Category Archives: Love. Belong. Serve.

Picnic in the Park


PICNIC IN THE PARK – Sunday, May 16, starting at 6 PM, you are invited to a picnic at Cherry Hill Park. Cedar Hills will be providing hot dogs and hamburgers and leading some group games after the picnic. Click here to RSVP with the number of children and adults coming from your family and plan to bring a side or dessert to contribute to the picnic spread.

You Belong

JUNE 2020

You Belong

I never thought I would ever write about dog grief. I never thought I could love a dog so much. When Mary and I were told about Quincy’s cancer, it broke our hearts. Saying good-bye to our four-legged family member grieved us deeply.

Within days after Quincy passed, Mary started the search for a puppy. Grief therapy. We found a breeder with a new litter of 11 puppies. We met them when they were three weeks old and we fell in love. The puppy with green paint on his tail captured our hearts.

For the next four weeks, we visited this breeder’s website often to look for pictures and videos of the puppies. We searched each time for the puppy with the green tail. He was the cutest, most adorable, most wonderful puppy ever. He was ours. He belonged to us.

Finally, the breeder called, “He is ready! You can take your puppy home!”

Mary said, “We don’t need to bring the puppy home. We can just watch him grow up online.”

Mary really said, “We will be right there! He belongs to us!”

We too, were made to belong. It is so important that the Heidelberg Catechism asks this question first: “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” And our comfort is found in belonging! “My only comfort in life and in death is that I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Everyone wants to belong. Even a puppy.

The Lord be with you,
Kent Landhuis
Pastor of Teaching & Leadership




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    Shut-Ins (June 2020)

    JUNE 2020

    Cedar Hills Shut-Ins

    The following shut-ins are unable to attend church regularly.  They appreciate visits, cards, and prayers from concerned church friends.

    Pat Ament—home

    Judy Botine—home

    Dave Bryant—Prairie Gardens Memory Care

    Jake/Lois DeBoer—The Views/Marion

    Bob/Eloise Dennis—home

    Helen Freeman—home

    Maureen Kern—home

    Betty Long—Grand Living @ Indian Creek

    Clarence Northrup—Andrew Jackson Care Center, Bellevue, IA

    Vivian Northrup—home

    Jo Parizek—Grand Living @ Indian Creek

    Ivadell Peterson—Living Center West, #230

    Ray/Shirley Vander Wiel—Stoney Point Meadows

    Dorothy Wise—home


    Sunday, May 24 – Links & Info

    Sunday, May 24, 2020
    Watch Live at 11am (music begins at 10:50am)

    Video Highlights:

    Cedar Hills Kids:


    • Cedar Hills is reuniting for services Sunday, June 7 at 8:30am and 11am, and continuing the online streaming at 11am. We welcome you to attend, if you feel comfortable doing so. There will be a few changes however to our normal services and we want to let you know what to expect… Read more.
    • Congrats Graduates! Enjoy this short video highlighting all of our 2020 graduates – high school and beyond! Watch now.
    • Become a Member of Cedar Hills – New eight week class begins June 7. Have you been at Cedar Hills for a while, but are unsure how to connect further? Our new partnership class is your next step. At Cedar Hills, we are the kind of people who share hospitality…  Read more
    • The Cedar Hills App – Download the Cedar Hills app. Use it for mobile giving, submitting prayer requests, the Bible, weather updates, and insider information.  Download now

    From Pastor Kent

    Note from Pastor Kent

    Many times in the past few weeks I have felt weary. I miss my old routines, I’m tired of all the changes, I want to meet up with people, I’d like to stop thinking about COVID19. I’ve said many times, “I’m taking it one day at a time.” and I’m tired of that. It is exhausting. COVID time feels like dog time. One week equals seven.

    Two things helped me this week. First, a passage of scripture. Isaiah 40:28-31
    Do you not know?
        Have you not heard?
    The Lord is the everlasting God,
        the Creator of the ends of the earth.
    He will not grow tired or weary,
        and his understanding no one can fathom.
    He gives strength to the weary
        and increases the power of the weak.
    Even youths grow tired and weary,
        and young men stumble and fall;
    but those who hope in the Lord
        will renew their strength.
    They will soar on wings like eagles;
        they will run and not grow weary,
        they will walk and not be faint.

