Sorry for the delay since my last update as I have been “on the run” lately with balancing business travel, ministry and of course, family and what real life is all about! I am reminded and encouraged of Paul’s writings about continually pressing on with purpose and eternity in mind!
But I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
I am so thankful in my life that I am not alone in pressing forward with so many things going on! First, I have God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit guiding me along the way. Then, my biggest blessing in life is my amazing wife Tanya who supports me like none other (enough said!). And then there are my kids who continually teach me so much about life and faith and myself, and provide me with such motivation to keep on pressing on, so they can continue the journey long after my legs give out! Of course my parents and brothers were and are factors the Lord blessed me with in shaping me as well … and then there have been and still are many more and it would take too long to write about them all …
However, I fully realize and am so thankful for LIFT and all of us who are journeying together and pressing onward in life with a purpose and with Kingdom mind to share the Gospel message of Jesus Christ in our lives, actions and conversations with others! What the Lord has already shown us thus far during the LIFT journey IS proof of already seeing some of the “prize” that He is calling us heavenward.
A couple of updates:
-CLUB LIFT- THIS SUNDAY: Mastery Club- The kids are saying there verses that they have been working on these past 6 months. Parents please help them finish strong and work on the verses in the next days in helping them earn their bonus party in June!
-1 JOHN to THE RED LETTERS: As we wrapped up the journey through 1 John last week we will spend some weeks on the “Red Letters” (The Words of Christ) during our Sunday morning LIFT messages.
-FACILITY UPDATE: Staring June 3rd, we will have our Sunday morning LIFT services at a new larger location (the Kirchgemeindehaus of the nearby Protestant Church of Zug), BUT ONLY ON THE FIRST SUNDAY OF EACH MONTH! This is very exciting to see that the Lord is opening new doors in aiding our limited space problem at Vorstadt and although it will be a transitional period, we are excited with such a provision thus far. More details to come soon. Please keep our space issue in prayer as we may have another possibility available later in the Fall.
Again, I look forward to worshiping with you at LIFT this Sunday!
In His grip and grace,
Sometimes I read things that are so good, it’s best just to clip and paste them rather than try to explain them in my own words. This guy’s “devotional thought” of the day recaps many things we have encountered and taught at LIFT in the past years. I hope you will be encouraged as I was in reading the following:
‘Abraham believed God …’
by Jon Walker – from PurposeDrivenLife.com
Recently, I’ve been thinking that my life verse should be Mark 9:24: “… I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (NIV)
I do believe, yet I have so much unbelief in my life. I walk in faith, yet I have so little faith. I follow God, yet I repeatedly find myself stumbling on a path of my own choosing.
Paul teaches this is a common disorder among Christians, but he also says the cure for our unbelief is, quite simply, just to believe God.
In the midst of our complex negotiations with God on the subject of belief, Paul sums up the issue with one simple phrase: “Abraham believed God ….” (Romans 4:3)
Abraham believed God to be a loving Father; Abraham believed God wanted fellowship with him; Abraham believed God would speak with him; Abraham believed God would listen to him; Abraham believed God wanted to use him in a great mission; Abraham believed God knew more than he did when the childless patria rch was called to birth a great nation; Abraham believed God was telling him to go, even if it was to a land he did not know; Abraham believed God would guide and provide step by step. Abraham “went out, not knowing where he was going. ” (Hebrews 11:8)
Abraham acted on his belief because he was in intimate fellowship with the Father, and this up close and personal relationship showed Abraham that God could be trusted to do the things he said he would do and to fulfill the commitments he promised to complete.
Abraham believed God. Paul believed God.
I believe, God; help me overcome my unbelief.
I believe; help me to live like I believe. I believe; help me to make decisions like I believe. I believe, Lord, you are trustworthy; help me to abandon my mythology that says I am more trustworthy than you.
“Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led,” writes the great saint Oswald Chambers. “But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading. It is literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason – a life of knowing him who calls us to go.”
What does this mean to me?
· ‘Help my unbelief’ – You cannot work yourself up to greater belief; rather, your belief will deepen as you deepen your fellowship with God. Tell him, “I believe; help me overcome my unbelief.”
· Believe God, not yourself – As you face decisions today, ask yourself: “Is this decision based on my belief in God, or my belief in myself?”
· Move from ‘if’ to ‘of course’ – God’s desire is that you to move from ‘if God can do this’ to ‘of course, God will do this.’ He doesn’t expect perfection from you. Even Abraham failed to believe God at points along his journey.
· Listen to Jesus – “… ‘If You can?’ Everything is possible to the one who believes.” (Mark 9:23 HCSB)
· Keep confessing – ‘Abraham believed God; (Your name) believes God.’
Looking forward to continuing our journey through 1st John this Sunday. Derek will be sharing the message! I hope to see you there.
