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, November 30, 2011

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, December 4, 2011:

First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-11

Psalm: Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

Second Reading: 2 Peter 3:8-15a

Gospel: Mark 1:1-8

This Sunday's Gospel takes us to John, a fascinating character. In today's reading, we see him, clothed in his strange costume, eating locusts and wild honey. Other Gospels present him as the cousin of Christ. Who is this guy?

I find him fascinating for many reasons. Maybe I'm always intrigued by a prophet. This year, I'm thinking about John's place in the drama of Christ's life, and how he seems completely comfortable with his place.

In earlier years, I've wondered if it would be hard to be John, with his more famous cousin Jesus overshadowing him. This year, I notice that he has the perfect opportunity to upstage Jesus--people of the time period were desperate for a Messiah, and there were plenty of predators wandering around, trying to convince people that they were the Messiah. John had more legitimacy and a wider following than most of the other people with their wild claims.

But John knows who he is. And he fills out his full potential by preparing the way for Jesus. Not only does John know who he is, he knows who Jesus is. John knows for whom he waits and watches.

We might be wise to see John as a cautionary tale too. John is one of the earliest to know the true mission of Jesus (in some Gospel versions, perhaps he realizes the mission of Jesus before Jesus fully does). Notice that John's life is turned upside down.

Many people are shocked to discover that being a Christian doesn't protect them from hard times. Being a Christian doesn't mean that we won't suffer sickness, that we won't lose our jobs, that we won't lose almost everything we love. To be human means that we will suffer loss--and thinking people know in advance that we will suffer loss, which means that we suffer more than once.

But we have a God who has experienced the very same thing. Think of the life of Jesus, who had no place to lay his head and died by crucifixion.

The good news is that we have a God who fully understands all the ways in which we suffer--and wants to be with us anyway. We have a God who fully understands all the ways in which we will fail--and loves us fully anyway.

John reminds us of our Advent goal, which is to keep watch, to stay alert. Of course, our Advent goal should spill over into the rest of our life. It's easy to keep watch in December, when the rest of the world counts down to Christmas. It's harder to remember to watch for God in the middle of summer. That's why we need to develop daily spiritual practices that will keep us watchful.

John also reminds us that we are not the Messiah. It’s Christ’s role to save people. It’s tempting to think that we can save ourselves and each other. But we can’t. It’s comforting to say, “I am not the Messiah,” as John the Baptist does, in John 1:20. In our daily lives, we’re confronted with scores of problems that we can’t solve, from various national debt crises to meetings about missed numbers and opportunities to friends and family who make disastrous choices. We can only do so much. We are not the Christ for whom the world waits.

That phrase can keep us humble too. Many a powerful figure has been disgraced by forgetting that someone else is the Messiah.

These days, perhaps we have the opposite problem. Far from feeling powerful, we may feel oppressed by forces outside our control. But our scripture readings offer comfort. We have a larger salvation, even when our daily lives feel like a persecution. Christ came to claim us, the Holy Spirit stays with us, and the day will come when we will be reunited with the Divine. Watch and wait and work for "a new earth, where righteousness is at home" (2 Peter 3: 13).

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

FRI DEC 9th is gingerbread man decorating and Christmas Bread Baking Night at Trinity Lutheran. Potluck at 6:30PM and event kicks off at 7PM.
We ask folks to bring some tubs/cans of icing and some candies to decorate the gingerbread (to share.)
This annual event grows more popular each year as we encourage folks to bring lots of friends, especially children (but adults really have a blast as well...!)
So I am anticipating a busy week of baking next week!
As we have in each of the past few years we will be hosting some youth from a nearby Youth Shelter and are taking our turn as part of the church-based shelter program so a real blessing to be with others in grace and love as well.

I am contemplating offering three classes for bread baking that night.
7PM - Applesauce Walnut Bread - I have mini-loaf silicone coated paper gift pans - so until I run out folks can make and bake their own and take them home! This bread has cinnamon and allspice so it is smells heavenly!
7:30PM - Will sample, discuss and share the recipe for Finnish Pulla Bread.
8PM - Kings Cake anyone? A New Orleans tradition for 12th Night (Epiphany).
Still contemplating cream cheese or pecan-brown sugar with bourbon filling for the Kings Cake....
A series of free classes led by our own certified yoga instructor, Diane Jansen, to begin this Thursday 9:30AM until 11AM in Charter Hall. All Welcome!
If you have any GENTLY used teenage size clothes - please bring them this Sunday and drop them off in the narthex (or at the office during the week).
On Friday DEC 9th we will be hosting youth from the Lippmann Shelter for Gingerbread Night who often arrive at the shelter with only the clothes on their backs.
WELCA Country Christmas
Friday Dec. 2nd, 6:30pm.

