Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, April 10, Morning – Palm Sunday

By Fran Wheeler

A Royal Welcome

Adapted from Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19 and John 12

It was a day of glory—no doubt about it. Christians love the imagery—palm branches waving, crowds cheering, children running alongside the procession. What a celebration!

But we know the rest of the story.

Jesus was riding into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey. As they followed the road, the disciples began joyfully praising God in loud voices for the miracles they had seen. Many others joined them, spreading their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches to wave. Praises and shouts of joy rang out from the procession—


Hosanna to the Son of David!

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

Hosanna in the highest heavens!

Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!

Blessed is the king of Israel!

Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!


The disciples were elated. Surely this was the road to coronation—the fulfillment of their hopes and dreams. The Kingdom of God must be very near indeed. But we know this road of glory led first to a crown of thorns.

The darkness was coming.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” Jesus replied, “If they keep quiet, the very stones will cry out.”

The crowds grew larger as others came out from the city. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him.” The darkness grew closer.

In Lent, we recognize that these words and this great parade formed a prelude to the coming darkness that would haunt Passover Week.


The darkness descended.


O Lord, let us praise you on this day of your glory. Throughout the coming darkness let us reflect on your willing sacrifice. Keep us praising you in our own days of personal darkness, and give us grace to remember the glory to come. Amen.

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Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of April 5, 2022

Rev. Jan Buxton Wade

God of Every Season, we count these 40 days of Lent as a gift, realizing that you speak to us throughout each day, as creation sings its song of newness. How can we fail to note the hidden messages you have planted in our blessed surroundings? How can we fail to hear your whispers in the wind, in the bird call, in the river’s roar, in the spring rains?  Even the events and encounters of our days are filled with wonder.  And when challenges arise, you help us meet them with the grace of Christ, for within our troubles we discover anew your astonishing favor. 

God of All Faithfulness, you bless us.

Merciful Father, examine our souls, we pray, for we recall those instances when we raced to be first in line, when had to have the last word, when we grabbed more than we needed, when we flashed our banners of superiority, when we took you for granted, O Lord. We now cringe as we remember and name our private sins of commission and omission . . . . . . . . . . . Hold your lamp of truth high to reveal our misdeeds, especially those that have been embedded in the darkest crevices of our hearts for so long that we hardly notice them.  Then cleanse us with your fiery love, that we might burn as beacons for others who also seek to follow Jesus. 

God of All Faithfulness, you bless us.

Holy Protector, we shudder at the destruction and danger in our world, much of which we ourselves have caused; we cannot fathom the pain of those who live in the midst of war and turmoil, exposed to dread and fear, smothered by evil and atrocities.  May your wisdom flow through your people, that we might learn to live in your will and in harmony with all people upon this extraordinary planet you have given us. And though you know them already, we lift up to you our personal needs of this day . . . . . . . . . . ; and also these needs and thanksgivings that rest in the hearts of your people at Church Street:  

  • Thankful for prayers: Adult friend passed her driving test
  • Gratitude: Prayers appreciated – brother released from hospital
  • Gratitude: Mother released from hospital, returned to her residence
  • Thanksgiving: Brother-in-law in frail health survived surgery on Friday
  • Family celebrates an infant daughter’s baptism on Sunday
  • Parents offer gratitude for infant son’s release from NICU after 107 days & for all who have been helping & praying for the family
  • One sends gratitude for a successful eye procedure last Thursday
  • Prayers appreciated: Husband’s April 1 surgery was successful
  • Prayers for solace & peace for family: Mother died suddenly after a fall
  • For God’s presence with a lonely woman in hospice care
  • Beloved mother with a heart condition, for correct diagnosis
  • Improved health for a brother with congestive heart failure 
  • Lift prayers for member having foot surgery on Thursday & her surgeon
  • Calming anxiety of a member overwhelmed with responsibilities
  • Prayers for an aunt who lost her home & business in the recent fires
  • Healing of a co-worker suffering from Covid, protection for her husband
  • Prayers for husband/father in trauma care & his family at his side
  • Continued prayers for a nephew in deep grief
  • Dear friend recovering from blood transplant
  • Prayers for a daughter suffering with kidney stones
  • Healing for a young nephew with cancerous growth on vocal cord 
  • For employment doors to open for a young professional
  • Mercy for suffering people of Ukraine – for an end to the violence
  • Relative in treatment for ovarian cancer
  • For our 6th graders who are discerning & preparing for confirmation
  • Longtime friend with advanced cancer & wisdom for physicians

