Judgment is a hot topic in our culture today.  It is at the center of many efforts to change longstanding laws and norms of society.  The argument goes that the old way is “judgmental” and that it needs to be changed to eliminate hatred.  The argument often is focused on the teachings of the Christian church and the words of God are thrown back at the believers.  God says, “Do not judge, lest you be judged.”  God says, “You will be judged by the same standards that you judge other people.”  Jesus said, “I have not come into the world to judge the world, but to save the world.”

These words of God are held up like a mirror to Jesus’ followers and the reflection is, at times, ugly.  We are guilty of judging others.  We have all sorts of good intentioned reasons as to why we have done it, but in the end, it all looks the same.  Good natured judgment is still judgment.

The rebuttals to the accusations of judgment are varied.  Some “hunker down” and cling all the more firmly to their beliefs and throw the Words of God back at the people:  “I won’t judge you, but God will!!!”  Others cling to the “God is love” philosophy and conform to the world’s understandings of right and wrong.

So how do we live as God’s people with a Biblical understanding of right and wrong but not judge others when they don’t have the same standards?  That is what we will be wrestling with this weekend in worship services.  At the center of it is one of the most famously quoted Bible passages of all time, John 3:16-18:  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.  Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”

His servant and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

When God Left the Building

This weekend we launch our church wide emphasis which focuses on the way the Christian Church is viewed in the world.  This isn’t about denominations or non-denominations.  This isn’t about what we believe or don’t believe, this isn’t about if there is a God or isn’t a God.  This is about you and me and all the people who take the name of Christ on our lives.

This is a great theme for the season of Lent, which starts next Wednesday.  Lent is a season of 40 days for self examination and prayer.  It is a season where each of us examine ourselves before God and ask Him for strength to refine our faith.  We recognize we need a savior to overcome our weaknesses because and then trust that savior to give us the strength.

The good news is that as Lent concludes we remember the death of Jesus on the Cross and His resurrection (coming back to life) on Easter.  God has died to forgive every single one of our sins, individual and church wide, and gives us the same life giving Spirit that allowed Him to raise back to life.  We too, His church on earth have the power to raise back to life when daily we each die to sin and rise again in Christ.

I am looking forward to opening my eyes to how the world perceives me.  Seeking strength from God and each of you to Grow in Faith Together.  As we grow we will increase our ability to Love our Neighbors.  Through love, it is my prayer and Christ’s promise that more and more people will be able to Walk with God in Worship.

Won’t you join us on this incredible journey together and allow God to bring hope and healing to your life, then then through your life to the world!  “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14.

When God left the Building Movie

This is a Great read and might bring about some clarity to questions I hear about the movie “When God Left the Building”.  Looking forward to starting our series together this weekend!


Unleashing God

This little Gospel Light of mine… I’m gonna let It shine. The intermingled relationship between God and Light begins in Genesis when the first thing God creates is light. The relationship deepens in Numbers 24 as the prophet Balaam testifies a “Star” shall come out of Jacob and Revelation 22 declares Jesus is that bright morning Star. But perhaps the clearest connection between God and Light appears in the Gospel of John 8:12: “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

This week we will conclude our series on Defining Moments as we reflect on Jesus’ transfiguration. His face shone with the glory of God and revealed His true divinity to His closest disciples. The power of God was unleashed, just for a moment and not in its full glory. (The disciples would not have been able to handle that.) God was unleashed, enough to cause terror and joy, fear and excitement.

Terror, joy, fear and excitement all appeared when God was unleashed in Jesus. In fact, the early Christians (Acts 2) are said to be in awe as they saw the wondrous works of God. If this is what it looks like when God appears in the Bible, why do we expect less today? I don’t mean we should expect “miracles” all the time (That is for another conversation.); I mean we should expect an emotional response from people, including ourselves, when God is unleashed.   When we share the Gospel and people get offended, bent out of shape or argumentative, we shouldn’t be surprised. When people are “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37), we shouldn’t apologize. The goal is not to cause offense or make others cry; rather, it is to proclaim truth and shine Light. But when we get these reactions, we shouldn’t think we are doing it wrong.

As the church in America, we are asked to present a picture of God that is a sterile, drab message that could easily be confused with self-help thoughts. As the Church of God on Earth, we are asked to let the Kingdom reign in us and through us, working where and when and what God chooses. Sometimes our work frees captives and sometimes it hardens hearts; sometimes the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not understand It. Sometimes we are asked to unleash God whether we understand why or not. May God grow faith within you and that shines forth in the darkness, no matter what.

His servant and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss


The First Commandment, You shall have no other gods.

The First Commandment

 You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?  We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Sounds pretty straight forward and rather simple, to be honest.  But it is the first commandment for a reason; all the other commandments come after it. If you keep this commandment, you keep every commandment, and if you break any other commandment, you also break this one.

How does this work?  Stealing means we don’t trust God will provide or don’t love Him for His provision.  Spreading gossip or speaking poorly about others means we don’t love God because those who love God, love each other.  “A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:34-35

In fact, keeping this commandment is the most difficult thing we will ever be asked to do.  No matter how difficult the tasks, relationships, diseases, and turmoil of life, loving God above ALL things is even more difficult.  Right now you might be thinking of what I have ever done to think that loving God is so difficult.  Humor me; think about it.

As Jesus approached the cross and the beatings and humiliation, what did He do?  Fear, love, and trust His Father, above His own pride, ego and desires, to trust that the world would be better if He was scorned, that God’s love would be more evident if He was mocked.  For Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his only child, so the world from that point on would know what faith looks like.  For Daniel to face a den of hungry lions; for David to face the giant, there was love and trust for God.

The list of things we turn to for comfort, security and love is virtually endless, and yet all God has ever asked is that we turn to Him.  If we turn to Him, our fears are lessened, our love is increased, and our security is guaranteed.  It’s that simple… really.  It is the hardest thing we will ever do, and we will never do it by ourselves.  The reality of failure to trust God empties our hearts and makes us feel worthless.  God’s love is so great it fills our hearts with love, true love, and gives us strength and faith.  When you are so weak you can’t hold on anymore, then you are strong because He is holding onto you.