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, December 31, 2014

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The Gospel for Sunday, Jan. 4: 

Matthew 2:  1-25

This Sunday we remember the slaughter of the innocent boys of Bethlehem, killed by Herod as he tries to get rid of any possible competition, even if that competition is newly born and not likely to challenge him for decades.  We remember the Magi who alerted Herod on their way to pay their respects, and we remember the Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, transformed overnight into refugees.

Let us take a minute to think about the modern Herods in our world.  We see no shortage of evil dictators who slaughter whole swaths of the population for a variety of reasons.

Let us take a minute to think about the Holy Family, transformed into refugees, fleeing for their lives with just the clothes on their backs.  Here in our modern world, we see no shortage of people transformed from regular citizens to refugees in just a matter of hours.

Maybe we don't want to think on a huge, global scale.  The human brain was not meant for such horror.  Some of us become immobilized.  But we could help refugees on a smaller scale.

There's always money that we could donate, but maybe we want a more hands-on project.  I stumbled across this blog post about a mom who homeschools and the Christmas project of making Christmas bags for foster children, many of whom leave abusive homes with just the clothes on their backs.

It's also a good day to consider the ways we are Herod.  How do we lash out to protect ourselves?  We may not literally slaughter a whole town of babies, but most of us could do better at nourishing the next generations:  the kids in our churches, the students in our schools, the younger folks in the work force.

As we remember the slaughter of the Holy Innocents, let us recommit ourselves to love.   We can resolve to let love rule our actions, not fear. We can also resolve to help those who are harmed by the Herods of our world.

The older I get, the more I appreciate the actions of the early church.  These days that honor martyrs coming so close to Christmas--it makes more sense now.  But I also pray for the time that we will not have to remember the horrors that humanity can inflict.  I hold fast to that Christmas vision of light shining in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


5PM Festive Service with communion and candles (and ukuleles!)
7:30PM Family Service young and beautiful voices, familiar carols, the Christmas Gospel (and communion and candles, of course!)
11PM Cantata Service with choir, instrumentalists, (and communion and candles!)

One service at 11AM (cantata Reprise) with healing

Return to regular schedule 8AM, 9:45AM, 11AM

Meditation on the Sunday after Christmas

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

Lectionary readings for Sunday, December 28, 2014:

First Reading: Isaiah 61:10--62:3

Psalm: Psalm 148

Second Reading: Galatians 4:4-7

Gospel: Luke 2:22-40

This Sunday, after the whirlwind excitement of Christmas Eve, in the lectionary readings we return to the Temple, where Simeon and Anna have been patiently waiting for God to fulfill God's promise. At church, we will hear the Christmas cantata again.  And in our scary times, that message is a wonderful reminder: God fulfills the promises that God makes.

Of course, it may not happen in the time period that we would like to demand. So what do we do in the meantime? We wait. Maybe we wait patiently, like Simeon. Or maybe we become impatient, like the Psalmist. But we wait. What else can we do? Scripture and Literature across many different cultures warn us of what happens if we decide that we're as powerful as God and can proceed on our own--nothing good can come of that.

What do we do while we're waiting? We can take Simeon and Anna as our models. We can surround ourselves with people who believe in God's promise. Hopefully, we find those kind of people in our Christian communities. Hopefully, we've spent our lives finding people who live in hope, even when surrounded by evidence that would make more rational people doubt.

Of course, we don't have to just wait passively. The Advent lessons have reminded us of the importance of staying alert and watchful. The Scriptures tell us that God will appear in many guises, none of them what we expect.

We can also take our cues from Mary and Joseph, from Elizabeth and John the Baptist, from any number of spiritual predecessors. We can decide to take our part in the redemption of God's creation. Every day gives us the opportunity to practice resurrection, as Wendell Berry phrased it. We can choose to move towards light and leave the darkness to mind its own business. We are called to be the light of the world, the yeast in the bread dough, the salt of the earth. We can't do that if we're pessimistic.

I would encourage us not to leave Christmas behind too quickly. Many of us have had busy Decembers. We can leave our Christmas trees up for a few more days (twelve, even, until Jan. 6, Epiphany) to enjoy the vision we haven't had a chance to take in during our busy Advent. We can eat one last Christmas cookie, while we reflect on the past year, and plan for the year to come. We can pray for the patience of Simeon, for the wisdom of Anna, for the courage of Mary and Elizabeth and Joseph, who said yes to God's plan. We can pray that we have the boldness of John the Baptist, who declared the Good News.

We can pray for the strength to evolve into people of hope, people who watch and wait, confident in the knowledge that God fulfills all promises.

