Note from Pastor Lindsay March 2018

Hello church!
Back before there was Big House (a middle school summer mission project), there was only UM ARMY (the high school version). And I could not wait to go on my first trip. It was a big deal at my home church, everybody looked forward to getting to go. I was excited to be helping out other folks, and it turned out to be even more meaningful than I anticipated. Not only did it open my eyes to just how privileged I am and begin to up my gratitude quotient, but my desire to be completely all-in for God was kindled that week.
 
Just like there’s 3 members of the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), the church exists for three key purposes: to worship God, grow the saints (believers), and serve those in need. And we now have a new way to achieve the 3rd purpose. I am so excited for Asbury to have another opportunity to tap into our church’s love for serving others. Remember that one of our church goals this year was to identify and begin to implement a new church-wide mission emphasis. So this Sunday, March 4th is our Servelution Sunday. If you are looking for a way to make a big difference, you do not want to miss this. We’re going to unveil our new Reach partnership – every time you come to worship and check in, post, or leave a review on social media, a monetary donation will be given to one of several charities. These charities, ranging from free food to autism therapy to clean water to Bibles to training guide dogs, will rotate every month. It’s away for us to put missions front and center, every Sunday morning, and it’s an easy way to share with your friends how important Asbury is to you. We think this will make it easier to meet our other church goal of welcoming 500 1st time visitors to worship. So invite folks you know to come and make a difference, just by attending and checking in to worship!
 
Then we’ll also be choosing our new church-wide mission emphasis on March 4th. Our Missions Chairs, Andrea Mann and Katie Gaw, have been researching local missions where all of our congregation could get involved. On this Sunday they will be sharing with us the two local mission partnerships they found where Asbury could make an incredible kingdom-difference. You’ll have an opportunity to vote on which mission we should partner with during both worship services. Come help decide which ministry is the right fit for our congregation.
 
Finally, I will be hosting an information meeting also on March 4th at 12:15 pm to discuss a trip to Kenya this summer. Through Project Zoe Asbury supports 108 children as they learn how to be healthy and self sufficient. We will be travelling to meet our Zoe kids and experience this mission first-hand! As you know, our vision is “… to be a church that brings Jesus from the margins to the center in ministry …”All of these new mission opportunities are more ways for each of us to live out that vision. Reaching out in Christian love to those in need is at the heart of both Asbury’s past and its future. I hope you’re as excited as I am to join God in mission in our worship, in our local community, and even around the world.
 
Blessings,
Pastor Lindsay


Note From Pastor Lindsay- November 2017

Hello church!
I’m so excited to be back with you again after my maternity leave. It was a time of making beautiful memories with my family and of refreshing my soul. I’m so grateful for your support.
 
As well, there is much to be grateful for here at Asbury. We’ve just completed our Pumpkin Patch, the Encounter Student Ministries garage sale, Wings Over Asbury, and Trunk-or-Treat (major thank you’s to the leaders of these ministries!). And this month the Day School celebrates its 50th Anniversary on November 11th. I hope you’ll come to the celebration. Then before the end of the calendar year we’ll likely have a charge conference to approve the building project’s architectural plans.
 
We are also grateful for the time two of our staff have served our church. We are saying farewell to Tommy Lascoe, our contemporary worship leader, who is moving out of the country. Also, Andrea Mann, our office manager has accepted a position at the University of St. Thomas but will remain a vital part of our church family. Both of them have made Asbury better with their ministry and especially their passion for God and God’s church. The Staff Parish Relations Committee is conducting searches for both of those positions, and we will keep you posted on their progress.
 
I found myself grateful for so much during this time, that I began to do some research on gratitude. It turns out practicing gratitude makes us more optimistic, makes us feel better about our lives, improves our work and romantic relationships and leads to fewer doctor’s visits. When studied, it was more successful than any other psychological intervention tested in increasing personal happiness. This just in: gratitude works!
 

But beyond all of this, the word gratitude, from the Latin word gratia, is also the root word for grace. And as Christians, we have so much more to be grateful for than just our circumstances and possessions. We have the grace of God, infused into our daily lives. We have God’s kingdom – God’s work that takes whatever exists and, in God’s timing, brings good out of it. We have the Father’s provision, the Son’s love, and the Holy Spirit’s companionship. Gratitude for the grace of all of this in our lives gives our hearts and minds a hedge of protection when worry, stress, and sadness lurk.

So I would like to challenge you to experiment with me during the month of November. Our regular prayers hopefully include confession and requests for help, for ourselves or others, as well as thanks. However, for this month I invite you to join me in what I’m calling 30 Days of Thanks. The challenge is, no matter what happens or comes up, we will only offer prayers of thanks. You were each emailed a prayer calendar designed to give you some ideas of different things to be thankful for. It will even ask you to be thankful for things that you don’t like. You can make this a part of your daily practice, if you wish. But beware — it will take you farther in thankfulness than you want to go.

I can’t wait to see what God does within each of us as we embark on our 30 Days of Thanks challenge.
And so, it turns out, just by taking a look at where we are as a congregation, we have much for which it’s easy to be thankful, and a few things that are hard. A very good place to practice Paul’s admonition to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
 
Blessings,
Pastor Lindsay
 
P.S. In this issue there is a letter from the Finance Committee regarding the church’s financial needs. Please take a look at the church’s financial updates and your own giving statements and let’s put prayer into action.


Note From Pastor David- September 2017

 
A childhood favorite of mine was Brother Dave Gardner, a comedian and storyteller, and country philosopher.
In the midst of silliness or a really funny story, there would sometimes be a little nugget of wisdom. One of those, buried in a really good story, was this:
“People are always talking about wanting to do something again. Don’t you know you can never do
anything again? You can do something similar!” Heraclitus, the ancient Greek philosopher said it this way, “No one ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and they’re not the same person.”
And that brings me to my being with you here are Asbury. As I was thinking and praying about coming, it was tempting to think in terms of doing it “again,” as though that would be possible. I mean, I loved being here before, and “again” would not be a bad thing at all for me. But the reality is that you’re not the same church, and I’m not the same pastor; we’re dealing with an altogether new thing here!
I’ve only been here two days but I knew right away that you all are a stronger church. Under the leadership of Pastor Lindsay, you have grown in lots and lots of ways. I hope you can see that and feel that you’ve grown.
Of course, the river has changed, too! The neighborhood has changed, Pasadena has changed, and that’s not to mention the changes that Harvey has wrought! Much of who we will be for months ahead will be a response to the enormous need all around us. Who could have foreseen that, even a couple of weeks ago? You see, we are not called to be who we were in some remembered golden age of the past. We’re not called to be who we were two years ago or even two weeks ago. We are always called to be who God needs us to be right here,in this place, at this time. We can never do anything “again.” All we can do is be faithful today. It is enough.
 
 
 


Note From The Pastor- July 2017

Hey church,

A few weeks ago, Kenton and I went away for our 10th anniversary, which is coming up this month. Using a flying voucher we had been given, we flew to Boston, and spent most of our time in Acadia National Park in Maine. However while in Boston, we walked part of the Freedom Trail-the couple mile pathway of Revolutionary War historical sites in the city.

My favorite location wasn’t Paul Revere’s House or the Old North Church where the 2 lanterns were lit (though I loved learning that Charles Wesley had once  preached there!). It was what’s called the Old South Meeting House—a church that was the largest building in Boston at the time, and so it became the city’s meeting place. This is the place where Benjamin Franklin was baptized, where Samuel Adams and Phyllis Wheatley, the first African-American author, worshiped. John Hancock spoke here and George Washington visited.

The reason it became my favorite is because of its history of allowing differing opinions to have a voice. It’s been a place that has honored and fiercely defended free speech for centuries, where loyalists and revolutionaries held public debates and worshiped together. Where abolitionists and slaveholders debated and worshiped together. Where advocates of birth control and those who were against it debated and worshiped together.

What struck me most was that the folks who called Old South their church home were committed to attending even if they disagreed on all the major hot-button issues of their day. Church wasn’t a Sunday option, but a weekly commitment. You weren’t going to simply decide not to come one Sunday, even if what people were saying was something you greatly disagreed with.

And because the people were committed to weekly worship, worship actually grew them into better people. People who could listen to each other, respect one another, and still find common ground in the worship of their God together. Because for them, there was no other option. This allowed the church to lead the culture, rather than get sucked into mimicking the culture.

I liked the tangible reminder that there are churches that have made people better men and women, better children of God. And I liked that there was a church that was a protector of free speech, and that the church was stronger, and not weaker, for it. As I look forward to celebrating the 4th of July, I’m grateful for our country.

I’m grateful for the role the church has played in the development of our country. And I’m keenly aware that the only ones responsible for how that legacy continues are the ones who are in, and not in, the pews Sunday after Sunday.

