Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Monday, January 30, 2012

Newsletter February 2012

Olive Leaves February 2012

Pastor’s Article

by Pastor Paul C. Sizemore

Valentine’s Day – Transfiguration – Ash Wednesday There is much to celebrate in the month of February and each of these celebrations is vitally connected to the subject of love.

Valentine’s Day is February 14th and on this day a gentleman suitor is greatly encouraged to express his love for his beloved with such gifts as flowers, candy and sparkling jewelry. Perhaps a loving husband will take his lovely bride to her favorite restaurant. School children will share in the feelings and excitement of Valentine’s Day also, by exchanging little greeting cards with one another that are heart-shaped and painted with cupids and doves.

Many people may not know that Valentine’s Day is more properly named “St. Valentine’s Day” because it was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD in loving memory of one or more Christian martyrs named Valentine.

Transfiguration Sunday, February 19th, may serve as a meaningful follow-up to Valentine’s Day because it is on this day that the Church commemorates Jesus taking three of his closest friends atop a mountain where he was shockingly, splendidly and mysteriously transfigured before them. The Gospel writers tell us that his clothes became a dazzling white, whiter than any bleach could bleach them and that our Lord’s face shone brilliantly that day like the sun.

It was a day of confirmation for Jesus, since Moses and Elijah both talked with our Lord about his imminent departure to Jerusalem, where he would die on the cross for our sins, confidently believing, even as he was making his way there that he would rise from the grave three days later for you and me.The fact that Moses appeared there—on that Mount of Transfiguration as the chief representative of God’s Law—and that Elijah also appeared there as the chief representative of the Prophets—did much to confirm the authenticity of Jesus’ claim to be the long-awaited Messiah for Peter, James and John also. The words which our Heavenly Father spoke upon his one and only Son on that glorious day were completely reminiscent of the Heavenly Father’s words spoken on the day of our Lord’s Baptism: “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased.” But this time there would be three additional powerful words: “Listen to him!”

Ash Wednesday, on February 22, comes to each of us with the invitation from Christ’s Holy Bride—the Church—to participate voluntarily and wholeheartedly in the Season of Lent.
Ashes are often spoken of in the Bible as an outward sign of a believer’s inner repentance. With ashes etched on our foreheads we purposefully embrace the stark reality of our own human mortality, but give thanks to our Redeemer that those ashes are now etched on our foreheads in the shape of a cross—for it is only through the cross of Christ that our loving God brings life and immortality to light for us through the Gospel. (2 Timothy 2:8)

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North American Lutheran Church (NALC)
A new Lutheran church body in the USA was born on Friday, August 27, 2011, at the annual Convocations of Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Renewal); when individuals, congregations and reform groups within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), who saw themselves working for a greater sense of Biblical and Lutheran Confessional identity within the ELCA, voted overwhelmingly to form the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The decision to form this new Lutheran church body was made by more than 1,100 Lutherans in Grove City, Ohio.

The Convocation adopted a constitution and elected provisional leaders for the NALC. The Rev. Paul Spring of State College, Pennsylvania was elected to serve as the presiding Bishop, who served as the bishop of the Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA for 14 years. Since its formation in August 2011, 303 congregations of the ELCA have now joined the NALC.
NALC and LCMS Leaders Meet

An initial discussion was held on Dec 15-16, 2011, between representatives of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The meeting was held at the invitation of the LCMS. The NALC had also committed itself in its formal ecumenical statement to meetings with the LCMS.

President Matthew Harrison of the LCMS noted: “In the spirit of the hope and expectation of the Advent season our hearts are filled with encouragement and strength for all the future holds in this relationship between the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the North American Lutheran Church. Thanks be to God! Our initial dialogue with NALC representatives has been a rather joyous surprise. The NALC fervently desires to take the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions seriously. These people are creedal Christians who share our own convictions on fundamental issues of life and sexuality. And we wish the NALC every blessing as it moves forward. May God grant us all repentance, forgiveness and a renewed hunger and thirst to be faithful to his revealed Word!”
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Note from our President

by Mike Knowles

At the February Voter's Meeting, Mt Olive will open nominations for elected officers, chairs, and boards as prescribed in our by laws. I encourage you pray for faith and consider serving in an elected or purely volunteer capacity, however God may call you.

