Everyone wrestles with occasional worry and stress, but in recent years’ anxiety has taken hold in our culture in epidemic proportions. We feel it in our jobs, in our families and relationships, in nearly every area of our lives. Despite the uncertainty of the world and the pressure we place on ourselves, Scripture encourages us to release that anxiety to God. When we do, we don’t have to lie awake at night. Our shortness of breath and racing minds can be replaced by life-giving rest. We can feel a peace that goes beyond all understanding. With God, we are anxious for nothing. (Note: From time to time we each experience everyday stress and anxiety that negatively impacts our lives. There are spiritual practices that are helpful with this. We will explore some of those in this series, “Anxious for Nothing.” However, there are times when the stress and anxiety we feel is beyond what we can manage on our own. If you have any concern about the anxiety you are feeling, or concern for your emotional or mental well-being, please seek the help of a medical or mental health professional. Contact your personal physician, visit www.in.gov/bewellindiana, or call 211 for help and resources.) Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z___f1e77VU&t=2618s

Every group or community of people have words and rituals that are common to their life together. Scouts have pledges that proclaim their high ideals. Countries have national songs and pledges that unite them. Sororities and fraternities have rituals that all members must participate in to join. When Jesus was with his closest followers (the disciples), he gave them a prayer to pray that would help unite their hearts in love and point them all in the direction of kingdom living after he left them. Christian churches and communities of faith of every stripe and tradition have used this prayer in some fashion across the centuries. Commonly known as The Lord's Prayer, this prayer is learned by children in Sunday school and often prayed out loud, together, in Christian worship settings. As we examine "The Deeper Life | A Life of Prayer," we take a fresh look at this set prayer that has been close to the heart of Jesus followers for centuries. Words matter, and in The Deeper Life, words have the power to shape and guide our lives for God and for good. "So, when you pray, say" this... (Luke 11:2) Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSAe8XlOPmw

Be Still

From as far back as most of us can remember, we've sought ways to take our music, conversations, and media with us wherever we go. For some of us it started with a transistor radio and change for a pay phone. And through the years we've moved through the evolution of technology to the place where we have every nearly form of communication and entertainment right in our pockets, with us 24/7. It's as though we do all we can to avoid silence. Silence has the power to unsettle us. It leaves us alone with our thoughts and fears. It offers up so many questions, and so few answers. What is there to be gained in the quiet? The Deeper Life (a life of prayer) is built on silence, but not for the sake of quiet alone. The Deeper Life is a life of quiet contemplation, purposeful silence, and intentional listening. The Deeper Life asks God to speak, and rests in the quiet to hear what God would say. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doTJaT2bDho

Expectations are powerful things. They influence our words, actions, planning, and hopes. Rarely will we put effort into cooking a meal, repairing a broken appliance, or entering a negotiation without the expectation of a positive outcome. We don't put energy into a relationship, time into learning a new skill, or effort into a team sport without the expectation of a meaningful connection, growth of some kind, or a win (at least occasionally!). What about our deeper lives of prayer? Do we pray with the expectation that God will bless us if we can check prayer off our list today? Or do we pray with the expectation that God will grant our prayerful wish list and solve our prayerfully presented dilemmas if we are diligent in presenting them properly? Scripture suggests that we pray with a thankful heart and attitude, expecting the good God we know and worship to be who God promises God will be. When we pray with alert minds and thankful hearts, we can always expect good things. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sUfWspnpUU

We learn in elementary school that big things often have even larger hidden foundations. A towering oak has a deep and wide root system. An iceberg only shows a small portion of itself above the water. And tall buildings have foundations that go deep into the ground to hold them stable and make them strong. But what of those people we see with strong faith, great confidence in God, and unfailing hope in the face of adversity? What do they have hidden away that makes them such resilient and joyful people? For people of faith, a deep and rich prayer life is what keeps them stable, grounded, hopeful, and peace-filled, in the good times and the bad. For followers of Jesus, the deeper life is a life of prayer. In July at Union Chapel Indy we explore the power and blessing of a deep and rich prayer life. Join us for worship in-person or online, Sundays, 10:30 a.m. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcOJbVw5o_w&t=3419s

Even If

If you were going to meet someone in a coffee shop who you had never seen you in person, how would you describe yourself to that person so that they might recognize you? Can you remember a time when you met someone that you were just enamored with? How did you describe that person to your best friend? How would you describe someone you know very well? You might describe things like their appearance and personality traits. You might also talk about the things they do like their work or their hobbies. You might even tell a story that you think gets at the heart of who they are. How would you describe God? We would likely each give a different description of God, but with much the same perspective. We would describe God as we've known and experienced God at work in our own lives. Even if we've not seen God, we can describe God. Who is God? God is the One you know. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW4K51M3nYg

The Bible calls David “a man after God’s own heart.” As we look further into the story of David & Goliath we discover that David was 1) anointed by Samuel 2) a respected musician 3) a humble shepherd and 4) a model for servant leadership. Throughout the beginning stages of David's story, we find David exhibits 4 characteristics of servant leadership: 1) takes the initiative 2) responsible for tasks 3) obedient 4) expedient - wasted no time. Goliath embodies the obstacles that we face today. God fills us with the power of the Holy Spirit to face these obstacles in unique ways. Intimidation, fear of man, jealousy, and anger were all obstacles that David faced. However, he overcame by walking in obedience and understanding that he carried his own unique gifting and skills set that would help him overcome Goliath. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Abu0CPmF59s

Safely Adrift

For some, summer vacation is a time to seek out a body of water and let the cares of the world wash away as they float on the gentle waves and soak up the sun. Or maybe a visit to the local pool is your way to cool down during the hot summer days. And an icy, cold drink of water is just the thing to refresh after a hot afternoon working in the yard. Water has the power to relax, refresh and rejuvenate in ways almost nothing else can. And water has the power to overwhelm and overpower, as well. A day out on the water in a boat can be a lot of fun, but being lost in the ocean or left adrift without power in the open water can be frightening and dangerous. Noah, one of the legendary figures of the faith, found himself dealing with a terrifying amount of water. Both the springs of the earth and the clouds above had opened to cover the earth with water. Living day to day in perilous conditions and without any certainty about their future, Noah drifted day and night. Even without solid footing below or a plan for ever getting off the boat, Noah was safely adrift, confident in the care of his Lord. Does your future look bleak? Are you feeling like you are adrift without direction or details? Even in the most dire of circumstances, you are not alone. Even if you are adrift, you are safely adrift in the care of your good and loving God. When God is all we have we discover that we have everything we need. Worship link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFGa9DH3HNg

Where Love Leads

Could you have guessed ten years ago what your life would be like today? Even looking back over the last year, would you have thought that you would be living where you are today, doing the things you are doing today, and have the priorities that you have today? Life can be uncertain, and like our GPS apps leading us through construction, we are constantly recalculating. The Old Testament story of Ruth is a story about a family and their lives that take many unexpected twists and turns. They face difficult times, hard decisions, loss, hunger, and financial hardship. They live for a time as aliens in a foreign country and on the margins in their own hometown. Throughout though, they discover that the protection and provision of God is present and powerful, leading them always toward God's plan and purposes. We may not always know where we're headed, but when God goes before and with us, we always know where we are - safe in God's loving care. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0kjKLAE0EA

Finding Hope in Grief

Sometimes mere words aren’t enough. Sometimes what we’re facing escapes the bounds of language and human description. Sometimes what we face defies our ability to make any sense. It’s in moments like this that our hearts are broken, our faith is challenged, and we’re so crushed that to even pray seems impossible. Jesus, upon the death of His friend Lazarus, and seeing Mary weep, “He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.” (John 11:33) For the man, Christ Jesus, mere words could not describe the grief He was experiencing in that moment of loss. Let the irony, transparency, and humanity of that moment sink in; the ONE whom John said was THE WORD (John 1:14), had no words. He wept. He groaned. He was troubled. Why is Jesus so qualified to come to your aid? He doesn’t sit idly by and witness your pain and suffering, He too groans in earnest empathetic pain, and He’s ready to do something about it. The life and ministry of Jesus calls us to a place of living a life of love and not fear. We are a people of prayer. We are a people of hope. We are a people who can allow the love of Christ to shine through us in our everyday mission of loving people through acts of kindness, even in the midst of grief and despair. Before God’s Spirit would eventually intercede with unutterable “groanings” that were too great, too intense, too overwhelming, and too painful for words, Jesus groaned and wept with humanity, committing to never leave us nor forsake us. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wunZtEDG6Y0

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