"Everyone Has A Story…..Your City Too!"

Hello All,

I live in Edlibach, part of Kanton Zug in Switzerland. Where do you live? What city do you live in? Who are your neighbors? Who are those around you in your community? ….in your workplace? …where you play sports, shop, or enjoy your hobbies? We are all surrounded by people! The question is, are we for them……or against them?

A few months ago, I was abroad and met with a pastor and friend, Adaumir, who also has a day job and who also planted a church about 6 years ago. We both realized, since the first time we met more that a year ago, that we have a lot in common. In particular, we both have an intercultural marriage, live in a German speaking country, are church planters, have passion for Jesus and passion for others to know Jesus and experience hope in life. In addition to our wonderful wives, we also have 3 kids each and again, in both cases, we have 2 older kids and a baby girl toddler. I was sharing that I believe that for my family of five, living in Switzerland has actually been healthy for our family unit, keeping us close in relationship and life conversations with our kids. Since we speak English at home and the rest of life outside our doors is Swiss culture and German language, I stated that sometimes I feel like it’s kind of like, “our family against the world around us”, but meant it in a good way, in that it keeps us close as a family unit. Adaumir agreed that they too have a close family unit, mixing their Brazilian/German/USA culture at home, BUT he wisely twisted my sentence by changing one word………and it made all the difference. He said that he prefers to say that he feels it is “his family FOR the world around him….not against it”! I’ve restated my version every since; yes, I believe it is my family, our little family of five, in Edlibach, Switzerland, FOR OUR WORLD AROUND US! I believe it is our church too, FOR our city of Zug around us! I believe that Living and Giving our faith, hope and love in Jesus does make a difference and is worth it! How about you, in your neighborhood and city? Each of us make a difference, one day and one heart at a time!

Speaking (writing actually) of my city of Zug, I was blessed to experience something very special this past Sunday night with my wife Tanya. Once again, we were able to catch a glimpse of God showing a bit of His glory, and as usual, He’s always way ahead of us. Our church LIFT has begun to share our facility on Sunday nights with ICF-Zug (International Christian Fellowship Zug) and on Sunday, ICF-Zug had its kick off celebration service at “the LIFT-Church” (as they call it). LIFT meets in the mornings and ICF on Sunday nights. During their announcements, they noted that their “after party” will continue at Pickwick’s, the local English speaking pub……even though ICF-Zug is a Swiss-German speaking church. Driving home that night, Tanya reminded me of some really amazing “Kingdom connecting dots” (thus my yellow highlighting above) that were part of my original church planting seminary project from back in 2002, long before LIFT or ICF Zug existed……although Pickwick’s has been around Zug for a long time! Way back in 2002, for that church planting project, that was only a project at the time, I included mention of Pickwick’s as a place where English speakers can connect and I also mentioned how ICF in Zurich was growing as a relevant church in Zurich (and also mentioned our friends across town as Stami as well!) and how these connections could be something God could develop and allow us to use here in the Zug area. So, on this past Sunday, not only did the manager of Pickwick’s, whose family now attends LIFT, come to LIFT’s morning service, but the 5 year old church plant of ICF-Zug also met in the same place as LIFT………..and to think that God “caused” these real life connections to happen in this city in an even more complete way than I wrote about way back in 2002 … that is something that is way beyond me!!!!!

Have a wonderful week and I encourage you to pray and connect with your city and those around your realm of influence……in living and giving your faith away! Tanya and I are off to Dusseldorf today for a Mosaic event called “Tribus”, with numerous other churches and church planters across Europe. I’m even having an opportunity the share a word about “GO” during the breakout sessions www.tribusmosaic.org/the-team.

In His grip and grace,

Corey

PS: Below are words to a wonderful song about God and “your” city….mine too!

GOD OF THIS CITY
You’re the God of this City
You’re the King of these people
You’re the Lord of this nation
You are

You’re the Light in this darkness
You’re the Hope to the hopeless
You’re the Peace to the restless
You are

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

-Chorus-For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
Greater thing have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City

Everyone has a story….10 yr old Isaiah!

