"10-10-10" Live It and Give It IS LAUNCHED! (10th October, 2010)

So here it is….the launch day of Live it and Give It Ministries International and the liveitandgiveit.org website. …..

 “10-10-10- Connecting Dots”    …………. and the launch of www.liveitandgiveit.org   

Hello all,  

October 10th, 2010 – 10-10-10:  It’s been an interesting year of Living and Giving my worship and faith in life, ministry and the workplace.  After 5 years of church planting in Switzerland, this has been a year of “Sabbatical” in part, and a year of vision of how to CONNECT THE DOTS, those DIVINE DOTS, that the Lord has put into my path……….and as part of this vision, today is the launch of a journey now and into the future and it is a continuation of serving and connecting the Kingdom….near and far!    

www.liveitandgiveit.org is a website and ministry forming to connect the Kingdom… not just here in the Zug area but across Europe in particular, and beyond.    Today’s just the launch…..the rest is ahead!     

Looking back, for those that have followed the journey of LIFT The International Church of Zug and the updates that I’ve written since 2004,  the entire archive of updates of LIFT’s first five years is available on this website as well.  Live It and Give It Ministries International and the new website are also the result of finding myself in various cities sitting across from various pastors and church planters, and it is clear to me to take action with such divine connections and see how the Lord blesses them.  Currently, at our home church at LIFT, I’ve also been re-engaging in student ministry with our teens which many of you know is another passion of mine.  This passion has another “spin” to it as I am now a parent of a teen myself!  

So……………..living my faith and giving it away!  Near and far, I pray you are too!    The journey is so worth it and the adventure continues…   stay tuned at www.liveitandgiveit.org  

In His grip and grace,  

Corey   

PS: A big “Thank you” to a great friend and fellow servant of Jesus, without whom this project would not have been possible, the webmaster of liveitandgiveit.org.    

“Giving Away CHRISTmas! Part 2”

Hello All,
 
I just got back yesterday from an event (a CHRISTmas party) with my company’s UK partner in Cardiff, Wales.  It was such a blessing that Tanya was able to come with me and we even slipped in a bit of time at the big shopping mall near our hotel.  Wow, it was like one foot back in the USA as this mall was not like the Swiss “malls” around Zug….or even Zurich.  While impressive and full of people as this place was only a few days before Christmas, it was a clear reminder again of what the world around us thinks Christmas (or X-mas as most of the signs indicated) is all about; shopping for gifts and the guy in the red suit named Santa.  We even saw several Santa’s around, one in particular giving away the “ISSUE” newspaper to all that walked by.  I’m not a Santa hater nor am I one who would desire to boycott Christmas, but I am definately one who’s passionate about reminding the world around me in a loving way that CHRISTmas is about THE ORIGINAL GIFT, that God blessed creation in a special way with His Son Jesus on that original Christmas day! 
 
Here’s THE ORIGINAL GIFT’s birth announcement as recorded in Luke 2:10-14
 
The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
 

In continuation from the last LIFT update regarding “Giving Away CHRISTmas”, I thank the many that sent their great insight and ideas in how you or your family can also try to seek ways to bless others this time of year versus being focused on a gift under the tree with your name on it. Below in blue font is a selection of many of these responses with some minor editing (denoted with an *) to keep the focus on the ideas and not the people.   
 
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Hey man this was awesome.  We have three children* and we are going to have each one pick out a gift, wrap it, and try to deliver it to a family in need, or give it to a charity toy drop off.

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What a wonderful message! It did me good reading it. Two weeks ago we had a discussion about the chidren’s* “old” toys and instead of selling them on the internet* and getting money for it, we would like to give them to the Gemeinde  Sozialabteilung (local village’s social welfare office*).  We’re also discussing the food matter as we are sure that here in (our village*) there are families who have no chance to celebrate Christmas with some good food and to enjoy Christmas because they are struggeling with everything.

 
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We absolutely love and look forward to Christmas because it’s all about giving although the world has turned it the other way around. Our child recently celebrated with a birthday party with friends from his/her* current & former school. For the party, instead of having presents and all, our child* had all the guests make a donation to the school’s Ghana charity fund, which funds the running of a school in Ghana. I hope this will not end here, as I will create albums & info sites and send it with a thank you to those who came, so they can continue to be updated by the progress of the Ghana school and perhaps support it again in the future.

