This sermon was presented by Geoff Pound on 23 April 2017 at the Ashburton Baptist Church. It is the first in a new series in the first letter of Peter. Questions for personal and group study are listed after the sermon manuscript.
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 1:1 - 12
A man in a hot air balloon realised he was lost. So he reduced altitude and spotted a woman on the ground below.
He descended a bit more and shouted, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I’d meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am”.
The woman below replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.”
The balloonist said: “You must be an engineer”,
The woman said, “I am. How did you know”?
The balloonist said, “Well, everything you told me is technical but I’ve no idea what to make of your information and the fact is I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help at all. If anything, you’ve delayed my trip.”
The woman below responded, “You must be in Management”.
The balloonist said, “I am. How did you know?”
She said, “Well, you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault.”
The recipients of the first letter of Peter were like this balloonist, unsure of where they were, uncertain of where they were going and disoriented.
Easter at Emmaus
This sermon was presented by Geoff Pound at Ashburton Baptist Church on Easter Sunday, 16 April 2017.
Scripture Reading: Luke 24: 13-35
On the wall at the church where I grew up was this large painting. It’s called The Road to Emmaus. It was painted by Robert Zünd, a 19th century Swiss painter. You can see that his fondness for painting oak trees makes the scenery look more like Switzerland than Palestine. It depicts this stranger falling in step with two grieving disciples who don’t recognize him. It captures verse 27 in today’s reading where Luke says:
The Seven Last Words from the Cross
These reflections were presented at the 9.30am Good Friday Service on 14 April 2017. Our custom is to combine with the Ashburton Uniting Church and this year we hosted our Uniting friends at the Ashburton Baptist Church. The service was led by ABC pastors Keren McClelland and Geoff Pound. They presented these reflections many of which were interspersed with silence and Good Friday hymns and songs.
We come to hear these famous last words of Jesus. They’re the last words, not uttered from a lectern but from the cross of slow and painful execution.
I am the Resurrection and the Life
This sermon was presented by Geoff Pound on 2 April 2017.
Scripture Reading: John 11:1 - 45
In your English class at school, you’ll probably remember your teacher saying that verbs are what make stories powerful.
Verbs describe what actually happens.
Verbs kick start a sentence and move the story with vigour.
Verbs make a speech crackle and, if you’re a sports commentator describing action on the footy field or the cricket pitch, you’ve got to be a master of verbs, to keep your listeners riveted.
Listen to how author, Laura Hillenbrand, described the last lap when the champion racehorse Seabiscuit, made his winning sprint:
I Once Was Blind But Now I See
This sermon was presented at the Ashburton Baptist Church by Geoff Pound on 26 March 2017.
Scripture Reading: John 9:1 - 41
Bob Edens had been blind for all his 51 years. He couldn't see a thing. His world was only a black hall of sounds and smells. He literally felt his way through five decades of darkness. But then, a skilled surgeon performed a complicated operation and, for the first time, Bob Edens could see.
He found it so overwhelming. He said:
"I never would have dreamed that yellow is so...yellow. I don't have the words. I’m amazed by yellow. But red is my favourite colour. I just can't believe red.”
This sermon was presented at ABC by Geoff Pound on 19 March 2017. We used this film clip in the place of the reading. Questions for personal and group study are listed at the conclusion of this sermon manuscript..
Scripture Reading: John 4:5-42
The NZ born journalist, Peter Arnett, became a household name as he reported for CNN on the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the War on Iraq. He tells of an incident when he’s in the West Bank: A bomb goes off. Bodies are blown through the air. The Israeli troops seal off the whole area.
A man comes running up to Arnett with a bloodied little girl in his arms. He says, 'You are press, you can get us out of here. If I don't get her into a hospital immediately she's going to die.”
Peter said, "I put them in the back seat of the car and threw a blanket over them. And I did get through the lines. As I drove towards Tel Aviv, I could hear him in the back seat, rocking this little girl in his arms and whispering: "Go faster, oh God help him to go faster.”
Born from Above
This sermon was presented by Geoff Pound at the Ashburton Baptist Church on 12 March 2017.
My name is Nicodemus.
You Aussies, who love to shorten every name, might call me Nico.
I’m known as Nic to my wife or Nike to my friends.
Yes, it’s the same name as the brand for sports equipment.
Nike or Nico means ‘victory’ in Greek.
Nicodemus means ‘victory of the people’. That was the name and the hope given to me by my parents.
Journey Up and Down the Mountain
This sermon was presented to the Ashburton Baptist Church by Geoff Pound on Transfiguration Sunday, 26 February 2017. It concludes with some questions for personal and group study.
Matthew 17:1-9 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
17 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3 Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”