Blessings,

Pastor Lindsay



Note From The Pastor- June 2017

Hey Church,

The school year is ending and spring has turned to summer. Because of these changes, I suspect you and your family are in a time of transition. Also, many of us have changes at home or in our families that require a transition, too. I have found that in times of transition, I’m more frazzled than usual and feeling stressed, and so is anyone else who is in the transition with me.

During these times, it’s particularly important for me to let myself receive God’s grace and also to extend it to others. God knows we’re not perfect. When we’re not our best selves, we need to repent, let ourselves accept God’s forgiveness, and move on in the freedom of Christ. So my word of encouragement today is this:

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”

(2 Peter 1:2)
 
Now, whatever you’re doing, you do NOT want to miss worship at 10am on June 4th. Mark your calendars and make it a priority to attend. It will be Confirmation Sunday, when we’ll celebrate the confirmation of 8 of our youth. It will be Graduation Sunday, when we’ll celebrate the graduation of a number of members of our church family. It will be UM ARMY Commissioning Sunday, and we’ll be sending a team on their mission trip that day. It will also be the day we announce our initial results for the THRIVE Campaign, and you’re definitely going to want to be in the room for that. To top it all off, it’s Pentecost Sunday, when we celebrate the birthday of the church universal. You’ll love sharing in the excitement of all these celebrations. See you there!!
 

Also, I want to thank everyone who has made a sacrificial commitment to this campaign so far. God is really doing something amazing in our midst. If you haven’t pledged yet, I encourage you to experience the blessing of being a part of this ministry endeavor. You can drop off a commitment card in the offering plate or the church office anytime in the next couple of weeks. The next step in the campaign will be to bring the whole congregation together, once we have final plans from an architect, as well as financing finalized. Everything will be presented to the congregation at a church conference for a vote. We’ll let you know in plenty of time when that’ll be, but it’ll be coming up in June or July.

Check the website for info about the church’s summer plans. It’s so good to be a part of Asbury!

Blessings,

Lindsay

 



Note From The Pastor- May 2017

 

As I write this in a hotel room in another city during a pastoral leadership conference, I’ve been blessed today by the story of how a church family had to go to a local emergency room in a tough set of circumstances, and some church members went up to the hospital in my absence to be a visible sign that the church, and indeed God Himself, stood with them in that moment.

I am reminded of a conversation I had earlier this week of a family that will be joining our church in the next few weeks and hopes to make Asbury their family’s long term spiritual home. They are excited about the prospect of relationships they can make here, and they are entrusting us with their children’s spiritual foundation, an awesome and humbling responsibility.

A family told me last week that God had done something in their marriage that they never saw coming, and that they would never have believed how far they’ve come in such a short time thanks to the leading and  provision of God. I know for a fact that there are churchfolk at Asbury who have been praying daily for that marriage for weeks.

These are only a few of the stories I share with you to celebrate the goodness and faithfulness of our Saving Lord. You may be in a season personally in your life where reasons to celebrate seem few and far between. If so, I encourage you to take these stories, and hold on to them, and wait faithfully for the day when you have  your own to share.

I promise you, that when you do, Asbury will be right there, celebrating alongside you.

Blessings,

Lindsay


Note From The Pastor- April, 2017

Hey church!

I remember early one morning, I was watching the sunrise, and thinking about faith. I go through periods of wondering and wandering spiritually, and I was facing doubts about this Jesus guy from forever ago. As I watched the sun come up, I thought about how even though we know better now, to the ancients the sun appeared to die every night and be reborn in the morning. I thought about how I trusted each morning that the sun would come up, even if it was hidden by the clouds. Let alone burying a seed in the ground, and seeing it blossom, or a caterpillar emerging as a butterfly.

Resurrection is a part of life.
Then I thought about people I knew who had turned their lives around. People who had hit rock bottom and come up strong and brave, compassionate and joyful. And I thought about my own life, how I had grown the most when I had been forced to struggle.
These things reminded me, that fundamentally, above everything else, I am a person that believes in Resurrection. It’s actually not hard to believe at all – I see it in creation, I see it in folks’ lives, I’ve lived it myself. And I believe it of my Savior.

So in the midst of all of the amazing things going on in our church right now – the opportunity to dream and plan for the kinds of ministries our kids and grandkids will be able to grow from because of our new ministry space, the Living Last Supper and our really meaningful and innovative new Good Friday service, the Town Hall Meetings and Kick-Off Sunday and so much more – here’s the question that matters to me the most:

Out of the dead weight we all carry around, am I letting God resurrect anything in me at all right now? Because fundamentally, more than anything else, God is a Resurrection God. You don’t have to wonder if He’s working on resurrecting you – that’s who He is, it’s the nature of His work, always, in every moment.

