Set Apart


The words anoint and consecrate are tied closely together for God’s people.  To consecrate means to set apart, as for a special purpose.  The primary way something would be “set apart” in Biblical times would be to anoint it.  Anoint means to smear or spread with liquid for the purposes of consecration.  One way this is still done today is when a ship is christened; a liquid (usually wine or champagne) is spread on the boat as a way to set it apart for floating, rather than sinking.

In Biblical times an anointing with oil was common for the sick, to set them apart for a special measure of grace and healing. Sacred buildings would be anointed and consecrated as special places where God’s work was done.  Today I still go to homes of believers and anoint them as sacred places where God is asked to be present for the blessing of Christian marriages and families.

Priests, prophets, kings and others in leadership would be anointed with other types of oil to be set apart as authoritative figures and as people administering Godly oversight. Anointing was both for the persons being set apart and for those whom they would serve, a visible indication that this person had been chosen by God, on your behalf to serve you in His name.  Anointing is wonderful for many reasons, but one is to reassure both us and our leaders that we are in fact serving by God’s grace and with His blessing.  It helps us submit to and honor our leadership in challenging times and helps leaders cling to God’s promises during those same challenges.

But anointing and being set apart or consecrated is not just for leaders. Every believer has been anointed, in the waters of Holy Baptism.  Set apart for God’s purposes rather than man’s.  Chosen by God to be His child and to administer His grace and will in our areas of influence.  Have you considered that you are chosen, consecrated and anointed for special purposes?  Have you participated in those purposes or run from them with fear and trembling?  Have you asked God to open your eyes, heart and mind to consider what those purposes might be so you could faithfully fulfill them?

The devil’s greatest victory comes when God’s people forget who they are and ignore the special anointing that God has given each of us. You have been set apart, anointed with the waters of Baptism, anointed by the Holy Spirit, and empowered by God’s grace to be His hands, His feet, His ears, His heart, His witnesses.  May God remind you of this calling and equip you in every way to fulfill it according to His purposes.  “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21

His servant and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

Welcome, Kayla Olson!

Kayla Olson

It is my pleasure to announce the arrival of our new Interim Director of Children’s Ministry, Kayla Olson. Kayla is a student at Concordia University Chicago, studying to become a Director of Christian Education (DCE).  She will be serving her 12 month internship here at Cross, primarily in Children’s Ministry.  She is still a student, and so part of the internship agreement is that we will provide a well-rounded experience in many ministry areas of Christian education in the congregational setting.  We believe Cross is a wonderful place for an intern to grow, and we truly are excited about the fresh perspective Kayla will bring to our congregation.

Kayla will be dual certified as a DCE and elementary education teacher. She has already completed all academics and is ready to serve at Cross!  Kayla has shared that her passion is “to help little ones grow in the faith.”  She will be starting at Cross on or before February 1.

Below is a biography that Kayla shared with us to help us get to know her a little, along with some hints of some housewarming gifts as she joins us in ministry at Cross.

Favorite Verse:  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”  Matthew 6:25

Hometown: Delavan, Illinois

Experience: Served Immanuel Lutheran, Downers Grove, as a DCE fieldworker for 3 years.  Taught Sunday school, led youth group, directed VBS, and accompanied the youth on mission trips.

Hobbies:  A wide variety including knitting, cycling, reading sci-fi, and attempting to play sports.

Favorite Breakfast:  Depends on how much time I have in the morning!  I prefer bacon and eggs over pancakes, but most often eat oatmeal and fruit.

Favorite Drinks: Coffee, tea and Dr. Pepper.  (Must be a youth leader requirement!)

Favorite Snacks:  Salt and vinegar potato chips, pretzel chips with hummus, and chocolate chip cookies.

Favorite Meal: This is a tough one.  I really enjoy a good Reuben sandwich.  During the winter months I eat a lot of chili.  I’m not really sure I have any top meals.  I like everything except meatloaf!

Gift Cards: I just got a Scrip order with cards to Walmart, Casey’s, Kohl’s, and Barnes and Noble.  My only disappointment was that CPH didn’t have a card available through Scrip so that I could build my professional library, so I settled for Barnes and Noble.  Also, can I choose Wizarding World of Harry Potter, or are all Florida-based theme parks out of the question?  😉

Thank you (from Kayla) so much for the photos of the apartment and all of the other information. I guess I wasn’t really expecting a furnished place.  I was gearing up to get the high school youth here to help me load up my bed, dresser, bookshelves, etc.  This will save a huge amount of time.

Let’s welcome Kayla Olson!

In Christ, Pastor Erik Gauss

Cross + Caring = Hope

KHUSA horiz

It is frustratingly powerful when God thwarts our best efforts. This has been the truth of the circumstances regarding Kids Hope USA.  From the beginning this seemed like a slam dunk:  Cross’ passion for meaningful impact in the community, our heart for school-age children and their families, a great organization like Kids Hope USA and our connections into the schools already.  The only question was:  How soon can we start?

But, our efforts to be a blessing to the schools on the south side of town near Cross were repeatedly derailed. It made sense to keep trying, so we did, to no avail.  Why was God not blessing this effort?  However, there was much interest from another school but “they are too far away.”  Finally, we started talking to a principal, and it all became clear.  God was derailing our efforts on the south side so we would realize His plan on the north side.

I am honored to officially announce our brand new partnership with Kids Hope USA. Our volunteer coordinator, Shari Lackey, already knows many of the partner school staff from when she was in the school district.  The principal already has many students identified as needing a mentor partner, and several of those in the program may already be part of our north campus ministry partnership with Loving Arms Childcare Center.

I was blind, but now I see. And, as excited as I thought I was before, I am more excited than ever!  The best part?  It’s time to start the Kids Hope USA mentoring program!  Pastor Matt and Shari are looking for good-hearted, faithful volunteers to be trained and partnered with a mentee.  This will be with one student for one hour, one day a week.  Kids Hope USA and Cross will be training all volunteers in helpful mentoring tools.  This is NOT faith based and it is NOT tutoring.  It is being a sincere friend to a child and helping him/her know they matter.

Can’t help during the school day? Our hope is to be a blessing in more ways than mentoring.  We are seeking prayer warriors that will pray “behind the scenes” for the mentor and mentee.  We will look for ways to be a blessing to the school staff, so keep your ears open for other ways to be a part of this exciting program.  If you would like to apply to be a Kids Hope USA mentor or find out about other opportunities, please contact Shari Lackey at 331-725-1695 or Pastor Matt Conrad at 630-553-8105 or

Praise be to God that no matter my plans, as I give them to Him, He makes them perfect. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”   Proverbs 16:9

His servant and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

Why Am I Here?!?


It is an age old question. It could be you are at a boring event someone dragged you to.  It could be a result of a few wrong decisions.  It could be you contemplating life itself.  Why are we here?  What is this orbiting rock of water and minerals?

Wherever it is, and whatever the reason, you probably made some resolution to never be “here” again.  Bankruptcy, bad grades, relational discord, poor job performance, unacceptable weight gain; all of it improved with hard work and increased commitment.  But what about the stuff we can’t fix:  loneliness, grief, anxiety, hopelessness, starvation, cruelty?  What about the nagging thought that there is more to life than this?  It doesn’t seem to matter how much we resolve to feel better or think more positive, to bury the wonders and the doubts; they always seem to come back.

God knows this; in fact, the Bible is filled with instances of this happening – the people of God groaning, questioning why are we here:  in the desert, in the tomb, in the garden, in the ark, in heartache.  In Luke 3 the people are asking again:  why are we here?  They had traveled into the wilderness to see John who they thought was the one to follow, and when they got there, this Man named Jesus was there.  This brought more questions than answers because, after all, they thought John was the one.

John’s answer is simply powerful and complex:  “I baptize you with water but He who is mightier than I… will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Luke 3:16.

Baptism?!?! An answer to bankruptcy?  Loneliness?  Grief?  Starvation, why am I here, everything?  Clearly a little shallow minded, right?  Yes and no.  The root of all evil and sadness is a love for someone or something other than God.  In Christ we are made whole and complete.  It is for God that we live:  to worship Him and enjoy life to the full, bringing glory to Him.  This IS Baptism:  having our sin washed, our sorrow cleansed, our selfishness rinsed, our heart filled, our mind cleared and our relationships restored.

Why am I here is because God loves you and wants you to know the joy of good times and the true joy of life, hope, healing in difficult times. You are here because He loves you and so you can love Him in all circumstances and inspire others to do the same.  “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” -Paul-

His servant and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss