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).



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


God is Not Dead!


God Is Not Dead!

It never gets old for me: “Christ is risen indeed!” It is a life motto, a philosophy, a religion; it is a compass and a guide. The fact that Christ is risen gives meaning to life and meaning in death. We are not a people that need to be bounced to and fro by finances, politics, sickness or death. In Christ we have a firm foundation, a strong cornerstone, a place of refuge and power that is greater than our biggest adversary. Alleluia!

In all things we are more than conquerors and yet our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak. Christ is risen and yet we face trials all day long, like sheep going to slaughter. Is it any wonder that we do fall into sin, that we do lose hope, that we stumble and struggle? Satan is actively working against our faith, against truth, against our security and hope in the Lord. He is trying to erode our foundations and destroy our power. As Christ was lifted up on that cross and cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Satan thought he had won, that he had manipulated humanity and destroyed God’s plan, but Christ did not stay dead… and neither do we!

Daily we die and daily we rise again in the promises of our baptism and the power of the resurrection. Daily we trust in God’s provision and assurance that despite the devil’s best efforts, in spite of the appearance that another battle has been lost or victory is being clutched from our hands, God is still the One who overcomes. God is still the One who grants you and me the ultimate victory to be celebrated NOW, even as we wait for the trials and challenges of this world to be eradicated once and for all.

If Christ is risen, then those who know and believe are granted assurance in our present and our future. Having this assurance, being set free from the expectations and norms of this earth, we no longer worry for ourselves but worry for those who are lost. Paul is able to rejoice in his sufferings because he knows they are temporary in Christ. Paul dedicates his life to pursuing salvation for the world, not how comfortable he can be.

This weekend we celebrate the resurrection of Christ by challenging ourselves to take strength in the power of God and reach out to our neighbors who are far from God. This weekend we are celebrating our nine mission partners who represent the sacrifices each believer makes each day so the world can know Christ as Savior. I believe we have reached our commitment to our mission partners through the special offering on Easter weekend and in this we greatly rejoice! The work is far from done and requires all of God’s people to be about our Father’s work every day. Each day we make choices, choices to glorify God or build security for ourselves. If Christ is risen, then we have all the security we need to glorify Him with all that we are.

He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

In His service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss

To hear the Easter Sunday Message please follow this link


Completly. Committed. Follower

This tag line from the “Not a Fan” series is a great expression of the Biblical calling: to be fully committed to an impossible task. Romans 3:11 says, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.” In our normal human condition, we cannot, do not and will not pursue God and His purposes. No one can be a Completely. Committed. Follower.

Martin Luther expresses our condition this way: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctified the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith…” I love this teaching and explanation of the Biblical truth that we are saved in spite of our greatest efforts to replace His will with our own.

It is in this faith that God is the acting agent; God calls us, God chooses us, God saves us, God forgives us, God empowers us, which frees us from obligation and guilt about our own condition and allows us to sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel. As people who follow Christ we do it imperfectly, and when it comes to commitment we waffle back and forth, but God is completely committed to us. He died for us because He knew we would fail to die to Him.

It is with this powerful perspective of salvation in Christ that we desire to follow Christ in an effort to be blessed to be a blessing to others. This week in worship we will each be challenged to make a commitment to follow Christ more fully. God desires to make His kingdom reign here on earth, and He desires for it to reign through you and me. Please prayerfully consider in what area or areas of your life you are not surrendered to God’s will or need to step out in faith to rely on Christ rather than our own ways.

There are many places and ministries that could be blessed by your gifts and talents. I would like you to consider the local congregation here at Cross as a place to be a blessing for Christ into the world. Every day hundreds of people, young and old, receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the ministries of Cross. I pray that you are one of them and that you might commit, any way you know how, to be a part of the kingdom work Christ is doing in and through the people of Cross.


Fan, Follower, Disciple

This week was the first in the church-wide emphasis of Not a Fan.  Alicia and I are part of a brand new group that  “birthed” off of our previous group.  There are many new faces and the video lesson for the week was pretty intense.  It was a powerful group though as many people shared exactly how God was working in their life or what a struggle it is to try to follow Him.

When asked the question, “how would you describe your relationship with Jesus; Fan or Follower?” One person in our group responded “Disciple”.  That is one of those moments when I wish I would have said that so I could sound awesome!  Seriously though, the discussion after this was about the disciples that were with Jesus and how at times they sound and act like fans, and other times like fully committed followers.

If there is one right answer it is, Disciple.  Disciple means follower of or student of a teacher.  Disciple doesn’t mean perfect, it doesn’t mean without original thought, it doesn’t mean powerless, it doesn’t mean completed.  Disciple means a student who follows and learns from another.  As a student we learn things and often forget them or choose not to use them because we think we know better.  Sometimes we miss class and other times we sleep through it, but what matters is our commitment to learn, to return, to allow the teachings of our mentor to challenge us and guide our growth.

