Author Archives: John Collins

What Does Friendship Mean to You?

This coming Sunday (May 9, 2021), I plan to preach on John 15:9-17. In verses 14-15, Jesus does a remarkable thing: he calls us friends. I looking for some help from all of you. What does friendship (in general, not with Jesus), mean to you. What makes someone a friend?

Voices: Our Actual Behavior

From C. S. Lewis:

“Fine feelings, new insights, greater interest in ‘religion’ mean nothing unless they make our actual behavior better; just as in an illness ‘feeling better’ is not much good if the thermometer shows that your temperature is still going up.” [1]

Lewis wrote these words in Mere Christianity in 1952. Some parts are dated or were never accurate in the first place (e.g., don’t take marriage advice from a single man writing during the Eisenhower administration). But what is remarkable is not what he gets wrong, but the great deal he gets right.


[1] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York, NY: HarperOne, 2001), 210.

Online Worship for May 2, 2021

If you’re having trouble streaming our worship videos, you may want to simply download the entire video to your device and then play it. You can do so with this link.

Note: it appears that the input and output on the system we use to send the service to the radio station via phone got reversed and so the phone call you hear mid-service was Wendy attempting to get things online for our radio listeners.

Our Vimeo page is: vimeo.com/abilenefirstumc.

If you want to follow along with bulletin you can follow this link or the link in the menu above.

Previous worship services can be found at vimeo.com/abilenefirstumc.

Our Worship Dilemma

I’ve been praying for and trying to think of a solution to our current in-person worship dilemma. We have at least four different schools of thought when it comes to worship. Here’s my understanding of them (I know of people in each of these categories):

  1. People who are worshipping from home because they don’t believe it’s safe to be in large groups no matter what precautions are taken.
  2. People who are worshipping in the sanctuary because they believe that the precautions we are taking are adequate.
  3. People who are worshipping in the sanctuary despite their belief that the precautions we are taking are unnecessary.
  4. People who are worshipping from home (or attending elsewhere) because they believe that the precautions we are taking are unnecessary.

I’ve been praying for and trying to think of a solution that can bring all four groups together on the same page. Your thoughts and suggestions are welcome.

Online Worship for April 25, 2021

If you’re having trouble streaming our worship videos, you may want to simply download the entire video to your device and then play it. You can do so with this link.

Our Vimeo page is: vimeo.com/abilenefirstumc.

If you want to follow along with bulletin you can follow this link or the link in the menu above.

Previous worship services can be found at vimeo.com/abilenefirstumc.

Voices: Henri Nouwen on Joy

Wise words from Henri Nouwen:

Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. It is a choice based on the knowledge that we belong to God and have found in God our refuge and our safety and that nothing, not even death, can take God away from us. [1]

I don’t know about you, but I need to practice choosing joy.


[1] Henri J. M. Nouwen, Here and Now: Living in the Spirit (New York, NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1994), Kindle.