Author Archives: John Collins

Worship — Sunday, October 10, 2021

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

IIf 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 that by clicking on the link in the Vimeo logo above and then selecting download.

You can make a contribution online via tithe.ly. Other options can be found here.

Previous worship services can be found at abilenefirstumc.org/onlineworship/.

Praise and Generosity in Worship Tomorrow

The Youth Praise Band will be leading singing tomorrow (Sunday, October 10, 2021). I’ll be preaching on generosity in all aspects of our lives, following Jesus’ lead in Mark 10:17-27. It promises to be a dynamic and meaningful service and with the Spirit’s help it can’t miss. We hope to see you there.

Funeral Services for River Millner

There will be a Service of Death and Resurrection for River Millner this Friday, October 8, 2021 at 1 p.m. in the sanctuary. In case you can’t find the obituary online, I’m posting it below:

It is with deepest sorrow that we announce our beloved River Wilson Millner passed away on October 3, 2021. He was born in Abilene, KS to David and Chalsea Millner on January 7, 1995. 

He graduated from Abilene high school in 2013, and proudly worked as a chef de cuisine at the Salina Country Club.

River’s greatest passions were cooking, reading and skateboarding. Rain or shine, summer heat or icy winter days, you would find River skating in his free time. He was not only passionate about it, but incredibly talented as well.      

River possessed a kind and loving heart, and loved his family dearly. All who knew River soon learned that he was a gentle soul and a good friend.

He was preceded in death by his papa Ed Scheele, and Uncle Adam Millner. River is survived by his parents David Millner and Chalsea Millner; best friend and brother Killian Millner and wife Sheridan; sister Zoe Millner; Grandparents Shirley Wilson, Charlie Wilson, Dick and Marita Millner, Linda and Russell Neely, Aunt Jill and Uncle Steve Lang; Uncle Chad and Aunt Becky Wilson; cousins Olivia and Ava Crist; River is also survived by many more family members and friends who will miss his company and infectious smile.

A memorial service has been planned for Friday October 8th, 2021 at 1:00 PM at the first United Methodist Church in Abilene, with graveside services to follow at the Abilene Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the River Millner Memorial Fund.  This service will follow Covid protocols.

Sermon — Sunday, October 4, 2021

In this sermon we took a closer look at what Jesus had to say about divorce. We had some tech problems recording the service on Sunday, October 3, 2021, so I pulled the sermon directly off the camera.

IIf 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 that by clicking on the link in the Vimeo logo above and then selecting download.

You can make a contribution online via tithe.ly. Other options can be found here.

Previous worship services can be found at abilenefirstumc.org/onlineworship/.

Worship Tomorrow (10/3/21)

I’ll be talking about divorce in tomorrow’s sermon (because Jesus talked about divorce in the gospel lectionary reading from Mark). We’ll be celebrating communion with Christians all over the world for World Communion Sunday. The choir will be singing “A Communion Invitation.”

A friendly reminder that tomorrow’s (Sunday, October 3, 2021) services, like those every Sunday, will be both in-person and online.

The 8:15 will be livestreamed at: vimeo.com/event/1266906

The 10:30 worship service (with better quality multiple cameras) will be uploaded later in the day to: abilenefirstumc.org/onlineworship/

You can download a bulletin here: abilenefirstumc.org/bulletin/

Voices: A Christian Nation

I’ve posted this before, but it’s still true and this time I have the citation.

“If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we’ve got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition, and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.” — Stephen Colbert [1]


[1] Comedy Central: The Colbert Report, 2010. https://on.cc.com/3m9VYFy.

Fleeing From Hell or Running to God?

Today, I had a good, practical question about my sermon on Hell this past Sunday (September 26, 2021). The question boiled down to this: if Hell only means destruction, if the consequence of Hell is not eternal torment, but rather simply that one ceases to exist, what reason is there to turn to God? What follows are short versions of my two best answers.

First, most people want to continue to exist. Sometimes, on hectic days, I think ceasing to exist wouldn’t be so bad—it would really free up my schedule—but most of the time, I fall into the human default position of wanting to continue being. When the early Methodists talked about “fleeing the wrath to come,” they were probably referring to eternal torment. However, for me, annihilation would still fall under the category of “the wrath to come.”

Second, while both fleeing Hell and moving toward God point you in the same general direction, your motivation can make a big difference. For example, would you want to marry someone who only wanted to get out of a bad situation, or would you prefer to marry someone who loved you and wanted to be with you? I think God will take us either way, but I can’t help but think that God would rather we come because God’s love pulls us in than that we come because the fear of Hell is pushing us away. Either way, we will be welcomed home, but our motivation makes a difference in the nature of our journey.

I Need Help Talking About Divorce

The Gospel reading for this coming Sunday (October 3, 2021) is Mark 10:2-16. It contains one of our favorite sayings of Jesus, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs” (NRSV). But it also contains some of Jesus’ most challenging words: those concerning divorce. I have no personal experience with divorce. Therefore, it seems like a good idea for me to heed the experiences of those of you who do. If you, your parents, or your children went through a divorce, I’m eager to learn from your experience. You can call, text, or email: 620-252-9622 and john@revcollins.com.

An additional bit of information: I have seen cases where I have advised a couple that I think divorce is their least bad option available. I have also presided at weddings for divorced people. Part of what I’ll be doing is explaining how I square my actions with what Jesus said.

Worship — Sunday, September 26, 2021

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

IIf 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 that by clicking on the link in the Vimeo logo above and then selecting download.

You can make a contribution online via tithe.ly. Other options can be found here.

Previous worship services can be found at abilenefirstumc.org/onlineworship/.

CCLI# 811889 — CCLI CSPL #124080

Tomorrow’s Services Online

A friendly reminder that tomorrow’s (Sunday, September 25, 2021) services, like those every Sunday, will be both in-person and online.

The 8:15 will be livestreamed at: vimeo.com/event/1266906

The 10:30 worship service (with better quality multiple cameras) will be uploaded later in the day to: abilenefirstumc.org/onlineworship/

You can download a bulletin here: abilenefirstumc.org/bulletin/

A Sermon About the Nature of Hell (Updated)

I had planned to talk about 1 John 4:7-2 and the hymn “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” this Sunday, but plans have changed. I’ll now be preaching a sermon about the nature of hell on Mark 9:38-50. This is happening because I like to introduce the scripture passages that I don’t preach on. Mark 9:38-50 has a few things that need to be carefully explained, so I sat down to write out what needed to be said. I started writing a brief introduction and ended up with a full-blown sermon. I suspect and hope that the Holy Spirit was involved.

Note: we’ll still be singing “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.” In an interesting twist, that hymn still fits with the sermon.