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, September 29, 2010

Charter Hall at Trinity Lutheran Church, Pembroke Pines
Saturday October 2 at 4PM
Weekly Gospel Meditation

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The Readings for Sunday, October 3, 2010

First Reading: Habakkuk 1:1-4;2:1-4

First Reading (Semi-cont.): Lamentations 1:1-6

Psalm: Psalm 37:1-10 (Psalm 37:1-9 NRSV)

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Lamentations 3:19-26

Psalm (Alt.): Psalm 137 (Psalm 137 (Semi-continuous) NRSV)

Second Reading: 2 Timothy 1:1-14

Gospel: Luke 17:5-10

Perhaps the Gospels of past weeks and months have left you feeling depressed. You have begun to realize that you will never succeed at this Christianity thing. You can't even remember to make a donation, much less tithe regularly. You'd like to invite the poor to your dinner table, if you ever had time to eat dinner yourself, and you wonder if you still get Christianity Points if you invite the poor to dinner, but pick up that dinner from the deli. You'd like to look out for widows and orphans, but happily, you don't know of any. And frankly, most of the week, you don't have a spare moment to even ponder these things at all.

This week's Gospel offers encouraging news. It reminds us that belief has the power of a seed. As fewer of us plant anything, we may lose the power of that metaphor. But think of how inert a seed seems. It's hard to believe that anything can come from that little pod. And then we plunk it into the earth, where it seems even more dead--no sun, no light, no air. But the dark earth is what it needs, along with water, maybe some fertilizer if the soil is poor, and time. And with some luck, and more time, eventually we might all enjoy a tree. And not only us, but generations after us--that tree will outlive us all.

Christ reminds us that faith is like that seed. And the good news is that we don't have to have faith in abundance. A tiny seed's worth can create a world of wonders. And it's good to remember that we don't have to have consistent faith. We live in a world that encourages us to think that we'll eventually arrive at a place of perfect behavior: we'll exercise an hour a day, we'll forsake all beverages but water, we'll pray every hour, we'll never eat sugar or white flour again, we'll cook meals at home and observe regular mealtimes. We want lives of perfect balance, and we feel deep disappointment with ourselves when we can't achieve that, even when we admit that we'd need ten extra hours in the day to achieve that.

Jesus reminds us to avoid that trap of perfectionist expectations. People who have gone before us on this Christian path remind us of that too. Think of Mother Theresa. Her letters reveal that she spent most of her life feeling an absence of God. But that emotion didn't change her behavior. She tried to reveal the light of Christ to the most poor and outcast, and was largely successful. She didn't feel like she was successful, but she didn't get bogged down in those feelings of self-recrimination. And even when she did, she kept doing what she knew God wanted her to do.

Many of us might have seen Mother Theresa as a spiritual giant. We might feel dismayed to realize that she spent much of her life having a dark night of the soul kind of experience.

On the contrary, we should feel comforted. Maybe these letters show that she wasn't a spiritual giant. And look at what she was able to do.

Or maybe we should revise our definition of a spiritual giant. If you read the journals, letters, and private papers of many twentieth-century people who have been seen as spiritual giants (Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Madeleine L'Engle, Dorothy Day), you'll see that feelings of spiritual desolation are quite common. The fact that we have these feelings--does that mean that God has abandoned us?

Of course not. Those of us who have lived long enough have come to realize that our feelings and emotions are often not good indicators of the reality of a situation. Our feelings and emotions are often rooted in the fact that we haven't had enough sleep or the right kind of food.

The people who have gone before us remind us of the importance of continuing onward, even when we feel despair. Christ reminds us that we just need a tiny kernel of belief. All sorts of disciplines remind us that the world changes in tiny increments; huge changes can be traced back to small movements. Your belief, and the actions that come from your belief, can bear witness in ways you can scarcely imagine. Perfection is not required--just a consistent progress down the path.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pre-Service Music at 9:30AM
With Special Guest Edward Benoway, Bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod
Special Music, Guest Ensemble, Children's Choir, Hand Chimes
New Members Received and more!
Light Luncheon to follow worship in Charter Hall

Pat Hansen, Co-Chair, Haiti Task Force
Florida-Bahamas Synod

Five of us traveled to Haiti at the end of August to participate in the 2nd Annual Assembly of Eglise Lutherienne D'Haiti. The four who had traveled to Haiti before were Mary Delasin, Co-Chair of the Haiti Task Force; Pastor Luther Kistler, known as the father of the Lutheran Church in Haiti; Pastor Tom Snapp, the chair of the Global Mission Committee of the Florida-Bahamas Synod; and me. Ms. Raeann Purcell, President of the Florida-Bahamas Synod Organization took her first trip to Haiti with us.

Rev. Livenson Lauvanus presided at the Assembly with the assistance of the other ordained Haitian pastors: Alfred Eniel, Denis DuClair and Ezekiel Elma. There were about 45 congregational leaders in attendance. The program consisted of worship, singing, discussion of the growth of Eglise Lutherienne and small group sessions working with the church priorities for the next three years. This is a relatively new process for Haitians because usually the pastor of the church makes all the decisions, and decision making by consensus is a new process for them. A small group of women met together to discuss the place of women in Haitian society and how they could be empowered in Eglise Lutherienne. Rev. Raquel Rodriguez,

Director of the Latin America and Caribbean team, who attended the Assembly, fortunately was able to sit in the session with the Haitian women.

