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

Featured Post


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...

Saturday, April 30, 2016

1 Peter 2:4

Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God's sight
1 Peter 2:4

Friday, April 29, 2016


From Our Weekly Worship Slips

Where have you seen God working this week?Beautiful Angels touching my Life.
Healing me from surgery.

How did God use someone else to bless you this week?My daughter cooking and cleaning for me.
Sharing my love with others.
At my AA meeting.
Receiving a phone call of healing.
My brother working on my home.

How did God use you to be a blessing to others this week?Acknowledging beautifulness to others.
Giving a friend a ride.
Praying with my grandchildren.
I welcomed a new neighbor.

Psalm 4:8

I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
 for you alone, O LORD, make me lie down in safety.
Psalm 4:8

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Meditation on Exile, both Ancient and Modern

The reading for Sunday, May 1, 2016:

2 Kings 17:  5-20

How interesting to read this text in light of all the migration, forced and voluntary, happening through the world today.  We live in a time when more humans are on the move across the globe than any time since the end of World War II.  Our various cultures will be shaped and changed by this movement.

Our thinking about exile is both similar and different to how the ancient Israelites saw exile.  We see evidence of that thinking in the text.  The text tells us that the Assyrian exile comes as God's punishment for the wrongs of the king:   "7 This occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They had worshipped other gods 8and walked in the customs of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had introduced. 9The people of Israel secretly did things that were not right against the Lord their God. They built for themselves high places at all their towns, from watch-tower to fortified city; 10they set up for themselves pillars and sacred poles on every high hill and under every green tree; 11there they made offerings on all the high places, as the nations did whom the Lord carried away before them. They did wicked things, provoking the Lord to anger; 12they served idols, of which the Lord had said to them, ‘You shall not do this.’ 13Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, ‘Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the law that I commanded your ancestors and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.’"

Historians might explain it otherwise, explaining how the Israelites lived in a bad location, between various warring countries, which meant that armies were always crossing the land of Israel.  Historians would say that Israel and Judah were the weaker countries in a region of heavily armed, fierce fighting cultures.  Historians would tell us that these smaller, weaker countries were living on borrowed time and that it should have come as no surprise that they were conquered.

But generations after the forced exile saw it as God's punishment, and some of them saw it as their task to figure out how to get back to God's favor.  They would have centuries to wrestle with this question, as generation after generation was subsumed by whatever empire ruled the world at the time.

If we read the Gospels deeply and then do some research, we might see the Pharisees in a more favorable light.  They did not insist on purity laws because they wanted to make Christ's ministry difficult.  They thought that if they could get the Jews to perfect their observation of all the laws that God gave them in the early days, then God would look favorably upon them, and all that was lost would be restored.

Humans are prone to this thinking, and especially humans who have lost so much--or who come from families/cultures who have focused on the loss.

Some theologians might remind us that from these great losses come great growth.  We might argue that if cultures don't go out into different parts of the world, they will become more and more insular and eventually die.  Historians might tell us that exile inoculates a culture against extinction.  If a group stays in the same geographical spot, they are easier to destroy.  If parts of the group have migrated, they can regroup, even if a genocide has occurred elsewhere.  We see this dynamic with both centuries of Jewish culture and Christian culture.

I realize this idea is small comfort when one has lost one's homeland and everything that matters.  One does not sit in the ashes and say, "From this event will come great art and then a stronger culture."  And yet, it is usually true.

I'm interested in the various communities that are formed by exiles.  Often they are more vibrant than the ones left behind.  Exile can teach us what is important, what we value.  We see this trajectory in the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles of the ancient Israelites.

We live in a time of exile of all sorts.  Some of it is geographical, as people become ever more mobile and countries more unstable.  Some of it has to do with psychology, as we are required to make adjustments in the face of what we thought we knew having to change.  Some of us must leave our families and some will have our families leave us.  Some must shed identities.

In a time of exile, it is good to remember the value of creating community in the place where one has washed up.  It is good to remember that although we may feel abandoned, God is there with us.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ruth 1:16

Do not press me to leave you
 or to turn back from following you!
 Where you go, I will go;
 where you lodge, I will lodge,
 your people shall be my people,
 and your God my God.
Ruth 1:16

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

John 15:11

I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
John 15:11

Monday, April 25, 2016

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Philippians 2:4-5

Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus
Philippians 2:4-5

Friday, April 22, 2016

1 Corinthians 1:27-29

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29so that no one might boast in the presence of God.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

1 Timothy 6:17

As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment
1 Timothy 6:17

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.
Luke 19:10

Controlling the Miracle: Naaman

The reading for Sunday, April 24, 2016:

2 Kings 5:  1-19

This Old Testament reading shows Naaman, who almost refuses a healing experience, because it involves a simple bath in a humble river. He wanted something grander and glorious--a better river, a waving of hands. We might think about how many times we get in the way of our own health and wholeness by refusing to believe that the process can be so easy.

We might want to believe that we're not like Naaman, but let's consider again.  Naaman is powerful. His arrogance flowers out of that power. He almost walks away from the gift of wholeness because of that arrogance.  He's offered a miracle, but because the miracle looks different from what he's expecting, he almost refuses it.

Luckily, he has servants who are willing to talk to him and to remind him of a saner approach.  And so he is healed.

I wonder how many of us have turned away from God's miracles.  Maybe it's because they don't look like what we thought they would be.  Or maybe it's because like Naaman, our powerful status blinds us to the presence of the miraculous. 

This text is also a text about crossing boundaries.  We see several nationalities in this text.  It's interesting to consider Elisha, an Israelite, asked to heal a general from another country, a country which might then attack Israel.  It's interesting to look at Naaman's reaction in light of different nationalities and expectations.  And of course, Naaman had leprosy, the ancient disease that inflicted a boundary between the sick and the well.

Many people who are sick, or who have sick loved ones, may be able to relate to this boundary--they may feel they live in a land that they never knew existed before.  Many of the rest of us fear that we may be exiled to the land of sickness.  How do these fears separate us from each other?  How do these fears separate us from God?

Whether we're healthy or sick, we are all in need of the miracle of salvation--and many stories in the Bible remind us that salvation comes from angles where we wouldn't expect it:  the dirty river not the mighty one, the messiah hanging on a cross not the warrior who kicks the Romans out of the promised land.

Where will we look for God this week?  And what will we miss, if we don't look in other directions?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Ephesians 4:22-24

"You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self...and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."
Ephesians 4:22-24

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Psalm 9:10

And those who know your name put their trust in you,
 for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 9:10

Friday, April 15, 2016


Trinity Lutheran Church, Pembroke Pines will host The 7 Habits of Jesus: Faith Formation Guide for Discipleship event being held in the Broward – Bahamas Conference on TOMORROW Saturday April 16th from 9 - Noon. The 7 Habits of Jesus discipleship material, led by Aaron Schmalzle from Trinity Lutheran in Kissimmee. All are welcome! Thanks to a synod Together in Mission grant, your registration expenses (not travel expenses) for this workshop are covered. Workshop attendees will be provided with knowledge and support to start discipleship groups in their congregations. All congregations in the Synod are being challenged to attempt at least one group of 12 total participants. These workshops and subsequent group formations are an important part of a larger plan regarding discipleship and faith formation in the Synod.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Luke 6:27

But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you
Luke 6:27

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

1 Thessalonians 3:12

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you
1 Thessalonians 3:12

Calling All Disciples!

A Spring Discipleship Training Opportunity!
Save the Date! Trinity Lutheran Church, Pembroke Pines will host The 7 Habits of Jesus: Faith Formation Guide for Discipleship event being held in the Broward – Bahamas Conference on Saturday April 16th from 9 - Noon. The 7 Habits of Jesus discipleship material, led by Aaron Schmalzle from Trinity Lutheran in Kissimmee. All are welcome!

Pastor Keith and the Trinity Lutheran Council encourage you to take some time out of your Saturday morning to attend this important workshop - all welcome!

And registration is FREE!

Elijah and Elisha

The reading for Sunday, April 17, 2016:

2 Kings 2:  1-12

In this reading, we return to our study of the Old Testament.  Many people, I suspect, remember little else about Elijah, except perhaps that Elijah is one of few in the Bible who don't have to physically die, but are taken up into Heaven.

As I considered the reading for Sunday, I was struck by Elisha's loyalty to Elijah.  Perhaps it's because we are still so close to Good Friday and Easter, but I was struck by the 3 times that Elisha continues on with Elijah.  They know that the end is near, but Elisha refuses to abandon Elijah.

I also wonder about Elijah.  It's clear that he planned to walk alone--did he plan to walk alone because God told him to take this journey alone?  Is he irritated or comforted by the presence of Elisha? 

I think about our current time, a time that seems sorely in need of intergenerational mentorship.  What can we learn from this picture of Elijah and Elisha?  What does this story tell us about mentorship?

We might also think of this story as a parable of transition.  In many settings, we have one leader who has much of the institutional knowledge.  What happens when it's time for that leader to leave?  Perhaps Elisha clings to Elijah and asks for a portion of his spirit because he doesn't feel quite ready.  Those of us in leadership positions might think about how we're preparing people to take our places--are we giving away a portion of our spirits so that transitions, when they come as they must, are easier?

In the Revised Common Lectionary, we find this story as the Old Testament lesson on Transfiguration Sunday.  I often approach Transfiguration Sunday by thinking about ways to transfigure myself and about the ways that the world needs to be transfigured.

God promises to transfigure our lives from dust and ash to living light. Again and again, God declares transfiguring love: not just for Jesus, not just for Elijah and Elisha, but for all of us. In a world that rejects us in so many ways, it's good to remember that God claims us, every day. In God’s creation, every day presents opportunities for transfiguration, even in times of huge transition.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Luke 22:24 & 26

A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But [Jesus] said to them....But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. 
Luke 22:24, 26

Monday, April 11, 2016


As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 
Galatians 3:27-28

Saturday, April 09, 2016

2 Corinthians 9:8

And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 
 2 Corinthians 9:8

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Strive to enter through the narrow door; 
for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able.
Luke 13:24

Psalm 127:1

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain Psalm 127:1

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Matthew 15:10-11

Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, "Listen and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.
Matthew 15:10-11

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Do You Doubt like Thomas?

I think of these post-Easter, pre-Ascension stories as second chance stories (or tenth or thirtieth or forty-seventh chances, depending on how you're counting). Notice that Jesus appears to them and offers peace. He doesn't show up to castigate the disciples for how they behaved badly during his hours of need. He doesn't say to Peter, "See, I told you that you would betray me." He doesn't say, "You big bunch of cowards, running away from the Romans." He breathes on them to give them the Holy Spirit (and if you read the Bible from the beginning, you'll be noticing a theme here; God breathes creation into existence, and much of the power of God is described throughout Scripture in terms of breath and/or wind).

Jesus offers forgiveness and peace again and again. Thomas has come under fire through the centuries for his doubt--but really, who can blame him? Even some of our more prominent theologians today (like Marcus Borg) seem to doubt the physical resurrection of Jesus. Our rational brains just can't wrap themselves around a mystery of this magnitude.

Thomas, too, gets second chances. Just because he wasn't in the locked room when Jesus appeared, that doesn't mean he's doomed to doubt forever. He gets to touch the wounds of Jesus.

Notice how physical these descriptions are: Jesus breathes on them, and death hasn't healed his mortal wounds. He's recognizable. And he seems to carry on with his life's work, at least for a little bit more time: the last verses of today's Gospel refer to many more signs, but the writer John won't burden us with them all. We get a select few to help us believe.

And then Jesus is gone. But we've been left with a mission. We're to spread the good news. We are not to remain in our locked rooms, keeping company only with each other as we eat the last of the bunny cake. We're to go out and be the light of the world. We are entrusted with the mission of helping to create the Kingdom where peace reigns, where death doesn't have the last word, where everyone has enough to keep their bodies alive and their souls fed.
Today at Trinity we celebrate the confirmation of our youth.  What a wonderful time for us to evaluate our own faith journeys.  If we've gotten off track, God offers a second chance--and more chances if we need them.  If we're spiritually depleted, we can be renewed.  If we have doubts, that's O.K.  Christ will show us what we need.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Jeremiah 29:13

When you search for me, you will find me; 
if you seek me with all your heart, 
Jeremiah 29:13

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Isaiah 60:1

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. Isaiah 60:1

Friday, April 01, 2016

Isaiah 41:10

do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10