Light of the World

Published: Sunday, 04 May 2014

This address was given by Lucy Johnson at ABC on 4 May 2014 and is part of the series in the Gospel of Matthew. Listen to the podcast.

Last night Paul and I were driving up the street to get dinner and we literally got EVERY red light!  In the space of about 2km we were stopped at 6 lights!  These lights were very annoying!  However it is not those sort of lights we are focusing on this morning,

The theme of the morning is Light.  Through the bible there are 146 references to light! From the very forst chapter it is a central part of the story of God.  I feel quiet excited to be talking about this topic today.  The main reason – my name actually means bringer of light!

Light is central to so much of what we do.  With out light, we would be so limited.  WE can easily take light for granted but this morning as I speak, we are going to have Wendy painting.  For Wendy, light is so important.  Its not simply because it helps her to see what she is painting but at the very core of her art is light…in her own words…I see colour, as light in its pure form.

Light is Colour :: Colour is Light

God’s sign of his promise ... as the light spectrum, refracted colours in a prism, as an artist’s colour wheel,  a rainbow. Our eye sees a single colour by the way light is absorbed. White light is simply all colour ....

What does light mean to you? How would you go without it? What does it open your eyes too?  What do you need to see more of today?

Read more: Light of the World

Australia and ABC in the 1940s

Published: Monday, 28 April 2014

An address given by Geoff Pound at Ashburton Baptist Church on 27 April 2014 as part of the ‘Back to the Future’ series in this ABC’s 80th year. The first in the series, ABC in the 1930s is at this link.

Reading: Psalm 46

AveofHonourOne of the lovely traditions in Australia is the ‘Avenue of Honour’ [pictured]. You may have driven through towns such as Bacchus Marsh, Woodend and Lakes Entrance where the memorial to those who have fought or died in war stands on both sides of the road, with each tree symbolizing one person. One life.

These popular avenues are now in every state of the country but they originated here in Victoria and many of these are memorials to those who died in the First World War.

The first time I drove north from Ballarat I found it deeply moving. You begin by going under that grand Arch of Victory, that avenue that goes on and on for 22 kilometres. 3,912 trees illustrate the lives given and the lives lost from that locality! These trees stand and sway today as living signs to be thankful!

Read more: Australia and ABC in the 1940s

Blessed are the Persecuted; Rejoice and Be Glad

Published: Sunday, 13 April 2014

This sermon was preached by Geoff Pound at the Ashburton Baptist Church on 13 April 2014 and is the sixth in the Lenten (pre-Easter) series, ‘Living the Beatitudes’. Here’s the sermon schedule and study notes for individuals and small groups.

George Hare - Victory of Faith

Scripture Reading: Matthew 5: 1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him.Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

So What?

Bill is a pastor and often at the church door, shaking hands with his congregation, a guy by the name of Dennis used to saunter up and say to the preacher, "So What?"

The first time he did this Bill said it was like a punch in the guts!

It was hurtful! It was untimely just when you'd just preached your heart out!!

But Dennis was a thoughtful psychologist. He wasn't trying to be smart. He appreciated the way the sermons often helped him to understand the meaning of the text for those first hearers.

But he so often felt left back in ancient Israel. Locked in Biblical times.

Read more: Blessed are the Persecuted; Rejoice and Be Glad

Blessed are the Merciful and the Pure in Heart

Published: Sunday, 30 March 2014

This sermon was preached by Geoff Pound at the Ashburton Baptist Church on 30 March 2014 and is the fourth in the Lenten (pre-Easter) series, ‘Living the Beatitudes’. Here’s the sermon schedule and study notes for individuals and small groups.

Reading: Matthew 5: 1-12

mercy street signpostWhen the writer, A J Cronin was a young doctor, he was appointed a medical officer in a remote hospital in north England. One winter’s night, soon after his arrival, a six year-old boy was admitted with diphtheria.

He was so ill that only an immediate tracheotomy would give him even a slender hope of life. As a young doctor, Cronin had never attempted that crucial operation.

As the gasping boy was placed on the table Cronin was trembling. He felt cold and sick. Still he was determined to do his utmost with the operation and he did!

With the operation successfully completed he went back to his room glowing with satisfaction. Four hours later at 2.00 in the morning a young nurse came knocking frantically at his door. She’d dozed off by the child’s bed. She’d awakened to find the tube blocked. She’d lost her head and panicked. When Cronin got there the child was dead.

Read more: Blessed are the Merciful and the Pure in Heart

Blessed are the Meek

Published: Sunday, 23 March 2014

This sermon was preached by Keren McClelland at the Ashburton Baptist Church on 23 March 2014 and is the third in the Lenten (pre-Easter) series, ‘Living the Beatitudes’. Here’s the sermon schedule and study notes for individuals and small groups.

When I was ten my uncle bought the five of us a Shetland pony. Barney was 17 years old.

Pulling a float in Moomba was his claim to fame.

Barney was large for a Shetland, chocolate brown with a dark brown mane and tail. He had soft velvety and hairy lips. He, the cart, saddle, equipment all had that musky horse smell.

Barney was gentle, humble. This was no race horse, or Clydesdale, but he was strong. Our family of seven could fit in his cart and we would occasionally even go for picnics in the state forest nearby. I loved to saddle him up ride him myself. Even at 20 years he could occasionally even make a gallop across a big flat paddock.

Barney is an example of the trait we usually translate "meek" in our reading.

Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness/justice,

for they will be satisfied/filled.

Read more: Blessed are the Meek

Blessings for the Poor in Spirit and those who Mourn

Published: Monday, 17 March 2014

This sermon was preached by Lucy Johnson at the Ashburton Baptist Church on 16 March 2014 and is the second in the Lenten (pre-Easter) series, ‘Living the Beatitudes’. Here’s the sermon schedule and study notes for individuals and small groups.

Introduction

I am a big fan of doing a jigsaw puzzle.  I know that may sound really dorky and old school but its true.  But the thing about puzzles is they can be so infuriating.  You can think you have something in the right place but then it simply doesn’t work. From time to time you can become super annoyed because you simply cant find the right piece. And then when you think you are near the end and you find that there are several pieces missed – grrrr!  This happened to me when I was on holidays. Then, just as I was about to give up and break up the work I happened to pick up the box and heard some noise. When I looked further I found all the pieces they were missing in the packing of the box. Once I retrieved the pieces the puzzle became complete, the picture made sense. And it had been right within their reach. What was root of frustration became a source of joy.

This helps illustrate precisely what Jesus is trying to teach in the Beatitudes. Or as I like to say the How-to-BE – Attitudes (PowerPoint).  The key to genuine happiness, to a genuine contentment is not from without but within. Joy is not based on certain external pieces but on internal attitudes. Jonny Depp put it best when he said, the problem is no the problem, the problem is your attitude to the problem.  Jesus insists that we can have a happiness that holds its ground against pain, a contentment whose roots extend deep into the bedrock of eternity. What type of joy is this? It is a sacred delight. It’s a delight because it thrills. It’s sacred because it is God’s. Think about God’s joy. What can cloud it? What can quench it? Does God ever have a bad day? Does God get ruffled over long lines or traffic jams? Does God ever refuse to rotate the earth because His feelings are hurt? No, His is a happiness which consequences cannot quench. His is a peace, which circumstances cannot steal. And it is right within our reach. Within the packing of our Bibles, in Matt. 5, lie the pieces that can complete your joy. But be prepared for the fact that the answers will surprise you. We’ll have to shift our thinking some. Many of the things that Jesus says bring contentment are directly opposite from what we think. But if we will listen, if we will heed what He has to say, we will be surprised with joy. My prayer, for the few weeks as we unpack the Beatitudes is that we will learn that our happiness does not depend on what happens around me but what happens in me.

Read more: Blessings for the Poor in Spirit and those who Mourn

Introduction to the ‘Living the Beatitudes’ Series

Published: Sunday, 09 March 2014

This sermon was preached by Geoff Pound at the Ashburton Baptist Church on 9 March 2014 and is an introduction to the Lenten (pre-Easter) series. Here’s the sermon schedule and study notes for individuals and small groups.

Welcome to NasebyScripture Reading: Matthew 5: 1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him.Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falselyon my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

There’s a little, gold mining town in New Zealand called Naseby. I wonder if you’ve been there? It’s very close to beautiful Queenstown.

Read more: Introduction to the ‘Living the Beatitudes’ Series

ABC Beginnings in the 1930s

Published: Sunday, 02 March 2014

An address given by Geoff Pound at Ashburton Baptist Church on 2 March 2014.


The Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 4: 8-12

Come with me in your mind to the early 1930s here in Melbourne.

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Australia was in the grip of 'The Great Depression'. At the time of the Stock Market crash on Wall Street in 1929 unemployment in Australia was already at 10%.

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 For most of the 1930s unemployment doubled to 20% and in 1932 had reached the point where 30% of Australians were out of work.

This was a time of extreme hardship and unprecedented unrest. 

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Read more: ABC Beginnings in the 1930s