November 26, 2020

Preaching For Grownups: Mark 9:14-29

grownupI’m posting this morning’s sermon at Manchester Presbyterian Church where I supply. I strayed just a bit from the actual lectionary reading, back into last week’s text, which I’d replaced with Mark 8….oh, anyway. This is the first sermon where some of the themes of my nameless book are really prominent. Hopefully, I’ll find more ways to incorporate book themes into preaching.

I am replacing the category “London Presby,” which is sermons, with “Preaching For Grownups.” I’d like to do this as a regular podcast someday, but right now we will just make it a category. Production values are non-existent.

The sound in the background? That’s one of God’s beautiful children. You’ll get used to her. We all have.

The scripture is Mark 9:14-29. I do a bit of my overview of Mark in here as well. Feel free to share this message with those who assume I have a Kentucky accent. I need to stamp out that rumor.


  1. Scott Miller says

    Question Michael – what does it mean that you “supply”?
    “Manchester Presbyterian Church where I supply”. I saw this in a previous post. Does this mean that you fill in?

  2. Boy, a transcript would be nice… Think of it as notes for your book ;^)

  3. Some months ago I joined those who were encouraging you to write the book. I had a bit of an idea of what you might write on and after listening to this I now know more. I want to share just a little of my own history in ministry which I hope will confirm in you Michael, the need for this book. I have pastored a church for a time but since then have spent 11 years as a prison chaplain and now 12 years as a hospital chaplain. In the course of those years I have asked a question thousands of timesof inmates who were facing life in prison or in one case facing the death penalty and patients who are suffering illness and sometimes dying . The question is “do you have any kind of spiritual beliefs that are helping you face life right now, do you have any kind of spiritual support in your life like a church or…?” Now I have not gotten to the place of asking that question as a follow up line after leading them in the sinners prayer or going through the four spiritual laws. I ask the question after letting them talk about the sorrow and agony of their life and sensing in what they are saying that there is some awareness that life includes something or someone larger than themselves. Well, needless to say my questions are an opening for most of them to tell stories of why they left the church. Thousands of stories from people as to why they left the church. I’m sure all of you who are reading this have heard them so I won’t recount any details except to say that Michael, you have hit the nail on the head as to what the common thread in the stories are. If you listen to the stories carefully enough and gently help the story teller remove one or two layers so they can look more honestly at what they are saying, what they are saying is “I know what people say a christian is supposed to be like, I know how a christian is supposed to feel when they are told they are dying, or sick or ….blah blah blah, and I just can’t do it, I can’t do it and I don’t want to try to do it any more.” I know a season of my own life when I have had these same thoughts and questions, I still have them but maybe not as intense as before. I am now held firm by a strong belief and the conviction which you spoke of in your message, “Jesus has me, I’m a mess but I’m learning and I’m going to keep hanging on until the coming of the kingdom in all its glory.” God bless you bro, keep working on that book.

  4. I really liked what you said about prayer at the end. I’ve heard that passage discussed in various ways before and it always seemed kinda strange to me. Almost like this was a special case that required the disciples to “pray harder” or something. I totally missed the implication that they (like me more often than I’d like to admit) were just doing God’s work without praying.

  5. iMonk–what ronh said. You are a breath of fresh air and I need your gospel message.


  6. Amen. Can’t wait for that book. But please, strongly consider the preaching podcast in the meantime.

  7. great preaching. Nothing really can be added to the points you make and I was deeply moved by what you had to say about us being in progress… if I only would have grasped half of this message as a younger Christian–but hey, now I know and I doubt I ever would have known what you are talking about had I not lived the myth myself. Mythology is the perfect word.

  8. Love this! I have been hoping that you’d post some of your sermons here. Thanks so much! Would love to hear the presentation on Mark you gave to the Mennonite church in S.C.