Giving, Praying, Fasting

Published: Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Turtle CopyThis sermon was preached by Rev Keren McClelland at the Ashburton Baptist Church on 15 June 2014. 

Bible Reading: Matthew 6:1-18

It was the turtle painting which stopped me in my tracks this week. Swimming in an ocean of stars. Perhaps this is due to my family’s enjoyment of Terry Pratchett’s discworld series where it is imagined that universe as a flat disc… perched on top of four elephants… balancing on the back of a turtle. A crazy playful image reminding me not to take my view of the world so seriously.

At the same time as this image of infinite space I’m reminded of the quote by the poet Rumi “Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion”. Don’t be petty. There are infinite depths to be discovered within.

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God Made Known

Published: Sunday, 25 May 2014

This sermon was preached by Rev Chris Barnden at the Ashburton Baptist Church on 25 May 2014. The bible reading was from Acts 17:22-34.

In Luke's book of the Acts of the Apostles, Jesus told his disciples, " ... you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

As we read through the book, we can see Jesus' prediction being fulfilled progressively throughout Asia. The power of this new message about Jesus has transformed the lives of Jews in Jerusalem, then half Jews in Samaria, then spreading even to Gentiles like Cornelius in Caesarea and further into Asia Minor.

It's reached out and changed the lives of rich and poor, slaves and free, and women as well as men.

Read more: God Made Known

The Cheek, the Shirt and the Load

Published: Sunday, 18 May 2014

This sermon was preached by Keren McClelland at the Ashburton Baptist Church on 18 May 2014. Listen to the PodcastThere are also small group study notes in the ABC Blog pages

Psalm 119:33-40;  Matthew 5:38-42

"Oh Man... was that passage written for me?" Abbie responded when I sent off the bible readings for today.

Wrangling three little girls with strong minds and independent spirits is not for the faint hearted. 

Nor is it the responsibility of just the immediate family.

Teaching the children in our communities the way to live a "good life", to be good people, will take creativity and graciousness in our speaking.

Two Athenian Philosophers were talking:

Dimitri: I've been thinking about your question, what does "good" mean, and I've got the answer - "good is acting on a just principle"

Tasso: By Zeus, student, you're full of surprises - you're starting to sound like a real philosopher. Just one last question: How do you determine just principles?

Read more: The Cheek, the Shirt and the Load

You are the Salt of the Earth

Published: Sunday, 11 May 2014

salt of the earthThis address was given by Geoff Pound at ABC on 11 May 2014 and is part of the series in the Gospel of Matthew. It can be listened to on a podcast.

Reading: Matthew 5: 13-16 but especially v 13

You are the salt of the earth!

Already this morning we’ve started to give this metaphor a really good shake, wondering what Jesus meant in aligning us with this everyday picture.

So we ponder the way salt develops taste,

Salt’s role as a preservative.

When someone speaks of ‘salting the earth’ we’re talking purification.

There’s salt’s use as a fertilizer.

Ancient communities recognized salt as so basic for life that, salt was used as a currency.

The word ‘salary’ stems from the word ‘salt’ and we still speak of someone as being ‘worth their salt’.

So let’s keep this colourful image in mind and in our mouths as we consider Christ’s affirmation: “You are the salt of the earth.”

Read more: You are the Salt of the Earth

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!

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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