8:30AM, 9:45AM in the hall, or 11AM

7150 Pines Blvd
Pembroke Pines, FL 33024
The SE corner of Pines Blvd and 72nd Ave
Across the street from Broward college South Campus lake
(954) 989-1903

Join Us For Worship!

Join Us For Worship!
Sundays at 8:30AM, 9:45AM, and 11AM

Featured Post

Obituary for Earline LaCroix

Earline's family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Trinity Lutheran Church, Pembroke Pines in her memor...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Meditation for Reformation Sunday

Here we are, back at Reformation Sunday.  Each year, as this Sunday of celebration approaches, I find myself thinking about what needs to be reformed and what should be preserved.

Perhaps you feel like we've been living Reformation for the past few years as the Lutheran church has wrestled with the fallout from the various sexuality decisions of the Churchwide Assembly in 2009. Perhaps you are not happy with the changes that have been wrought. Or perhaps you are unhappy with the more recent election of a female bishop to head the ELCA—or maybe you’re unhappy because there are so few synodical bishops. Maybe you find yourself feeling very sympathetic to the Catholic church of Luther's day, the Church that found itself torn asunder by many movements of reform.

Regardless of the side on which we sit with these recent struggles, we might find ourselves feeling a bit fearful. We might worry about schism. We probably worry that there won't be a place for us in the church that emerges from all of this.

We should take heart that the Church has always been in the process of Reformation. There are great Reformations, like the one we'll celebrate this Sunday, or the Pentecostal revolution that's only 100 years old, but has transformed the developing world in ways that Capitalism never could. There are smaller ones throughout the ages as well. Movements which seemed earth-shattering at the time (monastic movements of all kinds, liberation theology, ordination of women, lay leadership) may in time come to be seen as something that enriches the larger church. Even gross theological missteps, like the Inquisition, can be survived. The Church learns from past mistakes as it moves forward.

Times of Reformation can enrich us all. Even those of us who reject reform can find our spiritual lives enriched as we take stock and measure what's important to us, what compromises we can make and what we can't. It's good to have these times where we return to the Scriptures as we try to hear what God calls us to do. It may be painful, but any of these processes may lead us to soil where we can bloom more fruitfully.

We may think of that metaphor and feel despair, as if we will never be truly rooted, flowering plants. But rootlessness can be its own spiritual gift. The spiritual wanderers have often been those who most revitalized the Church, or on a smaller level, their spiritual communities. The spiritual wanderers are often the ones who keep all of us true to God's purpose.

If you have been feeling despair, take heart. Jesus promises that we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free. You might not be feeling like you know what the truth is at this current point; you may feel tossed around by the tempests of our current times. But Jesus promises that we will know the truth. We will be set free. We don't have a specific date at which we'll know the truth. But we will.

Rest in God's promise that we are all redeemable; indeed, we are redeemed. Rest in the historic knowledge that the Church has survived times of greater turbulence than our own. Rest in Luther's idea that we are saved by grace alone. Rest.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


The pumpkin patch is underway! Thanks to all volunteers who helped with offload and manning the patch for the 1st week. We have the following shifts available for week 2 and kindly ask that you consider taking a shift (or a portion of a shift). No heavy lifting required-just a friendly face to greet the community!
Please contact Kathy at
954-478-4395 or by email at kathryn4301@att.net if you can take a shift or if you have any questions.

**Unless otherwise noted, we need 2 volunteers for each shift**
Monday, Oct. 24
2:30-4:00 1 person needed6:00-8:00

Tuesday, Oct. 25

Wednesday, Oct. 26
4:00-6:00 1 person needed6:00-8:00

Thursday, Oct. 27

Friday. Oct. 28
4:00-6:00 1 person needed
Saturday, Oct. 29

Saturday, October 22, 2016


This Sunday at Trinity Lutheran Church we will be Commemorating REFUGEE SUNDAY lifting up especially the work of the Lutheran Immigration and Resettlement Service http://lirs.org

While politicians demonize the refugees who come to us seeking asylum from war and persecution, groups like LIRS have resettled half a million people some 1939.

I will be preaching on Matthew 25:
Lord when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are
members of my family, you did it to me.'
See You Sunday!
Pastor Keith

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Relief for the Bahamas

Collecting for the people of the Bahamas affected by Hurricane Matthew for distribution through Our Savior Lutheran Church, Freeport. Items may be left in the box in the narthex. All items to be donated must be received by Sunday November 6th.