I traveled to Haiti one week before the Assembly to meet with Louis Dorvilier, then Director of International Development and Disaster and Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, Executive Director of Global Mission for the ELCA. During the week I was able to accompany Louis and Rev. Malpica while they visited many groups gathering information about the situation in Haiti. Among these were officers of the ACT Alliance (Churches Acting Together), coordinators of the Federation Lutherienne Mondiale (LWF), and the Executive Director of the Initiative of Civil Society, Rosny Desroches. These visits helped me have a little more insight into the needs and problems of Haiti. And, it becomes more and more clear to me that those of us who so desperately want to help our brothers and sisters in Haiti need to be more conscious of and respectful of the sociological, psychological and historical background of the people we are trying to work with. We so often walk into a situation without having sufficient knowledge and actually make life more difficult rather than easier. Again and again I heard the phrase "Since the earthquake Haiti has been invaded by NGOs [non-governmental organizations]." Although good work has been done by many, it sometimes lacked the sensitivity that was needed. Eglise Lutherienne and LWF are cooperating fully with other organizations using a powerful accompaniment model unlike many other groups who simply strike out on their own.

The building that has been leased for two years in Petion-ville is multi-purpose. Under the direction of Rev. Livenson Lauvanus It houses the offices of Eglise Lutherienne as well as the offices of the Disaster and Recovery component being led by Bernard Gianoli. Bernard has lived in Haiti for 15 years and worked for part of that time with LWF and will is proving to be a God send as strategies and plans are developed with Rev. Livenson. The staff for this operation has been hired and is hard at work. The third use of the building is as a guest house where groups of ten will be able to stay at any given time. Plans will be made soon on how best to schedule groups into the guest-house without interfering with the growth of Eglise Lutherienne or with the recovery offices.

There are now 12 congregations in Eglise Lutherienne with many other pastors questioning how they might join. The oldest congregation. Redemption, in Sopatille (Carrefour) was the hardest hit in the earthquake and they will have priority in rebuilding. The current plans are for a community center which will be used for all types of community needs -- meetings, food distribution, medical clinic, etc. It will also be used for a sanctuary. A school will be built as well an as "atelier" or workshop where Haitians can learn various manual skills, such as masonry which are vital in the rebirth of the country.

Coca-Cola has negotiated a contract to buy Haitian mangos for their Adwala drink. Sae-A Trading from South Korea has just signed a contract to build a garment factory which is supposed to employ 10,000 Haitians. That contract has been approved by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Haitian government. The company supplies Wal-Mart, Target, Gap, Banana Republic and Levi's.

Weather is still a serious concern for the island. At the end of last week 6 people were killed and thousands made homeless again as a freak storm hit the Port-au-Prince area and devastated tent cities. Camp dwellers are protesting the slow progress in getting resettled. But, it is a difficult process because of the lack of documentation regarding ownership of land and the fact that displaced Haitians need to be in a place close to family and work. Only 2% of the rubble has been removed. One estimate is that it will take 1,000 trucks 1,000 days to make a dent. Where to put the rubble is another problem since bodies are still in many of the destroyed buildings and that rubble is considered contaminated.

For anyone who reads French, you can go to www.haitielections2010.com for information on that process.
There are nineteen candidates from different parties.

Keep our Haitian brothers and sisters in your hearts and prayers!

Sunday, September 26, 2010



1. Where have you seen God working this week?
In my family and in my relationships and in my husband’s family.
On the bus on the way to AA
Blessing me with a job and bringing my children home safe.
I saw a rainbow on my way in to a difficult day at work.
Strangers helping strangers
Making my husband well enough to come home Tuesday
In feeling my body heal.
In our church council meeting
In our adult Sunday school.
In our worship.

2. Where Did God use someone else to bless you this week (whether they knew it or not?)?
Through a friend – thanks T!
In my home.
A friend helped out with some information to help us with our mortgage reduction.
A co-worker called me to work for him.
At Trinity IMPROV.
Caring friends at work.
Family and some friends
When a small portion of tax dollars when to help families that I know are struggling with Alzheimer’s.
My mother-in-law took care of the girls  while  we were out.

3. Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
I was able to help a neighbor in need.
A friend and her son.
In church.
Delivered a prayer shawl to my attorney who wore it into surgery – she is back on the job and so grateful!
My daughter and I visited my parents and brought them some joy.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

No super soaker specical effects this week, but we do have mimes, and fruit, and a duck-billed platypus! Join us for BIBLE IMPROV Sunday school for all ages 9:30AM in Charter Hall as we tackle Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden!
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The lessons for Sunday, September 26, 2010:

First Reading: Amos 6:1a, 4-7

First Reading (Semi-cont.): Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15

Psalm: Psalm 146

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16

Second Reading: 1 Timothy 6:6-19

Gospel: Luke 16:19-31

This Sunday, the Gospel returns to familiar themes with the story of Lazarus and the rich man. Lazarus is so poor that he hopes for crumbs from the rich man's table and has to tolerate the dogs licking his sores (or perhaps this is a form of early medicine). Lazarus has nothing, and the rich man has everything. When Lazarus dies, he goes to be with Abraham, where he is rewarded. When the rich man dies, he is tormented by all the hosts of Hades. He pleads for mercy, or just a drop of water, and he's reminded of all the times that he didn't take care of the poor. He asks for a chance to go back to warn his family, and he's told, "If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead."

Maybe by now you're feeling a bit frustrated: week after week of reminders that we shouldn't get too comfortable with our worldly possessions. Maybe you suspect the Council who chose this common lectionary of readings of being just a tad socialist.

Yet those who study (and tabulate!) such things would remind us that economic injustice is one of the most common themes in the Bible. To hear the Christians who are most prominently in the media, you'd think that the Bible concerned itself with homosexuality.

Not true. In his book, God's Politics, Jim Wallis tells of tabulating Bible verses when he was in seminary: "We found several thousand (emphasis his) verses in the Bible on the poor and Gods' response to injustice. We found it to be the second most prominent theme in the Hebrew Scriptures Old Testament--the first was idolatry, and the two often were related. One of every sixteen verses in the New Testament is about the poor or the subject of money (mammon, as the gospels call it). In the first three (Synoptic) gospels it is one out of ten verses, and in the book of Luke, it is one in seven" (page 212).

And how often does the Bible mention homosexuality? That depends on how you translate the Greek and how you interpret words that have meanings that cover a wide range of sexual activity--but at the most, the whole Bible mentions homosexuality about twelve times.

If we take the Bible as the primary text of Christianity, and most of us do, the message is clear. God's place is with the poor and oppressed. The behavior that most offends God is treating people without love and concern for their well being--this interpretation covers a wide range of human activity: using people's bodies sexually with no concern for their humanity, cheating people, leaving all of society's destitute and despicable to fend for themselves, not sharing our wealth, and the list would be huge, if we made an all-encompassing list.

It might leave us in despair, thinking of all the ways we hurt each other, all the ways that we betray God. But again and again, the Bible reminds us that we are redeemable and worthy of salvation. Again and again, we see the Biblical main motif of a God who wants so desperately to see us be our best selves that God goes crashing throughout creation in an effort to remind us of all we can be.

Some prosperity gospel preachers interpret this motif of a God who wants us to be rich. In a way, they're right--God does want us to be rich. But God doesn't care about us being rich in worldly goods. Anyone who has studied history--or just opened their eyes in recent years--knows how quickly worldly goods can be taken away. But those of us who have dedicated our lives to forging whole human relationships and helping to usher in the Kingdom now and not later--those of us rich in love are rich indeed.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


This Healing Service Sunday after the 10:45AM Service.

O LORD, by these things people live,
and in all these is the life of my spirit.
...Oh, restore me to health and make me live!
Isaiah 38:16

We also take time this Sunday's Coffee Hour to put our "Green" practices to work

1. Where have you seen God working this week?
My neighbor.
Four lanes of traffic let me through when I got stuck in an intersection when the light changed.
On the bus going home
Within my family
In bringing together people of different faiths to promote greater understanding that we are all God’s children and brothers and sisters of one another.
Divine intervention: I looked out my window and saw something that prevented me from going out to my car that saved me from a very unpleasant and dangerous situation.

2. Where Did God use someone else to bless you this week (whether they knew it or not?)
A complete stranger helped me to get into my car when I accidentally locked myself out.
At my house
Using someone to bless me in getting back to working out again.
In entrusting me with selling their home

3. Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
In church.
In helping a new friend get to the grocery store.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Amos 8:4–7

When I was a kid, I met a whole bunch of adults who thought that if they could get away with something – if they were smart of enough to think of it or hear of it from someone else and finds it useful - then it was just fine. In the struggle to make it in the world if one could get away with something, if the risk was low and the benefit meaningfully high, then that was enough. It served the bottom line and the greater good of the family balance sheet. And so wet bunches of newspapers were wrapped inside dry bundles.

Electrical meters were turned to run backwards. And in the early days before cable signals were scrambled you could buy an inexpensive box and have all the free cable you wanted. Even the premium channels.

We kids, playing in this yard or that one, noticed such things, but never spoke of them. These none-of-our business things. These mind-your-own business-things.

4Hear this, you that trample on the needy,
and bring to ruin the poor of the land,
5saying, "When will the new moon be over
so that we may sell grain;
and the sabbath,
so that we may offer wheat for sale?
We will make the ephah small and the shekel great,
and practice deceit with false balances,
6buying the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals,
and selling the sweepings of the wheat."
7The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.

Sometimes businesses absorb the same belief systems: whatever builds profits is an intrinsic good. Front page in the business section of the Miami Herald this past week was a grim reminder. While big banks were receiving bailout funds paid for by our tax dollars and while small businesses and homeowners needing mortgage loans are struggling to get loans from these same banks, one business especially has been the beneficiary of their support and generosity: Payday Lenders. Big Banks borrow money at extremely low interest rates from the Federal government and then bankroll payday loan centers and collect tens of millions of dollars in interest from them. Far more common in lower income neighborhoods, payday loan institutions in Florida can legally charge interest rates that are as high as 287 APR. That’s right. 287 percent. While Congress passed a law in 2007 that caps lending to military personnel at 36 percent APR, the rest of us civilians do not get such protection. Over 37 States and Washington D.C. make payday loans illegal. But not Florida.

When we talk about serving others, it comes in two types: Charity and Justice. Charity is simply taking care of someone’s immediate needs. The hungry are fed, the naked are clothed, the homeless are given shelter. We encourage and practice charity here – using what God has entrusted to us to care for the immediate needs of one another, our neighbors, and those most vulnerable in our community. Feeding the Hungry at First Lutheran once a month, The Trinity Food Pantry, our semiannual participation in the Coalition to End Homelessness’’ Church-Based shelter program, Thanksgiving and Easter baskets, collecting money for world hunger, participation in the Souper Bowl of Caring, WELCA’s donations to local social service organizations, our summer Vacation Bible School’s donations to needy projects all over the world, Church Women United’s Travelling Bassinet to help mother’s in need, walks for MS, Alzheimer’s, Breast Cancer, Autism, and more, the Bloodmobile, folks who give their hair for wigs for those who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, the list goes on and on. Charity we know. We drop the change in the plate, write the checks, donate the food, bake the dinners, collect the clothing and cell phones, walk the miles. We give; we give and by and large our giving impacts immediate and particular needs.

Justice and charity are not the same thing, yet we confuse them all too easily.
To work for justice is to take on the root causes of injustice, to take on the powers that exploit the vulnerable, the poor, the marginalized. To declare systems in violation of God’s very plan for creation - for God’s intention for God’s people. To hold those systems accountable, To expose them and demand the justice that they have been withholding. To act and act decisively. To act boldly for justice.

The images from Amos paint this picture even more fully: The righteous being sold for silver; the needy being sold for a pair of sandals. Institutions arrayed against them. Cheating them time and time again. Extending and deepening their poverty. Trinity is not about to pour itself into works of charity and forget God’s call to be doer’s of justice. Charity and Justice must work together: compassionately tending to immediate needs with one hand and demanding justice from the powers of this world that defy God by denying that justice to God’s people with the other. We do justice because in Christ Jesus, the very Kingdom of God has broken into the world and that Kingdom has God’s radical justice at its very heart.

One of the key opportunities that we share here at Trinity for the cause of justice is our participation in BOLD Justice, a community-based justice organization here in Broward County. Trinity is one of its founding congregations and our folks are some of its key leaders. In just three years BOLD Justice has won funding for low cost dental care for those in need, fought for affordable housing in Broward county resulting in hundreds of new units being brought on line, and won the addition of personnel at Workforce One to help people fix flags on their unemployment applications that were preventing them from receiving their desperately needed benefits. In all of those efforts, members of Trinity joined with folks from 25 other congregations and synagogues to take stands for justice, to deliver wake up calls to powers that had been deaf to the cries of the poor and needy, the most vulnerable in our society. - those who cried at the gate for justice and were not being heard.

It is the season once again for our annual house meetings held by our justice ministry network leaders at Trinity. These meetings are held in order to ask you and your neighbors and friends what issues BOLD Justice should tackle next. Once these meetings are announced, I invite you to please spare an hour or so and learn about what we have accomplished so far and share your concerns to help shape BOLD Justice’s future issues.

Justice, like poverty has become a four letter word among far too many who grab headlines and airtime these days but for we who call ourselves Christians and who seek to both be Christ, especially for the poor, and to see Christ in everyone, it is to be found at the core of our very souls.


for pre school thorugh 5th grade and all older youth and adults welcome!

6th through 8th Grade Confirmation to commence tomorrow at 9:30AM in the east side of Charter Hall

Sunday School for grown Ups begins Sunday at 9:30AM with our special guest Shaikh Shafayat Mohamed
The Ameer / Principal of the Darul Uloom Islamic Institute just two blocks to our east. He will be speaking on Islam and taking our questions. Not to be missed!

Young People's Choir at 10:15AM in Charter Hall with Janean Baumal and Carl Berkey-Abbott

PUMPKIN PATCH RETURNS TO TRINITY!!! Pumpkin off-load is Saturday, Oct. 16th @ 12:00 . Many hands needed - plus if you know a youth who needs service hours for school this is an excellent opportunity! The patch will run from Oct. 16th through Oct. 31st from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. with morning, afternoon and early evening shifts available. All monies go to support our Christian Education programs. VOLUNTEERS NEEDED - PLEASE SIGN UP ON THE SIGN UP LIST DURING WORSHIP OR CONTACT THE CHURCH OFFICE  (954) 989-1903!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

OCT 3rd at 9:30AM

"Why Should Christians
Care about Genetics?"

• Good use of genetics will allow us to feed the increasing world population, and prepare vaccines in unique ways, such as through food crops. But we have to be concerned and ask “are there dangers to future generations?”

• In the future we will be able to correct genetic diseases (pre and post natal, as well as in adults). There may be profound ethical choices as this research continues. Is this a form of eugenics? How long should life continue, and at what financial cost? Should this only be available to the affluent?

• Cure Cancer. This seems to be good, but the science used for this also is used for all sorts of other applications. This treatment may cost a lot of money, should it be available to all? Should it be covered by all health insurance plans? What about those without health insurance, and in countries without adequate health insurance?

• We need to be able to talk to our children and grandchildren. They may be faced with ethical decisions that we never thought of. For example, they may be told that the fetus she is carrying has a dreaded disease? Who can they talk to as they decide the emotional impact of terminating the pregnancy, versus caring for a genetically damaged child for life? What about the financial impact on them, or society? Can we put a dollar value on life? Where will the millions of dollars come from to care for this child? What will be the emotional impact on the rest of the family?

• Should we let loose bacteria that will consume the oil from the oil spill? What will happen if it gets “loose”?

• Some people suggest that God is the greatest geneticist of all. The DNA in our cells, plants, and even bacteria and viruses have so much in common. So little separates us genetically, but those small differences make profound differences in all of us. The more some scientists look at this, the stronger their faith becomes. My adult Sunday school asked if God had Jacob make use of genetics as he separated the speckled goats etc. in Genesis. (His dream told him what to do.)

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is receiving comments on a draft Social Statement on Genetics until OCT 15th, which is why we are gathering together to discuss and reflect upon the draft statement.
 The ELCA Churchwide Assembly will take up the matter of the Statement in August of 2011 in Orlando.
Find a copy of the statement here:


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel:

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, September 19, 2010:

Jeremiah 8:18–9:1
Psalm 79:1-9 (9)
1 Timothy 2:1-7
Luke 16:1-13

Ah, the parable of the unjust steward. This parable may be one of the toughest to understand. Are we to understand this parable as a pro-cheating text? It seems that this tale is one of several types of unjustness, and it's hard to sort it all out. Let's try.

Much like the parable of the Prodigal Son, which sends up wails of protests about unfair treatment of undeserving children, this text makes one want to wail at first reading. There's the master, who believes the charges brought up against his steward, who seems prepared to dismiss him, based on those charges--let us remember that the charges may be false.

But the behavior of the steward seems slimy too; accused of unethical behavior, he seems to behave unethically, dismissing debt in an attempt to curry favor for a later time when he is dispossessed.