Being a child once myself, I can understand how important presents are to kids and as parent’s* were very pleased to see our child* give instead of take, and use the birthday party as a way to raise awareness & funds for those who need it. God is indeed great and church has played a great role in shaping our child* as well. My grandma raised me with a thought – “To be able to give – that’s the greatest blessing.” So I hope that this is passed on to my child*.

The other idea which we all had was to have a birthday party at an orphanage, where all the guests bring gifts for the kids at the orphanage instead of the birthday child. That doesn’t just stop there as the kids would be encouraged to continue their friendship and to really be a friend to the kids at the orphanage, so like writing to each other and all that. This too can be used for a Christmas party, where we can share the real Gift – Jesus.

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I used to work for a Greek shipping company and every Christmas, we send out Christmas greetings to all our partners, clients, suppliers and friends, and tell them we have donated to charities the money which we would have used to buy the cards & pay for the postage. That was quite a bit which would have been spent on cards and postage, so it was good to see that the money went to children’s homes and cancer charities instead… and the cost for sending out the thousands of greetings out – zilch. :) … oh yeah… less trees cut down too, so also protecting God’s creation.

 
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I love your words “giving away”.  I often hear our child* say these words.  As a matter of fact, she wrote a paper about a famous person* and in her opening paragraph she wrote something like this “this person* loved peace and gave it away….”
 
In our home country*, we, as a family always tried to do some kind of little family fundraiser and pass the money onto the orphanages in Russia.  This always was a big deal for us, but last year here, I had a tough time trying to figure out what to do and let our little family tradition go past us.  The last year we were in our homeland*, we had an art show.  one of our children* is a very good artist, but other made a bunch of pictures, too.  I put borders on all of them and hung them in our dining room.  We invited lots of neighbors and friends and collected donations for each “piece” of art.  We donated all the money to an organization that builds playgrounds in orphanages in Russia.  Now, our second year, here, and I’m still thinking about this and maybe will try to do something in the New year. 

 
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Cool message!   For several years in a row my siblings* and I were buying Christmas gifts for each other, and for each our spouses.  There are 6 of us in total.  We all attend the same church in our homeland*, and they often have various organizations in need around Christmas time.  About 5 years ago we decided we truly didn’t need anything material for Christmas, and that we would much prefer to take all of the money we would spend on each other (+ some extra), and we sponsor a family that is in need.  While I was there last we all* took a day and went and did all the shopping together.  We really enjoyed spending the time together, and we were so happy to do something that would make someone else’s Christmas morning special.  Obviously, I am now just a monetary contributor, but the “tradition” remains.  Our kids visibly see that we don’t have gifts from each other, and it a good opportunity to explain to them what we are doing and why.  We certainly aren’t “special” for doing this – as lots of people all over the world do it – but I have to say I don’t miss the gifts under the tree at all, and it is such a peaceful feeling to know someone else is having a special day.
 
That said we have struggled to find a way to really instill it in our kids – so I love the ideas you have!  Can’t wait to see the others.

 
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This year compassion international has a “what I want for christmas” program.  They send you a child that needs a sponser (at the end of NOv) for you to pray for during the holidays and try to find a sponser for.  We are doing that and the kids are really praying for (*our child we sponsor).  Also we do one of the toy programs for kids that wouldn’t get anything, each child fills a shoebox.  Also we have some Christmas books we read

 
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Working with and helping the mentally and physically challenged is a real blessing because they really appreciate the love. I use to volunteer with the Special Olympics * and continue to help out a workshop/day center.

Another things is to give to the Messianic Congregations in Eretz Israel. They have Arab, Jewish and others that have paid dearly to become believers in the Messiah. As you know both the Arabs and Jews families write their family members off when they put their faith in Jesus.

Recently some congregations have been firebombed, vandalized and have had the anti-missionary groups riot in front of their places of worship. They really need our prayer and physical support (even visits). Consider standing with them as they need to know that other believers care about them in their time of need. Especially now..

Keeping the light(s) in this world,

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A cool idea that we have used in the past is to give specific gifts from the Samaritan’s Purse Gift Catalog, in someone else’s name, as an honorary gift to them (SP sends an honor or memory card explaining the gift). This works well for grandkids to give to their grandparents, for example. See https://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/Giving/gift_catalog/
 
e.g. 
$4 for milk for a child for a week
$9 to feed a hungry baby for a week
$10 for a mosquito net to prevent malaria
$14 for a dozen baby chicks
 
It’s also available in British pounds here: http://www.giftcatalogue.org.uk

 
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We’ve done Operation Christmas Child via ISZL for the past two years (isn’t that cool that the international schools sponsor such a Christian thing!? I wonder whether they realize!), and we also were able to do it through our homeland* as well. Have been blessed to sponsor Compassion children for 20 years this year. 
 
