Pastor’s Corner

New Year New Day

New Year’s New Days

Scripture reminds us we are a new creation every day.  Our sins are paid in full and removed from us as far as the East is from the West.  Like the sun dawning on a new day, we, too, have a fresh start to live in Christ and for Christ every day!

All that being said, there is something powerful about the new perspective a turn of the calendar brings each New Year.  We close 2018 and look forward to the possibilities of 2019. There will be difficult days and challenging moments for sure.  Mistakes will be made or opportunities missed like in years passed.  But, there will also be new moments and experiences that will bring great joy and excitement.

The New Year inspires us to make plans and work towards our dreams.  Some we will reach, some we will not, but the journey and who we journey with can make it all worth while.

Thank you for you partnership in the Gospel, it is truly a blessing to work with you to transform our homes, lives and communities.  With you and through you God is bringing His kingdom presence into this world.  I am excited about how God has done this and will do this through you and me and this family of faith we call Cross.

In 2019 there are some exciting milestones for Cross:

Sue’s Retirement/New Principle:  We will say “Thank You” to Sue and celebrate the life she has dedicated to sharing God’s good news to children and families.  We will also depend on God to bring us our next leader for the School Ministry.

Youth Minister:  We continue to search and piracy for God to deliver our next Youth Ministry Leader.  This process has taken a while but we also expected that might happen.  Many people have helped out so far and we know God’s timing it not always our own.

New Facilities:  With the Capital Campaign mostly computed and our initial budget set, we are poised to move forward with the new Facilities Team and the plans for our new Children’s and Youth Ministry spaces.  This has been quite a journey and 2019 will be an exciting year that moves this vision forward!

Explore God:  We will continue to explore God, listen to His voice and help others to do the same.  We have been blessed with this gift of faith in our lives, but also to be a blessing for others.

Each year is special in its own right and 2019 will be no different.  What will never change is that no matter what the year brings the promise of Christmas is true.  God is with us!

Pastor’s Corner

Merry Christmas 2

Blessed Christmas!

This week, I simply wanted to encourage you on your Christmas journey.  What I love about Christmas is the ability to just “be”.   All of the doing has been done; the family is together and we can just be together.   The temptation is great to turn the being of Christmas into more doing since we don’t want to miss any wonderful opportunities to do stuff on our time off!

What if I reminded you that Jesus came to earth at Christmas to give us peace?  Peace is God’s gift to us and when we fill it with stuff (could be activities, could be worries or other thoughts), we actually reject God’s gift!  Take some time this Christmas and just be in the presence of God and enjoy one another.

Being doesn’t mean you are doing nothing.  It simply means what you are doing you are intentional about, not robbing you of peace.  Playing board games might be relaxing, but it could also turn into arguments or tears.  Choose wisely J

Whatever it is that lets you enjoy, rest, be still and dwell in peace with God is a recipe for a successful Christmas, but also a successful life.   Remember, God gave us a day of rest along with the other six days to be busy.

I encourage you to find peace at our worship services at Cross this weekend.  Saturday and Sunday are our normal worship schedule.  Monday is Christmas Eve with services at 3:00, 5:00, 7:00, and 11:00 PM!  Many options to allow you to find one that will let you rest in the presence of the Lord.

Here on earth we will never be without some type of chaos or turmoil, but we can still have peace when we allow God’s light to shine over our lives and drowned out all the other distractions and troubles.  May Jesus be your Great Light at Christmas and every day and may it fill your life with peace in the midst of the world’s chaos.

In Christ,

Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

Explore God Christmas (5)

Pastor’s Corner – Explore God

Christmas can be a season of great joy, it can also be a season of great obligations.  Work parties, family gatherings, presents and events all seem to be in abundance as the year comes to a close and the “holidays” are in full swing.  This doesn’t even get into the obligation we have with God to celebrate Him–the “Reason for the Season.”

While it might be easy to get overwhelmed or to feel tossed around by your schedule of events or feel guilty for cutting out Jesus.  What if I told you there was a simple way to find God in the midst of all of this commotion?  God is bigger than our hectic schedule and He is bigger than our inability to say “no” to the obligations in front of us.  God has the ability to enter each of these activities on our calendar and transform them and give them purpose.

Listen:  On the surface you might hear the same stories from the same coworkers.  But, if you really listen you might just hear someone talk about something that really matters.  Even if you don’t say anything right then you can remember, pray and follow up as appropriate.  Your coworker or family member will appreciate this sincere compassion.

Share: You don’t need a full speech about God, but as people ask you what your plans are for Christmas do not fail to mention worship.  Simple truths like this go a long way when people have questions or concerns or simply need prayer in the future.  Don’t let other people be surprised to find out you are Christian, give them little clues to know why you are the way you are.

Explore:  After Christmas, in Late January, we will begin a series called Explore God.  This series is specifically designed for believers to invite others to ask questions and challenge stereotypes of the Christian faith.  It is also designed to help believers become aware of the questions others are asking about God.   Keep your eyes open this Christmas season and pray for God to show you a couple people in your life who have these kinds of questions.

Pray:  Pray for God to show you what He is doing through each of these events on your calendar.  Ask Him to reveal to you how He is at work all around you.  Desire a heart that is compassionate toward others who have many questions and doubts.

Read: Read about Explore God today!  Bill Ziech has written several articles. has a lot of information.  Read it now before the schedule gets out of hand so you can be in tune with how God is at work.  I am certain you will be surprised how your holiday obligations get transformed by God into little moments where He shows up and does amazing things this Christmas season and beyond!

In Christ,

Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner


“He sees you when you’re sleepin’; He knows when you’re awake…”

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want… Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me… Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  Psalm 23

“You better watch out, you better not cry, better not pout, I’m telling you why:  Santa Claus is coming to town… He sees you when you’re sleepin’; he knows when you’re awake.  He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!”  Lyrics to a very popular Christmas song remind us that Santa has a list (He’s checked it twice) to find out who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.  For those on the good list there’s a reward of gifts.  For those on the naughty list, well… if you’re lucky, you get just a lump of coal, but depending on your culture’s Santa Claus stories, it could be much worse!  (Do a search for Sinterklaas!)

Now we all know that Christmas is not about Santa; it’s really about God coming to us – Emmanuel.  This Advent weekend we’re reminded the God who comes to us is also our Shepherd.  Jesus is our Shepherd, and He knows His sheep and watches over them.

The Shepherd watches over His sheep.  That means when we go astray from His leading, when we try to lead the flock ourselves, when we ignore God’s will and direction in our lives – all of this is not unknown to our God.  Our Shepherd watches over us.  Those sins we commit in the dark and think no one can see because it’s a secret – our Shepherd sees.  There is no place we can go where the watchful eye of our Shepherd does not look.  God knows when we go astray.

And yet our watchful Shepherd who sees all and knows all isn’t just waiting for the sheep to mess up and fall to their own destruction.  He’s not anticipating our wandering and gleefully waiting to give us a lump of coal in life.  Instead, He never leaves us.  He never abandons us.  He never stops waiting for us or calling out to us.  The Shepherd’s desire is to gather all of His sheep so that there is one flock under Him, the Good Shepherd.  So we, the sheep, desire to do what is pleasing to our Shepherd, not because we’re afraid of His punishment, but because life and eternity are found only in Him.  We follow Jesus because He is the only way that leads to eternal life.  We trust Him completely because of what He’s done for us.

Jesus, our Good Shepherd, laid down His life for His sheep.  He did this for you, for me, and for all people so that goodness and mercy might follow us all the days of our life – and that in the end, we might dwell in the house of the Lord for all eternity.  God’s story for us in Christmas is that a Savior was born to bring people back to God.  The sheep who have gone astray find forgiveness in a Shepherd who lays down His life for them.  As we anticipate the coming of our Savior this Christmas, remember that Jesus is our Shepherd, who loves and cares for His sheep – so much so that He dies so the sheep may live.  When we go astray, the Shepherd is present to forgive and restore.  And as we follow Him, we live in His mercy, enjoy His goodness, and find life eternal in Him.

Pastor Matt Conrad