Pastor’s Corner

Ash Wednesday and Lent

The daylight is getting longer, the temperatures are getting warmer, the students and teachers are getting restless.  Outside, we are in a season of transition from the cold, lifeless months of winter to the budding green of spring.  Inside, our worship life often reflects the seasons.  Lent is the season of the church year where we reflect on the past to prepare for the future.  

The reflection that we focus on during the season of Lent is an internal reflection.  We are each encouraged to pause and take an inventory of our thoughts, our faith, our choices.  This internal examination of how things are going is very much like spring cleaning.  Each spring we find the things that have unnecessarily accumulated, things that are not important or are taking up space, things that are broken or are collecting dust, and we discard them to make room for the things that matter most.

Lent is the faith life equivalent to spring cleaning in our homes.  We look internally at sin and guilt we have held onto for too long.  We consider what lesser things are taking up space that should be reserved for God.  We dust off our spiritual disciplines, like prayer, worship and Scripture reading.  Lent is the season to renew and reinvigorate our life of faith. 

Ash Wednesday, March 2, launches the season of Lent with a special worship service.  (We will actually have two services, one at 10 AM and one at 6:30 PM.)  During this service participants will have the opportunity to receive ashes upon their head to remind each of us that there is clutter in our lives to be cleared up, priorities to rearrange, energy and effort to redirect.  The ashes remind us that one day we will once again be ashes.  The things we strive for and value in this life will be gone.  However, we have eternal life in Christ Jesus promised to us as we make Jesus our priority and sharing Jesus our primary purpose. 

Later on in the Ash Wednesday service, we have the opportunity to receive the gift of Holy Communion.  This is Jesus’ very own body and blood sacrificed for us in order to save us from our failures and give us freedom to focus on serving one another.  When we know and trust God, we are saved from death and the grave.  We are freed from our guilt and doubt to live boldly and confidently as a child of God. 

Ash Wednesday will also be highlighted by some wonderful intergenerational opportunities.  We will have a dinner available for people of all ages to attend.  This dinner will be hosted by our High School youth group who will be attending a National Youth Gathering this summer.  The meal will be a freewill offering, and all proceeds will go toward this formative faith experience.  

During the evening worship service, young children and their parents will have the option to worship together in the sanctuary or go to the large gymnasium with Miss Kayla for a special family focused experience.  There is no bad option on Ash Wednesday.  All of it will be intentionally focused on helping us clean out the cluttered closets of our faith journey and remember God’s promises to us.  

Ash Wednesday is a fantastic day to mark on your calendar.  This can be the beginning of a great transition for you as it has been for so many over the centuries.  These last two years of endemic living have allowed lots of bad habits, fears and uncertainties to clutter our minds while the one thing that truly matters gets squeezed out.  That one thing is your relationship with Jesus Christ.  Come join us this Wednesday to reconnect with God and with God’s people.  Allow this Wednesday to mark a transition to a renewed walk with God and His people as we move forward together as a people who Walk with God, Grow in Faith Together and Love Our Neighbors. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  2 Corinthians 5:17

His servant and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

Congregational Vote for Divine Call to Kyle Klemp to Serve as Principal

On Sunday, February 20 at 12 noon, we will hold a brief congregational meeting to recommend Kyle Klemp be extended a Divine Call to serve as our next Principal.  This comes after deliberate and prayerful consideration.  Over 40 candidates were contacted by our Principal Call/Search Committee.  Candidates of various ages, experience and backgrounds were interviewed, utilizing the wonders of modern technology.  Kyle stood out for the committee as a match because of experience, philosophy of ministry and his overall fit on our ministry team.

Kyle is presently serving as the principal at Trinity Lutheran School in Wahiawa, Hawaii.  A 1999 graduate of Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin, Kyle has been in a K-8 setting in a Lutheran school since his graduation.  He began his teaching career at his current school and served there for six years.  From 2005 through 2010, he taught at Good Shepherd Lutheran School in Collinsville, IL.  He returned to Trinity Lutheran in Hawaii in 2010 and has currently been serving as their principal for the past three years. 

Kyle received his Master of Education degree with an emphasis on Educational Leadership from Concordia in Portland, Oregon in 2014.  His skill set, experience and desire to grow God’s Kingdom here on earth will serve our school well at this time and hopefully for many years in the future. 

Kyle and Heather Klemp (nee Batt) have been married for 18 years.  Heather is a 2001 graduate of Concordia University Wisconsin and is also a rostered Lutheran school teacher.  Heather obtained her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction.  She is an alumnus of our very own Cross Lutheran School.  Kyle and Heather have three children:  Jackson is in 11th grade, Ellana is in 9th grade, and Trevor is in 8th grade.

Please continue to pray for Kyle as he and his family consider how God is leading them through this process.  Please keep Trinity Lutheran Church and School in your prayers as Kyle and his family have served there for 20 years and they are much loved.  Please continue to pray for Cross and our ministry together as we continue to seek God’s will and direction. 

