In the Sanctuary at 8:30AM and 11AM -
a blended service of traditional and contemporary elements with communion

In the hall at 9:45AM
scripture, prayer, and creative response with communion

Worship each Sunday @ 8:30AM, 9:45AM, and 11AM

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We have moved the service that was tentatively planned for this Friday July 13th to Friday, September 21st 7PM-8:30PM in commemoration of th...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, January 3, 2010:

First Reading: Jeremiah 31:7-14

First Reading (Alt.): Sirach 24:1-12

Psalm: Psalm 147:13-21 (Psalm 147:12-20 NRSV)

Psalm (Alt.): Wisdom of Solomon 10:15-21

Second Reading: Ephesians 1:3-14

Gospel: John 1:[1-9] 10-18

When I was younger, the Gospel of John confounded me. What kind of nativity story did John give us? Does he not know the power of narrative, the importance of a hook in the beginning?

Look at verse 14, which may be familiar: "And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father." As a child, I'd have screamed, "What does that mean? How does word become flesh?"

And then I became a writer, and I learned how the word becomes flesh. I invented characters who took on lives of their own, who woke me up early in the morning because I wanted to see what happened to them. Yes, I know, I was the God of their universe. But as anyone who has had children will know, you make these creations, and they have their own opinions, and they live their lives in ways you couldn't have known they would.

But lately, I've begun to see this first chapter of John in a less-writerly way. Words become flesh every day. We begin to shape our reality by talking about it. We shape our relationships through our words which then might lead to deeds, which is another way of talking about flesh.

Think about your primary relationships. Perhaps this coming year could be the year when we all treat the primary people in our lives with extra care and kindness. If we treat people with patience and care, if we say please and thank you more, we will shape the flesh of our relationships into something different. Alternately, if we're rude and nasty to people, they will respond with rudeness and cruelty--we've shaped the flesh of the world into a place where we don't want to live.

Our words become flesh in other ways, of course. It's not enough to profess we're Christians. Our words should shape our actions. The world is watching, and the world is tired of people who say one thing and act another way.

How can we enflesh our Christian beliefs incarnate in our own lives? That's the question with which we wrestle year after year. It's easy to say we believe things, but it's much harder to make our actions match our words, to live an authentic life.

The good news: it gets easier. You must practice. Our spiritual ancestors would tell us that daily and weekly practices help to align our words to our actions.

I have an atheist friend who says she envies me my ability to believe. I tell her that there's not a class of people who just have faith. We come to it by our actions. We pray, we pay attention, we meet in church, we study, we read the Bible, we help the poor and outcast, we pray some more--and years later, we realize that we are living a life consistent with our values.

It's time to think about the New Year, and some of us will make resolutions. What can you do to make your words and beliefs take flesh?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

All of the Christmas Eve services were fantastic! The atmosphere was filled with excitement as people filled the santcuary and the music and sermons were truly inspirational.

The 11:00pm was very special to me because the choir did an incredible job presenting the "Glorious Impossible" cantata. I'm very proud of the choir and I am excited about doing it again this Sunday at the 10:45 am service.

May the true meaning of Christmas fill your hearts and may God bless you always!

Jacob Smitter, Minister of Music For Praise

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, December 27, 2008:

First Reading: 1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26

Psalm: Psalm 148

Second Reading: Colossians 3:12-17

Gospel: Luke 2:41-52

How quickly the children grow up! Could this Jesus in Sunday's Gospel really be the same baby we just saw in the manger? Can this boy be the same Jesus we'll be meeting soon? We spend so little time with Jesus as a young boy that it's strange to get these glimpses.

Those of you who live around teenagers will probably find the Jesus in Sunday's Gospel familiar. He's so self-absorbed. He doesn't worry about his parents' feelings and anxieties. And yet, he's mostly obedient, mostly a good kid.

We think of Jesus as a special case. We tend to focus on his divine aspects and overlook the human ones. Yet any child arrives with his or her own agenda. In the end, most children are a bit of a mystery. We wonder where they get that quirky sense of humor, or those interests that are so unlike any others in the family. If we're honest, most of us have moments, maybe quite a lot of them, where we wish those children would just conform, just be the little people we wish they would be.

The relationship that Mary and Joseph had with Jesus was no different. We might protest, "But Mary and Joseph knew that he was special!" Every parent feels exactly the same way: this child is born for greatness. Yet in how many ways our children will break our hearts.

And it often starts with education. Notice that Jesus has ditched his parents to stay behind with teachers and scholars. He has his own business, and Mary has her wishes, and they will likely clash. Read Mark's Gospel (go ahead, it's short, it won't take you long), and you'll get a different view of Mary and her view of the mission of Jesus; she's not always happy, and in several places indicates that Jesus is embarrassing the family.

But in the end, this week's Gospel is also a story of nurture. God comes to be with us in human form, and not just grown-up, self-sufficient form. God becomes the most vulnerable of creatures, a baby, and thus becomes, the second-most vulnerable, a teenager. Those of you who struggle with a teenager may not find comfort from the Good Friday outcome of this story. But maybe you can find comfort from the fact that even Jesus could be a pain-inducing teenager.

And we all can find comfort from this chapter in the Christmas story. Hear the Good News again. God comes to be with us, in all of our brokenness. God loves us in spite of, because of our brokenness. God lives with and mingles in our human messiness. We might even say that God glories in our messiness, that out of our messiness salvation comes.

Monday, December 21, 2009

ALATHEA playing Emmanuel at Trinity Lutheran SAT DEC 19th 2009.

Mandee pictured here - Cristi was off to the right - you can hear Cristi on the mandolin - couldn't frame both at the same time from my seat - sorry Cristi!


Please note: all services include candle lighting and Holy Communion.

5PM Indoor/Outdoor Sunset Service
Begins indoors and concludes with outdoor candlelight walk for Silent Night and Holy Communion at Sunset.

7:30PM Family Service
A service that features the talents of our children, youth and adults through singing, readings, and more.
Traditional hymns and the Christmas Story make this a service for all ages!

11PM Cantata Service
A service that features Trinity's Talented Choir under the direction of Jacob Smitter bringing a fresh and glorious Cantata to proclaim the birth of Christ!

DECEMBER 19, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pembroke Pines
Trinity Lutheran and Living Faith Lutheran run the Christmas Karaoke Booth!
Carl Berkey-Abbott from Trinity and Pastor Clark from Living Faith test out the booth.

Friday, December 18, 2009

SERMON on Luke 1:39-56 ADVENT FOUR 2009
The secret to good singing, my Glee Club director mused to me one day, isn’t having a great voice, though that helps, but singing with drama, with passion, with enthusiasm. And when in doubt, just say “watermelon,” and it will get through any song that you don’t know.

Christmas used to be a refuge for me and its music was the door through which I entered into a safe and peaceful place: the humble joy of the manger; the triumphant joy of angelic choirs; the dance of the night wind and the surprise of the shepherds.
Every Christmas Eve I would lose myself within those songs. My voice would join the heavenly chorus, my voice and the heavenly chorus of angels blended together singing of the midnight clear, and of the little town of Bethlehem, and gave glory to the new born king. In the music of Christmas, the words of Matthew and Luke come alive and the precious gospel enfolds us and transports us.

But what I could not conceive of then and only now am just beginning to understand is that the song of Christmas is a voice with an edge to it, a voice that troubles as much as it comforts, that challenges as much as it soothes; that confronts as much as it soothes with compassion. The song of the manger cannot be sung without the deep bass line of the cross sustaining it. How can we begin to open our hearts to joy of Christmas without the context of Easter to give us understanding? Of the fullness of the in-breaking Kingdom of God made manifest in Christ Jesus.

One year, I was perhaps fifteen, I went to three straight Christmas Eve services – I just had my parents drop me off at church for the 7PM service and they picked me up after the midnight mass. Yes, they probably thought I was nuts. But they indulged me. I was in church after all. On Christmas Eve. There I could sing and sing and sing.

