Pastor’s Corner

What Do You Think?

listening to god's wordI remember a great friend of mine listening to me as I worked through an important life decision. He listened as I laid out the pros and cons of each decision and then asked him the important question… “so, what do you think I should do?” I wanted the honest opinion of important people in my life to help me make the best decision. He just looked at me and said, “it sounds to me like you already know what you want to do and you are just afraid to do it.”

I’ve never forgotten those words and I have applied them many times in my life. More importantly, I have offered the same observation to a few others I have listened to about important life decisions. Often times our indecision comes because we are afraid of what will happen if we make the decision we believe is right.

“Who do you say that I am?” That is probably the most important question in the Bible. Jesus asks Peter to share his thoughts. Jesus asked a lot of questions like this, not so He could learn the answer, but to help His friends and disciples figure out what they truly believed. This question is easily the most important question in the entire Bible.

Some people go their entire life thinking the most important question is if Jesus truly is God or not. What they fail to realize is that even if Jesus is God, and you don’t believe it, He might as well not be. Jesus’ work on the Cross was the most important thing to ever be done, but it is meaningless to you if you don’t believe it. The problem is that if it is true, then it changes everything.

If Jesus really did die for my sins and I truly believe it, then I don’t need to save myself, prove myself or protect myself. If Jesus is God and I believe it, then nothing else matters as much as it used to… nothing. If God really died for me and Jesus is my savior, then I can’t ever wonder if God loves me or cares about me. Everything changes if I believe Jesus is the Christ the son of the living God…EVERYTHING.

This month is the month of Easter. Please participate and take in the full story of Jesus. We’d love to have you at Palm Sunday and Holy Week and Easter services as well many other activities and events. Come, be reminded again of the many witnesses and events that point to who Jesus is and what He is done. Most importantly, set apart some time to ask the most impactful question ever asked, “Who do you say that I am?” And remember to consider if you are more confused about who He is, or concerned about what that means for you, your life and the lives of those around you if you believe it.

Pastor’s Corner

guatemala mission trip 2017 - Image for Pastor's Corner Article


Have you thought about serving on an international mission trip?  This October 7-14, Cross will be going back to Guatemala City to serve and show God’s love.  I had the privilege of serving last year, and it was an absolutely remarkable trip.  I was challenged to see the world through another lens, and I was encouraged that the love of Christ shines through in any language.

This trip is excellent for a first time mission trip or for a seasoned missionary.  Our partner organization, Groundwork Guatemala, shares many of the same values as we do at Cross.  Both Cross and Groundwork Guatemala emphasize discipleship formation through the life transforming Word of God.  The best (and most difficult) part about this perspective is there is no “one size fits all” answer.  Bible study, worship and prayer are all important, but if we don’t have love, all these efforts are a “noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13:1.  Feed the hungry, heal the sick, find the lost; these things are critical, but without the Word of God, they are temporary.

Are you wondering if you should go this year?  If you have read so far, that would be a good indicator.  Are you qualified?  The answer to that is simple but not easy.  God isn’t looking for people who don’t need Him.  God is looking for underqualified people who are willing to give it over to God and let Him do amazing things through you.  So, if you think God might be calling you to serve, then it is likely He is.

Is this the right time or place? Come to an information meeting or talk to someone who went last year to ask the questions you need to ask to help you decide.  Pray to God to reveal His will to you.  Ultimately trust in the Lord to guide you and protect you.  The time and place often matter to us more than they do to God.  He is calling you to serve every day, in every way.

The most amazing thing I have seen since going to Guatemala last year is in those who went. The entire team came back more equipped and willing to serve back here at home.  We are all able to see things a little bit differently, and all of it is for the better.  I have been praying for you since I came back last year, praying for those who might go this year, 2017, to be able to hear God’s call and then have the faith to follow.

In Christ,

Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner


Life Emerges from Sorrow

Jesus’ preaching ministry didn’t occur until He had endured His most difficult trial.  Jesus fasted in the wilderness for forty days!  Then, when He was at His weakest and most vulnerable, the devil came to tempt Him.  Most Bible scholars believe Jesus was around thirty years old when He called His first disciples to follow Him.

The season of spring is a similar story of new life emerging from the cold, lifeless season of winter. Sure, the snow is beautiful and the winter sports can be a blast, but there is something miraculous about the plants, dormant all winter, coming back to life.  The most life giving season of the year comes immediately after the most lifeless months.

The same is to be said about many famous events in history. The unity of our nation became its strongest after the division of North and South.  The space program soared to new heights after several failures and Russian success.  Our nation grew to great strength after the Great Depression and a war!  Martin Luther discovered the true meaning of the Christian faith after a season of immense spiritual torment over His faith.  It is amazing how things turn around, but more powerful, how new life emerges from certain death.

What can be said in your life? Do you embrace trials and hardships?  Do you face them head on, knowing that through our suffering, God is able to work amazing transformation and faith?  Don’t feel bad if you don’t; it is almost as if we need to give up all hope before we are ready to allow God to do His work.  But through this hopelessness, God accomplishes miraculous outcomes.

During and after great trial in the wilderness, Jesus leaned on the Word of God and emerged faithful in ministry. During and after a time of imprisonment, Paul’s faith was refined, and he published amazing testimonies (books of the Bible) we still read today.  If you are going through a season of despair, or if someone you know is wanting to give up, don’t.  Lean on the Word of God; it will fill you and sustain you.  The Word of God will help quench your thirst and strengthen your frailty.  But more than that, this season of refinement can lead to amazing things you never thought possible.

“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


Pastor’s Corner

Lutheran Schools Week - smallThe Lutheran Church has long considered education a critical part of faith formation. Whether the motivation was teaching a new immigrant population in their native tongue, increasing education quality in a poor community, or giving children a Christ centered nurturing environment while their parents are at work, our Lutheran school system has helped families for centuries.

 The Lutheran school system, unlike some Christian schools, is not solely for the promotion of our church doctrine. Our colleges and universities have been on the forefront of education and leadership so that students who attend will be an assist to any career they choose. In recent decades, our colleges and universities have created graduate school programs in areas like law and pharmacy to fill voids in education. Students that attend these programs get a Christian environment and are challenged to consider the role faith has in every area of life.

At Cross, like many churches, we have a long legacy of church and school working together to help families grow in faith and knowledge. When faith and knowledge come together around God’s Truth, a wisdom is produced that makes a powerful impact. This week we lift up in prayer the many families, workers and sacrifices that are made to provide not only a loving Christian environment, but also excellence in education.

Our graduates go on to be top scholars and athletes at the high schools and colleges they choose. Some continue on in church work and in faithfulness over their own families. One of the greatest accomplishments I see is that our students are often times instant leaders in their new schools because of the support and development they have received from the body of Christ working together.

 Please take sometime this week to thank God for leaders of the faith you have had on your own life. Ask the Lord to continue to provide that to the next generation through you and through the entire Christian faith. And this week, especially, for those Christian Schools that humbly serve with excellence for the sake of the Gospel.




Pastor’s Corner

spiritual-renewalSpiritual Renewal

As Lent arrives, I would like to sincerely challenge you to embrace this season of spiritual refinement and renewal. Lent is a season where the church traditionally “slows down” to focus on the 40 days of temptation Jesus endured in the wilderness.  

I used to get upset that Jesus wasn’t protected from the devil’s schemes and lies in the desert. It didn’t seem right that God himself was subject to Satan’s lies.  But, I have come to realize the beauty of Jesus trial in the desert.  He has proven to be a God who understands my everyday life.

So many man made religions teach a faith that is dependent on your ability to overcome this world and be a better person. In these false religions your value is proven by you ability to protect yourself from sin and evil.  In the true Christian faith it is taught that no one is “safe” from the devil’s schemes.  In fact, God himself was subject to the lies of the devil—angels in heaven have fallen because of them and the entire creation is cursed as a result of falling for the devil’s promises.

In this season of Lent, we are encouraged to remember the devil is around every corner and behind every temptation. We are called to be aware and on guard, for his deceptions are subtle and wear us down.  During these 40 days, it would be good for us to remember that feeling an absence of spiritual warfare is probably the most dangerous place to be.  For none of us are exempt from these types of attacks, not even Jesus.

What do we do? The same thing Jesus did in that desert.  He armed Himself with the truth so He could identify the lies.  During these next 40 days at Cross, we will be reading through the life and teachings of Jesus. Our walk through His Story continues with the New Testament and what the arrival, work and promises of God through Jesus, mean for us today.

This journey can not be completed alone—we must join together to overcome and help one another recognize the lies, to encourage one another to focus on the truth and to proclaim to one another the blessings that God gives to us but that are so easily forgotten in the rush of life.

This Lent please try out one of our Community Groups—groups of people gathering together around God’s word and sharing life together in the good times and in the trials. These groups help us all to make time to hear God though the Bible and through one another.  Making time for God, His word, and His believers also means we squeeze out time for the devils lies and schemes.  I think that is called a win / win! 

Look on line, call the church office, search the app or text “group” to 630-592-4886. Any of these will get you started on a new path that will prove to be a source of connection to God and His family in a world where every one of us desperately needs it.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”