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

Our Many Gendered God

This week at Trinity Lutheran, we'll be thinking about issues of gender and the ways we still need to transform our society.  I've b...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Where have you seen God working this week?

1. In my Son
2. Everywhere!
3. A patient returned to brag about being cancer free!
4. At an AA Meeting
5. In my family and in the church and also at work

Where Did God use someone else to bless you this week (whether they knew it or not).
1. When I locked my car keys inside my car and a stranger helped me

2. During Trinity’s Wednesday Night Prayer and Praise Service
3. A friend took time to share.
4. On the bus.
5. God used my boss as she shared her wisdom with me about families and husbands

Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
1. In Real Estate
2. In prayers for patients
3. At Trinity!
4. During my visit with my old boss as she is still grieving the loss of her husband

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Luke 14:1-14

The picture:
Spring breezes rustle lace curtains through windows propped open with old baseball cards. The hum of the florescent lights over some prized African Violets in the corner.

A small folding table with a 1,500 piece jigsaw puzzle, pieces carefully sorted. One notes the border already taking shape. The lazy Susan in the middle of the dining room table ready to spin the salt and pepper to whichever seat was in need. Place settings of silverware and china, old, yet museum-neat and restaurant clean. Real butter softening in its "house." Pitchers of ice tea sweating, but on doilies protecting the perfect white table cloth. Eight wood and cloth chairs with a design that escapes me now - but not plain. Not boring. Victorian perhaps. With a flower pattern.

Grandma's dining room will forever be etched in my mind.

For most of my growing up years, I never sat there.
Sunday night dinners for the kids were in the next room at another card table, one devoid of jigsaw puzzles. We sat on folding chairs. From the dining room came the sounds of important conversations about weighty matters of family and politics and the proper way to fertilize fescue and fight grubs in suburban lawns; Conversations into which we were not invited, but might have offered some interesting perspectives. After all, I did dig an awful lot of dirt in my early days. But, it was not our place.

Then the day came that my older sister was old enough – she got a seat – an actual chair with legs that didn’t fold up. She left the rest of us with a proud look on her face. We wanted to be there. We were not glad for her – we were embarrassed that it wasn’t us. The real butter, the lazy Susan, the cloth napkins – they eluded us once more. We still left sitting at the kiddie table. Y’all remember the kiddie table, don’t you?

The table, of course, becomes a root metaphor for our lives as Christian disciples.

Who do we welcome? Who do we choose to acknowledge, to help, to serve, to love, and perhaps most telling of all - to honor? Who gets our attention, our affection, our best?
And who by our actions and words or lack of action and words, do we dismiss to the card table. Of paper plates and plastic forks and folding chairs. Unimportant – connected to us by the most flimsy of circumstances.

We can be far too dismissive others who do not meet our requirements for deserving a good seat at the table. Humility asks us to think of others as better than ourselves. To promote them. To lift them up. To see in them the good rather than pointing out the differences, the faults and failures, or far worse to even tear them down so that we or those we favor can be lifted up. To see in them Christ, himself. A short stroll through the end of the Gospel of Matthew, for example, has some surprises for us: Lord when did we see you hungry or thirsty or naked or in jail and we did not take care of you? And we learn that when we fail to do such to the least among us, we fail to do it for Jesus.

Humility is not a word that rolls so easily off the modern tongue. Putting others ahead of ourselves, giving up our position, our view, our access, our power, our comfort for the sake of others does not come naturally nor often easily. These past days has seen the tenor of our national conversation slough off humility like a snake shredding its skin. Of an apportioning of the table in such ways as to make it un-intelligible to Christians familiar even in a rudimentary way with Jesus: The Jesus who came to lift up the lowly, proclaim freedom to the captives, who offered blessings for the peacemakers, honor for the long ignored, for the poor and outcast. Who saw the table as an opportunity to embody humility.

Again and again Jesus proclaimed the great reversal. Of the lifting up and the tearing down, casting a vision of the Kingdom of God that flew in the face of everyone’s expectations and was beyond the hope of those who had long suffered as outcasts. The national conversation suffers from ignorance of simple humility and in that ignorance fails time and time again to embody it, even some who cloak themselves in the name of Jesus.

