Generation Church Blog

Q Commons South County

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In September we joined thousands around the world for a conversation that was uniquely local and global. We had 3 Global Presenters. 3 Local Presenters and 2 Hours of conversation on the cultural issues and topics that matter most.

Q Commons was a night of considering together how to advance good in South County. We heard global talks on the refugee crisis, religious freedom, mental health issues and more along with local talks on the power of local arts, integrating faith and work and overcoming homelessness in South County and Rhode Island.

Many remarked about how encouraging and inspiring it was to have a space where conversation could take place on the issues and topics that matter most in our world and our South County community. We want to thank the Contemporary Theater Company for opening up their local theater for Q Commons and everyone who attended and participated in this important community event.

We look forward to seeing you in February for the next Q Commons South County.

GC YOUTH

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GC Youth is the youth group of Generation Church in South County.

On September 10th, 2015: GC youth launched. It was a memorable night and huge success.

GC Youth is a community dedicated and committed to seeing lives of youth ages 13-18 transformed and lived out for Jesus in a way that is different than any other.

We are celebrating how God is bringing together the youth from all over this region to be a part of this community and live for what matters most. We welcome you to join us on Thursdays at 7pm for a fresh look on God and Church.

For more information check out our GC Youth website: http://generationyouthri.org

 

Celebrating Life

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Last Sunday, I preached on the importance of celebration in our lives because celebrating, especially people, reminds us of what matters most.

The news that has come out about the selling of body parts and innocent children being killed has driven me to celebrate the life of my son even more during his birthday week. This has been my response to this tragic injustice and monstrosity.

We celebrate every life because every life matters. Nothing can remind us of this reality more then when we become parents. It doesn’t matter if a child has downs syndrome, four fingers, slow speech or they’re deaf – nor does it matter their size, color, shape, because no matter what, we celebrate because every life matters.

I have preached on the sanctity of human life, written about the sanctify of human life and been deeply shaped by the worldview that every single person has been made in the image of God and therefore every human personality is uniquely created, possessing dignity, and is worthy of respect and love.

However, the latest news that has highlighted the greatest injustice of our generation has left me speechless and with a groaning to deep for words. Yet this not a time for silence. We must all speak up. We don’t need to speak louder but we must spread the truth with greater love. And if it’s been said a thousand times, we need to say it again and again; black lives certainly matter, immigrant lives matter, gay and lesbian lives matter and hearts that are beating in the womb matter. Every life matters and so do our voices.

This journey began for me when my beautiful bride was pregnant with my son and his precious heart began to beat at the wonderful six week stage of his life. This was a time for me when the celebration of life and the grieving over the deaths of the unborn reached new heights. I’m at this point again.

I want my son to grow up in the community of South County, Rhode Island that continues to work towards a sustainable environment and quality education for our children while affirming that every unborn has the right to enjoy the blessings that we enjoy as people whose hearts are still beating and body parts are still together.

This is not about a political agenda for me but about the reality that we must refuse to live in a culture of death, especially when the people dying are the most defenseless. This moment is about celebrating life, grieving over death and crying out for justice with an invitation of mercy and grace for all.

May all of our children grow up in a generation that celebrates life not because it represents a choice or a political party but because every life is a miracle and every life is worthy to be celebrated.

Pastor Stephen

 

Access

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“For through Jesus we have access in one Spirit to the Father.” Ephesians 2:18

Our vision for this summer is that our community would be marked by throwing good parties and spending time with God in prayer.

This past Sunday in our Endless Summer sermon series we looked at prayer. One of the greatest supernatural blessings that we now have in Christ is prayer; the ability to have instant access with our Father. This is a remarkable reality. We have 24/7 access with the One that matters the most and satisfies the most.

1. Remember How We Have Instant Access.

We need to constantly remember the Gospel. We have instant access with God because of Jesus and through Jesus. No matter our past, no matter our sins, no matter how long it has been; through Jesus we have instant access to our Father. Religion or looking at our good or bad morality can often keep us from the real power and presence that comes when we pray not in our name or performance but in Jesus’ name and performance.

