Tuesday, April 7, 2020

WEEKLY FRAMEWORK:
At different points in our lives, many of us wonder why a good God would allow bad things to happen. And without a clear response, that dilemma could cause us to question God's existence altogether. The Gospel writer John documented an occasion where Jesus not only brought his friend Lazarus back to life but also demonstrated how God can exist in the midst of a world of evil and suffering.

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

The book of Job recounts the life of a man who underwent immense suffering and struggle. In the final chapter of the story, Job makes his last remarks to God, ending by saying "[I] repent in dust and ashes" (42:8, NIV).
Job's repentance recalls Abraham referring to himself as "nothing but dust and ashes" (Genesis 18:27, NIV). The idea of having been created from ashes and destined to return to ashes is one we explored together on Ash Wednesday at the beginning of the season of Lent. Now, in the midst of Holy Week, our Lenten journey is coming to a close, and we consider Jesus' earthly mortality as well as our own.
Yet Holy Week allows us to focus on the fact that we've been given a gift much greater than the opportunity to live a season in earthly bodies that will return to dust. We have been given eternal life because Jesus gave his life for us.
We know the ending, but our story is not yet finished. Let's strive to live lives worthy of being called daughters and sons of God.

For Reflection:
In chapter 42, Job saw that he needed more than the "why" answers he asked God for (which never came).  God said Job's friends' answers had "not spoken rightly" (Job 42:7). Have well-meaning friends ever given glib explanations of your suffering? How can God's caring presence with you help more than any explanation?


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.


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

For BLAST (PreK- 5th grades)
Read Micah 6:8

Today's verse makes it pretty clear what God expects of those who follow Him. And it's not saying He expects us to be perfect.

What God wants for us, what He expects of us, is pretty simple. We are called to act with justice-to treat others fairly. To love mercy-to choose kindness always. And to live humbly. God wants you to work hard at putting others first. He wants you to pay attention to the people around you and see how you can help. He wants you to choose to think about what someone else needs before you think about what you need. What does He expect? Humility.

Think about your day. Was there a time when someone else put you first? How did it make you feel? Was there a time when you chose to put someone else first? What happened?

Thank God for His love for you today and ask Him to help you "walk humbly" in His sight as you choose to put others first.


Missed the video lessons shared yesterday?

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.



The Eastern PA Annual Conference has been moved from June to October 13-14.  Learn more



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

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 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:
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.
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