A Prayer for Ramadan

People of the Book Lutheran Outreach http://www.poblo.org

Last week I received this prayer request from POBLO ministries (People of the Book Lutheran Outreach).  This ministry is specifically designed to share the Good News of Jesus Christ within the Muslim community.    I thought this was a powerful request that reminds us we need God and that He is still very much active in the world today.

RAMADAN Prayer Request from Hady

 I thank God for our being able to reach out to people of different nationalities and religions here in St. Louis.  I want to encourage you to include in prayers now and throughout Ramadan (June 6-July 5) to ask God to reach anyone seeking the true God through fasting and prayers.  Here is a suggested way to pray:   “Lord God anyone who is seeking you and fasting, please come to them in their dreams, visions or how you see best that will reveal you to them.”
I know of many past situations of Muslims where were praying and reading the Koran all the time during Ramadan to whom our true God revealed Himself to them by means of dreams or visions.
If you know any Muslim people still practicing Islam please invite him to look up this web site:  http://morethandreams.org

 I believe God will use these prayers to accomplish 2 things.  First this will unite our congregations agreeing in prayer as one body.  Also God will answer these prayers and bring people to us who will share about the dreams and visions God gives them.


Unleashing God

This little Gospel Light of mine… I’m gonna let It shine. The intermingled relationship between God and Light begins in Genesis when the first thing God creates is light. The relationship deepens in Numbers 24 as the prophet Balaam testifies a “Star” shall come out of Jacob and Revelation 22 declares Jesus is that bright morning Star. But perhaps the clearest connection between God and Light appears in the Gospel of John 8:12: “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

This week we will conclude our series on Defining Moments as we reflect on Jesus’ transfiguration. His face shone with the glory of God and revealed His true divinity to His closest disciples. The power of God was unleashed, just for a moment and not in its full glory. (The disciples would not have been able to handle that.) God was unleashed, enough to cause terror and joy, fear and excitement.

Terror, joy, fear and excitement all appeared when God was unleashed in Jesus. In fact, the early Christians (Acts 2) are said to be in awe as they saw the wondrous works of God. If this is what it looks like when God appears in the Bible, why do we expect less today? I don’t mean we should expect “miracles” all the time (That is for another conversation.); I mean we should expect an emotional response from people, including ourselves, when God is unleashed.   When we share the Gospel and people get offended, bent out of shape or argumentative, we shouldn’t be surprised. When people are “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37), we shouldn’t apologize. The goal is not to cause offense or make others cry; rather, it is to proclaim truth and shine Light. But when we get these reactions, we shouldn’t think we are doing it wrong.

As the church in America, we are asked to present a picture of God that is a sterile, drab message that could easily be confused with self-help thoughts. As the Church of God on Earth, we are asked to let the Kingdom reign in us and through us, working where and when and what God chooses. Sometimes our work frees captives and sometimes it hardens hearts; sometimes the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not understand It. Sometimes we are asked to unleash God whether we understand why or not. May God grow faith within you and that shines forth in the darkness, no matter what.

His servant and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss


What does God say about sexuality?

The Church is often seen as a group of people that hate sex. There, I said it. I thought about saying the Church is filled with prudes or that we are scared of sexuality, but that is too nice. Hear me out. I did not say Christ followers hate sex; I am saying the world thinks we do! Why? Because most of the time when there is a question about sex or sexuality, we say “No!” or “Don’t!” instead of “Yeah!” or “Have fun!”

While we can’t change the teaching God has revealed to us, we can certainly get a more complete perspective on what He says. God is the Creator of man and woman. He gave us sex and sexuality so we could know love, know companionship, know unity and receive His blessings through children. The trouble isn’t that believers hate sex; it is that we don’t appreciate it enough!

I often am asked to help my parents buy new technology, not because I am particularly savvy with technology, but I do tend to be one of the more informed in the circles my parents run in. To make a long story short, they always want the fastest processor and the biggest hard drive when what they do more often than anything is play Solitaire and stalk their grandchildren on Facebook. Often those fast processors and expansive hard drives don’t get used for what they are intended and my parents don’t get the full benefit of those gifts.

What a great blessing and privilege to know the physical intimacy that sexual intercourse brings to a man and woman given in marriage. Like anything, when we are given an amazing gift but don’t know how to use it, we often end up wasting it or underappreciating it. Sexuality, when used as a gift to be given rather than a prize to be won, changes everything! “The two shall become one flesh” Ephesians 5:31. When sexuality is given any other way than in a lifelong commitment, the two become one… for a time. This lessens the power of God’s promise for He desires, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 9:16.

The gift of sexuality and what an amazing gift it is from God will be explored this weekend as we try to answer the question, “What does God say about sexuality?”

To hear this week’s sermon click here:

In His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss



To be fair, there were not many requests for a sermon asking what God says about “leadership”. However, there were multiple requests that have leadership at their root: parenting, Christian businesses, husbands, wives, living as a Christian in a non-Christian world. The topic of leadership is a challenging concept because Christians often see themselves as followers, and rightly so!

How do we resolve the tension between being a follower of Jesus and a leader of men? The answer lies with the understanding of what God says about leadership. The world says leaders are hard driving, unwavering charismatic people that others are drawn to. Jesus says leaders are servants first, “So the last shall be first and the first last” Matthew 20:16.

This weekend Rev. Stephen Wiesenauer shared  his experiences as a Christian leader around the world. Stephen has been a missionary to Asia for nearly eight years but is also a husband and father. Our Christian walk leads us on a journey where those who are the most humble, the most unassuming are the greatest leaders of faith.

This is a challenging truth that the devil does not want believers to grasp. He has come to deceive, distract and destroy and works diligently to get faithful people to take a back seat when it comes to leadership. God calls us, as people of faith, to recognize we are leaders when we believe in Christ because so many people do not believe.

Parents are leaders of their children; children are called to be models to unbelieving children. Managers are leaders of their work environment; Christian employees are leaders to their co-workers. An unbeliever is looking to a believer to determine “what God is all about”. We are lights shining in the darkness, leaders of faith in a faithless world and sent to live out the reality. “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12. Come hear Stephen and hear God’s Word for strength to live life, leading others, to the glory of God.


To listen to this week’s sermon click here:


In His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss





Recently the family and I went to Carrabba’s Italian Restaurant. This is our family favorite and a very special treat for famiversaries (an anniversary spent with the whole family) or Alicia’s birthday. After you receive your entrée they bring around the Parmesan cheese and grate it over your food. The waiter will not stop grating until you indicate you have enough! Usually one of the adults makes that decision for the girls, but in an effort to let them make more of their own decisions as they get older, we allowed the two oldest to decide themselves when they had enough. I am certain you can imagine the resulting pile of cheese!

Some things in life there never seem to be enough of: cheese, fall nights, ice cream, good times with friends, money. No matter how many or how often we have these things, we crave more. Most people would agree that fall evenings and good times with friends are great experiences that can build us up. Most people also agree too much cheese and ice cream will likely lead to some digestive and health issues. When it comes to money people have varying opinions. Some say money is evil because it corrupts; others say money makes the world go round. Some believe security is found in wealth, and great wealth brings great security. Still others believe the wealthy are obligated to provide for the poor.

This weekend we are going to talk about money and what God says about it. We had multiple requests to address this issue from multiple perspectives: the role of money, tithes and offerings, savings, investments, retirement and legacy planning. Lots of great questions to keep the conversation moving!

Money is how the world chooses to put value on something. People of faith recognize that, while we greatly enjoy this world, it is not of the highest value. Our greatest value is our identity in Christ and eternal life with our Father in Heaven. Rick Warren, a pastor in California, is credited with a famous quote: “Money is a useful servant but a useless god. If you don’t manage money, it manages you.” Let’s see what God says about how to be a great manager of wealth so we can have a healthy perspective on life and be effective in sharing God’s love with a world that desperately needs it! “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12

To listen to this week’s sermon click here:

Have a blessed summer,

Pastor Erik Gauss



Creation vs. Evolution


This is a perfect question for a believer to ask.  In every way and in every circumstance, “What does God say about this?”  Over the next six weeks we will be asking and answering this question regarding topics submitted by you, the people of Cross!  This week we begin the new series with the topic of Creation vs. Evolution.  You won’t want to miss this one!

This Sunday has  our annual meeting.  EVERYONE celebrated this last year in ministry together and to consider how God is moving us forward in mission together.  We celebrated men’s and women’s ministry ramping up, children’s ministry making some changes, the increased presence of LERT ministry, and many other amazing ways God has blessed.

New ministry opportunities and efforts for the upcoming year include the beginning of a couples’ mentoring ministry, the calling of a Pastor of Human Care and Mission, a part time youth minister, each believer living missionally, the Facility Alignment Team and so much more.  God is at work in and through the people of Cross!

God has given His Church on earth a mission:  to worship Him, grow in Christian community and love the world for His sake.  This journey starts  in the heart and mind of every believer and quickly grows us in compassion for the world!

1 Timothy 2:3-4:  “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

In His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

To hear this week’s sermon follow here:

Jesus: More than a Man

There is one thing the whole world agrees on: Jesus existed. History, literature and archaeology give credibility to the physical existence of a man named Jesus of Nazareth. That is about the end of the agreement though as the world is predetermined that Jesus is nothing more than a historical person of significant influence.

Was Jesus a great man or was He God incarnate? The answer is “Both!” which, to many, seems more preposterous than if we were to say Jesus was an angel or a prophet. I have been having some great discussions with leaders in the congregation this month over the current and next sermon series on “Biblical Worldview” and “What Does God Say About?” and we keep getting back to the place the Bible has in our lives. If we trust/believe the Bible, then the stuff we want to know about God is real easy to find out. If we don’t believe the Bible, then it is difficult to determine what truth is.

