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 baptisms! This 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 email@example.com.
Another summer, another resoundingly successful VBX! We had beautiful weather all week, perfect for hundreds of local kids to explore the church grounds, learning that no matter what, Jesus loves them!
It’s hard to reduce such a transformative week to pure numbers, but here are a few:
- 308 attendees
- 104 volunteers, including student workers
- 40+ additional volunteers who helped with setup and cleanup
- 711 people who attended the mini-musical finale
Every VBX has a missionary component, and this year, the children made gifts of offering to support local elementary schools. By the end of the week, they had donated $1171.28!
We want to thank you, our community, for your support through prayer and your generous giving, which made this event available for free. At Real Life, we are dedicated to meeting people where they are, and your gifts tore down financial barriers that could have kept a new generation of children from meeting Christ. The seeds of grace have been planted in many kids’ hearts this summer, thanks to your help!
But we’re not done for the summer – far from it! We still have a variety of retreats and camps coming up, each of which will impact kids and show them the love of Christ. If you want to help make those events possible, you can give online or put your offering in the special “Summer Impact” envelopes on Sunday.
Thank you again for making VBX so amazing!
The final days of preparation for the 300+ kids that will come to VBX starting July 7th are drawing near.
Thank you for all your help, generosity, and sacrifice so far! God will surely honor your faithfulness. The most important prep, however, is still to come.
We need to pray. Just as a farmer prepares the fields to receive the seed and then produce a harvest, we need to pray for the Holy Spirit to prepare the hearts of the kids to be open to the message of God’s love.
Would you commit to pray daily with me now until closing program on July 13th? Pray for:
- Great attendance. Remove any barriers to attendance, give courage to extend invitations, and how about some good weather, too!
- An open heart to receive God’s message
- Holy Spirit empowering our leaders and volunteers to show the love of God
Don’t underestimate the importance of your prayers! Without God, we labor in vain. With God, we can make a lasting impact with unforeseeable legacy on the lives of 300 children.
Matthew 9:36-38 (NLTSE):
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”
VBX starts next week! We already have 200 kids signed up, but we are anticipating many more! Online registration will be open until Friday night – and while you will be able to sign up your child at the door, we strongly encourage you to register online beforehand.
Here are three reasons why:
1. It’ll make your life easier. If you’re preregistered, all you have to do is make sure your kid arrives safely at church and check him or her in!
2. It’ll make our lives easier. With a couple hundred children arriving at our church each morning, it’s crucial that we get them all checked in and sent to their first activity quickly, safely, and efficiently. Preregistering assures that as many children as possible will arrive ready to go.
3. Your child’s name tag will match all the others. Yes, this is important! Would you want to be the one with the handwritten name tag when everyone else’s was typed? Some of us volunteers have good handwriting, but we make no guarantees!
Remember, you have until Friday evening to register your child! The whole week is free and it includes the fun family mini-musical and picnic on Sunday the 13th at 11:15 AM!
For the last few weeks, Real Life Church has been hosting a men’s group called Intentional Warrior. This group meets Friday or Saturday evenings to collectively tackle some of the issues that men face today and to build relationships with other Christ-following men.
The group has two broad goals: to encourage and hold each other accountable.
They encourage one another to lead Godly lives. By gathering together and participating in community, anyone who attends this group can help each other stay on the path that leads to life: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
They hold each other accountable. The word “accountability” gets tossed around often, but it describes an important mindset and vital action steps. Within the context of Intentional Warrior, it means to lovingly but firmly nudge a brother who seems to be veering off toward unbelief or disobedience. “See to it brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:12-13)
This is a group where brothers can allow themselves to be challenged and held to a higher standard than the world would dictate. This is a group where men can be honest with each other about their struggles and shortfalls. This is a group where guys can pray together and for each other.
This is a group for brothers growing together toward Christlikeness, striving to reach their full potential as men of God.
Intentional Warrior uses a multimedia format, including videos, music, lyrics, excerpts from books, and speakers (testimonies). It also utilizes small groups for discussion in order to deepen the relationships we have with one another. The small table discussions are a great way to go deeper and get to know each other better. Hopefully, the men who participate will form some accountability groups or partnerships to utilize outside of Intentional Warrior, in order to live out the evening’s lessons throughout the rest of the week.
The group will cover different topics each month. For example, the first month covered the Conquer DVD series. The next topic is what it means to be courageous.
Intentional Warrior next meets this Saturday, the 21st, at 7 PM. If you’re a guy, we’d love to see you there! If there’s a friend or family member in your life who could benefit from this group, we strongly encourage you to invite him. There’s power, friendship, and support in community – take advantage of it!
On Sunday, we’ll begin our newest series: “Philippians: Joy in the Middle.” Philippians is a letter by Paul and Timothy written to a church Paul planted in northeast Greece, known in that time as Macedonia. Despite the letter’s surprising origin – Paul wrote it while imprisoned for spreading the gospel – it’s a letter of encouragement. This hopeful letter in the face of hardship shows us how to live in relationship with each other in Christ-like humility.
In Philippians, Paul often tells the members of the church to “rejoice in the Lord.” It calls on them, and on all believers to follow, to make the active choice to rejoice even in the middle of hardship and confusion.
Philippians also contains my personal favorite verse: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Phil. 4:8)
More than anything, this verse reminds me to give thanks. When I think about pure, lovely, and praiseworthy things, my thoughts automatically turn into the grateful prayer. That in turn puts me in a mindset to detect, believe in, and be uplifted by the joyous peace of God, just as Paul says it will in 4:9.
This verse also reminds me not to worry about the things that trouble or upset me. God is bigger than all of it, and He has great plans which I can never fully understand. The verse serves as a reminder to practice joy and contentment, in order that I can put more of my trust in God and open myself up more and more to be used by Him.
Philippians is a short book – only four chapters – but it had tremendous impact on both the ancient church and our modern church today. Invite a friend to join you at 930 or 1115 this coming Sunday as we introduce this new series!
This year we had one of our best Easter Sundays ever! We held three services and all of them were full. Nearly 500 people attended – the most ever! Many of those people were your own friends and extended family – people who wouldn’t normally attend Real Life. We were so excited to see all of our seats filled with new faces!
There’s another opportunity coming up to invite the same people back to worship at Real Life: baptism Sunday! We’ll be doing baptisms at both services on May 18.
Baptism Sundays are always exciting days – we set up a pool inside the sanctuary and people come up to submit their lives publicly to Christ. Sometimes they’d been planning to do so, but often they simply feel called in that moment.We sing and worship and cheer the whole time, and the people who get baptized often have their friends, family, or mentors in the pool with them.
Essentially, baptism is a person’s public expression of their inward commitment to God. When a person recognizes the need for Christ in his or her life, he or she is welcome to come up to the pool and be baptized (though this is not the only time you can accept Christ!). Through this, he or she accepts God’s free gift of salvation and lets Him begin to work His miraculous change in his or her life.
Here are the people who got baptized last time:
If you have questions about the sacrament of baptism or our baptism process, read through this page. If you want to be baptized this month, send us an email! We will be thrilled to help you start your walk with Christ!
Tenebrae services date back to the early centuries of the Christian church. The name comes from the Latin word for “shadow.” Tenebrae depicts the flight of the disciples and the approaching agony of the cross. At this Good Friday service, we will look at the events and teachings that occurred on Maundy (“the day of Christ’s great mandate”) Thursday and Good Friday.
Good Friday is a time for us to remember and give thanks for the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus on the cross for the sins of man. The service follows the journey from the upper room of the Last Supper to Judas’ betrayal and the harrowing hours in the garden of Gethsemane. From there we walk with Jesus to Pilate’s judgment hall, up Calvary’s Hill and down to the tomb of Joseph.
We remember this day not with sorrow – for we know the truth of His resurrection – but with reverence, as we are reminded of His great love and sacrifice on our behalf. Scripture says, “come, let us gather and remember the Lord is good!” So let us gather on Good Friday and remember as we prepare our hearts for the joy of the empty tomb and new life in Christ on Easter!
