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Numbers 21.4-9   Psalm 107   Ephesians 2.1-10   John 3.14-21

 The Rev. Dr. Warner Bailey, Preacher

March 18, 2012  


To preach from the epistle to the Ephesians is a daunting challenge both for the preacher and for you, who must listen.  Paul’s language is high-flying, abounding in multiple meanings, and frankly just a bit weird.  So I have organized this sermon into three parts as you can see from the title: Planned before Time Began; Liberated in this Present Age; Immeasurably Loved in Ages to Come.  You see the progression goes chronologically from past to present to future.  But that’s not how I’m going to proceed.  I will begin with the middle phrase, Liberated in this Present Age, then move to the first phrase before ending with the third.Read More »PLANNED BEFORE TIME BEGAN; LIBERATED IN THIS PRESENT AGE; IMMEASURABLY LOVED IN AGES TO COME (i)

The Sermon I Preached After Last Year’s NEXT Church Conference

The Presbyterian Church “NEXT church” conference is in Dallas at the end of this month. I found last year’s first NEXT con inspiring and educational. This is the sermon I preached on my return. It was Transfiguration Sunday.

The Vision Glorious

1 Peter 1: 16-21

March 7, 2011

St. Stephen Presbyterian Church

Fort Worth, TX

Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch, Preacher

This past weekend I attended the “Next Church” conference in Indianapolis. I always feel l have to explain that this isn’t the “Next Church” as in, “What’s the next church I’m going to be pastor of?” I’m not going anywhere. No, it’s “Next Church” as in, “What is the next church we, as a denomination, are becoming?” The conference brought pastors, elders, and seminarians together to discuss the future of the PCUSA. It was exciting but also sobering. I’ll start with why we are asking the question in the first place.

The PCUSA and denominational Christianity in general, appear to be at a crossroads. Our authority is no longer taken for granted. Indeed, the authority of the Christian message seems to be universally questioned. Both the church’s message and the forms we use to convey that message seem quaint and outdated, or worse, oppressive and exclusive. We seem both unwilling and unable to change with the times. Are we a dinosaur? Jurassic Church, hopelessly outdated and unable to survive the speeding, earth-shattering impact of the comet of change that’s transforming the world around us?Read More »The Sermon I Preached After Last Year’s NEXT Church Conference

Don’t Leave–Transfiguration Sunday

2 Kings 2: 1-12

Mark 9: 2-9

Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch, Preacher

When I started as pastor of a small church some time ago, I wanted to kick off with an officer’s retreat that dealt with some of the issues that the congregation had left over from when the previous pastor left. I had a conversation with the Christian educator, who’d been there several years and was quite sharp. He explained to me that people were extremely angry and felt betrayed that the previous pastor had left them. We agreed that a Biblical look at betrayal and abandonment would be a good start.Read More »Don’t Leave–Transfiguration Sunday

Ash Wednesday: the beginning of Lent

by Mark Scott, Music Minister


The Lenten season extends over a forty-six day period beginning Ash Wednesday and ending on Saturday evening prior to Easter Day.  However, the six Sundays in Lent are not actually a part of Lent (thus they are styled Sundays IN Lent rather than Sundays OF Lent) making the actual number of days in Lent 40.  The date of Ash Wednesday is determined by the date of Easter.  This year, Ash Wednesday is February 22.Read More »Ash Wednesday: the beginning of Lent

Big Tent?

Former PC(USA) moderator and prolific blogger Bruce Reyes-Chow has started a petition drive called “There is more than one version of Christianity!” His point is that there is a great deal of diversity the Christian family. Christians need to be more tolerant of one another and the media and culture need to recognize Christian diversity, too.Read More »Big Tent?

Ash Wednesday, Family Friendly Service & Meal

Ash Wednesday, Family Friendly Service & Supper

Wednesday, February 22, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

The church staff and the Worship Committee invite all parents and children to attend the “child-friendly” and multi-sensory Ash Wednesday Service  for Children & Families, Wednesday, February 22.  Participants will gather in the sanctuary narthex (front hall) and the service will take place in the sanctuary. Ash Wednesday marks the start of the Lenten Season, where we prepare ourselves and our families for the life, miracles, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This service includes a child-friendly Lord’s Supper and the Application of Ashes. Read More »Ash Wednesday, Family Friendly Service & Meal