Pastor’s Corner

I will be there!

In Luke chapter 19 Jesus has a rather assertive conversation with a man of small stature. That man had climbed into a Sycamore tree for one reason; to watch Jesus walk by. Zacchaeus was rubber necking the chaotic scene as Jesus made His way through the frenzied crowd. For context, this is in the town of Jericho, Jesus had just healed a blind beggar as Jesus entered the city. Upon leaving Jericho, Jesus would mount a donkey in Bethany and make His triumphal entry into Jerusalem over palms.

This was the peak of Jesus ministry and He stopped to talk to Zacchaeus. It wasn’t a call to repentance; it wasn’t a healing or a teaching or any other miracle. It was an invitation (actually a command) that Jesus would go to eat at Zacchaeus’ home. At the time of the invitation, Zacchaeus was a known sinner, unrepentant and despised by all. Jesus didn’t wait until the crowd dispersed or for the protection of the cover of night to make the invitation. He made it right there with the whole town watching.

Zacchaeus, Hurry! Come down! I must eat dinner at your house tonight! Based on Zacchaeus response you are able to recognize that Jesus was calling him by name and letting the world know they would be breaking bread together which meant the world to Zacchaeus. It changed his earthly life and his eternity. The crowd would have been more satisfied if Jesus had pretended not to notice Zacchaeus and selected a more honorable home to bless with His presence.

Anyone can be excited to eat with the popular people, the accepted people. Anyone can sacrifice for a righteous man. But God shows His love for us in that “WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Before Jesus knew Zacchaeus would repent of his sin and restore the possessions of all that he had stolen, Jesus invited himself into Zacchaeus’ home, life, eternity. The account of Zacchaeus ends with these powerful words, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)

My first encouragement for you is to give yourself grace, God’s love is far greater and mercy more generous than you are giving Him credit for. We are so hard on ourselves for the sins Jesus already paid for. If you feel lost, confess your sin, accept your forgiveness in Jesus’ blood and then live in His grace with peace and joy! Your lostness is the very reason He came to find you.

My second encouragement is to look for the Zacchaeus in your life. Who are the people that are easier to walk by or leave in the trees because of the chaos of life? Who are the people that God has placed in your path that may be less desirable for you or the crowd around you, but would be blessed to know you and Jesus both know by their name? When that person is revealed in your heart and mind, be bold to invite them into a relationship event with you. Be bold, and faithful. The worst thing that happens is that they say no. The best thing that can happen is that you get to be part of God’s mighty work.

The Zacchaeus in your life doesn’t have to be an unbeliever or hated by the community. The encouragement here is to think about who is missing, who hasn’t been connected to Christ and the family of faith for a while, maybe ever. Instead of waiting for them, let’s be bold and go find them. Hurry!

Below are a few upcoming special events that you can put on your calendar and pray for an opportunity to invite Zacchaeus, or just have him, her or them come over to your home.

June 31 – Family Summer Splash Party at Cross 11:00AM

August 21 – Blessing of the Backpacks and special family worship opportunity

September 2 – Hometown Days Concert (non-Christians love music too!)

September 7 – Faith and Family First night and launch of Wednesday night ministries

September 11 – Return of Sunday morning children and family ministries

September 11 – Launch of our fall series The Being Challenge from the author of Red Letter Challenge. Look for more information to come later but be thinking and praying now about who would be blessed to be in community with you!

In Christ,

Pastor Erik

“When He saw him Jesus said ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.’ So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.” Luke 19:5,6

Scripture Readings for Sunday, July 31

Colossians 3:1–11

Luke 12:13–21

Pastor’s Corner

Well Done… Good and Faithful Servant

In Mathew 25 we are able to read a parable of Jesus about talents. Talents today are considered skill we might have but a talent in Jesus’ day was a measure of money equivalent to 20 years of work. Either way these are gifts and blessings from God that we are to manage or steward to the best of our ability. In the parable, the two servants that managed their talents well were blessed with the reward of affirmation from their Master. His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” 

Those same words of affirmation come to mind as we celebrate and thank a servant of Cross Ministries over the last 12 years, Diane Andermann. Today, Friday July 22, 2022 is Diane’s last day on staff here at Cross. She has faithfully used all of her talents to be a blessing to the entire congregation and its many facets. Diane has served as our church secretary since July 2010 and in that position has served to support the church staff, volunteers and families. She has provided continuous support to our school ministries, staff and families in her front office position as well.   

