Asbury Church's building is currently closed to take part in social distancing in doing our part to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Below you'll find all updates and communications sent during this time of closure.

Our staff has a heart to continue to provide resources for spiritual growth during this time, including resources designed for adults, parents, children, and youth; as well as prayers you can use. If there are additional worship, program, or facility updates to share, we'll share those as well. Content will vary from day-to-day, but our prayer is that this is a way for you to continue to feel connected to Asbury.

Updates During COVID-19 Closure

Daily Update - Saturday, April 4, 2020

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Join us Palm Sunday worship and the final week of the "When Pigs Fly" sermon series tomorrow at 10 AM at live.asburylv.org!

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.

This week's worship will feature previously recorded music from the Chancel Choir and the 9:30 Praise Team.

"See" you tomorrow!
RESOURCES FOR WORSHIP
For your devotional and prayer time

A Prayer for the World Facing the Coronavirus
"A Prayer for the World Facing the Coronavirus"

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  .


Previously shared study resources:
The Women Who Knew, produced by EPAUMC North District
Missed this week's video lessons shared on Sunday (for week of 3/29)?

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  . 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,   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.

Daily Update - Friday, April 3, 2020

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  .
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  . 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,   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.

Daily Update - Thurday, April 2, 2020

Thursday, April 2, 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.

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

Do you find it easy to find joy in the midst of a trial? (If not, you're not alone)

It's doubtful that James had a situation in mind like the one we're currently facing, but if there was a challenging passage for the times that we're in, this is it.

We don't know what lies ahead but we know that we need the qualities James outlines so that we can make it through the trial and storm. We need a spirit of joy, we need endurance, we need wisdom, and we need to turn to God.
God promises us life - eternal life - as we remain faithful to Him during the temptations we face.

There's no promise that the trials will disappear. There's no promise that there won't be sorrow and pain. But there is a promise that there is light and joy on the other side.

Even in a dark time, where are you finding joy today?

For Reflection:
Think of a season of your life that was difficult through no fault of your own. You may be in one currently. Is there something about that season God used (or could use) to shape your faith? If so, what?


Previously shared study resources:
The Women Who Knew, produced by EPAUMC North District
 From Joshua Mbewu, former Africa University Student supported by Asbury, Zimbabwe

Greetings, my dear friends. On Monday 30 March Zimbabwe is set to go under lockdown for 21 days, the President has declared. But most families have gone into self-quarantine already. [Pray] for my country, Zimbabwe during this difficult time. Prayers for the homeless and needy that God may take them through [this ordeal]. May He give them shelter and something to eat. My family needs the favour of God to protect each member and all those in our circle of friendships, request for safety and that essential provisions should not run out of our homes in times like these.
 
Joshua
We invite you to send notes of support and encouragement to the mission partners whose stories we've been sharing. Simply respond to this email with your message and we'll make sure it's passed along!


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

For BLAST (PreK- 5th grades)

Today's verse includes some big words that need defining!
Justice - the quality of being just, impartial, or fair
Mercy -  compassion or patience shown to an offender (someone who has wronged you)

God is asking us to treat others with fairness. To show love and compassion and patience to one another, even those who hurt us. Why? 
Because that's exactly how God treats us! He treats us fairly. He is loving and patient and kind, always.

In the space below, rewrite today's verse in your own words. Feel free to use the words in the definitions above or to look up the verse in different translations. You could even go to BibleGateway.com (with an adult's permission) to read this verse in different translations.

Read the words you've written today as a prayer to God, asking Him to help you choose forgiveness so you don't miss out!

__________________________________________________

__________________________________________________

__________________________________________________

__________________________________________________

__________________________________________________


Missed this week's video lessons shared on Sunday (for week of 3/29)?

God of health and hope,
Grant me a spirit of courage as I face the challenges of the day.
Let me be loving and find joy in the darkness;
and let me show Your love to others.
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  .
We realize that your personal financial landscape may have drastically changed in these few short weeks; but if you are able to continue to financially support the ministries of Asbury, please prayerfully consider doing so.

We strongly encourage you to give online through PushPay, our online giving portal, at asburylv.org/give, but you can also mail your weekly envelopes or a check in to the church office.

Your contributions will continue to help support the worship and ministries of Asbury. Additionally, we are retaining our commitment to compensating our staff at this time.

