January 16, 2021

iMonk Update—3/23/10

Update from Denise Spencer, posted by Chaplain Mike.

There has been another change in Michael’s situation, and I would like readers to know so you can better pray for us.

At the encouragement of our oncologist, we have opted to discontinue treatment. He said the chemotherapy was not working, and it would actually be doing a disservice to Michael to continue. We are now receiving help from our local hospice. We know we are in good hands with them, and we are at peace that we have made the best decision under the circumstances.

Several people have already suggested various alternative treatments. While we appreciate their concern and helpfulness, we have discussed this possibility and Michael does not want to try anything else. Please pray for strength and acceptance, for trust in God, for minimal pain and for a peaceful passing.

“Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-21)

Thank you, one and all, for your continued prayers.



  1. It’s unfortunately not a very exclusive club that you have found yourselves joining — I made this journey with my beloved wife several years ago.

    The acceptance that treament is not working and there is little more to be done is one of the most difficult moments in the journey with a loved one though the curse we call cancer.

    I pray that the presence of our Lord may be very real in your lives as you make this next part of the journey and that whatever its conclusion, you may find His peace at its end.

    — Ishmael

  2. My prayers are with you,Michael, Denise and Family. Internet Monk has been a great blessing and inspiration to me, and I am deeply thankful.
    May the Lord’s peace and strength sustain you and comfort you.

  3. My heart is aching for Michael and his loved ones. May God’s peace and comfort embrace you all.

  4. Your family are in my prayers. May He minister to you and overwhelm you with His grace.

  5. Still praying for your healing; its what I want. Nevertheless, God’s will be done. May God watch over you, your family, and give you peace.

  6. Clay Knick says

    God’s peace…prayers.

    I’ve loved reading iMonk.

  7. I have quietly read here, and fed here, for years.

    This may be only my second comment. I read this last night… grieved… quietly slipped away… and awoke again with Michael on my mind and heart…. and came back to just whisper here….

    Michael has long been a companion on The Way for me. During a very dark time in my evangelical journey, when I didn’t know where I fit with God, when the ground under my feet began to shift — Michael’s words here let me know that it was okay to ask questions — that God still held. That Truth still held. That we didn’t all have to be cookie-cutter Christians, practicing church all the same way — we simply had to keep company with Jesus, simply had to fall in love with Jesus, simply had to fix the gaze on Christ. That fixed everything.

    Michael taught me about unity… that you could still fellowship and stay and love even when there were differences… God used Michael to cause me to stay in conservative evangelicalism — while my heart grew more ecumenical. His humility, his honesty, his bravery, his Jesus-heart — they brushed up against so many lives and forever changed us.

    Thank you for this ministry, for a life poured out.
    God has multiplied the few fishes into a feast — and Michael’s work ripples on into eternity.

    Humbly and with overflowing gratitude and continued prayers….
    All’s grace,

    • This expresses nearly exactly my experience in finding God’s grace flowing through Michael. I echo what you have written, Ann. Thank you, Michael. May you rest in the arms of our Savior.

    • I cannot add to this comment. Perfectly said Ann.

    • Yes Ann….well said, and I could say no more.

    • Thank you for saying so well what so many feel, Ann.

      Denise and Michael, thank you for sharing your lives so openly with us. Know that you are being held up to our Father during this time of transition — for Michael into the next phase of his journey with Jesus, and for you as you, well, into the next phase of your journey with Jesus.

      How we lay down our lives can be just as important as how we live them. Here’s to a life well lived, Michael…and to finishing well.

      May you both feel the presence of your Savior and his Bride–you are dearly loved.

    • Thank you for this ministry, for a life poured out.
      God has multiplied the few fishes into a feast — and Michael’s work ripples on into eternity.

      Greg R

    • Ann, you have apparently spoken for many of us, thank you. Michael and Denise, in every way, you are in our prayers.

  8. Sin sucks.

  9. Peace be with you. My words are so small and ineffective at times like this. And I lift each of you up to my Father. To Michael, thank you so much for your humanity through the years. You’ve made me understand myself in many ways and strengthen my walk in the Way. And I find the older I get, the more questions I have, and that’s part of what the journey is all about. I love you brother.

  10. Christopher K. says


  11. Godspeed, my brother. May the tide go out gently, and I’ll see you on the other side.

    Love & prayers to Denise and your children.

  12. Ann of Holy Experience expressed it well. I’m a long time reader – but have never commented. Ann’s beautiful entry mirrors in many ways what I have experienced in reading Michael’s writings for many years. Praying for comfort for him and his family.

  13. Michael,

    God’s peace and grace be with you. I think you’ve made the right decision here. Chemo, if it’s not working, just makes your life more miserable, and that’s not worth it. Prayers from this corner of Manitoba are with you and your family.

