Journey February Update

To start out 2017, our student ministry added a few new aspects to our room. In the hallway we have put up a map that is called our Cause Turf. We have challenged students to put a pin where they live, go to school, work, and most often spend time. These pins represent the impact zones we have within the corridor. God has placed our students all over the map and our turf continues to grow.

Inside our room, we put up a Pray Wall where students can write prayer requests. This has led to a greater outpouring of prayer by our students for each other.

Another aspect in the room is our Cause Circle, which has names of unbelieving friends and family on it. It is our goal to pray for them and engage them in a spiritual conversation. So far we have seen an increase of those conversations since January 1.

Please continue to pray for our student ministry as we grow closer to God and grow deeper in our understanding of how to follow His Word.

On March 3-4, our student ministry will be traveling to the Dare2Share conference in Hoffman Estates, IL. Please pray that our conversations about faith will grow through this conference and that we will see many students come to Christ that weekend.

2017 is off to a great start and I can’t wait to see where God will take Journey in the coming months!

Jeremy Van Genderen
Director of Youth and Young Adults

Family and Children Ministry February Update

“I readily admit that the Jews are impressively energetic regarding God—but they do everything exactly backwards….After all these years of refusing to really deal with God on His terms, insisting instead on making their own deals, they have nothing to show for it.” (Romans 10:2-3, Message).

As parents, we have a central desire to see our children come to know the Lord and live in a deep, fulfilling relationship with Him. Listening to children speak of the Gospel, I often hear them try and explain the things that they are “doing” to be right with God. It makes me think that we are all prone to falling into the path that the Jews were struggling with….the path of meeting God on our terms and our efforts to impress Him.

“It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God –‘Jesus is my Master’—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it! You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting Him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud; ‘God has set everything right between Him and me!’ “ (Romans 10:9-10, Message).

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

Reset Anxiety

I had a month of deep-down-at-the-core anxiousness when I was in seminary. I saw a statement of what I owed on my student loans and it crippled me. Suddenly, I was unable to breathe or think or function. It consumed me for weeks. And I questioned God in the process—”How could you call me into ministry, lead me to seminary and then abandon me with this world of debt???” It crushed me. Until that point, I had had no idea of what I had accumulated. I just took out loans for school because that’s what they told me to do. Then to top it off, I sat in a class where a professor commented, “Anywhere God calls you, He’ll provide. He won’t put you in debt.”

“Yeah, right,” I thought. I became doubly insulted at God. But somewhere in that chaos, a still, small voice planted a short praise chorus in my head:

I cast all my cares upon You. 
I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet. 
And anytime I don’t know what to do, 
I cast all my cares upon You.

This short chorus became my prayer. Over and over and over again. I wanted to believe in God’s faithfulness. I had mentors telling me stories of how God provided for them over and over again. I had scripture like Matthew 6:25-34 coming up in my study times. God was there. He was not angry at my offense. But He was waiting for me to turn over my anxiety and once again trust His plan. He was doing a reset of my heart in the world of finances and anxiety.

There is a lot God wants to Reset in us, which is why this sermon series is going on for a couple of months. I hope you’ve enjoyed this study of the Sermon on the Mount so far, but more importantly, I pray that God is continuing a reset in your life as much as He is in mine. I still encounter anxious thoughts, and when those happen, I conquer them with that same chorus: “I cast all my cares upon You…”

Leah Carolan
Director of Worship and Media

Reset Worship

Rē-ˈset (verb) – 1. to move back into an original place or position | 2. to put back in the correct position for healing | 3. to restore

God tells Jeremiah to go to the potter’s house so that he can receive a message. After watching the potter form a lump of clay, the message Jeremiah receives is this: “Like clay in the hand of the potter—so you are in My hand.”

God’s dream for us is that we would be shaped by His hand. One of the places where this shaping happens is when we worship.

When we reduce discussions about worship forms to simply matters of style, we miss a crucial aspect of corporate worship: worship forms us. Worship is not simply a matter of our preference, it is also about God’s preference. It is both expressive and formative.

At our core, we are defined by what we worship because we worship the things that we love. We engage practices that demonstrate what we love and these practices shape us. So the shaping is like a two-way street. The way we worship becomes the way we believe and the way we believe shapes the way we worship.

Some people hold onto worship traditions simply because they like them. Others ditch all tradition because they don’t like them. Both options miss the point—worship is not about what we like or don’t like, it is about God’s desire to shape us.

A great question to ask is: How does our worship practice shape us? Which worship practices are most like being shaped by the potter’s hand?

Our goal for worship at Cedar Hills is to be God-centered, Bible-based, Gospel-declaring, and Body-building. That means that our music, prayers, and preaching must remain Christ-centered. When our worship is built around the gospel, this will shape us.

We need to reset our worship so that it is not reduced to an expressive activity where the most important feature is our sincerity. We need to reset our worship so that it is a formative, God-oriented practice that shapes and reshapes our lives. We are clay in the potter’s hand.

Kent Landhuis
Pastor of Teaching and Leadership

Volunteers need for the “Take Away Hunger” event at Cedar Hills

Sign up now

On Sunday morning, February 19th the Missions Team is packaging meals for “Take Away Hunger” in the church Gathering Space.  The meals are made of a specialized rice based mixture to feed hungry and starving people both locally and globally.  Volunteers are needed to fill 60 minute slots throughout the morning at 9am, 10am or 11am for our meal packing party!

