All posts in “Featured Stories”

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Book Spotlight: January 2021

by Jim Killam | 5-minute read

 

Winter is a great time to discover books that can challenge us, help deepen our faith and spark our imaginations. Here are a few staff recommendations for books you can find in the Scroll Resource Center. Read More

Q&R with Pastor Luke Uran

by Jim Killam | 6-minute read

 

As a tumultuous year draws to a close, we spoke with Lead Pastor Luke Uran about spiritual lessons he will remember from 2020, and looking ahead to a new sermon series to start 2021. Read More

Q&R: Therapist David Creek – part 1

by Jim Killam | 7-minute read

 

First Free Rockford offers a list of recommended marriage and family counselors. One of those is David Creek. In the first of two parts, Dave talks about spiritually healthy ways to deal with this high-pressure year. 

 

I’m using the word “navigating” a lot right now for the holidays, for COVID, for the political stuff and everything else that’s on the radar. What are you seeing as a counselor? How are people doing?

I think that’s one of the most appropriate terms, because navigating makes me think of boating. It makes me think of coming upon a storm. Like anything, you can be faced with something that you are unprepared for. Nobody was really ready for this. Read More

Darcie Eklund: A Run to Remember

by Jim Killam | 14-minute read

 

“There’s no greater feeling than winning a race.”
–Jeff Gordon, NASCAR driver

 

This is the story of a beautiful girl who won lots of races. It’s about a close family that grew around that girl and protected her, swords drawn. It’s about unconditional love, and a precious gift disguised to some as a burden. It’s a story that changed more people than we can count. Read More

Your 2020 Christmas music sampler

by Jim Killam | 5-minute read

 

We asked First Free’s three musical worship leaders — Renee Cooper, Nathan Fry and Nathan McDonald — for Christmas music recommendations. They came back with quite a variety. Read More

Gratitude

by Jessi Uran | 3-minute read

 

We trailed through whispering, gold grasses,
making our way around the shining lake.

Our cheeks were a mix of dusty rose from the cold,
and dainty pink from the noonday sun. Read More

A kintsugi life

by Steve Jensen | 4-minute read

The earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, off the cost of Japan left behind a broken nation. 15,899 people died. 6,157 people were injured. 2,219 went missing. Over 120,000 buildings were flattened and another 280,000 partially collapsed. The event’s price tag came to over $235 billion, making it the single most costly natural disaster in history. Beyond the physical and financial devastation was the frightening reality of radioactive particles released into the air and water for miles around the Fukushima power plant. The nation was broken.

And brokenhearted. Read More

Coping with anxiety over COVID-19: a Q&R with Dick Burkett

by Jim Killam | 8-min read

 

Dick Burkett is president of a prayer and counseling ministry called Restoration Ministries of Rockford. Dick and his wife, Ellen, are part of our church family at First Free Rockford. We spoke with Dick about spiritual and emotional health during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

What are you noticing among people you counsel?

I’m seeing a lot of people trying to cope with stresses and fears of the unknown. A lot of uncertainty. There are things that we don’t know and there are things that we do know. We need to realize the difference. We don’t know what tomorrow is going to look like. We don’t know what our 401K is going to look like. We don’t know if we have the virus, or how long this will last.

Read More