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Begrudging God–Matthew 20: 1-16

September 18, 2011
St. Stephen Presbyterian Church
Fort Worth, TX
Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch, Preacher

I did a couple of conferences this past year where some of the speakers were classmates of mine. In fact, some of them were in the classes below me when I was in seminary. And look at them now! Headlining major conferences! They’ve done so well! I’m so proud of them!

No I’m not! 

I keep thinking: Why them and not me?Read More »Begrudging God–Matthew 20: 1-16

Too Hard to Believe–A Sermon on Poverty, Politics, and Faith–August 28, 2011

Matthew 16: 21-28

August 28, 2011

Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch, Preacher

The disciple Cephas has really scored. All the other disciples are high-fiving him. He got it right! He figured it out! Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God! And to reward him, Jesus has renamed him “Peter,” which means “The Rock,” and Jesus has told Peter, right in front of everybody, that Peter will be the rock on which Jesus will build His church, and that he, Peter, will have the keys to heaven and hell! He’ll personally decide who is in and who is out!Read More »Too Hard to Believe–A Sermon on Poverty, Politics, and Faith–August 28, 2011

Yes!– Exodus 1: 8-2: 10

Exodus 1: 8-2: 10
Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch, Preacher

The other day I heard about a teacher at American University in DC, Lynn Ganek. When she was studying to be a teacher, she received a student mini-grant for her project. That project ultimately became The Reading Rainbow. Now, she and her family aren’t rich, but they believe in education. They wanted to put their money where their hearts are. So this is what they do: every year, they provide ten grants of $500 each to student teachers who develop projects they feel are making a difference. It’s a time-consuming task that requires developing and reviewing piles of applications and narrowing the field to the ten best-qualified. Then they have a big celebration dinner. They go to all this trouble, $5000 plus the expense of the dinner, because they believe that good teachers make the world a better place.Read More »Yes!– Exodus 1: 8-2: 10

Where the Waves Are–Dr. Warner Bailey, Preacher


Genesis 37.1-4, 12-28   Psalm 105.1-6, 16-22, 45b   Romans 10.5-15   Matthew 14.22-33

Seeing is not always believing, especially when you look out into the teeth of a storm.  Seeing is not always believing, especially when our heart is full of bitterness, anger, rage, and that sinking feeling of absolute helplessness.  The disciples of Jesus had been with him many months, perhaps a couple of years, and they had witnessed his mighty power many, many times. They knew his face like the back of their hands, and yet when they saw him coming to them over the boiling waves, their last ounce of courage evaporated in the face of the storm. The whole boatload of them convulsed into the despair of overwhelming horror.  They thought he was a ghost, the grim reaper, come to take them to their watery graves.Read More »Where the Waves Are–Dr. Warner Bailey, Preacher

Demon or God?–Genesis 32: 22-31

Demon or God?

Genesis 32: 22-31

Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch, Preacher


Our Old Testament story is one of the most familiar of the Bible. Jacob, the most conniving fellow in the scriptures, finds himself between a rock and a hard place. He has managed to outsmart his father-in-law Laban and free himself and his family from Laban’s service. But now he has to figure out how to overcome the demons of his past. Years before, he had disguised himself as his twin brother Esau to trick his blind father into giving him Esau’s blessing. Now Jacob has to pass through the land where Esau now lives, and he has heard that Esau is coming to meet him with two hundred men.  Jacob is terrified. He divides his own company into two groups, so that if Esau attacks him, one group has a chance of escaping. He sends them off and he waits, alone, by the river Jabbok, waits—for what?Read More »Demon or God?–Genesis 32: 22-31


Matthew 13: 31-33, 44-52

July 24, 2011

St. Stephen Presbyterian Church

Fort Worth, TX

Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch, Preacher


When my wife Margaret had graduated college, and her younger sister Cynthia was still in college, they joined a couple of friends and travelled in Italy together for the summer.  Margaret and her friend Michelle split off from Cynthia and Allison and they travelled separately, agreeing to meet in Venice in Piazza San Marcos at a set time. Meanwhile, Allison had to return home, leaving Cynthia on her own, and Cynthia got lost. Margaret didn’t know this. She arrived at Piazza San Marcos at the appointed time, and Cynthia wasn’t there. Now this was in the days before cell phones and internet. There was no way they could find each other.Read More »Found

Wheat and Weeds

Weeds and Wheat

Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43

July 17, 2011

St. Stephen Presbyterian Church

Fort Worth, TX

Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch, Preacher


Some of you may remember a sermon I did a few years ago about the problem of Trumpet Vines growing in our yard and garden, and our quest to get rid of them permanently. I tried many things, a large number of which you all suggested. And guess what:


They’re ba-ack.Read More »Wheat and Weeds

Seeds–Matthew 13

Matthew 13: 1-9, 13-16

July 10, 2011

St. Stephen Presbyterian Church

Fort Worth, TX

Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch, Preacher


When we lived in rural Virginia, when Margaret was pregnant with our first child Sara Caitlin, we decided to plant a vegetable garden across the street from the manse, right next to a cow pasture. We planted watermelon, cantelope, tomatoes, squash, beans, lettuce, and corn. We’d climb over the barbed wire fence and get cow pies to fertilize it. We were especially proud of our corn, because all the corn farmers around us told us we’d never grow any. The problem, they said, was that we’d planted one row of corn, and you need two rows to cross-pollinate. So when we grew a row of healthy, juicy corn, they were a bit put off. But in reality, we grew that corn because of them. A quarter mile away in any direction there were acres and acres of corn. The wind blew, the bees buzzed between rows of corn.  And ultimately our little row of corn was the beneficiary. So really, our row of corn was growing thanks to all those farmers who told us the corn would never grow. They were pollinating our corn but they didn’t know it.Read More »Seeds–Matthew 13

Holy Chutzpa

Genesis 22: 1-14
St. Stephen Presbyterian Church
Fort Worth, TX
Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch, Preacher

The Tuesday Bible Study has focused on Genesis and just recently we did the story of Abraham taking Isaac to be sacrificed. One of the participants said, “Why all of a sudden is Abraham so docile, so unquestioning? What happened to the guy who negotiated with God over whether to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? If Abraham was willing to negotiate with God to save such wicked cities, why wouldn’t he negotiate with God for his own son?”

It’s a good question.Read More »Holy Chutzpa

Pentecost: Positive Apocalypse

Acts 2: 1-21

A few weeks ago, many of the faithful were disappointed that the Day of Judgment did not arrive as someone had predicted. There was no Rapture of the faithful to heaven, no judgment of the faithless. The terrifying end of the world scenario this person had predicted didn’t come to be.

The thing is, terrifying, end of the world scenarios are happening all the time. We’ve seen our share of them. The Stock Market crash. 9-11. Katrina and other natural disasters. The list goes on. All sorts of end of the world scenarios, things that someone predicrted would be THE WORST THING EVER have ended up happening—yet somehow we’ve survived.Read More »Pentecost: Positive Apocalypse