But then came my last year in high school when I was burning the candle at both ends. Swim practice 6 days a week. Three eight hour shifts at Burger King on the weekends. Honors classes. Prepping for the SAT. It all built up and I wore my body past the breaking point. I got so sick that that Christmas Eve I couldn’t sing. I sat there and tried. With enthusiasm even. I sucked on cough drop after cough drop and nothing worked. I could only listen. I went home in tears. Without being able to sing, I could not enter into the safe peace and warmth of Christmas and push away the world for just awhile.

Everything in our culture works towards making Christmas the happiness of all happiness and we work hard at it and we spend hard at it and we commit a lot of our time to it. But the joy of Christmas comes from knowing that God in Christ Jesus breaks into this world and declares victory at cross. That God is willing to take on our flesh, to become fully human to do it. To suffer as we suffer. To be tempted as we are tempted. To die as we will die and in death to break the power of death forever so that our death will become just a passage, another step of our journey into blessed eternity. The joy of Christmas is the promise that God does not measure value by the scales of this world. Jesus was born to ordinary people; born in a feeding trough for animals, in a stable for animals. The Wise men come from the east bearing treasure and they go straight to the palace and Jesus is not there. Was never there. And the palace hasn’t a clue what they are talking about. Because they at the palace have everything that matters to the world.

The song that we need to listen to – the one that deepens our understanding of Christmas and moves us from sentimental happiness to a deepening joy, a joy born of promise, is the song of Mary that we call The Magnificat.
It provides us with a glimpse of in-breaking Kingdom of God. A Kingdom that embraces God’s justice; that embodies God’s love and plan for creation.

The poor are favored and will be lifted up.
The rich and powerful will be brought down.
The hungry fed. The full will experience hunger.

The truth of Mary's words begin to unfold as Jesus begins his ministry by declaring at the very beginning, by reading from the scroll at the synagogue that he has come to bring good news to the poor, to announce freedom to the prisoners, to give sight to the blind, and to free everyone who suffers.

And the powerful and rich?

Well, there are some things that we need to say .
First of all, Jesus does not hate people with money. Rich widows helped to bankroll the ministry. Jesus ate with both the poor and the rich. They had to eat after all. They had expenses. Scripture gives no evidence that when they were thirsty that Jesus got water from the rock like Moses or turned their water into wine more than once or took table scraps and multiplied the loaves and fishes on a daily basis. Could he have? Sure. Did he? The silence of Scripture is deafening. So, probably not.

Jesus knows what we all know. That money and power are two sides of the same coin in this world and that both can be used for good and for evil and that sin can grow like weeds among the wheat wherever they are found.

Sing, Mary, sing.
Teach our souls to give glory to God.
Teach us how the poor have been exploited.
How their voices have been silenced.
How many of those with power have ignored them at best or hurt them or stripped them of their dignity.
How some have grown rich by their suffering.

Sing Mary, sing.
Sing of God's anger at injustice.
God's ear for the cries of those who suffer.
Give us such an ear to hear. Hearts to ache.
Hands to help. Hearts to love.
Spirits to move us to act with the whole of our being -
in the power of the Spirit. In the righteousness of God.
Sing of the mercy of God for us and for all.
Sing of God's forgiveness, God's grace, God's love.

Sing, Mary, sing.
Teach us to do small things with great love.
Let our song be our voices calling for change on behalf of the poor. Let our song be our hands working alongside our brothers and sisters who suffer economic and social hardship. Let our song be our hearts aching for the widow and the orphan, for the grieving and lost.

Sing Mary, Sing.
May our songs this Christmas carry God’s promised future in every word, in every note and melody. May we be God’s hands and hearts and voices to realize that future here and now.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Potluck following the second service.
Time to share a meal together and spend time with the folks from ALATHEA and feed those going off to Chritmas carol for our shut-ins and the VA.
Please bring a dish to share.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lunch at 12:15PM
We depart at 1PM.
To our shut-ins, our sick, the VA Home.
Please Join us!
Call SAM in the office to reserve tickets now.
Before you forget.
(954) 989-1903.
Are you reaching for the phone yet...I'll wait.
See you Saturday Night at 7:30PM for the Christmas Concert Event of the season!

at the Trinity
Come anytime
6:30PM and 8PM
Pause during this hectic time
and allow the peace of Christ to rule in your heart!
Meditation on This Week's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, December 20, 2009:

First Reading: Micah 5:2-5a

Psalm: Luke 1:47-55 (Luke 1:46b-55 NRSV)

Psalm (Alt.): Psalm 80:1-7

Second Reading: Hebrews 10:5-10

Gospel: Luke 1:39-45 [46-55]

Finally, we have moved away from John the Baptist--although he's there, in utero, leaping at the sound of Mary's voice.

