Category Archives: Preaching

This Sunday’s Sermon

This Sunday I’ll be preaching on Matthew 5:13-20, focusing on 17-20. This is the scripture reading that I polled you about earlier on in the week. I started this sermon without knowing where I was going to end up. It has not been an easy journey, but I’m happy with the destination. I feel the Spirit has been with me and I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned with you.

Sermon Question

These two verses are in next week’s lectionary reading from the Gospel of Matthew:

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18, NRSV)

These verses have long puzzled me. I’ve long gotten hung up on them. Have you ever wondered what they meant? Would you like them addressed in a sermon? Let me know at john@revcollins.com.

A Little Help Please

This Sunday, I’ll be preaching on Isaiah 65:17-25. The passage was addressed to Israel at a time when things had not turned out quite the way they had hoped. I’m looking for examples of times in your life when things did not go the way you had hoped/expected/planned. Drop me a line at john@revcollins.com.

Preaching and Stranger Things — Follow Up

To follow up on my previous post: 1. The working sermon title is “Stranger Things, Personal Responsibility, and the Holy Spirit.” 2. You won’t need to have watched “Stranger Things” to follow the sermon. At most, the example is simply a way for people who didn’t live through the 80’s to relate. 3. I don’t think there’s any danger that I’ll reveal any spoilers.

This Sunday’s Sermon

I plan to preach on Luke 10:25-37 (the parable of the good Samaritan). In my reading to prepare for the sermon, I just learned something new—one can never exhaust the depths of the scriptures, even the best-known scriptures —and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you. It’s a reminder that the surprising thing is not that Jesus was crucified, but that it didn’t happen sooner.

Biblical Pronunciation Guide

One of the lectionary Bible commentaries I consult, The Lector’s Guide and Commentary has a pronunciation guide for every lectionary reading. Here are the words for Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18:

Abram (AY-bruhm)
Chaldeans (kal-DEE-uhnz)
Damascus (duh-MAS-kuhs)
Eliezer (el’-ih-EE-zer)
Euphrates (yoo-FRAY-teez)
heifer (HEH-fer)
Ur (ER) [1]

I imagine it’s very helpful to some, but I just found it hilarious that the second to last one was listed and thought I would share.


[1] J. Ted Blakley, A Lector’s Guide and Commentary to the Revised Common Lectionary (Wichita, Kansas: St. Mark’s Press, 2010), 105.

Why N. T. Wright

At the potluck this past Sunday, I was finally asked the question I’ve long been waiting to be asked: “Do you read anyone other than N. T. Wright?” The answer is yes, I read a lot of other people. That answer naturally leads to another question: “Then why do you reference N. T. Wright so often in sermons?” It’s a great question. If you think you don’t like how often I reference N. T. Wright in sermons, please believe me when I tell you that I like it even less. The problem is he routinely provides insights into scripture and the Christian faith that I haven’t encountered anywhere else. Furthermore, quite often these insights provide a new way of looking at a scripture that solves a lot of exegetical problems while preserving the original gospel message.

Last Sunday’s sermon on Holy Communion was a good example. In, The Day the Revolution Began, Wright wrote:

“I have made the point elsewhere, but it bears repeating: when Jesus wanted to explain to his followers what his forthcoming death was all about, he did not give them a theory, a model, a metaphor, or any other such thing; he gave them a meal.” [1]

In hindsight, this is a blindingly obvious point, but it is one I had never heard before. I’ve read a lot of biblical commentaries on the last supper, I’ve read a great many books about Holy Communion, none of which have made this point. I wanted to share that insight with you, and so I was once again stuck referencing N. T. Wright. When several biblical scholars/theologians make the same point, I don’t feel the need to cite my sources [2], but when I’ve only found something in one author, I do. That’s the main reason I so often end up referencing Wright. Another reason is that because he’s Anglican we often share a set of core beliefs and a basic interpretive framework (John Wesley was an Anglican priest until the day he died). It also doesn’t help that Wright’s a prolific author—sometimes I feel that he can write faster than I can read and digest what he’s written.


[1] N. T. Wright, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion (New York: Harper Collins, 2018), Kindle Locations 2995-2996.

[2] In part because it’s often impractical if not impossible to track the point back to its original source.