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Before They Go Back to School, Have This Conversation

September 1, 2014

(Adapted from this post by Lysa TerKeurst.)

Whether it’s my own family or those who just feel like family, I want so much for kids. These young people who are so full of possibility and dreams and bright futures… they have my heart.Before They Go Back to School, Have This Conversation

Yet my heart feels fragile in the hands of these young people. They are smart. They are grounded. But they are young.

It takes me back to me at that age.

And that scares me.

I remember feeling so grown up and crazy excited at the chance to be in charge of my own life. Ready for independence. Ready for love. Ready for the next chapter of my life.

Chasing what felt good and thrilling, I quickly learned the wind blows in dangerous directions sometimes. Going with the flow led me places I didn’t intend to go. And I woke up one morning ashamed of my choices, wondering how in the world I got to this place.

So, in the midst of the laughter and casual banter, I turn the conversation at the dinner table to a word I want them to know and live.

Pre-decide.

Decide today who you want to be. In this moment of togetherness, surrounded by family, and saturated in love — decide.

Decide what your answer will be when the talk turns ugly and the laughter turns mean against that girl who desperately needs you to be her friend.

Decide today what you will do when your friends start to pick on that boy that is a little bit different than you.

Decide what your answer will be when someone invites you to the cool party full of drinks and drugs.

Decide how you’ll respond when your best friend wants to cheat off your paper.

Decide what your answer will be when the boy you like says it’s no big deal to stay the night.

Decide how you will help that new guy who just doesn’t fit in.

Decide what your response will be to your friends who want you to skip class.

Decide what your answer will be when “friends” laugh at your Christian views and challenge you to lighten up.

Decide how you are going to respond to your friends talking inappropriately about a girl.

Pre-decide.

Decide today who you are going to turn to if you do get into trouble. Remember, the people at your dinner table. Remember, who truly has your best interest at heart. Remember who you are.

Pre-decide.

Decide today to turn around any mistakes from your past by asking for God’s forgiveness and walking in His grace.

Decide today to ignore the enemy who wants to trick you and trip you and take you out.

Pre-decide.

Yes, pre-decide.

And then we go around the table and tell what we are pre-deciding this year. And my heart feels lighter.

I’m not so foolish to think this will act as a bad choice immunization. We are all susceptible. But it is a way to infuse their heart with a memory of a pre-decision.

So, I whisper a few last words that are a “best yes” for them…

Go where wisdom gathers, not where wisdom scatters. 

Make decisions today that will still be good tomorrow.

And (insert voice cracking and tears welling up), remember how much I love you.

Here are some great Bible Verses to pray for our kids as they head off to school this year:

Galatians 1:10 – For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Romans 12:2 - Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Joshua 24:15 – But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

Proverbs 29:25 – The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 – But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.

1 Corinthians 15:33 – Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

Acts 5:29 – But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”

2014 School Supply Drive: Help Local Schools!

August 20, 2014

This school year, Real Life Church will be participating in a very special alliance with two of our local schools. Gaiser Middle School and Riverview Elementary School have high percentages of students in need, which is why, during this summer’s VBX, kids gave money to buy supplies for students at the schools.

The schools have very specific needs which Real Life has the opportunity to come alongside and meet. The kids have already raised over $1000 for this cause, which will be used to purchase supplies – now it’s your turn to participate!

Below, you’ll find the list of items needed at Gaiser Middle School. This is a great opportunity to see huge impact at very low personal cost. For $30 or less, you can prepare a child for the school year and even make sure that they have enough to eat!

There are several ways to give:

1. Give supplies. Bring the listed supplies to church on Sundays and put them in the box in the foyer.

2. Give gift cards. Gaiser specifically requests Winco and Walmart cards. These can be brought to church and put in the box with the supplies.

3. Give in offering in church or online. Use our regular Real Life Church donation page and be sure to click “add special instructions to recipient” and specify that the gift is for the supply drive. If you want your offering check to go to this cause, write “supply drive” in the memo line.

You went above and beyond meeting our church’s need this summer and gave more money for summer activities than in any previous year! Because of this giving spirit, hundreds of children had the opportunity to get to know each other and God better at our various summer camps and activities.

Let’s keep that giving spirit alive into the fall and show Christ’s love to two communities that need to see it!

supply drive graphic

Gaiser Middle School Giving Packs

  1. “Back to School” Pack (or $30 Wal-mart card):
  • Backpack
  • #2 pencils
  • highlighters
  • 2 or 3 “composition” notebooks
  • glue sticks
  1. “Food” Pack(or $20 Winco) or “Snack” Pack (or $10 Winco):
  • “Food” Pack: peanut butter, macaroni & cheese, cereal, tuna, soups, or other high protein food items
  • “Snack” Pack: granola Bars, fruit Snacks, flavored water/juice packs, crackers, or other snack items
  1. “Bathroom” Pack (or $15 Walmart):
  • Toothpaste/toothbrush
  • Deodorant (stick or roll-on)
  • Soap (Bar and Shampoo)
  • Bath Towel
  1. “Shoe” Pack ($30):
  • $30 or larger gift card to Wal-mart (students in need will tell the resource coordinator their size/color choice and shoes will then be purchased with your gift card.)