Our response is not to complain and only add to profane mumblings that spew unhindered like the very recent oil in the gulf. Rather, in faith, it is up to us to embody the humility of Christ for them. If we are prepared to do so. If we have the courage to do so. To embody humility and its associated voice of welcome and its lovely melody of grace. To embody it here in this faith community and to encourage one another to embody it in our everyday lives.

An author I admire wrote about a church service in which when it was time for the lessons to be read, a young man came up to the microphone. He had a significant disability and was incapable of clear and sustained speech, but wanted to participate. He wanted to read the lesson. So there he was. He moaned out the worlds, unrecognizable as they flowed from his eager heart, and then turned and sat down. It was a singular moment of grace. He had his seat at the table.

Yet there were those present who immediately complained among themselves about the poor choice to read the scriptures that morning. "No one could understand a single word!" they complained to the pastor." Unsatisfied with the pastor’s reasoning for that morning’s choice of readers, they went over the pastor's head to the governing board and demanded that this young man not be allowed to read again. It ruined their worship that morning, the complained. And the board agreed, pulling out the chair from under the young man and pointing him to the other room where the card table was waiting with a single folding chair. His table did not include permission to speak the lessons.

Are we willing to ruin things in our lives so that they will look more like the Kingdom of God and less like kingdoms of our own making? Would we go that far?

Are we willing to arrange the seating at the tables that fill the days of our existence so that those who mean nothing to us and everything to Jesus find favor?

Who are we willing to talk to, to listen to, to help, to serve, to love?

We are constantly changing the seating arrangements, far too often based upon what is in our best interest. What will make us look good, gets us ahead, impresses others, impresses ourselves.

Is our table reflective of the Kingdom of God, where status doesn't matter, only unconditional love and a servant's heart?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Where have you seen God working this week?
* meeting my reunion brothers in prayer breakfast
* keeping me walking with quad cane
* in my children
* in my friend's lives
* in the student's enthusiasm for another school year
* people being accepting
* celebrate recovery

Where did God use someone else to bless you this week?
* my lovely wife every day
* friend ran errand for me
* providing fellowship and dinner
* He sent me a wonderful husband who works hard to support our family and be a good father
* I received a special gift from one of our deliverers
* a nice and understanding boss
* people donating during Breast Cancer fundraiser
* home

Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
* don't know, but trying my best in asking the Lord for knowledge and wisdom!
* help with party
* providing ride to a friend
* picking up siome people in need
* I helped my daughter achieve an important goal
* my 95 year old neighbor
* helping someone slowly come out of depression, just by caring
* at AA meetings
It's Not Too Late to Register for Women of Faith Conference!

Denise Payne reminds us of the particulars (and she assures the shy amongst us that we'll be sitting together, and we won't have to eat our lunch all by our lonesome selves!):

It's a 2 day gathering and it's happening at the Bank Atlantic center in Fort Lauderdale; on October 29 & 30.

Friday 10:00 am - 3:30 pm; 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm (two session)

Saturday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

The cost is $89.00 per person with a group leader and if you go without a group the cost is $99.00; which includes a box lunch each day. If you can’t go to both days then it’s still the same price. You can pay for your tickets on-line; just go to the website gps.womenoffaith.com. Look for the group listed as Trinity Women of Faith in Pembroke Pines and register yourself. Once you have registered, Denise will receive an email, then Denise will approve you as a member of the group. You will receive an email and then you can go back in to a security site and with your own password and pay for your ticket via credit card / debit card. And it's that simple!

Please review the official Women of Faith website if you like http://www.womenoffaith.com/ftlauderdale/ so you can see all the speakers and entertainment for the event.

If you still have questions for me don’t hesitate to reach out to Denise @ 954-744-4974 or call her cell @954-495-1075.

The deadline for paying for the event via credit card is September 30, 2010; the deadline for paying Denise with a check is Friday August 27th. Make check out to Women of Faith (WOF) not to Denise!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Members (regular and associate) will be received on Sunday October 10th at our special 10AM 50th Anniversary Worship Service. Please let us know of your interest by placing a note on your worship slip, contacting the office by phone or email or by posting here.
Our next Visitor's Dinner will be held on Friday October 1st at 6:30PM - sponsored by Trinity's Congregational Coiuncil this is a "meet and greet and eat" event for visitors to Trinity Lutheran to get to know some folks, eat some good food, hear more about Trinity's current mission and ministry and ask questions. RSVP via your Sunday worship slip or by leaving a message at the church office by phone or email or here on the BLOG.
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The Readings for Sunday, August 29, 2010

First Reading: Proverbs 25:6-7

First Reading (Semi-cont.): Jeremiah 2:4-13

First Reading (Alt.): Sirach 10:12-18

Psalm: Psalm 112

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 81:1, 10-16

Second Reading: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16

Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7-14

Here is another Gospel lesson which reminds us how different a world is the one that Jesus ushers in. It also shows us that ancient times weren't much different than ours.

