Pastor’s Corner

Seasons of Change (Ministry Edition)

A few months ago the Gausses decided our kitchen setup wasn’t working.  We went through the process of switching the locations of several items.  One nice feature is that the coffee mugs are in a new cabinet directly adjacent to the new location for the coffee maker.  It is glorious!  There is only one problem:  It has been four months, and I still occasionally open the old cabinet early in the morning to grab my mug and make a cup of Joe.  

Even the best changes bring new challenges.  We are forced out of our comfort zones, and adjustments may take time.  The Holy Scripture says God and His attributes are unchanging, but for everything else there are seasons:  For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1.  Today I want to share with you some ministry seasons that are changing so you can pray for these transitions and God’s blessings on their future directions.

Cross Principal

Brett Hardecopf has accepted God’s Divine Call to serve as Principal here at Cross!  He will begin his ministry season at Cross sometime over the summer.  Please refer to the April 8 Pastor’s Corner or stop by the kiosk at church to read about his family and ministry.  

Please pray for Brett and his family as they make this transition.  They have served their current congregation for eight years, established friendships, purchased a home and in general have a pattern to life and ministry.  They are excited for the new challenges, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a considerable amount of work.  Please also pray for his current school, St. John Lutheran in Elk River, Minnesota, as Brett’s season there ends, and they transition to new leadership as well. 

Paul Goffron, our current Interim Principal, has done an outstanding job over his season of ministry here.  I could not be more appreciative for the skills that Paul brought to Cross at just the right time.  It was the perfect season as he transitioned us from a beloved leader of 40 years, brought the skills needed to navigate COVID and is leaving us as an NLSA fully accredited school!  I will forever be grateful to God for bringing Paul as my partner in ministry these last three years.  Paul was unable to join us beyond his interim years due to family obligations.  Paul’s next season will be a two year interim position at St. Peter in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Haskell Light / Lutheran Indian Ministries (LIM)

LIM has been a ministry partner for many years.  Specifically we have supported the student ministry at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas called Haskell Light.  Over the years this ministry has shared the love of Jesus to Native American Indians attending the university and in the surrounding community.  We have supported them through many leadership changes.

The most recent leaders were Deacon Bob and then Deon Prue.  Several months ago the leadership season for this family ended, and the ministry entered another transition.  In addition there is a new executive director.  After much prayer and conversation we believe our season of partnership with LIM and Haskell Light is coming to a close.  We want to celebrate our season and recognize their ongoing commitment to the Native American community.  We ask you to continue to pray for them as they transition leadership and reestablish the direction God has for them.

Pastor Walter Ramirez

Walter and his family have served the Spanish speaking community of Kendall County for seven years.  Walter has seen several seasons in his time.  His part-time ministry predominantly served immigrant families from Mexico.  These families typically came in as cultural Catholics and would frequently transition to another community.  Walter has celebrated Baptisms, weddings, funerals, quinceaneras and shared the Gospel of Jesus faithfully.  

A new season may be opening.  Several months ago Tabor Lutheran Church in Chicago reached out, asking about outreach to the Spanish speaking community.  The area around them is largely Latino, and their English speaking pastor kept running into cultural and language barriers.  We have been in conversations with Tabor, St. Peter – Arlington Heights, the Northern Illinois District (NID) and LINC ministries, and we believe that Walter and the community around Tabor may be a great match for one another.  

On May 8 Tabor is holding a congregational meeting to prayerfully consider extending a Divine Call to Walter to serve as a full-time pastor.  They would be unable to do this without all our support.  Currently we give 10% (a tithe) of our offering to the NID, and in turn, they send 20% of that gift to Walter for support of his ministry.  The NID has agreed to direct that support to Tabor if Walter is called there.  In addition, Walter would be supported by the offerings of the people at Tabor and grants from St. Peter, LINC and the NID.  Please pray for this wonderful opportunity for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be shared in a community that desperately needs it.  

This season of ministry change brings all sorts of emotions to the surface.  Some are sad, some are mad, some are exciting and joy-filled.  No matter what the emotions, God has it all in His mighty hand.  This is why we painstakingly pray and discern God’s will.  Sometimes God leads us to make a decision that doesn’t seem as obvious on the surface.  In those times we are confident to trust and follow where God leads.