LIVE IT AND GIVE IT  (Zug, Switzerland)-  for August 2010
 
Hello all,
 
What an incredible July for my family in our return to visit Summit County (Frisco) Colorado after moving away from there 6 years ago!  It wasn’t just a vacation in a beautiful place, nor just re-connecting with old friends and church family, but it was truly an “American Heritage Re-Discovery” for our family, in particular for our kids.  When we left Colorado in 2004, Livia was 7 and Silas 3 and upon our return Livia is a teenager at 13 and Silas 9 with baby Sarah at 18 months, seeing the Rockies for the first time!  For Livia and Silas who are in the Swiss school system in the German language, it was the first time in a long time that they were in an all (American) English  environment.  A funny thing about our trip in regards to my language skills was the fact that several people in Colorado discussed my accent in English as not being so American anymore, not my kids’!  (Oh well, what can I say about all the South African, British, Swiss and Italian (my boss) influences shaping my funny English I’ve grown accustomed to over the past 6 years.) 
 
We made numerous great American “re-discoveries” like the local restaurants of Summit County where a Buffalo Burger is as easy to get as a hamburger, beautiful hikes or wild west horse rides and even shooting real shot guns at clay pigeons with the kids. Another wonderful highlight for the kids was going to Camp Id-Ra-Ha-Je for a week, which they did the week before I arrived to join the family vacation in Colorado.  Livia was in Jr. High Camp and joined by her longest friend on record, Hailey (whom she grew up with from nursery age on) and the two of them had the top of two bunk beds together. What a great week of fun, faith and adventure in the mountains of Colorado.  Silas was in another area of the vast camp, in the Tepee Camp, where his group of campers didn’t sleep in cabins, but yes, in real tepees!  Without having a long lost friend to connect with at camp, Silas did what any kid should do in such a circumstance; make a new friend, like 10 year old Isaiah! 
 
Thus enters another “Everyone Has a Story” segment of Corey’s 2010 year of listening and learning from others peoples stories.  Isaiah and Silas hit it off pretty quickly, being in the same tepee and all. Their tepee group of about a dozen boys did many things together alongside and in competition with all the other tepee group teams.  What caught Silas’ attention (and heart) about Isaiah was his mention of being adopted.  With baby Sarah as part of our family via adoption, Silas knows something about being part of an adoptive family, but it’s the rest of Isaiah’s story that was so captivating to Silas (and his daddy) in that Isaiah was only adopted within the last couple of years. There were seven or eight years of life for Isaiah before being adopted, not just three days after birth like Sarah.  During the week Silas and his new friend continued the conversation about life in Switzerland or life in a small American town in their sleeping bags, around meals, during breaks or even crazy “mission impossible” games in the forest. Isaiah shared about how he was in approximately 20 different foster homes during his lifetime before meeting and being adopted by his father and mother and meeting his brothers and sisters, which are now “his family”, not just a stop-over place to stay with “a family”.  Isaiah has a joy and appreciation for life and family in a way that intrigued Silas, especially since Silas couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have had such an upbringing, not knowing life as part of the Best family with the same mother, father and sister(s) in his lifetime.  
 
At the end of the week, when Tanya was picking up Silas, he said proudly, “Mom, this is Isaiah, my friend I’ve met at camp this week”.  Fortunately, Tanya being the family photo gal that she is, said, “Great, nice to meet you Isaiah. How about we get of photo of you two friends together?”.  Only in the days to follow did Silas expand upon the story behind the story of Isaiah.  He shared from the heart, and our hearts were wide open to hear the story of Isaiah.  
 
Over the past couple of weeks, as I’ve looked at this picture of these two boys proudly smiling together at camp, with two bright futures ahead, I am so touched to imagine the love of God that has been bestowed upon, not only Isaiah with his family, but his family with Isaiah as well!  God has a way that only He can accomplish in “creating family” or creating a place to BELONG, where one can know what it truly means to be home and BELONG as family!   I’m like Silas, I grew up in a loving Christian home with the same father and mother, who are now married for more than 45 years…and still living and giving their love and faith away to me!   In reality, perhaps even becoming the majority in the world today, there are families and kids that are growing up in a “home” that is far from the traditional family unit of a married father and mother with the 2.5 kids and a dog or cat.  Sometimes this breakdown of the family is due to choices of grown ups such as divorce or decisions to not marry but have kids together, etc.  but often it’s also due to tragic circumstances such as death and disease of parents, or refugee circumstances that break up families from their homelands.  Yes, in our world today, there are plenty of relationship “dysfunctions” in one way or another and so many of them hit pretty much close to home (in every home).  
 