I hope that this Easter, you experience the joy of the Resurrection, not only of Jesus’ resurrection so long ago, but personally, for yourself, deep within your soul.

Blessings,

Lindsay



Note From The Pastor-March 2017

Hey church! Ash Wednesday on March 1st marks the beginning of the Lent season for the church.
 
If folks know anything about Lent, usually what they know is that they’re supposed to give something up. The chocolate, the caffeine, social media or the TV.; these can be good habits for healthy living. But this Lent, I’d rather us focus not on what we should say “No!” to, but instead, how and when we can say “Yes!”.
 
Tom Berlin, a UMC pastor and author, says, “Something is just not right if Christian people are not in church during Lent, Holy Week, and on Easter.”
Lent is a season of reflection of what’s working in our lives with God, and what’s not, and for centuries, it has been a time of explosive spiritual growth.
 
Our March sermon series, “Saying Yes!” will explore what’s so hard about saying yes well. So I want to offer a Lenten Challenge, not necessarily to give something up for Lent, but to add a commitment to 3 things for the next 6 weeks. One- daily Scripture reading.
We are making free copies of Blessings of the Cross available to all church members as a resource for incorporating daily Scripture reading into your routine. This was written by folks like Billy Graham and Max Lucado, and I know you’ll be blessed in the reading. Two- commit to weekly worship attendance. The encouragement, fellowship, and leading of the Spirit that occurs when we give God a set-aside time every week is unmatched.
 
And finally, three- participate in a weekly small group. Whether that’s a Sunday School Life Group or Wednesday night Faith and Family study, or a home small group, small groups are where the growth happens. I know for certain that you’ll want to join us on March 5th at 9:45am for our Church Meeting. This will be a critical meeting, because we will not only celebrate what happened in Asbury in 2016, but we will share the feasibility results for the upcoming campaign. I will share the feedback compiled from you by Tyler Associates, including their recommendation for the scope and focus of our campaign.
We will decide as a congregation whether we want to move forward with that recommendation. The things we will be discussing will impact the ministries of our church for years to come- please invest in this time as you already invest in our church.
 
Blessings,
Lindsay


Note From The Pastor-Februry 2017

Hey church! Looking ahead, I’m very excited for our upcoming State of the Church meeting on February 26th! I am so grateful to be a part of a church where we truly have so much to celebrate!
 
Asbury is a church that has decided to thrive, joining God where He is leading, and this is evident in an abundance of ways that we’ll discuss on the 26th. One of those ways is through our decision to move forward with a capital campaign. We are confident that this will enable us to minister more fully, increase our financial stewardship, and position us for kingdom growth in the future. We voted as a congregation to hire Tyler Associates to help us run our campaign, and we’re excited to have them as partners. Together with them, we are in the process of implementing our church readiness survey which will seek input from the whole church. Here is what you can look forward to seeing in the next few weeks and how you can be a part of what God is up to at Asbury:
 
 By the end of January–the case statement which is a description of the scope of what is included in the campaign, and why these items are vital to the church’s ability to minister more fully. With this will be a letter from me which will let you know how to fill out the questionnaire and submit it.
 
 By the end of January–an opportunity to go online and complete a confidential questionnaire to submit electronically to Tyler Associates. We will also have paper copies available for folks who don’t have computers. I am counting on wide participation from our congregation- that’s the only way we’ll know what’s most important to the church. Tyler Associates will take our input and formulate observations about our readiness to move forward with our campaign plans and they will recommend a range of financial goals for us.
 
 By our church meeting on February 26th, we will be able to share the results of the study with the church. This important process will lay a solid foundation for our spring campaign.
 
 April 23, the week after Easter. we will launch our capital campaign in worship. Please be bold in your prayers for our church as we take this five-week journey of prayer and discernment preparing to make our God honoring commitments to take care of special church needs. Ask God to guide us each step of the way as we sincerely seek to be in the center of God’s will.
 
Please think about how you can be involved in assisting with the campaign. It is a wonderful opportunity for short-term involvement which will enrich your life. Don’t wait to be asked. Contact me and let me know you want to help.
 
So mark your calendars for February 26th, and see you in the sanctuary!
 
Blessings, Lindsay