All posts by Cedar Hills

Don’t Choose Milk

Don’t Choose Milk

In the next few days many will begin thinking about New Year resolutions… I can’t say enough great things about how my life changed about six years ago when I started prioritizing (like crazy like) daily Bible reading and memorization. It’s something many of us profess and give lip service to, but hypocritically do not practice.
I was stirred (slightly insulted, but stirred) by this 4min clip from Francis Chan:
In 2024, let’s not just say it’s important to read or memorize the Bible. It’s time to dig in DAILY.  It is the foundation of a mature Christian life. Don’t choose milk any longer – go for the meat!
If you’re not there yet, I don’t want to guilt you into it. But I can testify to the fruit of going after God daily in Bible reading, memorization and prayer–it is so worth it! To be able to discern the voice of God with greater clarify, to know his heart and thoughts in a given situation, to be able to speak words of truth into another life with ease as the Holy Spirit brings to mind verses effortlessly, to feel a call to pray for strangers in the Target packing lot or Sam’s Club lobby and see God at work before your eyes–these make it so worth it!
I wish I had known the beauty of daily devotion in my younger years.  God literally does change you as you as you are in His word.
But here’s what I’ve also learned –don’t try to squeeze it in to a busy schedule. It won’t work. To really go after daily reading, you have to GIVE UP something for God–some other worldly practice of consuming entertainment or social media or news or sport or hobby or Insta reels or TikTok or evening news that has consumed your time. Say to the Lord, “I want you MORE!” and go after it with intensity. Go for the meat.  And He’ll make all those other things pale in comparison.
There are soooo many great programs to help you stay on top of things. The Bible Recap, the Bible Project (both available in the Bible app) both have year-long Bible reading programs.  The book “100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know By Heart” by Robert Morgan is a great starting place for scripture memorization.  (FYI I’ve set these all to music! In NIV and currently working through them again in ESV.)
I was recently inspired by this short article by John Piper: Make the Bible Part of Your Everyday in 2024.  He makes some great and motivating points!

Leah Carolan
Pastor of Worship & Media

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

    Joy and Peace to You

    Joy and Peace to You

    For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies… because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation… Colossians 1:19-22We’ve been reflecting on “the word made flesh” all month and my prayer is that the truths described in Colossians 1 have become more real to you. We have every spiritual blessing in Jesus, which brings us joy and peace beyond measure. May you know the peace and joy made possible in Jesus!The Lord be with you,Pastor Kent

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

      Err on the Side of Righteousness

      Err on the Side of Righteousness

      We’ve been talking about the Word Made Flesh – one of the prophetic names we use to talk about Jesus in the season of Advent.  Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, Immanuel, God with Us. Word Made Flesh. Jesus.

      All of these names feel sacred and holy. They contain parts of God’s identity and how He has revealed Himself to us.

      We know him by other names as well:

      There is so much contained in God’s names! So much truth and holiness and identity.

      His name is sacred.

      And so I’ll be honest – my spirit is completely grieved when I hear my Christian brothers and sister flippantly using the OMG phrase or saying “Oh my God” in every story they tell.

      It is a scheme of the enemy if I’ve ever seen one. If it were not,  the world would be using phrases like, “Oh my Buddha” or “Oh my Satan” or “O my Molech.” But they don’t.  There is only one god’s name that gets used flippantly… and it is the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob – the one true God.  Our God.   The enemy is smart and goes about like a roaring lion looking for whom he may devour.  He has tricked many.

      What does Scripture say about God’s name?

      • Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. – Matthew 6:9 (NLT)
      • I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. – Isaiah 42:8
      • The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. – Proverbs 18:10
      • Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. – Psalm 100:4-5
      • Your name, Lord, endures forever, your renown, Lord, through all generations. – Psalm 135:13
      • And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. – Acts 2:21

      There is debate among many online about this particular phrase… is it sin or not sin?  My thoughts… does it matter? I would rather err on the side of righteousness any day than grieve my heavenly Father with my speech.

      Leah Carolan
      Pastor of Worship & Media

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

        Pat Garwood Funeral

        Please continue to pray for the family and friends of Pat Goodwood as they grieve her passing.

        4-7 PM, Thursday, November 9, 2023, at Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home

        11:00 AM, Friday, November 10, 2023, at Cedar Hills Community Church. (Another light visitation beforehand at 10am)


        Patricia (Pat) Ann Garwood, 86, of Cedar Rapids, passed away November 5, 2023. Visitation: . Funeral Service:  in Cedar Rapids. Interment: Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery. In honoring Pat’s wishes, the family encourages everyone to dress casually for the visitation and service.

        Pat was born on April 1, 1937, in Cedar Rapids, the daughter of Lester and Helen (Parents) Melsha. She graduated from Roosevelt High School in Cedar Rapids. Pat was united in marriage to Dennis Edward “Red” Garwood on April 22, 1963. He preceded her in death in 2015. Pat was a cafeteria worker for the Cedar Rapids Schools. She also worked at Flowerama and was self employed as a floral designer. Pat was a member of Cedar Hills Community Church. She was an animal lover. Pat enjoyed flowers, sewing, and making crafts. Most of all she loved her family and enjoyed attending their activities.

        Survivors include her children Gary (Joanne) Kohl of Cedar Rapids, Tracey (David) Johnson of Cedar Rapids, and Terry (Jeff) Stadler of Kansas City, MO, grandchildren Brandon, Kristie (Danny), Jason (Kirsten), Michael (Rachel), Lindsey (Matt), and Robbie (Kelsie), great-grandchildren Rylee, Evan, Olivia, Hannah, Charlotte, Clete, Elsie, Benjamin, Lucy, and Isaac, special friend and neighbor Connie Brown, and her beloved dog Baylee.

        Preceding her in death were her parents, husband, and daughter Beth Ann Garwood.

        Memorials may be directed to Cedar Hills Community Church.

        My Favorite Things

        – October 26 at 6pm join the Women in Fellowship & Faith at the home of Lindsey Steinkamp (2093 49th St; Marion, IA 52302).

        Bring two of your “favorite things” to the party. They should be two of the same item, no more than $10 each (they may cost less and be something homemade or handmade).

        Plan for small bites and fellowship, followed by favorite things exchange.  See the Facebook event for more info or text Lindsey at 319-640-9147.

        Angel Tree 2023

        This year Cedar Hills will be focusing on a local outreach for the Christmas season:  Angel Tree Christmas gifts through Prison Fellowship.
        We will foster relationships with local families who have an incarcerated parent, buy Christmas gifts for the kids, and host a Christmas party for the families.
        Want to be involved?  Here are a few options.
        1. Join a planning team now: family relationships, gift management or party planning. (Contact Cathy using form below)
        2.  In the coming weeks, take an “angel tag” off the Christmas tree that details a gift to purchase.
        3. Support the December Christmas party through working in the kitchen or loving on families.
        Be watching for more info in the coming weeks about how to love these neighborhood families!

        JOIN THE PLANNING TEAM by using the form below:

          Congregational Celebration

          – Sunday, November 12 at the end of each service we will review next year’s budget, elect new board members and celebrate what God is doing at Cedar Hills!

          We will also be installing Steve Poole and Leah Carolan as new ordained pastors in the Alliance of Reformed Churches.

          And there will be cake!