The Lord's Prayer

We learn early how to get what we want. The first words toddlers learn are "please" and "thank you," the "magic words" to get what they are asking for. As we grow we learn how to behave with others so that we'll be accepted by the 'in crowd' and have influence there. We learn how to do a job to earn a paycheck so that we can buy what we want. And in the world of one-click buying on Amazon and more than 1,200 petabytes of data available on the Internet, why shouldn't we have everything we want and have it right now? It's no wonder then, that when life is not going well and we pray to God to fix, provide, or change things, we're disappointed when things don't immediately improve. After all, isn't that what prayer is all about - doing it right so that God will give me what I want? Jesus prayed often and had a lot to say about prayer. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus gave both instruction about prayer and an actual prayer for his followers to use. It's neither complicated nor difficult, but it has little to do with our wish lists. In the Upside Down Kingdom of God, prayer has less to do with us getting what we want, and almost everything to do with God making us into what God wants. In the Upside Down Kingdom of God it's not about praying right, it's about becoming right - with God and others. Worship Link:

The Difficult Sayings

Life is easy when we know the rules and understand what's expected of us. Clearly defined tasks at work make for easier success. IKEA furniture goes together smoothly with the clear instructions provided. House rules about chores, bedtimes, and schedules make life together less stressful. But too many rules feel oppressive. Not enough clarity about what's expected, though, makes it difficult to complete tasks or live well together. What about our life as followers of Jesus? What are the expectations? Are there rules and boundaries for our behavior? In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus gives an extended teaching about the rules of life with him. In this section, often called 'The Difficult Sayings' (Matthew 5:17-48), Jesus takes the commonly understood rules for faithful living and turns them upside down, pointing out that his followers both follow these rules and live beyond them. In the upside-down kingdom of God, rules are not about what to do or not do, they are about who guides what we do or don't do. In the upside-down kingdom of God, Jesus is the rule. Worship Link:

The (Be)atitudes

While we might find it fun – even thrilling – to experience the gravity-defying ride of a roller coaster that coils, dips, drops, and turns us upside down, most of us find it uncomfortable to have our everyday lives up-ended. We have carefully laid plans, clear goals, and great hopes for our lives. We don’t find it so fun when those things get turned upside down. And it's even more disorienting to suffer those tragedies, small and large, that enter every life at some time... unexpected divorce, life-changing medical diagnosis, layoff from a job, death of someone close. Times like these seem to be the worst of what life has to offer. But in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) Jesus opens with a series of 'blessings' that seem anything but. Jesus seems to suggest that these kinds of hurts and heartaches are the very places and times we find special favor with God. Jesus has a lot to say that seems over and against the ways of the world, even counter to what seems and feels right. Could it be that what we experience as bad, wrong, painful, and tragic, Jesus can use for our good, drawing us closer to each other and closer to him? In the upside-down kingdom of God, things are not always as they seem - and that's a good thing! Worship Link:

Love Like Jesus

Today's Worship Experience: Love Like Jesus - No Exceptions You don’t have to look very far or very long to see that the world can be a harsh place. Hatred, division, bad behavior, and violence are around every turn. The news gives us a steady diet of chaos and conflict. Popular TV shows and movies bring the worst of it right into our homes. It is so pervasive that we despair at being able to overcome any of it - with either our words or our actions. But the world that Jesus came into was just as broken as ours is today. And he came with a strategy for overcoming the hate, hurt, and dysfunction. Jesus’ plan - love. And he left that plan for his followers to carry on. Loving like Jesus is not easy, but it is pretty simple. We just need to look to Jesus himself for our example. Just as Jesus has loved us, we are called to love others. And by this, the world will know. Worship Link:

Let Them See You

Sometimes it's quite obvious when we look at someone who they are and what they do. The person in a white coat in a medical building is obviously the doctor. The man or woman in the blue uniform at the scene of a car accident is obviously a law enforcement officer. The person wearing the apron behind the counter at your favorite coffee shop is obviously the barista. Sometimes it's less easy to identify the people around us. When we're lost it's hard to know who is the friendly, helpful person in view that we can go to and ask for directions. When servers in the restaurant all wear the same uniform, it can be hard to identify which one has already been at your table. In a crowd of people, it's nearly impossible to know who is the accountant, the cashier, the writer, the teacher, or the lawyer. And how do people know who you are? And especially who you are as a follower of Jesus? You don't likely where a sign on your chest or a logo on your hat identifying you as "Christian." Jesus said people would know his followers by the way they are with others; that people would know his followers by the way they love and the way they shine. Like a light on a stand and a city on a hill, the world knows we belong to Jesus by what is reflected in our words and actions. With the JJ Weeks Band in "Let Them See You," we pray, "God, let them see you in me." Worship Link: Downloadable Lenten Devotional

Hopes & Dreams

One thing that keeps us moving forward, trying new things, and being excited about life is the hopes and dreams we have for the future. Whether those be for ourselves, the ones we love, our community, or the world, the vision of a better future keeps us energized and focused. Especially when we are young we are encouraged to have high hopes and bold dreams. We are told that, "The sky is the limit!" "You can be anything you want to be!" "Just dream it, and it can happen!" Until it isn't, and you can't, and it doesn't. Were our hopes misguided? Our dreams unrealistic? Or were we just limited in our vision and ability? God calls us to a future that is greater, more, and bigger than our today. But how will we get there? Maybe it has to do with Whose dream we are dreaming and Whose power is fueling the journey. With God, dreams do come true. Worship Link:

Football Sunday

In early February every year, Americans turn their attention to the biggest football game of the season. This year the top teams will face-off on Sunday, February 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Fans will cheer from couches, living rooms, and gathering places across the country. Collectively we will consume 1.38 billion chicken wings, 12.5 million pizzas, and 11.2 million pounds of guacamole. Players and coaches will pour their hearts out and compete with passion to claim the Vince Lombardi Trophy and title of NFL Champions! But for many players, there is something even more important than the championship game. For many players their relationship with Jesus trumps even their football hopes and aspirations. Be inspired by NFL players who tell their stories of faith on February 13, 2022, at both The Garden Community Church and Union Chapel Indy. You are invited to the church at 10:00 a.m., or to the churches' social media outlets, for game day fun and to hear powerful stories of hope, grace, and life with Jesus - both on and off the gridiron. Worship Link:

Time Out

In a world that values productivity, multi-tasking, and high achievement, it can be hard to tend to our spiritual needs. It feels so unproductive to spend time with God in worship, prayer, or times of quiet and reflection. But that is precisely what God invites us to do. Not only is it life-giving and restorative, it's where we find the greatest, most important work is accomplished - that of growing close to and walking with our Creator, God, and Friend. Worship link:

You Are ... Welcome

Who's right and who's wrong; who's qualified and who isn't; who's in and who's out. As a species we seem bent on defining ourselves and others with the intent of drawing boundaries and building communities that share our values, our vision, our ideas, and our identities. This kind of thinking and activity has become so pervasive, that to experience anything different can seem suspect and subversive. But what if there was a place where, truly, you could show up and be welcomed and accepted just as you are? What if there was a place where you could rest your weary spirit, experience genuine hospitality, and let your guard down without having to agree with anyone, claim a certain ideology, or be anything in particular? Well... there is! Jesus invites you into his community that is Union Chapel Indy just as you are. Here, you are... welcome! Worship Link:

You Are... Brave

The world is a scary place these days! The news gives us steady images of violence and unrest. The economy, the job market, the supply chain - it's all so very uncertain and precarious. And to even leave your home or be with others is a risk to your health as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. What is one to do? It would be easy to turn inward, to retreat, to hide away until the danger passes. But will the danger ever pass? Is there another way? Scripture encourages us often (some say 365 times) to "not fear." And that admonition is often accompanied by the promise that "God goes with you." Even during fearful and uncertain times, we can live boldly and with confidence... because we live with God. With God, You Are... Brave. Worship Link:

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