Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Tuesday, February 23

By Jim Lees, March 19, 2017

Everyday Temptations

Read: Psalm 46:10

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

Lent is a moment in our calendar each year, set aside by persons in our distant past. They were reaching out to God, no doubt seeking help, to find a way to remind us of the magnitude of the gift we all received in the sacrifice of Jesus. This 40-day time was and is an exciting solution now and through the ages. A period when we can really prepare for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, a time to spread the news. Those who first set aside the time for Lent were right in their desire and in their choice. Now it is our time.

This 40-day period of Lent has been modified from time to time. Recommended fasting on special days, of making Sundays not count during this period, of recalling our baptism, of calling to mind the gift so freely given. It is a truly joyful time to share with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We now realize we are speaking with God when we pray. We realize we can call out to Him. He is listening to us. We are in his presence. God cares for you and me. In this very special time of Lent, we can reach out and be thrilled by being in God’s presence.


Dear Lord, how wonderful to know you and be in your care. To feel your touch in everything around me. For the gift of life, the beauty of this day, the love of my family, and our church. Above all, thank you for your Son. Amen.

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Prayers for the Church Street Family

February 22, 2021

Rev. Dr. Jan Buxton Wade

O One Who Tends our Souls, your magnificence beams upon us each day, but in spite of your gifts of wonder, we confess that we often set our minds, not on divine things, but on human things.  We scramble for the paper goods and seize every dairy item in sight at the grocer’s when someone whispers “snow!”  And should we get wind of an increase in gas prices, we race to join the line up at the pumps.  Anxiety is contagious, and when we catch that fever of uneasiness, we grab far more than we need, doubting your loving provision.  Forgive us for allowing ourselves to become tangled again in that knot of fear that has plagued us all our lives.  Teach us to trust during this season, Holy One, and write the apostle’s words upon our hearts: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

O Divine Parent, surely we are an embarrassment to you when we shrink from living as your disciples. And given the many times we have wounded you, it is astonishing that you put up with us at all.  Particularly we recall these personal slights we have inflicted upon you and upon others this day: . . . . . . . . . . We humbly open ourselves to your forgiveness, trusting that you might show us how to claim that power of which the apostle speaks.

These have been days of unease for many of your people, Comforting God, and those trapped by riveting troubles. Be with all those who are trying to recover from deadly winter storms and send willing hands to assist with reconstruction. Give hope to the afflicted, we pray, that they may not give in to despair.  You hear the cries of all whose hearts are unsettled, who bear pain of body, mind and spirit.  Energize our own community that we might bring the evil assaults on our young people to an end. Touch each one, we pray, whose names we now whisper  . . . . . . . . . . . . And also attend to these requests that spring from the souls of our church members:

  • Thanksgiving for prayers: Second chemo treatment completed
  • One offers gratitude for an unexpected financial gift
  • Family celebrates the birth of healthy baby today
  • Prayers appreciated: Young mother’s surgery went well
  • Sister-in-law’s surgery was successful Friday, grateful for prayers
  • Six express thanks for church’s help with vaccinations
  • Pray for countless children who are behind academically
  • Guidance for second grader with learning difficulties
  • Healing: Brother and wife suffering with Covid
  • Healing for young husband with Covid
  • Guidance for mother concerning her son’s health
  • Those struggling with recent bereavements
  • Continued healing: Mother recovering from a stroke
  • Grieving family whose newborn lived only a few days
  • Families devastated by shooting deaths in our city
  • Prayers for one in radiation treatment
  • Comfort and guidance for adult children seeking ways to best care for their elderly mother
  • Prayers for a job opening for a professional man
  • Healing for a young grandson
  • Resolving gun violence in Knoxville
  • Pray for our educators and students at all levels

O Breath Within Our Breath, quiet our souls in the evening hours as we take our rest in your enduring love. Meet our worries and our fears at that mysterious point in the night when your grace somehow blossoms into blessing. All these prayers and petitions we leave with you, in the name of our Redeemer, who taught us to pray in this way:

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.

Have a Prayer Request?

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Jenny is Back from Maternity Leave

Thank you so much to everyone who made it possible for me to step away for a time as we brought Baby Sam into the world. As I’m sure you can imagine, navigating all of this in the midst of a pandemic has certainly been strange, but we have felt so loved and cared for. We can’t wait for you to meet him! We are all doing well! Sam is looking great, Cooper LOVES his little brother, and Jordan and I are so grateful to have been entrusted with these two little boys.

