Growing in God's Grace

Quarterly Newsletter for First Lutheran Stewards

November 2022


Plans are well underway to coordinate the many logistical aspects of our annual Christmas Basket food drive! The photos above show First Lutheran disciples in action during last year's Christmas Basket drive.

Every year for over two decades, First Lutheran disciples have responded in many ways to bring smiles to the faces of the 144 families who receive these wonderful gifts at Christmas.

A significant part of this ministry is the collection of financial donations that are specifically designated for these food baskets and other social ministry needs, including our cherished relationship with the Pangani school in Kenya.

Volunteers also gather each year to assemble and deliver the Christmas baskets - a wonderful opportunity for both service AND fellowship.

Click Here

to learn more about how you can get involved with this year's Christmas Basket drive!

"Helping God's people grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ through the use of the time, talents and financial resources God has entrusted to us."

Trusting in God’s abundance empowers us to live lives of generosity.

Click Here to Give Online

First Lutheran Disciple's Faith Story

The Lord is My Savior - A Thanksgiving Story

By Mike Blemly

Please learn the lesson I learned, and do what I say and did.

Getting ready for bed at about 12:30 am June 1st, 2022 after watching “The Tonight Show,” I started feeling “off” – with a slight soreness in my surface pectoral muscles. I thought that was unusual, yet I did not ignore it. Since there was no pain or any symptoms warranting calling 911, I said a prayer to the Lord about helping me, and I drove to Fire Station 2 in Ellicott City to get checked out. If it were nothing, I would head back home.

Being a new grandfather, I wanted to make sure I was OK, and not ignore something serious and bad. I was a “walk-in” at Station 2, and EMTs Brooks and Tim took an EKG, showing me matter-of-factly that a STEMI* was occurring. I was loaded into the ambulance, was given an IV, and was taken to the Howard County General Hospital ER. Enroute, they notified the ER a “code STEMI” was incoming, so Cath Lab specialists were arriving at the ER at the same time I was. 

In the ER, there was a flurry of activity, but 10 minutes after arriving, the pectoral muscle soreness was gone. I was then rolled to the Cath Lab where they inserted a stent, then I was taken to a room in the Coronary Care Unit.

The amazing thing is that I acted so promptly to unusual signs and got treated so quickly with a stent for a 90% blockage and ended up with zero cardiac damage! This was a minor miracle on multiple levels.


Another sign of Divine Intervention: due to my sweetie’s wrenched back, we canceled our planned European river cruise. Otherwise, my cardiac event would have happened in Vienna, Austria - likely with different results. I thank God for His divine guidance through this entire ordeal.

Bottom line: DO NOT ignore your body, no matter the symptoms. Remember, it’s better to laugh at a “false alarm” than ignore your body and have others mourning your death!

*ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) is a very serious type of heart attack during which one of the heart’s major arteries (one of the arteries that supplies oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the heart muscle) is blocked. It is an abnormality detected on the 12-lead ECG.

Pastor's Perspective

Bible Basics

Are We Members or Disciples?

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35 NRSV)

When we think about our relationship with the First Lutheran Church faith community, an interesting question we might ask is – Do we think of ourselves as members or as disciples?  In his book Ask, Thank, Tell, Rev. Charles R. Lane draws a valuable distinction between members and disciples:



Give money to support others who do ministry – the pastors and other professionals

Do ministry – they understand that ministry is a partnership that includes the pastors and all God’s people

Give enough money to maintain the institution – keep the building heated, lit and maintained – and make sure enough people take their turn on committees and council

Give as part of a growing relationship with Jesus Christ – understand giving as an important part of being in relationship with Jesus

Live an upright life and be a good citizen

Live life in community – the larger community of the congregation, and smaller groups that gather for prayer, study and service

As we approach the financial portion of our annual Response Campaign, may we do so prayerfully, thoughtfully and seriously; and may we ask ourselves not the membership question (“How much does the church need?”), but rather the discipleship question (“How is God calling me to respond to His presence and His abundance in my life through my love for others?”)

Why I Tithe

“I am the child of a loving and giving God who has given me EVERYTHING – including salvation and eternal life – and who asks only that we respond in kind, by being loving and giving.  Giving 10% back to support God’s work isn’t really asking very much then, is it?” – Elizabeth

“Tithing is a centerpiece of our marriage.  The Lord has consistently met our needs and provided for us more abundantly than we could have expected.  Giving 10% is only giving what God already owns.  As they say, we can’t out-give God.” – Bill 

“Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  (Matthew 6:20-21)


We invite you to continue supporting one or more of these ministries as you are able. Please go to GET INVOLVED on our website for details. Thank you for continuing to live into God's mission!

  • Blankets for Project Linus
  • Clothing and textile donations for Project PLASE
  • FLC Altar Guild Worship Assistant
  • Donations for Grassroots Day Resource Center
  • Howard County Food Bank & Community Garden
  • Food on the 15th
  • Breath of God Lutheran Church
  • Clean cotton fabric/sheet donations to the Sewing Circle 
  • Virtual Food Drive
  • Community of St. Dysmas Congregants
  • Women and Children's Shelter/Soup Kitchen

Click here to learn more about opportunities to serve!

First Evangelical Lutheran Church
Generosity Statement

We believe that we are created in the image of a loving, generous God who creates us to live in relationships of love and generosity.

We commit to living lives of generosity, welcoming, growing, and sharing in God's grace, and using the abundance God provides to meet the needs of others.

We invite all disciples to experience the joy of fearless generosity, giving our time, talents and treasure so that each of us, our community, and the world might be transformed through the ministries of First Lutheran Church.
First Evangelical Lutheran Church
Stewardship Ministry
3604 Chatham Road
Ellicott City, MD 21042
Office: 410-465-5977
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Youtube