by Erin Bird
We live in a world that loves to celebrate. Whether its a wedding, the completion of a marathon, your team winning the championship, or baby’s first steps, people love to cheer and party with a purpose.
Yet, when they show up on a Sunday morning at a church’s building, they put the celebration away, and become deeply somber and restrained. Why is this?
Maybe its because of the way you were raised. Maybe its the awareness you have of your sin and you realize you are standing before a holy God. Or maybe its just sheer boredom with the whole Sunday worship thing.
But if you really think about it, Jesus-followers have the greatest thing to celebrate! Jesus, the sinless Son of God, died in the place of sinners, allowing justice to be served against sin,while our personal sin was mercifully forgiven. And when we place our faith in this Gospel (good news), everything changes! We go from:
* spiritual death to spiritual life ,
* being a spiritual orphan to being an adopted son or daughter of God
* being spiritually poor to being given every spiritual blessing.
This is worth celebrating!
Celebrating the Riverwood Way
We are in a series here in the News & Notes email about The Riverwood Way . And this week, we come to the second-to-last item on our Way: “…celebrates.”
And at Riverwood, we want to celebrate the gospel in two ways: Individually and Corporately.
1. Celebrating Individually
Celebration first starts personally. Because to truly celebrate something, you have to have a vested interest.
If you aren’t a Chicago Cubs baseball fan, you at most smiled when they won last year’s World Series. But if you’ve been a lifelong Cubbie, you cheered at the top of your lungs when they got that third out in the bottom of the 10th, ending a 108-year championship drought.
Likewise, if you have a vested interest in the Gospel (in other words, you are Jesus-centered), you can’t help but celebrate individually. Some ways we can celebrate the gospel regularly is through:
* Talking to God in Prayer
* Sharing a meal with someone
* Serving others
Too often we do these things out of duty, or we separate them from the gospel. But when we live with a daily celebration of what God has done for us, it transforms the regular things we do in life.
2. Celebrating as a Church
Let me go back to my baseball analogy. If you were a Cubs fan sitting at home alone watching them win Game 7, you probably cheered loudly. But your cheering lasted for like 37.6 seconds – then you went back to watching the Cubs players celebrate on the field.
But if you were in a room with a bunch of friends, or at a sports bar filled with Cubs fans, or even at the stadium the night they won, you probably cheered non-stop for several minutes, and the party kept going for hours or possibly days.
Celebrations are always better together. This is why we sing together on Sundays, pray together in our Growth Groups, and serve together at the Food Bank. But our celebrations go even further. Here is how we put it in The Riverwood Way:
When God is doing great things in people and through people, we want to celebrate it! So we will celebrate when…
* someone places their faith in Christ
* a person chooses to be baptized to make their faith in Christ public
* someone joins a Growth Group for the first time
* someone begins practicing spiritual disciplines
* new leaders are being invested in and/or given opportunities to lead
* someone shares their faith in Christ through their words and action
* a new church is planted
Together, let’s celebrate the gospel, as well as the gospel being lived out through His people, whether it be a “small” thing like someone reading the Bible for the first time, or a “big” thing like baptism. Together, let’s celebrate with others when we see God working in them and through them. And together, let’s build a culture of celebration!