Category Archives: July 2020 Chips

Making Levitical Law Fun – Seriously!

JULY 2020


On January 1 of this year, I started a year-long Bible reading program with the goal of reading through the entire Bible in one year. I’ve never done one before! And to be honest, didn’t know if I had the stick-to-it-ive-ness to keep up with the reading.  And the idea of reading certain portions of the Old Testament sounded… well, let’s be honest: Boring. Mundane. Humdrum.

The cool thing about this program is that it is accompanied by a 5-9 min podcast daily that you listen to after completing the reading. These little podcasts have made the journey through the Bible enlightening. I’ve learned more in these short audio lessons that have made the Bible exciting, intriguing, and actually a huge highlight of the day.  I LONG for my time in the Word and the understanding that comes along with it. Never in my life did I think I would enjoy reading Levitical law and the messy history of the 1 & 2 Kings.  But I love it!

Yesterday, the plan had us reading Obadiah. I didn’t even know where Obadiah was or had any hint of knowledge what is covered in this short 21-verse book of the Bible.  It shadows a current day justice of the Old Testament covenant and a coming day justice of the New Testament through the use of a stern warning to Israel’s closest relatives and neighbors, the Edomites.  “Don’t mess with my people.”

Have I got you intrigued?

I don’t know what your summer has looked like, but if finding a new normal has been tough, the routine of starting my day with Word and prayer has helped me personally remain rooted in the chaos.  I often don’t know what the rest of my day will hold, but it starts with God and that has made all the difference!  Finding just the right thing to keep me in the Word has made a huge difference.  For those who have similar Bible-reading routines, I’m curious what methods have worked for you? Group study? Personal study? Book studies? Let me know below!

Want to check out the program that’s got me so hooked? It’s The Bible Recap and can be found in the Bible App with an accompanying podcast by the same name on iTunes.


Leah Carolan
Director of Worship & Media




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    In a Perfect World

    JULY 2020


    I have one goal every summer – nurture the perfect pot of flowers. The perfect pot contains the perfect flowers, sits in the perfect spot on the patio, and grows in perfect symmetry. Flower paradise.

    Of course, the forces of evil align against the perfect pot. Weeds, pests, heat, wind, squirrels – these enemies of perfection collaborate to defeat me. Because of these wicked rivals, it is too much to hope for a perfect garden, I settle for just one pot of beauty, harmony, and excellence. My little backyard utopia.

    My pursuit of horticultural magnificence brings job security. There is always one more task. Weeding. Watering. Fertilizing. Pruning. More weeding. The work never ends and sometimes I grow weary, but I never give up hope that one day it will be just as it is supposed to be.

    I want a perfect world: perfect relationships, perfect health, and perfect justice. I grieve over the brokenness. I pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on EARTH as it is in HEAVEN!” I endeavor to do what is right. I battle spiritual forces of evil aligned against excellence. I work to make the world better and sometimes I grow weary, but I never lose hope that one day it will be just as it is supposed to be.

    One verse in particular inspires me to press on. Philippians 1:6 – “I am confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion!” God finishes what God starts. Perfection is coming. Until then, keep weeding the garden.

    Kent Landhuis
    Pastor of Teaching & Leadership




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      Turmoil as a Time of Blessing

      JULY 2020


      “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Galatians 5:13-14).

      2020 seems to be slipping into deeper and deeper turmoil, and we as Christians are right in the middle of it, whether we like it or not.  Here’s the thing, this time of turmoil is really a time of blessing for we who belong to Christ. Right about now, there are some reading what I just said, who are ready to toss me out on my ear. But wasn’t it Jesus who told us to love our neighbors as ourselves in the verse above? Isn’t it Jesus, the Creator of the entire universe, who said,Whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:27-28).

      It seems to me that loving our neighbor looks a lot like serving our neighbor. Jesus said it like this:

      “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’“ (Matthew 25: 34-40).

      We, who are Christ’s hands and feet on this Earth, need to be moving toward the turmoil and chaos of our day. We are called to actively love. We have been set free from curse of sin, which looks inward to our fears, but we are called to now turn outward in love. Love always looks outward to God and our neighbor, and here’s the great part about it, as we love we actually help heal the world around us. 1 John 4: 16-19 says, “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgement, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.”

      There you have it! We drive out fear by acting in love. Our loving action actually replaces fear. That is a pretty good thing. I am going to go out on a limb again and say it is even a blessing.

      Gary Sager
      Ambassador of Care




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        Noah’s Ark July Update

        JULY 2020

        Welcome Hannah!

        Welcome to Hannah Pelling, our newest staff member at Noah’s Ark!

        Hannah comes to us with her BA in Elementary Education from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago IL. She recently did her student teaching at Isaac Newton Christian Academy in Cedar Rapids. She will help us with July summer school and lead our four-year-old class this fall. We love her positivity and can’t wait to share her with our students and families.

        Noah’s Ark is now in search of an assistant to work with Hannah in our four-year-olds’ classroom this fall on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. Send inquiries to

        We have many COVID-19 requirements to complete in order to open school in July.  Many of the cleaning guidelines are in use at Noah’s Ark already, but we are having a difficult time purchasing a specific cleaner recommended by DHS for use in preschools. If you are out shopping and discover any spray bottles of Clorox (Anywhere Hard Surface Spray) please purchase them and Noah’s Ark will reimburse you!  It must be only this cleaner.

        Kris Crowther
        Director of Noah’s Ark Preschool





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          Authenticity Killer

          JULY 2020


          I started crying in my car as I drove past the NewBo area of town. I saw dozens of people enjoying each other’s company in the sunshine and it made my heart hurt. Gathering with friends is exactly what my heart needs to be healthy. Several of my friends are on the cautious side of getting together; which means they are not ready to make many social plans yet. As a fun-loving extrovert, this has been soul-crushing. Hospitality and authenticity are key elements to relationship-building and it turns out that Zoom (a platform to hold meetings online) makes these elements hard to access.

          I’ve recently come to the realization that Zoom is an authenticity killer. In fact, in all the busyness of trying to move everything over to Zoom, learning how to use the platform, and then helping others do the same, I’m only now realizing that authenticity takes far more energy when using Zoom. Most of our communication with others is non-verbal. All the body language, tone of voice, direction of eye gaze, guttural sounds, hand motions, posture, and movement away from or towards the speaker offers us far more information about what the person is saying than their actual words. Part of me thought that Zoom would work because of the camera focused on the face, allowing for some of the non-verbal clues to be captured by the listener. However, so much is still missing or left to interpretation. This lack of clues about the speaker(s) makes it hard to share authentically.

          The Marco Polo app (a platform that lets you leave video messages) allows for different results than Zoom. I think one of the main differences is that people can share when they are ready, any time of day they choose. That means if I’m thinking things over in the grocery store I might be ready to leave a thoughtful or heartfelt response from my car in the parking lot. Zoom demands that you produce thoughtful responses at the moment everyone else is in the meeting. Marco Polo has allowed my small group the ability to share what is on our hearts, from a distance. Admittedly Marco Polo and Zoom are different platforms with different functions, but one has allowed deep connections to continue and the other allows for business as usual (as usual as it can be in a pandemic).

          The moral of the story for me is that connection is essential and complex. We all need time with our friends and family in order to stay healthy. Doing life together with hospitality, authenticity, forgiveness, and restoration is the answer to my heartache.

          Lindsey Ungs
          Connection & Communication Architect




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