Thank you for your continued support!
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  . 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,   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.

Daily Update - Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Wednesday, April 1, 2020
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  .



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.

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.

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

For many of us, negativity comes all too easily. Sometimes that negativity can show itself as frustration towards - and even gossip about - other people. It's almost human nature to try to put others down in an attempt to raise ourselves.

Today's scripture focuses on an attempt to fault Jesus for taking action rather than celebrating the outcome of his actions.

Yeah, he did something good, but - let's be honest - he's still a bad guy, right?

The man whose blindness was cured didn't take the bait. Instead, the focus is on the positivity of what has been done in his life.

We don't know what the man knew about Jesus before this healing encounter; but, intentionally or not, the man leaned on one of Jesus' teachings when he responded to the people who were confronting him: let God do the judging, but something amazing happened here.

Who are we to say whether someone is a sinner or not?

What we can say is that God has done incredible things in our lives that we can't explain.

How does looking at the positivity of what God has done in others' lives rather than focusing on their shortcomings change your outlook on who they are?

How has others focusing on the movement of God in your life rather than focusing on your shortcomings helped you to grow?


For Reflection:
In this passage, the blind man says, "Here's the one thing I know, I was blind and now I see." How does what the man said remind you of something that happened in your own life?


Previously shared study resources:
The Women Who Knew, produced by EPAUMC North District
 From United Methodist Clergy, Salayea District, Lofa County, Liberia

In the wake of the deadly coronavirus invasion around the world, Liberian Christian leaders in Salayea District, Lofa County [have] received [the] gift [of clergy support] from Asbury United Methodist Church in the United States of America. 
 
We appreciate your gift and pray for God's blessing upon the USA.


We invite you to send notes of support and encouragement to the mission partners whose stories we've been sharing. Simply respond to this email with your message and we'll make sure it's passed along!

Don't forget to send your pictures or videos of palms to Miss Pam!



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

For BLAST (PreK- 5th grades)

Riding a bike
Tying your shoes
Reading aloud 
Meeting an adult
Walking into a new classroom

Do you know what all these things have in common? They're all things that 
at one time seemed scary or hard. But once you practiced a little, they're 
not so bad! The best way to get better at anything is to practice. It's the same 
with forgiveness. The more you make the choice to forgive, the easier it will become. And, the more you model forgiveness, the more likely the people around you are to forgive too. Don't you want to hang out with friends that choose to forgive? 
Ask your mom or dad to tell you about a time when they chose to forgive someone as a kid even when it was really hard. What happened? How did practicing forgiveness in that example help them become better at forgiving the next time?

Thank God for the reminder today that forgiveness takes practice! Ask God to help you choose to forgive this week so you don't miss out.

Missed this week's video lessons shared on Sunday (for week of 3/29)?
We realize that your personal financial landscape may have drastically changed in these few short weeks; but if you are able to continue to financially support the ministries of Asbury, please prayerfully consider doing so.

We strongly encourage you to give online through PushPay, our online giving portal, at asburylv.org/give, but you can also mail your weekly envelopes or a check in to the church office.

Your contributions will continue to help support the worship and ministries of Asbury. Additionally, we are retaining our commitment to compensating our staff at this time.

Thank you for your continued support!

God, sustain us in this time.
Whether our needs be great or small,
Whether our needs be physical or emotional.
We thank You for the marvelous work you have done in our lives.
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  .
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  . 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!).



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,   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.

Update from Leadership - March 31, 2020

In response to the ongoing global pandemic, Asbury's pastors, staff, and lay leaders announce the following updates (as of March 30):

The 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  .

Be assured that in the midst of the building being closed, we continue to be a Church. We hold a commitment to be a Church devoted to helping people grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ; and our worship and ministries will continue, albeit in new ways. Visit asburylv.org/connect for links to sign up for our email communication and to follow us on social media as we share the latest information on ministry resources, worship, and other updates.

We've had hundreds of devices connected to watch our worship stream each week (320 this past Sunday, March 29) and we know that for many of those devices there are multiple people on the other end watching. We've also had more than 300 people opening our daily email each day. Thank you for continuing to make these connections to Asbury during this time of social distancing.

We are grateful for your continued support of the ministries of Asbury. We realize that your personal financial landscape may have drastically changed in these few short weeks; but if you are able to continue to financially support the ministries of Asbury, please prayerfully consider doing so. We strongly encourage you to give online through PushPay, our online giving portal, at asburylv.org/give, but you can also mail your weekly envelopes or a check in to the church office.

In closing, we again ask you to earnestly pray for the individuals who are suffering from, recovering from, touched by, and fighting against this virus.

Daily Update - Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Tuesday, March 31, 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.

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

It's easy to get caught up in the individual big stories of the Bible and miss both the overall narrative and the small subtleties. Beyond telling us the story of God's people searching for a Messiah, and the story of our redemption through Jesus, the Bible is filled with turns of phrase and subtle threads that point to God's creativity and intentional storytelling.

In writing about the story of Jesus healing the blind man, John throws in a note about the meaning of the name of the pool where Jesus directed the man to wash: Siloam, which means sent (v7). Why include this note? For one thing, it would almost certainly be lost on us all these centuries later had he not recorded it. But it also helps point to the larger narrative of Jesus' story. Jesus is sent by God. He begins his ministry by being baptized by his cousin John in the Jordan River and the Spirit of God comes to him. His first miracle involves water, he calls his first disciples along a shoreline, he teaches about thirsting for living water rather than still water and last week we read about another healing he did, also by a pool.

Water is a central part of Jesus' ministry and teaching.

Maybe even more interesting, though, is what Siloam was used for. InterVarsity Press' Bible Background Commentary on the New Testament tells us that

"Siloam was used as a water supply and for baptizing converts to Judaism, [but] it has more direct significance here. This was probably still the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles (7:2, 37), and the water of Siloam was the sacred water used for this feast. Here Jesus employs the ritual water (cf. 2:6; 3:5), but it works only because the man is "sent."

So picture that Jesus has used this water, meant for sustenance and for bringing people into Judaism; and he's used it to show where we are to look for our eternal sustenance and healing. Once again, God shows us that something new is happening.

Take some time today to consider both the big and subtle things God is doing in your life. Where is God compelling you to be "sent"?


For Reflection:
* What are some details about this story that would lead a reader to believe this actually happened?
* In verse 2, there was an assumption that sin and suffering were connected. Were you raised to believe that?
* In verse 3, Jesus said purpose can be found in the lifelong suffering of the blind man. How does it resonate with you that suffering might have a purpose?
* Similar to the sign from John 5, Jesus seems to violate the Sabbath tradition held by the Pharisees. Why does John continue to mention this?


Previously shared study resources:
The Women Who Knew, produced by EPAUMC North District
 From Hari & Richal Ghimire, Batulechour Church, Pokhara, Nepal

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are well and hope you are also well. This is a [difficult] time though our God is all above the situation. We are hearing the virus is spreading unexpectedly in all the world. We have some cases of corona virus [in Nepal]. Government has announced a lockdown [in] the country for a week so, we are inside the house. Church service has closed but we are encouraging church family to stay in home and pray. We need to pray for each other.
 
This the crucial time to go near to our God. We are praying for you, Asbury family and all US family. Today our family in fasting prayer. Yes, indeed we have to join our hands and raise our voices to our almighty God. He is in control and He does know what has been going on. We humbly join with you and we lift our hands to God.
 
In Him
Hari and Richal and Batulechour Church family

We invite you to send notes of support and encouragement to the mission partners whose stories we've been sharing. Simply respond to this email with your message and we'll make sure it's passed along!

Don't forget to send your pictures or videos of palms to Miss Pam!



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

For BLAST (PreK- 5th grades)

What are some chores you're responsible for around your house?


What are some chores your mom or dad are responsible for?


According to this verse, whose job is it to judge? Is it yours? Nope, it's God's job. When someone says or does something unkind, you could choose to stay mad. Or you could choose to let God be the judge. It's His job anyway.

God sees and knows all. You can talk to Him and tell Him why you're mad and ask Him to help you decide to forgive. As you pray today, tell God why you're angry or sad. Talk about what happened and how you want to forgive but it's hard. Ask Him to do His job (the judging part) and help you do yours (the forgiving part) so you don't miss out.

Missed this week's video lessons shared on Sunday (for week of 3/29)?
We realize that your personal financial landscape may have drastically changed in these few short weeks; but if you are able to continue to financially support the ministries of Asbury, please prayerfully consider doing so.

