Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, March 20, Morning

By Sue Isbell

The Supply Chain

Read: John 14:6

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Lent is a time of waiting and preparation. Unfortunately, most of us do not like to wait. I have found one of the most difficult aspects of learning to live through a pandemic is adjusting to the aggravation of supply chain issues. If you are brave enough to make it to Kroger, Walmart, or Sam’s there is a good chance the items you are looking for might not be on the shelves. Instead, they are on ships in various harbors or are resting in some remote warehouse. Even if you shop online you may find your delivery time a bit longer than it used to be.

Fortunately, our spiritual lives do not have to bear the frustration of a supply chain! We have Jesus, who came into this world to be our direct conduit to God. Through his teaching and example we know that we always and constantly have access to God. Our petitions are always acknowledged, our prayers are always answered, our spirits are always strengthened, our praises are always heard. With Jesus there is no waiting, substituting, or reordering; patience, maybe, but with faith we know there is abundant and eternal life ahead for us today, tomorrow, and always!


Loving God, we thank you for your gift of Jesus and his sacrifice so that we may grow closer to you. As we journey through the season of Lent guide us to strengthen our connection with you each day. Open our minds to receive your guidance, our lives to do your will, and our hearts to share your love. Amen.

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Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of March 15, 2022

Rev. Jan Buxton Wade

Searching God, we praise you for always seeking those who are stumbling by the wayside, knowing full well that, most often, we are the very ones who have misread the road signs pointing homeward.  Thank you for retracing your steps, for pushing your way through the brambles to find us and catch us before we perished among the briars. 

O Wounded One, because we have been lost and broken ourselves, you implant compassion within our bones, giving us the boldness to become advocates for the voiceless and the powerless, for the weary and heartbroken, for the suffering and the lost.  We recall those words you uttered so long ago, the ones that still play on in our hearts: “Those to whom much is given, much is required.” Grant that we might link arms more tightly with the poor and the underserved in our community, opening the same doors for them that, in your mercy, have been opened for us.

Shelter us beneath your wings these somber days, we pray, especially when our endurance grows thin and our knees become weak.  And there, in that safe haven, may our strength be replenished and our vision made keen. Then, we will never lose sight of the One who knows us, who loves us, who believes in us.  And assured of that love that never fails, we lift up these situations most recently expressed by those closest to us – members of our own church family:

  • Praises for prayers and God’s grace: Healthy grandson born March 11
  • Thanksgiving for faithful leadership of our Covid Task Force
  • Gratitude for courage that sustained a family during memorial gathering
  • Family appreciates prayers: Adult son healing from major heart surgery
  • Grateful for nations bound together to suppress evil at work in Ukraine
  • Three families offer thanks for safe and memorable vacations with children
  • Clergy thankful for all who assisted bereaved family during a funeral
  • Thanksgiving for an answered prayer at workplace
  • Mercy for suffering people of Ukraine – the displaced, the bereaved, the frightened, the wounded, and all in harm’s way
  • Wisdom for world leaders in ending destruction in Eastern Europe
  • Prayers that a sister may be strong enough to carry her baby to full term
  • Easing a mother’s anxiety as she faces death and her daughter/caregiver 
  • Continued prayers for healing for a hospitalized member
  • Healing for a longtime friend, wisdom for her physicians
  • Prayers for success a work team’s mission on March 18
  • Wisdom and integrity for leaders of our nation
  • Planting of hope for two young couples deeply desiring children
  • Continued prayers for families mourning the deaths of loved ones
  • Cherished mother who is enduring harsh chemotherapy
  • Pray for a dear friend whose long-term partner has abandoned him
  • Healing prayers for special cousin who is very ill with cancer
  • Prayers that ill friend will have a blood transplant on Friday
  • Beloved cousin in treatment for ovarian cancer 
  • A professional man asks for prayers this week
  • Prayers for successful job interview for young professional 
  • Hope for young friend with metastatic cancer

Our Way, Our Truth, and Our Life, receive these most earnest prayers, and also those unspoken ones we carry within our hearts, for we place our trust always in your unfailing love:

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 13, Evening

By Vivian Kemper, Received in God’s holy presence on January 28, 2022

River of Life

Read: Romans 8:18-23 NIV

A friend and I traveled to Pigeon Forge in January. Going through the Smoky Mountains, we mentioned how all the trees looked so grey and forlorn. But if you looked off to the side of the road, you’d see a flowing river, a river of life that refreshes God’s creation for our pleasure.

We are living in a time where events in our life are grey and bleak, causing us to feel unhappy, soulful, and dejected. But there is a river that flows from the cross of Calvary that gives the Christian hope and refreshes our lives so we can live abundantly. That river is the saving blood of Jesus Christ.


Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty which is, which was, and which is to come. Thou art worthy, oh Lord, to receive glory and honor; for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they were created and are created anew. Amen.


By Therese Zaltash

Rediscovering the Comfort and Peace of God in the Midst of Uncertainty

Read: Philippians 4:19 and Isaiah 35:4

“But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” “Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.’”

We tend to confuse our wants with our needs. We often live in fear and anxiety of the “what-ifs”. When things don’t pan out as we had hoped, we find fault or accuse God of not keeping his word. When we come to the realization that God does in fact supply our every need, it is then that we will discover his plethora of blessings. As his children, we are afforded every blessing, including life everlasting.


Father, please guide my thoughts, my words, my heart and my steps every day so that I may simply live for you and fear not.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, March 13, Morning

By Barry Christmas

Our Journey Through the Wilderness

Read: Matthew 4:1-4

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”

One of the many stories relating to Lent is Jesus being tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Today, all of us can relate to this encounter. In the wilderness of a pandemic, we too are being tempted by Satan. HE desires for us to give up hope, to fall away from our faith and church, and to turn against one another. I see some of us as being much like the children of Israel in the book of Exodus when they wandered in their desert wilderness, grumbling, complaining, turning on one another and questioning God all along the way.

This global pandemic has become our personal wilderness. We see so many people who are discouraged, angry, perplexed, depressed, and scared of what the future has in store for us. There are so many unanswered questions such as, “How much longer is this going to last? Will this pandemic ever end? With the cost of everything on the rise and the problems with the supply chain, will I be able to find the basic needs for sustenance for me and my family; and if I do, will I be able to afford them?”

But just as God provided miracles for the Israelites in their wilderness, He will sustain us with His love and grace, He will feed us with the manna of His comforting words, and He will provide for our every need – physically, emotionally and spiritually. All He requires of us is to trust Him, listen to the words that proceed from His mouth, and claim His promises as our own.

One day when all of this is in the rearview mirror, I envision us experiencing a renewal of faith and hope like we have never seen before. In the meantime, stay firm in your faith and continue to love and support one another. Ask yourself these questions: How is my journey through the wilderness progressing? … and how can I help someone else in their journey?


Dear Jesus, my Faithful Shepherd, please calm my anxieties, give me the strength and stamina to face any difficulties I might encounter, and assure me of your ever present love and care. As one of your lambs, please guide me with your staff and keep me from all harm. Amen.

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Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of March 8, 2022

Rev. Jan Buxton Wade

O God of Lengthening Days, we have traveled our own ways for so long that we fear we might not find that singular trail that leads to your redemption. Call out to us once again, we pray, that we might catch sight of you across the way; then we shall move with haste to trace your steps. And on that road of penitence, we will not fail to notice the tracks of your own tears, for you indeed weep at our waywardness. And your tears surely fall more freely during this season, for your beautiful earth is split apart by terror and tribulation. Guide all those besieged by the evil powers of this world, and lift up the fallen through your holy love.  Only you, True God from True God, can bring hope out of hopelessness. 

Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.

We struggle to shape our lifestyle to yours, O River of Holiness, but you are gentle and merciful as we waver time and time again.  You pour your gifts of grace and mercy upon us even before we ask; still we whisper our most recent failings in these moments . . . . . . . . . . Wash us anew in your spring rains, reminding us that your baptismal mark is ever upon us.  Rinse away the discord and unease that live within us and around us, and receive these spoken prayers of your people at Church Street who wait for your cleansing touch:  

  • Gratitude: Husband with GI issues much improved
  • Celebrating formation of a new Sunday School Class
  • Thankful for prayers – Grandson’s emotional problems are eased 
  • Prayers appreciated – Daughter with shingles much improved
  • Gratitude for the work of the United Methodist Women
  • Thanksgiving that the Covid trend is turning downward
  • Mercy for suffering people of Ukraine – The displaced, the bereaved, the frightened, the wounded, and all in harm’s way
  • Easing of a mother’s anxiety as she faces death
  • Hope for a young couple deeply desiring children
  • For family tensions to dissipate during a memorial service this weekend
  • Family, friends, and coworkers of teacher (28) who died suddenly March 7                       
  • Pray for a dear friend whose long-term partner has abandoned him
  • Prayers for current Stephen Ministry Leaders and all in training
  • Pray for special cousin who is too ill to have his liver transplant
  • Courage for daughter and safe delivery of her first child March 11
  • Prayers that a plasma transplant will go forward in the coming week
  • Church family mourning the loss of two beloved members
  • Beloved cousin in treatment for ovarian cancer 
  • A young professional searching for a position in athletics  
  • Hope and healing for young friend with metastatic cancer
  • Prayers for young grandson at risk

You are the God of endless lovingkindness; therefore, we ask you would link  our prayers with the prayers of all around the globe who turn to you in hope:

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 6, Evening

By Laura Still

Becoming Green

Read Psalm 63:1-8

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”

The psalmist sings about a dry and desert place, and the image we see depends on what our experience of the desert might be. Endless waves of sand under a hot white sky, or rock-littered ravines and canyons with mesquite trees and cacti, or even huge stone formations scoured by wind are physical descriptions of deserts, and all of them are lonely. That of course is why the desert image is common in songs, poetry, and Bible stories.

Separation and loneliness are parts of human existence, and everyone feels lost and cut off at some point. The physical separation we have endured since the pandemic began is difficult enough, but mental and emotional effects can be harder to overcome. The sensation of drifting in limbo, waiting for the next thing to happen, is called languishing. It’s not quite depression, but still a paralyzing feeling of being unable to go forward or change your condition.

Change doesn’t happen by itself—it has to be initiated. This is what the psalmist understands, and so declares he will seek after God, praise his name, and in God’s name lift up his hands. He states his intention of clinging to God and trusting God to uphold him. If we begin by seeking after God and praising him, then God will give us the strength to lift up our hands and uphold us as the work of change begins.

Yes, there is work involved, and we may feel too exhausted or numb inside to believe we can make the effort. The good news is that God sees potential where we see only problems. We may be “a dry and parched land” inside our soul, but God can make the desert bloom.


It springs from seeds sown when we are fallow, sleeping,

unable to understand the coming of green things,

or how sun reaches below ground to split the shell

& begin the growing.

We cannot know the mind of the sower, who feels

our inchoate fecundity, gives dreams of greenness

before we know we slumber, or that this limbo

is only waiting, a womb between dark & light

before our story starts,

anymore than we can stop a sprout from rising

out of its broken pod, struggling through soil

& stone towards air & light, breaking surface,

becoming green.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, March 6, Morning

By Nancy Carmon

Dangerous Journey

Read Isaiah 43:1-3

My home devotion study recently was entitled “Dangerous Journey”. I assumed the writers were going to reflect on Jesus’s temptation in the wilderness. That was a dangerous journey. The landscape east of Jerusalem down to Jericho is barren, wild, arid, and rocky. Jesus would have been hungry and thirsty, and it certainly would have been dangerous wrestling with the darkest forces of evil. Or even Jesus’s last journey to Jerusalem, where according to the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus tells the disciples what awaits him there. That was a dangerous journey too! 

But the week’s readings were about the dangerous journey of faith. The “cost of seeking God and the danger of following Christ”. For Jesus, God’s call meant the ultimate sacrifice – the cross. For many missionaries serving in troubled areas, the call to service and faith may certainly be quite dangerous.

How can that be dangerous here in America where we have freedom of religion? Maybe the danger lies in what we choose. To say yes to God’s call requires saying no to our own voice, our self will, our own desires, and even sometimes to the voices of persons and things we love. Jesus tells the disciples that he has come not to bring peace, but a sword. A dangerous journey indeed.

A dangerous journey and a challenge for all of us this Lenten season is to step out in faith–out of our comfort zone: to be a greeter, to serve on a church committee, to write a Lenten or Advent devotion, to welcome a stranger sitting in our pew, to seek the consolation and power of prayer, to delve deeply into scripture, to join a Sunday School class, to fast and seek God’s call, to recognize our spiritual gifts and to use them for our church, our community, our world.

What can we expect when we say “YES” to God’s call? “I will be with you…for I am the Lord your God, the Holy one of Israel, your Savior.” Thanks be to God.


