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

Featured Post


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...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Where have you seen God working this week?
  • sharing of testimony
  • new business opportunity-introduced to two doctors
  • blessed us with another great boss at work

Where did God use someone else to bless you this week.

  • needed more than usual at work
  • provided a ride
  • mother's frequent visits to doctors got me in the door!
  • the gratitude of a shut-in when I visited her and her family

Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?

  • help someone prepare for a task
  • phone chat with son to comfort him
  • sent willard water to step-mother
  • praying for someone who was anxious and concerned about her pregnancy and delivery

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, June 27, 2010:

First Reading: 1 Kings 19:15-16, 19-21

First Reading (Semi-cont.): 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14

Psalm: Psalm 16

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20

Second Reading: Galatians 5:1, 13-25

Gospel: Luke 9:51-62

I write this meditation on Thursday, June 24, the feast day of John the Baptist, which makes an interesting counterpoint to the Gospel lesson for Sunday. In the Gospel, we see Jesus headed towards Jerusalem. He meets people who want to go with him, and some of them he seems to turn away, by warning of a sort of homelessness, a psychic isolation that comes with nestlessness.

Other people he invites to follow him, and they want to, but they have these responsibilities that they need to attend to first. And just like that, they've lost their chance. Many of us must understand the plight of the man who needs to bury his father. In the time of Jesus, this obligation would have loomed even larger than it does today.

Jesus seems to suggest that we forsake family responsibilities, and this theme recurs periodically throughout the Gospels (and I always smile when I hear various religious types preach about the family friendly politics of Jesus--they've been reading different Gospel texts than I have). Or maybe he's suggesting that we shuck off the things which are already dead.

Our society gives us many rules and regulations that torment us as surely as the demons tormented the man in last Sunday's Gospel. Ask any sociologist, and they'll tell you that socialization binds us more thoroughly than any other aspect of our being. It's socialization that demands that we mop the floors when we'd rather be making music. It's socialization that tells us we must attend to our families in certain ways, even when those ways put our souls in danger.

Jesus warns us again and again of the dangers of taking our hands off the spiritual plow. Of course, most of us aren't leading agrarian lives anymore, so the metaphor may not be as powerful. But in our time of increasingly fragmented attention spans, the central message remains: Jesus tells us to keep the focus on him, not on our iPhones, our Blackberries, our iPads, our e-mail accounts, our televisions, all the screens which rule our lives.

The life of John the Baptist gives us a powerful role model. John the Baptist had a belief and a mission so powerful that he was willing to go into the wilderness and to eat locusts. Would you be willing to eat locusts?

If we're not willing to brave the wilderness for our faith, perhaps it's time to deepen that faith. If our mission doesn't move us to eat locusts, perhaps it's time to adjust the mission. What would excite you so powerfully that you would never lose your grip on that Gospel plow, that you would never look back? How can you get that excitement into your daily life?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

IS THIS SUN, JUNE 27th following the late service (about NOON)

Besides lots of interesting things waiting for your tickets to win, there will be several items auctioned off regular-style such as...
A 26” LCD High Definition 1080p Flat Screen TV
Pastor’s Applesauce-Walnut Bread
Pastor's Oatmeal Wheat Bread
1 - $25 Gift certificate from Flashback Diner
4 - $25 Gift Certificate From The Ark Restaurant
6- $17 Guess Pass For The Jungle Queen Riverboat
4 - $10 Admission to the Bonnet House & Gardens In Ft. Laud
$100 Singing Lessons From Jacob Smitter (4 - 1 Hr Lessons)
A special romantic dinner cooked for two by Pastor himself featuring chicken
with a tarragon mustard cream sauce over rice, sauteed carrots with an orange
sauce, home made mini pannini bread and more!

