Friday, April 17, 2020
It's not too late to help!
Donations are being collected for Salem UMC's Food Bank TODAY from 4:00 - 6:00 PM . 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.

Friday's Devotional
Based on Pastor Eric's daily study guide
Read John 20:29
In 1994, Billy Graham held a series of crusades in Cleveland Municipal Stadium, at that point the former home of baseball's Indians and still-current home of football's Browns. Part of Rev. Graham's teaching was around Jesus' interaction with a man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus was confused about Jesus' teaching on being born again and Jesus explains that the presence of those who are reborn are like the wind: 
The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don't know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit ( John 3:8, CSB).
Rev. Graham put it this way when he preached his message at the Cleveland Youth Night:
"Well, you say:
'Well, what does God look like? Can you see God? Have you ever seen him?'
I've never seen God.
I know he exists.
I've never seen the wind. Have you ever seen the wind?
I've seen the effects of the wind, but I've never seen the wind.
There's a mystery to it!"
There is great mystery around God.
Rev. Graham didn't see God. No one in the 74,000+ seat stadium had seen God. But in our scripture passage for today, Jesus says "happy are those who don't see and yet believe."
Believing without having seen something is difficult! We, like Thomas, the doubting disciple, want to see proof of something before we buy into it and endorse it.
Are you happy having not seen God and yet believing? There's uncomfortable friction in having not had a tangible encounter and yet fully embracing something.
Yet while we've not seen God, our belief in God can be supported by the fact that, while we've not encountered God face-to-face, we've seen the effects of God in our lives, in our world, and in those around us. The indelible mark of a Creator is all around. Let us seek happiness, knowing that while we've yet to directly see God, we can have a glimpse of God through all of God's creation.

For Reflection:
While many eyewitnesses believed in Jesus because of what they saw firsthand, why do you think Jesus called people-such as us- who were not eyewitnesses to the resurrection "blessed"?

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.

We are facing unique circumstances and for many that unknown creates stress and worry. Take some time today to check-in with your child. Talk with them about how they are doing with current circumstances and thoughts or worries they have. Grab a napkin and a pen, and make a list of everything your child worries about. Anxiety thrives in secrecy, so sharing them takes some of the worries' strength away. 
 
Next, go through each item on the list and ask if it's within your child's control (meaning THEY could do something about it) or outside of their control (something that should be presented to God.) Together, make a plan of how you will tackle the Worry Monster as a team.

Read and discuss 1 Peter 5:7. Lead your child in a prayer of turning all their worries over to God. Then let them have fun tearing the napkin with all the worries into a thousand little pieces declaring that with God they're stronger than any worry.

Print resources for this week:
For SPARK (3-4yr olds): Parent Cue
Creator and Sustainer,
Thank you for all that You have provided us; the seen and the unseen.
Help us, even in the times when we struggle with feeling distance from You, to know that you are moving in our lives in ways that we have yet to realize.
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