Pastor’s Corner

Such a Time as NOW!

When Cross Lutheran Church and School was founded in 1881, the faithful people then could never have imagined what we are experiencing today.  Even from my own childhood, I could never have imagined that I would be carrying a computer / TV / telephone / video camera / pager / WiFi hotspot / newspaper / typewriter / message board in my pocket at all times.  The world is progressing all around us and at times it feels as though it is impossible to keep up.  Don’t believe the lie.

The more things seem to change, the more they remain the same.  Humanity has consistently and persistently pursued the next great invention, big or small, that will make our life simple.  We believe that fame, or fortune, or family/relationships will make us feel whole or complete.  When the smoke clears, the solution is never enough; the depth of our human desire is never satisfied.  We want more or something different than what we have.  We have tried to fill a God shaped hole with a human shaped solution.

Now, in the midst of an impossible pandemic and political climate is the time to cast aside the lies that humans can fix these problems.  Now is the time to return to the truth that the only solution to the hurts in our world is for the people of God to trust in the promises of God. 

For 140 years, the people for God at Cross have turned toward Him in times of trial:  the Biblical truth crisis of 1881, the Spanish flu pandemic, the World Wars, the Great Depression, racial tensions, presidential elections, natural catastrophes and various other challenges.  Each major circumstance is filled with all sorts of personal trials as well.  These troubles remind us that there is only one solution to what ails the world:  God’s forgiveness. 

Here we are, once again.  The world, and each of us, is hurting from all that we have gone through the last couple years.  It is as if the trials of the last century have all compounded into a couple years.  Stress, tension and anxiety are at all-time highs as we try to solve the troubles through politics, social media, and other human means.  Now is the time to return to what we know is true:  that the healing the world needs doesn’t happen through human means; it happens when the Church of God lives as the people of God. 

Come, gather, live, trust together as God’s people lean into Him and His promises of forgiveness, life and salvation.  Join us for some fun at the 140th anniversary picnic.  Grow with us in our Wednesday night discipleship nights.  Challenge yourself through the capital campaign to bring hope into the future.  Rest in God’s trust and wisdom.  Jesus has overcome the trials that face us already in His victory for us on the cross.  Make this year a year of healing and faith as we put our hope in the LORD.  Such a time is NOW!

“… if My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14

In His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

Blessed to Bless

“I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.”  Doesn’t that sound wonderful?  I think it is in the core of most of humanity to want to feel blessed and be able to be a blessing to others!  This positive outlook encourages us to be a better version of our self.  

This particular blessing is actually the family blessing that God gave to Abraham in Genesis 12.  This was a very particular blessing that was coveted by each generation and tracked throughout history.  This blessing ultimately came to fruition through Jesus Christ.  He was born in the line of descendants from Abraham who received this blessing one generation after the other. 

While this blessing was very particular to the line of descendants from which the Savior/Messiah would come, it is also a blessing for all who believe.  God promises to bless ALL His children so abundantly that our “cup overflows”.  He promises to bless us not just with stuff, but with relationship, forgiveness and salvation.  We are filled with hope and faith, joy and His grace which is sufficient for our every need and our abundance to bless others. 

It doesn’t always feel that way but it remains true, even to this day.  When God pours into our cup, the human, doubting side of us goes to find a bigger cup.  We don’t always do this because we are greedy; sometimes we do this because we doubt the blessings will continue to come.  Sometimes we do this because our perception of what a blessing is is skewed by what we think we see in other people’s lives.  

All around us we are encouraged to doubt truth, search for conspiracies and have faith only in ourselves.  This leads to a very frustrating and distrusting lifestyle.  What would happen if we were to take a step in faith that God has, is and will continue to bless us?  What would happen if we allowed ourselves to feel content and satisfied with the blessings we have and instead of increasing our cup, allowed it to overflow?

In Ephesians 8 we are reminded again that we are saved by God’s grace and designed to do work God Himself has designed for us.  Blessed to be a blessing!  If we fail to acknowledge those blessings, we will never do the work God has designed for us; we will not feel the peace and joy God is giving us.  We will feel as if something is missing.  Sound familiar?

Our current sermon series, For Such a Time as Now, is designed to encourage, inspire, invite and challenge us to hear the beloved and beautiful voice of our Savior – to acknowledge and find joy in the many abundant blessings we have already received and trust that we have enough already to pour out His blessings on those around us. 

This tremendous act of faith and faithfulness fills our souls.  It fills our souls because we are embracing what God, our Creator, has designed and equipped us to do.  At the same time we are rejecting the lies of the Devil, our flesh, and the world around us that God’s abundant grace is somehow insufficient for our needs. 

Let’s embrace God’s blessings and faithfully trust that we will continue to be blessed for generations.  Let’s allow the cup of God’s blessings to overflow and pour out into the lives of those around us.  What better time to embrace God’s blessings and be a blessing to others than NOW! 

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10

In His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

Such a Time as Now!

“On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.”  This is a famous chorus from the long-sung Christian hymn, “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”.  When I talk with people and look around the world, the consensus seems to be that there is a lot of sinking sand all around us these days.

Beginning this weekend and for the next 8 weeks, our weekend sermon series will be dealing with the opportunity that God has been placing in front of us as a congregation.  We are in unprecedented times and to be honest all the shifting sand around us makes it difficult to find our footing.  Our human instinct is to wrestle with the world and those around us to create a stable foothold.  God’s plan for His church is different.

When everything around us is sinking and shifting and people are scrambling for a foothold; the Children of God are called to put our foot on the Rock of Salvation.  We know the word of God, but we must put that word into practice in order to find the peace that only He provides.  As the world gets swept up in the shifting sand of unbelief; the opportunity for the people of God to show God’s love increases.  This is why our relaunch of the Capital campaign is highlighted with the words, “Such a Time as Now”.

Now, in the midst of uncertainty.  Now, in the confusion of society.  Now, in the era of mistrust and disbelief.  Now is the time for the light of Christ to shine Bright!

We are re-launching our building campaign.  We will be highlighting how God is at work around us and will encourage one another to focus our attention not on the shifting sands, but on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ.  Christ has come to bring hope and salvation to all, but He chooses to do it through you and me.  

As followers of Jesus, WE are the ones who are called to stand on the rock and extend the hand of hope to all who are sinking.  WE, who have been blessed with much, are called to sacrifice so that others may have the same blessings we have.  WE are called to lay aside our individual rights for the sake of something bigger than ourselves; for the sake of the Gospel being shared to all people.

As we deal with change and we work through the emotions of anger and frustration, God reminds us that we are people of hope.  In fact, in Christ we ALWAYS have hope.  In 1 Thessalonians 4:13, we are reminded that even in death we do not grieve like the unbelievers because they have “no hope”.  In other words, even in death we still have hope, and this isn’t death.

The temptation for a follower of Jesus is to become frustrated that things are not how they should be.  This is a very real feeling and perception.  But, we are not without hope.  In the midst of shifting and sinking sand, Christ the solid rock still stands!

It is important that each of us face the grief and the sadness of things that are changing.  We must grieve the loss of our perceived certainties that once were.  The grieving process is critical for us to go through in order to find hope and healing for our hurts.  Then, from a position of strength in Christ, we are blessed to be a blessing to others. 

Join us at Cross for these next 8 weeks.  We will help one another focus on the hope we have in Jesus and the calling we have at Cross to bring hope to all people.  The time is NOW!

“And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  Esther 4:14

In Christ,

Pastor Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

Government Mandates

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”  Ephesians 6:12

As we wrestle with this from a Biblical perspective, it is important to remember with whom and what we are wrestling.  It isn’t the governor or the president and certainly not each other.  From a Biblical perspective we are wrestling against the spiritual forces at work in this world.

Before we continue I need you to leave your political, constitutional, humanitarian and concerned parent/citizen hats on the closet shelf.  This article would be very different if I am talking about how I would lead the world through a pandemic.  If we are going to be able to view this through a Biblical worldview, we need to put our other thoughts aside and let the Bible lead the way. 

God’s Word is silent on masks, vaccines, constitutional authority, government systems, and the jurisdictions of the Health Department and the State Board of Education.  I think you see where I am going.  The Bible is concerned with how we as Christians best proclaim the saving hope we have in Jesus to a corrupt and dying world.

To the contrary, God’s Word tells us in multiple places that we are to obey ALL government because ALL government is a gift from God.  “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”  Romans 13:1-2  This is from Paul who was under a Godless, corrupt Roman government.  Jesus Himself had this to say before a corrupt government leader named Pontius Pilate:  “So Pilate said to Him, ‘You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release You and authority to crucify You?’”  Jesus answered him, You would have no authority over Me at all unless it had been given you from above…”  John 19:10


When dealing with disagreements with earthly authority, Jesus teaches us that our first and best step is obedience, that through obedience we will gain favor and influence for change.  This is how Joseph was able to save his father, Israel, and his eleven brothers from famine.  Joseph obeyed Pharaoh and other Godless leaders that were over him and found himself in a position of influence and power.  This is also in the instructions to slaves.  Not that slavery was good, but as the government allowed it, Christian slaves showed their faith not by running away but by being great servants.  The book of Philemon is written for just this purpose; it is only one chapter, so check it out.


When should we as Christians stop being obedient to government?  Here is a trustworthy saying:  “Christians are to be obedient to our government rulers unless the government forbids us to do something that the Bible commands or commands us to do something the Bible forbids.”  This included Jesus dying obediently on the cross.  He wasn’t defying the government; He was subjecting Himself to it.


As a human being and as a citizen of the United States, my heart is heavy for how our country and its leadership have handled this situation.  As a pastor my heart is heavy because churches and believers are fighting amongst themselves.  This is what Satan wants.  The devil wants to distract, deceive and destroy.  Distract us from the real battle that is raging against Scriptural Truth.  Deceive us into waging war against one another.  Destroy us by wearing us down so we aren’t prepared for the battle ahead.

While we are battling mandates about public health, many school districts and our own state are passing laws and curriculums that teach there is no objective truth outside of your own opinion; teaching that there is no male and female; teaching that people who hold that there is a Truth outside ourselves that we are all accountable to is oppressive and hateful; that parents who don’t agree with sex reassignment surgery for their minors have a phobia. 

The list goes on and on, and it shows no sign of stopping.  I will continue to work hard here at Cross in the best interest of our students and families in our school and church.  I believe we need to first work with the government on these health issues to be obedient to God and hopefully gain a voice.  I also believe we need to be mindful and active in keeping our eyes on the real issues at hand – not the interest of government leaders and not our own interests but the evil forces at work in the world.  We are to battle against them not on our own, but with the power of Christ with our focus on His life transforming Gospel.  If we are living and sharing the Gospel, the victory is already ours.

In Christ,

Pastor Erik Gauss