Category Archives: Cedar Chips

The month newsletter of Cedar Hills Community Church.

Note to Self

I have a little devotional book on my desk that I refer to often entitled Note to Self: the Discipline
of Preaching to Yourself. Joe Thorn shares scripture and meditations that inspire me. Like this one:

Jesus is Enough
Dear Self,
Are you satisfied? It is pretty obvious that the answer is often no. I am not saying it is wrong to
want things in this life, but why do you find yourself so frustrated with the absence of those things? The
problem is not that you want evil things. The things you want are generally good, or at least harmless in
themselves. But more than wanting, you become frustrated by not having. You become jealous, envious, and discontented with your life. It is true; you need what you lack, but what you lack is satisfaction in Jesus.

When you find your deepest satisfaction in Jesus, you are protected from bitterness in times of want and pride in times of abundance. The world and all good gifts within it are temporal blessings. For you, Christian, their presence should remind you of the Giver, and their absence should remind you of that which never fades nor can be taken away.

Paul models this well for you. He knows the secret of being content whether he has an abundance or nothing at all, for he has  found his ultimate satisfaction in Jesus. Jesus is enough. Do you believe that? Can you say, with the author of Hebrews, that you can be content with whatever you have because God said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). This is a promise made to us in Jesus. Jesus is enough, but that kind of satisfaction is only experienced when we understand our greatest needs to be redemption and restoration. God in Christ has reconciled us to Himself, is renewing our minds, and promises to raise us from the dead, and we will dwell in righteousness and peace forever. If you have this, what more do you need?

These words encouraged me to draw near to Jesus. They also struck me in light of our recent discoveries in the REVEAL study about our getting stuck as we grow in our faith. I am not satisfied with my own stuckness, but want to keep growing, to know Jesus more so that I can experience him more fully.

That sounds very satisfying,

Kent Landuis
Pastor of Teaching & Leadership


Ever feel stuck in a rut? I have. When I get distracted, worn out, and weighted down God feels distant. I’m stuck. Guess what? Stuck happens. So relax, but also respond so you don’t stay stuck? Five suggestions to get unstuck:

1. Be honest about it.
Psalm 40:1-2 says, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog.” Even King David got stuck. Let’s be honest about what we feel toward God— our distracted thoughts, our tired feet, our hurt feelings, our deadened passions, our disappointed expectations. Getting unstuck starts with honesty.

2. Complain out loud to God.
Now, speak your honesty. Psalm 6:6 says, “I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.” Stuck? Tell God. Prayer is having an honest conversation with God.

3. Complain out loud to others.
Revival comes in community. This is not for the purpose of justifying our whining, it is for the purpose of letting others help us expect God to show up. When we can’t imagine our way out of a hard place, let other people imagine it for you. Psalm 7:7 says, “Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you; rule over them from on high.” We grow in faith better together.

4. Get into the Word.
God’s Word is living and active. God heals and revives us by turning our attention to His truths, which are found in God’s Word. Tune into God and seek God’s path out of your spiritual stuckness. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your Word is a lamp to my
feet and a light to my path.”

5. Dwell in God’s love.
Without this, all spiritual practices fail. Always remember, God loves you! Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” The beauty of God’s love is that it survives spiritual dry times. God is love and the Bible tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus. (See Romans 8) This can never be overstated: God loves you!

Everyone gets stuck. Don’t stay stuck.

Kent Landhuis
Pastor of Teaching & Leadership

Samaritans Purse and Iowa

Earlier this year there was a horrific school bus crash in Tanzania. There was a group of medical missionaries from Iowa following that bus, who were able to rescue three children. Tragically, 32 souls perished in that accident. One of the missionaries, Dr. Steven Meyer from Sioux City had arranged to treat the three survivors at his hospital in Sioux City, but had no way to get them to Iowa.

Congressman Steve King called Franklin Graham and immediately Samaritan’s Purse dispatched a DC-8 to transport the children, their mothers, and the medical attendants. They even got a waiver from the FAA to carry
two flight crews so they only had to stop for fuel. These children had multiple injuries, but Dr. Meyer is confident they will recover fully.