And then there's the surprise twist--the master approves of the steward's shrewdness.

There are several different approaches to this parable. The easiest approach is to look at the final lines of the Gospel, those familiar lines that so many of us would like to ignore, that we cannot serve God and money. This parable seems to suggest that it's hard to have dealings with money that don't leave us looking slimy.

We might ask ourselves how a stranger would view us if they looked at our budgets. On a personal level, the way we spend money shows our values. So if I say I'd like to wipe out childhood poverty, but I spend all of my extra money on wine, a stranger would question that. If I say that I value a Christ-centered economy, but I only give money to my retirement accounts, what would that stranger say? I will be the first to admit that I want to hoard my money, that it's hard for me to trust that God will provide.

We could ask similar questions about our institutional budgets. What does our church budget say about us? If we give more money to the upkeep of our buildings than to the poor, are we living the life that Christ commands us to live? These are tough questions, and I will honestly say that I haven't met many institutions, sacred or secular, that achieve balance very gracefully--especially not in economic hard times.

Parable scholars might caution us not to adopt the most obvious interpretation. Scholars would encourage us to see the parables in relation to each other. What are the parables that surround the one about the unjust steward?

In the text just before this one, we see the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coins, the lost sons (the Prodigal and his brother are equally lost boys). In the text after the parable of the unjust steward, we receive the story of poor Lazarus and the rich man, and you may remember that Lazarus has a tough life on earth, but a good life afterwards, and the rich man receives his reward early on, and goes to his tortures in the afterlife.

We might see this parable as one more cautionary tale about how we deal with wealth, as with the story of Lazarus. Or we might see the Prodigal Son's dad as similar in his mercy to the master of the shrewd steward--and of course, we could draw parallels to God, who gives us mercy, when we deserve rejection and to be left to our own devices.

It's hard to ignore the sense of urgency in all these texts. The steward must act swiftly, to dismiss debts while he still has the power to do so. The Prodigal Son's father doesn't have much time to decide how to act, once his son appears on the horizon. The rich man pleads with Abraham to be allowed to warn his brothers, and Abraham reminds him that they've had plenty of warning. The parables are interspersed with Christ's various admonitions to pay attention to the way we are living our lives.

Christ commands us not to lose sight of the true riches, the riches that our society doesn't comprehend fully (or at all). We are not our paychecks. There's so much more to us than our job titles. We have been entrusted with so much. We will be judged by how well we show stewardship of those resources.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Loving God with Your Body: Q&A with Mary Cay Oyler

Mary Cay Oyler, manager of Wellness Education and Nutrition Programs at the Church Health Center in Memphis, Tenn., talked with HopeandHealing.org about the role faith can play in personal health. Ms. Oyler holds a degree in Education with a concentration in Fitness Management and has worked in different capacities of wellness including, commercial fitness, hospital prevention and wellness and community programming. She belongs to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Germantown, Tenn.

How is being a healthy person connected to being a faithful person or vice versa?

Taking care of the body God gave you is very important. A lot of times -- aesthetically -- we think our body might not look the way we want. But we have wonderful, magnificent bodies that God has given us that we can do wonderful things with. When we take care of that body, we feel healthy and strong. Our body works for us. We’re able to get more done and to serve God for our purpose of being here. You can’t separate the body and spirit. Our physical side affects our spiritual side and mental side, too.

We hear a lot about people using food, alcohol, or other unhealthy behaviors as a way to cope. I relate that to worshipping false gods. When we turn to unhealthy things to deal with our emotions or stress, it’s like honoring a false god. We’re all broken in some respect. We need to cope by praying, by practicing healthy behaviors, and by taking a day of rest when we need it. God even took a day of rest. We are taking care of God-given bodies by getting the sleep that we need, by eating in moderation, and by exercising.

How do you balance inspiring people without making them feel guilty for who they are or for the habits or behaviors that they have acquired?

A lot of times people feel like they are being punished. They think: “I contracted a disease because I’m being punished” or “I have diabetes because I’m being punished.” There’s also the mindset: “If God wants me to be healthy, then God will take care of me.” A lot of people feel that they don’t have a part in the outcome.

In our classes, we often tell the story about a person stranded in a flood. The person goes out on their roof to meet someone on a boat who says, “I’m here to save you.” The person says, “No, God’s going to save me.” Then, someone else comes by on a helicopter and says, “Hop in, we’re lowering the rope, get in,” and the person says, “No, I’m fine. God’s going to save me.” The flood gets higher and goes over the roof. The person dies and goes to heaven. The person asks God why he wasn’t there for them, and he says he was there in a boat and in a helicopter.

In our classes, we try to convey that help is there. But it’s the decision of each individual to practice good health behaviors and make changes and live healthier lives.
for the entire article go to

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


1. Where have you seen God working this week?
In my life.
In my son’s life.
In our congregation.
In God blessing me with a non-malignant lump
Giving me faith to walk with a cane.
In the heart of the preacher who was going to burn the Koran but didn’t

Left Sunglasses at ATM and when I came back the bank did not have them, but a Jehovah’s Witness who sits near there every day picked them up and returned them to me.
At Publix supermarket

2. Where Did God use someone else to bless you this week (whether they knew it or not) ?
Received words of encouragement - picked me up to attend a function
I was inspired by speaking with all of the volunteers at the ministry fair.
Someone giving of her time, love, and support
A dear friend who spent so much time with us in the hospital and everyone’s prayers!
A friend who provides transportation.
All donors supporting the 3 day Breast Cancer Walk
My boss who was very positive during a very difficult time at work.
An associate skeptical of our business turned positive.
On the bus on the way home.

