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


The First Commandment, You shall have no other gods.

The First Commandment

 You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?  We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Sounds pretty straight forward and rather simple, to be honest.  But it is the first commandment for a reason; all the other commandments come after it. If you keep this commandment, you keep every commandment, and if you break any other commandment, you also break this one.

How does this work?  Stealing means we don’t trust God will provide or don’t love Him for His provision.  Spreading gossip or speaking poorly about others means we don’t love God because those who love God, love each other.  “A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:34-35

In fact, keeping this commandment is the most difficult thing we will ever be asked to do.  No matter how difficult the tasks, relationships, diseases, and turmoil of life, loving God above ALL things is even more difficult.  Right now you might be thinking of what I have ever done to think that loving God is so difficult.  Humor me; think about it.

As Jesus approached the cross and the beatings and humiliation, what did He do?  Fear, love, and trust His Father, above His own pride, ego and desires, to trust that the world would be better if He was scorned, that God’s love would be more evident if He was mocked.  For Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his only child, so the world from that point on would know what faith looks like.  For Daniel to face a den of hungry lions; for David to face the giant, there was love and trust for God.

The list of things we turn to for comfort, security and love is virtually endless, and yet all God has ever asked is that we turn to Him.  If we turn to Him, our fears are lessened, our love is increased, and our security is guaranteed.  It’s that simple… really.  It is the hardest thing we will ever do, and we will never do it by ourselves.  The reality of failure to trust God empties our hearts and makes us feel worthless.  God’s love is so great it fills our hearts with love, true love, and gives us strength and faith.  When you are so weak you can’t hold on anymore, then you are strong because He is holding onto you.



This weekend in worship we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus. Baptism is intended by God to be a gift to anyone who would receive it by faith. Too often, Baptism has been a source of conflict and division among people of faith. I am certain it causes God much heartache that one of His most “proud” moments (His voice was audible for all to hear when the heavens opened and God bellowed, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.”), we turn into a weapon of division.

My hope in this “Corner” is to remind each of us that what God says is true so we can receive God’s gifts and bless one another. It is not my intent to give you more “ammunition” for your spiritual debates with family or friends from other churches.

Is Baptism “real” or “symbolic”? – We believe Baptism is not just an “outward sign of an inward belief,” but that by receiving Baptism in faith, God actually, literally in that moment, removes our sins, fills us with the Holy Spirit and adopts us as His children, just as He spoke those words of identity over Jesus at His Baptism. (Scriptures to study: Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Galatians 3:26-27, Mark 16:16)

Does Baptism “guarantee” Heaven? Yes and no! Baptism guarantees Heaven because God promises to be with you and never leave you. If you turn to God, He will never turn His back on you! Many people reject Baptizing children because of the perception that it gives these people a “blank check” to sin. This is false. God teaches us that the faith given a baby needs to be nurtured and cared for or it could get “stolen away by sin.” (1 John 1:8-10, Matthew 13:22)

Does someone “need” to be Baptized? Baptism is the first gift God wants to give you. If someone says they believe in Jesus as their Savior and rejects Baptism, this is a problem. But it is faith that saves, not Baptism. Someone who has not had the opportunity to be Baptized is not condemned because of this. (Romans 10:17, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 8:26-40)

How many and what type of Baptism is “right”? There is one God, one Lord and one Baptism! His instructions are to Baptize with water and in His name — nothing more, nothing less. Requiring anything more or less than this (age, immersion, special water, etc.) is an opinion of man, not a request from God. Anyone desiring to be Baptized a “second time” should realize the second Baptism is nothing more than a symbolic re-enactment of the first time God saved you through His precious promise. The individual and God’s Kingdom would be better served with the giving of a public testimony of how God is at work in you giving you this great desire. We call this testimony “Confirmation” (more on that later).



Advent is not a frequently used word. In fact, when searching for a definition, most refer to the season of Advent (the four weeks before Christmas). But advent is a real word, I promise. It means to come or to arrive. Advent is the season we eagerly desire Christmas to come.

Waiting for something is a long lost skill. Christmas supplies and decorations now arrive in the stores BEFORE the season of Advent. Think about that… before we begin waiting, it has already arrived. Sounds like a Hollywood movie script. Delayed gratification, better described as patience, is a gift from God. This gift comes through trusting in His timing and provision over our own timing. It goes against the nature of our flesh, which is why it is called faith.

While we wait faithfully for God’s timing to be revealed, He offers us little signs of His presence, even while we wait. These signs are not of our own human choosing (like lightning strikes or lottery winnings) but of His own promising. If we are looking faithfully for His signs, we can have encouragement to endure.

This Advent season we will focus on the journey that led up to the first Christmas through various characters. Their stories are God’s signs that Jesus is the true Messiah and that He will and now already has accomplished the purposes of God through His life.

Isaiah – The prophet who promised deliverance for Israel, first from Babylon and then from Rome, in Jesus’ time.

John the Baptist – A voice in the wilderness, preparing the way of the Lord, the coming of Elijah.

Elizabeth – The cousin and mentor to Mary (Jesus’ mother) who saw and focused on the signs of God.

Gabriel and the Angels – Messengers from God to remind us of God’s own Word.

This Advent, practice delayed gratification and trust that God can fulfill you in every circumstance.

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:



































Why is there suffering in the world? Why do bad things happen to good people? If God is good, why does He allow evil to exist? How do I avoid having bad things happen to me or my family? Nobody likes a bad thing; that’s why it is called bad, so why do bad things exist? If there is a God, why doesn’t He do something about these bad things? Have I asked enough questions yet?

biblical world view

When it comes to evil in the world and bad things happening, there seem to be more questions than answers. And yet, there is a very comprehensive answer we don’t like to hear; it is called sin. Sin is the answer we never like to hear; it makes us feel guilty and responsible. This is compounded when we work hard to do good and be good, yet bad things still happen; it just seems unfair. The existence of bad things, evil things, can challenge even the most faithful believer to doubt the existence of God.

Bad things happen because when Adam and Eve chose to eat the fruit in the garden they were effectively saying, “God, leave me alone; leave us alone; we can figure it out ourselves.” But God is good; life without God is evil. How do we say we don’t need God who is good and yet get upset when bad things happen?

Bad things are allowed to happen to remind all creation it is broken and needs a Savior. Last weekend my family and I spent three days in a condo at Lake of the Ozarks. It was a wonderful getaway that had the kids asking if we could live there! Alicia and I said, “What about your friends, your house, your neighbors, your activities? Do you really want to leave all that behind?” They were ready to start over in a new place because there was a TV in every room! We finally told the girls that if we moved there, the TVs would not stay in their rooms. Suddenly they were happy to go back home.

We often get enamored with this world, the relationships, the experiences, the things, the opportunities. It is very easy for us to get caught up in the present and forget all about God and our relationship with Him. Bad things happen as a reminder that this world on its best day is nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. Read Romans 8:18 and following to start understanding this perspective.

Romans 8:18 (ESV)

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

God wants us to enjoy the world He has given to us without forgetting that it is nothing compared to what God will do for those whose trust is in Him. In the beginning God made the world perfect, without suffering, and we were not satisfied. We now have suffering, and in that suffering, God promises to be our strength and deliverance. Through Jesus Christ, suffering turns us toward God to free us from the bad things of this world. This weekend in worship we will dig a little deeper, but for now, in the midst of your suffering, pray for the Glory of God to be revealed to you today, that you would know freedom forever.

To hear this week’s sermon please visit

In His service and yours, Pastor Erik Gauss