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...

Monday, November 29, 2010


1. Where have you seen God working this week?
In my family.
Our family enjoying Thanksgiving together
My neighbor took my son to school for me.
God reminded me of His many blessings this Thanksgiving
My daughter being such a good sister
Met someone through a friend who is fast becoming a blessing in my life.
From something that I saw on TV
At Memorial Regional Hospital
In the hands of those who prepared Thanksgiving Baskets and who decorated the sanctuary for Advent
By answered prayer
By people praying to Almighty God.
A shoot of new life in a tree where it shouldn’t have been.
At Black Friday sales as people were sharing information about open registers amongst the chaos.
People taking time out of their busy schedules to help others.

2. Where Did God use someone else to bless you this week (whether they knew it or not)?
My Great Nephew
Brother-in-Law helped in the house
A stranger helped me with my car.
The BRACE Advisor took the time to send my daughter a message of encouragement.
My Realtor always being the for me.
D’s parents being such good examples for their son.
Thanksgiving Dinner
I received a rise.
At the Hospital
Our Young Person’s Choir who blessed us with a beautiful song and smiling faces on Sunday.
Providing a free turkey
The unshakeable faith that J. had that God would heal him.
My mother being here to help out with my son.

3. Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
My son.
In helping someone.
Spending time with my mom and grandma!
Gave extra money at Publix so an elderly lady could buy the rest of her groceries because she was waiting for her end of the month social security check.
I gave a co-worker good advice and encouragement.
Help with preparations for Thanksgiving Dinner
Invited international students over for Thanksgiving Dinner
At home.
I cleaned my mom’s kitchen on Sunday so she could rest.
In helping my 95 year old neighbor
Sharing my turkey with others who were in need.
Allowing me to be able to assist our young people to share their gifts of song with the congregation.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Matthew 24:36–44

We have entered new season in the church year.
Not of Black Fridays and cyber Mondays and Salvation Army Santas and Christmas trees – but for us it is a time of “already but not yet.”
Already, but not yet. We prepare for the coming of the Christ child at Christmas even as we live into the expectation that Christ has come and has promised to come again.

In Advent the texts of our worship cycle reflect these two themes:
Texts of the “already-ness” of Christ – often using the powerful and metaphoric style of the apocalyptic. Of the end times: bold images of cosmic upheaval, war, chaos and judgment. And texts of “not yet” foretelling and preparing us for the birth of Christ. Familiar and cherished tales of prophetic angels and promises of children, of Gabriel and Mary and Joseph and Elizabeth.

Already, but not yet - Are you with me so far?
Attending to the “already-ness” of Christ in which you and I live, Jesus speaks out to us today through the words of Mathew’s gospel and wants to help us navigate through these challenging times. And it seems what Christ wants us to know more than anything else is that we as Christians need to live our lives:

Awake, but not afraid.
Ready, but not fearful.

Fear is the currency of this age - it is everywhere subtle and seeping, bold and brash – invisible like the wind, yet in our faces and holding our very lives ransom for the price of our faith. Fear is the currency of this age, manipulating the way we see the world and not just the way we see the world, but how we even choose to live our life.

And to the moneychangers who turn faith into fear, Jesus out-shouts them in a whisper still small voice:
Be awake, but not afraid
Be ready, but not fearful.

It is an unconventional notion, this lack of fearfulness.
Unconventional, but ancient.
Bold, but so biblical that King David himself wrote psalms about it.
Listen to just a few verses:

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;

Did you catch that good news - the kind of news that never grows old, that never makes the front page, but has its happy home in our hearts forever?
The Lord is with us.

We say that all the time – “The Lord be with you….And also with you”
But I wonder if we grasp the full significance of the meaning of the “with-us-ness” of God.
The Lord is with us.
Even death, itself, no longer can claim victory.
There in the silence of death, the grave, the grief, the mourning, the heart rending sadness, there when hope seems farther away, farthest away, there in the silence the power of death finds itself broken. The cross of Jesus claims the victory – and its silence becomes our strength and its silence becomes our voice – a lifetime of alleluias.

And so we proclaim with boldness:
Be awake, but not afraid
Be ready, but not fearful.

To explain Jesus takes us back to the time of Noah
Jesus says that the people in Noah’s day were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage – rather ordinary activities - they knew nothing he said, until the flood came.
For a people with extraordinary good news to share, we can just as easily fall prey to the “People in the Days of Noah Syndrome,” can’t we? For a people with extraordinary good news to share, we, too, can let the routine of life hold sway. Eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage – we do these things, too, all good, even better than good - Personally, I love weddings. But Jesus’ call to be awake and to be ready means that we are called to infuse the ordinary of our lives with the extraordinary hope and promise that we share in him and through him.

