Chained but Free!
Reading: Ephesians 3: 14-21
A man was in hospital anticipating a major bowel operation. His friend visited and said, “How are you feeling about your impending surgery?”.
The patient said with a twinkle in his eye, “I chose the surgery because I decided it was far better to have a semi-colon than a full stop”.
We’re thinking today of how we stay hopeful and what can we do when we’re facing constricting circumstances?
Sometimes we have a choice about the punctuation we add to our lives.
This is the second in a series in the book of Ephesians and was given by Geoff Pound at ABC on 19 July 2015. The first in the series is here.
Reading: Ephesians 2: 11-22
I’m sure we’ve all noticed the popularity of television programmes that centre about building and renovating. There’s House Rules, Home Improvement, The Block, Reno Rumble, the Renovators and Better Homes and Gardens, just to name a few.
Such coverage suggests that we Aussies like nothing better than to build a new home, or extend and renovate what we’ve got.
This morning we’re invited to participate in a knockdown and a rebuild. The church is pictured as a construction site.
Take the Journey of Thankfulness
This first address in a series on the book of Ephesians was given by Geoff Pound on 12 July 2015.
Reading: Ephesians 1: 3-14
Hailey Bartholomew is an Australian woman, married with a couple of children. Back in 2008 she was really struggling. She had everything she needed but she wasn’t happy. Life was like a treadmill. She was lost, not really enjoying being here.
She wasn’t religious but she went and saw a nun who gave her some really good advice.
The nun said, “Hailey—the secret to happiness is reflection and gratitude. Take time each day and see if there are things for which you can be grateful.”
She wrote down things for which she was thankful for ten days. Very quickly she realized that there were amazing things in front of her that she would have missed if she hadn’t been intentional about gratitude.
This address was given by Keren McClelland at ABC on Sunday 5th July
We all stand on Sacred Ground: learn, respect, celebrate
Bible readings Exodus 3:4-6, Mark 6:1-13
Who can forget the image of grief stricken cricketer David Warner pausing and kissing the ground early this year?
At the score of 63 (SCG January 2015), the number synonymous with his friend Phillip Hughes who had died a few days earlier in a tragic accident, Warner pauses the game and bends to touch his face to the ground. After he lifts his bat and eyes to the sky in a moment of acknowledgment. Warner marks the turf, reminds the country of the power of place to evoke deep bonds and sacrifices.
Bible Reading: Romans 8:1-11
Thank you so much ABC for this privilege, and Keren, Philippa and Carolyn for making the invitation a very gracious one.
I’d like to follow an unusual pathway on Trinity Sunday, but I hope we’ll get there in the end. Most of all, this morning, I would like to walk around this triumphant proclamation of liberation:
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…”
Lord, you know everyone's heart
This address was given by Keren McClelland at ABC on Ascension Sunday May 17th
Bible Readings Acts 1:15-17, 21-26
Recently I watched the movie “of gods and men” (not the god’s must be crazy). It’s beautifully filmed in the north of Africa (2010). This film is based on a true story located in the Atlas mountains of Algeria There had been a war that liberated Algeria from the French colonial powers (1960’s).
A small “self-sufficient” community of 9 French monks take honey to the weekly local market, share prayers in the local mosque as well as their own chapel, and provide shoes and medical assistance in the simple and peaceful village.
In the mid 1990’s radical insurgents start a bloody campaign removing foreigners and the monastic community get caught in the middle.
That's the Spirit!
This address was given by Geoff Pound at ABC on Pentecost Day, 24 May 2015.
Readings: Acts 2: 1-21; John 14: 15-31; John 15: 26-27; John 16: 4b-15.
F W Boreham tells how he had a five-minute wait at a railway junction in Tasmania. He was traveling on a south-bound train and was stretching his legs when at that very moment, the north-bound express arrived.
A young woman that he knew hopped off and she looked distressed.
‘Effie!’ he exclaimed. ‘What's wrong?’
She said, ‘I'm in serious trouble,’ ‘I've lost my Saratoga!’
“Can you take the front part of the train and I'll take the back, and we'll meet again here in a minute!?’’
Boreham hurried along the carriages looking high and low for the elusive Saratoga. He sincerely hoped that Effie would find it in for he had no idea as to what a Saratoga was!
The Gospel in a Nutshell
The Gospel in a Nutshell
This address was given by Geoff Pound at ABC on 10 May 2015 (Mother’s Day).
Reading: John 15: 9-17
Billy Graham told an interesting story about travelling on a plane. An airline steward was having trouble with a rowdy passenger in the seat behind him. The man had had too many glasses of wine and was getting louder and rude. Finally the steward whispered to the man, “Watch what you are saying! That’s Dr. Billy Graham sitting right in front of you.” Hearing that, the intoxicated man leaned right forward and he said, “Billy Graham. Billy Graham. I’ve always wanted to thank you for what you have done for my life.”
The drunk may have had his hour of decision but he didn’t appear to be living a life of discipleship.
Today’s Bible passage continues last week’s theme of abiding in Christ or setting up home with Christ. Staying with Christ for the long term so much so that we take on his character and his qualities.
In Christ’s sermon from the vineyard (that we looked at last week) we heard him say:
“I am the vine you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
See how this abiding theme is developed in Christ’s words beginning in v9 of John 15:
“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” (John 15: 9-10)