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Welcome Home

September 19, 2014

Welcome Back Sunday is in two days and I want to speak to the heart of the matter. The reason that this Sunday is so important is because of you. You are deeply loved by God. You were created to live in community – we all need a little love, support, and encouragement; a shoulder to cry on, a friend to laugh with, and someone to stand with us, always. That’s community. That’s what God wants his church to be, and it can only be accomplished with you there.

So join me this Sunday. I’ll be waiting to shake your hand or give you a hug at the door.


welcome home-mm-720p from Real Life Vancouver on Vimeo.

5 Reasons Why You Should Come to Welcome Back Sunday

September 18, 2014

welcome back large

This Sunday, join us at Real Life Church for Welcome Back Sunday! Churches across the nation are using this Sunday is a special time to gather their congregations back together after their hectic, vacation- and activity-filled summers. Here are 5 reasons to join us:

1. It’s a great chance to build – or return to – community. Been gone a lot this summer? No worries! Everyone has busy times, and Welcome Back Sunday is a great opportunity to settle back in with our church community. If you’re new to Real Life, this is the perfect time to start because it’ll be a full house!

2. It’ll help build a healthy routine. Romans 12:4-5 compares the Christian community to the human body: “The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we?” Regular church attendance is important so you can hear God’s Word frequently and get to know Christ and develop true relationship with him. Welcome Back Sunday is a great way to start making church (a super awesome church at that) part of your fall routine.

3. It’s huge! We’re calling it Welcome Back Sunday, but we’re not the only ones participating: Back to Church Sunday is a nationwide event, so you’ll be joining the millions of others in the American body of believers all returning to church at the same time! Pretty cool, huh?

4. There will be prizes! There’ll be lots of chances to win neat prizes at both services this Sunday! You might even win the grand prize: tickets to the Neon Steeple Tour to see Crowder, All Sons & Daughters, and Capital Kings!

5. We’ve missed you! Yeah, you! Really! Even if you don’t talk to many people and don’t think anyone’s noticed you’ve been gone, trust me, someone has, and they’ve been thinking about you and wondering when you’ll be back! Don’t get mired in negative thinking that says that because you’ve been gone for so long, you can’t come back – you can never be gone so long that we won’t be happy to see you when you return. The big guy upstairs will be happy you’re back, too.


Life Groups: Fall 2014 Begin Soon!

September 11, 2014

Interested in trying a Life Group? Here are your options! Remember, you’re always welcome to try more than one group until you find one that’s a good fit! The fun starts September 28th!

Darin & Liz Gering

When: Sunday 5:30 to 7:00 pm




Cory & Karadee Dunbar

When: Sunday 6:00 to 7:30 pm



Trevor Chowen & Meghan Towner

When: Monday 7:00 to 8:30 pm



Rich & Nancy Lindsley

When: Wednesday 6:45 to 7:45 pm



Ben & Katie Bradley

When: Wednesday 6:30 to 8:00 pm



Louis & Linda Press

When: Thursday 7:00 to 8:30 pm



LIFE GROUPS: Common Interest

Rod Weston – Group for Men

When: Wednesday 7:00 to 8:30 pm



This fall, we’re also introducing a special new class:

Matthew Clair – Foundations of Faith

When: Sunday 6:00 to 7:00 pm—Starts Oct. 5th

Location: Real Life Church – Sanctuary


Foundations of Faith will encompass the majority of Q&A every believer should be well acquainted with, in their journey; as a follower of Christ. This is a teaching class, that will strengthen your minds and hearts, as we unpack some basic Biblical theology and practical application, as it relates to our day to day relationships, both here as well as before the throne of God; This will be a dynamic small group setting, where you can really sink your roots and grow. Young or old, skeptic or saint, flip flops or Gucci loafers, all are welcome to hang out in a relaxed setting, as we grow together in the Foundations of our Faith Sessions. The group will run for six weeks, starting Sunday, Oct. 5th.

From School Supplies to Shoes, Thank You

September 9, 2014

One of the things I love most about Real Life Church is your apparently endless spirit of generosity. You never shy away from sacrifice and you always rise to the call when there’s need to be met.

It was the spirit of generosity that made our summer kids and youth programs so successful. This July, you gave more than any previous year, which is even more tremendous considering July always has one fewer week of offering because of VBX Sunday. Overall, summer giving was twice as high as usual! This meant we were able to reach more kids than ever before with the message that God loves them and wants to be at work in their lives.

Now that school’s started, I thought maybe the spirit of giving would dwindle in the wake of increasingly busy schedules and the return to the fall routine. But that wasn’t the case. When the school year started and the time came to deliver the school supplies we’d been collecting for Gaiser Middle School, the trunk in our foyer was overflowing with backpacks, glue sticks, pencils, and toiletries for kids in need. I had tears in my eyes when I discovered that someone had purchased ten $30 gift cards to help kids buy shoes, food, and other necessities. There was no name on the envelope. I have no idea who gave so generously. But I’m grateful to them, I’m honored to share my church with them, and I know our Creator smiles on them.

We’ve also been in contact with Riverview Elementary, where they’ve asked us to meet a need for shoes for their students. Thanks to your gifts, and the generosity of the kids who gave during VBX in anticipation of meeting such needs, we’re able to provide shoes and additional gift cards to these children at short notice!

We’re going to continue collecting school supplies for both schools, and near Christmas, we’ll probably have a whole new set of needs to meet. For now, though, I just want to say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for shining the life-changing light of Christ into the lives of children you may never meet.


11 Reasons Why You Should Go To Family Camp

September 4, 2014

Mmm, just look at those warm, gooey s’mores. You know you want ‘em.

Still can’t decide if you want to go to Family Camp 2014?  Here’s a list to help you make that decision!

  1. Make new friends and hang out with old ones!
  2. Roast marshmallows over the campfire and make s’mores!
  3. BBQ tons of meat!
  4. Campfire songs!
  5. Bacon!!!
  6. Spend time outside in God’s creation!
  7. See the stars in the night sky!
  8. Did we mention there will be a lot of meat?
  9. The first-ever Un-Talent Show!
  10. Growing relationships within our community!
  11. A weekend to relax!!

Family Camp is September 12-14 at Salmon Falls Retreat Center. The weekend will be incredible and you won’t want to miss it! Get info and REGISTER HERE.

PS:  On Sunday, Sept. 14th, we will have ONE service at Real Life Church at 9:30 a.m. and one service at Family Camp at 10:30 a.m.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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 Drive: Help Local Schools!

August 20, 2014

This school year, Real Life Church will be participating in a very special alliance with three of our local schools. Gaiser Middle School, Fircrest Elementary, 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!

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, give them shoes, 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. We will be collecting throughout the fall!

2. Give gift cards. Gaiser specifically requests Winco and Walmart cards. Fircrest can use gift cards for Winco and Spanky’s consignment shop. 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 three communities that need to see it!

supply drive graphic2

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.

Fircrest Elementary School

  • Winco gift cards
  • Spanky’s gift cards

Baptisms Summer 2014: There’s Still Time!

August 18, 2014

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 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

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 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!


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