Pastor’s Corner For You, For the World

For You, For the World

Jesus Christ died and rose again for you!  He forgave all your sins!  He provides for our every need.  You are invaluable to God, a treasure in a field He gave His life to purchase.  You are pretty important!  To the God who has everything, everything is meaningless without you.

Once you realize this, God’s overwhelming love for you grows your love for Him.  This turns your world upside down.  As you are drawn closer to God, you begin to value the things He values more than the things you used to think were important.  You start to care whether others know Him, too.  You care for people and their relationship to the Father because God cares.  He loves them as much as He loves you!

God calls us to live for Him, not so we can save ourselves but so others may know His love through us.  To that end we work, serve and love others right where we are and around the world as the Lord calls us.

During Easter services we will be gathering an offering for our mission partners near and far that are sharing God’s love to the world.  Please consider a special gift that will go to support the efforts of these mission partners to reach people who otherwise may not know of their Father’s great love.  You can find out more about these efforts online at or in the food court on our Missions wall.

Europe – David Fiala Family

Botswana – John Strasen

Peru – Rev. Mark Eisold Family

Russia – Steve and Kathy Schnaidt

Norway – Rev. Torkild Masvie

Far East – Rev. Stephen Wiesenauer Family

Far East – Ruth Grille

Plano, IL – Vicar Walter Ramirez Family

Manhattan, IL – Rev. Dan Hudson Family


Please lift up our mission partners in prayer for strength in their service to the Lord.  Please consider supporting them through our special Easter offering by marking your gift with the word “Missions.”


“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”  1 Timothy 2:3-4


In His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss


Love and the preparation for Easter

Valentine’s Day is another reminder to me of how the Christian faith is deeply rooted into our country.  Saint Valentine is celebrated around the world as a faithful servant of God who became a symbol of love in the world.  There are many “Saint Valentines” throughout Christian history, but the one that is most frequently remembered on February 14 is St. Valentine of Rome.

St. Valentine was imprisoned for performing marriages for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians who were under persecution in Rome.  No wonder St. Valentine is associated with love!  We don’t have a lot of documented facts about St. Valentine, but the legend goes that he was persecuted in Rome and refused to renounce his faith and so was sentenced to death.  Other less substantiated myths state that he healed the blind daughter of the prison warden and gave to her the first “valentine” to express his love.

While I am uncertain about him falling in love with his oppressor’s daughter, what I am certain about is that St. Valentine loved the Lord and the people he served.  What makes me so certain?  “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”  John 15:13  St. Valentine put his entire life on hold so that others could know of God’s great love.

For what do you willingly interrupt your plans?  Many times family gets this honor; entertainment choices and work schedules often dictate our life’s plans.  What about faith, faith growth and faith sharing?  Greater love has no one than they choose to interrupt their schedule for it.

Starting in March we are in a season of great anticipation and reflection; Lent is 40 days of preparation for Easter.  In this season there are many opportunities to worship God, participate in His story of redemption, reflect on His work for you, grow in faith in a Christian community group, have spiritual discussion and serve for the sake of someone else knowing God’s great love.  Any or all of these will disrupt your life and plans as you know them, but out of love for God or one another, I invite you to lay down just one thing that you might make more room for the thing that matters most.

In his service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

The Journey of Faith: Forest

No Journey is without incidents.  Incidents very rarely define the success of the journey rather, challenges and texture and color to otherwise run of the mill activities.  No body likes a flat tire while traveling across country, but rarely does this ruin the entire trip.  I’ll never forget losing my I.D. on a plane trip to Arizona and almost not getting on the plane. Harrowing escapes make for great memories as long as everything works out!

In our Journey of life we often place a lot of pressure on ourselves to have all the answers, not let other people down, to have riches and success, to choose a path with few setbacks.   Our life can seem very insignificant when we measure ourselves to these standards and at the same time we believe somehow we’ve done something wrong.

When Jesus showed up that first Christmas Day He came in fulfillment of the spiritual journey of a nation.  The people of Israel had been promised that a Messiah/Savior to all the world would come from their Nation.  That He would be a descendant of King David and his father Jesse.  But, it had been 600 years since anyone related to David had sat on a throne as King.  Jesus never made it to the throne either.

While we all prefer an event free journey, we all face realities that are far less than perfect.  This is the beauty, majesty and purpose of God.  Isaiah, a prophet of Israel, writes about the “stump of Jesse” indicating that the long and storied family tree of this man and his Kingly descendants had been chopped down.   But God, in His redemptive power caused the long destroyed family tree to send out a shoot, be reborn, and fulfill His promise to Israel.  “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.”

Through Jesus Christ we are not told to be perfect, rather that we ARE now perfect.  Made perfect as a child of God redeemed, reborn, and restored.  Through the mishaps, flat tires, fallen trees and various other missteps God works in powerful ways to strengthen you and I and all His descendants.  That is an amazing journey and a colorful story.  Who have you shared your story with recently?

His servant and yours,

Erik A. Gauss

The Journey: Advent Series

In December we will be celebrating Advent, a special time of preparation for Christmas. As we prepare to joyfully celebrate Christ’s first coming, we also keep in mind and prepare for His second coming.  To do so, we will be highlighting the themes and references in the Old Testament readings for the season, which are the Mountain, the Forest, the Desert, and the Cave.  As we go on our spiritual journey of preparation, we will be highlighting what each of these symbols represents in the history of the church and for each one of us.  Come join us on the Journey!!


The holidays are here; Thanksgiving was last week, and Christmas will be here in the blink of an eye.  This means a lot of preparation in my life:  presents, travel, extra worship services, visitors, parties, traditions and obligations.  The list seems endless, and the time is limited.  In fact, it reminds me about my life every day:  endless lists and limited time.

I am forced to prioritize my time, my preparation to the things that matter most or are the most urgent.  Deadlines seem to drive much of my decision making each day of the week.  I am not alone.  I hear numerous stories of how, in the current economic environment, more production is expected than ever before without much reward or recognition for the increased “efficiency.”

When it comes to our relationship with God, it becomes one of those things we put on the back burner because, after all, there is always next week.  Spiritual deadlines are unclear, Jesus says “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only”  Matthew 24:36.  It becomes enough for us to become comfortable with our own circumstances and then set faith aside to deal with any other details later.

What if your holiday guests could come at any time?  The doorbell could ring right now and 25 of your closest family members would come in cold, hungry and desperately craving a hot, juicy bird?  Would that change how you lived each day?  Would it cause you severe anxiety?  Jesus reminds us that the fact we don’t know when He will return doesn’t lessen the urgency but instead should heighten our awareness, become our focus, so that when He does return, we will be prepared for Him!

This reality can cause great anxiety, but that isn’t God’s intention; for “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  Romans 10:13.  There is no need for anxiety about our salvation or what will occur when He returns for it is complete in Christ Jesus; for this I am thankful!  But there is much urgency because God desires to involve me in bringing hope and salvation to all who are far off, and the deadline could be any moment.  So let’s get ready together as we prepare for all this holiday season offers; let’s prepare for the return of Jesus to the earth and all that entails as well.