Monday, December 22, 2014


I am taking a break from copying bulletins and humming Christmas songs to let you all know that Christmas Eve worship at Trinity Lutheran is going to be amazing!
While I was up to my elbows in toner and copy paper, our Ukulele ensemble was busy at work preparing for our festive 5PM sunset Christmas Eve candlelight communion service. Mostly indoors (and if it is raining then all indoors), this service is pure joy! And the ladies sound like angels singing, plus they really know their way around a ukulele) so there's that!  7:30PM features a number of our younger folks (kids through young adults) helping out with their voices and their hearts. Another service with candles and communion and the joy of Christmas! 11PM is led by our choir and musicians who will lead us from Christmas Eve into Christmas Day with a passionate cantata written by Jim Hawkins (and communion and candles, of course!).  Please join us and bring friends!

Ever in Christ
Pastor Keith

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014


For the grieving and the lonely. For the broken and the lost. For the hurting and the angry.
For the sorrowful and the sad. For those needing to forgive and needing forgiveness.
This Saturday night December 20th at 7PM at Trinity Lutheran Church, Pembroke Pines. A service to offer God's hope and healing.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

More Thoughts on Joseph

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The reading for Sunday, December 21, 2014:

Matthew 1:  20-22

I have done some thinking of Joseph, as many of us do, in the Advent season.  He thinks of quietly unweaving himself from Mary, who is pregnant.  This behavior is our first indication of his character.  Under ancient law, he could have had Mary stoned to death, but he takes a gentler path.

And then, he follows the instructions of the angel who tells him of God's plan.  He could have turned away.  He could have said, "I did not sign up for this!"  He could have said, "No thanks.  I want a normal wife and a regular life."

Instead, he turned towards Mary and accepted God's vision.  He's there when the family needs to flee to Egypt.  He's there when the older Jesus is lost and found in the temple.  We assume that he has died by the time Christ is crucified, since he's not at the cross.

When I was a teenager, our discussions of Joseph, if they happened at all, revolved around how it must have felt to have raised a child that wasn't his.  As I look back, I think about how many of the fathers around us were doing just that, as it was the 1970's and early 80's, that time when so many families split apart and reconfigured into different families.  But none of us grew up saying, "I hope I'm a really good stepparent some day."

Many of us grow up internalizing the message that if we're not changing the world in some sort of spectacular way, we're failures.  Those of us who are Christians may have those early disciples as our role models, those hard-core believers who brought the Good News to the ancient world by going out in pairs. 

But Joseph shows us a different reality.  It's quite enough to be a good parent.  It's quite enough to have an ordinary job.  It's quite enough to show up, day after day, dealing with both the crises and the opportunities.

Joseph reminds us that even the ones born into the spotlight need people in the background who are tending to the details.  When we think about those early disciples and apostles, we often forget that they stayed in people's houses, people who fed them and arranged speaking opportunities for them, people who gave them encouragement when their task seemed too huge, people who gave money.

I imagine Joseph doing much the same thing, as he helped Jesus become a man.  I imagine the life lessons that Joseph administered as he gave Jesus carpentry lessons.  I imagine that he helped Jesus understand human nature, in all the ways that parents have helped their offspring understand human nature throughout history.

Let us not be so quick to discount this kind of work.  Let us praise the support teams that make the way possible for the people who will change the world.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The reading for Sunday, December 14, 2014:

The Gospel for this Sunday gives us an angel appearing to Joseph in a dream. In this season of Advent, we've spent several weeks thinking and hearing about angel visitations.:  Mary, Elizabeth, and now Joseph.

Notice the responses of these people. They give themselves to God's will. They don't protest, the way that some of our spiritual ancestors did--think of Moses, who tried and tried to get God to go away.

It's important to note that God always gives us a choice, although God can be notoriously insistent. Joseph could have gone on with his plans to divorce Mary quietly; notice his unwillingness to shame her publicly, as would have been his right in a patriarchal society. But the angel comes to him to give Joseph a fuller picture, and Joseph submits to God's will. Likewise, Mary could have said, "Mother of the Messiah? Forget it. I just want a normal kid." But she didn't.

During this time of year, I often wonder how many times I've turned down God. Does God call me to a higher purpose? Am I living my life in a way that is most consistent with what God envisions for me?

The readings for this time of year reminds us to stay alert and watchful. This time of year, when the corporate consumer machine is cranked into high gear, when so many of us sink into depression, when the world has so many demands, it's important to remember that God's plan for the world is very different than your average CEO's vision. It's important to remember that we are people of God, and that allegiance should be first.

What does this have to do with Joseph? Consider the story again, and what it means for us modern people. Maybe you're like Joseph, and you're overly worried about what people will think about you and your actions. The Gospel for this Sunday reminds us that following God may require us to abandon the judgments of the world and accept God's judgment.

Notice that Joseph is the only one in the story who receives an angel visitation in a dream. What is the meaning of this fact? Perhaps this route was the only way that God could reach Joseph. Many of us are so used to having our yearnings mocked or unanswered that they go deep underground, only to bubble up in dreams and visions. Convenient for us, since we can discount things more easily when they appear in our dreams.

God will take many routes to remind us of our role in the divine drama. Many of us won't notice God's efforts; we're too busy being so busy. This time of year reminds us to slow down, to contemplate, to pay attention.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


We spent three weeks this fall in worship engaging in three Jesus'  "Stewardship parables" about how we use our time, our gifts/passions, and our financial resources. Then everyone was invited to answer four commitments anonymously. 56% of those who could respond, did (which is a great number by the way).
For those who did here is the breakdown to their affirmations:
I will pray daily for Trinity and especially its lay leadership and pastor as they seek faithfully and humbly to lead us as God gives them ability (94% yes)
I will give generously for the mission and Ministry of Trinity Lutheran Church of what God has blessed and entrusted to me (85% yes)
I will commit to giving regularly, whether I am present or absent, of an amount I prayerfully discern. (91% yes)
I will increase my offering for 2015 by an amount I prayerfully discern. (47% yes)

A people who pray, who give, who give regularly and generously are a people for whom much shall be expected and through whom much can be accomplished in and through the Holy Spirit for the sake of the world. It is an honor to serve a parish and a people so committed to embodying the love of God in all aspects of their life to the glory of God.
Ever in Christ
Pastor Keith

Saturday, December 06, 2014


The WELCA Cookie exchange Tuesday Night December 9th is open to everyone and has a NEW START TIME of 7PM - if you can please bring 2 dozen cookies to share - and all are welcome to the evening program featuring Max Lucado's "The Christmas Candle"

Thursday, December 04, 2014


If you have not yet turned in your Offering Preference Card and your Offering Commitment Card, please do so at your earliest convenience. They may be placed in the offering plate.

This Saturday in our parking lot and hall is our Community Yard Sale to support our Justice Ministry.

Spots for venders still available. Volunteers to assist still welcome.

Set up at 6:30AM. Sale 8AM until 2PM. Christmas crafts and lots of cool stuff to be offered!
WELCA Cookie Exchange Tuesday December 9th at 7:30PM. Those participating are asked to bring (at least) 2 dozen cookies. All welcome! We will be boxing up cookies to bring to our shut ins during caroling.

We are collecting gently used teenage clothing until DEC 14th for the youth of the Lippman Shelter
Gingerbread decorating this Sunday December 7th after each service. Please bring icing and decorating elements to share. At 11AM service please bring something for the potluck to share.

We are collecting new (unused) Christmas Cards until December 7th for immigrant mothers and children held in detention (we have hand outs on how to fill them out and we will send them into Lutheran Immigration and Resettlement Services).
Christmas Caroling will take place Sunday December 14th following the 11AM service. Meet in Charter Hall. Pizza at 12:15PM for the carolers then groups will go out to shut ins, the VA home and the Lippman Shelter

The deadline for poinsettia dedications  is Sunday December 21st.  Envelopes are available in your bulletin. Suggested donation is $10. You may also mail in your donation directly to the office:

Trinity Lutheran Church 8362 Pines Blvd Suite 431 Pembroke Pines FL 33024
Please indicate that it is for Poinsettia Dedication.
Wednesday Night Potluck and Bible Study is on hiatus until Wed JAN 7th

Christmas Eve Services:
5PM Festive Service with Music led by Ukulele group “Tropical Blend”
Begins in the sanctuary and ends in the Butterfly Garden with candlelighting at sunset

7:30PM Family Service
Our young people provide solos and music leadership under the direction of our organist Barbara Gilson.
11PM Cantata Service
A special composed Christmas Cantata by Trinity’s own Jim Hawkins and led by the Trinity Worship Choir and instrumentalists forms the heart of this service

 *All services with Holy Communion and Candle lighting
ONE service at 11AM on Sunday December 28th (Cantata Reprsie)

 Sunday January 4th regular services return at 8:30AM, 9:45AM and 11AM
Sunday January 25th Semi-Annual Congregational Meeting during worship services for council  elections. Chili Cook Off and Silent Auction at 12:15PM


Wednesday, December 03, 2014


The Second Annual Community Yard Sale to support Trinity's Justice Ministry will take place this Saturday December 6th on the Trinity Campus and in Charter Hall. Christmas Crafts and gifts and other household and other items will be sold by venders including our own WELCA. Food will be available. Pastor is making a pot of chili.

Vender spots are still available! If interested, please contact Dany as soon as possible at 954 907 1562 

Set up is at 6:30AM and the sale runs from 8AM - 2PM

If you signed up to donate food and beverage items please bring them in as soon as possible.
If you signed up to assist Dany by working the sale, food table, and so forth, please remember to show up on time. More volunteers always welcome.

Thank you in advance for your hard work to support this important ministry!

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The reading for Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014:  Luke 1:  47-49

Today's reading is part of the Magnificat, the song that Mary sings when she goes to her cousin Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, conceived long after Elizabeth's child-bearing years ended.

Take some Advent time and look at the Magnificat again (verses 46-55 in Luke 1). Reflect on how Mary's song of praise sums up most of our Scripture. If we want to know what God is up to in this world, here Mary sings it for us. He has raised up a lowly woman who would have been a member of one of the lowliest of her society. He has fed the hungry and lifted up the oppressed. He has continued to stay with Abraham's descendants, even when they haven't always deserved it. We can count on our strong God, from generation to generation.

Take some Advent time and think about Mary's call to be greater than she could have ever expected she would be. She could have said no to God--many do. But she said yes. That acceptance didn't mean she would avoid pain and suffering. In fact, by saying yes, she likely exposed herself to more pain and suffering. But in saying yes, she also opened herself up to amazing possibilities.

Think about your own life. Where do you hear God calling your name?

Perhaps I will adopt a different New Year's resolution this year. I usually have resolutions about eating better and exercising more and tending to my writing. Maybe this year, I will resolve to say yes to God.

The very thought makes me a bit terrified. My control freak self doesn't like this idea of saying yes. My control freak self doesn't understand why I would want Mary, mother of Jesus, as a model.

How can we be like Mary? How can we be like Elizabeth, who receives an even more improbable invitation? Where would we be led, if we said yes to God?

God has a greater narrative for us than any we can dream of. Let this be the year that we say yes to God and leave our limited visions behind.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014


Wednesday December 3rd Potluck 6PM then we decorate the two Advent Trees in the sanctuary, put up the big blue and gold streaming banner from the sanctuary cross and a tree in Charter Hall. Then we go on hiatus until JAN 7th and recommence meeting weekly for potluck and Bible Study continuing with Brian McLaren's "We Make the Road by Walking"


Pastor  will be spending most of this week making gingerbread (and finishing up Christmas Eve worship, JAN worship etc etc). But here's the thing: Can folks bring in unused Christmas Cards this Sunday? Besides the joy of slathering icing on Gingerbread we also have the opportunity to prepare special Christmas cards for the more than 1700 women and children currently held in immigration detention. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) is collecting these cards for distribution. We will have all of the information on a handout - please join us as we write messages of hope for them.
Gingerbread and Christmas Cards will take place following all worship services (8:30AM, 9:45AM, and 11AM in Charter Hall. If you are coming to 11AM please bring a dish to share!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


The Four Sundays of Advent
November 30th, December 7th, 14th and 21st

8:30AM Service of Holy Communion
Meet in the front pew west side of the sanctuary
Barbara Gilson on piano
Lighting of the Advent Wreath.

9:45AM Cross Generational Service of Holy Communion
Meet in Charter Hall
For all ages! Puppets and signing and singing and Advent traditions
and the story of the birth of Jesus

11AM Service of Holy Communion
Meet in the Sanctuary
With organ, instrumentalists, and choir
Advent Wreath lighting and hymns

Poinsettia Dedication orders may be placed until December 21st for $10


A generous gift enabled us to have our hand chimes refurbished and we have just received them back in time for Christmas Eve!

However, we need volunteers to play them.
No experience necessary - just a willingness to learn.

Piper will once again direct the Chime Choir.

Rehearsals Sunday DEC 14th and 21st at noon.

See you then!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Service of Thanksgiving!

Tonight, Tuesday November 25
Pre Service Music at 7PM
Service at 7:30PM
Dessert and Coffee to follow
Please bring a donation for the food pantry

Monday, November 24, 2014


Statistics of the Day:
To date results of our Congregational Stewardship Commitments at Trinity Lutheran
There were four questions

I will pray daily for Trinity and especially its lay leadership and pastor as they seek faithfully and humbly to lead us as God gives them ability
 (96%) "YES"

I will give generously for the mission and Ministry of Trinity Lutheran Church of what God has blessed and entrusted to me
(92%) "Yes"

I will commit to giving regularly, whether I am present or absent, of an amount I prayerfully discern.
(92%) "Yes"

I will increase my offering for 2015 by an amount I prayerfully discern.
(44%) "Yes"

As Trinity's Pastor I stand humbled and amazed by the responses so far as together we the faith community of Trinity continue to seek to do God's will of love, justice, mercy and compassion with the whole of our lives.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Advanced copy of Offering Preferences and Offering Committments

Here are the "Offering Preferences" and "Offering Commitments" referred to in my Stewardship letter that will be distributed on Sunday
⃝[ ]  I would like offering envelopes for 2015
PLASE NOTE:  Our offering envelopes assign you a number and are pre-addressed in case you need/desire to mail your

⃝[ ]  I would like to be contacted to set up electronic (EFT) giving
PLEASE NOTE:  You control how much and how often and your offering is automatically deducted from the account you indicate.  You maintain full control and may change the amount and how often as desired.

⃝[ ]  I would like to share a personal story of God’s blessings in my life/the impact of generosity on my life when such stories are needed for our worship.
NAME: _________________________________________________________

PH#/ EMAIL  ________________________________________________________

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
[ ]  I will pray daily for Trinity and especially its lay leadership and pastor as they  seek to faithfully and humbly lead us as God gives them ability
[ ]  I will give generously of what God has blessed and entrusted me  for the mission and ministry of Trinity Lutheran Church
⃝[  ]  I will commit to giving regularly of an amount I prayerfully discern. Whether I am present or absent from worship
⃝[ ]  I will increase my offering for 2015 by an amount I prayer fully discern

Stewardship Letter

This letter will be distributed at worship this coming Sunday - here is an advanced Copy
In Christ,
Pastor Keith
November 18, 2014
Dear Sisters Brothers and in Christ,
Blessings in the Name of our Lord and Savior!

This has been a year of change and transition for us and a year full of blessings and much for which we are thankful. Centered in the love and grace of God, our community has been a place of healing, compassion, and outreach.  Just last Sunday, Rose Sidun’s daughters came to worship and expressed their gratitude for the care and love with which Trinity surrounded her during her time with us before her recent death.  Ginny Busini, Marge’s daughter expressed similar sentiments for our support during Marge’s final weeks and for herself in her grieving.  People of Trinity cared for them with a ministry of prayer, presence, and by providing for their needs be that food or transportation and much more; whatever came up, someone was there, often without being asked.  The Christian community is a community of selfless love and the more we approach opening our hearts and our hands to such service, the more we experience “the life that is really life,” as Saint Paul tells us.   As your pastor, I am humbled on a daily basis by the witness of your faith made active in love and the witness that others provide to Trinity. As we have given, we have also received:  from the Girl Scouts to nearby Montessori schools, from Christus Victor Lutheran Church, to Living Faith Lutheran Church, to those congregations and groups that we house as guests in our facilities and more, we have received blessings of work, donations of goods  and offerings and the gift of fellowship.
As many of you are aware I was diagnosed with the auto-immune disease lupus this past summer. As a result I have been placed on several medications to help with the symptoms which currently include joint pain and fatigue.  My body is fighting itself and this may flare up from time to time from stress or too much sun and other triggers. Most days I am fine, while others I will need to rest more.  I continue to appreciate your prayers and the heart-felt compassion as people step up their volunteering to lend a hand, especially with the office responsibilities that I acquired when we shrank our staff to balance the budget.  As your pastor, this disease has given me the opportunity to care for myself in ways that I have long ignored and as such to be a better witness for all on the need for self-care and Sabbath time. The disease is not curable and may or may not progress and is rarely fatal for which I am grateful.  Your words and deeds of compassion give me comfort and strength. Thank you!

In worship we have spent the last few weeks talking about blessing and faithfulness and the generosity that flows from a life of gratitude.  I hope you have found the stories that people have shared and my sermons during worship challenging and meaningful.  As our three weeks on parables of stewardship comes to a close you will have the opportunity to do a couple of things.  First, look at all that is included in this packet and take some time in prayer. We will give you time in worship for that and for the next two actions. If you are receiving this through the mail, please do this at home and bring the two slips in with you next Sunday or mail them to the office at the address on the top of this letterhead.  Second, please fill out the form entitled “MY OFFERING PREFERENCES” and include your name. Third, please fill out the form entitled “My Commitment(s)” and DO NOT sign your name and fold it in half. We will collect both of your slips during the offering time and dedicate all at the altar.
Your Pastor and Brother in Christ,

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

By Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The text for Sunday, November 23, 2014:

Luke 16:19-31

This Sunday, we return to familiar themes with the story of Lazarus and the rich man. Lazarus is so poor that he hopes for crumbs from the rich man's table and has to tolerate the dogs licking his sores (or perhaps this is a form of early medicine). Lazarus has nothing, and the rich man has everything.  It's interesting, isn't it, that the rich man knows the name of the poor man, yet still he won't help.

Those who study the Bible deeply would remind us that economic injustice is one of the most common themes in the Bible. To hear the Christians who are most prominently in the media, you'd think that the Bible concerned itself with homosexuality.

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

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

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

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

Some prosperity gospel preachers interpret this motif of a God who wants us to be rich. In a way, they're right--God does want us to be rich. But God doesn't care about us being rich in worldly goods. Anyone who has studied history--or just opened their eyes--knows how quickly worldly goods can be taken away.

But those of us who have dedicated our lives to forging whole human relationships and helping to usher in the Kingdom now and not later--those of us rich in love are rich indeed.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


BLOOD DRIVE TOMORROW in the Trinity Lutheran Parking lot! 9AM until 1PM - please join us and give the gift of life!

Friday, November 14, 2014


A troop of girl Scouts led by Annie Johnson Broderson is coming to Trinity on Saturday to bring food for the food pantry and help in the garden. They will be planting passionflower vines and Dutchman's Pipe and Butterfly Weed and Fennel - all food sources for a number of local butterfly caterpillars. They will be weeding and mulching as well. My heart fills with gratitude at their service and caring. Just as it filled and continues to fill as folks surrounded Ginny Busini with such loving comfort this week at Marge's funeral and before and after, of course. I watched our food pantry as it gave bags of food to over 20 families the first 40 minutes they were open on Thursday. We will have a table of blessing that we will begin to fill for Thanksgiving with food to re stock and help some more families. Sam Newton and her team filled baskets and blessed many families as well for the coming Thanksgiving holiday and for that ministry folks donated generously. There will be a box in the narthex  for gently used teenage clothing for the Lippman Shelter  for Youth. This Sunday is the deadline for donations towards boxes for Seafarer's House. 

Shoebox Guidelines
 So very far away from home these small gifts mean so much!

o Standard adult size boxes only, approximately 11” X 7”; no boot boxes or children’s shoeboxes please.  This is so all gifts are equally wonderful!
o The lid of the shoebox must be wrapped separately so that the box can be opened for security.
o Shoeboxes can be wrapped, painted or decorated with pictures pasted over writing on box.

  New items in regular sizes please!

1. Athletic White Socks
2. After Shave
3. Combs
4. Deodorant
5. Disposable razors
6. Shampoo
7. Shaving Cream
8. Soap/ Shower Gel
9. Tooth Brushes
10. Toothpaste
11. Pencils/ pens/ pencil sharpeners

OPTIONAL EXTRAS - These are extra items that a seafarer might enjoy finding included with the above:

1. Playing cards
2. Picture post cards
3. Calendars with pretty pictures
4. A Christmas card from the donor
5. A Christmas letter or drawing from a child
6. Hard candy

There will also be a basket in the narthex for donations of icing, spray icing, sprinkles, red hots and other decoration candies for our annual Gingerbread decorating day coming up soon on December 7th. 
As ever, I am grateful to serve such a gracious and generous parish, who cares for the other with the whole of their lives.
Ever in Christ,
Pastor Keith

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Memorial Stones

A number of people have been asking about the engraved stones that we use in our Memorial Butterfly Garden at Trinity. This is the website through which we work. Members of Trinity Lutheran should call then and ask about the 10% discount that they typically give to our members because of the number of stones we have ordered over the years.  http://www.engravedstone.net/


Thank you to everyone who assisted with last night's funeral service for Marge Juiliana and for all of the love and caring shown to Marge and Ginny over the past few weeks while Marge was in the hospital and to Ginny after Marge's death. Trinity has always been blessed with amazing people and the love of Jesus has been well-embodied and well served through your love for them. Proud to be your pastor
Ever in Christ
Pastor Keith

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


A REMINDER. The funeral for Marge Juiliana is TODAY WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 12th at TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH 7150 Pines Bvd Pembroke Pines FL 33023 954 989 1903. Visitation 4-6PM; Eastern Star farewell 6PM; Funeral Service at 6:30PM

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The reading for Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014:

Luke 19:11-27

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 rest of the ministry of Jesus makes a clear statement about Christians and cash.  God has a vision for how we'll use that gift of money.

The servant who was chastised was chastised 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 so harshly criticized.

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.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Memorial Gifts

Memorial Gifts in memory of Marge have been designated for the purchase of a wireless microphone set that primarily be used to  replace our current temporary wired set up on the lectern so that even those who would difficult walking up the lectern can serve as readers because we can bring the microphone to them among other benefits for our worship service. If you know Marge, you know that she loved microphones. Checks should be made out to Trinity Lutheran Church with "Marge Memorial" in the memo line or memorial gifts may be placed in an envelope with "Marge Memorial" on the envelope.

For Letters of Condolence

For those who desire to send cards or letters of condolence:

Samantha (Foley) Moran and her husband Michael Moran on the death of Michael’s grandmother Antonia Maria Gutierrez
1910 sw 98th terrace miramar fl 33025
 Florida Gilmartin (one of Trinity’s original members) on the death of her husband William (Bill) Gilmartin
511 NW 71 Terrace Hollywood FL 33024
Rene Benes and her son Justin on the death of her daughter Ashlee Lynn Benes
7721 NW 12 Street Hollywood FL 33024

Daughter Ginny Busini  on the death of her mother, Marjorie (Marge) Juiliana
901 SW 128 Avenue E-301 Pembroke Pines, FL 33027

Marge Juiliana Funeral

Marge Juiliana's funeral will be this Wed NOVEMBER 12th at Trinity Lutheran :  4-6pm visitation. 6pm for Eastern Star farewell and 630pm for Funeral Service, itself.  Earline LaCroix is coordinating food for the time of visitation and dessert following the funeral service, so please contact her directly if you desire to assist her and the WELCA ladies. 

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Marge Juiliana has entered the Kingdom Triumphant

Marge and Frank are now reunited. 

 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Funeral arrangements pending. Prayers continue for Ginny and the family and the many lives touched by Marge.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Philippians 4:8

Called to love, not to worry.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The Gospel for Sunday, November 9, 2014: 
Luke 12:13–31

This week we get the story of the man who built bigger structures to hold his grain and goods.  If we rewrote this Gospel to use modern images, what might we use?

Let me try:  Once there was a worker who got to teach extra classes when the local community college had a surge in enrollment.  The worker also got a bonus at work along with a raise, while the cost for health insurance went down.  Thus, at the end of the year, the worker had extra money in the bank, and because of historic stock market gains, the worker's retirement account was higher than ever.  The worker had lived in the same house for twenty years, so the worker had managed to retain some equity in the house.

The worker decided to consolidate all of the extra money into the retirement account with the best return.  The worker went to bed saying, "At this rate, I can retire 7 years early.  Maybe I'll really luck out, and if I'm careful, I could retire in 14 years and get a few more years of retirement in addition to that 7.  I'm very fortunate."

But that very night, the worker died and because the worker had no will, the money was tied up in the courts for 14 years, and eventually, all the profits went to court costs and other mysterious fees.

Here's another way of looking at that parable.  What does our family budget say about who we trust to take care of us?

Another way of asking the same question:  if we really trusted that God would provide everything we needed, how would our behavior change?

In these stewardship days, we may hear that old-fashioned term, tithing.  I wonder if tithing is an outmoded concept--not that it's not important, but it could be expressed in ways that are more meaningful.

Would we give more money if we understood exactly what our money was buying?  If we translated every restaurant meal into a mosquito net, would we give more?

Or, if we understood some of our spending as truly discretionary (nobody needs beer; I could get all my books from the library and do away with my book budget), would we give more to our church?

In Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire (a book I highly recommend), Brian J. Walsh and Sylvia C. Keesmaat have this interesting approach to charitable giving: "One guidepost we work with is that if we ever find in a given year that we have invested more in our won future by way of retirement savings than we have given away for someone else's present need, there is something terribly wrong. We tend to think the ratio should be at least two to one: for every dollar we invest in retirement savings, two dollars should be given away to an agency that will serve the poor" (page 189).

While I essentially agree with them, I am not there yet, and may not ever meet them there. But maybe I should begin with a smaller goal:  match my retirement savings with my church/charitable/social justice giving.

 Walsh and Keesmaat remind us, "We can probably tell as much about the real spirituality and the real worldview of a people by looking at the cars they drive, the food they consume, the gadgets that fill their homes and the garbage they throw out as we can by listening to the songs they sing and the prayers they pray" (page 199).

 What does your spending say about you and your values?

Monday, November 03, 2014


Today marks the 10th anniversary of our Prayer Shawl Ministry. How God answers one prayer, but blessed the lives of so many is amazing! To date we have given, that we know of, 860 shawls of various colors to people literally all over the world! To children (they get a toy with a matching shawl), graduates, brides, but especially those with breast cancer (pink shawls), those who have lost a spous...e, parent or child. To soldiers and to the families of fallen soldiers have gone red, white and blue shawls. One story I'd like to share... I just couldn't get one shawl mailed out. I was real busy at work, the post office was closed. I even said "God, I don't get it. Why can't I get this out?" Finally... came the thank you note from his wife. It arrived the day when he needed this shawl the most as he was in such pain. Receiving this shawl was just the answer... to put it on and feel the love and prayers. It gave him such faith knowing people that he didn't know were praying for him. So you see, everything is in His time! This is just one of the stories over the 10 years of how this ministry had touched lives.
In order to keep this ministry going, we need your help. It can be knitting, crocheting, or loomming... Looms are for those who do not do crafts but want to make shawls. Thanks to Thrivent we were able to purchase yarn recently, but any monetary donations would assist with mailings. Our team is small, but the requests for shawls keep growing. So if this is something you would be interested in, please contact me.

