The Body of Lift- Serving Together- all of us!

Romans 12:4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Hello All,

How cool it is to see the body of LIFT in action!  If it wasn’t for faith and our God who can bless beyond expectations, I would think all that has happened in the last ten weeks would nearly be unbelievable……..and yet, I do believe and our God does bless in exceptional ways! 

It’s not just that LIFT was able to find and reach a rental agreement to move into Ibelweg 18 in less than a two week process (a miracle itself in Switzerland, not to mention the prior 18 month search with no results), but it’s all of the rest of the ” LIFT BODY” working together around this move and so many other ministries all launching at the start of this school year as well that is so wonderful to see.  LIFT isn’t about a building, it’s about people, actually Followers of Jesus, who love and serve God and one another as a light of hope to our community of Zug around us! 
 
Instead of using names, I just want to thank the “LIFT BODY”, meaning our church congregation, for stepping up and serving (working) hard together to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time, and to think that we don’t even have an official church membership yet! In the last 2 months there has been a church outing, a men’s retreat with two renewed and strengthened men’s morning groups, a church relocation with moving stuff to the new place, cleaning of the old place, raising lights in the new place, ladies study launching, baby showers taking place, ladies potlucks happening, Moms & Tots group meeting, Sunday school and nursery re-launching, Club Lift re-launching, music team forming w/ practice session, a sound team forming and new equipment being sourced, a janitor team starting, volunteers setting up facility needs (cups, paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc), sourcing of new chairs, physically unloading new chairs, setting up new sanctuary including new backdrop screen that was sourced and personally delivered, K-Groups organizing and launching with host locations and leaders, a new preaching study with three men team-sharing the messages through 1 Peter……and I am sure I am forgetting many other wonderful things that have happened, just in the last two months!  It’s incredible and keep in mind these things don’t just happen by one or two people, but many, including the leaders of these ministries and projects who also spent planning and coordinating beforehand. 

Way to go Jesus, whom we thank first and foremost and above all else, but also way to go LIFT and thank you all who have graciously helped serve the Lord and one another!

I’m so excited that from the beginning, and even now, LIFT’s essence is more of faith in action versus faith in structure.  Sure, LIFT has accomplished some foundational structural issues this year by forming a broader leadership, the Servant Leaders (elders/deacons) and legally becoming a Swiss Verein including getting our own bank account and finance team in order, and these are important as structure and good stewardship is necessary.  But it’s beautiful to see the heart of LIFT is that of active faith, and faith to trust that God will continue to bless and protect LIFT, even though the structure isn’t fully developed yet, as in official membership for example.  Hopefully, LIFT intends to roll out our membership plan of action in January or at the latest February, as we started the process this past June and hit the summer holiday season and held it off.  You might remember that we communicated that three things are desired, actually expected, from those that desire to be members of LIFT, what we call the LIFT BODY.  First, that one is a Follower of Jesus; a true Christian who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ to receive God’s grace and salvation. Furthermore, that as a member one would give and serve in some capacity.  Perhaps one is new to faith or coming to a church, and isn’t comfortable with officially joining?  That’s understandable, especially in Switzerland where folks are often skeptical of churches, especially a free church that’s international and not part of the State Catholic or Protestant churches. Let me be very clear, ALL ARE WELCOME AT LIFT regardless of background and faith, however we are a Christian church and will teach the Bible unashamedly.  So for all who simply want to attend, even regularly, or who may be attending a LIFT ministry such as a ladies or men’s study or K-group, they are welcome and can have a place to belong. We call this the COMMUNITY OF LIFT.  So at LIFT, we look to Jesus as the head of His church and then we have the SL-Servant Leadership of LIFT (elders and deacons), the LIFT BODY (the Followers of Jesus who give and serve) and the LIFT COMMUNITY (the ones who attend and have found a place to belong). Welcome to LIFT The International Church of Zug!  

Let’s see how things go after the new year starts with better defining the structure, but in the meantime let’s praise God and thank Him for doing great and mighty things through His church’s active faith here in Zug!  There is something special going on and what a praise to be able to be a part of it and to see God the Father and the Holy Spirit working through us at LIFT for the Name and Glory of the Son, Jesus Christ! 

