Friday, April 24, 2020
Friday's Devotional
From Pastor Barbara

All week, we have been exploring the disciples' experiences of the Risen Christ. In this passage of the Gospel of John, the author gives us two more powerful resurrection encounters with Jesus. In both, Jesus suddenly appears to his followers even though they are shut away and the doors are locked. Where the disciples are fearful and doubting, Jesus brings peace and encourages them to believe that he is truly risen from the dead.
 
As you have been social distancing, maybe you have been frightened, anxious or lonely. If so, in what ways have you experienced the presence of Jesus with you during this time? How do you know Jesus is with you? What difference does his presence make?
 
The disciple Thomas struggles to believe Jesus has risen from the dead.
How does Jesus use the marks of crucifixion to help Thomas?
Place yourself into the scene as Thomas...How do you react to the scars that remain on Jesus' body? Just let your immediate feelings come to the surface. Does anything surprise you about your reaction?

In this passage, Thomas declares, 'My Lord and My God'. Are you able to say with Thomas: 'My Lord and My God'? If so, say it to Jesus now. As you close with a time of quiet prayer, imagine Jesus breathing his Holy Spirit into your heart. Wherever you are today, allow yourself to be filled with the peace that Jesus brings.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, AIM has decided to cancel the Yard Sale that was scheduled for June. Instead, AIM encourages everyone to save their goods and support the UMW Bazaar in November.



For those wishing to support COVID-19 relief, we encourage you to consider giving to UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) Advance. 100% of donations to the Advance go to COVID-19 relief, as UMCOR's administrative costs are paid through connectional giving.
Rather have all of this week's BLAST devotionals at once? Get them here

A Prayer of Hope
Dear God,
When we face each day,
give us wisdom to see the best of things to come.
Wisdom to make good decisions.
And most of all, faith to know that you are walking with us every step of the way.
Amen

Print Resources for this week:


This week, Pastor Eric begins a new sermon series exploring the most common worries and fears experienced by Americans today. Together, we'll consider practical steps for overcoming these fears and reflect upon fear in the light of scripture and a faith that promises again and again that we don't need to live in fear. Let's live with courage and hope.

Learn more about the series at asburylv.org/unafraid.

Worship will be streaming live at 10 AM at live.asburylv.org and will feature a variety of musical styles.

Beginning next Tuesday, April 28, join Pastor Barbara for a study based on "Unafraid" by Adam Hamilton. The group will explore the themes of the book as explored by Pastor Eric in the "Unafraid" sermon series. To join the group, visit asburylv.org/unafraidstudy to sign up to receive information on how to join the online meeting. Space is limited!

If you would like a print copy of the May/June issue of The Upper Room devotional, please let us know by completing this form. We'll mail it to you free of charge while our supplies last.
Risen Savior,
Thank you for revealing yourself to us in our times of doubt, questioning, and anxiety. Let us remember that you are present with us and that it is in you that we can find true peace.
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.



In the midst of a challenging time, we still have much to celebrate! Thanks to your amazing generosity, we have reached our goal for the Capital Campaign of $350,000 as of April 19, 2020! Praise God!! Thank you to all who supported this important initiative; and continue to watch for updates on project progress in the coming months.

Get information about and past updates on the Capital Campaign at asburylv.org/capitalcampaign.



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)
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.

I f you are experiencing loneliness, or spiritual and emotional distress during these challenging days, or if there's someone you're concerned about, please reach out to Pastor Barbara at  blee@asburylv.org .



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
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