Connect with God

Life is complicated. Just take a look at your calendar and your to-do list. Appointments and obligations overlap each other. There aren't enough hours in a day or days in a week to accomplish even a portion of the tasks you'd like to (need to?) get done. Work requires more of you than you have to give. Spouses, children, parents and friends all want something from you. Add to everything the strain of living and working in the 'COVID Era,' and life is busy, stressful - and complicated. Your spiritual life doesn't have to be. An encouraging, life-giving, uplifting faith is really very simple. The early church gave us a simple model for a life of faith with Jesus that offers hope and power for living, even in today's complicated world. It begins by connecting with God. And because God wants to connect with you, it's really pretty simple! Worship link: https://youtu.be/fqo1tVd4r-g

Plus Jesus

When you add Jesus, there's always enough. Worship link: https://youtu.be/3z4VvyHE9Uo

Choose Love

Love is not a feeling, love is Jesus. Worship link: https://youtu.be/BNXb2pXkxnc

Choose Peace

Peace is not a condition or state of circumstances; peace is a person - Jesus. Worship link: https://youtu.be/Rwlit4cCD2Q

Choose Hope

There are few things in this life of which we can be sure. Just when we think we have things figured out, something unexpected pops up. In times like those, one can choose disappointment, anger, and despair or one can look to Jesus who is the foundation of our HOPE. Worship link: https://youtu.be/S2v3pzD6Iqo

Choose Joy

The COVID-19 global pandemic, and all its accompanying disruptions, has challenged us in ways both foreseen and unexpected. Maybe one of the most unexpected consequences of the last six months has been the sense of grief we've experienced over losses both small and large. Some have experienced losses that are large and significant, losses like jobs and loved ones. Nearly everyone has experienced losses that are maybe less significant, but no less real.... time with friends and loved ones, milestone celebrations like graduations and weddings, and summer vacations. And then there are the less tangible losses like loss of a sense of freedom or the loss of a feeling of security. If you live your life connected with a church, you've known loss in that area of your life, too. In-person worship was absent for a long time, and a return to that practice is quite different than before. Helpful friendships and supportive relationships have been difficult to maintain. At Union Chapel Indy there has been significant construction on the building in our absence over these last months. Even the space will feel different when we experience it again. Grief is a natural response to loss, and it has its place in a healthy healing process. And we trust that God is in our grief with us. We also look to God for a way through the grief. Scripture promises, that even though "... weeping may linger for the night... joy comes with the morning." (Psalm 30:5 NRSV) Even as we grieve the losses of recent months, God gives us the opportunity to choose another way. Though we may not feel happy, we can choose joy - with God and with confidence! Worship Link: https://youtu.be/Q2TttwIbLDo

Art & Nature at Union Chapel

Today we celebrate God's presence and beauty as we experience in them in both art and nature. Staff persons Amanda Keller and Megan Sharp led a summer event here at Union Chapel that connected art with nature with God.... and we have the joy of hearing all about that today. Worship Link: https://youtu.be/ECMeqBYupNE

Going and Growing

"When I find the perfect person, I'll consider a committed relationship." "When my significant other and I have enough money saved, enough debt paid off, and a house purchased, then we'll get married." "When we get the rest of our lives in order and we can afford to raise a child, we'll consider having children." There is value in having goals and a sense of what's important in your life. The wisdom to "not get the horse in front of the cart" has merit. But the fact of the matter is, if we wait until all the conditions of our lives are just right before taking the next big step, we'll never move at all. Rarely does the perfect job present itself at just the right time. Rarely are all conditions ideal for taking that big risk. And when we first take up with Jesus, rarely are we fully equipped to live the life to which he calls us. The good news is that God's grace continues on, not only calling us to new life, but creating that new life in us. God's grace not only woos and welcomes us, it goes with us into this new life and grows us in Christ-like ways. We don't have to have our lives together to walk with Jesus. We certainly don't have to be perfect. Grace calls us to new life and then gives us the power to actually pull it off. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bWjFeSXKxo

Righted and Welcomed

Colleges have them; sororities and fraternities have them; private clubs and swanky restaurants have them. What do these all have? Entrance requirements. To enter and enjoy the benefits of these places and organizations, persons must do certain things and/or meet certain criteria. The onus is on the applicant or prospective customer to prove that they have the qualifications, the resume, the income, the look or the character to be accepted into the group or activity. God has quite a different strategy for filling his house. He simply opens the door and invites people in. No entrance exam, no income requirements, not even a dress code. Where grace is, you are welcome. And where God is, there is grace. "The door's unlocked, come on in!" Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4wbHqxoD2U&t=25s

Wooed and Pursued

(We are the beloved of God, and because God loves us so deeply, God never stops pursuing us, drawing us to God's self, or growing us in love and grace.) Grace is a word that carries all sorts of meanings and connotations in the modern English language… * We say “grace” at a meal to offer a prayer of thanks. * To be “graceful” or “gracious” suggests that one is courteous, kind, and pleasant. * We might say someone moves with “grace” when they are elegant and move with ease. But as a word we use in talking about the Christian faith it carries a very specific meaning and sits at the center of our understanding of who God is and how we experience God’s care for us. The Christian faith teaches that grace is “… the love and mercy given to us by God, because God wants us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it.” (umc.org) John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist tradition gave us a significant and rich understanding of how God’s grace woos us, claims us, and grows us in Christ-likeness. Wesley understood grace as God’s active presence in our lives giving us the power to respond to God and live a victorious life in Christ. Songwriter Matthew West sums up the power and promise of God at work in our lives with these words: Grace Wins. As we make our way through each day, face challenges of all kinds, suffer hardships and hurts; as we doubt, despair, and deal with all manner of disappointment, the Bible, John Wesley and Matthew West all remind us that God is at work for our good... that because God loves us so dearly and so deeply, God's desire for us is unstoppable.... and God’s grace always wins! Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Xcw9sLegjA

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