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

Biltong or Beef Jerky?

Hello All,
 
Biltong or Beef Jerky?  Perhaps I could include Buendnerfleisch and now a Swiss version of an incredible smoked/dried seasoned beef snack is understood to the Swiss that read this too. 
 
Originally, Ken is from South Africa and I am from the U.S. of A.   A couple of years ago, he introduced me to the wonderful taste of Biltong!  As soon as I tasted it, I realized this was some really, really good stuff!  Of course, I had to relate my taste satisfaction in a way that I could better understand it and said, “Hey, this is some good beef jerkey!”.   Ken followed that up and said, “No, this is Biltong!”  For the next two years, it’s been and inside joke between us, that every time we have Biltong, I call it South African beef jerkey.  (But of course in a nice enough way that he still gives it to me, because like I said, it’s really good stuff!)  Well, this past Tuesday was an introduction in reverse for us.  Ken came over (while his house was full of the women doing their study at his place) and I finally got to share some real American beef jerky with my South African brother.  Needless, to say, he did like it, but still prefers his Biltong.   That’s O.K.,  because I prefer my beef jerkey too (and in American style I can choose from several variations like Teriyaki, Spicy, BBQ, etc, etc) but we are a bit far from either home country and will take either beef snack when the chance arises!
 
LIFT isn’t about beef jerkey, but about the Gospel message of Jesus Christ!  We are an International church that uses the Bible and English as common tools to share His message of love and hope in a country that has four national languages that don’t even include English.   It is so wonderful each Sunday morning to gather together to worship God, and at the same time, come from so many different backgrounds, cultures, denominations and even languages.  In Acts chapter two the church of Jesus worshiped together as a group with numerous nations present as well!  The Gospel Message spread from there to everywhere and is still going!  I can honestly say that LIFT is very exciting to me and an honor and humbling service for God to be a part of.  I look forward to the future with hope and faith and can’t wait to see how God blesses us next!   
 
At the moment, we are journeying through the book of 1 John.  I hope you can join us as Ken, Derek or myself go chapter by chapter, verse by verse through this book about God’s love, grace and how we live and walk our faith with Jesus!   Next week we pick up in the middle of chapter 2 and again, Ken will be giving the message.  
 
Regarding that South African beef jerkey called Biltong: Tomorrow my work is sending me on business to South Africa for the week so I intend to buy some of my very own Biltong (and bring plenty back for others)!  Of all the countries I’ve been too in the past couple of years on business, this time it is truly a bit more personal.  I am deeply touched to get a glimpse to see into the life and culture of South Africa.  Ken and Kristin especially, and so many others of you at Lift from South Africa have had been a huge encouragement for Tanya and I.  Someday I hope that all the Best’s will get there, and some day when the Eales family make it to the U.S, Ken will be able to buy his own beef jerkey too!   
 
In His grip and grace,
 
Corey