    Second, a passage from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.
    “I wish it need not happened in my time.” said Frodo.

    “So do I,” said Gandolf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

    The Lord be with you,
    Pastor Kent

    Serving Burnout Threshold

    There are times in my life where the mere hint at yet another thing someone is asking of me has the potential to put me over the top.  Whether home life, work life, friends, kids, invitations to events—sometimes enough is enough.

    We have the danger in ministry of becoming busy-bodies.  It’s fun to serve.  It feels good to serve. It LOOKS good to serve. But there is also a side of serving we don’t often address: Serving Burnout.

    Serving burnout comes from unmotivated serving. Serving for the wrong reasons. Serving out of a deficit of our spiritual walk instead of out of an abundance.  Serving because we’re ‘supposed to’. Serving because that’s what ‘good Christians do.’

    When I get to the place in life where one more task sounds completely unbearable, I am at that serving-burnout-threshold: the place where instead of serving joyfully and happily, I am serving with a darkened, bitter, grumpy, whiny, complaining heart that finds fault in everyone and everything.

    At this moment, I need to run to the Father.  At this moment, I have lost sight of God and am running in my own strength instead of His. When I have lost sight of God and am serving outside of my abundance with Him, serving sucks. And I am bitter person.  When I am at one with God, when I am at peace with God, my natural loving, serving heart is opened and I can find joy in even the most menial tasks.

    As we learn about our church vision of “LOVE. BELONG. SERVE.” you must know it isn’t all about doing!  At first glance, it looks like more ‘do this, do that’ but it is not!  These three things are completely motivated by the work that God has done FIRST.  We can truly extend love, only to the capacity that we know of God’s great love for us through His son Jesus.   We can extend belonging to another, out of a depth of knowledge that God has adopted us as orphans to become part of His family. And we are able to love, to help others belong and able to serve because God has done all these things first.

    Leah Carolan
    Director of Worship & Media


    Belonging, in a Pandemic

    Belonging, in a Pandemic

    My in-laws suggested we “borrow” their cat for the duration of the pandemic, so the kids would have a pet to play with. It seemed like a great idea the more we thought about it. The cat, Joey, is incredible with kids, allowing them to drag him around and hold him (from every angle). We bought all the supplies needed and planned to pick him up the next day, all without revealing the surprise to the kids. It was at this point that I shared the idea with my friend Jessica (who is in our small group). She quickly reminded me that she has a severe cat allergy, a detail I had placed in the recesses of my brain.

    Over a 12 hour period, Karl and I had to make a decision about what to do. We already had all the supplies. Also, Joey’s visit was our Easter gift to the kids. Many thoughts ran through my mind. Would there really be pet dander in our house when we can see each other again, months from now? How bad is her allergy? Should I really toss my plans just for this?

    After praying about it, I had a new perspective enter my mind. Am I prioritizing a thing (a pet) over a person? This thought stuck with me for several hours. Even though I was still angry about having to cancel our “Easter surprise,” I decided to prioritize our relationship over a pet (that wasn’t even ours).

    We prioritize our small group relationships in-part because it provides us with belonging and connection, even in a pandemic. It’s where we live out the sanctification process. Sometimes that process is ugly or involves anger and sometimes it is joyful. Over the last 5 years, we have gotten on each other’s nerves, sometimes to the point of not speaking to each other for a short time. But that’s the reality of being broken humans in a close relationship. The beauty is that we get to give and receive hospitality, authenticity, forgiveness, and restoration in the regular flow of life.

    Since social distancing began, our small group continues to meet. We use Zoom and the Marco Polo app. We’ve recently begun having the guys and gals meet on separate nights, using Zoom. This way the “other” parent can put the kids to bed. Being able to see each other’s faces and nonverbal gestures is helpful for maintaining close relationships. Belonging and connection are possible, even in a pandemic.

    Lindsey Ungs
    Connection & Communication Architect