mir·a·cle (mirək(ə)l/)

  1. An effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.
  2. Such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God.
  3. A wonder; marvel.

“Do you believe in miracles?!?!”  Maybe a tad overused but stunning nonetheless.  The 1980 U.S. hockey team was a collection of amateurs.  In the height of Russian dominance they did the impossible and defeated the team of professionals.  But, this isn’t a miracle; extremely unlikely, but not miraculous.

A true miracle is only possible by supernatural intervention of God. This seems very straight forward, but the more you think about it the less straight forward it is.  In Biblical times Jesus healing the sick was considered miraculous.  But today we have medical professionals with scientific studies to heal people.  We don’t need God.  In Jesus’ day He cast out demons and brought people from mental/emotional illness into health.  Now we have therapists and medication that do the same.  We don’t need God.

This is where our world is. We have become so dependent on ourselves – our intellect, knowledge and science – that we overlook God’s involvement.  But God is still there; we still need Him.  The greatest scientific researchers still cannot tell us why sometimes medications work and sometimes they don’t .  The greatest physicians cannot explain why one moment the tumor is present and at the next exam it is nowhere to be found.

We have been deceived into putting our trust in the person or the practice of medicine rather than the Great Physician. We trust our understanding instead of the Great Designer of the science who set it all into motion and continues to exercise sovereignty.  Our dependence on God has never changed even as we discover more about His creation.

Over the next several weeks we will be looking at miracles of Jesus through the eyes of God and man. We will invite and challenge each other to see the world as God sees it and break through the veil of humanity which wants to ignore our Creator.  For when we can see God we can see His mighty handiwork for what it is: truly miraculous!

“Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that He has done, His miracles and the judgments He uttered, O offspring of Israel His servant, children of Jacob, His chosen ones!”  1 Chronicles 16:11-13

In His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

In Remembrance


“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing Your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever!”  Psalm 30:11      

Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, is a day to remember the more than one million U.S. military men and women who gave their lives in service to this country. The Yorkville American Legion will hold brief but poignant ceremonies at Cross’ old cemetery (behind the Youth Center) at 8:15 AM and at the newer cemetery (on Ament Road) at 8:30 AM.  These services include a rifle salute and words of recognition.

On Memorial Day, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.  The raising of the flag symbolizes the resolve to not let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

More than one million individuals is a lot of grieving friends and relatives. Multiply that over the generations of children and grandchildren.  This is a high cost for the freedom we enjoy. Thank you for your service for the freedom I enjoy.

What would you think if I told you that there is another war happening right now that is taking the same number of lives as we’ve lost in military action, over one million, but every year? One million is the estimated yearly rate of abortions in our nation; a mom and/or dad choosing to end the life of a child.  This doesn’t even consider the approximately two million families struggling with infertility and the many lives lost through miscarriage.  That, too, is a lot of grieving friends and families.

On Sunday, June 12 at 2 PM, we will have another memorial service at Cross for “Little Lives Gone Too Soon” where we will remember the lives of unborn or still-born children. We will provide hope for families grieving the loss of their child and look to our Heavenly Father for His comfort.

In my ministry I have cared for many families that didn’t realize how much they hurt inside from a long ago abortion or frequent miscarriages. The world treats these littlest babies like clinical conditions, like losing a tooth or having a growth removed.  But it isn’t, and often the reality doesn’t set in till much later.  Sometimes it is regret, sometimes it is grief, but it all needs healing.

If you or someone you love is grieving a loss, please consider attending one of these services. But consider attending anyway, because even though we don’t like to remember these sad moments from our past, remembering our grief reminds us we need a Savior and that we have a Savior.  If left to our own devices, we end up hurting.  In Christ, who turns death to life, we have forgiveness, life and salvation.

In His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

On the Trinity

trinityChristians are the only people on the planet that worship a “Triune” God. In fact the word Trinity or Triune is a word created to describe God.  Making up a word to describe God sounds counterintuitive.  Why don’t we just use a word from the Bible?  Wouldn’t it be easier for us to understand more about God if we used a word people already knew?  Not really.  In fact, we often need new words to be able to describe something that is unlike anything we have ever experienced.

The word leadership wasn’t used until the mid-1800’s when people were trying to describe the influence one person had to unite a group around a common cause.  The word Internet wasn’t used until the 1980’s and is truly unlike anything we have ever seen.  What is interesting is that these words and their definitions are much like Trinity.  They are so unique that it is difficult to define them and are better described by the results.

I can describe how my life is changed because of the Internet and great leadership in my life. I am not sure I could teach you how to build the Internet or make you a great leader.  Similarly with God, I can share with you the outcomes, stories, transformation and importance of God in the world.  But I could not tell you how it all works.  One God in three Persons makes even less sense to me than instantly talking face-to-face with someone on the other side of the planet through a computer.  (And I am a trained theologian!)

So what do we do when people ask us about God? What do we do when we have questions about His nature and what it all means in our own life?  Well, I guess we do the same thing we do with other things we don’t understand:  ask as many questions as possible, keep learning, do the best with what we know, and ask an expert when we get stuck!  The Bible is where God teaches us everything we need to know about Him and us.  When we live out that truth (even when we don’t understand it) and trust that God will do what He says, we receive all the benefits He promises.

When others ask us about God, we can explain a few things so they can understand. But, more importantly, they want to know about what the added benefits will be, how to utilize Him to make their life better.  As we all start to use our faith and relationship with the Triune God, we will be able to understand Him better (well, as much as we need!).

“The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” Psalm 19:7

 His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss



Fifty days after Easter the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, came to the disciples and empowered them to share the Gospel in every language.  Many people were added to their number: 3,000!  (Acts 3:41)

Why were so many hearts touched and lives transformed in that one day?  The quick/easy answer is that God transforms our heart and mind.  But let’s dig a little deeper.  In Acts 2 we see that some were perplexed (curious) at the apostles’ ability to speak in many languages this new Gospel they were sharing. “But others were mocking saying ‘they are filled with new wine.'” Acts 2:13.  

So some hearts were opened by the Holy Spirit and others weren’t. Why wouldn’t God open ALL their hearts?  The role of human will and the role of the Holy Spirit are long debated; I won’t solve it here except to say that in the Bible, when someone comes to faith it is always God’s fault.  When someone resists faith it is always the fault of human sin.

This can get complicated to articulate and can cause much heartache and agony.  But it shouldn’t; it needn’t.  God desires all people to be saved; He doesn’t desire anyone to remain lost in their sin, AND He is patient and persistent.  He will continue to pursue all people until our final breath.  So what did happen at Pentecost to make it such a powerful day?

Pentecost was already a gathering of the faithful people long before the Holy Spirit made His appearance fifty days after the first Easter.  Those who were gathered were largely already open to God’s truth.  They were faithfully traveling to Jerusalem to give their harvest offerings.  So, when the apostles shared this truth, their hearts were already open.  Others were at Pentecost out of obligation, looking to please God by begrudgingly doing what they were told.  Their hearts were hard even as they went through the motions.

This Pentecost have your heart checked.  Are you open to God’s truth?  Will you recognize His voice when He speaks, or will you write it off as crazy wacko Jesus freaks?  The Holy Spirit is still as living and active today in the words of the apostles as it ever was.  If we are faithfully following Jesus, His Word will do amazing things.  If our hearts are hardened as we go through the motions, the Holy Spirit will still lead you, but will you be willing to follow?

In His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

Christian Mother


How do you describe the perfect mom?  Nurturing, gentle, selfless?  Firm, strict, competitive?  Quiet, loud, hands-on, hands-off?  Stay-at-home, working, young, not as young as others?  Gave birth, gave over to adoption, adopted in?  Describing a mother as anything other than a woman who cares for a child is going to be met with counter examples.  So what is a mother and what do we do when our mothers or ourselves don’t match that image in our head?

For Jesus and His disciples, a mother is anyone/anything with feminine attributes that cared for the nurture and development of another living thing. In John 2 we hear the disciple Jesus loved talk about the Church being the mother to the children of God, “to the elect lady and her children” 2 John 1:1. God is our Father; the Church is the mother that nurtures us and points us to our Heavenly Father that we may know we are loved.

Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate and remember the women in our lives that cared for us and those women in our lives that are still caring for people we love. Mother’s Day is a day of great happiness yet can also be a day of great disappointment and sorrow when our dreams or ideals aren’t met.  So what do we do?  Celebrate all who have nourished us in our life physically, emotionally and spiritually and embrace the calling God has given to each woman to be a mother right where she is.

Now more than ever the world needs women (and men) of great faith to step forward and nurture those who are hurting. Now more than ever the world needs women (and men) to embrace our roles in life and serve sacrificially in His name.  Now more than ever we celebrate all who have done this and are doing it imperfectly by thanking them for doing the best they knew/know how.  Now more than ever we must recognize our own failures and turn to the Church (each other) to be fed and nurtured in our faith through His Word so we can raise up the next generation to know the love of their Father.

Thank you, Mom, for teaching me to love my heavenly Father!  Thank you, Alicia, for doing the same with our girls.  Thank you to all the “little old ladies” at St. Paul who encouraged me to be a pastor even when I never wanted to.  Thank you, St. Paul (the Bride of Christ in Battle Creek, MI) for nurturing me in my faith.  Thank you, Cross (the Bride of Christ in Yorkville, IL) for continuing to do the same for the children of God in this place!  May the grace of God in Christ Jesus cover all our failures and cleanse us from our sin, that the women that nurture us all would be made to be “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:27.

In His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss