Tuesday, June 9, 2020
In response to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, the Council of Bishops of the UMC and the College of Bishops of our Northeastern Jurisdiction have released powerful statements decrying the racist systems in our country and outlining next steps to address ongoing racial injustices "with even more urgency and passion." We strongly encourage you to read each statement and consider what your personal next steps may be:
Weekly Framework
What do you do when that still small voice of God calls you to do something you don't want to do?  Like Jonah, many of us run in the opposite direction.   But just because you run, doesn't mean God is through with you. 

Tuesday's Devotional

Have I disobeyed God in anything? Yes. A resounding yes. 1,000 times 1,000 times over, yes. Obedience is difficult for human beings in general, let alone to the Lord of the Universe. It goes against our very nature. We are (I am) self-serving. I often live for myself and work solely to fulfill my own needs/wants. Instead of taking a moment to re-center and shift my focus, I credit my behavior to the "busyness" of my day, or perhaps the "demands" of my job. It's hard to obey God. If we're honest, it's hard to not think about ourselves. How do we move from a life of self-service to one obedient to God? Where do we even begin?

When I am overwhelmed with a task, or am working to better understand a topic, I try to simplify it. I think that's what we have to do here. Obedience to God is a vast subject. It's difficult to understand and can be discouraging when we start to consider all it entails. What does God ask of us? He asks us to obey His commands. What are his commands? There are ten of them I am sure you are familiar with, but the greatest, the most important, is to love; "'...You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself'" (Matthew 22:37-39, New Living Translation). So, love God, love other people. Though a lot easier said than done, seemingly simple. What else, then? What if we look to Jesus' life? What can we learn from the way He lived?

Jesus' life was scandalous. He went against cultural norms and lived a life defined by His obedience to God. His character made evident His obedience. Luke 19 is one of my favorite stories of who Jesus is. Zacchaeus, a total outcast and hated member of society, wanted to see Jesus as he entered Jericho. Since he couldn't see among the crowd, he climbed a tree to get a better look. Jesus sees him and invites him to dinner. Instead of ignoring him, Jesus seeks him out. Zacchaeus' life forever changed after his encounter with Jesus. We share this same calling-to love the unlovable, to seek out the unwanted, to be bold, to be brave, to not succumb to society's demands, temptations, and expectations. To show grace to those who wronged us, to show grace to ourselves, to always show grace. To think of ourselves less, and to, ultimately, live a life defined by love and service to The Lord.

Hebrews 5:8 says, "Even though Jesus was God's Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered." Jesus was obedient even when He faced suffering. Through obedience, our character is strengthened. The reality of our human condition is that we all have, and we all will, disobey God. However, I trust we can become better at obeying our Creator when we work to realign our hearts. We must first submit ourselves to the Lord each day (and, for me, multiple times throughout the day). When we seek His guidance, and put the needs of others before our own, I am sure we will be able to keep more of His commands. I encourage you to continue loving the people in your life well. If you're not doing a very good job at this, make it a goal to become better. Pray for the people in your life that are hard for you to love. Ask God to love them through you. Finally, I hope that you and I live more like Jesus. Seek out the outcasts. Love people regardless of their circumstances. I pray that we forgive more, love more, and strive towards a life obedient to the One who made it.

For Reflection
  • 2 Kings 19:14-19 was a prayer of Hezekiah, the king of the northern kingdom of Israel. He was fearful of the Assyrians conquering their nation.  The Assyrians were ruthless and would kill and torture their enemies. In his mind, Jonah had legitimate reasons for not wanting to preach to the Ninevites.  Has there ever been a time when you disobeyed God's direction and faced the consequences.  Who or what is currently the Nineveh in your life?
  • When we choose to obey God, we honor God's love for us and live as God desired. When we disobey God by choosing to live our own ways, we live into our freedom, but also make the possibility of sin a reality. How do we move beyond a love for self and toward a whole-hearted love for God? When we don't do what God intends we must choose to confess our actions (or lack of actions) and ask for forgiveness. Confession taps into God's forgiveness, and forgiveness gives us a fresh start. God's love is always greater than your biggest blunder.
    • In what areas of my life am I choosing my own desires over God's desires? Where can I find help in overcoming my shortcomings? In what ways do you think Jesus models for us the way God intended for humans to live?
    • How can I worship God with the freedom God has granted me, rather than going my own way in rebellion against God? Here's one idea: memorize the verse, "To you, Lord, belong greatness and power, honor, splendor, and majesty, because everything in heaven and on earth belongs to you. Yours, Lord, is the kingship, and you are honored as head of all" (1 Chronicles 29:11). When you sense a struggle within you to obey God's authority, repeat it to yourself.

God,
you gladly and graciously forgive all who repent and turn toward you. Thanks for your promise of enduring and redeeming grace! May I strive to be as Christ is, so that I might reveal my love for you to the world around me.
Amen.



If you have a prayer request, send it to the prayer team at prayer@asburylv.org.
Parents/Guardians of youth: Register to attend a meeting with Pastor Eric to learn about the next steps being taken in Youth Ministries, being held on Thursday, June 11, at 7 PM via Google Meet. Following registration, meeting login information will be emailed to you.

Visit asburylv.org/youthparentmeeting to register.

For SPARK (3-4yr olds)

For BLAST (PreK- 5th grades)

"Even though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not see him now, you believe in him. You are filled with a glorious joy that can't be put into words. You are receiving the salvation of your souls. This salvation is the final result of your faith." 1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIrV)

Re-read the verse above, and circle all of the nouns. Then underline the ones you can't see.

There should be two words that are circled but not underlined: "you" and "words." You can see yourself, and you can see written words, but you can't see Jesus. You can't see salvation, or even the joy that comes from knowing Jesus, but you sure can feel it and believe it's true!

Now try to write some words that you feel when you think about that love and joy that Jesus brings!
 ____________________________________________________

Thank Jesus for the joy He gives that is indescribable!
 

Videos for this week (new for 6/7):


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


Carry a Pack of Single-Use Tissues

As the weather gets warmer, wearing gloves when you're out in public spaces can be sticky and uncomfortable or you may only have to touch a single doorknob in your next trip outside. So, if you don't have hand sanitizer available, use a tissue to open a door or grab a handrail, suggests Karen Hoffman, R.N. an infection prevention specialist. Then toss it in the nearest trash can.


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!



Join us for virtual coffee hours on Zoom beginning next Sunday, June 14, following worship! No registration required. Meeting information is as follows:

Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81517126618?pwd=eHR1Rnk3QjJFRjgyUGxxNUI3QTJOQT09
Meeting ID: 815 1712 6618
Password: 654634
One tap mobile
+19292056099,,81517126618#,,1#,654634# US (New York)
+13017158592,,81517126618#,,1#,654634# US (Germantown)
Dial by your location
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
Meeting ID: 815 1712 6618
Password: 654634
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/keHWo4pVEp


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.



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:



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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