The Church relations web page at Valparaiso University lists 30 individual Lutheran Church bodies in North America (http://www.valpo.edu/churchrelations/resources/lcbina.php). Living Savior Lutheran Church belongs to a group of churches known as The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. Originally incorporated as the German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Missouri, Ohio, and other States, over time, the Missouri Synod expanded beyond the Midwestern United States and shortened its name. A synod (pronounced SIN-uhd) is a group of Churches who walk together in what they believe and practice. The beliefs of the Missouri Synod are spelled out here: http://www.lcms.org/belief-and-practice. In brief, here are some important things we hold as true:
The Sacraments: Although the Bible doesn't use the word sacrament, God uses various means to connect people to His saving actions. Concerning Baptism, Paul writes that when we receive the water and God's Word used in Baptism, we are baptized into Jesus' death and resurrection [Romans 6:3-5]. That's how we are born into God's kingdom. When we receive the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper, Jesus' words to His disciples are true for us as well "This is My body...this is My blood...for the forgiveness of your sins." Some Christians look at these words as picture language, but Lutherans take them at face value.
The Trinity: A number of Bible verses speak of God as singular, such as, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one" [Deuteronomy 6:4]. Other verses speak of God from the perspective of somehow being more than one, such as when Jesus tells His disciples to baptize all nations "in the name [singular] of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Three distinctive persons of God are spoken of in the Bible: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yet the Bible states that there is only one God. Lutherans are not troubled by not being able to comprehend how God could be three persons in one divine essence. After all, if we could understand everything about God, He would be no greater than we are. We simply take the Scriptures for what they say.
The Bible: We believe about the Bible what Jesus and His disciples believed about the Old Testament Scriptures: that they were given by inspiration of God and are not simply human ideas. Lutherans take time to study the Greek language of the New Testament, and the Hebrew and Aramaic languages of the Old Testament in order to understand what the Bible is saying in its original languages. Since the Bible is God's Word to us, we take what it says seriously.
Eternal Salvation: Jesus Himself says in John 3:16 that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. When we believe in Jesus, we place our trust in Him and His love for us. We depend on His promises to care for us in this world, and to bring us into the next world to live eternally with Him. We also repent of all of our sins, and trust that no matter how many or how bad they are, they are all forgiven by His death on the cross, and His rising from the dead afterword.
The Church: When we believe in Jesus, we also want to be a part of His family and worship Him on a regular basis. Some people have had bad experiences at a church and stay away from organized congregations because of that. Other people shy away from groups because they are introverted or have anxiety. Still others feel guilty or consider themselves to be unworthy. Even others feel judged, or they feel as if the people at church are hypocrites. The good news is that God still invites us to come to Him--no matter what our reason has been for staying away. When you come back to worship, nobody will lecture you or ask where you have been. Instead, you will discover other people who walk with you following Jesus. Most of all you will find the open arms of a Savior who says, "Welcome back."
God's Relationship with Humans: Most of us want to know, "Can I really trust God? Is He really on my side, or is God punishing me for wrong things that I have done?" The unbelievably good news is that God is for us, not against us! Instead of punishing His children for their sins, God punished His Son Jesus on the cross for the sins of the entire word. Because Jesus has paid for my sins, I can be certain that God is no longer angry with me. Instead He looks at His children with the heart of a loving Father. God still disciplines His children, and He lets them suffer the consequences for their actions. But because the Scriptures say God is for us, I can be certain that I am never beyond the reach of His love and care.