Wrapping up 2 Timothy!

Dear All,

It’s been a wonderful journey these past months preaching through 2 Timothy and I hope you were also encouraged, spoken to, and strengthened from the 4 packed chapters of this New Testament book. Last week was interesting for me as I was scheduled out of town on a work function in Slovakia. Knowing that Ken was to share the wrap up message, I reflected on how this journey and the Word of God in 2 Timothy has spoken to me rather than preparing my own sermon.

Overall, I appreciated the passion of Paul, knowing that most likely his life on earth was nearing its end, and he was clearly pouring out his heart to Timothy as his long time fellow servant. Paul was Timothy’s mentor and this letter was instructive, full of encouragement and yet very much challenging Timothy to boldly continue the work in serving the Lord Jesus Christ, regardless of circumstances. As I reflect on my life, I have been so blessed with many mentors, starting with my father and brothers, but this week, the Lord has put a spiritual mentor on my heart that I am so thankful to have had 10 years of mentorship and teaching from. His name is Bruce and he is my former pastor from Colorado. As Tanya and I began attending the Rocky Mountain Bible Church shortly after getting married in 1994, many major faith turning points awaited us during that time and this wonderful teaching pastor and shepherd helped shape our faith in ways that truly impacted us and prepared us as life servants for the Lord. Not to compare myself to Timothy writing a “response” back to Paul, but I think you can understand my heart in thanking this mentor of mine with the following:
——
Dear Bruce,
Although we haven’t had much communication over the past 4 years since we relocated to Switzerland, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve recalled your Godly wisdom, strong teaching and mentorship from my 10 years at RMBC. You were my first pastor as an “adult”, meaning aside of churches that I attended with my parents. You were the first pastor for Tanya and me to grow in faith under as a couple. You were one who called me out of those under 30 and took a chance on me to step up and serve as an elder. A couple years later, you again entrusted faith in me to serve the Lord by bringing me into full time ministry, although I didn’t have the credentials of Bible schooling or Seminary before that point. Although I did get some piece of paper saying I have credentials, I am still a work in progress, as I will be until the day the Lord takes me to Himself, but a lot of what I am today, as a servant of the Lord, is from your mentorship, equipping and challenging me to minister and serve others. Thank you for modeling that with your life as well. Thank you for the uncountable times you let me come into your office and interrupt your sermon preparations with my deep (or often not so deep) questions about life, faith, the Bible and ministry! LIFT, The International Church of Zug is continuing to grow and more importantly, impacting lives for the Lord. Of course for God’s glory, but at the same time be encouraged that your hard work in sowing God’s Word into me (and surely numerous others) along your long time ministry is being reaped here in Switzerland and many, many other parts of the Lord’s Kingdom. I look forward to the day the Lord crosses our paths again, whether this side of heaven or in His presence! In the meantime be blessed in all that you are doing for the Lord and know that your ministry is making and has made a difference!
In His grip and grace,
Corey
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Perhaps you have a letter of your own to write to the “Paul” in your life that has blessed you along the way as a friend and mentor? May we all continue to be like Timothy in going forward with the Gospel message to those around us that need hope in Jesus! By the way, God didn’t just call “pastors” to share the Gospel, He called ALL of the followers in Jesus to GO unto the nations!

Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday at our special bi-lingual service across town with STAMI (Evangelische Stadtmission Zug) at 9:45 am at Chollerstrasse 35. (A map will be sent in a separate e-mail).

In His grip and grace,

Corey

"BIRDIE"


 
Hello All,
 
Not every week do I get to see God’s hand and presence in life so clearly as I did this week.  It may sound like such a simple thing, or even coincidental, but I believe and know that “Birdie” was/is from the will of the Father!
 
It all started last Sunday morning during Kidz Time during the LIFT service when Ken spoke to the children about birds.  A couple of the kids are studying birds this week (Vogelwoche) at kindergarten.  Knowing that, Ken brought in a bird watching book with pictures and used the two verses below sharing how even a seemingly worthless (monetarily that is) sparrow is protected, valued and cared for by God, and furthermore, God values and cares for us as His children even more than sparrows. 
 
