Generation Church Blog

We Should Grieve

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“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Martin Luther King Jr. 

Reflections on Eric Garner

We Should Grieve…

We should grieve because he was made in the image of God.

We should grieve for his family.

We should grieve because we don’t want to raise our children in a culture and country where any injustice is allowed.

We should grieve because people should be able to share their pain and frustrations without being accused of hating all cops and law enforcement.

We should grieve when people choose violence to protest against violence.

We should grieve when we forget that every life matters from the heart beating aborted child who is no longer peacefully breathing to Eric Garner who declared to the world that he couldn’t breathe. 

We should grieve and call for justice as the local church.

Pastor Stephen Mook

Click below for more on the Gospel, Eric Garner and the call for justice from Russell Moore. Moore is the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. http://www.russellmoore.com/2014/12/03/eric-garner-and-the-call-for-justice/

Welcome House Family Christmas Adoption

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We went to our local homeless shelter in South County to see if they had any specific needs during this holiday season.  

The Welcome House has given Generation Church the joyful opportunity as a church family to adopt seven families and buy Christmas gifts for their children. We plan on going above and beyond this holiday season to make this an extra special Christmas for these families. The Welcome House shared with us that parents put down a lot of Gift Cards (GC) for the kids and themselves, but they highly encourage us to be creative. Some of the families have a hard time making lists as sometimes they feel uncomfortable asking for things.

We have attached the lists with anonymous identifiers for the families such as AR, HE etc. along with the gender and age. Please contact us with any questions. When you have chosen what gifts that you will be purchasing for these families, please let us know. 

Every Sunday leading up to Christmas we’ll have an updated list for our Christmas family adoption:

Narragansett Pier Theater | 3 Beach St. 10am.

There is good news for everyone.

Welcome House UPDATED List:

HU – Dad:

Sweater – Men’s Size L

Gas GC

Men’s Watch

Sears GC

HU – Mom:

Shoes/ Flats – Women’s Size 8

Wallet

Socks – Women’s Size 8

Cardigans – Women’s Size L

Walmart GC

HU – 13 Year Old Boy

GameStop GC

Sweater – Boy’s Size M

FYE GC

Sweatpants – Boy’s Size M

HU – 10 Year Old Girl

Jewelry

Toys

HU – 18 Year Old Boy

Sneakers – Men’s Size 11

Warwick Mall GC

Gas GC

HU – 16 Year Old Girl

Makeup

Boots – Women’s Size 7.5

Head Scarves

Shirts – Women’s Size M

Socks – Women’s Size 8

BR – Mom:

Walmart GC

Job Lot GC

Robe & Slipper Set – Women’s Size L

Wallet

BR – 14 Year Old Boy

Anime and Manga Movies or Books

GC for shoes

Games

BR – 18 Year Old Girl

Body Wash & Spray

GC for shoes

Victoria Secret GC

Wallet

HE- Daughter

Sweater Size XL

FYE GC for movies or music

Supernatural Series DVDs

Purse

RU-Mother

Gas GC

Wet Seal Gift Card

Walmart Gift Card

RU-14 year old

GameStop Gift Card

Footlocker Gift Card

Dicks Sporting Goods Gift Card

AR- Mother

Sweater- Women’s size small

Jewelry (i.e. Earrings, necklace)

GC for manicure

Stop & Shop GC

AR-16 year old son

FYE GC

Olympia Sports GC

Jeans- Men’s size 36×32

 

Praying for Ferguson

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It’s understandable and often overwhelmingly easy to believe and feel that our prayers do very little to change anything. Especially when it comes to global or national events such as Ferguson.

However, we believe in the power of prayer. We believe that prayer changes things both personally and globally. This is why we are praying for Ferguson and for our world in this fragile moment in our history. We are praying based upon the promises and truth of God that through Jesus our Father hears our prayers and acts through his people to accomplish his kingdom mission and will on earth as it is in heaven.

We join with the larger Church in praying for Ferguson. We don’t need to live in Ferguson to mourn and pray for peace in our cities and communities. Our prayer is that our church family and the larger Church would truly represent Jesus and his kingdom in this pivotal moment.

Many of us can be burdened with our own daily needs, trials, heartache or challenges within our own home or hearts to even think about praying for something so far away from our own neighborhood. Thankfully we can and should pray for peace not only in our own lives and families but in Ferguson.