2. Enjoying God

Prayer is not something that we have to do but that we get to do for the greater enjoyment of God. We are often quick to pray for our specific needs and forget that our greatest need is for our souls to be satisfied in God. A great pattern to begin that will sustain us in prayer and help us enjoy God is praying the Psalms. Psalm 146 is a great example. Throughout the Psalms and Scripture we are reminded of the character and promises of our Father.

Enjoying God through private prayer is so monumental because in the words of Tim Keller “your private prayer life is one of the key indicators that your Christianity is inner and true and not just the product of your environment.”

3. Praying For This Generation (and generations to come) 

We are invited to greater depths with God as we pray for his faithfulness and fame to be on display in each generation. When we remember that we have instant access with our Father through Christ and we truly enjoy God in prayer; the Holy Spirit will lead us again and again to pray boldly for this generation and generations to come. This happens when parents pray for their children and their children’s children. This happens when we pray for counties, cities and nations; teachers, schools, universities and countless places and people of influence with the hope to see the kingdom of Jesus come on earth as it is in heaven.

We pray for this generation and generations to come because our “prayers are deathless they outlive the lives of those who uttered them.” E.M. Bounds

These three points are not at all exhaustive but simply three anchors that we hope will be helpful as we learn together to pray constantly and keep in step with the Spirit in our mission to spread the good news of God for the joy of all generations and the global fame of Jesus.

 

SING

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This past Sunday, Generation Church had our first worship night in South County.

We didn’t know what to expect but in these early days of church planting we have been looking forward to an extended time of singing together. Our desire was that during this night we would not only be singing to our God but for our generation. We wanted these songs to mark this season and generation while being reminded by God’s grace to ultimately let our lives sing the loudest for his glory.

SING was not only an amazing night for our community but it was a night of unity amongst a variety of local churches who attended and a powerful time of singing, spoken word, stories of grace, prayer and more singing. It was overwhelming to be reminded that we are a part of the larger movement of Jesus not only in South County but throughout the world. We believe there is an increasing hunger amongst followers of Jesus to be united and to see our region revived again.

Thank you to everyone who participated, volunteered and ultimately joined us for an unforgettable night at the Pier.

The next SING is on July 26th!

Spread the word.

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A Passion For God’s Global Glory

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Meet Lindsay Drew:

Lindsay, has been a huge part of Generation in these early days of church planting in South County.

Our vision from the beginning is that the people of God would see that they are a part of the global movement and mission of God. The Church has been given the joyful responsibility to spread the good news of Jesus from Rhode Island, Fiji and beyond.

Lindsay, is living out this reality as she continues to remind us that we all have been sent by God both locally and globally to be a blessing and ambassador to the world in Jesus name.

Please read below about Lindsay’s upcoming trip to West Africa and ways that you can partner with Lindsay in her Gospel ministry.

“Hello!

My name is Lindsay. I have recently been given an incredible opportunity to serve in Mali, West Africa for 6 months.

I will be helping in many ways, such as teaching English to local workers of an established hospital (upon request) as French is the main language. I will also be focusing my efforts on reaching the school for the Deaf in the area and helping in any way I can to promote equal opportunities, equal education, and to share the love of Jesus Christ.

I have previously had the privilege of serving at the Gospel School for the Deaf in Fiji for over 1 year and I hope the training and experience I gained there will only enhance my time in Mali. I am looking forward to making many more memories such as these with the Deaf students of Mali, but I need your help to get me there. Thank you for your help!”

Read more below about Lindsay and consider partnering with her for God’s global glory.

http://www.gofundme.com/lindsaygoestomali

Easter at the Pier

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On April 5, 2015 we had our first Easter service at the Narragansett Theater at the Pier as a new church plant in South County. It was a joyful celebration in light of remembering the resurrection of Jesus. Thank you to everyone who volunteered, brought food, invited neighbors, friends, family and came to celebrate with us for a weekend that we will never forget.

