WORSHIP WITH US!
8:30AM, 9:45AM in the hall, or 11AM

Location:
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
tlcppines@gmail.com


Join Us For Worship!

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Broken Spirits

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

This Sunday, we continue our study of last week's Gospel reading:

Matthew 5:  1-3

One of the things I learned last Sunday was how to more correctly interpret the idea of being poor in spirit.  The word "poor"--the exact word in Greek--doesn't mean poor the way that modern readers might assume.  In fact, last week I made this very mistake:  poor as lacking something, like money.

Last week, Pastor Keith told us that this particular word, "poor," evoked a bent-over poor.  We have seen this kind of poor in our own cities:  the homeless person begging at the intersection, so disabled from this life that standing up straight is not an option.

What does it mean to be that kind of emptied out spiritually?  The verse, after all, is "Blessed are the poor in spirit."  Some weeks, I know exactly what that kind of spirit must be.

I'm not talking about spirituality, the way that many might when reading that verse.  I'm thinking about my general human spirit, that spark that makes a person unique.

Some weeks, I feel like a dimly burning candle on a windy night.  The wind buffets my tiny flame, and it's in constant danger of going out for good.  What use am I to anyone?

This passage reminds us that there's room for us too, even when we're bent over with our broken spirits.  We don't have to be spiritual superstars.  Jesus includes us, even when we're spiritually impoverished.

And when we're hollowed out this way, maybe we'll have more room for Jesus.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Sermon on the Mount: Poor in Spirit

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The Gospel reading for Sunday, January 15, 2017:

Matthew 5:  1-3

This Sunday we begin our study of the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes.  Some have said that if you were choosing the most important passages of the Gospels, we'd do well to choose this text.  Some have called it a guidebook to the proper behavior of Christians.  Is this text an updating of the Ten Commandments or the replacing?  Or something else altogether?

As we read the Beatitudes in the coming weeks, ask yourself if Jesus speaks to you in this passage.  Which beatitude seems tailor-made for you?  Where might you be called to improve?

We should also try to listen to these passages with new ears.  If we've been going to church any length of time, we've heard these texts before, often many times.  How might we have come away with the wrong idea? 

Let's take Matthew 5:  3, where Jesus says that the poor in spirit are blessed.  What does it mean to be poor in spirit?  Let's list some possibilities that come to mind:

--hypocrite

--prone to depression

--a poverty of the pocketbook

--non-believer, someone who can't believe

--a person who is toxic to others

--someone who doesn't tell us how they really feel

--angry mindset

--gossiper

On and on I could go--what does Jesus really mean when he talks about people who are poor in spirit?  Many interpreters come to the idea that poor in spirit means someone who realizes how lacking they are in a spiritual outlook, and thus need God even more.  But as we sit and ponder all the possibilities, we see that this small passage could mean many things.

For those of us assuming that the Sermon on the Mount isn't about us, perhaps Jesus begins with this calling of the poor in spirit blessed, because who amongst us can't relate?  We've all had moments when we're impoverished that way.  Jesus calls us blessed, which may not be what we'd expect.

For those of us who see the Bible as a guidebook for moral behavior, we might see ourselves challenged to approach the text in a new way.  For those who see moral behavior as our ticket to Heaven, we might also be challenged to think differently.

Christ came to announce that God's plan for redeeming the world had begun. That plan involves our pre-death world, which is not just a place where we wait around until it's our turn to go to Heaven. No, this world is the one that God wants to redeem. Christ comes to invite us to be part of the redemptive plan.

The Sermon on the Mount might be the essential teachings of Jesus, distilled into several pages.  In this early part of the text, we see an inclusive message.  We may not be spiritually gifted, but we are blessed too.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Sunday Jan 8th

So Trinity Lutheran is back on regular schedule on Sunday - 830am and 11am in the sanctuary and 945am cross+generational worship in the hall.
We are re-affirming baptismal promises in worship and celebrating all the celebrating things like birthdays, anniversaries, sobrieties - you name it - for the Months of December and January during coffee hour.
The weather is supposed to be cool for south Florida in the morning - but our AC is on vacation at the moment - so a happy coincidence!
Blessings and see ya tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Meditation on the Baptism of Jesus

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The reading for Sunday, January 8, 2017:

Gospel: Matthew 3:13-17

This week's Gospel finds Jesus at the beginning of his ministry, a ministry that shows what a difference to world history a year or two can make. Notice that Jesus begins with baptism.  I love the fact that the Revised Common Lectionary returns us to the baptism of Jesus to start every year.  What a difference from the secular ways we start the year.  In today's Gospel, instead of harsh resolutions, we get the words of God: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

We tend to see Jesus as special. We can't imagine God saying the same thing about us. But in fact, from everything we can tell, God does feel that way about us. God takes on human form in its most vulnerable, as a little baby.  How much more of a demonstration of love do we need?