In His grip and grace,
At LIFT we say “we are a people from many nationalities, cultures, languages and backgrounds that use the Bible and the English language as common tools to share the Gospel Message.” In short form, a diverse group of people that can find a place to “believe, belong, become” together as part of the body of Christ here in Zug! Two weeks ago, I was able to get a glimpse of South Africa as I was there on business for the week. After journeying at LIFT with so many South Africans (especially the Eales) it was an honor to smell the African air, see the sun set (upside down in the Southern hemisphere), and the highlight for me was an outing to the bush to see the great and mighty big animals that the Lord created and gave a home to in Africa! Actually the real highlight of the trip was being able to share a couple of meals with Gordon and Rean (and their lovely wives), the A-Men leaders that were here in Switzerland last October sharing faith with our men here. (Greetings from them to all the A-Men here in CH!)
Back to the outing in the bush and the big animals, especially the rhinos! It’s not everyday that a guy is driving around with two colleagues and has to stop in the middle of a dirt road as a group of about 15 elephants walk across the path. A few times it was a group of zebra and several times we just pulled over to the side and turned off the engine as nearby giraffes, wildebeest, African buffalos and of course a rhino or two were present.
I was reminded of an illustration from a book* I read a couple of years ago that since then has inspired me to have some thoughts of my own. The illustration I am referring to is about the names of groups of animals. A group of cows are called a herd. A group of birds are a flock. Whales are a pod. Fish are a school and lions are a pride, etc, etc. The funniest one, especially with church polity in mind, is that a group of vultures is called a committee. And the rhino? A group of rhinos are called a crash! What’s truly interesting is that although they are a huge animal, they are extremely fast (more than 50 km/hr) and they run at a speed traveling a farther distance than they can see! So the truth is, they run on …. Faith! Although the rhino can’t see very far he still goes full speed in confidence and without fear. I pray that we can all “crash” forward in life with faith and confidence in God. We don’t have to pretend that we know what’s ahead. We don’t, just like the rhino! But who cares that we can’t see into the future? God is already there ahead of us and we can move in His direction with confidence and without fear! Faith … like a rhino! It may sound silly, but I thank God for continually showing us His glory through His creation and may we strive to have such a faith! By the way, I bought a wooden rhino as a souvenir in South Africa and it is now in our living room … as a faith reminder!
Currently we are teaching through the New Testament book of 1 John. I hope to can join us on Sunday mornings!
In His grip and grace,
PS: A prayer request for LIFT: On Tuesday night (8pm) we will be meeting with another local pastor from the State Reformed church regarding our request of using one of their community rooms for Sunday morning LIFT worship services. We simply pray that God will clearly show us His plan regarding our space/facilities issue.
* The Barbarian Way by Erwin Raphael McManus.
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,
This week, I’ve seen the wind! Actually to be honest, I’ve seen a lot of rain too, but that would be about another story!
Have you ever heard the illustration that faith is like the wind? Meaning, you can’t really “see” the wind, but you can “see the evidence” of the wind. You know, the trees are bent over, the leaves are moving about, or you can actually even feel the wind whisk against your cheeks on your face……but can you see it?
What about God? Can we see Him? Here is the tie in with faith and wind. Sometimes we are blessed as when we can clearly see the evidence in our lives and even truly feel God, so much so that I would say we can see God! This week, I didn’t just see the wind (moving about and pushing the rain sideways), but I clearly “saw God”! Three things have happened this week that are just too extraordinary to brush off as simply coincidence. God is up to something and has shown me that it IS HIM!
1- I’ll explain this one a bit more next week regarding His work in the life of a young German exchange student in the U.S. (17 or 18 years old) that sent an e-mail to us here in Switzerland.
2-A work issue that I’m involved with, but it’s not so important to discuss with Lift matters, just something that the Lord is clearly bringing into my realm where I work.
3-We got an e-mail from a close friend back in Colorado, from where we lived for the last 10 years before moving to Zug. There are three main churches there that we had solid contact with and from one of these a pastor made an announcement to his congregation that was of great importance to them (and Tanya and I). His name is Pastor Brian Post of the Dillon Community Church and he announced that he is resigning as their pastor because God is calling him and his family to be the pastor of the International Church of Lucerne. What are the odds of two ministers from the same county in the state of Colorado, from the U.S.A, with a year round population of 25,000-30,000 people, to be called by God to go to the same area of Switzerland, two years apart and NOT knowing of the other’s circumstances. Brian and I have met a few times and our kids were in the same Christian school, but Brian had no idea that we were here in Zug during the last 6 months as the Lord was working on his heart with the pastor search process in Lucerne.
Yep, I’ve seen the wind AND seen God this week!
Heb 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. NIV
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. KJV
As Tanya and I have been here for two years now, we have already seen 3 missionaries leave (or are in process of leaving) Switzerland for various reasons. It is wonderful to see that the Lord is bringing new “hands and feet” to serve His Kingdom alongside all of the Christians here in Switzerland, both German and English speaking (and other languages too). In this case, it is very special indeed!
Once again, 10 a.m. this Sunday morning at LIFT! (Not our usual 7 p.m.) Looking forward to seeing you there!
In His grip and grace,