Bring a favorite covered dish to share and 2doz. cookies
to be shared and given to shut-ins.
Special music by Jacob Smitter.
This includes sing-a-long of Christmas hymns
as well as special music.

Pastor Keith will be doing a dramatic reading of
"How The Grinch Stole Christmas" as well!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mason Michael Bean, son of Samantha, grandson to Elizabeth and Danny Miranda, and Great Grandson to Bill and Thelma Lebright (and Nephew to Jennifer Rodemick!)
We have received the wonderful news from Thelma LeBright, proud great grandmother, of the birth of  Mason Michael Bean who made his debut last night at 11:30pm weighing 7 lbs. 1 oz and 20 ins, long. Samantha, Bryan and Mason all doing well.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Light one candle
and watch for Messiah! Come join us at Trinity Lutheran, Pembroke Pines, this Advent - 8AM and 10:45AM
Tomorrow during coffee hour we are making Advent Wreaths for home!

If you have last years Advent Wreath materials, bring them - if not we have plenty and we have the greens!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mark 13:24–37 Sermon 2011

When I was in the navy one of our duties was standing watch on the bridge as Officer of the Deck – we directed the helmsman – ordering him to come left or right in order to avoid dangerous situations and ensuring that we went along the track that was plotted by our navigator. Sometimes we pull the midshift, the late watch when all but a few hardy souls were sleeping. The safety of the ship and its crew was essentially in my hands. The problem with the midshift was a common one- we had to be sharp at all times – and few of us ever got much of a nap before we went on watch. To nod off was dereliction of duty and to risk a collision. We had to keep awake. And so the answer was usually caffeine. Lots of it.

Armed with that knowledge when we approach today’s Gospel text in which Jesus admonishes us to keep awake or keep alert not once, not twice, but three times we should take what Jesus has to say seriously. Jesus does not repeat the phrased for his benefit – but for ours. Anything that Jesus says three times is to get our attention.

So, why should we keep awake? Why is this so important?

I know that someone wants to shout out right now “Because Jesus says so.”

True enough. But let’s go deeper. When you are driving a ship you keep awake to avoid a collision. When you drive a car it is to avoid a collision. When you are riding a bicycle it is to avoid a collision. When you are taking an exam at school it is so you might actually finish the exam with some hope of passing. When you are at work it is so you can do the job that you were hired for without using your keyboard as a pillow leaving this really odd pattern on your cheek that just screams “yes I was sleeping on the job.”

But why would Jesus tell his followers of that age and by extension this age, this time, to keep awake?

When we read what Jesus has to say, it seems clear that Jesus wants us to keep awake for our sake. Because something of utmost importance to us is going to happen and Jesus does not want us to miss it. This isn’t like falling asleep early on New Year’s Eve and waking up only to discover that you slept through the ball coming down in Times Square and feeling a twinge of disappointment. Jesus wants us to keep awake so that we do not miss something important, something incredible. But what? What is it that Jesus does not want us to miss? Is it the end of the age? Christ’s return at the end of the age? Not likely. Imagine all that Jesus went through, all of the suffering and finally crucifixion all of that, with the possibility that it might be all for nothing because humankind had been up late and slept through his return.

Fine one might say. That’s too literal. Keeping awake has to do with recognizing the signs of Jesus return at the end of the days. I suggest that the point being made here is diminished if we reduce today’s Gospel to merely Jesus trying to give us some insight on when the "end" is coming. It is diminished when we believe that all Jesus cares about here is that we are armed with special knowledge so that we can "read the tea leaves" of world events and see in them the great end of the cosmos and his return in glory.

Jesus claims not to even know the day or time of his return.

Jesus, himself does not know. So why does he want us to learn the signs so that we know?

Perhaps this text is not the blueprint for what we should be looking for to determine if "this is it." Perhaps this text isn’t a collection of signs of the end times that we all should commit to memory and scan CNN each night to see which have come to pass, checking another box on our “end times” check list. No. This text isn’t suggesting that we look with great anticipation for a simultaneous solar and lunar eclipse coupled with a meteor shower and Jesus surfing the clouds while the powers in the heavens (angels, perhaps?) do the shake. No.

