Login / Signup

Free Access

Sermon Illustrations for Proper 9 | OT 14 (2021)

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10
Quite naturally on this holiday, we think of leadership of our nation. King David’s actions may be a model for leadership. David recognized that leadership involved partnership with those led (why he entered a covenant with the people [v.3]) and also to operate in a way which makes clear subordination to God. John Wesley regarded this kind of humility as crucial for all citizens, not just our leaders, an awareness that any good accomplished only happens because of God. He wrote:

Deeply conscious, therefore, should every member of this society be of his own foolishness, continually hanging with his whole soul, upon Him Who alone hath wisdom and strength, with an unspeakable conviction that “the help which is done upon earth, God doeth it Himself”; and that it is He alone Who “worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” (Works, Vol.6, p.161)

Dwight Eisenhower, who certainly knew something about leadership, understood it somewhat along these lines, and since we all engage other people, it is good advice for everyone. He claimed that “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” Get other people to want what you want, assist them in doing it, and give God all the glory for it.
Mark E.

* * *

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10
The crowning of David as king is an important moment in Israel’s history. David reigned as king for forty years. He was not flawless, he was, after all, human. Jerusalem was renamed and became known as the City of David from this moment and into this day. As I traveled in the holy land, I was awed by the scenes and sights that I had only read about in history and in scripture. I did not feel the presence of King David, but I did feel the presence of God, of Jesus, as I walked in places he would have walked, sat where he had been seated, and prayed where he prayed. David had a huge impact on Israel, but he was, of course, a human being, not God. So, I am not surprised that I felt the presence of God, rather than the presence of David.
Bonnie B.

* * *

2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Oswald Chambers once wrote, “Faith for my deliverance is not faith in God. Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, I will stick to my belief that God is love. There are some things only learned in a fiery furnace.”

We understand that. Chambers is referencing the familiar account of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and their trust despite being put in Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace. The Christian band Mercy Me sings a song called “Little Faith” that speaks to that and other times when God’s answer is different than what we hope. Here are some of the lyrics.

They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have, right now
But God when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul

Despite his praying for the thorn in the flesh to be removed, the apostle Paul knew what Mercy Me, Oswald Chambers and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego all knew. “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (vs. 9)
Bill T.

* * *

2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Those who speak of near-death experiences often express their feeling that there is no longer, for them, any fear of death. The same is true for those who have had a vison or dream of assurance. Fear is replaced by a sense of purpose and meaning. Paul speaks of the vision of the third heaven he was granted, something both timeless and timely, which fuels his ministry and which he shares with the conviction of one who has experienced the eternal firsthand, with the confession that despite his earnest prayer, his own personal affliction, his thorn in the flesh, will not be taken away. One is reminded of Julian of Norwich, who ardently prayed that her pains would put her more in touch with the heaven, and perhaps for the reader of saints they have known who have borne their afflictions with patience. It is on this basis that Paul assures the Corinthians he looks forward to a third visit, no matter what the experiences before. Paul lays great weight on his weaknesses which demonstrate God’s strength. The gift of being the more practiced, the more experienced Christian, is what he intends to offer.
Frank R.

* * *

Mark 6:1-13
I can remember when I first answered the call to ministry. Some people were incredibly surprised. That wasn’t the way they saw me. They had known me for years and years, just as the people had known Jesus. They didn’t see me as a preacher, teacher and pastor. The people in Jesus’ hometown didn’t see him as prophet or teacher either. They certainly had difficulty seeing him as the Son of God. And yet, this man, this divine man, taught, healed, prophesied, loved, and redeemed us human beings. He sent others forth to do the same. So, my friends, whether people recognize your call from God, please answer it. Please respond to the call of God on your life. For me, and for others, it has made all the difference.
Bonnie B.

* * *

Mark 6:1-13
What with all that has happened in 2021, how can we believe that God is still in control of our nation, of our lives? How can God be in control when Jesus could not do all the miracles he wanted to do?  An ancient theologian, Dionysius of Alexandria, urges us to think of the universe as a vast choir. Choirs need directors who organize everything, pick the music and tempo, but can’t control the performance quality (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol.6, pp.88,91). So, in our story, God in Christ could bring everyone together, but bad faith got in the way of the healing performance, but not totally. Just like the choir director ensures that the show goes on, some cures did transpire (v.5). Does this help explain how the tragedies of life could still happen under the rule of our loving God? Garrison Keillor said something remarkably similar to Dionysius’ analogy:

God writes a lot of comedy — the trouble is he’s stuck with so many bad actors who don’t know how to play funny.