Let us recall the words of promise given in our baptism symbolized by a simple lit candle:
“Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.”
Eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage. Taking the bus, sitting down with your children or grandchildren or neighbors or friends. Over a cup of coffee or café au lait or a piece of pie or Facebook - In the lunchroom or boardroom or classroom or living room - where is our light shining?

I love spending Monday mornings going through the worship slips and reading how folks have experienced God in the past week. How people have either shined the light before others or had that light warm them, cheer them, bless them.

Be awake, but not afraid
Be ready, but not fearful.

To be awake and ready is simply for us to live our lives as children of the light – who have been entrusted with extraordinary good news to share and shine in word and deed before the world.
The Lord be with you…and also with you…amen!

Friday, November 26, 2010

This makes a crisp cookie perfect to hold up under the rigors of decorating.
From an old King Arthur's Flour recipe

This recipe produces a hard, crisp gingerbread, perfect for decorated cookies. To use them as hanging ornaments, use a straw to poke a hole in the top of the cookie before baking and later, after it cools, add a hanging loop.

5 cups unbleached, all purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons cinnamon

2 Tablespoons ginger

2 teaspoons ground cloves

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup vegetable shortening

1 ½ cups sugar

1 cup molasses (or light or dark corn syrup)

2 eggs

In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and baking soda. Set mixture aside.

In a small sauce pan , melt the shortening, then stir in the sugar and molasses. Pour the tepid mixture over the flour mixture and begin beating. Mix in eggs, beating until everything is thoroughly combined. Divide the dough in half and refrigerate it for at least two hours (or overnight), to mellow the dough. The dough is easier to work with if given a long rest. The cooled dough needs to be taken out of the fridge and allowed to warm at room temperature for a while before attempting to work with it (trust me on this).

Sprinkle a work surface with flour and roll the dough to approx. 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch thick. Use cutters to cut as many cookies as you can, then gather the scraps together, re-roll them, and cut out more cookies until the dough is gone. Transfer cookies to a parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Always try to maximize the number of cookies you cut at one time because it will get harder and harder to work with the dough each time you re-roll it.

Bake the cookies in a preheated 350 degree oven for approx 15 minutes or until they begin to darken around the edge (more art than science). Your finger should still leave an impression if you press down on them. If you are making them strictly for use as ornaments, longer baking is better – makes them stronger.

Remove cookies from oven and cool them completely on a wire rack before storing them in an air tight container.
6:30PM Potluck
followed by gingerbread decorating
and an optional class on how to make Applesauce Walnut Bread with samples!
**please bring cans or tubs of icing to share and a decorating element (sprinkles, candies, etc)**

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Matthew 5: 13-24

21You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, 'You shall not murder'; and 'whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.' 22But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, 'You fool,' you will be liable to the hell of fire. 23So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.

You have two minutes to turn to the person next to you and tell them what Thanksgiving is about for you. Consider completing this sentence. “For me, Thanksgiving is about…” I will call you back when your time is up.

I imagine that some of you suggested to your pew neighbor that at its simplest Thanksgiving is about giving thanks. Thanksgiving = Giving + Thanks.” The pilgrims arrived during the long cold winter of 1620. Half of them died of disease and starvation before the warmth of spring brought new hope in the person of a Native American and escaped slave named Squanto. It was this Native American who introduced them to the local tribe, the Wampanoag, and taught them how to fish, grow corn, extract sap from maple trees, and avoid poisonous plants. The pilgrim’s relationship with Squanto and the Wampanoag saved their lives and without them I would not be here today since an ancestor of mine was one of those Pilgrim survivors. In November of 1621, after a successful corn harvest, Governor Bradford called for a three day banquet of celebration. With sugar supplies low and a lack of ovens, it is doubtful that it featured any pies, which I suppose is why we have been making up for their early absence ever since.

At its simplest, perhaps, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, but our Gospel text for today suggests that there is nothing simple about giving thanks. Nothing simple at all.

We read:
So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.

So, what Jesus is saying is that if you are bringing your gift to the Lord, your thanksgiving for all that God has so graciously entrusted to you: your offering of yourself, your relationships, your time, your resources, your prayer, your praise, your life – just stop. Stop right there. Stop and think. Stop and reflect. Stop and consider:

Where is brokenness manifested in relationships in my life right now?
Who has offended me? Who has broken fellowship with me?
Where is brokenness manifested in relationships in my life right now?