He stated that many Tanzanians, including Muslims, are amazed that American Christians would step in to care for these

–Cedar Hills Missions Team

In dwell, dwell in… What’s the deal?

This Fall, we kick-off the start of a year long commitment to learning about the Bible. While dwelling in the Word, we know that Christ will indwell our hearts. When we dig into the Word, we cannot escape that God will reveal Himself in big ways and fill us with His presence. It will be so worth it!! So dwell in the Word and let the Word dwell in you. Simple, yes?

Any change of habit takes time, commitment and practice. If you’re not used to dwelling in the Word, it’s going to take some change. What do you need to give up to make regular time for the Word? How does your schedule need to be rearranged? And are you serious enough about taking on this new habit that you’re willing to actually make the changes?

I don’t know about you, but I’m HUNGRY. I see within myself the need to make reading and dwelling into the Word a greater priority in my life. I know I often feel spiritually empty because this one component is missing my from spiritual journey.

Even as mature Christians, there is so much more for us to learn in the Word and should not be neglected (preaching to myself!). Let’s do this! Will you join us in the journey? Are you ready to be amazed by what God has to say and what He will reveal to us in the next year? I am! August 20 begins this year long journey to Dwell.

Leah Carolan
Director of Media & Worship

Flying Away to Camp

In Alaska it isn’t always easy to drive your child to camp, many times they need to be flown. RCA missionary Brian Bruxvoort saw the need and as a pilot decided he could do something about it. He loads up his airplane with children and teenagers and flies them from the home villages to camp. Last summer, he flew 356 teenagers from 36 villages to 4 camps across Alaska. Of those 356, many of them professed faith in Christ. Through Brian’s ministry the lives of children and teenagers were changed.

Praise God!

–Cedar Hills Missions Team

Lead the Cause

Back in June we took 6 students and 2 adults to Lead the Cause in Chicago. During this week, our students learned to share  their faith with anyone and everyone. Since returning, our students have brought others into the ministry with them as they
walked the malls and pools of Cedar Rapids with a focus of connecting others to Jesus. Please pray for this passion and  boldness to continue and that God would start a revival in the hearts of this community. We need your help with prayer and
action. Join us as we follow the leading of God for His people!

We believe Journey Student Ministry is extremely valuable in the lives of each student and we need your help to keep reaching out to more students. If you are interested in joining the student ministry as a leader, please let me know. We are currently in need of 2 male leaders to round out our fall leadership team.

Jeremy Van Genderen
Director of Youth and Young Adults

Rocky Mountain High 2017

On July 21, 13 students and three adults will be making the trip to Rocky Mountain High. During this week, they will have an opportunity to engage in worship with over 2,000 other students, rise early to spend time in God’s Word, enjoy the Rocky Mountains and much more. This is always an impactful week spiritually for the students. Families still talk about this trip decades later. Here are some ways to join us this week:
#1: Pray our students grow spiritually this week.
#2: Pray that God protects this group as they travel to and from Colorado.
#3: Ask God to have the impact of this week make ripple effects in the lives of those the students came in contact with when they return.

We believe Journey Student Ministry is extremely valuable in the lives of each student and we need your help to keep reaching out to more students.

If you are interested in joining the student ministry as a leader, please let me know. We are currently in need of 2 male leaders and 2 female leaders to round out our fall leadership team.

Jeremy Van Genderen
Director of Youth and Young Adults

Where Are You Today?

Have you ever had a season where the Christian journey is fascinating and awe-filled? When God seems to step-in in the biggest way possible and intervene at just the right moment with an awesome answer to prayer, a miracle, a deep revelation of something in His Word, or the advice from a friend at just the right time that somehow just ‘clicked’ in your brain?

Have you ever had a God sighting? A moment where something supernatural took place and you are not even sure how to describe it? And you’re not even sure you want to share it because you think those around you might think you’re crazy or not truly understand what just happened to you?

