Luke: Teachings of Jesus

Slide1 (2)During the weekend services we will continue to look at the book of Luke. We will be shifting away from miracles Jesus performed and look more closely at some of the teachings He offered.  Some of the teachings are encouraging, others are more challenging.  Some of the teachings remind us what God has given us and others remind us what God calls believers to focus on.

This wide scope of teachings is one of the aspects that make the Christian faith unique from any other. God simultaneously calls us to actions and gives us all the tools we need to successfully accomplish those actions.  In no other faith is God an active participant and contributor in your life.  In no other faith does God remain pleased with us even when we fail.

In the Christian faith we are both sinner and saint at the same time. We are 100% unworthy to receive God’s gifts. And at the same time 100% holy, just as our Heavenly Father is holy.  One of the reasons this is possible is because God is not bound by linear time.  We see ourselves going through cycles of holiness and sinfulness.  “I had a good/bad week.” Is one way we would evaluate how we are measuring up.  God sees it all at once.

God knows your whole life; how it started and how it ends, all at the same time. He sees the hurt and sorrow and weakness and He sees the righteousness of Christ’s blood poured out on you and He sees it all “now”.  This lack of a linear faith journey but a holistic life of faith in Christ puts Jesus teachings into a powerful new perspective.

If God already sees us as a 100% forgiven saint then why do we work so hard to be obedient? One, because we are thankful! Two, so we aren’t tempted to turn away from God and three, so the world can see God through us.  While eternal life with God is sealed through Christ for every believer, there are so many more whose futures are finite.  Many people are pushed away from God by false teachers and self-righteous people of faith.  God calls true believers to be humbly obedient, to sacrifice whatever is necessary to tear down walls and proclaim the true message of Hope to all believers.

Tune in for the next several weeks as we better acquaint ourselves to some powerful teachings of Jesus for ourselves and grow in our ability to share those same teachings with those around us.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Guass

A Prayer for Ramadan

People of the Book Lutheran Outreach

Last week I received this prayer request from POBLO ministries (People of the Book Lutheran Outreach).  This ministry is specifically designed to share the Good News of Jesus Christ within the Muslim community.    I thought this was a powerful request that reminds us we need God and that He is still very much active in the world today.

RAMADAN Prayer Request from Hady

 I thank God for our being able to reach out to people of different nationalities and religions here in St. Louis.  I want to encourage you to include in prayers now and throughout Ramadan (June 6-July 5) to ask God to reach anyone seeking the true God through fasting and prayers.  Here is a suggested way to pray:   “Lord God anyone who is seeking you and fasting, please come to them in their dreams, visions or how you see best that will reveal you to them.”
I know of many past situations of Muslims where were praying and reading the Koran all the time during Ramadan to whom our true God revealed Himself to them by means of dreams or visions.
If you know any Muslim people still practicing Islam please invite him to look up this web site:

 I believe God will use these prayers to accomplish 2 things.  First this will unite our congregations agreeing in prayer as one body.  Also God will answer these prayers and bring people to us who will share about the dreams and visions God gives them.


Leave Me Alone!

alone“Leave me alone!” is the cry of the demon-possessed man as Jesus approaches.   Luke 8 has it stated more eloquently, “What do you want with me? I beg you don’t torture me!” It would be easy to overlook this passage; I did at first since, of course, a demon-possessed man wants nothing to do with God.  But, upon further reflection it brought to mind some very normal men and their response when God came near.

Adam was in the Garden with Eve when they heard the sound of God approaching and they hid. This wasn’t the way God had designed them, or created them to be.  He designed them to be in relationship with Him and each other; holy, perfect, in His image.  Their perfect Spirit had been tainted by sin and was now unclean.  Their reaction to God and His Holiness was to hide. To say “Leave me Alone”.

The Prodigal Son, after reflection on how poorly he had treated His father said, “I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” Yet, in a profound way, the very reason these people want away from God is the very reason they are worthy to be in His presence.

When we fall short of God’s expectations we feel unworthy to be called Christians. We think we’ve let God down or that He’ll be disappointed.  We have plenty of reasons to think that as God has told us we are one with Him when we follow His commands.  But what are His commands?  Be good? Be perfect?  Be nice?  Nope; love God and love your neighbor.   Why do we feel so bad when we do something wrong? Because we love Him and He loves us and we don’t want anything to ruin that.

God’s love for us and our love for Him causes us to feel bad when we fail him. But be careful or the devil will use that against us.  It is the devil who tells us God will never take us back.  It is the devil who causes us to continue to feel bad after God forgives.  It is the lie of the evil one and our flesh that tell us we have to get ourselves right before God can/will do anything.

The lies are so close to the truth we often fall for it. Even when we run, hide or feel guilty, God will not leave us alone.  The truth is that God’s love for us is so great it can never be diminished.  It is He who cleanses our lives, our bodies and our spirit. He transforms our broken spirit into a right Spirit and tells the devil to “Leave us alone!”  He comes to us and pours His love unto us and makes us clean again.  He restores us and calls us to come to Him when we hurt, so we can be healed by Him.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”  Psalm 51:10-12
(King David after committing adultery with Bathsheba)

His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

That’s Just Not Right!

forgiveness-21I’ve had that thought many times over the years; watching siblings pick on each other and take it a bit too far, the proceedings of the national election, the need to even weigh in on bathroom etiquette, much less go to federal court over it, seeing the national debt climb, Christians acting out in fits of rage and tantrums when they don’t get their way. I guess I should stop there so it doesn’t get too negative!

“That’s just not right” is exactly what the church leaders are thinking when they see the sinful woman, probably a prostitute, kissing the feet of Jesus. “Tell her to stop!” they demanded, but Jesus wasn’t having it.  I don’t have a problem with feet but kissing, anointing and wiping with hair is a bit much!  Jesus not only permits her to continue, but encourages it as he teaches about what it means to forgive sin.

We are a people called by God to forgive sins and yet when we see radical forgiveness we often think these same thoughts. Are they truly sorry?  How do we know? What if he/she is faking it?  We are filled with skepticism when we are called to be filled with compassion and forgiveness.  Who could blame us?

Then of course the voices are yelling back at us. What do you mean forgive them? It isn’t a sin; it is a choice, a disease, an alternative lifestyle.  You are just too closed-minded to appreciate it.  Forgiveness isn’t radical anymore; the culture says it is unnecessary!

Jesus asks, who is more thankful, the person forgiven the greater debt or the one with the lesser debt? Everyone knows the answer to that.  The issue is that none of us want to admit we are bankrupt.  We can’t break even, we can’t even get more credit.  It is over, our sin has corrupted us.  If we truly realized how great our sin is, how would that change our outlook?  No, we are more comfortable going to God and saying “Don’t forgive me, that’s just not right, I’d rather earn it back.”

The issue with sin isn’t the sinner, it’s our ego, feelings, and weak sense of identity. It doesn’t feel good to admit our sins. Our egos get bruised and we think we are a failure.  But none of that is true.  The truth is that in our forgiveness we take on the full dwelling of God in us.  The Holy Spirit takes up shop and makes you and me His Holy Temple.  Like the forgiven woman we is filled to overflowing with the truth of our identity and nothing feels better.  Breaking free from the chains of guilt, sin and shame requires us to be courageous in God’s truth. The world will say it’s just not right, but we will say amen, thank you Lord!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… 1 Peter 1:1”

His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss