Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of April 4, 2021

Written by Rev. Tim Best

Lord Jesus, you who defeated the power of death and overcame the cold darkness of the tomb, free us from our bondage to the powers of death. Just as your disciples discovered the clothes which bound you, folded and empty, empower us by your spirit to overcome the powers that seek to bind us and all creation.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Let us discover anew this day the power of resurrection. Create in us a new heart, a resurrected heart. Where the world sees defeat, let us pray for hope and trust in your faithfulness. Strengthen us that we might be a community that proclaims newness of life.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
In the midst of our Easter celebrations, we pray for a world that has suffered at the hands of a deadly disease. We pray for those who suffer, are alone, or are in any kind of trouble. Transform our hearts that we may respond with the love of Christ to the needs of our neighbors.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray for our community, for Knoxville, for Tennessee, and for the United States, and for the world; guide all those who lead and make decisions that our human communities might more fully reflect your kingdom.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Remove from us the graveclothes that have bound us to hate, suspicion, prejudice, and violence. Fill us with your zeal for a just and peaceful world that we might proclaim new life by word and deed.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray that we might be renewed by your promise to raise us from the dead, just as you were raised. We pray for those who have died and ask that you would give us the confidence to trust in your resurrection power each day, that we would live and love boldly as your disciples.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
And though we can never fully understand that Love that was nailed to a tree and laid in the tomb, we know in our hearts that it reflects the depth of your concern for your children; so we bring to you our earnest prayers – both our glad thanksgivings and our challenges:
Joys
  • Thanksgiving for a new grandson
  • Gratitude: cancer victim is returning to work
  • Daughter thankful for support during father’s death
  • One thankful for financial support for ill husband
  • Outpouring of support during Lent for BOH
  • Gratitude for in-person worship
  • Thankful husband recovering in rehab facility
  • Prayers appreciated: friend with pneumonia is improving
  • Multiple members express gratitude for church’s worship team
  • Three offer thanks to church for vaccination help
Concerns
  • Pray for a mother who is making poor decisions
  • Recovery for member – serious back surgery
  • Peace & healing – member facing prostate surgery
  • Healing for husband with shoulder injury
  • Ongoing prayers for one enduring cancer treatments
  • A husband who needs encouragement
  • For a miracle to heal a painful leg ailment
  • Healing for two with lymphoma
  • Courage & strength for friend with intestinal cancer
  • Continued prayers for healing after eye surgery
  • Continued healing for two alcoholic sons
Train our hearts that when we, like Mary, hear your voice, we would recognize it and obey. In obedience to you, Christ Jesus, we join our prayer to that prayer which you taught us:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

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One of our favorite things about the spring semester each year is celebrating our graduating seniors.  And this year, we have a special Senior Spotlight series on our blog.  Our seniors answered interview questions earlier this spring and it has been so much fun learning their answers! Check back in each week to get to know our seniors better and help to cheer them on as they wrap up high school and prepare for their next steps!

Meet Isabella Johnson!

What high school are you graduating from?
West High School
What are your plans for next year?
Majoring in Engineering at UTK while continuing to sing in choir
What is your favorite bible verse?
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28
If you could choose one meal to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Honey Bunches of Oats
If you could give some advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Make an effort to spend as much time with your friends as possible because it will pass quicker than you expect.
What are your top 3 favorite movies?
Finding Nemo, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
What is your favorite Church Street memory?
Singing around the campfire at SLA, waking up to a winter wonderland on a high school youth retreat, and playing card games on the floor of the choir tour bus with all of my friends.
What are you most excited about going into the next season of your life?
Meeting new people that enjoy similar activities as me and learning how to be more self sufficient.

Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, April 4, Evening

By Johnie Elliott, March 18, 1979

Doubt to Dedication

Read John 20:24-28

The world sometimes has a way of remembering the bad that we do and forgetting the good. Thomas is an example, as a usual thing, when people think of the doubting Thomas. Thomas was the real skeptic. When they received news that Lazarus was dead, it was Thomas that said, “We’d better not go. They will kill us.” When Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you.” Thomas said “Lord, we don’t even know where you are going, how can we know the way?”

When Christ appeared to His disciples Thomas was not present. When he heard the news that Christ appeared earlier Thomas said, “I will not believe except I see.” How often we miss a wonderful experience when we neglect to be in the congregation of those who are worshipping.

Let’s not condemn Thomas too harshly. The world has moved forward because people have dared to doubt. The Wright brothers doubted the axiom that only something as light as a bird could fly. Many doubted that we would ever be able to place a man on the moon. Our age is an age of doubting. Some doubt that religion is the answer to Peace. Others doubt the ability and integrity of our leaders.

There is a difference in honest and dishonest doubt. Thomas wanted to believe but he still had his doubts. Jesus saw in Thomas a valuable quality needed in the Kingdom. He saw in Thomas that quality which was eternally grasping for new truths. Thomas was not gullible to every fad that came along. He could not believe that his Lord was alive when he had seen him crucified on Friday. Yet when Christ revealed himself to Thomas, Thomas cried “My Lord and my God.”

Doubt had given way to dedication. So should it be with our honest doubt. We must work through our honest doubts to dedication to Christ and his church.

Prayer

Lord I Believe, but help me through my unbelief. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, April 4, Morning

By Rev. Dr. Tooms H. Kay, Jr., March 26, 1978

From Death to Life

Read John 19:41-42 (J.B. Phillips)

“In the place where he was crucified, there was a garden containing a new tomb in which nobody had yet been laid. Because it was the preparation day and because the tomb was conveniently near, they laid Jesus in this tomb.”

One of the most moving experiences of a visit to the Holy Land will be found at Gordon’s Calvary and the Garden Tomb. This is a traditional site of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus, and is about three blocks northeast of Herod’s Gate. This place of crucifixion is named for Charles George Gordon, a British general. As he walked atop the wall of Jerusalem, he pointed to a hill and said, “That looks just like Calvary.” What he saw resembled a skull, with two eyes, a crooked nose, and a distorted mouth.

Later excavations conducted at the base of the rocky cliff uncovered a garden in which there was an empty tomb. Could this have been the private garden of Joseph of Arimathea? The tomb was shaped like a bathtub and had been lengthened about a foot to accommodate a larger person. Was not Jesus buried in a tomb not his own? In January of 1977, as a group of us studied that rocky hill, pointing out to each other the form of the skull, we were caught up in the immensity of Christ’s sacrificial love. We sang one verse of “There Is A Green Hill Far Away.”

From that vision which recalled agony and death we walked down a lovely garden path to a limestone wall in which there was an opening. One by one we entered, “stooping down” as did that “other disciple” (John 20:5). Here was the place where Jesus might have been laid. We spoke in quiet whispers. Outside again we stood around our guide, a gentleman with a marked British accent. He reminded us that these were merely traditional sites, and the important thing was to remember that our Lord had risen.

As we departed, I thought, “The place of crucifixion and the place of resurrection are not very far apart. How quickly we may go from death to life!” May that message become real to each of us this Easter Day.

Prayer

O God, we accept the promise of Jesus that “I am the resurrection and the life.” Let our experience confirm the truth of that proclamation, not only at Easter, but every day of our lives. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Saturday, April 3, Evening

By Dr. Don Rhodes, February 29, 1980

Our Church

Read James 2:26 (Living Bible)

“Just as the body is dead when there is no spirit in it, so faith is dead if it is not the kind that results in good deeds.”

Article X of John Wesley’s “Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church” reads as follows:

“Although good works, which are the fruits of faith, and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God’s judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and spring out of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by its fruit.”

We believe that our United Methodist Church is a part of the church universal and that the church itself is a community of true believers under the Lordship of Christ. Our church is the total body of faithful individuals who transcend more than buildings, properties, ministers, staff, commissions, councils, and boards. We are the church, you and I, mutually supporting each other both individually and collectively, and witnessing our faith in God through the works we do.

When we became members of the United Methodist Church we promised to be loyal to it and uphold it with our “ …  prayers, our presence, our gifts, and our service.” This our final vow of membership into this community of the faithful was to work for and in our church toward the ultimate glory of God. Our work, however, is far more than regular attendance at worship, attending church school, Bible study, prayer, or passive participation. We must be an active, witnessing, serving community that typifies Jesus the Christ whose name we claim. We must be involved, serve on committees, teach, visit, telephone, cook, clean, decorate, usher … give of ourselves, of our love, our faith, and our material goods. We must feed the hungry, clothe the poor, comfort the infirm and support the afflicted. Ministers may come and ministers may go, programs may prosper and programs may perish but we the church, the community of faithful, must continue … continue evidencing our faith by doing our Father’s work.

Prayer

Father, grant us strength and courage to face the challenge of doing your work. We live in a complex world where much suffering exists. Help us to express our love and faith through our work both in the church and out of it. Teach us to see the needs and give the best that we can.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Saturday, April 3, Morning

By Helen Smithson, April 14, 1979

Between Calvary and the Resurrection

Read Matthew 27:57-60

“And when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man came to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given over to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled in a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.”

Yesterday we thought of the darkness of Calvary – the jeering crowds, the taunts. Mary’s broken heart as she stood with John at the foot of the cross looking at the suffering of her Son, the desolate cry “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” The Lord’s triumphant “It is finished,” and then His last words, “Father, into Thy hands I commit my Spirit.” Now there is silence and a feeling of hopelessness. Yesterday was Calvary – tomorrow is glorious resurrection, but in between these two days there is gloom and despair. Many times this is where we find ourselves in life. We have experienced a great disappointment, a personal rejection, financial reverses, the sudden loss of a loved one, and we all become numb with unbelief at what has transpired. Here is where the Scriptures can hold us steady while our Lord puts together the broken pieces of our lives. He tells us that “… those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40: 31). As we wait on Him the glory of His resurrection breaks through, our hearts are comforted, and we move forward with greater strength than before. Truly, we serve a risen Saviour who comes into our lives when we allow Him to do so with the light we need for any darkness that comes to us.

Prayer

Eternal God, our Heavenly Father, as we travel the road of life, many times we find ourselves numb with grief or disappointment. Although we know that in You there is grace sufficient for every circumstance in life, sometimes there is a period of darkness and near despair, as there must have been the day after Calvary and the day before Easter, when we need You in a special way to calm our troubled hearts and to assure us that You are the Lord of our circumstances. Thank You at these times You are near and faithful, and thank you for the blessed way You take the pieces of our broken hearts, as we give them to You, and put them back together in such a way that they are even stronger than before. Thank You that You are the Risen Lord and to those who receive You, a personal Saviour. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Friday, April 1, Evening

By Esther W. Bare, March 12, 1976

When We Don’t Understand

Read Hebrews 4:14-15; 1 Corinthians 13:8-9

We Americans are a people who want to know. Indeed, the genius of Western man, some say, has been that he was determined to push the limits of his knowledge as far as he could and then put that knowledge into action. As individuals, we follow a somewhat similar path as we grow up: we try to understand ourselves, our families, other people, and the world beyond, and as Christians we try to relate our knowledge and understanding to God and his plan for us and for the world. Surely it is good to attempt this, for we remember that Jesus expanded the Great Commandment of the Old Testament – “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength” – to include loving God with all our minds.

But there is a point at which understanding ends. No matter how wonderfully satisfying our relationship with God may seem at times, sooner or later most of us are brought face to face with realities we cannot reconcile with our faith, situations that jar the foundations of our beliefs. And it is here that we may turn away and abandon our faith. Or we may look at Jesus on the cross.

Our hearts shrink from His suffering, yet we must hear the words: “My God, my God why has Thou forsaken me?” For his agony was not only of the body, it was the pain of despair, of non-understanding, of alienation from the Father to whom he had dedicated his life.

Christ on the cross gives us the answer, too; not so much an answer, though, as the way in which we may follow: “Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”

Prayer

Help us to place our spirits into Thy hands, in times of joy and in times of despair. Save us from relying too much on knowledge and from making progress our god. Help us to realize our weaknesses, that we may seek Thy guidance always, in the name of Jesus who showed us the Way. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Friday, April 1, Morning

By Mrs. Laura White, March 17, 1978

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

“O Sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,

Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, thine only crown;

How pale thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!

How does that visage languish which once was bright as morn!

What thou, My Lord, hast suffered was all for sinners’ gain:

Mine, mine was the transgression, but thine the deadly pain;

Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ‘Tis I deserve thy place;

Look on me with thy favor, vouchsafe to me thy grace.

What language shall I borrow to thank thee, dearest Friend,

For this thy dying sorrow, thy pity without end?

O make me thine forever, and should I fainting be,

Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to thee.”

UMC Hymnal #286

One of the most beloved of all the Lenten hymns is “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded.” The language of the hymn is intensely personal, as each believer is invited to consider the suffering of Christ for mankind’s salvation. The pictorial details of the first stanza are very graphic, almost as if the viewing of a picture of Christ on the cross prompted the poet’s words. He sadly views the grieving figure and notices the crown of thorns, the pale countenance, and the mournful expression. In the second stanza the speaker addresses this dying Christ with the realization that the pain suffered by his Savior was patiently endured even though the transgression and sin belonged to another. The third stanza turns to a note of thanksgiving and dedication, as the poet purposes his own life and love to be directed to this One whose life was freely given that man might have an access to God each day and a hope of life with Him forever.

Prayer

O God, in this Lenten Season, may we also “see” our suffering Savior. May we realize that His victory over suffering has made it possible for us to experience His resurrection power in our lives today. As we receive greater insight into His suffering, may we see our sin and His provisions for salvation in the Cross.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Thursday, April 1, Evening

By Dorothy & Asa Bishop, February 21, 1980

Lent is a Time for Preparing for Living

Read Mark 14:32-42

“And they went to a place which was called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I pray…Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak’…”.

Lent is that period of time set aside on the Christian calendar when we direct our thoughts toward the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. This is the high point of the Christian year, and a special emphasis is required to make the proper preparation for this rapturous occasion. Although we should make an emphasis each day of the year to use our daily devotional period to help us in deepening our personal commitment to the living Lord, we may sometimes neglect to carry out this daily time of preparation throughout the year.

Through the use of the Lenten booklets prepared by fellow Church Streeters, we began a daily family devotional period which now prevails in our home throughout the year. The special emphasis on preparation during Lent stimulated us to continue our family devotionals. In this time of sharing, praying, and Bible reading, we are made more aware of how God lives and speaks through each person in our family circle. As we prepare for Easter this year, we will be looking for some additional emphasis to assist us in our daily celebration that Jesus Christ lives within us and in the world which surrounds us.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, as we prepare our hearts and minds for the death and resurrection of Your son, Jesus Christ, help us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Forgive us for the many times we deny Thee daily and give us courage and strength to live in accordance with Thy will. Amen.

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Sunday Morning Worship

Church Street is offering in-person worship experiences at 8:30 and 11:00 on Sunday mornings and online via YouTube at 11:00 each week.  We would love for you to join us!  If your family would like to attend in-person, please use the link below to register!
Confirmation Sunday
This Sunday, April 25 is Confirmation Sunday!  We are so excited to welcome our 6th and 7th graders into the congregation.  They have worked hard all year and have been committed to Zoom meetings on Sunday mornings.  They have partnered in mission with the Beacon on Hope to provide items for the Food Co-Op and have raised funds with Heifer International to provide animals to families in need around the world.  If you want to help us celebrate this special Sunday, join us at the 8:30 service to welcome them!

In-Person NightLife

NightLife is back!! We had such a special evening on Sunday night as we gathered together for the first time. We’ll be back again this Sunday at 5:00 in the gym! Here is everything you need to know:
  • Masks are required and social distancing must be observed
  • Bring your own Bible
  • Temperatures will be checked upon arrival
  • Enter through either the CLC Breezeway doors or the Youth Area doors
  • NightLife will be in the gym
  • We will sit (6 feet apart) with our small groups for the whole evening and we won’t go into small rooms
  • Pick up will be in the Youth Lot at 6:00
  • We will have office hours until 6:30
We are SO THRILLED to be together and to see your faces. If you’re not ready to join us for in-person activities yet, please log in to Zoom! We’ll have a small group there as well.
Senior Deadlines Extended
Our original deadline for our college applications was set for Sunday, March 28. But due to some technical issues we are extending the deadline until April 30! Please get those applications in before that date! Let Jenny know if you have any questions.
If you have not submitted your form for Senior Form, please do that ASAP to be included as we celebrate the class of 2021!
MAD in the City
Mark your calendars for one of our favorite events of the year – Making a Difference (MAD) in the City! We’ll be serving together in mission July 11-14.
This year, we will modify the event to allow for appropriate COVID-19 protocols, so we won’t be staying overnight at church. But it is still going to be a special week of service, worship, and fellowship. Stay tuned for more info!