Wednesday, April 8, 2020
You are invited to our Maundy Thursday Worship Service and Love Feast.  The same service will be livestreamed at noon and 6 PM and is designed to be viewed before eating a meal.
Come together to reflect on your experiences during this unique time of Lent.

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.

Wednesday's Devotional
Based on Pastor Eric's daily study guide
Even when we're not in the midst of a pandemic, it's easy to look around us and question why things feel so broken.
Why is there so much hate? Why is there so much pain? Why do we have urges to do things that we know aren't good for us? Why are we able to exercise restraint... but often choose not to? Why is there inequality? Why do our hearts feel so empty sometimes?
Jesus was clearly a source of joy for the disciples. But his presence didn't mean their lives were made whole and their shortcomings were addressed (Judas being the prime example). Even moreso, we're well aware that Jesus' teaching was often a source of confusion (and even frustration) for the disciples. In the lead-up to today's passage from Pastor Eric's daily study guide, Jesus is teaching the disciples about what's to come in his life; a time that we're reflecting on during this Holy Week:
Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. ( John 16:20-22, NIV)
The disciples, human beings the same as you and I, had grief in their lives. And one of the heaviest times of grief was yet to come for them: they didn't know Jesus was going to be put to death; and they certainly didn't yet understand that he would be raised from the dead.
But Jesus ends this teaching by giving the disciples reassurance for the future - reassurance that we, too, can lean on:
"Take heart! I have overcome the world" (16:33)
Take heart. For while we are in the throes of grief over what's happening in the world - and some of us feeling it more acutely than others - Jesus has assured us that this is not the end of the story. May the weight on your soul be comforted today by the fact that Jesus has overcome the brokenness of this world.
For Reflection:
Like Job's friends, many in Jesus' day and ours feel (maybe subconsciously) that "being good" is a kind of "suffering insurance." Jesus didn't see it that way. How do you react to his direct words: "in this world you will have trouble"? How can you live into the flip side of Jesus' words-to "take heart" because he's overcome the world?
Father of all,
Thank you for breathing life into the dust to form the wondrous creation around us and in us; and thank you for redeeming us when we fall short.
Be with those who need healing and those who need strength for the day.
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.


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

For BLAST (PreK- 5th grades)
Read Romans 12:3

Have you ever accomplished something that made you feel proud? Maybe you finally got all A's on your report card. Maybe you landed that double back flip or made a free throw with a big swish.

When we accomplish things, it makes us feel good. But pride has a definite downside. When we start to think our accomplishments are all about us, and refuse to give God credit or acknowledge Him, that's when we get in trouble. That's why it's important that we "be reasonable" when it comes to how we think about ourselves. When you step back and remember that God is the one who makes everything possible, you won't let pride get in the way.

Think about the last big thing you did that made you proud. Did you brag about it? Did you tell everyone? Did you give God credit?

This week, practice "being reasonable." Each time you accomplish something and you find yourself starting to get puffed up with pride, bow your head and give God the credit instead.


Missed the video lessons shared yesterday?
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:
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