Blessings and hugs,


Saturday, November 01, 2014

Turn back clocks!

Turn back your clocks or you will miss worship and tomorrow's service is All Saints Sunday which will involve a mini-cantata by the choir, a table for photographs and mementos of the dearly departed along with a prayer book to record their names, a basket of rose petals to scatter at the service's conclusion in the memorial garden, and cake to celebrate our staff birthdays (from Doris Italian Market). We will pray. I will preach. The weather will be cool and dry. We will remember saints dead and living (you and I declared saints by our own baptism into Christ Jesus). We will sing and cry and rejoice and love. SO TURN BACK YOUR CLOCKS! Because you don't want to miss it. :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Meditation for All Saints Sunday

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The All Saints Sunday readings for Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014:

First Reading: Revelation 7:9-17

Psalm: Psalm 34:1-10, 22

Second Reading: 1 John 3:1-3

Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12

This Sunday we celebrate All Saints Day. Most churches focus on loved ones of the congregation who have died; some churches give special emphasis to members who have died since the last All Saints Day. Some churches will be thinking about the larger collection of saints.

The Gospel reading for today at first seems jarringly out of place. Why are we back to the Sermon on the Mount? But after reading it, we see the connections. These are the behaviors of those whom we traditionally consider saints, people like Mother Theresa. They should be the behaviors of those of us still on earth who consider ourselves to be part of that saintly pantheon.

It's even more interesting to read this Gospel in the light of worldly events. These behaviors are not the ones endorsed by most of the world. Spend a night watching television and contemplate what it says about our culture. We don't see many messages that remind us to be meek, to hunger for justice, to work for peace, to be pure in heart. No, we're supposed to dance with stars, or sing for a panel of harsh judges, or watch dramas about ghastly criminals.

The Lectionary Gospel reading uses bridesmaids and lamps to tell us about the kingdom of God. Half of the bridesmaids keep their lamps ready, while half are careless and bring no oil with them. Here we have another story that reminds us to stay alert and prepared and warns us of the consequences if we don’t.

When we read Gospels like these, many of us might think that we do these things as our admission ticket for Heaven. But some of the more interesting books of theology that I've read lately remind us that Christ didn't come to take us to Heaven. In fact, the concept of Heaven with all our loved ones waiting for us there is relatively new to Christian thought. Christ came to announce that God's plan for redeeming the world had begun. That plan involves our pre-death world, which is not just a place where we wait around until it's our turn to go to Heaven. No, this world is the one that God wants to redeem. Christ comes to invite us to be part of the redemptive plan (if you want to read a book-length treatment of this idea, make N.T.Wright's Surprised by Hope your November reading).

Jesus comes to show us what a God-drenched life would look like. I recently rediscovered this quote by Marcus Borg (from a lecture in Miami that he gave almost 10 years ago) in my notebook: "Jesus is the epiphany of God. He shows us what can be seen of God in a human life. There's much of God that can't be shown in a human life, but Jesus shows what can be seen."

Jesus also comes to give us instructions for how we can join together in the redemption of the world. Think of the Sermon on the Mount as a behavior manual. As you move through your days, view your actions and your thoughts through the lens of the Sermon on the Mount. Do your thoughts and actions support this vision of peace, justice, mercy, and comfort? If not, how can you change to be more in alignment with God's vision of redemption?

We could use this All Saints Day as a reminder that we need to jump start our efforts to act as saints in this world. If that behavior means that we also get to be saints in the next world, swell. But the good news of Jesus is that we don't have to wait until we die to experience redemption. We're already saints. We just need to remember to be about the business of sainthood, and to avoid the behaviors that distract us from our mission.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Theology of the Pumpkin Patch

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

I wrote a blog post about my experience with the pumpkin offload and what that experience shows me about God and God's communities.  Here are some quotes to whet your appetite:

"And then I thought of all those agricultural metaphors, where Jesus says, 'The kingdom of heaven is like ... .' That parable of the seeds and the different types of ground – do we really understand that parable if we’ve never planted anything?"

"Unloading the pumpkins also reminds me of something else that I cherish about church communities: At their best, there is room for everyone. The littlest ones can carry pumpkins, if they want to help that way. Those of us without the strength to carry pumpkins can help sell them."

"As I cradled those pumpkins, which so resemble human heads, I felt a strange tenderness toward them, the tenderness that I imagine God feels toward us all. In some ways, pumpkins are so sturdy and yet so fragile. All it takes is one slip and the pumpkin is rendered useless, a pulpy mess of slime and gunk. And yet, even from that accident could come new life, if one planted the pumpkin seeds. From that one pumpkin, we could grow a whole new patch, life out of death."

Go here to read the complete article:


Monday, October 27, 2014

Jeremiah 29:13

Search and finding and being found