STANDING STONES OF 2006

I looked back into my old files and found this writing regarding standing stones.  It is relevant to use it again with a couple of changes as we head into 2007.  What an amazing year these past 12 months have been to see how the Lord faithfully provided and blessed us at LIFT!
 
 
STANDING STONES OF 2006

Hello All,

 
This past week at LIFT was a celebration point in time, or I should say another “standing stone” in the existence of LIFT- The International Church of Zug. Our very first Christmas (Eve) services!  As we say we use the Bible and the English language as common tools to share the Gospel Message, the message of Christmas IS the Gospel! What an experience as family, to have had about 65 people gather together Christmas Eve to sing carols and hear the message of Christmas from Luke 2!

What do I mean by “standing stone”?  In the Old Testament, God’s people didn’t have computers and video recording equipment to tape and replay important events. What they did instead was take rocks, stones or pillars and stand them up or stack them up. This pile of stones, (or sometimes a huge stone) would stand tall as a MARKING POINT. Usually this coincided with a “worship service” of declaring what God had done and how this stone was to be a testimony to God. As they saw it in the future, they would remember what the Lord had done. Sometimes the stones were stood up as a statement of “changing their ways” (after a period of Godless living) and proclaiming that they turned back toward God, and the standing stone was a point to remember the commitment.

What was really cool is how these stones were a “testimony” to later generations, even sometimes hundreds of years later (or in our case millenniums later). As a family was traveling, in their culture the children knew standing stones meant something, and the kids might have asked something like “Daddy, what happened here?” And the father was able to share what the Lord God had done for their people in delivering them, etc. etc.

As we look back at this past year, or as you look back in your life, there are many standing stones. Some are stones standing as praise to wonderful blessings the Lord gave us, some are stones that are amidst very difficult times in life, but yet, they are standing there to remind us of our continued walk with our God.

Early in 2006, one great stone was stood up marking the launch of a children’s ministry that now gives our kids, the next generation of the church, a time of teaching and Biblical training during the sermon time. Thank you, Kristin and Tanya, who so selflessly have served every week in this ministry! Later in the year, CLUB LIFT was launched giving additional monthly training of our youngsters in a fun way! What a wonderful praise and perhaps these youngsters will be “living stones” with the Gospel message during their lifetime! 
 
Other stones from 2006 were the continued momentum of the ladies ministry, who had several Bible/book studies and various events throughout the year!  And the men?……or should I say A-Men?  In October we had a men’s retreat that has truly left an impact on many men who are still striving to grow in faith as stronger A-Men of God!  In the summertime, we shifted to a morning worship service time frame which has also provided LIFT with momentum and growth!  The Webster family coming alongside in leadership with the Eales’ and us Best’s has also been a huge blessing!  Of all the messages over the year, the message series about “The Body” stands out to me personally.  To have seen our LIFT body forming and working together in unity with all the parts working together for the entire body – this is the church of Jesus in action!    

As we look to the future to “conquer” life ahead of us, remember one more proclamation from a little boy of the Old Testament who turned a few stones himself: DAVID.  As a young shepherd standing before the king and stating what he was about to do in the near future, he was using standing stones from his past as a reminder of God’s hand with him:

1 Sam 17:34-37 (David before taking on Goliath)
But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you.”

Notice the standing stones of the lion and bear giving David the strength and faith to go boldly into the unknown future!
 
We serve an awesome God. “Go into 2007, and the LORD be with you!”
 
This Sunday, Ken will be sharing a message about God’s faithfulness over the past and what the Lord has shown us.  The following week, I will share the message regarding future thinking and how we walk forward in faith with the Lord as the journey continues! 

In His grip and grace,

Corey

Ephesians 3:14-21
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

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

“24-7 Worship”

Hello everyone,

A while back, Tanya shared something with me that, on the one hand is quite simple and obvious, but yet on the other, quite amazing and vastly beautiful.

It’s this: At any given time, God is being worshiped by His creation!

“24-7″ stands for 24 hours and 7 days a weeks.  It’s true, God is always being worshipped.  From scripture we find that the mountains and valleys glorify His name.  The trees “clap” in worshipping Him.  Tonight we are even singing the song, Forever, by Chris Tomlin, which uses the Psalms passages of us singing praise because His love endures forever.  So Tanya, simply pointed out, that as the world turns, and the times zones change, some church (big or little, in a cathedral or a house), somewhere is worshipping God, and the Scriptures are once again, TRUE!

For me, tonight will be pretty cool from my little mind’s perspective.  As we begin our Lift service here in Zug, Tanya and the kids will be also beginning a worship service at the Rocky Mountain Bible Church in Frisco, Colorado (U.S.A) AT THE SAME TIME, but morning for them and evening for us.  And somewhere in between, Stami and IBCZ began praising the Lord hours ago right here in Switzerland, and even earlier our brother and sisters in Christ were praising the Lord (while we were still sleeping) in places like India, Russia, New Zealand and Australia!

Here are just a couple passages to remind us of constant praise to Him:

Isa 55:12
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
NIV

Ps 98:4-9
4 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
5 make music to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn–
shout for joy before the LORD, the King.

7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
9 let them sing before the LORD,
NIV

Ps 66:4
4 All the earth bows down to you;
they sing praise to you,
they sing praise to your name.”
NIV

In His grip and grace,
Corey and Tanya

“A little Best for you”

Hello everyone.

It has been a very interesting week for several families with the name Best. I’m gonna share a little about my family and some circumstances of this past week that definitely point to our Sovereign God who has the universe within His loving hands. (As both of my brothers receive these updates, I hope they don’t mind I share a glimpse of their lives and families.)

On one hand, Eric (the middle brother) experienced “new life” in that they received a long awaited blessing in their newborn infant boy, Brayden Daniel Best, who was born on Friday, May 13th. How exciting it was to hear the trans-north American adventure of Eric and his wife Kim getting a first call regarding the birth of Brayden (it’s a long story in itself, but they have been working through this ADOPTION process for months, after years of desiring another child) being a couple of months earlier than expected. Within 24 hours, they find out they are new parents (and Eric was 4 time zones away by the way) without even having the first package of diapers at home! What a wonderful and beautiful blessing.

On the other hand, Steve, (the oldest brother) and his family are experiencing a different kind of “new life” in that his father in law, Marvin Rieb, entered eternal life with Jesus on Friday. This was completely unexpected as his heart suffered cardiac arrest on Wednesday morning while still sleeping. As I write this, Steve and his three children are in route to meet up with his wife, Kris and rest of their extended family who now are preparing for funeral arrangement and life on earth without a husband, father, grandfather and friend to many. What a wonderful and beautiful blessing his life was and is.

At the very bottom of this e-mail, I have attached the 14th chapter of the Gospel of John. Somehow, as I searched the Scriptures tonight, I felt that Jesus’ Words were, of course, better than mine expressing His love and purpose for our eternal lives with Him.

Please pray for Kris’ family (Steve’s wife) this week and the months to come during this time of her father Marvin going to be with the Lord. Also, may Brayden’s life, be one of a new servant for the Lord Jesus Christ!

We worship an awesome and sovereign God, whose love never fails!

In His grip and grace,
Corey and Tanya

John 14

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.
14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command.
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-
17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you.
26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
30 I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me,
31 but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

“Come now; let us leave.

NIV

Why the Bible is THE Bible

Hello All,

For several weeks we have been teaching about: Why the Bible is THE Bible, the Holy Word of God, without error and the absolute truth. This week, the journey continues and Ken will be sharing the message. I am actually looking forward to simply “sitting in” myself this week and seeking to be blessed by what Ken shares! How about you?

Below is a couple of passages regarding our need to be “fed” from the Bible and also a wonderful passage from Jesus found in Matthew 5. I especially want to draw your attention to verse 8.

Matt 4:4

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

Matt 5:3-10

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn,

for they will be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek,

for they will inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

for they will be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful,

for they will be shown mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart,

for they will see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they will be called sons of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

A Note about Madrid trip and missionary encounter!

As I wrote last week about this amazing miracle of a contact in Madrid, it did happen (not that I had any doubt) that I was able to be blessed by visiting with missionaries Dana H. and Chuck L. with SEFOVAN and Worldlink Ministries during my stay. In fact, even after having dinner with each of them Tues and Wed, the highlight of the trip was visiting the Seminary today (Friday) before catching my flight home. It was a beautiful thing to encounter – seeing classes and meeting some of the Spanish students at this place. Many were in their 20’s and 30’s and they truly are the future pastors/leaders in many parts of Spain and beyond. God is definitely at work there!

FUTURE EVENT IN ZUG! (First week of JULY)

As you may remember, Dana and Chuck contacted me last week regarding coming to Zug in July with a large mission team from the U.S. We were able to make some tentative plans regarding this wonderful opportunity for LIFT and the Kingdom right here in Zug. Looks like the weekend of the 9th and 10th they will come to the Lake of Zug area near where we meet at Vorstadt and set up an area with several tent like “booths” and an open space. The concept is to use face painting, bracelet making (with colors representing the Gospel) and other like activities to draw people in. They even do a “Texas line dance” deal that gets many involved, even adults and at one point a 15-20 minute Gospel presentation is given and of course the people are already mingling with one on one faith encounters. They do a couple of these “campaigns” each year in Europe and have had great success in drawing crowds and simply being a blessing. By the way, they are self financed and experienced, as to not be a burden to us and LIFT, but simply help us grow the Kingdom around here. We intend to get Stami and the other local Christian churches involved also as many of the contacts will be German speaking too. More to come and your suggestions are appreciated. By the way, they stayed in Germany last year due to cost factors and intend to this year, BUT if you know of any possibilities for accommodations for a group of 60-70 around the Zug, Zurich, Luzern (anywhere centrally located) from July 1st – 10th, please let me know.

Blessings,
Corey and Tanya