Messiah Lutheran Church
13901 Clopper Rd. Germantown, MD 20874
(301) 972-2130

A Workplace Experience

Greetings

I wanted to share an experience from my workplace. As many of you know, I work for the Federal Government (as a scientist in the FDA) and this is not always an environment that is conducive to having religious (especially Christian conversations).

One of my work colleagues, and a friend, challenged me with a question the other day. As background, she knows that I am a Christian; she has a background in both the Lutheran and Catholic Church, and is enduring a number of spiritual struggles (which I will allude to later). So she stopped by one day and let me know that she is watching the A.D., The Bible Continues TV series, which she is really enjoying, and she asked me “Do you truly believe in the resurrection?” Without giving me time to answer she went into some work related conversations. Before she left, I took our conversation back to her first question. I let her know that yes, I truly believe that Jesus rose from the dead. And she asked “As a scientist, don’t you struggle with this?” And I told her that as a scientist, I struggle with many of the topics in the Bible, but I confirmed to her that I do believe. Was this the best answer I could give? Looking back, probably not, but it lays the ground work for additional conversation.

As I mentioned, my friend has been struggling with many spiritual issues over the last few years. In no particular order, she has been struggling with her faith, having fallen away from routine church attendance. She has two young daughters that have not been baptized. Her husband is a vocal atheist. And a little over a year ago, she almost lost her mother to an unexpected illness.

She finds herself pulled in many directions, as many of us do. Her mother is “pressuring her” to go back to church, as she sees the serious medical event and her recovery as a miracle and a sign from God. Her husband is resisting, and unhappy, with her decision to start instruction to have their two daughters baptized. And overall, she is truly struggling with believing the Gospel message, but is open to re-building her faith. With God’s help, I will try my best to be ready to share what and why I believe, when given the opportunity.

I am sure that many of you have friends or family members that are going through similar experiences. We have opportunities every day to exhibit our hope in God’s promise revealed to us in Jesus’ death and resurrection (and unlike our Christian brothers and sisters throughout the world, we likely won’t be martyred for espousing our faith). I pray that we can all be ready when called upon and that we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us.

Your Brother in Christ.

Bob Iser

Council President

“…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,…” 1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)

Posted on: May 19th, 2015 by Bob Iser

Retreat Recap

Greetings

We held our first Host/Usher Retreat on March 14th. Although we talked about the roles and duties of greeters and ushers, the real focus of the retreat was to allow for an open sharing of ideas and experiences.  The 24 attendees were very engaged and we captured enough evangelism, outreach and spiritual growth ideas, to keep everyone busy for quite a while.  A few highlights that I would like to share:

  • We discussed the role of a greeter with many of ideas about best practices for welcoming worshipers and sharing God’s Love through our greeter role.
  • We talked about how best to follow-up with guests and engaging visitors to Messiah in different ways, whether it is visiting their home, providing a gift, sharing opportunities and activities available to them at Messiah, or pairing them with members that have common interests.
  • We shared ideas of what our ushers could do better as an additional layer of greeters and with respect to their duties as a resource to worshipers. We also talked about ways that we could provide more people usher experience.
  • We also talked a great deal about close communion and what we believe as LCMS Lutherans; and what our role is in informing guests about communion preparation.

I really appreciated the level of engagement of all the attendees.  We really shared a lot of great ideas for not only ushers and greeters, but for all of us at Messiah,  I also want to give special thanks to Lauryn Keeler and Michelle Iser for putting the program together, to Ed Keeler for fixing us breakfast, and to Paige, the Menningen’s granddaughter, for watching our kids.

If you have any questions about what was discussed or have additional ideas (or would like copies of the slides), please feel free to contact Michelle Iser (michelle_iser@yahoo.com) or Lauryn Keeler (larkeeler@yahoo.com).

Last, but not least, Thanks be to God for all of your service and support to Messiah and our mission to be God’s messengers of the Gospel in our neighborhoods and communities.

Your Brother in Christ.

Bob Iser   

Council President

retreat 1 retreat 3 retreat 2

retreat 4Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:1-2 (ESV)

Posted on: April 26th, 2015 by Bob Iser

Host / Usher Retreat Preparations

Greetings

As part of our ongoing commitment to strengthening both growth and outreach; and based on input received during the recent Breakfast with the Council event, the Church Council will be hosting a Greeter & Usher Retreat on March 14th. We feel it was important, not only to get together with the current greeters and ushers, but also to provide an opportunity for others in the congregation to learn about these important church roles.

We currently have a dedicated group of greeters and ushers. These individuals serve the Lord and Messiah very well. However, over the last few years, we have also lost of number of folks that were serving in these roles. We need to provide opportunities for members, and our regular guests, to join the ranks of the others that serve in roles critical to creating a welcoming home for those seeking the promises of God’s Word.

The Retreat provides an environment for attendees to share experiences, to grow in fellowship and to prepare to meet the needs of those that come to Messiah’s door seeking the Good News of God’s salvation. We will look closely at the roles of greeter and usher, and using the Scripture, we will discuss the importance of creating a place that welcomes those visiting Christ’s Church.

This is one of several events the Council hopes to offer to assist our congregants to seek out possible servant opportunities; and we hope that those that attend this retreat, and future events, will come away better prepared to serve the Lord. Please continue to pray that the Holy Spirit works through the Council to do God’s work at Messiah.

Your Brother in Christ.

Bob Iser

Council President

And thus you shall greet him: “Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have.” 1 Samuel 25:6 (ESV)

Posted on: March 14th, 2015 by Bob Iser

Meeting Our Needs

Greetings!

We have a new little one at our house. Jenny is a 4 month old rescue puppy (mostly chocolate lab, with a mix of shep-herd or kelpie, whatever that is?). It has been awhile since we had a puppy and we really forgot how much time and nurturing is needed to meet a puppies needs – getting up early to make sure she gets out, all the vet visits, enduring the constant chewing, searching for shoes, and on and on. It is a lot of work, but worth it as the kids (and Michelle and I) really enjoy having a new member in our family.

I know that several folks in our congregation (and also Michelle’s sister, Sunawin – UPDATE – Aria McLaurine Garner was born 2/4/2015) will be in a similar situation in the coming weeks. These folks will be welcoming new little ones into their homes. Of course welcoming a new baby is a lot different than dealing with a new puppy, but these new mommies and daddies, will be in 100% nurture mode to meet all the little one’s needs.

Much like we are responsible for meeting the needs of our new puppy and the new parents are responsible for meeting the needs of their new babies, we are responsible for nurturing and meeting each other’s needs at Messiah. Whether these are the needs of guests seeking a new church home, members dealing with personal or professional challenges, paying the bills to keep the lights on or making repairs to the church building; we are all empowered by the Holy Spirit to meet these needs. With the Holy Spirit as a guide, we can create a welcoming atmosphere for the seekers, we can pray and assist our members struggling through hard times, we can provide with our tithes and offerings, and we can participate in our service work parties.

We all have needs. God meets these needs with all that He has blessed us with including His Gospel and through the work of the Holy Spirit. Knowing this, we should not resist the Holy Spirit working through us, so that we can nurture each other and so we can grow as members of Christ’s Body. Thanks be to God for all your service, prayers and gifts!

Your Brother in Christ.

Bob Iser

Church Council President

[12] 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. [13] For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one bodyJews or Greeks, slaves or freeand all were made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13 ESV)

Posted on: February 21st, 2015 by Bob Iser

Lenten Services

AshCrossJoin us each Wednesday night in Lent at 7:30 pm as we learn about the seven Penitential Psalms. A pot-luck supper will begin at 6:15 before the service. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on February 18.

The Seven Penitential Psalms are:

Posted on: February 8th, 2015 by Edward Lamberton

New Year’s Blessings

mlcCrossTransparentGreetings!

As we begin 2015, I have been reflecting on the “health” of our congregation over this past year.  We had many challenges in 2014. We had a number of members move away or transfer to other churches. We had another year of declining attendance (which we found out is common throughout the circuit and district). We had to transfer funds (multiple times) from savings in order meet our salary and mortgage obligations; and our pre-school attendance dropped, to name a few.  Sounds like a tough year.

However, with all these challenges, we also had a good year. We all have made a concerted effort to help grow Messiah, both in caring for the current members and in sharing God’s Love with our guests. We have a large number of members and guests that give offerings of time, talents and treasures and many that perform important tasks at the church that keep everything operating. We continue to reach out to the Chinese community to share the Word of God; and we shared our blessings with many in our community (e.g., Germantown Help and the Shady Grove Pregnancy Center) and throughout our circuit (e.g., the Deaf and Hispanic Ministries).

As I was reflecting on 2014, I took a look at the description of our Messiah symbol that hangs in the narthex.  [To be honest, I do not remember ever reading the info hanging in a frame by the fire extinguisher.]  For those of you that did not know, Messiah’s symbol represents the growth of the Messiah congregation stemming from Christ. The three lines symbolize the Three Persons in one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The three leaves or flames represent the Trinity, new life and growth. The lines swirl and swing under and over each other depicting movement and action on the firm foundation of the Cross of Jesus, the Messiah.  I think this symbol really fits what we want to be in our community: A church that continues to grow, to serve the Triune God, to celebrate and share the gifts of our Life in Christ and to point our actions back to the Cross.

We will have our challenges in 2015, but with God’s unwavering Love we will have many opportunities to make it another good year and to continue to grow as the people of God in our community.  I hope to you and your families have a Blessed New Year!

Your Brother in Christ.

Bob Iser

Church Council President

 

“…that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3 (ESV)

Posted on: January 17th, 2015 by Bob Iser

Christmas Services

Christmon TreeCome celebrate the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ with us this Christmas!

Christmas Eve

5 pm – Family Service

11 pm – Candlelight Communion Service

Christmas Day

10:30 AM – Communion Service

Posted on: December 6th, 2014 by Edward Lamberton