NEW MEETING LOCATION STARTING TOMORROW!

Hello All,

We worship and serve an Awesome God!

So much I would want to share but l’ll simply let God’s own Word testify His glory in doing something far greater than we could ever plan, accomplish or expect! 

“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!”

Starting tomorrow morning at 10:00 am, LIFT worship services will be at Ibelweg 18 in Inwil (Baar 6340).  The Lord has blessed LIFT with a full time “home”, that we will also be able to use 7 days a week for LIFT church ministries!

Attached is a map with the Ibelweg 18 location (note the “showroom” red font letters).  Basic directions are as you approach the big corner on the map you will see a sign with “GLENCORE (amongst other company names “Lux Int” “Fontana Restaurant”)  Turn here onto Baarermattstrasse and take your first right which is Ibelweg (there is an arrow shaped sign that says “Mars” as their Int. headquarter is there too).  On the left is Ibelweg 18, a white building that The Stone Connection Co. and Volcom share also as their same building.  LIFT- The International Church is now located in the 1st floor of this building!. 

It’s just in time that the Lord blessed us with a larger meeting space, as obviously last week with approx. 80 people we were going to find it tough to squeeze into Vorstadt again. Furthermore, yesterday our congregation of LIFT grew again as TALEA EALES was born!  Mom & baby and daddy and two sisters are all doing very well!

I am so looking forward to worshiping together with you tomorrow at LIFT!

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.

“Stones”

Hello All,

Looking back at a past update from more than a year ago, I thought I would re-send it and update it as to some current “stones” that the Lord is “standing” around us at LIFT show God’s continued faithfulness in blessing our church.  
 
(from Dec, 2006 going into 2007)
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!”
 
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Now back to Sept. 18th, 2008!  We’ve seen many new stones and ways the Lord has continued to bless LIFT in the past year or so.  We established a broader leadership, the Servant Leaders (elders and deacons) in late 2007.  We have officially become a “verein” as per Swiss requirements as a legal entity/church.  We have been so blessed with the monthly use of the Kirchgemeindehaus of Zug’s protestant church.  We’ve had a lady’s retreat and 2nd A-Men retreat.  Club LIFT, working with International Church of Luzern just launched again last week with nearly 40 kids!  Many new ministries have been created including a Marriage/Couples study and soon to launch small group format.  We’ve had involvement with our community around us recently with a wedding, a funeral and just last week had our first ever Baptism service!  Yes, the Lord is blessing LIFT with stones standing all around us!              

Lastly, as we prayed together as a congregation last Sunday, we are perhaps in the middle of a major stone of provision that the Lord is leading us into in regards to a new home facility for LIFT.  So far so good as to this particular Inwil facility and very soon we should have a response back as to the owners allowing LIFT to rent this space.  The Servant Leaders are unified to continue to walk in faith into this “open door” as the Lord leads.  As soon as more information is available we will share it, of course.  Please pray for this need for LIFT regarding a larger space for us to meet and worship together.

“We serve an awesome God! Go into the next days, weeks and months and the Lord be with you!”

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.

I saw George Clooney, who cares?

Hello All,
 
It’s true, last night while in Geneva for a work function our Int’l Marketing team was touring the old city and while we were passing the Reformed Museum someone from our group asked why about 50+ people were hanging around the entrance.  It just so happened that George Clooney, Mr. Hollywood himself, was inside finishing a speech about his support of a US president candidate and was supposedly going to exit the building soon to go 20 meters across the alley into another building for his dinner event where $10,000 (or 11,000 CHF) can get you dinner in the same room with George. I’ll admit, I couldn’t help myself and since there wasn’t a massive huge crowd, I thought I’d hang out to see if he really was to walk by.  (Of course, 5 or 6 ladies from my company’s group of 15 decided to pass on the final few minutes of our guided tour as well in hopes of seeing George!)  Sure enough, 10 minutes later George walked by (with a little bit of pushing around between the security and the now 100+ people) and my strategic decision to stand right next to the door where he was going to, instead of coming from allowed me a good glimpse and a not so good picture on my cell phone of this Hollywood star.  In the end, I was close enough to have reached out and touched (which I chose not to) a huge Hollywood star. Five minutes later he was at his dinner, I was at mine and most likely we will never cross paths again………so who cares?  Really, it’s not like I got to know him or started a friendship, or even had eye contact for that matter.  So clearly he doesn’t care and I really don’t either. 
 
But there was a time, when I was a teen when I had the amazing opportunity to meet another famous star! At that cross road I not only crossed paths in seeing this famous star, but actually got to meet him and start a friendship and relationship that is lasting a lifetime and will even continue for eternity.  Yes, this “Star” was, is and always will be the biggest Name of all time in the biggest true movie of reality……the Star of stars, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ!  At that life changing encounter, Jesus didn’t sign a piece of paper with his autograph, nor stop for a photo, He instead signed my heart with His Blood as the ink and asked me to come with Him on a journey in which He will lead, guide and provide.  I don’t need a photo to remember Him by because He is always there for me and I can look up and see Him in my life, anytime!
 
Jesus said in Mark 8:34-37, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”
 
I’ll never forget that encounter when I first saw Jesus, when He said to come and follow Him!  George Clooney….who cares?  Jesus Christ…..  I care and so does Jesus, and so should you!
 
I’m looking forward to starting the A-Men event this evening as Gordon Hay of South Africa is here to help lead us men to be stronger men of faith and integrity.  Reminder, LIFT’s Sunday morning service is at Vorstadt (not the KGH) and Sue Hay, Gordon’s wife will be giving the message and also sharing about the Drop In Centre ministry in South Africa that she helped found and that is working with poverty stricken kids, many from families dealing with AIDS/HIV. 
 
In His grip and grace,

Corey

Pastoral Care & Serving Together- All of us!

It’s been an interesting week and weekend ahead, especially for Ken and I.  Tomorrow, we both have two ministry tasks that fall into the category of pastoral care.   Pastoral Care? What is that supposed to be?  I had the same question a few years back in seminary in my Pastoral Ministry class where I learned that part of the job of a pastor is overseeing things like baptism (which I remind you again we have a baptism service on the 14th and those interested please contact me by Monday 1st), communion/Lord’s Supper, counseling, hospital visits for the sick or newborns (two very different visits), wedding ceremonies and funerals, etc, etc.  To be honest, I prefer to simply tell others about Jesus and try to live my faith in a way that speaks my walk with Jesus as well.  But tomorrow is different as Ken and I are both being grown, challenged and strengthened in faith regarding the last two pastoral care ministries mentioned. I will give a blessing/message at a wedding event and Ken will also be giving a blessing/message at a funeral. Obviously two very different occasions in the life (and death) of individuals, couples, families and friends, and I think Ken has the tougher day ahead of him. I was asked about my participation months ago while Ken, only days ago, received the very difficult news about the tragic climbing death last weekend when his friend Hannes, a South African living here in Switzerland, who was killed on Mont Blanc. Two very different circumstances indeed!  Please pray for both of us, perhaps even more so for Ken, although praise God that Hannes was/is a Follower of Jesus Christ and while family and friends are shocked and grieving over his earthly death, they are also assured that his eternal life is safe and secure in the Lord. I met Hannes only a couple of times, but after reading the posts on his myspace page from family and friends, his love for Jesus and others is evident from those sharing how he and his faith touched them during his lifetime!  In my case, a Swiss couple, that Tanya and I have known for a couple of years and  who had officially left the state church some time back, desire to “include God” in their wedding event and marriage.  Although they have never been to LIFT, I am honored to be able to share before them, family and friends, the true meaning of a marriage relationship, while of course including a loving way to communicate that this true meaning is based on a relationship with God, His love, and our faith and hope in Jesus!

Regarding the title of this update:  Pastoral Care and Serving Together- All of Us.  One of our core values of LIFT is “Serving Together- All of Us”.  As you all know Ken and I have full time professional employment (even as I write this I am on a plane coming back home from a business trip to Finland).  It’s been amazing to see our body at LIFT truly serving one another and others in our community, especially the past several weeks.  While everyone may not be asked to lead a wedding or a funeral, so many of you serve in Pastoral Care/Ministries by providing prayer and visits to the sick and/or newborns in the hospital or home.  A special thanks to Simon (and Annabel) who have supported Ken this week in his preparations and Simon will be leading the worship time with his guitar alongside Ken at the funeral as well. Others have recently served by providing meals, baby showers, counseling, leading studies, planning church events, picnics, giving messages, leading worship, prayer, etc, etc, etc.  Too many to list them all or all of you, but praise and glory to God that LIFT is a church community that cares!  

In closing, I was reminded today of the passage at the end of 2 Timothy, the preaching series we ended just before summer in where Paul encouraged Timothy to stand firm and preach, but to also “discharge all the duties of ministry”.   I praise God that many are involved in our ministry, including pastoral care.  Perhaps someday we will get our “full time” pastor at LIFT- The International Church of Zug, but my prayer will always remain that our being intentional that ALL OF LIFT, not just the pastor(s), is about living our faith and giving it away, Serving Together- All of Us!

2 Timothy 4:2,5
2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction. ….., Keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

In 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!