The word for the work of mending broken relationships is reconciliation.
And God thinks that this work of reconciliation is so important that after God says STOP and think about the brokenness found in our relationships, God then says “GO!” Go and do the holy work of reconciliation. GO and come back when it is done.

Mathew 18 acknowledges that we are not called to whitewash the sin against us, not ignore the sin against us done by others, but rather to work for reconciliation in those broken relationships. It calls us to work at it; to give it every opportunity through our efforts. It does not guarantee that effort broken relationship will be mended despite our best efforts.

So how important is this work of reconciliation for our life and ministry as Christians?
Paul explains it in the 5th Chapter of Second Corinthians this way:

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.

We see that God reconciled the world – all of creation – and obviously that includes people like you and me – to Himself in and through Jesus Christ. So we are a new creation – and given the sacred and holy task by God to continue that work of reconciliation in the world through the words and deeds that make up our everyday lives. In Christ, God has radically altered our relationships with one another. For us it is no longer about friends and enemies and “frenemies” and haters and supporters, rather it is about something wonderful, extraordinary, radical, unbelievable:

Listen again to Jesus – this time in John 13: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

So how is it even possible? How can we as new creations called in love to be ambassadors of reconciliation do this holy work when so often our strongest impulse is to dismiss from our lives those who have broken relationship with us? We must acknowledge that there are circumstances where the work of reconciliation must take into account issues such as personal safety and the possibility for further abuse physically, emotionally, or spiritually. However, there is a real fear that the FACEBOOK notion of just unfriending someone and moving on might just be seeping into our way of thinking about all broken relationships in our lives. Where do we find the strength, the patience, the wisdom, the wherewithal to act faithfully in this? To be followers of Jesus in this? To be reconcilers and not haters?

We must constantly remind ourselves that being new creations unleashes the extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit to work in and through our lives. The power of the Holy Spirit is the power of creation and salvation – that power will accomplish God’s purposes in the world and so there is no “impossible” to hold us back anymore. Gone is the line of thinking that says “I do not need them I have God,” because here is Jesus saying if we want to put Jesus first in our life and honor Jesus then we need to be about this work of reconciliation. It is a call from Jesus to us for us to build a community of love and reconciliation - The very community that Jesus embodied for us through his life, death, and resurrection.

In the vows of my ordination I am called to lead you in building that community of love and reconciliation here at Trinity. We hold ourselves mutually accountable in this shared work of faith. It is time to place the building of such a community at the core of our purpose and the center of our work together.

Monday, November 22, 2010

At First Lutheran, Fort Lauderdale
Contact Nancy Berger for more information

Begins DECEMBER 8th
Contact Lisa Miller for more information
Trinity Lutheran Church, Pembroke Pines
Following the service we will share pie and coffee in the fellowship hall.
A special "Thanks" to everyone who contributed a shoe box to help a child this Christmas somewhere in the world! Over 20 boxes were collected and delivered from Trinity!
Special Event
Read the info below -
if interested please inform
Pastor Keith ASAP!!!!!

November 22, 2010

Greetings from ELCA World Hunger!
We are sponsoring a free leadership training, "Ethics of Eating," for ELCA Region 9 ((Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Southeastern Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean). Please share this invitation with your congregation and network.

The event takes place Thursday, January 27 through Sunday, January 30, 2011, in Ft. Myers Beach, Fla. We will lodge at the Christian Retreat Center of Ft. Myers Beach (www.christianretreatcenter.org/) and engage these issues at a variety of locations, including ECHO Farms (www.echonet.org/). It is open to congregational and campus leaders from Region 9. At this event, we’ll gather a diverse group of 15 – 20 people to discuss the justice and lifestyle issues that arise from the interconnections between what we eat and the food distribution and production system in this country. Additional information is attached (please see below) and on the Web at www.elca.org/hunger/ethicsofeating.

Applications will be approved on a rolling basis starting on December 1, 2010, until openings are filled. If you have any questions about the event itself or would like an application, please contact Mary Delasin, coordinator of the event (mzdelasin@yahoo.com, 727-479-2914).
ELCA World Hunger “Ethics of Eating” Region 9 Leadership Training, Ft. Myers Beach, Florida

What: ELCA World Hunger “Ethics of Eating” Region 9 Leadership Training. ELCA World Hunger is underwriting the cost of participation. More information and the application available at www.elca.org/hunger/ethicsofeating.

When: Thursday, January 27 through Sunday, January 30, 2011, in Ft. Myers Beach, Florida

Who: Open to ELCA Members in Region 9: Virginia (9A), North Carolina (9B), South Carolina (9C), Southeastern -- Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee (9D), Florida-Bahamas (9E), Caribbean -- Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands (9F).

