All posts in “COVID-19”

Lessons from the garden

by Jessi Uran | 6-minute read

 

Sunflowers never make it at our homestead. Every year, with ideal hopes and renewed resolve, I try to get the open-faced, golden giants of the flower world to take. Every year I am met with new obstacles.

One year we got such heavy rains that the seeds never had a chance. They were washed away under the fence to our back alley. Last year the tender shoots arrived just in time to feed a family of hungry bunnies that had burrowed a hole in our yard.

This year? Each sunflower toppled under its own weight. I had planted them too shallow in our raised garden beds, and their root structures were too short and anemic. All it took was some strong winds at the beginning of summer and over they fell. Read More

Rise and Build: Q&R with Pastor Luke Uran

by Jim Killam | 10-minute read

 

With a new sermon series under way, we spoke with Lead Pastor Luke Uran about the book of Nehemiah, leadership and prayer for our church as we enter a new season. Read More

Pandemic deepens a mental health crisis

by Jim Killam | 6-minute read

 

One in four.

That is the number of American adults ages 18-24 who “seriously considered suicide” in the month before a national survey this summer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the alarming statistics from a survey done in late June. That’s not all. When asked about their emotional state in the month before the survey … Read More

Back to school during Covid-19

As we prepare for a school year like no other, we spoke with two teachers and an administrator about their upcoming challenges, and how our church family can pray.

Teachers:
Jason Blume
Heather Schlueter
Rob Ullrich

Interviewer:
Jim Killam

Recorded Monday, Aug. 17, 2020

*Opinions expressed are the individuals’ own, and do not necessarily represent First Free Rockford, Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) or their places of employment.

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.
Read More

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

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