Dwelling in the Word – March

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.

It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS. They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.”

Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him. At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.” Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

~ Mark 15:21-39

The Old Rugged Cross

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

When I survey the old rugged cross I marvel at its wonders. I pray that you will survey the wondrous cross and find your richest gain but loss in knowing the one who died for our sins on that cross. And I pray that in surveying the cross we will all discover its wondrous attraction.

~ Pastor Kent

Take Away Hunger

“February 19, over 70 volunteers at Cedar Hills put together 11,016 meals for Take Away Hunger. Individuals donated $2,950 to support this cause. One box of these meals will be tested out in our Open Hands Food Pantry. This could be a new opportunity to serve hungry people in Cedar Rapids, also.” – Nathan Schnell
Meals were packaged in three 1-hour shifts during the regular Sunday morning gathering. Adults and children of all ages participated!

 

Journey – March Update

Last month’s chips article introduced the different aspects of our student ministry room. I still want to encourage you to come down and see what is happening in the student ministry area. If you have any questions, please ask.

To encourage our focus on growing in faith and how to share our faith, we are looking forward to a big week, March 3-5. On March 3 about 40 adults and students will be heading out to Dare2Share in Hoffman Estates, IL. This conference challenges our students first to know what they believe and second to know how to share that belief. We have experienced exciting and impactful situations over the last 5 years of attending this event. This year we pray that we will see students come to accept Christ as their personal Savior.

On March 5, we have rented out the SkyZone Trampoline park for 2 hours and have encouraged our students to invite their unbelieving friends to this event. We will need 20 adults for the evening so if you are interested in joining us please let me know.

Please also pray for the 110 students that will be joining us that night to jump, drink pop, eat pizza and hear the gospel. Pray that the gospel is presented clearly and that the Holy Spirit moves in the lives of the students who do not know Jesus. I look forward to telling you about what God does through this weekend.

~ Jeremy Van Genderen
Director of Youth and Young Adults

A dog for Sara

Our daughter Sara has Type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes.  She was diagnosed at age 18 and has struggled with this disease as a brittle diabetic ever since. After 21 years of testing, shots, insulin pump failures, and hospitalizations, she has been losing her sensation of feeling her high and low blood sugar levels. To assist her in monitoring her highs and lows, she wants to get a service dog trained to sense her condition before it become life-threatening.

It takes about 2 years to train a puppy from basic obedience up to the specialized training of a service dog.  The dog will learn to react according to Sara’s situation and let her know that she is in danger.  Unfortunately, this dog and the training cost about $25,000.  Sara must raise these funds herself through contributions and fund-raising activities. Sara has connected with an organization known as Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers (SDWR.)   They are a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization who raise and train service dogs for diabetics and other persons with special needs.  More information may be found at www.sdwr.org.

We are hoping to contact as many people as possible to aid Sara in her fundraising efforts.  If you wish to make a monetary contribution, go to the website www.sdwr.org and under the heading donate/personal campaigns/fundraiser, type “a dog for Sara” in the search box.  Sara’s personal story is there and all contributions will be directed to her campaign.  All contributions are tax deductible and donors will remain confidential and anonymous if desired.

Please feel free to distribute this information to anyone else who you feel would be interested in making a contribution.

If you have any questions, contact Sara by E-mail at “skulmer@gmail.com” or call us at (319) 390-3961.

Thank you for your interest!

Jack & Kate Ulmer

Lavender Springs Spa – success!

Lavender Springs Spa retreat was enjoyed by approximately 40 women at Cedar Hills on Saturday, February 11th.  The program consisted of rest and revival through the use of the Psalms.  There were six sessions, each one concentrating on the different types of psalms: psalms of praise (Psalm 96, 104, etc) psalms of lament (Psalm 13, 27, etc) and so on.

During each session we were asked to write a word or phrase, on the white plastic sheeting, that applied to that type of psalm,. For example, for psalms of wisdom we drew a heart in orange and put a word of truth about ourselves in it.  In a couple sessions the words we were asked to write words in brown or black, such as guilt or fear etc., depending on the psalms we were studying.  In the last session while reading Psalm 136 aloud and having circled around the white plastic sheeting, a couple volunteers wiped off all the “bad” words, illustrating that Jesus wipes out all the bad and leaves just the good.

Also as part of each session the participants enjoyed singing songs, all of which were based on the psalms.  The program was well received and well done.

Love

It does not take a rocket scientist to know that “love” Jesus’ way is completely counter-cultural and requires an other-worldly approach to thinking. But we still live in this world. Jesus asked, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them” (Luke 6:32). I have learned that to love someone completely, means to love within biblical boundaries. Here are a few suggestions to help you determine what a healthy boundary looks like when you work with people in the upcoming year.

In their book, Boundaries, Doctor’s Henry Cloud and John Townsend use the words “hurt” and “harm” as definable boundaries to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy boundaries. It is true that Jesus calls us to love, give, and even do so sacrificially. If we took the words of Jesus, “Give to everyone who asks of you,” and literally applied them to every situation that presented itself to us, we would not have enough to care for ourselves and our families. Then we would be guilty of behaving like unbelievers (1 Timothy 5:8).

Over the years, I have found the value of protecting and living with healthy boundaries that empower me to love others. A healthy boundary allows our hearts to be “hurt” by the needs of others, but not “harmed” by them. When we allow “hurts” to cloud sound judgment and react beyond our ability to be responsible, it “harms” us and becomes unhealthy. A healthy love allows itself to be “hurt” by the needs in the world, but it should never allow them to cause “harm” except in times of extreme need and circumstance.

“Learning to love ourselves and others,”

JR Henderson
Pastor of Spiritual Formation