All posts in “Worship”

The Lord our God is mighty

“Revelation 19” performed by the First Free Rockford choir, written by Jeffrey LaValley and arrangement by Jack Schrader.

School year prayer of dedication

We asked several people from our church family who are teachers and students to record a corporate prayer of dedication and God’s blessing on our students, teachers, administrators and staff — from preschool to graduate or trade school, or home school.

 

DOWNLOAD PRAYER TEXT

Written by:
Jim Killam & Rob Ullrich

Readers:
Allegra Griffin (student)
Emma Joiner (student)
Heather Schlueter (teacher)
Rob & Cherice Ullrich (teachers)

Music
Baptize Me by Benjamin James (Musicbed license)

 

Meet First Free’s one-woman band

by Jim Killam | 5-minute read

 

You wouldn’t know it by watching her play, but First Free organist Karen Anderson controls a warehouse full of electronic relays, pneumatic tubes, wall-sized louvers and — literally — almost 2,000 bells and whistles. Read More

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

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

Choir Festival: Q&R with Dr. Gary Bonner

by Jim Killam | 5-minute read

 

In advance of the Community Choir Festival March 6-7 at First Free Rockford, we spoke via email with workshop leader Dr. Gary Bonner.

What should attendees expect from this workshop? What could change for them?

If we do our jobs well, the singers should be energized, encouraged, motivated and excited. We always hope they will become better music readers, be more understanding of what their role in the body is, and hopefully, understand their role in ministry better. Read More

‘His mercy is more’

On Sunday, the congregations at all three of our main campus venues sang the modern hymn His Mercy is More. The refrain goes:

Stronger than darkness, new every morn
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

Written by Matt Papa and Matt Boswell, the hymn draws from a 1767 letter and sermon by John Newton. Here’s an excerpt from that letter:

Are not you amazed sometimes that you should have so much as a hope, that, poor and needy as you are, the Lord thinketh of you?
But let not all you feel discourage you. For if our Physician is almighty, our disease cannot be desperate and if He casts none out that come to Him, why should you fear?
Our sins are many, but His mercies are more: our sins are great, but His righteousness is greater: we are weak, but He is power.

True to his letter, Newton’s sins were many. Read More

Christmas in the Congo featured image

Christmas in the Congo

With First Free Rockford’s strong connection to the Congolese church and to Tabitha centers in the capital city of Kinshasa, Christmastime unites us even more.

ReachGlobal missionaries Jim and Ruth Snyder and their family lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1985 to 1996, back when the country was called Zaire. (ReachGlobal is the world mission agency of the Evangelical Free Church of America.) We spoke with Jim via email about his family’s memories of Christmas in the Congo.

From a Nativity play: Herod’s soldiers after receiving the decree from Caesar Augustus. They especially enjoy brandishing the wooden swords. Photos provided by Mike and Julia Anne McCord

Is Christmas a big deal in DRC? It’s a public holiday, right?

Christmas is a VERY big deal. Employers generally give food stuffs (chickens, rice, fish, salt, sugar) to their employees and often have parties in early December which include a meal and the distribution of these. The closer one lives to Kinshasa, the more commercialized it has become. China’s influence (believe it or not) has introduced plastic Christmas trees, lights of all sorts and decorations that are now in many homes and churches. In general, people look forward to the holiday as it affords time off from work and with extended family.

Read More