Dear Jesus, open us to the possibilities of saying “YES” to you this Lenten season. We know that you will walk in faith with us on our “dangerous journey” of faith! 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!
Seniors: your info for Senior Sunday is due this Sunday, April 3! Use the link below to share it with us.
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!
March 27 – NightLife (Ezekiel & the Major Prophets)
April 3 – NightLife (Daniel & the Babylonian Exile)
April 10 – Lenten Worship Night (regular NightLife time)
April 17 – Easter Sunday (no NightLife)
April 24 – NightLife (Esther – Confirmation Sunday that morning!)
May 1 – Evensong (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)

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

This Week…

We are almost finished with studying the Old Testament! This has been one of my favorite NightLife studies of all time – we’ve looked at the people of the old covenant and looked for ways they foreshadow Jesus in the New Testament. It has sparked some great conversation. Last week, we studied Jonah and learned that we might not have understood the whole story. Next week, we will study Ezekiel!
During Lent in Sunday school, we are learning about the Gospel. Our hope is to be able to sum up the Gospel in our own words by Easter!

Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Wednesday, March 2, Evening – Ash Wednesday

By Steve Richardson


Read Luke 15:20-24

“But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.”

Lent’s nature of repentance and renewal brings to mind the parable of the prodigal son. This is a story packed with many different layers of meaning. One that raises reassurance is the unconditional “welcome back” response of the father.

At Church Street, The Welcoming Christ statue adorns the space above the chancel altar. What a comforting and appropriate symbol for everyone’s contemplation, whether seated or when approaching the chancel altar for sacraments and sacred moments.

This lime-wood masterpiece was not always there. Prior to September 1974, a beautifully-crafted statue of the archangel Gabriel occupied that space. Gabriel is still present in the nave in the narthex balcony. Like parishioners, Gabriel now gazes forward to Christ. As noted in Dr. Dwight Wade’s book, Unfinished Journey, The Welcoming Christ was sculpted by acclaimed Boston artist, Arcangelo Cascieri. (It’s hard to overlook the coincidence of his first name, considering that the statue of the archangel played a role in this project!) In remarks about The Welcoming Christ, Mr. Cascieri stated, “I have tried to capture a spiritual pleasantness, kindness and welcome.”

In our day and age of seemingly widening divisions in our society, the notions of “spiritual pleasantness, kindness and welcome” stir senses of solace, calm and relief. The depiction of Jesus with raised hands and compassionate demeanor reminds us that all are invited, desired and accepted. Jesus longs us for his loving embrace.

Christ welcomes us all, just as we are. Therefore, as his followers, let us welcome one another, just as we are.


Triune God, we’re humbled and grateful to realize that we don’t need to wait for your welcome. Your loving arms are always open, always outstretched to accept and embrace us. May we be mindful to do likewise among others, as we strive to live in your image.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Wednesday, March 2, Morning – Ash Wednesday

By Dwight Wade

The Gift of 40 Days

Read Matthew 4:1-11

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The Tempter came and said to him..” (please open your bible and read all 11 verses). 

How should I personally participate in a practice that Christians began over 1600 years before I was born? My Sevierville Methodist Church did not observe Lent when I was growing up. However, several decades ago, our denomination accepted this tradition, actually a rare gift, as we joined countless other Christians in this period of prayer, scriptural study, contemplation, confession, and the seeking of holiness. I was an adult before seriously asking myself how I might best honor this season set forth by the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD.

When I read the familiar first eleven verses of chapter 4 of Matthew’s gospel (Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days of fasting, prayer, contemplation, and Satan’s testing), I think of his prolonged time alone. Ancient scripture often used the number 40 to mean a significant period (i.e., the deluge upon Noah’s ark for 40 days, Moses in Egypt 40 years, on Mount Sinai 40 days, and the 40 years wandering in the wilderness, etc.)

For a significant time, the past two years and counting, we all are being thoroughly tested by a dangerous, virulent virus. Unfortunately, we have witnessed anger, fear, ungraciousness, and even shocking behavior played out on many levels. Still, the Lord has seen us through. I feel led to make thanksgiving, contemplation, and kindness my ultimate practices this Lenten season, and perhaps others may feel the same. I hope to join you on Ash Wednesday to begin our 40 days.


God of Grace, we humbly come to you as children who would join others in this time of preparation for the coming Easter celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We give everlasting thanks for this, your gift to all believers. We ask that you speak to us, that whatever we undertake these days of Lent will reflect our devotion to you and our love and concern for others. Amen.

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