Up and Down the Mountain, includes Study Guide

Published: Monday, 12 February 2018

This sermon was presented by Geoff Pound at ABC on 11 February 2018. It is the first in the ‘Journey in Mark’ series. Following the lectionary readings, the occasion was Transfiguration Sunday. The service contained reports on Small Groups and included a commissioning of some of our young adults departing for overseas. With Ash Wednesday happening on 14 February, this sermon concludes with an invitation to take the sign of a dusty cross on the forehead or arm.

At the end of the sermon manuscript there are some questions for Personal Reflection and Group Study.

Reading: Mark 9:2 - 9 

If you’ve ever visited an IKEA store you’ll know the IKEA experience. You may go only to get some tea lights and they’re probably in a room close to the entrance but by ropes and signs you’re led for a couple of hours on a wild goose chase through this never-ending building.

They take you from one floor to the next through curated rooms. From the kitchenware rooms, to bathrooms, everything is all decked out with the latest furnishings, and then you’re taken through bedrooms, lounge rooms, balconies, the lot!

There are no windows to look out of. Who knows where you are? Who knows where you’re going? You are muddled in a maze. You’re lost in this labyrinth. But in your daze, you see so much that you think would come in handy at your place.

Just as your trolley is full to the brim, you come to the room before the checkout. It looks like a warehouse to remind you that all your purchases are bargains. You pay, load up your car and when you phone to say, “I’ll be home soon”, your family member or flatmate says, “Where have you been? I hope you’ve got the tea lights!”

Read more: Up and Down the Mountain, includes Study Guide

Study Guide - For such a time as this

Published: Thursday, 08 February 2018

For Such a Time as This

This is a study for Small Groups based on Geoff Pound’s sermon (see the manuscript and listen to the podcast) delivered on 28 January 2018 at Ashburton Baptist Church.

Reading: Esther 4: 1-17

Godless?

“The book of Esther is the only book in the Bible that never mentions the word ‘God’. It doesn’t contain any prayers or hymns so how can such a godless book have any spiritual nourishment?”

How can you express something of the love of God without mentioning God’s name?

How can you show something of the courage of Jesus without naming his name?

Does the energy of the Holy Spirit silently pulsate through your conduct and your conversations?

Got any examples?

What inspires you about the character and actions of Esther?

Where does the presence of God shine through this story to you?

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Study Guide - Living the Dream

Published: Thursday, 08 February 2018

Living the Dream

This is a study for Small Groups based on Geoff Pound’s sermon (see the manuscript and listen to the podcast) delivered on 21 January 2018 at Ashburton Baptist Church.

Readings: Genesis 37: 2-11; Acts 2: 16-17

I Have a Dream

“One of the great gifts is to be captivated by a God given dream. To receive a compelling picture of the work to which we need to be giving our lives.”

Martin Luther King Jnr was able to articulate clearly and with colourful pictures his dream.

What are some of the words and pictures you’d use to portray your greatest dream?

Read more: Study Guide - Living the Dream

Study Guide - Give it a go!

Published: Thursday, 08 February 2018

Give it a Go!

This is a study for Small Groups based on Geoff Pound’s sermon (see the manuscript and listen to the podcast) delivered on 7 January at the Ashburton Baptist Church as a New Year message for 2018.

Introductory Icebreaker

Geoff mentions that ‘Give it a Go!’ was one of the strong messages he and his siblings received as children.

What was one of the strongest messages that you received in your home growing up?

Enlarge! Stretch Out! Lengthen! Strengthen!

The prophet Isaiah was urging new possibilities for his people when he said:

Enlarge the site of your tent,
    and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
    and strengthen your stakes.

-          Isaiah 54: 2

Read more: Study Guide - Give it a go!

For Such a Time as This

Published: Monday, 29 January 2018

This sermon was presented by Geoff Pound on 28 January, 2018.

Reading: Esther 4: 1-17

Study Guide

Today’s study comes from a book of the Bible that we seldom dip into. This little book is sandwiched between the popular books of Nehemiah and Job. There was controversy over whether this book should be included in the canon of Scripture. Christian leaders like Martin Luther argued that this book should be snipped from the Scriptures. Their argument was that the book of Esther is the only book in the Bible that never mentions the word ‘God’. It doesn’t contain any prayers or hymns so how can such a godless book have any spiritual nourishment?

Can you express something of the love of God without mentioning God’s name?

Can you show something of the courage of Jesus without naming his name?

Does the energy of the Holy Spirit silently pulsate through your conduct and your conversations?

Esther’s story reminds us that we don’t have to tie Bible texts onto tulips in order for them to communicate the wonder and beauty of their creator.[1]

Read more: For Such a Time as This

The Hands of God

Published: Monday, 22 January 2018

This sermon was preached by Geoff Pound at the Ashburton Baptist Church on the 31 December 2017.

Reading: Matthew 8: 1-4; 14-17

Think of all the ways in everyday conversation that we mention hands. We decline an invitation because we’ve got our hands full. We take matters into our own hands. When we ask for help we say, “Can you give us a hand?”

We talk about acting high-handedly. We speak about someone who gave us a real backhander. We throw up our hands in horror. If a cricketer has a safe pair of hands they’re put into the slips. All week at the cricket we’ve wondered, ‘Which team has the upper hand’?

In the Sydney to Hobart yacht race when you’ve got strong winds, you need all hands on deck. By the way, were all your Christmas presents new or were some second hand?  When President Reagan was asked for changes to his defence policy: “Don’t tie my hands on the arms issue.”

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Give it a Go

Published: Monday, 22 January 2018

This new year sermon was preached by Geoff Pound on the 7 January 2018 at the Ashburton Baptist Church.

Study Guide

Readings: Isaiah 54: 1-8; Mark 1: 16-20

One evening when my sister and I were in Grades 7 & 6, our dad asked over the dinner table: “What happened at school today?” Before I could swallow my mouthful, my sister blurted out that there was an announcement at assembly about a speech contest organized by the Rotary Club.

Dad said to us both: “You’re going to enter the speech contest, aren’t you?” I said: “We don’t have to. It’s not compulsory!”

To which Dad said: “Give it a go!”

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Living the Dream

Published: Monday, 22 January 2018

This sermon was preached by Geoff Pound at Ashburton Baptist Church on Sunday 21 January 2018.

Readings: Genesis 37: 2-11; Acts 2: 16-17

Study Guide

The third Monday of January in the United States is a holiday to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Junior. Last Monday was the day this year, for encouraging people to advance the achievements of that Baptist preacher.

Some years ago, our family toured the American South, to retrace the steps and the story of King and the civil rights movement.

We visited the home in Atlanta where Martin and the King family had grown up.

We went to the Ebenezer Baptist Church and were deeply moved by the exuberant worship.

Our children swung on the trees outside the Dexter Street Baptist Church in Montgomery Alabama where the bus boycotts were organised in the 1950s.

We saw the cell where King wrote his famous ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ in which he told church leaders why his people couldn’t wait.

We pondered those small beginnings when Rosa Parks defiantly took her place at the front of the bus believing that all people are precious in God’s sight.

We imagined the thousands who marched to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, and heard Martin Luther King Junior telling those people over and over again, ‘I have a dream’.

One of the great gifts is to be captivated by a God given dream.

Read more: Living the Dream