For such a time as this - Study Guide

Published: Monday, 29 January 2018

This is a study for Small Groups based on Geoff Pound’s sermon (see the manuscript and listen to the podcast) delivered on 28 January 2018 at Ashburton Baptist Church.

Reading: Esther 4: 1-17

Godless?

“The book of Esther is the only book in the Bible that never mentions the word ‘God’. It doesn’t contain any prayers or hymns so how can such a godless book have any spiritual nourishment?”

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The Hands of God

Published: Monday, 22 January 2018

This sermon was preached by Geoff Pound at the Ashburton Baptist Church on the 31 December 2017.

Reading: Matthew 8: 1-4; 14-17

Think of all the ways in everyday conversation that we mention hands. We decline an invitation because we’ve got our hands full. We take matters into our own hands. When we ask for help we say, “Can you give us a hand?”

We talk about acting high-handedly. We speak about someone who gave us a real backhander. We throw up our hands in horror. If a cricketer has a safe pair of hands they’re put into the slips. All week at the cricket we’ve wondered, ‘Which team has the upper hand’?

In the Sydney to Hobart yacht race when you’ve got strong winds, you need all hands on deck. By the way, were all your Christmas presents new or were some second hand?  When President Reagan was asked for changes to his defence policy: “Don’t tie my hands on the arms issue.”

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Living the Dream - Study Guide

Published: Monday, 22 January 2018

Living the Dream

This is a study for Small Groups based on Geoff Pound’s sermon (see the manuscript and listen to the podcast) delivered on 21 January 2018 at Ashburton Baptist Church.

Readings: Genesis 37: 2-11; Acts 2: 16-17

I Have a Dream

“One of the great gifts is to be captivated by a God given dream. To receive a compelling picture of the work to which we need to be giving our lives.”

Martin Luther King Jnr was able to articulate clearly and with colourful pictures his dream.

What are some of the words and pictures you’d use to portray your greatest dream?

Read more: Living the Dream - Study Guide

Living the Dream

Published: Monday, 22 January 2018

This sermon was preached by Geoff Pound at Ashburton Baptist Church on Sunday 21 January 2018.

Readings: Genesis 37: 2-11; Acts 2: 16-17

Study Guide

The third Monday of January in the United States is a holiday to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Junior. Last Monday was the day this year, for encouraging people to advance the achievements of that Baptist preacher.

Some years ago, our family toured the American South, to retrace the steps and the story of King and the civil rights movement.

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Give it a Go

Published: Monday, 08 January 2018

This new year sermon was preached by Geoff Pound on the 7 January 2018 at the Ashburton Baptist Church.

Study Guide

Readings: Isaiah 54: 1-8; Mark 1: 16-20

One evening when my sister and I were in Grades 7 & 6, our dad asked over the dinner table: “What happened at school today?” Before I could swallow my mouthful, my sister blurted out that there was an announcement at assembly about a speech contest organized by the Rotary Club.

Dad said to us both: “You’re going to enter the speech contest, aren’t you?” I said: “We don’t have to. It’s not compulsory!”

To which Dad said: “Give it a go!”

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Give it a go! - Study Guide

Published: Monday, 08 January 2018

Give it a Go!

This is a study for Small Groups based on Geoff Pound’s sermon (see the manuscript and listen to the podcast) delivered on 7 January at the Ashburton Baptist Church as a New Year message for 2018.

Introductory Icebreaker

Geoff mentions that ‘Give it a Go!’ was one of the strong messages he and his siblings received as children.

What was one of the strongest messages that you received in your home growing up?

Enlarge! Stretch Out! Lengthen! Strengthen!

The prophet Isaiah was urging new possibilities for his people when he said:

Enlarge the site of your tent,
    and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
    and strengthen your stakes.

-          Isaiah 54: 2

Read more: Give it a go! - Study Guide

The Bad News and the Good News at Christmas

Published: Tuesday, 26 December 2017

This sermon was preached by Geoff Pound on Christmas Day 2017.

Reading: Luke 2:1-20

A man was farewelling his wife one morning at Melbourne airport. She was leaving for a short holiday in England. But later that afternoon their pet dog died.

That evening when the woman arrived in New Zealand she telephoned home to ask how everything was. The man blurted out the news: "The dog’s dead!"

She was very upset. She was absolutely devastated. Through her tears she chided him for being so tactless.

"What should I have said?" he asked.

She said: "You should have shared the news gently, perhaps in stages. So, when I phoned from here in Auckland you could have said," The dog is on the roof.". The next day when I call from LA you could say, "The dog has fallen off the roof." The following day when I call from New York you could have said: "I've taken the dog to the vet." And finally, from London I could have been informed, "The dog has passed away."

Her husband was absorbing this advice when his wife asked: "By the way, how’s mother?" The man paused…and then he said: "She's on the roof!"

Read more: The Bad News and the Good News at Christmas

Stuff: Consuming as if God matters

Published: Tuesday, 19 December 2017

This sermon, the first in our series at ABC on Stuff and Consumerism, was given on 5 December by Nguyễn Hữu Trí.

Luke 12: 13 - 35                                                                                            

Today in the church liturgical calendar, we celebrate the beginning of Advent, a season of waiting to welcome the gift of God in the person of Jesus.

Our sermon series for this season is based on the small group study guide booklet from Baptist World Aid ‘The End of Greed: Consuming as if God, People and the Planet Matter’.[1] You can order a copy on the Baptist World Aid website. There may be a few available in the Office.

Today, we are going to be considering ‘Stuff - Consuming as if God matters'. Then next week Mark Purser of Baptist World Aid will look at ‘Generosity - consuming as if people matter’. Then Geoff will look at the theme of ‘justice: consuming as if the poor matter’. Keren will wrap things up before Christmas, looking at the theme of ‘care and kindness: consuming as if the planet matters’. Then at Christmas, Andrew Woff had suggested that we consume as if nothing else matters!

We live in a culture and an economic system that is based on consumption. We are told every day that we don’t have enough, that our lives are lacking, and that we need more. This time of year, our mail box is stuffed with advertising, suggesting all the stuff we could get for our loved ones this Christmas.

Celia, Noah and I visited JB-HiFi last week, to look for a gadget that would connect a microphone to Celia’s computer. As we walked out of the store, Noah was excited about something he had seen. He kept saying how his mind was “blown away”. What was it that had caused the eruption in his mind? It was discovering a new release of something called ‘Nintendo Switch Sonic Forces’! I reminded him that he received something of the sort for his last birthday, to which he replied, “This is different, this is new”.

Read more: Stuff: Consuming as if God matters