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, August 30, 2013

Sunday's Sermon

Pastor Keith's Sunday Sermon 
September 1, 2013
Acts 16:16–34
We finish our summer reading of Acts today with a pivotal story from the latter half of Acts 16, and as we do I hope that together we discover just how human the Apostle Paul can be;  a man of faith and a follower of Jesus, yet also a man of his times, which is not to excuse what unfolds. When we let Paul off the hook for what he does and does not do, we let ourselves off the hook, and forgiveness without repentance is a shallow thing indeed, especially when it is us forgiving ourselves a bit too quickly. We ought to be paying attention today to this story because what we will discover may help us as we, too, seek to follow Jesus and serve him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.  
So Paul’s life and the lives of two other people, one woman and one man, come together in separate incidents and in each case that life is changed forever. To each Paul had an opportunity to embody the grace and love of God shown to us in and through Christ Jesus. In one case a life is saved. And in the other, well, maybe not.  Today’s reading from Acts is instructive as to why each encounter in our life matters and the costs associated with the choices that we make.
So this woman, whose name is unknown or at least unwritten, spends many days following Paul and Silas and crying out – witnessing to the truth – “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” She is a slave to a couple of business people of a sort – who make money off of her prognostications. This slave girl tells fortunes, but Paul and Silas are different sorts of slaves – as slaves of God they tell the way to salvation.  She might very well know the difference and chooses to use her time letting everyone know which one of them they ought to be listening to and it isn’t her.
Paul seems uncaring but not just uncaring – flat-out annoyed. He puts up with the possessed fortune–telling slave girl for days and days until he just can’t take it anymore. His annoyance boils over and he casts out the demon in the name of Jesus, well and good, and goes on his way. No connection with faith. No moment of teaching. No community connecting or community building – rather he treats her as if he was swatting a pesky fly. And here’s the kicker. I would argue that she is left worse off after Paul casts out the demon than she was before.  As a fortune teller she was a slave who earned money for her owners  - she was valuable to them – so much so that they will later lie, trump up charges, stir up the crowd and have Paul and his companions beaten and arrested all because what they have lost.  But now – who knows what the owners will do to her. She has nothing left to offer them and Paul doesn’t bother telling her about the way of salvation that she has told everyone who will listen that they have to share. No. In Jesus’ name Paul renders her a useless slave to her masters and then Paul and Silas go on their merry way happy, it seems, to be rid of her; men on a mission not to be bothered with the everyday problems of a slave girl.
In the second part of our story from the Book of Acts, the Jailor and his family fair much better. Paul and Silas are arrested on trumped up charges and thrown into the innermost cell, slapped in irons, the crowd having been frenzied to near riot by the slave girl’s owners, who want to teach them a lesson. Paul and Silas commence singing hymns until their very voices are drowned out by an earthquake that causes all of the doors in prison to be flung wide open and their chains to fall away. Lucky them! The way to freedom is now clear. Except. And there is always an except, isn’t there? Except that the Jailor will have to pay for their escape with his own life, a penalty which they become aware of as they see the jailor drawing a sword to take the matters of his death into his own hands. Literally. But here is where things begin to turn for the Jailor. Paul shouts out for him to stay his hand, for despite the doors beginning to open and the chains having fallen away, Paul and Silas chose to stay for his sake, rather than depart and save their skins. Their self-sacrifice breaks hard upon the jailor, whose thoughts turn from suicide to salvation. And Paul and Silas share the good news about Jesus and the Jailor and his entire household eagerly listen and come to be baptized, their lives are changed forever.
Let us quietly ponder this in our own minds: have we ever met people who we think are not worth our time? Who we choose to ignore? With whom we would never willingly choose to build a relationship, if it was up to us? People that we consciously or unconsciously declare by our actions or words or both not worthy of the good news? For to embody and share the good news requires us to invest in a relationship that we are not prepared to build. With them, anyway.
 “God,” we say, “ Did you see what we did for you – in prison – the way that we did not walk away when our chains fell off and the doors opened – the way that with a word we prevented that jailor from taking his own life – the way that we witnessed to him and his family – baptized them – the way that they praised you and worshiped you – did you see that God?  All the good stuff that we did and do in your name? And God says – you know – I’m sorry – I was busy watching after that slave Girl that I sent to you day after day waiting for you to share the good news with her. “Oh,” we say, “did YOU send her? we would never have guessed.” 

The people that we meet who we believe are not worthy of our time are always worthy of God’s time. And since that will always be true, are we willing to change our habits and see Christ in all?

1 Corinthians 12:12

Along the canal, Shark Valley Visitor's Area, Everglades National Park, August 2013. 