So, if the text isn't about producing an end times checklist (and trust me that would miss the point entirely) then what? Why should we keep awake if it isn’t to prevent us from missing Christ’s return?

The answer is a matter of time. We must keep awake because the time is short.

The time is short.

What if this passage has a great deal to say about our present, rather than our future? Let me say that again, what if this passage has much more to say about our present than it does about our future: The future is given to us at the cross, God’s gift of grace in Christ Jesus. Christ came down, comes to us, finds us, saves us. And in Christ we have a foretaste of the Kingdom of heaven in which Christ reigns in glory, a glory in which we, too have a share.

If Christ won for us our future, then the timing of Christ’s return becomes irrelevant. The future for us has already started. It began from the moment that Christ claimed us in our baptism.

So time matters, not because the future is at stake for us or we might miss Christ when he returns in glory because we failed to read the signs or slept through all of the righteous commotion, but because what we do matters.

What we choose to do with this short time we have matters because we do it in the name of Jesus. We keep awake when we stop sleepwalking through life in autopilot and refuse to consider that every word and every action we do as Christians we do in the name of God.

I remember when we were having trouble with our Honda many years ago and we went to a huge dealership who advised us (as it turns out based upon the symptoms, not because they actually looked at the car) that we needed about a thousand dollars worth of repairs. They were quite reluctant to release the car back to us when we choose to wait and think about it, telling us that it would be dangerous to drive. While they took their time to prepare the paperwork to release the car, a salesman came over and offered to buy the car from us at a reduced rate, of course, because of the damage. A smaller mom and pop dealership a few miles away diagnosed the problem as a cracked radiator cap gasket and replaced it for a couple of bucks. So which one, do you think, was truly living awake in this life? Our time is short and it matters a great deal.

To keep awake is to honor the time in this life that has been entrusted to us by embodying Christ in our words and our actions. Always. It is to free ourselves from the notion that we have some things that we do in the name of Jesus and other things that we do that have nothing to do with Jesus. People out in the world won’t see it that way. Christ won’t see it that way. So why should we? Every word we utter is a witness to Christ and every action that we do is a witness to Christ. If we are keeping awake then those words and actions give witness to the Savior of the world and if we are not then they point people to something else. Something that does not save. Something that does not forgive. Something else that does not love as God loves.

For disciples of Jesus, morning has broken. Night is over. The day is here. And so awake we embrace our life and the world. AMEN!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WELCA Country Christmas
 Dec. 2nd, 6:30pm.
Bring a favorite covered dish to share and 2doz. cookies
to be shared and given to shut-ins.
Special music by Jacob Smitter.
This includes sing-a-long of Christmas hymns
as well as special music. 
Pastor Keith will be doing a dramatic reading of 
"How The Grinch Stole Christmas" as well!
Three of our younger hand chimers!
Great job Thanksgiving Eve!
We have a special bowl that we have on our table. Before grace, we pass the bowl around the table and each person says what they are thankful for. Once the bowl is "filled", it is placed in the center of the table as a reminder through the meal of the bountiful blessings God has given us.

Thanksgiving 2011 Sermon

In 1621 after a year of disease, hardship and diminished hopes, the harvest came in leading to three days of celebration and thanks. There were likely no turkeys, no potatoes, no cranberries, and no pies. But there was likely lobster - which when we think about it would be pretty cool as the official crustacean of Thanksgiving. There were twice as many Native Americans as pilgrims and they brought deer meat to share. No parades. No marching bands. No big balloons. No Santa Claus on a float. No football. No doorbuster sales about to begin. No Black Friday to distract them and empty their bank accounts. They were glad to be alive and to bring in the first harvest of their small struggling colony, a colony that had learned so much about surviving in this new and different land from the local tribes. So they feasted and celebrated together and had no idea that they were inaugurating a holiday. And I am thankful for the help that the Wampanoag tribe gave since one of my ancestors was numbered among the 50 or so colonists feasting that day.

 We have no idea if they continued to tell the story of that first harvest celebration, though two accounts of it have surfaced over the years and they became the basis in later years for the event we celebrate today. Our Thanksgiving evolved in the hands of a few enthusiasts  from what was originally a time of prayer and fasting to well, the fasting part has changed course, hasn’t it?

