The Journey of Faith: Forest

No Journey is without incidents.  Incidents very rarely define the success of the journey rather, challenges and texture and color to otherwise run of the mill activities.  No body likes a flat tire while traveling across country, but rarely does this ruin the entire trip.  I’ll never forget losing my I.D. on a plane trip to Arizona and almost not getting on the plane. Harrowing escapes make for great memories as long as everything works out!

In our Journey of life we often place a lot of pressure on ourselves to have all the answers, not let other people down, to have riches and success, to choose a path with few setbacks.   Our life can seem very insignificant when we measure ourselves to these standards and at the same time we believe somehow we’ve done something wrong.

When Jesus showed up that first Christmas Day He came in fulfillment of the spiritual journey of a nation.  The people of Israel had been promised that a Messiah/Savior to all the world would come from their Nation.  That He would be a descendant of King David and his father Jesse.  But, it had been 600 years since anyone related to David had sat on a throne as King.  Jesus never made it to the throne either.

While we all prefer an event free journey, we all face realities that are far less than perfect.  This is the beauty, majesty and purpose of God.  Isaiah, a prophet of Israel, writes about the “stump of Jesse” indicating that the long and storied family tree of this man and his Kingly descendants had been chopped down.   But God, in His redemptive power caused the long destroyed family tree to send out a shoot, be reborn, and fulfill His promise to Israel.  “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.”

Through Jesus Christ we are not told to be perfect, rather that we ARE now perfect.  Made perfect as a child of God redeemed, reborn, and restored.  Through the mishaps, flat tires, fallen trees and various other missteps God works in powerful ways to strengthen you and I and all His descendants.  That is an amazing journey and a colorful story.  Who have you shared your story with recently?

His servant and yours,

Erik A. Gauss

The Journey: Advent Series

In December we will be celebrating Advent, a special time of preparation for Christmas. As we prepare to joyfully celebrate Christ’s first coming, we also keep in mind and prepare for His second coming.  To do so, we will be highlighting the themes and references in the Old Testament readings for the season, which are the Mountain, the Forest, the Desert, and the Cave.  As we go on our spiritual journey of preparation, we will be highlighting what each of these symbols represents in the history of the church and for each one of us.  Come join us on the Journey!!


The holidays are here; Thanksgiving was last week, and Christmas will be here in the blink of an eye.  This means a lot of preparation in my life:  presents, travel, extra worship services, visitors, parties, traditions and obligations.  The list seems endless, and the time is limited.  In fact, it reminds me about my life every day:  endless lists and limited time.

I am forced to prioritize my time, my preparation to the things that matter most or are the most urgent.  Deadlines seem to drive much of my decision making each day of the week.  I am not alone.  I hear numerous stories of how, in the current economic environment, more production is expected than ever before without much reward or recognition for the increased “efficiency.”

When it comes to our relationship with God, it becomes one of those things we put on the back burner because, after all, there is always next week.  Spiritual deadlines are unclear, Jesus says “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only”  Matthew 24:36.  It becomes enough for us to become comfortable with our own circumstances and then set faith aside to deal with any other details later.

What if your holiday guests could come at any time?  The doorbell could ring right now and 25 of your closest family members would come in cold, hungry and desperately craving a hot, juicy bird?  Would that change how you lived each day?  Would it cause you severe anxiety?  Jesus reminds us that the fact we don’t know when He will return doesn’t lessen the urgency but instead should heighten our awareness, become our focus, so that when He does return, we will be prepared for Him!

This reality can cause great anxiety, but that isn’t God’s intention; for “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  Romans 10:13.  There is no need for anxiety about our salvation or what will occur when He returns for it is complete in Christ Jesus; for this I am thankful!  But there is much urgency because God desires to involve me in bringing hope and salvation to all who are far off, and the deadline could be any moment.  So let’s get ready together as we prepare for all this holiday season offers; let’s prepare for the return of Jesus to the earth and all that entails as well.