Category Archives: Cedar Chips

The month newsletter of Cedar Hills Community Church.

Noah’s Ark – March Update

February was full of fun activities! Everyone learned about the mail and what happens to your letter after you put it in the mailbox. We all enjoyed giving and receiving valentines!

Our testing is done for our 4– and 5-year-olds and report cards have been sent out. The 3-year-old classes had fun learning about snowmen and winter birds. We also learned about mixing colors and transportation! Second report cards for our younger classes will be sent out before Spring Break. (Spring Break will be March 13-17, the same as CR Schools.)

We were blessed by visitors from Linn County Conservation. Programs included ‘Winter Birds’ and ‘Winter Wildlife.’

Our 2017-2018 registration is on-going. If you know someone who wants to register their child, please have them call preschool at 396-3125 or email us. Classes are from 9-11:30 AM.

Please mark your calendars for March 21 to donate blood! Mississippi Valley Blood Center will come here and set up in the Gathering Space. Your time from check-in to check-out is less than an hour. Please call me to donate; our area is in desperate need.

I can’t believe there are only three more months of school left! I’m ready for Spring and we can’t wait to see all those flowers come up in front of our windows again!

I want to remind everyone that we will be offering a 6-week summer school program (of two 3- week sessions) in June and July. This program is for current Noah’s Ark students only. More details coming next month.

In Christ,

Leslie Clauson, Director

Dwelling in the Word – March

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.

It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS. They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.”

Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him. At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.” Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

~ Mark 15:21-39

The Old Rugged Cross

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

When I survey the old rugged cross I marvel at its wonders. I pray that you will survey the wondrous cross and find your richest gain but loss in knowing the one who died for our sins on that cross. And I pray that in surveying the cross we will all discover its wondrous attraction.

~ Pastor Kent

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


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