Jesus is NOT looking for fans; He’s looking for followers, followers who understand there is no forgiveness without repentance.  There is no salvation without surrender.  There is no life without death.  There is no believing without following.

Twenty times in the New Testament, Jesus Christ issued a compelling and challenging invitation:  “Follow Me.”  Jesus is not interested in mere fans.  He doesn’t want enthusiastic admirers.  He wants completely committed followers.  Built around the engaging approach of Kyle Idleman, Teaching Pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, this one of a kind small group study examines what it means to deny one’s self and truly follow Jesus.  This is not a conventional small group experience.  It is a cinematic journey, a series of six mini-movies with the perspective and depth to help shape today’s believer into a first century Christ follower.  Participants follow the journey of Eric Nelson, a man leading a compartmentalized triple life as a pleasure-seeking rebel, a cutthroat corporate executive and a nominal Christian.  But when confronted with a near death experience, Eric embarks on a spiritual journey that transforms his commitment to Jesus Christ and tests the faith of his friends and family.

If you’re not currently in a community group, visit our website at; sign up on the bulletin board in the food court or contact the office at 630-553-7335 to get connected!

In his service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

Love and the preparation for Easter

Valentine’s Day is another reminder to me of how the Christian faith is deeply rooted into our country.  Saint Valentine is celebrated around the world as a faithful servant of God who became a symbol of love in the world.  There are many “Saint Valentines” throughout Christian history, but the one that is most frequently remembered on February 14 is St. Valentine of Rome.

St. Valentine was imprisoned for performing marriages for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians who were under persecution in Rome.  No wonder St. Valentine is associated with love!  We don’t have a lot of documented facts about St. Valentine, but the legend goes that he was persecuted in Rome and refused to renounce his faith and so was sentenced to death.  Other less substantiated myths state that he healed the blind daughter of the prison warden and gave to her the first “valentine” to express his love.

While I am uncertain about him falling in love with his oppressor’s daughter, what I am certain about is that St. Valentine loved the Lord and the people he served.  What makes me so certain?  “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”  John 15:13  St. Valentine put his entire life on hold so that others could know of God’s great love.

For what do you willingly interrupt your plans?  Many times family gets this honor; entertainment choices and work schedules often dictate our life’s plans.  What about faith, faith growth and faith sharing?  Greater love has no one than they choose to interrupt their schedule for it.

Starting in March we are in a season of great anticipation and reflection; Lent is 40 days of preparation for Easter.  In this season there are many opportunities to worship God, participate in His story of redemption, reflect on His work for you, grow in faith in a Christian community group, have spiritual discussion and serve for the sake of someone else knowing God’s great love.  Any or all of these will disrupt your life and plans as you know them, but out of love for God or one another, I invite you to lay down just one thing that you might make more room for the thing that matters most.

In his service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss