Thursday, April 2, 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.

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

Do you find it easy to find joy in the midst of a trial? (If not, you're not alone)

It's doubtful that James had a situation in mind like the one we're currently facing, but if there was a challenging passage for the times that we're in, this is it.

We don't know what lies ahead but we know that we need the qualities James outlines so that we can make it through the trial and storm. We need a spirit of joy, we need endurance, we need wisdom, and we need to turn to God.
God promises us life - eternal life - as we remain faithful to Him during the temptations we face.

There's no promise that the trials will disappear. There's no promise that there won't be sorrow and pain. But there is a promise that there is light and joy on the other side.

Even in a dark time, where are you finding joy today?

For Reflection:
Think of a season of your life that was difficult through no fault of your own. You may be in one currently. Is there something about that season God used (or could use) to shape your faith? If so, what?


Previously shared study resources:
The Women Who Knew, produced by EPAUMC North District
 From Joshua Mbewu, former Africa University Student supported by Asbury, Zimbabwe

Greetings, my dear friends. On Monday 30 March Zimbabwe is set to go under lockdown for 21 days, the President has declared. But most families have gone into self-quarantine already. [Pray] for my country, Zimbabwe during this difficult time. Prayers for the homeless and needy that God may take them through [this ordeal]. May He give them shelter and something to eat. My family needs the favour of God to protect each member and all those in our circle of friendships, request for safety and that essential provisions should not run out of our homes in times like these.
 
Joshua
We invite you to send notes of support and encouragement to the mission partners whose stories we've been sharing. Simply respond to this email with your message and we'll make sure it's passed along!


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

For BLAST (PreK- 5th grades)
Read  Zechariah 7:9

Today's verse includes some big words that need defining!
Justice - the quality of being just, impartial, or fair
Mercy -  compassion or patience shown to an offender (someone who has wronged you)

God is asking us to treat others with fairness. To show love and compassion and patience to one another, even those who hurt us. Why? 
Because that's exactly how God treats us! He treats us fairly. He is loving and patient and kind, always.

In the space below, rewrite today's verse in your own words. Feel free to use the words in the definitions above or to look up the verse in different translations. You could even go to  BibleGateway.com (with an adult's permission) to read this verse in different translations.

Read the words you've written today as a prayer to God, asking Him to help you choose forgiveness so you don't miss out!

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

God of health and hope,
Grant me a spirit of courage as I face the challenges of the day.
Let me be loving and find joy in the darkness;
and let me show Your love to others.
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.

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!
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!

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.



A special Charge Conference is being held Friday, April 10, at 3 PM through Zoom to formally approve a vote being taken by Church Council to attempt to secure a loan through the  CARES Act . Learn more at  asburylv.org/specialchargeconference .



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