Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Olive Leaves Newsletter - August 2011

Pastor’s Article
by Pastor Paul C. Sizemore
"Skinning Cats and Praising Jesus"

You’ve heard the saying before: “There is more than one way to skin a cat!” I am not sure exactly where that old phrase comes from and I didn’t bother to “Google” for the answer. But basically, we all know, this idiom reminds us that there is more than one way to do most anything; including, skinning cats. The younger we are the more flexible we tend to be. This is true not only in our physical ability to move with greater ease from place to place, but also in our willingness to try out new things and to experiment with new ways of doing old things.

Recently I had the privileged-opportunity to announce to the world the launching of our new Mount Olive web site: Looking back, I am grateful for the process that led our talented church staff to work many hours to produce this final product. For us, it became a time of clarification. In this process we were forced to ask ourselves, “Who are we really as a Christian Church? What’s unique about our approach to ministry at Mount Olive?”

We are a church that is as committed to Christian education and outreach as we are to worshiping the Triune God with the traditional liturgy of the church. It’s not that we are inflexible or afraid of embracing new ways to do old things, especially regarding our way of worship, but we continue to value immensely the historic Christian liturgy that has served the church for centuries.

What many Lutherans may never realize is that our liturgies predate the Reformation of the medieval Church.
To begin our worship services with the Invocation and the Confession of Sins; to offer the same Hymn of Praise of the “Gloria excelsis” that the angels sang on the night of our blessed Savior’s birth; to read the appointed Scripture lessons from the Old Testament, Epistles and Gospels---all give a solid witness to our Triune God’s own self-revelation to us in history.

To preach the Gospel as the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16) and to honor the good Lord gladly with our first-fruits of time, talents and treasures, while encouraging others, even guests, to do the same, is not something that we have initiated but God’s Spirit has prompted the Church to do in every age.

To celebrate the Lord’s Supper as the joyful, ongoing welcoming of our Lord Jesus’ real presence coming to us in our lives is to experience but a foretaste of the feast to come. In receiving the Lord’s own benediction upon us, we celebrate the fact that with the Lord there is always more to come. God promises to be with us in this journey of faith called life. He promises that he, who is the beginning of all of our yesterdays, will be the same Lord who is the beginning of all our endless tomorrows.

Skinning cats and praising Jesus? Of course, there is more than one way to worship our Lord! With instruments or without instruments, with guitars and drums, with flutes and violins or organs accompanied by trumpets; all are to be used in praise of our Lord!

What’s amazing, however, is that churches like ours who hold fast to ageless traditions may now appear to be the “odd ducks” in an ever-changing world.

It’s not that we are unwilling to embrace what some Christians may genuinely believe to be some much needed change. But our delight is to marvel that in an ever-changing world, our God is the one changeless, constant Foundation, who alone brings true stability, peace, love and joy to our lives.

The writer of Hebrews exhorts us: “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the Word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Through him, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God!” (Hebrews 13:7-16)

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Romans 12:12
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
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Altar Guild’s Message
by Susie Hoffman

We remain in the Non-festival half of the church year with its emphasis on the life and teachings of Jesus and its meaning for us as Christians.

The CHURCH YEAR CALENDAR has evolved over the centuries. The early believers worshipped every day, with Saturday being their traditional day of formal worship. After the resurrection of Christ the custom arose to worship on Sunday to commemorate that momentous occasion. 

In A.D.321, the first Christian emperor of Rome, Constantine I, made Sunday an official day of rest. Fourth century Christian Councils confirmed Sunday as the day of the weekly celebration of our Lord's resurrection. Each Sunday is the celebration of a "little Easter". 

It was our 16th Century Lutheran forefathers who stressed the importance of the centuries-old traditional liturgical forms, which we still follow today.  This includes the order of the lessons, the prayers, the vestments, etc. A theme, determined by the specific ecclesiastical season in which that week is found, connects the readings for the day. You can find the CHURCH
CALENDAR printed on pages eight and nine of our LUTHERAN SERVICE BOOK, CPH 2006.  The pages following also give you the appropriate readings for each service of the year.

