Conundrum

Lift The International Church of Zug   –  for Oct 12th, 2008!

Dear All,

To be honest, this is the third try in choosing the topic of this week’s LIFT update.  I started with continuing last week’s theme of being the Body, I also considered just something light and praiseful of how the Lord is currently blessing us at LIFT and now I am shifting to going a bit deeper into somewhat of a current “conundrum” for me.  Let’s see if I actually finish it up and click it away before changing the topic back to something lighter and easier for me to write about.

Conundrum: Top of Form
Pronunciation: \kə-ˈnən-drəm\
a: a question or problem having only a conjectural answer b: an intricate and difficult problem

The above definition is from Webster’s dictionary, for me, I understand a conundrum is when you have to decide between two (or more) conflicting possible outcomes, but nonetheless the decision needs to be made.  So what’s my conflicting options? On one hand, to communicate information which may come across as asking for money, or on the other hand, to go forward with my conviction that in faith the Lord will provide, without asking for money!  The reality is that LIFT’s new church location at Ibelweg 18 is a big step for LIFT in that there are real financial commitments and facility maintenance necessities that come with this new “home”.  My conundrum is how to communicate this in a manner that I don’t put pressure on people to “just give money”, nor “ask for money”, but just communicate the real need in a way that the Lord can work through our Body and service in ways that glorify God in His blessing and not man (in this case me) manipulating people.  For some, the issue of giving offerings or tithes to the Lord’s work, isn’t an issue at all but just a form of worship and obedience.  For some, the issue of giving to the church is that of once again, the church and “religion” are just want to take your money.  On top of this, I personally was challenged years ago in my personal faith by reading about a faith hero named George Muller, who amazingly built a large scale orphanage for children in England last century without ever asking for money from anyone, but just praying that the Lord will provide for specific needs.  Time and time again, George Muller’s faith was blessed by the Lord in ways so amazing that generations later we are still touched by this kind of faith.  Not to compare myself to George Muller, but so far since arriving in Zug in 2004, I have never asked for money from any persons or entities for LIFT, inside and/or outside of Switzerland.  In fact, we don’t even pass an offering plate during our services. It’s been intentional that during our announcement time, as one can read on the bottom of the main announcement PowerPoint slide for more than a year, that at as an act of worship, we “Thank You Lord for Your Blessings”.  Yes, at times the “black box” (or new wooden box) or electronic deposit forms are mentioned as for how to give as one is led versus asking one to give.  So far so good as LIFT has been able to even bless other Christian ministries in 3rd world circumstances in amounts from approximately 7000 to 12000 CHF over each of the past three years. (Throughout the year we sometimes share about these ministry partners in India, Belize and South Africa and what a blessing to hear how the Lord is touching lives elsewhere!)

As the Servant Leaders (SL) of LIFT met this past Monday night looking into the issues of establishing future budgets and so forth, it was suggested that we simply communicate the monthly needs and monthly giving so folks are made more aware of the financial side of our church necessities, similar to how many other churches do this in their weekly bulletin, etc.  Simple enough, and of course, ALL OF LIFT’S FINANCES ARE OPEN TO OUR CHURCH COMMUNITY AS WE ARE TRANSPARENT AS A CHURCH AS WILL CONTINUE TO KEEP THIS FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY OPEN IN OUR CHURCH!  Whether we will every week, month or quarterly communicate this information we haven’t confirmed, but yearly (in March) at LIFT’s annual church meeting all finance and budget information will be presented. I don’t mind at all sharing that currently LIFT has approximately 25,000 Swiss Francs of current available funds.  (Recent past gifts to LIFT missions (3rd world) partners of 12,000 CHF, 3,300 CHF for chairs arriving next week and a 12,000 CHF rental deposit are aside of this amount.)  Furthermore our monthly expenses (rental, insurance and utilities) at Ibelweg 18 are just over 5000 CHF per month. This is a very basic overview of our current financial status of LIFT.  Sooner than later we will need to make some LIFT “enhancements” to close up the balconies for children’s nursery and Sunday School rooms which is estimated at approx. 10,000 CHF for materials if we do most the labor ourselves.  Basically, it’s still just an big open room, so aside of chairs that are on the way, many practical things are still needed as well. By the way, our SL team at LIFT is Ken E, Don D, Chas G, Robert S, Ashok D, Trevor T, Bedros P, Wayne R and me.  

So perhaps it’s not a conundrum anymore, as I hope that I have been able to only communicate the facts and information, unless you feel that I am asking you for money. My heart is as it always has been in regards to LIFT, that this is the Lord’s church and His work here in this community and I am faithful that He will continue to bring forth the workers (Luke 10) and the means to harvest His ministry field here.  It’s been an adventure of faith thus far……and beyond expectations!  It’s an honor to serve and worship our Lord Jesus Christ with you here in the community of Zug, Switzerland.

