Compassion Sunday, June 11, 2017


In 1952, a Chicago evangelist, Rev Everett Swanson went to South Korea to minister to US soldiers during the war.  His heart was touched by orphaned children abandoned and living on the streets.   It was here that God gave him a vision.  He began a program to support the orphanages through funding of a few dollars a month from individuals in the Western world.  His mission was providing Biblical teaching while assisting with basic needs for these children with the ultimate goal of enabling them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.   Compassion International was born!

In 1968, the program expanded to Indonesia and has continued to grow worldwide as a child development and child advocacy ministry.  Today, Compassion serves in 25 developing nations. It is their three “C’s” that make their ministry strong:

  • Commitment to Christ – Jesus is the center of the ministry. This may be the first experience that children have to learn about Jesus.
  • Commitment to children – Each individual child receives the holistic care they deserve.
  • Commitment to church – Partnerships with local churches.

Compassion International has become a recognized non-profit organization.  They are in the top 26 non-profits with Forbes’ 50 Largest US Charities, Philanthropy 400 List, and The Non-Profit Times Top 100 List.  All contributions are tax-deductible.  As a requirement of the 1993 Revenue Reconciliation Act, they verify that no goods or services of value are given to you for your contribution.

On Sunday, June 11th, Cedar Hills will sponsor Compassion Sunday 2017 before and after both services.  There are almost 38,000 children looking for sponsorships.  Here is an opportunity for you to sponsor a child looking for a special one on one relationship with someone across the globe.  Your letters bring hope and encouragement.  Your monthly donation of $38/month per child, will bring medical check-ups, nutritious food, health and hygiene training, educational assistance, and foremost hearing about Jesus Christ.

We look forward to talking with you about Compassion International and the many blessings we have received by our sponsorships. Please, prayerfully consider sponsoring a child on June 11th.   “Releasing Children from Poverty in Jesus’ Name”

Jack & Kate Ulmer

“How do you see your home?” Quick Question Results

For Sunday, May 21, we asked the question in the Cedar Hills app, “How do you see your home? As a sanctuary to stay safe from the world? Or as a tool to reach out to the world?”  Here are the results:

This was followed by an inspiring message from Brett Erickson of Safe Families on Biblical Hospitality.  To listen to this message online, visit or listen on iTunes.

Fresh Start Fundraiser featuring White Ribbon Day and THE ELIM ARRIVAL

Thursday, May 4 White Ribbon Day and The Elim Arrival will be in concert at Cedar Hills, along with musical groups from local churches, all a part of a fundraising event for Fresh Start Ministries--a service that provides personal, personal, private and confidential counseling for individuals incarcerated in the Linn County Correctional Center (County Jail) and the Linn County Juvenile Detention Center. They also provide support and counseling to the staff of the Linn County Corrections systems.  This ecumenical program is focused on the needs of the individual. Weekly worship services are also provided at the Correctional Center and at the Juvenile Detention Center.

Also part of Fresh Start is the R.I.S.E. program: Reintegration Initiative for Safety and Empowerment.  RISE provides positive social support and influences for participants as they transition from incarceration back into the community.

The event starts at 6:15pm with a social and acoustic music, followed by the concert at 7pm.

White Ribbon Day is a ministry with a simple vision – to use music, the spoken word, and the creative arts to reach as many people as possible with the life-giving message of freedom, forgiveness, and salvation available to everyone through relationship with Jesus Christ. As a band, White Ribbon Day has a strong, vocal-driven, R&B influenced pop sound, and front man Zach Blickens is an experienced evangelist with a passion to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.


The Elim Arrival team believes that God is putting forth a statute and ordinance upon this land just like He did before the Israelites years ago. He is calling all men to rise and up and become the men of valor they were created to be. He is calling all women to stand up and be the courageous women that they were created to be. He is reminding all the lonely souls that He can fulfill their every need. We believe that God is calling us out of our little comfortable lives to proclaim this message to any pair of ears that will hear – and most importantly use the gifts and talents God has given us (music, teaching, preaching, writing) to communicate these truths to this generation.  Listen online.