Evil is a function of bad actors in God’s planned comedy and fun-time life.
Mark E.
In addition to the lectionary resources there are thousands of non-lectionary, scripture based resources...
Signup for FREE!
(No credit card needed.)
Proper 23 | OT 28 | Pentecost 20
29 – Sermons
150+ – Illustrations / Stories
27 – Children's Sermons / Resources
25 – Worship Resources
27 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Proper 24 | OT 29 | Pentecost 21
30 – Sermons
150+ – Illustrations / Stories
26 – Children's Sermons / Resources
28 – Worship Resources
24 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Proper 25 | OT 30 | Pentecost 22
31 – Sermons
160+ – Illustrations / Stories
28 – Children's Sermons / Resources
27 – Worship Resources
22 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Plus thousands of non-lectionary, scripture based resources...
Signup for FREE!
(No credit card needed.)

New & Featured This Week

The Immediate Word

Mary Austin
Katy Stenta
Christopher Keating
Dean Feldmeyer
Quantisha Mason-Doll
For October 17, 2021:
  • Not Suffering Alone by Mary Austin — Covid has been so painful, for so many people around the world. Can there be anything redemptive in this season of suffering, for us and for the people around us?
  • Second Thoughts: God Answers Job by Katy Stenta — How do we make time, like Job, to sit with our grief?

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Bill Thomas
Mark Ellingsen
Bonnie Bates
Frank Ramirez
Job 38:1-7 (34-41)
There are a total of 39 questions in Job chapter 38, more than any other chapter of the Bible. It is God’s reply to Job’s situation and addresses his sovereignty.
David Kalas
Note: This installment was originally published in 2006.

When I was in grade school, there was not much freedom for individual children to wander the halls. If a student was seen walking alone down the hallway during school hours, a teacher or administrator was bound to stop the student and ask, "Where are you supposed to be?"

The underlying presumption, of course, was that there was seldom a good reason for a young child to be on his/her own, away from the teacher, and apart from the class. To be


Frank Ramirez
John E. Sumwalt
“Whatever You Ask?” by Frank Ramirez
“I Surrender All” by John Sumwalt

Whatever You Ask?
by Frank Ramirez
Mark 10:35-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” (v. 35)


John Jamison
Object: Chairs for a short game of Musical Chairs. NOTE: You can use pillows or cushions if it is easier. You will want one seat for each child. However, if you have a large group of children, you can just have three or four take part in the actual game if you prefer. For more fun, talk with your music person to see if they will play the short pieces of music for your game of musical chairs.

The Village Shepherd

Janice B. Scott
Clarence was always very particular, even as a fledging only just out of the nest. He happened to have been born with an especially large and beautifully radiant white bib, which he probably wouldn't have noticed if the large snowy owl, who kept a weather-eye on all the young birds, hadn't remarked to Clarence's mother, "Oh my! What a bootiful bib! You'll have some trouble keeping that clean with a young chick like that! But he'll sooon get into mischief, so it won't be white for long."


Robert A. Hausman
What does it mean to be great? That is the question our texts raise today. "Great" is a wide-ranging word: You can have a great king, great skill, a great storm, a great number, great joy, or great fear. You can use it in its Greek form, mega -- as in megachurch; or in its Latin form, magna -- as in magnify. It can refer to physical form, size, or height. Pull yourself up, stand tall, like the cedars of Lebanon! Be great!

Lee Ann Dunlap
Many of you may remember from your grade school days a novel by Mark Twain titled, The Prince and the Pauper. It has been adapted in various forms of Disney productions and even a few cartoon tales. The Twain story begins with two boys with identical features -- one a spoiled royal heir, and the other a street urchin surviving on his wits. By chance they meet. The pauper is enamored with the fineries of the palace, while the prince envies the pauper's freedom to come and go as he chooses.

William G. Carter
Historically speaking, the church has usually painted a pretty picture of the twelve original disciples of Jesus. All except Judas have been considered saints. Pious people have named churches after them, often referring to the first disciples as the rocks upon which Christ has built his church. Yet anybody who hears the Gospel of Mark's stories about the disciples gets a different picture of who they were and what they wanted. Sure, the disciples walked the road with Jesus. They listened as he taught. They watched as he did signs and wonders. They followed where he led.

Special Occasion