3.. Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
Shared my testimony with others
Praying for many situations
Picked up my friends
In my Real Estate work
Supporting co-workers and my boss with a big project.
In sharing my knowledge and experience of teaching to a young college student studying to become a teacher.
Welcoming a veteran to my home.
With our son who was rewarded for learning how to swim after two years of lessons with a trip to the Disney water parks
At home.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Luke 15:1-10

Sometimes we lose things. Headphones and cell phones. Coffee cups. The odd shoe or sock. Car keys. Cars – I hate when I misplace the car. Piper and I were at college orientation back in July and I went to go get our car from the parking garage. Except there were several identical parking garages near the student center and I had no idea which one we had used. I went with my gut (always a dangerous thing for me) and headed off in a promising direction. Ten minutes later I found myself standing in the wrong garage with no idea how to find my car. When the next garage is half a mile distant one can click the door remote a hundred times and it ain’t going to do nothing.

Sometimes it is we, ourselves, who are lost. Years ago when we were stationed on the island of Guam Piper and I got a babysitter for Christian and headed off with a guidebook out into the wilderness. It was one of the guidebooks that had directions like “Make a left at the big rock that looks like a witch” or “in ten paces you should see a small tree in front of you.” Of course at one point I lost count and then couldn’t find the tree. And if I couldn’t find the tree than every direction after that point didn’t make sense. The ground turned swampy and then we saw this big old rusty tank in front us, the kind left over from World War II. And then we ran into a bunch of guys carrying machetes. So much for a romantic afternoon hike.

Even with today’s technology, with GPS’s built into our cell phones and the web at our fingertips, we can still get lost. If you don’t believe me I have three words for you: Miami International Airport.

There is a different kind of lost in this world. There is a kind of lost that no GPS can help with. That Mapquest cannot help with. That even Google cannot help with. Are you with me? You know what I am talking about?

Pottery class in Baltimore was my time. My personal time. The time where I could just relax. Where people knew my name and that was it. A time where I could take a lump of clay and shape it with some sort of vision and usually have it explode on me in the kiln. The teacher grew up with John Waters and had bit parts in Hairspray and several of his other movies. The class discussion typically featured conversation about what veterinarian might offer medication for a human toothache or who was getting thrown out of their apartment or who almost got mugged that week. That sort of thing. I listened and kept to myself, but I just couldn’t keep keeping to myself when the conversation turned to deeper questions that probed life and this world of ours. Some were raised Christian and then left the faith. Some were suspicious of Christians and probably had a right to be based upon some of the experiences that they shared. I was surrounded by people who had either walked away from the faith or who were frightened of it and who lived in a world deep in the inner city that I was unaccustomed to and uncomfortable with. Yet, there I was. “What do you do?” one person ventured poking and prodding a lump of red clay. “I’m a Lutheran pastor,” I responded because that is what I was and am. And then I could no longer hide and the questions flowed and the stories flowed and I struggled in my own way to bear witness to my faith and the journey that had led me there.

You and I are children through baptism of a God who is peculiar. A God who honors and celebrates a vision of community bigger than our vision. Bolder than our vision. More inclusive than our vision and then challenges us to recast our vision to look more like God’s. In today’s gospel we learn that our God, in and through Christ Jesus, hung out with the wrong kind of people and declared that the wrong kind of people were exactly the kind of people that had a special place in God’s heart: The lost, the broken, the outcasts, the sinners. People like us and not like us. And also declared, as I read it, that such people ought to be the focus of our ministry. Not the only focus, but the primary one. That is what missional congregations do – they live out the Great commission – to Go Make Disciples. Disciples seek to make more disciples who in turn make more disciples and grow the Kingdom of God. It is multiplication folks: disciples making disciples making disciples.

So if we are going to roll up our sleeves and get to work in this multiplication business we need to establish relationships with the very people that the Lord has placed into our lives for us to find for the sake of the Kingdom. Who are the lost people in our lives? Every lost sheep has a name. Whose name has the Lord written in your heart?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ministry Fair
this Sunday 9:30AM and Noon in Charter Hall.

Come out and learn about many of the ministries in which the people of Trinity serve. From music to feeding the hungry; from health and wellness to prayer shawls. Over 28 ministires will have a presence.
Some of the ministires to have a presence include:
Sunday School Bible IMPROV
Men’s Group

Men’s Bible Study
Tuesday Morning Bible Study Group
Tuesday Morning Crafts Group

10:45 Service Choir
WED Prayer and Praise
Via de Cristo
HOPE Pregnancy Center
Hand Chimes
Prayer Shawls
Worship Volunteers
Children/Youth Choir
Food Pantry
Trinity Health and Wellness Team
Butterfly Memorial Garden Team
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
BOLD Justice
Prayer Labyrinth
Care and Concern Team
1st Lutheran Feeding Program
Operation Christmas Child
College Cookies Care Packages
FROM the document "Beyond Park 51: Religious Leaders Denounce Anti-Muslim Bigotry and Call for Respect for America's Tradition of Religious Liberty." of which the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a signatory. The entiere text may be found here: http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Ecumenical-and-Inter-Religious-Relations.aspx

"We call for a new day in America when speaking the truth about one another will embrace a renewed commitment to mutual learning among religions. Leaders of local congregations have a special responsibility to teach with accuracy, fairness and respect about other faith traditions. The partnerships that have developed in recent years between synagogues and churches, mosques and synagogues, and churches and mosques should provide a foundation for new forms of collaboration in interfaith education, inter-congregational visitations, and service programs that redress social ills like homelessness and drug abuse. What we can accomplish together is, in very many instances, far more than we can achieve working in isolation from one another. The good results of a more extensive collaboration between religious congregations and national agencies will undoubtedly help to heal our culture, which continues to suffer from the open wound of 9/11.

