Pastor’s Corner

RLC Day 6 week of being

Challenged to Be

If you could do just one thing and be guaranteed to be closer to God, would you do it?  I’d venture a guess that the vast majority of you that opened this article and read it would say yes and hardly think twice.  Honestly we are so jaded today.  Most of us probably had the fleeting thought of “it depends on what it is,” but we’ll ignore that for now and presume that we love God enough to trust what He would ask us to do would be a good thing.

So what is the one thing we can do to guarantee we will be closer to God?  The answer is to “Abide in His Word.”  Ok, I know that is sort of a trick answer.  Jesus is the Word of God and so if we abide in Him, we will of course be close to Him!  But HOW do we get closer to God?  HOW do we abide in His Word?  The answer is simple but not easy.

When we abide in one thing, we are inevitably choosing to ignore something else.  We may not realize it, but when we abide in our schedule, our work, our family life; when we abide in our bank account, our hobbies, our status, our spouse, our friends, our pets, our charities, our church or volunteer outlets, we are not abiding in His Word.  Conversely, when we abide in His Word, other things need to be let go.  Jesus famously shares with His disciples that they cannot – we cannot – serve two masters.  There can be only one!

In order for the Devil to be successful, he doesn’t have to get us to hate God, just love something else.  We have tremendous pressure to do, provide and experience things in life.  We believe the lies that we have failed if our list of activities doesn’t compare to other individuals or families.  But God tells us the opposite, and who do we end up believing?

“Be still, and know that I am God.”  “Abide in My Word and the truth will set you free.”  Over and over and over Jesus reminds us that the true source of joy and happiness is to be fully rooted – abiding – in God.  It means we will need to let go of some other things.  Are you up for the challenge?

In Christ,

Pastor Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

Psalm 46-10 Be Still And Know That I Am God brown

Pastor’s Corner – Major Events Coming

Within the next couple days you should receive a letter to your home that shares some exciting news about our building project.  This letter contains some information about the potential size and scope of our project.  It also contains some important dates to give feedback and ask questions during the first week of March.  If you do not receive the letter by the end of February, please contact the church office.  It likely means we do not have accurate records for your household.

Lent is upon us with Ash Wednesday just a few days away.  Our Red Letter Challenge (RLC) is here, as well, and we will spend 40 Days listening to the voice of God in the red letters of the Bible.  With the arrival of Lent and Easter it seems ministry kicks into high gear as well.

Sunday, March 8th will be a brief congregational meeting immediately after our late service.  We will vote on a Synod Constitution revision and urgent financial support for a mission partner.

Lutheran Schools week will be celebrated the second week of March.  This includes our annual traditions like the Fun Fair, Family Concert and other exciting events.  Watch the Newsletter and church calendar for more information as the dates get closer.

Palm Sunday is April 5th and will once again host a choir cantata highlighting the events of Holy Week from the triumphal entry to the death and resurrection of Jesus.   Palm Sunday will also host the Easter Jam for the children and families.  Then, we will have the special services of Holy week, culminating with Easter on April 11/12th.

Lent and Easter will provide many opportunities to stay busy, but that isn’t the purpose.  The purpose of Lent is to challenge yourself to refine your spiritual focus.  Sometimes our focus improves when we add more good things in our life.  Other times we need to take out things that are distractions, even if they are good things too.

One final way we can improve our focus is to take something that regularly occurs and use it to remind us to focus. This is what traditional Lenten customs are intended to do.  Do you normally eat meat during the day?  Cutting meat out of a meal reminds us to think about our spiritual journey every time we eat!  Put a sticker on a mirror or a bracelet on your wrist.  Move the trash can to a new place or put the silverware in a different drawer.

These may seem like silly things, but the point isn’t to make life harder, it is already filled with challenges. Instead, how can we make life better by routinely focusing on Christ?  If you have not already downloaded our app from the app store, stop and do it right now!  If you download the app you will receive a notification once each day in Lent with a devotional word.

Stay focused and listen to God this Lent–you won’t be disappointed.

In Christ,

Pastor Erik Gauss

“Be still, and know that I am God.   I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”  Psalm 46:10

Pastor’s Corner

Wednesday Lenten Services

Pastor’s Corner – Wednesday Night Rest

Over the last several years, Ash Wednesday has become a pretty big deal around here.  Worship on Ash Wednesday has grown to include many individuals and families as we kick off a special season of spiritual focus and growth.  I hope this year is no exception as we once again head in to the Lenten season on Ash Wednesday, February 26th.