 We do not know if they continued to remember and tell the story, but within a generation they seemed to forgotten what lay at the heart of the story, their gratitude for the Wampanoag who helped them survive that first most difficult year and taught them how to farm and hunt in this wild new land.  Their thanks for the Wampanoag and Squanto who interpreted and served as liaison for them, who had been captured in his younger years by Europeans and sold into slavery until later freed by monks.  

 When generations gather around the table for a meal stories are often told, aren’t they? Children hear tales of their parents or aunts or uncles in their younger days  - about the mischief they enjoyed, how they spent their time, their play and their imperfection. Such stores humanize us all. And they help us remember where we have come from, our roots, our family. They renew our identity. I’m not sure what my own children have pondered as they have heard tell of the times I used to walk into parked cars or the many times I spilt my milk or the time I nearly broke my arm on my parent’s anniversary because I ignored their request not to try to learn to skateboard that particular afternoon. When the generations gather around the table, stories are told and thanks given, sometimes with a side-helping of laughter.

 Our reading for this Thanksgiving Eve is a story that the people of Israel told over and over again - for each generation to hear, to know and to claim as their heritage. A story of a people, a land and their God who both brought them to it and gave it to them. A story told over and over so that the people would not forget.

We read again:
When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, 13and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, 14then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid wasteland with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock, 16and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. 17Do not say to yourself, "My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth." 18But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today

 Just because society has turned Thanksgiving into a morass of over-indulgence of food stirred with a large heaping of mega-discount sales and doorbusters does not mean that we need to give up telling the stories as a waste of time or stop giving thanks for the bounty before us, through the offering of table grace. When we take the time to give thanks we remind ourselves that all we have comes from God’s bounty and blessing and we connect ourselves to the long long story as part of God’s vast redeemed creation.

 Thanksgiving is really a story of two tables - that’s what we need to remember and share and pass on and on - one table being the one at which we find ourselves not only tomorrow on Thanksgiving, but every day. That is the gift of the Wampanoag, for they gave thanks for every meal, for every bit of food from hunt or harvest. The first table is the one that the Lord blesses and provides for our sustenance, for our nourishment and to build the bonds of family and relationships. And for that we say our table graces of Thanksgiving, rooting ourselves as a people of God and for God, the one through whom all blessings flow.

 The second table is the one that we will find ourselves at this evening and often: The Lord’s Table; The Table of Grace. We come as guests at the Lord’s invitation. We do not presume upon the Lord’s generosity, but feast with hearts full of thanks for the blessing of grace we receive through the Bread and Wine, the body and blood of our Lord and Savior. We come to be fed with the food that truly satisfies, that gives live eternal. We come as many people, rich and poor, of many generations and places of origin, forged as one people gathered around the table with the Lord as host of our heavenly banquet.  The Lord offers his own Table Grace:

This is my body given for you do this in remembrance of me. This cup is the new covenant in my blood shed for you and for all people for forgiveness of sins, do this in remembrance of me. And remembrance is not about an old  old story stuck in history, but the word captures this wonderful concept – anamnesis – in which the past is active in the present – in which we, too enter into the paschal mystery, part of the ongoing story of a good and gracious God saving us in and through Jesus Christ and claiming us to be God’s people.  

Anytime we find ourselves at a table, there will be stories to be remembered and told and thanksgiving to be offered – what stories will shape you and I tonight and tomorrow? And will our hearts receive these stories with gratitude or indifference? AMEN!

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.

 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.
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

By Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, November 27, 2011:

Isaiah 64:1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18 (Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 NRSV)
Show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved. (Ps. 80:7)
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13:24-37

First of all, happy New Year! For those of us observing liturgical years, this Sunday marks the start of a new liturgical year. This year, many of the Gospel readings come from Mark, believed to be the first of the Gospels written (about 70 years after the death of Jesus).

Advent is a time that stresses that the liturgical year exists often in stark contrast to the calendar year. Stores have been decorated for Christmas for months, and we're only just beginning (the strictest liturgical traditions don't decorate for Christmas until after the last Sunday in Advent--that's much closer to Christmas than most of us would like). Worship planners field many complaints about not singing Christmas carols before Christmas Eve--and yet, we're observing Advent, not Christmas, so technically, Christmas carols aren't appropriate.

The readings for Advent will often seem jarringly out of place with the festive atmosphere one encounters in the secular world. Look at the Gospel for today. What an apocalyptic tone! Stars falling from the heavens and such tribulations as haven't been seen since the beginning of creation. This end times language is how we count down to Christmas?

Yet in many ways, this apocalyptic tone is appropriate. Watch and Wait. That seems to be one of the lessons for the day. Look at how many times the word Watch is repeated in the Gospel. Like a pregnant woman, like Mary, the people of God keep watch for God's presence in the world while we create new life on earth (with God's help). Perhaps we should take a cue from the Gospel and carve some time for meditation during this busy holiday season. We get so caught up in the frenzy and the festivity that it's easy to lose our focus on what the season should mean to us. Watch and Wait. Light a new candle each week as we watch for the Messiah.

Of course, the Messiah has already come--our salvation is assured. The idea of the end being contained in the beginning is part of our Advent readings as well. We hear the story of the preparations for Jesus' birth with readings that are often interpreted as prophecy about a Messiah (found in the Old Testament, particularly Isaiah) along with Bible readings that remind us that Christ will come again.

Christ is coming (as he has come before, as he is present with us now)--are you ready? Take some moments this season--quit buying Christmas presents, quit cooking, quit racing from party to open house to family reunion. Listen to the voice crying in the wilderness. Think about the promises that God has made to us, the commitments God asks from us. How can you prepare? For the Kingdom of God is at hand.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Last week, we delivered 23 shoe boxes to support Operation Christmas Child. Many thanks and appreciation to you, your family and friends who helped support efforts to making a difference in a child's life.

Taking time to participate allows us the opportunity to share the "Good News" about God's love and not only brings joy but gives hope to children who have none or very little.

  Thanks to the effort of Jacob Smitter, those loose wires pertruding from the wall in Charter Hall, are now neat, clean and professionally installed. Last Sunday, we were able to participate in a webinar on a fully functional audio-visual system that can be used for so many things from Friday night movies to Sunday School presentations. Just envision the possibilities!
Thanksgiving Eve at
Trinity Lutheran, Pembroke Pines7PM come early - make a "Blessing Bowl" with Tina Hines and friends as you enter church. Grab a seat and listen to the pre-service music.
7:30PM The liturgy begins - Table graces - the blessing of giving thanks!
8:30ish We head over to the hall for pie and have a chance to support our Trinity Women whose crafts will be on display along with some loaves of pastor's bread (pastor is not crafty but has been known to bake on occasion in support of the Trinity Women) just in time for the holidays!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Christmas Craft Bazaar
and Bake Sale! This Saturday from 9-2PM
Lunch available - come on out and browse these hand made treasures!
This Sunday evening at 7PM at Trinity Lutheran Church, 7150 Pines Blvd, Pembroke Pines, FL 33023 (954) 989-1903
Free concert with a love offering. Not to be Missed!!!!!

Bring everyone that you know!!!

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011:

First Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

Psalm: Psalm 95:1-7a

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 100

Second Reading: Ephesians 1:15-23

Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46

This week, the liturgical year comes to a close with Christ the King Sunday.  In some churches, this will be a high festival day that celebrates the power of Christ.  But the Gospel reading makes it clear that Kingdom power is not the same as worldly power.

We might expect a Gospel reading that reminds us that Jesus transcended death.  We might get a Gospel reading that tries to scare us with a vision of Christ at the next Coming, descending in glory to judge us.  Well, in a way, we do.

But the vision we get is not the one that we might expect.  We might expect to be judged and found wanting because of what we've been told are sins:  our drinking, our gambling, our loose sexuality.  We might expect to be judged for all the Sundays we decided we'd prefer sleep to church.  We might expect to be judged because we've been lazy and we didn't go for that promotion at work.

This Gospel reminds us of how God will judge us.  Did we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, visit the imprisoned?  Then we have been attending to our royal tasks.

And why do we do this?  The Bible is full of stories of the Divine showing up in circumstances where we wouldn't expect to find God.  The Bible tells us that God prefers to hang out with the poor and the marginalized.  If we want to find God, we need to go there.  We have a history of thousands of years of Christians whose lives support what the Bible tells us--we will find God in the meekest of places.  Next week, we celebrate Advent, where we remember one of our central Christian stories:  God comes to be with us two thousand years ago, but not in the power center of Rome.  No, God comes to us in one of the outposts of Roman civilizations and God lives with one of the groups of people that the worldly, dominant power structure of the time despised.