We spend much of our day vying for power and position. Even in workplaces where there's not much to be gained by winning favor, one still sees a ridiculous amount of energy and time spent on power games. Think of the last meeting you had at work. Think of how short that meeting would have been if you could have gotten rid of people who spoke up to say, essentially, "I agree with what the last person said." Think of all the time wasted in currying favor with supervisors.

Even outside of the workplace, one sees this dynamic. In volunteer situations, people often want to prove that they're indispensable. We even see this in our relationships with friends, the one place where you would think we would approach each other as equals. Likewise in marriages--many spouses spend absurd amounts of time trying to prove that one way of doing things is the right way, and all other ways are bad.

Psychologists would tell us that we play these power games because we're trying to satisfy our needy egos. We want to feel important because we spend much of our lives feeling insignificant. But instead of addressing that pain by making others feel better, we try to make others feel worse. We put people down so that we feel better. We connive and work to wound others.

Christ comes to usher in a new age. Again and again, he reminds us (in the words of today's Gospel), "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 14: 11). We don't win favor with God in the way we might win favor with the boss. God is well aware of God's importance. We don't need to make God feel like the big man so that we might win a promotion.

God calls us to a higher purpose. We're to look out for the poor and downtrodden. And we're not to do it because we'll be repaid by the poor and downtrodden. We do it because Christ came to show us how to crack open the world and let the Kingdom light shine into the dark cracks. And the way to do that: look out for the marginalized of the world.

Monday, August 23, 2010


It will be at Tropical Acres Restaurant on Griffin Road on SAT, OCT 9th at 5pm.

The price will be $15.00 for adults and $7.00 for children 6-12 and 0-5 free

Please tell us your choice from the following dinner items:
ALSO… if you would like sugarfree dessert (fruit cup) Please be sure to let us know…
Tickets are on sale by Earline and SAM. Contact the Office at (954) 989-1903

Eternal God, bless all schools, colleges, and universities, that they may be lively places for sound learning, new discovery, and the pursuit of wisdom; and grant that those who teach and those who learn may find you to be the source of all truth; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen. (Evangelical Lutheran Worship  p. 78)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

To read about how ELCA Lutherans are responding to the crisis and what you can do qbout it go to:

Friday, August 20, 2010

At Trinity Lutheran
Saturday August 21st 2010
Folks needed from 7AM to 4PM to work the sale and folks needed to clean up afterwards.
Even if you can only put in an hour, that would be a blessing!
Ever in Christ
Pastor Keith
Reflecting On Our Faith

Where have you seen God working this week?
* with my faith remaining strong
* lives that were saved in auto wreck in the Miami area, especially the car that did not fall over the edge
* in helping a mother cope with the loss of her daughter
* celebration church
* getting cloer to him
* bringing together of many new friends at a picnic
* in my family

Where did God use someone else to bless you this week?
* my daughter's teacher with her strength and love
* at work - fellow workers doing fantastic work with such positive attitudes
* an airport ticket agent helped us make the best of a difficult situation
* complete strangers helped with a much needed ride
* by someone showing appreciation for my friendship & understanding
* home
* using my friends as special angels
* my grandchildren doing special things for me
* my mother and she doesn't even know it
* my boss went out of her way to provide me with opportunities for training and growth

Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
* with the children, to remove them from an abusive situation
* I lead a celebration of coworker's birthday. My wife and son attended and we treated his family by buying their lunches
* in my work
* meeting
* to comfort a family member in pain of loss of her father
* doing special things for my daughter-in-law
* He used me to settle some misunderstandings
* God used me to bless my family & pray we'll get past a little family dispute

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Just received word on the unexpected passing into the Kingdom Triumphant of Janice Sable yesterday who was a beloved member of Trinity Lutheran for many years until moving to the Ocala area a few years ago. We understand that there wil be a memorial service later in the fall and will share any information that we receive as to the place, time and date. Our thoughts and prayers now are with Ginger and her husband as they travel down.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, August 22, 2010:

First Reading: Isaiah 58:9b-14

First Reading (Semi-cont.): Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm: Psalm 103:1-8

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 71:1-6

Second Reading: Hebrews 12:18-29

Gospel: Luke 13:10-17

This week's Gospel, and others like it, is often used to show the rigidity of the religious officials of Christ's time. And indeed, the Pharisees and other temple officials were extreme in their adherence to the law. To be fair, they thought that strict observance of the purity codes would lead to the salvation of the Jews. Viewed in that light, their horror at the miracles of Jesus makes a certain amount of sense. The future of the chosen people is at stake--couldn't Jesus wait one more day to heal the woman?

I feel immense sympathy for the woman who is so afflicted that she cannot straighten her back. For eighteen years, she has suffered. It's the rare person who doesn't at least have a glimpse of what that must feel like. Our burdens can weigh us down so much that we can't look up from the floor.

Jesus makes it clear that any day is a good day to unloose people from the issues that bind them. Again and again, he tells us that we are to stay alert for opportunities to minister to each other.

Yet in our busy times, I also find myself feeling an odd sympathy with the leader of the synagogue, who says, "There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days to be healed and not on the sabbath day." The leader of that synagogue two thousand years ago couldn't have imagined the times we live in, our own age when it seems impossible to get away from work, where we're expected to be on call twenty-four hours a day.

One reason I didn't go into medicine, or some other kind of career centered around crisis, is that I didn't want to be on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Yet that mentality has even crept into higher education, where I am greeted with incomprehension when I tell people I don't carry a cell phone with me (it lives in my car, so that I can summon help in an emergency). We are expected to be always available, always ready to offer assistance.

It's good to remember that even Jesus had to withdraw occasionally. We, too, can start to rediscover the Sabbath. Try declaring one day a week to be your Sabbath day. It doesn't have to be the same day on which you go to Church. Many of us have to work on Sundays, after all. But once a week, can you turn off your phone? Can you turn off all your electronics? Can you focus on what's important? Jesus reminds us again and again that the things of this world aren't important; your job should be lower on the priority list than other things, like your relationship to God and your building of community and your nourishing of yourself.

Maybe you can't have a whole Sabbath day. But maybe you could declare a Sabbath evening once a week, where you turn off the TV and eat real food while you sit at a table and reconnect with your loved ones. Here we could learn a lot from our Jewish cousins. In her book Mudhouse Sabbath, Lauren Winner describes the many ways that Jews celebrate Shabbot and the ways that those rituals nourish and comfort. She reminds us, "But there is something, in the Jewish Sabbath that is absent from most Christian Sundays: a true cessation from the rhythms of work and world, a time wholly set apart, and, perhaps above all, a sense that the point of Shabbat, the orientation of Shabbat, is toward God" (page 10).

In an ideal world, you'd have twenty-four hours out of every week to re-orient yourself towards what matters, but if you can't do that, start small. Every morsel of effort that we make towards this re-orientation will pay enormous dividends. The experience of Sabbath Time is one of the primary ways that God frees us from our infirmities.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Thanks to our Chili Makers!
Thanks to the Health and Wellness Team for the healthy veggies!
Thanks to those who set up and cleaned up!
Thanks to Jacob, Earline and SAM , Madison and the Purcell Family!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, August 15, 2010:

First Reading: Jeremiah 23:23-29

First Reading (Semi-cont.): Isaiah 5:1-7

Psalm: Psalm 82

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 80:1-2, 8-18

Second Reading: Hebrews 11:29--12:2

Gospel: Luke 12:49-56

Yesterday morning, I heard that the United Nations has announced that the flooding in Asia has claimed more lives than the 2004 tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake combined. Fires rage in Russia, a country experiencing the hottest summer ever recorded. Crops are failing in various spots across the world. This week’s apocalyptic texts seem appropriate.

In churches that use the Common Lectionary (meaning we're reading the same texts in most of the mainline Protestant churches each Sunday), we only get an apocalyptic whiff every now and then. This week’s Gospel is one of those days. Jesus tells us that he's come to separate family members, to sow division. We certainly don't see Family Values Jesus here. In fact, if we read the Gospels from beginning to end, we see that Family Values Jesus just doesn't exist. Again and again, Jesus tells us that if we follow him on the path he shows us, we're likely to lose a lot that the world tells us we should hold dear--that might include some family members. Jesus also assures us (elsewhere in the Gospels), that if we lose our lives, the lives that society sets out for us, we might actually find those lives.

But all too often, we don't see the signs we need to see, the signs that would let us know what kind of lives we're living, what kind of lives would satisfy our souls. We're good at forecasting the immediate weather when we notice obvious patterns: the direction of the wind and the appearance of clouds. But we're not good at noticing the bigger picture, like noticing God, when God becomes incarnate. We don't pay attention to doing what we know is right and good. Again and again, Jesus tells us that we need to pay attention.

It's interesting that these Gospel lessons come to us in the month of August, a time when the historian's mind might turn to eschatology (the study of end times). We've just passed the anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Barbara Tuchman wrote a book, The Guns of August, that showed the events in August of 1914 that led to World War I. Many regional conflicts burst into conflagration in August.

Jesus reminds us that the end is always near. We tend to think of the end in apocalyptic terms: mushroom clouds or poisoned water or melting glaciers. But Jesus comes with a different vision: he promises the end of oppression, the end of inequality. He holds out a dream of a world where everyone has enough and no one has to endure a boot on the neck. For those of us with eyes to see, we can notice the beginnings of God's plan for the world, even while worldly powers think they're in charge.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Myths and Facts
about Evangelism and Church Growth

from http://www.uscongregations.org/growth.htm

The U.S. Congregational Life Survey provided a unique look at what works in the areas of evangelism and church growth. Responses from samples of fast-growing churches helped us debunk common myths.

1. Only congregations in growing areas are adding members

Fact: Three strengths are positive predictors of growth — Caring for Children and Youth, Welcoming New People, and Participating in the Congregation.

Fact: Other factors don't predict growth — denomination or faith group, congregational size, income levels of worshipers, average age of worshipers, and population growth around the church.

2. Only new or recently established congregations are growing

Fact: Less than half of fast-growing Presbyterian churches were established after 1960. Most are older.

3. Only large churches grow

Fact: 39% of fast-growing Presbyterian churches have fewer than 200 in worship. Small congregations grow, too!

4. Most people have been attending their congregation for years and years

Fact: One-third of worshipers are new in the last five years; in fast-growing churches one-half are new.

5. Most new people are new to the faith

Fact: Most new people attending their congregation for five years or less have changed congregations within the same denomination (transfers: 57%). Only 7% are first-timers who are new to the faith. A few (18%) are returnees who used to attend worship but recently have not been involved, and 18% are switchers who changed denominations.

6. Denomination is irrelevant to church seekers

Fact: Most new people (73%) say denomination is important in their search.

Fact: Denomination is less important to mainline Protestants (59%) and those under the age of 25 (48%).

7. New people usually learn about the congregation from advertising

Fact: Many new people (47%) visit for the first time because someone invited them; only 6% came for the first time due to advertising.

Fact: Most new people visit between 1 and 3 congregations before choosing their new home.

Fact: Advertising helps raise awareness of the congregation and can make current members feel proud of their congregation.

8. New people usually come back after the first time because of the coffee hour

Fact: People return because of the quality of the sermon (36%), the friendliness of the people (32%), and the overall worship experience (30%).

Fact: Too many new people (38%) report no follow-up from the congregation after their first visit. In Catholic parishes, 53% of new people report no follow-up.

9. Growing congregations rely exclusively on church signs and big advertising campaigns

Fact: Growing congregations use multiple methods to attract new people.

Fact: Growing congregations are more likely to hold events to meet new people or to add members, advertise in the newspaper or telephone book, use email, have a church Web site, and send materials to or telephone first-time visitors.

10. All congregations do the same things to integrate new worshipers

Fact: Growing congregations use multiple methods to integrate new worshipers.

Fact: Growing congregations are more likely to have a specific group for newcomers and to invite such people to take part in small groups or service opportunities.

11. New member integration methods are successful

Fact: New people are less involved in their congregations than those who have been there for longer.

12. Worship services in growing churches offer only contemporary music

Fact: Almost all worship services in growing Presbyterian churches (89%) include traditional hymns.

Fact: Services in growing congregations are more likely to include contemporary music and laughter.
Sunday October 10th 2010 at 10AM

Please Join us!


It will be at Tropical Aces Restaurant on Griffin Road on SAT, OCT 9th at 5pm. The price will be $15.00 for adults and $7.00 for children 6-12 and children 0-5 free. Tickets to be sold by Earline and SAM and will go on sale during the Chili Cookoff this Sunday August 15th. Thereafter, tickets will be available for purchase after worship and in the office. PLEASE NOTE: TICKETS WILL NOT BE SOLD AT THE DOOR!

MENU: tossed green salad w/ house or honey mustard dressing; Chicken Francaise or Sliced Sirloin of Beef or Stuffed Breast of Chicken (traditional bread); Veggy plate; Baked Potato, sour cream & butter; California Medley; Ice Ceam Cake; Breads & butter; Coffee, hot tea, iced tea; fruit cup for sugar free dessert

JACOB will DJ with dancing, singing , and a retrospective of Trinity through the decades and other surprises.

Questions? Contact SAM in the office at 954-989-1903 or email trinity7150@bellsouth.net
7PM to 8PM
Beginning Tuesday September 7th
Thursday walks continue AUG 12th and 19th

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Reflecting on Our Faith
(Some highlights from this Sundays worship slips)

Where have you seen God working this week?
* reconnected with sister after 10 years
* a woman who stopped to pray for someone
* a woman who gave someone assistance
* God kept affirming that I keep listening to what He is telling me to do
* in my family and in my home
* working on my marriage and relationship
* son's doctor provided good care
* Miami
* in the joy my parent's dogs bring to them
* God restoring my daughter's health
* transportation from a friend

Where did God use someone else to bless you this week?
* possible lead on new job
* gave me a ride
* provided dinner
* he put the most unexpected person in my life who loves me and who helps me carry the burden I've carried alone for so long
* He used my friend to encourage me this week
* He used my friends to help me out in a hectic week without me asking for help
* home
* heard my daughter and her friend laugh and have fun together
* ride from a friend
* a member of Trinity is very motivating to me, working hard while fighting cancer
* a friend wrote that God answered our prayers and healed her enough that Hospice is dismissed!

Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
* stayed positive for a friend
* reminded others to always keep focused on God
* listening to burdens of friends and being bold enough to give opinions and advise so they may see things in a different light
* He used me to bless my daugher to encourage her that she needs to be patient and believe
* sunday school for all
* Ft Lauderdale
* I helped a new co-worker and encouraged her
* working with an alcoholic
* praying and consoling my neighbor, who moved into an apartment after losing her job

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Luke 12:32-48 AUGUST 8, 2010

When I was a child, I didn’t so much have a treasure chest as a treasure drawer, a place where I safely stored my valuables, my treasure. In that drawer I accumulated autographs of baseball players and professional bowlers, old pins from all over the world courtesy of one of my grandmothers; a pile of dinosaur fossils that I had collected along a roadway in upstate New York, baseball cards of some of my favorite players, my coin and stamp collections, a rock my other grandmother claimed came from a volcano in Hawaii, and drawings that I had made early Saturday mornings when I sat in front of the Television and drew along with Captain Bob.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.

If we went on a treasure hunt in our own individual lives, when we finished travelling here and there, over hill and over dale as the saying goes, when we reached “X” marks the spot and we dug with passionate fury, when the chest was unearthed and the lock snapped off and the chest snapped open, what would we find there?

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.

Our heart will be there, that is what Jesus says, but with what will our heart be keeping company? Not what we think is there – because we could certainly all give the best possible answers that cast us in the best possible light - it is human nature to say what we know we should say – but rather, what will actually be there? What is our treasure? Now that is a useful question.

If we want to understand what our treasure is perhaps we should consider what choices we are making – where does our time, our passion, our energy, our resources go? With whom do we spend our time? In what are we investing?

Is it our faith? Is it Jesus? It is one thing to say that Jesus is the treasure that lives ever with our hearts and another thing altogether for that to actually be the case.
It is one thing to say it and another to live it.

Let us consider a question: how many of us know someone who has said that what prevents them from being a part of the Christian faith community is their belief that Christians are hypocrites – that we do not walk the talk – that we say that we love the Lord our God with all our strength, all our mind, and all our spirit and that we say that we love our neighbor as ourselves, but those beliefs are not in point fact embodied in our everyday lives.

Do we know people who stay away from the Christian faith community because they disdain the hypocrisy that they have found there? Maybe they were Christians and left. Maybe they know Christians and their experience keeps them away.

It is like they got to peak at the treasure of our lives and found our hearts keeping company with things that turn them off or even scare them.

I know what a lot of us are thinking – that as the saying goes – Christians are not perfect, just forgiven – That folks hold us to an impossible standard – that such folks are only looking for an excuse.
And we are not perfect; this is most certainly true. And we are forgiven – that is most certainly true. And in the waters of Baptism we have died to sin and we have risen to new life in Christ – that is most certainly true. That we live as both saints and sinners – each of us. True, True. True. But Jesus reminds us today –

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.
We cannot escape that truth:

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.
What is our treasure – what is keeping company with our hearts, my friends?

A few years back one of our young people went during her summer vacation to Spain as volunteer at an AIDS home run by the group BASIDA. In her emails home she spoke about the volunteer staff there – not the people who came and went every few months – the cadre of folks like her, but the folks who had made caring for the residents there their life’s work. Listen:

“But the volunteers here who have dedicated their lives to this - those that choose to stay by [the resident’s side] and care for them, despite whatever poor decisions [those residents] made in their past are the people I really admire. They fight everyday for little or no progress. In their heads, it doesn't matter if Isabelle will never walk properly again, she still has to do this leg exercise everyday because she just might improve. I don't know if I could do that, but I can certainly appreciate someone who does.

The worst-off resident here, Hassan, is the closest thing to skin and bone that I have ever seen in my life. He is so ill that he literally cannot do anything, except sometimes he cries. Yet everyday Hassan is given medicine, showered, dressed and fed (through a tube in his nose) just like everyone else. When he is not in bed he is put in a chair in the TV room where he can see sunlight. For me, this is the hardest thing to comprehend. Hassan has no family that visits him (in fact, no one here has a family) and not a single thing in the world that he can do on his own except breath, yet the volunteers here see the beauty in his life and literally chose to keep him alive every single day. I'm not saying that I wouldn't do the same for him or any other; I'm just so in awe of how selfless these volunteers are who will themselves to give so much for nothing in return, not even a thank you from those they serve. It's truly incredible.”

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.

When the treasure chest of their lives is opened, what will those selfless volunteers find nestled with their hearts? What is their treasure?

What our faith says to us is for us to be honest with both God and ourselves – if the company that our hearts keep does not bear witness to the one who gave his life for our lives – then we need to ask God to forgive us – that is what disciples do – and God will. We need to ask God to give us the strength and wisdom to make better choices. That’s what disciples do - and God will. We need to encourage one another as brothers and sisters in the faith - to spur on one another to embody more and more in word and deed the incalculable grace of God which is beyond our ability to even comprehend.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.


Thursday, August 05, 2010

Where have you seen God working this week?
* my family
* home
* watching turtle hatchings crawl to the ocean
* I received my quad cane
* in my health
* in my business
* brother and husband who are attentive and patient with my mother
* lifting up those in trouble and helping to make it through each day

Where did God use someone else to bless you this week?
* my mother
* church/ bible study
* nice to sit and enjoy the Praise Choir. Have especially enjoyed these favorite tunes
* mango pickers
* in my business
* someone prayed for me
* friends who listen to my doubts and concerns
* saying special healing prayers for me

Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
* support and guideness with my family
* celebrate recovery at Calvary Chapel
* I tried to be a good wife, mother, daughter, neighbor and employee
* prayers for family and friends
* in my business
* through our prayers
* to comfort a grieving friend
* compassion to someone suffering loss
* of a parent and confirmation of cancer


Look for area designated for sorting in Monson-Mueller Hall ( room to the left in the Fellowship Hall).You may drop off items MON-THURS from 11AM - 5PM

PLEASE NOTE: Do not leave bags outside the building; Please be sure the bags are NOT TOO HEAVY; No furniture. No bedding (pillows, mattress pads, mattresses); No rummage items are to be left in the Office. Thanks!
And remember - helpers needed for set up, during the rummage sale and for clean up. Also lots of yummy baked goods - contact the office for more information or sign up on your worship slip.
Sunday August 8th 7:30AM until 1:30PM
Trinitny Lutheran Church, Pembroke Pines front parking lot
Sunday August 15th at noon
We need chili makers, chili eaters, music lovers, folks that like to just hang out with others, and some folks to help set up and clean up. So bring your friends and neighbors! The Purcel Family Singers will provide some wonderful Bluegrass Entertainment! $3 per person donation requestred. Call 954-989-1903 for more info.

Last Year's Winning Recipe:

1 1b ground turkey or beef
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp)
1 large onion, finely chopped.(about 1 cup)
1 medium green pepper finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
4 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cider vinegar
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp salt, or to taste
½ cup water
2 cups (16oz) canned crushed tomatoes
1 - 16oz can red kidney beans, with liquid.
Masa (corn flour) as needed to thicken chili (optional)
Cayenne pepper or Tabasco to add some heat (optional)

Cook turkey/beef, garlic, onion, and green pepper in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to break up meat. Cook until onion is soft and meat has lost its pink color. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring frequently. Simmering longer results in improved flavor, but remember to stir frequently. Serve over rice with some shredded cheese and a side of corn bread or as you like it. I usually make a double or triple batch and freeze leftovers.
Sunday August 15th at 8AM and 10:45AM
Attention all pre-school through grad school teachers! We will be blessing teachers as they prepaere to head back to their classrooms at the 8AM and 10:45AM services. All teachers welcome for special prayer and more!
Sunday August 22nd 8AM and 10:45AM
Calling all students - from pre school to grad school! Join us for Trinity's 11th annual Blessing of the Backpacks! And bring your friends! Nothing better than sending the kids off to school with prayer and praise and a small gift to remind them that Jesus is with them always, even in math class (or study hall or social studies...you get the idea) !
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The Readings for Sunday, August 8, 2010:

Isaiah 1:1, 10-20
Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23 (23)
Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
Luke 12:32-40

I've heard many a minister preach on this text, and others like it. Almost all of them rush to assure us listeners that Jesus doesn't really mean that we should sell all of our possessions and trust fully in God to provide for us. Yet as I read the Gospels, I see that Jesus gives us these instructions again and again. Why are we so quick to dismiss these instructions? What if Jesus really meant what he said? What if it's not some kind of code, but something we're meant to take literally?

Again and again Jesus warns us not to trust in earthly treasure. He's clear: earthly treasure will always, ALWAYS, fail us. That's not the message the world wants us to hear. The world wants us to rush and hurry, to buy more stuff, to build more barns for our stuff, to accumulate and hoard and lie awake at night worrying that we won't have enough. The world wants us to pay attention to our bank accounts. Jesus wants us to be on the lookout for God.

One of the often repeated messages in the teaching of Jesus is that God will provide for us everything we need. Why is it so hard for us to believe?

I share this burden. Although I give money away, I still have a variety of savings and investment accounts. What would happen if I decided that I would trust that God will provide for me in retirement? How could I change lives if I gave that money away to people who have nothing?

I remember once when my spouse had gotten a promotion and a raise, I expressed worry that too much money was spiritually dangerous. My Charismatic Catholic friend was the one who was most shocked by that idea. But really, why is that idea so shocking? Jesus is very clear that money and the pursuit of money can seduce us away from God's mission for us.

Once, when I was stuck in an airport in Kentucky, I saw a book in the bookstore with this title: God Wants You to Be Rich. Really? In what Gospel would that be? I scanned the book, hoping that the author would cleverly remind us that God wants us to be rich in love, not rich in money and stuff. Alas, no. The author assured the reader that God's deepest desire for us is for us to accumulate money.

What blasphemous heresy! Read the Gospels again. Read the New Testament again. So much of the New Testament can be summed up thus: Stay awake and alert, focused on what's important; what's important is to love each other, the way God loves us; don't get too attached to things that don't matter--they keep you from loving your fellow sheep.

Again and again, Jesus tells us that we can't serve two masters. We must choose. Take a hard look at your life and the way you spend your time. What have you chosen? Do you spend more time in prayer or more time sorting through your financial investments? Do you read your Bible more than you read the business section of the paper? Do you look for ways to welcome the poor and the outcast? The Bible tells us that we'll find God there.

Where is your heart these days? What do you spend your waking hours thinking about, your sleeping hours dreaming about? When God shows up, do you even notice?