Matt 10:29, 31
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Now fast forward a few days to Thursday, lunchtime in Edlibach at the Best’s house where Silas and Livia are just beginning to eat lunch with Tanya.  All of the sudden, right out the window on the railing of the deck was a small baby sparrow laying on it’s back in confusion, unable to flip over and in danger of falling off to certain death if it was to roll off the wrong side at 2-stories in height.  From a ledge tucked under the roof this baby sparrow fell from its nest, landing on its back and was in big trouble.  Tanya and the kids assessed the situation and then Tanya did what anyone would do in such a case; call her African friend next door who should know more about wild beasts and birds of the air!  Kristin, Maike and Danja were soon there to aid in operation: Rescue Birdie. (Remember, now 4 of the kids who heard the bird verses at LIFT were present to witness the rest of the story and Tanya was NOT at Lift Sunday morning to hear the kids lesson.) First, of course, they named him “Birdie”.  After realizing there was no chance to get him back into the nest above (because it was inside an enclosed part of the roof overhang) and mommy bird was no where to be found, they put him in a home made nestled basket and they tried to see if he would eat or drink something.  At one point, Tanya called me at work and I had remembered something growing up that if a bird falls from the nest, especially if handled by humans, then the parent bird will disown it and leave it, meaning……..to a natural death.  Letting nature take it’s course wasn’t the acceptable advise that Tanya was seeking from the heartless daddy that couldn’t see this cute and helpless sparrow (named Birdie) looking at four caring kids so concerned that they were praying for him.  My heart was warmed immediately as she called back a few moments later after contacting a bird sanctuary about an hour away who takes in all birds, big and small, and they planned to all go finish this operation of Rescue Birdie.  Sure enough, upon arrival a bird specialist took Birdie in her hands and said, “This little guy should make it just fine as he seems to not be injured and after a couple more days with nutrition, he will be of age to fly normally!”  (paraphrased).  The kids enjoyed the tour of the Bird Museum there and overall the afternoon was the most exciting they have had in weeks. Best of all, BIRDIE was gonna make it and they all had a hand in helping.  Needless to say, as the daddies (Ken and myself) made it home from work to hear the amazing story, it was even more amazing recalling the bird lesson from Uncle Ken on Sunday and how God did not let this sparrow Birdie fall to the ground apart from the Father’s will, and that our kids were able to see God’s Word in such a real manner! (And me too!)  
 
Read the verses again:
Matt 10:29, 31
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
 
Take heart, God DOES love and value the sparrows of this world, even Birdie………..and how much more does God love and value you (and me)!
 
Have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to seeing you at LIFT on Sunday as we continue to learn from the words (Red Letters) of Christ.
 
In His grip and grace,
 
Corey

The journey continues!

Hello All,
 
So far so good…….the journey continues!  Our study through Ephesians thus far has been Extraordinary in many ways.   With the team preaching approach of Ken, Derek and I, it has been great to hear different perspectives and insights each week as the Lord leads us together through His word. 
 
Last week was chapter 4 on Unity, specifically the Body!  We spent some weeks in the early summer on the Body of Christ (including some verses from the Ephesians) using different illustrations on how a healthy body is supposed to function.  It was so exciting this time to use LIFT as a current, real live example as one body made up of many individual parts that are serving one another so that the whole body functions.  I could have again made up some nice illustration like a bicycle only being usable when the wheels, the gears, the sprockets, the seat and the handlebars work together as one bike to get you from point A to point B, but it was with joy to simply look around at the people of LIFT and share how we ARE many individual parts serving together as one active, functioning and growing body!  That IS Extraordinary Unity! 
 
Sunday afternoon at our first ever Club Lift (for kids 3-12) was yet another beautiful example of seeing the body work together.  Fourteen clubbers showed up and eight leaders were ready to make this first club an exciting and worthy event.  Worthy? Yes, aside of the fun and games, kids once again showed they can learn faster than adults and many quoted the first month’s verse from memory to the rest during the final group session!  Also having the International Church of Luzern (ICOL) team up with us on this is another testament of the larger Body of Christ.  The new pastor Brian Post led the music time, his teenage daughter Liza helped lead mini club and 4 of of the clu bbers were from ICOL as well! 
 
By the way, YOUTH GROUP launches next week. For those of you that are 13-18 and want to join us for bowling and more, please give us a reply or call to let us know you can come!  Saturday, 2nd of December at the Cherry Bowl in Sihlbrugg and then our home for the rest!  6:00 pm -8:30pm  
 
For all of us at LIFT, I hope to see you Sunday at Worship as Derek leads this week on chapter 5 and Extraordinary Joy!
 
In His grip and grace,
 
Corey

FAITH WITH ACTION

Hello All,
 
Can I get an A-Men?  It’s been great to see that the special A-Men retreat that took place a month ago has had a continuing impact and effect amongst our men.  Two morning studies (one in Zug and one in Horgen) have been launched and take place early Wednesday or Thursdays journeying through the Wild at Heart book.  It has also been so encouraging to see many e-mails and SMS’s exchanged as many men are sharing aspects of needed prayer or just praising the Lord as things occur during their busy weeks.  This is evidence of the body of Christ IN ACTION! 
 
And can I get an A-WO-Men too? At the same time ladies, once again you have stepped things up a notch in active faith in response to the request of help regarding a couple of ministry needs with snacks and the kid’s ministry (by the way men, you can be of help here too!)  I believe nearly 10 offers of assistance came back, and with such quick response……….all glory to God!
 
