Generation Church Blog

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

P.R.A.Y.

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

Join us every Wednesday morning by the Narragansett Pier towers. We will praise God, pray for one another and pray for the people of South County.

We have been using the acronym P.R.A.Y.  in these early days as a helpful guide for both private and corporate times of prayer. We usually take a Psalm or another portion of Scripture and pray through it using the acronym P.R.A.Y.

Praise

Repent

Ask

Yield

Often times in the morning we are very distracted and we need God’s word through the power of the Holy Spirit to center our thoughts and affections on Jesus. We need to have a posture of praising God together, a time of repentance, learning to come to God our Father with our requests through listening and asking. Lastly, we need to learn to yield and surrender before God as a people who belong to Jesus.

We encourage you to be praying and using this model in your private prayer life along with our local church family. If you are someone who doesn’t normally pray or is intimidated by prayer, we encourage you to connect with one of our leaders.

No matter where you may be in your faith or your prayer life, we encourage you to join us on Wednesday’s. Even if you can only come for a short amount of time this is a great way to begin your day.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 42:11

Happy? new summer sermon series

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“Delight yourself in the Lord.” Psalm 37:4

Regardless if you’re listening to Oprah or Pharrell, reading the latest self help bestseller, Rubin, Aristotle, Pascal, Haidt, Piper, Edwards or talking with the people and families on the beaches of South County; everyone is seeking happiness.

Join us this summer for our sermon series on happiness in the heart of South County.

“Our happy God should be worshipped by a happy people.” Charles Spurgeon

 

 

Underestimating Reality: Reflections on Ephesians

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Ephesians: The Precious Letter to the Church 

We have spent the past months in a sermon series through Ephesians. This letter is precious to God’s people. The letter of Ephesians was John Calvin’s favorite and F.F. Bruce regarded it as the “quintessence of Paulinism’ because it ‘in large measure sums up the leading themes of the Pauline letters, and sets forth the cosmic implications of Paul’s ministry as apostle to the Gentiles”. Peter O’Brien, in his Ephesians commentary remarks that “whether it is because of its magnificent sweep of God’s saving purposes from election before the foundation of the world to his summing up of all things in Christ, the place of the exalted Christ within those purposes and believers’ relationship to him, God’s victory in Christ over the powers, the grand presentation of the church, its language of worship and prayer, or the scope and depth of its ethical teaching, Ephesians has had a profound influence on the lives of many.”

Personally, the Holy Spirit inspired letter of Ephesians has radically shaped my life, marriage, and ministry. This began five years ago in the North Shore of Boston as a first year seminary student and newly married man. Amidst the excitement of finally being married to my high school sweetheart I found myself in a surprising season of spiritual dryness filled with doubting the Gospel, God’s word and the centrality of the Church. In God’s mercy I started meeting with a group of guys to share our gospel stories and I was reminded of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit led me on an extended season of meditating and applying the letter that changed everything: Ephesians. God through the letter of Ephesians has helped me see the truth about Himself, His glory, our sin, our salvation, the purpose of the Church, discipleship, marriage and Gospel mission, just to name a few of God’s glorious truths. In 2014, the extended season in Ephesians has continued. It has been my aim to have God’s word be the foundation of Generation Church in these early days and for as long as God gives us life.

The beauty of God’s word is that it’s always timely and timeless. After years of meditating and now preaching and teaching through Ephesians I’ve been reflecting again on what God has been teaching me and our church family through this precious letter to the Church. What I continue to see in these early days of church planting in a Western context in Rhode Island (both in my life and in the Church) is that we dangerously forget or underestimate the reality of the purpose and power of the Church, sin, the devil and ultimately God revealed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I’ll be writing more about these realities in light of Ephesians in the days to come but for now I want to encourage everyone to continue to read through the whole letter of Ephesians in one sitting. It shouldn’t take you longer then 20 minutes. Also, read Acts 18:18 through Acts 20 to get some helpful context. If we can be on social media for more then 20 minutes or watch some new shows on Netflix or watch the drama of a World Cup soccer/futbol game for 90 minutes we can feast on the drama of Ephesians.

If you have never read the Bible before or it has been a long time, I want to encourage you to contact us. We would love to take you out to coffee (or your choice of drink) and spend sometime meditating and applying God’s word together in community through the Holy Spirit.

You will never regret it.

With you in Christ,

Pastor Stephen

Communion and Vision Sunday (July 6, 2014)

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This Sunday we’ll be having a communion and vision Sunday service at Wakefield Elementary School from 10 to 11 a.m. followed by a picnic at the Narragansett Beach at 11:30. We’re taking a week off from our regular Sunday meeting space as the Contemporary Theater does some renovations. We’re taking advantage of this opportunity by having a shorter and more focused time of remembrance.

We’ll be remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus in sacred communion together as a church family. We’ll also be reminded of the mission of Generation Church as we seek to continue to proclaim and live out the good news of Jesus Christ in South County, Rhode Island and to the ends of the earth.

“Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.” Ephesians 6:23-24

Everyone is welcome to join us:

101 High Street, Wakefield, RI

Living the Gospel Dream

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As a Pastor in training in Providence during 2011 Stephen Mook had an unexpected and unshakable burden to return back to his hometown of South Kingstown. The burden and dream from the beginning was to proclaim the good news of Jesus to the over 100,000 plus people in South County who have been made in the image of God.

The decision to plant Generation Church came after two years of praying and being constrained by the Spirit to plant the gospel with the vision to reach all generations on the unbreakable promises of God’s word:

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (Psalm 46:10-11)

“Jesus is good, his unfailing love endures forever and his faithfulness continues in each generation.” (Psalm 100:5)

In the fall of 2013 Stephen (Lead Pastor and Church Planter) and his family returned to their hometown in Rhode Island after years of having a gospel dream. Generation Church began as a Bible study/Community Group in Stephen and Lindsay’s home. In 2014, God gave birth to Generation Church. Generation Church had their first public Sunday gathering at The Contemporary Theater on February 2, 2014. Along with a special Easter service at the South Kingstown High School.

We’re excited to see how Jesus continues to build Generation Church in these early days through his word and by the power of his Spirit.

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 this faithfulness continues to each generation.  Generation Church – The Vision

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21