Wednesday nights in Lent are great family nights at Cross.  We provide a meal, worship services and age-appropriate instruction for the whole family from February 26th until April 1st, 2020.  If you have not already been a part of our Wednesday night ministries, I want to invite you to try it now.   The season of Lent is a perfect time to make spiritual formation a priority for you and your family.

This year, our Sundays will be themed around the Red Letters of the Bible which is a fancy way to say the words spoken by Jesus, himself.  Jesus’ words are not any more or less accurate than the other words in the Bible; we believe all the words are inspired by God.  But, focusing on Jesus’ words is meaningful and creates some excitement around getting back into the Scriptures.

Wednesday nights will provide opportunities for adults to worship or to get into Red Letter discussion groups as you “Grow in Faith Together.”    Our Wednesday Night worship services are typically shorter and more reflective than our services on Sunday.  If you have never taken the time to reflect in worship, in the evening, there is truly something special about it.  Sometimes, we just want to go home and “relax in front of the TV” but try “relaxing in front of the Lord;” you might find yourself more refreshed than you thought possible.

The theme for the Wednesday Night services this Lenten season will be “The Gospel in Seven Words.”  The intention of this series will be to help make the Gospel of Jesus more simple to receive in your life and to help you share it more simply with others.  The Gospel frees us from the false burdens of the world and restores peace and joy to our lives.  Sometimes, we make the Gospel too complicated so it becomes a new burden. This Lent, we will rest in the simple power of the Gospel of Christ.

Take a moment right now and put Wednesday nights into your calendar; see what God will do if you give him a moment to fill you up in the middle of your week.  You won’t be disappointed.

In Christ,

Pastor Erik Gauss

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

Pastor’s Corner


Pastor’s Corner – Spiritual Fasting

February 26th is Ash Wednesday and marks the beginning of Lent.  This 40 day season is set aside for the purpose of intentional spiritual growth.  Here at Cross we provide many opportunities for groups and individuals to be intentional during this season.  It is impossible to be razor focused everyday all year long; we are humans that get distracted and desensitized.  This is why Lent is such a powerful season; forty days is a great length of time to challenge us and also transform us.

One way the Bible encourages spiritual formation is through fasting.  Fasting is an intentional decision to refrain from something for a set amount of time.  Fasting is a current dieting fad where people set a certain amount of time to eat each day and refrain from food the rest of the day.  Some people fast from social media or their phone or other technology in order to get better control over how they spend their time.

Spiritual Fasting is a way to make an intentional decision to omit something from our schedule and use that absence as motivation to refocus on Christ.  For example, we could eliminate social media and replace it with prayer and scripture reading.  We could use that time to reach out to friends or family members who could use some real human interaction.  We could use that time for volunteering or any other way to reclaim time lost for time with value.  Another example, we could omit sugary sweets from our diet.  Each time we crave or mistakenly eat one of these sweets we are reminded of God’s love and sacrifice for us.

Importantly, none of these examples are requirements.  Fasting is a tool to help us take our eyes off of things that might be good and place our eyes on Jesus, who is always good.   Sometime, over the next few days take some time to consider an area of your faith life you would like to grow.  Maybe it is prayer, service, tithing, bible reading, airship attendance, faith conversations, or acting on God’s little nudges.  If you can’t find time over the next few days, that might be a strong indicator!

 Then take a moment to consider how you are most motivated.  What can you remove from your schedule over the next 40 days, or where do you have some time that can be used differently.  (I know in our home we have spent more time recently waiting in parking lots to pick up or drop off children.  You might see Alicia or me walking around as we wait to get in a few more steps!)

One opportunity is to join together with others for motivation, inspiration and accountability.  This Lent, as a congregation, we are taking the RLC.  This is a challenge to read the words of Jesus, often depicted with red letters.  Maybe this would be a great motivation for you too!

Regardless of how the Lord leads you, the most important thing is always the same: Listen to God’s leadership in your life and then faithfully follow where He leads.  You will not be disappointed.

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” Isaiah 58:6

In Christ,

Erik Gauss