Friday, March 27, 2020


Join us week 5 of the "When Pigs Fly" sermon series this Sunday at 10 AM at live.asburylv.org!

We are continuing to work with our primary and alternate streaming hosts to work toward our goal of providing worship without interruptions; but be aware that streaming hosts all over the world are still working on solutions to handle the additional traffic in this time when there are so many people who are using live streaming rather than physical gatherings as a way to connect with God through worship.

As we did last week, we will again be sharing a recording of the service in its entirety on Sunday afternoon. When the service is available, we'll make the link available via email, social media, and at asburylv.org.

We encourage you to share the streaming link with anyone who either doesn't have a church or who is part of a church without the ability to live stream!

This week's worship will feature previously recorded music from the Chancel Choir and the fifth message of the "When Pigs Fly" sermon series from Pastor Eric. Catch up on past messages at asburylv.org/whenpigsfly.

"See" you on Sunday!

WEEKLY FRAMEWORK:
Perhaps one of the most famous signs Jesus performed was feeding 5,000+ people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Those that followed Jesus thought he was finally getting to the point of what he could do for them. They were more enamored with the signs than with what the signs were pointing to.

Friday's Devotional
Based on Pastor Eric's daily study guide

On Monday, we gave a reminder to stay connected even in the midst of being physically separated.

Today, we consider the reason why our connection is so important: because we're commanded by our Creator to love one another.

It's a trying time to love others. While we want nothing more than to help as much as possible, we live with a fear that our helping can hurt us, or that we could possibly put others at risk without our even knowing.

To end the week we give some questions for you to consider, in addition to the reflection below:
  • How has this crisis caused you to more seriously consider your loved ones?
  • How has this crisis caused you to more seriously consider what it means to love those around you?

For Reflection:
On the night before his death, Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment. What can you do this week to follow Jesus more closely? How can you demonstrate more love for one another? Is there someone in particular to whom you could offer more grace and forgiveness?
We realize that your personal financial landscape may have drastically changed in these few short weeks; but if you are able to continue to financially support the ministries of Asbury, please prayerfully consider doing so.

We strongly encourage you to give online through PushPay, our online giving portal, at asburylv.org/give, but you can also mail your weekly envelopes or a check in to the church office.

Your contributions will continue to help support the worship and ministries of Asbury. Additionally, we are retaining our commitment to compensating our staff at this time.

Thank you for your continued support!


Previously shared study resources:
The Women Who Knew, produced by EPAUMC North District
 From Kevin & Kathy Bruce, Liebenzell, Ecuador

We are doing fine, seeking to place our trust daily in our Lord and not succumb to fear or panic. We've had two emergency ambulance trip calls so far, but neither really seemed to be related to the corona-virus, but rather just from a lack of other vehicles. Some of our local Awa are really wanting to close up our road with a pile of gravel and rocks; they are just scared and want to keep the sickness away. Some are saying they will only eat food from up here, as the virus might come in eggs, or rice, or food that is brought from the city. Many are coming here to our house to ask questions, to see the news, and maybe just for a voice of reassurance.

We do continue to appreciate your prayers that God will give us daily strength, words of encouragement, and patience with our people in this time. In parts of the country the people are running out of food, as many local stores are closing without the help of public transportation, but our people can live reasonably well out of their backyard gardens, so that hasn't been a real issue here. We are also well-supplied so haven't really felt a lack of food. And yes, we have plenty of toilet paper and quite a variety of leaves in the back yard! (that is, as long as there are no stinging fuzzy caterpillars on them...) :-)

We also appreciate your prayers as we seek to try to help our Mission family in these days, keeping everyone in good contact, well-supplied, and encouraged. Pretty much every ministry and church has had to cancel most meetings. It was fun to see that three of the Liebenzell churches here posted services on-line! A good time to put all this excellent technology we have to work! :-)

And you all there are facing many of these same issues...! We are thankful that our God is still sovereign, even amidst the seeming craziness that has overtaken the world.

Thanks so much for keeping in touch!
Kevin & Kathy

See prayer requests from Kevin & Kathy below

Kevin and Kathy Bruce, missionaries in Ecuador (see Mission Partners section above) share the following prayer requests:

1. For a peaceful heart and mind, along with a calm message, for Kathy & I during this present world situation. Many of our Awa people are getting pretty panicky. We desire to be voices that encourage them to place their hope and trust in our Father God, rather than drown in fear.
 
2. That our road would remain open, as many of our neighbors are fearful and have plans to shut it up with a pile of rocks and gravel. Since we have become the local ambulance, and are also trying to take Marco Aurelio, one of the Awa believers, out to the city regularly for his dialysis treatments, it would be really helpful if our road remained passable!
 
3. For the Awa believers as we have had to cancel church services and also our Easter conference. There were six young Awa wanting to get baptized at Easter, pray that their faith will remain strong. Last Sunday we were able to post a short Sunday message, at least for the ones who are technologically able to listen to it on their phones.
 
4. For our kids and grandson Ronin there in the USA, and also for Kathy's mom who has recently been hospitalized with what seems to have been a mild heart attack. We find it hard knowing we are somewhat cut off from travel at this time; at the same time so thankful for good communication!
 
5. For a good ability in leadership for the Ecuadorian Mission team, including our Ecuadorian pastors, ministry workers, and our German and American co-workers. Pray for good fellowship and unity in a time when we are geographically isolated from each other.
 
6. The Ecuadorian health-care system is already maxed out, so we imagine this new crisis will be very difficult to handle. Please pray for the IESS hospital and San Vicente hospital, both located in the city of Ibarra, as they will soon be full to capacity; for doctors and nurses, for supplies that will likely run short.



A note on prayers: to respect confidentiality, we will not be sharing specific prayer requests via email; however our prayer team is still actively praying for every request that they receive. If you have a prayer request, send it to the prayer team at prayer@asburylv.org.

If you are experiencing loneliness, or spiritual and emotional distress during these challenging days, you are not alone. Your pastors are praying for you.  Please reach out to Pastor Barbara at  blee@asburylv.org . She has been making calls for encouragement, counsel and prayer. If you are aware of someone in the congregation you are concerned about, please ask that individual's permission and then pass along your concern to Pastor Barbara.
Asbury is now a drop-off site for home-sewn masks for Lehigh Valley Health Network. The collection bin is located at the doors by the upper entrance to the building. If you're able to sew masks, but not able to deliver, or if you need assistance picking up supplies, email Pastor Barbara to get connected with a helper.

Instructions:



St. Luke's is also collecting personal protective equipment (PPE). Learn more about the items they're accepting and their drop-off locations (their Care Now urgent care locations in Allentown, Whitehall, Bethlehem, and more) on their website.


As we wrap up the week, check out this video on forgiveness; and consider the following questions:

What can it cost you to hold a grudge? For example, what might you miss out on if you decided to hold a grudge and not forgive a friend?
What if a friend says something unkind to you and they never say they are sorry? Do you still forgive them? Do you only forgive someone if they ask you?
*Is forgiveness always fair? How does it make you feel when it's not fair?


Asbury's building is closed through (and including) Sunday, April 5. Read more at asburylv.org/200324update. The building has been deep cleaned and we are asking that no one enter the building until it reopens.



Catch up on past announcements, devotionals, and resources at  asburylv.org/coronavirus .

All updates regarding Asbury's response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will also be shared at that page; as well as via email blast and on our social media feeds ( Facebook and Twitter).



Please know that during the time that the office is closed, all calls to Asbury are being received by our answering service, as there is no one available in the office to take your call. Any messages you leave with the answering service are forwarded to us and we will relay your message to the appropriate staff member to respond to you as soon as possible.



Cancelled/Postponed Events
Include, but not limited to:
Children's Ministries' Easter Celebration (postponed)
Jubilation Ringers Spring Concerts (cancelled)
April Blood Drive (cancelled) - please consider giving at one of their physical locations (Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Reading) in this critical time of need.
Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings
Men's Group Tour to Mack Museum
Reschedule dates (if applicable) will be communicated when available.
No physical meetings are being held at Asbury or off-site; but please check with your group/Circle leader to see if there are plans for your group to connect online.

Connect with Us
www.asburylv.org