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.

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:


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


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


Family of Faith

1 Corinthians 12 says this about people who follow Jesus: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” Every one of us is a part of a whole that works together! That means if one of us hurts, we all hurt, and if one of us is weak, we are all weak. Similarly, as we grow, we all grow together, and as we work together, we can accomplish amazing things!

At Cross we are working together to make disciples that Walk with God in worship, Grow in Faith Together and Love Our Neighbors. How are we doing? Where do go from here? I would like to make you aware of various opportunities to give feedback and direction on our journey together as a family of faith:

What does God say about …? In an upcoming sermon series, we want to answer questions that are common in our world today. As followers of Jesus we care about what God says about everything! What are some questions that are in our world you would love for us to address? Submit your requests to our Director of Worship, Nathan Fisher, at nfisher@
hiscross.org, and we will try to cover them in this series!

Marks of Discipleship – This brief online survey will help us see how we are growing and what our strengths and weaknesses are as a congregation. This three minute survey will make us more effective at addressing the biggest needs in our congregation.


Discipleship (Re) Commitment – This online form is for you to give feedback about how God is working in your life today. Let us celebrate with you, pray for you, or come along side you as a family of faith as we follow Jesus together!


Spiritual Gift Inventory – Don’t know where to plug in or what you have to contribute? This online inventory will assist you in identifying the unique way God has shaped you to be an effective part of His family.

None of these take much time, but each of them can make an amazing difference. Respond today!