This Gospel also reminds us that we are to see God in everyone.  It's easy for me to see God in the eyes of my husband as he looks at me lovingly.  It's harder for me to see my difficult coworker as Jesus incarnate.  In any given day, we are besieged by people who aggravate us, from our family members to our colleagues to strangers who drive the road with us (or shop in the same stores or send their children to the same schools). By forcing myself to treat everyone as Jesus-in-Disguise, I will transform myself into the Christian that I want to be.

Jesus was the model, after all.  Jesus had dinner with the outcast.  Jesus treated everyone with love and respect, even people who were out to sabotage him.  I could let myself off the hook by saying, "Well, yeah, he was God incarnate.  I could do that too, if I was God incarnate."

No, you can do it, because Jesus did it.  Jesus came to show us the full potential of a human life.  Jesus came to dwell among us and to show us a better way to live.  It's not the way the world tells us to live.  The world would scoff at a king who sought out the poor and dispossessed, who sold his possessions so that he would have more money for the poor. 

But Christians know that our power lies in our compassion.  We don't achieve compassion by sitting in our homes, working on being more compassionate. We become more compassionate in the same way that God did, by getting involved in the world.

And we're not doing this for some after-death reward, although many preachers will use this Gospel to lecture on that.  We do this because God has invited us to be part of the redemption of creation--not in some far away time, but in our very own.  We don't have to wait for Jesus to come again.  When we model Jesus in our everyday behavior, Christ re-enters the world.

We're not here to make money, to have a good retirement, to accumulate stuff.  God has a greater purpose for us, one that will leave us infinitely more satisfied.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NOVEMBER 13, 2011 Sermon

Over the past month our Holy Communion practice at the 10:45AM service has undegone several changes. Do to growing concerns about the dangers of people having to walk up several steps to the altar rail (we have experienced several falls, but thankfully no injuries), we have adjusted out practice for the time being to continuous communion. People come forward and receive either bread or the gluten-free wafer from Pastor Keith on the floor level and may now partake of wine from the common cup held by the assisting minister directly behind Pastor Keith or wine or grape juice from the indivdiual cups on either side held by the communion assistants. Indiviudal cups may be disposed of in the recepticles located at the side aisles next to the walls.

For those who find a time of reflection and prayer after receiving the sacrament a blessing, that time may now be done in the pew rather than kneeling at the altar rail. We know that this may inconvenience some who prefer kneeling at the altar, but it is a compromise of the moment until other alternatives (such as the possibility of moving the altar rail down to the first step)  are fully explored. We will keep the congregaton informed should alternatives be put into action.

Of course, we will continue to bring communion to those in the pews who find continuous common a challenge.

We follow standard practice with our use of the common cup which involves wiping and turning the chalace with each sip and all servers will have access to antibacterial gel prior to serving.

Should you have any questions about our current communion practice please contact Pastor Keith.
Advent Services Getting MORE Creative!
A new addition is the opportunity for those who desire to respond creatively to the Gospel rather than the passive act of listening to a sermon (everyone processes differently, especially some of our younger people). After the Gospel is read we will gather and bless those who will be participating in the Creative Response to the Gosdpel Activity and send them our in joy with our "Creative Response Leader" to the “Choir Room” where the creative response activity will take place.

The rest of us will continue with the sermon. The Creative Response folks will rejoin us at offering time.

The creative activity is directly tied into the Gospel theme for the day  and is, of course, is just an option and completely voluntary. Some people just learn and interact better with the Gsoepl with their hands rather than their ears and we want to be a congregation that allows for different styles of learning.

 The decorating of the sanctuary for Advent will also be different - this year it will take place in stages as we learn the gift and blessing of waiting for the coming of our Savior at Christmas. Each Sunday in Advent our worship space will be different as the Advent journey to Christmas moves ever forward!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Multiple Award Winning Folk-duo

Sunday November 20th at 7PM
Trinity Lutheran Church, Pembroke Pines, FL
7150 Pines Blvd
(The SE corner of Pines Blvd and 72nd Ave)
For more information, please call (954) 989-1903

(a love offering will be taken)

We ask that all boxes be brought to
Trinity by SUN NOV 13th when we will dedicate them at the altar. These links
have more info on the project

This project fills empty shoe-boxes
with school supplies, toys, personal items and a special book that tells about
God‘s love. They are then delivered to a drop off center, where they will
eventually be distributed to children around the world.

All monetary donations are tax
deductible. Please make all checks payable to Samaritan’s Purse and placed in
the offering plate labeled Operation Christmas Child.

