over 1,000 pounds of food into crates based on the type of food or item (such as diapers, personal products, etc.). 

“Where is all this food going?” was a question one young lady asked me. She was so willing to help it didn’t matter the reason, but she was curious. This ‘teachable moment’ gave me the opportunity to explain that sometimes families just like all of ours don’t have enough food to eat. When that happens, they can go to a food bank called FISH and get food so they won’t be hungry. I saw her processing my response a moment. I can only imagine she was thinking of how awful it would be for children not to have food. She nodded her head to acknowledge what I said and quickly turned to grab more cans of food for her crate.

Later, I couldn’t help but smile near the end of the sorting process when the youngest little girl – dressed in what I called her princess dress – sat down at one of the tables. Just about everything was sorted and there didn’t seem to be anything else for her to do. Just then, someone walked in with two bags and a box of donations. The older children immediately rushed over to help start the process of deciding which crate the items would go into. The little “princess” instantly jumped up and anxiously ran over announcing, “I want to help! Let me!” She absolutely was not going to be left out of the opportunity to be a part of serving and lending a helping hand.



Watching young children learning from their parents to serve others as Jesus did and has instructed us to do also, was a very rewarding experience. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the gift of honoring God by loving our neighbors, and loving and helping the needy. One of the greatest gifts our children give us is the reminder that God plants in us a yearning to share the blessings we enjoy as his children.



Shereen Fink is the Director of Servant Ministries at Broomfield United Methodist Church. In her role she has developed a comprehensive ministry, curriculum and community service network designed to guide individuals to live purposeful lives through recognition and application of their God-given strengths.  She combines her education in business management, certification in Positive Psychology coaching and extensive self-study in theology with life experiences from years in corporate environments to provide a holistic view of God's meaning and purpose for our lives.  She is the author of a daily devotional book: God's Transformation for Our Lives and a devotional meditation CD.

We have future family serve events scheduled to continue this wonderful work God has started. If you have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbor children that you would love to see involved in expressing their God-given desire to help others, please contact Shereen (Shereen.Fink@BroomfieldUMC.org) so that you can get connected for the next event!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

With Purpose

by Jordan Shute

Weeks ago I read a quote by Dr. Henry Cloud that hit me so hard I printed out the email that the quote was included in and taped it to my desk at work. I also pinned it to my corkboard above my desk at home. Printing an email once is important; printing it twice – now that’s big stuff. Dr. Cloud’s quote is more of a thought to ponder, but this is what he said:

“Name three things you did today ‘on purpose.’ Do any of them match your deepest desires? ‘On purpose’ is a big deal…spend it wisely.”

Honestly, most days it takes some serious recall work to remember what I did at work or school. I have no problem remembering the funny video I saw on Facebook, or the new blog post I found from Twitter, or the 25 recipes I want to recreate from Pinterest, but the productive things I did, let alone what I did “on purpose?” Good question.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Every day I drive to the gym, “on purpose,” because I want to be healthy; five days a week I drive to work “on purpose,” because I care about my job; every day I walk my dog “on purpose,” because otherwise she’d be fiery ball of paper-eating energy. All of those things match deep desires, but I’d do them regardless because it’s part of who I am. I want to delve deeper so that everything I do, every day, is “on purpose” rather than convenient or easy or just because it's part of my routine. 

Lent is my favorite church season. Sure, Christmas has its lights and bows and excess, but for me, the meditative feeling of Lent is where it’s at. God gave us all 40 days (plus Sundays) to prepare for Easter and I like to take the 40 days to reflect, meditate and listen to God. For the next 25 or so days in this season, I’m going to commit to filling my to-do list with meaningful “on purpose” things that match my deepest desires.

For example, one of my deepest desires is to run the BolderBoulder faster this year than I ran it last year (yes, I have deeper “deep desires” but we’re starting easy the first day!). So when I hop on a treadmill tomorrow morning, I’ll run with that desire in mind and purposefully push myself to increase my speed instead of lazily running at the same tempo I always do. My mind knows I won’t get faster if I continue to do the same thing, but my body has to physically connect with the desire too, and visualize that finish line.

What did you do “on purpose” today? If you’re struggling to think of something, will you commit to doing three things “on purpose” tomorrow? Let’s make the next few weeks extra meaningful for ourselves, and ultimately, for God.






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 Jordan.Shute@broomfieldumc.org

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Five Things We Forgot About Having a Newborn

by Cristen and Eric Underwood

We had our second child in January of this year. We are so blessed to have two healthy boys. While many people can speak to the trials and tribulations of adding another being into a home, these are our observations. Along with a multitude of other emotions, having a newborn is tiring, exhilarating, overwhelming, fun, boring, silly and delightful.

1. There is nothing better than a baby asleep on your chest. The warm weight of eight pounds of new baby crashed on you is complete bliss.

2. Blowouts will happen at the most inconvenient of times. When you are getting ready to leave the house and you are late to an appointment, surely the cute, new clean outfit that you put on the baby will be covered from top to bottom in poo. We’ve learned to grin and bear our way through many blownout diapers because one day, we’ll look back and think it was pretty funny.

3. God knows when new parents need to see their baby’s first smile. Just when it all gets to be overwhelming and difficult and it seems there is no end to the challenges, you’re graced with the cutest little happy baby grin. Nothing will melt your heart like the first time that your little munchkin breaks into a tiny smile.

4. Time flies. Everyone will tell you to enjoy these moments because before you know it they are gone. It is true. We look at our big strapping 3-year-old and can barely remember when he was a tiny guy in newborn diapers. We are trying so hard to take the time to appreciate the present with this new baby. He is only going to be this small once.

5. Eventually, sleep will come again. At 2:00 a.m. we keep telling ourselves that one day, these middle-of-the-night feedings will come to an end and we will have a new set of challenges with a toddler to chase around the house.

We count our blessings everyday. Our two boys are the best thing that we’ve ever done and our time with them is such a gift.

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. –Psalm 127:3






Eric and Cristen have been members of BUMC since 2011 and are active in the First Fridays Fellowship. They live in Westminster with their two sons, a dog and a really fat cat.