The “Church Secretary” really is a catch all for the needs of the ministry and community. “No two days are the same” when serving on the phones. Diane might celebrate a new birth or profession of faith as she schedules a baptism. Diane has grieved with families scheduling funerals or hospital visits. Her compassion and professionalism has been a stabilizing force behind Cross ministries for over a decade.   

Please join us in celebrating Diane and her 12 years on staff here at Cross this Sunday during the 8:00AM worship service. After the service there will be an opportunity to greet Diane in the fellowship hall, and of course, share some celebratory cake.   

Diane isn’t leaving us; she will continue to serve as a volunteer reader when called upon and as the leader/coordinator of our funeral luncheon team. After twelve years of working together I know Diane to be a servant for God’s kingdom work and a partner in ministry to share the Good News of Jesus wherever and whenever the need arises. “Well done, good and faithful servant!” 

In Christ, 


Pastor’s Corner

Back-to-School Ministry  

The hunt for new school supplies is an annual right of passage.  It is an event that brings mixed emotions.  Summer is coming to an end; a fresh start waits around the corner.  The crisp corners of new school folders and the unblemished crayons and markers indicate the untapped potential; the anxiety of finding the “right” backpack for the next year can be agonizing. 

While my memories of school supply shopping are generally positive, each year there are thousands of area students and families who are not so blessed.  This year we are partnering with two ministry organizations to help provide new school supplies and backpacks to children in need.  Our Kendall County Community Food Pantry is preparing 650 backpacks filled with supplies to be given away.  Tabor Lutheran Church in Chicago (where Pastor Walter Ramirez now serves full-time) is preparing to give out nearly 1000 backpacks.  This ministry has been so well received that the local government has started to serve at and promote this back-to-school event.  

How can you help? First, our local food pantry is asking Cross to donate:  

  • Highlighters 
  • 5-tab dividers 
  • Black Expo markers 
  • #2 pencils 
  • Standard 17” backpacks 

You may drop them off at Cross through Sunday, July 31 or purchase them online and have them delivered to Cross.  (Please send them to Pastor Matt Conrad if you ship them to Cross so they get to the correct ministry.) Don’t forget to use Amazon Smile anytime you purchase from Amazon, and a donation will be made to support the Gospel-sharing ministries here at Cross. 

Second, Tabor Lutheran will host a Back-to-School Fiesta for the community at their church on Saturday, August 13 from 12 noon to 4 PM. An Amazon Wish List regarding the specific needs of students who attend the public schools in their ward is available at this link:   

Interested in volunteering at Tabor’s Fiesta? 

Volunteer job options are set-up, tear-down, food preparation/distribution, inflatable supervision, prayer station, backpack distribution, game supervision, glitter tattoo application/face-painting, and hospitality help. Tabor and Pastor Walter would love for Cross disciples to partner with them on this event. Please contact Heather Robarge at

Please continue to pray for our community and its families. Remember our mission partners as they attempt to make a positive impact in their communities for Jesus’ sake.  Above all, please pray that these efforts that share Christ’s love for all His people result in gratitude for the eternal gift of forgiveness in Christ Jesus.  

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 

His servant and yours, 

Pastor Erik Gauss 

Pastor’s Corner

And what does the Lord require of you?

“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk with your God”  Micah 6:8. This was the key verse for our evening devotions during our Mexico Mission Build with our mission partner, Casas por Cristo. We dove into each requirement as it related to the day ahead of us and how we could live it out when we returned to our homes.

Nine members from Cross Lutheran Church partnered with Ablaze Lutheran – Broken Arrow, OK and Faith Lutheran – Lake Forest to build a home for Ms. Joana Perales in Acuna, Mexico. At age 79, Ms. Joana was finally able to enjoy her own home. She absolutely loved the bed, table and chairs, along with all the plates, bowls, pots and pans that the team was able to provide thanks to a couple Thrivent Action Grants.

Our team ranged in ages from 9 years old to 62 years old. Everyone was able to share their gifts in building Joana’s home . . . from concrete, cutting boards, nailing, electrical, roofing, insulation, sheetrocking, painting trim and encouraging one another on in love. God provided a day of covering with clouds as we began stucco in the 100-degree heat, and then a breeze also renewed our spirits.  