After the meeting, per our constitution/bylaws, voting will be ongoing until after worship services on Sunday, February 27.  You will be able view the meeting on our webpage,, but you will only be able to vote in person on Sunday morning or in the church office during office hours.  While our congregation meeting is open to anyone who would like to attend, only those who have made a public commitment to Discipleship at Cross will be permitted to vote.

Once the vote is complete, should it be affirmative, the Call will be extended to Kyle, at which point he and his family would prayerfully consider accepting the Call or remaining in their current Call at Trinity in Hawaii.

In Christ,

Pastor Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

Working for Grace

Motivation is often driven by fear – fear of disappointing others, fear of failure, fear of rejection.  In 1 Corinthians 15:10 Paul writes that he worked harder than all the other apostles for the sake of grace.  From a motivation of fear it can sound like Paul felt so guilty for all he had done he worked hard in order to receive grace.  Remember Paul often spoke of how great a sinner he was when he persecuted the Church.  Paul reminds his readers frequently that he was the chief of sinners and so it would make sense that he would need to work harder than all the other disciples to be worthy of grace.

But, that isn’t what Paul is talking about because that isn’t how grace works.  Grace is a gift given, not a status earned.  Grace is unmerited favor, undeserved mercy and love.  Grace is the thing that changed Paul’s behavior, not the thing Paul changed his behavior to receive.  

This slight change in wording dramatically changes our life and our eternity.  In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul makes it very clear, as he does in other places as well, that the motivation for his hard work is the grace that Christ poured out on him from the cross.  Paul is motivated to work so hard because the grace of God was given to him WHILE he was still killing followers of Jesus.  Paul is overwhelmed by grace and is so thankful he wants everyone to have the same gift of grace in their life.

My title, “Working for Grace”, is intended to highlight this same shift for us.  If we are still carrying around guilt or shame, we will read this as we need to work for (to receive or be worthy to receive) grace.  If we are firmly rooted in God’s forgiveness, we can read it working for (as a result of) grace.  

Paul writes as though he is so full of God’s grace that it is actually grace that is doing the work!  He says it is not I (Paul) working but grace at work through me.  I am so inspired by the level of gratitude that Paul has for God’s grace. 

I know that I need that grace just as much as Paul did.  Yet I often lose gratitude because of all the things I need to get done, things I am required to do.  My inspiration is to be so filled with gratitude and amazement that it is out of thankfulness that I do those things – thankful for a house to clean, clothes to wash, a driveway to shovel, a vocation to work, a family to care for, taxes to pay.  God’s grace has truly been poured out, filled us up so full that it now works on our behalf and for one another.  

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain.  On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”  1 Corinthians 15:10

Praising God,

Pastor Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

Building Update:  February 2022

I am so thankful for our Thrift Shop addition contractor and the team of laborers working through this snowy, cold season.  Winter has set in, and working outdoors can become slow or impossible.  The good news is the roof and building “shell” were completed just before the snow started falling.  Most of the work being done at this time is indoors, like plumbing and electrical. 

The exterior of the building has been ordered, along with the doors and windows.  Everything should arrive just in time for the weather to start warming up, according to Punxsutawney Phil’s latest prediction.  If you aren’t into prognosticating rodents, then simply pray and trust for God’s continued provision of people, donations and favorable weather.  He is good and has continued to bless Cross and its ministries to be a blessing into the community.

For our School and Children’s Ministry addition, things are a bit more complicated.  We are finalizing the details on our official construction drawings and will once again estimate the cost.  So much has changed, both with the construction design and with the economic landscape that our previous estimates are no longer useful. 

Our Governance Board is working to establish a transition committee of sorts.  This group will be charged with evaluating our plans, our funds available, the pledges of the congregation and the immediate needs of our school and ministries.  After doing so, they will submit a recommendation for our congregation to consider as a path forward. 

Why is this committee necessary?  The primary reasons this committee is necessary are to put the details in place for our building plans to move forward and to give the congregation an opportunity to pray and vote.  This includes things such as a ground breaking, actual cost of the final plans (including current inflation for items, like steel and windows), coordinating these plans and timelines with school enrollment and classroom needs, additional funding options to meet the gap in pledges and the expected costs.  These are a few of the many details that need to be addressed in order to move forward with the exciting opportunity in front of us.

We are not able to move forward with the plans until the congregation approves the final plans AND approves the budget/plan to build.  At this point, the congregation could still see those options and choose not to build or to delay the building.  Based on our current school enrollment I don’t anticipate being able to wait to build; I believe we need to build soon in faithful response to the many students and families who are being led to be a part of Cross Church and School Ministries.  If enrollment continues as projected, we anticipate needing to add classrooms and staff to our team for next school year.  This could be a very challenging situation to navigate since we would be losing use of a current classroom during construction.

These are all good challenges to have, but they are challenges none-the-less.  Please continue to pray for the Lord’s direction, for leadership and for the generosity of God’s people to provide the resources (and good weather) necessary to accomplish His plans for us.  Please continue to pray and support Cross Lutheran Church and all its ministries while we all mature as disciples of Jesus who Walk with God in worship, Grow in Faith Together and Love Our Neighbors. 

Jesus told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.”  Luke 10:2

His servant and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss