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.


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.

Picture1  Picture2
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%.


 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. 



Read more: ABC Beginnings in the 1930s

God, Why are you so terrifyingly near?

Published: Sunday, 09 February 2014

Keith CA Dietrich Bonhoeffer-themed sermon preached by Rev Dr Keith Clements at the Ashburton Baptist Church, Melbourne, on 9 February 2014, the day before he commenced an intensive course on Dietrich Bonhoeffer at Whitley College.

Readings: Jeremiah 20: 7-12; Ephesians 4:1-8.

Text: Jeremiah 20:7: O Lord, you have enticed me, and I was enticed; you have overpowered me, and you have prevailed.

There are many people who say they have no use for God, first of all because God doesn’t exist, and they have no use for illusions; but even if God did exist, they say, he would be irrelevant to their lives as human beings today. Sceptics, atheists, agnostics, secularists, call them what you will. Then there are people who say they do find God, or at any rate “religion” useful in their lives. Perhaps very useful indeed. 

Read more: God, Why are you so terrifyingly near?

Asking ‘Why’ on Y Street

Published: Sunday, 02 February 2014

whyThis sermon was preached at the Ashburton Baptist Church by Geoff Pound on 2 February 2014, the occasion of the induction of new pastor, Lucy Johnson.



Reading: Psalm 42: 1-11

As a deer longs for flowing streams,
    so my soul longs for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and behold the face of God?

3 My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me continually,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
    and led them in procession to the house of God,
with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
    a multitude keeping festival.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my help 6 and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
    therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
    from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
    at the thunder of your cataracts;
all your waves and your billows
    have gone over me.
8 By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
    and at night his song is with me,
    a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God, my rock,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I walk about mournfully
    because the enemy oppresses me?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my body,
    my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me continually,
    “Where is your God?” Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my help and my God.

Read more: Asking ‘Why’ on Y Street

Energising Giving

Published: Sunday, 15 September 2013

This address, based on the Scripture passage in 2 Corinthians 9: 6-15, was given by Geoff Pound on 15 September 2013 at the Ashburton Baptist Church.

givingGiving as Divine Calling and Human Instinct

In an interview with Michael Parkinson, Sir David Frost shared how he and a colleague were flying in a small helicopter over New York City. Unfortunately, the engines on the helicopter failed and it looked like they’d have to land somewhere in Central Park.

As the helicopter was losing altitude, the pilot turned to Frost and his friend and he shouted:

“We’re going to crash! Do something religious!”

And David Frost said: “So, we took up an offering!”

An offering is a deeply religious act for, ever since the first family was surrounded by plenty in the Garden of Eden, people have come before God with offerings of meat and fruit and money.

We’re thinking of ways we can energise our giving and our generosity, not because our helicopter is ready to crash but because this is a divine calling and because giving is a basic human instinct.

Read more: Energising Giving