Thursday, April 16, 2020
Today is the day!
Asbury is 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 today and tomorrow, 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!

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.

Thursday's Devotional
Based on Pastor Eric's daily study guide
We often use the idea of a roller coaster as a metaphor for the whiplash that we encounter in stories and situations. The disciples' reaction to the discovery of Jesus' resurrection is a great illustration of this. It's easy to assume that once the disciples have discovered the empty tomb that there's nothing to do but rejoice. Yet, as we read of Matthew's account of their departure from the garden to go and tell the other disciples, we're told that excitement isn't the only emotion they're experiencing: they also have fear.
Those who aren't the biggest fans of roller coasters can relate. Cresting the first peak after a slow climb up the lift hill brings excitement for the ride to come, but an element of fear as well: how fast is this ride, anyway? Are the turns hard? Will my stomach be able to handle this?
The past three days had certainly been a roller coaster of emotions for the disciples: their friend and Rabbi had been arrested, tortured, murdered, and hastily buried. They hid out for fear that they could be next to face the same fate. But then on the morning following the Sabbath, the women came back from the tomb with news that Jesus' body was gone; and that they had been told he was alive!
It's news that every mourner wants to hear: the last few days that felt like a nightmare were actually just a nightmare; everything is back to the way it had always been.
But wait. That's almost too good to be true. Surely the women were just confused. Some of the men had seen the crucifixion with their own eyes. They wouldn't believe until they'd seen this for themselves, too.
Surely they approached the tomb with fear and excitement, but Matthew tells us that they also left the tomb with fear and excitement. They didn't know what lay ahead of them. But the story doesn't end there; because, as he often does in the midst of fear, Jesus arrives.
Jesus assures (commands) them to not be afraid and tells them to pass along word of where he's headed and where they'll encounter him next.
This, of course, was before Jesus' ascension into heaven, so we know where he is now: reigning over all.
As we go about this trying time, let us find comfort in knowing that Jesus has gone before us and offers comfort and strength in the midst of our fear.

For Reflection:
There are 5 implications the resurrection has on our lives:
1) God is personal
2) Suffering is not evidence of God's absence
3) Heaven is real
4) Forgiveness is available
5) You are loved by God
* Which of the five resonate with you?
* Which of the five do you have a hard time believing is true?
* What might change if you freed yourself to believe that what you've struggled to believe is actually true?

Join us this Sunday at 10 AM at live.asburylv.org as Pastor Barbara continues the Easter story through her message "Encounters on the Road". The service will feature pre-recorded music from some of our musical groups.

For SPARK (3-4yr olds)

For BLAST (PreK- 5th grades)
Read  Hebrews 12:2

Over two thousand years ago, Jesus suffered and died the worst kind of death. But that terrible Friday that Jesus died isn't the end of the story. Because on Sunday, when Jesus' friends went to the tomb, it was empty! The grave couldn't hold Jesus - He's alive!

That's why Easter is the best day ever. Jesus knew while He was on the cross that Sunday was coming. He suffered because of the joy He was looking forward to! If there were no Easter, no resurrection, then Jesus wouldn't be worth following. But because Jesus faced death and beat it, because He is alive, Jesus is worthy of all of our worship and honor and praise!

Grab six plastic Easter eggs. Write out each sentence of the verse onto a strip of paper, fold it up, and place one inside each egg. Ask a sibling or parent to hide the eggs. Search to find them then put all the sentences in order. Read the verse with your sibling or parent. Then spend some time thanking Jesus for what Easter really means.

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

God who reigns over all,
Quell our fears of the unknown.
Let us be comforted in knowing that You have gone before us and reign over all.
Let us comfort others with the knowledge we have of who You are and how you've moved in our lives and in the world around us.
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.



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