A Follower of Jesus, a Disciple of Jesus, will hear the word of God and not reject it, but allow it to reshape and reform daily.  “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16.  Jesus invites us to follow Him and as such, we are empowered to respond to that invitation.  Will you admire him for a far or join Him as He teaches, trains, rebukes and corrects so that you may be built up as a continuously growing Disciple of God, that is fully equipped to Go and make more Disciples?

Lent: In like a Lion; Out like a Lamb

Facing another predicted snowstorm this weekend reminds me of this old saying:  March will come in like a lion and out like a lamb or in like a lamb and out like a lion.  Lent begins March 5 with Ash Wednesday services, Lutheran Schools’ Week and the launch of our church wide emphasis, “Not a Fan.”  Forty days later we will be in Easter, celebrating the saving work of the Lamb of God.

The season of Lent is based off of Matthew 4 where Jesus spends forty days in the wilderness, fasting and being tempted by the devil.  This period of time occurred right before Jesus began His public ministry of teaching, calling His disciples and performing miracles.  Before these forty days Jesus was relatively unknown in His time.  These days served as a time of refinement and preparation for what would lie ahead in His ministry.

It is through refinement that we become focused and effective.  The Bible calls this circumcision, cutting off the things that are not beneficial or helpful to make room for the things that are.  Over these next forty days you are invited, and even challenged, to examine your walk in the light of the truth of Holy Scripture.  The call of the lion, the devil, will be to fight it, say it is too difficult, you are too busy, or simply rebel because you are your own person.

The Lamb calls us to lay down our life for the sake of the thing that matters most:  eternal life in Christ Jesus.  We can claim our reward now — money, success, immediate gratification, or we can have joy in our purpose of pursuing and proclaiming the eternal rewards of the children of God.  We cannot serve both God and man.  “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  1 Peter 5:8.  “When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  John 1:29.

To hear this week’s sermon click here.

In his service and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss


Jesus is NOT looking for fans; He’s looking for followers, followers who understand there is no forgiveness without repentance.  There is no salvation without surrender.  There is no life without death.  There is no believing without following.

Twenty times in the New Testament, Jesus Christ issued a compelling and challenging invitation:  “Follow Me.”  Jesus is not interested in mere fans.  He doesn’t want enthusiastic admirers.  He wants completely committed followers.  Built around the engaging approach of Kyle Idleman, Teaching Pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, this one of a kind small group study examines what it means to deny one’s self and truly follow Jesus.  This is not a conventional small group experience.  It is a cinematic journey, a series of six mini-movies with the perspective and depth to help shape today’s believer into a first century Christ follower.  Participants follow the journey of Eric Nelson, a man leading a compartmentalized triple life as a pleasure-seeking rebel, a cutthroat corporate executive and a nominal Christian.  But when confronted with a near death experience, Eric embarks on a spiritual journey that transforms his commitment to Jesus Christ and tests the faith of his friends and family.

If you’re not currently in a community group, visit our website at; sign up on the bulletin board in the food court or contact the office at 630-553-7335 to get connected!

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

Harvest Time

The harvest season is in full swing, the corn around the property is down and the combines are in the fields day and night.  It is important to be ready for the harvest when the time is right the window of opportunity doesn‘t stay open forever.  For example, it would be a bad practice to start up the equipment for the first time the day you want to work in the field, what if it doesn’t start?  Now you’re wasting valuable time getting it fixed when you could have been ready if you’d checked to make sure everything was running properly beforehand.

God says the world is ready for harvesting new believers; the problem is the workers in the field are few.  In Matthew chapter 9, Jesus instructs His disciples to “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest field.”   In recent history this passage has been applied to full time church-workers, we need these people for sure, but Jesus isn’t talking about full-time workers.  Jesus is asking the twelve disciples (full-time workers) to pray for people in the congregations and towns to see themselves as workers in the harvest field.

Are you ready for God’s harvest season or has your faith been collecting dust for a little while?  If someone were to approach you about the Jesus you believe in would you be “prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have?” 1 Peter 3:15.  Christmas season is fast approaching and people are more receptive to the Gospel of Jesus Christ than at any other time.  Now would be a great opportunity to brush up on your beliefs so you aren’t caught off guard!  Why do you do what you do and make the choices you make?  What difference has a relationship with Jesus made in your life?

Timothy is instructed to be prepared “in season and out of season!”  The question could come at any time because the harvest is always ready and the workers are few, ask the Lord of the harvest to prepare you and refine you so you will rely on Him. Then remember “the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say,” Luke 12:12. So be ready, and trust God to do His miraculous work as you labor for Him in the harvest fields.

His servant and yours,

Pastor Erik Gauss