    Looking forward to the “resurrection of the body and the life everlasting”!

    -long time lurker, first time poster, Alex from Manitoba

  14. Michael,

    None of us wants to say goodbye to a brother. Already we grieve, if indeed God calls you home. If not, all the more glory to Jesus Christ. If so, glory still is God’s. If it is your time, thank you for your work. I never met you, but I will. I pray, selfishly, that your time is not yet. However, if it is your time, I rejoice that you go home to the Father. Untold joy, love, peace, and happiness awaits you. Soon, I will meet you. Soon.

  15. EvanF ( my husband and fellow iMonk follower) and I pray every day for your family, Michael and Denise. We are so sorry, and though we’ve never met we love you always.

  16. Michael,

    You have been a voice of sanity for me these last few years. Thank you for your faithfulness and your willingness to share all the variety of your Christian journey. From one more praying among the many.

  17. That Other Jean says

    Thank you, Michael for giving so much of yourself to so many of us. You have indeed been a strong voice and a guide through the wilderness. May you and yours be sustained and comforted by your faith and the knowledge of a job well done. You are, as always, in my prayers.

  18. Michael, Denise and family,

    I hope you feel every ounce of love poured out in these prayers. May you be filled with peace, comfort, joy. All of you are loved.

  19. {heavy heart}

    Father of all mercy — your hand of blessing & peace upon the Spencer family.

    Sorry to get all Catholic but:
    O St. JOSEPH, foster father of the Child Jesus and true spouse
    of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us and for the dying of this
    day (or this night). Amen.

  20. Peggy in Shenandoah Valley says

    Michael, thank you for so many words fitly spoken, for being a voice crying in the wilderness, for being the kind of person who would draw an amazing world-wide digital church and eloquently point us all to a Jesus-shaped life. I will miss you, but I pray Godspeed for you and comfort for your family.
    God, thank you for Michael.

  21. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2Tim4,6-8)

    Peace, Brother.

  22. With Newman I pray, “May God give [you] safe lodging, And a holy rest, And peace at the last. Amen.”

    May the Lord protect us all the day long,
    Till the shades lengthen and evening comes
    And the busy world is hushed
    And the evening of life is over
    And the day is done.
    Then in his goodness, may God give us safe lodging,
    and a holy rest,
    and peace at the last. Amen.

  23. This is so sad…my prayers are with the Spencer family.

  24. Grace and peace, Michael. Praying for you brother.

  25. I am a longtime lurker and shocked and saddened by the speed and severity of this illness. I am also surprised that the school had no disability policy/insurance to cover them. But thanks for thought provoking and faith enhancing work, and I am sending my prayers for Michael, and to Denise and the family with great respect and empathy for what they all face.

  26. MelissaTheRagamuffin says

    Michael, you will be truly missed. You and your family have my prayers.

  27. My husband and I have been praying for Michael, especially that he is free from pain.

  28. Michael, this has been really sad for me as you were a huge encouragement to me during a really hard time of doubt. While a pastor, I woke up one morning and was convinced that I was just in denial, that I really wasn’t a Christian and that I needed to quit. That was about 2 years ago and I’m still in ministry. You spoke really well to some of the main issues that were messing me up and it was exactly what I needed to hear. Reading your stuff still encourages me that I am not alone and that there is hope for the future for those of us who want to be Jesus-shaped Christians after the pattern you promote and with which we resonate. This is a huge gift you have given the church. Bless you in Christ Jesus.

  29. We love you guys and we’ll be praying.

  30. Allan Schwarb says

    Dear Michael, Denise and family,

    Our prayers are with your during this difficult time.

    Pax Christi,

    Allan Schwarb
    Chesterfield MO

  31. Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

    Father, thank you for Michael and his ministry. Increase his faith, sustain him with your grace, and give him peace. Bless his family with courage and hope. Fill the days they have together with heavenly joy. Supply their needs. We rejoice that for all who love Christ, death has been defeated and we have life through him. For us, to live is Christ and die is gain. We give you thanks for this mercy. Amen.

  32. Anxious Anglican says

    Thank you, Lord, for the ministry of Michael Spencer. Have mercy upon the soul of your servant Michael, and comfort and sustain Denise and their family during this affliction.

    Michael: May your rest be in peace, and your dwelling-place in the Paradise of God. Thank you, more than words could ever express.

    Denise: Thank you for “loaning” Michael to his internet flock these past years. Your sacrifice is greatly appreciated.


  33. Vital spark of heav’nly flame!
    Quit, O quit this mortal frame:
    Trembling, hoping, ling’ring, flying,
    O the pain, the bliss of dying!
    Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife,
    And let me languish into life.

    Hark! they whisper; angels say,
    Sister Spirit, come away!
    What is this absorbs me quite?
    Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
    Drowns my spirit, draws my breath?
    Tell me, my soul, can this be death?

    The world recedes; it disappears!
    Heav’n opens my eyes! my ears
    With sounds seraphic ring!
    Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
    O Grave! where is thy victory?
    O Death! where is thy sting?

    -“The Dying Christian to His Soul” by Alexander Pope

  34. Thank you for your courage. These decisions are difficult. I have been there with my parents and their parents. God bless you, and keep you. And in the old Jewish prayer, Peace to your Spirit and guidance for your souls. We continue to pray, as always for the return of our Savior to cancel these sorrows.

  35. Peace and prayers for Michael, Denise, and their family.

  36. To Michael, Denise, and family: may all of God’s peace and love be on all of you. As the Holy Spirit descended like a dove on Jesus, I pray that He would now descend on you and hold you all in His arms.

    To death: God damn you. You think you’ve won, but you’ve won nothing. Jesus has won everything. Your time is almost up; Jesus is coming.

  37. Thank you, Michael, for helping me to see that I am not alone in my questioning. I grieve that you are leaving us, but rejoice that you will soon be in the presence of our Lord. My prayer is your passing will be peaceful, and that it will be as pain-free as possible.

    Thank you, Denise, for sharing Michael with us. As you well know, he has been an encouragement to many. I pray that the Lord will strengthen and comfort you in this trying time, and that you will continue to receive the support of both your physical and your electronic brothers and sisters, both now, and in the months and years to come.

    My final prayer is that Michael’s upcoming book will reach far more in death than Michael ever reached in his life. May Mere Churchianity be a lasting legacy that will glorify our Lord and lead many into a deeper relationship with our Lord. May it also help guide the church through the coming evangelical collapse.

  38. Thank you Michael for your putting this site up for all the sojourners of the faith. May God give you the peace and blessed glory that awaits all those who have run the race well.

  39. Michael,
    You have been invaluable in my spiritual growth. I do not know what else to say, except that you will be deeply missed by everyone, even those you have never met in real life. This world could use more men who write with your honesty, humility, and care.

  40. Michael-there aren’t words. Thank you-your love for Jesus changed my life. Thank you.

  41. Michael has brought tears to my eyes several times in the past 5 years I’ve been reading him. He’s doing it again.

    Peace to Michael and the Spencer family.

  42. Thank you for everything you’ve written Michael. Soon the veil will be lifted for you and you will see Him face to face. We continue in prayer for you, Denise and your family, and we look forward to meeting you in person in the Kingdom. Your work has meant more to us than we can say.

  43. Michael,

    I’m praying for you, it’s not over yet; we serve a God of miracles who is all powerful, I’ll still be praying for your healing, and in the mean time the LORD’s continued comfort and mercy on you, Denise and family!

    In the love of Christ,


  44. I’ve only read a few articles over my whole time of knowing of imonk. Yet the first article I ever read helped me out more than one could know. It helped change my life. Goes to show that God has used Michael tremendously in so many ways. Thank you Michael for what you have done, even as little as it may seem to me. I shall surely pray for you, Michael and Denise and family.

  45. I echo the sadness and prayers expressed here today and in recent weeks. Among his many attributes, Michael achieved rare excellence in creating the best site yet for constructive conversation among Catholics and Protestants. He knew just how long to permit a tense discussion to go forward; when to open a door to let in the relief of cold air and, exactly when the room needed to be sealed from further entry. As a convert from evangelicalism to Catholicism, I thank Michael for exercising his great gifts as a moderator among us.

    From a prayer to St. Raphael, the Angel of health, happy meetings and travelers, we pray:
    “Lonely and tired, crushed by the separations and sorrows of earth, we feel the need of calling to you and pleading for the protection of your wings, so that we may not be as strangers in the Province of Joy. . . .Remember the weak, you who are strong –- you whose home lies beyond the region of thunder, in a land that is always peaceful, always serene, and bright with the resplendent glory of God. Amen.”

  46. Michael and Denise, we have never met. Like so many of your dear “friends” here, I have been challenged to think and grow in my faith through your words. God has allowed you to be a mentor of sorts to me – to MANY. I am grieving this with you, even though we are not face-to-face friends. But our hearts are connected. God is good. I pray for peace and comfort for you and your family. I pray God will heal you – He has that power. And if He chooses to take you home, I am excited for that day when we can meet face to face. Truly – from the depths of me – thank you and God bless you.


  47. may grace and peace be with you all during this end of life experience.

  48. Add me to the long list of people who have been blessed here. As a long time lurker, please know my prayers are with you and your family during as you endure the final battle here.

    With gratitude, a heavy heart and prayer.

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