One of the joys that helped spur our team on each day was knowing that as we pressed on through the heat that at the end of the day, we would be heading to the cold-water spring in Acuna for a refreshing swim. This time in the cold spring was like hitting the reset button for everyone on the team, and it helped renew our drive to serve when we returned to the church we were staying at in Acuna.

The ministry did not stop at the job site. Immanuel Church in Acuna was housing a family from Honduras that came up to the border and then realized they could be separated from each other if they crossed north. Yvonna and Eric have two daughters, Sarah and Beta. Our team was able to enjoy meals with this family and then spent time sharing the love of Jesus as we colored, played ball and showed kindness to their daddy as he joined us on the build. The team gave a love offering to help support this family, the Casas por Cristo interns and Ms. Joana.

Please keep everyone in your prayers and especially pray for God to continue to open the door for us to serve Acuna again in 2023!

Donnie Stubblefield

Casas por Cristo Missionary and Cross Lutheran Church Disciple

If you have questions about the Casa por Cristo mission trip, let Pastor Matt know! He’d love to get you in touch with someone who’s been to Acuna so that they can share their stories. Prayerfully consider joining the team for 2023!

Scripture Readings for Sunday, July 10

Colossians 1:1–14

Luke 10:25–37

Pastor’s Corner

In All Things

In All Things is the theme for this year’s LCMS Youth Gathering that our youth are attending next week in Houston.  So, let’s ask the Lutheran question:  What does this mean?  Well, it means at least five things that we will be covering during the Gathering.

It means Christ is the Creator of all things and became a creature Himself, entering into His own creation.  What does this mean?  There is a crucial, inseparable link between the mind-blowing doctrine of creation and the equally mind-blowing reality of the incarnation.  The One who shows us what it means to be truly God (“He is the image of the invisible God… for by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth… –all things were created through Him and for Him,”  Colossians 1:15-17) also shows us what it means to be truly human (“For in Him the whole fullness of the Deity dwells bodily,”  Colossians 2:9).  Christ is above all things, yet came down from heaven for us and for our salvation.  Furthermore, Christ includes us and all His creatures in His story of creation and salvation.

It means Christ reconciles all things to Himself through His death and resurrection.  What does this mean?  We all have many things that we want, as well as many real and perceived needs.  But our greatest need is peace and reconciliation with God:  the forgiveness of our sin.  In Christ, the sin-bearer, all of us (and each of us) have what we need the most.  By His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin”  (Colossians 1:13-14).

It means Christ (risen, ascended, complete, sovereign) reigns over all authorities inside and outside the Church.  What does this mean?  Christ is “the Head of the body, the Church”  (Colossians 1:18).  We are called to “walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him”  (Colossians 2:6-7), “from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God”  (Colossians 2:19).  The Christian life starts with Baptism, in which we are buried and raised with Christ (Colossians 2:11-12) and intimately and inseparably connected to all other members of Christ’s one body, the Church (Colossians 1:24; 3:14-15).  Furthermore, Christ doesn’t “need” our help, but He graciously chooses to use us for His gracious purposes.  Every single one of us has a crucial role to play in His wise, mysterious plan.  Also remember:  God chooses to speak to people through people who speak and live out His Word graciously, faithfully, and wisely.  So, watch your deeds and your words—especially when you’re with “outsiders!”  (Colossians 4:5-6)

It means Christ transforms the lives of all His people into His image.  (The Lord and Master of all became the Servant of all to show us how He would have us live (by the Spirit’s enlivening power) in service to Him and others.)  What does this mean?  Jesus was the only perfect human being who ever lived.  The Servant of all saved us by living a sinless life (active obedience) and by suffering and dying in our place (passive obedience).  Even though we can never model Christ’s servant-love perfectly, Paul calls us to walk in His steps (Colossians 3:6).  Jesus does the same after washing the disciples’ feet:  “I have given you an example, that you should also do just as I have done to you”  (John 13:15).

It means Christ promises to return to restore all things and make His reign explicit for all to see.  What does this mean?  What is now hidden will soon be revealed for all to see:  “Your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is your life appears, you also will appear with Him in glory” (i.e., with your new, glorified body; Colossians 3:4).

We will be learning all these things and more at this Gathering of souls.  So please learn alongside us, pray for us, and pray with us that we all see God’s glory In All Things.

Will LeBeau

Youth Minister

Scripture Readings for Sunday, July 3

Galatians 6:1–10, 14–18

Luke 10:1–20