Click here to listen to a “welcome back” message from Jenny

In-Person Worship

Did you see the news?! Church Street is opening back up for in-person worship! Glory be and hallelujah. There will be services beginning March 14 at 8:30 and 11:00. Online worship will still be available on YouTube, as well. Sunday school and NightLife are not far behind! The official dates are to be determined – but we are looking forward to being together after Easter!  Stay tuned for more info!

Lent Study

During Lent this year, we will do a study during NightLife called “Seven Words: Listening to Christ from the Cross.” We will take a look at the final statements Jesus made at the end of his life. This study offers a hopeful and reflective look at the cross during Lent, and we are so looking forward to working through it together.  We are looking at participating in Lent through three categories: giving something up, taking something on, and being mission minded.  Join us at 5:00 on Sundays to learn more about the work of Christ on the Cross.

Ash Wednesday

February 17 is Ash Wednesday! Church Street is offering several opportunities to receive ashes as well as an online service of repentance at 6:00 on YouTube. To receive ashes, there is a drive thru option – just head to the Welcome Center at one of the times below and a pastor will impose ashes when you roll down your window.  You can receive ashes during three different windows of time:

7:00-9:00 AM
12:00-2:00 PM
6:00-8:00 PM

Youth Website Update

We’re excited to share that we have a fresh page dedicated to Youth Ministry on the Church Street website. Our old website (churchstreetyouth.com) will still be up, but our info and blog posts will be shared on this new page. Click below to check it out!

Youth Page

Senior Info

Graduating Seniors, it is so hard to believe you are in the home stretch of your high school careers. Be on the lookout for information later this month about college scholarships & Senior Sunday!


February 7 – No NightLife

February 14 – Regular NightLife, Lent Series Introduction

February 17 – Ash Wednesday

February 21 – Regular NightLife, Lent Session 1

February 28 – Regular NightLife, Lent Session 2

NightLife Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86994229398

Confirmation Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85193587558

Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Monday, February 22

By Mrs. Mildred Weeks, March 15, 1978 

Everyday Temptations

Read: Matthew 16:1

      “The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.”

When I think of Lent, I think of Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, and the dramatic confrontation of Jesus by the devil.

In the past, I have tended to think that this single episode in Jesus’ life was His one great temptation. But this year, as I searched the records of the Gospels for a Lenten meditation, the above verse caught my attention, and as I thought about it, I had a different perspective. Now, I realize that this pattern was repeated over and over during the years of His ministry that followed.

The encounter with the Pharisees and the Sadducees was one of many daily encounters which could be called Everyday Temptations. Jesus was challenged by His family, His friends, His enemies, and by sincere followers of His way. Even His own feelings of heavy sorrow had to be faced in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Temptation may come to us dramatically in times of crisis in our lives, but surely it comes to us daily as it did to Jesus. Are we responding to our life situations in a manner worthy of a follower of Christ?


O God, during this Lenten Season, we pray for new understanding of the way we, as followers of Christ, should order our lives. Guide us through our daily encounters with our families, our friends, and all individuals who touch our lives. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, February 21, Evening

By Judy Vest, March 17, 2019

Forty Days and Forty Nights

Read Matthew 4:2

“After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.”

Researching words to use when writing this devotion to honor our Lord during Lent, I revisited some facts I have certainly read and heard before but did not immediately recall. Have you ever wondered why the time span of Lent is forty days? That is the number of days and nights Jesus wandered in the wilderness. On the ark Noah and family watched the rain pour down for forty days and nights. In Deuteronomy references are made of Moses fasting for forty days on two different occasions.

What I do know is, following His baptism, Jesus went into the wilderness and fasted for forty days and forty nights. He was alone with only wild animals in the area for companionship. Exposed to the elements, Jesus was surely hot, cold, dusty, dirty, hungry and thirsty. Being alone in such a barren place with wild animals, in the dark, becoming hungry and thirsty, is way more than I can fathom. Not only did Jesus willingly go into this place for the sure suffering He would experience, it got worse; along came Satan to tempt and taunt Him. Jesus was suffering from the ordeal, weak in body, but He stood his ground with the devil and won the victory.

We have known of this battle since childhood; we have heard it preached from the pulpit. We know it happened but do we really comprehend and think it through? Do we reflect on this story during Lent? Yes, I believe we do as we humble ourselves and make our plans to deny self by choosing to give up something during Lent. We may be led to fast, give up a habit, or set aside money to do good for someone other than ourselves. Considering what Jesus has done for us I can not see anything we do for Him being much of a burden. He gave all and then arose from the dead to assure each of us eternal life with Him.


