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