I pray this “Corner” will serve you, too.  Your life and personal ministry have seasons as well.  Maybe God is encouraging you to move on, or stick it out, or simply prune the old and celebrate a new beginning.  Regardless, remain fervent in prayer and immersed in God’s Word, and He will guide your path and bless wherever He leads.  “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”  Romans 12:2

His servant and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

Seven Last Letters

The Book of Revelation has been an inspiration and challenge to the Christian Church since the day it was written.  The vision God gave to John is a literal “unveiling” of the future.  Over the centuries there has been much written about how to properly interpret this prophetic writing from God, to His people, through the apostle John.  

While there is often disagreement about how to interpret Revelation, we all agree that this book is God’s final revelation to the Church on earth regarding His plan for salvation.  This season of Easter we will be exploring that plan together.  We will not cover the entire book of Revelation; that is best left for a Bible study setting.  We will dig into the seven letters written to the seven Christian churches in Asia Minor.  

These prominent regional congregations would have been seen as the “mother churches” of all the congregations at that time.  Every Christian congregation in the region would have had a literal and spiritual connection to at least one of the seven churches that received a letter in Revelation.  Some of the churches you will be familiar with.  Ephesus, for example, received a full letter from Paul that is now the book of Ephesians.  Others you will not be as familiar with but in their time played an important part in the early Church.

These seven letters are addressed to seven different churches, but in many ways they are addressed to all Christian churches everywhere.  Written communication was so limited in biblical times that writing the same letter to multiple churches was unimaginable.  The custom was to send the communication and then share it with all to whom it would be a blessing.  This is why we have those original letters to Ephesus and others in our Bible today.  The letters were shared regionally and eventually were so powerful that the entirety of Christ followers were reading them and putting them into practice.  

The same is true for these seven letters to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation.  We will see some of Cross and other faith communities you have been a part of in all of these letters.  Other parts may not apply now but can be seen as a word of caution.  The powerful part of studying these letters is that we get tremendous insight into ourselves. 

In these letters we will see specific joys, sorrows, sins and purpose that can only be attributed to gatherings of Jesus followers.  These aren’t letters to institutions but, rather, intimate communication from the heart of our God to the heart of His people.  These letters are like a parent sharing their deepest thoughts with their child:  how you are proud, where you are disappointed, challenging for the future, warnings from wisdom.  

Spring is a season of newness and rebirth.  We hope this series will be a part of your renewal this spring as well.  We invite you all to open your heart and mind to God as He speaks to you and me.  He will tell us how proud He is, warn us of curves that may be ahead; He will cut us to the core, naming our sins before us, and He will heal us in His mighty outstretched arms.  The letters are in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation.  We invite you to read them each week as part of your own devotion time.  

“Do not be afraid.  I am the First and the Last.  I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever!  And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”  Revelation 1:17-18

Our congregation vote to extend a Divine Call to Brett Hardecopf to serve as Principal at Cross was approved 143-2.  We have sent him and his family the Call documents and continue in prayer for them, his congregation at St. John in Elk River, MN, and of course our congregation as well in this process.

In His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

Scripture Readings for Sunday, April 24

Revelation 2:1-7

John 20:19-23, 30-31

Pastor’s Corner

Christ Is Risen! 

He is risen INDEED. Alleluia!  It means a lot to me this year.  It means a lot every year, every day really, but this year is different.  Last year was a great reunion. We thought COVID was over, only to go back into lockdown a few months later.  The year before that I was shouting “Christ is risen!” to an empty room.  I know you all greeted me back at home, but it wasn’t the same.     

This has been another long year. Everything from paper products to home prices have been impacted.  There is war and rumors of wars breaking out around the globe, and just for good measure, there have only been about two days we could classify as “Spring”.  People are at their wits’ end, frustrated with the uncertainty of the pandemic and the economy.  And still, in the midst of all of this and more, we proclaim with certainty: Christ. Is. Risen! 

