Dear reader,

Before we get to this week's Notes aspect of the email, we need to share some Riverwood family news. In case you haven’t heard yet, it is with much sadness we inform you that precious little Violet Jewel Williams passed away in her sleep on Monday, Sept 12.
For those who don’t know or don’t remember: Violet was born this past July two months premature. She beat almost every goal and deadline given by the doctors, which allowed her to come home in mid-August. Courtney and Violet were in Des Moines for a family reunion and a minor surgery for Violet when this tragic event happened.

We’ll share more info about a memorial service at a later time. Until then, please keep praying for Courtney as she mourns the tragic loss of Violet, as well as those close to Courtney and Violet.
This week, Erin kicks off a new series designed to help us discover (or rediscover) rhythms that can help us find rest in the "unforced rhythms of grace" found in Jesus.

But rather than "jump in" to a new series, let's go into this one a little differently. As you prepare to read, take a deep breath, and then as you exhale, pray "Jesus, teach me the rhythms that will help me live out my union with You. Amen."

Resting in Rhythms of Grace

I don't know about you, but Fall hit hard! And I don't mean the weather (it's actually been rather nice the past few weeks). My schedule has felt absolutely packed since August, and the start of the school year hasn't made things any easier.

Because I know I am not alone in this, I want to do a series designed to remind me and all of us the importance of making rest a rhythm. And to begin this new series, I want to talk about computers.

Give It a Rest

A couple of weeks ago, I was creating the announcement slides we use on Sundays, when my graphics program began to act a bit sluggish. This surprised me, as I basically have a brand-new computer. My previous laptop had stopped charging the battery, so in January, Apple gave me a great discount on a new laptop as the previous one was still under warranty.
But a brand-new MacBook Pro shouldn't bog down while designing some simple JPEGs. I began to get really frustrated. But rather than stop my work to let the computer catch up, or quitting some other applications to free up some RAM for my graphics application to use, I just kept going. Pretty soon, my entire computer froze up, and I ended up having to reboot my Mac.

Life is like a Laptop

While you and I are not pieces of technology, we are a bit too much like my laptop. Some days, we are running too many "applications" (work, kids, school schedule, practice schedules, volunteering, chores, clubs, family, phone calls, meal prep, sorting the mail, and on and on and on...). Yet when things "bog down" (emotions out of whack, fuzzy mind, prone to making mistakes, etc.) due to stress and lack of sleep, we just keep chugging along, medicating with caffeine and loud music, pretending we are immune, strong enough, and everything will naturally get easier... someday.

Rather than constantly keep going which will eventually lead to a "crash," sometimes what we need is to "reboot" by resting. We need to unplug for a time so we can be more effective, more loving, more hopeful, and more joyful.

Unforced Rhythms of Grace

In Eugene Peterson's contemporary paraphrase of the Scripture, he crafted the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 11:28-30 this way:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

What an invitation! Jesus is inviting us into His work AND His rest. Grace isn't a burden like our schedules. Grace is a freeing force that allows you to enjoy the life God has given you.
In the midst of the busyness of Fall, I want to invite you to join me to discover or rediscover the "unforced rhythms of grace" though a series I am entitling Resting in Rhythms of Grace. Over the next four weeks, we will look at four different types of "rhythms" that can help us rest in God's grace.
Here's how this series will look:
  • Daily Rhythms (Sep 22)
  • Monthly/Quarterly Rhythms (Sep 29)
  • Annual Rhythms (Oct 6)
  • Momentary Rhythms (Oct 13)
Each week, I will be giving various ideas of things you can do to help you experience rest. However, the ideas I share are only that: ideas. Because God has uniquely wired you, the rhythms that will help you find rest might be a bit different than the rhythms others might choose. So each Thursday as you read, consider the various suggestions, then pick at least one idea to try out for a season to see if it helps you find a place of peace, hope, and restoration in Jesus and His Gospel.

So join me next week as we consider some of the daily rhythms we can incorporate into our lives.
In this with you,

Volunteer Roundup

Thank you to all our volunteers and future volunteers who stayed for our Volunteer Roundup on Sunday. Click here to sign up in an area or areas where your strengths lie.

Youth Group

We kickstarted a new growth group for 7th-12th graders at Riverwood this Wednesday. Click here to see some pics of the fun we had last night! Be sure to email Erin if you would like to help out!


RightNow Media

RightNow Media is a great free resource available to all our Riverwood family. If you don't already have an account, click here to sign up. Then, here is a great follow-up to the sermon Pastor Erin preached on Sunday on the Imago Dei.