We are so blessed and it is an honor to serve the Lord Jesus Christ alongside you here at LIFT!

In His grip and grace,

Corey

Business Travel and Worship

Hello all from the UK,

Business travel isn’t always as exciting as one might think……. Many of you know that very well. Besides the work aspects, there can be the excitement of seeing world cities and staying in nice hotels, but for a family man like me there is also the aspect of being away from what matters most; my wife and kids that the Lord has blessed me with. It can also seem that I am missing out on my real life and purpose, that of a husband, father and church planter.  But thanks and praise be to the Lord that I am never truly alone or missing out on life and purpose. I can simply worship, reflect and meditate on God and His Word wherever I am. Of course today’s technology of mobile phones, internet, etc also allows me to stay connected to my loved ones even with physical distance between us. Whenever I am traveling for business and staying at a hotel, I usually seek out a coffee shop, lobby or even a pub (as is the current case……it is the UK) and prayerfully engage in my laptop in serving the Lord to work on messages (with Bible software at my fingertips), Sunday morning PowerPoint presentations, music team chord charts and often these LIFT updates.  Over the past years, I estimate that perhaps 70% of these LIFT updates have originated on a plane or train or in a hotel, coffee shop and/or pub from locations too numerous to count all over Europe or in a few cases even from South Africa.  
Worship is the element of fire at LIFT and we often preach about simply including God in our normal daily life and activities in an intentional way.  I try to live this myself in my daily life, even while abroad…..or should I say, especially while abroad.  As Carpe Diem is Latin for cease the moment, I hope and encourage you too that whenever and wherever you are to simply cease the moment to worship our God.  Praise and thank Him for the big and little things He is blessing you with and yes, even call out to Him to help you when times are tough.  You are never alone!  Cease the moment to include God in your life, at every moment possible!

Years ago I was challenged by a 17 year old student as he shared with other students that he sometimes “prays” Psalms 119 out loud. It’s the longest chapter in Psalms, so of course, he didn’t make it easy.  His name was Tyler and at a youth event, he spontaneously took the microphone and spoke incredible wisdom and encouragement to his peers.  It stuck with me too, even years later.  He challenged us to pray Psalms 119 out loud as a prayer, asking God to lead our ways with His Word and Holy Spirit while at the same time committing to God that we will allow His Word to lead and change us.  I’ll give you the same challenge, but at the same time only if I live up to the challenge myself.  Tomorrow I return home after some morning meetings.  I’ve just set my alarm a bit early to read Psalms 119 aloud before I start my day and journey home.  (Thanks again to those wonderful Gideon’s as I have a Bible in my room and don’t need to fire up my computer or smart phone to access God’s Word.)  If you are reading this, it means I prayerfully read it myself, thus putting my actions before my suggestions. 

Here’s a few verses to get us started:
Psalms 119:9-16
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, O LORD;
teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.

Enough to get you started?  Go for it yourself and set some time aside to let the Word of our Lord speak into your life! 
 
Looking forward to seeing you at LIFT on Sunday! Our journey through 1 Peter has begun and Ken is sharing the message this week.
 
In His grip and grace,
 
Corey

Conundrum

Lift The International Church of Zug   –  for Oct 12th, 2008!

Dear All,

To be honest, this is the third try in choosing the topic of this week’s LIFT update.  I started with continuing last week’s theme of being the Body, I also considered just something light and praiseful of how the Lord is currently blessing us at LIFT and now I am shifting to going a bit deeper into somewhat of a current “conundrum” for me.  Let’s see if I actually finish it up and click it away before changing the topic back to something lighter and easier for me to write about.

Conundrum: Top of Form
Pronunciation: \kə-ˈnən-drəm\
a: a question or problem having only a conjectural answer b: an intricate and difficult problem

The above definition is from Webster’s dictionary, for me, I understand a conundrum is when you have to decide between two (or more) conflicting possible outcomes, but nonetheless the decision needs to be made.  So what’s my conflicting options? On one hand, to communicate information which may come across as asking for money, or on the other hand, to go forward with my conviction that in faith the Lord will provide, without asking for money!  The reality is that LIFT’s new church location at Ibelweg 18 is a big step for LIFT in that there are real financial commitments and facility maintenance necessities that come with this new “home”.  My conundrum is how to communicate this in a manner that I don’t put pressure on people to “just give money”, nor “ask for money”, but just communicate the real need in a way that the Lord can work through our Body and service in ways that glorify God in His blessing and not man (in this case me) manipulating people.  For some, the issue of giving offerings or tithes to the Lord’s work, isn’t an issue at all but just a form of worship and obedience.  For some, the issue of giving to the church is that of once again, the church and “religion” are just want to take your money.  On top of this, I personally was challenged years ago in my personal faith by reading about a faith hero named George Muller, who amazingly built a large scale orphanage for children in England last century without ever asking for money from anyone, but just praying that the Lord will provide for specific needs.  Time and time again, George Muller’s faith was blessed by the Lord in ways so amazing that generations later we are still touched by this kind of faith.  Not to compare myself to George Muller, but so far since arriving in Zug in 2004, I have never asked for money from any persons or entities for LIFT, inside and/or outside of Switzerland.  In fact, we don’t even pass an offering plate during our services. It’s been intentional that during our announcement time, as one can read on the bottom of the main announcement PowerPoint slide for more than a year, that at as an act of worship, we “Thank You Lord for Your Blessings”.  Yes, at times the “black box” (or new wooden box) or electronic deposit forms are mentioned as for how to give as one is led versus asking one to give.  So far so good as LIFT has been able to even bless other Christian ministries in 3rd world circumstances in amounts from approximately 7000 to 12000 CHF over each of the past three years. (Throughout the year we sometimes share about these ministry partners in India, Belize and South Africa and what a blessing to hear how the Lord is touching lives elsewhere!)

As the Servant Leaders (SL) of LIFT met this past Monday night looking into the issues of establishing future budgets and so forth, it was suggested that we simply communicate the monthly needs and monthly giving so folks are made more aware of the financial side of our church necessities, similar to how many other churches do this in their weekly bulletin, etc.  Simple enough, and of course, ALL OF LIFT’S FINANCES ARE OPEN TO OUR CHURCH COMMUNITY AS WE ARE TRANSPARENT AS A CHURCH AS WILL CONTINUE TO KEEP THIS FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY OPEN IN OUR CHURCH!  Whether we will every week, month or quarterly communicate this information we haven’t confirmed, but yearly (in March) at LIFT’s annual church meeting all finance and budget information will be presented. I don’t mind at all sharing that currently LIFT has approximately 25,000 Swiss Francs of current available funds.  (Recent past gifts to LIFT missions (3rd world) partners of 12,000 CHF, 3,300 CHF for chairs arriving next week and a 12,000 CHF rental deposit are aside of this amount.)  Furthermore our monthly expenses (rental, insurance and utilities) at Ibelweg 18 are just over 5000 CHF per month. This is a very basic overview of our current financial status of LIFT.  Sooner than later we will need to make some LIFT “enhancements” to close up the balconies for children’s nursery and Sunday School rooms which is estimated at approx. 10,000 CHF for materials if we do most the labor ourselves.  Basically, it’s still just an big open room, so aside of chairs that are on the way, many practical things are still needed as well. By the way, our SL team at LIFT is Ken E, Don D, Chas G, Robert S, Ashok D, Trevor T, Bedros P, Wayne R and me.  

So perhaps it’s not a conundrum anymore, as I hope that I have been able to only communicate the facts and information, unless you feel that I am asking you for money. My heart is as it always has been in regards to LIFT, that this is the Lord’s church and His work here in this community and I am faithful that He will continue to bring forth the workers (Luke 10) and the means to harvest His ministry field here.  It’s been an adventure of faith thus far……and beyond expectations!  It’s an honor to serve and worship our Lord Jesus Christ with you here in the community of Zug, Switzerland.

Bedros is sharing the message this Sunday and also Ken and Kristin will be dedicating their newborn, Talea to the Lord as well!  Looking forward to seeing ya there!

In His grip and grace,

Corey

PS-Monday night, or actually Tuesday morning, I found great comfort in sharing my conundrum and burden with the Lord as I searched for His Word below to remind me that He carries me (us)…..always!    
 
Matthew 11:28-30
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

We are His body!

We are His body! 
Romans 12:4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Dear All,

As a healthy body, we who are many form together as ONE body!  The Lord uses a great metaphor here with “body” because everybody is a somebody who has a body, therefore it’s true that everybody can relate and understand the metaphor!  I’m thankful for my toes helping my feet keep balance so I can walk, as my legs move and support the middle section (although a bit more than I desire) which holds the arms and head, which holds the brains to control, etc, etc.  Yes, you are somebody too and get the point!

This week’s LIFT update is a call to the body parts and simply asking for some practical help from one another, especially due to our current move to Ibelweg.  But before asking for specific help, I want to share a comment I heard yesterday from a friend whose somewhat new to LIFT and is amazed at how our little church (made of many parts) already so actively helps and serves one another.  Before we even have enough chairs for Sunday mornings, a faithful young couple has launched a youth ministry (starting tonight) for teens with a pizza party at Ibelweg.  This friend’s comment was: “Wow, before LIFT has really even moved in, others have just stepped up and creatively started new ministries to serve others.” (my paraphrase).  I’ll be honest, I was touched and pleased and proud to hear such an observation….and so is Jesus! 

So here’s the current practical ministry needs of LIFT:  

MOVING OUT PARTY- CLEANING PARTY AT VORSTADT 30!
Wednesday evening October 8th beginning at 6:30 pm until it’s all spic and span clean, upstairs and downstairs.  If you can click a reply as to coming then great, otherwise even showing up spontaneous is appreciated.  Other than a great vacuum on site, you might want to bring cleaning supplies. Two have already volunteered!

MOVING IN PARTY- RAISING THE LIGHTS AT IBELWEG!
Saturday, October 11th from 10:00am to 3:00 pm.  This is a bit different request from those that have no fear on tall ladders and may already have some skills with tools, etc.  We have two volunteers so far and would like 4 or 5 more. We will be working with a local electrician contractor in raising all of the lighting fixtures about 2 meters higher than now.  Please reply if you desire to help.

ONGOING “JANITOR” TEAM:
The reality of a new building is the reality of having to maintain it.  Those that would like to help lead/coordinate and/or volunteer to aid in this ministry, please click a reply and we will get this team formed as well.  To be honest, from the beginning many just naturally served in helping load up and clean up at Vorstadt, but a few key people are needed to own and coordinate this service ministry.      

The message for this Sunday is from Luke 10 and looking at how Jesus instructed us to go and be his church!  What He told the 70 two thousand years ago is still the same message He’s telling us today!  Looking forward to seeing ya there!

In His grip and grace,

Corey

We are His house!

We are His house!
But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.

Dear All,

What an amazing last couple of weeks in seeing a glimpse of God’s glory in the life our church here in Zug!  God moved so fast in providing a new larger meeting place for LIFT that some found us on Ibelweg 18 this past Sunday morning only after going to Vorstadt first.  Even with technology, we couldn’t keep up with God.  But, once we all were together, it was simply worship of our God who is faithful and who blesses in His perfect timing!!!

I was encouraged to come across these verses in Hebrews today regarding us, God’s people as “the house”, and notice it’s not a reference to a building. (more text below) Yes, I praise God that we have this new building on Ibelweg to rent and can even use it the other 6 days of the week for His purposes, but I praise God that LIFT has never been about a building but about people, God’s people!  As I shared in Sunday’s message (and our singing) of Moses asking God to “Show Me Your Glory”, I believe we are truly seeing a glimpse of God in action at the moment!  What a beautiful thing to see!

I could attach another map, but thanks to the wonderful servant’s heart of Dave Haefliger (and Jami alongside him), LIFT now has a new updated website with all the information on how to find us, plus much, much more!  www.liveitandgiveit.com  Thank you, Dave, for a job incredibly well done! (And all who know Dave well, know that this humble man simply serves to serve the Lord and doesn’t look for the spotlight, so I’m sure I’ll hear from him later about exposing his great work!)  Thank you, Jesus for providing this website tool to LIFT as You are always faithful beyond our expectations.

In His grip and grace,

Corey

Hebrews 3:1-6
Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. 

    But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.

NIV