Please join us in prayer: 

1. Pray that we would be slow to speak and quick to listen to one another, especially when we disagree or see things from a different perspective or worldview.

2. Pray for Michael Brown’s family and the community within Ferguson.

3. Pray for Officer Wilson and his family. Pray for the police and civic leaders in Ferguson.

4. Pray for the businesses within Ferguson.

5. Pray for the peace and prosperity of this city and every city.

6. Pray that the voices of peace and nonviolence would be heard the loudest.

7. Pray for the local pastors, churches, teachers, schools, the parents and other people of influence in Ferguson and St. Louis as they seek constructive action steps going forward.

8. Pray that we will not grow cynical or bitter but that we will find our hope and peace in our crucified and risen King and Savior.

9. Pray that after we listen to one another that we would seek to speak the truth in love.

10. Pray that we would all do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. No matter if we live in South County, Providence, or in Ferguson.

11. Pray for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done in Ferguson, our nation, and in our own lives as it is in heaven.

“Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Jesus + Matthew 6:9-13

May God be glorified and honored in our lives, our homes, our communities and in Ferguson.

Community Groups

Community Groups are the heartbeat of Generation Church.

Generation Church began as a Monday night Community Group. We would meet in different homes and eat together, sing together and spend time studying and applying God’s word for our new church plant in South County. Our hope was that we would be a local church not just on Sunday but throughout the week. This continues to be our hope and mission as we aim to have Christ centered relationships flourishing and disciples made through Generation Church.

When the church started in the book of Acts, it didn’t start as a new religion, but rather as a movement. Instead, there were small groups of people living deeply in community who shared a belief that was radically different than any other belief in the world. They believed that Jesus was God, that he was murdered for claiming to be God and rose from the dead signifying that he is God and Lord of all as the Savior of the world. Community groups should not be an alternative for authentic Biblical community where people do life together, meet each other’s needs, care for one another, hold each other accountable and love one another well. True Biblical Community cannot be accomplished only through structured meetings every week…they must be a lifestyle. Community Groups are designed to enhance the Holy Spirit’s work of building the body of Christ in community.

Living in community is one of the foundational desires of our church. A community group is a group of 6 to 15 adults (and families, in some cases) who gather weekly in a home to build one another up, grow in their faith and remember our mission.

Our Four Community Group Distinctive’s:

Family:

A Community Group is a group of believers who live and experience life together like a family. God is their heavenly Father because of their faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ and the new life provided by the working of the Holy Spirit. A Community Group seeks to love each other well, by knowing each other’s stories, strengths and struggles in regards to belief in the gospel and it’s application to all of life (John 1:11-13; Romans 12:10-16; Ephesians 5:1-2).

Missionaries:

Just like Jesus, we are all sent by the Spirit to fulfill the Great Commission and to share the gospel- the “good news” of Jesus. A Community Group is made up of Spirit-led and Spirit-filled people who structure their lives around the mission of making disciples. This means people’s schedule, resources and decisions are now built around reaching people together (Matthew 3:16-4:1; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 13:2).

Servants:

Jesus is Lord and we are his Servants. A Community Group serves those around them as though they are serving Jesus. A Community Group serves in such a way that it demands a Gospel explanation — lives that cannot be explained in any other way than by the Gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus (Matthew 20:25-28; John 13:1-17; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Peter 2:16).

Disciples:

We are all learners of Jesus who has given us his Spirit to teach us all that is true about Himself and enable us to live out his commands. Jesus commanded us to make disciples who believe the gospel, are established in a new identity and are able to obey all of his commands (Matthew 28:19-20).

The Community Group is the best context in which this can begin to happen. Disciples are made and developed: 1) through life on life, where there is visibility and accessibility, 2) in community, where they can practice the loving, serving, and building-up of one another, & 3) on mission where they learn how to live out the gospel and make disciples.

*These four distinctives have been adapted for Generation Church by Jeff Vanderstelt

We currently have three community groups in South County meeting on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. We would love to have you join us at one of our Community Groups. If you’re interested or if you have any questions, please contact us at generationchurchri.org

A New Season: Welcome to Generation Church

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November 2, 2014 marked a new season for Generation Church.

We had a special celebration for our launch at the Narragansett Pier Theater. It was a joy to see our church family and so many volunteers coming together for an unforgettable day. We welcomed new faces and families and it was great to have larger spaces for both our Generation Kids and Nursery. We loved singing together in our new space and we heard the good news of Jesus preached from the Lord’s Prayer. The heartbeat of our church family is our Community Groups which meet throughout the week but it’s still vital that we gather together on Sunday and celebrate in light of the resurrection of Jesus and God’s kingdom that has come in Rhode Island as it is in heaven.

We also had fun together. The photo booth was a blast. We celebrated baptisms in the hotel hot tub next door, read Scripture together and remembered the mission that God has given us. We’re thankful for all the people who made our launch a special day. We have the most amazing and selfless volunteers. Above all we’re honored to be a part of the movement of Jesus in our generation and to spread his fame in Rhode Island, New England and throughout the world.

We look forward to the days ahead and welcoming more of our neighbors, friends, strangers and people all over South County and Rhode Island. We want to welcome everyone no matter where they are when it comes to their faith, doubts or reservations with religion.

This is just the beginning. There is good news for everyone.

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Baptism Celebration

 

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Recently our church family had a baptism celebration at the Narragansett beach.

We celebrated stories of grace and declared to one another and to our South County neighbors that we belong to Jesus our King and Savior.

The beauty of baptism is that the event displays the drama of the gospel. Baptism doesn’t save us, Jesus saves and in baptism we proclaim the reality of God’s saving grace to a world groaning for redemption. We all were at one time on the path of death and destruction as our own king and savior. We were all dead to any desire for God our Father before Jesus stepped into our story to make us finally alive by His glorious grace and the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

Not only does baptism reflect God’s saving work in our lives but baptism reminds us that we have been enlisted into a new kingdom with an urgent mission as the people of God. The reminder of our immediate mission as the local church was one of the many highlights from our baptism celebration. After the actual baptism we gathered together and we read the words of Jesus about the mission that we have now been given by His grace.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Please pray for these new followers of Jesus and for the many people who will be baptized and become followers of Jesus through their testimonies and ministries of mercy.

God is with us and has empowered us by the Holy Spirit to be his witnesses in South County, New England and to the ends of the earth.

We belong to Jesus.

Praise the Lord.

Welcome to Generation Students

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Local Church | Student Movement

The relentless love and grace of God has compelled us to start Generation Students as a branch of Generation Church.

Generation Church exists to passionately spread the good news of God for the joy of all generations and the global fame of Jesus. We are a new church in South County for the people of South County. The University of Rhode Island is in the heart of South County and we love this University.

With Generation Students, we believe the URI community goes beyond just the campus. We’re a local church who desires to see a movement of URI students be open to faith in God, be engaged with the good news of Jesus and have more opportunities to practice and wrestle with their faith in the company of multiple generations. This consists of a diverse group of local and international students, alumni, faculty and our South County neighbors. With this diverse environment we believe we can help today’s students flourish in the academic, social, and spiritual aspects of their college years and beyond as followers of Jesus.

We celebrate what God has been doing through the decades and generations at URI. More recently we celebrate how the fame of Jesus is spreading through various faith communities. We dream of a generation of students not merely joining another community or competing with other ministries but rather, students stepping into the movement of Jesus on their campus as the people of God through the local church.

Every year over 4,000 freshman arrive at the University of Rhode Island and statistically not even 100 freshman students will be engaged with the Gospel or commit to a faith community. This isn’t even including the remaining 10,000 plus students that make up URI. God is at work already at URI but there is still an overwhelming urgency to want to see more students connected with the local church and reached with the greatest news in world through the person and work of Jesus.

We are beyond excited to see how students live’s will be transformed by Jesus and how missionaries will be made in the days ahead. Missionaries who will be placed here in our home state of Rhode Island and others who will travel to the ends of the earth spreading the global fame of Jesus.

The movement of Jesus began at the University of Rhode Island generations before us and will continue for generations to come in South County.  We’re simply stepping into the movement of Jesus in our generation.

 

24 Hours of Prayer (Prayer Guide)

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Our church family is using the upcoming Wednesday’s for a focused 24 hour prayer time. We’ll have hour time slots available for everyone. If you want to be included and get updates about specific prayer requests please let us know. We’ll begin at the towers and courtyard in Narragansett for those who can make it and then people will be praying throughout South County for the rest of the 24 hours. As we get prepared for our first fall together as a church family in South County we believe there is no better way to enter this new and exciting season then through worship and prayer.