This simple phrase has the power to bring intense joy in the most adverse of circumstances.  Proclaiming this simple phrase refocuses our attention away from the uncertainties we cannot control (death, sickness, economy, taxes, etc.) and plants us firmly in the midst of the One who is in control.  Our God has promised to overcome evil with good.  He will complete this victory once and for all on the Last Day and until That Day will continue to take that which was intended for evil and transform it for our good.    

Christ is risen! The most horrific of all evils, the torture and murder of the very Son of God has been transformed right before our eyes into the greatest of all goods.  Evil Friday has become Good Friday.  The darkness of clouds both day and night is lifted by the early morning sun.  A stone that sealed in the stench of decay is now a platform for proclamation: “He is not here. He has risen, just as He said!” 

Alleluia! This proclamation of joy is also a statement of relief.  We are reminded that the troubles that haunt us and the fears that weigh us down – all the burdens that cause our “yoke to be heavy” – are lifted.  They are rolled away like the stone that Easter morning. The cries of our heart are still very real.  Yet so is the power and resurrection of our Lord.  The victory is ours already in Christ Jesus; the battle has been won.  There is nothing in the past, present or future that can take us away from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Nothing, not even death.  Alleluia! Christ. Is. Risen!  He is risen indeed! 

“They (the women) found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered the tomb, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”  Luke 24:2-3 

In His service and yours, 

Pastor Erik Gauss 

Pastor’s Corner

Congregational Vote for Divine Call to Brett Hardecopf to Serve as Principal

On Palm Sunday, April 10 at 12 noon, we will hold a brief congregational meeting to recommend Brett Hardecopf be extended a Divine Call to serve as our next Principal. 

Brett is a 1993 graduate of our very own Cross Lutheran School.  He has been serving in Lutheran education since his graduation and placement from Concordia, Seward, NE.  Brett’s first Call into the ministry was back to Cross where he taught three years in the upper grades.  He then accepted a Call to Trinity Lutheran in Tinley Park, IL where he served as the physical education teacher and Athletic Director (AD). 

In 2014 Brett accepted a Call, leaving Lutheran Central School in Brownstown, IN where he had spent six years as the fourth grade teacher and AD to serve as Principal at St. John Lutheran School in Elk River, MN.  In 2018 Brett completed a master’s degree in educational leadership.  He is currently a Van Lunen Fellow out of Calvin University.  The Van Lunen Center exists for the sole purpose of providing world-class executive training for heads of Christian Schools. 

While serving in Elk River Brett has served as team captain for National Lutheran School Accreditation (NLSA).  He participates in Lutheran Educators Association (LEA).  He has presented at their conferences and written for their national publication.  In addition, Brett volunteers in the St. John Lutheran Church praise band and launched the Upward Sports basketball ministry as an outreach to the Elk River community. 

Brett has been married to his bride, Heather, for 21 years.  Heather currently volunteers in the Minnesota South District of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod with worker wellness programs.  She loves to dance ballet for her own wellness.  Heather works in logistics and permitting for a local trucking company.  Heather has been an invaluable partner in Brett’s ministry, both professionally and at home throughout their life together.  Brett and Heather have two daughters.  Jade is currently attending Concordia University in St. Paul, MN, pursuing her certification as a Lutheran educator.  Cora is currently in fifth grade and also loves to dance as well as play sports and other activities.  

Brett has completed his Commissioned Minister Information Form (CMIF) from which the Principal Call Committee identified him as a strong candidate.  The Principal Call Committee has performed formal and informal interviews throughout the past month to discern cultural, ministerial and aptitude-based alignment with Cross.  Brett and his family participated in an onsite visit where the teachers were able to meet and interact with Brett.  After appropriate prayer, discussion and follow up, the Principal Call Committee is pleased to recommend Brett to the Governance Board who now recommends Brett to the congregation for a Divine Call to serve as Principal at Cross.  

Please continue to pray for Brett as he and his family consider how God is leading them through this process.  Please also keep St. John Lutheran Church and School in your prayers.  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 Easter Sunday, April 17.  You will be able to view the meeting on our webpage,, but you will only be able to vote in person before/after worship services 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 Brett, at which point he and his family would prayerfully consider accepting the Call or remaining in his current Call at St. John in Elk River, MN.

In Christ,

Pastor Erik Gauss