Am I a Leader?

leadershipJ. W. McLean and William Weitzel in their book, Leadership: Magic, Myth or Method, define leadership as:

  1. A person
  2. Involved in a process
  3. Of influencing and developing a group of people
  4. In order to accomplish a purpose
  5. By means of supernatural power.

Jesus said, “(You) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20

Unless Jesus was not sending people and was instead sending lemurs, these two descriptions are identical. Jesus sends disciples (people) to go and make more disciples (purpose), baptizing them (process), teaching them to observe (developing), and the resurrected Jesus is with us (supernatural power).

By this definition every Christian is a leader. Every person who follows Jesus as His disciple is called into the mission of making more disciples.  We are charged with influencing the world and impacting it for Jesus’ sake.  Our purpose is simple and straight forward:  “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16

Sometimes we lean on our faith as an excuse to disengage from the world. Christians are often thought to have a more laid back lifestyle.  This “peace of God” doesn’t mean we don’t work to change the world; it means we don’t let the world and its craziness determine our self-worth, intimate our decisions, or dictate our happiness.  The peace of God allows us to step away from the pressures that drive the world and have one burden, the easy burden of Christ, to love the world in Jesus’ name.

We are able to lead in this way because we know our Leader has taken care of our every need. Jesus even determines the effectiveness of our mission.  We merely remain faithful with our focus on Him and He will remain faithful.  Being a leader can seem like a daunting task; it is at times, but our Leader will not let us fail.  He is truly with us now… and forever.

His servant and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

Renew, Revive, Reborn


Opening the windows to air out the house is a wonderful springtime tradition for me. The breeze provides fresh air, the music provides inspiration, the sun provides energy, cleaning out the dust bunnies from winter provides the satisfaction.  The renewal of a fresh start can create optimism.  Maybe this year we can “keep up with it.”  The challenge becomes that this cleaning isn’t a one-time event but every week, even every day, we must clean up or it will once again build up.

Our spiritual journeys can be described in similar terms. The dust bunnies of sin, guilt, addiction, failure and neglect all build up on us.  Every once in a while the moment will come where we can clean it all out and start fresh and new.  This fresh start can be called many things:  renewal, revival, born again, etc.  But will it last?  What can we do to make it last?

That is the critical question, isn’t it? How do we keep our spirits, hearts and minds clean and clear from the clutter of sin and frustration?  We can’t.  We despise that answer, but it is true.  Martin Luther articulates this reality in his explanation to the third article of the Apostle’s Creed: “I believe that by my own understanding or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him…”

This can be a frustration wall that we continue to beat our heads against until someone finally gives us the answer we want. But so often the answer we want is not the answer we need.  We will never end the cycle of renewal and dormancy until we trust the good news God has for us:  that, in spite of our weaknesses, He provides the way out.  Martin Luther concludes his thought this way: “but, instead, the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith.”

This is the wind of fresh air that always blows in our souls. The Holy Spirit is in fact the Holy Wind, Holy Breath, literally the Ru-ah of God.  Adam and Eve always felt a breeze in the Garden of Eden in the presence of God.  This breeze blows in the winds of forgiveness, life and salvation.  It is ours every day and proclaimed to us every week in worship services.  Too often we feel as if we do not need it until things pile up.  Truth is a little cleaning every day will keep our souls and spirits lifted as if on “wings of an eagle.”  Try it!  Confess your sins and receive God’s forgiveness every day; worship every week and see if God won’t freshen up your spirit and keep it that way.  Rest assured, the devil will work hard against this plan, but do not be afraid; if God is for us, no power of hell can ever prevail against us.

His servant and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss


Victory over Failure

mountain scene.jpg

New green grass is springing forth from the dead brown of the winter. I made a re-commitment this winter, to fertilize, weed kill and aerate the yard so it will finally look like it did when it was first sodded.  I haven’t even made it to the first mowing and my neighbors’ lawns are all greener than mine and the weeds are starting to intrude already!  It hasn’t even started and I’ve already failed.

Maybe you can relate to this feeling in an area of your life: work, school, faith, missional living, Bible study, finances, weight loss, prayer?  Change is never easy and more often than not we fail the first time we try something new.  If it was common to succeed the first time, they wouldn’t call it beginners’ luck!

Failure is the building block of character. Failure teaches us what won’t work so we can learn what will.  Failure in this world is inevitable.  Failure must also be overcome.  While failure is inevitable, it is not the final say in who we are or the final outcome.  The end results are determined by how we respond to failure, what we learn from it and our courage to try again.

Success in life is much more about learning to look at things through the lens of truth rather than the lens of lies. Success is not defined by our ability to have beginners’ luck but rather by how we respond when we aren’t so lucky.  By most measures Jesus failed at life.  He didn’t accomplish anything of great significance, didn’t hold any position of influence.  Jesus didn’t acquire wealth or power and didn’t even free Israel from Roman rule before they killed Him.  Yet Jesus’ life is considered a resounding success.  Why?  Because the power of God is able to transform earthly failure into true success.

The Holy Spirit transformed the crucifixion into the greatest blessing any of us could ever have. The same Holy Spirit, at work in you, does the same in your greatest failures, self-sabotages and sin.  The victory over death isn’t just over death but over EVERYTHING.  Death is the example; if He can conquer death, He can conquer anything.  If you can conquer death, then you can conquer anything!  Don’t give up; ask for forgiveness and move forward, then keep your eyes open, ready for God to transform your greatest failure into victory in Christ’s name!

”Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us”. Romans 5:3-5

His servant and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

Growing in Easter

Small cute lamb gambolling in a meadow in New Zealand farm

Easter is a great season of rebirth: new life in Christ; resurrection from the dead!  The rain (or snow this year!) bringing green back to the grass, and the perennial plants pushing through the warming soil.  Farmers are plotting their strategies and watching the weather in final preparations for the planting season.  Beginnings, fresh starts, new life.  How about you?

This Easter season is a great time to have a fresh start for your relationship with God, Jesus and His Church. To begin again, to reconnect.  These things are cyclical:  the distractions of life, the urgency of the moment, the immediate gratification often causes our attention to wander.  But Christ on the cross and the empty tomb once again draw our attention to the one thing that truly matters:  the forgiveness of sins, the restoration of relationships, the victory over death, life with God now and forever.

At Cross, Pastor Matt, the ministry teams and I have been working to support you and your families as you desire to grow in faith and truth. Below are a few new opportunities to get connected, go deeper and begin again.

1) Sermon Series Bible Studies – Look on our website or the Hiscross app to find a Bible study and weekly readings that coordinate with the weekend sermons.  Use these as families, community groups and individuals.

2) Children’s Ministry – Kayla Olson and the amazing team of volunteers in Children’s Ministry have put together some family movie nights and other new things for families.  Check it out at the Promiseland preview Sunday April, 24 or on the Facebook page and website.

3) Christian Community – Starting over goes better and is more sustainable when you have friends to support you.  Get connected in Christian community at 3 Story Training, Party with the Pastors on the second Sunday of each month, or search for a Christian Community Group on our website.

4) Spiritual Snapshot – Not sure where to start or what a relationship with God looks like?  Check out our website for the Marks of Discipleship survey.  Eleven questions help you see where you are on your spiritual journey and what it looks like as you grow in each of these eleven areas.

These are just a few tools to help as your faith springs forth this year. And, if there are other ways Cross can support you that we haven’t thought of, let us know!

All for His Kingdom’s sake,

Pastor Erik Gauss