All posts by Cedar Hills

An Active Faith

AN ACTIVE FAITH – New group for men and boys (fathers/grandpas welcome), age 2nd Grade (reading age) through 6th Grade.

Meets twice a month on the 2nd and 4th, Wednesdays, 6-8pm at the Ungs Home: 105 Stoney Point Rd NW (corner of 1st Ave and Stoney Point Rd).  Plan for an “active” time learning truths about God with three-legged races, building fires, washing out structures with water and more!


Worship Jam

What is a worship jam?

It’s a gathering of all our second service musicians and anyone who loves music and worship to lead together on stage at an 11am service.

The jam is also the first step for anyone interested in worship ministry that wants to explore it some more.  We also love when our youth join us on stage! So kids of all ages are welcome.

The Fall jam is practicing Monday, Sept 11 at 6pm to lead on Sunday, Sept 17 at the 11am service (warming up at 9:45am on Sunday).

Registration is helpful, but if you are late registering, just show up! 6pm in the Worship Center.

Brock Neff Funeral

Brock Che NeffPlease continue to pray for Glenda Brislawn and family as they grieve the passing of her son Brock.

Sat, Sept. 9 – 10am Visitation
Sat. Sept. 9 – 11am Funeral
A luncheon will follow the funeral service.


Cedar Hills is located at the corner of E Avenue and Stoney Point Rd, right next door to Cherry Hill Pool & Park on the west side of Cedar Rapids.  6455 E Ave NW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52405


Brock Che Neff, 43, of North Liberty, Iowa passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, August 31, 2023, at his home.  A celebration of life will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, September 9, 2023, at Cedar Hills Community Church: 6455 E Ave NW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52405.  A visitation will be held one hour prior to service, beginning at 10:00 AM, at the church.

Brock was born November 9, 1979, to David and Glenda (Fedders) Neff in Denver, Colorado. Brock achieved his first-degree black belt when he was in middle school.  He graduated, with honors, from Washington High School in 1999. Brock was inducted in the National Honor Society, while in high school and as a freshman at UNI.  During college he worked at the Rod Library.  Brock graduated from UNI with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 2003.  He married Traci Levesque later in 2003 in Cedar Rapids.  They made their home in North Liberty, and had their daughter, Zoe Neff in 2009.

Brock’s library work experience continued at the Cedar Rapids Public Library part-time for seven years, and at the University of Iowa Law Library for the last 15 years.  Brock loved learning and was a lifelong scholar.  He was creative in painting and drawing.  Brock even had one of his paintings entered in a judged art show at UNI.  He also enjoyed playing video games, fantasy games, kayaking, paddle boarding and walks in local parks with his daughter and friends.

Brock is survived by his daughter, Zoe Neff and her mother, Traci Neff, both of Tiffin, IA; his mother, Glenda Brislawn, and a sister, Alicia Brislawn (fiancé Dwaune Weimer) all of Cedar Rapids, IA; aunt, Sherry Jabaay; uncles, Ken Fedders, and Rich (Mary) Fedders; step-mother, Janis Bowden; step-siblings, Heidi (Tony) Shaw, Brian (Angel) Brislawn, Shannon Brislawn, Jessica Kimple, and Jonathan Kimple; special friends, Dana Bailey, and Angela Geno-Stumme; and many loving cousins, extended family members and friends.

Brock was preceded in death by his grandparents, father, David Neff; stepfather, Scott Brislawn; uncle, Norman Fedders; and aunt, Crystal Fedders.

In honor of Brock, please direct memorials to Glenda Brislawn c/o Cedar Hills Community Church: 6455 E Ave NW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52405.

What is the Gospel when it isn’t wanted?

What is the Gospel when it isn’t wanted?

What is the gospel to one who seemingly doesn’t “want it”, to one whose life seems pretty good, whose life is successful, whose dreams are coming together just the way they want in their career and family and position? And to one who is actually hostile towards the idea of a Supreme Being that leads His people via an outdated book, calling allegiance to some dude named Jesus?

This has been my ponderings this week.  I have a friend that is this person.  How and what do I share with her?

It gets even more complicated that her job and entire livelihood is tied into the worship of false gods.  She is an artisan of mystical and spiritual products–a coming-to-Jesus would eventually mean having to turn from creating art she’s mastered and developed for the last decade, and her family’s sole income.

It just gets so messy when I think about the Gospel and my friend.

It breaks my heart, actually, that I find myself at a loss of words.  I feel tongue-tied.  I am grieved.  And her salvation weighs heavily on me because I care deeply for the whole family.

I keep thinking I need to ‘craft’ it just right to apply it to her life, looking for just the right inroad to make it all make sense. After stewing this over for a few weeks, I have come to this conclusion:

The Gospel doesn’t change.  Whether fertile soil, or seed tossed on dry ground that the birds are just going to eat up, the Gospel is the Gospel. God’s good news is still the good news. I don’t have to curate it.

And that good news is this:  We were created by a loving and Holy God that desires communion and fellowship with us and we were specifically designed by Him for this very communion.  But because we have chosen sin over his light, we can’t be in His presence.  He is that holy.

And so we are separated from Him.

But because of His great love for us, He always had a plan to restore us back into relationship with Him. And that plan is Jesus.  In His great love, Jesus, God’s Son, left his throne in heaven and came to earth.  He was born fully human, and yet fully God, and walked with us to know and experience the fullness of all humanity.  But he never sinned. He was perfect.  And in His perfection, He chose to die and take all of the punishment that we deserved upon Himself.

Imagine if you were standing before a judge who was about to cast sentence on you for a heinous crime, and someone stands up and says, “I’ll take the death penalty for them and stand in their place.”

It’s that serious, my friends.  Our sin (all sin, no matter how big or small) is deserving of death.  And Jesus’ willingly chooses to die for us.  We talk about his death on the cross—that moment on the cross is our death penalty fulfilled in Jesus.  But He didn’t stay dead!  He came back to life and conquered death and conquered sin! What?? Like, who does that?? Only God himself.

So when we accept this Good News of Jesus standing in our place, and believe He is the Son of God who He declares himself to be, that his death was the punishment meant for us, and that He defeated death and came back to life—when we believe this good news, we are forgiven washed from sin and are restored back to our Creator. We are saved.   We are made pure–so pure, that we can come back into His holy presence.

Thinking again about my mystical-spiritual-artisan friend… She, too was made for this grand restoration. Even if life is good. Even if life feels okay, just as it is.  Jesus came, died and rose again for her.

I’m praying that God would remove the scales from her eyes to see, to lift any and all barriers in her heart and mind that would keep the Truth from reaching her.

And I have to remember that if (WHEN!) she comes to faith, God knows that she’ll need a new career—this is not outside His realm of understanding or care.  He will take care of her.  His love is THAT big.

Is this person you? Do you want to know Jesus as your Savior as well? To be restored back to the Heavenly Father that created you? Then pray this prayer—just say these words out loud and direct them to God from your heart:

Lord, thank you for creating me, loving me, and making a way for me to come back into relationship with you. I believe that Jesus is who He says He is – your Son.  I believe He is perfect, that His death was for me, and that He came back to life.  I believe, and choose to follow Him and claim Him as my Savior. Thank you that I am forgiven because of Jesus!

Show me what next steps I need to take as I step into a new life of faith. Surround me with teachers and mentors to guide me.  Help me understand the Bible and the great Truths it contains.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Leah Carolan
Pastor of Worship & Media


Did you enjoy this article? Did you laugh, cry, or learn something new?  Let Leah know.

    24 Hours of Prayer

    How to Pray for 15 Minutes

    As you enter into your 15 minutes of prayer, here are key areas you may want to cover. (Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as He guides you in your prayer!)


    • The Church Staff (Kent, Steve, Leah, Lindsey, Cathy, Gary, Jennifer, Rick, Frankline, Kathryn)
    • Our Sunday class teachers
    • Our small group and Bible study leaders
    • Our youth and youth leaders
    • Our elders and deacons
    • Our key volunteers
    • Our Food pantry leaders and visitors
    • Our building and premises
    • Our community directly around the church
    • Our preschool and preschool teachers (Director Kris Crowther)

    Then, start here:

    Praise is the entryway into God’s presence. Tell God who He is.

    Tell Him, “God, you are…”

    • Adonai –  “Lord” or “Master”
    • Elohim –  “God” or “gods”
    • Yahweh – “I AM WHO I AM” or “the LORD”
    • El Olam – “The everlasting God” or “the eternal God”
    • El Roi – “The God who sees”
    • El Shaddai – “God Almighty” or “God the All-Powerful”
    • Jehovah – “The LORD,” “the Self-Existent One,” or “the Eternal One”
    • Jehovah Elyon – “The LORD Most High”
    • Jehovah Jireh – “The LORD will provide”
    • Jehovah Nissi – “The LORD is my banner”
    • Jehovah Raah – “The LORD my shepherd”
    • Jehovah Rapha – “The LORD who heals”
    • Jehovah Shalom – “The LORD is peace”
    • Messiah or Christ  – “anointed one”
    • Emmanuel – “God with us.”
    • Lamb of God – the one who takes away the sins of the world.
    • Alpha and Omega – eternal and all-encompassing nature

    Take a couple of minutes of silence to quiet your thoughts and become aware of God’s presence. Take note of any prayer direction from the Holy Spirit that comes to mind.

    Ask God to “search your heart” for any sin, and take a moment to confess it, turn away from it, and receive God’s forgiveness.

    Open your Bible to any of the Apostolic Prayers and plug in the names of our staff, teachers, groups or anything else related to Cedar Hills.

    • For wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God (Eph. 1:17)
    • For strengthening with might in the inner being (Eph. 3:16, Col. 1:11)
    • For love to abound (Phil. 1:9, 1 Thes. 3:12)
    • For the knowledge of God’s will (Col. 1:9)
    • That the Word of the Lord would run swiftly [rapidly spread and powerfully take hold] (2 Thes. 3:1)
    • To glorify God in unity, with joy, peace, and hope (Rom. 15:5-6, 13)
    • To preach with boldness and power (Acts 4:29-30)

    Contend for God to move on someone else’s behalf.  Identify the situations, areas of culture, or groups of people for whom you are asking for spiritual awakening, and pray for them.

    Identify areas in your personal life where you are hungry to see God move and pray in faith to your Heavenly Father who loves to bless you!

    Remember God’s blessings. This shifts our perspective from our circumstances to God’s activity, strengthening us to contend, believing that God does not withhold any good thing from His children.

    Sing along with Spotify or YouTube, or sing any song on your heart. Or take any scripture and make up any melody you want.

    Cathy Dahm Funeral

    Cathy Dahm Funeral

    Please continue to keep the Dahm family in your prayers as they grieve Cathy’s passing. The funeral will be Thursday morning, August 3 at 10:30am at the church, the visitation Wednesday evening 4-7pm at Cedar Memorial.


    Cathy Sue Dahm, 59, of Cedar Rapids, went to be with the Lord on July 29, 2023, while surrounded by her loving family at the Oldorf Hospice House.  A visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, August 2, at Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home.  A Celebration of Life service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, August 3, at Cedar Hills Community Church, Cedar Rapids. Interment will be in the Union Mills Cemetery, Union Mills, Iowa.Born on December 15, 1963, in Oskaloosa, Iowa to John and Shirley Netten Ferguson, Cathy was raised on the family farm near New Sharon with her sisters, Marcy and Molly.  Cathy participated in 4-H, athletics, and helped on the farm while growing up.  She graduated from North Mahaska High School in 1981 and Des Moines Area Community College in 1983.  Cathy was united in marriage to Scott Dahm on August 25, 1984, and they moved to Cedar Rapids in 1985.  Cathy was self-employed for most of her accounting career, which enabled her to work from home and raise her children. While Cathy enjoyed her flower gardens, bicycling, cooking, and decorating for Christmas, what she enjoyed most was spending time with family.  Cathy was a member of Cedar Hills Community Church.Cathy will be lovingly remembered by her husband of 39 years, Scott; daughter, Danielle Dahm; son, Ryan (Molly Ruhser) Dahm; granddaughters, Maren LaVon and Maya Sue Dahm, the lights of her life; father, John Ferguson, and sisters, Marcy (Fritz) James and Molly (Rick) Swenson; as well as nieces, nephews, and many other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her mother, Shirley.In lieu of flowers, please remember Cathy with donations to the Cedar Hills’ Open Hands Food Pantry. 