      Note: If you decide to help with a gift card please include which type of pack you donated for.

Baptisms Summer 2014: There’s Still Time!

August 18, 2014
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We’re taking one of our most favorite celebrations beyond our doors! On Sunday, August 24, join us at Cottonwood Beach Park in Washougal for our first-ever outdoor baptismsThis is going to be a wonderful event and a unique opportunity to show our commitment to Christ as a church and as individuals. Bring your friends and family to celebrate!

If you’re considering getting baptized, revisit these baptismal devotionals every week from now until August 24. They will help you learn more about the sacrament of baptism and encourage you to prepare your heart and mind for taking the next step on your faith journey.

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The verses for Week 5 are Luke 3:21-22

“One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove. And a voice from heaven said, ‘You are my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with you.’”

and Psalm 46:10-11…

“Be silent, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. The LORD Almighty is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.”

How do you feel knowing that the presence of God is always with you and will never leave?

Our God may be unfathomably huge, but He loves us and has a plan for us. Do you believe that? Are you ready to align yourself with the Holy Spirit and see what it brings to your life?

Sign up today. Come down to the river Sunday! We can’t wait to see you!

Join Us for a Special Service!

August 12, 2014

Pastor Jeff and our worship team have been invited to speak and worship at My Father’s House Ministries this Friday, August 15th at 7p!

The mission of My Father’s House Ministries is to “win the lost for Jesus, deliver those with addictions, and teach God’s people to win.” They hold their services on Friday evenings and we are excited and honored to be asked to participate! This night will be a great opportunity for the Real Life community to worship and meet new people in a new environment.

The service will be held at New Song Community Center, located at 2511 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd (at the intersection with Russell Street) in Portland. The doors open at 6. We hope you’ll join us for a one-of-a-kind night of worship!

Baptisms Summer 2014: Invitation to Witness

August 11, 2014
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We’re taking one of our most favorite celebrations beyond our doors! On Sunday, August 24, join us at Cottonwood Beach Park in Washougal for our first-ever outdoor baptismsThis is going to be a wonderful event and a unique opportunity to show our commitment to Christ as a church and as individuals. Bring your friends and family to celebrate!

If you’re considering getting baptized, revisit these baptismal devotionals every week from now until August 24. They will help you learn more about the sacrament of baptism and encourage you to prepare your heart and mind for taking the next step on your faith journey.

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The verse for Week 4 is John 1:29-34…

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Soon a man is coming who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before I did.’ I didn’t know he was the one, but I have been baptizing with water in order to point him out to Israel.” Then John said, “I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him. I didn’t know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘When you see the Holy Spirit descending and resting upon someone, he is the one you are looking for. He is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Son of God.’”

Getting baptized is an outward symbol of our inward commitment to God. It’s a sign of our obedience to the One who has great plans for us, if we’re ready to listen and follow. It’s an important step forward for you as the person getting baptized, but it’s also valuable for anyone who might be watching. They’ll see your willingness to express your growing relationship with Christ, and they could be inspired to follow suit.

So if you’re getting baptized this month, think about inviting your family and friends! There will be plenty of room for everyone!

If you haven’t yet, be sure to sign up to get baptized today. If you’ve already signed up, start inviting people!

Brave Girl & Braveheart 2014: Registration Open!

August 5, 2014

View from Anderson Lodge

If you have kids who have just completed grades 3 through 5, we have a great opportunity for them!

On August 13-15, both Brave Girl and Braveheart camps will take place up at Anderson Lodge in Ariel, Washington. The boys will be tent camping and the girls will stay in the Hilltop House and cabins.

These annual camps offer kids a great opportunity to bond with others, learn about their growing faith and what God has in store for them, and have a lot of fun! At Brave Girl Camp, girls learn from inspirational female figures in the Bible and memorize a key verse to strengthen and encourage them throughout their lives. At Braveheart Camp, boys will think about what they want to be when they grow up and do some vision casting to help them lay the groundwork for their lives as Christ followers. And of course both camps will offer fun and educational activities, wacky games, campfire fun, fellowship, and yummy food!

The cost for both camps is $90 per camper (family discounts available) and covers all meals, activities, and lodging.

Click here to register for Brave Girl Camp, and if you have any questions, feel free to email Pastor Shelley.

Click here to register for Braveheart Camp. Camp director Ben Bradley can answer any questions you might have.

Register your child today!

