You Are... Called

January is the time for New Year's Resolutions, (re)commitment to noble goals and higher ideals, and of course, new diets, stepped-up exercise routines, and healthier living. And in the Methodist tradition, we are also invited to renew our commitment to Jesus and a life of faith. This time of year the world calls us to self-improvement and renewed resolve. Jesus calls us to live like him and walk in his ways. Both require some introspection and discipline; both will ask something of us. But the good news of Jesus' call is that it comes with everything we need to see growth and forward progress: a loving God, the power of the Holy Spirit, the faithful presence of Jesus, and a loving community to support and encourage. Step into the New Year with confidence, you walk with the One who both calls - and equips - you. Worship link:

Jazz Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled, When the star in the sky is gone, When the kings and princes are home, When the shepherds are back with their flock... The work of Christmas begins: To find the lost, To heal the broken, To feed the hungry, To release the prisoner, To rebuild the nations, To bring peace among others, To make music in the heart. ~Howard Thurman Worship Link:

Christmas Eve Worship

Come to the manger! At this place, on this night, the hopes and fears of all the years meet. A child is born to us. All those on earth and heaven, rejoice, be glad this holy night. Worship Link:

The Christmas season is a time of wonder and anticipation and joy... and stress and angst and being overscheduled and underfunded. Especially if you are an adult responsible for so many of the details of the season! Oh, that we could return to the innocence of a child at Christmas and experience the holiday without all the trappings we adults find ourselves wrapped up in. While we can't go back in time, we can let the children around us remind our hearts and spirits of the sweet anticipation and genuine excitement the season holds. This week in worship we are invited to rediscover the significance of Christmas by connecting with the Child of Christmas - and the child-like spirit in all of us. Worship link:

The Christmas story is one that has transcended time, culture, and context. We return to it year after year to refocus our faith and discover again its message of hope. It's comforting and encouraging to hear each year how God has come to walk through this often confusing, difficult, and uncertain existence with us. It's a theme so attractive, so powerful, that it is retold in countless ways. From "It's a Beautiful Life" to "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" we love to be reminded of how God interrupts our lives, agendas, and plans, to do a new and beautiful thing in us. What is your favorite Christmas story? And even more importantly, how is God telling God's story of hope through you? Worship link:

It has been said that "music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends." Indeed music has the power to transcend words, whether spoken or written. Most of us have songs deeply embedded in our spirits that connect us to special times and poignant moments. These are the songs that make up the playlist of our lives. And for many of us, it wouldn't be Christmas without the music of the season. As we celebrate this first Christmas together in two years, we look to the familiar songs of the season to rediscover the story of Christmas... the story of love of grace for each of us and the world. Worship link:

Beauty Made Real

What is Christmas without the decorations, the lights, the trees, and the nativity scenes? The red and green that grace every store display, the colorful lights that show up on so many houses in our neighborhoods, and the decorated trees in our homes all signal that it’s a very special time of the year. And many of us put out a nativity set with Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men and baby Jesus so that we feel like we are keeping the season ‘sacred.’ But truth be told, wherever we find beauty, we find the holy. If we only look, we will find the hope, love, joy and peace of God revealed, not just in the baby of Christmas, but also in the images and art of the season. This year rediscover the heart of Christmas as you enjoy the beauty found in simple decorations, extravagant light displays, lavish trees, or even a single ornament. The beauty of Christmas is that in the images of the season God is revealed - personally, gloriously, for all to see. Worship link:

Hospitality is a word that carries many meanings and encompasses a wide variety of activities and experiences. Some people work in the hospitality industry - hotels, restaurants, travel and convention industries. Some think immediately about the beautiful settings they like to welcome guests into and the nice meals they like to serve there. Some think about the manners they were taught as children so as to practice polite hospitality... how to greet people, how to have a polite conversation, how to send a nice follow-up note. But in one way or another, hospitality is about serving, including, and loving the other. Is hospitality in the church any different? One person suggested that church hospitality is similar to how we feel about our tv remote controls at home. At home, a polite host asks their guest what they would like to watch on television and, giving up their own preference, change the channel to their guest's request. But that church hospitality - or any kind of real hospitality - simply gives the remote control to the guest and allows them to make their own selection. Real hospitality does more than welcome a visitor, it gives them the privileges of being family. Worship link:

Four Faithful Friends

What is the wildest, most outrageous thing you've done with a group of friends? Maybe as a teen you and your friends hoisted a car onto the school roof just before graduation. As young adults, maybe you and your friends back-packed across Europe or the US. Maybe you started a garage band in middle age, or you all jumped out of an airplane to celebrate your 80th birthday. Friends are important to us and have the potential to powerfully influence our attitudes and actions. In the New Testament book of Mark, we find four friends who went the extra mile for their paralyzed friend. Hearing that the Healer Jesus was in town, they sought to get him an audience with Jesus. But when the house where Jesus was staying was so full that they couldn't get in, they broke through the roof and lowered him into Jesus' very presence. And none of their lives were ever the same. By the faith of his friends, the man was healed. What difference can our faith make for our friends? What would we do so that our friends could get close to Jesus? What is in the way of people experiencing Jesus in the big "C" church, and at Union Chapel Indy? What wild, outrageous thing is God calling us to do to create access to the One who welcomes, loves, heals, and makes whole? Worship Link:

The Table | All Saints' Sunday

What elements make for a memorable meal? A beautiful tablescape? Exotic, specially prepared food like you might find in a celebrity chef's restaurant? Maybe you prefer a home-cooked meal like grandma used to make. Maybe it's not about the food at all. For you it might be all about who is at the table with you. Jesus spent a lot of time eating meals with people. Meals feature so prominently in the Gospel stories of Jesus that scholars have commented: ‘Jesus ate his way through the Gospels.’ He ate with the rich and the poor, the 'in' crowd and the outcasts, the powerful and the powerless. Regardless of the setting, the guest list, or the price point, acceptance, love, and grace were always on the menu. Who set the table of faith for you? Who would you invite to join you at that table? Jesus' legacy of love at the table is still with us today at the Communion Table. Pull up a chair and "...taste and see that the Lord is good..." (Psalm 34:8) worship link:

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