Caring for our elderly

by Jim Killam | 5-minute read

 

A multigenerational church like First Free Rockford faces a particular opportunity during COVID-19: caring for our elderly and most vulnerable.

Chuck Rife, Pastor of Caring Ministries, keeps a list of more than 100 people who receive visits in their homes, long-term care centers or hospital rooms. Normally, those visits come in person from Chuck and his wife, Ruth, the deaconesses, and a small group of guys who visit elderly men. During the stay-at-home order, visits have been limited to phone calls and letters.

As with the rest of the population, some people are struggling while others are doing OK.

“You get all kinds of responses,” Chuck says. “One lady (in a nursing home) said, ‘I feel like an animal in a cage.’ The room is just so small. It becomes very claustrophobic. But then another lady I talked to said, ‘I love it. I can finish writing my book that I’ve been working on for 25 years.’ She’s in her 90s.” Read More

On life in the Holy Spirit: a prayer devotional

This week, for our Wednesday time of fasting and prayer, we are focusing on life in the Holy Spirit. As we learn to listen and recognize his voice, he becomes intimately involved in our everyday lives. In this short video message, Paul and Diane Geddes talk about some of the practical results this can bring.

Reflections on motherhood

by Jessi Uran | 3-minute read

Editor’s note: Jessi Uran penned this essay on motherhood in 2019. For Mother’s Day 2020, we think it’s worth another look.

 

Abba, Father.

Before the day begins, I wash my image-bearing face. As I press it dry with the towel, the mirror reminds me that there is a side to you I am called to represent — good works you have prepared that are uniquely mine to carry out.

For yes, it is true. You are Father. And yes, it is also true that you are like a Mother. Your living Word reveals this. You are the Rose of Sharon and the protective hen with outstretched wings. You are the woman searching for her lost coin and the one who longed to hold her children to her chest and give them comfort. Read More

Kaylin’s Quarantine Run

Kaylin Carlson prayed for a way to bring creativity and fun to people during COVID-19. Kaylin’s Quarantine Run has done even more — and it just keeps growing.

 

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Healthcare during COVID-19

We spoke via Zoom with three healthcare professionals who are part of our church family. Topic: COVID-19 and bringing your faith to work.

 

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On silence: a prayer devotional

Each Wednesday during this unusual season, our church family is setting aside time to fast and pray. In this week’s short video message, Pastor Josh and Brandy Pardee talk about the value of silence — quieting our minds and listening to God.

He still walks among us

by Kathy Holliday | 7-minute read

 

Sunday after Sunday, my dad and I sat in the last row of the church balcony, under the clock. As the organ swelled, we stood to sing hymns from a well-worn maroon hymnal. We always shared, and I remember my dad’s thumb, always on the lower righthand corner of the page.

As a young schoolgirl standing next to my dad, it didn’t occur to me to wonder why we always kept that weekly appointment. It was part of our weekly family rhythm. Years slipped by and eventually I started to question: Why do we keep coming? The hymns never change. What we hear never changes. What’s the point? Read More

On fellowship: a prayer devotional

Each Wednesday during this season of COVID-19, we are asking our church family to set aside time for fasting and prayer. In this week’s short video, Jason and Erin Blume talk about the importance of fellowship, and three specific areas you can pray for.

Healing the blind: A deeper look (part 2)

by Jim Killam | 5-minute read

 

Periodically on the blog, we talk with a pastor to go deeper into the subject of a particular sermon. This week, in a two-part interview, we talk with Josh Pardee, Pastor of Congregational Life, about Part 3 of Love Walked Among Us. Here’s the second half of our conversation.

 

So, we’ve talked about some misguided thinking on all this. What are some right ways to think and process as we experience fear, uncertainty, suffering? What’s a way we can focus ourselves that doesn’t take us to these judgmental places?

One, understand that Jesus sits with us in that pain and suffering. He’s fully present to that.  Two, know that he ultimately has victory in the long scheme of things, whether that happens in my physical life or on the other side of resurrection. He already has defeated sickness and this virus and even death itself. Then beyond that, this is where I think local community is so key. Because I sit with my brothers and sisters and I try to discern: God, where are you at work in this and what are you inviting me into? Read More

Healing the blind: A deeper look (part 1)

by Jim Killam | 8-minute read

 

Periodically on the blog, we talk with a pastor to go deeper into the subject of a particular sermon. This week, in a two-part interview, we talk with Josh Pardee, Pastor of Congregational Life, about Part 3 of Love Walked Among Us. Here’s the first half of our conversation.

 

Can we start by tackling the prevailing assumption that when bad things happen, it’s God’s judgment? Where does that come from? Is it biblical? 

A lot of it probably comes from the psyche of the law in the Old Testament. It’s blessing and cursing …  If you do this, then I’ll do that. In Luke 13, Jesus references the tower in Siloam and says the people who died in that tragedy were no guiltier than anyone else.

To me, there is a direct correlation between living a life contrary to the ways of God and suffering the consequences. Like, if I don’t tell the truth in my relationship with my kids or my spouse or my employer, that’s going to eventually lead to mistrust and probably devastation. Sometimes, there are also demonic influences that are trying to lead us down the path of death and destruction. Read More

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