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

Painting LIFT!

Hello All,

If you have ever been to our house, you’ve seen the evidence of something that my wife (and mother-in-law) are very good at. Painting! At the same time, it’s something that I am not very good at. First of all, I am color blind with many colors, so I’ve already proven that I can paint two walls thinking they look the same, just to find out they aren’t! Furthermore, I have no patience in painting, so I try to put too much on the roller brush and go too fast which ends up “splotching” paint on the wall…….and the floor……..and the opposite wall that I wasn’t supposed to paint……..and my new shirt that I wasn’t supposed to be wearing while trying to paint in the first place! Tanya, however, has an amazing ability to turn our living room into a comfy Starbuck’s-like atmosphere, with multiple colors and accents. By the way, she makes great coffee too! Aside of just the colors, she and her mother have mastered the technique of painting and amazingly can get all the paint on the wall and not on the floor and themselves like me, even in a fast and efficient manner. I have found that I am best at running to the paint store to pick up the paint (of course after Tanya picked out the color), or preparing the drop clothes, or moving the furniture (or walls), or even cleaning up, BUT with the painting itself, I’ve learned, it’s best to let the painters do that!

I was thinking about this in regards to LIFT. We have prayed Luke 10:2 from the beginning that “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!” God has been faithful and has sent workers to LIFT and many now make up the body of Christ with different talents, abilities and spiritual gifts. It’s been nearly three years since LIFT began in our living room with the Eales and a few others. Now there are numerous families and individuals that are in the process of “painting” LIFT and the future of God’s church here in Zug, even if we’re not all painters in real life. Whether our strengths are in teaching, encouraging, singing or playing music, prayer or practical service like cleaning or setting up, together we all bring our colors and spiritual painting abilities and as a whole we can paint a Christ-like environment at LIFT-The International Church of Zug! Of course, God is the Master Painter and we strive to be used by Him in all that we do!

Perhaps, I’ve done enough creative writing and we should just read what God Himself has to say in these matters:

Romans 12:1-13
12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.

3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4 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.

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Please continue to pray for LIFT as we are in the process of broadening the leadership. Also, we look forward to seeing how those of you with special painting abilities (and we all have something the Lord has blessed us with) can bring your colors into the mix at LIFT! Lastly, please continue to pray regarding our space issues in needing a larger facility for worship services.

In His grip and grace,
 
Corey

EXTRAORDINARY UNITY

Hello All,
 
We are making great progress through our Extraordinary journey through Ephesians.  This Sunday I continue with the team teaching and will share a message over chapter 4 entitled “Extraordinary Unity”.  As we look how we are all one part of many parts in the body of Christ, we will mainly focus on you, the individual part and we, LIFT, as the local body of many parts.  Obviously, the body of Christ is also the entire church across all of God’s creation and although I won’t focus on this too much this Sunday morning, I want to share an illustration about it now giving evidence of the fact that LIFT “IS” part of this greater body of Christ. 

When the A-Men leaders were here from South Africa, LIFT gave them a financial blessing in thankfulness of their serving us as they did.  Immediately they didn’t want to accept it, but we insisted and they said they would not keep it for themselves personally but instead share it with a special ministry that their church in South Africa has.  As part of the body of Christ, we are blessed back in truly seeing how the one of many parts really do make up the active body of Christ!  Below is a letter from South Africa.  I hope you are encouraged as well!
 
2006-11-14

Dear brothers and sisters at LIFT,

We are deeply grateful for your gift to our centre that has been handed to us by Gordon and Sue Hay. What a joy to know the ‘communion of saints’ in this way.

We have decided to use your gift to give the children who attend the centre, the opportunity of fun and laughter at a Christmas party for them on the 25th November. A member of Trinity will bring all sorts of games for the children, the youth group will organise events and competitions, the children will have lunch as well ‘party’ food and they will all receive gifts. We look forward to sending you photographs of the event.

The children who attend the centre each afternoon come from homes affected by HIV and aids and extreme poverty. We know that each one of them is on our Lords VIP list! It is our privilege to care for them. They enjoy a meal when they arrive at the centre, and have a time of prayer, worship and Bible reading. We encourage them in their lives by helping them with their school work in a cheerful and positive environment. It is very encouraging for us to experience your participation in this ministry. Thank you.

God bless you
Yours in Christ
The Drop-In Centre Team.
 
Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday (especially the kids in the afternoon at the first ever Club LIFT!)
 
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

“SO MANY THINGS GOING ON!”

Hello All,
 
Wow, so many things are going on!  The ladies, 18 of them, have just started their new Tuesday night study on “Believing God!”  About 25 men are signed up for the upcoming A-Men retreat in two weeks. (By the way men, you can still join if you haven’t yet!  Send a reply and we’ll get you the info)  The morning service format is going very well! The kids program on Sunday’s is taking shape!  And …………..???? 
 
As a newly forming church plant, we are just getting started!  I truly believe there are many wonderful things that lie ahead in the next 12 months for LIFT!  God is at work and it’s exciting to be a part of it.  I realize the world is thinking back in memory of September 11th, 2001 a date that will be remembered for a long time.  Not to minimize the impact of that date, I would like to draw your attention to September 5th, 2004, another anniversary date of a special “birth” that took place. Two years ago, LIFT began that night with a meeting in our home with 8 adults and five kids.  For the weeks that followed, it was mainly us Bests and the Eales and a few brave others that came together each Sunday night, worshiping, praying and seeking God’s Word with expectation and faith, that God was to take that worship and service to Him and bless it into something broader for His purposes in Zug!  Now re read the top paragraph above!  It is clear, God’s hand is in LIFT as part of His church reaching others for Jesus!  Yes, we are still just a “baby”, but that is so exciting and encouraging to think that our whole life as a church is still before us!  May we seek our nourishment and strength in the Lord and grow up according to His plan for us, as individuals and as a church: LIFT- The International Church of Zug!    Yes, I think the time is right to even use the word “church” and not just “a ministry”.  
 
I don’t want to jump too far ahead, but it is clear that we are going to outgrow our 40 person meeting place someday and that our kids ministry is going to outgrow the two leaders that lead them each week.  The ladies already outgrew the living room they used to meet in.  Of course, when 25 men are energized in faith, one can excitedly expect great things from men too!  We just wrapped up a preaching series about “The Body” and as our LIFT body is growing and needs the individual parts of the body to serve and work together!
 
I can honestly say, I don’t know exactly what LIFT will look like beyond the next 12 months, but I can confidently say, that we will still exist as a church body with passionate hearts, in worship and love, seeking His Word for our lives and then giving this amazing love to those we encounter.  The greatest thing is that God can supply all our needs. He already has!
 
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! Luke 10:2,3a
 
As we look around us in Zug, it is so true, the harvest is plentiful.  So many around us need the love and hope of Jesus Christ in their lives! We have been praying this verse from the beginning and the Lord has continued to bring in the workers for His harvest!  YOU ARE PART OF GOD’S ANSWER TO THIS PRAYER! Let us continue to “GO” together for the Lord! 
 
In His grip and grace,
 
Corey