Hurricane Irma

Our thoughts are with everyone affected by Hurricane Irma throughout the Caribbean, Cuba, here in Florida and the Southeastern US. Our prayers are with you as well as the people in Texas affected by Harvey, and those out west dealing with the fires. This summer has been a challenge, but the strength of our belief in God will carry us through.

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Easter Season Events 2017

ALL ARE WELCOME TO JOIN US.

Sunday of the Passion/Palm Sunday Mass

April 9, 2017, 8:00AM

Celebration Worship & Blessing of the Palms Ceremony

Maundy Thursday Mass

April 13, 2017, 4:00PM

Holy Communion

Good Friday Tenebrae

April 14, 2017, 4:00PM

“Service of Lights”

EASTER SUNDAY

Bible Study & Continental Breakfast

April 16, 2017, 7:00AM

High Festival Easter Mass

April 16, 2017, 8:00AM

Celebration Worship! Special Music!

Christ is Risen. He is Risen, Indeed.

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A Prayer for Our Time

Dear Brokenhearted God,

We did not want to have to come to you again with such heavy hearts after what we endured last June in Charleston. Yet, we bow before you today grief stricken and stunned. We cry, as we did then, how can this happen? What can we do? Forgive us for not doing enough in this year to keep another brother from killing so many sisters and brothers. Give us your strength to endure this tragedy. Give us your wisdom to see a way forward for peace. Raise up among us leaders who can make a difference. Teach us how to be agents of reconciliation who embrace all your people. Break open the barriers of our hearts so that we can see your Son Jesus in every face we meet. We are your brokenhearted people, pleading in the name of the One whose death broke your own heart for us all.  Amen.

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Following is a letter from Robert G. Schaefer, Bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA, from the Heart of Florida Conference, which he has shared with us.

A Day of Mourning and Lament

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

I invite every congregation to name this Sunday, June 19, the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost 2016, as a Day of Mourning and Lament in our worship together as congregations of the Florida-Bahamas Synod. Let us “weep with those who weep”.

Let us reflect upon how grief implicates us all in the common bonds of humanity. The hundreds of patrons of the Pulse nightclub have relationships that reach into our churches, schools and lives. The hateful rhetoric of our day has touched us with its great harm; no one is spared.

Let us allow no place for the rhetoric of hate in our lives and relationships. As disciples of Jesus Christ, let us trust that “love casts out all fear,” “because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”

We remember the Charleston Nine, massacred at Mother Emanuel Church a year ago, when the safety of the sanctuary of God was breached. Now we mourn again because of gun violence and the hate that pulls the trigger.

We mourn the loss of 49 persons last Sunday at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and pray for the recovery of the 53 injured and many traumatized. We mourn for the perpetrator Omar, who overwhelmed by the chaos of violence, lost control of his own humanity and thus brought suffering to thousands of people.

We lament the words and deeds that disparage and threaten the LGBTQ community, our Muslim neighbors, and immigrants among us.

Let our lament become the prophetic passion of healing love so that all identities – whether of national origin, sexual orientation, or religion – feel welcome and safe in our midst.

We commend to God, our Creator, Redeemer, and Healer, all victims of violence.

Peace be yours,

Robert G. Schaefer, Bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA

Let us pray. O Lord our God, Triune Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:  Our city has been devastated by a terrorist who chose to commit mass murder, who chose a gay night club as his target, and we, as people of faith, are called to respond to such evil in Christlike words and deed. We pray for the dead, the wounded, and their families that they might know comfort. We pray for the LGBT community and the Islamic community, who now bear wounds and fears because of this attack, that you might protect them from further harm. We pray for our congregation and for all Christians, that we might be instruments of peace, that in loving and serving like Jesus, we might bring hope and healing to our city and all people, even our enemies who desire us harm. We ask these things in the name of Christ, our Lord, the Prince of Peace and healer of all our ills.  Amen.

(From the Heart of Florida Conference) 

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Estimated 50,000 People Attend Vigil for Orlando Victims: NBC NEWS, by Tim Stelloh, 06/20/16

 

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The Celtic Way at Bethlehem and Atonement Lutheran Churches

In my last Blog, 03/11/16, and Temple Talk on 03/22/16, I wrote and spoke about the role St Patrick played in converting the Irish to Christianity. How he used symbols like the Celtic cross and the shamrock to introduce Christian doctrine, like the Holy Trinity.

Fast forward two months to May, 2016. I am back in Columbus, Ohio for the Spring/Summer. I attended my first service of the year at my Columbus home church, Atonement Lutheran Church, on 05/08/16. Guess what the Sunday school lesson is? “The Celtic Way of Evangelism.” How St Patrick, and other Christian leaders, taught the Doctrine of the Trinity, understanding the death of Christ, and the importance of living for Christ, to the Irish.

I am amazed that that two Lutheran churches so far apart, and so different, could be having almost the same conversation about the same Saint; one in a Temple Talk, the other in a Sunday school lesson.

The Christian Church has many denominations, and sub-denominations, but they all have the same King, the same Savior, the same Christ, JESUS.

Continue to ask God to lift up a friend, or, if you already think you have such a person, consider where your relationship with that person could go a little deeper, as you share the good news of Jesus Christ. Invite them to Bethlehem. Bring them to Bethlehem. That person will be playing a key role in your Christian walk.

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100,000 or One on St Patrick’s Day

St Patrick converted over one hundred thousand Irish to Christianity, and help start up over 300 churches, during his life, 387AD to 460AD. Ireland was a country that practiced a nature-based pagan religion during St Patrick’s time. To proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord was dangerous, and left him without legal protection. Because of his belief in Christ, and his willingness to publicly tell the Good News, and to be an evangelist for Jesus, St Patrick was beaten, robbed persecuted, put in chains, and imprisoned.

But St Patrick persevered. He told the Christian story to the Irish by using symbols and ideas they could relate with. He taught the doctrine of the Holy Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a three-leafed plant, using it to illustrate the Christian teaching of three persons in one God.

St Patrick superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol at the time, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross. The converted Irish became more comfortable wearing the cross, and proclaiming Jesus as Christ.

The shamrock, the Celtic cross, the Irish national color, green; and a feast, are all part of the St Patrick Day celebration; a celebration of Jesus, and Christianity throughout the world.

St Patrick died on March 17, 460AD. He was born in Britain. At age 16 he was kidnapped by Irish pirates, taken to Ireland, there enslaved as a shepherd. Six years later he escaped, wandered through the wilderness for over 200 miles finally arriving at the coast.

Upon his return to Britain St Patrick went into the ministry as a priest after 15 years of study. He asked to return to Ireland with the dream of converting the Irish to Christianity.

St Patrick converted over 100,000 to Christ. Each person he converted started with a conversation. We can share the Good News of Jesus with just one person. You could be a Saint in that person’s life.

 

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What Did St Valentine Ever Do For You?

Saint Valentine (Saint Valentine of Rome) is a third century martyred saint celebrated worldwide on February 14th. St Valentine was imprisoned and tortured for marrying Christian couples, aiding Christians who were being persecuted by Rome, and pledging and preaching the validity of Jesus. All of these acts were considered serious crimes against the Roman Empire.

One of the men who judged  St Valentine was Asterius, whose daughter was blind. The Judge agreed to release St Valentine, and other imprisoned Christians, if he could restore his daughter’s sight. St Valentine placed his hands onto her eyes and restored the girl’s vision. St Valentine eventually fell in love with Asterius’ daughter.

St Valentine was later arrested again for continuing to convert people to Christianity, and performing Christian marriages. St Valentine refused to renounce his faith and Christianity. He was sentenced to death. The day before his death, St Valentine left a note for Asterius’ daughter and signed it “from your Valentine.”

St Valentine was executed just north of Rome on February 14, 269 AD. Pope Gelasius marked February 14th a day of celebration in honor of St Valentine on 496 AD.

St Valentine has taught us to share the good news of Jesus Christ, even at the risk of rejection, ridicule, or suffering and death. Also, that a Christian marriage and life, has a sense of God in your life; and a need for God in your life; through his son, Jesus Christ.

Happy St Valentine Day.

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How to always have Joy in your life

“J” is for Jesus. Always put Jesus first in your life. Look to him for peace, for healing, for grace, for forgiveness; for everything.

“O” is for Others. Jesus asks us to share the good news of his grace and forgiveness with others. To put family, friends, neighbors, co-workers before our needs; and to give to those who have less than we do.

“Y” is for You. The Lord has forgiven your sin. You can rejoice every day knowing that Jesus is by your side. You are his joy. You are here for a reason.

Where can you find JOY?

You can find JOY at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 838 Hallandale, Hallandale Beach, FL (954-454-2954), every Sunday morning.  You will find friendship, peace, hope, and Jesus.

I’ll see you there!

Keith

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Holiday Worship Service Schedule

ALL ARE WELCOME.

Ash Wednesday Worship, February 10, 2016, 7:30PM

Palm Sunday Festival, March 20, 2016, 9:15AM

Maundy Thursday, March 24, 2016, 7:30PM

Good Friday Tenebrae, March 25, 2016, 7:30PM

Easter Breakfast and Bible Study, March 27, 2016, 7:30AM

Easter Festival Mass, March 27, 2016, 9:15AM

If you’d like to attend and have any questions, please contact us at 954-454-2954. If we’re not in, just leave a message and we’ll be sure to return your call. Our location is shown at the bottom of this page.

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