If you are planning on attending the Chinese Auction remember that there will be an oriental themed lunch prior to its comencement for a $5 donation featuring mini egg rolls, meatballs, fried rice, fruit, cake, and soda. Please RSVP for the lunch with SAM in the office

Some excerpts from our weekly worship slips.
Comments have been edited for privacy

Where Have You Seen God Working This Week?
Having my daughter here this week and getting along with patience

To be blessed immensely on Father's Day with an incredibly wonderful and loving family and church

Transportation from friend

In my mother and aunt in Baltimore

In people, church, in my mom

In strength and comfort as I face my problems

Where Did God Use Someone Else To Bless You This Week?
By sending my neighbor over to help me fix our a/c when it went out

My boss asked me to work this summer because he knew he could count on me

Sending someone special to pray with me

At a special business meeting yesterday

Visitor to my apt

Good news about getting my aunt meds

My son's teacher for giving him a voice

My mother in Trinidad, my ex-aunt-in-law, my pastor

A telephone call from friends

Where Did God Use You To Bless Someone Else This Week?
One of my brothers at AA asked if he could use my story to help him and is finally at recovery

To encourage friend to go to church

Someone using my advise to get medical help

At my job, in my children

For comfort, prayer and taking someone to the supermarket


Friday, June 18, 2010

Busy and Blessed Sunday
Coming Up!

Blessing of Fathers for Father's Day
Healing Service
Installation of Vacation Bible School Teachers
Recognition of Graduates - and More!
8AM and 10:45AM
And do not forget!
Monday through Friday
June 21st through 25th
6PM to 8:50PM
Still time to register and join in the fun!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, June 20, 2010:

First Reading: Isaiah 65:1-9

First Reading (Semi-cont.): 1 Kings 19:1-4 [5-7] 8-15a

Psalm: Psalm 22:18-27 (Psalm 22:19-28 NRSV)

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 42--43

Second Reading: Galatians 3:23-29

Gospel: Luke 8:26-39

I must have read this Gospel lesson over a dozen times through the years, but this time, the depiction of the demons leaps out at me. These demons who drive the man to distraction--he lives naked by the tombs, he is so distracted. These demons who disturb the neighbors who try to contain the man and his demons by chaining him and guarding him. I recognize these demons!

Now, let me stress that I read the demons as metaphorical. I've met people who believe in literal demon possession, and some of them make a compelling case. But in the end, I agree with those who say that ancient people couldn't explain mental illnesses any other way. I've also met plenty of mentally ill people who would make me believe in demon possession, if I didn't have a medical explanation.

I don't want to spend much time writing about true mental illness, but instead about the demons who possess us all. Who among us hasn't spent an anxious night worrying about things we couldn't control (finances, our loved ones, our health)? Perhaps we fall into a sinister pattern of sleepless nights being haunted by the world's worries. Most of us have probably gone through periods where we come perilously close to wrecking our relationships with our loved ones because of our obsessive worries about them.

If only my inner demons could be driven out into a swine herd, or whatever the modern equivalent would be (the neighbor's pack of unruly dogs?). If only I could be free from those wretches that wake me at night and won't let me sleep for fear of all that could go wrong.

Only recently have I stumbled upon a solution. When I can't sleep at night, I pray. I can't do anything to solve most of the world's ills, but I know a power that can. When I wake up at night and start worrying, I try to remember to turn to prayer. Lately I've been praying for all the sea creatures (and land creatures!) who will be affected by this oil spill. I pray for the leaders of the world. I pray for everyone I know who has been going through rough times. I pray for church leaders, both local and national. I pray for everyone at work, especially those people who seem to be unraveling. Eventually my mind quiets, and I drift off to sleep.

I'm also struck in this story by the formerly demon-possessed man who begs to be allowed to travel with Jesus. Jesus sends him home. It's a powerful story for people like me. I often feel that if I was a better Christian, I'd be doing more to give up my worldly goods and live amongst the poor. If I was a really good Christian, I'd be off somewhere in Africa, alleviating suffering in some way.

Some of us are called to do that. But most of us are called to stay put, to declare the goodness of God right where we live.

I have non-believer friends who scoff at the idea of monks and nuns who live a cloistered life of praying for the world. I used to be one of those scoffers. I used to say, "Do something useful. Go out and rehab houses or feed the hungry or distribute medicine." Don't get me wrong. I still think those social justice and charity activities are essential. But I also think that prayer is just as essential.

I pray to quiet my own demons and the ones that torment the world. I pray because it helps--it helps me, at least, even if it helps no one else.

My skeptic friends want me to explain, but of course, I can't. I like what Marcus Borg says: "I myself have no clue what the explanatory mechanism is, and I am content not to. And this leads to my final reason for continuing to do prayers of petition and intercession. To refuse to do them because I can't imagine how prayer works would be an act of intellectual pride: if I can't imagine how something words, then it can't work. To think thus involves more than a bit of hubris" (The Heart of Christianity: Discovering a Life of Faith, page 197).

Christians have thousands of years of thought and practice in dealing with the demons that torment us. For some, it's prayer. For others, it might be working with the poor and the destitute. We might meditate to still our minds. We might need a healing service or a laying on of hands. We also shouldn't discount the powers of modern medicine, which offers us a powerful arsenal in our attempts to manage our minds.

God needs us to allow our demons to be sent into swine. God has creative work and play for us to do, and we don't have time for the hissing of demons to distract us.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

THURSDAY  June 17th 9AM to noon
We will be building up new portions of the garden for Memorial stones for Ginny Esch, Helen Baxter and a new location for Dany Vega's sister's stone. We have Blanket Flower, Purple Verbena, a wonderful almond scented white flowering bush, Yellow Butterfly Weed, Tickseed, Lizardtail, and more to plant. All Welcome!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010



Where Have You Seen God Working This Week?
Transportation provided by a friend
Giving me strength with my problems
At Broward Gen Hosp via the humility, gentleness & caring of the Chief of Cardiology
In softening my heart towards others

Where Did God Use Someone Else To Bless You This Week?
I talked to my oldest grandson after one year
My Friend for transportation
Someone comforting me and giving me support as I was grieving for a beloved relative
The kindness of friends
My spouse showing showing grace under difficult circumstances & extreme fatigue
The postman who took me to church

Where Did God Use You To Bless Someone Else This Week?
In prayers for friends
Visiting and praying for a family in depression
In the sharing of my cell phone to use for an emergency call
In helping a sick friend
In being an advocate for justice for my fellow employees whose rights were being taken for granted
In buying a cold drink to elderly neighbor who loves to work outside
NONE this Thursday.
NEXT Workday is Saturday 9 to noon
THEN help Sunday after the second service moving decorations into place.
Attention all present, past, active, inactive, and guest choir members and friends;

This is a call for a special 4th of July anthem participation. Beginning tomorrow evening, 16 June, 2010 we begin rehearsal on The Battle Hymn Of The Republic' as arranged by Wilhousky.

We will be singing it at the 10:00 am service on July 4th. This is only a three week commitment! Our rehearsal time is Weds at 7:30 pm

This anthem really needs as large a choir as possible and it features the male voice in several places, so we really need some men! We have a few of our friends who have sung with us in the past joining us. We need you too!

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible tomorrow evening, call me with any questions.
Have a blessed evening,
Jacob Smitter, Music Minister for Praise
Trinity Lutheran Church

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mediation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, June 13, 2010:

First Reading: 2 Samuel 11:26--12:10, 13-15

First Reading (Semi-cont.): 1 Kings 21:1-10 [11-14] 15-21a

Psalm: Psalm 32

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 5:1-8

Second Reading: Galatians 2:15-21

Gospel: Luke 7:36--8:3

In our day, Pharisees have come to have a bad name as the rigid, judgmental Jews who didn't recognize the greatness of Jesus. It's important to realize that in many ways, they were the most devout of the Jews, not just religious officials who kept rigidly to hollow rules and restrictions, as Christians often paint them. In his book, The Jesus Way, Eugene Peterson notes, "They had the best track record in Palestine. They had historically proven their sincerity and loyalty to the demands and promises of God wonderfully. They were the strongest and most determined party of resistance to the ways of the world, represented in Herod. . . . There was much to admire in the Pharisees. Every Jew owed a debt of gratitude to the Pharisees for keeping Jewish identity alive" (212).