    Connection Sunday August 13

    Prayer Champions and students are invited to meet on Sunday, August 13.  Grind Coffee will be on site with their coffee truck, offering specialty coffees and smoothies at regular prices.

    Smoothies flavors include strawberry, mango, banana, and peach; and combinations of those as well.  They can also do regular lemonade, peach, strawberry, or raspberry lemonade.

    Blueberry Blitz – support Lake View Camp

    BLUEBERRY BLITZ – Buy blueberries, support Lake View Camp!. Fresh from the farm in Michigan! Order forms are available at the Welcome Center and should be mailed with payment directly to Lake View by July 17.

    A Cedar Hills volunteer will drive to the Pella area to pick up all our church orders on July 22 and bring them to the church for pickup on Sunday, July 23.  (Please be sure to have someone available to pick up your blueberries on that day as we do not have ample storage for unclaimed orders.)

    Lake View Camp is a ministry we support and send many our students and grandparents to throughout the summer.  They also host camps for children who have a parent in prison (“Angel Tree” camps), which often means these students don’t have the financial means to pay for camp.  We are so passionate about reaching out with the gospel to every student–fundraisers like these make it possible!

    ORDER FORM – Click to print


    May is Mental Health Awareness Month

    May is mental health awareness month. We pray for many in our circles who struggle with mental health issues that they would know the perfect peace of God.

    You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You (Isaiah 26:3).

    We pray this story of one will help bring awareness to those who are struggling, as depression and causes come in many forms.


    “This is not easy to write.  And it’s long so I hope you will stick with me.  People don’t want to hear about it, they don’t know what to do about it.  But you or someone you love need to know it is real and what it’s like to live with it.  “It” is major depressive disorder.

    What I’m going to tell you about today is severe, debilitating depression.

    I have experienced chronic depression since my late teens.  As most of you are aware, there are good and bad days/weeks/months.  This is the 2nd time in my life I have hit the floor for an extended period of time.

    Have you heard of a high functioning alcoholic?  They can get to work and do their job but afterwards they are blotto drunk most nights and weekends.

    I don’t know if there’s such a term as a high functioning depressive but that’s what I’m calling it.  If you were to go by or call the desk, you probably wouldn’t think there’s anything wrong with me.  I’ve become really good at hiding it.  Having the structure of the work day is an immense help in that.

    Once I pass that time clock in the evening, the darkness sets in.  I don’t have anywhere to go but home.  COVID has only made it worse.  There’s no shopping, no going out to eat, no museums or arts to check out.  Making decisions over simple things like ‘where can I stop to pick up supper’ or ‘do I get gas tonight or tomorrow night’ are impossible to make.  It becomes overwhelming so I go home and do nothing until the only choice left is to take care of it

    There’s a commercial on tv for Rexulti.  They show a woman with her friends, obviously not having a good time like they are.  For me, that’s what it feels like on a good day.  Although I laugh and joke around, I feel nothing.  Most of the time I’d rather be home by myself because it’s mentally painful to watch others enjoying life.

    Thankfully I don’t have any ideations of hurting myself.  I just don’t want to be here anymore.  When I see a young person so ill or hear of a fatal car accident, I ask God why he doesn’t take me instead of someone who was loved and needed.

    It took not wanting to see my grandchildren to get me to realize that it was really bad again.  I am getting the help that I need and it is slowly getting better.  To the point that I think I need to share my experiences.  I believe part of the cause is heredity.

    But, there are 2 parts to this story.  Today I got validation that the 5 concussions I’ve had over my lifetime indeed play a role in my diagnosis.

    Suffice it to say, I’ve never been graceful.  A horse, a bike, a toboggan, a motorcycle, and a divot in the sidewalk were all contributing factors to the falls causing concussions.  Each time I ‘recovered’ and nothing was ever thought about it again.

    A few years ago I started seeing articles about athletes and the long term effects of a concussion.  That’s when I started asking my providers if there could be something to it.  Only to be told I appear to be fine so no worries.  It felt like being in a Charlie Brown scene.

    So frustrating that a jock can have 1 concussion and the world comes to an end.  Yet nothing to see here when it’s a clumsy girl who suffered 5.

    This spring I got a referral to a psychologist who actually heard me.  FINALLY someone listened to me and told me there was something that could be done to help.  Except there was no availability within CCH and the only other option was to go out of network.  Cha-ching!

    I was able to maintain for quite some time after that.  But a few months ago, like a clock, things started going downhill again.  Every year starting in September my mood drops.  Thirty eight years ago this past Saturday, my 23 year old sister was killed by a drunk driver.  She had a 6 week old baby.  I can’t believe I haven’t gotten over that after all these years.

    At any rate, a couple weeks ago I had an appointment w/my PCP.  I told her what was going on and she said she’d reach out to the psychologist again.  Such a blessing that now there was an opening to be seen by Occupational Therapy.

    I had my first appointment last week, today my second for testing.  At the end of the hour, the therapist had me in happy tears when she told me that the concussions definitely were a contributing factor to so many things I couldn’t explain.  Thank you God for sending an angel with wonderfully great news.

    This isn’t a cure.  Probably not even a miracle.  But there are things that can be done to get me to a better place.

    Don’t ever give up.  It’s taken many years and a good dose of stubbornness to get me this far.  If the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise, I am just starting the journey to many years of better days.

    Your poster child for Major Depressive Disorder,


    Toasted Graham (Celery Overtones)


    Banana Foster Flambe. Pumpkin Caramel Latte. Spiced Chai Cyclone Crazy.  Sweet Strawberries and Cream Vanilla Shake.

    These are all flavored coffee options.  Don’t those sound delicious?  Is there anything in that list you want to try?

    When you make a cup of coffee, the first thing you do is not taste it. Instead, you smell it while the coffee is brewing. Smell is the first thing that triggers the brain that this cup of coffee is going to be GOOD. Like, super yummy good.  The aromas waiver in the air until the brewing process is complete.

    Sometimes when we brew coffee in the office, the delicious-ness strikes the noses of everyone in the vicinity and people will start to ask, “Mmmm… what is that wonderful smell?”

    And then finally… that first sip.

    I don’t know if you’re as crazy about coffee as I am, but if you are, you’ve also learned that flavored coffees can be a HUGE disappointment.  That wonderful aroma that filled your nostrils a few minutes ago? That wonderful smell that tickled your taste buds in anticipation? It’s just not there when you take the first sip.  In the world of food and flavors, *usually* the smells and tastes are in alignment. But flavored coffees?  They are often out of sync.

    Out of sync—what I smelled isn’t what I tasted.  This disappointment does something to the brain.  That chocolate truffle? It tastes like dirty water.  That pumpkin pie?  Just cheap weak coffee.  This Starbucks Toasted Graham that’s currently in my cup as I type? I swear it has overtones of celery. Yuck. Weird. (I’m still going to drink, by the way…)

    I think our Christian lives can be so much like flavored coffees.  Sometimes the initial impression we give is like a vibrant and wonderful smell.  But when you really get to know us, there is a disappointment. We’re not as ‘holy’ or ‘spiritual’ or ‘mature’ as we once let on.  We’re sinful. Our character has major defects.  Our workday’s lifestyle doesn’t match our Sunday morning devotion. We are out of sync.

    But every now and then you encounter a Christian who’s life and outer shell match the inside.  They’re devotion is pure.  Their workday lifestyle matches their Sunday lifestyle.  Their character oozes the character of Christ.  They are REAL.  They are in sync.

    But they are also a rare-breed.

    There are only a few flavored coffees I’ve found that are in sync.  They are also a rare breed. But when that taste and that smell are in complete alignment, it is bliss. My brain doesn’t feel tricked—instead it is in a state of joy.

    I want to be that type of Christian—that brings a state of joy and honesty that doesn’t trick someone’s brain or bring disappointment.

    Flawed, but honest about the flaws.  Sinful, but quick to run to forgiveness and offer forgiveness.  In step, in sync, with my Savior. I’m not there, yet!

    Leah Carolan
    Director of Worship & Media


    Did you enjoy this article? Did you laugh, cry, or learn something new?  Let Leah know.