We strongly encourage you to give online through PushPay, our online giving portal, at asburylv.org/give, but you can also mail your weekly envelopes or a check in to the church office.

Your contributions will continue to help support the worship and ministries of Asbury. Additionally, we are retaining our commitment to compensating our staff at this time.

Thank you for your continued support!

Lord,
We ask for your healing hands to be with the hands of the doctors, nurses, and first responders who are helping to heal those afflicted by this virus.
Provide them knowledge, wisdom, courage, supplication, and health to handle all that they face today and in the weeks to come.
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  .
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  . 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.



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 closed through (and including) Sunday, April 5. Read more at asburylv.org/200324update. The building has been deep cleaned and we are asking that no one enter the building until it reopens.



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,   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.

Daily Update - Monday, March 30, 2020

Monday, March 30, 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.

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

There are many amazing things about Jesus coming to earth, putting on flesh and bone, and walking among us. Knowing the end of the story, it's all-too-easy to look past the fully human, fully divine nature of Jesus and focus purely on him as God.

If you're looking for an example of Jesus dealing with something that we deal with regularly, today's scripture is a prime example. This interaction might especially resonate if you're a parent:

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"I DID tell you!"

The people interacting with Jesus in this passage are trying to uphold what they believe the Jewish law is commanding them to do. But their understanding of it is forcing them into opposition with Jesus:

"Look, if you're the Christ, just tell us."

For some of them it might be true curiosity:

"is he really the Messiah we've been waiting for? He's not what we expected, but he sure does some amazing things."

For others, it was a trap: if Jesus professed to be God, he was in direct opposition of Jewish law and they could take action against him, finally shutting down this movement that had caused them so many headaches.

Jesus answers them clearly:

"I have told you, but you don't believe. I've also shown you but you don't believe"

Are we paying attention to what Jesus is doing in and around us? Or do we find ourselves asking where Jesus is while we're missing the signs of his presence that are right in front of us?

Even when we find ourselves in a very broken place, let us try and find where the light of Jesus is shining through; and reflect that light to those around us.

For Reflection:
Thomas needed to see proof before he believed Jesus was resurrected.  Give some examples of proof people would like to have before believing in God.  What are some things people put full trust in without having all the information?


Previously shared study resources:
The Women Who Knew, produced by EPAUMC North District
We realize that your personal financial landscape may have drastically changed in these few short weeks; but if you are able to continue to financially support the ministries of Asbury, please prayerfully consider doing so.

We strongly encourage you to give online through PushPay, our online giving portal, at asburylv.org/give, but you can also mail your weekly envelopes or a check in to the church office.

Your contributions will continue to help support the worship and ministries of Asbury. Additionally, we are retaining our commitment to compensating our staff at this time.

Thank you for your continued support!
 From Dr. Chris Hena, Healthy Women, Healthy Liberia

COVID 19 is in our county now. Honestly, so much fear, but I have faith in Jesus who controls everything, to see us through this time. We are going to use wisdom and do all the things we are told to do, but I am not going to give in to fear. I see so many hopeful passages in His word, so I am refusing to give in to all the negatives.
 
You may never know how much you and others have blessed us. During Ebola, I had only mask and gloves. Today, we are more prepared, because of all the materials you sent our way. A big thanks to Doreen [at Through These Hands] and the Asbury United Methodist Church family. We are going to defeat this COVID-19, because of your generosity.
 
Have a blessed evening. A thanks again for everything.
 
In Him,
Chris

Don't forget to send your pictures or videos of palms to Miss Pam!



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

For BLAST (PreK- 5th grades)
Read Luke 6:37

If we're not careful, we can spend all our time pointing out other people's mistakes instead of taking a long hard look at our own behavior. Once you start judging and blaming, pretty soon you realize you're just as imperfect too.

But remember, the answer is forgiveness! Forgiveness is deciding someone who has wronged you doesn't have to pay. It's a choice. When you refuse to forgive, when you choose to stay angry, you miss out.

Here's your challenge this week. When you find yourself about to blame or judge someone else, stop yourself. Hold your tongue. Don't even let the words come out of your mouth. 
Make a decision to let it go so you don't miss out.

This will definitely require God's help! As you pray today, ask God to help you remember that  you're not perfect. Tell Him that you love Him and ask God to help you forgive so you don't miss out this week.

Missed this week's video lessons shared on Sunday (for week of 3/29)?

