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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Our Many Gendered God

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

Friday, May 31, 2013


 Monday June 10th- 9am-12

 Tuesday June 11th- 1-4pm

 Thursday June 13th- 9am-12

 Friday June 14th- 11am-2

 Saturday June 15th-  If Needed

 Monday June 17th- 9am-12

 Tuesday June 18th- 1-3pm

 Thursday June 20th- 9am-12

 Friday June 21st- 11am-2

 Saturday June 22nd- If Needed

If there are hours that you can or would like to work, let me know, thanks!

 Tina 786-271-3789

SERMON for June 2, 2013 ACTS 4:1-20
We are a people that like to make assumptions about many things.
For example, we are a people that like to make assumptions about people:  what it means if you are a republican or a democrat. About what it means if you are from this country or from some other place. Assumptions about a person based upon the number of children they have, what job they have, their economic status, their sexual preference, the color of their skin. A whole set of assumptions fill in the blanks of what we know about one another. Assumptions replace true knowledge with the arrogance of our own prejudice and the folly of our inadequate wisdom.

People also like to make assumptions about God. They do this not only every time that there is a natural or man-made disaster, but rather assumptions about God have been around ever since people first began to call upon the name of the Lord. Assumptions about what God loves and who God hates. Assumptions about the limits of God’s grace and the rules under which God chooses to act. Many, many assumptions, right?

The Holy Spirit has no patience for our inadequate assumptions about God.

Listen: The Holy Spirit at work before time, at work in creation moving over the waters, the very breath of life, pours out at Pentecost in a new and powerful way, in an unexpected way in the surprise of languages of the world so that the message of salvation in Jesus Christ could be shared with all people. The Holy Spirit comes upon the disciples filling them with all boldness and one of the first things that happens is that the assumptions about God that have defined for people who God is and what God does are found to be grossly inadequate and unnecessary. And as the disciples embrace the full measure of what God has accomplished in and through Christ Jesus being revealed through the Holy Spirit these assumptions fall away replaced in faith with faith. Assumption replaced by trust. By promise. By sacred assurance. Such is the gift that the Holy Spirit brings. Knowledge that the Psalmist says is too wonderful for us, but the Holy Spirit gifts it to us so that we may know God more deeply. More completely.  

And so it is through the Holy Spirit replacing inadequate assumptions about God with knowledge of God too wonderful for words  that as the time after Pentecost unfolds the disciples declare in our final verse today: “…we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard."

For we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.

These are words of defiance spoken to the religious authorities who have imprisoned disciples, Peter and John, only to free them with the admonishment to speak no more to anyone in the name of Jesus. These same religious authorities stand amazed that these “ordinary and uneducated” followers of Jesus could speak with such boldness. Didn’t they know their place, these simple men.  More assumptions, right? Thoughts must have swirled around in the minds of the religious experts: Look at them, those fishermen and sinners and tax collectors who hung around with Jesus and now just can’t let it go and go back to their lives, to their jobs, to their place in the world. What do they know about God and God’s ways? And yet these religious authorities have seen the power of the Holy Spirit at work drawing others to this disciples. Thousands and thousands of people. And they see a challenge to their power and to their authority. And so they act.

Jesus has a lot to say about the assumptions that people are all too eager to make about what is important to God. In and through Christ Jesus, the Kingdom of God is breaking into the world, not to tweak it at its edges but challenge its basic calculus. Even Jesus’ most trusted disciples fall prey to using this calculus time and time again as they confuse what the world sees with what God sees, with what the world considers most important, with what God declares so. The Biblical narrative of the New Testament leaves us wondering why the disciples just don’t understand this as they pull children away from Jesus thinking them not worth his time; as they argue over which one of them is the greatest or who deserves the seat of honor in the Kingdom of heaven or who has a right to speak and act in Jesus’ name.
But then the Holy Spirit has come upon the disciples and they see differently now.

And they act differently (and for that matter, they act boldly).
Not perfectly, to be sure, as we shall shortly see in the coming weeks, but the heart of their witness through the power of the Holy Spirit now engages more fully the truth about Jesus. Everyone who hears the message they share about what they have seen and what they have heard, words filled with grace, words of salvation, respond with a single question on their lips: What then shall we do?

Some answer that question with repentance, turning from their ways to God ways, while others cannot let go of the calculus of the world that has favored them and they instead choose  to suppress, arrest, threaten the bearers of those words of grace. Some continue to choose to make power their god; position, prestige, wealth and all that they bring.

Our God is too wonderful for us. Knows our ways and searches our heart.
Are we willing to let go and repent of our assumption-making: our desire to define God, to limit God, to shape God in our own image, characterize God by painting God in the colors of our own sins? Is that a struggle that we are willing in which we are willing to engage with the Holy spirit fighting with us and for us?

And if we are “what then shall we do?”
The life we choose to live will be our answer.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

During worship this coming Sunday June 2 we will vote on the 2013-2014 Spending Plan/budget during worship. Copies continue to be available in the office and will also be distributed once again Sunday morning.

Our Question and Answer Meeting on the Spending Plan/Budget was held on Thursday May 23rd so this will be to vote on the proposal only.
REMINDER: Sunday June 9th we will be blessing High School/College/Technical School Graduates during worship.  We are still collecting names of graduates. If from High school - their school. If from college/grad school/technical school - their school and degree. Also - please let us know if they will be present at worship.
VBS Volunteers Meeting
Sunday June 2 at 12:15PM in the hall

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

We are Butterfly Gardening at Trinity Lutheran Saturday morning June 1st from 9AM until noon.  Wear comfy "can get them dirty clothes" and bring sun screen and gloves if possible.  We'll have water and joy in abundance!
TRINITY THIS WEEK: SAT Morning 9AM Butterfly Garden Work Day and Trinity Yard Work Day

SUN Morning 9:45AM "Worship Together" Service in the Hall with Budget Vote

SUN Morning 11AM Morning Worship with Budget Vote in the sanctuary

SUN Morning 12:15PM Vacation Bible School Volunteers Meeting in the Hall

REMEMBER: Vacation Bible School Registration Forms are now on our weekly Worship Slips!

Monday, May 27, 2013

All Welcome!
We invite you to share in prose, poetry, photos, drawings, or paintings (photos of the projects using other media are also welcome) your reflections upon stanzas of the 23rd Psalm as indicated below.
Join us for one week, several, a bunch or all twelve. Submissions should be send to pastorkeith2000@gmail.com.

They will be posted at our project BLOG http://the23rdpsalmproject.blogspot.com/
Thanks and Blessings!
Pastor Keith Spencer, Trinity Lutheran church, Pembroke Pines, Florida

Psalm 23
(Week of June 9th)
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.

(Week of June 16th)
He makes me lie down in green pastures;

(Week of June 23rd)

he leads me beside still waters;

(Week of June 30th)

he restores my soul.

(Week of  July 7th)

He leads me in right paths for his name's sake.

(Week of July 14th)

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;
for you are with me;

(Week of July 21st)

your rod and your staff — they comfort me.

(Week of July 28th)

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

Week of August 4th)

you anoint my head with oil;

(Week of August 11th)
my cup overflows.

(Week of August 18th)
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

(Week of August 25th)

and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


SERMON on ACTS 2 Sunday after Pentecost
I grow things.
I love growing things.
I collected some seeds from a beautiful flowering tree, a yellow tabebuia, over a decade ago while walking around the lake across the street from our church property and planted them in pots filled with a few spade-fulls of soil. I watered them until the rainy season did its thing. And those seeds sprouted within a week. The next year I planted the tree seedlings along the Trinity property in the parking lot swale next to the sidewalk along Pines Blvd and on the west side by 72nd ave. Today those trees are three times my height – and they are thriving. Sometimes when they are in full bloom and covered in cascading yellow blossoms I think to myself: I grew those and look at them now!

I imagine that the trees themselves might take issue with that claim. “You grew the trees,” the trees looking at me rather indignantly: “You? All you did was bring everything together. You took the seeds and found the soil and occasionally directed a hose in our general direction.”
And those indignant trees would be correct. All I did was bring the right things together at the right place and time. I didn’t grow the trees – growth was built into their DNA: Their very purpose in this life.

When I was training to be a pastor I attended a congregational meeting of a congregation where I had been assigned to assist the pastor for the year; to observe, learn and reflect with him on what it means to a pastor.
Once the budget had been presented, a gentlemen raised his hand to be recognized. “Pastor,” he said, “The only way we are going to balance this budget is by putting more butts in the pews – and that’s your job. What are you going to do to grow this church?” He was anxious, this man, having grown up in the church and noting the diminishing attendance at worship and the yearly budget stresses.

What are you going to do, pastor, to grow this church?

Now that is an interesting question – perhaps it has even crossed your minds from time to time.
What are you going to do, pastor, to grow this church?

At its most simple my response is this: absolutely nothing.  Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nothing.

Did I grow those trees out front?
No. I merely helped to bring together the right things at the right time - what they needed. The seeds and then the seedlings and now the trees themselves were created to grow – it is part of their nature, their way of being in the world, how God designed them.

