Friday, April 3, 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.

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

When Paul began planting churches in towns all over the Meditteranean region, he didn't begin them and then skip town to never return. In some cases he wasn't able to physically return; but Paul saw that following Jesus was based on having a community of believers, connected together because of what Jesus had done in their lives. We know a good bit about the ministry that Paul did because a solid portion of what we know as the New Testament of the Bible is comprised of letters he wrote back to the churches.

It's clear from these letters that he and the people doing ministry with him deeply cared about those in the cities and towns where they started churches. The letters contained guidance, clarity on issues they were disputing within their local churches, and lots of reassurance that even though Paul and his associates weren't physically present that they were still actively thinking about and praying for the Churches.

In these challenging times when we're separated, it's vital for us to be praying for each other, checking in with each other, and staying connected in ways that we may have never connected through before.

Don't give up hope. Know that we're in this together. Pray that we all may "be filled with the knowledge of God's will, with all wisdom and spiritual understanding."


For Reflection:
This is Paul's prayer for the Christians in Colossae.  He is praying that they continue to grow in their faith. In which of these aspects of your faith journey would you like your "eyes opened" more? Explain.

Hope * Joy * Love * Forgiveness * Contentment
Peace * Understanding * Patience


Previously shared study resources:
The Women Who Knew, produced by EPAUMC North District
During this unique time when we cannot celebrate Communion as a congregation, we recall that Jesus celebrated many meals with his followers and disciples. On Palm Sunday, we invite the congregation to gather for a "Love Feast." As we worship, bring a plate of pancakes, coffee cake, eggs or another comfort food, along with something to drink-coffee, juice, water or whatever you may have. Together, we will participate in a liturgy to draw on the Holy Spirit for comfort and express our gratitude to God.


As we wrap up the week, check out this video on forgiveness
Missed this week's video lessons shared on Sunday (for week of 3/29)?

Father of us all,
Let us continue to strive to be a community
even while socially distant.
We pray for those who are in our congregation, community, and world.
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.

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