“O God our deliverer, you led your people of old through the wilderness and brought them to the promised land. Guide now the people of your church, that following our Savior, we may walk through the wilderness of this world toward the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.” Amen. (Prayer taken from The Lutheran Book of Worship, reprinted in UM Hymnal)

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, February 21, Morning

By Rev. Palmer Cantler

Ducks, Dish Soap and Discipleship

Read Ezekiel 36:25-27a (The Message)

“I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands.”

God’s words to the Israelites, proclaimed through the prophet Ezekiel, seemed to be a perfect pairing with today’s item in the Lenten Countdown. Have you ever seen the Dawn commercials where they clean ducks with dish soap? I cannot help but imagine those ducks being held in a strong, but gentle grasp as they are washed clean when reading this text. New life is given in this careful cleaning, and the ducks are free from oil and impurities once again.

Lent provides the perfect time for us to slow down and listen for God’s voice. Maybe we give up a habit that is not life-giving and distracts from the Spirit’s guidance. Or maybe we take on a practice to cultivate a pattern of giving, like the Lenten Countdown. This time of preparation is counter-cultural in that it encourages us to look, not upon our own desires, but where God is leading.

I hope you will take on the practice of giving this Lent and join us in the Lenten Countdown. Over the course of Lent, you will collect 10 items needed by the mission ministries of our church: Beacon of Hope, Sharing Shop, and Soup Kitchen. Through the accompanying prayers and explanations, may this practice of giving fill you with the Spirit of God.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Saturday, February 20

By Dr. David Craig, March 22, 2017

Talk to Yourself

Read: John 14:16, 26

Recently I toured a prison on Robben Island, one hour from off the coast of South Africa. I asked the guide, who was a former prisoner there, how he dealt with solitary confinement. He replied, “I talk to myself and think happy thoughts. Away from the monitoring cameras I like to sing and dance.” He implied that these actions got him through each day.

Nelson Mandela spent more than 20 years in that prison for leading a movement to bring equal rights to black people. He would have answered the above question by saying “physical discipline, exercising two times a day and mental discipline to study and pass law degree exams at night.”

Like these men, many of us face a variety of gods each day. As we go through trial and error and grow, we figure out who is good and helpful and who is evil. The talk is much easier if we read the Word, pray and befriend other Christians.

Lent is a time for reflection, to examine our sinful souls, to ask forgiveness and to accept a resurrection for our souls on Easter. Jesus said, “I will send you a helper . . .” to dwell within you. Christians believe that this helper is in fact the Holy Spirit; and through belief in the holy trinity, that God and even Jesus Christ dwells within us.

Hence when we talk to our self, are we not talking to God and Jesus Christ? And when we discipline ourselves to read God’s word we receive strength for each day.


Thank you for being present in our lives each day and hearing our problems and concerns. Help us to show more love to you and all those around us. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Friday, February 19

By Nina Rice, February 9, 1978

Re-Evaluation of Self

Read: Luke 12:31

      “But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

During this time of study and re-evaluation, perhaps it should also be a time of confession. For a good many years, Lent for me meant a time to “give up” something. By that I meant something that I liked or wanted, whether or not it was good for me. It is not easy to admit you are mistaken, or have done something stupid. However, I did change my mind about what Lent really means. It is still a time for “giving up,” but not in the same sense it once was.

First of all, there needs to be a yardstick by which we can judge ourselves. What about the possessions God entrusts to our keeping? Are we returning His share to Him to further His Kingdom on earth? Or, are we keeping it all for ourselves? We are bought by a price – if we remember this, our pocket books will fall in line. Why should it be hard for us to “give up” that which has been loaned to us?

Then, here are our talents or attitudes. Are we willing to “give up” some of our abilities, so we can relate to others by getting involved? If we are not, the result can be a very dull and selfish life. We must be willing to give of ourselves.

Finally, there is time. All other good gifts depend on time for their value. Time is often said to be money but it is more – it is life. Yet, many who would cling desperately to life, think nothing of wasting time.

How can we say all these things are ours to “give up” when we are the mere recipients of all gifts from a merciful and loving Heavenly Father?


Our Father, forgive us our erring ways. Help us to look outward, instead of inward, and share our faith with others. In the name of the Risen Lord, even Jesus the Christ. Amen.

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Prayers for the Church Street Family

February 18, 2021

Rev. Dr. Jan Buxton Wade

You gotta walk that lonesome valley,

You gotta walk it by yourself;

For nobody else can walk it for you.

You gotta walk it by yourself.

(Woodie Guthrie)

Creator of Darkness, this morning we had only begun that long Lenten walk toward Jerusalem when we found ourselves already dreading the journey.  We know you want us to widen our hearts, but we fear there will be too much pain involved. Most days we are pretty comfortable just plugging along, yet you are trying to teach us the ways of humility.  Thread your fingers through ours, we pray, and walk with us until we are brave enough to travel that lonely road of introspection on our own. Keep your candle burning in the distance, though, lest we lose our way again.

Under sunless skies, Lord, we headed for home today, only to find our failures and inadequacies were traveling in the car with us; they entered the front door and are even now occupying the most comfortable seats in the house.  One by one they seem to mock us.  Well, they know it is their season to openly present themselves, so we shouldn’t be surprised. But have mercy, we pray, that as we own each of our defeats and failings, they may not linger too long, but will find the back door and disappear into the mist, never to be seen again.  Their brothers and sisters will also visit, but we will deal with them on other days.

Give us that fresh start tomorrow, we pray, that we may be unencumbered.  And how do we know we are freed from what is past?  We walk by faith and not by sight, as do our friends who offer their thanksgivings and their concerns to the One who is ever faithful:

  • Thanksgiving: A home has sold and loan is absolved
  • A senior living facility is reopening for visitors the 22nd
  • Elder member sends gratitude that he is remembered by the church
  • Thankful for work of Parish Health Team in procuring vaccinations
  • Gratitude: For a clear follow-up cancer scan
  • Family grateful for short vacation
  • Courage for both husband and wife diagnosed with ALS
  • Healing: Brother and wife suffering with Covid
  • Guidance for mother concerning her son’s health
  • Those struggling with recent bereavements
  • Young mother undergoing surgery Friday
  • For one having chemo treatment Friday
  • A solution for member anxious about housing
  • Prayers for our Stephen Ministers
  • Families devastated by shooting deaths in our city
  • God’s help for mother building a stable life for her children
  • Prayers for young sister-in-law undergoing mastectomy Friday
  • God’s guidance for couple who may have to move
  • Tolerance for one in extensive radiation treatment
  • Healing for a young grandson
  • A solution for the gun violence in Knoxville

Guardian of our Souls, enfold us in your arms of mercy this night and may we join all your children who will know the tranquility only you can give. Draw in our individual and collective prayers shared this eve, that your love may be known to each one who longs for closer communion with your Son, the Christ, who taught us to pray:

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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Yesterday was Ash Wednesday and marked the beginning of the season of Lent. But what is Lent? And why do we honor this season?

Lent is the 40 days (excluding Sundays) leading up to Easter Sunday. It is a season of repentance and reflection, of turning toward the Cross and fixing our eyes on Jesus.

Each year during NightLife, we discuss 3 specific ways we can participate in Lent.

1. Giving something up: fasting from something that is a regular part of our life in hopes of reminding ourselves daily of our need to repent and rely on Christ
2. Taking something on: adding something to our daily lives that will deepen our relationship with Jesus through spiritual growth
3. Being mission minded: being focused on seeing our everyday world as a mission field in need of Christ’s love and grace AND challenging ourselves to serve our community with intention

So, how do we choose what to do during this season if we want to participate?  There is no magic formula to choose the “right” thing.  But here are some questions to ask to help us discern what God might be calling us to during Lent.

  • What is distracting me from my relationship with Jesus?
  • Where might I need to grow spiritually?
  • What have I neglected in my life that needs attention?
  • Where do I see need a in my community?
  • How can I invest deeply in my faith?
  • What is a daily practice that would influence my relationship with God?
  • How can I become more aware of the Holy Spirit each day?

Most importantly, let’s pray about what God might be challenging us to do during this season.  And then ask ourselves why?

If I feel lead to give up sweets, why?

If I feel lead to take up a new quiet time practice, why?

If I feel lead to give financial support to a ministry or cause, why?

The answers may seem obvious, but it’s important to pray about the answers, all the same.  Often times in my own life, God has used seemingly simple things to challenge and grow me the most.

Psalm 51 is a beautiful psalm that is especially relevant during Lent.  Verses 10-12 say:

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

This is our hope for the season of Lent – that by giving up or taking on or focusing on serving others, God might create clean and pure hearts within us all.  That His Spirit might renew us and that we might become more aware of His presence. That we might draw near to Jesus and become more like Him each day.