Creative Accounting

Published: Monday, 22 May 2017

This sermon is part of the biblical series in the first letter of Peter. It was delivered by Geoff Pound at ABC on 21st May 2017. The sermon manuscript is followed by questions for personal study and group discussion. (It is a short, textual sermon because we had a full service, including an interview on work in Malawi and this was followed by a Church Meeting and lunch.)

Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 3:13 - 22 creative accountingB GP

The American pastor, John Claypool, told about a significant experience in his development. As a 10 year old, one Sunday afternoon, he was playing in the backyard with his neighbour who was a new boy who’d lived in many countries of the world.

When John’s mother called him to come in his friend was upset because their play was disrupted. The boy from next door asked why John had to leave.

Without sensing he was walking into a landmine, John said, “I’ve got to go in and get dressed to go to church”. At the sound of that word his face darkened and he said, “Church. Do you believe in that stuff? My father says that anyone who thinks there is a God is just a plain fool.” 

John was absolutely flabbergasted. He’d been brought up in a Baptist church under the protectiveness of the Bible belt. He’d never heard words like this before. Here was a real live atheist in his own backyard!

So, in his panic he did what we humans usually do—he struck back in anger. He said, “Well, my father believes there is a God. I think your father is the one who is a fool.” And with that word of loving witness John went inside to get ready to go to church, to learn how to witness to pagans.

But something happened that afternoon that John couldn’t dismiss from his mind. Later that night he remembered thinking, “Here I am, believing that there is a God because my father says there is one, and here is my friend doing the same thing, only he is coming to the opposite conclusion”.

So, it began to dawn that there are many different beliefs and there had to be a better reason for one’s own religious convictions than the opinion of somebody else. So as of that night, John Claypool became a young man with questions.

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Living Stones

Published: Monday, 15 May 2017

living stonesThis sermon was delivered by Geoff Pound to the Ashburton Baptist Church on 14 May 2017 (Mother’s Day) and is part of a series in 1st Peter. The sermon manuscript is followed by some questions for personal and group study.

Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 2:1 - 10

A man went to his regular hairdresser and the barber asked the usual question, “How do you want your hair cut this time?”

The man said, “Would you cut my hair a little longer on this side and shorter on this side?”

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In His Steps

Published: Monday, 08 May 2017

070517 In His Steps GPThis sermon, in the series in 1 Peter, was presented at the Ashburton Baptist Church on 7 May 2017 by Geoff Pound. This sermon manuscript is followed by some questions for personal/group study and discussion. The footnotes contain extra information to aid study.

Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 2: 11 - 25

On our first visit to the United States of America we got off the plane at Los Angeles and we entered the airport building. Approaching customs and immigration we had a choice of two lanes:

The first lane had the sign, ‘US Citizens’ and the other lane was marked, ‘Aliens’.

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What did you do in the war, Grandpa?

Published: Thursday, 04 May 2017

their courageKeren's interview in the service on April 30th was of James Anderson who has just completed a book on the 10th Field Ambulance of WW1. He reflected on his grandfather's diaries but also other members of the unit including Percy Samson. There are two "library" copies you could borrow from James and Susan. Copies are also available to purchase. Recently an ABC program "You Can't Ask That" also focused on war veterans in a worthwhile way.

There were a number of things that struck Keren as the diaries unfolded:

Read more: What did you do in the war, Grandpa?

Living Hope

Published: Monday, 24 April 2017

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.

230417 GP LivingHopeScripture 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”.

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Easter at Emmaus

Published: Monday, 17 April 2017

Caravaggio Supper at EmmausThis 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.[1] 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:

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The Seven Last Words from the Cross

Published: Monday, 17 April 2017

words from the crossThese 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.

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I am the Resurrection and the Life

Published: Monday, 03 April 2017

This sermon was presented by Geoff Pound on 2 April 2017.

Scripture Reading: John 11:1 - 45 020417 Jesus wept GP

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.[1]

Listen to how author, Laura Hillenbrand, described the last lap when the champion racehorse Seabiscuit, made his winning sprint:

Read more: I am the Resurrection and the Life