It's important to remember that the Pharisees were rigid about rules and regulations because they thought the way to God led them to follow that route. They weren't being judgmental and exclusionary out of meanness. No, they thought the future of the faithful depended on right action. It might be worth examining our own individual behavior and the behavior of the church both as an individual group and a larger institution--where do we see ourselves? How might we be the Pharisee in the story?

Those of us who have grown up in the church (or who have been attending church for many decades) forget the radical nature of this story. We have this vision of Jesus that no matter where he went, people were swept away by his message and washed his feet or poured oil on his head.

This woman was an outcast, marginalized in so many ways. We don't know the nature of her sin (the fact that she was a woman in a deeply patriarchal society would have been damning enough), but we know the fact that Jesus allowed her to touch him was profoundly shocking to the Pharisee. Jesus uses this encounter to teach about love and forgiveness.

Today's Gospel also reminds us of how religious people can be so blind to the sacred as it appears in our midst. We religious people forget that the God of our Judaic-Christian scripture is most often found in communities of the poor, destitute, and outcast. We prefer to stay in our sanitary structures, to not let the poor and destitute trespass in our hearts. In doing so, we're likely to miss out on a deeper relationship with God.

People who are part of institutionalized religious structure face dangers that we often forget to understand. We lose ourselves in rules and regulations; we create a rigid hierarchy to help us determine who is holy and who is a sinner. It's so easy to forget that our central task is to love deeply and widely. Jesus comes to tell us strange parables so that we'll remember. Jesus comes to show us a way to live that will be a way of love and far-flung community. Jesus comes to give his life, to show us that the way of love is such a threat to the larger culture of empire and conquest that we can expect the same. But God incarnate in Jesus comes to show us that the risks are worth the reward.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


Where Have You Seen God Working This Week?
In today's baptism and new members.
In my sister's positive prognosis from doctors re: suspicious breast lump.
In my daughters and in my family
At my business
Through people working at church
During a retirement ceremony speech this week
In my discipleship in caring for others

Where Did God Use Someone Else To Bless You This Week?

Our neighbor invited us to a party at a time that we were feeling down.
Through my mother with some good conversation
A friend took me shopping
By meeting a man who has cancer but is filled with energy and hope!
During my visit to a shut in
My Jewish neighbor praying for me

Where Did God Use You To Bless Someone Else This Week?

I hope that I was a blessing to my daughter who was feeling down about exams.
In being a sounding board for my boss - God gave me just the right Scripture to send her.
Listening to someones stories from the past
I gave a gift to two people for their work
Through my leading a birthday celebration of a co-worker
On my way to church this morning as I helped a young mother who broke down across the street
Being able to help a friend who needed assistance at home

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, June 6, 2010:

First Reading: 1 Kings 17:17-24

First Reading (Semi-cont.): 1 Kings 17:8-16 [17-24]

Psalm: Psalm 30

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 146

Second Reading: Galatians 1:11-24

Gospel: Luke 7:11-17

Today's Gospel gives us the kind of miracle that's hardest to explain away (if we're in the mood to explain away). Other miracles, like the one of multiplying loaves and fishes, we understand: maybe one act of generosity inspired other people to share their food; maybe the disciples miscounted the loaves. After all, we see this kind of miracle all the time: one person is assigned to bring the main dish for potluck, and other people decide they'll bring a main dish too, and pretty soon, we've got enough food to feed all the hungry people on the block.

But bringing a man back from the dead, now that's a miracle. Even in our modern time of all sorts of medical possibility, we're still amazed when people beat their cancer, when people who were dead for several minutes are saved, when the body rallies and defeats death. We know it's just temporary. We're all headed towards the grave, and medical intervention can only hold that off for so long.

Why is it so hard for us to accept the miraculous? We are part of a religious tradition that tells stories of the miraculous week after week. We worship a God who rescues humanity again and again: from the degradation of slavery, from the oppression of societal structures, from the very grave itself.

We often forget how very often we see miracles on a daily basis. Even the non-religious have been known to comment on the miraculous nature of hurricane ravaged foliage that regenerates, of cancerous cells that shrink or vanish, of the wayward child who returns to sensible behavior, of the relationships that regenerate into a deeper love. And if we think about the even larger picture, if we consider how unlikely it is throughout the universe that carbon combines with other elements to create life forms, it becomes harder to think that miracles don't exist on our own planet. Think about our own planet, and how life manages to adapt and thrive under the most adverse conditions (like in volcanic vents under the ocean).

Wendell Barry said it best: "Whoever really has considered the lilies of the field or the birds of the air and pondered the improbability of their existence in this warm world within the cold and empty stellar distances will hardly balk at the turning of water into wine--which was, after all, a very small miracle. We forget the greater and still continuing miracle by which water (with soil and sunlight) is turned into grapes" ("Christianity and the Survival of Creation" in Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community, page 103).

Most of us have probably already abandoned our New Year's resolutions, so perhaps it's time to make a mid-year resolution. Let this be the summer that we take note of the miraculous on a daily basis. We live in a world that delights in delivering bad news; let this be the season that we train ourselves to recognize all the good news that God sends us each and every day.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Please Join Us!
June 11th 10AM Put Up Paper and Outline
June 12th 9AM to 1PM Paint
Window Prep Day June 18th
Window Paint Day June 19th

Where Have You Seen God Working This Week?
In my business
Allowing me to wake up every day and walk or jog without any ailments
Keeping someone dear clean and sober with them leaning on God
My daughter getting a new job
In a beautiful orange sunset
In a friend's call to feed the hungry
In someone returning home after a horrible tragedy
At the Ann Kolb Nature Center
In our time with our Vet, Dr. Anna, as she tried to save our cat and we grieved together.
An angel of encouragement came into my path this week
God keeping me safe and improving my allergies this week
In allowing me to have a job.

Where Did God Use Someone Else To Bless You This Week?
With Tamisha and Erin
Feedback from others on stuff going on in my life
Friend took me grocery shopping
Through my neighbors prayer
When they called to check on me.
Hearing from my grandson after 2 months
Through the ongoing friendly relations with our dear neighbors
At my dentist office - through the gracious assistant
My doctor who was an angel of encouragement during my grieving the loss of my best friend
At the funeral for Jane - a beloved teacher - by her example, her husband and sons' devotion and love and her pastor's words.
Someone helped trim my trees
In someone giving me the time that I needed.

Where Did God Use You To Bless Someone Else This Week?
At a party
Giving rides to people who needed them.
Through prayer and encouragement for a friend
Helping my 95 year old neighbor
Through the provision of necessity
Assisting with  baptism, healing service and communion.
Helping someone use self-forgiveness in order to forgive someone else
Helping a friend adopt a cat
To allow me to be with my fiance

June 27th following the late service!

First… we will have lunch for a $5 donation: mini egg rolls, meat balls, fried rice, cake, soda, and fruit followed by the Auction.

If you have any new items that you would like to donate to our Chinese Auction, please see SAM. All types of items are needed including items for children, the home, the car, etc are welcome! Remember this is a family activity and our younger children love to participate!

Rumor also has it that Pastor is donating some fresh baked bread!

The proceeds will go toward Trinity’s Special 50th Anniversary Celebration as we are trying to keep the cost of the tickets reasonable! If you are planning on attending the auction, please mark the worship slip or let SAM know in the office so we will have a count for the food.