With you in Christ,

Generation Church

“Lord revive us again, so that your people may rejoice in you.” Psalm 85:6

24-Hours of Prayer // Prayer Guide 

Feel free to use this guide to pray through the full-hour that you’ve signed up. Spending 15 minutes on each letter in the P.R.A.Y. acronym will take up the whole hour. Below, there are specific ways to pray through each letter, and a Psalm given to read and inspire your prayers. Read through the guide before praying, so that you use minimal time reading and more time actually praying during your hour!

P. R. A. Y.

Praise. Psalm 33

Remind yourself what God is like, remember Jesus’ words “If you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father”. Remember what He means to you, thank Him for the good things you have. Thank God for his creation. Thank God for being a new creation. Give thanks for God Himself through Jesus.

If you find your thoughts wandering, use the Psalm by reading it through and choosing a set of 2 or 3 verses that stand out to you. Repeat them to yourself slowly, in your mind or out-loud, 3-4 times. Close your eyes and envision what’s being said as you recite them. Once you have digested them, move on to another set, or give thanks for whatever else God leads you to.

Repent. Psalm 130

Be honest with yourself and with God, He already knows all your wrongdoing, be specific as you ask for forgiveness. Don’t brush over things that may come up that you didn’t think you needed forgiveness for. God could be bringing them up! He offers forgiveness.

Take a few minutes to allow God to show you the reasons-behind your sin. Use the Psalm by picking out one or two verses to repeat slowly 4-5 times, and listen for the thoughts that the Holy Spirit may interrupt with to show you those reasons. Beware of any self-condemning thoughts or shame, those are not God!

Ask. Psalm 123

Spend about 5 or-so minutes on requests for 1) yourself and those close to you, 2) our church community, as well as the people and local land where we live, and 3) followers of Jesus & other needs around the world.

The towns where we live: Ask God to lead our church community to the places where we can best see Him transform people’s lives. Pray for God to inspire you and each one of us to serve Him in some specific way in our church community.

Ferguson, Missouri: Pray that God would ensure the best-possible-outcome in the case of the shooting of Michael Brown. Ask God to filter out lies from truth, and for us to be pure-hearted and free from hatred in our discussions of this case with others.

Syria & Iraq: Pray for the persecuted Christians in those countries, that God would provide safety and refuge, and that their hearts would not be bitter, but that they’d have peace in their hearts. Pray for God to touch the hearts of high-ranking men in the terrorist group ISIS, Jesus commanded us to pray for those who persecute us. Also pray that God would orchestrate a pathway to peace, and that followers of Jesus would be central in that pathway.

Ukraine: A civil war in Eastern Ukraine is devastating civilians; pray that God would orchestrate a diplomatic solution. Pray for any Christians who are in the area, that they would be agents of peace and reconciliation, and not hatred between ethnic Russians and Ukrainians.

Yield. Psalm 131

Our prayers will have an impact, and now we can rest trusting that God is good. He has been, and will continue-to, work for the best-possible-outcome in every request we bring.

The analogy in Psalm 131 is of a child who is no longer just using his mother for food like infants do, but now is growing-up, and is content just to be with her.

Take a few minutes to enjoy God, recite a portion of the Psalm if it helps to focus. For all who trust in Jesus as God, He promised that the Holy Spirit would live through us. The Holy Spirit is with you where you are, in this moment.

Michael Brown and My White Son

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Why would a young white local pastor and church planter from South Kingstown Rhode Island write about Micheal Brown and Ferguson Missouri?

I don’t want to tell my son one day that I was silent during another historic moment in our country as a pastor and follower of Jesus. This morning as I held my son in my arms and reflected on what has been happening in Ferguson I was ruminating over a blog post by Acts 29 President and Pastor Matt Chandler on white privilege.

Chandler writes:

“I don’t have to warn my son in the same ways that a black dad has to warn his son. I have never had to coach my son on how to keep his hands out of his pockets when going through a convenience store. Many of my black brothers are having these conversations with their boys now. Again, the list goes on. It has been my experience that there are few things that enrage a large portion of white people like addressing racism and privilege. We want to move past it, but we are not past it. Clearly, we are not past it. So, let’s press in to it.”

We are not past the reality of privilege and racism in America and I’m pressing in to it. As I looked into my sons beautiful blue eyes and his growing blonde hair this morning, I didn’t have a moment of white guilt but Christian compassion towards the black dads who have to warn their beautiful black sons in ways that I will never have to. I remember a time in my rebellious youth when I was caught running away from multiple cops because of some disorderly conduct on a local side street only to be tracked down, arrested, and eventually sent home that night. I never had to be concerned that I would be shot at six times or killed even as I resisted arrest. The same isn’t true for Michael Brown and millions more like him.

I remember being excited as an elementary student when we celebrated Martin Luther King. We joyfully celebrated his speeches and learned about how he marched for freedom and justice. I remember thinking of him as the messiah of racial reconciliation, and that racism and injustice had been erased from America and we could now move on in perfect harmony with one another and celebrate racial reconciliation every Martin Luther King Day. This wasn’t just youthful ignorance but in many ways it’s the prevailing belief of our generation. I’m thankful for Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement but this moment reminds us of how blind and numb we can become to the racism and injustice that still exists in our fallen world. This moment is not about the teenage lifestyle or behavior of Michael Brown but about the insanity of his death. The outrage for justice that this moment has induced is not only justified but long overdue. We must address the reality of racism and privilege. As Chandler writes, “we want to move past it, but we are not past it. Clearly, we are not past it. So, let’s press in to it”.

The events in Ferguson have reminded me about my need and our need to have greater awareness about the racism and injustices that still exist in our world. We can know something exists but still be silent and numb to the reality of white privilege, racism, and injustice. We don’t have to be on the streets of Ferguson to make our voices heard and work towards justice. Violence is not the answer but neither is silence.

When I left my son today to go to work, I prayed for him. I prayed that the privileges that he has been given as a white male will not lead him to guilt or ignorance but towards awareness and action as a citizen of America and more importantly as a citizen of another kingdom. The kingdom of Jesus, the true Messiah of racial reconciliation who has truly set us free to bring awareness and action in the hope for justice and human flourishing for everyone.

Pastor Stephen Mook

Here’s some important resources by fellow Pastors that are helping to bring needed leadership to the larger Church in this moment. Please continue to keep Michael Brown’s family, the people of Ferguson and our world in your prayers.

Matt Chandler:

http://www.thevillagechurch.net/the-village-blog/more-on-ferguson-and-white-privilege/

http://www.thevillagechurch.net/sermon/holiness-and-humility/

Leonce B. Crump:

http://www.renovationchurch.com/sermons/our-response-to-ferguson/

 

God is Making All Things New: Remembering Brandon

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Friday, in the midst of great sorrow and grief I had the honor to do the funeral for Brandon Austin. Brandon was 13 and recently died in a motor accident. This has been an unexpected week of unspeakable grief. Here’s what I shared with his family and close friends.

Please continue to keep this family in your prayers in the days to come.

In the hope of Jesus,

Pastor Stephen

God is Making All Things New: Remembering Brandon

Family and Friends let me first say what needs to be said. We don’t want to be here, we’re here because of our love for Brandon and for one another. “This sucks”, were the words of Brandon’s mother the other day as I sat with her and the family for three hours in the midst of their grief and sorrow. Not only is that true, but the reality is, death is tragic. It’s tragic no matter the age but especially for a 13 year old. My prayer and the prayer of the church that I help lead (that has been and continues to be praying for you) is that my presence and a few words from God’s word will bring you the hope that we all so desperately need even if we are understandably angry, numb, exhausted, and hopeless. It’s helpful if we grieve together as a community while realizing that many of us will grieve differently. We sometimes rush to quick answers or hopeful slogans but first we should acknowledge that we don’t want to be here and that death is tragic. Every fiber of our being and our collective voice together is screaming inside “we don’t want to be here.” Not only do we want Brandon back but we want all things to be made new in our lives, in our family relationships and in this world. This is God’s heartbeat in the face of Jesus.

Hear from God’s Word:

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” “And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:4-6

Some of you might be wondering why a young man in a suit is standing here before you today. My name is Stephen Mook, I’m the pastor of Generation Church in South Kingstown. Yet I’m more than a Pastor, Minister, Reverend or whatever informal title that you want to give me. I’m a follower of Jesus, husband, father and a son who grew up in this town. Not only did I grow up locally but I got in a lot of trouble in this town as a teenager. And much like Brandon (as I’ve heard from family and friends) I barely graduated junior high and knew how to drive my parents and teachers crazy. And my family and friends didn’t give up on me as they certainly didn’t give up on Brandon either. So whatever stereotypes you have of a Pastor they should change after today. I’m no better then the next person, but I’m here because in my hopelessness as a young teenager God by his glorious grace and great love gave me hope in the face of Jesus.

