Trusting God when ‘why’ goes unanswered

by Pastor Chuck Rife | 3-minute read

 

COVID-19 continues to run its course and affect each of our lives. No one is excluded. I know many in our church family, especially our elderly, are sheltered in place and feeling cut off from life, family and friends. Our tendency in such times is to become downcast, negative and to blame God. We don’t like being placed in situations we can’t control.

And yet, unknown difficulties have always come into the lives of people. God has often been blamed and questioned “why.” Martha and Mary’s lives were thrown into a tizzy with the death of their brother, Lazarus. Human nature wants to find someone to blame, and they found Jesus to be the culprit in their brother’s death. Why? Read More

And now a Word from our sponsor

by Jim Killam | 4-minute read

 

Uncertainty, dread and anger soak our culture this summer. Let’s take a break. Here are a few Scripture passages, some thoughts from various writers, and some peaceful photos of God’s creation to help counteract all of that.
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Aliens, seafaring monks and trust

by Jim Killam | 6-minute read

 

The 1997 sci-fi film Contact, based on the book by Carl Sagan, made an unusually good attempt to reconcile science and faith. Both share a search for truth and “a thirst for wonder” that sometimes neither wants to acknowledge about the other.

Sagan himself was deeply agnostic, saying he could find no scientific evidence for belief in God. Yet in Contact he searched for common ground — and found some. Sure, from a Christian point of view we could poke some holes, but when a scientist’s novel and then a major Hollywood offering help their audiences think hard about faith, I’d call that a cultural win.

The film is a generation old, but I’ve been thinking about it during COVID-19. We all feel an alarming lack of control. No one knows what our society will look like in a month, let alone a year or two. Will we be locked down again? Can our economy withstand more? When is a vaccine coming? Read More

Summer mission trip interview with Student Ministries

Our students’ summer mission trips were canceled, but ministry goes on! We spoke with Student Ministries Director Meredith Domanico and Middle School Coordinator Clayton Ganziano, about plans for our students to serve locally this month.

They would welcome your prayer support. You can download a prayer guide below.

 

DOWNLOAD PRAYER GUIDE

 

 

Encore video: 50th Annual Patriotic Celebration

The Patriotic Celebration has been a First Free Rockford summer tradition since 1970. Of course, this year’s event, which would have been our 51st consecutive, has been canceled by COVID-19.

For those who are missing the event this summer, we are happy to present an encore video of last year’s 50th Annual Patriotic Celebration. The evening celebrated our heritage and honored our veterans and active military members … all in a spirit of thanks to God for our true freedom in Jesus Christ.

You can also download the printed program from last year (see below), and follow along with the long list of special music and performers.

Enjoy! And Happy Independence Day.

 

DOWNLOAD PROGRAM

Q&R with Pastor Luke: June 2020

by Jim Killam | 10-minute read

 

In this “everything but the kitchen sink” interview, Lead Pastor Luke Uran talks about adjusting to a unique season, the Ten Commandments sermon series, the national conversation on race, COVID-19 and gathering again for worship.

 

First, how are you?

I’m hanging in there. It’s been a whirlwind, going back to the beginning of the coronavirus and now obviously with the racial tension and divide that our country is facing. I think it has definitely affected everyone in one way or another. There is a heaviness to these days. It’s still taking some adjusting. Read More

Playing it by ear

by Rob Ullrich | 5-minute read

 

Occasionally, when my seventh graders are working in my classroom, I’ll play jazz. They don’t know they’re hearing Django Reinhardt, the guitar giant who shaped a genre around himself. They couldn’t trace his influence to the musicians on their YouTube channels. They can’t tell the story of his terrible accident and miraculous comeback.

It’s an anonymous background tune for them, but a time machine for me. Reinhardt’s style is frequently featured in World War II movies and dramas of that same period. Picture that scene in a smoky, low-lit jazz club.

For the past few months, there has been no jazz crooning from my classroom speakers. Teachers had to improvise to transform their classrooms into remote hubs for e-learning. This task took extemporaneous technique. It was a jazz number and I was playing it by ear. Read More