I love this Gospel vision of improbable salvation: two very different women, yet God has need of them both. I love the way this Gospel shows that even the impossible can be made possible with God: barrenness will come to fruit, youthful inexperience will be seen as a blessing.

Take some Advent time and look at the Magnificat again (verses 46-55). Reflect on how Mary's song of praise sums up most of our Scripture. If we want to know what God is up to in this world, here Mary sings it for us. He has raised up a lowly woman (who would have been a member of one of the lowliest of her society). He has fed the hungry and lifted up the oppressed. He has continued to stay with Abraham's descendants, even when they haven't always deserved it. We can count on our strong God, from generation to generation.

Take some Advent time and think about Mary's call to be greater than she could have ever expected she would be. She could have said no to God--many do. But she said yes. That acceptance didn't mean she would avoid pain and suffering. In fact, by saying yes, she likely exposed herself to more pain and suffering. But in saying yes, she also opened herself up to amazing possibilities.

Think about your own life. Where do you hear God calling your name?

Perhaps I will adopt a different New Year's resolution this year. I usually have resolutions about eating better and exercising more and tending to my writing. Maybe this year, I will resolve to say yes to God.

The very thought makes me a bit terrified. My control freak self doesn't like this idea of saying yes. My control freak self doesn't understand why I would want Mary, mother of Jesus, as a model.

How can we be like Mary? How can we be like Elizabeth, who receives an even more improbable invitation? Where would we be led, if we said yes to God?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Congratulations to Jennifer Rodemick!
Graduating (with honors) this week from the University of Florida.
Volunteers needed to greet families for photo sessions on Thursday, December 17. Hours that need to be covered are 1PM to 8 PM.

The photographers show up at 1PM to set up. Families start arriving at 3PM. I will be there at 8PM with my family and to finish up the night.

We need people to cover the rest of the hours. Sam was there all day last week. If they can cover 2-3 hours at a time that would be great.

Just call or email the office and let SAM know!

SUN, DEC 20th, the BLOOD MOBILE will be in our parking lot! What better gift to give during this holiday season that the GIFT OF LIFE? It doesn't cost you money and it takes just 15 minutes of your time! The Blood Mobile will be here from 7:30am to 1:30pm. Please come out and give the gift of life! You will be richly blessed by knowing that every pint can save three lives.

An early Christmas present for yourself and those you love!
Advanced Tickets:
Adults $12 Children under 12 $5
At the Door:
Adults $15 Children $7.50
Contact SAM in the office during the week or purchase Thursday between 3PM and 9PM during the directory photo shoot in Charter Hall or contact Kristin or Pastor Keith.
Contact the office (954) 989-1903
by close of business this WED
$10 per dedication
Please indicate "In Honor"
or "In Memory"

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Meditation on This Week's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, December 13, 2009:

First Reading: Zephaniah 3:14-20

Psalm: Isaiah 12:2-6

Second Reading: Philippians 4:4-7

Gospel: Luke 3:7-18

I find myself growing weary of John the Baptist. I'm tired of this Advent cycle. Why is John the Baptist always here? Can't we have some angels appearing to Mary or Joseph? Can't we have a different part of the story?

I'm also tired of the prophets of this year's lectionary. I yearn for some old-fashioned Isaiah.

I also wonder why we don't have many great Advent hymns. I only really like "Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel." O.K., O.K., the candlelighting/watch for Messiah song set to Yiddish sounding music is pretty cool too. But why aren't there more?

Clearly, I'm in a crabby mood. I'm tired of having John the Baptist call me a viper. I know, I know, I have all these faults. Don't threaten me with that ax. I try so hard to bear good fruit, but I'm afraid it isn't enough. I'm surrounded by people who are clearly in a more crabby mood than I am, and I'm trying to be sympathetic, but it's hard. This attempt of mine to transform myself into a compassionate person is taking longer than I thought it would. I see people at work having meltdowns, and my response is to hide under my desk (metaphorically, although there are days that the thought of literally curling up under my desk is almost irresistible). I don't go to them to say, "What can I do to help you through this painful time?"

Perhaps I'm ready for that ax after all.

Or maybe, I need to pay attention to John the Baptist with a bit more focus. Advent reminds me that I'm not my final, improved version of myself. Advent reminds me that I still have work to do. And I need to hear that message. I'm lazy and inclined to coast, and it's good to know that God has a vision for me that is vaster than any I could dream myself.

I am ready for those angels who tell me not to be afraid. I need that message of fearlessness in my Advent darkness. I am ready for the Christmas miracle of a God who wants to be with humanity so much that God comes to us as the most vulnerable creature: a baby born to parents low on the social ladder of a society that is far from the corridors of power.

Oh come, Emmanuel. Ransom me!

Monday, December 07, 2009

From your Shelter Week Co-ordinator, Lyn Joseph:

PLEASE bring all the Shelter Week food to church on SUN, Dec 13th.
Also, we are still in need of a second overnight host for Monday night [December 14]. and for Wednesday night [December 15], and Thursday night [December 16]. The hours are from 8pm to about 7am – when the family gets picked up by the coalition van. We would be most grateful for any time which you can donate to this cause. If anyone is able to do a portion of a shift, due to previous obligations or commitments; please remember that we can also work with your schedule and have a relief person come in to finish off your time.

For any questions or inquiries, please feel free to contact Lyn Jospeh - or leave a message at the office.
WELCA's Cookie Exchange Christmas Meeting will be on TUES, DEC 8th at 7:30pm in the Sanctuary. There will be readings, music and a Sing-a-long with Jacob. Following the program we will adjourn to Charter Hall for our Annual Cookie Exchange. Please bring 2 dozen of your favorite homemade cookies. Not only will these be eaten after the program, but then packaged for our "shut-ins" and the rest exchanged amongst everyone. Bring your family and friends. Everyone is invited!!!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Your prayers are requested for The Reverend Ron Springer, pastor of Christ Lutheran Church (ELCA), Fort Lauderdale, FL, and his wife, Marion.

Pr. Springer became ill earlier this week with flu-like symptoms. His wife, Marion, found him unresponsive on Tuesday afternoon after returning home from work. He is currently unresponsive and on a respirator at University Hospital in Tamarac, FL.

Pr. Springer has served as pastor at Christ Lutheran Church since January of 1998. He transferred from the Metropolitan New York Synod, ELCA, where he was ordained in 1980. Pr. Springer is well known throughout his conference and the Florida-Bahamas Synod as an active participant in mission and ministry and currently serves as Dean of the Broward/Bahamas Conference (#2).

Please hold Ron, Marion, their family and friends, and the people of Christ Lutheran Church in your prayers.
Luke 3:1-6 ADVENT TWO 2009

The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

How does that voice cry out to you?
Does it call you by name?
Is it Urgent? Tough? Gentle? Patient? Passionate?
How are you hearing that voice today?

The voice cries out to us from the wilderness. Are we listening? Are we listening with our ears?
With our hearts? With our souls?
The voice cries out to us from the wilderness.
Are we listening?
You and I. Mall Walking can always produce interesting experiences. At the end of one trip a few years back I went by one of those numerous little booths that one finds in the middle of the corridors. I was walking quickly in order to meet Piper in front of a pre-arrange spot. Sometimes the salespeople can be rather insistent and sometimes they are sitting around looking bored and talking on their cell phones. I found myself confronted by one energetic young woman.
"Would you like me to steam your shirt?" she asked.
To which I responded "No thank you. My shirt is fine."
I had not taken two steps when I heard her say a bit too loudly and quite sarcastically to a co-worker:
"Yea, right, his shirt is fine."
Her words probably came easily enough after a long day on her feet trying to make sales.
I was probably not meant to hear them.
And the fact that upon later inspection my shirt was a bit wrinkled did not take the edge off her sarcasm one bit.
“Yeah, right, his shirt is fine.”

When she asked me if I wanted my shirt steamed, I had responded pleasantly, patiently.

Her sarcastic rebuke hit me while my back was turned. Nothing phony about those words. No fake smile. No bland pleasantries. They were honest words, if not a bit painful in tone.

Something bitter in my throat that tasted like indignation welled up.
And I’m thinking – I’ll make her path a bit straighter. No problem.

The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

The words grab us. Call us to action. Practically demand response . Are filled with passion: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

How does that voice cry out to you?
Does it call you by name?
Is it Urgent? Tough? Gentle? Patient? Passionate? Intimate?
How are you hearing that voice today?

After I overheard the personal steamer salesperson's contribution to our nation's general decline in friendliness, I took one half step. Should I turn and vent? Should I get her name and register a complaint with her manager? Should I remind her that as a salesperson, making fun of potential customers was just not sound business practice?

The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight

As a kid, I got straightened out a few times.
Like the time I broke the four foot bottle of wine from Italy that someone had given my parents as a gift, splattering its contents on the thick green shag carpet of our dining room.
Like the time I pushed a nail through my bicycle tire just to see what would happened.
Like the time I put my foot through my bedroom door in a fit of disagreement with my older sister.
Like the time that I melted the carpet in the bathroom after finding my father’s lighter.
Mom and Dad took the time to straighten me out.
But here in the mall half a step removed from a steam cleaning salesperson who was having a bad day, these words of John the Baptist echo in my heart:
Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight

The straight path is the path that helps build the Kingdom. That’s the path on which you and I want to be walking.
The path that builds up the Kingdom.
Here we talk a lot about proclaiming that very Kingdom in word and deed in all that we do and all that we say.
Here we talk about seeing Christ in all and on that day, in that place, Christ, met me with a touch of sarcasm and was wielding a must-have steam cleaner that could be mine for a very reasonable price.
Seeing Christ in who we want and when we want is one thing. Seeing Christ in all with no asterisks and no fine print. Well, that’s something else altogether, isn’t it?
Having beheld Christ in her, what was I to do?
What would you do?
What would you do having seen Christ, steamer in hand, with his back turned against you in disdain?
My feet said to walk. My head said to complain. My heart, well, It didn't join the conversation that I was having with myself.

The voice calls in the wilderness, sometimes in the most surprising of ways:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord!

I just walked on.

Every single day the voice calls out to us. Calls us by name. Calls to us intimately. Passionately. Constantly:
Prepare the way of the Lord!

It has been calling since we were first called in our Baptism to turn from darkness to the light. From the ways of death to the ways of life. From our sin, to God’s own righteousness.

Prepare the way of the Lord!

Saturday, December 05, 2009




Thursday, December 03, 2009

Saturday morning the monthly yard day begins at 9AM and we'll be gardening at 10AM at the Veteran' Garden at the new flagpole location

Saturday evening at 6PM is a potluck dinner at which we'll be feeding the youth and staff from the Lippmann Shelter for Youth and spending time getting to know our recent visitors. All invited - please bring a dish to share. We are also collecting new or gently used teenage clothes to donate to Lippmann that evening. Clean clothing may be left on the entrance bench in Charter Hall.

At 7PM our ADVENT Workshops begin.
Decorating gingerbread men (please bring a couple of cans of icing to share), making homemade Christmas cards and Chrismons (Christmas ornaments) and Christmas breads and even decorating the Charter Hall trees will keep us busy!

At Sunday morning Worship (8AM and 10:45AM) we will be blessing prayer shawls and Confirmation Bibles and experience another Advent mini-drama. Adult Sunday school continues at 9:30AM in Monson Mueller Hall studying the Advent texts, while our children continue in their Advent time in Sunday school. Sign ups for the Christmas Eve 7:30PM program will commence. The High School Youth will finish prepping for their faith interviews.
encourage the daily discipline of setting something aside for God throughout the season. Families can enjoy the ritual of daily watching their contributions grow as we count the days until Christmas. The folders, which total $20.00, can returned DEC 20th, 24th, or 27th. You may prefer to write a check or use cash in that amount, rather than turn in the coins.
Trinity Lutheran and Living Faith Lutheran will be joining together at the City of Pembroke Pines’ Snowfest on Saturday December 19th from 10AM to 2PM. We will be co-hosting a Christmas Karaoke booth to get the word out about our Christmas Eve services. Sign up to help out on your worship slip.
Sunday December 13, 5:00 pm - St Joseph’s National Polish Catholic Church located at 5401 SW 64th AVE, Davie, FL 33314 will be holding its “Annual Christmas Candlelight Service” which is a community event. Approximately seven local churches will be participating. Our choir will be performing as well as our director. Immediately following the concert, a dinner (catered by the Ark Restaurant) will be served in their fellowship hall. The event and dinner are free. During the concert a free-will offering will be taken to benefit a local charity. Come a little early to assure a good seat.

MANDEE AND CRISTI “ALATHEA” will make their return to Trinity on Saturday evening December 19th at 7:30PM for a stop on their highly anticipated 2009 Christmas Tour. Tickets now on sale in the office, before and after church and at select church activities. Advanced tickets are $12 for Adults and $5 for children. At the door they will increase to $15 and $7.50. This award-winning folk duo hail from Tennessee and travel the country logging over 150 concerts a year. They last played at Trinity in the spring of 2009 and we are blessed to have been able to be included on their current tour.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

WELCA's Cookie Exchange Christmas Meeting will be on TUES, DEC 8th at 7:30pm in the Sanctuary. There will be readings, music and a Sing-a-long with Jacob. Following the program we will adjourn to Charter Hall for our Annual Cookie Exchange. Please bring 2 dozen of your favorite homemade cookies. Not only will these be eaten after the program, but then packaged for our "shut-ins" and the rest exchanged amongst everyone. Bring your family and friends. Everyone is invited!!!

On SUN, DEC 20th, the BLOOD MOBILE will be HERE! What better gift to give during this holiday season that the GIFT OF LIFE? It doesn't cost you money and it takes just 15 minutes of your time! The Blood Mobile will be here from 7:30am to 1:30pm. Please come out and give the gift of life! You will be richly blessed in doing so.
We are still in need of a second overnight host for Monday night [December 14]. And also for Wednesday night [December 15], plus Thursday night [December 16]. The hours are from 8pm to about 7am – when the family gets picked up by the coalition van. We would be most grateful for any time which you can donate to this cause. If anyone is able to do a portion of a shift, due to previous obligations or commitments; please remember that we can also work with your schedule and have a relief person come in to finish off your time.

For any questions or inquiries, please feel free to contact Lyn Jospeh - or leave a message at the office for her.
We need Greeters from 2:30pm to 6pm on DEC 10th and DEC 17th to sign-in people at the photo sessions.
Please contact the office or sign up on your worship slip.
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, December 6, 2009:

First Reading: Malachi 3:1-4

First Reading (Alt.): Baruch 5:1-9

Psalm: Luke 1:68-79

Second Reading: Philippians 1:3-11

Gospel: Luke 3:1-6

This week's Gospel brings us back to John the Baptist, who went to the wilderness to hear the word of God. He comes back from the wilderness to tell people to prepare, that the paths will be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth.

Today's Gospel takes me to several places. First of all, I wonder about the nature of God and the wilderness. How often does God appear to Biblical people in the wilderness? What does this say to those of us who never get any wilderness time?

I also think of John hearing God's word in the wilderness and his getting to work to tell preaching a "baptism of repentance." It's an interesting thought--if one hears God's word and believes it, how would one's actions change? What kinds of turning around might we expect?

We might also think in terms of the old tent revival preachers: if you knew God was coming back this month, coming to speak to you, what would happen next in your life?

On the RevGalBlogPals website, I came across this Bonhoeffer quote:

"It is very remarkable that we face the thought that God is coming, so calmly, whereas previously peoples trembled at the day of God . . . . We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God's coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God's coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us. The coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all frightening news for every one who has a conscience.Only when we have felt the terror of the matter, can we recognize the incomparable kindness. God comes into the very midst of evil and of death, and judges the evil in us and in the world. And by judging us, God cleanses and sanctifies us, comes to us with grace and love."

The recent Thanksgiving holiday may have made you painfully aware of all the crooked pathways within yourself that need to be made straight. I'm am always aware of how I have tried very hard to be a more patient person, and how often I fail so utterly to be the patient person I want to be. I'm easily frustrated, especially by problems which are really just money problems. A friend of Anne Lamott's reminds us all that "if you have a problem you can solve by throwing money at it, you don't have a very interesting problem" (Traveling Mercies 259). I am so often not grateful for the gifts that I have, the ones that money can't necessarily buy: my good health, the fact that most of my loved ones are on this side of the grave with me, a boss who treats me well, and time to carve out a creative life.

Our personal failings are often mirrored in the larger culture. We live in a world full of the crooked and the rough. We live in a world desperately in need of the sanctification that God offers. In The Reason for God, Tim Keller reminds us, "The Biblical view of things is resurrection - not a future that is just a consolation for the life we never had but a restoration of the life you always wanted. This means that every horrible thing that ever happened will not only be undone and repaired but will in some way make the eventual glory and joy even greater" (32).

We might say, "Well, lovely, but that doesn't help me right now. Right now, I'm irritated with my family who drives me crazy, and I'm irritated with myself, because I can't seem to do basic maintenance tasks, and I'm fed up with watching all the governments whose actions affect me so deeply."

When I'm feeling that way, I try to take a page from the ideas of John Keats, the great English poet: I try to see my struggles as soul making. In Traveling Mercies, Anne Lamott says, "At some point you pardon the people in your family for being stuck together in all their weirdness, and when you can do that, you can learn to pardon anyone. Even yourself, eventually. It's like learning to drive on an old car with a tricky transmission: if you can master shifting gears on that, you can learn to drive anything" (219-220).

God comes to us in so many ways, and we don't even notice. Advent reminds us to be watchful, to wait with anticipation. Advent reminds us of the promise of God's presence, no matter what issues we struggle with in any given day.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009




CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), said he will share priorities and hopes for the ELCA, and wants to hear stories from members about the church's work in their own contexts, when he hosts an online "Town Hall Forum" Sunday, Dec. 6. The hour-long forum begins at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time (4:30 p.m. Central Time).

The program will be webcast live from Chicago, where Hanson will be joined by an audience of ELCA members. The audience will ask questions of the presiding bishop. Web viewers can watch the event and submit questions at http://www.ELCA.org/townhall

"I think having this during the season of Advent is an important reminder that when our unity is in Christ, we will always be looking toward God's future in a spirit of 'expectant hopefulness,'" he said. "That's what characterizes my view of the ELCA."

Hanson said he wants to use the forum to build on a conversation he began in a Nov. 19 open letter to ELCA members. In that letter he said that the church stands together in God's grace, "but we are not standing still." Hanson wrote that the ELCA proclaims Jesus Christ and is "fully engaged in this mission by caring actively for the world that God loves.

God's mission is serious work that calls for serious commitment."

Hanson told the ELCA News Service he plans to discuss in the forum how the ELCA is a church "in God's grace going forward in mission, and how that shared commitment to be engaged in mission continues to define who we are in the ELCA."

"I look forward to hearing stories from members participating online of how the Holy Spirit is being poured out upon them and through their congregations," he said. "I also look forward to sharing priorities for our life together in the ELCA."

Hanson said he expects the conversation will include some discussion of what has transpired in the ELCA since the churchwide assembly, which directed changes to the church's ministry policies. Those changes, which created the possibility for people in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve as clergy and professional lay workers, have caused some disagreement in the ELCA.

"I would hope we can talk about how, in these weeks and months following our churchwide assembly, we have the opportunity to be a church that does not deny our differences on human sexuality, but isn't defined by those differences. It gives us an opportunity to witness to the culture that such questions need not finally separate us," he said.

The Town Hall Forum will also be available for on-demand viewing on the ELCA Web site by the close of business Dec. 7.


The presiding bishop's Nov. 19 open letter and a video resource are at http://www.ELCA.org/faithfulmission on the ELCA Web site.