Every time I spend time visiting Real Life Church here in Santa Clarita, CA, I leave encouraged.
Their name matches their identity. They are a group of people that fosters this kind of atmosphere where people can truly be themselves - and you see it and hear it - real lives, no pretense, no pretending. (Well, not AS much...they aren't perfect...but that's the point.)
In wrestling with the content of the book TrueFaced and what the authors paint as a healthy community environment, what they call 'The Room of Grace' - I'm encouraged and challenged as I see the church here live it out. It is present in their leadership, in their Sunday gathering and in their Life Groups - it permeates everything.
When Paul writes to the churches, he writes to them as partners, he demonstrates a 2-way-ness and I guess that's why I'm encouraged by Real Life. Yes, their financial support is essential, necessary and their faithfulness and encouragement are helpful. But they challenge me by their example and their commitment to live out the kind of grace the Father shows - the arms wide open, tears in the eyes, dinner on the table-kind of grace, the only kind of grace that will change lives in Italy...