Do No Harm

Did your parents have 'sayings' they oft recited to impart wisdom and shape your character? Things like, "Leave the space better than you found it." Or maybe you work for a company that seeks to influence employees with repeated slogans... "Safety first!" John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, left adherents with three rules to guide their life together in faith: Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God. While Methodists often refer to these as the "Three Simple Rules," they are not that simple to live by! But they do provide a solid guide to living in a way that blesses the person, the church, and the world. In July at Union Chapel Indy we explore these three simple rules that are as relevant today as when Wesley gave them to us in the 1700's. Worship Link:

The human race has made a fine art out of judging the faults and foibles of others, while at the same time overlooking and excusing our own. It is the nature of people of all times and places to point out the shortcomings, sins, and slip-ups of others, and pass judgment on what would be appropriate punishment. All the while, of course, ignoring our own screw-ups and scandals. What if we each got what we deserved? We might decide that that the idea of justice, in general, was overrated. What if we each got what we deserved from God? What if we were each judged according to God's perfect standard of generosity, forgiveness, and compassion? And not just for what we did - or didn't - do, but for what we felt in our hearts and thought in our minds? Good thing for us that God is not just generous, forgiving and compassionate, but he is also merciful, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. God's love not only knows no bounds, God is relentless in pursuing us with God's goodness, grace and mercy. Worship Link:

When one fisher came home without any fish, he was asked, "I thought you were going fishing? Why don't you have any fish?" To which the fisher responded, "I said I was going fishing, not catching." A. K. Best said, "The fishing was good; it was the catching that was bad." A large part of fishing is casting the line and waiting, casting the line and waiting, and casting it yet again. You get as many chances as you have time for. And if you are good - or lucky - you might even catch a fish. Not everything in life offers so many chances at success. Final exams, the "court of last resort," and the third strike are all definitive. Once you've reached these, you've had all the chances you are going to get. Jonah may have thought he was out of chances when he found himself in the belly of a great fish. But even though he had disobeyed and run from God, God gave him a second chance. Our God is a God of second, third, fourth, fifth and even sixth chances. In fact, God is a God of unlimited chances. Think you've tested and tried God to his limits? Think again. God is just waiting to give you another chance. Worship Link:

The Eye of the Storm

"Gone fishing" is the sign on the door of many an angler this time of year. The long days, the warm breezes, and the hope of a good catch lure expert fishers and weekend casters, alike. And the stories that come home can be real whoppers! The high adventure intensifies with every telling and the fish get longer with every measure of outstretched arms. The fishing is fun, the stories are engaging, and the remembering is almost as good as the doing. The Bible gives us a whopper of a fish story, too. Only in this tale, the fish does the catching. God gives Jonah a specific assignment. But not wanting to obey God's instruction, Jonah heads the opposite direction... on a boat... and out to sea. Everything goes terribly wrong, and Jonah finds himself in the belly of a great fish. Thinking he was walking away from a difficult task to live on easy street, Jonah finds himself in deep water. Thinking he could flee from God, Jonah finds that God is with him even in the belly of the fish. There's no place we can go where God's mercy can't reach us, even in the middle of the storm. Worship Link:

Awesome God!

Sometimes we get to glimpse the idea that life is amazing and wonderful, and we are excited by the great adventure that awaits us each day. More often, however, we approach our days as the routine experiences they turn out to be. But could those routine days be so because we expect little else? And what about our lives of faith... Are most of our faith encounters 'routine' because we expect them to be so? What if we showed up to worship or dinner church or any faith gathering expecting a moving, awesome, larger-than-life encounter with the great God of all time and space? Might our experience be much more so? Our expectations matter, so let's expect more when we gather as God's people! Worship Link:

Every club, organization, and company has its official documents that guide its activities and operations. From charters to bylaws to mission statements to manifestos, every entity finds its direction in its core documents. The church is no different. For Christians, our book is the Bible. The 66 books that make up the Protestant Christian Bible contain code of law, poetry, wisdom literature, parables, narrative, letters and more. There is so much in the Bible that it can be overwhelming to attempt to read it, much less understand it! Got questions about the Bible? Great! Let's take a closer look at the what the Bible is and how it still speaks to us today. Worship Link:

Mother's Day in the Midwest is generally assumed to be a 'safe' time to put tender starts and flowering plants into the ground. Rarely will we experience a freeze after this date to threaten the young garden seedlings. But we know that planting is only the start of the bountiful harvest or beautiful bouquet to come later in the year. In faith, gardeners plant, water, and nurture toward a hoped-for outcome. In that same kind of faith, we plant seeds of love into those around us, water those seeds with kindness, and nurture with grace until God produces a bounty of hope and promise. On this Mother's Day, thank you to all who tend the spirits and lives of others with care, and mercy, and faithfulness. Worship Link:

By one count, there are more than 45,000 Christian denominations around the world today. That number represents a mind-boggling amount of diversity in theology, religious thought, and faith practice. It's no wonder that those in the church - and especially those who are not - have questions about these things! What does my tradition believe about this or that? Why does my relative/friend/co-worker understand such-and-such so differently than I do? And why are there so many ways to think about religion, faith, and the Bible... isn't there one God, one Jesus, and one Bible? I'm so glad you asked! This week as we explore questions of faith, Pastor Elizabeth responds to the question, "So what's the deal with heaven and hell?" Together we'll begin to explore what the Bible says, and what the United Methodist tradition says, about these things. Worship Link:

It has been a great pleasure to unite in musical collaboration and love with the choir at All Souls Unitarian Church under the musical leadership of UCI's Minister of Music, Andy Riggs, and All Souls' Director of Music, Gabe Perbieri. Thanks to all who worked to make the music beautiful and meaningful -- and to all who made the trips to UCI and All Souls to meet new friends and support our respective choirs. May the sacred web that unites us with all people and all creation, ignite magnitudes of hope in a hurting world! Worship Link:

Students know the power of a pop quiz to both terrify and challenge them. Even the possibility of such a test keeps a student in the books and challenges them to internalize new information and insights. Questions from teachers - and others - invite us to dig deep and pull out bits of information to apply in this current moment. Deep in the Jewish tradition (and thus Jesus' religious tradition) is the power of questions to drive spiritual growth and deepen one's understanding of the Divine. Jesus asks lots of questions in the stories we find in the Bible. But he never asks them because he needs to know the answer. Jesus used questions to draw his listeners into deeper thought, more significant reflection, a new way of seeing things, and meaningful action. Got questions? Jesus sure did! Worship Link:

Previous12345678910 ... 2223