Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Weekly Framework
When we think of church, why is a building the first thing that comes to mind? Is church a place full of robes and pews? Bands and banners? Or is church meant to refer to something different?

Wednesday's Devotional

Today's scripture reminds of us of the faith journey we're on. Paul begins Romans 12 with two verses I would highly recommend memorizing: 

" Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is true worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will. "

Paul reminds us that our response to God is to offer ourselves to God. We give God who we are and pray that God will use us throughout each day. We do this through a morning prayer and/or this time right now, as you are reading this devotional  This is an act of worship and loving God.

Paul encourages us to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This is part of what you are doing now as you make a habit of reading a devotional each day. You are renewing your mind with Scriptures. Reminding yourself of who God is and the life God desires for us to live is knowing God.

Finally, we serve God. Paul shares that we are one body but have many members. We have different gifts that we can serve. Gifts are attributes, qualities and interests that we have that we enjoy doing. When we use our gifts, we find great joy and a sense of purpose. God gives us gifts -things that we are good at - so that we can use them to make a difference in this world. Sometimes we can claim these gifts as things we are good at and forget that it is God who gave these natural abilities to us. Or we can think we don't have much to offer or do not know our gifts. Know that you do indeed have gifts.

Each day may we grow in our journey to know, love and serve God each day.

For Reflection

In Old Testament times, offering an animal as a sacrifice meant the animal died. Paul says it's much better for God's purposes if we offer ourselves as "living sacrifices." The church is meant to be a whole society of people like that. Not just a building, a place, but an active, vibrant "body of Christ," living God's principles in the world.
  • In your family, which was worse: to think too highly of yourself, or to think too little of your true abilities and strengths? How does that early influence affect your efforts to give yourself to God as a living sacrifice? How clearly are you able to take stock of what you have to offer to God?
  • Verses 6-8 ardently call us to use the gifts (strengths) we have to serve God and others. Do you have any gifts you hesitate to use? If so, what's the basis for your caution? Do you have any gifts that you value, but that don't seem to "fit" easily into typical kinds of "church" activity?

Lord Jesus,
Help me to consider the gifts I have and how I can use them to help others to know who You are.
Amen.



If you have a prayer request, send it to the prayer team at prayer@asburylv.org.

A note from Rev. Dr. Donna Jones, Pastor of Cookman Beloved Community in Philadelphia. We encourage you to reach out to her with words of encouragement and support at djones5904@gmail.com.

Asbury friends,

Thanks for reaching out!

How's Allentown and your area?

Philly is definitely in crisis - we are doing what we know how to do - organize, work, pray, and listen.

Everyone else is a bit "shell shocked" - many work in areas that are really un-safe now because of the rebellions (stores, security, etc). But on the whole we are shaken, but moving along.

Prayer is a wonderful gift and we are also leading interfaith prayer vigils for 8 days, 3 times a day, in public spaces along 52nd Street Corridore from Thursday to Thursday.

Mostly we are protesting, praying, cleaning up (mostly done), and keeping one another encouraged.

It's hard to encourage folk when we're discouraged.

Needless to say - prayers welcome!

Blessings and let us know how Allentown is fairing.

Blessings,
Donna
Church Council will be hosting a meeting via Zoom this Sunday, June 7, at 11:30 AM to share updates on Asbury.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.

Please visit
asburylv.org/ChurchCouncilUpdate
to register now. Following registration, you'll receive an email with information on how to join the webinar.

Did you know that your Amazon purchases can help Asbury? While doing your Father's Day shopping, or getting a few needed items for home, visit smile.amazon.com/ch/23-1352369, or login to your account at smile.amazon.com and choose "Asbury Allentown United Methodist Church" as your charity. Asbury will receive 0.5% of the price of your purchase!


For SPARK (3-4yr olds)

For BLAST (PreK- 5th grades)

Do you know how your Mom's car works?

Can you take apart a washing machine and put it back together?

When you turn on your TV, do you understand how the images appear on the screen?

You put your trust in stuff every day without completely understanding how it works. The same is true in our relationship with God. You might be tempted to give up, to quit living the way God wants you to live when things happen that you don't understand.

But trust means that you choose to believe, even with all your questions, that God is good and that He loves you. Even when things don't make sense or when you have questions you can't answer, you can still trust God and obey what He's asked of you. 

Pick one thing in your house that you depend on but maybe don't completely understand (like your washing machine or refrigerator). Write out the words of today's verse on a notecard and tape it to that item. Ask God to help you continue to obey Him, to keep going, to keep trusting, even when you have questions.
 

We had a great time meeting over Zoom! Thanks for joining us!  Second sessions for high school seniors and college students are being scheduled - watch for the dates to be announced soon!


Did you know your  plastic grocery bags can be turned into plastic mats for the homeless ? Asbury's Wendy Arbushites can take your unneeded bag (any color will do!), turn it into plastic yarn, and create a mat that will be distributed to the less fortunate among us. You can drop off your plastic bags in the bin labeled "Plastic grocery bag collection bin" at Asbury's upper entrance.

Dates have been set for the rescheduled General and Jurisdictional Conferences. The dates, with links to more info on the conferences, are as follows:



The camps in our conference have made the difficult decision to suspend or cancel their summer camps and programs. Get more information about each camp at the links below:

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.



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.



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:
AIM Yard Sale (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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