Things are happening right now at LIFT, great things, and I ask for all to keep our young church in prayer, alongside praying for each other.  It seems we will outgrow our meeting space in the near future and already a look around town for other options is underway.  Our vision of starting a new kid’s ministry program aside of Sunday school (CLUB LIFT) is about to begin and perhaps after the New Year a youth ministry (for teenagers) might begin once per month.  Last time I checked, I didn’t see many teenagers in our midst, but somehow, I trust the Lord that as we minister to our community in this area, He will bring draw them in to hear His word! 
 
Can LIFT really do all this? To be honest, I can’t tell you exactly if I have everything figured out and how it will all look.  But I do know, and have faith enough to know, that as we take action in our faith, God will show up and take His action as well! A year from now, we can chat about this again and look back and clearly see how God showed us the way!
 
At LIFT we often pray to the Lord of the Harvest to continue to send forth His workers to help in the fields that are so ripe and in need of the Gospel. (Luke 10)  At the same time, we remind each Christ’s words from John that says the world will know His disciples by their love for one another! 
 
Luke 10:2 -(Jesus speaking)
He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go!
John 13:34-35- (Jesus speaking)
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

As our LIFT Men, Women and Children (ALL OF US AT LIFT) are beginning to share life together, more than just on Sunday’s, it is wonderful to see how God’s church reflects this love that Christ spoke about!  
 
Come join us on Sundays as our journey through Ephesians kicked off with an Extraordinary start last week! This week it is chapter 2 and Extraordinary Life!    
 
In His grip and grace,
 
Corey

“IN THE WORLD”

Hello All!
 
Although sometimes my life can be quite hectic and ever changing, it is a blessing for me to both serve the Lord in ministry AND at the same time, have a “normal” job in the world. This is the case of all of us, being in the world but not of it. For me, it keeps me grounded in connecting my spiritual faith and the Gospel message to many who would never step foot into a church.

That being said, a few nights ago while on business in Germany with clients from the U.K., I found myself at a dinner table with 6 others and began to question myself; “Is it worth it? Is it really worth it to sometimes waste my time on earth speaking about pointless things in contrast to using my time speaking about eternal hope?” It was one of those seemingly pointless conversations with work colleagues speaking about pointless things like business in general, world headlines, making money, etc, etc. Then a couple of pointed questions were asked of me. Questions about why I moved my family to Switzerland and what is important in life. My heart was screaming out that my purpose in life (in or out of Swissland) is about Jesus Christ and definitely not about business and money. So my heart screams this, but my head was more rational because sitting next to me was a Pakastani British colleague who is quite important in the next months in business. Furthermore, we have already had a great start in our relationship the past couple of months and I didn’t want to offend him in a short blurt of my faith in Jesus, when I can show the love of Christ in the next months. I was thinking that when the time is right, I would be able to better dialog in love, about God and Allah. (He had previously shared with me a couple months ago about a very difficult period in his life of a failed marriage that was pre arranged by his parents and other parents of like culture and Muslim faith so I knew at least something about his background.) It was a quick decision of holding back what was truly on my heart and using rationally wording in order to share for the Lord in the longer run. So I gave some half truth answer about my moving my family to Switzerland was embracing both cultures of my 12 year long multi cultural marriage. Furthermore, the job I found after arriving has been a dream job and a wonderful opportunity. (Of course, this IS true and my company was buying the dinner!) Going to bed later that night, I felt a bit “defeated”. Should I have shared my heart? Did I quench the Holy Spirit’s leading in a potential conversation? Of course, I always miss my family while travelling, so it was just one of those nights………

I’ll keep it short, but the next night I find myself in the spa of the hotel in the sauna with my Pakistani British colleague. Keep in mind, this is a mid thirties man who was born and raised in the U.K., speaking proper Queen’s English, but at the same time, from a Pakistani Muslim home, similar to the profile we’ve been seeing lately on the news. At one point I was finally bold enough to share that although we come from very different backgrounds, my faith in God is more important than what this world has to offer. To my amazing surprise this man began to tell me about his faith too, which is in the Lord Jesus Christ! My heart jumped and for the nearly too hours we shared about how the Lord is real in both of our lives! His story of coming to know Jesus was truly divine!  The next morning over breakfast, the sharing continued and I can honestly say, God is absolutely real! The way He reveals Himself and gives His grace to His creation is “a very beautiful thing”!

Sorry the writing is a bit long this week, but I think that for most of us, we can relate that while living in the real world, it can be intimidating to share what’s really on our hearts. As the Lord leads, be comforted that He will back up your words and actions of faith in a very real way! Below, the Lord states in much better than me in the book of 1 John:

1 John 4:4-12
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
!!!
 
In His grip and grace,
 
Corey