When in Rome

Published: Sunday, 15 July 2018

When in RomeThis sermon was presented on 15 July 2018 at the Ashburton Baptist Church by Geoff Pound and is the final in the series from the book of Revelation. It concludes with some questions for personal reflection and group study.

Scripture Reading: Revelation 1: 9-20

Monty Python’s Life of Brian is that satirical film about a man who’s born at the same time and place as Jesus of Nazareth.[1]

In one of their sketches the leaders of the People’s Front of Judea are seated in a dark room, plotting how they can break into Caesar’s Palace and overthrow the Roman oppressors.

One leader, with the unlikely name of Reg, says to the group of masked activists:

“They’ve bled us white … They’ve taken everything we had … What have the Romans ever given us in return?”

Read more: When in Rome

The Gift of Service

Published: Monday, 28 May 2018

This sermon was presented on 27 May 2018 (Trinity Sunday) at ABC by Geoff Pound. It is based on the lectionary reading for the day and is part of a series in the month of May at ABC. The sermon concludes with some Questions for Personal Reflection and Group Study.

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 6:1-8 (NRSV)

During the Second World War, the Nazi army was moving across Europe and bringing every country to its knees. But across the English Channel lay the last stronghold. Winston Churchill was at its helm.

He committed every plane to the skies, every boat to the shores and every able person to the streets. But that wasn’t enough.

So, Churchill went down into a concrete bomb shelter and from deep underground he spoke to the people of Britain. He spoke not of superiority but of sacrifice, not of conquest but of courage, not of revenge but of renewal.

Slowly but surely Churchill talked England back to life. To people on their rooftops with buckets of water, to frightened people behind the sandbags as the sirens screamed, to exhausted pilots dodging tracer bullets, Churchill’s words announced a new dawn. His message conveyed to people the strength to bring that new day to pass.

Today’s Scripture records a life-changing encounter when Isaiah is called by God to speak hope to his people.

Read more: The Gift of Service

The Gift of Love

Published: Monday, 07 May 2018

The Gift of Love

This sermon was presented by Geoff Pound at ABC on 6 May 2018 before the monthly communion meal. ‘The Gift of Love’ is the first of a new series on readings in the month of May that follow the lectionary. The sermon manuscript ends with ‘Questions for Personal Reflection and Group Study’.

Scripture Reading: John 15: 9 - 17 (NRSV)

One of the popular pilgrim trails culminates in Spain, at the city of Santiago de Compostela. St James is the great attraction, for he’s reputed to be buried in the cathedral. Pilgrims travel hundreds and even thousands of miles from countries like France, Switzerland and The Netherlands. It was a tradition in medieval times, that as they approached the city, pilgrims would focus their eyes on the horizon. They would strain to see the towers of the cathedral, which was the object of their long journey. The one who first spotted the cathedral would cry, ‘My joy! My joy!’ If they were correct they would promptly be named the ‘king’ of their pilgrim band. In fact, many people who are called “King,” “Leroy,” or “Rex” owe their names to the sharp eyes of some pilgrim ancestor.[1]

For three years Jesus and his disciples had walked together on their pilgrim road. In today’s passage they’re within a day of their destination. Jesus longs that his disciples will have a clear view of their calling. He hopes they’re casting their eyes toward the distant horizon. Who will be the first to see it? Who will be the one to cry, ‘My joy! My joy!’

Read more: The Gift of Love

The Bible Jesus Read

Published: Monday, 16 April 2018

This sermon was presented by Geoff Pound at ABC on 15 April 2018. ‘The Bible Jesus Read’ is the second in a series entitled ‘Eat This Book’ on reading the Scriptures. This sermon manuscript concludes with questions for Personal Reflection and Group Study.

Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 3: 16-17

Several years ago, a Baptist minister friend told me that his wife was away at a conference for the week. I asked whether he was cooking up a storm in the kitchen. He said, “I don’t do cooking.” I asked, “What are you eating?” He said, “I’m eating Weetbix—Six for breakfast. Six for lunch and six for dinner.”[1]

Sanitarium had certainly done their advertising well. He was a Weetbix-kid that couldn’t break the habit.

Only this week a woman told me that when she goes away, her husband, who she said was a good cook, only cooks noodles. Noodles for breakfast. Noodles for lunch. Noodles for dinner. He cooks the noodles for his children and he even serves noodles to their two Staffordshire terriers.

Last week when we commenced our series entitled ‘Eat this Book’, we examined the passage in the last book of the Bible, from which this title springs.[2]

The text likens the reading of the Scripture to taking food into our bodies. We thought of the way that the Bible, like food, energises us. It sustains us. It builds bones and muscles. Biblical food is essential to our growth.

This made us think of a daily, regular intake of the Scriptures. Not fast food and fast eating but the slow, nourishing intake, whereby the food becomes part of us.

Read more: The Bible Jesus Read

Eat this Book

Published: Monday, 09 April 2018

This sermon was presented by Geoff Pound at ABC on 8 April 2018. It is the first in a series on reading the Bible entitled, ‘Eat this Book’. The sermon manuscript concludes with some questions for personal reflection and group discussion.

Scripture Reading: Revelation 10: 8 - 11

Walking through Italy last year we entered into the town of Pavia, 35 kilometres south west of Milan.

We headed for a church called ‘St Peter in the Golden Sky’,[1] which houses the body of Augustine, the fourth century teacher and theologian. The relics and memorabilia refreshed the story of how this North African playboy left his homeland (modern day Algeria) to head for the bright party lights of Italy. But in his new country he came under the influence of Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan.

Augustine later writes in his Confessions, “The evil in me was foul but I loved it.” He said: “I prayed, ‘Lord, give me chastity but not yet’.”

One afternoon when he was wrestling with his thoughts and walking in a garden he heard the sing-song voice of a child saying, “Take up and read. Take up and read.” On a table he saw a copy of the Scriptures. He picked it up and his eyes fell on these verses from Paul’s letter to the Romans (13: 13-14):

“Let us live honorably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. 14 Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

He later wrote, "No further did I read; nor did I need to: for instantly at the end of this sentence, by a light as it were of serenity infusing my heart, all the darkness of doubt vanished away."[2]

The rest they say is history. This conversion sent shockwaves through his being. Augustine went on to be one of the most influential thinkers and teachers in the early church.

Read more: Eat this Book

Mark's mystery prophet priest

Published: Monday, 26 March 2018

This sermon was delivered by Keren McClelland on Palm/Passion Sunday 2018, and includes questions for group/personal reflection.

Mark 14: 1 - 11

Take a look at this video on privilege… ($100 race)

This one is about ethnic based  privilege that has been established in the college system in the USA…

What other privileges are not listed?

In the video line up…where would Jesus be? (unwed mother, rural, carpenter, male…) 

Where would the woman be? Would she even be in the race?

$100 doesn’t even matter.

The first thing for us to do is understand our privilege in the main games (ATAR, income, property, sport team) (where are you privileged?)

Read more: Mark's mystery prophet priest

Good News of Jesus in a Nutshell

Published: Monday, 12 March 2018

PeanutThis sermon was presented by Geoff Pound at the Ashburton Baptist Church on 11 March 2018. This occasion was only one week after the funeral of the Rev Dr. Billy Graham so the service and the sermon had several references to his life and ministry. The sermon manuscript is followed by questions for personal reflection and group study.

Scripture Reading: John 3: 14-21

After last Sunday’s Vietnam-flavoured service, we went into Melbourne’s inner city. Watching people flow into Flinders Street station, it seemed a United Nations. People dressed in burqas, saris and turbans. Diners eating Japanese sushi, croissants from the French-styled café, Baguettes, people snacking on Spanish donuts and two Indian guys sharing some French fries.

Read more: Good News of Jesus in a Nutshell

Taking up the Cross

Published: Monday, 26 February 2018

This sermon was presented by Geoff Pound at ABC on 25 February 2018. It is part of the ‘Journey with Mark’ series following the lectionary readings. Questions for personal reflection and group study are posted at the conclusion of this manuscript.

Reading: Mark 8:31-38

In 2004 Frank Warren had a crazy idea.[1] He printed 3,000 self-addressed postcards. They were blank on one side and had instructions on the other. He asked people to anonymously share a secret they’d never told anyone before. He handed these out randomly, not knowing what to expect. But soon the idea went viral. People from all over the world bought their own postcards and sent them to Frank. He posted them on his web site called PostSecret.com. It’s become one of the most visited blogs in the world. Frank has received more than half a million secrets.

Read more: Taking up the Cross