Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

March 2012 Newsletter

Olive Leaves March 2012

Pastor’s Article
by Pastor Paul C. Sizemore


Although our God is most certainly a longsuffering and gracious God, the season of Lent reminds us that even He will not tolerate the disobedient arrogance of his defiant human creatures forever.

The year is 1200 BC. Moses and Aaron, as God’s representatives, are negotiating with the king of Egypt, the Pharaoh, to negotiate the complete release of God’s Hebrew people who have been held now as slaves in Egypt for 400 years. But Pharaoh is unwilling to obey God’s command or to acknowledge God’s authority.

What does God do? He sends a series of ten “plagues,” which mean most literally, ten “blows” or “strikes” upon the land of Egypt to demonstrate his power and to forewarn the Pharaoh of even greater, more serious repercussions, should the Egyptian Monarch not surrender his will to the LORD God, the King of Glory! “Who is the King of Glory?” the psalmist asks. He is: “The LORD strong and mighty; the LORD mighty in battle!” (Psalm 24:8)

These events are recorded for us in the Old Testament book of Exodus, chapters 7-13. To demonstrate God’s power, Moses hurls his staff to the ground, whereupon it is immediately turned into a serpent. When Moses picks up that serpent by its tail, it becomes a staff once more. Not only does the water of the Nile River turn into blood, but so do the other waters in the land and even the water stored in vessels of wood and stone. Then there is an invasion of frogs.

Life was miserable for the Egyptians because of these great calamities that came upon them; so great that the Pharaoh asks Moses and Aaron to remove these awful pests. The king admits that the frogs were sent by the LORD. So anxious was he to be rid of these frogs that he offers to let the Jewish people go on their way, in what would become known as the Exodus event, if only Moses and Aaron would comply with his request. But the Pharaoh is not sincere. Even though each plague is subsequently retracted by the Almighty One, no release is granted to the Jewish people.

Pharaoh lies repeatedly. Unfortunately there are seven other plagues that befall the Egyptians: gnats, flies, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts and darkness. But there would still be one more plague that would ultimately change the Pharaoh’s mind—requiring human sacrifice. At the appointed hour, the Angel of Death flies over Egypt and the firstborn of all human beings and livestock are struck dead; including the Pharaoh’s own son.

Now Pharaoh releases the captives from his land, while unknown to him the lives of the Hebrew people’s firstborn were all protected from that same great judgment which otherwise would have come upon them also because of their sin. Their lives are spared because of the blood of the Passover lamb that had been painted on the lintel and doorposts of their homes in obedience to God’s command.

Lent reminds us that our gracious God has established a far more wonderful covenant of grace with us through this gift of his Son, whose blood was shed for us on that old rugged cross of Calvary years ago in payment of our sins. God raised his Son Jesus Christ from the dead three days later and empowers us to celebrate the gift of eternal life that he brings to us in the DIVINE SERVICE every Sunday.

This year I am offering a Midweek Lenten Sermon Series entitled: “The Ten Plagues and their Cure.” I want to share with you how these plagues still have relevance for us and how God holds out to us the ultimate victory in the gift of his Son, the “Lamb of God,” as St John declares, “who takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29)

I hope that throughout this 40-Day Lenten season you will heed the words of the Prophet Joel that we heard on Ash Wednesday: “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning. Rend your hearts and not your garments. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and relents over disaster!” (Joel 2:12-13).

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Lent Schedule
There will be Lenten Services and meals each Wednesday in March.

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 PM followed by services at 7:00 PM. If you have questions, contact Flora Weed, parish fellowship chairperson.

Note: The church Council will meet after the evening service on March 14th.

Lenten Meals

February 29th

Lunch Bill & Aresa Boykin-Chicken Noodle Soup

Dinner Men’s Prayer Group-TBA

March 7th

Lunch Will & Flora Weed -Will's Soup

Dinner David Mash’s Class - Vegetable Beef Soup

March 14th

Lunch Shirlean Sons - TBA

Dinner Keith Degner’s Class - Chili

March 21st

Lunch TBA

Dinner Adult Choir - Pizza

March 28th TBA - TBA

Dinner Youth Group - Chef’s Surprise

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Note from our President

by Mike Knowles

MT OLIVE SPRING CLEANING MARCH 24: With the approach of Easter, we want to make a special effort to spruce up for the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We anticipate many Easter visitors, so on Saturday, March 24th beginning at 9 AM, preparations will include a cleaning above and beyond the normal janitorial efforts: window washing, dusting, polishing, cleaning fixtures, and possibly outside painting. (March 31st is a rain date for outdoor work.) Certain tasks may be done at other times if you contact a trustee in advance. We will develop a task list, and welcome your own suggestions. Feel free to bring your own equipment; however, the trustees will have ladders, hoses, and basic cleaning supplies. This is not only a work activity, but it is a great way to get to know your church family, so mark your calendar for March 24th and hope to see you there!

CONVERSION OF COMMITTEES TO BOARDS: Church Council will ask voters to begin considering a constitutional change that converts committees, currently headed by an elected chairperson, to an elected board that then elects a board chairperson. Mt Olive currently has elected Boards for Elders, Preschool, and Trustees. Boards have staggered terms with board members serving 3-year terms. As our church grows, there is more work to share and the continuity of specific ministries (Worship, Evangelism, Fellowship, Education, Public Relations, and Stewardship) is better maintained by boards. This is a constitutional amendment, so there will be no formal introduction until the May Voters’ Meeting and it would not be eligible for vote until the September Voters’ Meeting. If successful, the new boards would not be implemented until September 2013.

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Altar Guild’s Message

by Susie Hoffman

All the Sundays in March are in the Lenten season of the Church Year, but they are not counted as part of the 40 days of Lent! Christians celebrate each Sunday, whether in Lent or not, as mini-Easters which celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, whose death, life, and ascension has rescued us from sin, death, and the devil. Though not taught or commanded by the Bible, Lent is a tradition in the Christian Church as it recalls the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. (Matt. 4:1-11) Christians continue in a reflective, repentant mood as we remember our sins and pray for forgiveness and strength to change our life more closely to that “perfect” life demanded by God. (Matt. 5:48)

The Lenten banner, created by the Olive Branch of LWML many years ago, depicts many of the familiar happenings associated with our Lord’s passion. The basin and towel remind us of the Suffering Servant, Jesus, and His admonition to His disciples that He had come to serve and expected His disciples to do likewise. (John 13:4-17) The bread and wine recall to mind that Jesus instituted a new meaning to the tradition of the Passover Meal at His last supper with His disciples. (Luke 22:17-22) The palm branches are a symbol of Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem on a donkey with the Hosannas of the people greeting Him and acknowledging Him to be the Messiah. (Matt. 23:8-11) The gavel and moon tell of the dark-of-night trial at which false witnesses spoke against Jesus as the Jewish leaders sought ways to put Him to death. (Mark 14:53-65) The nails and crown of thorns are signs of the pain and humiliation Jesus suffered before and during His crucifixion. (Mark 15:17-20/Luke 23:32) The dice represent the clothing of Jesus being divided among the soldiers at the foot of the cross. (Luke 23:34)

Among the symbols on the purple chasuble Pastor wears during communion are the Alpha and the Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. They serve to remind us that Christ is eternal. (Rev.22:13) The anchor is a symbol of the hope of salvation given through Christ’s redeeming work on the cross. (Heb. 6:19) The anchor became one of the secret signs of identification and recognition among the early-persecuted church.

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LWML (The Olive Branch)

by Carole Mueller, President

The Olive Branch continues into March with our current Bible study based on the hymn, “Take My Life and Let It Be.” March 13th will be our 6th and final session on this famous hymn; thereafter, we will be using the Bible studies offered in our Lutheran Woman’s Quarterly. Tuesday, March 13th & 27th are the dates we meet in March for our Bible studies (10:00-11:00), with lunch & meetings/projects afterwards.

Our current craft project after Bible study is working on favors as well as other preparations needed for the upcoming Southern Zone Rally to be held here at Mt. Olive on April 21st. We also continue with the sewing of little dresses for African children, which will be displayed at our Zone Rally and forwarded shortly after the event. Other sewing/craft projects for the Christmas season have been brought to our attention and we are currently working on ideas to assist in this area. Look for information on these projects in upcoming bulletins. If you can lend us a helping hand, we welcome your ideas & your workmanship.

On Saturday, March 17th, those ladies who have signed up to attend the annual Carolina District Joy Event Spring 2012, will travel to Abiding Savior Lutheran Church in Anderson, SC.
Thank you for your monetary commitment to the mite box offerings the first Sunday of each month. It’s astonishing when you see what your loose change does to further God’s kingdom through the mission grants selected by delegates at district & national conventions.

