Monday, March 30, 2020

WEEKLY FRAMEWORK:
There are many products we buy, use, and put our confidence in without having all the information or fully understanding how they work. In the Gospel of John, we see a man begin to follow Jesus based on limited information. This man, who was born blind, said he only knew one main thing-and that one thing was enough to make him curious about who Jesus really was.

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

There are many amazing things about Jesus coming to earth, putting on flesh and bone, and walking among us. Knowing the end of the story, it's all-too-easy to look past the fully human, fully divine nature of Jesus  and focus purely on him as God.

If you're looking for an example of Jesus dealing with something that we deal with regularly, today's scripture is a prime example. This interaction might especially resonate if you're a parent:

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"I DID tell you!"

The people interacting with Jesus in this passage are trying to uphold what they believe the Jewish law is commanding them to do. But their understanding of it is forcing them into opposition with Jesus:

"Look, if you're the Christ, just tell us."

For some of them it might be true curiosity:

"is he really the Messiah we've been waiting for? He's not what we expected, but he sure does some amazing things."

For others, it was a trap: if Jesus professed to be God, he was in direct opposition of Jewish law and they could take action against him, finally shutting down this movement that had caused them so many headaches.

Jesus answers them clearly:

"I have told you, but you don't believe. I've also shown you but you don't believe"

Are we paying attention to what Jesus is doing in and around us? Or do we  find ourselves asking where Jesus is while we're missing the signs of his presence that are right in front of us?

Even when we find ourselves in a very broken place, let us try and find where the light of Jesus is shining through; and reflect that light to those around us.

For Reflection:
Thomas needed to see proof before he believed Jesus was resurrected.  Give some examples of proof people would like to have before believing in God.  What are some things people put full trust in without having all the information?


Previously shared study resources:
The Women Who Knew, produced by EPAUMC North District
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!
 From  Dr. Chris Hena, Healthy Women, Healthy Liberia

COVID 19 is in our county now. Honestly, so much fear, but I have faith in Jesus who controls everything, to see us through this time. We are going to use wisdom and do all the things we are told to do, but I am not going to give in to fear. I see so many hopeful passages in His word, so I am refusing to give in to all the negatives.
 
You may never know how much you and others have blessed us. During Ebola, I had only mask and gloves. Today, we are more prepared, because of all the materials you sent our way. A big thanks to Doreen [at Through These Hands] and the Asbury United Methodist Church family. We are going to defeat this COVID-19, because of your generosity.
 
Have a blessed evening. A thanks again for everything.
 
In Him,
Chris

Don't forget to send your pictures or videos of palms to Miss Pam!



For SPARK (3-4yr olds)
Download this week's Parent Cue

For BLAST (PreK- 5th grades)
Read Luke 6:37

If we're not careful, we can spend all our time pointing out other people's mistakes instead of taking a long hard look at our own behavior. Once you start judging and blaming, pretty soon you realize you're just as imperfect too.

But remember, the answer is forgiveness! Forgiveness is deciding someone who has wronged you doesn't have to pay. It's a choice. When you refuse to forgive, when you choose to stay angry, you miss out.

Here's your challenge this week . When you find yourself about to blame or judge someone else, stop yourself. Hold your tongue. Don't even let the words come out of your mouth. 
Make a decision to let it go so you don't miss out.

This will definitely require God's help! As you pray today, ask God to help you remember that  you're not perfect. Tell Him that you love Him and ask God to help you forgive so you don't miss out this week.

Missed this week's video lessons shared on Sunday (for week of 3/29)?

Father God,

Thank you for all You give us and for all that You are

Be with the doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals

Be with the leaders who are making crucial decisions

Be with those who are ill

Be with those who are still working in life-sustaining business to help us continue to have access to the things we need to survive

Be with first responders

Be with those who are lonely

Be with me

Amen.



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.



We want to encourage you during this time to continue to stay connected with others, particularly those who might need help - not just Asbury congregants, but neighbors and homebound friends. A phone call, email, or text is always a safe way to connect! Always be aware of your own safety and the safety of those you're helping!



We know that these stressful times have and will cause hardships for some in our community. The following groups, recommended by Asbury in Mission (AIM), have resources available for assistance if you or someone you know has a need:

Kingdom Life Family Center Food Bank
4333 Lime Kiln Rd, Orefield, PA 18069
1401 Linden Street, Allentown, PA 18102

AIM also reminds us that while volunteer opportunities are few due to the current crisis, our mission partners can still be supported financially. Learn more about all of our AIM mission partners at  asburylv.org/aim.



Our Keep in Touch team is still striving to connect with those in our congregation who are sick or hospitalized, even in the  absence of physical visits.  Members known to be hospitalized and/or sick and members who are visited monthly will be "visited" by phone. Say a special prayer of thanks for these individuals who help care for those among us who are ill!

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.



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.



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