Pastoral Care & Serving Together- All of us!

It’s been an interesting week and weekend ahead, especially for Ken and I.  Tomorrow, we both have two ministry tasks that fall into the category of pastoral care.   Pastoral Care? What is that supposed to be?  I had the same question a few years back in seminary in my Pastoral Ministry class where I learned that part of the job of a pastor is overseeing things like baptism (which I remind you again we have a baptism service on the 14th and those interested please contact me by Monday 1st), communion/Lord’s Supper, counseling, hospital visits for the sick or newborns (two very different visits), wedding ceremonies and funerals, etc, etc.  To be honest, I prefer to simply tell others about Jesus and try to live my faith in a way that speaks my walk with Jesus as well.  But tomorrow is different as Ken and I are both being grown, challenged and strengthened in faith regarding the last two pastoral care ministries mentioned. I will give a blessing/message at a wedding event and Ken will also be giving a blessing/message at a funeral. Obviously two very different occasions in the life (and death) of individuals, couples, families and friends, and I think Ken has the tougher day ahead of him. I was asked about my participation months ago while Ken, only days ago, received the very difficult news about the tragic climbing death last weekend when his friend Hannes, a South African living here in Switzerland, who was killed on Mont Blanc. Two very different circumstances indeed!  Please pray for both of us, perhaps even more so for Ken, although praise God that Hannes was/is a Follower of Jesus Christ and while family and friends are shocked and grieving over his earthly death, they are also assured that his eternal life is safe and secure in the Lord. I met Hannes only a couple of times, but after reading the posts on his myspace page from family and friends, his love for Jesus and others is evident from those sharing how he and his faith touched them during his lifetime!  In my case, a Swiss couple, that Tanya and I have known for a couple of years and  who had officially left the state church some time back, desire to “include God” in their wedding event and marriage.  Although they have never been to LIFT, I am honored to be able to share before them, family and friends, the true meaning of a marriage relationship, while of course including a loving way to communicate that this true meaning is based on a relationship with God, His love, and our faith and hope in Jesus!

Regarding the title of this update:  Pastoral Care and Serving Together- All of Us.  One of our core values of LIFT is “Serving Together- All of Us”.  As you all know Ken and I have full time professional employment (even as I write this I am on a plane coming back home from a business trip to Finland).  It’s been amazing to see our body at LIFT truly serving one another and others in our community, especially the past several weeks.  While everyone may not be asked to lead a wedding or a funeral, so many of you serve in Pastoral Care/Ministries by providing prayer and visits to the sick and/or newborns in the hospital or home.  A special thanks to Simon (and Annabel) who have supported Ken this week in his preparations and Simon will be leading the worship time with his guitar alongside Ken at the funeral as well. Others have recently served by providing meals, baby showers, counseling, leading studies, planning church events, picnics, giving messages, leading worship, prayer, etc, etc, etc.  Too many to list them all or all of you, but praise and glory to God that LIFT is a church community that cares!  

In closing, I was reminded today of the passage at the end of 2 Timothy, the preaching series we ended just before summer in where Paul encouraged Timothy to stand firm and preach, but to also “discharge all the duties of ministry”.   I praise God that many are involved in our ministry, including pastoral care.  Perhaps someday we will get our “full time” pastor at LIFT- The International Church of Zug, but my prayer will always remain that our being intentional that ALL OF LIFT, not just the pastor(s), is about living our faith and giving it away, Serving Together- All of Us!

2 Timothy 4:2,5
2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction. ….., Keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

In His grip and grace,

Corey

Momma’s Boy!

Hello all,

As the youngest of three boys, the baby of the Best’s, it’s kinda by default that I am the “Momma’s Boy” of the family (which my two older brothers sometimes remind me of!) Well, I would say for all of us who are able to read this, it’s somewhat true that we all are a “Momma’s Boy or Girl” as each of us came into this world through a mother. This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and I hope you take the time to communicate some love to your mother.

As I ponder how the Lord has blessed me in life specifically through my mother………what could it be, good looks? Although, I’ve seen my mom’s high school graduation picture and her beautiful looks and great eyes were definitely something that grabbed my dad’s attention shortly thereafter, but my looks (debatable as they may be) are deteriorating with age, so looks aren’t the biggest blessing I needed in life. So what is it? It’s obvious to me that the biggest blessing my mom gave me was her true faith in Jesus Christ, and her way of passing in on to me and my brothers in a consistent manner.

I have kids now too and truly want to ensure they continue in faith, so my pondering on what my mom did for me is quite relevant and a real thing for me to deeply try to understand. Knowing both of my brothers are strong in faith, well past the age of only going to church to make our parents happy, means something must have worked in how my mom did it. Theologically, it’s easy to say that of course, God caused this faith in me regardless of my mom (which is true by the way), but she faithfully played her role, and for this I am so thankful for, and believe I have one of the most wonderful and incredible moms in the world! (She’s my mom, so I can say that about her and you can tell your own mom the same; she’s your mom!)

