Annual Conference 2015

1df3e6b7993726f3c67ef579a515a6deIt’s that time of year again for The United Methodist Church…annual conference!  The main order of business this year in addition to the regular schedule is the fact that we will be electing delegates for General Conference and Jurisdictional Conference in 2016.  General Conference is a meeting held every four years that is the only body that can make official denominational decisions and changes to our Book of Discipline.  General Conference is made up of delegates from United Methodist Churches from all over the world–half of whom are clergy and half of whom are laity.

If you’d like to keep up with all the business that is happening at Lake Junaluska this week, visit the website that has been set up just for this event at www.ac2015.org.  You can even watch live streaming video of the proceedings from Stuart Auditorium, and you can see who has been elected as our conference delegates to represent us at General Conference in Portland in 2016.

“The Last Best Hope”

  “As we keep or break the Sabbath day, we nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope by which man rises.”  -Abraham Lincoln

abelincolnwindowWe will begin a new sermon series beginning on May 31st and running through the end of June at Asbury Memorial UMC on “Sabbath Living.”  There is a wonderful book that Dr. Matthew Sleeth (a medical doctor) has written entitled 24/6 that is the inspiration for this series.  In it, Dr. Sleeth argues that modern folks have lost something critical in our lives and that what we have lost is the essential desire to take time off and to cease working for one day each week as we are beckoned to do in the pages of the Old and New Testaments.

Abraham Lincoln (in the quote from his executive order dated Nov. 15, 1862) stated that no Union soldier should work, fight, or march on Sunday unless under direct attack. His rationale was that if we lost the Sabbath, it did not matter who won the war; we would all become slaves.  I find it amazing to think that Lincoln spoke these words way back in the nineteenth century before the time of all the technological innovations of our day and age.

We need to start re-imagining the Sabbath not as a responsibility or a rule that we have to follow, but as an opportunity that we get to participate in!  C.S. Lewis in his famous book The Screwtape Letters reminds us that Satan wants to keep noise in our lives so we are unable to hear the quiet voice of God. Remember that the Devil’s tool is trickery. He gives us ninety percent truth and ten percent lie. Being industrious is good. Thinking that we—not God—are the authors of our lives is foolishness. Getting rid of the Sabbath is the Devil’s cheap ticket to enslaving souls.  I encourage you to join us for worship each of the next few Sundays.  After all, if Jesus took time off and beckoned us to do the same–then give yourself permission to come to church and find rest for your weary soul!  May the peace of Christ be with you.  Curtis+

Historical Projects at Asbury

You may have noticed a few new additions to our church in the past few weeks.  Our church historian, Rick Morehead, has made some wonderful picture frames for the walls of the church in the hallway behind the sanctuary.  There are images of the old buildings and full-size copies of the original deeds of the church property from the 1800’s.  He was even able to use the wood from the oak trees that were taken down in 2013 to make the frames–so, even though the trees are no longer standing, they are still with us in other ways!  Additionally, Rick has made us a new paschal candle stand (also out of the Asbury oaks).  Please take a moment to appreciate our rich history next time you are walking down the hallways of the church.