Category Archives: Cedar Chips

The month newsletter of Cedar Hills Community Church.

Journey – March Update

Last month’s chips article introduced the different aspects of our student ministry room. I still want to encourage you to come down and see what is happening in the student ministry area. If you have any questions, please ask.

To encourage our focus on growing in faith and how to share our faith, we are looking forward to a big week, March 3-5. On March 3 about 40 adults and students will be heading out to Dare2Share in Hoffman Estates, IL. This conference challenges our students first to know what they believe and second to know how to share that belief. We have experienced exciting and impactful situations over the last 5 years of attending this event. This year we pray that we will see students come to accept Christ as their personal Savior.

On March 5, we have rented out the SkyZone Trampoline park for 2 hours and have encouraged our students to invite their unbelieving friends to this event. We will need 20 adults for the evening so if you are interested in joining us please let me know.

Please also pray for the 110 students that will be joining us that night to jump, drink pop, eat pizza and hear the gospel. Pray that the gospel is presented clearly and that the Holy Spirit moves in the lives of the students who do not know Jesus. I look forward to telling you about what God does through this weekend.

~ Jeremy Van Genderen
Director of Youth and Young Adults

Love

It does not take a rocket scientist to know that “love” Jesus’ way is completely counter-cultural and requires an other-worldly approach to thinking. But we still live in this world. Jesus asked, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them” (Luke 6:32). I have learned that to love someone completely, means to love within biblical boundaries. Here are a few suggestions to help you determine what a healthy boundary looks like when you work with people in the upcoming year.

In their book, Boundaries, Doctor’s Henry Cloud and John Townsend use the words “hurt” and “harm” as definable boundaries to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy boundaries. It is true that Jesus calls us to love, give, and even do so sacrificially. If we took the words of Jesus, “Give to everyone who asks of you,” and literally applied them to every situation that presented itself to us, we would not have enough to care for ourselves and our families. Then we would be guilty of behaving like unbelievers (1 Timothy 5:8).

Over the years, I have found the value of protecting and living with healthy boundaries that empower me to love others. A healthy boundary allows our hearts to be “hurt” by the needs of others, but not “harmed” by them. When we allow “hurts” to cloud sound judgment and react beyond our ability to be responsible, it “harms” us and becomes unhealthy. A healthy love allows itself to be “hurt” by the needs in the world, but it should never allow them to cause “harm” except in times of extreme need and circumstance.

“Learning to love ourselves and others,”

JR Henderson
Pastor of Spiritual Formation

A Poem for Lovers

In the beginning,
“They were naked and not ashamed,”
Until hubris devoured innocence.
Now we hardly know each other,
Son of Adam, daughter of Eve,
We cloak ourselves with fig leaves.

But we cannot hide from Love.
The one who made us in His image Cries, “Where are you?”
And covers us with reflected beauty.

Thus hopeful, we turn to the light
Where curved-in-hearts are unsprung.

Someday, you and I
Will know even as we are known,
Translucent with divinity.
Now we see through a glass darkly,
But then—face to face.

(By Alan Crandall, for Jan on the occasion of our wedding anniversary.)

Alan Crandall
Pastor of Care

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