GROWING FORWARD

Hello All,

As we are journeying through Timothy, a key point that Ken and I have brought out regarding Paul’s letter to Timothy, is that of Paul’s personal encouragement and support of Timothy. Like a “son” to Paul, he includes many personal words of affirmation to Timothy.

I had a nice experience this week on a plane back to Zurich from Amsterdam where I was reminded of a former “Paul” in my life. This “Paul” inspired me, encouraged me and served as a Godly example to me, who looking back had a bigger impact than I realized at the time, more than 12 years ago. His real name isn’t Paul, it’s Kurt and he is the former youth pastor of my former church in Colorado. Tanya and I met him and his wife Brenda shortly after getting married in 1994 and by 1995 we began to volunteer under Kurt and Brenda with the youth ministry on Wednesday nights. Every once in a while we even helped with events and/or occasionally weekenders. By 2000 when Kurt and Brenda moved to serve the Lord in another state, Tanya and I were mainstays with the students and the ministry there and as most of you know, by 2002 I left my “day job” and went into ministry full time at the church and began my seminary studies as well (which led us to “Go” with Jesus to Switzerland in 2004).

What triggered my remembering Kurt was a book that I was reading on the flight which gives an example of the author/pastor and his first “sermon”. This author was challenged by his pastor as a teenager to share a Sunday sermon and not just a quick testimony as he was asked to do. So this guy worked hard to have his 30 minutes of a full sermon just to in the end, deliver his first message with passion……but in only 7 minutes! Well, that reminded me that Kurt did the same thing to me a little over 10 years ago. After I was already sharing “messages” with 30 or so students frequently, Kurt challenged me to share a “message” to the church congregation. I put “message” in quotes, because I specifically asked him if he wanted a testimony or a sermon and if he wanted just 5 minutes or a full 25 minutes. His answer was “share a message of whatever the Lord puts on your heart and you have whatever time you need or want”. In the end, I don’t think I ever told him (until now that is) that I was aiming for the full “message” but delivered only 7 minutes, and then of course he jumped on up there to fill in the rest of the time that was expected! Thinking back, I believe that was my first time sharing a message to an adult congregation. Today, I do it on a near weekly basis and still feel inadequate as a public speaker, but fully adequate on passionately following Jesus and therefore I’m not afraid to talk about Jesus in front of people and prayerfully He can use my availability to make up for my lack of strong preaching ability! I am thankful that Kurt believed in me and challenged me to share what was on my heart!

Last Sunday was great with many of you committing to serving at LIFT in various ways. Your availability is a huge encouragement for all at LIFT and whether you feel adequate or not, Jesus will bless what you commit to Him with devoted hearts and a willingness to serve Him and others! Attached are the various ministry lists that now include many of your names. Someone asked that we send it out for others to have opportunity to know what kind of ministries/needs there are at LIFT.  In the next weeks, we are intending to broaden the leadership roles and follow up with you regarding these ministries. If you didn’t sign up last week or weren’t there to sign up, please prayerfully consider if and how God would have you be involved in serving at our church. Let us know (personally or via email) where you might want to serve.
 
Lastly, let’s continue to pray for one another and for LIFT as a body that the Lord will continue to bless our church as we “grow forward” together in unity and for His glory!

 
Looking forward to seeing you Sunday.

In His grip and grace,

Corey

Great Commission Eyes

Hello all,
 
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday.  We intend to have a “practical forum” during part of the message time as we are continuing through 1 Timothy.  I hope you can join us!  

Instead of a normal “Corey thought for the week” and in light to last week’s “to the ends of the earth!” e-mail,  the following is a clipped devotion that I read recently from a pastor named Rick Warren.  It’s encouraging to me as we at LIFT- The International Church of Zug are a “living example” of international ministry that affects people both from our community of Zug and…..to the ends of the earth! 
———————
Great Commission Eyes- by Rick Warren
“If you ask me, I will give you the nations; all the people on earth will be yours.” Psalm 2:8, NCV
 
