Wednesday, January 25, 2017

We Are the Church

Post by: Theresa Mazza

If you could fly over America in a helicopter to get an aerial view of the church, what would she look like? I saw the most breathtaking view of the church I’ve ever witnessed while attending a weekend retreat with church leaders from around the country from every denomination and background. This diverse group of individuals gathered together to have honest conversations about the future of the church.

Here are just a few questions that drove our conversation...

  • Do Non-Christians see Christians and the Church as judgmental and exclusive?
  • Are we living in a post-Christian era? Why are so many of churches declining in membership?
  • What can we do about the reality many of our churches face: financial difficulties leading to closure, mergers, or bi-vocational church staff?
  • Are Non-Christians driven to or away from institutional and traditional forms of Church?
Does it sound like depressing conversation? The conversation was honest, messy, and inspiring. What I heard during these conversations gave me hope. I heard servant leaders simply searching for ways to love God, the Church, and their neighbors more faithfully.

Here’s the aerial view and truths I walked away with through this experience...

Transcending time and space

Church is not something we do at 9:45 each Sunday morning. Christians everywhere aren’t just going to church; they are being the Church. Being the Church transcends time and space. Wherever believers glorify God in their workplace, we are being the church. Wherever believers have safe conversations about life and faith without judging or condemning, we are being the church. Wherever believers serve their neighbors, and love them well, we are being the church. Church is not a tradition, a place, a time, a denomination, or gathering. Church is the body of believers inviting all of God’s children into a loving relationship with God.

Dialects of eternal love

The Chinese Language has 7 major dialects, and these 7 groups have sub dialects. Just as there are many expressions of any language, there are today many expressions of church. One dialect of the Chinese language is not more Chinese or less Chinese. There is not an expression of the Church that is more sacred or less sacred. The many expressions and forms of church is not cause for division amongst the church, rather it is cause to celebrate an expansive and diverse church that is more dynamic and more beautiful than ever.

Omnipresence

Church is happening everywhere: schools, coffee shops, homes, parks, theatres, and even bars! Yes Bars!!! There are traditional, home, conversation based, and social venture based churches. This diversity is a home run if you ask me. It makes us more and more like God our creator who is, in fact, Omnipresent. If we are going to introduce people to Jesus and grow his church, it requires us to be everywhere at once. We cannot be bound to one place, or one way, only one God.

The Bride of Christ

The Church is the Bride of Christ. This Symbolism of being his bride means that we are closest to him. Therefore his children, especially children who do not yet trust in him, we are to love as our own children, caring for them, and meeting their needs. Within the church I see Christ’s bride very much loving God’s Children. We all love in different ways, and meet needs in different ways, and this is absolutely breathtaking. As a parent I’m in awe when I see how other people express love for their children. My friends parent differently than I do, their expression of love sounds different and looks different, but I do not question that they are loving and caring for their children as much as I care for my own.

The church is expressing God’s love in beautiful, different, extravagant, new ways.

This was my aerial view of the church. What do you see? And in what ways are you being the church?



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.

Friday, January 13, 2017

By Faith

Post by: Mwangi Ndonga

One of the most transformative (and interesting) events in history was the Christian Reformation. It became a dogmatic course-correction and a theological gut-check of the Church. Recall, that one of the major insights during this movement was the interpretation of Romans 3:21-22: “But now a righteousness from God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

More than anyone, Martin Luther emphasized this verse and called it the “the chief point, and the very central place of the Epistle, and of the whole Bible”. I’m convinced.

My interpretation:

  • God’s grace is given not earned. Period. No matter how much money you give, how many rules you observe, how many people are angry at you, how many awards you win, or how worthy you think you are.
  • Everyone is messed up. But through faith, we can become righteous. You’re in good company. Some Biblical messer uppers: Adam, Cain, Moses, Noah, Abraham, Jacob and his sons, the Israelites in general… just check out the Old Testament. In each of their narratives you’ll find a course-correction or gut-check.
  • You and I, my friend, are guilty but the charges have been dropped. All you have to do is thank Him that gave you new life.

An even better summation of this free grace is the hymn “Amazing Grace”.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.





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 & 505 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.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Planning for Prayer

Post by: Heidi Schwandt

I’m a planner, and I am not a very patient person…. lately the combination has been challenging.

In the last few months I have started the task of researching schools to send my daughters to and I have become sort of obsessed…In 2 months’ time I think I toured 6/7 different schools and after many hours of thought decided on a winner—the perfect school for my girls. But this school was just too far of a drive from where we live now, SOO now we would have to move too. Thus, I began looking at neighborhoods that we may live in if we were to start in this new school for the 2017/2018 school year. If anyone asks me “how have you been?” or “what have you been up to lately?” This has been the vein of every answer, I have been trying to surgically execute my perfect plan for the next few years as we transition our family out of Preschool and Kindergarten into the world of elementary school and big kid stuff. See, planner & impatient (sigh).

What is it that is worrying you? What are you trying to plan for? What are you having a hard time waiting for?

Is it the birth of a baby and what will happen after he is born- will you return to work, who will help care for him if you do? OR A career change you have been looking to make but you’re not sure of the timing or if the next job will be all you hoped for? Maybe you’re looking to retire and are unsure about what is coming in this next chapter of life? OR you want to buy a new home and in this real estate market you feel pressured to move fast on one of the biggest purchases of your life instead of giving yourself time to think & pray.

Do you ever wonder if throughout all this God is just watching us while softly chuckling or shaking his head in disbelief/frustration as we try to plan our lives on our own despite what He’s told us? The bible tells us repeatedly that He will take care of it. God is in control and all we must do is give him the reins and trust, wait, & pray.

We all like to plan and map out our lives so we know what to expect (some of us more than others), what to save for, what to look forward to and this doesn’t just affect us, it affects our spouses, children, parents, friends… because that’s what we as people do- our “tribes” offer their support in these decisions.

Yesterday, I felt frustrated all morning as I yet again broached the topic of moving and schools with my husband who simply shrugged and said “We’ll figure it out, we have time” and then in the same breath asked “Where do you think we should plan a vacation to this year? I would like to do a road trip to some national parks?” WHAT?! I mean, I’m trying to plan for our children’s future and find a home that we will love as much as the one we are in now and he’s thinking road trips? Normally, that would be a fun conversation to have- planning a family trip, but today I could not see ANY fun in that proposal—something was wrong. I had to stop and ask myself: “What am I missing as I plan and worry my future away? Did I REALLY enjoy my children today or was I distracted? Was I being a good listener when my best friend came over earlier today or was I monopolizing the conversation? What about my spouse- am I being empathetic to the long hours he has been putting in lately and how badly he needs that vacation or am I too focused on my plan to nurture and care for my relationship the way I should be?”

A small voice inside my head told me not to allow the devil to get a foothold on my frustration and turn on my husband for not taking all of this seriously but to simply PRAY. SO, I went for a drive and I Prayed for patience, I prayed for peace, I prayed for perspective and mostly I prayed for God to take back control! I needed to STOP, PRAY, WAIT, and LISTEN. I needed to be present, listen, live each day for what it is- a gift. And give the rest to God. He WILL line it all up for us, He WILL prompt us when the time is right, He WILL be sure that everything works out for you and yours—IF you ask, IF you let HIM. Yes, God gave us free will, now we must use that to CHOOSE wisely… let Him take the wheel while we enjoy what we have right in front of us and find peace in that HE will provide for our future—even if it’s not the one we had planned/envisioned.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hears and your minds in Christ Jesus.  -Philippians 4:6-7

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil  
-Proverbs 3:5-7
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. -Jeremiah 29:11 

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps  -Proverbs 16:9





I am a Chicago girl living in Colorado for 8 years now. I have been married to Ed for 12 years and have two beautiful children, Vivian & Natalie. After spending several years working for the American Red Cross while living overseas in Germany I moved to Colorado and worked in the financial industry for 7 years. Now I have the privilege of being a stay at home mom and wife. I am mostly a homebody but will get out of the house for time on a lake or river (basically any body of water), dinner with friends or fishing! Most of my personal time is spent with my husband and kids or working on yet another one of my home improvement projects, I am a DIY junkie and have done everything from drywall to electrical and carpentry, not to mention hours of painting. I have been a member of BUMC for about 2 years and a follower of Christ for as long as I can remember. It’s been a blessed life thus far and I’m excited to see what else God has in store for me.