A couple weeks ago, I noticed all the people serving us in our Sunday Morning services. Greeters, ushers, musicians, vocalists, tech crew, announcement makers, pray-ers, communion servers, offering collectors, coffee makers… preachers. I counted 26 individuals serving in each service—52 people throughout the whole morning. What a blessing to have so many people who step up to use a gift to serve us so that we can enjoy warm hospitality and inspiring worship.
Many congregations in the world are less than 50 worshiping people and we have that many serving people. What a blessing! I love our Sunday Celebrations because it reminds me just how much God loves me and how God sought me and is still seeking me today. I also love all the volunteers who serve so that I can receive this reminder every week. Thanks for serving.
One of our goals as a congregation is to create simple, functional structures that make it easy for people to engage in loving God, growing faith, and serving others. Love. Grow. Serve. Our strategy to live this out is Cell and Celebration. Cells create safe places for relational connections in small groups. Celebration inspires people in larger gatherings through proclaiming God’s Word and sharing in the Sacraments of Communion and Baptism. Cell and Celebration is the heart and soul of our ministry. Healthy hearts and souls are inspired and connected by the proclamation of the good news of the gospel in both small and large groups. Cell and Celebration. A simple strategy inviting each of us to love, grow and serve. The Lord be with you.
~ Pastor Kent
2016 VBS is in the books!
Wow! What a year!! Those kids are amazing. The massive group of people who all came together to work for the same goal impressed me so much! The 4 crew members who came in to feed all of us workers and our families each night, the 2 crew members who took care of our worker’ babies, the crew of 2-3 who feed snacks to 170 each night between the kids and helpers, the 30 crew leaders of children ages 3-12, the 3 teachers, 4 scallywag band members, 2 tech crew, 1 graphic designer, 1 extra printer and secretary,1 medical, 1 security, 4 floaters who did all kinds of odd jobs, 4 games leaders, 3 craft leaders, 2 front desk people, 7 crew who came in to transform our building into a pirate world, 7 clean up crew and the 143 kids who came to learn about God’s planned, resurrecting, outrageous, overcoming and forever Grace!” ~ Kristin and Otto Getz, Directors of Children & Family Ministry
“I had two people stop me after the concert Thursday and tell me how this was one of the best VBS experiences their kids had been to. It was such a God-filled week! I loved being a part of it!” ~ Danielle
“It did as much good for me as it did for all those awesome kids! I was definitely moved by the Holy Spirit and it was OUTRAGEOUS! “ ~ Kelli
“The energy Kristin and Otto brought to coordinating and building this VBS week and their ability to gather such a great team to support the effort was amazing. We are so grateful that God has put them in a leadership role with our Children’s Ministries! “ ~ Scott
“Every child had a smile on his or her face when playing outdoor games.
It was great!” ~ Paul
Johnson Ave Hy-Vee donates three shopping carts.
A huge shout-out to the Johnson Ave Hy-Vee and manager KC Lyons for responding to our call for help when we needed new shopping carts for the Open Hands Food Pantry. Each week, many of our pantry visitors need assistance getting their groceries to their cars. When a few of our carts disappeared, we were in dire need of some replacements. KC responded quickly to our request for help and we now have three new carts for our patrons to use.
We love our neighbors at Hy-Vee! Thank you, again KC and Hy-Vee stores for your great generosity.
The Open Hands Food Pantry supports 150+ families a month with food and basic toiletry supplies. The pantry is open Mondays 5-6pm, Wednesdays 10am-12pm and Fridays 10am-12pm and staffed by loving volunteers. Patrons receive a bag of non-perishable groceries based on their family size and any perishables on hand (milk, cheese, meat, etc.) We are grateful for the support of our church and local businesses who help us make a difference in our community.
Loading the carts came with another story… A woman who saw us loading the carts was convinced we were stealing them. Being a good Samaritan, she flagged us down, standing in front of our truck so we couldn’t move while she began to call the police. Luckily, we convinced her that the carts had just been donated! We had a great time laughing with her and thanking her for looking out for her community.
We are blessed to have so many great teachers and volunteers who lead in the Cross Training and Discipleship ministries. Sunday August 21 we had teachers gather across the stage in both services to be commissioned, encouraged and prayed over by the congregation. The line of teachers extended from one end of the stage to the other and included adult , junior/senior high, elementary, preschool, Journey and All Stars for Jesus teachers.
Cross Training classes are available for ages 3yrs to adults. Classes are in between Sunday worship services at 9:45am during the school year. (Nursery available for ages 0-2).
Cedar Hills supports a number of missions and missionaries around the globe, often serving in countries where it is too dangerous to use their names in any of our social media.
At a recent mission meeting, we heard a first-hand report about the reach of our impact as a congregation in one of these places. Our missionaries serving in Turkey have counseled, coached and equipped other missionaries from over 50 countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Many of the countries are Muslim, and some are closed to missionaries.
This same missionary pair also recently counseled and encouraged a couple living in a closed Muslim country. They are able to shine the light of Jesus in a community where Christian Missionaries are not permitted to go.
The Voice of the Martyrs website reports: “About 20 evangelical churches in Turkey have received threatening messages from the Turkish branch of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The messages, which have been sent via Facebook, text and email, often include threatening videos and pictures. They state that they are tired of waiting for the Christians to return to Islam, and they threaten to “implement Quranic commandments that urge us to slay the apostate like you.” The churches have reported the threats to authorities. Please pray for the churches’ protection and guidance.”
From Cedar Rapids to Turkey, we have brothers and sisters who are sharing Christ with their Muslim neighbors. Persecution is a real threat to our brothers and sisters around the world. Continue to pray for all of our missionaries who are dedicated to bringing the Good News to people around the globe.
Major Religions: Islam 96.5%, Christianity 0.3%
Prevalent Ideology: Islam
Leader: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
This secular republic is now ruled by an Islamic party, and some are concerned by the growing authoritarianism of the prime minister. Turks are proud of their culture and history.
Life for Christians
Turkey remains one of the least evangelized countries in the world. More than a century of missionary work has yielded little fruit. Active Christians face hardships ranging from job loss to physical violence and even death. All religious communities are subject to state controls, which limit the right to own places of worship, train clergy and offer religious instruction.