The whole family is invited to this special service. Childcare will be provided for kids ages 4 and younger.
We hope to see you tonight!
I think the best way to describe how I felt about the arrival of spring is relieved. I actually said “oh thank God” out loud in my car when I drove past the first patch of daffodils several weeks ago. Sure, I enjoyed that late snow we got, but seeing the daffodils reminded me that the world was still capable of color. After so many months of gray and rain, I had almost forgotten that spring would happen.
Now we’re coming up on Easter, and color is everywhere. Flowers are blooming, people’s wardrobes are taking on brighter shades, and I probably don’t even need to tell you about the displays of Easter candy and toys in the stores. I’m loving all of it. Everything, from the return of the farmer’s market to the magazines’ recommendations of spring lipsticks to the trees flowering and going to leaf, reminds me of the time of renewal that’s come to us again. God renews the earth each spring, and each spring, Holy Week and Easter give us the opportunity to renew ourselves in Him.
If we’ve come to know Christ, we know that we can be renewed no matter what we’ve been through or what we’ve done. A couple weeks ago, Jeff told us how Jesus Christ is grace and truth in a person. Jesus is truth. He is forgiveness. His sacrifice is grace. Sometimes it’s hard to wrap our heads around that, and it can be even harder to accept that grace and forgiveness as the gifts they are. But we don’t ask the flowers to bloom for us, nor do we ask the sun to shine through the clouds. They are all gifts to us, so we give thanks and worship, especially this week.
Spring is nothing less than the time when God wins our souls. We invite you to join us on Friday at 7 PM to observe Good Friday, traditionally the night on which Jesus had the Last Supper with his disciples and was betrayed, leading to his crucifixion. On Good Friday, it seems that the enemy has won, but come Sunday we celebrate Easter and see the truth: Christ is risen! We’re offering three services, at 9 AM, 1030, and noon, so there will be plenty of opportunity for all to come and celebrate with us!
We’re never so far gone that we can’t be renewed, and we can be renewed over and over, as often as needed. Join us and see for yourself!
During this season of preparation and anticipation of Easter, we want to have times as a community where we collectively pray and fast. Our purpose is to draw closer to God, open our hearts and minds, and listen for the Holy Spirit leading us. Each week, we will share a prayer focus for the week and a fast for Friday that we may all participate in as a community.
The fast is a spiritual discipline designed to better connect us with God. As a church, we are fasting in order to deepen our relationship with God and to walk in step with His plan and purpose. This is accomplished through substituting something physical, typically food, and replacing it with a spiritual activity, like Bible reading, praying, or journaling. The overall goal is to experience a genuine hunger for spending time with God.
Week 4 Prayer Focus:
This week as we pray together, let us ask God for impact. The words we say and actions we take may have a positive impact in someone’s life. Paul pleads that he will be all things to all people – that by all his possible means, some would be saved through him. His prayer was not just for people to come to Christ, but that God would allow him to be a part of their journey.
As Easter approaches, my prayers mirror Paul’s. I want to have an impact on the people around me that leads them to Christ. So I pray for opportunity, for the right words, and for a receptive heart. I confess to you there are some people that I have been praying for over several years, and honestly, I think this may finally be the year. Let’s pray to have positive impact in the lives of those around us.
Week 4 Fast Focus:
Tomorrow, as a community, let us fast and focus on generosity. In light of God’s great gift of His journey – from the cross to the tomb to alive within us – I am filled with a spirit of generosity. Join me tomorrow in fasting from money. Set aside money you would have spent on yourself tomorrow – on coffee, treats, a movie, whatever – and give it away. Is there someone you know that could use a little help? Give to the Salvation Army or Share to help the homeless. Give to the Real Life Fund we use to help those in need. Give to the Red Cross. God says He loves a cheerful giver. We are all given much to be used for good. Be generous– imagine the positive impact it will have!
I love my church,