When we first planted Generation Church we envisioned that we would be the type of community and church family that had life together throughout the week and welcomed everyone on Sunday and in our homes to hear about the greatest news in the world. There is plenty of religion in South County but we believed that God was going to revive people not to more religion but to the good news of God. We believed that God would do this because Jesus is faithful, great in his love, and desires to see his fame spread to ends of the earth. We have seen this come true in these early days as a church plant and this past Easter we saw God’s glory on display as the old Narragansett Theater at the Pier was revived with a full house of people who heard about the message of Jesus. The message that God didn’t send his Son because we so loved God but God sent his Son to give us life and hope because he so loves South County. A message of good news that leads us to celebrate and we certainly celebrated at the Pier Theater.

We continue to celebrate all that God did in our community and in South County during Easter weekend 2015 but we know it’s just the beginning. We are Easter people who have been sent into South County to spread the fame of Jesus and see his kingdom advance. There are more people who need to hear about God’s love and grace. There are more people who need to look again or for the first time at the greatest news in the world; the news that Jesus has defeated sin, death, and evil through his own death and resurrection and is making all things new, even us.

Praise the Lord.

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A Prayer of Hope

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During our Easter Sunday celebration we had a moment of silence and a prayer of hope in response to the recent deaths related to drug overdoses in Rhode Island this year. A number that seems to be growing, especially among the youth.

All accidental overdose deaths, whether caused by illicit or prescription drugs, continue to increase and remain a leading cause of accidental death, with about four overdose deaths per week investigated by the Medical Examiner’s Office in 2014.

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February | 21

We had a moment of silence and a prayer of hope for all those who have died and for their friends and family. We committed to continuing to pray and work together in Christ to see these statistics not only decrease but one day to be completely erased. We believe that on the cross and in the resurrection of Jesus; the lasting power of death has been defeated and God is renewing all things. We mourn over these statistics of addiction and death but we mourn with hope. The hope of Easter.

Pray with us that more of God’s kingdom will continue to come in Rhode Island as it is in heaven.

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The Movement of Jesus

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There have been many famous people, kings and kingdoms that have come and gone in the history of the world. In 2015, there is one name and kingdom that reigns above all and one person whose fame continues to spread to the ends of the earth.

Jesus.

The Church is ultimately about the movement of Jesus. The movement of Jesus began generations before us and will continue for generations to come.

Generation Church is simply stepping into the movement of Jesus in our time.

Who is Jesus?

We believe that Jesus is Lord and God. Jesus maintains and demonstrates all the attributes of God such as: Holiness, Justice, Love, Beauty, Power, Mercy, Sovereignty, Forgiveness, Faithfulness, Glory and more. Jesus is our true Hero. He is the only plan for bringing people back into a relationship with God. He lived a perfect life of humble sacrifice within history, so that He could ultimately be a substitution for us in satisfying God’s righteous demands for perfection. He defeated death in His resurrection so that we could have life. Jesus is the promised Messiah of the people of God and the hope and Savior of the world. The entire Bible is a story of God’s redemptive plan through the one God-man Jesus Christ. (Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 16:16; 28:5-6; Luke 22:70; John 1:1, 14; 10:30; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 8:1-3; 10:4; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; Gal 4:4-5; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15; 2:9; 1 Timothy 2:5-6)

Our aim is to express this radical belief that Jesus is Lord and God by not only the verbal proclamation of the good news of Jesus but by giving evidence to this reality in  how we love and serve one another as a church community and family. Jesus not only rescues us from our sin as the one true God but he empowers us with his Spirit so that we may imitate his one true humanity.

No matter your reservations with religion, no matter your past, no matter your age and no matter how far you feel from God, we believe there is still good news for everyone. Jesus is good, his unfailing love endures forever and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

We are excited for you to consider, discover or rediscover the good news of Jesus with us during the week at one of our many community groups or on Sunday in South County.

The Gospel and the Sanctity of Human Life

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Many things change when you become a dad. Even though it’s only been over a year now for me, it’s still hard to remember life without our son. But things have changed, every parent realizes this and yet has little time to process all the changes while hoping to have at least one date night every few months amidst the late nights, changed diapers, endless smiles and occasional tears.

