Sermon Archive

If you would like to re-read past sermons, they are archived under the “sermons” tab at the top of the home page. They extend from July 2, 2017 all the way back to August 19, 2012.

A shortcut way to access them is to click a month/year link under “Archives” on the right side of the home page where you will notice monthly archive links. Under those you can find the sermons posted for that particular month. If you click on the header that contains the “Sermon for” and a date, it will display the sermon that was posted for that date.


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Note to those that Visit the St. Paul Website

Pastor Raymond Spitzenburger elected to retire effective after the July 2nd service. Pastor Ray has faithfully served St. Paul for 28 years and will be greatly missed. He plans to continue his many projects in writing, painting and other pursuits including writing a book as he enters his retirement.

St. Paul will be working with the Texas District of the LCMS to find a new Pastor for St. Paul. We all want to offer our prayers for Pastor Ray as he transitions into being a retiree and author. We were blessed in having him as our Pastor and will miss him.

Sermon for July 02, 2017

Sermon for the Day of My Retirement

Independence Day Sunday, July 2, 2017, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Wallis, Texas

Sermon Texts:  Ephesians 1:15-23

Sermon Theme: “You Didn’t Come Together to Fall Apart”

(Sources:  Online “Freedom in Christ”; Online “How to Say Goodbye”; Online “How a Church Survives When a Pastor Leaves”; original examples, illustrations, and Ideas; Footnotes, Life Application Study Bible; Footnotes, Concordia Self-Study Bible)

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

When my mother was 13 years old, Trinity Lutheran Church in Fedor, Texas, where she and her parents attended, started up a Mission church in Dime Box, with about three families.  Fedor was not all that far away from Dime Box, but when it rained, the roads were difficult to manage even with the horse and buggy, — that was the reason for trying to establish a new church.

The church worshipped on Sundays in the one-room rural school where the kids went to school during the week.  If a supply preacher could make it on a Sunday, they would have a short, simple service; if not, then they said a prayer and went home.  In those days, each person owned his own hymn book, and there was an old piano in the school, but there was no one to play it.  Well, even at 13, my mother could play by ear, but she couldn’t read music.

Her parents wanted so much to sing the hymns that they bought her a ‘how to play the piano’ book, she studied it, and taught herself to read notes.  Every week, she would teach herself to play a new hymn.  As she learned to play, they added a few new members.

However, there were two or three disgruntled members who hated a worship service without the liturgy, so a few people drifted back to Fedor where there were “real” Lutheran services with the full liturgy, played on a pipe organ.  So my mother tried to master the liturgy, but playing the Lutheran liturgy on a piano rather than an organ was very difficult.  The new church was so small that losing even a couple members to Fedor was catastrophic.

But God had called them to be a church, and they survived.  Decades later, they had a beautiful wooden church on a hill and 300 members. – and an organ with all the bells and whistles.  Eventually they had a lovable old pastor, named Pastor Socha, who hugged everybody, and my mother couldn’t imagine life without him, — even though she almost swatted him with a fly swatter once, because he hugged her.

Pastor Socha died, and they all grieved.  And grieved.  And grieved.  When the new Seminary graduate they called arrived, they gave that young whipper-snapper the cold shoulder.  To reach out to the congregation, he held an open-house Christmas party in the parsonage, with lots and lots of homemade Christmas edibles.  Not one member showed up for his open house.  He told his sad tale to Peg and me one day.  By then, Pastor Socha had become a saint.  I guess Mama forgot she once wanted to hit him with a fly swatter!

You know, God calls people to be a church, and each church is a part of the Body of Christ.  Trinity Lutheran Church was Christ’s church, even when it was a one-room, rural school house.  It was never Pastor Socha’s church, no matter how much he helped it to grow, and how much he loved the people, and how much they loved him.  He knew that.  But I’m not sure the congregation did.

You see, what they didn’t realize was that Trinity Lutheran Church, Dime Box, was Christ’s church, and they, the members,  were the Body of Christ.  THEY were the church, but it belonged to Christ.  Pastor Socha was PART of the church, but he wasn’t the church.

Actually they were very good people; I knew them well.  They loved the Lord with all their hearts.  But no church should ever be so dependent on a pastor that they can’t make the transition from one pastor to another.  Christ works through every pastor He sends to His churches. Continue reading