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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Keep Going in Gratitude!

Often times in November, as our thoughts turn to the holidays, we are reminded that being grateful is important. Have an “attitude of gratitude,” they say; it is “good to be grateful.” But as God’s Word instructs us, the thanksgiving in God’s Word is more than just a nice sentiment. Sunday’s sermon helps us remember this truth!

We have so many important resources, prayer requests, and more to share with our church family. You can see some of them below.

Did you miss the church email that went out? You can view it here, or sign up for the church email newsletter here.

One more encouragement to our gratitude, and to understanding what Jesus has done for us, in the following article from The White Horse Inn.

Joining the Thanksgiving Parade

One of the earliest dates I had with my wife was a Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade. Huddling together (close, but not too close) on the grand boulevard, we nearly froze during one of the coldest days in New York City on record for that festive occasion. It was fun, but it was largely a parade of consumerism more than thanksgiving.

University of Chicago historian B. A. Gerrish has suggested that John Calvin’s entire theology can be summarized by the word, “eucharistic,” from the word meaning “thankful.” Human beings were created to live in gratitude and the goal of salvation is ultimately to restore this life of thanksgiving. The Heidelberg Catechism, in fact, is structured in terms of Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude, leading G. C. Berkouwer to conclude, “The essence of theology is grace; the essence of ethics is gratitude.” Or, as we say around here, duties (imperatives) are always grounded in gospel promise (indicatives). The appropriate response to a gift is thankfulness.


Every ancient pagan religion grounded its worldview in a creation story. Typically, these stories begin with war and strife, with one of the gods achieving a bloody victory. However, Genesis begins the story of God’s covenant with God. There are no other gods who can frustrate God’s plans and God alone is to be praised. He is to be praised, first of all, because he created all things by his Word and pronounced them good. Creation originates in truth, goodness, and beauty, not in calamity, evil, and violence.

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What Other People Are Saying About Zion

We occasionally have visitors to our church family, and one recent Christian visitor left the following message. We wanted to share this here:

I moved away from Garner to [current state], and I left Zion in 1990. I can’t describe the feeling when I’m at Zion, I just overflow with joy …

One thing I’d like to share…to be surrounded by fellow Christians, lifting up my voice with Scripture and song, it feels like my spiritual home, of calm, of love, and where Jesus wanted me to be. I love hearing the Gospel spoken so clearly, it fills me with such hope when I struggle spiritually. Thank you for having worship [services], the music was so uplifting.

We are always thrilled to hear godly encouragement! We know that anything good within us is not due to our wisdom, goodness, or ability, but is only by God’s grace! “Not to us, not to us O Lord, but to Your Name give the glory!” (Psalm 115:1). Would you please pause in prayer, and ask the Lord to continue to lead our church family, and draw us to greater faithfulness to His Word even in times of trouble?

May the Lord continue to lead and guide!

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Funeral Service for Howard C. Parrott

Howard C. Parrott, 78, of Garner passed away Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center in Mason City.

A private family funeral services will be held 10:30 A.M., Saturday, November 14, 2020 at Zion Evangelical and Reformed Church in Garner with Rev. Brian Lund officiating. Burial will be held at 2:00 P.M., Saturday at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Aurelia, Iowa. Read the entire obituary and service details at Cataldo Funeral Homes →

Livestream of Funeral Service

Livestream of Graveside Service

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Preparing For Worship Nov 15

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:
I Chronicles 16:34 – 35
Leviticus 19:9 – 17
Romans 5:6 – 9
Philippians 2:12 – 18
Colossians 4:2
Numbers 6:22 – 24

Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs:
Come, Ye Thankful People, Come
There Is An Everlasting Kindness
What A Friend We Have In Jesus

Means of Grace:
Congregational Prayer
Sermon: Prayer of Thanksgiving

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Kingdom Unshaken

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November Calendar & Update

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

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Late Friday Announcement & Encouragement

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A Good Word in Season

We are thankful for an amazing Lord’s Day yesterday! And with these blessings, we want to reflect Christ’s truth in our lives for the week ahead. Did you catch these articles for sanctifying your Sunday? If not, save these to read next Sunday, or review them as you prayerfully ask the Lord the renew your mind by His truth.

A Covenantal Benediction
Every worship service that we serve Holy Communion, Pastor Brian gives a slightly different benediction. Instead of the Aaronic blessing from Numbers, or the Trinitarian benediction of II Corinthians 13:14, after The Lord’s Supper our minister gives the blessing from Hebrews 13. Read on to find out why this benediction is so special!

“One of the hardest things to endure is not being able to gather as the church on the Lord’s Day the way we did before the pandemic… I don’t think any of us will take for granted the blessing of public worship and the communion of the saints for a long time to come.

These reflections lead me to the topic of this article: the beautiful covenantal benediction of Hebrews 13:20-21. Not only are we featuring that passage as our benediction in this issue of M&L, but we are focusing on covenant theology in one of our main articles. In God’s providence, it’s the perfect benediction for people affected by a pandemic.
Read “A Covenantal Benediction” at RTS Ministry & Leadership

Why Christians Should Practice the Sabbath
For many Christians, what to do on Sunday can be legalistic – sit still! Don’t have fun! – or it can be license: after church (if we even go), we eat, play, work, and do what we like. But God’s Word encourages something better!

“I’d like to argue that the Scriptures do in fact teach the abiding obligation of Sabbath observance. But far from being legalistic or harsh, the Lord’s Day ought to be a source of joy and restoration for Christians. It offers a powerful, countercultural witness to a world ensnared by the frenetic pace of digital life. 

Before examining arguments in support of our continued obligation to keep the Sabbath, we need to back up and address some basic methodological differences that influence how we read the Bible. The first has to do with whether we read the theology and ethics of the Old and New Testaments with a primary hermeneutic of continuity or discontinuity.”
Read “Why Christians…Sabbath” at TGC

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Preparing for Worship Oct 25

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 96:1 – 3
Leviticus 19:9 – 17
Zechariah 3:5
I Timothy 1:12 – 15
Numbers 6:22 – 24

Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs:
Psalm 96 A
Speak, O Lord
How Firm A Foundation

Means of Grace:
Congregational Prayer
Sermon: Mission Fest by Rev. C. Schwichtenberg

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