We work together on the basis of deeply held and widely shared values, each supported by the sacred texts of our respective traditions. We acknowledge with gratitude the dialogues between our scholars and religious authorities that have helped us to identify a common understanding of the divine command to love one’s neighbor. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all see an intimate link between faithfulness to God and love of neighbor; a neighbor who in many instances is the stranger in our midst.We are united in our conviction that by witnessing together in celebration of human dignity and religious freedom; by working together for interfaith understanding across communities and generations; and by cooperating with each other in works of justice and mercy for the benefit of society, all of us will demonstrate our faithfulness to our deepest spiritual commitments.

We are convinced that spiritual leaders representing the various faiths in the United States have a moral responsibility to stand together and to denounce categorically derision, misinformation or outright bigotry directed against any religious group in this country. Silence is not an option. Only by taking this stand, can spiritual leaders fulfill the highest calling of our respective faiths, and thereby help to create a safer and stronger America for all of our people."

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Kicks Off Sunday September 19th  at 9:30AM
in Munson-Mueller Hall (East side of Trinity's Fellowship Hall)
with Special Guest Shaikh Shafayat Mohamed
The Ameer / Principal of the Darul Uloom Islamic Institute
speaking on ISLAM.
Not to be missed!

Shaikh Shafayat was born in Trinidad, West Indies. Graduated as a Qaari, Faazil/Islamic Scholar from Deoband, the largest and oldest Islamic Institute in India. He founded the National Muslim Sports League of Trinidad and Tobago, which established the Islamic Home for Children. He’s also the Founder and Editor of the Al-Hikmat Monthly Magazine. Shaikh Shafayat is a Former president of the Interfaith Council of South Florida. He organized and conducted many Christian / Muslim / Jewish Dialogues in Churches, Synagogues and Islamic Centers in the U.S.A. He is well known for his community leadership. He is a recipient of the Silver Medallion Award from NCCJ (a national organization) and a recipient of the Peacemaker Award from St. Thomas University in Miami. He lectures throughout the U.S.A. and Internationally on Islam, Interfaith issues and cultural diversity. He is the Principal of Darul Uloom Institute in South Florida and has been lecturing on Human Rights and Religion at St. Thomas University. He has also been lecturing on Cultural Diversity, Islam and terrorism at the Police Academy and Pembroke Pines Police of South Florida for the past five years.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, September 12, 2010:

First Reading: Exodus 32:7-14

First Reading (Semi-cont.): Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28

Psalm: Psalm 51:1-11 (Psalm 51:1-10 NRSV)

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 14

Second Reading: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Gospel: Luke 15:1-10

Today we have parables of lost creatures and lost things. When we read these parables, which character calls more clearly to you? Are you the shepherd or the sheep? Are you the woman sweeping or the coin?

I never really thought about the story from the perspective of the coin, until a few years ago. Pastor Mary Canniff-Kuhn was leading a Bible study on parables, and she said, “What about that lost coin? What’s it doing? Nothing. It’s just sitting there.”

These parables reassure us that we don’t have to do anything to deserve being found. We don’t have to redeem ourselves. God is the shepherd who will come looking for one lost sheep, even if that sheep is the dumbest, most unworthy sheep in the history of animal husbandry. God will light the lamps and sweep under the cupboards until the coin is found.

As Christians, we have a creator who goes to great lengths to find us, to be with us, to enter into a relationship with us. If you look at both the Old and New Testament, you see God trying a variety of techniques: crafting a beautiful creation, resorting to rage when that creation doesn’t behave, wiping out populations, rescuing populations. The New Testament shows a continuation of this story, with God taking the most extreme step of becoming human.

What does it mean for our lives if we really believe that God will go to all this effort for us? Look at the story again. The shepherd isn’t rescuing a whole flock of sheep. The shepherd goes to that effort for just one sheep. What does it mean for us, if we believe that God is like that shepherd?
Many of us might not be quite comfortable with that idea. We like the idea of a distant god, maybe one who made the whole creation and then went away to leave us to our own devices. Do we really want a God who doesn’t allow us to wallow in our lostness? Do we really want a God who takes such efforts to find us when we go astray?

Most of us do yearn for someone to pay attention to us in just this way. We often look for that kind of attention in our families, but I know I’m not the only way who has returned home after a long day in the office, only to find our families so engaged in other activities that they don’t even notice our return. Maybe you’ve yearned for a dog who would be happy to see you, and each day would announce its doggy joy in your return to the hearth.

God’s slobbery kisses may not be as noticeable at first, but God is that dog who marks our comings and goings with as much steadfastness as a good dog. God is that good dog of popular culture who will know that something’s wrong before anyone else does. God will go to great lengths to find us, to bring us back to the flock, back to the coin purse. We worship a God who will not rest until we’re all present and accounted for. That’s Good News indeed.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society®’s Light The Night® Marlins Fundraiser…Join us WED, SEPT 22 for the Florida Marlins vs. New York Mets baseball game. Tailgate party starts at 5:30pm with complimentary food and refreshments. First pitch is at 7:10pm. Bullpen Box Seats are just $20 (that’s $8 off game day price) and Outfield Terrace Seats are just $15 (that’s $6 off game day price). Purchase tickets from Janean Baumal no later than Friday, September 10th. CASH ONLY. Part of your ticket price directly supports The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. For more information, e-mail Janean @ janeanlb@hotmail.com

Trinity is starting a new Young Person's Choir Ministry and we need YOU! Any children or youth interested in singing or playing an instrument to worship the Lord is WELCOME! We will be having an informational MEETING on Rally Day, SUN, SEPT 12th at 10:15am. Come share your ideas and God-given TALENTS. For more information, contact Janean Baumal at janeanlb@hotmail.com

Janean Baumal is again team captain and wants you to join her! Light The Night is a two-to-three mile evening walk to celebrate and commemorate the lives of people touched by cancer. Team members raise funds by encouraging others to contribute. E-mail Janean @ janeanlb@hotmail.com or log onto www.lightthenight.org to register with her team “In Memory Of Jami”. Information and walker welcome packets are available in the narthex. Please join us for this very special evening!

