On the Move!

it-is-time-to-move-forward-graphicMemorial Day is the unofficial move from spring to summer. Pools are opened, grills are seasoned, lawn chairs are pulled out of storage. People traveling to friends and family can be fun and also demanding. Movement is the way we reach the destination and is simultaneously difficult and exciting. Here at Cross we have some “moving” as well and seek prayer and God’s guidance as we continue toward the goal He has placed before us.

In a congregation our size, staffing moves are common, and this spring is no exception. Karen Hardecopf has moved to part-time retirement, and Pastor Scott Lohman has come on board to help with her reduced hours. Pastor Scott will be leading our visitation and senior ministry efforts.

Pastor Matthew Conrad has accepted the position of Pastor of Human Care and Mission! He and his family will be moving to Yorkville soon, and we look forward to the energy and support he will bring to our ministries into the community. He will focus on both the community of believers we call Cross ministries and the communities we look to reach for Christ.

Claire Pavia has accepted a position to teach in the Hinckley-Big Rock school district as a third grade teacher. This is a big move for her and her family after 14 years of ministry with Cross! We are happy for her but will greatly miss her strong teaching skills and emphasis on bringing technology into the classroom. This also means Cross is on the move to find who God has in store to move the mission forward through Cross Lutheran School. Pray He will lead us to a great teacher, a great teammate and a partner in the mission of making disciple-makers.

This month we will receive conceptual drawings from an architect about what it might look like to have facilities that promote the vision to mature as disciples that Walk, Grow and Love. Our facilities are a blessing and a challenge as we try to move forward together.

On May 31, we will have our annual congregational meeting where we celebrate how God has been moving us over the past year and the direction He is guiding us on for the new year. We look forward to sharing, celebrating and praying together as a family of Christ in this place. Please join us after services (11:45 AM) on May 31 in the large gymnasium as we Move the Mission Forward in big ways and small ways! “And Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” Matthew 4:19

His servant and yours,
Pastor Erik Gauss

Thank you Disciple-Makers!

GraduationThe 2014-15 school year comes to a close this week with our 134th graduation worship service. For some families this will be their first graduation; for others it may be their last here at Cross. Some students will be sad to move on from this place after years of learning and growing; some can’t wait to go! As we celebrate with these families and these students during a wonderful milestone in their lives, we remember the value and the purpose of our school ministry: “Cross Lutheran Church and School exists to equip and send disciples to be disciple-makers.”

This statement embodies what we hope will be the ultimate outcome of all our congregation’s ministries. To make disciples that make disciple-makers is no small task; in fact Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit to help because His disciples couldn’t do it alone. If Jesus’ disciples couldn’t do it after three years with Jesus, then that should give us some comfort. But, they did do it! The Holy Spirit gave them power and strength. You and I have faith today because the disciples made disciple-makers.

Cross has many disciples that make disciple-makers; God still wants more. Today we celebrate how blessed we all are to have our teachers, faculty and staff who work together, investing in the children and their families to help them mature as disciples. Countless hours of sacrifice and elbow grease, tears of joy and sorrow, prayers of petition and intercession are just a few of the things that make our teachers special. But what makes our teachers perfect? The blood of Christ shed for them, and their students, and every family.

Thank you, teachers, for relying on the Holy Spirit to come alongside each family and shine the light of Christ. Thank you, families, for investing in the present and future kingdom work of God through Cross and your students. Thank you, students, for receiving instruction and the power of the Holy Spirit as you have matured as Disciples of Christ that Walk with God, Grow in Faith Together and Love Our Neighbors. Now GO! And make more disciple-makers.

His servant and yours,
Pastor Erik Gauss


motherhood1“The man called his wife’s name Eve because she was the mother of all the living.” Genesis 3:20. If you are reading this, someone gave you life. There is a connection to our mother that we cannot deny.  And, like any gift, Satan attempts to deceive and destroy it.  Eve, the one created to bring life, was tempted, and through that temptation, brought death.  The father of lies takes a gift and tries to make it feel like a curse.

Being a mom is filled with battles of will against the children, pressure to not just be a mom but be a “good” mom (as if there is some recognizable standard).  Some women cannot be a biological mom, and other people do not know who their birth mom is.  As many as those who celebrated a mom over the weekend, there are many who mourn the fact that their mom is no longer with them.  Life is complicated; motherhood is too, but it doesn’t need to be.

Each of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) record an event where Jesus’ mother comes to see Him.  Jesus is teaching at the time, surrounded by disciples, and makes the statement, “`Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?’  And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, `Here are My mother and My brothers!  For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.’” Matthew 12:48-50.

This does not diminish the role and importance of a biological mother.  At the cross Jesus would give the responsibility of caring for His mother over to His disciple John, proving that Mary still held an important place.  What Jesus’ teaching does is remind each of us that Mom is the giver of life, and there are two ways to give life, two births that each person has: a biological birth and a spiritual birth, to be born again of water and the Word.

In my life, my biological mother was a major influence in both my births, but many others — sisters, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, public school teachers, neighbors and family friends — played a critical role in my second birth.  This Mother’s Day remember your moms — all of them.  Celebrate them, mourn them, thank God for them, their perfection and their imperfection. And, if you are a woman, be a woman of God, who loves Him, seeks Him and shares Him with others, and you’ll have more children than you can count, more than the stars in the heavens!

His servant and yours,
Pastor Erik Gauss

What’s Blooming?

BulkThe saying “April showers bring May flowers” indicates that May is the month where seeds begin to bloom and new life begins to show. It also brings to mind the reality that all the work that went in before, bears fruit. This could be that type of May for Cross.

As I type this, I am in a hotel room in St. Louis after attending the “Call Day” services for Vicar Walter Ramirez. This means he will be eligible for a call to serve as Pastor upon completion of his classes. This has been a long journey for Walter and his wife, Nivia. To hear his name called and see him greet the Seminary dignitaries in a worship service at the Seminary campus truly was a great event. Walter should complete his coursework in July, and we, Cross, would hopefully extend a Divine Call to him to serve as an ordained pastor in Plano!

Speaking of Divine Calls and ordained pastors, we are patiently waiting to hear back from Rev. Matthew Conrad. He has received all the necessary paperwork and notified his congregation last weekend. Now we all continue in prayer as he and his family deliberate the Call. My expectation is that we will know this month, and I am very hopeful for some “blooms” after all the work of the congregation and Call committee this past year!

May is the month of graduations, and Cross is no different. In May we will celebrate our 134th graduating class. That is a lot of seed sown and a lot of blooming flowers! It is such a joy to see these children grow in knowledge, faith and size! These groups bloom at Cross and then plant more seeds in the high school they attend. Right behind them is class 135!

The reality is, no matter how much blooming we experience, there are always more opportunities the Lord puts in front of us. On May 31, we will hold our annual meeting to look back over the past year and look forward to the year ahead! What is in store and what will it look like? We work and plan hard, but it is God and God alone who makes it grow. Let’s celebrate this season and thankfully reap the blessings while we continue to work for the Lord of the harvest!

 I (Paul) planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:6

His servant and yours,
Pastor Erik Gauss