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Preschool News

by Krista Bernthal

The Mardi Gras Dinner and Auction was a great success this year! Thanks to all who donated time, talent and treasure to make this fun event possible. Thank you also to the dedicated “friends of the preschool” who always show up at our events. Together we make the school a viable ministry of the church. This year, especially, as some of our preschool families have faced difficult economic circumstances, the money we raise allows me to keep these kids on the rolls!

Winter themes will fade away this month as we look to the arrival of spring. Shamrocks, Dr. Seuss’s birthday, and fairy tales will keep us busy in March. Stop by anytime to visit our sweet students! We are enrolling now for the fall, so spread the word!

Thank you as usual for your support and prayers!

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by Dan Jorgenson

More Stuff from the Orlando ROC

Last month, I wrote about the experiences that Jane and I had at the Lutheran Hour Ministries Regional Outreach Conference (ROC) in Orlando. I chose to speak about topics that most of us would agree are a very traditional mission of the LCMS, such as worldwide outreach. Admittedly, we are very successful in our world missions especially in Africa so we should rightly praise God that so many have heard and now believe! As Paul wrote:

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17

Another major area of discussion at the ROC was how to ensure that our young adults continue to hear the word of Christ in a changing American culture. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as sending missionaries out to the Gentiles as in Paul’s day or to Africa as today. We actually have to take ownership of this problem right now, right here, in our own churches. Our children, and for some, our grandchildren, are the next great generation as we “baby boomers” age and become less active. They are the future of our churches and they are influenced much more by culture than most of us who are now regularly attending church. For them to hear the Word, we need to speak their language and understand their needs in terms of a church home.

At our Evangelism Committee meeting this month, outreach to young adults was identified as a vital outreach activity. Our church has been taking positive steps to support young adults. We need to get feedback from our young adult members concerning their needs and encourage them to be involved in the ministries of our church. As disciples of Christ, we must be open-minded and flexible in our attitudes. This year, let us make the young adults a priority. Think of a young person in your life who has fallen away from the church and make it your spiritual discipline to pray for them each day of this year to return to Christ and His church!

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Christian Education

by Sarah Vickers

Spring Cleaning getting you down? Yard a mess? Garage a disaster? No problem! The Mt. Olive Youth Group can help you straighten out your mess. No job is too big or too small! On Saturdays March 3rd and March 10th, Youth Group members will provide yard work or garage organizing services to the congregation for donations that will be used to fund our trip to the National Youth Group Gathering in 2013. If your yard or garage is due a Spring Clean up, please contact Vanita Fiedler at 785-239-1411 to schedule one of the two available dates.

Coming in April:

The education committee would like to invite you to attend a reception for our Confirmands during the Sunday School hour on April 1st. Cake and punch will be served in the fellowship hall. Please come help us celebrate with these young people as they confirm their faith at the 10:30 service on Palm Sunday.

Easter Egg Hunt: Mark your calendars for Mt. Olive's annual Easter Egg Hunt! The hunt will take place following the Easter breakfast on April 8th. Please meet in the Sanctuary to sing and hear the Easter story. All kids 9 and under will then hop outside to hunt for eggs! See you then!

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Stephen Ministry

by Bill & Aresa Boykin

We give thanks for those people whom God has called to train & serve as Stephen Ministers! Training of Mt. Olive's first class will begin Monday evening, March 5th and continue into June. Please continue to keep this vital ministry in your prayers as we study the following topics in March: “The person of the Caregiver,” “Feelings: Yours, Mine, & Ours,” “The Art of Listening,” and “Distinctively Christian Caring.” There will continue to be weekly updates in the Olive Seeds each week.

If you would love to be a part of Mt. Olive’s Stephen Ministry, but you are not called to be a caregiver, perhaps you might have the gift of hospitality and would like to provide a light snack for one of our training classes. You can drop off your snack at church on Sunday so that you don’t have to make a special trip. There will be a sign-up sheet under the Stephen Ministry bulletin board in the hall across from the workroom.

Thank you to all who have prayerfully considered serving as Stephen Ministers. If timing or life circumstances have prevented you from joining our first class, we are planning our second training class beginning in January 2013.

