Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Speak Truth

Post by: Mike Orr

My last name is Orr. As a kid, one of my nicknames was naturally “Oreo”. Since those are delicious I had no problem with this nickname. They are apparently “milk’s favorite cookie” (according to the package), and I refuse to argue with milk. One day that nickname came up in the presence of one of my black friends. I was surprised by his reaction.

“Why’d they call you that?”, he asked with clear concern. I found that to him it was a derogatory name. Some of his friends used it to make fun of black people who acted like white people (whatever that means). Oreo cookies are dark on the outside and white on the inside. It was an insult. A slam. A way of telling someone they don't really belong. My friend was confused because I'm definitely white on the outside.

The truth is that, in every way that matters, everyone is the same on the inside. I learned something that day about how different our experiences can be, and how groups of people have differing expectations. But the Bible is clear, “There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28 CEB). 

Scholars believe this may be the earliest written statement of universal human equality and unity. God is serious about this.

When we fail to explicitly teach the truth that God loves everybody, every physical attribute, every subtle hue of skin, and every point of origin, we leave open the door for sinister false beliefs to creep in. And they do. The smallest cracks in our armor of love can allow hate to slip in. Any breach in our commitment to absolute equality allows the weeds of supremacy to flourish.

We can't simply trust that our young people won't be enticed by such thinking. Feeling special is important to all of us. Feeling special for the wrong reasons can be deadly. Is there any crack in your love-armor? Is there any breach in your commitment to equality? Do you explicitly state your love for all people, no matter how different from you they may appear? If not, you can trust that those who look up to you have noticed.

White supremacy is evil. Those who practice it are deceived and dangerous, and loved deeply by the God who created us all in our boundless and beautiful diversity. I don't know how to change the mind of a white supremacist, but I have some ideas about how to prevent people from moving in that direction. It starts with me, it starts with you. Ask God to help you love others the way God loves all people. Then be fearless in expressing the truth.

“In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises.” - Galatians 3:28-29 (MSG)

This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other. - John 13:35 (CEB)

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mike is the Director of Student Ministries at BUMC. He’s done ministry with students in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, California, and now Colorado. Mike recently finished his MDiv degree at Fuller Theological Seminary, and his passion is to lead kids of all ages toward adoption into the family of God. If he’s not hanging out with Middle School or High School students, you’ll probably find him on a bicycle or on skis. He makes killer chocolate chip cookies. Reach him at mike.orr@broomfieldumc.org

Monday, August 14, 2017

Feeling Peaceful

Post by: Steve Laser 

We live in a very I'm busy metro area and in a town that places a high value on upward mobility and status, many of us have households were both spouses work very intense jobs. In most cases we try and give our children every opportunity at our disposal. 

This can cause our time to be stretched into an unrealistic and unhealthy way. I have heard many people in my lifetime talk about work life balance, sometimes time I feel like my scale is balanced... just too much to do on both sides. What I have found is, if I carve out a little time during my day for prayer and meditation the world spins a little slower for me and the whirlwind of my day becomes more manageable and I feel peaceful (a little).

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:4-7

Steve Laser has been a member of BUMC for more than six years. He serves on the finance committee, 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 fabulous wife and two awesome children. He also makes a mean smoked brisket.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

I Love This Place (and these people)

Post by Joe Mazza, Director of Worship Arts

If you ask me, it’s a great time to be a part of the BUMC community. From where I stand every Sunday, I see passion, excitement, and commitment to God’s mission through our church. I see people who are discovering and then offering their gifts - time, talent, and treasure - freely to those around them. I see people who are serving week in and week out, all year round simply because it’s what God has asked them to do.

While these people exist all over BUMC, I’m talking specifically about the community of the Worship Arts ministry. These are the people I get the pleasure of serving with every week. Together in the band and choirs, we sing and play music that is meant to encourage all of us in ways that only music can. But we do more than that. Some of us serve by running computers that project message notes and lyrics on the screens in our sanctuary and chapel or operating cameras and video editing equipment so that BUMC sermons can be shared globally online. Still others run incredibly complex sound boards, control lights and recording equipment or mentor younger musicians in our student ministry. All the way down to making sure candles on the altar are lit.

You might be wondering what’s so special about this team, and I could give you a hundred examples in response. But to me, the best thing about our ministry is that this group of people is really a family. It’s my family. More than our week to week service through Worship Arts, we share a whole lot of life together. We hang out and spend time together. We support each other in life’s big and small events. We laugh together and we cry together. And, being a family, we’re even dysfunctional together sometimes! Through all of these things, we have become more than just a group of random people who happens to attend the same church.

The other day, this passage was in my daily devotional:

There are always some in the church who say that the best way to express the Christian faith is as a pastor, or missionary, or monk, or nun - or in medicine, or social work, or educational enterprises. There are always some who know exactly what another is best suited for. But no one knows us well enough for that. Each of us has unique gifts, for which there are no precedents, yet which will be used in ministry. And we are quite free to resist anyone who tells us differently.   
“Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people!” 1 Corinthians 12:7

When I read that, I’m reminded that church isn’t a spectator sport. Of course, anyone and everyone is welcome at BUMC to just hang out and soak in our community. In fact, sometimes that’s just what we need. But church works best when, sooner or later, we find a place to jump into. As that passage from Corinthians says, EACH person is given something to do that shows who God is. Each person! Me. You. So, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to find your family at BUMC. It’s way better than real family because you can try a few out until you find the one that fits. We’re always welcoming new family members into the Worship Arts ministry but there are lots of other families too - Small Groups, Family Ministries, Student Ministries, and many many other service opportunities. You don’t have to be a pastor or a missionary, but sitting on the sidelines never gives the same view as being in the game.

Joe Mazza is the Director of Worship Arts at BUMC and leads worship at our 8:30 and 9:45 worship services. He and his wife Theresa and son JJ can always be found making music around BUMC as a part of the larger Worship Arts family. Joe also plays guitar with other local Colorado artists.