Pastor’s Corner

Pastor’s Corner – Groundbreaking News!

“To Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think…” Ephesians 3:20

To say we received more than I prayed for would be an understatement. Throughout Lent I was praying for a strong voter turnout and clear results. In my heart I would have been satisfied with a “Yes” or a “No” as long as the Holy Spirit brought unity and direction through the disciples of the congregation.

After 8 weeks of Lent, Easter, Fireside Chats, prayer and our week-long congregation vote; God has provided a strong voice and direction. We had 200 disciples vote. 98% of those votes were “yes”! It is time to expand our Church and School ministries! 24 years ago our Cold storage was built in faithfulness of God’s continued blessings at Cross. Today, we begin completion of that space creating a new, expanded space for school ministries, Children’s ministries and various other opportunities.

This is an amazing turnout and clear direction from God through the people of God. There is excitement and nervousness in the air. It is a big commitment, and a tremendous challenge lies ahead of us. Yet, the people of God took a leap of faith, and we are leaping together! Since the vote, God has continued to send people from the community to inquire at our school.

On Sunday June 11, 2023, at 9:11AM we will gather as a family of faith and break ground on the new project. This start date will balance the tension of prep work to be completed but also a start date that will allow us to finish in time to start the 2024-25 school and ministry year in the new facility.

The next step is to clean out cold storage. We will need lots of hands to sort and move items from cold storage to their new destination. Current items in cold storage will be kept, sold, or put in storage for use in the new space. This next year will be tight as we try to keep growing but with less space. But, after this year, the new expansion should allow us to move forward in an exciting and powerful way.

In times of great growth comes great challenges. The devil is never satisfied to leave us alone. Let us be bold to keep one another in prayer! Please keep the construction workers and school families covered with protection. Pray for your teachers and church staff and pray for one another. This is not completed and there is much faithful sacrifice and commitment needed from each of us. Pray that God will continue to protect and increase the unity and conviction he has so graciously provided. To God be the glory!

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20,21

In Christ,
Pastor Erik Gauss

Scripture Readings for Sunday, April 30, 2023
Titus 3:3-8; John 14:15-17, 25-26

Pastor’s Corner

Pastor’s Corner – I (We) Believe

“I am the resurrection and the Life… Do you believe this?” During the church season of Lent, as part of the build up to Easter, we explored the account of Lazarus. In this account, Jesus’ friend Lazarus dies and his two sisters await Jesu’s arrival. Upon His arrival, Jesus reminds the women in their grief that He Himself is the resurrection and the Life. And then that all important question; “Do you believe this?”

Much discussion has been had over the centuries about what Jesus meant by this. Without vocal tone or facial expression we are left to interpret this through the immediate context and the context of scripture. Ultimately Jesus is asking them if their heart and mind are responding to the situation in the truth of faith or the perceptions of the flesh.

In this season after Easter, we will be exploring what Christians actually believe about God and His relationship with the world. As part of this we will be inviting one another to look at how we are responding to God’s truth. Are our actions, emotions and thoughts dictated by the perceptions and realities of this world, or are we able to rise above them by the power of God at work within us?

The perceptions of the flesh are not lies, they are real. In fact, they are so real that our perceptions often control our actions. For example, the heartache of Lazarus’ death was causing much stress and grief for his sisters and tension in their relationship conversations with Jesus. Jesus’ loving but firm reminder that Lazarus would rise again acts as a mirror to the sisters. Grief is real, stress is real, worry is real, sin is real. So real that we cannot and could not solve it ourselves. God became flesh to overcome and give us the victory.

Christ is risen and His resurrection is our resurrection. His victory is our victory. The same power that rose Jesus from the grave is given to each of us to battle and overcome our daily challenges. Do you believe this?

Just as Jesus’ question served to challenge the sisters, we too will be challenged by God’s truth. Just as Jesus comforted and strengthened them by His presence, He too will comfort and strengthen us. And just as Lazarus was transformed from death to life before their very eyes, we too are transformed daily by the grace of God in us. This We believe! I pray that this belief and faith will grow and lead us during these next few weeks as we celebrate Easter and our faith in the promises of God fulfilled.

“The Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11

His servant and yours,
Pastor Erik Gauss

Scripture Readings for Sunday, April 23, 2023
Isaiah 43:1-7; Luke 24:13–35

Pastor’s Corner

Pastor’s Corner – A New Season At Cross

This time of year is filled with change. The weather is warmer, school is drawing to a close and many milestones achieved throughout the year will be celebrated. Playoffs for many popular sports have recently concluded and baseball season has begun. And, lest we forget, the church year transitions from the penitential season of Lent to the celebratory tone of Easter!