CEREALS (assorted)
BLEACH (gal or 1/2 gal)
Pine sol (24 or 48 ounces)
Dish washing liquid
Bath soaps
Tooth paste
Tooth brushes

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Unjust Managers

The reading for Sunday, October 19:

Luke 16:1-13

Ah, the parable of the unjust steward, the dishonest manager. This parable may be one of the toughest to understand. Are we to understand this parable as a pro-cheating text? It seems that this tale is one of several types of unjustness, and it's hard to sort it all out. Let's try.

Much like the parable of the Prodigal Son, which sends up wails of protests about unfair treatment of undeserving children, this text makes one want to wail at first reading. There's the master, who believes the charges brought up against his steward, who seems prepared to dismiss him, based on those charges--let us remember that the charges may be false.

But the behavior of the steward seems slimy too; accused of unethical behavior, he seems to behave unethically, dismissing debt in an attempt to curry favor for a later time when he is dispossessed.

And then there's the surprise twist--the master approves of the steward's shrewdness.

There are several different approaches to this parable. The easiest approach is to look at the final lines of the Gospel, those familiar lines that so many of us would like to ignore, that we cannot serve God and money. This parable seems to suggest that it's hard to have dealings with money that don't leave us looking slimy.

We might ask ourselves how a stranger would view us if they looked at our budgets. On a personal level, the way we spend money shows our values. So if I say I'd like to wipe out childhood poverty, but I spend all of my extra money on wine, a stranger would question that. If I say that I value a Christ-centered economy, but I only give money to my retirement accounts, what would that stranger say? I will be the first to admit that I want to hoard my money, that it's hard for me to trust that God will provide.

We could ask similar questions about our institutional budgets. What does our church budget say about us? If we give more money to the upkeep of our buildings than to the poor, are we living the life that Christ commands us to live? These are tough questions, and I will honestly say that I haven't met many institutions, sacred or secular, that achieve balance very gracefully--especially not when hard times come, as they always do.

Christ commands us not to lose sight of the true riches, the riches that our society doesn't comprehend fully (or at all). We are not our paychecks. There's so much more to us than our job titles. We have been entrusted with so much. We will be judged by how well we show stewardship of those resources.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Parable of the Prodigal Son (or the Two Lost Boys)

The reading for Sunday, October 16, 2016:

Luke 15:  11-32

Ah, the Parable of the Prodigal Son. We've heard it so many times that we may have forgotten pertinent details. We remember clearly the younger son, the one who squanders his fortune in a foreign land and becomes so hungry and desperate that he yearns for swine food. We understand this part of the parable. Even if we haven't been the wastrel child, who among us has not occasionally envied the ease with which some of our society just do their own thing and give themselves to riotous living. We assume the younger son represents us as our worst sinner selves.

We forget that this story has two lost sons.

Yes, the older son is just as lost as the younger. Perhaps more so.

Look at his behavior and see if you recognize yourself. He has to find out from the servants what is going on. He hasn't been invited to the party. He has done all the right things, been steadfast, honored his father and society, and what does he get? Does he get a party? No!

Which child is more lost? The one who gives into his animal nature, who indulges in carnal pleasures? Or the one who shows himself to have all sorts of repressed anger, a well of resentment that erupts all over his poor father?

In his book, The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri Nouwen explains that this parable as being about love and how we're loved and how we're afraid that we won't be loved. We spend a lot of time looking for the approval of others. Nouwen says, "As long as I keep running about asking: 'Do you love me? Do you really love me?' I give all power to the voices of the world and put myself in bondage because the world is filled with 'ifs.' The world says: 'Yes I love you if you are good-looking, intelligent, and wealthy. I love you if you have a good education, a good job, and good connections. I love you if you produce much, sell much, and buy much'" (42). Obviously, we can't win this game.

Luckily, we don't have to win. God loves us regardless. Of course, learning this lesson of love may take us a lifetime. We have to force ourselves to the disciplines that will thaw our frozen hearts. Nouwen suggests, "Although we are incapable of liberating ourselves from our frozen anger, we can allow ourselves to be found by God and healed by his love through the concrete and daily practice of trust and gratitude" (84).

He goes on to say, "There is a very strong, dark voice in me that says the opposite: 'God isn't really interested in me, he prefers the repentant sinner who comes home after his wild escapades. He doesn't pay attention to me who has never left the house. He takes me for granted. I am not his favorite son. I don't expect him to give me what I really want" (84).

Yes, trust and gratitude can be difficult moods to sustain. But we're called to do that. And then we're called to work on a deeper transformation. We must become as full of love as the father in the parable.

The traditional approach to this parable is to see the Father character representing God, which is certainly true. But many of us assume we cannot love the way God can. Maybe not. But we have to try. Nouwen says, "Perhaps the most radical statement Jesus ever made is: 'Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.' . . . "what I am called to make true is that whether I am the younger or the elder son, I am the son of my compassionate Father. I am an heir. . . . The return to the Father is ultimately the challenge to become the Father" (123).

How on earth can we accomplish this? Nouwen suggests that we cultivate these three traits: "grief, forgiveness, and generosity" (128). To those I would add that we should commit ourselves to believing in resurrection. Believe in the possibility of second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances. Believe that the lost will be found. Believe that the Prodigal will return. Throw a fabulous party. And when you notice that someone is missing from the party, someone is standing in the shadows, stewing in resentment, anger, grief, envy--go get that person and invite them to the party. Remember that we are children of a God whose love we cannot begin to comprehend.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Our offload is THIS SATURDAY OCT 15th @ 8AM!
We will have breakfast for you!
For the offload we will need many hands - student service hours are available - your friends and neighbors and relatives are most welcome!

For the offload we need wheelbarrows - if you have one you can loan us for the offload we would be most appreciative.
Contact Kathy Velez 954-478-4395 / kathryn4301@att.net

For the patch we need wood pallets, preferably by the offload and lots of them! Again, if you have some please contact Kathy 954-478-4395 / kathryn4301@att.net

We also need volunteers to work the patch for daily operating hours for October 15th - 31st. Sign up on Sundays during worship and coffee hour or again, contact Kathy.

As a side note - we are fully capable this year  to process credit cards either swipe or chip towards the purchase of pumpkins!

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

Touched down... Home soon. Back early from conference and getting oriented. Everyone be safe. If you do not feel safe in your home please let us know. Will be keeping all in prayer as we keep the people in Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas and all in Hurricane Matthew's path in our prayer. If you need anything call me on my cell 9546686077, not at the church.

Assume regular services for  Sunday at regular times, but as always BE SAFE and monitor channels of information and heed advisories.
Ever in Christ
Pastor Keith

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Lost Coins and Lost Sheep

The reading for Sunday, October 9, 2016:

Luke 15:1-10

For Sunday's Gospel, we have the parables of lost things:  lost sheep (1 of 99) and a lost coin (1 of 10).  Let's consider what Christ is trying to teach us about the quality of being lost and the quality of being found. 

Some will look at the last sentence and see this Gospel as being about repentance, but when we look at it as part of a series of parables, it's less clear that repentance is the point.  After all, the coin doesn't have to do anything to be found; it just sits there.  The sheep might repent, but if you've ever tried to wrangle sheep, you know that repentance is not a sheeply quality.  And if we kept reading in Luke, we'd get to the parable of that Prodigal Son:  is he really sorrowful about his actions?  If he hadn't descended to such a state of poverty, would he have had his epiphany?

We could look at these parables as tales of precious resources lost and then found.  These two parables revolve around an economic resource:  a sheep and a coin.  In some ways, the metaphor might be lost on modern readers.  I've heard more than one reader talk about how ridiculous it is to get so excited over a lost coin.

But imagine a modern spin:  the person who loses 1/3 of a retirement portfolio, but it is restored before the golden years descend.  Or perhaps the person who was facing foreclosure, but home values rebound and the mortgage can be refinanced.  Rescued from desperate economic circumstances, would we not rejoice?

We know that God rejoices when we return, even as God must know that we will disappoint again.  We know that if we're lost, God will look under every shadow for us.  We know that God will go to great lengths to find us, even taking on human form and suffering crucifixion.

We worship a God who will not rest until we’re all present and accounted for. That’s Good News indeed.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Parable of the Fig Tree

The reading for Sunday, October 2, 2016:

Luke 13:  6-10

In this week's Gospel, we get the parable of the fig tree, that poor fig tree who still hasn't produced fruit even though it's been 3 years. This Gospel gives us a space to consider our view of God and our view of ourselves.

Which vision of God is the one in your head? We could see God as the man who says, "Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?" If we see God that way, and if we see ourselves as the fig tree, that's a scary proposition; we've got a few years to produce before God gives up on us.

A traditional approach to this parable might see God as the impatient one, and Jesus as the vinedresser who pleads the case for the poor little fig tree. I know that Trinitarian theology might lead us this direction, but I'm still uncomfortable with the idea of a God who gives up on humanity. Everything in Scripture (and the experiences of those who walked this path before us) shows us a God that pursues us, going so far as to take on human flesh and walk amongst us. This doesn't sound like a God that gives up after 3 years.

But what if God is the gardener who pleads for the tree? What if we’re the owners of the fig tree, the ones who grow impatient with the lack of progress on the part of the tree?

But what if it’s your own spiritual life that’s the fig tree that’s refusing to bear fruit? Maybe you've felt yourself in a fallow place spiritually. Or worse, maybe you've felt yourself sliding backwards. Maybe once you had a fire in your heart, and you've burned out early. Maybe you've spent years thinking about church development, wondering what the Pentecostals have that you don't. Maybe you haven't been good at transforming yourself into a peace-loving person.

Look at that parable again. The fig tree doesn't just sit there while everyone gathers around, waiting for something to happen. Action is needed. The vine dresser gives it extra attention. The vine dresser digs around it and gives it extra manure (ah, the magic of fertilizer). We, too, can be the vinedresser to our spiritual lives. And we don't have to resort to heroic measures. We don't have to start off by running away to a religious commune and devoting ourselves to God. Just a little spiritual manure is all it takes.

You've got a wide variety of spiritual tools in your toolchest. Pick up your Bible. Read a little bit each day. Find some time to pray more. Find something that irritates you, and make that be your call to prayer; for example, every time I hear someone's thumping car stereo, I could see that as a tolling bell, calling me to pray. If you can do nothing else, slow down and breathe three deep breaths. Do that at least once a day. Turn your anxieties over to God. When you're surfing the web, go to a site or a blog that makes you feel enriched as a Christian, as opposed to all those sites that make you angry or anxious. Give some spare change to those people who stand in the medians of the roadways. Smile more--you are the light of the world, after all. Time to start acting like it.

God is not the harsh gardener who will chop us down and throw us into the fire, but this reading does remind us that we won’t be here in our current physical form forever. Choose your spiritual manure and get to work bearing good fruit.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Good Samaritan

The reading for Sunday, September 25, 2016:

Luke10:  30-37

This week's Gospel presents one of the stories that even non-Christians are likely to have heard before: the story of the Good Samaritan. Those of us who go to church have heard it so regularly that we may have lost sight of the message. The fact that we hear it so regularly should tell us how important the message is.

We could focus on the fact that it's the lowly Samaritan (a foreigner!) who helps the victim, not the priest and the Levite, who hold high status in the Jewish society. We could focus on the victim, who, after all, invited trouble by traveling alone. In the details of how the Samaritan doctors the victim, binding his wounds with oil and wine, we see the foreshadowings of Christ's crucifixion.

But go back to the story again. Note the first few verses of the Gospel; in many ways, these verses sum up the whole Bible: Love God and love each other more than you love yourself. Most of us, when hearing those commands, say, "Great. I'm on target. Love God--check. Love other people--yup, most of the time." The story of the Good Samaritan is told to demonstrate what Jesus means when he gives us the Great Commandments. And here we see the size of the task that Christ gives us.

Many of us think of Love as an emotion, something that we feel. Here Jesus shows that that kind of emotional love is cheap, and not at all what he has in mind. We show our love by action, what we do for those who need us. It's not enough to see our fellow humans and think about how much we love them. Frankly, many of us can't even do that. Monitor your thoughts and feelings as you drive around town, and be honest. Are you really feeling love? Most of us are lucky if we can pull off feeling benign neglect. Many of us go through our days feeling murderous rage. Many of us go through our lives numbed by depression and pain, and trying desperately not to feel anything.

There's a way out of this pit. We must go through life behaving as if we love each other. We can behave ourselves into love. We don't have to start out by stopping for every crime victim we see. We don't have to start out by giving away our money. Although these are worthy goals, we can start where we are. When someone cuts you off in traffic, offer up a prayer for them. Smile at your snarling comrades at work. When someone wants some sympathy, offer it. Leave the waitstaff a more generous tip. Help out, even when you don't have to. Stop keeping track of who has done what, and you must stop right now, if keeping that list makes you feel aggrieved, because you've done so much more than everyone else. Instead of keeping track of your losses, keep track of gratitude. Share what you have, and it's especially important to share what you have with people who haven't had the lucky breaks that you have had.

In this Gospel, it's easy to see the Good Samaritan as a Christ figure: the outsider who stops to help, who takes charge of the victimized who have been left to bleed to death by the side of the road, the one who finds care for the victim and pays for it. We often lose sight of the fact that we are called to be Good Samaritans to the world. Once you start looking for opportunities to bind the wounds of the world, you'll find it easy to do that task daily. And then you'll fulfill the greatest commandment. God makes it clear that we show our love for God by loving each other.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Parable of the Sower

The reading for Sunday, Sept. 18:  Luke 8:  4-15

Many of us have heard the parable of the sower so many times that we may assume we already know everything there is to know about this story.  Indeed, if you read through the rest of Luke 8, Jesus explains the story in the usual way:  some of us fall into soil and blossom, and the rest fall onto different kinds of ground and fail to flourish ultimately.

Many of us have been had this parable presented to us as a yardstick for measuring ourselves:  what kinds of seeds are we?  And yet, seeds are not a good metaphor for humanity--or are they?  After all, it's not like seeds have any kind of self-determination.  They are more acted upon than acting.  If the sower doesn't toss them onto some sort of soil, they have no chance at all.  They can't go out and get their own water and fertilizer.  If weeds or thorns threaten them, they can't move.  Most humans have more options than seeds.

I'm also thinking of plants that I've had that seem to be dead--and yet, they have somehow rebounded.  I had a plant that had a pest who stripped off all its leaves.  Because I am a lazy gardener, I left the plant alone until I had time to plant something else in the box.  Imagine my surprise to find new leaves sprouting from the stalk that had looked so lifeless just a few weeks earlier.

As I think about this metaphor, I'm also thinking of my tomato plants, some of whom have sprouted in the most unlikely places.  I have a front flower box that I'd assume wouldn't be good for a tomato plant, since it's shady and doesn't get as much rainwater as other parts of the yard--plus the soil isn't deep.  And yet, last year, we got more tomatoes from the tomato plant that grew from reused potting soil that we put in the box than we did from other plants that had been placed more purposefully.

Perhaps we should be thinking about the soil of our lives.  We all have ears to hear and hearts that have the possibility of being open.  What can we do to ensure good soil for God's word?  For each of us the answers will be different:  some will require solitude, some time in nature; some will need some nourishing reading, while others will need creative outlets.

Whatever we need for the seeds of God's word to become sturdy sprouts that grow into strong plants--let us do it now.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Justice Ministry

Justice Sunday last Sunday kicked off our House Meeting season!
Our goal this year is for everyone to come to one of the house meetings and learning more about why we as a congregation practice both charity and justice and how each of us can grow in our discipleship through this important work. Folks will get to share, if they wish, their experiences on important issues in their lives and community as well as hear updates on the work of Trinity's Justice Ministry as part of BOLD Justice.

Trinity’s Justice Ministry House Meeting Schedule
SEPTEMBER 18th @8AM Pat Messmer (in the sanctuary) (754) 816-5630
SEPTEMBER 20th @10AM Ron McCoy (in Charter Hall) (954) 790-3106
SEPTEMBER 23rd @7PM Lisa Montalchi (at her home) (954) 297-1325
SEPTEMBER 25th @12:15PM Denise Payne (in Charter Hall) (954) 495-1075
SEPTEMBER 25th @4:30PM Piper Spencer (at the Parsonage) (954) 668-1620

Saturday, September 10, 2016

this Sunday

One combined service on Sunday September 11th at Trinity at 10am then pizza and service for Gods Work - Our Hands Sunday! I'm baking cookies for college kids and our military as I type this. Quilts making for refugees. Prayer shawl making. Notes of encouragement writing. Food Pantry organizing. Blood donating. Memorial butterfly garden gardening. Lots of choices ! Plus birthday cake for anyone attending whose birthday falls in September. Please join us!
Ever in Christ
Pastor Keith