Bedros is sharing the message this Sunday and also Ken and Kristin will be dedicating their newborn, Talea to the Lord as well!  Looking forward to seeing ya there!

In His grip and grace,

Corey

PS-Monday night, or actually Tuesday morning, I found great comfort in sharing my conundrum and burden with the Lord as I searched for His Word below to remind me that He carries me (us)…..always!    
 
Matthew 11:28-30
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

LIFT- Into the Kingdom around us!

Hello All,

Many of you know about the really amazing “God-Thing” in regards to the Best and Post families who lead LIFT- The International Church of Zug (LIFT) and The International Church of Luzern (ICOL).  The Best’s left Summit County, Colorado in 2004 to Zug to start Lift and two years later, in 2006, the Post’s also left the same Summit County, Colorado (from another church within 15 minutes of the Best’s former church) to go serve at ICOL in Luzern, less than 30 minutes from Zug.  At the same time, neither family communicated or coordinated this “coincidentally” close proximity of serving God with one another. It is just as I stated at the beginning; a God-Thing! 

This past Sunday, as us Best’s wrapped up our vacation week and arrived back in Zug on Saturday night and not being expected at LIFT on Sunday, we spontaneously decided to go visit ICOL in Luzern.  It was a wonderful blessing to be around another congregation of Internationals and it was a wonderful blessing to hear the Message from Brian Post.  During his message, I realized that after more than 13 years (total) of living/serving within 30 minutes of each other, I had never heard Brian preach.  I used to work very closely with his youth pastor back in the States, sometimes on a near weekly basis, and I had heard about Brian’s great teaching/preaching ability to clearly communicate and train his congregation with the Gospel, but it took more than 13 years to make the opportunity happen to hear him in person. 

On one hand, we “work the same hours” so it isn’t easy to visit one another, but at the same time, all too often churches get too involved within the four walls of their church and may miss the blessing of fellowshipping and serving together in the larger Kingdom around them.  Too often churches, sometimes even from the same denominations, somehow think and treat the nearby churches as competition.  O.K., I’m not promoting church hopping and that people surf around from one church to the other because clearly, we should actively serve and minister within our own church body, but I do believe that as the extended Body in our community, we can be a strong light of hope and an encouragement to each other beyond our church walls!  It was wonderful and encouraging to hear Brian share from his heart live this past week…… even if it took 13 years while serving the Lord in the same proximity on two continents!

Of course, I am the eternal optimist and must also praise the Lord for so many Kingdom minded things going on around us here in Zug.  On Aug. 12th, at the Landgemeindeplatz there is a large open air community event called JesusFaescht (Jesus Festival) that the Christlicher Treffpunkt and Rotkreuz Gemeinde (two local Christian free churches) are working together in hosting for the community!  On September 30th, LIFT and Stami (Evangelische Stadtmission Zug) are having a combined bi-lingual service to intentionally bring these two congregations together to build and strengthen the relationship together.  Club LIFT- the Kids program -will launch again on Sept. 2nd and like last year, it will be a combined program of LIFT and ICOL (Luzern) working together!  Yes, the Christian churches are serving together and may God use all of us, His body with Jesus Christ as the Head, to be a voice of hope for the world around us, to be an encouragement for each other … and to ultimaltely bring glory to Himself!

This Sunday, the 5th of August and first Sunday of the month, we meet at the larger venue at the Kirchgemeindehaus of Zug’s Protestant Church.  (Imagine that, another bridge being created in working alongside another church in Zug!)

In His grip and grace,

Corey

THANK YOU WEBSTERS!

Hello All,
 
Our walk with Jesus is often called a journey of faith!  Fortunately we are never alone and Christ is with us, and fortunately He brings others alongside the journey as well. With others we get to fellowship, encourage each other and share each other’s burdens.  Sometimes we journey a lifetime with those that the Lord puts in our closest personal life and sometimes we are blessed with journeys with people for years, or months or even an occasional divine encounter of meeting someone, even if just for a few minutes, that spiritually touches our soul!   Words won’t fully express my gratitude to the Webster family this past school year.   Don’t jump too far ahead, they are NOT leaving LIFT, but as I shared to the congregation this past Sunday, their “official” missionary service in Switzerland will call for them to serve the Lord elsewhere in Bern and St. Gallen on most Sunday’s for the next several months as two other churches are in need of an interim pastor. At the same time, LIFT still IS their home church and Derek will be a part of the men’s study, Melissa with the ladies, and David, Josiah and Ben will continue to hang with the youth and Club LIFT.  Furthermore, they will perhaps be calling you and/or your family over for a meal and expect frequent invitations back………..and did I mention Melissa is a wonderful cook! 
 

Looking back at their arrival to LIFT last year and how their presence at LIFT has been such a blessing.  Aside of their God given talents with music and singing, their simple hard work and commitment of week in and week out coming early to help set up, practice, bring snacks, etc, etc, etc are a testimony to an amazing missionary family whose official service is working with many other churches, ministries and special events full time!  Ken and I are so thankful to Derek’s preaching support and passion that has definitely strengthened us in our own preaching.
 
It is with honor that LIFT is now, in a way, sending our Webster’s out to serve others here in Switzerland with the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ! 
 
On a personal note; it is also with honor, thanksgiving and praise, that I have been able to journey with a brother in Christ, and I look forward to continuing the journey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
We wrap up the Joseph message series this Sunday at the Kirchgemeindehaus venue! I hope to see you there!

In His grip and grace,

Corey

“GROWING UP!”

Hello all
 
As a kid, there are things that you can look back upon and remember them as markers or turning points of growing up.  (In the past I’ve referred to them as “standing stones”.)  You know: your first day of school, your first date, the first time you drove alone with your own license, graduations and getting your first job, etc. etc.  Of course, I hope all of us remember that point of salvation for each of us too, when we believed and received Jesus as our personal Savior!
 
Well, as LIFT, we have two exciting “standing stones” to remember that are currently being stood up as a marker in our journey we continue to “grow up” as a ministry and church for Jesus Christ. 
The first standing stone is that we will stay with the Sunday MORNING worship service format at 10 a.m. and not return to Sunday nights in Aug.  We have prayed about this and truly feel it is of the Lord that we continue to meet in the mornings as our mainstay worship service time.  Please help get the word out as you see people that have joined us in the past during the evening times.  So, from now on, we look forward to seeing you on Sunday mornings!  Also, we praise the Lord and thank some of those from our sister churches who often attended Sunday nights at LIFT as support to us in the past! 

The second standing stone is that of LIFT giving of financial blessings to the Lord’s Kingdom as we have been blessed!  As the Word of God says, it is more blessed to give than to receive, we are being faithful at an early point in our church ministry to bless other missionaries or churches around the world.  From our LIFT account balance of 14,000 Swiss Francs we are given away 50% to two missionary needs that LIFT intends to “partner” with.  3,500 to both Zachariah, a pastor in Sudan who spoke at LIFT last November (this via Tearfund.ch) and 3,500 to a national ministry in Belize who’s seminary project is training the future national pastors of Belize.  Specifically in Belize our gift will help them complete getting a water source established on their 26 acre seminary site.  More information about these ministries will come in the future as we all intend to share what the Lord is doing in our ministries alike!
It’s exciting to look ahead and imagine what the Lord has in store for all of us as we faithfully walk forward together in serving Him here in Switzerland!
 
Sorry for the delay since my last update as I had a heavy travel schedule and then our family enjoyed a break last week together.  Thank you to the Eales, Haefligers and others who wonderfully lead the worship service last Sunday!
 
In His grip and grace,
 
Corey

“Positivity & The Eternal Optimist”

Hello All,

We certainly serve an awesome God!  I’ve been traveling this week for work (this time Wuppertal, Germany) and, as you can see, I am a little late with my weekly update.  Please forgive me and perhaps a little bit of pure “positivity” can help us all this next week!

“Positivity”, is that even a word?  I’m not sure, but it’s not being underlined so maybe it is.   The point is this, which was already stated above, We serve an awesome God!. It’s true, simply true.  Whether we let ourselves believe it or not, doesn’t change the fact.  God is awesome!  He is love and He loves us!

I’m kinda an eternal optimist, which of course from my perspective, is a positive thing.  What has helped for sure, is that the Lord has truly blessed me and I haven’t experienced “too” much in life that I would consider major negative circumstances.  For this I thank Jesus. Perhaps some of you that are reading this, have walked through some very difficult circumstances (and/or may even now be living them).   For this, I pray that you find strength and perseverance to find the joy during these times.  Read James 1 (or even the whole book) and God can give you a better explanation (and comfort) than me, but somehow, it’s in these tough times that make us complete as we make it through them. Not to mention, Jesus is with us all the way, perhaps even carrying us when we can’t go on.

Life is good, even on this side of heaven, and God IS awesome and faithful.   For one last bit of “positivity”, I end with this: Always thank God for the “here and now”!  Meaning, don’t live in the past or too far in the future. For those of us living in the Zug area, we are truly blessed at the moment with some spectacular summer weather that’s come early.  This makes even the half emply glass person feel and see the world through brighter glasses!  Considering I received an e-mail from a friend this week from Frisco, Colorado (where we moved from in the U.S) who says they got 8 inches (20 cm) of snow Friday/Saturday. It sure is nice to be living right HERE in Zug and right NOW with the winter wear all packed up in the cellar!

Have a wonderful week of worshipping Jesus as you do whatever you normally do.  He’s right there with you and enjoying it when you are intentional to include Him!

In His grip and grace,
Corey and Tanya