Original Music by Michael Payne: My Times

Michael Payne, who serves as worship pastor at White Fields Community Church in Longmont, just released an original song called “My Times”. Check it out on YouTube here:

Here’s what Mike wrote about the song:

The story of this song starts back in 1996 when I arrived in Debrecen, Hungary with my backpack and guitar. It comes from Psalms 73 and 31 and encapsulated the start of my journey as a missionary. This song would become a mainstay for our Monday night English language Bible study with the medical students. But then I left the song behind in Debrecen as we moved to Budapest where I felt God call me to invest in Hungarian songwriters and song-writing. Since our move to the States 21 years later, this song has taken on new meaning as my family declares this same endless truth to God again – “My times are in Your hands”, stepping out into a new chapter in life.
Music is not only about the song itself, but who you play it with and it was a great joy to record this with great friends.
I hope the story and the words of this song resonate with you wherever you are in your walk with God.

Mike is going to be featured in the Longmont Times-Call’s 100 People of the St. Vrain Valley feature, in which they highlight notable people from the area.

You can also listen to Mike’s music on Spotify: Michael Payne on Spotify

Peaked Out Weekend

This past weekend was a busy one for us, full of many good things.

It began on Saturday with the Longmont Sunrise Stampede. My wife and 8 year old son ran the 2 mile race, and I ran the 10k. On the one hand, we were excited to run a race here in Longmont, but an added bonus was that the race went to support a great cause: proceeds went to help fund special education in the St Vrain Valley School District.

I was proud of my son for finishing his first race, and getting a time he could be proud of.

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Before the 2 mile race

I finished my 10k race in 54:51 which was a personal record time for that distance and even better than I had hoped to do.

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At 9.5 km of the 10k race which ended at Silver Creek HS

We then went up to Bailey, to a picnic for pastors and their families put on by Crossroads Church of Denver, my old church which sent me to Hungary.

We then went to Denver for the Lego BrickFest, which our kids loved, and then finished the day by having dinner with family and friends.

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On Sunday we had church. I taught on Colossians 3:1-11 in a message titled “A New You”, about which I got a surprising amount of positive feedback. One of the key concepts I discussed was the “Already… but Not Yet” nature of the gospel. If you’d like to listen to it, you can find the audio of that message here.

I got an email after church that a couple from Texas had been at church that day, and that they had come because they read this blog and were in the area! That encouraged me to be writing here more.

Right after church at White Fields, we went down to Littleton, where the Colorado Hungarian community was having their annual picnic for Szent István (St. Stephen) Day. István was the first king of Hungary, who after converting to Christianity as an adult, established Hungary as a Christian kingdom in 1000. He was declared a saint on August 20, 1083 and because of that, August 20 is the national holiday of Hungary.

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Hungarian language church service in Littleton

At this picnic, I lead a church service in Hungarian for the Hungarian Reformed Church of Denver, at which I preached on one of my favorite scriptures, Matthew 13:44 – “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” I really enjoyed preaching in Hungarian again! I get to do it sometimes when I visit Hungary, but felt great to do it here in Colorado.

On Sunday night, I left home at 11pm with two friends from church to climb Longs Peak.

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My wife took this picture of Longs Peak and Mt Meeker as we drove into Longmont Saturday evening. We love when the light highlights the layers in the mountains.

It was the 2nd time I’ve climbed it, and it was just as beautiful and difficult of a climb as I remember it being! It’s a 15 mile round trip hike, with 5100 feet of elevation gain. The most difficult part of the hike, mentally, is the last 2.5 miles, when you descend back into the forest and it feels like it will never end. The most technically difficult part is probably “The Trough.” Here’s a description of the route.

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The view from the top of Longs Peak looking South-West towards the Indian Peaks. The lake on the left is Barker Reservoir in Nederland.
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The Twin Peaks – Longs and Meeker, from the split off to Chasm Lake

Today the kids went back to school, which is bittersweet for us as parents. On the one hand, we are going to miss having them around, but on the other hand, it was a lot of work keeping them occupied and on task at home, and we see how good it is for them to be with the other kids and learning.

We took a trip last week up to the Mount Evans as a family to celebrate the end of summer vacation. It was my wife and kids’ first time up above 14,000 feet.

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Mt Evans summit (14,270 ft)

I can’t get enough of these Rocky Mountains…

 

Easter Egg Hunt Recap

In some places the saying goes: “April showers bring May flowers.”

I’m pretty sure in Colorado the saying should be: “February sunshine brings March blizzards.”

March is the snowiest month of the year in Colorado, and this past Wednesday we had a big storm.

Reports varied between 17 inches and 25 inches of snow accumulation. The roadsides looked like car graveyards and large parts of the Front Range were without power for extended periods.