In our reading from Acts today the disciples aren’t running around asking themselves: “How do we grow this church?” They aren’t in a panic wondering what their purpose was with Jesus gone. They aren’t worrying about their future. Would the faithful widows continue to be generous? What about tomorrow? What would they do tomorrow? Rather, empowered and emboldened by the Holy Spirit they do what Jesus commanded them to do – the very purpose that the Holy Spirit filled them to do: Make disciples.
And us? For what purpose does the Holy Spirit fill us at our baptism? What does Jesus command us to do?

Make disciples.

Those first followers of Jesus do this by bringing together the building blocks of community and letting the Holy Spirit do what it does best: create a new community centered on Jesus.

What are the building blocks of that community? Growing disciples who disciple others through story-telling, teaching and learning, fellowship and bread breaking, prayer and praise, generosity and joy and welcome.

And with the faith community off the ground, they don’t declare their work over – hardly! They go about faithfully attending to what the Holy Spirit is about in the midst of the community that the Spirit is building, to lead, encourage, and participate in that holy work as the Spirit calls them, equips them, and guides them as it calls, equips and guides each of us in our work.

Christ-centered faith communities are not a bunch of good people doing good things so that they can feel good about themselves and their place in world. They are centered in Christ and rooted in the gospel and what they are about is glorifying God. Notice in the reading from Acts that people who weren’t even believers took note of what the Holy Spirit was doing in and through that faith community. These disciples of Jesus formed a community unlike anything else these people had ever seen.  It made them curious. And the Lord blesses this Christ-centered community and added to their number. People there encountered the gospel and were open to leading of the Holy Spirit.

Peter didn’t grow the church. And later on, Paul didn’t either. The church is God’s church and God designed it to grow, to grow more deeply in love with Jesus, more faithful in its attentiveness to the leading of the Holy Spirit. And more loving, more compassionate, more forgiving, more welcoming, more generous, more just, more humble in their serving, and more faithful in all things. We either participate in that work or get in the way of it. Sometimes we do both.

At its heart, that work involves building relationships.
Listen: We are not interested people in order to make them members of this church. We form relationships with people because they matter to God and their lives then matter to us. In these relationships we have the privilege and calling from God to embody Christ in all we say and do. If the fruit of our relationship leads them here, then the Lord has added to our number and we rejoice and give thanks. And if the fruit of our labor does not, then we still rejoice for the blessing of that relationship.

The flip side of trusting in the Spirit is that we, both pastor and congregation, are granted more responsibility, not less. Freed from the responsibility to add more butts in the pews we are called as disciples of Jesus to invest honestly, sincerely, and deeply in the lives of people so that God will be glorified. There is no responsibility that we have that is more important.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Come out Saturday, June 1st at 9AM to Trinity Lutheran as we provide some late spring refreshing to the butterfly garden. Wear comfortable clothes that can get dirty and bring water with you. Learn about what plants make the best butterfly gardens in South Florida. Learn to identify local butterflies and what plants attract them for nectar and to lay their eggs. Maybe we'll see some caterpillars, too! We'll have some garden tools and mulch - don't forget garden gloves, sunscreen and a hat.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

If you're looking for the most effective means of helping those affected by the disaster in Oklahoma, the ELCA's Disaster Relief Fund is one of the most respected programs in the country. 100 PERCENT of your donation will go to direct aid...the overhead for the operation is funded by the regular support of the congregations and synods, so you can know that every dollar you give will go directly to those in need.
see this link:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pastor Keith's Pentecost-Confirmation Sermon is up at http://youtu.be/4KvQmTDOGnA

Saturday, May 18, 2013

SERMON for Confirmation 2013:
Years ago someone once told me: “Pastor everything in my life is changing and the church is the one place that I can come where I know what to expect. Don’t let things change. I have enough change in my life. Please, not the church.”
 I think that they left us disappointed.
 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.   Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…
 Do you think things were about to change in the lives of the disciples? Yes, they did and then they continue to change and not in small ways, but in amazingly huge, life-altering completely re-defining ways – the one constant always being Jesus.  
 Just as they have changed at the church I grew up in – just as they have changed here and continue to change here. The Book of Acts from which we read today and from which we will be reading and preaching all summer long shows us a church in a constant state of change. Not change for changes sake, but a church that responded to the leading of a Spirit that refused to let the church just be. It wasn’t enough for the church to stay in Jerusalem – it moved within decades in all directions, across the Mediterranean and into Rome and Spain and eastwards and to the south and north. It wasn’t enough for the church to only welcome Jewish Christians and the Spirit led the mission to welcome those who grew up worshipping pagan gods and so the church became a church of Jews and gentiles. And these changes did not come easily or without conflict. 
Any church in which the Holy Spirit is an active participant better get ready for change. And not just any change – we’re not talking about eliminating the age for first communion or killing Sunday school or changing out wafers for bread or swapping out hymnals for bulletins – or singing hymns written by people who are still alive rather than living in the 16th century, though all of those things and more stirred up some trouble in their day, here and elsewhere. Such things hardly count as a warm up for the Holy Spirit. Really. Listen: When the Holy Spirit is involved we better buckle our seat belts because the Holy Spirit flat-out does not respect a congregation’s self-declared speed limits or traffic signals – heck, the holy Spirit would likely challenge the definition of “road” that most congregations set for themselves and make its own way – a road in the wilderness – a way for the Lord and not for our comfort, our familiarity. It drives wherever, whenever, and however it wants and it invites the congregation in faith to follow.
 How do we know if something we are doing is the work of the Holy Spirit? Because God blesses it: Lives are changed. Lives are transformed.  The Gospel is proclaimed and lives and breathes and is embodied in ways that follow in the footsteps of Jesus and his teachings. How do we know if something we are doing is of the Spirit? Because when you look back on it, you realize upon reflection that every life for which we embodied the love of Jesus, we now see Jesus looking back at us. 
And following the Holy Spirit out into the wilderness quite frankly should excite the bejeezus out of us because whatever the Spirit is doing is about God and God’s Kingdom: Kingdom work – holy and righteous and true. Look, who seriously doesn’t want to be a part of that? Coming to worship is a part of that – but as compared to all the Holy Spirit is about in and through the lives of Christians like you and me  -  being church is about the whole of our lives – it is a way of being and living in the world. What happens is falling prey to the temptation of living in the past where the Holy Spirit was at some point in history, but the Spirit has moved on and keeps calling out, calling people forward.
Folks, listen again to a bit of today’s reading: When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.   Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…
Those disciples did not witness the Holy Spirit as spectators - they received the Holy Spirit and their lives were never the same again. How could they be? The Holy Spirit changes things – relentlessly refuses to let them be as they were. The Holy Spirit is like the ultimate Extreme Makeover for us and for our lives. Takes us as we are and goes about the deep and faithful work of re-making us into the image of Christ so we can embody Christ in the world.
Luke, Alexis, and Le-Ann – we are not asking you and your generation to keep the church as it was or to preserve it as it is is – but to help us as the Holy Spirit gives you ability to become the church that we need to be as faithful followers of Jesus.
Look, the Holy Spirit does not toy with the children of God, it relentlessly refuses to let us be. When we find within ourselves the tension of what we want and what we need, of what the church was and what it must become that’s when we know that the Spirit is truly at work in us and we are taking that work seriously.  
Let me say that again:
When we find within ourselves the tension of what we want and what we need, of what the church was and what it must become that’s when we know that the Spirit is truly at work in us and we are taking that work seriously.  

first published at www.livinglutheran.com

The Holy Spirit
Older now,
more cognizant of breath,
and steps, and achy knees and all their kin,
Of death.
Yes, of death.
And in the mirror I see from time to time,
dimly, a stranger’s eyes
and squinting, turning from side to side,
through the haze of eye drops melting away
into longing,
longing for flames dancing,
an unexpected wind, the rustle of wings,
a day unfolding into something more:
deeper roots,
trunk and branches full-leafed
 stretching into  skies ablaze with 
all the colors of creation,
casting out the grey
that proudly hides the lines,
a soft man’s scars, earned for little cost,
the labor of years, well and good.

Older now and seeking,
burdened by the tension of belief and unbelief,
the years undoing every thread,
it seems;
a journey for companions,
who speak of words
gathered into stories
carried in sacred procession,
all glory, all hope therein,
and there the stories  dwell waiting,
waiting, for the full weight of each syllable
given life,
until its echo at last refuses to fade
to then reveal the impossible richness of their meaning;
O Holy Spirit, enter in!

We tread here
as one at the border
of the thing itself, transfixed:
One seeking
but a moment within the deeper mystery:
 eager lips that kiss The Blood of Christ,
to recall the breath of life that birthed us,
humility the ground of our being,
everything, all knowledge, carried away,
we weeping for the Spirit
to recall to us the One who calls to us,
weeping that it might
lift our eyes beyond the limits of our own reflection,
O Holy Spirit, enter in! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

[From Pastor Keith's The Living Gospel BLOG at http://thelivinggospel.blogspot.com]

Long Key Nature Area, Davie, Florida, May 9, 2013

For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.
Matthew 18:20

Our faith is a faith that lives and breathes in community. 
When we emphasize a private faith and our personal relationship with God, we run the continual risk of diminishing Christianity's call to experience our faith among and with others.
Keeping rather than resolving the tension between a personal and communal faith is the reality in which we should live in order to encounter the full wonder that is the body of Christ of which we are all an equal part. 

God among and with us,
You gather us together as a shepherd gathers the sheep.
Let us never grow weary of being a community that lives for you
by living with and for one another .
In Jesus Name. Amen.