Pastor’s Corner

Pastor’s Corner – Then What Happened?

In a recent interview for our Children and Family Ministries positions, the candidate gave an answer that truly surprised me. We asked an obvious question. “Tell us about a time where your faith became important to you.” She shared about how she grew up in the church, went through Sunday school and confirmation but it wasn’t until High school that she got the answer to one of her most personal questions. “What happened after Jesus was raised from the dead?”

In all her years of Christian education/formation there had been a tremendous amount of energy placed on Jesus’ living, dying and rising again. This isn’t a bad thing. After all, if the story did end there it would still be the greatest event in the history of the world. Jesus’ death and resurrection would be the pinnacle of the human race and the hope for all the world.

The issue for this candidate is an issue of faith that many people have with Christianity today, the question is “Now what?!?” It is Great News that Jesus saved us from our sins. It is amazing news that we have eternity secured because of Him. It is indescribable news that our guilt, shame and doubt have no authority in this world. But, then what happens? What does all this information mean for my life?

The Biblical account of what happened after Jesus rose from the dead is a tremendous journey through the many responses. Some believed immediately, some doubted, some were afraid, some rejoiced, some were killed, many were transformed by the life and witness of those who believed.

Too many times we discredit ourselves, or worse let others discredit us. A journey through the New Testament records of Jesus life and the many responses to His resurrection should give us encouragement. It doesn’t matter the background, sex, role, age or nationality of the individuals all of them responded in unique ways. As we read the biblical account, we can see similarities in ourselves and in the people and family we encounter every day.

This weekend we remember and celebrate the Ascension of Jesus Christ. He did not die after Easter but up into heaven with a resurrected, living body. The response of the witnesses and those who heard is an inspiration for us, even today. Jesus prays for you and me, prays for those who hear the Good News though our lives and sends the Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide us.

“So, what Happens Next?” The amazing thing about the story of Jesus Christ is that it still isn’t over. Even to this day the work, life and ministry of Jesus is living and active in our lives and through our lives. The “Holy Christian Church” is the body of Christ at work in the world. He is present, now, in us and through us. And this will never end.

So, what is next? In many ways it is up to you, allowing God to work through you. In other ways, God is doing His work whether you realize it or not. One thing is for certain, God promises to be with always to the very end of the age and even then, He promises to take us to be with Himself, forever. So, let’s take a moment to celebrate and rejoice. Let’s find a moment of peace and hope in the chaos. After all the amazing work and ministry of Jesus has only begun even if the hardest part is already finished.

“(Jesus said) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. Then you will tell people about me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria. And you will even tell other people about me from one end of the earth to the other.” Acts 1:8

In Christ,
Pastor Erik Gauss

Scripture Readings for Sunday, May 14, 2023
Ezekiel 37:1-14; Luke 24:36-49

Pastor’s Corner

Pastor’s Corner – Many Hands Working Together

“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4:16

To say “There is a lot going on at Cross these days” would be an understatement. In fact, I could probably write a pastor’s corner every day and still not be able at adequately describe the beauty of the Body of Christ at work! Our teachers and school team are being celebrated by our parents. It is lavish, deserved and so appreciated. Our teachers sacrifice so much for our students and families and for them to be recognized and appreciated is wonderful. I will say, the team that puts the appreciation together is certainly over the top and amazing in their own right!

Our building process is rocking and rolling and all of the parts that need to come together are many. I am so thankful for the team of committed leaders that are working to do everything that is needed. We are clearing out cold storage, getting permits and land surveys, finalizing the loan requirements, finalizing contract language with the builders, planning for our groundbreaking, and working to get the old septic tanks moved out of the way of the new addition.

All of these extra new construction needs are added on top of the regular end of the year events. We have many celebrations: School graduation, Wednesday night discipling, ministry year-end activities, and finishing up classroom instruction objectives. It is typically a chaotic time of year; this year is extra special. But we have a great team and a greater God.

Each person is doing a part and those parts are adding up to many great things! This week Aurora Christian High School came out and helped our Thrift Shop get closer to completing the move into their new facility, clearing up more space to work in Cold Storage. Our Middle School Students took a few minutes of their gym time and moved the worship chairs into the Fellowship Hall. This would have taken one person over an hour to do alone but was completed in just a few minutes.