This weekend we will host a congregation meeting to decide if we will enter a new season of ministry. On the ballot is a vote to begin construction on a Ministry Expansion project. In some ways, the idea of moving the school from the nearly 100 year old facilities is difficult. So many memories and blessings in our current space. In other ways, the plans allow our school facilities to remain an excellent place for students to learn and grow academically, socially and spiritually.

More than just a new and expanded school facility, this expansion will also include dedicated ministry space for children’s ministry as well as create space for our youth in grade 5-8. This is an exciting time for us to consider all that God has done and is doing in our midst. But change isn’t always easy, it often contains much that is unknown and requires a sacrifice of how things have been

Sometimes we are eager to let go of the old and reach for the new. Sometimes we cling to the past and dread change. Usually these feelings and desires are driven by internal thoughts about the personal benefits or losses. Our personal feelings are very important, God works through us to accomplish His plans for us and others. But our feelings are not the only thing to consider.

When it comes to ministry, God asks us to take one more thing into consideration. God asks us to consider the benefits the change will bring to His Kingdom’s presence here on earth. Sometimes we like the changes that allow God’s message of forgiveness and salvation to be shared with others. Sometimes we don’t like it because it requires us to change. All of this matters to God.

When we are willing to allow God to lead us to places that makes us uncomfortable or challenging we are fulfilling God’s calling for us to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Walking by faith is seldom easy but it is always rewarding. Walking by faith stretches us and transforms us into the people God created us to be. Walking by faith gives us a bigger purpose, and an eternal purpose to shine His light and share His hope with the world.

I do not know where God will lead us in the vote, many have asked. But, I do believe He is calling us forward into a new season, if I didn’t believe this, I wouldn’t be leading this. I am also eager to see how God is at work through you. I am confident that as we each are attentive to our own needs, and also to the needs of others, whatever decision we make will lead us forward on the path and plan He has for us.

Regardless of the outcome, it will be a new season. If we begin construction, it will be difficult, exciting and new. If we vote to not build, it will be difficult, exciting and new for a whole different set of reasons. Either way I pray for unity and faithfulness for our whole community of faith to follow where God leads and make an impact for His Kingdom sake in the community in which we live and serve together.

“…make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2

His servant and yours,
Pastor Erik Gauss

Scripture Readings for Sunday, April 16, 2023
Genesis 1:1-5; 1 John 4:7-13; John 20:19-31

Pastor’s Corner

Pastor’s Corner – Christ Is Risen

The Greatest Day in History. Our celebration this weekend highlights more than just a miracle where a man comes back to life after three days in the grave. The majesty of Easter is that because of the events that surround this resurrection, this resurrection is the resurrection of ALL people.   

Death is the natural consequence of sin. On the cross Jesus dies as the consequence of taking the sin of all people upon Himself. Easter is the victory over sin AND death. The sin that was taken from us is still gone AND Jesus is alive! It seems impossible for both of these things to be true, but they are. 

One could reasonably argue that Jesus took our sins and was sacrificed for them. Others could be convinced that Jesus died and came back to life. The greatest miracle of this all is that Jesus both died for our sins AND is once again alive! Christ is Risen!   

The miracle of Easter extends beyond one day, it changes everyday for every person. All of our sins are forgiven, forever, no questions asked. On the Cross of Calvary Jesus suffered and was forsaken by God because of our sin. We know this because Jesus himself was without sin. His punishment had to be for our sin or for no reason at all. His death was our death. 

Anyone can die, but Christ is risen! His resurrection on Easter proved that He had the authority to die in our place. His resurrection validated that His claims to be the Savior are true. His resurrection essentially proves His divine person and position and that sin and death have no power over Him or His people.  

Easter completes the story of the power and love our God has for His people. Easter means we are free from the guilt and shame of the past and we are free from the fear and uncertainty of our future. Both our past and our future are secure in the Easter Resurrection. Because Christ lives, we live also.  We are alive and free today and will live forever. It is finished; Christ is risen! 

The beauty and power of Easter is challenging to comprehend. To understand the ways and impact of God stretches even the most learned of minds. Here is the exciting part; God doesn’t ask us to understand, He asks us to believe and be free. Let’s do that together this weekend, and let’s continue do that every day as we are born anew in the Spirit of God and the freedom we have in Him. 

Christ is Risen!  Nothing can take away the joy and peace of that simple and powerful truth.  

“The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.”  Matthew 28:5-6

His servant and yours,
Pastor Erik Gauss

Scripture Readings for Sunday, April 9, 2023
Job 19:25-26, Acts 10:34–43 Jerermiah 31:1–6 Psalm 16 Colossians 3:1–4 Matthew 28:1–10