For those of us who are big believers in affirmations, we should print out those words and paste them on our bathroom mirrors. What does it mean, if we believe God is well pleased with us?

Many of us dwell in the land of self-loathing this time of year. Maybe we've spent too much money on our Christmas festivities. Maybe we've eaten too much in that time between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Maybe we've already broken our New Year's resolutions. We look in our mirrors and see multiple reasons to hate ourselves.

We look in the mirror and see ourselves as we imagine that the world sees us. The world looks at us and feeds us criticism: too fat, too plain, too wrinkled, too odd, too tall, too short. A diet of that commentary quickly leaves us malnourished. The world looks at us and judges us in terms of all the things we haven't accomplished yet: no child or children who don't measure up, lack of business success, a house that's too small or in the wrong neighborhood, no publication credits, no worthy creative products, the wrong kind of degree or no degree at all. Seeing ourselves through the eyes of the world means we compare ourselves to others and hold ourselves to impossible standards.

No one wins this game.

Try a different practice for a week or two or 52. Look in the mirror and see yourself not as the world sees you. Look in the mirror and know that God loves you. God chose you. God delights in you.

Our spiritual forebears might have worried that this kind of practice would lead to too much pride. But frankly, our culture has changed. In a world where more people are seeking help for the diseases of depression and anxiety disorders than ever before in human history, and many of the rest of us are trying to self-medicate, perhaps we shouldn't worry too much about big-headedness.

God chose you. God delights in you. God loves you.

No matter how much you improve yourself, God will still love you. No matter how many times you lose sight of your goals and move further away from the best self that you could be, God will still love you. Of course God sees your full potential and probably hopes that you'll move in that direction. But even if you don't, God will love you anyway. No matter how miserably you've failed, God will always welcome you.

We've lived in the land of self-loathing long enough. Why cripple ourselves with this kind of thinking? There's work to be done, and the world cannot afford for you to waste time feeling bad for all the ways you've failed. Every day, remember your baptism (perhaps as you bathe, as Martin Luther recommended) and the larger meaning of your baptism.

God loves you.  Love yourself as deeply as God loves you.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Meditation on Epiphany's Aftermath

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

This Sunday, Trinity Lutheran Church will ponder the Epiphany.  It's worth considering what happens when the wise men leave.  Here's a meditation on the Bible passage of Matthew 2:13-23:


After all the joy and wonder of Christmas Eve, this reading returns us to post-manger life with a thud. In this Gospel, we see Herod behaving in a way that's historically believable, if perhaps not historically accurate, as he slaughters all the male children in Bethlehem under the age of two. Why would he do such a terrible thing? Partly because he's worried about keeping his power; he's worried about what the wise men have told him, and he doesn't want any challenges. Partly because he can; he has power granted to him by Roman authorities, and that power means that he can slaughter his subjects if he sees fit to do so.

Jesus, however, escapes. A power greater than Rome protects him. Warned by an angel in a dream, Joseph flees with Mary and Jesus to Egypt, to safety. But still, the earthly power of Herod turns them into refugees.

Early in the Gospel, we see that the coming of Jesus disrupts regular life. Even before Jesus tells us that the life of a disciple is not one of material ease and comfort, we get that message. Even before Jesus warns us that following him may mean that we're on the opposite side of earthly powers, we see with our own eyes, in the story of Herod and the slaughter of the innocents.

This Gospel reminds us of the potency of power. We shouldn't underestimate the power of the State, particularly the power of a global empire. With the story of Herod, we see the limits of worldly power. Yet even within those limits, a dastardly ruler can unleash all sorts of pain and suffering. Those of us lucky enough to live under benign rulers shouldn't forget how badly life can go wrong for those who don't share our good fortune.

The Gospel reminds us of who has the true power in the story--it's God. The Gospel shows us who deserves our loyalty. And the Gospel also reminds us of the hazards of living in a universe where God is not the puppet master. In a universe that God sets free to be governed by free will, it's up to us to protect the vulnerable. And this story of Herod's slaughter reminds us of what happens when despots are allowed to rule. Sadly, it's a story that we still see playing out across the planet.

If we're not in the mood to see this Gospel in its geopolitical implications, we might take a few moments of introspection in these waning days of the year. Where do we see Herod-like behavior in ourselves? What threatens us so much that we might do treacherous deeds? What innocent goodness might we slaughter so that we can allay our fears and insecurities?

I predict that churches across the nation (and the world) will choose to ignore this difficult text on this morning after Christmas. Far better to enjoy Christmas carols one last time than to wrestle with this difficult text. But Jesus reminds us again and again that he didn't come to make us all comfortable. He didn't come to be our warm, fuzzy savior. He came to overturn the regular order, to redeem creation, to restore us to the life that God intends for us--and Herod stands as a potent symbol for what might happen if we take Jesus seriously.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

+++UPDATED INFORMATION ON THE PAT MCCAFFERTY FUNERAL++

VISITATION for Pat McCafferty will take place at Fred Hunters Funeral Home on Taft Street on Wednesday December 28th from 2PM-4PM.

The FUNERAL SERVICE will take place on THURSDAY December 29th at 10AM at Trinity Lutheran Church, Pembroke Pines, followed by burial at Fred Hunter Funeral Home Cemetery on Taft Street which will be followed by a memorial meal in Trinity's Charter Hall. If you would like to assist with the meal, please let Pastor Keith know what you would like to bring.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions be made to Trinity Lutheran's Memorial Fund c/o Trinity Lutheran Church 8362 Pines Blvd Suite 431 Pembroke Pines FL 33024

The link to the online obituary and virtual guestbook are found here http://www.fredhunters.com/obitu…/170808/Ogalene-McCafferty/

Monday, December 26, 2016

PAT MCCAFFERTY UPDATED

The Funeral Service for Pat McCafferty will take place on THURSDAY December 29th at 10AM at Trinity Lutheran Church, Pembroke Pines, followed by burial at Fred Hunter Funeral Home Cemetery on Taft Street and a memorial meal in Trinity's Charter Hall. If you would like to assist with the meal, please let Pastor Keith know what you would like to bring.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions be made to Trinity Lutheran's Memorial Fund c/o Trinity Lutheran Church 8362 Pines Blvd Suite 431 Pembroke Pines FL 33024

Pat McCafferty

Beloved Trinity member Pat McCafferty passed away peacefully early this morning  at VITAS hospice. Though she had been recovering well from a broken hip, other unexpected health complications had taken their toll. Funeral arrangements are still being finalized and will be shared when available. Please keep Pat's family in your prayers. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Meditation

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, December 25, 2016:

Choice 1:

First Reading: Isaiah 62:6-12

Psalm: Psalm 97

Second Reading: Titus 3:4-7

Gospel: Luke 2:[1-7] 8-20

Choice 2:

First Reading: Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm: Psalm 98

Second Reading: Hebrews 1:1-4 [5-12]

Gospel: John 1:1-14

In my younger years, I'd have guessed that the Christmas story would be one of the easiest to preach.  What could go wrong when you had a story this great?  Now that I'm older, I see many pitfalls to preaching the Christmas story.

First of all, there's the fact that many people only go to church around Christmas.  This may be the only story that they hear.  For many of us, Christmas is our favorite holiday.  But it's a sanitized Christmas that we often love.

Think of the parts of the story that are left out (or not emphasized) most years:  the yoke of empire bearing down on this young couple in many ways, from the trip to Bethlehem to the fleeing Herod when the wise men launch Herod's wrath.  Think about this young couple, with so few resources, pulled into this story of God breaking though into this prison of a world.

Many Christmas sermons will focus on that sweet baby, but that approach, too, is fraught with problems.  In a Facebook post, one of my female minister friends reminded us to "please be aware that the imagery of holding a new born is not comforting to those who have not had those dreams fulfilled this year...or worse, by those who carry the great, but silent, grief of fetal loss."  She reminds us that we might not know of these losses, since often they are not discussed.

Many people I know are having trouble believing the good news that the angels sing.  It's a hard world we live in, and this year, many of us have suffered brutal losses.  It may be the intensely personal loss of horrible health news or the death of one we love.  It may be the larger loss, the suffering that drives people from their homes into perilous journeys.  We may see that we live in a world of dangerous dictators, a world where empires afflict people or refuse to act, and we may wonder where, exactly, God is breaking through.

But it is precisely in these times that we must have fortitude.  We can choose to live as people of God. We do not have to weep in the ruins of our cities. Advent has promised us that help is on the way, and Christmas gives us the Good News that the redeemer has come, and in the most unlikely circumstances.

That’s the way redemption works—not in the ways we would expect, but in surprising ways that take us where we could not dream of going, and sometimes faster than we would expect. If we could travel back in time to tell the people of 1985 that the Soviet Union would soon crumble and South Africa would be free of white rule, the people of 1985 would think we were insane. If we could travel back to the first century of the Roman empire to tell of what the followers of Jesus would accomplish, those people would laugh at us—if they even knew who Jesus was.

I'm thinking of the last time that Christmas fell on a Sunday, in December of 2011, when the world lost many great leaders, among them Nelson Mandela and Vaclav Havel.  I'm remembering a celebratory essay in The Washington Post by Madeleine Albright, who said of Havel: “He declared himself neither an optimist (‘because I am not sure everything ends well,’) nor a pessimist (‘because I am not sure everything ends badly’) but, instead, ‘a realist who carries hope, and hope is the belief that freedom and justice have meaning . . . and that liberty is always worth the trouble.’”

Christians, too, believe that freedom and justice have meaning and that liberty is always worth the trouble. And if we believe in the Good News that surrounds us at Christmas, we can be wild-eyed optimists. We know that things will end well; we have a multitude of promises and plenty of evidence that God will keep those promises of liberty for the captives.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Another Awesome Crazy Sunday!

A day of worship with great musical support from our choir and a solo by Sarah Gearhart, of gingerbread decorating, of Belgian Waffle eating, of pizza, of clothes for sheltered youth collecting and delivering, of creches made from scraps and marshmallows and such during our 9:45 Cross+Gen service, of bacon cooked with brown sugar and cracked pepper, of ukuleles doing a hospital visit, and of being the people of God in our own crazy creative and gracious way!











Wednesday, December 14, 2016

This Sunday

From 915-1015am this Sunday in Charter Hall Pastor Keith will be cooking up an Advent Breakfast of Belgian waffles with assorted toppings and back by popular demand bacon with brown sugar and cracked black pepper. Kristin will be leading the 945am service as we reflect upon the birth of Jesus with our creative side through the construction of crèches from miscellaneous items.

After the 830am, 945am, and 11am services there will be gingerbread for decorating (contributions of icing, sprinkles and other design elements welcome).

Pizza after 11am.

Last Sunday to donate gently used teenage clothes and shoes for the youth shelter and also to place a dedication for Christmas poinsettias.

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The reading for Sunday, December 18, 2016:

Matthew 1:18-25


This Sunday we read about an angel appearing to Joseph in a dream. We've now spent several weeks with people who hear amazing news about God's plan for them and the world.

Notice the responses of these people. They give themselves to God's will. They don't protest, the way that some of our spiritual ancestors did--think of Moses, who tried and tried to get God to go away.

It's important to note that God always gives us a choice, although God can be notoriously insistent. Joseph could have gone on with his plans to divorce Mary quietly; notice his unwillingness to shame her publicly, as would have been his right in a patriarchal society. But the angel appears to give Joseph a fuller picture, and Joseph submits to God's will. Likewise, Mary could have said, "Mother of the Messiah? Forget it. I just want a normal kid." But she didn't.

During this time of year, I often wonder how many times I've turned down God. Does God call me to a higher purpose? Am I living my life in a way that is most consistent with what God envisions for me?

The readings for this time of year reminds us to stay alert and watchful. This time of year, when the corporate consumer machine is cranked into high gear, when so many of us sink into depression, when the world has so many demands, it's important to remember that God's plan for the world is very different than your average CEO's vision. It's important to remember that we are people of God, and that allegiance should be first.

What does this have to do with Joseph? Consider the story again, and what it means for us modern people. Maybe you're like Joseph, and you're overly worried about what people will think about you and your actions. The Gospel for this Sunday reminds us that following God may require us to abandon the judgments of the world and accept God's judgment.

Notice that Joseph is the only one in the story who receives an angel visitation in a dream. What is the meaning of this fact? Perhaps this route was the only way that God could reach Joseph. Many of us are so used to having our yearnings mocked or unanswered that they go deep underground, only to bubble up in dreams and visions. Convenient for us, since we can discount things more easily when they appear in our dreams.

God will take many routes to remind us of our role in the divine drama. Many of us won't notice God's efforts; we're too busy being so busy. This time of year reminds us to slow down, to contemplate, to pay attention.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

We Need You!

Our list of shut-ins is growing - can you spare an hour or so to bring true joy Sunday afternoon to folks who will just light up to hear you participate in our annual Christmas Caroling Event? Pizza at 12:15 and then folks will be divided up into teams and carpools. We could really use you !

Friday, December 09, 2016

Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Stuff

This Sunday, December 11th, we continue our new Advent morning breakfast tradition in Charter Hall prior to our 9:45AM service and choir practice from 9:15AM-10AM with Chocolate Chip pancakes (and optional whipped cream), the return of bacon with brown sugar and cracked pepper, fruit and vanilla yogurt parfaits, and I think there will be some heathy English muffins in there somewhere as well. All welcome.

Following the 11AM service we have pizza for 1$ a slice for folks while we pack up cookies and warm up our voices and some folks hand chime before we Christmas carol for our shut-ins.
We still could use more cookies, more cookie tins, and more singers (or people who are joyous and like to pretend to sing - it's all good).

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Poem for Mid-Advent

The reading for Sunday, December 11, 2016:

Luke 1:  39-56

This Sunday, we continue to hear the story of Mary and Elizabeth.  I've spent some time thinking about the modern connections to Mary and Elizabeth, about where we find the holy, about how God shows up in places we might not expect.

This week, I'm posting something different for your reading pleasure:  a poem I wrote that imagines the angel Gabriel in modern times.  It was published last year in Annunciation, a collection of poems by a variety of poets and illustrations by the editor Elizabeth Adams, published by Phoenicia Publishing.


A Girl More Worthy
The angel Gabriel rolls his eyes
at his latest assignment:
a virgin in Miami?
Can such a creature exist?

He goes to the beaches, the design
districts, the glittering buildings
at every boundary.
Just to cover all bases, he checks
the churches but finds no
vessels for the holy inside.

He thinks he’s found her in the developer’s
office, when she offers him coffee, a kind
smile, and a square of cake. But then she instructs
him in how to trick the regulatory
authorities, how to make his income and assets
seem bigger so that he can qualify
for a huge mortgage that he can never repay.

On his way out of town, he thinks he spies
John the Baptist under the Interstate
flyway that takes tourists
to the shore. But so many mutter
about broods of vipers and lost
generations that it’s hard to tell
the prophet from the grump,
the lunatic from the T.V. commentator.

Finally, at the commuter college,
that cradle of the community,
he finds her. He no longer hails
moderns with the standard angel
greetings. Unlike the ancients,
they are not afraid, or perhaps, their fears
are just so different now.

The angel Gabriel says a silent benediction
and then outlines God’s plan.
Mary wonders why Gabriel didn’t go
to Harvard where he might find
a girl more worthy. What has she done
to find God’s favor?

She has submitted
to many a will greater than her own.
Despite a lifetime’s experience
of closed doors and the word no,
she says yes. 

Monday, December 05, 2016

UPDATE ON ROBBERY

Amazing generous response and outpouring of prayer and love to the recent break-in and robbery at Trinity Lutheran. Thank YOU! Thank YOU! Thank YOU! Thank YOU! (I would have to repeat this so many more times that I worry about my typing fingers). Over half of the money needed to replace and repair what was stolen/broken has already been collected. We have two more security/alarm companies coming in tomorrow to give us estimates. The door should be repaired by the end of the week. Replacing the instruments is under way.

Our hearts continue to turn towards the one for whose birth we wait and pray, we hope and anticipate, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.