God is Not Dead!


God Is Not Dead!

It never gets old for me: “Christ is risen indeed!” It is a life motto, a philosophy, a religion; it is a compass and a guide. The fact that Christ is risen gives meaning to life and meaning in death. We are not a people that need to be bounced to and fro by finances, politics, sickness or death. In Christ we have a firm foundation, a strong cornerstone, a place of refuge and power that is greater than our biggest adversary. Alleluia!

In all things we are more than conquerors and yet our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak. Christ is risen and yet we face trials all day long, like sheep going to slaughter. Is it any wonder that we do fall into sin, that we do lose hope, that we stumble and struggle? Satan is actively working against our faith, against truth, against our security and hope in the Lord. He is trying to erode our foundations and destroy our power. As Christ was lifted up on that cross and cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Satan thought he had won, that he had manipulated humanity and destroyed God’s plan, but Christ did not stay dead… and neither do we!

Daily we die and daily we rise again in the promises of our baptism and the power of the resurrection. Daily we trust in God’s provision and assurance that despite the devil’s best efforts, in spite of the appearance that another battle has been lost or victory is being clutched from our hands, God is still the One who overcomes. God is still the One who grants you and me the ultimate victory to be celebrated NOW, even as we wait for the trials and challenges of this world to be eradicated once and for all.

If Christ is risen, then those who know and believe are granted assurance in our present and our future. Having this assurance, being set free from the expectations and norms of this earth, we no longer worry for ourselves but worry for those who are lost. Paul is able to rejoice in his sufferings because he knows they are temporary in Christ. Paul dedicates his life to pursuing salvation for the world, not how comfortable he can be.

This weekend we celebrate the resurrection of Christ by challenging ourselves to take strength in the power of God and reach out to our neighbors who are far from God. This weekend we are celebrating our nine mission partners who represent the sacrifices each believer makes each day so the world can know Christ as Savior. I believe we have reached our commitment to our mission partners through the special offering on Easter weekend and in this we greatly rejoice! The work is far from done and requires all of God’s people to be about our Father’s work every day. Each day we make choices, choices to glorify God or build security for ourselves. If Christ is risen, then we have all the security we need to glorify Him with all that we are.

He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

In His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

To hear the Easter Sunday Message please follow this link



He is not Here

He Is Not Here!

Some classic movies are best remembered for their one liners: “There’s no crying in baseball!” “I feel the need… the need for speed!” “One milllllion dollars” (complete with proper pinky placement). The Easter account is filled with great one liners as well: “Do not be afraid!” “Why do you look for the Living among the dead?” “He is not here.” “Go, tell the disciples.” “He is risen, just as He said!”

What part of the Easter account is most memorable to you? For me the last several years the words, “Why do you look for the Living among the dead? He is not here.” have been the most thought provoking. Like any good quote the words convey the thoughts, emotions and events in a succinct statement: “Why do you look for the Living among the dead?” Gauss translation: ”What are you doing here?!?!?!?”

This is a great quote anytime you need to make a decision or are compelled to take action or tempted to quit trying. Like I said, this is a great quote anytime… What are you doing here?!?!?!? Are you looking for something here that you will never find? Turning to a bottle, an addiction, pornography, power, money, another person? Looking for happiness in worldly pleasure rather than Godly promise is looking for life amongst death. “For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.” James 1:11

He is not here! He is risen! Our eyes look everywhere for hope: bank accounts, cool cars, nice clothes, office title, life status. This Easter God calls us to lift our eyes to the cross, to the tomb, to the hills! Our help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Our help comes from the Lord, Lord over life and Lord over death!

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2


Alleluia! Christ is risen!


In His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss


Pastor’s Corner For You, For the World

For You, For the World

Jesus Christ died and rose again for you!  He forgave all your sins!  He provides for our every need.  You are invaluable to God, a treasure in a field He gave His life to purchase.  You are pretty important!  To the God who has everything, everything is meaningless without you.

Once you realize this, God’s overwhelming love for you grows your love for Him.  This turns your world upside down.  As you are drawn closer to God, you begin to value the things He values more than the things you used to think were important.  You start to care whether others know Him, too.  You care for people and their relationship to the Father because God cares.  He loves them as much as He loves you!

God calls us to live for Him, not so we can save ourselves but so others may know His love through us.  To that end we work, serve and love others right where we are and around the world as the Lord calls us.

