Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Community of Faith

Post by: Cathy Stafford

“Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and men.”

Merry Christmas! This is my first venture at writing a blog for sisters and brothers in Christ, and I get to do it at Christmas! I sincerely hope that this message finds you experiencing the peace that comes with the knowledge that Our Savior was born.

It is a few days before Christmas as I am writing this, and it is a busy time for me as it probably has been for you. I work for the Family Ministries program at Broomfield UMC, recently coming on staff after volunteering for many years. I really enjoy interacting with families as well as the children.

Probably because of my new role at the church, I am thinking about Jesus’ family life and childhood a lot lately. The scene of His birth comes to mind of course, due to the season. I am thinking about it differently this year, in more detail and also considering the challenges as well as the joy. I think about Mary and her uncomfortable bumpy donkey ride to Bethlehem. I think of her selflessness hosting many visitors when she was probably so tired after giving birth. I hope someone brought her a meal (maybe a big sandwich) along with the gifts for her baby. And although I haven’t done this much before, I think about the days and years right after the birth of Jesus. Was He an “easy baby?” Maybe super smiley like the precious girl who was baptized at church last week? Or maybe He got fussy near nap time and woke up Mary and Joseph a lot during the night? As a child, did He excel at everything He tried? Or maybe He did not and He got frustrated.

Along with wondering what Jesus was like as a child, I think about Mary and Joseph’s life as parents. I want to think it was easy for them, because they had to witness their son’s death later on. But I imagine they had daily struggles that all parents face, along with all of the joys. Maybe they had times where laundry piled up and they were just tired. Maybe they got grumpy when their kids were noisy. Surely along with those challenges, they had wonderful times of joy. I’m sure, like my husband and me, they had times when their children acted kindly towards someone and they were so grateful they thought their hearts would break.

The fact is that the Bible only gives us a few lines about Jesus as a child and Mary and Joseph as parents. I believe that everything written in the Bible, and everything not written in the Bible, is for a purpose. I see the lack of information about Jesus’ childhood and family life as a gift. First of all, I see it as a gift of privacy for young Jesus and His family. Jesus’ family raised God’s Son on Earth, and their private moments and details remain their own. I also see this lack of information about Jesus’ boyhood as a gift to all parents and families who follow Him. When I consider doing something for my family, I don’t feel like I need to compare my story with the story of Jesus’ family. As a mother, instead of thinking, “What would Mary do?” in any given situation, I can just do my best to apply Jesus’ messages of love and forgiveness.

As much as I hope that Mary and Joseph had an easy time with Jesus and the rest of their family, what I really hope is that they had a faith community like the one we have at Broomfield UMC to support them. I can imagine Mary and Joseph going to worship while other people in their community gave lessons about God to Jesus and the other children. Maybe they got an “evening out” to relax and talk while people in their community did fun things with the children. They didn’t have movies back then for a Movie Night, but maybe the kids had games in the fields while parents got to go out. Maybe there were fun activities and faith lessons during long summer days. I hope there were lots of people in Mary and Joseph’s faith community who chatted with the children and smiled when they listened to them sing, like at Broomfield UMC. Hopefully Mary and Joseph had faith leaders who were ready and willing to answer kids’ questions about God. I hope they had lots of community members they could call on for help, and in turn could help them. I hope they had a community like we have at Broomfield UMC, where children learn that other people are fun and kind and good.

The Bible does not tell us much about Jesus as a child. There are only a few lines that summarize His youth. My favorite is in Luke 2:52, which says “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and men.” This line is such a gift, as it reassures us that as long as we are doing our best to help our children grow, everything is good. At church, I am always witnessing how our children are growing in wisdom. They respond to faith lessons with such a simple and honest understanding of God’s love. They talk about praying at home. Besides growing in wisdom, we can all witness that Broomfield UMC kids are growing in stature, especially when we greet one and realize she is taller than we are! The children at Broomfield UMC constantly grow in favor with us and surely with God.

I am grateful to be in this community with you. I sincerely hope the remainder of this Christmas season fills you with peace. Also, I hope that the New Year brings you moments of joy and laughter. Always feel free to come visit the kids’ programs at Broomfield UMC, as you will find plenty of both!