O God of All Faithfulness, we have threaded our way through this Lenten season, realizing we have not progressed in our spiritual renewal as much as we had hoped. Still, we know you are pleased with our efforts and are always holding us in your hands. Therefore, we take our rest in you, asking that you accept all our prayers offered in the name of your Son, who took that most lonely walk on our behalf, and 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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Weekly Events:
Tuesday – High School Prayer Breakfast at 7:15 AM (Chick-fil-A West Hills)
Wednesday – Youth Band at 7:00 PM (Youth Area)
Sunday – Sunday school at 9:45 AM (Youth Area), NightLife at 5:00 (Youth Area)
Parents: please consider helping us with our Sunday breakfasts and dinners. We have lots of open dates this semester! Thanks for helping us serve your students well!


We had such a sweet weekend celebrating our Confirmation Class as they became full members of our congregation.  This sixth grade group is a special one – full of enthusiasm and joy!  We’re so proud of them and PUMPED for this meaningful step they are taking in their faith journeys.

Senior Spotlights

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!

This week – meet Kathryn Atkins!

Kathryn Atkins Interview

Summer Registration

It’s hard to believe that summer is just around the corner. Below, you can find our registration for this summer’s event. Mark your calendars with these dates and join us for a great summer full of fellowship and service!
Click on our Summer newsletter to learn more about each event.
Head to the link to register and mark your calendar!

Senior Banquet – All Invited!

Each year, we gather to celebrate the graduating senior class of Church Street UMC.  This year, the Senior Banquet is Tuesday, May 3 at 6:00 PM at Church Street in Parish Hall.  All are welcome to attend!  We will have a pasta bar dinner with salads and desserts.  The suggested donation for the meal is $10.

Senior Banquet Registration

NightLife Schedule

Friends, it is hard to believe, but there are only a handful of NightLife sessions left for this school year. I’ve included a schedule of the rest of our Sundays together below. Because there are only a few left, let’s commit to being present with one another. We are learning so much together, having fun, and building community. And that only works if we continue to show up for one another. So join us! Whether you’ve been every week or haven’t been in a while, it doesn’t matter. We want to see you on Sunday nights!
May 1 – Youth & Children’s Choir Concert (no NightLife)
May 8 – Mother’s Day (no NightLife – Senior Sunday that morning)
May 15 – Game Night (Jeopardy lead by seniors & pj party!)
May 22 – End of the Year Party (regular NightLife time)

Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, April 3, Evening

By Dan Kelley

The Chicken Man

Read: Hebrews 10:35-37

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.”

In the 1980s I went with First UMC in Maryville on a mission trip to Haiti. We met a man there with an old, faded Ralston Purina checkerboard hat. The Haitians called him the Chicken Man. He had worked for many years as an agronomist and animal nutritionist at Purina’s St. Louis plant improving the quality and nutrition of their chicken feed.

He had become depressed when he hit mandatory retirement age and his wife of many years had died. His pastor had talked him into going on a mission trip and he reluctantly agreed. He was surprised to notice that there were not many chickens in Haiti. When his mission team left, he stayed behind to teach them how to raise chickens.

He found a small hut to live in. He found discarded pallets to tear apart. He had his church send him rolls of chicken wire. With those he made cages. He studied the native plants and determined which had the most nutrition for feeding chickens. He started growing the best plants in his small lot. And he started raising chickens.

The Haitians watched the Chicken Man and his chickens. They learned to make the cages. They learned to grow or find the plants. They learned to grow the chickens. Sometimes the chicken would die from too much heat, not enough water, or an animal would get it. Sometimes the family had nothing else to eat and would eat it. The Chicken Man softly, calmly, and patiently talked with them and gave them another chicken to start over.

He had been doing his mission for almost 7 years when I met him. I asked him how he felt about it. He said he felt good in the second year when he started seeing eggs for sale in the market. He felt better in the fourth year when he started seeing chickens being sold in the market. And he knew it was a success in the sixth year when he saw children taking hard-boiled eggs to school for their lunch.


Dear Lord of Mercy Divine, grant us the patience and perseverance of the Chicken Man to continue our mission. Teach us to speak softly, calmly, and with love to those who fail, as you have spoken to us when we fail you. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, April 3, Morning

By David Lineberger

Living Lent for Years

Read: 1 Peter 2:21

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.”