Father God,

Thank you for all You give us and for all that You are

Be with the doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals

Be with the leaders who are making crucial decisions

Be with those who are ill

Be with those who are still working in life-sustaining business to help us continue to have access to the things we need to survive

Be with first responders

Be with those who are lonely

Be with me

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  .
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  . 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.



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 closed through (and including) Sunday, April 5. Read more at asburylv.org/200324update. The building has been deep cleaned and we are asking that no one enter the building until it reopens.



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,   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.

Daily Update - Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday, March 29, 2020
Replay of Today's Worship Service


Another great morning of online worship! Thanks to all who joined us!

RESOURCES FROM WORSHIP
We realize that your personal financial landscape may have drastically changed in these few short weeks; but if you are able to continue to financially support the ministries of Asbury, please prayerfully consider doing so.

We strongly encourage you to give online through PushPay, our online giving portal, at asburylv.org/give, but you can also mail your weekly envelopes or a check in to the church office.

Your contributions will continue to help support the worship and ministries of Asbury. Additionally, we are retaining our commitment to compensating our staff at this time.

Thank you for your continued support!

We encourage you to watch a condensed version of today's lesson with your child via video!

Select your child's age group:
SPARK
(3-4yr olds)
Follow the Leader (new for 3/29)

BLAST
(PreK- 5th grades)
DIY (new for 3/29)



Thanks to those of you who sent in prayer requests during the live stream this morning. We've forwarded them on to our prayer team!



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  .


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  . 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.



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 closed through (and including) Sunday, April 5. Read more at asburylv.org/200324update. The building has been deep cleaned and we are asking that no one enter the building until it reopens.



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,   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.

Daily Update - Saturday, March 28, 2020

Saturday, March 28, 2020


If you received and read yesterday's communication, this section has the same information; but we want to make sure everyone is in the loop!

Join us for week 5 of the "When Pigs Fly" sermon series tomorrow at 10 AM at live.asburylv.org!

We are continuing to work with our primary and alternate streaming hosts to work toward our goal of providing worship without interruptions; but be aware that streaming hosts all over the world are still working on solutions to handle the additional traffic in this time when there are so many people who are using live streaming rather than physical gatherings as a way to connect with God through worship.

As we did last week, we will again be sharing a recording of the service in its entirety tomorrow afternoon. When the service is available, we'll make the link available via email, social media, and at asburylv.org.

We encourage you to share the streaming link with anyone who either doesn't have a church or who is part of a church without the ability to live stream!

This week's worship will feature previously recorded music from the Chancel Choir and the fifth message of the "When Pigs Fly" sermon series from Pastor Eric. Catch up on past messages at asburylv.org/whenpigsfly.

"See" you tomorrow!
RESOURCES FOR WORSHIP

WEEKLY FRAMEWORK:
Perhaps one of the most famous signs Jesus performed was feeding 5,000+ people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Those that followed Jesus thought he was finally getting to the point of what he could do for them. They were more enamored with the signs than with what the signs were pointing to.

Moving Forward (for Saturday and Beyond)
From Pastor Eric's daily study guide

For Reflection:
Let's not be consumers. Let's be followers. Jesus' followers changed the world once. Perhaps we can do that again. "Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." John 6:27


Previously shared study resources:
The Women Who Knew, produced by EPAUMC North District
We realize that your personal financial landscape may have drastically changed in these few short weeks; but if you are able to continue to financially support the ministries of Asbury, please prayerfully consider doing so.

We strongly encourage you to give online through PushPay, our online giving portal, at asburylv.org/give, but you can also mail your weekly envelopes or a check in to the church office.

Your contributions will continue to help support the worship and ministries of Asbury. Additionally, we are retaining our commitment to compensating our staff at this time.

Thank you for your continued support!
 From Diana Coke, Thembelihle School, South Africa

South Africa is near the start of this pandemic, but we [realize] we are facing a massive challenge. There are approx 7 million people in this country with HIV and TB, with suppressed immune systems. Our State Health service has been mismanaged and under-resourced for at least the last decade, so there's no way we could deal with the numbers that could require medical care. This sector is very decidedly Third World and hasn't been coping with the everyday health needs of the population, let alone Covid-19.

Our State President has just made his 2nd announcement this evening.
Last Sunday he declared a National Disaster, when we had approx 130 Covid-19 patients. Since then the numbers have risen to over 400, but we know this is just the very tip of the iceberg. Thus far we have had no deaths).

