The Body of Lift- Serving Together- all of us!

Romans 12:4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Hello All,

How cool it is to see the body of LIFT in action!  If it wasn’t for faith and our God who can bless beyond expectations, I would think all that has happened in the last ten weeks would nearly be unbelievable……..and yet, I do believe and our God does bless in exceptional ways! 

It’s not just that LIFT was able to find and reach a rental agreement to move into Ibelweg 18 in less than a two week process (a miracle itself in Switzerland, not to mention the prior 18 month search with no results), but it’s all of the rest of the ” LIFT BODY” working together around this move and so many other ministries all launching at the start of this school year as well that is so wonderful to see.  LIFT isn’t about a building, it’s about people, actually Followers of Jesus, who love and serve God and one another as a light of hope to our community of Zug around us! 
 
Instead of using names, I just want to thank the “LIFT BODY”, meaning our church congregation, for stepping up and serving (working) hard together to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time, and to think that we don’t even have an official church membership yet! In the last 2 months there has been a church outing, a men’s retreat with two renewed and strengthened men’s morning groups, a church relocation with moving stuff to the new place, cleaning of the old place, raising lights in the new place, ladies study launching, baby showers taking place, ladies potlucks happening, Moms & Tots group meeting, Sunday school and nursery re-launching, Club Lift re-launching, music team forming w/ practice session, a sound team forming and new equipment being sourced, a janitor team starting, volunteers setting up facility needs (cups, paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc), sourcing of new chairs, physically unloading new chairs, setting up new sanctuary including new backdrop screen that was sourced and personally delivered, K-Groups organizing and launching with host locations and leaders, a new preaching study with three men team-sharing the messages through 1 Peter……and I am sure I am forgetting many other wonderful things that have happened, just in the last two months!  It’s incredible and keep in mind these things don’t just happen by one or two people, but many, including the leaders of these ministries and projects who also spent planning and coordinating beforehand. 

Way to go Jesus, whom we thank first and foremost and above all else, but also way to go LIFT and thank you all who have graciously helped serve the Lord and one another!

I’m so excited that from the beginning, and even now, LIFT’s essence is more of faith in action versus faith in structure.  Sure, LIFT has accomplished some foundational structural issues this year by forming a broader leadership, the Servant Leaders (elders/deacons) and legally becoming a Swiss Verein including getting our own bank account and finance team in order, and these are important as structure and good stewardship is necessary.  But it’s beautiful to see the heart of LIFT is that of active faith, and faith to trust that God will continue to bless and protect LIFT, even though the structure isn’t fully developed yet, as in official membership for example.  Hopefully, LIFT intends to roll out our membership plan of action in January or at the latest February, as we started the process this past June and hit the summer holiday season and held it off.  You might remember that we communicated that three things are desired, actually expected, from those that desire to be members of LIFT, what we call the LIFT BODY.  First, that one is a Follower of Jesus; a true Christian who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ to receive God’s grace and salvation. Furthermore, that as a member one would give and serve in some capacity.  Perhaps one is new to faith or coming to a church, and isn’t comfortable with officially joining?  That’s understandable, especially in Switzerland where folks are often skeptical of churches, especially a free church that’s international and not part of the State Catholic or Protestant churches. Let me be very clear, ALL ARE WELCOME AT LIFT regardless of background and faith, however we are a Christian church and will teach the Bible unashamedly.  So for all who simply want to attend, even regularly, or who may be attending a LIFT ministry such as a ladies or men’s study or K-group, they are welcome and can have a place to belong. We call this the COMMUNITY OF LIFT.  So at LIFT, we look to Jesus as the head of His church and then we have the SL-Servant Leadership of LIFT (elders and deacons), the LIFT BODY (the Followers of Jesus who give and serve) and the LIFT COMMUNITY (the ones who attend and have found a place to belong). Welcome to LIFT The International Church of Zug!  

Let’s see how things go after the new year starts with better defining the structure, but in the meantime let’s praise God and thank Him for doing great and mighty things through His church’s active faith here in Zug!  There is something special going on and what a praise to be able to be a part of it and to see God the Father and the Holy Spirit working through us at LIFT for the Name and Glory of the Son, Jesus Christ! 

We are so blessed and it is an honor to serve the Lord Jesus Christ alongside you here at LIFT!

In His grip and grace,

Corey

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

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

Unto the nations!

Hello All,

What a wonderful opportunity we have at LIFT-The International Church of Zug; to reach people of many nations!  We sometimes share on Sundays that our DNA at LIFT (in part) is evangelism and ministers plural, meaning that as Jesus gave the below written “great commission”,  it was to all believers and not just the disciples or pastors today.  You, as a BELIEVER, have a blessed role in sharing Jesus with those around you, both in your lifestyle and in your words! Yes, it’s great to bring someone to church and yes, they will be accepted at LIFT (BELONG) regardless of their faith background and yes, we will share Jesus at LIFT, but at the same time, you can take God’s love and hope and Gospel message to those around you, wherever you are. And remember, Jesus is with you always!  Read it again. 

Matthew 28:19-20
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

It is very true of LIFT that many nations are coming to us here in Zug and this is exceptional opportunity for us! At the same time, many of us GO as well and not just back to our house or workplace to share life with neighbors, friends and work colleagues, we GO to nations, both long term and short term.   

Long Term: As much as it “hurts” sometimes to hear someone may be moving back to their home country and leaving us at LIFT, it’s is also with “joy” that they can continue to live and give their faith away back in their home country!  It is great to realize God’s bigger plan that our little community at LIFT and all that we do, even the little things, make a difference both here in Zug and elsewhere. Just Walk Across The Room, the book the ladies read and now us men are going through, has been very encouraging in pointing out that the little conversations we have with people add up as God sends others into their lives to complete the story for them. You make a difference!  

Short Term: Many of you travel as well.  I am at the end of a 4 out of 5 week business travel schedule that has taken me from Wales, to the Netherlands, to Slovakia, to Vienna and next week to Athens (where Tanya fortunately gets to join me). In all those places I come across many, many people in various settings; some business settings, some casual settings and sometimes just meeting people at a shop or restaurant.  I still don’t always get it right in sharing something of spiritual value, but whether I say something or not, I encounter people. These people watch my lifestyle and actions of kindness (or rudeness) and when given the opportunity to speak, hear my voice and choice of words.  Sometimes it can be of deep spiritual value and sometimes it seems like I got nowhere, sometimes it improves their perception of a Jesus Follower and sometimes not.  

People (those around us here in Zug and those we encounter as we journey in life) are watching me … and you!  We are “speaking” to them whether we realize it or not.  Whether we get to “make a disciple out of them and baptize them” (of course God does that!), or just smile with kind eyes and a loving heart or say a prayer for them as we pass them on a street here or in a foreign land, we are GOING UNTO THE NATIONS FOR JESUS, and He is with us…….always!

One last thing, LIFT is supporting God’s work in other parts of the world like Belize, India and Africa through other believers serving Him there as well. Really, it is humbling to know that little things count and that we are part of something greater than ourselves or than our church called LIFT.  We are part of God’s plan and purpose to share his grace, love and hope to the nations and world around us, near and far!

We continue our series through 1 Timothy this Sunday.  I hope to see you there!

In His grip and grace,

Corey

"Belong"

Hello All,

As I was preparing for the message last week, regarding the first 2 verses of 1 Timothy 5, I was challenged by the Holy Spirit to “go deeper” than just contemplating on how we should treat older or younger men and women (and widows) with absolute purity.  I was reminded that as an International interdenominational church we have very different attributes as a church body that go beyond gender.  We have a mixture of nationalities, races, cultures, colors, eye shapes and passports.  We also have a mixture of church backgrounds, denominational backgrounds and at times (prayerfully much more often in the future) people that come to LIFT with no faith background and/or even another religious background such as Muslim, Hindu or other.  In the future, as we grow, so will the mixture!  THAT IS A BEAUTIFUL THOUGHT!    In fact, to imagine this, is to imagine a bunch of colorful stones and glass fragments all broken and put together into an order with a greater purpose creating a beautiful picture. Such a picture is called a Mosaic!  

Living in Switzerland, or basically anywhere in Europe for that matter, we see Mosaic art all over the place.  Often, it blends in as just something “religious”, but when one looks deeper, one can see the greater beauty made up of all the individual pieces and one realizes that it took time and a master’s skill to put together. With this in mind, I am finally understanding the word BELONG, one of our three “words” that we summarize LIFT with; BELONG, BELIEVE and BECOME*.  (*Origins via Mosaic Church- Los Angeles)

As I shared last week in the message, I would like for “everybody” in Zug (and beyond) to be welcome at LIFT and to be able to find a place to BELONG!  Like individual pieces coming together and belonging together, like a mosaic! As International foreigners living here (and Swiss too), people need a place to BELONG, and LIFT is a place where they are welcome, no matter what!  Yes, we will share about Jesus (BELIEVE) and together as individual “pieces” we can BECOME something much greater.  But for many, just BELONGing somewhere is a starting place.  As all of us BELIEVErs are living our faith as genuine followers of Jesus and His words are made true in our lives and our church, where “you will know my disciples by their love for one another”, then the BECOMING something greater is bound to happen for all of us, and for God’s glory!  

Below is our longer than three words purpose statement for LIFT which you are part of and to which you BELONG!  
 
We are “people”, with many different backgrounds, nationalities and even languages – though English is our common language – that come together
to seek to worship and glorify God through our lives, fellowship with each other, grow in our own personal faith, serve Him and each other,
and share our faith with others around us, – all for the kingdom of God in the area of Zug, Switzerland!
 
It is an honor to journey together with each of you individually and as a church together!  Great things are ahead as many are stepping up and serving one another so that together we can grow forward, and not just in the size of our facilities, but in the size of our love!

In His grip and grace,

Corey  
 
(*Origins via Mosaic Church- Los Angeles)