Lot's Going On!

Hello All,

What a great summer thus far! Many families and individuals have travelled and vacationed, some have stayed around Zug, some have had to work (but their day is coming) and some have had guests and/or family come visit them.  Even at LIFT on Sunday mornings we have been blessed to have grown over the summer with new families moving into the area, guests visiting and our issue of not having enough space at Vorstadt has continued to be a “problem”, but a good problem to have.  Our seasonings of various Servant Leaders sharing the Sunday messages has been such a blessing as well, hearing great Words of the Lord through different communication styles, but yet still bringing out the real God flavor (salt) in content.

I just wanted to share and highlight a few things going on in the near future and I pray you consider being part of what the Lord is doing around Zug here at LIFT!

LIFT “SUMMER OUTING” EVENT:  A first ever for LIFT in regards to gathering for an afternoon of fellowship, food and fun. 
Sunday- August 24th (31st in case of bad weather) 12:30-16:30 after the morning service  
Bring & Braai (Potluck and/or Picnic) – At Lake Zurich- Freienbac h.  Park & Play area and even swimming nearby.  Contact Bedros & Seta for info. 

SPECIAL BAPTISM SERVICE: Sept 14th, 2008 -8:30 a.m. at Bröggli (Lake of Zug)
“Believer’s Baptism”: As most of us at LIFT come from various church backgrounds, for some including infant baptism, we look forward to another first at LIFT, a baptismal service is being planned September 14th.  Believer’s Baptism?  Baptism is not an act to join our church, nor is baptism “required” for salvation or eternal life with God.  Salvation is by God’s grace and faith, but what a beautiful and obediant act of showing others that you have believed and received Jesus into your life and that you desire to share and show an outward expression of this inward decision.  If you are a Follower of Jesus and have not been baptized, or if you may have been baptized as an infant, but would also as an adult desire show your faith in Jesus through baptism (or simply desire more information about baptism) please contact Corey or Ken by Sept. 1s t, 2008.   

LIFT “K-GROUPS”: LAUNCHING IN OCTOBER ’08 AT A HOME NEAR YOU!! 
A fresh and relevant way to say LIFT is launching SMALL GROUPS or CELL GROUPS in October.  What’s the K? “Koinonia” is Biblical Greek for “fellowship” and we feel that alongside Sunday morning services that getting together in homes is a wonderful way to strengthen our relationships with one another as well as our relationship and faith in the Lord.  There will be several strategically planned groups launching in Zug, Edlibach, Huenenberg/Knonau and even on the Zurich lake side! More info to follow but if you are interested please click reply as to helping us coordinate groups and locations.  For the 2008-09 school year, meeting every other week, the groups will dig into “3:16 -A Max Lucado Study”.  Whether married, single, young adult or old, male or female we hope you will begin this journey with others in fellowship and faith building! 

So, there you have a few highlights of “Lot’s Going On”, not to mention that September is just around the corner when the A-Men Retreat takes place, Club LIFT launches on the 14th, the Ladies continue their Daniel study and the various other happenings as well!

It is so exciting to see LIFT- The International Church continuing to grow up from a simple church plant meeting in a living room a couple years ago to a developing community church with many ministries to the body and community around us.  As I set out to write these things ahead in LIFT’s near future, I recalled a great passage from ACTS 2 regarding how the early church was just being formed. Acts 2 took place just a short time after Jesus died, rose again and ascending into heaven when Peter stood up to preach how Jesus was of course alive and well, (as was the Holy Spirit) and Peter shared what the church was to be about.  Note the underline points of teaching (Biblical), fellowship, Lord’s Supper (Communion), Prayer, meeting together in a church setting as a group and in homes.  Praising God is included as is baptism.     
Acts 2:38-47
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generat ion.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved . 
 
Looks like LIFT is right on track, even 2000 years later from when Peter stood before that church crowd in Jerusalem and delivered this message!  Thank you God in Heaven, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit that you are alive and well today, still leading and building your church, right here in Zug and amongst the nations!

In His grip and grace,
 
Corey

GROWING FORWARD

Hello All,

As we are journeying through Timothy, a key point that Ken and I have brought out regarding Paul’s letter to Timothy, is that of Paul’s personal encouragement and support of Timothy. Like a “son” to Paul, he includes many personal words of affirmation to Timothy.

I had a nice experience this week on a plane back to Zurich from Amsterdam where I was reminded of a former “Paul” in my life. This “Paul” inspired me, encouraged me and served as a Godly example to me, who looking back had a bigger impact than I realized at the time, more than 12 years ago. His real name isn’t Paul, it’s Kurt and he is the former youth pastor of my former church in Colorado. Tanya and I met him and his wife Brenda shortly after getting married in 1994 and by 1995 we began to volunteer under Kurt and Brenda with the youth ministry on Wednesday nights. Every once in a while we even helped with events and/or occasionally weekenders. By 2000 when Kurt and Brenda moved to serve the Lord in another state, Tanya and I were mainstays with the students and the ministry there and as most of you know, by 2002 I left my “day job” and went into ministry full time at the church and began my seminary studies as well (which led us to “Go” with Jesus to Switzerland in 2004).

What triggered my remembering Kurt was a book that I was reading on the flight which gives an example of the author/pastor and his first “sermon”. This author was challenged by his pastor as a teenager to share a Sunday sermon and not just a quick testimony as he was asked to do. So this guy worked hard to have his 30 minutes of a full sermon just to in the end, deliver his first message with passion……but in only 7 minutes! Well, that reminded me that Kurt did the same thing to me a little over 10 years ago. After I was already sharing “messages” with 30 or so students frequently, Kurt challenged me to share a “message” to the church congregation. I put “message” in quotes, because I specifically asked him if he wanted a testimony or a sermon and if he wanted just 5 minutes or a full 25 minutes. His answer was “share a message of whatever the Lord puts on your heart and you have whatever time you need or want”. In the end, I don’t think I ever told him (until now that is) that I was aiming for the full “message” but delivered only 7 minutes, and then of course he jumped on up there to fill in the rest of the time that was expected! Thinking back, I believe that was my first time sharing a message to an adult congregation. Today, I do it on a near weekly basis and still feel inadequate as a public speaker, but fully adequate on passionately following Jesus and therefore I’m not afraid to talk about Jesus in front of people and prayerfully He can use my availability to make up for my lack of strong preaching ability! I am thankful that Kurt believed in me and challenged me to share what was on my heart!

Last Sunday was great with many of you committing to serving at LIFT in various ways. Your availability is a huge encouragement for all at LIFT and whether you feel adequate or not, Jesus will bless what you commit to Him with devoted hearts and a willingness to serve Him and others! Attached are the various ministry lists that now include many of your names. Someone asked that we send it out for others to have opportunity to know what kind of ministries/needs there are at LIFT.  In the next weeks, we are intending to broaden the leadership roles and follow up with you regarding these ministries. If you didn’t sign up last week or weren’t there to sign up, please prayerfully consider if and how God would have you be involved in serving at our church. Let us know (personally or via email) where you might want to serve.
 
Lastly, let’s continue to pray for one another and for LIFT as a body that the Lord will continue to bless our church as we “grow forward” together in unity and for His glory!

 
Looking forward to seeing you Sunday.

In His grip and grace,

Corey

Great Commission Eyes

Hello all,
 
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday.  We intend to have a “practical forum” during part of the message time as we are continuing through 1 Timothy.  I hope you can join us!  

Instead of a normal “Corey thought for the week” and in light to last week’s “to the ends of the earth!” e-mail,  the following is a clipped devotion that I read recently from a pastor named Rick Warren.  It’s encouraging to me as we at LIFT- The International Church of Zug are a “living example” of international ministry that affects people both from our community of Zug and…..to the ends of the earth! 
———————
Great Commission Eyes- by Rick Warren
“If you ask me, I will give you the nations; all the people on earth will be yours.” Psalm 2:8, NCV
 
As we’ve been discussing, the opportunities for normal, everyday Christians to become involved in short-term international missions are now literally limitless. It’s never been easier in history to fulfill your commission to go to the whole world. The great barriers are no longer distance, cost, or transportation. The only barrier is the way we think. Your perspective and attitudes must shift – so that you develop Great Commission eyes —
Shift from local thinking to global thinking — God is a global God; he’s always cared about the entire world (“God so loved the world ….” John 3:16, KJV). From the beginning he’s wanted to call forth, from every nation, the people he created.
The Bible says, “From one person God made all nations who live on earth, and he decided when and where every nation would be. God has done all this, so that we will look for him and reach out and find him.” (Acts 17:26-27, CEV)
Much of the world already thinks globally. The largest media and business conglomerates are all multi-national. Our lives are increasingly intertwined with those in other nations as we share fashions, entertainment, music, sports, and even fast food. Probably most of the clothes you’re wearing and much of what you ate today were produced in another country. We are more connected than we realize.
These are exciting days to be alive. There are more Christians on earth right now than ever before. Paul was right: “This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours.” (Colossians 1:6, NLT)
One of the best ways to switch to global thinking is to just get up and go on a short-term mission project to another country! There’s simply no substitute for hands-on, real life experience in another culture. Quit studying and discussing your mission and just do it! I dare you to dive into the deep end.
In Acts 1:8 Jesus gave us a pattern for involvement: “You will tell everyone about me in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world.” (Acts 1:8, CEV)
His followers were to reach out to their community (Jerusalem), to their country (Judea), to other cultures (Samaria), and to other nations (everywhere in the world). Note that our commission is simultaneous, not sequential. While not everyone has the missionary gift, every Christian is called to be on a mission to all four groups in some way.
So what does this mean?
Become an Acts 1:8 Christian — Set a goal to participate in a mission project to each of the four targets: your community, your country, other cultures, and other nations. I urge you to do whatever it takes to participate in a short-term mission trip overseas as soon as possible. It will enlarge your heart, expand your vision, stretch your faith, deepen your compassion, and fill you with a kind of joy you have never experienced. It could be the turning point in your life.
Watch the news with Great Commission eyes — Wherever there is change or conflict, you can be sure that God will use it to bring people to him. People are most receptive to God when they are under tension or in transition. Because the rate of change is increasing in our world, more people are open to hearing the Good News now than ever before.
Prayer is the most important tool for your mission in the world — People may refuse our love or reject our message, but they are defenseless against our prayers. The Bible tells us to pray for opportunities to witness, for courage to speak up, for those who will believe, for the rapid spread of the message, and for more workers.
Begin praying for specific countries — World-class Christians pray for the world. Get a globe or map and pray for nations by name. Also, pray for missionaries and everyone else involved in the global harvest. Paul told his prayer partners, “You are also joining to help us when you pray for us.” (2 Corinthians 1:11, GW).
—————