One of the issues for us was that every year our church hosts a big Easter event in Roosevelt Park in downtown Longmont, adjacent to the building we meet in, the St Vrain Memorial Building.

This year, with that much snow on the ground and more snow in the forecast for Friday (last) night, we knew we wouldn’t be able to have the event in the park.

Thankfully we were able to move the event indoors to the Memorial Building.

It’s a big building, and I’ve always said you could easily fit 1000 people in there. Well, today we put that to the test…

Whereas in past years we’ve had up to 1200 people at this event in the park, we figured that with the snow and the move indoors we would see maybe 500 people attend. We were wrong. We know from raffle tickets that we had over 1000 people in attendance.

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Photo cred.: Devan Siefford

 

The event went well, especially considering the limitations on space. We had a great team of volunteers to serve our community and hopefully next year we can be back outside. Each year is a learning experience, and we look forward to an event better event next year.

One of the highlights of the event each year is the puppet show, which is one of several ways in which we share the true message and meaning of Easter with those who attend.

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Families enjoying the puppet show. Photo cred.: Charles Jones

Tomorrow is Easter Service at White Fields! He is risen indeed!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. (1 Peter 1:3-4)

 

Running on Water

I have recently started running regularly along the St Vrain River from Roger’s Grove to Golden Ponds. The other day my running partner and I discovered this row of rocks that allows you to cross over the middle of one of the lakes.
Longmont, thanks for being awesome.
Here are the pictures we took of it today. The first one was taken by my Samsung Galaxy and the other was taken by my friend’s iPhone. Not trying to be a hater – just sayin’… 🙂

Young Life in Longmont

A few months ago, my wife and I were talking with some people from White Fields – and the topic of Young Life came up. This friend of ours was telling us how she had been involved in volunteering at a YL camp up near Winter Park. Then another friend from White Fields told us that he had applied for a job up at that same camp.

So my wife and I had this conversation: “I wonder if Young Life is doing anything in Longmont…”

A few weeks later, historic flooding happened right here in Longmont. Houses were flooded, roads were washed out. Lots of destruction.

As one does, I went to go check out the destruction. Here’s the picture we took of Sunset Street in Longmont:

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Sunset Street – owned by the St Vrain River

As we’re standing there, some other guys come up and stand right on the edge of the road. I tell the guy: “Hey, watch out, that’s not stable!” Then somehow we got to talking – they asked if I was from Longmont, they told me they recently moved to town from Boulder. I asked what brought them to Longmont – and they told me: “We moved here to start a Young Life branch for the St. Vrain Valley.”

“Really?” I said. “I’m the pastor of a church here in town and my wife and I and some people from church were just talking about how we would love to work with Young Life here in Longmont.”

And that is how I met Ben and Tim, who are heading up the new Young Life branch in the St Vrain Valley.

Since then, they’ve started doing Wyld Life meetings for middle schoolers here in town, and had great turnouts. I’ve gotten together with them a few times – in fact, I just had lunch with them again today. They are great guys, doing great work.

Check out what they are doing – it’s great stuff. The meetings they do are fun and are a safe environment for kids in middle school – and they love parental involvement. Here is their website: St Vrain Valley Young Life

 

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Earlier this week I wrote a post about marijuana use and Christianity – today we have a different, but important national event: National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

From Philly.com:

Soaring rates of abuse of prescription drugs — especially painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin — are a key reason for the annual event. Abuse rates in the United States are alarmingly high, the DEA said, with 6.8 million Americans abusing prescription drugs — nearly twice as many as those using cocaine, heroin, inhalants and hallucinogens combined.

Studies also show that most abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including those lifted from home medicine cabinets.

During the six previous drug take-back days, people turned in nearly 2.8 million pounds of prescription drugs, the DEA said. Last year, more than 5,800 collection sites were operated by more than 4,300 of the agency’s law enforcement partners.

This is obviously a problem that is affecting millions of people, and therefore something that God cares about and something that we as Christians should care about.

Here is a list of participating drop-off sites in the St Vrain Valley, from the Longmont Times-Call:

  • Erie Police Department, 645 Holbrook St., Erie, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call the police department at 303-926-2800.
  • Longmont United Hospital, 1950 Mountain View Ave., Longmont, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call the City’s Pollution Prevention Program at 303-651-8667 or the Utility Call Center at 303-651-8416.
  • Firestone Police Department, 151 Grant Ave., Firestone, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call the police department at 303-833-0811.
  • Dacono City Hall, 512 Cherry St., Dacono, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call city hall at 303-833-5528.
  • Lafayette Police Department, 745 U.S. Highway 287, Lafayette, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call the police department at 303-665-5571 ext. 4123.
  • Mead Town Hall, 441 Third St., Mead, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 970-356-4015.

Be praying for those whose lives are being affected by drug abuse, and help prevent it by participating in this national event.