I’m here today because of you and Brandon. More importantly, we’re here to remember his life together, grieve his death together, and look in hope to the God who is making all things new. This past Tuesday I sat with Brandon’s mom and brothers for hours and everyone had a different story to share and everyone was grieving in different ways. One minute there was long pauses of silence with tears full of unspeakable grief and the next moment was full of laughter as the brothers joked about Brandon stealing their socks and capturing a live rabbit in order to win a two hundred dollar bet. One minute Brandon’s mother spoke proudly about how Brandon would always go over to their elderly neighbor and shovel the snow for him and then laughed (now) about how he would never shovel their own driveway. I’ve heard stories of Brandon’s love for animals and how he would stop by the animal shelter and do anything he could to help heal and restore the animals that were the most in need. I’ve heard stories of Brandon’s love for summers in South Carolina with this grandparents. On the back porch in the face of death the full range of human emotion was on display; tears and laughter, stories of joyful remembrance and silent grief. I’ve heard about the good stories, bad stories and I look forward to hearing more in the days ahead. I want to encourage everyone in your own time and in your own way to continue to share stories as we all grieve in different ways at different times.

Now I have a story of Brandon. It was a few months ago that I was with a few friends from our local church and we were walking around our town passing out information about our Easter service at the South Kingstown High School. We were walking by the Wakefield elementary school when I saw a group of young teenagers playing at the park. I walked over to the park and had some small talk with a few of them as they were enjoying one another and school vacation. Before I left a few of the kids asked me about our church and our Easter service. I don’t know if they were surprised that someone so young could be a pastor but either way they asked…. so I answered. I told them that I was local kid who came back to South Kingstown because I believe Jesus is the greatest news in the world. Now one teenager all of sudden got really serious, starred right at me and asked, “why is Jesus the greatest news in the world.” Over the next few minutes I was able to share with him about Jesus. Now this young teenager wasn’t going to take any nonsense from any of us. The person that I’m talking about is Brandon. One of his friends last night confirmed with me that it was Brandon and his friends who I had spoken with that day at Wakefield school. I told Brandon and his friends the bad news first, about how all of us have worshiped things and people more than God. We have all worshiped ourselves and dishonored our God and Father because we didn’t enjoy and love Him. The world is messed up and there is death because of us. Because we have tried to do things our way and our way always leads to death, destruction and endless brokenness. I shared with Brandon and these kids that death is not how it’s supposed to be but death is the result of our sin. We need a Savior and God himself to bring us back into a relationship with our good Father and into His family. Throughout the conversation I was reminded of how much young people carry and how aware they are of the brokenness in the world and in their own lives. I was reminded that the world and this generation is groaning for redemption. Now these teenagers weren’t offended but acknowledged their own rebellion against God, the messiness of life and the brokenness in the world. And right before we went our separate ways I kept looking right back at Brandon and couldn’t help but again share the grace of God, the everlasting hope and life that is found only in Jesus. We have brought death into this world but Jesus came to bring life forever; through his life, death and resurrection.

What a powerful moment with Brandon, a story all the more weightier now as I stand here before you at Brandon’s funeral.

It’s easy to not believe in our God who is making all things new and just hear the news of Jesus as mere fiction or simply foolishness. Because even a midst hopeful words or the butterflies that represent new life and have given Brandon’s mom so much comfort in these last few days, we are still in a funeral home on a sunny summer day in South County longing for the day when there is no more need for funeral homes. This is why we need to remember and believe that death isn’t the end of our story through faith in Jesus.

I share the good news of Jesus with you and I shared it with Brandon not because that’s what I’m supposed to do or because I’m a pastor, I’m here because the love of God compels me to share it with all of you. We are all made in God’s image but because of our depravity and rebellion towards God we don’t know where to turn besides going in the same direction as before. But God, being rich in mercy offers us all a different way, the way of grace, truth, love and everlasting life.

I pray that as we continue to remember Brandon’s life, laugh at the many stories and grieve together that we will all look and turn to Jesus, the hope for Brandon and the hope for everyone.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” “And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:4-6