Saturday, January 27, 2018

Welcome Home

Post by: Mike Orr

Snowbound is a weekend winter camp for middle schoolers. We just got back from Frontier Ranch in Buena Vista where we played, sang, worshipped, learned, and got messy with 500 other middle schoolers and leaders! It was amazing, and our students will never forget the experience. Our speaker for the weekend, Ben, talked about the story of the Lost Son. You might know it as the parable of the Prodigal Son. Before you continue reading this, you should read the story for yourself in Luke 15:11-32.

For many of us, this is a story so familiar that we might zone out while hearing it. At camp we looked at the story from the perspectives of each of the three main characters: the younger son, the older son, and the father. One thing you may not have noticed before about the story is what was going on when the father noticed the younger son returning. We read in verse 20, “But while he [the younger son] was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

If the father saw him “while he was still a long way off,” that must mean that the father had been watching for his son. I can picture an older man, watching the road to his home, eyes fixed on the horizon, waiting. Did the father wait and watch every day? What a patient and forgiving father! Jesus told parables to give us images of what God is like. In this parable, the father represents our Heavenly Father.

Jesus is telling us that God is watching and waiting for you to return. And when you do make that turn, you won’t even make it all the way back before you find yourself in the arms of God, welcoming you home. The creator of heaven and earth is ready to run out to meet you. Many of us initially identify with the older son, thinking that we’ve never turned away from God. I think if you’re completely honest, there have at least been times when you haven’t kept in tune with God’s movement in your life. This story offers very good news; God stands ready to run out and meet you as you turn your heart back to the Father.

This is also good news for our friends. Many of us know people who don’t believe there is a God, or they have a very negative impression of God. It’s easy to end up with a picture of God as a vengeful, angry, uncaring being. Jesus paints a picture of a gentle, forgiving Father who longs to embrace each of his children. So, next time you’re feeling far from home, remember all you have to do is turn toward your Heavenly Father. And if you have a friend who has a negative impression of God, Jesus has given you the gift of this story to share. God is yearning to say, “Welcome home!”

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

Friday, January 19, 2018

Faster Horses

Post by: Andrea Laser

A few years ago, as part of my school district’s initiative toward more innovative practices, I was fortunate enough to be on a team that received training in “Design Thinking.” It has truly changed the way I think about solving problems and has made me consider the best approaches to innovation and creativity. One of the exercises they had us complete was trying to solve a problem as a team, and we were given prompts such as brainstorming solutions, if your budget was $100 million dollars, if all you could use was magic, etc. At first it seemed ridiculous, and my usually practical, efficient, and somewhat cynical brain went to a pattern of “that won’t work, because…” The lesson out of the activity? Some of the greatest innovations and solutions to problems have come from ideas that were once considered magic or unreasonable (think about an iPhone 100 years ago).

A quote they shared from Henry Ford is now one of my favorites, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Yeah, we would have. Things that seem so common now were once unimaginable, non-existent, even in our imagination.

Recently I have been praying for very specific solutions I have come up with to my problems. And to be honest, I haven’t yet seen those prayers being answered. It’s a feeling I don’t like- that unsure, anxiety filled place where the next step isn’t always clear or the timing isn’t always laid out in front of me. I’ve been trying to take a new perspective- God is the original innovator, and his plan for us is always different than we ever imagined it to be. Even Jesus, who was the Savior the world had been praying for, was not what most people imagined he would be, but he was exactly who we needed. His gift of grace and love to his people were more than likely not the gifts that many people were imagining, but they have changed the world forever.

That’s the thing about God; he doesn’t show up and just hand us what we ask for. He isn’t our “yes man,” or someone who always answers our prayers in the way we want him to. God works on problems we don’t even know exist yet, and deals with our problems in ways that don’t always make sense at the moment. If we accept that and can give that control over to him, we might just see that his solutions and path are exactly what we need.

They may even seem magical.

“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.” Jeremiah 29:11

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.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Things I'm Not Going To Do in 2018

Resolutions for a new year are great. Even if they aren't always kept, it's good to look at a new season  in life and resolve to do things differently. Inspired by a recent podcast that I heard, I decided to instead make a list of things that I am NOT going to do this year. Let me know if any of these resonate with you.

In 2018, I am not going to...

Ignore family or friends to look at my phone
I’ve got a friend on Facebook who recently posted that she was deleting her Facebook account and getting a flip phone. I’m not doing that anytime soon - I think that online community and the ability to keep in touch with others far away is a great thing. But living life in front of a screen while missing out on things going on around me is not going to happen in 2018. I may not be getting a flip phone, but I’m keeping my phone in my pocket more often when there’s real life to participate in.

Be hard on others
Pastor Ken shared a quote in a recent message that said, “Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I admit to not doing this all the time. I can be quick to judge people who annoy me. I want to stop doing that and instead give others the grace that I would want to receive. God knows I need it. This includes pointing out others’ mistakes or flaws. I don’t need mine pointed out to me, I’m well aware of them. I’m going under the assumption that other people don’t need me to point theirs out either.

Dismiss people whose beliefs are not the same as mine
Religious, political, philosophical. We all have differences and we can all learn from one another. It’s so much easier to dismiss others and stick with my own ways, but this year I would rather put forth the effort to hear and learn from them.

Stay quiet about things I believe in
Along those same lines, I tend to be quiet about things I believe in when I know that the resulting conversation is just going to be one where we “agree to disagree.” This was especially tough in 2017, and I don’t imagine it getting much easier this year. However, the few times I did open up there were definitely “agree to disagree” moments but there were many more moments of great conversation. When I feel the urge to just keep quiet, I’m going to try to speak up in an effort to have more great conversations.

Go through the year on autopilot
Sometimes, I’m pretty good at just going through the motions. Whether due to boredom or fatigue, I can quickly make one day blend into the next, not noticing the beauty and excitement of the world around me. Routines are great, but I’m trying to catch myself when I feel that I’m on autopilot and snap out of it.

Let myself stay the same
I like change to happen fast. But it most often happens slowly. Instead of abandoning new practices when they don’t produce change right away, I’m going to stick with them. Read one more book. Spend 5 more minutes in prayer. Run an extra half mile. Over the course of 2018, these small changes will result in a different person.

Feel free to email me with your list of things you're not going to do this year! I'd love to read them.

Joe Mazza is the Director of Worship Arts at Broomfield UMC 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 the church as a part of the Worship Arts family. Joe also plays guitar with local Colorado artists and if you friend him on Facebook, you can find out where he's playing and catch a show.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Strength in Community

Post by: Cristen underwood

As the wife of a police officer, I was shaken by the shootings of four Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputies and one Castle Rock Police Officer that occurred early in the morning of New Year’s Eve. As you’ve probably seen on the news, one of the Deputies, 29-year-old Zackari Parrish was killed. He left behind his parents, his wife and two daughters.

There is always an element of fear when you’re the spouse of a Law Enforcement Officer. It is a dangerous job. There will always be fear while your spouse is on duty that the doorbell will ring and an officer will be standing there, hat in hand, to deliver the very worst news of your life.

During the live-broadcasted service, Deputy Parrish’s wife, Gracie was able to get up and speak, I can’t fathom the courage and composure that took. She talked about how when her husband was sworn in, his blood turned blue. She talked about how when it was time for their daughters to learn to drive, she would lean on Deputy Parrish’s brothers in blue to teach them. She talked about how much her husband loved the job, loved helping and serving a community that needed him.

Everyone who spoke during the service mentioned the pride that Deputy Parrish had in the job that he was blessed to be able to do. How strong he was and how much he cared for everyone with whom he came in contact. How he worked so hard to serve his community.

That community came out en masse to show their support for the family. The line of first responder vehicles that accompanied Deputy Parrish’s body and his family on the way to the service was a mile long. Lights flashed on police motorcycles, ambulances, and police cruisers. The highways were closed, for the processional to have a clear path. There were people on every bridge waving flags, the roads were lined, in many places three deep with supporters. I teared up every time I saw all of those cars, in perfect, precise lines following the body of their fallen brother.

This is a difficult time to be a Law Enforcement Officer. They are trashed in the news, they’re demonized and hated as often as appreciated. My husband is a School Resource Officer and works directly with a local high school. He has amazing relationships with many of the kids in school, he works very long hours to assure that all of the students are in a safe place and receive the best support that he can give. Giving their all is the norm for Law Enforcement Officers, not the exception.

I hope that on January 5, the day of Deputy Parrish’s service, Gracie Parrish felt that community support. That the thousands and thousands of people and fellow Law Enforcement Officers who came to show their respect were a small comfort during such a horrific time in her life. Hopefully, in these challenging times, communities continue to offer love and support to all of the officers who work tirelessly to ensure their safety.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” Matthew 5:9

Cristen Underwood has been a member of BUMC since 2010.   She lives in Westminster with her husband, six-year old son, three-year old son, a very sweet black lab and a really fat cat.