As a church we are called to the share the good news, so there is much work to be done. Each committee needs members, but we also need teachers, volunteers for church clean up activities, choir members, greeters, and ushers.

As Christians, we are auxiliary members of the evangelism committee, and sometimes we are simply called on to pray. We are sinners so no one person can do it all, but God provides each of us with unique talents so that as a congregation we can more effectively reach out. Share your talents.

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Altar Guild’s Message

by Susie Hoffman

The SUNDAYS AFTER THE EPIPHANY in the Church-year cycle continue the story of the life of our Savior, Jesus the Christ (Messiah). The Messiah was promised after the fall of man, to rescue all sinners from eternal punishment because of the sin of each person. The Church-year cycle is in place to remind each of us of the life, work, teachings, death, resurrection, and ascension of this Messiah who grants salvation to all who believe. The TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD is celebrated on Sunday Feb. 19th. White paraments mark that event in this cycle. White, the symbol of gladness, light, and joy, is a very appropriate color for this festival that declares the divinity of Jesus. With three of His disciples as witnesses, God declared Jesus to be His Son. (Luke9: 28-36)

The cycle continues its yearly pattern as we enter THE SUNDAYS OF LENT with the Ash Wednesday service on Feb. 22nd. This season of penitence which lasts 40 days (not counting Sundays) is symbolized by purple, the color of mourning, repentance, introspection and renewal. It is also a color associated with royalty. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the ancient ceremony in which the Church applied ashes to the foreheads of worshippers to remind them of the words “for dust thou art and to dust thou wilt return”. (Gen. 3:19)

The CHRIST candle which was lit on Christmas Eve to remind us that Jesus has physically entered our world, will be removed during the Lenten season as we become aware that Jesus will soon leave this world in His visible form. The symbolic removal of the Alleluia Banner and the elimination of the Alleluia words from our liturgy are meant to reinforce this fact.

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Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;they will run and not grow weary,they will walk and not be faint. (NIV)
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Preschool News

by Krista Bernthal

Happy New Year from the preschool! We are deep into our fun winter-themed curriculum. However, it is hard to teach about snow when it is in the 60’s outside! We are all crossing our fingers for a little of the white stuff this year.

The Mardi Gras Dinner and Auction is just around the corner. Hopefully you have responded to the invitation that came in the mail. We always have a great time at this event! Please invite friends to join you. Extra invitations are in the narthex. Please make sure your donations for the auction are dropped off in the preschool ASAP. If you are donating a food item, simply let us know what it is and you can bring it the day of the dinner! Other items we love to receive are gift cards from restaurants, service vouchers (carwashes, oil changes, recreation activities, etc.) or items such as furniture or artwork for the home. Call Krista Bernthal with questions – 781-7180.

Thank you for your support!

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LWML (The Olive Branch)
by Carole Mueller, President

The LWML (OLIVE BRANCH) meets the 2nd & 4th Tuesday of the month, September – June, with Bible study from 10:00 – 11:00; followed by lunch/meeting; and continues for those ladies who are interested in participating with our current project of sewing little dresses for African children, as well as preparing for our upcoming Southern Zone Spring Rally that will be held here at Mt. Olive on Saturday, April 21st. We conclude approximately 2:00 p.m.

The Carolina District Joy Event Spring 2012 is scheduled for March 17th at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Anderson, SC. This is approximately a two-hour drive from Mt. Olive. Registration fee is $15.00/person & includes lunch. Registration deadline to Anderson is February 28th; therefore, all monies will be forwarded on Thursday, Feb. 23rd. Information is posted on the LWML bulletin board as well as a sign up sheet for those wishing to attend. What a great opportunity to spend the day with other Christian ladies in our Carolina district. Gifts from the Heart for the Joy event will benefit Family Promise of Anderson County. This organization reduces homelessness for children & their families. A list of items is posted & a collection box is located in the narthex. Ladies attending this event will be taking our contributions.

The first Sunday of each month is designated for LWML mite box collections. Please place your monetary contributions in the large mite box located in the back of the sanctuary.

