Monday, April 13, 2020

WEEKLY FRAMEWORK:
Following Jesus' crucifixion, his followers expected what anyone expects after someone dies: that the person would remain that way. But one of Jesus' followers, John, gave an eyewitness account that summarized the main event surrounding Christianity: Jesus rose from the dead. In this seventh and final sign that John documents, he makes the case that Jesus is exactly who he claimed to be.

Monday's Devotional
Based on Pastor Eric's daily study guide
In a time begging for distractions from the bad news of the day, the Netflix documentary Tiger King has become a source of American fascination. The 7-episode miniseries focuses on players in the exotic animal trade, centering around a man who goes by the name "Joe Exotic", aka the "Tiger King".
The title of king carries different weight for us now than it did in Biblical times. Calling oneself a "king" now can come with an ego attached, but typically not with an expectation that the person has dominion over people. In Jesus' time, however, monarchies ruled the day and the king ruled the people.
So when Pilate had a sign prepared for Jesus' cross, an additional piece of humiliation and intimidation for a very public execution, and it titled Jesus as "the king of the Jews," the Jewish chief priests balked. Just because he claimed to be king of the Jews doesn't mean that he is the king of the Jews. But Pilate, whether based on his own personal feelings about Jesus or because he felt he'd wasted enough of his time on the matter, said the sign was finished and wasn't changing.
What does your sign say? Who do you claim to be? What do others see you as?
Do you claim to be a king? Probably not. But do you act like one? Or perhaps you even want others to see you as one? Who's the king of your life? Do you make all the decisions? Do you rule over your own personal dominion? Do you want others to see you as a person of power as an effort to command their respect?
Sometimes our unmerited belief in ourselves as the appointed people in charge is what leads to our downfall. We won't spoil Tiger King for those of you who haven't watched yet, but we know the end of the story of the Jewish rulers: Jesus - the king of the Jews - was executed but rose again after 3 days and reigns over us in our lives today. Let's take time today to consider who we're allowing to decide our worth; and who should be assigning our worth.
For Reflection:
* What are some details about this story that would lead a reader to believe this actually happened?
* What stands out to you about this passage?
* What emotions must the disciples have been feeling?
A reminder that the deadline for the UMW Koch Scholarship is this Wednesday, April 15. Learn more about scholarships at asburylv.org/scholarships. Questions regarding the Koch Scholarship can be directed to Linda McCreight at lindamcc@ptd.net.



We've received the following message from Rise Against Hunger:

We are delighted to announce that the meals from your Rise Against Hunger Experience on 2/29/2020 have been shipped in a container totaling 285,120 meals from our Philadelphia warehouse. The meals will be received by our in-country partner Family Legacy Missions in Zambia.

Thank you to all who took part in this life-changing experience!



Sarah Circle will meet at 7:00PM (please note the time change) on Wednesday, April 15, 2020. The meeting will be held via a ZOOM set up by Peg French. Discussion will be on Guideposts 7 and 8 of the study book The Gifts of Imperfection by BrenĂ© Brown with a subtitle of "Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are - Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life". Debbie Holt will facilitate.  Interested in joining? Please contact Deb McCleary (djmccleary76@msn.com) for details as to how to connect. All women are cordially invited to join!


Replay of Easter Worship


If you missed yesterday's Easter worship or would like to watch again, you can watch the replay here!
From The Zimmerman family, Kathmandu, Nepal
(excerpts from latest newsletter)

Nepal is incredibly vulnerable to a disaster like Coronavirus. If the wealthiest nations in the world struggle to contain death rates, we can only imagine what it will look like in a country where a UNICEF survey found that 53% of health facilities across the country lack a handwashing facility with soap and water (questions about numbers of ventilators are likely superfluous). The lockdown brings with it very mixed emotions. We feel like we are bracing for the arrival of a hurricane, even as preparations are completed at Patan Hospital for a COVID unit and 18 critical care beds with ventilators, completely separated from the main wards which are now emptied of all but the most serious cases. Non-essential surgeries have been cancelled, outpatient clinics are almost empty, and staff are working on light rotations in this seeming 'calm before the storm'; however, anxiety levels have led to incidences of panic in the handling of ordinary patients. Social distancing is an unattainable luxury if you are part of a community squeezed into a few shared rooms. What do you do as a day labourer, living hand to mouth, when you have no possibility to go out and work? The government here has remained silent on the possibility of help for the vulnerable to survive the devastating economic impact of the travel restrictions and lockdown (let alone the illness itself).

Wondering what the days ahead hold, we are grateful to be able to turn it all over to the One who cares, who cared enough to join us on this earth and walk with us all the way to death, and beyond it, into life. We join you in prayer as we watch for Easter.

Sincerely,
Deirdre, Mark, Zachary & Benjamin



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

For BLAST (PreK- 5th grades)
Read  Mark 10:45

Imagine the wealthiest king, sitting on a tall throne, crowned with jewels, surrounded by servants bowing down at his feet. What might happen if that king stepped down from the throne, took off his royal robe and jewel covered crown, and lined up with the servants instead?

That's what Jesus did. He left the beauty and perfection of heaven behind to become like a servant. Jesus chose to enter our world as one of us, completely human, able to feel and experience all the things we experience so that we could know Him. Jesus chose to put you first. 

Grab a piece of paper and draw a picture the night Jesus was born. Think about how Jesus left heaven for you, in order to put you first. Underneath your drawing write the words "Jesus put me first."

Spend some time today thanking Jesus for choosing to leave heaven and come to  earth so that He could put you first. Ask Him to help you follow Him this week as you  choose to put others first, too.

Rather have all of this week's BLAST devotionals at once? Get them here


God who has saved us,
Thank You for your matchless love,
So large that two arms outstretched on a cross could embrace us despite all of our failures and shortcomings
Thank you for for defeating death so that we can live in eternity with You.
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.


Asbury's building is now closed indefinitely. When the time comes to re-open, rest assured we will send that communication as far in advance as possible (and very ready to celebrate gathering again!).



For the safety of all, and to keep Asbury's building virus-free, access to the building is now limited to office and custodial staff only. All other key cards have been deactivated. Should you need to gain access to the building, please contact Israel Olivieri, Business Manager, at  iolivieri@asburylv.org.



Asbury will be helping Salem UMC by delivering needed food items to their Food Bank on April 18. Donations are being collected from 4:00 - 6:00 PM on Thursday and Friday April 16 & 17.  Please drop off your non-perishable donations at the upper level entrance at Asbury. Volunteers will be practicing proper social distancing during the collection period. Please help our center city friends by generously giving!



Summer Camping registration is underway! Camps realize that the future is full of uncertainties and are considering alternative plans, including some offering full refunds if camps are cancelled. Visit the individual camp sites to learn more about their camps and their policies related to COVID-19:
Gretna Glen: Main Site | COVID-19 Response  
Pocono Plateau: Main Site | COVID-19 Response
Camp Innabah: Main Site | COVID-19 Response



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 them,  email Pastor Barbara to get connected with a helper. We do not have supplies available to offer; but could help coordinate a pickup for an order you place at a local fabric or craft store that's offering curbside pickup.

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:
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
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.


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.

If you are in a position to donate to the food banks, please be aware of the following information about donations:
Kingdom Life Family Center in Orefield wants people to make an appointment to drop off food on a Tuesday morning.  Call 610-398-0111
Salem United Methodist Church in Allentown, Food bank can take donations in the morning by appointment only.  Call Rev. Navin Satyarvata 610-432-2577



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!
Connect with us online
www.asburylv.org