The Bible tells us Jesus was more than a man; He was a prophet, priest and king of God’s people. Jesus is also the long awaited Messiah promised to Adam and Eve shortly after the consequences of their sin in the Garden of Eden: “I will put enmity between you (serpent) and the woman (Eve), and between your offspring and her offspring; He (future Messiah) shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” Genesis 3:15. This Jesus is prophesied about throughout human history and “…. when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4.

More than the Bible, historians that are non-Christians have written about the works Jesus did and the testimonies of His followers. This is where it gets tricky. The testimonies about Jesus are remarkably consistent and have not “changed” throughout time. They have not gotten more mythical as some like to suggest. If anything, the accounts of Jesus are remarkably unflattering and straightforward. The Bible says Jesus was accused of being a drunkard, hanging with sinners, followed by high school dropouts. Isaiah prophesied in 53:3, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.” The rest of the Scriptures confirm He and the disciples were “ordinary men” Acts 4:13.

Yet in the ordinary, God works the extraordinary! “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.Colossians 2:9. The Bible gives a very clear testimony about who Jesus is and what He has done! The question is, “Are we willing to believe it?” Many have said it is not possible; everyone who saw it agrees it was miraculous! What we can’t do is ride the fence. Jesus who is not God is pointless. Jesus with no Authority from heaven is like following the teachings of Oprah Winfrey, just another person with another agenda about how you should see things. The only thing left is to discern who do you say that Jesus is? Are you out? Or, are you willing to stand up like Peter before all men and declare, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16. It isn’t a decision; it is faith from the Holy Spirit given to us through the Word of God that allows us to declare this boldly! May God bless and grow your faith daily!

In His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

To hear this week’s sermon follow this link:


































Biblical Worldview

biblical world view   Biblical Worldview

 Perspective: a powerful word that literally changes everything. If we change perspective, we can change our life and the world. A person of little to no hope gains hope, a person of great anger receives peace, a person with resentment offers forgiveness, a broken relationship is restored. The list goes on and on, but are we willing to see it, embrace it, and live it?

This next series goes through one of my favorite books of the Bible, 1 Peter. 1 Peter resonates with me because it addresses truth and doesn’t sugar coat the reality in which we live. Some people of faith would rather not deal with truth; it is more fun to talk about joy, hope, love in a purely superficial way. 1 Peter knows faith, hope and love are earned, at a price by our Lord Jesus Christ. To live out faith, hope and love costs us our ability to be selfish and pursue treasures of this world.

1 Peter is a shorter book, so for that reason it is an easy read. It is also filled with tons of content; it gets right to the point so it is an impactful book without a lot of filler. The purpose of the book is clearly stated by the author as he summarizes his writing in the conclusion: “… I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.” 1 Peter 5:12. This is our hope for the sermon series this month: to encourage and testify to the grace of God that we could stand fast in it as the world pursues its own truth just as quickly!

Are we willing to see the world as God sees it? Or, will we continue to walk in the paths the world sets for us, pursuing things that the flesh and mind determine to be necessary? This series in May will address major concepts that distinguish how we think and perceive the world as people of God. It will lay a foundation for us as we will then move into the June series about hot topics in the world for believers. This will be a series to encourage us that we can know the mind and will of God, that we can live out that will and that we can recognize it, to distinguish ourselves as people of faith rather than people of flesh.

Be careful! As God calls us to Himself, reveals His truth and opens our eyes, our perspectives change. As people of God we start to walk by faith, not by sight. It changes everything; it frees us and others to live by truth and not to be deceived by false understandings. It allows us to have life and live life to the full! Let’s read and work through 1 Peter together, asking God to open our hearts and minds to the truth He would reveal so our perspective of the world might be the same as the One who made it all!

In His service and yours, Pastor Erik Gauss


He is not Here

He Is Not Here!

Some classic movies are best remembered for their one liners: “There’s no crying in baseball!” “I feel the need… the need for speed!” “One milllllion dollars” (complete with proper pinky placement). The Easter account is filled with great one liners as well: “Do not be afraid!” “Why do you look for the Living among the dead?” “He is not here.” “Go, tell the disciples.” “He is risen, just as He said!”

What part of the Easter account is most memorable to you? For me the last several years the words, “Why do you look for the Living among the dead? He is not here.” have been the most thought provoking. Like any good quote the words convey the thoughts, emotions and events in a succinct statement: “Why do you look for the Living among the dead?” Gauss translation: ”What are you doing here?!?!?!?”

This is a great quote anytime you need to make a decision or are compelled to take action or tempted to quit trying. Like I said, this is a great quote anytime… What are you doing here?!?!?!? Are you looking for something here that you will never find? Turning to a bottle, an addiction, pornography, power, money, another person? Looking for happiness in worldly pleasure rather than Godly promise is looking for life amongst death. “For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.” James 1:11

He is not here! He is risen! Our eyes look everywhere for hope: bank accounts, cool cars, nice clothes, office title, life status. This Easter God calls us to lift our eyes to the cross, to the tomb, to the hills! Our help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Our help comes from the Lord, Lord over life and Lord over death!

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2


Alleluia! Christ is risen!


In His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss


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 www.hiscross.org 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