This past Sunday at our 2nd-ever Worship Gatheirng, I (Erin) taught from Ezekiel 47:1-9.  (If you missed the Worship Gathering, take 3 minutes right now to read it.)  (I normally teach all the way to verse 12, but stopped at verse 9 this week because of time issues.)  This is the passage we get our name from (Riverwood), and it’s part of the inspiration for how we will do church.
Because we weren’t able to record the teaching, here is a summary (but you have to read the passage (just verses 1-9) to understand the follow):
The river represents Jesus, because…
  • The river comes from the temple, the place of God’s presence and where people went to worship.  Likewise, Christ came from heaven, the ultimate place of God’s presence and where we will fully worship Him one day.  (Philippians 2:5-11)
  • The river goes by the altar, the place of sacrifice where animals were killed for the forgiveness of people’s sins.  Likewise, Jesus went through the cross, the place of forgiveness for humanity’s sins.
  • The river then rushes into the Dead Sea, and what once was lifeless is now teeming with life.  Likewise, people are born spiritually dead, but Christ came to give life and to give it abundantly (John 10:10)
Then Ezekiel walks through the river 4 times, each time getting deeper.  I see this as a pathway of becoming like Jesus:
  • First Ezekiel gets ankle-deep. In verse 9, Ezekiel says that wherever the river flows, there’s life.  So we want to see people step into the river, get ankle-deep, and begin a relationship with Jesus.  We want them to no longer be spiritually disconnected, but to find spiritual life through Jesus.
  • Next, Ezekiel gets knee-deep.  For us at Riverwood, this is spiritual Growth.  We want to see people grow spiritually in their relationship with Jesus.  These can happen a number of ways.  Two I talked about were getting into small groups and reading the Bible.
  • Then Ezekiel finds himself waist-deep in the river.  For us, this is Giving.  I encouraged people to give of their FIST – Finances, Influence, Skills, and Time.  When we give to others what God has given us, something happens within us – we are being shaped to be more like Jesus.
  • Lastly, Ezekiel finds the river over his head.  If you are in a river over your head, the current of the river can take you wherever it wants.  For us, this is Going.  We want to see people Go to the ends of the earth, but we also want to see people just go to work, or go to their neighborhood, or go to their school, and seek to be a blessing, to be Jesus to the people around them.

In order to go deeper, though, you have to first know where you are at.  Honestly assess where you are at in the river, and then pray and ask God to help you decide how He wants to take you deeper.  Is it to get knee deep and read your Bible?  Is it to get waist deep and give some time to serve on Nov 2nd for our next FirstServe?  Is it to get in over your head and go to a specific group of people to love and bless?

If you want to go deeper through Bible Reading, here is a PDF of the bookmark we had available Sunday night. My 16-year-old daughter chose the passages, and did a phenomenal job of selecting chapters and sections that will let you read the big stories of the New Testament as well as some key doctrines.  I think you’ll really enjoy it.

If you want to know more about our dreams to help people learn to “body surf” with Jesus, we will have a Vision Night this coming Sunday at the Fainting Goat,  5:00 pm.  We aren’t doing dinner, but we will have some appetizers.  Should only last 45 minutes. Please RSVP so we can make sure to have enough appetizers for everyone.