Carrying around the death of Jesus

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We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:10

I always thought this sounded kind of gruesome: carrying around the death of Jesus. After being flogged, Jesus would have been a bloody mess. But we’re not hauling a dead body around. Paul says we carry around the death of Jesus “in our body.” It’s something inside — something that is a part of us — something that we are. What could that be if it isn’t our sin, our failure, our rebellion against God? It was our sin that caused Jesus’ death. It was our sin that distorted humanity and brought death into the world. It is our sin over which the whole creation groans today. And even though we are forgiven, saved, and washed clean, as long as these bodies of ours are on this earth, we still carry around the death of Jesus in them, because that’s what these bodies are: they are the death of Jesus.

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What we have inside

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We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Who would have thought these verses would have given me so much trouble? Well actually, I wouldn’t have had any trouble had I not been so hard pressed on every side for not coming up with a Catch over these seemingly simple verses, perplexed by not understanding why, persecuted by myself over my inability to get over this barrier, and struck down by a sense of utter failure.

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No Hall of Fame

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We are sore pressed at every point, but not hemmed in; we are at our wit’s end, but never at our hope’s end; we are persecuted by men, but never abandoned by God; we are knocked down, but not knocked out. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 paraphrased by William Barclay)

Well, by now last week’s series should be behind us, but I’ve only covered half of it. This was going to be so easy. I was going to write a week’s worth of Catches on autopilot, since I’ve taught this passage so many times. God (and Marti) had something else in mind. The minute you think something’s going to be easy is probably when you should think again.

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No Church Tonight

In the interest of providing family time to celebrate Mother’s Day, we are canceling our regular Sunday night meeting. And to help you gather your thoughts around Mom, we are including two poems. One contains lyrics to a song John wrote about his mother, the other is a brief interview and a poem read by the author, Beverly Cunningham.


The Corner of Her Eye
On a park bench she sat looking
At the trees that lined the hill
Trying hard to find the words
When she knows she never will
So she watched the sad leaves shimmer
All innocent and shy
As she caught the golden sunset
In the corner of the sky

And I sat there with her wondering
Though she did not know my name
If she could see me smiling
And love me just the same
And I thought I saw a glimmer
Of all the years gone by
As I caught the golden sunset
In the corner of her eye

She didn’t have to say it
Didn’t even have to try‘
Cause she said it for a lifetime
From the corner of her eye

Now she dances by my window
But I cannot let her in
Or recreate the feeling
Of her touch upon my skin
Still I see a ray come shining
From across a broken sky
Like that gleam of reassurance
From the corner of her eye

She didn’t have to say it
Didn’t even have to try
‘Cause she said it for a lifetime
From the corner of her eye

There is a place of total honesty and purity — a place where, in spite of dysfunction and the frailties of human nature, love and truth reign. It is a place where mothers keep all their hopes and dreams for their children hidden, and once in a while, you get to glimpse it there. This is the place where the glimpse comes from — from the corner of her eye. She can turn her head slightly and you can see it. It is a place of utter trust and assurance — where everything is alright, in spite of everything around us that isn’t. 

I think all mothers have a place like this.

It is an all-knowing place — a place where there is no doubt or question. A place where God shines through.

It is a place of great strength and certainty — utter backbone — but it is also a soft, tender place. There is no fear in this place. Fear does not exist here.

It is always there if you look hard enough, and if she knows you need it, she will show it to you. Because she keeps it for you forever in the corner of her eye.

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MemberPartners Dave and Patti Kelley’s son, Thatcher, is a film maker. He captures the beating heart. He walked with Marti one night as they invited the women she knows without homes to tell their stories. Their goal was not to get the story, but to get them in the story. We invite you to click on this link to discover one of the many women without homes. Her name is Beverly Cunningham. She wrote and reads a poem titled Through the Eyes of a Child. We strongly recommend you take a few minutes to receive from Beverly a very special Mother’s Day gift. 

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Stuck

When you notice that the Catch has been coming out late, or sometimes (as in last Monday) not at all, you can usually assume one thing: I’m going through the wringer. I’m trying to get at something that I’m not getting. I’m going through two, sometimes three versions of a Catch, and then at the end of the day I still have to conclude — nope; that’s not it. I’m fighting with God; I’m fighting with myself; and I’m fighting with Marti, who understands me so well, she knows when to blow the whistle on me. So that’s why this little paragraph is all you’re going to get from me today, but there is hope for tomorrow.

I once wrote a book, Making Real What I Already Believe. Well that’s what I think is happening here. I’m having to reinterpret something I thought I knew. This was supposed to be an easy week. I was going to teach a passage I have taught more than any other in the Bible. Who would have thought I would get stuck in 2 Corinthians 4, but here I am.

So hang in there with me. Tomorrow is looking better.

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Perplexed

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Perplexed, but not in despair … 2 Corinthians 4:8

This is not about victorious living — this is about ordinary life lived out through the surpassing power of God.  It’s not about you (or me). It’s about the all-surpassing power of God through us.

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One a day multiple challenges

One of my favorite passages of scripture is 2 Corinthians 4:8-12. It immediately follows the famous “jars of clay” verse, and confirms why God would want to put a valuable treasure in an ordinary clay pot. But more on that later. First, I need to tell you why we’re here again looking at this passage. If you’ve been with the Catch for a while, you may know that this is not the first time we’ve had our Bibles open to 2 Corinthians, and I guarantee not the last. That’s because this passage is central to all we do here at the Catch; it’s what we call the New Covenant.

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Showcased

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God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. Ephesians 3:10-11

Yesterday we found out God’s ultimate plan is to bring everything together under the authority of Jesus Christ. Today we find out that another part of His plan is to show off the rich variety of His wisdom as expressed in the church, to “unseen rulers and authorities in heavenly places.” Now who are those guys? Do we even know? No we don’t, but right now that’s none of our business. That’s God’s business, and we only need to know that it’s going on and pay attention to our walk with the Lord, because we are not alone. Someone outside of our earthly realm is looking on. And what God is doing through you and me is being noted. I bet you didn’t know you were that important.

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