Worship: Where do people expect you to be on Sunday morning?

Written by Beth Webster

Luke 2: 49  “Why were you searching for me?” 12-year-old Jesus asked.  “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

God created the world in six days, and on the seventh day He rested (Genesis 1:1-2:2). That day became the Sabbath, meaning “to rest from labor.” When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, one of them was “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8).

As a child, I really didn’t grasp the meaning of Sabbath day, but I knew that on Sunday morning my parents and I went to church.  Mother would prepare foods in advance to fix for Sunday dinner after church, and I also remember Dad stretched out in his reclining chair pretty much the remainder of the day.  Sometimes friends or family members would come for dinner, but activities were few on that day of the week.  The return of the workweek was a much different setting, with both Mother and Dad working hard to accomplish their tasks for us as a family.

In the Bible, God calls us to regular, weekly worship so that together, we can share in thankfulness to Him through our songs, prayers, studying His word, and acts of kindness to one another.  Fortunately, my parents, and I hope many of yours, instilled that regular weekly worship to God into your routine for the week.

Back in the early days of this great country, our early relatives also set aside that day of rest. Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family spent all day Saturday getting ready for Sunday.  In her book, Little House in the Big Woods (1871, early Wisconsin), the family bathed, pressed their Sunday-best clothes, and prepared all of their meals for the next day.  On Sunday morning, they fixed their hair, donned their fresh, clean clothes and had church in their own home.  They then were quiet the rest of the day! They kept the Sabbath day holy!

Things have changed so much these days!  It happened slowly, perhaps.  American Christians seem to have all sorts of activity on Sunday. Some people work, either by choice or necessity. Some go out to eat and some worship on a different day of the week. And the list can go on and on.

To me, Sundays are a gift and a blessing.  Sunday is my favorite day of the week because I am blessed to meet with my pastor and other believers.  I’m blessed to share my musical talent most weeks in some fashion.  Now I’m even blessed by friends who gather in my Sunday school class as we study the word together.  What a wonderful time we have, sharing and discussing!

Where do people expect you to be on Sunday morning?  You have to answer that one yourself.  But for me, I expect myself to be in church, and that is where I choose to be.


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Written by Sidney Poindexter

To be a witness of the Lord is to show and demonstrate to others what we have “seen” and know to be true about God. Matthew 28:19 says, “Therefore go and make disciples.” I think behind this verse is a deeper meaning – “Go and show others the love of Jesus and tell them how He forgives and shows mercy.” 


For me, I have felt the call to not only be a witness to those in my everyday life but to people around the world. When I get to serve in the Dominican Republic, I do have a bit of a language barrier. However, the Lord doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Sharing Jesus with others, especially children, brings an overwhelming amount of joy into my heart. We aren’t meant to be ashamed or embarrassed by Jesus. He is our one source of peace, joy, and love. 


Jesus is shown in us by serving and helping others through all kinds of work. In the Dominican, I have painted inside and outside homes, laid concrete, flattened land, cleaned for others, served food, and done even simple tasks, like holding open a door. Jesus put others first every day, no matter what. He was selfless during His entire life. Serving puts yourself second and others first, just as Jesus did. 


I believe everyone should have the opportunity and chance to step out of their comfort zone, leave their normal life, and be immersed in another culture for a short time. Being a missionary and a servant of God has opened up my eyes and humbled me greatly. If you would have told me 5 years ago this is where I would be in life, I think I would have laughed. I’m so grateful to be the Lord’s witness. 


You can be a witness without going to another country, too. Jesus meets us where we are and gives us opportunities to share and serve daily. Maybe it’s holding open the door for someone. Perhaps you see someone struggling with groceries and you offer to help. Paying for the person’s food behind you in the drive-through. Unspoken acts of kindness. That is how we serve. Be like Jesus, and serve without selfishness. 


How can my actions benefit another person? How can I be like Jesus today? How can I be a witness? The answer is simple:  serve. 

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The Need of Restoration

Written by Becky Perkins

Following the resurrection of Jesus, Jesus appeared to his disciples several times.  The third time Jesus appeared to his disciples, it was early in the morning.  Some of his disciples were fishing in the Sea of Galilee.  Peter was among the fishermen.  When Jesus called them to the shore, Jesus had prepared a breakfast for them.  The disciples did not question who Jesus was, because they had seen him several times since the resurrection.  When Jesus broke the bread and spoke to them, they knew exactly who He was. 


Peter had denied Jesus three times before Jesus’ arrest.  Now after this breakfast, Jesus offered Peter three questions.  “Do you love me more than these?” “Do you love me?” and again, “Do you love me?”  Peter answered with a definite “yes” each time.  Jesus then told Peter to “feed my lambs,” “tend my sheep,” and “feed my sheep.”  It is possible that Jesus was offering Peter restoration for his denial and for his pride of thinking he loved Jesus more than the other disciples.  Peter boasted in John 13:37 that he would lay down his life for Jesus.  In Matthew 26:33, Peter boasted that all other men would stumble because of Jesus, but Peter would never be made to stumble.  Peter was humbled after he denied Jesus three times. His heart had changed.   


In John 21, Jesus fed the disciples and tended to their physical needs.  Then Jesus went to work on their spiritual needs.  Jesus offered Peter restoration.  Peter sought forgiveness and repented for denying Jesus.  Jesus told Peter that he would not only be fishing for men in his future, but Peter would also be a shepherd of his people.  After Jesus restored Peter, He called him into a place of leadership, a position to shepherd people.  I guess you could say that Peter progressed on the Discipleship Pathway; he no longer was a believer following Jesus, but was now in position to lead.


Leading a group of people is hard work, it is a submissive work, and it is a humbling work.  Jesus must humble us to prepare us to lead.  I have personally experienced a humbling of my spirit through ministry.  When I become weary, tired, and have wrong thoughts toward others, it’s because I am trying to do the work within myself.  When I get angry with people, when things do not go the way I expect them to go, when God is not on my time frame, I know I am trying to do the work within myself.  Sometimes, God has to humble me and let me know that I am not the one in charge.  During those times, I have to stop and listen to His voice.  Sometimes, I have to let Him restore my soul before He can do the work through me.


The times of discipline that God puts me through are not fun, not easy, and can be heartbreaking.  When God convicts my spirit, I am weary and drained.  But there is always a restoration time after the hard times.  God does not convict us to punish to us, but to love us. Those times when God works on our hearts, whether dealing with jealousy, greed, unforgiveness, lust, covetousness, or other things down deep in our hearts, He is doing it out of His love for us.  God wants the best for us in His timing and in His way.  God shows us a beautiful restoration time.  Restoration may be just the awareness of His presence, the beauty of His world, or the beauty we find in scripture.  It is a cleansing of the soul and a peace that passes all understanding.  How does He do it?  I don’t know, but we can know, with confidence, that He was the One who performed the restoration.  It is after the restoration that we, as Peter, know the joy of God’s salvation.


“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit” (Psalm 51:10-12).  

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Hope for the Future

Written by Jill Dayvault

After over 7 decades of life, I’ve had many hopes for the future at all the different stages of my life: hope for a good job and successful career, hope for marriage/family, hope for my daughter and step-children, hope for good health, hope for retirement, hope for my grandchildren, and hope for my church – Wesley Chapel.
There have been obstacles along the way that have seemed hopeless. But I can look back on my life and see how God worked in every single situation (even when I wasn’t yet a believer) to give me hope and a future. And I believe that God is working in the life of Wesley Chapel to give us hope for the future.
Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite verse of mine, and I know many others who claim this as their life verse. “For I know the plans I have for you “declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” It’s a hopeful verse. But in doing some research to find out the context of this scripture, I discovered that “the prophet Jeremiah spoke these words to Jews who had been living under the domination of the Egyptian and Babylonian Empires before eventually being carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.” One commentary said that “this verse is not a promise specifically to each of us, but a powerful statement about our good God. We all face trials, and while God may not deliver us from troubles, He will give us the hope and strength to thrive as we live through them.”
Hope in the dictionary is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. But Bible hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness. Biblical hope carries no doubt. Biblical hope is a reality and not a feeling.
The past 3 years have been difficult in the life of our church. COVID shut us down in March 2020 and had a heartbreaking impact on in-person worship attendance. Thankfully, Pastor Tony and the Worship and Audio-Visual Teams were faithful in livestreaming services and it kept our church family connected. We slowly but surely started in-person worship again and our future was looking bright.
Then came the vote for disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church in September 2022. When it did not pass, many long-term friends and brothers/sisters in Christ left Wesley Chapel. Again, we experienced a heartbreaking impact on attendance and finances. Our servant pool was greatly depleted. Our Associate Pastor left in January 2023 to plant a new church, and our Worship Director resigned effective April 10. So many changes – so much uncertainty. But I have never lost hope for the future of Wesley Chapel.
In March 2022, we had a Prayer Breakthrough Conference led by Sue Nilson Kibbey, and what I learned at that conference changed my prayer life. I quit praying for my preferences and sought God’s will, not just for my life, but for Wesley Chapel. I was in a Prayer Group for several weeks leading up to the vote in September 2022, and we prayed for our church and did many prayer walks throughout the building, praying over seats in the Wesley Center, each classroom, the office staff, the pastor, and for each person who walked through our doors. I had hope that God’s will would be done because so many people were covering our church in prayer. Even when so many members left last October, I have never lost hope for the future of Wesley Chapel.
In February of this year, I participated in another Prayer Breakthrough Conference. This time, I learned that the minute we start praying, God starts responding. I know God hears the prayers of those of us fervently praying for His blessing on our church.
I have sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit in a new and fresh way through the sermons, the sweet fellowship with my church family, and new people coming through the doors. I’m excited about what God has already done, and I’m anxiously anticipating what God will do in the days ahead.
Wesley Chapel has been my church for 42 years, and I will continue to faithfully serve, love, pray, and give to ensure we remain a beacon of hope for others in our community. God is in control. My hope is in Him and in answered prayers for our church. Because I know God is already responding to my prayers and working things out in His time and according to His will, I have hope for the future.
Will you join me in praying for Wesley Chapel and for God to open new doors and give us fresh possibilities for our future?

One of my favorite songs is “Fear Not Tomorrow” by the Collingsworth Family. I hope you will listen to the words (lyrics are provided with the music) and be blessed. We know Who holds tomorrow – that should give us great hope!

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Holy Communion

Written by Pat Peterson


As a young girl growing up in the Catholic church, I observed the rite of Holy Communion often:  weekly at Sunday Mass and then once in grade school, daily before classes started.

It was a big deal. The Catholic Mass is a prayer culminating in the Eucharistic celebration.  Prior to the age of seven, or second grade, I observed everyone processing to the altar receiving Communion.  I wanted to do that!  Whether intentional or the right intention, there was a desire created in me to be able to receive Communion.

In second grade, my class began to learn about the Sacrament of Communion and receiving the body of Jesus.  We were taught that a Sacrament was “an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.”  After Easter Sunday, we would begin to prepare for our First Holy Communion.  This process was exciting as First Communicants wore frilly and pretty white dresses with veils and shiny white shoes.  The boys would wear suits (not as exciting!).  Aside from the all-important task of picking out “the dress”, we practiced our procession in and out of church and how to properly receive the unconsecrated and unleavened bread.  In those pre-Vatican II days, the wafer was placed on the tongue, and we were not allowed to touch it.  Also, in those days, there was no partaking of the wine.  After the actual First Holy Communion Mass, most went home with their families and had a big party that involved presents and cards with money.  Heady days for a seven-year old!

It may seem to some to be too big of a fuss, and how these rituals evolved is a history lesson for another day.  But what did I, as a young girl, learn?  Holy Communion was a big deal, I had a desire for it, and the celebration was a rite of passage into a different level of spiritual maturity.  Most importantly, it was my first memory of having a reverence for Jesus and experiencing the thrill and specialness of being able to experience His holy presence.

The celebration of Communion has its roots in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) describing The Last Supper.

Matthew 26:26-28 (NIV)

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Mark 14:22-24 (NIV)

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.

Luke 22:17-20 (NIV)

After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you.  For I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

These are the repeated words of Jesus found in each gospel:

  • Gave thanks
  • Bread
  • Broke
  • Body
  • Cup
  • Blood
  • Covenant
  • Poured out

The Bible records Jesus giving thanks seven times.  Not all are mentioned here, but He gave thanks before he miraculously fed the 4,000 and the 5,000.  He gave thanks at the raising of Lazarus, and He gave thanks at His final meal.  (1st Thessalonians reminds us to give thanks in all circumstances!)  Jesus talks about His body and His blood.  How strange His words must have sounded to His disciples!   What could it mean?

However, only on the other side of His crucifixion and resurrection does it become clear that Jesus’ body was broken and His blood poured out to establish His new covenant.

Throughout the Old Testament, covenants are mentioned between God and His people, and between other parties and/or individuals. The covenant was a serious commitment and promise made, which included several rituals, one that most often involved a sacrificial animal and the pouring of its blood.  Jesus’ New Covenant was the final covenant and the final sacrifice to establish the atonement (forgiveness) of all sins.

Luke’s gospel 22:19 repeats Jesus’ words:  “Do this in remembrance of me.

We are indeed privileged to participate in the Last Supper’s ritual and share with Jesus and each other in the liturgy of Holy Communion.  It is a big deal!

We remember, we give thanks, we receive, and most importantly, we are forgiven!

I am also reminded of the prayer that my First Holy Communion class was taught, and it is still said to this day in the Catholic celebration of Holy Communion.  Before receiving the Eucharist, this prayer is lifted in unison: 

            “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”

In remembrance, Christians across the world approach the table with reverence, give thanks, ask for forgiveness, and participate in the Holy Meal of consecrated bread and wine or grape juice representing Jesus’ Body and Blood.

Our sins are forgiven EVERY TIME.

It is a BIG DEAL.



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Palm Sunday and Kids

Written by Nancy Purvis

Matthew 21:9:The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!”


Hello, my name is Nancy Purvis and I am a member of Wesley Chapel and the Children’s Outreach Ministry Team (COMT). If you have attended the Wesley Fall Fest or our Easter Egg Hunt, our team wears the bright tie-dye shirts with COMT on the back. I am a retired JCPS first-grade teacher, and I love children’s ministry!
Our Wesley Chapel Kids have a special treat for you on Palm Sunday. They will sing Hosanna (Praise is Rising) by Paul Bloche while waving large palm branches. Will they know every word perfectly? No. Will they belt out the chorus as loud as they can? Absolutely!!!! There is nothing more beautiful than the sound of God’s children praising His name and lifting their voices high in reckless abandon because they love the Lord and are proud to be Christians!!

A recording of our practice will be played at our 8:30 a.m. service because it’s just a little too early for the children to rise and shine. In my mind there is nothing more beautiful than a bunch of kids praising Jesus. If you see one of our Wesley Chapel Kids after the service, please let them know how very proud you are of their faith and willingness to serve!

May God Bless and keep you always,


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