Preparing for Worship Jan 16

We will be using the following songs and passages from the Word of God in our corporate gathering this Lord’s Day. Please prayerfully use these resources to prepare your hearts to “come into His gates with thanksgiving and enter His courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4).

The Word of the Lord:
Matthew 22:44
Exodus 20
Isaiah 25:3 – 4
Psalm 139
Romans 12:14 – 21
Numbers 6:22 – 24

Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs:
Psalm 110
There Is A Fountain
Doxology

Means of Grace:
Congregational Prayer
Sermon: Public Christianity

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January Update & Calendar

Our January edition of the Update can be viewed and downloaded here. The Zion calendar for the month of January can be viewed here.

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Christmas & Advent Videos

We all know how busy the holiday season can be. There are a lot of wonderful activities happening at Zion as well. Perhaps you missed one of these events, or you would like to go back and revisit a service. Please use the following videos for your own encouragement and edification in the faith.

Christmas Eve Service


Christmas Eve Prelude

Christmas Day: Lessons & Carols

Sundays in Advent

First Sunday in Advent – God’s King

Second Sunday in Advent – Kingdom of Bethlehem

Third Sunday in Advent – Conquering Christmas

Fourth Sunday in Advent – Kingdom of Truth

Sunday After Christmas – Unending Kingdom

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Funeral Service for Al DeWitt

Allan N. DeWitt, 82, of Garner completed his journey of faith on Monday, December 14, 2020 at his daughter’s home in Plano, TX. He went home to glory.

A memorial service will be held 10:30 A.M., Monday, December 21, 2020 at Zion Evangelical and Reformed Church in Garner with Rev. Brian Lund officiating. Inurnment will be at Concord Township Cemetery in Garner.

A memorial visitation will be held from 1:30 to 4:00 P.M., Sunday, December 20, 2020 at Zion Evangelical and Reformed Church in Garner. You can find the complete obituary and all the funeral details at the Cataldo Funeral Home page here.

Livestream of Funeral Service

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Biblical Joy in the Heidelberg Catechism

Many Christians are raised to know the answers of their catechism questions. But the following reminder from Rev. Brian Cochran – minister of Redeemer Reformed Church in Canada – points out that our catechism questions are not merely for head knowledge. They are to inform our emotions and affections, leading us to biblical joy in Christ! Read his thoughts on joy in the Heidelberg Catechism below:

The Heidelberg Catechism is known as “The Catechism of Comfort.” And rightly so! The word “comfort” appears 6 times in the catechism and it’s part of the memorable first question, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” But the word “joy” appears 5 times in the catechism and is in the second question of the catechism, closely connected with our comfort: “How many things must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?”

Here are the places that the word “joy” appears in the catechism. It helps us understand what true Christian joy is:

First, Christian joy is rooted in Christ and the good news of His first and second advent:
Q& A 1: What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has delivered me from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, also assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

Q&A 2: How many things must you know to live and die in the JOY of this comfort?
A. Three: first, how great my sin and misery are; second, how I am delivered from all my sins and misery; third, how I am to thank God for such deliverance.

Q&A 52: How does Christ’s return “to judge the living and the dead” comfort you?
A. In all distress and persecution, with uplifted head, I confidently await the very judge who has already offered himself to the judgment of God in my place and removed the whole curse from me. Christ will cast all his enemies and mine into everlasting condemnation, but will take me and all his chosen ones to himself into the JOY and glory of heaven.

Q&A 58 How does the article concerning “life everlasting” comfort you?
A. Even as I already now experience in my heart the beginning of eternal JOY, so after this life I will have perfect blessedness such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has ever imagined: a blessedness in which to praise God eternally.

Second, Christian joy is evidenced as a fruit of the Spirit in serving the communion of saints (the body of Christ) with our gifts:
Q&A 55: Q. What do you understand by “the communion of saints”?
A. First, that believers one and all, as members of Christ the Lord, have communion with him and share in all his treasures and gifts. Second, that each member should consider it a duty to use these gifts readily and joyfully for the service and enrichment of the other members.

Third, Christian joy is evidenced as a fruit of the Spirit in obeying the moral will of God, revealed in His Word:
Q&A 90: What is the rising-to-life of the new self?
A. Wholehearted JOY in God through Christ and a love and delight [joy] to live according to the will of God by doing every kind of good work.

I’m sure more could be added to what true Christian joy looks like. This is not meant to be exhaustive. But it is helpful to see how the catechism describes true Christian joy. Why did Christ come? One of the many reasons Christ came is to bring great joy to all who trust in Him alone for salvation. “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).

So what about you? Do you know the true joy of Jesus, or merely information about it? May this season close to our celebration of Jesus’ birth cause us to overflow in genuine, Spirit-wrought joy!

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Preparing for Worship Dec 6

We will be using the following songs and passages from the Word of God in our corporate gathering this Lord’s Day. Please prayerfully use these resources to prepare your hearts to “come into His gates with thanksgiving and enter His courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4).

The Word of the Lord:
Genesis 3:15
Isaiah 27:1
Luke 10:17 – 21
Micah 5:1 – 5
I Corinthians 11
Hebrews 13:20 – 21

Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs:
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Doxology

Means of Grace:
Congregational Prayer
Sermon: Gift of Bethlehem
Holy Communion

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December Update & Calendar

Our December edition of the Update can be viewed and downloaded here. The Zion calendar for the month of December can be viewed here.

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COVID-19 Policies For Zion (Updated 11/28)

Beginning the first Sunday after Thanksgiving, Nov 29th, we will be changing the schedule for the next several weeks. Sunday mornings will be as follows:

8:30 – 9:20 | Early Worship service (masks required)
9:30 – 10:15 | Sunday school for all ages
10:30 – 11:20 | Second worship service (livestream, masks not required)

This schedule allows us to bring our Sunday school program back, as well as sanitize the sanctuary and rooms in between time blocks.

If you come to the early service, please wear a mask/covering, and we will have extra masks at the door if you forget. Social distancing and masks are still encouraged at the 10 am service, but not required.

We know that some in our church family cannot attend worship if everyone else is not also wearing a mask. By ensuring that everyone wears a mask at the early service, this will be a blessing to our church family members that we love so much.

In all of our worship services, we will have reduced singing. We have been advised that singing is a key form of spreading coronavirus, and that steps taken to reduce the amount of singing is important. During music, we will provide the lyrics to songs to silently meditate upon in the pew, and we will still sing the Doxology at the end of the service as usual.

All children’s Sunday school classes will meet in the Fellowship Hall in the basement, and have singing socially distanced before going to their Sunday school classes. The adult Sunday school class will meet in the sanctuary. Our class sizes and rooms fall within the parameters set for Iowa congregations.

Adult Sunday school class will meet in the sanctuary.

If you have questions, please contact us. We are SO thankful we can rely on the Lord to lead us through these uncertain times. Please pray with us for God’s wisdom and guidance for the future.

If it becomes clear that one of the above policies isn’t working, don’t worry! We will admit the mistake, ask for forgiveness, and try something different. None of this is permanent! No one – other than the Lord above – knows exactly how things will proceed. We are praying for a joyful attitude to trust God in this uncertain time. We ask you, our church family, to joyfully come along with us on this exciting adventure of faith as we follow Jesus together!

See all Zion policy announcements due to COVID-19 and/or coronavirus here.

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Preparing for Worship for Nov 22

We will be using the following songs and passages from the Word of God in our corporate gathering this Lord’s Day. Please prayerfully use these resources to prepare your hearts to “come into His gates with thanksgiving and enter His courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4).

The Word of the Lord:
Psalm 136:23 – 26
Mark 12:28 – 31
I John 4:9 – 11
Proverbs 3
John 18
Numbers 6:22 – 24

Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs:
Now Thank We All Our God
Doxology

Means of Grace:
Congregational Prayer
Sermon: Two Lies And A Truth

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Zion Updates on COVID Policy on Nov 17

The Zion Consistory met on Tuesday, November 17th and made the following decisions for our church family for the next few weeks. They are grateful for the prayers and support of the congregation as they have sought to follow Governor’s mandates, health protocols, and – first and foremost – Scriptural wisdom. If you have any concerns or questions, please contact a Consistory member or get in touch with us at the church.

For Sunday, Nov 22nd
This Sunday, we will have the same schedule for worship: 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. We will be live streaming the 10 am service. However, there are two changes for this Sunday: we will be asking everyone who comes to the 8:30 service to wear a mask, and we will be reducing our singing in worship. If you come to the early service, please wear a mask/covering, and we will have extra masks at the door if you forget. Social distancing and masks are still encouraged at the 10 am service, but not required.

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