In our case in Zug, the nations of the world are coming to us!  
 
In His grip and grace,

Corey

To the Ends of the Earth!


 
Hello all,
 
What an encouraging way to end the week!  I just got an e-mail from Ken regarding a friend of LIFT who attended throughout last year while living in Zug.  Some of you may remember Esther, a woman from China.  She was an encouragement to me (and others) in many ways.  Her friendly smile and wonderful faith in Jesus that was rekindled after many years during her adult life of not walking with Jesus.  She had mentioned how she was renewed to the faith that her father had taught her in her early days.  I appreciated her sincere praise and support of what we were doing at LIFT in Zug.  And then like many international people who come and go in cities like Zug and Zurich her journey took her other places and only an occasional contact.     

Here’s the e-mail update she sent to Ken:
Hi Ken,
Glad to hear from you. I have been traveling around and I have decided to start to build the little church in my father ‘s village in China. Before my father passed away, he has asked me to fulfill this dream for him if I can. It was difficult because of the government –I went back and forth for a few times and finally I got hold of the Christian group over there to help me –we are still fighting with the govt regarding various issues. Please pray.
Esther 

Let’s do just that, let’s pray for Esther and the Christ-followers in this village and across China who are serving the Lord and His Kingdom.  There is an amazing revival for the Kingdom that has been going on in China for years now and may the Lord continue to bless China!
 
I am reminded of what Jesus said after he arose from the grave and before he ascended to heaven:
Acts 1:8- “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 

Thank you, Jesus, for Your Word and Holy Spirit you gave us!  Thank you, the original disciples and witnesses and those afterwards, who carried the Message into the world throughout the centuries and generations.  Thank you, Esther and all of us today, who can be a light for Jesus in our world around us (wherever that is)!  Let’s pray for each other!

We are continuing our journey through 1 Timothy this week and I hope you can join us!   
 
In His grip and grace,

Corey

Lift The International Church of Zug – For SUNDAY Sept 16th, 2007!

The fish are out there!

Hello All,

Ever wonder why Christians often have a fish on their cars? It is my understanding that the symbol of the fish originated back in the early centuries while Christians were being severely persecuted.  It was a secret way for Christians to signal to one another that they too are a Christian without necessarily exposing themselves to being arrested for being a Christian. The “Jesus fish” is derived from the ancient Greek language and the word Ichthys (or ἰχθύς) which is an acronym of Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.” (Sorry if the fonts don’t come through correctly) 

Ok, so much for the long intro, but even today, it can happen that, while we are living in the world whether at or near our homes, our work places, schools or play places, there are Christians around us and we don’t know it.  Although for us in Switzerland and most Western countries, it is not illegal and punishable by law to be a Christian, it isn’t always promoted or tolerated to be so open about it in public, at school or at work. At the same time, it is such a blessing when we “reveal” ourselves and/or another Christian “reveals” themselves and experience the joy and blessing of knowing we have encountered another Christ follower, kind of like when the first and second century Christians communicated with the “fish” to each other.  

I had a great “fish” experience two weeks ago while visiting my company’s business partner company in Finland.  Although the owner is not a man of faith (my previous fishing hooks came back empty) another man from the same company, who I found out is labeled, “the priest”, turned out to be a wonderful fellow tent making pastor.  Furthermore, this “fish” conversation revealed another team member who I had met a year earlier who is also a very strong man of faith and the son of a pastor.  Just the night before, I had my doubts about this second man who had spent a couple of years in Nepal and returned to Finland with a wife from there. My wrong stereo type of him was that he was most likely irreligious and she was probably Muslim. I was completely wrong and shame on me for assuming it!  To my heart’s delight, the night before I left, she gave an amazing testimony of faith, including the fact that she was baptized about 3 weeks before.  With her simple English she said, “Before in life I didn’t know Jesus in Nepal, but today I know Jesus and am very happy!”  So simple, but so profound! 

To be honest, I am not too much into real fishing and can’t stand putting the worms on the hook, but when it comes to fishing as Jesus did and seeking fishers of men, women and children, it is a wonderful feeling to be blessed with such encouragement through encounters of other true “fish” followers!  I hope you are having your “fish” encounters as well!  
 
In His grip and grace,

Corey