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Mark 9:7Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” (NIV)
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by Dan Jorgenson


I am writing this message from the Regional Outreach Conference (ROC) sponsored by Lutheran Hour Ministries in Orlando. It has been an amazing experience for Jane and me to "rock" with brothers and sisters in Christ who are looking toward the future of evangelism in this country and the world.

We are entering a new era in the life of Christ's church. One that will be exciting in terms of worldwide growth but also for the challenges in the U.S. By 2025, the majority of peoples in Africa will be Christians. Lutheranism has thrived in Africa. There are now 17 million Lutherans in Africa as compared to 7.4 million in the US. Our missionaries have effectively communicated our emphasis on grace and the Sacraments to lead the unchurched to Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. We must support the work of our missionaries. Currently, missionaries must raise 75% of their costs prior to moving overseas. They no longer receive Synod funding. They depend on Districts, congregations, and individuals for their support. For more information and to support a missionary, go to We must keep both the unchurched and the missionaries in our prayers.At the same time, we can no longer ignore that our own country and even our homes are part of the mission field. Western culture is challenging Christianity and it is happening from within. We must see this as an opportunity to advance the Gospel because we know that God will prevail. We are called to testify for Christ, but many of us see it in the sense of a trial where we face possible cross-examination. We should not fear testimony because our testimony is a witness to what Christ's love has done in our life. It is a personal spiritual conversation with someone. In the past, spiritual conversations were held with our pastors. Now, we must hold them with each other, with our children, our neighbors, relatives, and those around us. Let us show them what we believe, not what culture would have them believe about Christianity. I would encourage each of you to begin asking each other during our social time on Sunday, "What has God done for you or in your life this week?" Let's get to know each other "spiritually", both to support each other and to prepare us to witness, to have a spiritual conversation outside our church family.

Paul says, "May I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:14). Let us boast! Let us witness to all!

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Social Ministry News

by Kathie Voyles

Mt. Olive will be participating in a fundraiser to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The "Give a Little Love" fundraiser will be held the entire month of February. Paper hearts can be purchased for $1. Please put your name or the name of a loved one on the heart and attach it to the "house" which will be located in the narthex. Our goal remains the same as last year--$100.

Please continue to save the soda can tab tops which are collected year-round to benefit RMHC also. Tab tops can be deposited in the little "house" located on the table outside of the church office.

The next blood drive will be held 25 Feb. in the fellowship hall. Please contact Katrina Davis to schedule a time to give this life-saving gift.
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Christian Education

by Sarah Vickers

Over the next year, the youth group will be planning their trip to the LCMS Youth Gathering to be held in San Antonio, TX, the summer of 2013. I was checking out the gathering website and the theme for the Youth Gathering will be “Live Love(d).”

The gathering website goes on to say: The theme for the 2013 National LCMS Youth Gathering is "Live Love(d)," based on I John 4:9. "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” (NIV) About this theme, the press release notes, "Those involved in the theme development process also noted that, as God’s people, we live confidently in the love shown to us in Christ and respond in love to others. They also observed that there are many young people hungering to know they are loved and for whom the Gospel of Christ gives the ultimate benefit and encouragement.”

Isn’t’ that so true? The teenage years are such a tough time for any young person, especially in today’s day and age. What a great comfort it is to know that God’s love for us is so powerful that we can overcome anything with Him. In return we can show his love to others in how we live our lives and interact with those around us.

It is also great that we have a youth group here at Mt. Olive that can help foster this love. All children in grades 5-12 are invited to be a part of the youth group. The youth group meets monthly to participate in service projects, have devotions, or just have fun fellowshipping with one another. Please check the bulletin and emails about upcoming meetings and events and Live Love(d)!
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Stephen Ministry at Mt. Olive

by Bill & Aresa Boykin

Bill and Aresa Boykin were among 350 pastors, church leaders, and laypersons at a weeklong Stephen Series Leader’s Training Course (LTC) in Orlando, Florida, in January. There were folks from all across the US, including Alaska, who were from dozens of denominations; yet everyone was united in mission: learning how to bring Jesus’s love and care to hurting people.
Stephen Leaders direct Stephen Ministry in the congregation. They are the ones who recruit, select, train, and supervise Stephen Ministers, and they locate people with needs for care and match them with a Stephen Minister.

Since our church is a newly enrolled Stephen Ministry congregation, please keep Bill, Aresa, and Pastor in your prayers as they establish the values, vision, system, and plan for Stephen Ministry at Mt. Olive:

O Lord Jesus, you have commanded us to love one another, and you have commissioned us to go make disciples. Help us as we begin Stephen Ministry here as a way to respond faithfully to your Great Commandment and Great Commission. Give us wisdom and discernment as we seek the most effective ways to do ministry in your name and to bring your healing love to those in need. We pray, trusting in your promise to hear us. Amen.

Please keep an eye out for the weekly Olive Seeds for updates and how to apply and train to become a Stephen Minister at Mt. Olive.

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Announcements & Opportunities

Souper Bowl of Caring: Tackle Hunger!
Please join the Mt. Olive Youth Group in support of the 2012 Souper of Caring. We will be collecting donations for Sharing God's Love in Irmo on today, Sunday, February 5th at both the 8:00 and 10:30 services. We have a goal to collect $300 and we encourage you to help us reach this goal. We will be collecting cash donations and food donations following each of the services. So bring your $$s and your can goods!!!! We thank you for supporting the Mt. Olive Youth Group service projects.

Youth Group
Mt. Olive Youth Group will be meeting on Sunday, February 19, 2012 following the 1030 service. We will discuss the National Youth Gathering, which will be in San Antonio, Texas in July 2013. Parents please plan to attend this meeting with your youth, as we will discuss planning for the National Youth Gathering. If any parents are interested in heading up the National Youth Gathering planning and coordinating, please let Sarah Vickers know.

Midweek Bible Studies
The Bible study in the Northeast will continue to meet at the Blythewood home of Bob & Teri Massa, 105 Fair Ridge Road, Blythewood. This group will study selected passages from the Old Testament. Call 447-9894 for more information.

The second Bible study meets at church in the fellowship hall. The group is studying the lectionary for the following Sunday. Contact Eddie Magic, for further details. On February 15th, Naven Olson will share his photos and experiences from his recent trip to the Holy Land. Everyone is invited to attend this special presentation. We will begin with our potluck dinner at 6:00 rather than our usual time for this week only.

Both groups begin at 6:30 pm by sharing a light meal prior to studying God’s Word. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Please remember that the two midweek Bible studies will not meet on Ash Wednesday and on Wednesdays during Lent, as there will be church services.

Ash Wednesday Services
Ash Wednesday Services will be held at Noon and 7:00 PM on February 22nd.Both services will include Holy Communion and Imposition of Ashes.

Lenten Meals & Services
There will be 5 Lenten meals this year starting with February 29th and continuing every Wednesday until March 28th. For those who would rather attend during the daylight hours, there will be services at 12 noon followed by light lunches. The evening meals will be at 6:00 followed by services at 7:00. If you have questions, contact Flora Weed, parish fellowship chairperson.

Sharing God’s Love
Sharing God’s Love’s food pantry is now especially in need of peanut butter, jelly, cereal, grits, canned fruit, spaghetti sauce, pasta, sugar, dried beans and peas. They are also is need of additional items: shampoo, deodorant, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, detergent, towels, sheets, and blankets.

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 of the church, across from the Wagner House. Parents, remember to bring your diaper bag with extra diapers, clothes, sippy cup, etc. Flora Weed is in charge.

March Newsletter Deadline
Mark your calendar! The deadline for submitting articles for the March newsletter is February 20th. Also, those of you who love taking pictures of Mt. Olive events can e-mail your photos to me so that I can include some of them in the Olive Leaves and on our Face Book page. Send articles and photos to me at

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Refocus for Lent
Give up complaining — focus on gratitude.

Give up harsh judgments — think kind thoughts.

Give up worry — trust God to provide.

Give up discouragement — be full of hope.

Give up bitterness — turn to forgiveness.

Give up hatred — return good for evil.

Give up anger — be more patient.

Give up pettiness — become mature.

Give up jealousy — pray for trust.

Give up gossiping — control your tongue.

Give up sin — turn to virtue.

Give up giving up — persevere.

—Author unknown

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