GOD WITH US:
Walking with Jesus
Matt. 9:18 While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. 20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. 23 And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, 24 he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. 25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 And the report of this went through all that district.
~ Read Mark 5:21-43 ~ Continue reading
GOD WITH US:
Walking with Jesus
Matthew 9:9 – 13
Matt. 9:9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
Matt. 9:10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
~ Read John 9:35-41 ~ Continue reading
GOD WITH US:
Walking with Jesus
Matthew 8:28 – 34
Matt. 8:28 And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29 And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. 31 And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” 32 And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. 33 The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.
~ Read Ephesians 6:10-13 ~ Continue reading
GOD WITH US:
Walking with Jesus
Matthew 8:18 – 27
Matt. 8:18 Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side.
19 And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
21 Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
22 And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”
23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him.
24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.
25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.”
26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” (Matt. 8:18-27 ESV)
~ Read John 5:25-29 ~
GOD WITH US:
Walking with Jesus
A Devotional Guide
Matthew 7:28 – 8:4
Matt. 7:28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
Matt. 8:1 When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. 2 And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 3 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
~ Read Isaiah 6:1-7 ~ Continue reading
Sermon on the Mount
Matthew 5 – 7
A Devotional Guide
by Rev. Joseph Smith, Lead Pastor
Blessing and The Kingdom of Heaven
Matthew 5:1-12 (ESV)
(1) “Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
(2) “And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
(3) “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(4) “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
(5) “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
(6) “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
(7) “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
(8) “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
(9) “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
(10) “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(11) “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
(12) “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
A Little Deeper:
At this point in Matthew’s narrative Jesus has just begun his public ministry and he is experiencing some gaining popularity. It is important to note that just a few verses earlier in chapter 4 we are told the specific message Jesus was preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (17). Chapter 5 begins with Jesus seeing the crowds and heading up on the mountain with his disciples. It makes sense that the first twelve verses of his teaching to his disciples would center on the “kingdom of heaven.”
In these twelve verses Jesus identifies a list of people who will experience the benefits of the kingdom. Those who are in need will have their needs met (3-6), those who live authentic lives for God will be rewarded with unfathomable rewards (7-9), and those who suffer for him will find joy in their reward, which has been promised (10-12). When the kingdom of heaven arrives, it will make right all that has been wrong.
A Parent’s Take:
Every parent at some point in their process has fallen into each of these categories. Parents mourn, are merciful (to a point), pure in heart (unless it is the middle of the night), and for those with more than one child, peacemakers! Jesus must have been specifically thinking of parents when he was teaching this list! Well, sort of, maybe not the way you and I are thinking about them.
When the Jews heard Jesus teaching these things they would have been reminded of the teaching that God gave Israel through Moses before they entered the land (Duet. 28). God gave a list of blessing that would come to those who inherited the land and honored him, as well as a list of consequences of disobedience. In the end we know that over many generations, Israel ultimately chose disobedience. This disobedience would result in the exile both from the land and from the presence of the Lord. Israel slowly stopped teaching their children the ways of the Lord and how to be obedient to him.
When I was young, there was a boy who lived down the street with whom I often played. When boys get together they tend to try and toe the line but can often end up in trouble. Each time we came close to crossing the line this boy would stop us and say, “we can’t do this, it’s just not right.” I thought he was just scared until I spent the night at his house one night. Before we went to bed his dad called us into the family room and sat us down to discuss with us a story from scripture. He asked us if we understood the story and if there were any specific ways we thought we could apply the truths to our lives. I was in awe of the honest discussion his family had about what was right and wrong with different situations the kids experienced at school and elsewhere. I found myself spending the night regularly at his house throughout my middle school years.
As parents we are responsible for the growth and training of the children that God has placed in our care. Our goal is not to raise our kids with the right attitude and personality to survive in our culture, but to raise them with the right attitude and heart described by Jesus of those who are children of the kingdom of heaven. Our culture cannot promise any of the things that Jesus does in this passage. Even to the point of persecution may our children hold on to the promises and lay claim to the rewards stored up for them in heaven.
Key Verses: “(11) Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. (12) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
I can remember my first time as a pastor trying to counsel a couple through some marriage difficulties. I was ill equipped, yet I charged in with great intentions. We spent hours, weeks, and even months trying to work through the details and possible reasons for the deterioration of their relationship. We made some discoveries about why things were the way that they were. We talked a lot about communication and intent. These things are very important in a marriage by the way. It was a challenge and took a lot of work and time. About a year into the process, this young couple decided to call it quits on their marriage. I remember the look that both of them had on their face. They had simply lost all hope that they could make it through their struggles. In my desire to have it all figured out, I missed the fact that the one thing they needed was hope. No matter what the struggle is, everyone is looking for hope to make it through. Hope is the only thing that can help us through the things we are dealing with in our lives right now. The question is, what is our hope? Some might argue that their hope is something different in each situation to provide the motivation to make it through that specific scenario. I would argue that our hope is fixed and is the same no matter what the specific scenario.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8–9)
We often ponder the transformation power of the Gospel. It is truly amazing to experience the cleansing power of the blood of Christ. We are able to live our lives free from the bondage of sin and destined toward an eternity with God. We praise God daily for the right to be called “children of God” (John 1:12). But what does it mean right now? Why is all of this important when we have more life to live in a broken sinful world?
The text of 1 Peter is a charge to the believer to live a life consistent with the assurance of our salvation, not inconsistently fluctuating with the fickle circumstances of this world. Each year, each hour, every minute, and second, we have an unchanging promise of being the chosen children of God for all eternity, through faith. This gives us the unprecedented ability to accomplish His glorious work here on earth.
Series Challenge: We would like to challenge you to follow along with us through this entire series of 1 Peter (7 weeks). If you miss a week, it’s alright; we upload the video to the website each week right after the service.
Just go to www.switzerlandcc.org and click on the “sermons” tab. If you are married, we encourage you and your spouse to take the challenge to read and discuss throughout the week. If you have a family, we are providing verses and questions for you to lead your family in discussion each day of the week in order to deepen your understanding of the text and to ultimately draw you closer to Christ. We are praying that you are not only encouraged each week that you come to church, but you are also challenged as you read the text of Scripture throughout this series.
Resources: We are providing three unique ways for you to take this study as deep as you would like over the next 7 weeks.
– First, we have added the daily devotions, as I have already mentioned. These are designed to take you deeper into Scripture by using other verses to help you understand some of the major themes discussed.
– Second, we will engage in our “Talk Back” study on Wednesday nights following the Sunday sermon. This time is designed to go deeper in discussion, and is centered on your questions in relation to the text.
– Third, we are posting “Deep Dive” videos on the website. These are short supplemental videos that will show the text and creatively work through some of the deeper connections stemming from translation and basic discourse analysis.
Pastor Joseph Smith
2018: United in Christ
“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that
belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
When I think back on 2017, I am overwhelmed with a variety of emotions. I guess this is fairly normal for a pastor. I am humbled to see how God has used the ministry of this church to impact the lives of so many. In many ways, 2017 was not an easy year. We experienced both celebrations through baptisms as well as the struggle of loss. Through all of these situations we have experienced the consistency and comfort of our Father in heaven. Let’s take a few moments to look back over this last year and celebrate some of what the Lord has done. Continue reading
Just a few weeks ago I stood in an open-air church that represents the light of the Gospel in a small town called Pachutla in Oaxaca Mexico. I watched as approximately 20 church leaders gathered to learn and fall deeper in love with the Word of God. I was immediately struck with the thought that we are a part of something so much bigger than ourselves, our local church, even our country. We are a part of the Global Church that God is using to reveal His Glory. I only went to Oaxaca Mexico. How can I say that this is a part of the Global work of God? Because no matter where we have gone, whether it be Oaxaca Mexico, the Black Earth Region of Russia, India, or Thailand, we are seeing the same explosion of pastors and leaders being equipped by the Word of God. I want to take a few minutes of your time in this newsletter article to report the blessings we experienced through our time in Pluma / Pachutla.