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

LIFT- Laughing and Lots Going On!

Hello All,

LAUGHING: Recently, Tanya was reading to me from a little devotional book that sits on our coffee table called, Laughter & Latte!  Hearing a few quotes from women such as Beth Moore, Luci Swindoll or Barbara Johnson written about taking life with humor and actually laughing during the day versus worrying and stressing about everything began a fun discussion with Tanya and I about how laughter can change one’s perspective during a busy and chaotic day or season of life.  Take the weather for example, especially here in Switzerland, and the fact that it rains a lot and that the fog will be returning soon:  Either I can worry about whether the weather (pun intended) will rain on our plans or I can laugh when I pull out my umbrella and think that at least I didn’t get my hair wet, or even better laugh when the sun is shining (The Son IS shining!) and the rain never even showed up (o.k.- that doesn’t happen so often, but at least you are smiling as you read this!) 

It’s a very busy time of the year as school has begun and life and work projects are again in full swing.  At the end of the day, and during the day, let’s try to remember that laughing and not taking everything too serious is good for us……… and others around us too!
 
Psalms 68:3-4
But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.  Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds– his name is the LORD– and rejoice before him.”
 
LOTS GOING ON: With the happy and joyful hearts of the verses above, LIFT is launching many new ministry opportunities to get involved with in September.  Have a look and for more details and either reply back or seek out the noted contact. 

ALL OF THE BELOW MINISTRIES ARE STARTING THE FIRST WEEK OF SEPTEMBER!

KIDS: 
-CLUB LIFT- Ages 3-12 – every 1st Sunday afternoon of each month!  – Contact Corey or Tanya
-SUNDAY SCHOOL – Ages 0-10 – every Sunday during the message. Leaders/Volunteer meeting this Sunday right after the service to explain the details. Contact Tanya
TEENS: 
-Girl DayAway- An event in Zurich, Sept 22nd for teen girls (12-16)- Contact Rachael Lewis
-Father +Teen Outing- Saturday, Sept. 1st.  Father and teen(s) getting an afternoon out together at the Seilpark Pilatus near Luzern.  50 CHF (+ 25CHF for each extra teen). Contact Derek or Melissa Webster.
LADIES: 
-Tuesday Nights Study- “Positive Life Principles” study on Tuesday nights at Jill’s in Baar.   Contact Leonie, Tanya or Kristin
A-MEN: 
-Men’s Morning Studies-  Thursdays in Horgen (contact Ken) and Fridays in Zug (contact Corey)

W/STAMI: 
-Combined Worship Service- For the Sept. 30th Morning Service, LIFT will join Evengelische Stadtmission Zug for a combined (bi-lingual) service at their location at Chollerstrasse in Zug.  Contact Corey or Andy Stalder 

So, you can see that lots is going on and yes, a bit of laughter in life makes a difference as well! Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday as Ken shares the message. 

In His grip and grace,

Corey

LIFT- Sitting with my wife!

Hello All,

Many, many thanks to you all in and around LIFT that have been such a blessing over these past summer months (and longer for many) in serving others.  Helping with the children’s ministry, bringing snacks, sharing talents of singing and playing as worship to our Lord Jesus Christ are just a few examples in recent weeks.  It is wonderful to see God’s faithfulness and seeing His provisions regarding our continued prayer of the LIFT verse of Luke 10:2, He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! 

Last month, Tanya and I had a “first together” at LIFT.  After nearly 3 years since the beginning of LIFT in our home living room (Sept-04), we were able to sit together for the first time during a sermon at LIFT. Tanya has nearly always been serving with the kids ministry during the weekly messages and when she did have an opportunity to visit “big church” I was normally preaching.  Then again two weeks after that, I was again able to sit together with Tanya, but that time during the first half of the service as Josh Karr, a young servant of the Lord from the U.S.A., helped lead the singing and Trevor gave the welcome and announcements.  What was especially encouraging during this second time sitting with Tanya is that the Eales were on vacation and still the Lord provided others to lead a LIFT service.  

It may seem like something little to praise God about, just sitting with my wife at a church service, but thanking God along the way for the little things add up to seeing God do big things!  I am reminded and encouraged of the verses about the Body of Christ, which we have studied in the past:

Eph 4:11-13
11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Eph 4:15-16
Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. 

We are His Body together, and the many parts are serving together! It’s great to see our Body at LIFT serving one another and building each other up!  It’s also great to sit with my wife from time to time and just be fed by God’s awesome presence and Word!
 
Looking forward to seeing you Sunday.  I will be sitting up front with a guitar for part of the service and for the rest of the service giving the sermon but I will still be able to look out and see my wife Tanya there, even though I won’t be sitting next to her! Praise God!

In His grip and grace,

Corey

LIFT- Into the Kingdom around us!

Hello All,

Many of you know about the really amazing “God-Thing” in regards to the Best and Post families who lead LIFT- The International Church of Zug (LIFT) and The International Church of Luzern (ICOL).  The Best’s left Summit County, Colorado in 2004 to Zug to start Lift and two years later, in 2006, the Post’s also left the same Summit County, Colorado (from another church within 15 minutes of the Best’s former church) to go serve at ICOL in Luzern, less than 30 minutes from Zug.  At the same time, neither family communicated or coordinated this “coincidentally” close proximity of serving God with one another. It is just as I stated at the beginning; a God-Thing! 

This past Sunday, as us Best’s wrapped up our vacation week and arrived back in Zug on Saturday night and not being expected at LIFT on Sunday, we spontaneously decided to go visit ICOL in Luzern.  It was a wonderful blessing to be around another congregation of Internationals and it was a wonderful blessing to hear the Message from Brian Post.  During his message, I realized that after more than 13 years (total) of living/serving within 30 minutes of each other, I had never heard Brian preach.  I used to work very closely with his youth pastor back in the States, sometimes on a near weekly basis, and I had heard about Brian’s great teaching/preaching ability to clearly communicate and train his congregation with the Gospel, but it took more than 13 years to make the opportunity happen to hear him in person. 

On one hand, we “work the same hours” so it isn’t easy to visit one another, but at the same time, all too often churches get too involved within the four walls of their church and may miss the blessing of fellowshipping and serving together in the larger Kingdom around them.  Too often churches, sometimes even from the same denominations, somehow think and treat the nearby churches as competition.  O.K., I’m not promoting church hopping and that people surf around from one church to the other because clearly, we should actively serve and minister within our own church body, but I do believe that as the extended Body in our community, we can be a strong light of hope and an encouragement to each other beyond our church walls!  It was wonderful and encouraging to hear Brian share from his heart live this past week…… even if it took 13 years while serving the Lord in the same proximity on two continents!

Of course, I am the eternal optimist and must also praise the Lord for so many Kingdom minded things going on around us here in Zug.  On Aug. 12th, at the Landgemeindeplatz there is a large open air community event called JesusFaescht (Jesus Festival) that the Christlicher Treffpunkt and Rotkreuz Gemeinde (two local Christian free churches) are working together in hosting for the community!  On September 30th, LIFT and Stami (Evangelische Stadtmission Zug) are having a combined bi-lingual service to intentionally bring these two congregations together to build and strengthen the relationship together.  Club LIFT- the Kids program -will launch again on Sept. 2nd and like last year, it will be a combined program of LIFT and ICOL (Luzern) working together!  Yes, the Christian churches are serving together and may God use all of us, His body with Jesus Christ as the Head, to be a voice of hope for the world around us, to be an encouragement for each other … and to ultimaltely bring glory to Himself!

This Sunday, the 5th of August and first Sunday of the month, we meet at the larger venue at the Kirchgemeindehaus of Zug’s Protestant Church.  (Imagine that, another bridge being created in working alongside another church in Zug!)

In His grip and grace,

Corey

Multi-Tasking

Hello All,

There has been a lot of discussion the past decade or so about multi-tasking, especially due to computers and the creation of Windows software, where many different windows/tasks can be open and working at the same time.  It’s true however that time management consultants remind us to try not to do too many things at once where in the end we do many things poorly instead of a few things well.  In the end, I think that finding the right balance is key and I like the term “stewardship”, which the Bible offers plenty of divine guidance in wisely using our money, time, efforts and resources in a manner that glorifies God. 
 
But in returning to the topic of multi-tasking;  women, have earned the reputation of multi-tasking better than men.  If a man wants to argue this point, let’s see if he can do 5 loads of laundry, 3 meals, 2 snacks, 3 band-aid rescues, 5 diapers, 7 bottles and 5 trips to the store/school/post office/etc, ALL IN THE SAME DAY and do all these things in a manner that the husband thinks that she didn’t do anything all day, because upon arrival from work the house is pleasantly full of aroma of a nice candle and dinner on the table with kids smiling to welcome him home.  (Yes, it can happen and Proverbs 31 IS in the Bible, and yes many women can multi task with these things AND their own professional job too!)  But since this e-mail letter is to be encouragement to all of us, I must also compliment men who can multi-task very well too.  Of course, I am not going to suggest that men can multi-task better than women, but sometimes one must consider the amazing ability inside every man………and his remote control!  I’ve witnessed my neighbor Ken, who can watch a rugby game, cricket game and a soccer game while talking on the land line phone and SMS-ing in English (or Afrikans) ALL AT THE SAME TIME!  (I would have mentioned myself, but it’s been a while since I had the USA programming with American Football, Baseball and Basketball, therefor I have to concentrate on only one channel in German to understand it well!) 
 
Actually, I have a huge admiration for Ken as a man who is able to multi task being a husband, father, international business man and co-pastor of a church plant; ALL AT THE SAME TIME!  As Romans 12:1 writes about being a living sacrifice of continual worship to God, Ken is a living example of this.  He doesn’t realize that I “caught” him multi-tasking this week.  I phoned him two nights ago on his mobile phone while he was driving home from work.  Immediately after our brief conversation I remembered something to ask him and called him back. His phone must have malfunctioned because the line was open and I could hear him (or at least his car stereo), but he didn’t realize it.  Normally, this could be an opportunity to overhear some good gossip, or see if your friend might have interesting things to say about you. But not with Ken, from the stereo I could hear he was listening to God’s Word being preached from a CD he was playing.  I hung up and tried again and still the same.  I realized he was preparing for his sermon this Sunday.  While balancing family life/work and church, he was using the twenty five minute drive time to “study” for his message.  Later that night I found the e-mail he sent me earlier in the day wanting me to share with you all in this weekly update that he is sharing about practical application of the blood of Jesus Christ in our lives today and to remind you to bring your Bibles and a marker/pen to church on Sunday.  I am confident you will be blessed! 

Romans 12:1-2
12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.

In His grip and grace,
 
Corey