In closing and in encouragement to you, like Isaiah, regardless of where your own story has brought you from, you have a place to BELONG, a place to call home and a FATHER in Heaven who loves you very much….whether you believe it or not!   But, like Isaiah – who made such an impression on Silas because of the way he didn’t have to “wish” to belong to a family anymore, but “knew” that his home and place with his family was real and lasting- you too can know that as well. I pray and hope you believe and know it too!  Home with God doesn’t have to wait until you die and go to heaven, but already starts on this side of heaven with His Son, Jesus.   BELONGing to God’s family – through faith in Jesus – also gives a bonus of instant brothers and sisters in Christ who God puts alongside the journey as family, friends and fellow encouragers.
 
In His grip and grace,
your “brother” Corey
 
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PS: A Word from our Father about Him being our Father, especially if we are fatherless on earth, about Him loving us and also about Him having plenty of space for us in His Home!
Psalms 68:4-5 Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds—his name is the LORD— and rejoice before him. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
 
John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
 
John 14:1-4 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

“Giving Away CHRISTmas! Part 2”

Hello All,
 
I just got back yesterday from an event (a CHRISTmas party) with my company’s UK partner in Cardiff, Wales.  It was such a blessing that Tanya was able to come with me and we even slipped in a bit of time at the big shopping mall near our hotel.  Wow, it was like one foot back in the USA as this mall was not like the Swiss “malls” around Zug….or even Zurich.  While impressive and full of people as this place was only a few days before Christmas, it was a clear reminder again of what the world around us thinks Christmas (or X-mas as most of the signs indicated) is all about; shopping for gifts and the guy in the red suit named Santa.  We even saw several Santa’s around, one in particular giving away the “ISSUE” newspaper to all that walked by.  I’m not a Santa hater nor am I one who would desire to boycott Christmas, but I am definately one who’s passionate about reminding the world around me in a loving way that CHRISTmas is about THE ORIGINAL GIFT, that God blessed creation in a special way with His Son Jesus on that original Christmas day! 
 
Here’s THE ORIGINAL GIFT’s birth announcement as recorded in Luke 2:10-14
 
The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
 

In continuation from the last LIFT update regarding “Giving Away CHRISTmas”, I thank the many that sent their great insight and ideas in how you or your family can also try to seek ways to bless others this time of year versus being focused on a gift under the tree with your name on it. Below in blue font is a selection of many of these responses with some minor editing (denoted with an *) to keep the focus on the ideas and not the people.   
 
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Hey man this was awesome.  We have three children* and we are going to have each one pick out a gift, wrap it, and try to deliver it to a family in need, or give it to a charity toy drop off.

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What a wonderful message! It did me good reading it. Two weeks ago we had a discussion about the chidren’s* “old” toys and instead of selling them on the internet* and getting money for it, we would like to give them to the Gemeinde  Sozialabteilung (local village’s social welfare office*).  We’re also discussing the food matter as we are sure that here in (our village*) there are families who have no chance to celebrate Christmas with some good food and to enjoy Christmas because they are struggeling with everything.

 
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We absolutely love and look forward to Christmas because it’s all about giving although the world has turned it the other way around. Our child recently celebrated with a birthday party with friends from his/her* current & former school. For the party, instead of having presents and all, our child* had all the guests make a donation to the school’s Ghana charity fund, which funds the running of a school in Ghana. I hope this will not end here, as I will create albums & info sites and send it with a thank you to those who came, so they can continue to be updated by the progress of the Ghana school and perhaps support it again in the future.

Being a child once myself, I can understand how important presents are to kids and as parent’s* were very pleased to see our child* give instead of take, and use the birthday party as a way to raise awareness & funds for those who need it. God is indeed great and church has played a great role in shaping our child* as well. My grandma raised me with a thought – “To be able to give – that’s the greatest blessing.” So I hope that this is passed on to my child*.

The other idea which we all had was to have a birthday party at an orphanage, where all the guests bring gifts for the kids at the orphanage instead of the birthday child. That doesn’t just stop there as the kids would be encouraged to continue their friendship and to really be a friend to the kids at the orphanage, so like writing to each other and all that. This too can be used for a Christmas party, where we can share the real Gift – Jesus.

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I used to work for a Greek shipping company and every Christmas, we send out Christmas greetings to all our partners, clients, suppliers and friends, and tell them we have donated to charities the money which we would have used to buy the cards & pay for the postage. That was quite a bit which would have been spent on cards and postage, so it was good to see that the money went to children’s homes and cancer charities instead… and the cost for sending out the thousands of greetings out – zilch. :) … oh yeah… less trees cut down too, so also protecting God’s creation.

