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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Judge Not

The text for Sunday, July 23, 2017:  Matthew 7:1-5


This famous text has Jesus telling us not to judge, followed by the example of taking the speck of dust out of our own eyes before we try to remove the logs out of the eyes of others.  Along the way we're reminded that we'll be judged in the same way that we judge others.

Some of us should shake in fear at those words.  But this morning, as I read them again, I thought about the way I judge others and the way I judge myself.  Frankly, I'm much harder on myself.  I give others the benefit of the doubt as I remind myself that I can't possibly understand every aspect of what's affecting them.

Meanwhile, in my own head, I hear a chorus of voices that remind me of all the ways I'm not living up to my full potential, of all the ways I've let everyone down.  You might think I need some therapy, and you might be right, but I suspect I'm not alone in this.  I know many people who are far more gentle with each other than they are with themselves.  Just listen to how people talk, and you'll see.

With that in mind, let us return to the text again.  This text is not about the way we should judge.  No, I believe that Jesus is telling us not to waste precious time in judgment.

It's a variation of what one of my most beloved yoga teachers told me long ago.  She caught me looking at a fellow student when I couldn't hold a pose.  She said, "Don't compare yourself to your classmates.  It won't help.  Focus on your own body."  It's wise advice in a variety of contexts.

When we judge, we're comparing.  Maybe we're comparing to a standard that we feel everyone should be attaining.  Maybe we're comparing ourselves to our larger society.  Maybe we're finding ourselves superior.  Maybe we come up lacking.

It's not helpful.  It's not a good use of our time.  Jesus reminds us again and again of our main task:  to love each other and to love God.  Judging doesn't get us there.

Life is very short, and judgmental behavior robs us of many joys.  Let us resolve to stop judging each other.  Let us resolve to stop judging ourselves.  Let us look at the world with a different set of glasses:  let us look through the lenses of love.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Wealth and Treasure, Rust and Moths

The reading for Sunday, July 15, 2017:

Matthew 6:19-34
Any time we see stock markets wobble, I think about various Bible passages that talk about wealth and where we place our trust.  The one in Matthew is one of the most famous.

Money--and the power and status that it brings--is a powerfully seductive thing. Once, when facing reduced circumstances because of my spouse's job loss, my Charismatic Catholic AA friend acted as if I'd had a death in the family.

I shrugged and said, "I think having too much money is spiritually dangerous."

You wouldn't think I'd have to explain that to her, but I did.

If we have too much money, we tend to think of ourselves as capable and smart and able to go about our lives on our own. We think we don't need God. And soon, we begin to worry that we don't have enough money, and we lash ourselves to our jobs, jobs that require ever more of us, so that we can ensure we have enough money. But we'll never have enough money.

We will never have enough money. We will never be safe and protected by having enough money.

The only way to win that game is not to play.

When markets tumble, I'm reminded of how much faith I've put in my money, of how I've stored up for myself treasures on earth, where moths and rust and thieves and worldwide economic downturns can take it from me, and I can do nothing.

Most spiritual traditions warn us not to rely on our monetary wealth.  Let us try to follow the teachings of Jesus, who reminds us that God knows what we need.  The passage at the end is one I suspect I will spend my entire life trying to follow:  "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Let us strive not to worry at all.  Let us learn to trust God ever more fully.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Walter Wink Books Worth Your Time

If you were at church this morning, July 9, you heard Kristin reference the work of Walter Wink.  Here's more information about his work.

I'm happy to see that the work of Walter Wink is still in print.  I find his writing very easy to understand, especially for a theologian delving in deep.  If you want to read the book that had such influence on me, it's Engaging the Powers:  Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination.  Chapter 13 gives a list of historical times when nonviolent resistance has worked to overcome oppression on a geopolitical scale.  Chapter 9 contains the information on The Sermon on the Mount's section on turning the other cheek, walking the extra mile and giving up our clothes as resistance texts, not let people walk all over us texts.

Wink has also written a shorter (and less expensive) book which looks like it covers similar territory:  Jesus and Nonviolence:  A Third Way

Friday, June 30, 2017

Aventura Assisted Living Visit

Sunday July 9th volunteers will return to the Aventura Gardens Assisted Living Center to bring worship. All welcome to be a part of bringing joy to these wonderful people. Meet in the Trinity parking lot at 145pm or at the Center at 230pm. Please RSVP with Piper Spencer if you are planning on going.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

July 4th Ice Cream Social

Join us in the Fellowship Hall for some yummy icecream and Rootbeer floats at 7:30PM on July 4th, then set up in the back parking lot and watch the city of Pembroke Pines fireworks! Open parking except for the viewing area on the east side of the back lot. Donations of icecream, cones, sprinkles, etc welcome!
All cash donations will go to support Trinity's Prayer Shawl Ministry.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Prayer Service and Feast

There is an interfaith prayer service and feast to mark the end of Ramadan this Sunday 130pm-3pm at the Daruloom mosque's interfaith center (next to their main building) two blocks east of Trinity. Any and all welcome. Trying to get a count - let me know if you are interested in attended. Pastor Keith will be offering a prayer on behalf of Trinity Lutheran.

Anger and Reconciliation

This week at Trinity, we will explore  Matthew 5:21-26.  What does this text have to teach us about anger? Is our anger a sin?  Is it a gift?  Can it be both?

We live in a time that seems angrier than any I've ever seen--people who are older than I am say that this time is even more full of fury than some of the worst years of the Johnson or Nixon administration.  Is this rage healthy?

I used to believe that politics had more potential to change the world than any other societal institution.  My 19 year old self would have scoffed at the idea that religion could be transformative in the same--or better!--ways.

My current self feels a great weariness when it comes to any political discussion.  Once, I would have been happy to discuss any political issue.  Once I knew exactly what politicians needed to do to fix any problem.  Now I freely admit that I wouldn't know what to do if you gave me full power--and I certainly don't know how to make huge groups of politicians work together for the common good.

We might argue that Jesus is instructing us about our individual relationships in this passage.  I would agree.  But the case against corrosive anger is true whether we're talking about individual relationships or our anger about larger groups.

I've spent time lately thinking about ministries and how we see our ministry.  I've wondered how our nation might change if we saw more of us saw our ministry as being one of reconciliation. 

One way to do that might be to seize opportunities to de-escalate situations.  People can't be reconciled when everyone is vibrating with anger.

Anger can be transformative too, and not always in a bad way.  But anger nursed deep within us is damaging.  To hold that anger for many years is even worse.  Far better to forgive, although it's much harder.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

To Be Salt and Light

This week, we'll think about what it means to be salt and light.  Once, years ago, Pastor Amsalu Geleta of St. Mark's Lutheran Church (Springfield, Virginia) told us that Jesus gives us new name tags: light and salt. Light of the world, salt of the earth: check. We know how to do that: feed the poor, be kind to everyone we meet, clothe the ragged, make sure that the oppressed are taken care of. Not easy, to be sure, but there's our mission.

Everyone I know seems to be wrestling with the same question: how can we live a life of integrity, a life that's in synch with our values? The Gospel gives us some fairly serious instruction along these same lines, as Jesus directs us to be sure that our insides and our outsides match. Apparently our current struggles with living a life that's in balance are not new to our time.

We all know what happens if our lives get out of synch. We become hypocrites, and most of us would say we don't want that. I could make the argument that the hypocrisy of Christians do more to hurt our Gospel mission than anything else. If you know any non-believers and you ask them why they don't believe, they won't often bring up the fact that belief in God requires a faith beyond their senses, a faith beyond what is scientifically provable. No, most non-believers will bring up the hypocrisy of Christians, from the smaller hypocrisies, like the Christian who pretends to be a friend to your face but spreads ugly rumors about you, to the huge hypocrisies, like all the sexual predators employed by the Church through the ages. How can they believe in the God of those types of people?

And if you ask the non-churched why they don't go to church, they will almost always bring up hypocrisy. And if I hadn't started going back to school, I'd have mentioned that too. I think back to when I was a self-righteous 19 year old, angry, angry, ANGRY about the cost of the church building, the offering collected in heavy, gold offering plates and being used to pay the light bill. I wanted to be part of a church like Luther Place, in downtown D.C., a church that transformed itself into a homeless shelter for women every night, a church that operated a variety of services for the dispossessed.

I think back to the favor that the pastor of that church did for me. I told him that I wanted to switch churches, that I wanted to drive past my suburban church and become a member of his church, a church that so clearly was doing what Jesus wanted it to do.

He studied me. He asked me which church I was a member of, and I told him that I went to St. Mark's, in Springfield, Virginia.

He said, "You know, we wouldn't be able to run any of the programs that we run without the financial help that they give us." And then, in that precise moment, my perspective shifted. I started to move away from being a self-righteous, know-it-all 19 year old towards being someone who sees life as more complex. And thus, I entered into what I suspect will be a lifelong measurement: am I living the life that Christ calls me to live? If I'm to be light and salt and to begin living the life of God's Kingdom right here and right now, what does that look like? How can I make my inner attitude match my outer actions?

Jesus wants us to be more than surface Christians. It's easy to go to church service each week, to sing the hymns, to hug each other. It's harder to live our Christian values the rest of the week. Go back and reread all of what Jesus tells us to do, both in this Gospel and throughout the Gospel texts. Can we really live like that? We're called to forgive each other more times than we think we can. We're called to make peace with our neighbors before we head to church. We're called to give away our money to those who have less than we do. The world watches to see how we live our lives.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Sunday In Celebration of Radical Hospitality!

Join Trinity Lutheran this coming Sunday June 18th for our commemoration of one year of being a radically welcoming, intentionally inclusive, Reconciled in Christ (RIC) congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America at 8:30AM, 9:45AM (in the hall), 11AM.

Poems by Lora Mitchell and Kristin Berkey-Abbott.
A reflection by Lisa Gomez.
I'll share some thoughts based upon 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
"But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God."

Father's Day Waffle-A-Palooza after each service.

Should be an awesome Day!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Trinity Celebrates a Year of Being a Church of Radical Inclusivity

This Sunday, Trinity will celebrate the one year anniversary of our decision to be a church of radical inclusivity and hospitality.  Some of us will say that we've always been that way.  Some will say that all churches are that way.

Many of us understand that many churches have failed miserably at being truly welcoming to all.  And of course, we all struggle with how to be welcoming and inclusive while having good boundaries, in the ways that our friends in helping professions would tell us are so important.

In Matthew 5:13-16, we get our mission statement from Jesus. We are to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world. It’s an interesting time in history to contemplate light and how we manifest light and darkness in our world..

Jesus tells us that we are to let our light shine, but he doesn't tell us how hard it will be some days. As a child, I always thought that once the light was lit, the hard part was over. I would just shine and shine and not hide my light under a bushel and not let Satan pfff it out (as that old song goes).

I did not anticipate the days and months I would feel like I had no light at all, no wick to light, no oil left in the lamp.  I did not anticipate the days that I would wish I had a flicker, a guttering flame.
But now, more than ever, every flame of love is important, even the ones that are sputtering.  It’s important to remember that we are often the only light of Jesus that many people will see throughout the week. How would our attitude and behavior change if we saw our lives through this prism? We are the instruments and tools that God uses to deliver God’s light into the world. How can we make ourselves better at the task?

Some of us think that we need to lead people to Jesus by talking to them about our faith. But our lives and our actions have already done all the talking before we ever open our mouths. Keep that in mind as you interact with people. Let your life do the shining. Be the salt that adds savor to everyone’s surroundings. Glorify God in this way.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

More Photos from Singsation II











Trinity at SINGSATION II

On Pentecost Sunday June 4th, Trinity participated in the second annual Broward-Bahamas Conference Singsation event at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Margate. An awesome time was had by all! 








Thursday, June 08, 2017

Reconciling in Christ Sunday: A day of Celebrating Radical Hospitality!

Trinity Lutheran Church is a Reconciling in Christ (R.I.C.)Congregation. Its leadership adopted a statement of welcome and radical hospitality on behalf of and with input from the congregation on June 20th 2016.

We consider Jesus command to love one another as Christ loves us and gave himself for us to be free of any asterisks or foot notes. We as individuals and a congregation do not embody Jesus' love command to perfection, but we know that is held out as the standard. The Apostle Paul tells us that we are called to be imitators of Christ. And so we hold one another accountable and spur one another on to love more deeply and more authentically.

As a pastor I am free to perform wedding services for all couples both in our sanctuary and in other locations.

On Sunday June 18th we will mark our first anniversary of being Reconciling in Christ with very special worship services at 8:30AM, 9:45AM, and 11AM and cake. Because cake goes great with everything.

And as it is also Father's Day, with bacon and a full waffle bar and other goodies after each service.
Please celebrate with us! 

Blessings of Grads

We are blessing grads on Sunday. All grads. Little pre school grads and kindergarten grad and elementary grads and high school grads and college grads and grad school grads and vocation/professional school grads. If you graduated this past year we want to bless you and acknowledge you and feed you cake. This Sunday at Trinity Lutheran 8:30AM, 9:45AM or 11AM.

Did we say that there would be cake?

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Meditation on Trinity Sunday

The readings for Sunday, June 11, 2017:

First Reading: Genesis 1:1--2:4a

Psalm: Psalm 8

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 13:11-13

Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20


This Sunday is Holy Trinity Sunday, one of those festival Sundays that seem a bit baffling, at first (like Christ the King Sunday, which comes at the end of the liturgical year). We understand the significance of Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. But what exactly do we celebrate on Holy Trinity Sunday?

At first reading, the Gospel doesn't seem to help. And Jesus certainly didn't spend any time indoctrinating his disciples on these matters which would later split the church. He alludes to the Triune God: we see him pray to God and he tells the disciples that he will send a Comforter. But he spends far more time instructing the disciples on how they should treat the poor and destitute, about their relationship to the larger culture, about their role in creating the Kingdom in the here and now.

You get a much better understanding of the Trinity by reading all the lessons together (thanks to my campus pastor from days of old, Jan Setzler, who pointed this out in his church's newsletter over a decade ago). These aren't unfamiliar aspects: God as creator of the world, God as lover of humans, Christ who came to create community, the Holy Spirit who moves and breathes within us and enables us to create community.

Notice that we have a God who lives in community, both with the various aspects of God (Creator, Savior, Spirit) and with us. It's an image that baffles our rational minds. It's akin to contemplating the infinity of space. Our brains aren't large enough or we don't know how to use them in that way.

My atheist and agnostic friends will sometimes pull up these issues of a triune God when they ask me to defend the faith. I tell them that I can't do it and that I'm content to be living as part of this great mystery. Baffled, they look at me. They say, "You're an educated woman. Certainly you can't accept something you can't explain!!!"

Well, frankly, there are many things I can't explain: electricity, computers, internal combustion engines, arcane French literary theory. Does that mean that I'm going to live in the dark or not use my car? Of course not.

The message that Jesus brings us is refreshingly simple, in that it's easy to understand: "Go and make disciples."

Obviously, it's not that simple, and here, too, interpretations of this text have split the church. Does our commitment stop once we've baptized people? What does it mean to make disciples? There's an infinite supply of answers.

The God that we see in our Scriptures is a God of action. We see God creating in any number of arenas. We are called to do the same. This is not a God who saves us so that we can flip through TV channels. Our God is a God who became incarnate to show us how to be people of action: Go. Make disciples. Teach. Baptize. Keep the commandments. We do this by loving each other and God. We love not just by experiencing an emotion. Love moves us to action.

Our job is not done once we’ve baptized. Our job is not done with the Rite of Confirmation. Jesus, as always, points the way. Why not share a meal together? Why not do some work (fishing perhaps? Building housing for the poor? Weeding the gardens?) together? Why not read the same book?  Why not pray together? Why not create a beautiful work of art together?

Or perhaps we should just be together--keep each other company in life's journey.

Our Triune God calls us to go and make disciples, but two thousand years of Church history shows us a delightful diversity of ways to do that. Theologian Frederick Buechner reminds us in his book Wishful Thinking: "The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." Jesus promises to meet us there.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Letting God Breathe on Us

The reading for Sunday, June 4, 2017:

 Acts 2:1-21

Ah, Pentecost, day of fire and wind and foreign languages.

Contemplate how much of Scripture circles around the breath of God. Reread Genesis--creation comes into being because God breathes it into life. Something similar happens in the Gospel of John. Jesus breathes on his disciples and transforms them. Likewise in Acts--that great rushing wind. For those of you in love with words and older translations, we often find the same word in these passages: Pneuma (yes, that root that creates our modern word of pneumonia).

The twenty-first century church, at least some branches of it, is in serious need of the breath of God. Perhaps you are too.

I often think of those first followers, who went out with the breath of God in them, and transformed the world. In the history of social movements, few have been as broadly successful as Christianity.  My atheist friends would chime in that few have been as destructive--we both may be right. What an unlikely story: a small band of weirdly talented or distinctly ungifted men and women head out in pairs, carrying very little with them, and they survive enormous obstacles. In the process, they change the culture--and often, then, they move on. Think of the distances that they travelled--often on foot. Think of how hostile the culture was. You wouldn't be able to suspend your disbelief if you read it in a book.

The breath of God should transform us in the same way. Jesus transfers his powers to his disciples; we're given the power to do what he does. Now, if only we could believe it.

Maybe the key is to act as if you do believe it. You can do remarkable things, even if you don't feel like you can.

We start on a small scale. We go to church. Maybe we remember the weekly lessons on Monday. As years go by, we're better at being Christians throughout the week. We bolster our efforts with spiritual reading and prayer. As we find ourselves transformed, we transform those around us. Many of us stop at this stage or we run out of time--but some of us will go on to transform society: maybe we'll start a food pantry or create legislation that takes care of foster children. Maybe we'll challenge our home countries to look out for the civil rights of all. Maybe we'll issue the same challenge to other cultures. Hopefully, whether it be on a small scale or an international scale, no Christian can be immune to the call to care for the dispossessed, whether on a small, interpersonal scale, or a large, international scale.

It's also important to talk about the cyclical nature of the spiritual life and work. Even Jesus needed to retreat to solitude at times. Even Jesus had to practice self-care. If you feel that you've had the very marrow sucked out of your bones as you've cared for the world, maybe it's time to retreat. Even if you can't physically leave, you can let the machine pick up the phone and turn off the electronics. If you can't do much else, claim some time for the occasional nap. No one can go at an insane pace for very long and stay sane.

Pentecost is an overlooked church holiday. No church holiday gets as much time as Christmas, not even Easter. But Pentecost is such an important reminder of why Christmas happened. God became incarnate to prepare humans to carry on the work of Kingdom creation. And Pentecost reminds us of our job description.

So, receive the breath of God. For a powerful meditative exercise, you might imagine that as you inhale, God breathes into you. Breathe deeply.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

HELPING LYNETTE BROWN

HELPING Lynette Brown MOVE
IMPORTANT INFO
We are now meeting Saturday at 11AM to unpack at the new house located at 3361 SW 50th Terrace
Davie, FL 33314
please RSVP to me so we know who we can count on.