Cathy Stafford is a church member, friend, daughter, sister, wife, and mother of two elementary-age children. She works as a Program Coordinator with the Family Ministries Team at BUMC, which serves children ages birth to 5th grade and their families

Friday, December 15, 2017

Trusting in God’s Timing

Post by: Kristan Marsden

When people find out that I am a Special Education teacher they almost always follow up with something along the lines of, “Oh, you must be so patient.” But I’m not. I’m the kind of person that skips ahead to the last chapter of a book because I can’t wait to find out what happens. If my husband records the Bronco’s game to watch later, I check the score so I know who wins before we even start watching. I hate not knowing what will happen, especially in my own life. The bible tells us many times throughout to trust in God and His timing. 1 Peter 5:6-7 reminds us to “6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” Not surprisingly, I struggle with this.

I love the idea that God has amazing lives in store for each of us, if we just have the patience to wait for him to perfectly author our stories as only He can. Each chapter gives us experiences and teaches us what we need to know for the next chapter. We move through them in order becoming closer to God and our authentic selves as we go. But lately, I find myself wanting to flip ahead a few chapters to see what happens next.

I recently made the decision to leave my teaching position to stay home with my kids full-time. It wasn’t a decision I came to lightly. A lot of my sense of purpose in life is tied to my job and I feel the void when I’m not working. I felt a gentle nudge, a reminder that my career will always be there, but my children will grow up, the time with them will be lost. I committed to staying home for two years until both of our kids are in school.

I only lasted about two months before I started searching job postings in my former school district. As grateful as I felt to have the chance to be home with my kids, I struggled to find a greater purpose. I refused to accept the financial limitations of living on one income. I fretted over the gap on my resume and my ability to get re-hired when the time came. So, I applied for a job that seemed perfect. When I showed up to the interview and saw that two former colleagues and friends were on the interview committee I knew that God had made it happen. This was my next chapter.

Only I didn’t get the job. I was disappointed but, mostly, I was confused. I was sure that this job had been part of God’s plan for me. I struggled to understand until I realized that I had succumbed to my old habit of skipping ahead to the next chapter. Rather than reading the wisdom in each word He is writing for me, I was trying to move on to the next chapter without fully understanding the one I’m in.

As I watch my kids rush to the advent calendar every morning to count down the days until Christmas, it serves as a good reminder to trust in God’s timing. I remind them to slow down, notice all the beautiful Christmas lights, hear the joyful music, and truly grasp the Christmas story. They remind me to savor this precious season and move into the New Year with conviction: to linger over every page of my story, read and re-read the words He writes and trust that God, the greatest author, has written one amazing, perfectly-timed story.

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Kristan spends her days living and learning with her two young daughters, Shay and Grace. In her downtime, you’ll find her running (preferably with friends), skiing, struggling through the occasional yoga class and escaping to the mountains every chance she gets. As a teacher taking time off to raise her own kids, she enjoys volunteering in the Children’s Ministry as well as writing about her experiences as a parent and educator. She and her husband, Britton, have been members of BUMC since 2011.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Tis the season for ….. “Fasting”?

Post by: Frank Oligmuller

In this joyous season of celebrating the birth of Jesus, we find many opportunities involving the flow of food, drink and other goodies – so why have the thought of Fasting? Isn’t that something we think more of doing during Lent? On the other hand – why not this time as well? Maybe that is a bold idea, but let’s ponder for a bit.

During the Advent season, many get caught up in chasing the spirit of the season by the lure of advertising and promotions thrown at us. But, what needs are we really trying to fulfill. My small group recently studied the aspects of Private Discipline for which Fasting was an example to build on our journey to deepen/grow our faith. Fasting is presented in the bible as a practice to abstain from food while focusing our attention to being fed by God’s word. The main purpose is to realize an ability to be sustained by Him and grow our spiritual relationship to always trust. Jesus displayed this during his time of temptation in Matthew 4:4 “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone. But on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” In addition, there are cases where reference is made in letters by Paul as having to go without food for a period of time. But, there is also occasional mention on having to endure other hardships, distresses including sleepless nights as ways to endure and put our reliance on God. As our group discussed fasting, we thought to extend this idea into more than just food. Fasting is definitely the idea, as well as by definition, to abstain from food – buy why only apply food? During the Old and New Testament times, food (whether in fields or livestock) and money were the most coveted of possessions for showing wealth and/or power. Thereby, the example of fasting with food was clearly understandable to those in that time to remove a coveted need of the flesh for focusing on God. And as a secondary outcome of fasting, it can be revealed to us other weaknesses of things that control us other than our faith in God.