 
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I love your words “giving away”.  I often hear our child* say these words.  As a matter of fact, she wrote a paper about a famous person* and in her opening paragraph she wrote something like this “this person* loved peace and gave it away….”
 
In our home country*, we, as a family always tried to do some kind of little family fundraiser and pass the money onto the orphanages in Russia.  This always was a big deal for us, but last year here, I had a tough time trying to figure out what to do and let our little family tradition go past us.  The last year we were in our homeland*, we had an art show.  one of our children* is a very good artist, but other made a bunch of pictures, too.  I put borders on all of them and hung them in our dining room.  We invited lots of neighbors and friends and collected donations for each “piece” of art.  We donated all the money to an organization that builds playgrounds in orphanages in Russia.  Now, our second year, here, and I’m still thinking about this and maybe will try to do something in the New year. 

 
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Cool message!   For several years in a row my siblings* and I were buying Christmas gifts for each other, and for each our spouses.  There are 6 of us in total.  We all attend the same church in our homeland*, and they often have various organizations in need around Christmas time.  About 5 years ago we decided we truly didn’t need anything material for Christmas, and that we would much prefer to take all of the money we would spend on each other (+ some extra), and we sponsor a family that is in need.  While I was there last we all* took a day and went and did all the shopping together.  We really enjoyed spending the time together, and we were so happy to do something that would make someone else’s Christmas morning special.  Obviously, I am now just a monetary contributor, but the “tradition” remains.  Our kids visibly see that we don’t have gifts from each other, and it a good opportunity to explain to them what we are doing and why.  We certainly aren’t “special” for doing this – as lots of people all over the world do it – but I have to say I don’t miss the gifts under the tree at all, and it is such a peaceful feeling to know someone else is having a special day.
 
That said we have struggled to find a way to really instill it in our kids – so I love the ideas you have!  Can’t wait to see the others.

 
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This year compassion international has a “what I want for christmas” program.  They send you a child that needs a sponser (at the end of NOv) for you to pray for during the holidays and try to find a sponser for.  We are doing that and the kids are really praying for (*our child we sponsor).  Also we do one of the toy programs for kids that wouldn’t get anything, each child fills a shoebox.  Also we have some Christmas books we read

 
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Working with and helping the mentally and physically challenged is a real blessing because they really appreciate the love. I use to volunteer with the Special Olympics * and continue to help out a workshop/day center.

Another things is to give to the Messianic Congregations in Eretz Israel. They have Arab, Jewish and others that have paid dearly to become believers in the Messiah. As you know both the Arabs and Jews families write their family members off when they put their faith in Jesus.

Recently some congregations have been firebombed, vandalized and have had the anti-missionary groups riot in front of their places of worship. They really need our prayer and physical support (even visits). Consider standing with them as they need to know that other believers care about them in their time of need. Especially now..

Keeping the light(s) in this world,

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A cool idea that we have used in the past is to give specific gifts from the Samaritan’s Purse Gift Catalog, in someone else’s name, as an honorary gift to them (SP sends an honor or memory card explaining the gift). This works well for grandkids to give to their grandparents, for example. See https://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/Giving/gift_catalog/
 
e.g. 
$4 for milk for a child for a week
$9 to feed a hungry baby for a week
$10 for a mosquito net to prevent malaria
$14 for a dozen baby chicks
 
It’s also available in British pounds here: http://www.giftcatalogue.org.uk

 
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We’ve done Operation Christmas Child via ISZL for the past two years (isn’t that cool that the international schools sponsor such a Christian thing!? I wonder whether they realize!), and we also were able to do it through our homeland* as well. Have been blessed to sponsor Compassion children for 20 years this year. 
 
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Dad just came back from some ministry* outreaches where he was telling Hindu Indians about what Christmas is all about. Sharing our “Dad time” over the Christmas break is one way that we give Christmas away. Another way is that we’ve always had a stocking for Jesus. So there are 7 stockings at our fireplace: one for every family member, plus one for Jesus. We kids grew up putting poems for Jesus, letters for Jesus, and money for Jesus in the stocking. We then take the money to church as offering, or give the money to missions/the poor. We also bake traditional Swiss Christmas cookies for all of our neighbors. Some of them wait all year for our cookie bags! Most of these neighbors don’t yet know the Lord, but they all know that we are Christians, and they respect us for it… I think they’re glad we take Christmas so seriously because it means they get yummy cookies (hehe), but it’s also a nice way of reaching out to them and going to their homes to deliver the cookies… We have interesting conversations with them each time.
 
What amazing insight into “being CHRISTmas” and a blessing to others at CHRISTmas time! 
 
There are still a few days left, what might you do to still “Give Away CHRISTmas yourself this year? Taking gifts to others?  Serving at a food distribution place?  Adding “Jesus is the reason to the season” to your (work) e-mails instead of X-Mas?  Inviting someone to a Christmas Eve service (which LIFT is having one)?  Connecting with a long ago family member or friend that you need reconciliation with? Bringing a guest to your Christmas meal, even if they aren’t family?  (Contact the Eales if you want to join with the growing “Christmas Day meal with the Eales” for families/individuals around LIFT that don’t have extended family around!
 
In His grip and grace…..because He first gave me the real gift of Christmas!
Corey

“A Father's Prayer”!

Hello All,
 
Like normal, when my business travel hits, it often hits all at once!  Over the last two weeks, I’ve been to Amsterdam, Cardiff (Wales), Milan, Dusseldorf and Wuppertal (Germany) and Helsinki via 7 planes, 8 trains, 7 taxis, 6 buses and 5 different beds that don’t quite have the comfort of my very own pillow under my head!  Fortunately, alongside my work meeting schedules I was blessed to have met with a couple of church planters in various places along the way and had a divine conversation on the final plane ride back home last Friday with another who lives the world of business and business travel, while sharing Jesus along the way..even in board rooms!  And the trip to Milan was over the weekend with Silas to have our first ever live Rugby experience, so it wasn’t all business! Needless to say, it’s been a wonderful week back home getting back into my “normal busy life” of 3 kids, a great dog, a wonderful church and plenty of face to face coffee (or kitchen) conversations with my best friend in life (and wife) Tanya! 
 
Although I didn’t get a chance to sit down and do my LIFT update for several days now, I had written this one “in my head and heart” last Thursday and Friday while looking forward to being home with my family. Of course, while traveling I don’t check out in life from my family, but stay engaged as much as possible.  Great technology with a smart phone (voice, SMS and internet) helps a lot and skype with video from a hotel room can “almost” allow me to sit at the dinner table with the family and see and hear how their day went.  Aside of technology, a far better way of staying connected (and the real point of this LIFT update) is the blessing and gift of God called PRAYER!  It’s not out of date, it’s not irrelevant and it works beyond our expectations….even when we don’t think so!  Somehow trying to grasp the magnitude of what prayer, in connecting to the God of the Universe from within my own soul and then realizing He enables my prayer of intersession (prayer on behalf of others) to touch other’s souls and lifes, gives me great joy and hope…….wherever I may find myself far from home!  Prayer is not just intercession or asking God for things, but much much more (ie. praise, adoration, worship, confession, thanksgiving, song, meditation, to name a few)!
 
Back on Father’s Day of this year I read a devotion from a well known pastor from the USA (Rick Warren) about a father’s necessity to pray fervently for his children .  I was inspired and challenged enough to print it and put it in my carry on computer case that I always take with me wherever I go.  From time to time as I reach for my passport or plane tickets, I grap that piece of paper instead and take a moment to re-read it and of course pray for my three children.  Often I continue on praying for Tanya (and for LIFT and others that the Lord puts on my heart as well). So while preparing my bags last Thursday night ready to be home, I found myself holding this paper and praying for my children.  Although I was near the Artic Circle in Finland and far, far from Edlibach, Switzerland, the Lord comforted my soul as he connected me to my 3 children who were fast asleep with their heads on their own pillows, almost just as if I walked into their rooms and put my hand gently on their cheek! (Below is the clip from this Father’s Prayer devotional.)
 
In His grip and grace,
Corey

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FATHERS: PRAY FERVENTLY FOR YOUR CHILDREN 

Jesus reflected the father heart of God when He prayed for the disciples. As a father, or mother, you can pray that your children will focus on the five purposes of God.

God’s five purposes for your children are the same as God’s five purposes for your life, and the same as the five purposes for the church. Jesus prayed for all five purposes in the lives of those He was leading.

Jesus said, “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those You have given me, for they are Yours” (John 17:9 NIV).

We can pray that our children will live for Christ joyfully: “I say these things while I’m still in the world so that they will have the same joy that I have” (John 17:13 GWT).

We can pray that our children will grow strong spiritually: “I’m not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one” (John 17:15 NLT).

We can pray that our children will serve Christ effectively: “Make them ready for Your service through Your truth; Your teaching is truth” (John 17:17 NCV).

We can pray that our children will experience fellowship personally: “My prayer . . . is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as you and I are one, Father . . . and the world will believe You sent me” (John 17:21 LB).

We can pray that our children will bring others to Christ regularly: “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in Me because of their message” (John 17:20 TEV).

Even if you are not a father, or a mother, you will help others move toward the heart of God by praying for them and the purposes God has planned for their lives.

“The Journey Continues”!

Hello All,
 
As announced this past Sunday at LIFT by the Servants Leaders (and I), there is  a  new era for LIFT in the months ahead in going and growing forward in faith with the Lord……..just as LIFT has done from the beginning.  On behalf of my family and our church I want to thank the Servant Leaders for their wonderful hearts, encouragement, insight, wisdom and prayers during our discussions over the past months in preparation for the year ahead of 2010 and beyond!  The following is the announcement that was shared to LIFT and over the next weeks, I intend to continue the conversation together via the LIFT updates!  Oh yes guys…..the journey of faith and the journey of LIFT continues and I look forward to seeing the Lord continue His blessings upon LIFT beyond our expectations!  

Beginning in January 2010, the Best family, after 5 years of “tentmaking” missionary work at LIFT, is taking a “sabbatical” for 2010 and turning over the active LIFT church leadership to LIFT’s Servant Leaders and LIFT. Although it is often that a missionary family takes a furlough year after 4 or 5 years in the field, it usually means the family returns to their homeland and home church. In this case, however, the Best’s (2nd) homeland is Switzerland and their “home church” is LIFT, thus we’ll all be seeing them around quite a bit.  For their family, 2010 will also be a year of pursuing passions that God has placed within them regarding a broader Kingdom vision of connecting other church plants from around Switzerland and Europe for mutual encouragement and synergies.  
 
So folks, I first want to underline the part about “we’ll all be seeing them (the Best’s) around quite a bit” at LIFT. Aside of taking several weeks away from January to the end of February, we are so thankful that for the rest of the year we have a home church within our (2nd) homeland to be refreshed by and blessed to belong to such a wonderful body of believers and friends.  As we are turning over the daily active leadership of LIFT and also the various ministries both Tanya and I are involved with, we totally look forward to enjoying the freed up time to be able to follow the Lord’s leading and pursue passions the Lord has placed within us, all the while doing more things as a family of five as well, many of which will also include being with families of LIFT that we just haven’t had the time to fellowship with. 
 
Part of our DNA at LIFT is “Serving Together- ALL of us!”. It’s been mentioned every single week for the last 5 years since LIFT began……you know, right after “The Bible is our source, living our faith and giving it away and  being counter culturally friendly”.  Although Tanya and I are involved with numerous ministries, LIFT isn’t Corey’s church, nor is it Ken or Bedros’ church, but LIFT is (put your name here)’s church…..or actually LIFT is all us together as part of Jesus’ church! 
 
Furthermore, one of our 5 core values of LIFT called “BODY”- Ministry and Service (formerly known as the Element of Wood) again reminds us that we are all in this together with Jesus, the Head of the church!  Together, as many individual parts of one body, of course with many stepping up a bit more in serving one another at LIFT, we will continue our wonderful journey…….the journey of living our faith and giving it away, first right here in Zug and unto the nations around us and beyond!  Here’s some of the Scriptural background to this core value:
 
Romans 12:4-7
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
 

Matthew 20:28
“Just as the Son of Man (JESUS) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

I encourage you to do three things:

    1) Pray for our church LIFT and for one another!
    2) Talk about it, meaning don’t hesitate to ask me, or the Servant Leaders what it means that the Best’s are turning over the leadership to LIFT, or what broader Kingdom vision means, or any other questions you may have.
    3) Consider your calling and what ministry you can serve in as a stronger part of the BODY!

 
In closing, Tanya shared this verse with me a couple days ago in how during this week in particular and the months ahead, it is a great Word of encouragement in faith in the One who endured the cross for us!
 
Hebrew 12:1-3
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
 

Yes, the journey continues………
 
In His grip and grace, 
Corey