Donate Online

To donate online to Fresh Start Ministries, visit

“Lent” App Question Results

For the week of 3/5/12, we asked the question, “Are you giving up or adding on something for Lent?” As always, the response was big! Thank you for answering the “Quick Question” of the week in the Cedar Hills app.   Here are the results:

For those who said “yes” and gave a typed answer, here are some of our favorite responses:

Giving up:

Using my phone while I’m with my kids.
Clutter – getting rid of a bag a day.
Gave up sweets.
Worry and Fear.

Adding on:

More scripture and prayer time.
Added devotions daily!
Taking on reading the daily devotional series.
Giving up not forgiving myself for past mistakes.
Adding on that God and Jesus loves and forgives me no matter what.

At the Foot of the Cross

At The Foot Of The Cross
By Kathryn Scott; © 2003 Integrity Worship Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (IMI)); 

At the foot of the cross
where grace and suffering meet,
You have shown me Your love
through the judgment You received.
And You’ve won my heart.

Now I can
trade these ashes in for beauty
and wear forgiveness like a crown.
Coming to kiss the feet of Mercy,
I lay every burden down
at the foot of the cross.

At the foot of the cross
where I am made complete,
You have given me life
through the death You bore for me.
And You’ve won my heart.

For the season of Lent, we’re again coming back to the foot of the cross. We are reminded that from ashes we came and to ashes we will return. We are reminded that the mystery of our faith roots heavily in the actions of Jesus on the cross. So, for Lent, we are revisiting the stations of the cross on Wednesday nights, beginning March 1, Ash Wednesday. These are nights for the entire family, so we’re expanding the ages of the All Stars for Jesus Program to include children ages 3 yrs to 5th grade so parents can come, enjoy a meal with their children, and then attend the services while their children are back in All Stars. These services are also a quiet time of reflection for all of us—to refocus our hearts again on the cross and the sacrifice of Jesus that draws us into the heart of God.

~ Leah Carolan
Director of Worship

The Gospel According to Legos

The Gospel According to Legos Everyone knows about the ubiquitous plastic building blocks called “Legos.” Invented by a carpenter in Denmark, “Legos” comes from a Danish phrase that means “play well.” Since the 1950’s, 600 billion Lego parts have been manufactured.

So what do Legos have to do with the gospel of salvation?

The interlocking toy bricks are created for one purpose only—to interlock! They are meant to be snapped together into a magnificent construction. A pile of loose blocks is useless and impresses no one. Unattached bricks scream, “Build me into something great!”

God created human beings for a similar purpose. According to the creation story in Genesis, we are meant to be connected in supportive families and communities. God is fitting us together to create something amazing. And though selfishness and egoism now infect the world to break us apart, God is the master builder who patiently works to repair his broken creation.

The gospel can’t be reduced to “pie in the sky bye and bye.” And though it begins with the forgiveness of sins, the plan of salvation goes further. God so loved his lost and scattered “Legos” (you and me), that He gave His only Son to re-assemble us into a glorious construction known as the family of God, or the body of Christ, or the temple of the Spirit.

This is good news. On the cross, Jesus atoned for the self-centered pride that blocks compassion and destroys unity. He calls us to repent and welcome the gift of his new creation, to be the peace-making, interlocking community that reflects the image of God.

~ Alan Crandall
Pastor of Care

Family & Children’s Ministry – March Update

As you read this, I hope that you have a warm cup of coffee and a comfortable chair because some time of relaxed reflection may result. So find your “inner place of thought” and let’s go… I am curious how you respond to your children when you see them fail. Perhaps you are surprised or maybe you think that it reminds you of yourself. Often I hear parents say that they see themselves in their children, and we don’t find this surprising since our DNA speaks heavily of close knit replication. On that first glorious day of birth we say, “Hey, she has my eyes” or “… looks like Grampa’s chin…” These are normal and correct observations that we all make.