Today, food and money are still very much in the mix on how we strongly rely on them. However, though we find a need for food, its possession does not constitute wealth but mostly a need to survive. We now have many other examples of possessions that can convey affluence and wealth – types of cars, latest cell phones, TVs, social media popularity, etc. And, particularly this time of season, there can be added distractions around in getting this, getting that or going here and going there.

So, it is with that idea and thought as why not abstain from our other kind of dependencies each of us find that we feel are needed to sustain us during the day or night. I am sure each of us can find a type of “food” analogy that we feel is needed to sustain us throughout the day/night. Pick your “food” to find a “Silent Night” or “Silent Day” or both. All that said, the challenge to seek what is your “food” is to abstain from during this time of year. And, truly focus to deepen your understanding on the gifts given to us by God with the birth of His Son Jesus. HOPE, JOY, PEACE and above all else LOVE. We may find how they can sustain us and be fruitfully a more highly valued possession.

Have a most Joyous and Merry Christmas.

I grew up in the states of Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. After finishing my Computer Science degree at University California - Irvine, I eventually moved back to Colorado with my wife. Over the past 32 years, I have worked in both the aerospace and commercial industries with my degree getting many opportunities to grow in my professional life. However, there always seemed a gap in the growth of my spiritual life. That gap has began to fill measurably since my attendance and involvement at BUMC for which I praise God to have brought us at a key time of our lives. Outside major interests include playing hockey, but time and the physical ability has been an increasing challenging, planning a yearly 14er climb and trips to Disney - most favorably - Walt Disney World. However, I love spending anytime and anywhere with my wife, family and friends. All the while - inviting Christ with me.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Singing in Silence

Post by: Nicole Stegink

Every December since 1998, I have performed Handel’s Messiah with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Between the multitude of rehearsals and performances over the last 19 years, I have the choral sections of this great oratorio mostly memorized. When the music score is in my hands, it seems as though muscle-memory kicks in, launching me into a kind of performance auto-pilot. I have done this work with countless different CSO and guest conductors, and even though each one has brought his own interpretation to the baton and stage in an attempt to breathe new life into this perennial holiday favorite, for me it’s gotten stale. Have you ever done something over and over and over so many times that it starts to become meaningless? It seemed this year as though nothing could resuscitate this epic piece for me except the knowledge that I will not be performing it this Christmas season.

Over the last year or so, I have been experiencing some difficulty with singing and speaking and recently received a medical diagnosis which has the potential to alter dramatically my ability to sing. I am currently on a leave of absence from the Colorado Symphony Chorus until my doctors and I can figure out a plan of action that allows me to move forward and continue singing. Singing…..the gift God bestowed to me. Singing…the way I serve my church and my community. Singing…the very essence of who I am and how I express myself. Singing…what God actually wants us to do and commands us to do. According to an article I read online, there are over 400 references to singing and 50 direct commands to sing in the Bible. We all know the book of Psalms is, in fact, a book of songs. Psalm 47:6 states, “Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises!” In Psalm 96:1-2, we are directed to “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.”

I don’t know if this is true or not, but John Wesley supposedly once said, “Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half-dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength.” With those words in mind, suddenly, I realized I had been singing as if I were half-dead or half-asleep. This once tired work sung by rote had become meaningless for me and not because the text isn’t as relevant today as it was 10, 20, or even hundreds of years ago. It occurred to me it’s not this masterpiece with a text that comes entirely from the Scriptures which had gotten lifeless, it’s me.

I started my leave of absence sometime in early October, but it wasn’t until recently, over the Thanksgiving holiday, it really hit home that I won’t be performing the Messiah this year. All these many years, I guess I didn’t really understand and embrace how much singing the Messiah in early December initiates the advent season for me and relieves my mind and soul of the previous year’s burdens, preparing my heart to the message of Christ’s coming.

I may not be able to sing the notes this year, but I can still “sing” in silence through my writing. I can look with fresh eyes and a renewed spirit upon the words of the text and lift up my voice with strength in a new way. So I share now with you from Part One (the Christmas section) some of the recitatives and choruses from Handel’s Messiah, along with the corresponding scripture from which they are derived. I invite you to contemplate anew these Scriptures which we all know and which will never get stagnant.

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed. And all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Isaiah 40:5

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel. God with us. Isaiah 7:14

O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion….say unto the cities of Judah: Behold your God! O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, arise, shine for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Isaiah 40:9

For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His Name shall be called: Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace! Isaish 9:6

There were shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them: Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:8-11

Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will towards men. Luke 2:14

Nicole Stegink is a Colorado native and currently lives in Arvada.  She is active in the music ministry of BUMC, singing for both the traditional services and has been a member of the church since 2010.  She received her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Creative Writing but currently works in the legal field and doesn’t get to exercise her writing skills as often as she would like which is why she is excited to be contributing to the church’s blog. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

My Thankfulness Poem

Post by: Sara Godwin

I love the month of November. It’s a great month to be a teacher. The wackiness of Halloween is over, the crazy busyness of December has yet to come, and the holiday of Thanksgiving is upon us. I feel so fortunate to be a teacher in a Christian school. I can talk about being thankful with the students and be able to attribute all that we are thankful for to God. I can pray with the children each day and ask them what they want to thank God for. Every day a new lesson in gratefulness can emerge and grow. It really is inspiring when the children learn how to be joyful and thankful givers and hear all of the things that they appreciate in their own lives.

One of the prayers that I do with my students is a favorite of mine.

“Thank you, God for this good food, for rain and sunny weather.

Thank you for my school and friends and that we are together.”

I am so very thankful for so many blessings in my life. I’ve wanted to try my hand at a little poetry so, I’m going to continue the prayer, in my own words, to try and give thanks to God for all that is good, great and small, in my own life.

Thank you, God, for dogs and cats, for the company they provide.

Thank you for the trees and flowers and gorgeous mountain side.

Thank you, God, for my children, my husband, and my health.

Thank you for my job and church, they provide me with such wealth.

Thank you, God, for pigs and cows and chickens on the farm.

Thank you for my extended family, please protect them all from harm.

Thank you, God, for books and stories and people that can sing.

Thank you for all the year’s good seasons, but especially for spring.

Thank you, God, for my home, for choices and liberty.

Thank you, God, for those that serve and help to keep me free.

Thank you, God, for chocolate, coffee, and peanut butter so yummy.

Thank you for all the fruits and veggies, that they fill my tummy.

Thank you, God, for rivers, streams, for ponds and oceans grand.

Thank you for the deserts, jungles and beaches with white sand.

Thank you, God, most of all, for your everlasting love.

Thank you for your promises of Heaven up above.

My wish for you is that you will be thankful as well and remember to thank God for all of your blessings. “That my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” Psalm30:12

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.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Happy Reflective Day To Me!

Post By: Ken Brown

I confess, I am the Bah Humbug Poster Guy for my birthday which just happened days ago. For a combination of reasons, I never found celebrating my birthday as adult fun. I tell myself I’m too busy adulting to celebrate (which is a lie for failing to intentionally honor the day God chose for me to enter the human family).

Now with a half century of living under my belt and on the back nine with one foot in the grave, birthdays are incredibly reflective for me! This year, I am super grateful for my truest friends. In 2014 (the year of my divorce), I discovered for the first time as an adult, the sheer beauty of friendship. I realize the concept of friendship was always lurking. Yet I never opened myself to be fully known, fully cared for, or fully celebrated by people who love me for being me.

My cadre of friends could care less about my being a pastor. They are actually quite irreverent at times though they immensely respect the place faith has in my life. They love “Ken Brown the man, not Ken Brown the faith brand” is what I surmise. My friends have taught me the healing power of true belonging. My friends carry me in their hearts and I carry them in mine. They live an expansive truth that we belong to each other. We get one another’s triumphs and disasters in less than poetic ways. We’ve learned to practice staying present with one another even when apart. Belonging to one another is our language of acceptance.

So cheers to friends who finally get us and love us deeply, intimately, without judgment, shame or condemnation. My friends give me reasons to celebrate birthdays now because they taught me to appreciate newness even at 50 something.

Jesus was a master teacher of friendship. He celebrated the power of choice when he chose to befriend us –
You didn’t choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you could go and produce fruit and so that your fruit could last. As a result, whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you
– John 15:16

Why not shoot a text to a friend and thank them for choosing to befriend more than Facebook deep. Perhaps, like me, you can reflect on your friends sharing Jesus’ love with you through the gift of choice. Choose wisely, friends love us responsibly.

Ken Brown is the senior pastor at BUMC. You can contact him at

Friday, November 3, 2017

Bobo the Clown

Post by: Andrea Laser

When my brother and I were little we shared a Bobo the Clown toy. For those who are unfamiliar with this magical toy, it was an inflatable clown that had a weighted bottom, built for the sole purpose of punching it and watching it go down and pop back up. The contest that we often engaged in was seeing if we could get Bobo to stay down. Alas, no matter how many times we karate chopped, kicked, or took a running start and then punched Bobo, he always popped back up. It was an equally frustrating and entertaining toy with just an added touch of clown horror.

Lately the image of Bobo keeps creeping up in my head. Sometimes life feels a little like playing with Bobo the Clown- we get knocked down and as soon as we feel like we are standing back up, BOOM! Down again. Not down so hard that we don’t pop back up, but down hard enough that we lose our footing.

In my own life, I’ve started to notice that when there is a major crisis in my life, I naturally posture toward God, asking for help. But when I just feel the little Bobo knockdowns, I rarely turn towards God. I have this tendency to not want to ask for help or to not “burden” him with my little problems. I assume that there are certain things that I alone can just handle so I don’t overwhelm God, as if he was this human figure who had limitations. The reality I am trying to embrace is this: God is already there feeling our hurts. He is heartbroken by the idea of us feeling hurt- in both big and small ways.

Here’s my new goal. Trust God to take on both little and big knockdowns. Trust that he wants to be in a meaningful relationship with us, not just for disaster relief, but for joy, little setbacks, big crises and everything in between.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5: 6-7

Andrea is an Early Childhood Special Educator, as well as mom to Paxton and Wyatt. She and her husband Steve, have been members of BUMC since 2009.

Monday, October 30, 2017


Post by: Mwangi Ndonga

I used to work in a bakery. During my tenure there my appreciation for freshly baked bread grew to new heights. In many cultures across the world, bread serves a role beyond being just a nutritious element. When we break bread with a neighbor, we are doing more than just consuming a meal.

Recall that the Israelites had to gather Manna daily and could not preserve it. Any Manna they tried to preserve would not keep well. They had to rely upon God daily.

In the prayer you and I recite on Sunday morning, we ask that God “give us this day our daily bread”. This request is for more than just nourishment. What we are asking God for is His blessing to serve us for that day according to his plan. We have to be in daily prayer to receive the fresh Word of God. Just as last month’s bread may not nourish our bodies. The direction that God had for us last month may not suffice because even in that time frame God may have changed you anew. Unless you ask for today’s guidance, you will be off-course.

Even more importantly, God doesn’t want us to wait for tomorrow’s bread. He can fill our souls right now.

“Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more”

Mwangi Ndonga currently lives in Broomfield with his wife, Talesha, and son, Kamundia. They have been members of BUMC since 2010. Mwangi primarily serves on the Worship and Arts Ministry by playing piano and bass guitar during the Contemporary Services. He works as an environmental, health and safety professional in the oil and gas industry. An avid reader, Mwangi loves discussion on almost any topic, especially music and theology.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Kindred Spirits

Post by: Thomas Cross

This fall, we will be celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. When we think of the Reformation, most of us think of Martin Luther and the 95 Theses he nailed on the Wittenburg door.

The story of the Reformation is a fascinating one, but it is truly a story of a movement that welled up in several cities and spread like wildfire, involving dozens of thoughtful, courageous leaders. While the most famous of these leaders were known for their preaching, some of the Reformers were also focused on nurturing the faith of the people through a variety of means.

One of these leaders, Martin Bucer (1491-1551), was an early disciple of Martin Luther, after hearing Luther defend himself and his critique of indulgence selling. Bucer, who was a monk like Luther, asked to be released from his vows, and he married a former nun, Elizabeth Silbereisen.

According to Elaine Heath and Scott Kisker, Bucer arrived in Stasbourg, a free city open to reforming ideas, in 1523. He began to lecture to small groups in a private home. That same year, he published the content of his teaching in a pamphlet entitled, “No one should live for himself but for others.”

Eventually, Bucer became one of the leading Reformers in Strasbourg, where a number of Anabaptists found relative security, and Bucer took their perspectives seriously. During his last years in Strasbourg, Bucer established Christian Fellowships within the authorized church. These were small groups of devout persons who voluntarily gathered together and pledged to submit to mutual discipline and live according to the law of love. (Heath and Kisker, Longing for Spring, p. 26). They were much like the Covenant Discipleship Groups of today.

Bucer eventually moved to England, where he served as the primary author of the 39 Articles of the Church of England. Some two hundred years later, John Wesley, an Anglican Priest, would condense those 39 Articles to 23 to serve as the Confession of Faith for the Methodist movement. Wesley adopted Bucer’s model of accountable Fellowship Groups, which he called Bands and Class Meetings, as he organized his own renewal movement in the Anglican Church. So both the theology and practice of Methodism have their roots in the work of Martin Bucer.

It is always a surprising joy for me to discover that I have a kindred spirit in somebody who lived centuries ago. Recently I ran across one of Bucer’s Prayers. I could not have described my personal mission in Small Groups ministry any better than he does in this beautiful prayer:

Eternal God, gracious Father: Your will is that we work together to create places among your people in which your word and teaching may be preserved and spread.

Grant us your help, who are gathered here in your name, so that all we say or do may serve to make your glory known and contribute to the good of your church.

Through your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever.

Amen and Amen! I give thanks for all those kindred spirits here at BUMC with whom I get to work together to create places among God’s people in which his word and teaching may be preserved and spread. In this way, we all continue to grow in faith and love. 

Thomas Cross is one of the pastors at BUMC, starting his ninth 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! 

Friday, October 6, 2017

How I Learned to Listen to the Voice of God

Post by: Thomas Cross

In 1993, I arrived in Haxtun for my first solo pastorate after serving for six years as an associate pastor. Haxtun is 30 miles east of Sterling, a farm community of about 1,000. I had never lived in a rural community before, and it took me some time to understand the culture of the town and church. Fortunately, God was ready to teach me some new lessons. All I needed to do was give God room to speak – and start listening.

I served as pastor there for seven years, and found my time at Haxtun to be a rich season of learning, growing, teaching, and ministering. It was at Haxtun that I learned to listen to the voice of God and to be responsive to the ways that God was moving in our midst. I am profoundly thankful for all I learned during this fascinating season.

During my time in Haxtun, I learned that God speaks in quiet meditation, through other people, and through the Scriptures. My two favorite memories in Haxtun are of the group which read and discussed the entire Bible over the course of 18 months, and of the God Squad we started for older elementary students at the encouragement of Diana Green.

Early on in my tenure, we discussed the possibility of starting a contemporary worship service, but God made it clear that it wasn’t quite time for it yet. In those days, I was always on the go, attending meetings and events, visiting people, and writing. But God found a place where He could get my attention. This was in the sauna at the local health club on a day that only the desk attendant was in the building. To my surprise, in that quiet moment, God spoke to me with great clarity, instructing me to advise the Church Council to pursue a blended worship service rather than a contemporary one.

So we developed a lively spirited traditional worship service with Pat Meakins directing a good-sized adult choir, and Adele McConnell directing the children’s choir. About a dozen different people took turns playing the piano and organ together on a rotating schedule. We purchased a second hymnal, The Celebration Hymnal, which featured praise choruses and blended worship sequences in the same key, mixing liturgy, choruses, and hymns. It simply wasn’t yet time for the contemporary service.

A couple of years later, God spoke to me through two members of the congregation. The first was a delightful middle-aged gentleman, a farmer, who had an idea for a new small group. He suggested a group that would read through the Bible, cover to cover, over a year’s time. This idea didn’t immediately appeal to me, because it sounded like a lot of work, but somehow I knew it was inspired by God. So I advertised the group and was pleasantly surprised when a dozen people from the church and community registered to participate.

We met every two weeks on Sunday evenings, discussing the insights the Spirit gave us, as well as the questions that puzzled us. It took more than 18 months, but we covered the whole Bible. I wish I had recorded our discussions; they were profound.

Then Diana Green, one of our faithful parents, approached me with an idea for a youth group for older elementary children. We already had a long-standing high school youth group, and I had started a junior high group with the help of a few parents. The junior high group was proving to be a bit of a struggle. Diana explained that the time to start interacting with the youth was at the age of identification, when they still admire adults and want to imitate them. With those bonds formed during the elementary years, productive relationships would continue through the years. Diana was absolutely correct, and the God Squad was born. Our three youth groups grew to be quite large, involving 75 students from the church and the larger community.

Finally, I learned to hear the voice of God in Scripture during my years in Haxtun. This started during our Bible-reading group, as verses would jump off the page and speak to me as I read passages in preparation for our discussions. I began to realize the Spirit was speaking me through Scripture and helping me to understand its meaning. Our Sunday-night discussions were rich, as we all shared what God was revealing to us.

Then in the summer of 1997, I attended the Aldersgate Renewal Conference in Dayton, Ohio. This conference was sponsored by Aldersgate Renewal Ministries, the charismatic United Methodist group which Darryl and June Todd helped to lead. Jack Pedotto, my colleague from Holyoke, took me to this fascinating conference. To my surprise, at every session I attended, somebody quoted Psalm 37. Some people quoted it in their remarks, and others quoted it in one-on-one conversations. It was clear that God was giving me a specific message for that season of my life, and I took Psalm 37 to heart. Its message, to delight in Yahweh, stop fretting, and keep trusting, became dear to me. My life changed as I practiced these principles.

As I let this message soak into my spirit, I realized it was a message God wanted me to share with the church and community as well, which I did over time. Returning from Aldersgate ’97 was an invigorating experience as well. With my glow from basking in the Holy Spirit, I discovered I could have spiritual conversations with people as I went about my business. I experienced many “God winks” that summer, connecting with people on a deeper level than before.

Before moving to Haxtun, I had no idea that our God is a speaking God. Given the fact that the Christ is referred to as the Word, I should have understood this truth, but some lessons are learned only by experience. Having lived my life at warp speed before my years in Haxtun, I hadn’t left large enough margins in my life to hear God’s voice. It was in Haxtun that I learned to slow down, practice quiet meditation, and read the Scriptures with expectation. I also learned to listen for God’s voice in others, whether they were quoting Scripture or suggesting new ministries. I would never be the same.

Thomas Cross is one of the pastors at BUMC, starting his ninth 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! 

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Open Road

Post by: Elliott Holm

As I'm writing this blog posting, I'm on the cusp of some big changes in my life. They're just about the biggest changes anyone can experience in their lives, known as parenting. We're due to have our first child on December 27th. While this comes with a whirlwind of thoughts, worries, massive excitement, and so much hope, it reminded me of A big learning I've had for so many of these big steps.

I'm a 29-year-old, so I'm at that time where a lot of the typical big major changes in my life have already occurred (buying a house, getting married, etc.). But as all adults know, the changes in our lives never stop happening, and this helped me remember something that has been a guiding force for me during these changes.

While I'm about to take this big jump into parenthood, I've been doing something I almost always do with every big change, which is over-research, over-read, over-ask questions, and generally bother everyone else, soliciting their opinions and information about parenting. I've worked to authentically work parenting in to conversations with people in my life who have been parents, and have wisdom to share. Of course, this makes for some odd conversations when I manage to segue from a golfer's performance in the Master's, to how the handle bedtime and how to put an over-excited toddler down to sleep (Seriously, try this one with your spouse or with a friend, it's a stretch). Other people's opinions and information on parenting, buying a house, marriage, being pet owners, and so many more things have been what guided my decisions on what to do when faced with a difficult decision.

Whether or not we admit it, we all do this a lot. In my job, I'll watch someone else teach a lesson and spend so much time critiquing myself on all the things they do or say, and tell myself "I wish I could be more like them with their ability to...." Maybe this is just a millennial thing, but I know I can't be the only one who has done this at least once. I've spoken in blogs before about "stealing" techniques from other people and making them your own (teachers are the best at stealing techniques and pretending we invented them, trust me).

I do want to use this post, though, to reinforce a message we've been hearing at church for the last few months. Pastors Ken and Thomas have been putting in the extra effort lately to connect members of the church with each other (If you've exchanged phone numbers with other people in church, way-to-go)! What we need to remember, though, is to "use" these people. Obviously, I don't mean you should only use them for your own gain, but instead to "employ" them in your life. Your church family is so happy to be a part of your life, and people in general are always so excited to feel needed, and feel that they fill a gap in each other's lives. I did this recently, when I made the rounds, talking to parents in my church family who I know I can learn so much from, and I really have.

