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.

Read more: Hearing and Doing

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?

Read more: Holding On To Your Faith Amidst Dangerous Memories

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

Chained but Free!

Published: Monday, 27 July 2015

This is the third in a series in the book of Ephesians and was given by Geoff Pound at ABC on 26 July 2015. The first in the series is here and the second is here.

Reading: Ephesians 3: 14-21FREE

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.

Read more: Chained but Free!

Grand Design

Published: Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Building PlanThis 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.

Read more: Grand Design

Take the Journey of Thankfulness

Published: Monday, 13 July 2015

Green Eggs

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.

Read more: Take the Journey of Thankfulness