Discovering one's heritage has become big business. For a fee, services will connect you with family members and family history you might not have known about. Ancestry.com boasts that they are "Connecting 20 Million Members to a Deeper Family Story." Even in a world where we are constantly connected through social media and technology, we long for significant relationships and connections. There is something comforting in knowing that we have a history and a story that includes other people; a story that ties us to others across time and space. Whether we know our biological family tree or not, we can all claim a place in a very significant story. Through God's love shown and given to each of us in Jesus, and lived out generation after generation in the church, we join a loving family that stretches back to the first followers of Jesus. The legacy of love we receive in faith connects us with people of faith across all time and space, encourages us for life today, and moves us forward in that same love. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UF7sixgR5U

There is power in securing our own destinies. We like to be the planners of our futures, the decision-makers for our next steps, and the authors of our own stories. Even as children this was our tendency. We made up our own rules for playground games and we liked the books in which we could pick the ending. To be in control makes us feel safe and gives us a sense of security. To that end, we also stockpile supplies, money, and resources. If a little is good, more will be better - and safer! As we've explored some of Jesus' parables in this series, "Go & Do," we've discovered that parables allow us to choose our own ending. We get to decide how Jesus' stories will end in and with us. When we discover that Jesus loves us, how will that change us? How will that love show up in where we go and what we do? When we discover that we are more blessed in relationship than when we are isolated, who will we go to? What will we do to be a blessing and be blessed in friendship and connection? And this week, when we discover that we are blessed with far more than we will ever need, what do we do to bless others with that abundance? This week we write the ending of our own giving story as we seek to bless others out of our own blessings. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5wQMSujNsk

Who we believe these days has become quite a topic of consideration. Is your news source really a news outlet, or is it... something else. Who do you trust to speak truth, provide reliable information and advice, and have your best interests at heart? Most of us won't listen to just anybody. And those we trust the most are those with whom we have a shared history and know the best. And if we have good news to share, a blessing to pass along, or wisdom to impart, who might listen to us? It will only be those with whom we have a trusted relationship. God blesses us with connection not solely for our own benefit, but also for the benefit of those around us. When we share what we have with those we know and love, the entire community benefits. We are connected not to build ourselves up, we are connected to care. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FrsiAJcjNc

In nearly any given situation, it’s natural to ask ourselves, “What is required of me?” In a new job, we want to know the expectations and responsibilities. In a social setting, it’s helpful to know if we are in a casual situation or if we are in a more formal setting where our very best manners are called into play. Maybe we’re new to town, or a school, or a neighborhood… How are things done here? What is expected of me to be a good citizen, succeed in class, or be a caring neighbor? The Bible, our faith tradition, and our personal biases contribute to what we believe is expected of us as followers of Jesus. But maybe the best place to discover this is from Jesus himself. And, as much as we’d like to know precisely what the basic expectations are in certain areas of our lives, Jesus calls his followers to generosity and compassion in all areas. Jesus doesn’t ask us to just meet a list of do’s and don'ts, check off just so many boxes, or just believe certain things. Jesus asks us to give him our hearts, our relationships, and our physical and material lives - everything. To be a good steward of the abundant blessings and grace Jesus has poured into our lives, is to let Jesus have his way with our lives and possessions. Jesus expects more than our presence in church and a few dollars in the offering plates; Jesus expects us to go and do like he did… living and loving, generously, faithfully, and with an abundance of mercy and compassion. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0SI6pRv3uw

Run Toward It

Pain, trouble, heartache and brokenness... alienation, loneliness, and loss. These things are a part of every life. Nobody likes them. In fact, it's natural to want to run from them. Many people spend their entire lives doing all that they can to stay as far away from these things as possible. Jesus, on the other hand, spent his earthly ministry with people experiencing these things to offer them hope, love, acceptance, and grace. And in the Gospel of Luke he tells the story of a father running to embrace and kiss his estranged son when he sees him on the horizon. Jesus doesn't just welcome the hurting, he seeks them out, searches for them, and runs to them with love. God's love and grace as experienced through Jesus is tireless, tenacious, and persistent. Jesus doesn't just welcome us, he runs to us. Having experienced the love of God through Jesus when we felt we least deserved it, we might look with new eyes towards the hurting and needy around us and ask, "To whom are we running?" Worship link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQXJ2c4NXAI

Love Thy Neighbor

We are all seeking to be enlightened by a power greater than ourselves. Regardless of our faith backgrounds, we can find this peace through prayer, acceptance, love, and inclusion. Worship link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4yNkDyouvU

Called

Jesus has good news for those who are poor (literally) humble, lowly, the needy, the afflicted. Christ looks for those who have been passed over, the outcasts, who realize that they need Someone to come for them. He comes for those who know they are sick, not for those who think they are well. Blessed are the poor in spirit, Jesus would say. He has good news for those who realize just how desperately they need a Savior. In Luke 4:14-21 we find the ‘first sermon’ of Jesus being proclaimed in the synagogue. As followers of Jesus, we have a similar calling with the marginalized, the disenfranchised, those who are hurting and in need of Christ’s love. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQhlVNKXj68&t=1766s

Crooked

Just how long have you been living with that 'bend' in your life... that hurt, or anger, or bitterness? That misunderstanding, estrangement, or rift? All sorts of things get out of whack in our spirits over time, and the longer they go on, the harder they are to work out. Even if we wanted to straighten them, the crooked parts of us are so deeply kinked and bent that we don't have the power to smooth them. A woman who met Jesus in the synagogue one day had suffered a physical condition for eighteen years that had her "bent over." With his words and touch she was healed - her crooked spine was made straight! In all the ways of our crookedness, Jesus calls us to wholeness. Will you let him make your crooked places straight? Worship Link: https://fb.watch/fNAS6tuF7s/

Music Sunday!

Music has been a part of the human experience for as long as humans have existed. Research suggests that music developed right alongside spoken language. It seems our spirits are made to sing. Music has also always been a part of any and every faith tradition. It is natural for humans to express their most holy and sacred thoughts and experiences through song, in all its many forms. On Sunday, September 4, we will celebrate the faith we sing, as we hear the stories of some of our favorite hymns and worship songs, and lift our voices (or sit and listen) in song. Share your favorite hymn or praise song on our Facebook page, facebook.com/UnionChapelIndy. And invite a friend to join you for this uplifting worship experience grounded in the songs of our faith. In-person and online, 10:30 a.m. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u45eAaKgMMU

Feeling anxious? You’re not alone. Between things like financial pressure, health problems, and job stress, it can feel like anxiety is your only option. But your mind matters to God and He wants more for you. Whatever we meditate on becomes deeply rooted in our minds. In today's sermon, we close out the Anxious for Nothing series by focusing on the whatsoever things of God as God's goodness and grace washes over us. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUFf9p-mXsA

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