September 16, 2020 / 3 1386
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
by Jim Killam | 7-minute read
Jim Rosene is president of Kids Around the World, a Rockford-based ministry that has impacted millions of children’s lives globally. We spoke with him in advance of First Free’s Million Reasons2Serv event on Sept. 12. Our church plans to pack 50,000 meals to help address the global food crisis. Read More
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
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.
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.
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
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
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