Baptisms Summer 2014: Learning from 3,000 Early Believers

August 4, 2014
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We’re taking one of our most favorite celebrations beyond our doors! On Sunday, August 24, join us at Cottonwood Beach Park in Washougal for our first-ever outdoor baptismsThis is going to be a wonderful event and a unique opportunity to show our commitment to Christ as a church and as individuals. Bring your friends and family to celebrate!

If you’re considering getting baptized, revisit these baptismal devotionals every week from now until August 24. They will help you learn more about the sacrament of baptism and encourage you to prepare your heart and mind for taking the next step on your faith journey.

The verse for Week 3 is Acts 2:41:

“Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church – about three thousand in all.”

The three thousand this verse references are members of a crowd who witnessed the disciples speaking in tongues. The multinational crowd was amazed to hear their native tongues being spoken by these Galileans, and it caught their attention, giving Peter the opportunity to tell them about Jesus’s sacrifice. Those three thousand people accepted the message of Christ and were baptized as new believers.

We most likely won’t be speaking in tongues on the 24th, but we do hope to attract at least a little attention! We’ll be doing baptisms outdoors at Cottonwood Beach on the Columbia River. We have two picnic areas reserved, so there’ll be plenty of room for everyone’s friends and family to play games, eat, and finally gather together at 4pm to see new believers get baptized!

Do you want to be one of them? You can sign up to be baptized by clicking here!

Intentional Warrior: Becoming “Courageous”

July 30, 2014

Intentional Warrior meets again this Saturday, August 2nd, at 7 PM. The theme for this month is “Courageous,” based on the movie that challenges men to be better fathers and better men of God. The group will be watching the movie together this Saturday and breaking into small groups to discuss it.

Not familiar with “Courageous?” Here’s the trailer:


If you haven’t tried out this group yet, Saturday is a great time to start! Just like the characters in “Courageous” and worshippers in church, we can’t do life the way God intends without community. This group will help you build strong bonds of fellowship and friendship with like-minded men. Together, through prayer and discussion, you can become the fathers, husbands, and men of God you’re capable of being.

So join us on Saturday! If you’re already a regular attendee, consider inviting a friend!

Baptisms Summer 2014: Are You Jumping In?

July 28, 2014
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We’re taking one of our most favorite celebrations beyond our doors! On Sunday, August 24, join us at Cottonwood Beach Park in Washougal for our first-ever outdoor baptismsThis is going to be a wonderful event and a unique opportunity to show our commitment to Christ as a church and as individuals. Bring your friends and family to celebrate!

If you’re considering getting baptized, revisit these baptismal devotionals every week from now until August 24. They will help you learn more about the sacrament of baptism and encourage you to prepare your heart and mind for taking the next step on your faith journey.

The verse for Week 2 is Romans 6:3-4:

“Or have you forgotten that when we became Christians and were baptized to become one with Christ Jesus, we died with him? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.”

If you haven’t been baptized yet, we’d like to invite to do so on the 24th! After deciding to follow Christ, baptism is the next step in the continuation of your faith journey. It’s not a final step – it’s not saving you a spot in heaven or even saving any souls – but it’s a crucial first step towards more knowledge, deeper peace, and greater understanding of what it means to follow Christ. It’s the start of a new life.

It’s also a huge celebration, and we’ve never done it quite like this before! Usually, Real Life baptisms look like this:

November 2013 from Real Life Vancouver on Vimeo.

But on the 24th, we’ll be outdoors, in one of the most beautiful regions in the country. We’ll have our friends and family with us to picnic and celebrate. We’ll have (fingers crossed!) beautiful weather. It’ll be an amazing afternoon, so if you’re even kinda-sorta considering maybe wanting to get baptized, this is the time to do it! Email us to ask us any questions you might have about baptism, and click here to sign up!

Preparing for Baptisms: Summer 2014

July 21, 2014

Cottonwood Beach Park, site of our outdoor baptisms August 24th!

We’re taking one of our most favorite celebrations beyond our doors! On Sunday, August 24, join us at Cottonwood Beach Park in Washougal for our first-ever outdoor baptismsThis is going to be a wonderful event and a unique opportunity to show our commitment to Christ as a church and as individuals. Bring your friends and family to celebrate!

If you’re considering getting baptized, revisit these baptismal devotionals every week from now until August 24. They will help you learn more about the sacrament of baptism and encourage you to prepare your heart and mind for taking the next step on your faith journey.

The verse for Week 1 is Matthew 3:13-17:

“Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John didn’t want to baptize him. ‘I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,’ he said, ‘so why are you coming to me?’ But Jesus said, ‘It must be done, because we must do everything that is right.’ So then John baptized him. After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with him.’”

Read the rest of the devotional here!

As always, if you have further questions about getting baptized or want to sign up to get baptized August 24, please email us at office@seekreallife.com or simply click here to register!

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