When: Saturday, November 13th @ 4pm

Where: Fort Lauderdale (Huizenga Plaza)

Who: Anyone who wants to fight cancer is invited to join.
17 Students
9 Cookie "Suppliers"

More of both welcome!

We will be taking up a special offering Sunday to help defray the shipping costs. We will be boxing up cookies on Sunday during the ministry fair during second service coffee hour. Help needed and appreciated!

the week of September 5th
1. Where have you seen God working this week?
A compassionate and caring doctor who called to check on me.
New tenant in other room
At the Veteran’s Hospital where volunteers put together a special fundraiser
Healing our family after we all got sick.
At Calvary

2. Where Did God use someone else to bless you this week (whether they knew it or not?)
Through my transportation.
A friendly librarian helped me find what I needed.
At Trinity!

3. Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
Helping new tenant.
At Trinity!

Monday, September 06, 2010


New Volunteer Lists for Fall Worship!

Let us know what you would like to do (as many as you like) and a Team Leader will be in touch!
All positions are open to all people regardless of age or time with us - 3 years old or 100; one Sunday worshipping with us or 50 years!
Training available if needed!

Would you like to read? (8AM or 10:45AM)
Serve as an assisting minister? (8AM or 10:45AM)
Serve as a communion assistant (10:45AM)
Help set up for and clean up from communion [Altar Guild]? (8AM or 10:45AM)
Usher (8AM or 10:45AM)
Assist in the nursery (10:45AM)
Serve as a greeter providing joyful welcome to all who come to worship [and hand them a bulletin]
(8AM or 10:45AM)
Serving as a Healing Assistant [laying on hands for prayer and anointing during our monthly healing service
Acolyte - (8AM or 10:45AM)
Join the choir? (10:45AM)
Play with the hand chimes? (10:45AM)
Help out with our once a month healthy/"green" coffee hour?
Sing in the youth /children's choir?

Let us know by posting or emailing/calling the office or coming out to our ministry fair on SEPT 12th at 9:30AM or noon.

1. If you do not supply us with names and an updated address we cannot send cookie and brownie goodness!

2. If you would like to bless a college student with some cookie and brownie goodness then we need to know - drop off date is Sunday September 12th.

Friday, September 03, 2010

50th Anniversary
Dinner Tickets
On sale now through SEPT 19th!
It will be at Tropical Acres Restaurant on Griffin Road on SAT, OCT 9th 5PM -10PM.
Dinner! Dancing through the years! Memories through the years!

The price will be $15.00 for adults and $7.00 for children 6-12 and 0-5 free
When you buy your tickets be prepared to indicate your main course: 
ALSO… if you would like sugarfree dessert (fruit cup) Please be sure to let us know…

Tickets are on sale by Earline after each service or leave a message at the office if you have any questions.  at (954) 989-1903

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The Readings for Sunday, September 5, 2010:

First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:15-20

First Reading (Semi-cont.): Jeremiah 18:1-11

Psalm: Psalm 1

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17 (Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 NRSV)

Second Reading: Philemon 1-21

Gospel: Luke 14:25-33

Here we have another tough Gospel, where Jesus seems to knock all our defenses out from under us. With his reference to the person building a tower, he seems to be telling us to think very carefully before we leap onboard his Kingdom train. We may have to give up (or at least transform our relationship to) much that we've held dear.

First, he tells us that we have to hate our family. Notice that I'm not exaggerating--hate is the verb Jesus uses. He doesn't use a verb that would be more palatable, like reject or leave or forsake. No, we have to hate them. Many of us have spent much of our lives struggling against a certain human tendency towards hating others--now we're instructed to hate our family?

It gets worse. In that list of family, Jesus includes our very lives. We have to hate our own lives? What's that all about?

Many scholars would tell us that Jesus is telling us that we can't have the same lives when we're Christians as we did before we came to Christ. Our relationships will have to be transformed. Many of us place our relationships with our family members above all else. Many more of us place our own self-worth above everything else. We've spent the last several weeks listening to Jesus telling us that we can no longer behave that way. We have to transform our world of relationships. For those of us who have been used to hiding away with our families, we are called to treat the whole world as our family, especially the poor and the outcast. For those of us who put no one's needs above our own, we can no longer behave that way. The only way towards the world for which we yearn is to place the needs of others ahead of our own.

Our relationship to our possessions is not exempt from this discussion. Here is Christ again telling us that we have to give up all that we have. For some of us, it might be easy to hate our family and give them up. For some of us who are filled with self-loathing anyway, it might be frighteningly easy to hate ourselves. But to give up our possessions too? How will we ever feel secure? Again and again, Jesus reminds us that we rely too much on the things of this world, the things (and people and our own egos) that pull us away from God.

At this point we might feel despair about our ability to walk this pilgrim path.

But as our spiritual forebears would tell us, if we would listen, this all gets easier the more we practice. If we think of all that we own as being on loan to us, it's easier to pass our stuff along. If we simplify our lives, it's easier not to clutch to our money as much. If we spend our time in prayer and spiritual reading, it's easier to rely on God. If we spend our time practicing inclusivity, it's easier to expand our idea of family. The world is filled with lonely people who would like to be invited to dinner or coffee.

And some day, we might look up and realize that the life we once lived was living death. We might realize that by renouncing that life (or by expanding it to include others), we've gained a life worth living.