To Apply: For an application, please contact Mary Delasin, coordinator of the event (mzdelasin@yahoo.com, 727-479-2914).

Due Date: Applications will be approved on a rolling basis beginning on December 1, 2010, until all the openings are filled.

Are you concerned about the way what you eat and the way we produce food in this country impact the environment, those who are hungry and those who work in food production? Do you want to explore these issues through workshops and conversations with farmers and activists? Then you may be interested in the upcoming January 27-30, 2011, leadership training on the ethics of eating sponsored by ELCA World Hunger. This event is for those who want to explore these issues and to share what they learn with their congregation, campus, community or synod.

The issues surrounding ethics and eating will be explored from a theological perspective: how should we eat such that it is just and healthy for human beings and the environment? We will ask this question with respect to urban, local, organic and conventional farming, and their relation to hunger, food worker rights and the environment. We will brainstorm about how what we learn should inform the work of the church, particularly with respect to organizing, fundraising, education and the lifestyle of members of the church. Afterward, each participant is expected to host an event of their choice in their local area.

We hope each participant will:
Have increased capacity to advocate for a just and sustainable food system.
Implement a project, action or activity as a follow up to this event.
Subsequently participate in the Hunger Leaders Network and potentially, our online community.

Questions guiding the event planning:
What are a few theological frames for thinking about eating in a way that is just and healthy for human beings and the environment?
How is food produced and distributed in this country? What is the role of urban, local, organic and conventional farming in this system?
What are some local & regional issues for farmers and farm workers?
How do these different ways of distributing food locally, nationally and globally impact: a) hunger in urban and rural areas; b) the environment and climate change; and c) worker justice?
How should we eat such that it is just, healthy and sustainable for humanity and the environment?
What are facets of individual, synodical and congregational advocacy for policies that would enable everyone to eat this way?
We in ELCA World Hunger are excited about this event. The event will include local farmers, farm workers, food production workers, consumers, and actors in food, hunger and environmental justice networks. We will visit farms and urban agriculture programs.

1. Where have you seen God working this week?
My Family.
By helping me to be calm and lean on Him during a crisis.
In the amazing care of nurses in the ICU.
In the unbelievable faith that J. had that God would heal him.
In discussion Group

2. Where Did God use someone else to bless you this week (whether they knew it or not?)
Through a loving and always welcoming congregation that offers me comfort and joy under many circumstances
In Blessing a friend and her son and blessing me this week
He placed an angel to help me when the Canadian Police responded to me call when I thought my sister who lives alone was dead.
B. blessed me with a special meal

3. Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
In blessing my children.
Reaching out to others who needed someone to talk to.
In praying with other families of patients in critical condition in ICU sharing words of hope and encouragement.
I prayed for a friend who is now doing better
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, November 28, 2010:

First Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5

Psalm: Psalm 122

Second Reading: Romans 13:11-14

Gospel: Matthew 24:36-44

So, here we are preparing for Christmas, and we get this apocalyptic Gospel. You might have been expecting a passage about the angel Gabriel visiting Mary. You might have thought you'd hear some prophecy about the coming of the Messiah. You would have even settled for those strange passages from John which talk about the word becoming flesh and moving into the neighborhood (as Eugene Patterson paraphrases it in his The Message paraphrase).

But no, we get these verses that have inspired any number of end of the world scenarios, the most recent being the Left Behind series. Two men working in a field, one taken and one left behind. Two women grinding grain, one taken and one left behind. Jesus refers to earlier times when people should have been more alert: imagine if you had been one of Noah's colleagues, eating and drinking and making merry, having no idea of what's about to fall on your head.

Again and again, our holy scriptures remind us that we need to stay alert and watchful. Again and again, our holy scriptures warn us that God is coming and that God won't always take on the shape we expect. Sometimes, our spiritual ancestors are lucky, as Abraham was, when he invited the strangers into his tent, and found out he was having dinner with God. Sometimes our ancestors aren't as lucky. Think of all those contemporaries of Jesus, many of them good, observant Jews, who were on the lookout for a different kind of Messiah. They wanted someone to deliver them from oppressive Roman rule. What did they get? A baby in a manger.

We think that we wouldn't have been so stupid. We would have recognized the Divine, as Christ moved among us.

But think of our own lives. Many of us are so busy that we can't even adopt traditional practices that move us closer to God, practices like fixed-hour prayer or tithing. Would we really recognize God in our lives, especially if God took on an unexpected form?

We might adopt another ancient spiritual practice for our Advent discipline. We usually think of Lent as the season of discipline and denial, but Advent cries out for a similar rigor, especially in our culture that goes into hyper-consumer-overdrive this time of year. This year, practice seeing the Divine in difficult people. It's easy to look at a little baby and to see God looking back out of that face. But for a few weeks, practice treating difficult people as if they are the embodiment of God. Your evil boss? Your difficult teenager? The homeless guy at the corner who won't take no for an answer when he asks for money? Your sad mother-in-law? How might things change if we treat these difficult people as the embodiment of God, as Christ incarnate?

Our changed approach might change their difficult behavior. However, let's be realistic. It probably won't change their behavior permanently. But hopefully, if we approach everyone as God moving in the world, our attitudes will change. But even if they don't, this adjustment in perspective is good training. Again and again, Christ warns us to stay alert and aware. We live in a culture that wants us numbed (from too much TV, too much spending, too much drinking, too much working, too much, too much, too much). We need to adopt practices that train us towards a different way.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


It's not too late to share the good news and make a child in need of hope, smile.

This Sunday, November 21st, after Sunday School, we will be driving to the drop off center to donate our filled shoeboxes.
Please place any donations on the yellow desk in Charter Hall.
For additional information, please visit Samaritan's Purse-Operation Christmas Child at
http://www.samaritanspurse.org/ or Nancy Berger at (954) 473-5484.
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The Readings for Sunday, November 21, 2010:

First Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6

First Reading (Semi-cont.): Jeremiah 23:1-6

Psalm: Psalm 46

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Luke 1:68-79

Second Reading: Colossians 1:11-20

Gospel: Luke 23:33-43

Today we celebrate Christ the King Sunday, which is the last day of our liturgical calendar. The readings are familiar: we're back in the land of Good Friday, with our king crucified on a cross. Perhaps not the image we'd expect for Christ the King Sunday, but those of us who have been reading through this cycle (either for the first time or for the umpteenth time) will be familiar with these strange twists of imagery, with the upheaval of all our expectations.

I have always loved the cyclical nature of the lectionary, with its readings that loop around and remind us that all of life is cyclical. When I'm having a bad day (or week or month), it's important to remember that everything can change. When I'm having a good day (or week or month), it's important to express profound gratitude and to try not to dread the next downturn too much. With every downturn comes an upturn. The life of Christ shows us this.

Christ's life shows us that being king requires something different for a believer. It's not the worldly experience of kings, who are venerated and obeyed. Being a Christian king requires humbling ourselves and thinking of others before we think of ourselves. But our rewards are great. If we could emulate Christ's behavior, we'd have a wonderful community here on earth, and whatever we might experience in the afterlife would just be icing on the cake. We'd have already had a taste of heaven right here on earth.

Maybe we feel grumpy as the holiday season approaches. Maybe we've had a season of sorrow, and we can't quite manage to feel festive. Maybe we're tired of humbling ourselves and we'd like someone to humble themselves for us.

Well, here's some good news. Someone already has. Maybe in this season of thankfulness, we can concentrate on our good fortune, even if we don't feel it. We're alive to see the sunrise and the sunset, some of the best shows on earth, and they're free! Even if we don't have as much money as we'd like, there's always someone who is in worse shape (and if we give some of our money away, we won't feel as constricted about money. Trust me. If you're feeling tight and pinched, now is the time to return to tithing). If we are having trouble keeping everything in perspective, maybe it's time to volunteer at a food bank or an animal shelter--or if we're not into organizational activities, we could do our part to pick up litter. We could smile at the janitorial staff. We could thank them for cleaning the communal bathrooms.

If we start working on our spirit of gratitude, the gift of generosity often follows. If we pray for those who need our prayers, our hearts start to open. If we work on forgiveness, our spirit soars. And soon we realize what it means to celebrate Christ the King Sunday.

Monday, November 15, 2010


1. Where have you seen God working this week?
Protecting everyone during last Wednesday’s school lockdown
My daughter’s transition in Orlando
In a safe passage and pleasant family day
In the power of so many prayers to help Jose come back from near death twice this week.

2. Where Did God use someone else to bless you this week (whether they knew it or not?)
My girl’s hugs when I was sad.
My daughter’s surprise scavenger hunt and special gift that we shared
In a wonderful youth who helped us out with our flat tire
A skillful doctor removed my skin cancer painlessly
Our veterans in their blessing of us all with their sacrifice
Jose blessing me by his faith and conviction that the Lord will heal him because the Lord is not done with him yet.
Firefighters pulled over to help me when my car broke down and were able to help fix it.

3. Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
During my daughter’s transition leaving her home.
A couple relocating to Orlando
At the Pines Radiation Center where I gave a card to the a patient of the surgeon who operated on me and restored my eyesight.
I encouraged a young lady to talk about college and agreed to be a reference for her job search for a part time job.
In reaching out to people who do not believe in the miracles of which God is capable and allow them to see that anything is possible with God’s help.
I was able to watch my neighbors house and kids when they had an emergency

Saturday, November 13, 2010


O sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
have gotten him victory.
The LORD has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.

All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.

We gather today as we gather each and every Sunday: In the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has promised to meet us here whenever we, as a community of faith, gather together in his name. This past week the nation celebrated Veteran’s Day and we gather this morning not as an extension of that national holiday, but to bring to bear on an occasion such as this what the Holy Spirit through the proclaimed Word of God may offer, may say with the thoughts and reflections of this national event firmly alive in our present context.

Imagine that the same Bible that compels pacifists to stand their ground against the violence of war, also feeds those who argue for the existence of the “just war” in which the devastation that such violence brings is seen as the lesser of two evils in which to not fight leads to far worse suffering and injustice. Still others see in the scriptures a ongoing call to fight against various enemies such as those who used such texts to justify the crusades so long ago and others have throughout the ages to justify other military actions.

O sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
have gotten him victory.
The LORD has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.

All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.

Standing at the top of Bloody Nose Ridge I looked down into “the pocket” a small valley that US Marines and later army troops had clawed over inch by inch in order to secure the small Japanese held island of Peleliu during WWII. Most people have never heard of Peleliu, or of Bloody Nose Ridge, but it was by most historians the most vicious battle of World War II. Its planners had predicted that it would take four days to re-capture the island, but it ended up taking two months. Considering the number of men involved, Peleliu had the highest casualty rate of any battle in the Pacific War. The National Museum of the Marine Corps called it "the bitterest battle of the war for the Marines".

Before it was over the First Marine Division suffered the loss of 1/3rd of its men, thousands of people, with some units taking 90% casualties. Japanese loses on the island numbered some 12,000. During my visit as part of my navy work for the 50th Anniversary of World War II Commemoration Committee, I got to use a staircase to get to the top of the ridge; they had to fight inch by inch. Rusty tanks, old gas masks and canteens, and hidden gun emplacements still littered the ridge. I shivered at the thought of fighting day and night in order to plant a flag on this small piece of old volcanic rock that someone had thought important enough to bleed out so many thousands of lives.

In 2007, I served as chaplain at the 20th reunion of my graduating class at the United States Naval Academy. There in the front row of folding chairs set up in Memorial Hall, a vast room that honors those graduates who have paid the ultimate price in defense of our country, sat the families and loved ones of some of our classmates who had paid that price: moms and dads, wives and children, and more. I remember pacing the floor for an hour before the event asking God to give me the words to comfort them in their loss.

Then just a couple of years ago, Trinity hosted a funeral for a young soldier, the fiance of a young women who had grown up in this congregation. He died during his first week in Iraq, the same week as his 21st birthday. A kid honored and remembered by the hundreds of people who filled these very pews.

At every funeral, at every memorial service at every moment of remembrance of loved ones who have died in defense of this nation and its ideals, the words of Saint Paul refuse to let us go: “What then shall we say to this?”

The Bishop of the ELCA, Mark Hanson once shared: “Paul reminds the Romans and modern-day Christians that governing authorities are God's servants. They do God's work of preserving life, establishing order and providing safety. In Romans 13:7, he writes, "Pay to all what is due them ... respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due." In the following verse, Paul writes, "Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law." The clear connection is that respecting and honoring those who are God's servants in the public arena is a prime instance of the command to love their neighbor.

We honor God when we honor God's servants in public life, especially those who make the greatest sacrifices for the common good in their daily vocations. We reflect confident trust in God when we respect those who serve, even while we freely engage in debate and dissent with public policy.”

The Bishop reminds us all that we must and should honor our soldiers as I am sure many of us did on Veteran’s Day and will yet again through prayer this day. Yet, we must at the same time acknowledge that as Lutherans it is important that we take the time to reflect on how our faith interacts with the tension the biblical witness suggests exists between war and peace. To fail to participate in the national dialogue on this subject is to lose an opportunity to bear witness of this gift that we Lutherans bring to the table to those who send our daughters and sons off to war.

As the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America we have adopted a statement about peace and the conflict that threatens it. It notes that as Christians we face conflicting moral claims and agonizing dilemmas on this subject. Helping the neighbor in need may require protecting innocent people from injustice and aggression. While we as Lutherans support the use of nonviolent measures, there may be no other way to offer protection in some circumstances than by restraining forcibly those harming the innocent. We do not, then - for the sake of the neighbor - rule out possible support for the use of military force. We must determine in particular circumstances whether or not military action is the lesser evil.

As Lutherans we seek guidance from the principles of the "just/unjust war" tradition. While permitting recourse to war in exceptional circumstances, these principles intend to limit such occasions by setting forth conditions that must be met to render military action justifiable. We begin with a strong presumption against all war; support for and participation in a war to restore peace is a tragic concession to a sinful world. Any decision for war must be a mournful one.

The principles of the "just/unjust war" tradition incorporate the hope that even war may be subject to political ends (peace) and moral considerations. At their best, these principles provide a moral framework, ambiguous and imprecise though it be, for public deliberation about war, and guidance for persons deciding what to do when faced with the dilemmas of war. In using them, Christians need to be prepared to say "no" to wars in which their nation participates.

O sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
have gotten him victory.
The LORD has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.

All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.

We are humbly reminded that the ultimate victory has already been won by God in and through Christ Jesus. In that victory we find our comfort as we pray for our young men and women who are sent off to war. In that victory we find our comfort as we pray for their families and loved ones. In that victory, we may reluctantly and carefully support military actions and wars that seek to protect life and repel injustice and suffering. In that victory we may also stand with those who find the cause for a particular war or action wanting and unjust and in faith say “no.” It is that victory and that victory alone in which our very lives find their one true hope, their one true freedom, and their one true promised future.

O sing to the LORD a new song,

for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
have gotten him victory.
The LORD has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.

All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The Readings for Sunday, November 14, 2010:

First Reading: Malachi 4:1-2a

First Reading (Semi-cont.): Isaiah 65:17-25

Psalm: Psalm 98

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Isaiah 12 (Isaiah 12:2-6 NRSV)

Second Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13

Gospel: Luke 21:5-19

Here we are, back to apocalyptic texts, a rather strange turn just before we launch into Advent (and just so you won't be surprised, those Advent texts can be on the apocalyptic side too). This week's Gospel is the type of text that many Christians use to support their assertion that we're living in the end times, that the rapture is near.

Keep in mind that the idea of rapture is fairly new; most scholars date it to the middle of the 19th century. But Christians have felt besieged since the beginning, and indeed, in many decades, they have been severely threatened. Lately, we’ve seen massacres during church services, both here and abroad. It’s a sobering reminder that we live in an unstable world, a world where true sanctuary is rare.

Perhaps the Gospel writer wants to remind us of the cost of following Jesus. Even those of us who won’t be massacred or martyred for our beliefs may find it hard to live openly as a Christian in this world. Many people assume that all religious people are kooks. The idea that a person could be an admirable believer is not one that we find reinforced in popular culture.

Perhaps the Gospel shows us the larger cost of existing in the world. Even if we're lucky enough to be born into a stable time period, to be part of a country with a stable government, if we're conscious, it's hard to escape the conclusion that it could all vanish at any moment. And even if we don't suffer on the grand (genocidal) scale, most of us will endure more loss than our younger selves would have believed could be survived.

Before we sink too deeply into depression, we need to remember that Jesus came to give us Good News. And that Good News is that we have each other, and we have a God who loves us, no matter what. If we devote our lives to that love, then we can survive all sorts of betrayal, loss, and persecution.

Monday, November 08, 2010


1. Where have you seen God working this week?
Working in my home with my family!
Many places!
In the hospital
In our Family
In my Health
Keeping the rodeo riders and animals safe
At a prayer meeting

2. Where Did God use someone else to bless you this week (whether they knew it or not?)?
T. helped me to recognize how life can turn, but you must trust in God to take care of you,
Church, Neighbors, Friends, computer
At an AA Meeting
Contacting me with medical suggestions
Others praying over me
Friends showing compassion when I was upset over my father’s declining health.

3. Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
God used me to bless a mother and son as they moved into their new apartment
Prayer, phone, church, computer.
In the Hospital
With my grandbabies
Listening to a neighbor who received some bad news.
Praying for someone who asked me to.
In Tampa while visiting my precious daughter, son and granddaughter

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

8AM and 10:45AM Services
There will be a table in the narthex for photographs of our veterans (both members, family of members,  and other veterans for whom we pray) and special prayers of thanksgiving for those who have served and for safety for those who are serving. The Veteran's section of the Butterfly Memorial Garden will be refreshed during the week of November 7th as a reminder of the power and promise of resurrection for those who have made the ultimate sacrfice.
For Trinity Lutheran, Pembroke Pines 

at 8AM and 10:45AM Services
Sunday November 7th
There will be a memory table set up at the front of the church for photographs or other memoribilia of departed loved ones.
We will be lighting candles, blessing the memorial garden with rose petals, receiving your prayers of thanksgiving for the saints in your life on special prayer cards at the font and more!
Please join us!
Attention: If you or anyone you know is interested in securing permanent housing for someone over 62 or with a disability and with a gross annual income under $25,700 for an individual or under $29,400 for two people, please call Karen Bendahan at 954-966-9805 ASAP to find out more about a couple of good opportunities in this area, one of which is taking applications only on Nov. 19.

Section 8 Housing applications will be taken on Friday, Nov. 19, starting at 9:00 a.m., for housing in Dania Beach. The first 250 applicants will be accepted, and the application process will close when they get to that number. The phone number to call that morning at 9 a.m. is 954-920-4860. If the line is busy, interested individuals should keep calling back until they get through.

Applicants must have the following pieces of information available when making the call:

Address, including apartment/unit number
Phone number
Date of birth
Social Security number
If the applicant is under age 62, they want to know if you have a disability that we ever recognized by the government.
A mission of Samaritan's Purse, the purpose of Operation Christmas Child is:
To demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

In this mission, folks pack up shoeboxes for children in need throughout the world.
Information for how to pack a shoebox can be found here:
Please review these insteructions as certain items are not permissible.

This Sunday, November 7th, following the second service and led by Nancy Berger,  interested children and youth will be travelling to the dollar store to help select items for their show boxes.

Pizza and soda will be available after the second service for purchase for anyone staying after during coffee hour (those going on the trip and those who are just hanging out during coffee hour)

The deadline for dropping off completed shoeboxes is Sunday November 14th.
If you have any questions, please contact Nancy.
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, November 7, 2010:

First Reading: Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18

Psalm: Psalm 149

Second Reading: Ephesians 1:11-23

Gospel: Luke 6:20-31

Today we celebrate All Saints Day. It's a strange time of year for us Lutherans. We celebrate Reformation Day, we celebrate Halloween, we celebrate All Saints Day. Those of us who are English majors might even remember the November 2 All Souls Day, the day on which Gawain departed to find the Green Knight. All Souls Day used to be as widely celebrated as All Saints Day. All Saints celebrates all the saints which have gone before us; All Souls celebrates the lives of those who have died in the past year (and since Gawain leaves on All Souls Day, a medieval audience would realize the significance and know that he was heading towards certain doom). On top of this, we have the Gospel reading about the actions of Jesus which most frightened and disgusted some of his contemporaries.

Think about his actions and your current life: what would make you feel most threatened. Jesus healed the sick, and most of us would be OK with that, especially if we're the sick people. We tend not to worry too much about technique or qualifications, if we feel better. Someone showed me a cold remedy and said, "I always feel better within a day of taking it. Of course, it's probably just a placebo effect and not real medicine." I said, "Who cares? As long as you're not coughing." What is the difference after all, between a placebo effect and real healing? Most of us just want to feel better.

Do we feel threatened by Jesus forgiving sins? Probably not. We've had two thousand years to get used to the idea, after all. But if one of our contemporaries started traveling around, telling people their sins are forgiven--well, that's a different matter. Even if they make these pronouncements in the name of Jesus, we might feel queasy.

The action of Jesus that really seems to send people of all sorts into orbits of anger is his habit of eating with the outcasts of society. Most of us are prone to that discomfort. If you don't believe me, bring a homeless person to church and coffee afterwards. See what happens. Take a shabbily dressed person to a nice restaurant. See what happens. Suggest that your church operate a soup kitchen or turn into a homeless shelter at night. See what happens.

Here's the Good News. Jesus saw the value in all of us. Jesus especially saw the value in the least of us. When you're feeling like a total loser, keep that in mind. If Jesus was part of your church, you'd be the first one invited to the table.

That's the good news about All Saints Day, All Souls Day, and Reformation Day. We tend to forget that all the saints that came before us were flesh and blood humans (including Jesus). We think of people like Martin Luther as perfect people who had no faults who launched a revolution. In fact, you could make the argument that many revolutions are launched precisely because of people's faults: they're bullheaded, so they're not likely to make nice and be quiet and ignore injustice. They're hopelessly naive and idealistic, so they stick to their views of how people of faith should live--and they expect the rest of us to conform to their visions. They refuse to bow to authority because they answer to a higher power--and so, they translate the Bible into native languages, fund colleges, rescue people in danger, insist on soup kitchens, write poems, and build affordable housing.

The world changes (for the better and the worse) because of the visions of perfectly ordinary people--and because their faith moves them into actions that support that vision. If we're lucky, those people are working towards the same vision of the inclusive Kingdom that Jesus came to show us.