As we’ve been discussing, the opportunities for normal, everyday Christians to become involved in short-term international missions are now literally limitless. It’s never been easier in history to fulfill your commission to go to the whole world. The great barriers are no longer distance, cost, or transportation. The only barrier is the way we think. Your perspective and attitudes must shift – so that you develop Great Commission eyes —
Shift from local thinking to global thinking — God is a global God; he’s always cared about the entire world (“God so loved the world ….” John 3:16, KJV). From the beginning he’s wanted to call forth, from every nation, the people he created.
The Bible says, “From one person God made all nations who live on earth, and he decided when and where every nation would be. God has done all this, so that we will look for him and reach out and find him.” (Acts 17:26-27, CEV)
Much of the world already thinks globally. The largest media and business conglomerates are all multi-national. Our lives are increasingly intertwined with those in other nations as we share fashions, entertainment, music, sports, and even fast food. Probably most of the clothes you’re wearing and much of what you ate today were produced in another country. We are more connected than we realize.
These are exciting days to be alive. There are more Christians on earth right now than ever before. Paul was right: “This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours.” (Colossians 1:6, NLT)
One of the best ways to switch to global thinking is to just get up and go on a short-term mission project to another country! There’s simply no substitute for hands-on, real life experience in another culture. Quit studying and discussing your mission and just do it! I dare you to dive into the deep end.
In Acts 1:8 Jesus gave us a pattern for involvement: “You will tell everyone about me in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world.” (Acts 1:8, CEV)
His followers were to reach out to their community (Jerusalem), to their country (Judea), to other cultures (Samaria), and to other nations (everywhere in the world). Note that our commission is simultaneous, not sequential. While not everyone has the missionary gift, every Christian is called to be on a mission to all four groups in some way.
So what does this mean?
Become an Acts 1:8 Christian — Set a goal to participate in a mission project to each of the four targets: your community, your country, other cultures, and other nations. I urge you to do whatever it takes to participate in a short-term mission trip overseas as soon as possible. It will enlarge your heart, expand your vision, stretch your faith, deepen your compassion, and fill you with a kind of joy you have never experienced. It could be the turning point in your life.
Watch the news with Great Commission eyes — Wherever there is change or conflict, you can be sure that God will use it to bring people to him. People are most receptive to God when they are under tension or in transition. Because the rate of change is increasing in our world, more people are open to hearing the Good News now than ever before.
Prayer is the most important tool for your mission in the world — People may refuse our love or reject our message, but they are defenseless against our prayers. The Bible tells us to pray for opportunities to witness, for courage to speak up, for those who will believe, for the rapid spread of the message, and for more workers.
Begin praying for specific countries — World-class Christians pray for the world. Get a globe or map and pray for nations by name. Also, pray for missionaries and everyone else involved in the global harvest. Paul told his prayer partners, “You are also joining to help us when you pray for us.” (2 Corinthians 1:11, GW).
—————

In our case in Zug, the nations of the world are coming to us!  
 
In His grip and grace,

Corey

To the Ends of the Earth!


 
Hello all,
 
What an encouraging way to end the week!  I just got an e-mail from Ken regarding a friend of LIFT who attended throughout last year while living in Zug.  Some of you may remember Esther, a woman from China.  She was an encouragement to me (and others) in many ways.  Her friendly smile and wonderful faith in Jesus that was rekindled after many years during her adult life of not walking with Jesus.  She had mentioned how she was renewed to the faith that her father had taught her in her early days.  I appreciated her sincere praise and support of what we were doing at LIFT in Zug.  And then like many international people who come and go in cities like Zug and Zurich her journey took her other places and only an occasional contact.     

Here’s the e-mail update she sent to Ken:
Hi Ken,
Glad to hear from you. I have been traveling around and I have decided to start to build the little church in my father ‘s village in China. Before my father passed away, he has asked me to fulfill this dream for him if I can. It was difficult because of the government –I went back and forth for a few times and finally I got hold of the Christian group over there to help me –we are still fighting with the govt regarding various issues. Please pray.
Esther 

Let’s do just that, let’s pray for Esther and the Christ-followers in this village and across China who are serving the Lord and His Kingdom.  There is an amazing revival for the Kingdom that has been going on in China for years now and may the Lord continue to bless China!
 
I am reminded of what Jesus said after he arose from the grave and before he ascended to heaven:
Acts 1:8- “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.” 

Thank you, Jesus, for Your Word and Holy Spirit you gave us!  Thank you, the original disciples and witnesses and those afterwards, who carried the Message into the world throughout the centuries and generations.  Thank you, Esther and all of us today, who can be a light for Jesus in our world around us (wherever that is)!  Let’s pray for each other!

We are continuing our journey through 1 Timothy this week and I hope you can join us!   
 
In His grip and grace,

Corey

Jesus isn't a CEO!