Have you ever had a season where the Christian life seemed kind of hum-drum? Where you go about your regular routine but there are no significant God sightings, no huge moments of revelation, nothing new that strikes you in the Word? When prayer seems dull, and God’s voice seems silent or a little too quiet? And life just seemed to drag on and on and on without anything happening?

Have you ever wanted and needed so desperately to hear from God and for Him to intervene and yet He seems silent? And you wonder to yourself, “Maybe this time He won’t answer even though He’s answered so many times before?” When life seems hopeless, but you cry out for help anyway? And you cannot find a way out, but you hold a glimmer of hope that maybe God has a way out? But he’s not moving when you NEED Him to move?

Have you ever just been content with your Christian life. You have no expectations of God doing anything miraculous, but you enjoy His Word and prayer, and fellowship with other Christians, but have zero expectations that there could or should be something more than this?

Just curious. Where are you today?

Leah Carolan
Director of Worship & Media

Consistory Governance

The Consistory is the governing board that leads our congregation. We govern by writing policies to keep us on mission. We exist so that people will grow in their love for God (Love). We exist so that people will grow in their faith in Jesus Christ (Grow).  We exist so that people will grow in their love for each other (Serve). We exist so that people will find hope through faith in Jesus Christ (Seek).

Culture is not something we usually think about. It’s like water to a fish or air to a bird. It’s simply the environment we live in. Culture is one of the most important factors driving an organization. Unhealthy cultures produce bad results. Healthy cultures produce good results.

Webster defines culture as “the predominating attitudes, values, and behaviors that characterize the functioning of a group or organization.” In this sense, culture in inescapable. You can’t not have a culture, and every culture is either healthy, unhealthy, or somewhere in between. Our calling as a Consistory is to build a God-honoring, Christ-centered, grace-filled, biblically sound, kingdom-focused congregation. This culture will be healthy and result in these kinds of fruit:

  • Real Community. Everyone matters. Everyone belongs. Everyone contributes. Together is better.
  • Speaking the truth in love. Truth is not hoarded but shared.
  • Great teams. The right people serving in the right places at the right time.
  • Passionate. Everyone is free to follow God’s calling which results in passion.
  • Grace-full, grateful and generous. We are blessed to be a blessing!

What would you add to this list? Share your suggestion with any consistory member or staff.

Pray for us as we seek to build a kingdom culture.

Go Make Disciples

I meet regularly with individuals and small groups for the purpose of making disciples. My picture of discipleship used to be flinging mud against a wall. I dumped as much information as possible on people and crossed my fingers, hoping that the Holy Spirit was shaping them (and me). I am thankful that the Spirit did work in spite of my ill-conceived efforts, but I became curious if there was a better way.

While reading Michael Horton’s book, Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God’s Story, I came across this insight, “We study things we care about” (15). If that’s true about our hobbies and work, it’s even more true about our faith and how we make disciples. Discipleship is about what we love. One practice that helps me grow as a Jesus loving disciple is reading the Bible with the four Ds in mind – drama, doctrine, doxology, and discipleship. These four Ds are knit together by Jesus Christ. Every drama points to him; doctrine is about him; doxology ends in praising him; and discipleship happens as a response to him.

As we dwell in the Word, the Word dwells in us, Dwelling in the story of Jesus shapes and forms us as his followers. Horton, in his book describes it this way: “Jesus is not swept into your story. You are swept into his” (150). Getting swept into the story deepens our understanding of the reason for our hope as Christians.

Drama refers to the unfolding story of God from Genesis to Revelation. Drama yields doctrine, the truths of the Christian faith. Doctrine, rooted in the drama, creates thankful hearts of praise – doxology – which is our worshipful response to who God is and what God has done. Doxology yields the fruit of love and good works which is discipleship that turns outside of ourselves, looking up to God in faith and out to our neighbors in love. When disciples know the story and its meaning, they will respond appropriately to the God who acts. And, they will be increasingly conformed to the central character as they serve others. To know what we believe and why we believe it lies at the heart of making disciples.

Kent Landhuis
Pastor of Teaching and Leadership