Holy Week Worship

Here we are in the most important week in the Christian calendar! While our culture tends to get more excited about Christmas, Easter is a bit more important. Christmas celebrates Jesus’ birth (which is a REALLY big deal!), but babies are born all the time. However, it is NOT common for someone to rise from the dead a couple days after they were brutally killed by governmental authorities. And not only is the resurrection of Jesus the greatest miracle the world has ever seen or ever will see, He predicted all of it!

That’s why this Sunday, as we celebrate Riverwood’s 5th birthday, we will be looking at the Easter story (which, I will admit, we talk about almost every Sunday!) So here are some ideas for how to make this “Holy Week” weekend full of worship to draw your heart to God and prepare you to worship together as a church family on Easter Sunday:

THURSDAY

FRIDAYCommunity Good Friday Service Slide 1 350x197 - Holy Week Worship

SATURDAY

  • Listen & learn the song “Resurrecting” which we’ll sing on Sunday.
  • Send a reminder text to anyone you invited to Sunday’s Worship Gathering to join you.
  • Read Isaiah 53.
  • Take a walk through your neighborhood, praying for this weekend to not just be a holiday weekend, but truly a Holy Weekend for your neighbors. Pray specifically for your neighbors to find and follow Jesus.

SUNDAY

You’re Invited to a Glorious Weekend!

by Erin Bird

In this week’s blog post, I want to invite you to do three things:

#1. Come to our Good Friday worship service. We are holding this deeply-reflective worship gathering in conjunction with Grace Baptist. We will remember the cross of Christ through song, Scripture, and communion. Please join us tomorrow, March 30th at 7:00 pm at the building of Grace Baptist. (Please note: there will NOT be childcare available, but your kids are MORE than welcome to join us!)

Glorious Day Easter 2018 Title Slide 350x197 - You're Invited to a Glorious Weekend!#2. Then on Easter Sunday, April 1, join us at Shell Rock Elementary School for a “Glorious Day” celebrating the truth that Jesus came back from the dead, seeing how his physical resurrection has deeply spiritual implications on our modern, daily lives. (It’s going to be a REALLY good day, and we’d love to share it with you!)

#3. Lastly, don’t let your worship of God be relegated to just tomorrow night or Sunday morning. Find some other ways to worship God this week. You could:

  • Find time to read the biblical account of the cross.
  • Listen to some music that reminds you of what Jesus gave up for you.
  • Confess your sins in a time of prayer.
  • Spend sundown Friday through sundown Saturday fasting.
  • Host a party Sunday afternoon!

In other words, do something that will make this Holy Weekend one to remember.

Fasting is Worship

From January 7-27, Riverwood is doing a “21 Days of Fasting & Prayer” spiritual campaign. We are praying for Riverwood, our nation, our community, and for personal spiritual growth in 2018. To make our weekly blog a part of this spiritual journey, we are looking at Isaiah 58 and the topic of fasting.

If you missed the past three articles in this series, you can catch them here on the blog. Otherwise, let’s conclude this series together as we look one more week at the spiritual discipline of fasting!


by Erin Bird

We made it! (Almost.) This Saturday marks the end of our 21 Days of Fasting & Prayer. I hope it has been a great journey for you. Honestly, I hope a part of it has been hard, but I also hope it has been rewarding as you have drawn closer to God.

(By the way, we are going to give you an opportunity this Sunday to share what you have experienced during these 21 days, sharing both the difficulties and rewards that have come through this spiritual journey. Be thinking about what God might want you to share during our open mic time at Sunday’s Worship Gathering. Your words might encourage someone else and help them worship God AND your words will praise God and acknowledge His work through this fast.)

Today, I want to look at the topic of fasting one last time as we finish up Isaiah 58. Let’s look at the last two verses.

If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
then you shall take delight in the Lord,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
(Isaiah 58:13-14)

If you remember from my previous ponderings on Isaiah 58, the ancient people of Israel were fasting trying to get God to do certain things for them. But God corrected them, wanting their fast to humble them so they might be a blessing to others.

So as God has Isaiah wrap these thoughts up on fasting, God mentions the Sabbath. The Sabbath was a day of worship where the people rested from their work. But in the first part of verse 13, God points out that some of them were working on the Sabbath, yet still trying to manipulate God through fasting.

fasting worship2 350x196 - Fasting is Worship

God calls them back to a place of purity and whole devotion to Him – to “turn back their foot” from doing “pleasure” (business/work) on His holy day. Just like fasting was supposed to draw the heart of the people to God, the Sabbath was to do the same.

When we use things like the Sabbath or prayer or fasting to seek the Lord, we are worshipping Him. When we “take delight in the Lord,” (verse 14) it brings delight to Him. Because, as John Piper is famous for saying, “we are most satisfied when God is most glorified in us.”

And so God, through the prophet Isaiah, reminds the ancient Jews (as well as modern Jesus-followers) that spiritual disciplines like fasting or keeping the Sabbath aren’t to be used to get things from God, but rather to draw our hearts toward God in worship.

So as we conclude our 21 days of fasting and seeking the Lord, may we worship and praise Him. And may we continue to worship Him, even after our fasting has come to an end.

Worship Fully this Christmas

by Erin Bird

This coming Monday is Christmas Day! Hard to believe it’s almost here. Chances are your day will be filled with food, noise, wrapping paper, entertainment, conversations, and who-knows-what-else.

Let me encourage you to not simply get caught up in the cultural trappings of the day. While I hope you enjoy the food, fun, and gift-giving, here are some creative ideas to help you Worship Fully:

8 Ideas to help you Worship Fully

  1. AC 2017 Presentation ThemeArtboard 1 copy 8 1 350x197 - Worship Fully this ChristmasRead the Christmas story from Luke 2:1-20 before opening gifts.
  2. Talk about the gifts the Magi gave Jesus, and ask each person in the room what they would give Jesus if He was spending the day with you.
  3. Encourage the kids (or adults!) to reenact the Christmas story.
  4. Sing a carol about Jesus’ arrival like Joy to the World. (For lyrics, go here.)
  5. If you have little kids (or even if you don’t!), bake Jesus a birthday cake and sing him “Happy Birthday.”
  6. Attend the Riverwood/Grace Baptist Christmas Eve candlelight service Sunday night at 6:00 pm.
  7. When you and your family/guests sit down to eat together, have each person who feels comfortable pray aloud, thanking God for sending Jesus.
  8. Start your day with 2 or 3 minutes (or more!) alone in prayer, thanking God for Jesus and praying for everyone you’ll be spending the day with.

This is just a primer. The main point is to make your holiday start with Jesus, end with Jesus, and be all about Jesus. May the presents remind you of the gift of Jesus. May the laughter remind you that the joy of the Lord is our strength. May everything in your day drive you toward Jesus.

Hopefully you have Spent Less, yet Given More this Christmas Season. May you Love All you interact with this Christmas week. But most of all, may your focus be first and foremost upon Worshipping Jesus Fully.