12/10/17 Sermon Questions


Luke 1:26-38

Life Group Questions:

  1. Have you invited anyone to attend Christmas Traditions with you? Are they joining you? Please spend some time as a group praying for this event.
  2. Have you ever been afraid of something God has asked you to do? What was it? How did you respond?
  3. Why do you think we are so afraid to do what God asks us to do?
  4. What did you learn about Jesus’ birth from Mary’s life and perspective?
  5. How is God asking you to be obedient this Christmas season?
  6. What plans have you been hanging onto that you need to surrender to the Lord?
  7. As you close, read Luke 1:37 together as a group.


Sermon Notes and Scripture:




26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.   Luke 1:26-30



31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”  Luke 1:31-37




“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.   Luke 1:38

12/3/17 Sermon Questions


Part 1: Isaiah 9:1-7

Life Group Questions:

  1. What did you learn from week one of our series “Do Not Be Afraid?”
  2. Read Isaiah 9:1. What would that verse have meant to those that read it? What did it represent to them?
  3. How does walking in spiritual darkness contrast to walking in spiritual light?
  4. Read Isaiah 9:4 and Matthew 11:28-30. What did you learn about yokes? (I.e. animals at harvest, discipline, fear, rest) How can you apply this principle to your life?
  5. Look at verses 6 and 7. Read the description of who Jesus is and what He will accomplish. Who in your life needs to hear about Him this Christmas?
  6. What in my past is weighing me down from walking in the light?
  7. How can our group pray for you this week?


Sermon Notes and Scripture:



Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you  as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:1-7

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30


Serene Park Bench

A retreat for parents of kids with a developmental disability.

Dear Pastor Luke,

I can’t begin to express my deep gratitude for the Jeremiah Fund money your church has given to my program! Our “Retreat Yourself” weekend is a much-needed break for moms, grandmothers, and aunts who are raising or helping to raise a child with a developmental disability. It was at our first weekend in 2009 that we met Penny VanScoy, who came with her daughter Jessica. Ever since that weekend, Penny has been on our retreat planning committee making sure the weekend is a success! We are proud to put on this event for the ninth year in a row now. We have been a part of women forming support networks, learning how to balance life, learning new skills and information, and last year we found out we saved a life. Yes, we had one woman attend who had been contemplating suicide and because of the retreat, decided not to end her life.

Thank you again for your generous gift-it will be put to good use!

-Patti Mook, Family Support Specialist

11/26/17 Sermon Questions

Concert of Worship

November 26th, 2017

Life Group Questions:

  • Read John 15:5-13 together as a group.
  • What is the fruit John is talking about in verse 5? (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • Does it bring you peace knowing that He says, “apart from Me you can do nothing.” (vs. 5)
  • Read verse 10 again. How do you remain in God’s love? What does this look like?
  • What command does He give in verse 12? In what ways do you see the Church fulfilling this? In what ways is the Church falling short?
  • In what ways are you fulfilling verse 12? In what ways would you like to do better?


Sermon Notes and Scripture:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 15:5-13 (NIV)

11/19/17 Sermon Questions

FIXER UPPER – Week 3                                                          

Haggai 2:10-23

Life Group Questions:

  • As a group, spend some time recapping what you learned from the book of Haggai during our Fixer Upper series.
  • Has there been a time in your life when you obeyed God, but only conditionally?
  • “Above all else, God desires a devoted heart.” What does that look like? (Haggai 2:15-19, 2 Chronicles 7:14)
  • What seemingly simple thing is God calling your obedience to?
  • Read Matthew 1 to find Zerubbabel’s name in the genealogy of Jesus. Why was he listed there?
  • How can we pray for each other this week?


Sermon Notes and Scripture:


10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says 12 If someone carries consecrated meat in the fold of their garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, olive oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’” The priests answered, “No.” 13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?” “Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.” 14 Then Haggai said, “‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the Lord. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.  Haggai 2:10-14


15 ’Now give careful thought to this from this day on—consider how things were before  one stone was laid on another in the Lord’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not return to me,’ declares the Lord. 18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid. Give careful thought 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. “‘From this day on I will bless you.’ Haggai 2:15-19

 If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

20 The word of the Lord came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month: 21 “Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother. 23 ”’On that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring , for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. Haggai 2:20-23

11/12/17 Sermon Questions

FIXER UPPER – Week 2                                                      

Haggai 2:1-9


Life Group Questions:

  1. Have you ever started a project but then apathy set in and you quit?
  2. “Don’t compare your start when Gods work isn’t finished.” This was our key thought for week 2 of Fixer Upper. Have you ever compared your start with others?
  3. Read Haggai 2:4. How are you staying strong in the Lord right now?
  4. How are you “doing the work” for the cause of Christ? How do you see First Free Rockford “doing the work?”
  5. What resources could you use for the glory of God?
  6. Read Hebrews 12:26-28 as a group. How does this truth change your perspective?
  7. What opposition are you listening to that you need to remember to: “be strong and courageous?”


 Sermon Notes and Scripture:



KEY THOUGHT: Don’t compare your start, when God’s work isn’t finished.

“In the second year of King Darius, on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jozadak, x the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.  ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’  “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” – Haggai 2:1-9

6 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:6-9


When God provides the resources, we provide the work.

26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.” – Hebrews 12:26-28



Don’t compare your start, when God’s work isn’t finished.

When God provides the resources, we provide the Work.



11/5/17 Sermon Questions


Haggai 1:1-15


Life Group Questions:

  1. Have you ever had any “fixer upper” experience around your house? What did you fix up? How did the project go?
  2. Pastor Luke shared the timeline from the Old Testament. What did you learn from that?
  3. Pastor Luke said “You can either make excuses or make a difference but you can’t do both.” Do you agree or disagree?
  4. In Haggai 1:3-6, God asked His people how they could live in such great houses while the Temple (God’s dwelling place) was lying in ruins. What are some areas of your life in which you are placing personal priorities over God’s priorities?
  5. Read Haggai 1:13. When you know God is with you, how does that change how you see your circumstances?
  6. In Haggai 1:15, we see that work to begin the Temple started 23 days from the beginning of Haggai’s first message. What prevents you in your personal walk with Christ from the work that he has commanded you to complete through the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20)?
  7. When did the attitude of Haggai’s message change in chapter 1? What was the main thrust of the message that Haggai gave that changed the tide as the Israelites started working?
  8. How can I practically make the Lord the focus of my life?


Sermon Notes and Scripture:




“In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest: This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’” Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” 5 “Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”” 7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”” 12 “Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord. 13 Then Haggai, the Lord ʼs messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: “I am with you,” declares the Lord. 14 So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month. In the second year of King Darius,” – Haggai 1:1-15




10/29/17 Sermon Questions


Life Group Questions:

  • Is there a time in your life that you wish you would have waited and made the “wise” decision rather that what felt right at the time?
  • Read Proverbs 9:10-12. Wisdom comes from knowing God. What steps are you currently taking to know God better?
  • Read Proverbs 4:18-19. Have you ever thought of righteousness in terms of light and darkness? How does that image so perfectly illustrate it?
  • What areas of your life do you need to submit to the Lord?
  • Where in your life do you need to ask the “big question?” What’s the wise decision?
  • How can we as a group be praying for you this coming week?


Sermon Notes and Scripture:


THE BIG QUESTION: What’s the wise decision?




10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.  12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you;  if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer. – Proverbs 9:10-12

2.  FOLLOW THE LIGHT WE HAVE. (Proverbs 4:18-19)

18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. 19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. – Proverbs 4:18-19


Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. – Proverbs 3:5-8

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

No Trunk or Treat 2017

Why we aren’t doing Trunk or Treat this year.

A few people recently asked us if we are doing Trunk or Treat this year, so we wanted to make sure you all know what’s going on. Here at First Free Rockford we are constantly trying to up our involvement in the community, and that always starts with building good relationships. In an effort to be an active and loving part of our community, we are encouraging our congregation to be home and engaged with the families of their neighborhoods this year rather than hosting Trunk or Treat. It’s our hope that the city of Rockford would experience God’s love in their own neighborhoods this year from the people of First Free Rockford. For those of you that have been so faithful to come out to the Trunk or Treat event each year, stay tuned because we will be announcing the details of our Christmas Traditions Event very soon, and we think you’re going to really enjoy it! If you are looking for ideas on how to be a light in your neighborhood during Halloween this year, be sure to check out this great e-book!


Halloween Outreach Ideabook

10/22/17 Sermon Questions


Philippians 2:1-11

Life Group Questions:

  • Who is the most humble person you know? Why did you pick that person?
  • What would it look like for us as Americans to live a little more humbly?
  • What would it look like in your life to live a little more humbly?
  • What would our church look like if we truly lived out the verse Philippians 2:4?
  • What areas of your life would look different if you had a Christ like attitude in them? (Philippians 2:5-8)
  • What opportunities do you have this week to live like Jesus and serve others? How can we as a group hold you accountable to that?
  • How can you practically point others to Christ?

Sermon Notes and Scripture:



1) PLACE OTHERS ABOVE ME. (Philippians 2:1-4)

Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. – Philippians 2:1-4

2) HAVE A CHRISTLIKE ATTITUDE. (Philippians 2:5-8)

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! – Philippians 2:5-8

3) POINT OTHERS TO CHRIST NOT ME. (Philippians 2:9-11)

Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:9-11