Give it a Go

Published: Monday, 08 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!”

Read more: Give it a Go

Give it a go! - Study Guide

Published: Monday, 08 January 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: Give it a go! - Study Guide

The Bad News and the Good News at Christmas

Published: Tuesday, 26 December 2017

This sermon was preached by Geoff Pound on Christmas Day 2017.

Reading: Luke 2:1-20

A man was farewelling his wife one morning at Melbourne airport. She was leaving for a short holiday in England. But later that afternoon their pet dog died.

That evening when the woman arrived in New Zealand she telephoned home to ask how everything was. The man blurted out the news: "The dog’s dead!"

She was very upset. She was absolutely devastated. Through her tears she chided him for being so tactless.

"What should I have said?" he asked.

She said: "You should have shared the news gently, perhaps in stages. So, when I phoned from here in Auckland you could have said," The dog is on the roof.". The next day when I call from LA you could say, "The dog has fallen off the roof." The following day when I call from New York you could have said: "I've taken the dog to the vet." And finally, from London I could have been informed, "The dog has passed away."

Her husband was absorbing this advice when his wife asked: "By the way, how’s mother?" The man paused…and then he said: "She's on the roof!"

Read more: The Bad News and the Good News at Christmas

Stuff: Consuming as if God matters

Published: Tuesday, 19 December 2017

This sermon, the first in our series at ABC on Stuff and Consumerism, was given on 5 December by Nguyễn Hữu Trí.

Luke 12: 13 - 35                                                                                            

Today in the church liturgical calendar, we celebrate the beginning of Advent, a season of waiting to welcome the gift of God in the person of Jesus.

Our sermon series for this season is based on the small group study guide booklet from Baptist World Aid ‘The End of Greed: Consuming as if God, People and the Planet Matter’.[1] You can order a copy on the Baptist World Aid website. There may be a few available in the Office.

Today, we are going to be considering ‘Stuff - Consuming as if God matters'. Then next week Mark Purser of Baptist World Aid will look at ‘Generosity - consuming as if people matter’. Then Geoff will look at the theme of ‘justice: consuming as if the poor matter’. Keren will wrap things up before Christmas, looking at the theme of ‘care and kindness: consuming as if the planet matters’. Then at Christmas, Andrew Woff had suggested that we consume as if nothing else matters!

We live in a culture and an economic system that is based on consumption. We are told every day that we don’t have enough, that our lives are lacking, and that we need more. This time of year, our mail box is stuffed with advertising, suggesting all the stuff we could get for our loved ones this Christmas.

Celia, Noah and I visited JB-HiFi last week, to look for a gadget that would connect a microphone to Celia’s computer. As we walked out of the store, Noah was excited about something he had seen. He kept saying how his mind was “blown away”. What was it that had caused the eruption in his mind? It was discovering a new release of something called ‘Nintendo Switch Sonic Forces’! I reminded him that he received something of the sort for his last birthday, to which he replied, “This is different, this is new”.

Read more: Stuff: Consuming as if God matters

Stuff: Consuming as if people matter

Published: Monday, 18 December 2017

This sermon was presented by Geoff Pound at ABC on 17 December 2017. It is the third sermon in a series on ‘Stuff’ and consumption which is loosely based on a booklet and study guide entitled, The End of Greed’, written by Scott Higgins and sponsored by Baptist World Aid.[1]

Walking along High Street, Ashburton this month you can feel bombarded by the constant call to buy stuff.

This morning, we sit four kilometres from the largest shopping centre, not only in Australia but the southern hemisphere. It’s a merchandise mecca. It’s cool. It’s alluring. ‘Chaddy’ seduces us to shop until we drop.[2]

But when we drop to watch sport, we discover that cricket on television is made for selling stuff over and over.

The demise of clothing shops in Ashburton and the rise of online shopping through powerful sites like Amazon,[3] highlights that buying stuff now is as easy as the click of a button from our armchair.[4]

We’ve been thinking, during this Advent, about ‘Stuff’.

Read more: Stuff: Consuming as if people matter

O for Advent

Published: Monday, 11 December 2017

This sermon was delivered by Geoff Pound to the Ashburton Combined Churches Advent Service on 3 December 2017 at the Ashburton Uniting Church.

My sermon tonight is one word. It’s the word: ‘O’. Can you say it? [‘O’]. Tonight’s sermon is, in fact, only one letter: ‘O’. Say it again: [‘O’]. A bit louder. A bit longer. A bit longer and louder.

If someone asks you what tonight’s sermon was about, you’ll say: [‘O’].

Today is the first day of Advent, this preparation period leading up to Christmas.

The word ‘O’ is an Advent word.

It occurs so often in the Advent Scriptures and stories.

Just like the word hiccup, or mumble or plop or belch, the word ‘O’ mimics its sound.

‘O’ has so many different sounds at Advent.

Read more: O for Advent

Doing Justice, Loving Kindness and Walking Humbly with your God

Published: Monday, 30 October 2017

This sermon was presented by Geoff Pound at ABC on 29 October 2017. It is the first in a series on Micah 6:8, in which we are reflecting on our ministries in the light of this biblical vision toward the celebration of our church anniversary and annual meeting on 26 November 2017. The manuscript is followed by questions for personal reflection and group study.

Scripture Reading: Micah 6:1 - 8

God Challenges Israel

Last Tuesday, family and friends gathered at a church in Warrandyte to celebrate the life of Peter Bentley’s father, Ed Bentley.[1] He died at the ripe old age of 99.[2]

Through the colourful tributes from Peter and his brothers, we learned how much Ed loved the word of God and believed in its power, so much so that he cultivated the habit of writing out verses of Scripture on cards.[3]

He kept these in his pocket and whenever people visited or he met people down the street, he’d give them one of these cards with the words, ‘Be Encouraged’.

When his family was cleaning up his room they found a box of more than 1,000 of these hand-written cards, so his grandchildren gave these out to the 400 people attending his funeral.[4]

It was a lovely thing getting something so personal as a hand-written card from the person who had died.

Today I want to give you a Bible verse so that you might ‘be encouraged’. It’s an important verse because it answers a question asked by genuine seekers down through the centuries: ‘What does the Lord require of you?’[5]

Read more: Doing Justice, Loving Kindness and Walking Humbly with your God

Faith at the test

Published: Monday, 23 October 2017

This is the eleventh and final sermon in the ‘Journey of Faith’ series on the life of Abraham and Sarah. It was presented by Geoff Pound at ABC on Sunday 22 October. The sermon manuscript is followed by some questions for personal reflection and Group Study.

Reading: Genesis 22:1 - 19

When we buy a new car, we trust that the manufacturer has tested the vehicle so that every part works and our car is deemed to be safe.

When we go to a department store we hope that toys we buy for children are safe and they won’t break when they are first dropped.

Someone bought a trendy looking teapot, took it home and when they poured their first cup of tea, the spout dribbled all over the table.

When was the last time you thought of buying a teapot and saying to the shopkeeper: “Fill it up with water, I want to see how it pours?” When did you last test drive a teapot?[1]

Today’s reading begins suddenly and without preamble:

22 After these things God tested Abraham. (v1a)

Read more: Faith at the test