One of the most dramatic changes for me was over how I thought and felt about the sanctity of human life; the miracle of child birth, the preciousness of new life. No parent will ever forget the first time they heard their child’s heartbeat. The unborn have their first heartbeat around six weeks and the parents are able to hear their precious child’s heartbeat around eight weeks. This is around the moment that you tell your family and plan for the day and the creative way that you will tell the social media world. Many of us already have numerous names picked out as we await the gender. We went through this excitement like most parents. This excitement is ignited over the scientific reality that we were witnessing the heartbeat of a person, a new human. The excitement is ignited over the reality that every new human in uniquely made in the image of God. Every new human distinctively and creatively reflects the beauty and goodness of God. The reason why we celebrate the miracle of pregnancy is because pregnancy proclaims the miracle of life and the truth that all lives matter. No matter if you are religious or irreligious; republican or democrat.

Before having a child and experiencing the amazing journey of child birth, I suppose I was like many young Christians in my generation that sadly became tired of the issue of abortion and the sanctity of human life becoming the only issue talked about and often hijacked by cable news and a specific stream of evangelicalism that seemed to carry an agenda and presentation that was disconnected to the movement of Jesus. In addition there was the stereotype that if you wanted to be really passionate about being pro life you had to be a republican picketing outside planned parenthood with grotesque signs and images while yelling at young women as they walked through the side doors. As I got older, I realized with many that when it comes to the sanctity of human life we need to talk about life from the womb to the tomb. This means we care about the death penalty, adoption, war, the elderly and many more significant issues that pertain to the sanctity of human life. This is an important realization. When it comes to the sanctity of human life, I still believe that followers of Jesus, and humanity in general needs to address these issues for the sake of the common good and the advancement of God’s kingdom. Sadly from my vantage point as a young church planter/pastor and follower of Jesus in New England, the weight of protest and call for justice has gone to the other side of the church culture seesaw. This younger generation of Jesus followers are being silent over one of the most important justice issues in the history of humanity. This is grievous. We can’t become numb to the statistics that over 1 million babies are aborted each year in America alone. Most of these babies are aborted beyond the 8 week mark when the heart is beating. We rightly need to stand for the Eric Garners of the world but why are we silent towards the millions of potential Eric Garners in our cities and towns? Sadly, many of the people who rightly make their voices heard when it comes to racism and racial reconciliation are silent towards the least of these, to the voiceless, to the children in this generation.

My Hope in Preaching on the Sanctity of Human Life?

My hope in giving my voice to the voiceless is to proclaim the grace of God that reminds all of us that in the face of shame and guilt over the sins of our youth or the sins of today, our sins have been paid for by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The grace and truth of Jesus doesn’t keep us enslaved in condemnation but leads us to conviction and repentance that makes us in awe of the mercy and love of our Father.

My hope in giving my voice to the voiceless is to follow in the steps of MLK, John Perkins and many more who echoed and believed the words of the prophet Amos to come to pass in their generation in the face of injustice, “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Amos‬ ‭5‬:‭24‬

Finally, a word to people who might disagree or have forgotten to disagree and protest well. At the end of last year our local paper did an article on our big launch as a new church; they quoted me at the end and it’s an important reminder for all when it comes to being able to listen to one another and disagree well. “Mook referenced a favorite quote of his by Bill Clinton: “One of the biggest problems in today’s culture is that we’re afraid to be around people we disagree with.”
“That’s true in politics and in anything,” he added. “We want to create a culture and community where people can be around one another. We don’t have to agree or believe everything, but we can share a space together, have a conversation, and welcome everyone no matter where they are when it comes to their faith. So we’re intentional about loving our neighbors and strangers and people who have given up on God and wherever they may be in life.”

A sermon or a blog post will not change the world but the grace and truth of Jesus is making all things new and we know that every aborted child is in heaven; we can pray, believe and work for more of God’s kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.

Pastor Stephen Mook