If you have any questions - please
contact Nadira Fauder - 954-483-3261or Nancy Berger @ 954-649-5205

How To Pack A Shoe Box

Use an empty shoe box (standard size, please) or a small plastic container.
You can wrap the box (lid separately), but wrapping is not required. Most
importantly, pray for the child who will receive your gift.

Determine whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the child’s age
category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Print out the appropriate boy/girl label by
downloading the artwork to the right. Mark the correct age category on the
label, and tape the label to the top of your box.

Fill the box with a variety of gifts that will bring delight to a child. Use
the gift ideas provided on the bottom of this page.

Please donate $7 or more for each shoe box you prepare to help cover shipping
and other project costs. You can give online by using our “Follow Your Box
Donation” option, or you can write a check to Samaritan’s Purse (note “OCC” on
memo line) and place it in an envelope on top of the gift items inside your box.
If you or your family are preparing more than one shoe box, please make one
combined donation.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


"The Breads of the Holidays"

The date for the next Bread Baking Class has changed. Our "Breads of the Holidays" Class will be taught simultaneously with our annual Gingerbread decorating event on Friday December 9th. We will have stations so no one misses out on any of the activities (the class will be taught multiple times that evening so that folks can decorate gingbread men and learn to bake bread and more!) Pot luck supper at 6PM with the activities beginning around 6:45PM. We ask that folks bring a bottle or tub of icing to share and a gingerbread man decorating item to share. It will be a great family night!

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Bread

1 scant cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potatoes or sweet potato casserole (8 oz)
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (7.25 oz)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with flour-added cooking spray or grease as usual. You could also use a smaller loaf pan, but might have to adjust bake time.
Stir the sugar, oil, eggs, milk, vanilla and sweet potatoes together in a large mixing bowl.
Stir the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a second bowl, making sure ingredients are well-mixed. Add the flour mixture, walnuts, and chocolate chips to the sweet potato mixture and stir, without over-beating, just until the ingredients are well mixed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Let the bread cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then remove from pan.

Sweet Potato Bread with Pecans

Makes 2 loaves
• 2 1/3 cups sugar
• 2/3 cups water
• 2/3 cup oil
• 4 eggs
• 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
• 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine sugar, water, oil, eggs, and sweet potatoes and mix thoroughly. Add dry ingredients and mix to combine. Add pecans and mix well. Divide between 2 greased loaf pans and bake for 50 minutes. Cool in pan to room temperature.

Sweet Potato Yeast Bread

• 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
• 1-3/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
• 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes (without added milk and butter)
• 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, softened, divided
• 1/2 cup honey
• 1 egg
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 3 cups whole wheat flour
• 3-1/4 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

• 1 cup butter, softened
• 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
• 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup butter, honey, egg, salt and whole wheat flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough all-purpose flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.  Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape into loaves. Place in two greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.  Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown (cover loosely with foil if top browns too quickly). Remove from pans to wire racks. Melt remaining butter; brush over warm bread. Cool. In a small bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Stir in walnuts. Serve with bread. Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, November 13, 2011:

First Reading: Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18

First Reading (Semi-cont.): Judges 4:1-7

Psalm: Psalm 90:1-8 [9-11] 12

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 123

Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Gospel: Matthew 25:14-30

This week's Gospel gives us the parable of the talents. One servant turns his 5 talents into 10, one turns his 2 talents into 4, and the servant who buries his one talent in the yard doesn't create any new capital. It's easy when reading this Gospel to focus on the word "talent." It's natural to think of our own talents, to wonder how we're investing them, and how we're wasting them by burying them in the yard.

The parable makes it clear what will happen to people who bury their talents. Now, I know that many of us are blessed with a multitude of talents. We do have to make judicious choices about which talents are worth cultivating. I hope that we won't be the servant cast into worthless darkness because we pay attention to one set of skills over another.

But let's look at that parable again. Let's look at that word, "talent," again. Read the parable substituting the word gold blocks for talent.

It's worth noting that a quantity of 5 talents, according to my Bible footnote (and my Bible is published by Oxford University Press, so I trust the footnote), is worth 15 years of wages of this laborer. In an article from The Christian Century, James Howell, a Methodist minister, points out that the servant who got just one talent would be receiving more money than most of us get in a lifetime of work: "This amount would stagger any recipient and send him into utterly uncharted territory. A Mediterranean laborer wouldn't have any more of a clue about how to invest five talent than the guy who bags my groceries would about $74 million (even if I and all my friends tried to advise him)."

As I read this week's Gospel again, I forced myself to think about the fact that this parable really is about money. It's not instructing me to return to the piano keyboard at the expense of the computer keyboard. And it's an unusually Capitalist message from Christ. I'm used to the Jesus who tells us to give our money away. I'm not used to the savior who encourages us to make wise investments of our money.

I'm not used to thinking of money management as a talent. But this parable makes clear that it is. Jesus makes clear that money is one of the gifts we're given, and the verses that follow (31-46, ones that aren't part of this week's Gospel) show that Christ is not straying from his essential message. The verses that follow talk about treating the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the prisoner as if those people are Christ incarnate. God has a vision for how we'll use that gift of money.

The servant who was cast into out darkness was cast out because the talent went to waste buried in the ground. How would he have been treated if he had given the money away to the poor, the sick, the stranger? I suspect he would NOT have been cast into outer darkness.

Our collapsing Capitalist paradigm often doesn't take community into account. Not making enough money in America, where workers have unreasonable demands like a living wage and safe working conditions? Just move your industry to a country that has less oversight. Sure, you rip apart the social fabric, but at least you're making money.

God calls us to a different vision. Our God is always obsessed with the poor and dispossessed. And we're called to be part of that obsession.

Unfortunately, tough economic times mean that we'll find many opportunities for this aspect of Kingdom Living. With the holidays approaching, we might think about our customs. Maybe, instead of giving people who have lots of stuff even more stuff, we could donate to a charity in their name. In my family, the adults decided that instead of exchanging presents with each other, we would choose a different charity each year and donate to that charity. Maybe, instead of an endless whirl of parties, we might give some time to our local food pantries or soup kitchens. As we buy a book or two for our favorite children, we could buy a book or two for local reading programs or donate to RIF (Reading is Fundamental, the nation's largest child literacy organization).

The ways to help heal the world are endless, and God invites us to join in the creation project. We can donate money, time, skills, prayers, optimism, hope. Doing so is one of our most basic Christian tasks.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

6PM Simple Meal provided
6:30PM Bread Baking Class - We will deliciously answer the question: What do you do with all of those left over sweet potatoes that no one ate on Thanksgiving?"
Three bread recipes in one yummy class!
We'll be making Sweet Potato Yeast Bread with Cream Cheese Nut Spread, Sweet Potato Bread with Pecans, and Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Bread
Choir Rehearsal and Prayer and Praise Attendees are more than welcome to join us for the meal beginning a few minutes before 6PM through 6:30PM

Sunday, November 06, 2011

OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILDWe ask that all boxes be brought to Trinity by SUN NOV 13th when we will dedicate them at the altar. These links have more info on the project http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/occ
This project fills empty shoe-boxes with school supplies, toys, personal items and a special book that tells about God‘s love. They are then delivered to a drop off center, where they will eventually be distributed to children around the world.
All monetary donations are tax deductible. Please make all checks payable to Samaritan’s Purse and placed in the offering plate labeled Operation Christmas Child.
If you have any questions - please contact Nadira Fauder - 954-483-3261or Nancy Berger @ 954-649-5205
How To Pack A Shoe Box

Use an empty shoe box (standard size, please) or a small plastic container. You can wrap the box (lid separately), but wrapping is not required. Most importantly, pray for the child who will receive your gift.

Determine whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the child’s age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Print out the appropriate boy/girl label by downloading the artwork to the right. Mark the correct age category on the label, and tape the label to the top of your box.

Fill the box with a variety of gifts that will bring delight to a child. Use the gift ideas provided on the bottom of this page.

Please donate $7 or more for each shoe box you prepare to help cover shipping and other project costs. You can give online by using our “Follow Your Box Donation” option, or you can write a check to Samaritan’s Purse (note “OCC” on memo line) and place it in an envelope on top of the gift items inside your box. If you or your family are preparing more than one shoe box, please make one combined donation.

Gospel: Matthew 25:14–30

Jesus tells a parable about his second coming, indicating that it is not sufficient merely to maintain things as they are. Those who await his return should make good use of the gifts that God has provided them.

14For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them;  15to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.  16The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents.  17In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents.  18But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.  19After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them.  20Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, 'Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.'  21His master said to him, 'Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'  22And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, 'Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.'  23His master said to him, 'Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'  24Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed;  25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.'  26But his master replied, 'You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter?  27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest.  28So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents.  29For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.  30As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'