Just last week, part of the 2 Timothy Scriptures that I shared at LIFT was verse 15 which states, “ And how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. In my life, this is true, and my mom played a major role in this truth. (Thanks, Dad for your part too, but this week it’s about Mom’s day!) So just how did she pass on faith in a simple and consistent manner that was so effective? One example came to mind, which I’ll share, but really there was 20 years worth of examples from my mom that shaped me forever to be the man of faith that I am today, and her influence on my adult years is still going on, regardless if we are living a long, long distance apart. I remember at about age 7 or 8 (2nd grade) that I was scared of the dark one night and fearful to fall asleep. My great idea for taking care of this fear was sneaking down the hall and jumping into my middle brother’s bed. Of course, his perspective to this solution was different than mine as he quickly kicked me out and sent me back to my own bed, loudly enough that my mom (who was reading in bed) heard it. She reaffirmed his logic in also telling me to go back to my own room and bed. After sneaking back and repeating this another time or two (I thought my brother had fallen asleep and wouldn’t notice me), she met me in the hallway and turned on the light with her Bible in her hands. She sat down, right there in the hallway and asked what was scaring me. I don’t remember exactly what it was (the dark, the boogey man, etc, etc) but in the end, she opened her Bible and read Psalms 33:18-22, letting me how God is always there for me, watching me, protecting me like a shield and loving me. Later she shared that she didn’t have this verse planned, it just was where she opened her Bible. By the end of the next day, I had this verse memorized “into my heart” and life and even today if I am really scared, or concerned or fearful, I can hear this Word of God (via my mom’s loving way of sharing it) speak and reassure me that yes, my hope and life is in His unfailing love! The verses are below.

Whether you have a great relationship or a strained relationship with your mom, communicate God’s love and your love to your mom this Mother’s Day. Love, especially that of a mother, is from God, just as the Bible says that “God is Love”!

Have a wonderful weekend and see ya at LIFT on Sunday at Vorstadt!

In His grip and grace,

Corey

Psalms 33:18-22
But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, 
to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield. 
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name. 
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.

Little Helping Hands!

Hello all,

A couple weeks ago after the LIFT service, I was able to see first hand the body of Christ in action from an unexpected group of people exemplifying this glimpse…….our children!

While Tanya was inside having a leadership meeting with several potential adults/parent volunteers about the new teaching format for the children’s Sunday School format, I spontaneously volunteered myself to take all the kids to the nearby park. As the 6-12 years olds ran off ahead and began to swing, teeter totter and climb trees, I slowly made may way to the park with three of our lil’ todlers who are 2, 3 and 4 years old. To my pleasant surprise, as we lil’ tots arrived to the area where the rest of the kids were playing, a NATURAL ACT OF SERVICE/WORSHIP (not requested or demanded) occurred from the older kids. Three or four of them stopped what they were doing, welcomed the lil’ tots and swept them away to include them in swinging and teeter tottering, all the while they were smiling and laughing and enjoying one another. I’ll be honest, it was not what I expected. I thought I was going to have to ask (or demand) for some assistance from the big kids. I expected a “Do we have to?” complaining response and only have heartedly acceptance of forced service. Normally I am always thinking ahead of circumstances and already figured I might have needed to “buy” their help by suggesting few Francs or candy if they would help out (you know the “normal” way adults often reason with kids!). BUT this isn’t what happened, it was a natural act of service and love…….. a glimpse of the body of Christ……..a glimpse of worship, both as an act of worship by those involved and a moment of worship for me to be blessed in just seeing it!

This NATURAL ACT OF SERVICE/WORSHIP was touching to see. The little girls were smiling and laughing, which was obviously contagious to the big girls and in the end, true joy and just plain ol’ fun was experienced by all! Our LIFT kids, after months and now years of meeting regularly every week for worship and Sunday School have just naturally learned how to love and serve one another. O.K. maybe some weeks are more difficult than others, especially when the preacher goes a bit long downstairs, but overall, the journey that our LIFT kids are experiencing together is a model for the rest of us too! Natural acts of loving God and loving others!

We are learning plenty about this unconditional love in our preaching series through 1 John. This week we will cover the first part of chapter 4. I hope to see you there!

In His grip and grace,

Corey
 

EXTRAORDINARY

Hello All!
 
Times are changing!  Actually, this Sunday, literally, time IS changing!  Don’t forget to back your clocks one hour and enjoy an extra hour of sleep Sunday morning before coming to LIFT! 
 
As far as other change in the air at LIFT, we want to let you know about our new journey ahead.  After wrapping up several weeks with messages on Holiness, we are now beginning a new series. An Extraordinary Journey through Ephesians!  Starting this Sunday and continuing through mid-December (just in time to focus on Christmas) we will go chapter by chapter through this wonderful book of the New Testament.  Inspired by God and penned by Paul, there is a Message the Lord wants to share and encourage you with in your faith and walk with Him!  Ken, Derek and I are humbled and honored to share these messages as we will team teach this journey!
 
Extraordinary PLANS, LIFE, LOVE, UNITY, JOY, PEACE and HOPE!  We look forward to journeying together!
 
By the way, in case you didn’t notice there are a few other changes going on and perhaps your help is needed too.   Aside of some new look worship service enhancements (o.k. I’ll admit Mac has some great things that a PC can’t do) and recently expanded music ministry team, there are other areas that are expanding as well!

MINISTRY OPPORTUNITIES: 
-The children’s ministry is growing and needing a few others to help share our faith to this next generation of believers.  If you can give once (or sometimes twice) a month to assist Tanya and Kristin, it would be of great help.  Also in the near future we will launch Club LIFT, a new program on Sunday afternoons (probably twice per month) to give a fun and playful boost of energy and faith to our kids.
-The SNACK ministry is being upgraded.  Coffee, juice and water go so much better with something else!  A list will be circulated and if you can provide snacks from time to time.We will all be blessed with such an international variety!  
 
With all of these, a rotating schedule will be established so many can participate and serve the Lord in these manners and as to not overextend individuals.  Furthermore, we are more interested in you serving in a ministry that you are “passionate” about and not something you really don’t want to do.  So if you have an area of service that isn’t listed but want to serve in another way, we are encouraged to hear about your passion and seek how we can grow a new ministry opportunity that we may not even be aware of yet! 
 
Same verses as last week but still very true this week!

1 John 4:4-12
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
 
In His grip and grace,
 
Corey