We are praying that SA may somehow come through this without the total collapse of the economy that has been looming anyway. Their Crisis Task Team seems to have made some very far-reaching decisions regarding helping those who will suffer economically during this time, and we pray that these can be put in place.

All schools closed instead on 17 March, and will only return after Easter (at least that's the current decision). This makes a great deal of sense, except for the children who will have no one to care for them at home, and who will not receive the daily meals that Thembelihle, and many other schools, supply to disadvantaged children.

So please may we ask for prayer for safety for all the children, especially at Thembelihle. So many of them live in a squatter camp, or in crowded communities, where social distancing or hygiene requirements just aren't feasible. Also for those initiatives that are trying to fill the gap as regards feeding the hungry. We also ask for prayer for God's guidance for those dealing with this pandemic; protection of the most needy of our people, and the health care workers who will be at the forefront.

That is all we can do, and we really appreciate the fact that brothers and sisters in Christ on the other side of the world are also praying for our situation.
 
In Christ alone, we put our trust. May God guide and direct the USA as well, as you have to deal with this situation.

Very many thanks to all at Asbury. We value your concern and prayers.

Diana

Lord, help our understanding be great,
Our patience be greater,
Our love for each other be boundless,
And our love for You be limitless.
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  .
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  . 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.

Don't forget to send your pictures or videos of palms to Miss Pam!




This month we have been talking about forgiveness-deciding that someone who has wronged you doesn't have to pay. Forgiveness doesn't come naturally. When someone does something that hurts us, we want to hurt them back. But forgiveness calls for us to do just the opposite. Why? Because God forgives us!

Figure out the secret message below by writing the NEXT letter of the alphabet that comes after the one printed below. (Hint: for "Z" the next letter would be "A")

ENQFHUD NSGDQR ADBZTRD FNC ENQFHUDR XNT

Thank God for choosing to forgive always because He loves you.

Answer: Forgive others because God forgives you.

PREVIOUSLY SHARED RESOURCES FOR THIS WEEK:
Print Materials:

Asbury's building is closed through (and including) Sunday, April 5. Read more at asburylv.org/200324update. The building has been deep cleaned and we are asking that no one enter the building until it reopens.



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,   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.

Daily Update - Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday, March 27, 2020


Join us for week 5 of the "When Pigs Fly" sermon series this Sunday at 10 AM at live.asburylv.org!

We are continuing to work with our primary and alternate streaming hosts to work toward our goal of providing worship without interruptions; but be aware that streaming hosts all over the world are still working on solutions to handle the additional traffic in this time when there are so many people who are using live streaming rather than physical gatherings as a way to connect with God through worship.

As we did last week, we will again be sharing a recording of the service in its entirety on Sunday afternoon. When the service is available, we'll make the link available via email, social media, and at asburylv.org.

We encourage you to share the streaming link with anyone who either doesn't have a church or who is part of a church without the ability to live stream!

This week's worship will feature previously recorded music from the Chancel Choir and the fifth message of the "When Pigs Fly" sermon series from Pastor Eric. Catch up on past messages at asburylv.org/whenpigsfly.

"See" you on Sunday!

WEEKLY FRAMEWORK:
Perhaps one of the most famous signs Jesus performed was feeding 5,000+ people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Those that followed Jesus thought he was finally getting to the point of what he could do for them. They were more enamored with the signs than with what the signs were pointing to.

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

On Monday, we gave a reminder to stay connected even in the midst of being physically separated.

Today, we consider the reason why our connection is so important: because we're commanded by our Creator to love one another.

It's a trying time to love others. While we want nothing more than to help as much as possible, we live with a fear that our helping can hurt us, or that we could possibly put others at risk without our even knowing.

To end the week we give some questions for you to consider, in addition to the reflection below:
  • How has this crisis caused you to more seriously consider your loved ones?
  • How has this crisis caused you to more seriously consider what it means to love those around you?

For Reflection:
On the night before his death, Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment. What can you do this week to follow Jesus more closely? How can you demonstrate more love for one another? Is there someone in particular to whom you could offer more grace and forgiveness?
We realize that your personal financial landscape may have drastically changed in these few short weeks; but if you are able to continue to financially support the ministries of Asbury, please prayerfully consider doing so.