When we are working for Jesus, we know that we are part of something bigger and even if we do a small part, it advances God’s will for the world. But, when it comes to faith and ministry, we don’t always get to see all of the other parts working. With this construction project you will get to see many of the parts working together and the results will be visible for all to see. My prayer is that the many parts working together to accomplish this construction will be an inspiration for us all to continue to work together to accomplish the big goal: to mature as disciples of Jesus, who make more disciples of Jesus.

Keep praying and keep trusting that even the smallest part, when combined with all the body of Christ working together and blessed by God Himself is able to produce fruit “100 times” more than we ever imagined.

See you all at the Groundbreaking on June 11th at 9:11AM at Cross!

“Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” Mark 4:8

In Christ,
Pastor Erik Gauss

Scripture Readings for Sunday, May 14, 2023
1 John 1:5-10; Luke 7:41-50

Pastor’s Corner

Pastor’s Corner – Congregational Meeting This Sunday!

Yes, it is short notice, but we have some exciting, time sensitive opportunities God has placed before us. We have been praying and seeking God’s direction to fill the vacancies on our ministry team here at Cross. We lead with prayer and with faith that God will lead us to the person He intends to serve. The process can be both grueling and rewarding, especially as we remain open to all that God does through the process.

Through this process we are not just looking for the next person to “hire” but instead are looking for the person God would give us to extend a “Divine Call”. The Call process does, at times, look like a hiring process, but at times it is also very different. One way it is different is that the congregation is asked to pray and decide (discern) if God is in fact leading the process. A “Yes” vote means we believe God is asking us to extend a Call to this individual, which they may or may not accept. Sometimes the Call leads to a match and sometimes it refines the process and leads us to the next step.

Both Call Committees have identified a candidate to present to the congregation for their respective positions! We will be voting for both of these candidates separately at the Congregation meeting on Sunday May 7th at noon. Per our by-laws there will be a week long vote that concludes on May 14th after the last worship service.

The Discipleship Call Committee is recommending Jessica Dvorak to serve as Director of Christian Education (DCE). Her specific role would be a part-time position to oversee the ministry of 5th -12th grade youth. Jessica graduated from Emporia State University in Kansas as an English major and was a high school English teacher for three years. =In 2016 Jessica earned her DCE certificate from Concordia Seward, NE and was called to Concordia Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids IA. Jessica married her husband Chris, a high school English teacher, in 2012 and were blessed with a son Noah. Jessica and Chris have had multiple miscarriages and as part of their journey have leaned into their faith for healing. Jessica resigned her call in 2019. She has recently been serving as a volunteer in various discipleship capacities at Trinity Lutheran in Cedar Rapids, IA under the leadership of DCE Tony Dixon. Chris is searching for a position near Yorkville. They are excited to become a part of the Cross family while they seek God’s will to grow their family.

The Teacher Call Committee is recommending Rebekah Hahn (Bekah). Bekah is an alumnus of Cross School. Her dad, Jeff, is our current 8th grade teacher and her mom, Pam, is our Financial Assistant. Bekah would begin her ministry at Cross in 5th grade and oversee Reading classes for the Middle School. Bekah has served in Matoon, IL currently is serving at Bethany, Naperville. Bekah is excited to come back to Cross and Yorkville where her family runs Homeplate Hotdogs in Town Square Park during the summer. Bekah will marry Chris Galloway this fall! Chris will be a High School Teacher at YHS in the Business department.

As you can see God is doing some amazing things and leading us to some wonderful candidates whose journey in life seems to be matching up well with our journey as a congregation. Please come to the meeting on Sunday, May 7th at noon and pray with us. Then be sure to vote sometime during the week as the Lord leads you. IF we call both of these candidates and they both accept, we will continue our search for another member of our Discipleship team. This would be a full-time position to oversee Children and Family Ministries. Please keep all of this in your prayers as we seek God’s will and direction for Cross.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2

In Christ,
Pastor Erik Gauss

Scripture Readings for Sunday, May 7, 2023
Acts 4:32-37 Matthew 28:16-20