 
Hello all,
 
As most all of you know, Ken and I also have “day jobs” during the week aside of our passion in serving the Lord at LIFT and sharing messages each week about Jesus and the Bible.  Ken works for a division of a large Swiss bank (of course, it is Switzerland) and I work for a small (but still multi billion) German manufacturer of high end household products.  And as most of you understand very well and live it yourselves, the corporate world of international business can be very exciting and challenging in positive ways, but the negative side can be summed up nicely as a friend told me last Friday, “Corey, they call it work for a reason!”   With large companies nowadays, full of their beaurocratic structures, multiple divisions, egotistical executives and fierce competition to make more money while cutting expenses, it is common to see how people end up only performing in selfish ways with personal agendas to improve their bonus circumstances and/or their next level promotion with a new title on their business card without a care for the rest of the corporation or co-workers.  I’m not complaining, but this is a daily reality in the world.  CEO’s make and force decisions for higher profit (and often short term gains for shareholders), Vice Presidents execute the orders, but often in ways to make them look better (at a cost) to the other Vice Presidents, and downward goes similar actions at each level down the line…………just trying to model their superior’s actions, right?  Praise God that the church isn’t a corporation and all of the parts make up the body and by working together we are greater than working alone!
 
And then there is Jesus, not a CEO, but God in the flesh who “emptied” Himself of His divine powers to come and serve mankind from the bottom up.  I love this in Jesus.  He could have demanded to be called the King of Kings, He could have caused the angels to fight for Him (especially in the end to get Him off the cross), He could have played the CEO role and made compromises and deals with the politicians, rulers and high ranking church officials, He could have……….He could have……… really, He could have done whatever He wanted as He was/is God and part of the Trinity!  But He didn’t!  He instead gave of Himself and His love to serve others in a real and genuine way.  He was a friend of sinners, and a friend to you and me today.  He washed feet of those beneath Him, and He walks with us today!  He healed and gave hope to others (without a concern for a bonus, bigger home or new title on His business card) and he gives you and me hope today!  Yes, Jesus is our God and Savior, not our CEO!        

We are continuing our journey through 1 Timothy this week as Ken shares the message.  For the next weeks we will look into God’s Word regarding His qualities sought for leaders and followers of Jesus.  I hope you can join us and look forward to seeing you there!   
 
In His grip and grace,

Corey

Erntedankfest! "Giving Thanks for the Harvest"

Hello All, 

So what is this theme “Erntedankfest” and what’s this service all about?  Literally, Erntedankfest means “Thanksgiving (for the Harvest)”! Those of you who are familiar with the American Holiday in the 3rd week of November each year should remember that this service is in Switzerland, the date of the service is September 30th, and no turkeys or football are offered! 

As I shared last week at our service, I believe it was some 20 years ago that Stami was also having their services in the same place at Vorstadt 30 during their early days.  This local Swiss church, with faithful service to the Lord and our community of Zug over the years has made an impact (a Harvest) in many lives along the way, including mine!  It was in 1997 at Stami while living here for a few months that Tanya and I got our first glimpse of a Swiss evangelical church, and from that time our burden to share Jesus in Switzerland began to take shape.  A few years later in 2003, Ken and Kristin Eales arrived from South Africa and also found themselves worshipping Jesus with Stami and yearning to serve and be effective somehow but slowed (in Ken’s case) because of German. I think most of you know the history since the “birth” of LIFT in 2004 and the following three years now where the Eales and Bests and all of LIFT have experienced a harvest of sort becoming a reality……….and we are still just a “baby” church growing and going for Jesus into the future!  

So we as LIFT find ourselves this Sunday together with Stami, in many ways, a part of Stami’s actual Harvest, celebrating and worshiping together!  The service will be bilingual and team led from both churches.  A few folks will share a testimony of how the Lord has blessed them this year, from LIFT it’s Ron and Maria sharing their Guatemala adoption of Lorena.  Some songs we will lead in English, some they will lead in German and some we will combine and alternate verses and choruses in both languages. 

KIDS SUNDAY SCHOOL AND NURSERY ARE ALL COVERED BY STAMI AND THERE IS A FELLOWSHIP AFTERWARDS WITH FOOD (ALSO PROVIDED BY STAMI)!

Of course, we aren’t done yet with reaching our community for the Lord and there is plenty more harvesting to do, but it’s an honor and a privilege to take a Sunday and just say: “Thank You God, for how You have blessed us!”

I hope you can join us and I look forward to seeing you there.  Please call for directions or questions if the map doesn’t help enough and we’ll make it clear.  For GPS: Chollerstrasse 35, Zug 
 
In His grip and grace,

Corey