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.





Monday, September 11, 2017

For as the heavens are higher than the earth…

Post by: Kyle Rasmussen

Did you see it?

How much traffic did you endure?

What did you do with your “special glasses”?

Of course I’m talking about the solar eclipse that ran across the U.S. on August 21st. My family and I happened to be camping in the Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming. We still had to drive about 2 hours to get to the edge of totality. Even then the eclipse itself was a rapid event, so fast it was almost over before it started. We didn’t get stuck in too bad of traffic jams, but the human “mass migration” of cars heading south immediately afterwards was as much a spectacle as having watched the earth go dark in the middle of the day.

Near where we had parked there was (what I assumed to be) a vehicle of Native Americans who were beating on their ceremonial drums and singing into the darkening sky. Our son, Blake asked, “Why would they be doing that?” We explained that in their culture a solar eclipse is more than just an astronomical event; that deeply rooted legends about the origin and nature of the sun create a different significance for them. There are tribes who believe the sun itself is associated with their creator or another divine being. I’ve also read that many tribes believe that an eclipse represents some animal devouring the sun, so a loud and raucous song is needed to chase them away.

It made me wonder, how many other people starting into the sky that morning were seeking a “God experience”?

How many people had a deep longing in their hearts to get closer to their creator, and had ventured out onto the Wyoming plains hoping they would find God there?

Don’t get me wrong, He was most certainly there! He was there the day before, and the day before that, and last month, and in 2007, and 1492, and 683 B.C., and (you get my point!) As we sat there with our opaque glasses on because we couldn’t stare at the sun without risking blindness, I thought about Moses asking God to reveal Himself in Exodus 33. God’s reply - “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” If someone far from God that Monday morning ended one step closer to Him because of that awesome display of nature (which had the science nerd in me geeking out pretty bad by the way), then by any means fantastic!

But reflecting on that hope, something else in Exodus began to bother me (that those drums were provoking as well). “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God.” (Exodus 20: 4-5) Anyone that was out there seeking God in the shadow cast by the moon, or thought He is contained in the light of the sun was missing the entire point of God’s second commandment to Moses. We don’t need to literally craft idols, we don’t even need to violate the first commandment of a monotheistic God for that matter. Merely putting God into a box we’ve created or by compartmentalizing Him into only some elements of our lives defies the relationship God wants with us.

Since the eclipse, our nation has been captivated and heartbroken by the hurricane and floods that have hit Texas and Louisiana. Undoubtedly there are many who have asked, “Where is God in the suffering?” or “Why would God allow this to happen?” Whenever these kind of thoughts creep into my mind I instantly recall one of my favorite verses from the Old Testament in the book of Isaiah: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

We cannot project our presuppositions about God onto His sovereignty. As Isaiah was telling the tribes of Israel that bad things were going to happen, more importantly he was telling them God had it under control. Are we not making a false idol of our God if we somehow dictate where He should be and what He should and shouldn’t be responsible for?

God was out there in Wyoming – although my best time with Him was not in the frantic eclipse but in the long clear nights at a picnic table with our daughter Noellyn, staring at the Milky Way that draped from the apex of the sky to beyond the horizon. I could not stop saying, “Wow” and “Thanks” to God, night after night. But through our TV and computer screens, have we not seen God in the flood waters of Texas? Neighbor helping neighbor. Stranger serving stranger. All the partisanship and vile of our political landscape leveled into a plain of common good.

God is there in the awesome. God is there in the awful. He has told us that we shouldn’t put boundaries on Him, because there are no boundaries on His love for us.


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.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Grateful

Post by: Vicki Cromarty

I grew up in a Christian home. My parents were both raised with a Christian background – my mom in Arkansas, in a Baptist Church and my dad in Illinois as a Presbyterian. When they married and settled in Illinois, they felt that a Methodist Church seemed like a great middle ground for them, and then later, their family as well.

For me, as a kid and teen, going to church was always part of the natural flow of our life. Sunday morning included Sunday school, and then worship service as a family. I fondly and vividly remember all of the old hymns, sitting next to my mom, her singing the alto part. As I got into the junior high and high school years, I was involved with youth choir, and youth group. The friends I made there and lifetime memories that I have are what began shaping my faith story. First United Methodist Church in Monmouth, Illinois will always hold that special place in my life.

Fast forward to the next phase of my faith – First United Methodist in Boca Raton, Florida. It had been a few years since I had been active in church, and I began attending there (and later working there) after realizing that something very important was missing in my life. It was this church that helped me to own my faith at a different level, where I experienced my first women’s Bible study, and as an adult experienced a new level of fellowship with people who I still love and consider my Florida “family.” They were the ones who saw Dave and I get married, have a child, and see our family through good times and bad, modeling the love of Christ.

It was also at this church in Florida that God gave me a reality check. While all of my history sounds like a happy little story, I was missing a HUGE part. I had taken for granted that I was blessed to be born into a family of faith and church of people living out their faith. I realized through a neighbor’s faith story that not all people were introduced to God’s love at an early age. Many people have had to find faith on their own, and those closest to them don’t always support their beliefs. It was there that my “taking for granted” turned to “grateful.” God really drove home the importance of what the church can mean in people’s lives - at any age - when it’s working the way He intended.

I’d experienced two churches at that point that modeled what I needed to learn: it doesn’t matter if we come with a lifetime of church memories or not a clue about what church can be for us. God can use people of a church to impact faith stories and to help others experience God’s love -- no matter their history, faith background, or season of life.

These days, I am grateful more than ever for my own faith story and the opportunity to witness the stories of others. Broomfield United Methodist has been my home for 10 years now - another amazing church family I’m blessed to know. BUMC is regularly living out the things I had taken for granted. I see faith stories being impacted at all walks of life. Kids and teens are brought to church by parents who want to give them a firm foundation of faith – whether the parents themselves had that or not. Small groups are growing people from right where they’re at in life – whether having no faith background or a mature life of faith. Rich worship services help us think about our weeks differently and call us to action and service. All of us get to be present as God is at work and people’s faith stories are formed- not something to take for granted!

When I’m lucky enough to go back and attend my childhood church, I see many of the people who helped to shape my early story. Some of my Sunday school teachers still faithfully sit in the pews. I can almost count on seeing my elementary PE teacher, Middle School Math teacher, and High School Biology teacher, still actively living out their faith. Countless friends of my parents who have loved me through my growing up years and beyond are still there too – along with many new faces that call this church home. Just as these are people for whom I’m extremely grateful, we at BUMC have this great opportunity to be the same for those who grow up here or who currently call our church home!

Let’s be all these things for each other and the people who walk through our doors! Don’t waste a single Sunday! What or who are you grateful for today that has made a difference in your faith story? How can you be that for someone in this season of your life?



Vicki Cromarty is the Director of Family Ministries 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 of 19 years, have a beautiful daughter, Lauren, who is 15 years old. Their family also includes Sadie, the Lhasa Apso, and a soon to be new family member, Baylee, a chocolate lab puppy! Vicki loves spending time with her family and friends, and enjoying all that beautiful Colorado has to offer! You can contact her atvicki.cromarty@broomfieldumc.org.