We strongly encourage you to give online through PushPay, our online giving portal, at asburylv.org/give, but you can also mail your weekly envelopes or a check in to the church office.

Your contributions will continue to help support the worship and ministries of Asbury. Additionally, we are retaining our commitment to compensating our staff at this time.

Thank you for your continued support!


Previously shared study resources:
The Women Who Knew, produced by EPAUMC North District
 From Kevin & Kathy Bruce, Liebenzell, Ecuador

We are doing fine, seeking to place our trust daily in our Lord and not succumb to fear or panic. We've had two emergency ambulance trip calls so far, but neither really seemed to be related to the corona-virus, but rather just from a lack of other vehicles. Some of our local Awa are really wanting to close up our road with a pile of gravel and rocks; they are just scared and want to keep the sickness away. Some are saying they will only eat food from up here, as the virus might come in eggs, or rice, or food that is brought from the city. Many are coming here to our house to ask questions, to see the news, and maybe just for a voice of reassurance.

We do continue to appreciate your prayers that God will give us daily strength, words of encouragement, and patience with our people in this time. In parts of the country the people are running out of food, as many local stores are closing without the help of public transportation, but our people can live reasonably well out of their backyard gardens, so that hasn't been a real issue here. We are also well-supplied so haven't really felt a lack of food. And yes, we have plenty of toilet paper and quite a variety of leaves in the back yard! (that is, as long as there are no stinging fuzzy caterpillars on them...) :-)

We also appreciate your prayers as we seek to try to help our Mission family in these days, keeping everyone in good contact, well-supplied, and encouraged. Pretty much every ministry and church has had to cancel most meetings. It was fun to see that three of the Liebenzell churches here posted services on-line! A good time to put all this excellent technology we have to work! :-)

And you all there are facing many of these same issues...! We are thankful that our God is still sovereign, even amidst the seeming craziness that has overtaken the world.

Thanks so much for keeping in touch!
Kevin & Kathy

See prayer requests from Kevin & Kathy below

Kevin and Kathy Bruce, missionaries in Ecuador (see Mission Partners section above) share the following prayer requests:

1. For a peaceful heart and mind, along with a calm message, for Kathy & I during this present world situation. Many of our Awa people are getting pretty panicky. We desire to be voices that encourage them to place their hope and trust in our Father God, rather than drown in fear.
 
2. That our road would remain open, as many of our neighbors are fearful and have plans to shut it up with a pile of rocks and gravel. Since we have become the local ambulance, and are also trying to take Marco Aurelio, one of the Awa believers, out to the city regularly for his dialysis treatments, it would be really helpful if our road remained passable!
 
3. For the Awa believers as we have had to cancel church services and also our Easter conference. There were six young Awa wanting to get baptized at Easter, pray that their faith will remain strong. Last Sunday we were able to post a short Sunday message, at least for the ones who are technologically able to listen to it on their phones.
 
4. For our kids and grandson Ronin there in the USA, and also for Kathy's mom who has recently been hospitalized with what seems to have been a mild heart attack. We find it hard knowing we are somewhat cut off from travel at this time; at the same time so thankful for good communication!
 
5. For a good ability in leadership for the Ecuadorian Mission team, including our Ecuadorian pastors, ministry workers, and our German and American co-workers. Pray for good fellowship and unity in a time when we are geographically isolated from each other.
 
6. The Ecuadorian health-care system is already maxed out, so we imagine this new crisis will be very difficult to handle. Please pray for the IESS hospital and San Vicente hospital, both located in the city of Ibarra, as they will soon be full to capacity; for doctors and nurses, for supplies that will likely run short.



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  .
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  . 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.
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,   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.


As we wrap up the week, check out this video on forgiveness; and consider the following questions:

* What can it cost you to hold a grudge? For example, what might you miss out on if you decided to hold a grudge and not forgive a friend?
* What if a friend says something unkind to you and they never say they are sorry? Do you still forgive them? Do you only forgive someone if they ask you?
*Is forgiveness always fair? How does it make you feel when it's not fair?

PREVIOUSLY SHARED RESOURCES FOR THIS WEEK:
Print Materials:

Asbury's building is closed through (and including) Sunday, April 5. Read more at asburylv.org/200324update. The building has been deep cleaned and we are asking that no one enter the building until it reopens.



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.



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.

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