What about when we see our child acting in a certain way that we really don’t want to promote, but we dismiss it because we could see ourselves doing the same thing? In the world of psychology we call this “projecting.” Basically, this is placing our own feelings on someone else who is truly uniquely different.

At some point along the road, we will have to step up and reteach the child’s path or watch them struggle with the consequences of our lack of intervention.

So I implore you to prayerfully consider this thought and ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom in this point.


~ Otto & Kristin Getz
Directors of Family & Children’s Ministry

March Missions Update

If you are like me, you not only support the missions of Cedar Hills, but you have your own missions that you support. Some of my favorites involve reusing items we may normally throw away. For years I have been sending used greeting cards to a center in Waverly, National Geographic and Reader’s Digest to a mission in Ohio, and cancelled stamps to Alliance Stamp Ministry who sells them and uses the funds to send medical aid/items to Haiti. Recently, I heard about another use for an item we usually throw away – socks! Yes, those socks that may have gotten too stretched out, have a hole in them, or are missing one to the pair. They can be recycled!

The US is on track to generate 35 billion pounds of textile waste by 2019. Textiles are one of the fastest growing waste products in the world and also one of the most recyclable waste products (most can be remade into another item). Recycling a pair of socks can save up to 17 gallons of water and 66 BTU’s of energy!

The socks are graded and items in the best condition are sterilized, washed and sent to individuals in need. The items in poor condition are broken down for fibers, sold as insulation and other useful products, and all revenue is donated to non-profits. This is exciting! Send your socks to Nice Laundry Recycling, c/o Faithbox, 550 Industrial Road, Unit C, Carlstadt, NJ 07072, or bring them to me, plus any of the other items listed above, and I will send them with mine. “Let us not grow weary in doing good” (Galatians 6:9).

~ Chris Harwood
Missions Team Leader

Noah’s Ark – March Update

February was full of fun activities! Everyone learned about the mail and what happens to your letter after you put it in the mailbox. We all enjoyed giving and receiving valentines!

Our testing is done for our 4– and 5-year-olds and report cards have been sent out. The 3-year-old classes had fun learning about snowmen and winter birds. We also learned about mixing colors and transportation! Second report cards for our younger classes will be sent out before Spring Break. (Spring Break will be March 13-17, the same as CR Schools.)

We were blessed by visitors from Linn County Conservation. Programs included ‘Winter Birds’ and ‘Winter Wildlife.’

Our 2017-2018 registration is on-going. If you know someone who wants to register their child, please have them call preschool at 396-3125 or email us. Classes are from 9-11:30 AM.

Please mark your calendars for March 21 to donate blood! Mississippi Valley Blood Center will come here and set up in the Gathering Space. Your time from check-in to check-out is less than an hour. Please call me to donate; our area is in desperate need.

I can’t believe there are only three more months of school left! I’m ready for Spring and we can’t wait to see all those flowers come up in front of our windows again!

I want to remind everyone that we will be offering a 6-week summer school program (of two 3- week sessions) in June and July. This program is for current Noah’s Ark students only. More details coming next month.

In Christ,

Leslie Clauson, Director

Partnerships Impact Community

One of our visions for ministry is to engage in collaborative partnerships with others in the community who are doing good. For many months the consistory has been discussing entering into an intentional partnership with the ministry of Matthew 25 to use some of our property for refugee gardens, urban gardens, and student gardens. At our February meeting we authorized the deacons to pursue this partnership and draft memorandum of understanding for how this collaboration will work. We anticipate that some gardening will begin this spring. The board is excited to see how this kind of partnership develops and hope that this will be a learning process for future collaboration that will bless our community.

The project will teach children and families how to grow, eat, and preserve high quality food right in their own neighborhood. More details coming soon. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask Willis Sneller or Alan & Beth Brockette. For more information about Matthew 25, go to

Love. Belong. Serve.