Two years ago it became apparent that everyone on earth would be impacted in some way by the Covid pandemic. It seemed that, for a while at least, many things that we had always taken for granted would be put on hold. We gave up parties, having friends over, eating at our favorite restaurants, going to movies, taking vacations, and so much more. Even a trip to the grocery store was not possible without adequate preparation. Suddenly, life seemed to be one sacrifice after another.

For most Christians, preparing for Lent involves giving up something we enjoy or hold dear which serves to remind us of the tremendous sacrifice Christ made on the cross for each of us. Not only does this help us realize God’s unlimited love for us, but it helps us appreciate the everyday, ordinary things in life which we sometimes take for granted and for which we often fail to give thanks.

Christ suffered for us, leaving an example to follow. What greater way do we have to emulate the suffering of Christ than to take this opportunity to make sacrifices in these pandemic months so that others may be spared, that others may live, and we can mentally focus on making sacrifices that show our love for each other. May our examples of our Savior’s sacrifice be a blessing to each of us, especially in the season of Lent.


Dear Lord God, help us to show our love for you and each other by our willingness to sacrifice daily for others. Amen.

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Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of March 29, 2022

Rev. Jan Buxton Wade

O Love, how deep, how broad, how high!  Ah, Lord, we cannot fathom the love that willingly cloaked itself in human form and entered fully into mortal life, accepting all our frailties. Yet by your coming, you affirmed the value of every life; and by your suffering, you proclaimed that death is not the story’s end.  We trust in your redemption, knowing the lives lost in this brutal raging war are not lost forever. Instead, they press us to open our eyes to the hate and vengeance that thrive in our world.  And they have now joined in your eternal refrain that speaks to our world’s crucial need for love.  May we become still enough to listen to those voices, now in your keeping, and also take up their song of love for Christ’s sake. 

O Love, how deep, how broad, how high! We come to you with our individual interior worries: for those who are ill or unemployed; those who are lonely, facing grave danger or death; those who mourn; those who live in fear, confusion, discord, or danger. Especially we lift up those souls in sorrow who are known to us: . . . . . . . . . . We are aware, Lord, that our own behaviors often contribute to the pain in our lives and in the lives of others.  Such admissions make us uncomfortable, but hear us as we confess our hurtful and thoughtless ways . . . . . . . . . . . Show us, we pray, how to move toward the healing you offer.

O Love, how deep, how broad, how high!  When we were absorbed in other things in recent times, still you drew near, opening doors and setting things right. We reflect upon those days just passed, remembering your presence and mercy, particularly in . . . . . . . . . . For all the ways you enter our lives so silently and steadily, we are grateful.  And in the conviction that your holy power makes all things new, we offer these prayers of praise and mercy on behalf of our Church Street family: 

  • Thankful for prayers: a blood transplant completed & friend recovering 
  • Help appreciated: dispute with a neighbor successfully addressed
  • Thanksgiving for life & peaceful death of a treasured friend
  • Prayers appreciated: a member’s knee surgery successful 
  • Thankful for prayers: mother’s cancer scans were most promising 
  • Member grateful for healing from desert fever
  • Celebration of young son’s baptism on Sunday
  • Praises for a wonderful Day of Missions on Saturday
  • Four offer thanks for safe & rejuvenating spring vacations with families
  • Member grateful for help of Parish Health Team
  • Prayers answered: hospitalized member much improved
  • Member offers thanks for good care & thoughtful friends, now home from hospital
  • Gratitude: a member’s successful cataract surgery last week
  • Prayers that an indigent mother may pass her driving test on Thursday
  • Family & friends mourning death of cherished wife/mother
  • For God’s presence with a lonely woman in hospice care, that she has no pain and that grace surrounds her when death comes
  • Prayers for member in pain with foot injury, for guidance in treatment
  • Remember in prayer a member in fragile health & pain, for wisdom in making decisions
  • Family of cherished member whose funeral is Saturday, April 2 
  • Continued prayers for a mother recovering from a stroke
  • Restoration of relationships within a family 
  • A nephew continuing to grieve the death of his wife
  • Lift up grieving family – husband whose wife died at age 60 & their adult children
  • Healing for a young nephew with cancerous growth on vocal cord
  • Please pray for a pregnant cousin & safe delivery of her child 
  • For doors to open for a young professional
  • Mercy for suffering people of Ukraine – for an end to the violence
  • Prayers that a sister-in-law is able to carry her baby to term
  • Daughter seeks prayer for guidance in caring for her infirm mother 
  • Healing of a longtime friend, wisdom for her physicians
  • Sustaining three beloved women in cancer treatment
  • Thankful for prayers – friend with pneumonia now recovered

O Love, how deep, how broad, how high!  How you have honored us by planting in our hearts the deep desire to know you and to please you, a desire to be better people.  We admit our faith is not the full faith for which we aim, but in your grace, continue to guide us by your steady hand.  We would be yours, Lord, wholly and completely, vessels of love poured out for the healing of the world.  In the name of Jesus, Love Incarnate, we make our prayer:

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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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, March 27, Evening

By Jo Terry, Parish Health Team

You Will Be Satisfied

Read: Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, and Luke 9:10-17

Our family had a fabulous trip to Australia and New Zealand before Covid. One of our adventures was an overnight boat trip with 10 other people in Doubtful Sound, truly one of the most peaceful and beautiful places on earth.

One of our activities was fishing for our dinner. Our daughter, Julia, caught the first fish – a sizable Blue Cod. It turned out that no one else had luck. We wondered if there would be enough fish for our group to share.

I told our boat mates that this reminded me of the story about Jesus and the boy who had two fish and five loaves that fed a crowd of thousands. Our companions were from across the world – Sydney, The Netherlands and New York City. They did not know this story and asked me to tell them.

As a kindergarten Sunday School teacher for over 30 years, my colleagues and I have shared this story with our CSUMC children many times. I told our boat companions: “Jesus was teaching on the hillside to a crowd of thousands. His disciples told him that the people were getting restless with hunger. A boy had a basket that contained five loaves and two fish. He offered what he had. Jesus blessed it and all were satisfied. No one went away hungry.”

The stories of feeding large crowds who were following and listening to Jesus are repeated in Matthew, Mark & Luke. These Gospel writers all wanted this important message to be shared.

During this Lenten season, can we offer what we have –our “loaves & fishes” – whether it is in devotional time, service, sharing our talents and our resources to our Lord as we contemplate his sacrifices for us? May you be blessed as you do. You will be satisfied!


O Lord, help me to see what I may offer to others in Your name. Use me to be a blessing to someone else that they might see Your love for them. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, March 27, Morning

By Dena Wise

So Little Time, So Much to Do!

Read: Mark 9:30-32

“They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.”

During this time in his ministry, Jesus was having to balance his time on earth to proclaim the good news, nurture and teach his disciples, and establish his kingdom against the ultimate trajectory of his death on the cross. Some Bible scholars have contended that, knowing his claim to being the Son of God would ultimately lead to his death, Jesus bought time by veiling his messages in parables, generally staying away from populated areas, and sometimes telling his followers and the recipients of his miraculous healing to not tell others about him or who he was. Whether or not this was the case, we know that it was dangerous to claim to be the Messiah in an age when both the Roman authorities and Jewish leaders were strongly protective of their power. We can easily imagine that Jesus felt urgency to ground his disciples in the ways of love, to provide examples of humility and service, and to strengthen their faith to the point that they could carry on his message and his work. He went about his work all the time knowing that his death was imminently, and perhaps immediately on the horizon. History shows, indeed, that he was given a scant two years to establish a new perspective among God’s people on earth—a task that would challenge even the most savvy agent of social change today.

Our good news is that two years were enough! The work of the humble carpenter of Galilee has lived through the ages. Two-thousand years after his ministry, the Gospel is proclaimed across the whole world. It has provided hope to millions who struggled, and comfort and peace to those whose circumstances gave them none. It gives us hope for the future of the world, and for our own eternity.


Lord of Time, grant us urgency for the tasks you assign us. Thoroughly convince us that the best hope for today’s world lies in your purpose, both now and for ages to come. Make our faith and courage strong, so that no danger deters our work to realize your perfect vision for all. Amen.