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Dad just came back from some ministry* outreaches where he was telling Hindu Indians about what Christmas is all about. Sharing our “Dad time” over the Christmas break is one way that we give Christmas away. Another way is that we’ve always had a stocking for Jesus. So there are 7 stockings at our fireplace: one for every family member, plus one for Jesus. We kids grew up putting poems for Jesus, letters for Jesus, and money for Jesus in the stocking. We then take the money to church as offering, or give the money to missions/the poor. We also bake traditional Swiss Christmas cookies for all of our neighbors. Some of them wait all year for our cookie bags! Most of these neighbors don’t yet know the Lord, but they all know that we are Christians, and they respect us for it… I think they’re glad we take Christmas so seriously because it means they get yummy cookies (hehe), but it’s also a nice way of reaching out to them and going to their homes to deliver the cookies… We have interesting conversations with them each time.
 
What amazing insight into “being CHRISTmas” and a blessing to others at CHRISTmas time! 
 
There are still a few days left, what might you do to still “Give Away CHRISTmas yourself this year? Taking gifts to others?  Serving at a food distribution place?  Adding “Jesus is the reason to the season” to your (work) e-mails instead of X-Mas?  Inviting someone to a Christmas Eve service (which LIFT is having one)?  Connecting with a long ago family member or friend that you need reconciliation with? Bringing a guest to your Christmas meal, even if they aren’t family?  (Contact the Eales if you want to join with the growing “Christmas Day meal with the Eales” for families/individuals around LIFT that don’t have extended family around!
 
In His grip and grace…..because He first gave me the real gift of Christmas!
Corey

“Growing FAMILY! Part 2”- Fellowship: Formed for God’s Family

Hello again from Greenville, South Carolina,

Thanks for the many words (e-mails) of encouragement and congratulations regarding our lil’ Sarah Christiana and our growing FAMILY! I don’t think it was a coincidence that after sending last week’s LIFT update out on Sunday, that on Monday, the following devotion was in my in-box.

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Fellowship: Formed for God’s Family
(a Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotion by Rick Warren)
See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children, and we really are! 1 John 3:1 (NLT)

*** *** *** ***
You were formed for God’s family.
God is the One who made all things, and all things are for his glory. He wanted to have many children share his glory…” (Hebrews 2:10 NCV).
God wants a family, and he created you to be a part of it. This is one of God’s purposes for your life, which he planned before you were born. The entire Bible is the story of God building a family who will love him, honor him, and reign with him forever.
His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure” (Ephesians 1:5 NLT).
Because God is love, he treasures relationships. His very nature is relational and he identifies himself in family terms: Father, Son, and Spirit. The Trinity is God’s relationship to himself. It’s the perfect pattern for relational harmony and we should study its implications.
God already exists in loving relationship to himself so he’s never been lonely. He didn’t need a family. he desired one, so he devised a plan to create us, bring us into his family, and share with us all he has.
This gives God great pleasure.
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Yes, we are “formed for God’s family”, even via adoption!!

His grip and grace,

Corey

Believer’s Baptism

Hello All,

As the announcement above communicates LIFT’s upcoming Baptism service, I wanted to take the time this week to go a bit deeper in encouraging those that have accepted Jesus as their Savior but haven’t yet been baptized, to step forward and be baptized.  Again, baptism isn’t about joining a church, but an individual’s own decision to show an outward expression of the inward (spiritual) act that they are a Follower of Jesus Christ, a Christian.  In my systematic theology class in seminary I recall the statement; “Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.” 

I love the beautiful picture that baptism gives “in the burial of the old life… and the new life in Christ”, as like the washing off the old life through the water and coming up clean and fresh in a new life and walk with Jesus.  Furthermore, I love the clear statement to the world around in showing publicly that yes, I am a believer and yes, I identify with Jesus in publicly showing my old life buried and new life with Christ!  So if you are ready to take this wonderful step in your faith journey, or just want more information about baptism please reply, call or contact me o Ken before September 1st!

