All posts in “It’s a Wonderful Life”

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

O Holy Night

Laura Nothnagel, Evonne Johnson and Nathan Fry perform O Holy Night in the sanctuary of First Free Rockford.

Song written by Adolphe Adam and Placide Cappeau (public domain).

His Name Shall Be

First Free Rockford’s chorale and orchestra virtually perform His Name Shall Be.

Song written by Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman (ThankYou Music).

The incarnational work of an artist

by Nathan McDonald | 3-minute read

 

These thoughts are inspired in part by Madeline L’Engle and N.T. Wright, and when I refer to the “Artist,” I am referring to the general sense of the word as someone who creates and holds some skill (or skills) in an art form.

 

“I am the Lord’s servant, ready to serve.
May it be with me as you have said”
–Luke 1:38

 

Mary had just received the most mysterious news. An angel declared that she would give birth to a son by the Holy Spirit. She responded with the humility of a servant and the open heart of an artist: I am the Lord’s servant, ready to serve. May it be with me as you have said. Read More

Finding our place in a larger story

by Jim Killam | 4-minute read

 

When King Solomon had finished praying to dedicate the temple in Jerusalem, he stood and turned toward the people of Israel.

“May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us nor forsake us,” he shouted.

That’s 1 Kings 8:57. The whole dedication ceremony was a beautiful picture of reverent worship, but even that single line speaks volumes. Read More

Joy in the presence of fear

by Mary Harker | 3-minute read

 

“But the angel said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid, for look, I bring you great tidings of great joy that will be for all people.’
Luke 2:10 (CSB)

 

When I hear the word fear, joy is not the next word that comes to mind. 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

Bethlehem and basketball

By Jim Killam | 3-minute read

 

Scripture: Micah 5:2
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.

 

On March 2, 1962, the NBA’s Philadelphia Warriors met the New York Knicks in what looked to be a meaningless, late-season game. Sometimes the league would schedule games in small towns as a way to drum up new fans. This one was in Hershey, Pa., which would be equivalent to the Chicago Bulls playing a game in Belvidere.
History happened that night. 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