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:12

Paul says that the church is the body of Christ. We make it less so the more we desire to assign greater importance to some and less to others. The voices of children are of equal importance in the body of Christ, for example, yet the church is so much an adult world reflecting adult wants and wisdom.  Some might assign greater value to people based upon their years of membership or  the size of their donations or how influential their family may be perceived to be and in doing so make that body a caricature and do harm to the call to oneness. When we are willing to help "one of our own" yet cannot conceive of helping a stranger in the same way, does the church become more like the body of Christ or less?   Scripture challenges us to question received wisdom and seek instead to follow Jesus who prays that we may be one and he and the Father are one. 

Psalm 53:3

Golden Orb Weaver, Long Key Natural Area, Davie, FL, August 2013

O Most High, when I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
Psalm 53:3

As a child, 
it was darkness, 
lights out, closed door darkness.
And the unknown under the bed and did I leave my closet door ajar
and why does the radiator make that noise?
We grow and our fears change, but not really in their substance.
We fear different darkness and unknowns still haunt us. 
And paralysis sometimes lodges in our throats, 
leaving us with shorter breaths and silence.
But we are God's and God is faithful.
And in our fear we find the fullness of God's strength
in which to abide, a promise kept,
a hope unyielding.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

John 15:16a

Wild Coffee, Long Key Natural Area, Davie, FL, AUG 2013

You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last
John 15:16a

Appointed can mean designated or equipped. I think in our case it means both. God designates and equips us "to bear fruit."
So what does that mean?
Bear fruit.
And not just any fruit, but good fruit as we we read elsewhere in the gospels. And not just some fruit, but much fruit. And this fruit is not of our own making but comes from our relationship with God in and through Christ Jesus. 
Bear fruit.
If fruit is how God makes Christ known through us, then love is at its heart. Love that bears the unmistakable mark of the love of God for us. Love in abundance, given freely and generously and graciously and compassionately. Love that abhors injustice, serves willingly, and humbly repents of its own shortcomings and brokenness. For that is truly fruit that will last.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Calling All Quilters!
(Or those who might want to give it a try!)
Join Debbie Smith on September 8th for "GOD'S WORK - OUR HANDS SUNDAY" as she offers a lesson in quilting. 12:15PM in Charter Hall.
Folks are invited to bring it any of the following to donate, if they wish:
long straight pins, scissors, any material, batting and sheets (queen size with no stains) and large needles. Any questions just see or email Debbie
To learn more about when quilts are so important see



The Bloodmobile will be with us from 8:30AM to 1:30PM
Please come out and invite others to give the gift of life!


Pastor Keith will be leading a couple of bread baking classes next week - open to everyone and anyone. THURSDAY SEPT 5th at noon (lunch provided) and FRIDAY SEPT 6th at 6:30PM (potluck) in the hall at Trinity Lutheran Church, Pembroke Pines. This is for the Oatmeal Wheat loaf that we serve as communion each Sunday and sell at all of those bake sales and such.



During each service we invite you to bring in canned goods that will be blessed up at the altar during worship service - just deposit them in the shopping cart in the narthex.
at 12:15PM you are invited to join in the tour of our pantry and assist with putting away the food offerings.
 - peanut butter ( we 're almost out )
 - jelly
 - mac and cheese
 - pasta sauce or any kind of tomato
 - saltine crackers
 - condensed soups ( like chicken noodle or tomato )
 - veggies ( green beans , corn , any other beans...)
Coupons are always welcome!
Keep an eye on Trinity Facebook as weekly foodstore sales where needed items may be found are posted.
 As always THANK YOU so much for supporting this ministry!
Dany, Barbara Ito, and the Food Pantry Volunteer Staff


So what will the adults, adults with children, and youth and young adults be up to at our Cross+Generational "Worship Together" service at 9:45AM this Sunday? ACTS 16:16-40 small group dramas! With costumes! And Faith Five sharing. And Communion. And singing and signing. And stuff. All Welcome!

Ministry Roundtable and Ministry Fair News!

Excellent Ministry Roundtable last night! Great food and awesome sharing about what the Holy Spirit has been up to in and through people's lives and our shared ministry. For all to note: The MINISTRY FAIR, where ministry leaders will gather around tables and you all will get to see how the Holy Spirit is moving at Trinity in and through these ministries, ask questions and see if you desire to be involved in something new  will take place on Sunday SEPTEMBER 29th at 12:15PM.

