I am really excited to be writing this update…..I believe as you read along you’ll understand why! It’s been several weeks since I have had a chance to simply sit down and write from “the heart”! Although it’s normal for me to multi-task many things in life (even if I am a guy), I do admit that this year in particular has been an extremely busy season in my life trying to balance family life, work and LIFT; three areas that have all grown in responsibility this past year. Lately, with so many recent ministry launches, special service and various other activities, I was mainly sending out announcements and not really my normal updates, which for me these updates have always been intended to be more about words of encouragement in strengthening others in faith (mine too actually) and less about specific church announcements or details. So although, I’ve been very busy, perhaps too busy the last couple months, I’ve also been very intentional to personally reflect and seek the Lord’s leading and guiding in the big picture of all that’s going on…….and getting to the heart of the matter, the Heart of Jesus! The last two Sundays have been so refreshing to me to start this new preaching journey ahead (alongside Bedros and Ken), in sharing John’s intro and background and the first 14 verses of chapter 1 that are profoundly revealing about God, Jesus and His plan for us. Since I didn’t preach much in August and September, I was also able to really get into the Gospel of John, including studying old seminary notes and fresh researching of what was/is behind John’s Gospel.
Regarding getting my heart back to the big picture during these past couple of months, I was reminded by the Holy Spirit of a great illustration that a mentor (and former seminary professor) once shared with me several years ago. He stated, “We are human BEings, not human DOings!” And from that statement about individual people he applied it to the church in a profound way that the church is comparable to simply “be” the church to the body and community around it, and not just “do” church.” Meaning, too often a church can finds itself “doing” church really well with many programs, ministries, structures and services, but miss the heart issue of simply “being” the church of Jesus to one another and to the community outside the walls of the church. This mentor was really good at breaking it down further and further, such as a typical church family that can sometimes get caught up in the “doing and not being” without even realizing it.
Sunday mornings: family attends church, splits up in age specific groups where the kids go one way and parents another.
Sunday afternoon, choir practice for mom, club activity for kids.
Evening study group for one parent on Tuesdays, the other on Thursdays and the teen on Wednesdays…..and don’t forget the special ministry event (car wash) fund raiser on Saturday either.
Of course, all these things are supposed to be and can be wonderful, spiritual and truly uplifting to building and growing a family in faith, but there is a huge difference of being in worship at church ministries versus just doing or participating in church ministries/activities, and often it may be difficult to see the difference on the outside, because it truly is more from the inside, inside the heart!
By now, you may be asking yourself, “Is Corey for real here in what he’s writing? He’s normally the high energy start up guy that has passion and gives passion to others to serve and start new ministries. He’s the guy with a broad definition of worship and has even said snowboarding (amongst many other things) can be worship, even as a group together as long as you’re intentional to include Jesus. And now he’s seemingly downplaying ministries in fear of authenticity, or too much is too much?”
To be honest, I was actually thinking some of these questions a few weeks back myself, perhaps even doubting my own big picture vision and thinking that others may also be getting tired and worn down……..and then it happened! It? First, a clear “coming back to Jesus” moment in the field nearby my home while walking Samson, our dog. Perhaps you’ve also had one of those times of a special and refreshing prayer time that the Lord gives an additional boost of the Holy Spirit touch that strengthens your faith from within your heart! That was a great morning, the kind that only comes around every few years or so. But the Lord didn’t stop there, one by one, and then another after another, many more “its” continued to flow in with various glimpses and from several sources in and around LIFT that testified and confirmed what I truly knew in my heart the whole time; THERE IS SOMETHING ESPECIALLY AUTHENTIC AND SPIRITUALLY UPLIFTING AT LIFT AND THROUGH THE VARIOUS (AND NUMEROUS) MINISTRIES OF LIFT! I could write a long list of very recent examples and statement of LIFT “being” an active faith church body, and not just a church “doing” church ministry; from preschool children quoting God’s Word impacting their visiting grandparents, to school kids openly living their faith in class, to teens driving forward in faith together with no fear, to ladies and men and singles serving one another or sharing things how another was impacted by God’s Word……and visitors to Switzerland who somehow found their way through our doors and were led to share with us, even with just a short glimpse, of what the Lord is “being” (ok I substituted that because they really said “doing”, but we know what they really meant!) here at this church called LIFT. I should state, it’s not about LIFT, but about Jesus and the Gospel Message actively lived in His church here and His church(es) elsewhere as well!
Folks, this is my prayer and reminder to myself (although made public for all of us wherever we find ourselves in life and faith) in order to ensure that I and we keep our hearts in check with “being” a Follower of Jesus- a Christian, and not just “doing” Christianity or doing church. The being makes all the difference! Even if I was a bit tired and worn down as September rolled around, the Lord has re-strengthened and restored my big picture, in His own way and also through so many of YOU who have also been my inspiration in seeing you “be” strong in serving Him and LIFT in many wonderful and often quiet ways that most don’t see….although the Lord has seen and blessed it all! Yes, we are human BEings and the being makes all the difference!
As I wrote in the first line, I am so excited to have been able to write this update…from the heart. There are however a few “announcements” below of various ministries and opportunities for you to “be” a part of!
In His grip and grace,