Pastor’s Corner – NYG Update

NYG # 1 for PC

Pastor’s Corner – NYG Update and Thank You for Support

This summer, a group of 16 youth were blessed with the opportunity to attend the National Youth Gathering of the LCMS in Minneapolis. Over 22,000 people from 49 states and even other countries were in attendance. This year’s theme was “Real. Present. God.” based on Psalm 46, which was the focus of each day’s Bible study. Days were spent at the convention center with opportunities for learning, serving, worshiping and joining in fellowship with others who were in attendance. Each evening all 22,000 attendees would gather at USBank Stadium (the home stadium of the Minnesota Vikings) for a mass event with worship and powerful speakers whose experiences tied into the theme of the event. From these speakers, we heard first-hand accounts about how God was present in their lives through experiences such as deaths of family members, being bullied throughout high school, ministering in Ferguson MO and surviving a school shooting.

Many of the stadium and convention center staff were unsure about hosting such a large gathering of teenagers, but the love of Christ was evident in all participants throughout the week. Over and over we heard stories about stadium security and local police commenting that this was the best group that has ever used the stadium and they were disappointed to hear that we would not be back next year.

A testimony from one of the youth who attended:

“NYG was an incredible experience. It was a lot of fun and very impactful. I really enjoyed the mass events at night. They gave the message to us in a variety of ways, using relatable skits and speakers which made the messages easy to receive. The music was also awesome. It’s really cool to see 20-some thousand people worshiping along with you, and it was clear that by the end of the week everyone felt comfortable worshiping and really doing everything without worrying what people would think, which was a result of the message that the events sent.”

An unexpected blessing for our youth was numerous opportunities to bond with their new Youth Director, Will LeBeau, who will be starting in August. In the midst of 22,000 people gathered we unexpectedly ran into Will numerous times each day. “There’s Will!” became a familiar exclamation throughout the week and our youth enjoyed opportunities to bond with him by attending sessions together and even sitting down to play UNO during some downtime.

Thank you to everyone who supported the group with prayers and financial contributions. God’s presence was evident throughout the entire trip and the preparations beforehand. Thank you to our adult volunteers (Chalyce Deterding, Tony Holub, Ali Monkemeyer, and Brian Monkemeyer) for volunteering their time and truly shepherding our youth during this trip.  God was truly present through the event volunteers, adult leaders and the youth throughout the entire trip.


Andy Winkelman – Volunteer Leader

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”— Psalm 46:1

Pastor’s Corner

Parables Jesus Teaching-Title

Pastor’s Corner – Teaching Through Stories

Have you ever asked someone a question only to have them answer with a long-winded reply that didn’t seem to answer the question? If this has happened to you, than you can certainly relate to Jesus’ disciples.  Jesus often would teach and answer His disciple’s questions with parables.  A parable is a simple story that would teach a moral or spiritual lesson.  Jesus would use these stories to teach His disciples, but He also had another reason.

Many Christian leaders have taught the half-truth that a believer should not question God.  This is a half-truth because a believer should certainly respect and believe that God is good and competent.  In other words, we shouldn’t question God’s knowledge and power.  But, at the same time, we don’t fully understand God’s goodness and power.  When a person doesn’t understand, but desires to know more, they ask questions.  In other words, as humans who don’t fully understand God it is necessary to ask questions so we can grow in our understanding of God and in our faith.

A wise man once told me, “If you don’t have questions about God than you either don’t care or aren’t thinking about Him enough.”  God desires us to ask questions and even question Him because in the process of asking and seeking answers we learn and grow.  Just like a child might doubt and question their parent, we, too, question our heavenly Father and learn His will and love for us!

Parables open the door for questions and conversations.  Parables cause the listener to think with their own mind and learn the will of God.  Starting July 28th and going through September 1st, we will be exploring the Parables of Jesus.  We will listen to what He is teaching us and we will hopefully have questions about God.  We will seek God’s teachings for those answers and Grow in Faith Together.

The best part is that when we ask questions and seek answers we grow more patience with the questions other people have.  When we seek answers in the word of God, we grow in wisdom to help others with their questions.  Sometimes, we are afraid to ask questions because we don’t have the answers.  But, how will we get answers, if we don’t ask the questions?

In Luke 18, Jesus tells a parable about a persistent widow.   The widow asked the judge for justice against her adversary.  Jesus teaches us to persistently ask God for justice on this earth; justice against our adversaries and in all circumstances.  God won’t ignore or continue to put us off, but will answer us in His time.  Until He does answer, we should continue to ask Him, our Heavenly Father, for His blessing in all circumstances.  Why would we stop asking questions?  Is it because we lack faith that He will answer?