I have been so encouraged the past ten to twenty years or so as Baptism services have become more of a celebration than a religious act, meaning that the fellow believers who witness the baptisms are applauding and/or singing praises of joy in celebrating this testimony of new life in Christ, the old life washed clean!  For some of our brothers and sisters in Christ across the world, whether China, the Middle East, or other places that Christian freedoms aren’t so open, it’s with boldness and a real cost in these wonderful Christian’s lives that they are baptized, especially those in public.  For us internationals here in Zug, Switzerland, early on a Sunday morning down at the lake, it’s not really an issue of persecution or cost to our lives (other than perhaps being a bit cold if the weather isn’t so warm), but that wasn’t always the case and you might be encouraged to know that some amazing Swiss followers of Christ a few hundred years ago played a big role that eventually brought believer’s baptism back to widely being practiced aside of infant baptism. (*Below I have attached and updated part of a seminary paper I wrote a few years back sharing the boldness of these Swiss adventurers for the Lord!)

Looking forward hearing from those who desire baptism and to celebrating this special service together in a few weeks from now!

Of course, this week we have our morning service at 10 am then our LIFT Outing where more than 50 have RSVP’d to!  Plus, there are several other ministry opportunities launching as school is just getting underway!  Details below.

In His grip and grace,

Corey
 

(continued from above!)—————-

*SWISS ADVENTURERS OF BELIEVER’S BAPTISM!
In July of 1522, a young Swiss man named Conrad Grebel (1498-1526), full of vision, picked up the cross of Christ and for the rest of his life became a radical, servant of Christ and the Gospel.  Grebel and a few other understudies of Ulrich Zwingli took the issue of believer’s baptism head on, or should I say head under water, with the rest of the body as well!  You may have been in the Gross Munster in Zurich, where the more famous Zwingli started part of the reformation about the same time as Luther was doing the same in Germany. As Conrad Grebel, Heinrich Engelhart, Simon Stumpf and Felix Manz amongst others owed much to Zwingli and his preaching and teaching, it was Grebel who was the first to initiate a public believer’s baptism in January of 1525 here in Switzerland.  This public display of pointing to baptism being that of a public profession of one’s faith after believing in Jesus Christ versus a child baptism as done in the Catholic church was enormous with consequences growing even larger with the church and state powers quickly trying to crush this new movement. 

The aforementioned men and others became known as the Swiss Brethren and Anabaptist reformation was now underway with Grebel emerging as one of the bold proclaimers of faith and professing it by his performing of baptisms.  The fact is, they didn’t consider themselves as Anabaptists, meaning rebaptizer’s pointing out that the infant baptism did not count at all, thus the believer’s baptism was the only one of merit. The team of the Swiss Brethren began going house to house with their witnessing and proclamation of faith in Jesus Christ, reaching new believers, baptizing and conducting the Lord’s Supper.  During this time they even began baptizing by immersion.  Perhaps the first immersion baptism being that of Wolfgang Ulimann, a former monk who requested “nit wolt mit ainer schussel mit wasser allain begossen” rather “in dem Rhin von dem Grebel getreckt und bedeckt werden”, which translates, “I don’t want to be poured on with a bowl of water, rather, in the Rhine river at the hands of Grebel would I want to become dunked and covered.”  Just in April of 1525, some 500 believers were known to have been baptized.  Eventually Grebel was persecuted and imprisoned and died shortly after his escape from prison from a sickness gained there with such poor living conditions at the age of 28. 

The rest is…….shall we say a continued part of Christian history, as Believer’s Baptism is widely shared today as a proclamation of one’s faith in Jesus Christ!  

LIFTing UP!

Hello All,
 
Today is Ascension Day here in Switzerland, but most people just consider it a “bank holiday”, meaning the banks are closed and many people have the day off of work, but nobody seems to really care why.  For those of us that follow Christ, we are so blessed to know that as Christ died and rose again, He also ascended to heaven to prepare for us a place and that someday we will be with Him forever!  However, we don’t have to wait until we die to have a relationship with Jesus. This relationship starts the day we believe and receive His gospel message into our life and walk with Him.  LIFT’s name has this truth “hidden” inside as we say that as Christians, we are Living In Forever Today, and walking with Jesus already on this side of heaven!  Thank You God, Jesus and Holy Spirit as You are alive and well amongst us today and everyday, regardless of whether the banks are closed or not!
 
May we be your witnesses here in Zug, in Switzerland, in our homelands and to the ends of the earth!   
 
Matt 28:18-20
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  (Shortly after saying this Jesus ascended to heaven!)

Acts 1:7-11
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.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

In His grip and grace,
 
Corey