It doesn't matter how small or trivial your life-change is, your church family is going to be happy to have been a part of that change with you. And of course, after you've employed them, like any good employer would do, make sure you follow up with your church family and let them know how you're doing, and how they helped. You'll be very surprised with how much support you can find in your church family, when you find the strength (and it is strength, not weakness) to reach out to them.

Elliott has been attending BUMC since 2012 with his wife, Kyla. Since attending, he has worked with technology for services, as well as camera work on Easter and Christmas, while Kyla sings. He is a high school Gifted and Talented teacher at Wheat Ridge High School, and is in his 6th year of teaching. He lives in Arvada with his wife and two dogs.

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Chance to Serve

Post by: Reid Lester

Four hours into a five-hour flight, we’ve been battling turbulence on the edge the gulf coast.  I’m in the back seat of a small Cessna with my camera hanging out the window.  I’ve been battling the wind and bumpy air while taking more than 2,100 photos of the devastation. 

This past week I flew to Texas with the Civil Air Patrol to assist in search and rescue missions for Hurricane Harvey.  Witnessing the damage every day was difficult.  We saw houses demolished by the winds while the house next door was left undamaged.

As we circled high above, my crew started asking each other if there was more we could do than just taking pictures.  We spend our free time training for this exact situation.  What could we do to help the people we saw below us?  It’s personal for me.  When I serve on an aircrew after a disaster, I feel like I’m making a difference in a tangible and permanent way, but it still feels like it’s not enough.

We landed at Aransas County airport in Rockport, TX to take on fuel, and that is when we got up close and personal with the damage.  The airport hadn’t had running water in days.  As I waited for the fuel truck, I walked around the airport and surveyed the damage.  There were collapsed buildings and totaled cars everywhere.  People were sitting in the lounge of the remaining building just staring out the windows.

My crew got a chance to talk with some of the people who lost everything.  We asked them what they needed and I was surprised by the answer.  I assumed what they would need most was money or supplies, or help replacing all the things they lost.  Instead, they asked for more people to come and help.  They expect the cleanup and rebuilding process to takes a minimum of nine months to a year.  They told us the news coverage would soon change as Hurricane Irma got closer to Florida.  They asked us to keep praying for them.  Their biggest fear now, was as the water receded and the rebuilding process began, they would soon be forgotten.

I promised them I wouldn’t let our church forget.  I told them we were going to try and organize a Spring mission trip to come back to TX and help with the rebuilding.  They said we would be welcome and much needed.  We talked a little about what BUMC currently does for missions.  I asked them why with all the devastation around them, they cared about what was happening in Broomfield, CO?  Then they surprised me again.  One of the older men told me that he has seen this before.  “Everyone will want to find a way to serve, because in major disasters, people feel helpless when they see the devastation on TV.  Not everyone will be able to join a mission trip to TX.”  He asked me to encourage our church to engage in our own community.  “When someone asks what they can do, point them to a local food bank or shelter.  Let people know how important it can be when they volunteer.”

I told them about all the ways we serve our community both locally and globally.  We believe that each person can make a difference in someone’s life.  We offer so many chances to serve because we want everyone to find the way they best fit in God’s plan.  Some of our service opportunities like becoming an advocate for abused and neglected children, or becoming a Stephen Minister require a good deal of training and a large time commitment, but give you the chance to change an individual’s life forever.  Some opportunities like volunteering at FISH, attending a social justice talk, or ushering, only take a small commitment, but give those who serve a chance to make a difference every time the volunteer.  BUMC also offers mission trips through our partners.  Just this year, people have gone to Haiti, Nicaragua, Kenya, and Chicago.  Next year we hope to offer a Spring mission trip to the Houston area.  These trips offer an incredible chance for dedicated service over a short period of time. 

As we sit and watch those affected by the hurricanes, we will feel the need to make things better.  We want to make a difference.  If you’ve been inspired by the events of the past few weeks, and you want to make a difference, we can help you find a way to serve.

For more information on ways you can serve through BUMC check out

Reid Lester is the Director of Servant Ministries at Broomfield United Methodist Church.  Reid’s job is to help people find ways to serve our Church and the community through our Church Ministries and our Community Partnerships.  Reid and his wife RuthAnn have been attending BUMC for 2 years.  When Reid isn’t at BUMC he serves as a pilot for the Civil Air Patrol.  Reid also umpires Division 1 baseball for the NCAA.