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Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of March 22, 2022

Rev. Jan Buxton Wade

O God of the Watchful Eye, scripture says no sparrow falls without your notice, and in our amazement, we feel the depth of your concern for all in your earthly family. We sense your grace and glory embedded in the natural world around us, realizing all love begins and ends in you. May the seeds of concern you have scattered so profusely take root in our souls, that we might also learn how to love without condition or gain, but for the pure joy of emulating you.
Lord in your mercy, receive our prayer.
Savior of Limitless Love, we embarked upon our Lenten journey, chronicling our flaws, determined to repent and choose a new route. By your grace, we have progressed; but we confess that we have often stumbled in our aims and have already broken our vows to you and to ourselves, particularly in . . . . . . . . . . Still, we ask that you erase our blunders, and watch over us now, as we sparrows pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and wing onward toward Jerusalem, where you wait in hope for our arrival.
Lord in your mercy, receive our prayer.
There was once a time when we could claim we knew little of the afflictions of the world, but in our technological age, that time is no longer. The misery of the world is immense and is portrayed vividly. The pain of one is your pain and it is ours, O Lord. We, therefore, lift up all involved in the Ukrainian war, especially the innocents and the brave ones serving the injured, bereaved, and homeless; the ill in China who suffer from a new form of the Covid virus; for the victims of crimes here in our own country; for all your people in Eritrea, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan who are imprisoned because their faith or opinions differ from the powerful. Our efforts to rectify often seem so flimsy, yet we pray we might remain hearts who care amid the chaos.
Lord in your mercy, receive our prayer.
As we believe you are the One Whose Concern Never Ceases, we ask that you also receive these expressions of gratitude and the pleas for support from your people at Church Street:
  • Thankful for prayers: a blood transplant was completed on Friday
  • Praises for visit with infant grandson in CA
  • Thankful for father with dementia – still a blessing to all
  • Thanksgiving for a job promotion for one of our young members
  • Gratitude and hope for the possibility of career advancement
  • Prayers appreciated: mother recovering from stroke, now at home
  • Gratitude for the love of a mother & for the gentle end to her earthly life
  • Celebrations for a colleague’s beautiful wedding on March 20
  • Grateful that two members were released from the hospital
  • Family thankful that an offer on new home was accepted
  • Member offers praise: no sign of cancer on recent scans
  • Lift up the family & friends mourning death of cherished wife/mother
  • Prayers that surgery for a member will not be required
  • Lift up a member having knee surgery on March 24
  • Mercy for suffering people of Ukraine – the displaced, the bereaved, the frightened, the wounded, and all in harm’s way
  • Prayers for a solution to dispute with neighbor
  • Wisdom for world leaders in ending destruction in Eastern Europe
  • Prayers for a mother to carry her baby to term
  • A member asks for prayer for her cataract surgery today
  • Prayers for a family whose daughter died of an overdose last week
  • Answers and healing for a mother undergoing GI tests this week
  • Prayers of healing for two families grieving the sudden losses of their children
  • Wisdom in dealing w/ widowed mother, depressed & confused
  • Comfort for member who lost his sister-in-law on March 18
  • Healing of a longtime friend, wisdom for her physicians
  • Hope for two young couples deeply desiring children
  • Sustaining two beloved women in cancer treatment
  • Cherished mother who is enduring harsh chemotherapy
  • Beloved brother recovering in the hospital from infection
  • Prayers for a position opening for young man
  • Courage, strength for mother having extensive cancer scans
By your mercy, O Empowering One, you have forged a road, you have led us to this very day, and you are guiding us home to your kingdom. May our gratitude be as deep as your love for your children who bow to offer this prayer of Jesus:

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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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, March 20, Evening

By Beth Cooper-Libby (Miss Beth), Preschool Director

Thirty Five Thousand

Read: Proverbs 3:5-6

“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Did you know that, on average, humans make over 35,000 decisions a day? I know, it made my head swim but when you think about it, it rather makes sense. From the second we wake up, we start making decisions. Do I have time for coffee this morning? Should I wear the blue shirt or the red one today? That’s not even a fraction of the decisions we might make in just an effort to get out the front door.

Christian decision-making means we submit our intentions to God’s perfect resolve and respectfully follow his direction. The problem is sometimes we don’t know how to figure out God’s will in decisions we face. The first thing any Christian should do when challenged with a decision is ask God’s advice. Prayer. Thoughtful prayer. Talk with God and read your Bible.

Then trust him and do not agonize. God will undoubtedly fulfill his promise to guide you. If you have to make a decision and have sought him, and still don’t know what to do, just make the best decision you can. He will guide you along the way.


Merciful God, help me to make the right decision. Help me to choose wisely between the options that are set before me. Please show me your will, give me clear direction and the faith to make this choice. Amen.

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