During Easter services we will be gathering an offering for our mission partners near and far that are sharing God’s love to the world.  Please consider a special gift that will go to support the efforts of these mission partners to reach people who otherwise may not know of their Father’s great love.  You can find out more about these efforts online at www.hiscross.org or in the food court on our Missions wall.

Europe – David Fiala Family

Botswana – John Strasen

Peru – Rev. Mark Eisold Family

Russia – Steve and Kathy Schnaidt

Norway – Rev. Torkild Masvie

Far East – Rev. Stephen Wiesenauer Family

Far East – Ruth Grille

Plano, IL – Vicar Walter Ramirez Family

Manhattan, IL – Rev. Dan Hudson Family


Please lift up our mission partners in prayer for strength in their service to the Lord.  Please consider supporting them through our special Easter offering by marking your gift with the word “Missions.”


“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”  1 Timothy 2:3-4


In His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss


Family of Faith

1 Corinthians 12 says this about people who follow Jesus: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” Every one of us is a part of a whole that works together! That means if one of us hurts, we all hurt, and if one of us is weak, we are all weak. Similarly, as we grow, we all grow together, and as we work together, we can accomplish amazing things!

At Cross we are working together to make disciples that Walk with God in worship, Grow in Faith Together and Love Our Neighbors. How are we doing? Where do go from here? I would like to make you aware of various opportunities to give feedback and direction on our journey together as a family of faith:

What does God say about …? In an upcoming sermon series, we want to answer questions that are common in our world today. As followers of Jesus we care about what God says about everything! What are some questions that are in our world you would love for us to address? Submit your requests to our Director of Worship, Nathan Fisher, at nfisher@
hiscross.org, and we will try to cover them in this series!

Marks of Discipleship – This brief online survey will help us see how we are growing and what our strengths and weaknesses are as a congregation. This three minute survey will make us more effective at addressing the biggest needs in our congregation.


Discipleship (Re) Commitment – This online form is for you to give feedback about how God is working in your life today. Let us celebrate with you, pray for you, or come along side you as a family of faith as we follow Jesus together!


Spiritual Gift Inventory – Don’t know where to plug in or what you have to contribute? This online inventory will assist you in identifying the unique way God has shaped you to be an effective part of His family.

None of these take much time, but each of them can make an amazing difference. Respond today!

Love= Long-Suffering

I think I found the theme for my next wedding sermon!  I guess it could also be a theme for siblings, parents and friends.  I think of two of my very close friends from junior high who, upon entering high school, grew apart from me.  They chose parties and lifestyles that were different than my choices.  They also chose a path that was different than what they had always said they wanted.  I missed them as friends, and my heart broke for them as they experimented with the temptations of life.


The problem is I loved them both and watched them make poor decision after poor decision.  What do you do with people you love who are lost?  That is a challenge of being a follower; your heart breaks for people you love that are far from God.  It is easy to put up laws that make walls to distance yourself from sinners.  It hurts when your relationship erodes, but at least you can take comfort in your righteousness.


The other easy option is to say it doesn’t matter and accept them in their sin.  This puffs up the sinner and causes them to be comfortable in their actions.  God calls us to love, and truly loving someone who is outside God’s plan is difficult.  Love means to sacrifice and suffer long for those who break our hearts.  Love means we make difficult decisions on when to ignore all the stains and when to run them through the washing machine.  Love never fails… to point one another to Christ!


Love never fails because love is God’s desired outcome for His people.  It is not a means to an end, but it is the end.  Love the Lord, your God, and love your neighbor… that’s it!  When we love, truly love, we endure all things, suffer all things, rejoice all things to the Glory of God… 1 Corinthians 13.


What do we do with fans?  What do we do with sinners?  The same thing God does to us.  Love until it hurts, and then die to self that they might know love all the more!  One of my friends came back; the other pushed me away.  My soul suffers long for that one, but we endure, eager for a reunion.  The death of Christ on the cross was not symbolic; it was real and accomplished real things for you and me:  things we need to hear, receive, trust and share.  God’s great love endures all things, and I know it because Christ showed it through His long-suffering on the cross.  May you be strengthened to follow Jesus to the challenging place of loving someone right where they are, as long as it takes.

To go directly to the sermon follow this link:


In His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss