Pastor’s Corner



The Season of Advent is one of the most fun for me in the church year.  I get to wear a blue stole (my favorite color) and each week builds with the anticipation of CHRISTMAS!!!  Unfortunately, it goes by so fast that if you blink, you’ll miss it.  The first week of Advent is always the Sunday after Thanksgiving and the last week, week four, is the Sunday before Christmas.  No wonder our culture is extending Christmas to Halloween, more time to get excited for CHRISTMAS!!!

Advent is intended to be a time to think about life before Jesus came–the people, the circumstances, and the history.  In this world before Jesus, in the world before Christmas, people were waiting for a savior and wondering if He would ever come.  Had God forgotten about them?  Had they missed something?  Was it all just a made up legend to keep people in line? Then, consider what impact Jesus’ arrival had on the world and still has on our lives today!

This Advent series for traditional worship focuses on the ways in which God is with us through our Lord Jesus Christ. Each week will focus on a different word picture of the coming Christ found in the poetic and prophetic words of Isaiah. Services will reveal how Christ continues be present with us even now.

  • Week 1: Our Potter (Isaiah 64:8): God is with us as our Potter, who shapes according to his will.
  • Week 2: Our Shepherd (Isaiah 40:11): God is with us as our Shepherd, who carries us close to his heart.
  • Week 3: Our Living Branch (Isaiah 11:1): God is with us as our Living Branch, who died and rose to give us eternal life.
  • Week 4: Our Guide (Isaiah 2:3): God is with us as our Guide, who leads us according to his Word.

This Advent Season, take time to consider one of the many ways you can pause and reflect on why Jesus really came.  Remember His purposes really are and how the work He has done and continues to do for us makes an eternal difference.  Get excited, because every one of those memories, every experience and every truth that has been recorded and passed down through the generations happened so that, at just the right time, God would come to save us.  Let’s get excited, it’s almost CHRISTMAS!!!!

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Galatians 4: 4,5

In Christ,

Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

Voice of Hope Behind the Wall

Voice of Hope

In recent years, our culture has been adding “holidays” to tack on to Thanksgiving.  We have the long standing “Black Friday” which has been extended to the online world of “Cyber Monday.”  These are nice bookends to a season of self-focused shopping and deals.  On the flip side of things, many charities have now started to emphasize “Giving Tuesday” as way to balance out all the naval gazing.

“Giving Tuesday” is not a “real” holiday, but it has significant importance.  It highlights many ministries that might otherwise be forgotten.  On this day, we encourage each other to look outside of ourselves and see the greater needs in the world around us.

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight a special ministry that could use your support.  This ministry is to State Prison inmates with life sentences and is called “Voice of Hope Behind the Wall.”  This ministry has been led by Deaconess Lori Wilbert for more than 32 years and has done tremendous work for the Lord.

Deaconess Wilbert describes her ministry this way–“God’s healing and grace is not limited by a cement wall or razor wire, and his mercy is able to permeate even the most brutal environment. The simple truth is God’s love is present and available to all.  It enables inmates to know a God who is faithful, forgiving, and grace-filled. Perhaps, most important of all, they know a God who loves them and has not forgotten them.”

Throughout her ministry in an all-male prison, she has had the privilege of transforming the culture in the most brutal of places.  She has had men confess their crimes, become baptized believers and led reconciliation with the criminals and their victims or victim’s families.  Many of the offenders have no regard for human life, including their own, but are transformed when they learn about a God who loves them.

You can find out more about Deaconess Wilbert at  You can also donate only or keep her in your prayers.  She would ask that you also pray for those men who have done horrific things in their past to be freed in the Gospel of Jesus and live a transformed life even though they will never be released from prison.

In Christ,

Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

Communion Thanksgiving

Pastor’s Corner – Meal of Thanks

It is that time of year again where the menu of foods available at one meal becomes the topic of conversation for weeks!  Should the sweet potatoes have brown sugar and marshmallows?  Should the turkey be smoked, baked or deep fried? Are cranberries truly necessary? And the biggest of all stresses, which kind of pie should we have?

Ok, maybe I’m being a little extreme, but if we are being honest you are likely commenting in your mind about how I didn’t even mention the food you are most concerned with for Thanksgiving.  I don’t know what that food is, but each family, each tradition has its own values and priorities.  The differences can be stressful, but the hope is they are more fun and meaningful.   The food is a way to bring us all together and show thanks to each other and give thanks to God.

At Cross, we also celebrate with a special family meal.  This meal is a little less intricate than a Thanksgiving feast but it does bring the family of faith together and causes us to give thanks.  The meal is called the Eucharist.  Some of you may know it by the more common name–Communion.

Eucharist is from the earliest New Testament accounts of Jesus as He shared this meal with His disciples.  “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks (Eucharist), he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me”. (1 Corinthians 11:23–24)

When Jesus taught the disciples about Communion and as they passed on that teaching over the generations, it was about giving thanks.  Thanks to God for all He has done, thanks for the family of faith and unity we have with each other.

This Thanksgiving, you are once again invited to receive Communion as a family of faith.  We will celebrate the Eucharist on Wednesday night and on Thanksgiving Day in order to help make it more accessible to you and your holiday schedule.  We pray this will be a blessing for you as we worship and give thanks to God for all He has done.  Don’t let it stop on Thursday;  remember every meal and every time we take Communion we are giving thanks.  Remember every breath and every action is also an opportunity to give thanks for all He is and all He has done!

Pastor’s Corner


Women Giving in Faith

This week, we celebrate a ministry that has existed for more than 75 years.  The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League(LWML).   This organization is, simply put, the women of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, working together to share the Good News of Jesus around the world.

In the local congregation, the women of LWML work together to encourage and support women of faith.  Think of it as a classic women’s ministry where people are there to support one another and celebrate with one another in life’s ups and downs.  Like any ministry in the church, the primary gift given to each other is Jesus.  The women gather and pray, encourage and support, study the word of God and challenge each other to live out the faith.

 The Motto of the LWML is from Psalm 100:2 “Serve the Lord with gladness.” Throughout the last 75 years, the LWML has become most recognized for their global mission support.   It all started with a widow’s offering in the Book of Mark where a poor widow puts what today would total about $0.55 in the offering plate.

Jesus, who saw this action of the widow, stood up and celebrated her action of faith.  The LWML has taken this account as inspiration and for 75 years has collected change in “Mite Boxes” to be given to missionaries around the globe.  This collection of change has led to over $100 Million collected and given directly to missionaries.

This week, we will celebrate God’s work through the LWML and encourage one another that every little bit given in faith does more than we can ever imagine.  I am certain that those women who founded the LWML 75 years ago had no idea that it would persist to accomplish all that it has.  When we take our gifts to the Lord in faith, we can be sure God will multiply it and accomplish everything He desires both for the gift and for us!

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.  Amen”  Ephesians 3:20-21

Pastor’s Corner

For All The Saints

Pastor’s Corner – Take a Pause and Reflect

Recently, one of my daughters informed the family she doesn’t like history.  My first reaction was to think about how much I didn’t like history at her age, but I knew that wasn’t the correct parenting maneuver.  As I gathered my thoughts, I decided to affirm that yes, some history is boring, but without history, none of us would even exist and we wouldn’t’ have any of the stuff we enjoy today.

This week the Christian church celebrates ‘history.”  October 31 and November 1 are two days to remember those who have gone before us and the path they paved for our success today.  As Lutheran Christians, we remember the request for insightful debate that led to the Reformation of the entire Christian faith.   In addition, we remember and honor the pillars of the faith in our own lives and the life of the church.

Life is filled with seasons and rhythms.  Some are fast moving and event filled and others are meant to allow us a time to pause and reflect.  If we don’t pause and reflect, we will simply push forward without any clear direction or understanding of where we want to end up.  More than likely, if we don’t pause and reflect, we don’t end up where we want to be.

Are you willing to pause and reflect? To seek clarity on the past and look for the next step forward?  The rhythms of work and rest, of action and reflection are biblical and enriching.  God created for six days and then rested.  God would send seasons of prophets and apostles, and then would rest from prophecy for generations or even millennia.  Are you working and resting?  Are you pausing to look back and look forward?

This week and last week, we celebrate Reformation and All Saint’s Day.  Join us as we reflect on how God has blessed us and how we might follow God into our future.  Then do this as friends and as a family of faith.  Think about your ancestors and the ancestors of the Family of Faith at Cross.  Think about your spiritual mentors and all who have helped form and shape your journey.  Thank God for these people then remember you are called by God to be that spiritual mentor for the people around you!

In Christ,

Erik Gauss