The Getting of Wisdom

Published: Monday, 21 September 2015

wise owl 0915This sermon is the fourth in a series on the book of James, given by Keren McClelland on 20 September, 2015.

Some thoughts on James 3:13 - 4:3, 7-8a (William Loader)

The wisdom of James continues with a challenge to the hearers not to embrace a polarising and fractious stance towards people. 

Many people who most want to be known as wise are anything but peaceable. History abounds with people who think they are right and are prepared to die or kill for their truth. 

On the other hand, James is not advocating that Christians become doormats. Clearly the writing itself shows that the author is assertive and prepared to challenge others. The gentleness being advocated is not abdication of responsibility. 

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Taming the Tongue

Published: Monday, 14 September 2015

This sermon is the third in a series in the book of James and was given by Geoff Pound on 13 September 2015.

Reading: James 3: 1-12Tongue 0915

Many of you will remember that series in the Readers Digest entitled, ‘I am Joe’s Body’.[1] The articles were written in the first person and focused on topics like ‘I am Joe’s Eye’, I am Joe’s Pituitary Gland’, ‘I am Joe’s Heart’. On it went for more than 33 articles. They covered the organs and tissues not only in Joe but in his partner, Jane.

It became the most successful series ever printed in the Reader’s Digest with over seven million reprints of these articles being sold.

‘I am Joe’s Tongue’ is mandatory reading for today’s text. J D Ratcliff says: “Joe sticks me out and examines me in the mirror but usually I stay out of sight…Compared with the eyes and ears I’ve had bad press. My faculty of taste has been called ‘the poor cousin of the five senses’. That’s unfair. Let Joe try and get along without me.” 

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Doing the Faith

Published: Monday, 07 September 2015

Romero 0915This sermon is the second in a series in the book of James and was given by Geoff Pound on 6 September 2015.

Reading: James 2:1-10, 14 -17

An elderly man in London walked into the fruit and vegie section of his local Tesco supermarket. When served he asked to buy half a head of lettuce. The young man serving in that department told him that they only sold complete heads of lettuce. The elderly man was insistent that the salesman ask the manager to grant his request.

Walking into the back room, the young salesman said to the manager, "Some old codger wants to buy a half a head of lettuce." He turned around to find that the old man was standing right behind him. So he quickly added, "And this gentleman kindly offered to buy the other half."

The manager approved the deal and the old man went on his way rejoicing with half a head of lettuce. Later, the manager said to the young employee, "I was really impressed with the way you got yourself out of that sticky situation. At Tesco we like people who can think on their feet. Where are you from?"

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Hearing and Doing

Published: Monday, 31 August 2015

This sermon is the first in a series in the book of James and was given by Geoff Pound on 30 August 2015 at ABC’s Community Ministries Expo.

Reading: James 1:17-27 jimmy carter 1024

Martin Luther, the sixteenth century priest, wanted to take his scissors and cut the letter of James from the Holy Scriptures. This theology professor was so inspired by the verse in Romans that ‘the just shall live by faith’—that we are saved by God’s grace, that he couldn’t entertain the teaching of James that emphasizes good works as the expression of our faith.

As we commence our series in the book of James I hope we’ll come to appreciate his message and be grateful that Martin Luther didn’t get his way and give the letter of James the snip.

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Rich Resources

Published: Tuesday, 25 August 2015

This sermon is the sixth and final instalment in a series in the book of Ephesians and was given by Geoff Pound on 23 August 2015.

Reading: Ephesians 6: 10-20 Armour

About fifteen years ago, when we lived in Brunswick, we were given a card on which Shelley Miller had written this Brunswick Blessing. I wonder if you know it?

May your life be as long as Sydney Road
As sweet as baklava
Filled with the raging passion of old Italian women
Jostling for position at the deli-counter.

May your demands for justice, joy, peace
Be as loud as Sydney Road traffic
And as strong as the Istanbul halal butcher.

May all your days have the exciting variance
Of Alaysa’s dip-list, the striking beauty
Of Franco Cozzo furniture, the health of a
Good falafel, the hope of Princes Park duck pond.

May the whisper of our last tram conductors
Echo eerily in your children’s ears and
May your children’s children staff theAnarchist bookshop.

I’m not sure that I want my grandchildren staffing the Anarchist bookshop but what a superb example of using local, everyday scenes to communicate your message.

Read more: Rich Resources

Wisdom Time

Published: Monday, 17 August 2015

toni morrison 2008 2This sermon is the fifth in a series on the book of Ephesians, and was given by Keren McClelland on 16 August 2015.

Ephesians 5:15-20

Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Toni Morrison’s commencement address at Wellesley College in 2004 has gone down as one of the most important secular sermons of our time.

This speech on wisdom, the path to the good life, critiques common aphorisms like “the future is yours for the taking” and “this is the best time of your life”.

Morrison complements, encourages, questions…                        

she argues the past is unfinished, the present badly managed and the future a very big question on aging and aging beautifully into wisdom she is most forceful

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Holding On To Your Faith Amidst Dangerous Memories

Published: Sunday, 09 August 2015

bombThis is the transcript of a interview by Geoff Pound with Gwyn McClelland at the Ashburton Baptist Church on 9 August 2015, the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki. The questions and the answers are in note form and are not as developed as they were in conversation. There are slides that accompany the script.

 Reading: Ephesians 4: 25-5:2

Gwyn, you are a senior Japanese language teacher at Xavier College,
You learned Japanese at Uni,
You became a Japanese teacher at Noble Park Secondary,
You’ve lead several tours of Australian students to Japan,
You, Keren, Lydia and Geordie have lived in Japan for several years,
Now you’re writing a PhD in Japanese studies—
When and where did your interest in Japan and things Japanese begin?

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Misunderstandings and Ministry in the Body of Christ

Published: Monday, 03 August 2015

This is the fourth in a series in the book of Ephesians and was given by Geoff Pound at ABC on 2 August 2015. The first in the series is here, the second is here and the third is here.

Reading: Ephesians 4: 1-16Comma

In Australia, we call the smallest room in the house a ‘water closet’ or a ‘W.C.’ In America they call this room, the ‘bathroom’.

One young Aussie couple moved to the USA, after being transferred through their work. They went house-hunting with a real estate agent, and found what they thought was the perfect house.

When they got back to their hotel, they realized that they hadn't seen a "WC" in the house. So they emailed the agent and asked, “Where is the ‘W.C.’ located?”

The American agent was puzzled by their question, but then it occurred to him that the "W.C." must mean the "Wesleyan Church."

Read more: Misunderstandings and Ministry in the Body of Christ