The SUNDAYS AFTER PENTECOST, the longest season in the church-year, continues with the green paraments. This color symbolizes growth, nourishment and life. To grow in faith, service, and love, the people of God study the life, words, and works of Jesus so that through the power of the Holy Spirit they may receive the nourishment God's Word provides.

by Carole Mueller

The Olive Branch will resume monthly meetings starting Tuesday, September 13th.  As in the past, we will meet regularly the 2nd & 4th Tuesday of the month, September – May.  Please join us.  The schedule is as follow:

 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Hand tied quilts/projects
 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.:  Sack lunch (dessert & drink provided by hostess)
 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.:  Bible Study

The Olive Branch meeting room is on the lower level of the Church, next to the nursery.  Enter & park off Lake Murray Blvd., & use the side church door entrance.

We will be observing LWML Sunday in October with our ladies participating as lectors & ushers.  A salad lunch will follow after the 10:30 service in the fellowship hall.  Watch future bulletins for the exact date (mark your calendars & plan on attending). 

Remember to place your mite box collections in the large mite box located in the back of the church the first Sunday of each month.  This money supports LWML mission projects throughout the world & in our own district.  Thank you for your past contributions. 

Please check our current listing of activities posted on the LWML bulletin board outside of the work room & see if you can assist in one or more areas.

Preschool News
by Krista Bernthal

School starts up at the end of the month.  However, we begin August with Kindergarten Kamp!  If you can help us out, we need snacks for kamp week (August 8-12).  Kamp week is also an open house for the preschool - a great time for people to see us in action and find out more about our program.  Please invite people to visit that week in the mornings (9:00 a.m.-noon).  We encourage you to stop by as well - Kindergarten Kamp is a truly unique experience and fun to see.

As school gets started, please keep the staff and students in your prayers.  Thank you, as usual, for your donations of time, talents, snacks and money.  This year we will have at least two students on scholarship.  Your monetary donations will be going toward those students' tuition!  These families are deeply grateful for the help.

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Romans 10:9
“...because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved.”
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by Charlie Sandt

Showing our Devotion

Webster’s Dictionary defines devotion as “loyalty, deep affection, or religious worship.”  We can be devoted to jobs, to families, to hobbies, to attaining success, wealth, or status.  We can be devoted to a political party or a sports team.  A Christian’s highest devotion should be to His Lord and the Lord’s Church.

We show our devotion to Christ in different ways, but much of our devotion is expressed in what we say or do.  To the Ephesians, Paul wrote, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)  Our good works show our devotion to God for who He is and what He has done for us.  As Christians, we show our devotion to Jesus through the faithful stewardship of our time, talents, and money.

As devoted stewards...
• we give generously.  Giving puts our devotion into action.  Because of our devotion to Jesus, we generously give Him our best.  Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give.”  (Matthew 10:8 NIV)  He also said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  (Acts 20:35)

• we follow Jesus’ example of serving.  Jesus said, “...the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve...”  (Matthew 20:28)  Filled with Christ’s love and grace, we become new people who are prompted to follow His lead by helping and serving others.  “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this:  that One has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.”  (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

• we love others.  We are to “love our neighbors as ourselves.”  (Matthew 19:19)  We are equipped by Christ to be loving people because He changes us into loving people.  Paul wrote, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”  (Galatians 6:10)  Peter wrote, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”  (1 Peter 4:8)

• we are in this world but not of the world.  (John 15:19)  We acknowledge that God is the owner and the source of all good things.  We are devoted to Jesus, so we hold things of this world loosely.  We love people rather than things.

May God keep our hearts devoted to Him and, through our devotion, may He be glorified.

by Sarah Vickers

Another summer is about to slip past us and we are looking forward to the fall!  We are planning Sunday School Rally Day for August 28th at Saluda Shoals Park.  This is an exciting event for all of our youth to get pumped up for another wonderful year in Sunday School.  We will have challenge course adventures for our 5th-12th graders to promote team building. All kids 4th grade and under will have fun playing in the Splash Park and playground.  This is always a great opportunity for kids to meet their Sunday School teachers as well as meet fellow classmates. 

For any parent interested in their son or daughter participating in Confirmation classes we will have an informational parent meeting August 21st following the 10:30 service in the fellowship hall. Our Confirmation program is open to all 5th-7th graders.  This meeting is for new and returning students and their parents.  Confirmation classes are held Sunday mornings during the Sunday School hour and will resume on September 4th.

We are currently looking for volunteers to help with our youth group, substitute teachers for Sunday School, and people to serve on the education committee.  If you want to be involved with our youth and feel your time and talents could be used in this way to glorify God please let me know.

by Dan Jorgenson

The Power of a Story

In our Natural Witnessing sessions we have been preparing the story of how God is working in our lives.  Each of us has stories inside of us that God can use to nudge a person closer to Him.  We have stories of people who have shaped our lives, events that have lifted us up or scarred us, things that have become part of our spirit and soul.  All of these stories of our lives are an advertisement for God's transforming love.  If we have the courage to tell others about what God has done in our lives, God can use these moments to reach someone.

In the 4th chapter of John, we find Jesus at a well in Samaria encountering a woman.  This particular woman besides being a Samaritan, has a checkered past.  However, Jesus recognizes that she has potential despite her mistakes and her failed relationships.  Jesus tells her of being able to give to her living water welling up to eternal life. He tells her to "Believe Me" and she does.  Her immediate reaction is to go tell everyone of the wonderful thing that had happened to her.  John tells us that many Samaritans believed in Jesus because of the woman's testimony.  Their hearts were touched by her story, the excitement, and the change that had come over her.

Most of us do not have a story as dramatic as the story of the woman at the well.  We do have a story of how God has been present in our lives, made our lives better, enriched us, and loved us.  When we really think about it, once we accept God into our lives, He works steadily within us.  Our stories are especially important today to show that God is alive, He is active, and He is with us always.  I will be praying for everyone preparing their stories, that like the woman at the well, we may each take a page out of our lives to witness for Christ.

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 Romans 12:2
“Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
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Social Ministry News
by Kathie Voyles

The Social Ministry Committee wanted to provide a meal for the Salkahatchie workers again this summer.  This group is affiliated with SC United Methodist Church and repairs/upgrades homes of needy people in S.C.  They provide high school and college age youth the opportunity for personal growth and service to others.  Although we were not able to provide a lunch meal, we did donate $150 to this wonderful servant ministry.

The entire month of July was dedicated to the summer food/school supply drive to benefit Sharing God's Love.  Thank you to all our wonderful members who participated in this event.  Remember that we collect food, toiletries and gently used linens year-round for SGL, our local food bank.  Monetary donations are also greatly appreciated and are tax deductible.  Check the list of needed items posted on the bulletin board outside the church office.  "Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God."  (Hebrews 13:16)

Please continue to save the ring tab-tops from soda cans.  They can be deposited in the "house" located on the table outside of the church office.  This is a year-round fundraiser that benefits The Ronald McDonald House Charities.  

PASTORAL ACTS:  June-July 2011
June 11 Kelly Michelle Garrison & Clinton Daniel Weed

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Romans 9: 33-36
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 

For who has known the mind of the Lord, 
or who has been his counselor?

Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?
For from him and through him and to him are all things. 
To him be glory forever.  Amen.”
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Announcements & Opportunities

Midweek Bible Studies
There are two midweek Bible study that meet Wednesday evenings at 6:30.  Both groups begin by sharing a light meal prior to studying God’s Word.  Everyone is welcome to attend.

The Bible study in the Northeast will continue to meet at the Blythewood home of Bob & Teri Massa. This group will study selected passages from the Old Testament.

A second Bible study meets at Pastor Sizemore’s home.  During the summer months, the group is studying the lectionary for the following Sunday.  Call Bill Boykin for further details.

Nursery Reminder

The church nursery is open during the Sunday school hour and 10:30 service from 9:00-Noon for children ages 3 years and younger.  The nursery is located inside the back entrance across from the Wagner House.  Flora Weed is in charge.
September Newsletter Deadline
Mark your calendar!  The deadline for submitting articles for the August newsletter is August 20th.  Since many of us have summer vacations, you may send me your articles anytime between today and August 20th to Aresa.

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