Join together with the faithful family of God as we listen to His teachings and ask questions so we continue to mature as Disciples of Jesus Christ.

Pastor’s Corner

Building on the Past, Faithful for the Future

Building Committee Update

The Building on the Past; Faithful for the Future building committee has been meeting weekly for about six weeks.  This team consists of our Chair Gary Neyer, Vice Chair Les Kimmel, Governance Board members Nate Morel and Daniel Schmitz, Member at Large Ross Stueber and teachers Cathy Schmeckpeper and Karen Miller.  So far we have had some fun and done a lot of work!

We have selected Willman and Groesch to serve as our General Contractor.  Frank Willman is a qualified and respected Committed Disciple here at Cross, and we look forward to working with him and his team throughout this project.  It is an amazing blessing for a building project to have a general contractor (GC) committed this early in the process.  The GC and the architect will be able to work together to design the project and maximize cost savings and efficiencies during construction.  Often times the GC is selected after the designs are made, resulting in change orders and delays.

We will begin interviewing architects in a few weeks and will hopefully select our architect shortly thereafter.  We have a list of eight architectural firms who are interested in helping.  They each come with different experiences and philosophies.  Please pray for our team as we pray, interview, discern and select who God would use to bless this ministry now and well into the future.

I won’t list who all the architecture candidates are in this article since things like this are continually changing.  But if you are familiar with any church/school architects and would like to share your thoughts (pros or cons), then please contact me or one of our committee members and let us know.  We value your input now and all along the way!

The scope of this project is for the Sunday and Wednesday Children’s Ministry and the preschool to have dedicated and intentional space now and for our projected growth.  We are also looking to solve the space issues for our Youth (fifth through eighth grades) and our Special Needs Ministries.  The stated total budget for this project is $3.5 million, including our tithe (10%) to mission work.  This brings the planning and construction budget to $3.15 million.  So far, over $2.1 million has been pledged.  God is doing some amazing things through each of you!

The acquisition of the contiguous land had slowed us down for a little while, but now we are moving full speed ahead (as the Lord allows).  It has also caused us to consider a basic Site Strategy that will help to ensure this addition is not only good for ministry now, but also will be a blessing to ministry for years to come.  The Site Strategy will not be extremely detailed or recommend phases for future construction.  The Site Strategy will be an overview of possible future solutions and locations for expanded ministry needs as our church and school grow.

Please pray for this project, but more importantly, for the many people whose lives will be impacted in and through the ministries this facility provides.  Pray how God has blessed you and your family to participate and support this ministry effort like so many have before us.  We have inherited an amazing legacy from the past, and by God’s grace, we are creating an impactful legacy for the future.

“We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done.”  Psalm 78:4


Pastor’s Corner

Let Freedom Ring

Pastor’s Corner – Celebrating Freedom

The Fourth of July has always been a fun-filled holiday for me.  Growing up there was a week long Hot Air Balloon and Air Show Competition in my hometown.  Later, a good friend of mine always had his day-long birthday party that weekend complete with pool, trampoline, volleyball and softball.  At Seminary, I met Alicia on the 5th of July in the downtown St. Louis area; needless to say, there were fireworks then and for the last 19 years!  Amelia, our middle daughter, was born on July 5th and Pastor Matt married his bride, Danelle, on the 5th of July also!

These are just a few of the many memories I have regarding this Celebration of Freedom, a birthday for our country.  One interesting thing about freedom is that men and women have in the past and continue to sacrifice everyday for the freedom we all celebrate. What a great gift this country is to us, but it won’t stay that way without continued sacrifice.

Each of us has lived in a time of great prosperity for our country and our Christian faith and in many ways we have taken for granted that we would continue in this prosperity. We fight daily, with each other for the right to do “any thing I want.” Scripture is very clear that freedom and prosperity are never guaranteed;  in fact, if we all demand freedom to do whatever we want then no one is truly free, we are bound by a “new law”.

Suffering and sacrifice are required for freedom to exist.  Freedom is not the absence of sacrifice–true freedom is when I sacrifice freely by choice. Jesus said it this way about His freedom to die for our freedom.  “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

This 4th of July I find myself asking the question — Do I want to use up my freedom to seek personal gain or am I willing to continue the sacrifices that are necessary so the freedoms we have can be passed on to others?  If I use my freedom just for me, I actually lose joy when I don’t get what I want.  When I use my freedom to bless others, no one can take that joy away from me.

The same is true in our walk of faith.  Many sacrifices are necessary, on the behalf of the followers of Christ, in order for His name and salvation to be known among those who do not believe.  So let’s celebrate our freedom and our faith with a great party!  And, let us sacrifice what we feel we deserve, so that those enslaved by their sin may be free to truly live!