Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Power of Reconciliation


So, I have been watching my “blog due” date approach for several weeks now with a little bit of dread because I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to blog about. I usually get a light bulb when I walk the dog or when I’m driving to work, but this time; nada, nothing. I was fresh out of good ideas. So I decided to head on over to the church’s website and pull up Ken’s latest sermon. I was unable to go to church this last week (it was daylight savings day after all) so I thought I’d see what I had missed.

There’s Ken, trying to get people to sing a song from the Baha Men, to no avail, which is pretty funny, but I digress. He begins talking about reconciliation. He asks the congregation if they had ever made a decision that they regretted. I know I have. Boy howdy; have I ever. I’ve made decisions that I wasn’t sure how to get out of once I had made them; life changing decisions that would not only affect me, but others around me. These decisions had consequences and I had to learn how to live with them, how to learn from them, how to reconcile them.

As I listened to Ken’s sermon, some of these decisions came into my mind and I began to recall the feelings that were associated with them, both during the times that I was living them and now, years later. Some of the decisions I have made were spur of the moment, dumb decisions, born from some need to prove something or try something new. Others were thought out, long processes that didn’t yield the results that I had hoped for. Either way, some of these decisions left me with feelings of regret, unease, anguish and dissatisfaction, even to this day.

Then Ken said something that really hit me. He said that if you find yourself standing in the proverbial room that you feel you don’t belong in, find the door. And don’t ever forget that Jesus is that door. That’s the key to it all. God forgives us our trespasses and we need to be able to forgive ourselves of those trespasses as well. So find your door and walk through. I’ve needed to hear that for a while now. I’ve been beating myself up for a decision that I made not too long ago and I need to forgive myself and move on. I need to reconcile it.

After I finished listening to the sermon something else came into my mind. When I was 7 or 8 years old I learned a Bible verse from the Book of Psalms. It has stuck with me all these years because it was taught to me as a song. The verse has always had a lot of meaning to me, but now, after hearing that I need to reconcile my life’s decisions, it has a power to it, a force. It’s something that I wake up hearing in my head because it is so, so true. “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Every. Single. Day. No matter what.

Sara Godwin has been a member of BUMC since 2003. She is the Assistant Director and Teacher at Apple Tree Christian Preschool and Kindergarten where she has worked since 2007. She has two wonderful children, Rachel and Ian, a loving husband, Shawn, two awesome kitties, Lewis and Lucy, and a sweet dog, Minnie. 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.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Angry Like Jesus


For work I travel quite a bit to Las Vegas. You cannot breathe in Vegas without a constant inundation of marketing and messaging. I’ve found myself seeking and searching for the message of the church in Las Vegas amongst all the ads for the star-studded shows, clubs, restaurants and entertainment. There are a few billboards out there that reflect the true nature of our loving God, but there’s a louder and more present contrarian message that proclaims a vindictive and unforgiving deity that “knows what you’ve been doing” and is all too eager to punish you for it.

Being a Christian living in Utah, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with several Mormon-turned-Christians. Just this week while discussing my blog ideas, a member of our church confided in me that growing up in the LDS church, his impression of Christianity was that it was a religion founded on guilt. Is our best strategy for promoting the Gospel really “go to church or go to hell”? Is that truly living the bible?

Of course, God did instruct Jonah to proclaim to Ninevah: “Call out against it for their evil has come up before me.” (Jonah 1:2) But the story of Jonah is one of trust in God and His forgiveness. Ultimately the only punished party is Jonah himself for being angry at God for not carrying out the prophesied wrath upon Ninevah. Paul understood the church is not a tool of revenge when he preached, “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone”? (1 Thessalonians 5:15)

But wait, Jesus got angry, right? Oh yeah: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!” (Matthew 23:23-24) And he said to them (the Pharisees), “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart… (Mark 3:4-5) And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who sold and bought in the temple…He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.” (Matthew 21:12-13)

Jesus’s anger was directed solely at the church not being The Church. I think if Jesus penned a billboard along Las Vegas Boulevard it wouldn’t condemn the lost soul addicted to gambling or lust, but instead would condemn the church for not actively welcoming these same people into its doors.

In a recent radio interview, one of the reasons that was cited for why many millennials are walking away from the church is their perceived correlation between organized religion and politics. I’ve joked on this topic to many friends that if Jesus were to arrive on Earth today the first group that would find his teachings entirely too radical would be the same politicians who espouse that Christianity is under attack! If our faith truly drove our political lives there would be more “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44) and way less, “We need to build a wall….”

So what does your personal advertisement of the church look and sound like? I would hope that it’s a message of love, forgiveness, grace, and peace; all the things Jesus wants us to be to reflect the true nature of God. However, we are human and anger is part of that condition. Will you be angry like Jonah, proclaiming a vengeful God that will heap wrath upon those who are struggling in a battle with their sins? Or will you be angry like Jesus, and fight for a church focused on mercy, faithfulness, doing good, and prayer?






Kyle Rasmussen and his family currently live in Centerville, UT and attend The Bridge Community Church. He is a Quality Control Specialist with Holly Energy Partners in the greater Salt Lake City area.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Hymns


I got a really cool Valentine’s gift this year. Some of you will agree, and probably wish you had this gift. Others, you’ll probably think I’m kind of a nerd or old fashioned, but that’s OK. I got Michael W. Smith’s Hymns 2 CD! Only available at Cracker Barrel! I LOVE it!

I know, kinda cheesy maybe, but I truly do love it. When his first Hymns CD came out, I had to get that one too. They are both full of so many great songs.

I grew up going to First United Methodist Church in Monmouth, Illinois. At that time, our church only had traditional services. We had Sunday School one hour, and worship service the next hour. So I grew up doing both every Sunday. A direct result of me sitting in church all of those years is that I heard so many of the great classic hymns and they are forever ingrained in my mind and heart. But it wasn’t until I became an adult that I actually started listening to the words.

Hymns are for sure very different than our contemporary worship songs of today – which by the way I totally love as well. But those hymn tunes and those words can really speak to you and become part of your own personal worship in the car or at home, if you let the words wash over you.

My hymn CDs are my “go to” in times of stress or if I need to just bring things down a notch. These songs can bring me to an awareness of God’s presence in seconds flat. I think about the people who wrote so many of the great hymns so very long ago and how they have impacted so many generations of faith before us. Somehow that makes them even more special. Sometimes I might have it on in the car and not even be paying attention and “BOOM!” a song hits me and God is sitting in the car with me.

I’m so grateful for the impact of music and for Michael W Smith and so many others who, with the gift of their voices, can remind us of how amazing God is. What are some things you do to bring you close to God? How do you get still to let his love wash over you and bring peace? I’d love to hear some of your practices! Please share below. And if you want to try out some of these hymns……Cracker Barrel has some good food too. Make it a night! Eat and by a CD! J I hope you’ll get as much joy and peace from these songs as I do.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face. And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”



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 and her husband, Dave, have a beautiful daughter, Lauren, who is 13-years-old. Their family also includes Sadie, the Lhasa Apso. Vicki loves spending time with her family and friends, and enjoying all that beautiful Colorado has to offer! You can contact her at vicki.cromarty@broomfieldumc.org.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Judas or Peter?

During the Season of Lent I reflect on story of the last 24 hours of the life of Jesus, and I ask myself a question… I am more like Judas or Peter? Peter who was forgiven… Or Judas who was not…

How is it that Judas, who betrayed Jesus once and was filled with remorse, became the villain, while Peter, who denied Jesus three times and wept bitterl, became the rock on which the church was built? When it comes down to it, what is the difference between Peter and Judas? Well, maybe nothing. And maybe there’s not a whole lot of difference between us and them too.

But we get to share something with Peter that Judas never got to experience and it’s the thing that could have made all the difference. In Judas’s isolation, he never availed himself of the means of grace. Judas carried with him into that field the burden of not experiencing God’s grace because he was removed from the community in which he could hear it. In Judas’s ears there never was placed a word of grace. And let me tell you, that’s not something the sinner can create for him or herself. It is next to impossible in isolation to manufacture the beautiful, radical grace that flows from the heart of God to God’s broken and blessed humanity. As human beings, there are many things we can create for ourselves: entertainment, stories, pain, toothpaste, maybe even positive self-talk. But it is difficult to create this thing that frees us from the bondage of self.

In the end we are all Judas. But, we can try to be Peter. So.. every day, I know that I have to make a choice to let the Grace of God into my heart, and accept gift forgiveness that Jesus paid for with his life and suffering on the cross.

We cannot create for ourselves God’s word of grace. We must tell it to each other. It’s a terribly inconvenient and oftentimes uncomfortable way for things to happen. Were we able to receive the word of God through pious, private devotion – through quiet personal time with God – the Christian life would be far less messy. But, as Paul tells us, faith comes through hearing, and hearing implies having someone right there doing the telling.



Dave Lockley is a lifelong Methodist who has attended Broomfield UMC for the past 8 years, with his wife Jamey and children Eddie and Anabella. He has degrees in History and Education from CU Boulder and is a teacher, for the Adams 12 School District. At BUMC, he teaches classes and small groups studies on Christian History and the Bible. You can contact him at David.Lockley@colorado.edu.