View available slots and sign up online.

Take Away Hunger is an Iowa-based food relief organization that unifies teams of people who package a specialized rice based soy casserole mixture which is used locally and overseas.  It is based on a simple principle of people helping people, in this instance, even kids! Take Away Hunger not only nourishes hungry children, but the spirits of the volunteers who pack the meals.  For more information on this awesome ministry, visit takeawayhunger.com

New Elders and Deacons Installed Sunday

Sunday, January 8 our new Elders and Deacons were installed into consistory (our name for the church board.). Thanks to those who served faithfully on the board in 2016 and welcome to our new Elders and Deacons. This year we will be exploring what it means to make disciples and how we can do this more effectively. Your continued prayers for us are very much appreciated. Pray for us on January 21 as the board and staff retreat together to explore God’s leading. We are excited about a new year of reaching out with the love of God here and around the world.

Ordaining Alan Brockette to the role of Deacon.

 

Ordaining Kate Ulmer to the role of Elder.

 

2017 Elders and Deacons

Deacons

Alan Brockette, Jim Flamming, Jim Humphreys, Nancy Josifek, Karen Schumacher, Willis Sneller (Chair)

Elders

Lois Deerberg, Deb DeHaan, Mike Robinson, Jerrad Swestka, Kate Ulmer, Ken Viggers

Pastors

Alan Crandall, J.R. Henderson, Kent Landhuis (President)

Journey 2017

Welcome to 2017!! In this new year the Journey student ministry has decided to take big steps in living out their faith. Come check out the student ministry hallway and room and see the different ways we are connecting with the community. In the hallway we have a map of the corridor with markers where we live, work, go to school, and just do life. These are our impact zones each and every week. Inside the Journey room we have a pathway wall that will have footprints on it. Each footprint represents a conversation we have had with someone about Jesus.

The third and final aspect we are adding to our Journey room is called a Cause Circle. This circle includes three separate parts. Part one is to pray for our friends who do not know Jesus, part two is to pursue them in a friendship, part three is to persuade them with the truth of the Gospel. Each week we will post names of our friends that we are engaging in each of the three areas. At the end of each Sunday night, our students will join around this Cause Circle and pray for all the names around the circle.

Please take time this year to pray for our students as they engage Cedar Rapids with the truth of the gospel of Jesus!!

~ Jeremy Van Genderen
Director of Youth and Young Adults

Microwave Reset

Sometimes if my microwave at home gets wiggled, jostled, or moved by too many slams of the door, it will power off. You have to reach behind to wiggle the power cord on the back to get it to turn back on. After it powers off, the screen always displays “0” instead of a clock. This drives me nutty. My husband will usually leave it on “0,” but my eyes are so accustomed to looking at the microwave for the time, that I am always compelled to reset the clock.

I wish I could leave it at that, but when I reset the clock, I face the dilemma of which clock do I set it to? The coffee pot clock? The big clock on the wall? Or my cell phone clock? I know my cell phone is the most accurate, but I also like all of my appliances to display the same time. (Any one else have this issue?) So much so, that if I use the coffee pot as my reference, I will wait until the minute changes and quickly reset the microwave at the same time so that their minutes both change together. This makes me happy. This January we will focus on recalibrating our hearts as we start a new year… doing a ‘reset’. But what should we recalibrate too? What is our guide of reference? And how can we align with all of those around us?

Jesus’ intro to the Sermon on the Mount gives a glimpse of how God’s principles for living are vastly different than the world: “Blessed are they that…” It’s good to take stock of our minds and hearts and rediscover where we have gone astray and reset them in line with God’s principles. I’m looking forward to doing this alongside all of you this new year!

~ Leah Carolan
Director of Worship

Resurrection Re-set

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have Him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole. I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. . . . Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation. (1 Peter 1:3-9—The Message)
This torn, tarred, terrified, tear-stained world got its ultimate re-set 2,000 years ago when the apostles discovered an empty tomb and felt the nail-scarred hands of a living Lord. Re-set from Eden lost to Eden re-gained. Re-set from death to life. Re-set from the curse of Adam to the blessing of Christ. “Up from the grave he arose, with a mighty triumph over his foes.” On that Sunday morning, the whole human family was set on a new course toward wholeness. You and I and all our neighbors were then and there resurrected, restored, and revitalized with Jesus, the victor over sin and death, the man who represents and embraces us all. Keep your eyes focused on the risen Savior—and his glorious resurrection re-set!

~ Alan Crandall
Pastor of Care

Reset

Reset Love Rē-ˈset (verb) – 1. to move back into an original place or position | 2. to put back in the correct position for healing | 3. to restore

Remember the big, red easy button from Staples? Whenever someone is stuck, push the button and start over. “That was easy!” I wish resetting my heart were that easy. Sometimes my heart gets all muddled and disordered. I can feel the tug of fear. Envy. Failure. Pain. Bitterness. Greed. And my heart grows hard. The Bible says I should love God fully and love my neighbor as myself, but my hard heart has trouble loving. I need a reset.

Scripture can sometimes help. I read John 13. “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.” I read that and think, “Good idea.” But, my heart is not in it. I need to recalibrate my heart. My heart needs a reset button. As the new year starts I am praying that God will do a work in me and the first work I am asking for is on my heart to grow in love. “God reset my heart.” That is my prayer. You can pray for that, too.

Pastor Kent