John 12:26

Julia Butterfly on Spanish Needle, Treetops Park, Davie, FL, AUG 2013

Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
John 12:26

So where is Jesus?
As we follow, if we are following him, let us look with open hearts and see where that following has lead us. 
Where are we?
Is there hope there?
Servants seeking to outdo one another in kindness and mercy?
A more passionate and vibrant and humble faith?
A community that embraces an unexpected variety, 
of outcasts honored, and the most vulnerable embraced
and the comfortable disquieted,
and all living in the tension of what is and what they are called to be,
in Christ. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Romans 12:9-10

Long Key Natural Area, Davie, FL AUG 2013

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor
Romans 12:9-10

Evil destroys us from the inside out. Seeks to hold every good and gracious part of us, mind, body and soul captive. The alternative not only changes us, but becomes a means through which the Spirit gives blessing to the world. Let us cling to the good and love from the depth of all that we are in Christ Jesus.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Isaiah 35:1-2

Spider Lily, Long Key Natural Area, Davie, FL, AUG 2013

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
Isaiah 35:1-2

Where do you see the blessings in your life?
There are the every day things for which we are grateful,
the relationships, the way that the sun lights up the sky at dawn and dusk, the smell of wood warmed in the sun, mown grass, a forest after the rain. And then there are these other moments, rarer still, which for an instant seem to lift the veil of heaven itself, filling one's heart until it seems like it will burst from joy, like every song we've ever loved all at once pouring forth, rejoicing.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sunday's Sermon: The Conversion of Lydia

AUG 25, 2013  SERMON by Pastor Keith
The Conversion of Lydia – Acts 16:11-15

Does God care about Lydia?
Lydia, perhaps a widow, the head of her own household, a seller of purple cloth, a merchant of a luxury good worn by the rich and powerful, a God-fearer, one seeking God more deeply, exploring the Jewish faith, but not yet a convert, approaching, but not yet. A woman whose heart the Lord opens, fills with eagerness, to hear the words that Paul longs to speak, to share.
Does God care about Lydia?

Paul was on a journey.  He had sought to go to Asia, but become frustrated because that is not where the Holy Spirit wanted him to go. He sought to go to Bithynia, but the Holy Spirit once again closed off that route. And then he had a dream of a man of Macedonia inviting him to come to that place. And he spoke about this dream with his companions and together they spent time in discernment seeking the will of the Lord and then finally they decided to follow the call in the dream. They headed for Macedonia and the Gospel entered Europe for the first time. They ended up in Philippi, a Roman city of that region, and there on the Sabbath, by the river, supposing it a place of prayer, they did not find the man of Macedonia that had called to them through Paul’s dream. They found Lydia.

Does God care about Lydia?
Of course God does.

And God cared about Linda, but none of you have likely ever met her or her daughter Courtney. She didn’t sell purple cloth, but worked at a dry cleaners, taking the stains out of clothes of all sorts of different colors, including purple, I am certain. And if we assume that Lydia was a single mom, which given the text, doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch, Linda and Lydia had that in common, too; names changed of course in this day and age. And Linda brought Courtney to our Sunday school, dropping her off at the church door, but not entering herself, and then dutifully picking her up an hour later. She did this faithfully each Sunday. I was an intern and served as pastor of that same church. And I noticed this pattern, the dropping off, but never entering.

One day I brought my dry cleaning in and used it as an opportunity to ask a question that had been bothering me; that had me both curious and apprehensive: “Linda, you bring your daughter every single Sunday to Sunday school, but you never enter the church; you never come in to worship. Why?”  

I mean there had to be a reason. A story. Right?

And this is what she said: “Because as a woman with a child and no husband, every time I came to worship I felt people staring at me. I heard their whispers.
So I stopped coming, but I wanted my daughter to know Jesus.”

I wanted my daughter to know Jesus, she said.

Does God care about Linda and her daughter?
Of course God does.

What would it have taken, do you suppose, for Linda to have found welcome in that congregation? To meet Jesus in and through the people who gathered there? In and through the people who handed out the bulletins and sat next to her in the pews, who approached her during the sharing of the peace and who bid her come up for communion, who handed her the bread and wine, and who gathered after worship and walked down the steps to coffee hour. What would it have taken for Linda to have met Jesus there in and through the people who she encountered?

Here’s the truth. Paul encounters in a dream a man of Macedonia calling to him, pleading to him, pleading to him to come there. To help them. And in Macedonia, in the city of Philippi, on the Jewish Sabbath day, Paul encounters a group of women gathered by the river.  And he speaks to them. We do not have the words that were spoken, but the Lord opened her heart and in those words, through the Holy Spirit, the Lord worked faith. I’m glad that we do not have the words that Paul spoke because the Lord can and does and will use our words, true? The words themselves that Paul spoke were not magical. Not some holy incantation that Paul recited and presto: Faith takes root. Paul recognized that in the encounter unfolding before him that there was once again an opportunity to make Christ known. Which is just what he did.

My conversations with Linda on that day and in other encounters in the months that followed did not lead to her overcoming the pain that she experienced as one on the receiving end of judgment. Maybe I was just sowing seeds that someone would later water, who knows? We tell ourselves all kinds of things to ease our own discomfort, lessen that sadness that we feel from someone else’s pain. And sometimes the things that we tell ourselves prove to be true. But listen: Our whole life long the Spirit will be present in the circumstances and encounters we have with others. Are we prepared, you and I, to make Christ known? To allow the words that flow from grateful and generous hearts filled with the hope in which we live, filled with the love in which God has claimed us, with such words that just tumble out of our mouths, that they would be gracious clay through which the Holy Spirit might mold and shape faith in another? Do we dare care about others, even strangers, as much as Jesus does?
Do we dare care that much, you and I?

Hebrews 10:24-25

Spanish Needle, Long Key Natural Area, Davie, FL, AUG 2013

And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25

In its fullest and best expression, our faith is both individual and communal. Christ called his followers together, prayed for their oneness, and sought again and again to teach them their need to serve one another with a servant's heart. He sent them out two by two. Christ knew how much they needed one another, even when some sought to separate themselves, to consider themselves more important, more worthy of praise and honor.  As Christians, we, too, are called to embrace community, as imperfect as it may sometimes be. It is humble and often difficult work, yet our willingness to gather, love, and forgive, witnesses  to others  (and to one another!) something deep and powerful about the mysterious love of God.

Friday, August 23, 2013

James 1:19

Cassius Blue butterfly, Long Key Natural Area, Davie, FL, August 2013

You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; 
James 1:19

Martin Luther, in explaining the 8th commandment [Don't bear false witness] once said that we should seek to put the best construction on everything that we hear our neighbor saying. This is very hard work. It is hard because we usually spent no time at all actually listening to what is being said, but rather we invest our ears, our minds and our hearts in trying to come up with a foolproof defense so that we can win the discussion. Get what we want. Move the scales of the relationship further, perhaps, in our favor. When we invest emotionally in a conversation with our anger before we invest with our patience, with our judgment before seeking to put the best construction on what we are hearing, we have failed at the most basic level to love as Christ modeled for us, taught us and calls us to do. We are called to do better. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hosea 12:6

Dragonfly, Treetops Park, Davie, FL, August 2013

But as for you, return to your God,
hold fast to love and justice,
and wait continually for your God.
Hosea 12:6

At the drive through, this happens all of  the time: "Excuse me, what did you say?" the attendant is talking to the next person while I am there, money in hand, waiting to pay, and I think that they are talking to me. In that business there is no time to wait or waste. There is no time for idle chit chat or relationship. Faith is about deep trust and such trust declares our relationship with God, a relationship that is not satisfied to leaves us be, but by its very nature changes us, calls us to new lives of love and justice, and leads and encourages us in that change. We do not encounter God and then move on and expect such change to happen and hold. Perhaps, at its heart, waiting upon the Lord is opening ourselves upon to God's presence in our life, in every act, in every relationship, moment by moment. God ministering to us and we giving glory.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Psalm 108:3-4

 Butterfly, Treetops Park, Davie, FL August 2013

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples,
and I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is higher than the heavens,
and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Psalm 108:3-4

Things change.
Often and unexpectedly, they change.
But what if something didn't change?
And what if hope incarnate was that thing?
And what if the very thing that will not change 
was the very thing that we need the most;
that to which our heart clings with all of its strength?
If someone saw such a hope in us as gives us life,
would we even hesitate to find the words 
to describe the author of the hope; 
To share with those we love 
and for those for whom we care
the best we have to offer?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


GOD'S WORK, OUR HANDS SUNDAY is coming us fast!
Sunday September 8th.
Inviting Everyone to take part in one or more of the following ways:
Seven Options:
1. Bring in Food for the Food Pantry that we will dedicate at the altar during worship at each service. The following items are always needed:
Jelly and peanut butter
 Apple sauce, fruit cups or cans
 Vienna Sausage
 Pasta and pasta sauce or crushed/diced tomatoes
 Mac & Cheese
 Ravioli cans
 Cereal or other breakfast item (oatmeal, etc.)
 Mashed potato pouch or rice mix, etc.
 Saltine crackers
 Ramen noodles
 Chunky soup, stew, chili
 Condensed soup - chicken, tomato, etc.
 Cans with mixed vegetables, beans, etc.
2. Help put away food for the pantry at 12:15PM and get a "tour" about what is has and what it does to serve the community
3. Attend a quilt-making workshop at 12:15PM in the hall led by Debbie Smith and find out more about how quilts can support Lutheran World Relief! (donations of fabric and batting appreciated)
4. Donate cookies for our College Cookie pack up
5. Help box up the college cookies at 12:15PM and write a note of encouragement for those who will be receiving them
6. Give Blood at the Bloodmobile that will in our parking lot that morning
7. Bring in your Prayer Shawls to be blessed during worship services up at the altar.

Churchwide Assembly Summary

A Letter from our Florida-Bahamas Synod Bishop, Bob Schaefer, on the highlights of the recently completed Churchwide Assembly.

Bishop Robert Schaefer writes from the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly that met last week in Pittsburgh, PA. 
Dear sisters and brothers,

I am writing to you just hours after the close of the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly:  Always being made new. 25 years together in Christ. As I sit in my hotel room in beautiful downtown Pittsburgh, pondering the events of the past week, Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians continue to run through my head.  “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”

Both the gracious Holy Spirit and the voting members proved Paul’s words to be true as the powerful  winds of the Spirit blew through the assembly (which by the way, was made up of 17% youth/young adult voting members).  The assembly took many actions.  I want to highlight just a few that, I believe, will be significant for our life together.

A new presiding bishop and secretary: In the midst of deep appreciation and love for the gifts and work of Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson; the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, bishop of our Northeastern Ohio Synod, was elected presiding bishop of the ELCA and will be installed in October.  Bishop Eaton will be the first woman to serve as presiding bishop of this church.  She is theologically articulate, values the various positions that ELCA members hold in conscience on a variety of issues, is a fine preacher and brings a great sense of humor to the office.  For Bishop Eaton, Jesus is at the center and we are about making disciples! The Rev. Chris Boerger, who has just finished serving as bishop of the Northwest Washington Synod based in Seattle, was elected to a six- year term as secretary of the ELCA.  Our own synod vice-president, Cheryl Stuart, finished third in the balloting for secretary.  In a field of some of the most distinguished leaders in this church, Cheryl represented herself with vigor and grace.  I am both proud and thankful that she is coming home with us!  There is no question, God is making the leadership of this church new!

A new social statement: The Church and Criminal Justice: Hearing the Cries.  This social teaching statement address significant issues that face our nation and in many ways, the state of Florida.  While giving thanks for our nation’s principles regarding justice and for the many in the system who serve their professional vocations with competent and humane performance, this statement recognizes serious deficiencies. An underlying punitive mindset, budgetary constraints and persistent inequalities based on race and class frequently challenge our basic principles and are addressed in this statement worthy of study.

A renewed resolve for comprehensive immigration reform:  For those of us in Florida this is critical!   This month this is critical!   The assembly overwhelmingly approved ongoing advocacy for adoption of comprehensive immigration reform legislation that supports an earned pathway to lawful permanent residency and eventual citizenship; ensures humane and just enforcement of U.S. immigration laws; protects families from separation; provides resources and protections to integrate of refugees and others; and ensures the protection of U.S. citizen and migrant workers.

A new campaign:  Voting members also proposal for the ELCA's first major fundraising campaign.  The five-year campaign, to begin in 2014, is designed to increase this church's capacity to renew and start new congregations, educate and develop its leaders, bolster its global mission efforts and expand the impact of its relief and development work.  The heart of this effort is to reach more communities with the good news of Jesus Christ, train more leaders who will become missionaries, pastors and lay leaders and contribute to the alleviation of hunger and poverty.

Thanks be to God, we are a church that is deeply rooted—and always being made new.

The peace of Christ be with you all,


The Rev. Robert G. Schaefer

Bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod

Pastor Keith on Living Lutheran

Pastor Keith was asked to write about the end of summer. In poetry. So then there's this....

Matthew 13:44

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly, Long Key Nature Preserve, Davie, FL, AUG 2013

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field
Matthew 13:44

Do our lives reflect our present reality as "Kingdom people?" Even as God in Christ Jesus accepts us as we are (that amazing grace!) the Holy Spirit seeks to work in us change. The more we embody Christ in our life, the more and deeper we can embody Christ in our life so that Christ may been seen in all we say and do, even and perhaps especially, in the witness of our repentance - that is, our turning from our way, and embracing God's way, the way of selfless love, humble serving, and enduring hope. What would we be willing to give up to live more fully as such a people?