For those of you who would like to learn more about Stephen Ministries, there is a half-day workshop on Saturday, April 14th, beginning at 9:00 AM, at St. John’s United Methodist Church, Aiken. We would love to have a group from Mt. Olive attend this workshop. To learn more, talk to Bill or Aresa Boykin, our Stephen Leaders or log on to Many of the folks who are in the Stephen Ministry training class attended one of these info sessions in the past 2 years. The food was great, and there are church funds available to cover the cost of registration. If you would like to attend, let Bill know by the end of March. There is no commitment involved. It’s just a great way to learn more about Stephen Ministries, firsthand, and in a short period of time.

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Social Ministry News

by Shari Selke

Thank you so much for participating in the "Give a Little Love" fundraiser that benefited the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Please continue to save the soda can tabs that are collected year-round to benefit RMHC also. Tabs can be deposited in the little "house" located on the table outside of the church office.

Also, thanks to all of you who were able to participate in the American Red Cross Blood Drive on February 25th and special thanks to Katrina Davis for organizing the drive.

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.

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Stewardship News

from Charlie Sandt

God Wants the Best for Us

In his Gospel, Mark tells us the story of a rich man who came to Jesus and asked about eternal life. (Mark 10:17-27) The story asks us to see ourselves in the light of this man who came to Jesus. In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we discover this person was wealthy, young, and had status and power. According to human achievement, he was successful. Eagerly, he runs to Jesus and kneels before him to ask what he must do to have eternal life. With something missing in his life, he approaches Jesus.

The rich man had to be surprised because Jesus’ reply to him was connecting the question of eternal life to the issue of money. Jesus tells him, “Go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Mark 10:21) With our understanding of God’s Word, this directive isn’t overly surprising. One-sixth of what Jesus preached about dealt with money. Jesus knew the attraction and lure that money can have for us.

Another surprise to this story is about a demanding kind of love. Jesus loved the rich man, and He wanted the best for him. Jesus expressed His love by helping him see how his money had become his life. His money was too important to him. Jesus’ love was tough and demanding. To help the rich man get what he wanted, Jesus, in love, tells him that his money is interfering with his relationship with God. It was hurting him spiritually. Jesus told the rich man what he needed to hear. The one thing he needed to do to open his life completely and wholly to God was to give his money to the poor. Jesus loved him by allowing him to wrestle with his own incompleteness. The rich man had to decide which was more important to him—his money or following Jesus.

This story is both about money and demanding love. It is a sad story. It is sad because the rich man’s money was separating him from a relationship with his heavenly Father. Unfortunately, the thing he wanted the most-his money-was causing his greatest sorrow and separating him from God to a life of condemnation. Jesus asked him to rid himself from finding his security in his money, but the rich man couldn’t do it.

This story should help remind us that happiness and completeness will never be found in our material wealth. Focusing on and placing our security in our money can separate us from trusting and loving our Lord. The more we let go of things in this world the more we will experience God’s peace and joy.

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Announcements & Opportunities

Daylight Savings Time
Remember to set your clocks forward one hour on Saturday night, March 10th, so you will be on time for church on Sunday morning! Looking ahead, Daylight Savings Time ends Sunday, November 4th.

Midweek Bible Studies
Please remember that the two midweek Bible studies will not meet on Wednesdays during Lent, as there will be church services. They will resume after Easter on April 11.

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.

April Newsletter Deadline
Mark your calendar! The deadline for submitting articles for the April newsletter is March 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 new Olive Leaves section, “Around Mt. Olive” and on our Face Book page. Send articles and photos to me at

Look Your Best!
Photographer Craig Hewitt will be at Mt. Olive on both Palm Sunday and Easter to take photos for the website. Our goal is to have pictures for various church seasons so that we can change them periodically.

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The Shamrock

St. Patrick used the shamrock to teach people about the Godhead. Holding up a shamrock, he challenged them, “Is this one leaf, or three?” Inevitably, people replied that it was both, prompting St. Patrick to draw the analogy that so, too, is God: one God in three Persons — the Holy Trinity. – from The NEWSLETTER Newsletter, March 2012

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“You Just Never Know Who’s Watching”
Reprinted from The Lutheran Hour February 11, 2012

(Jesus said) "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

This is a story and, as far as I know, a made-up story: years ago, a Christian baroness, living in the highlands of Nairobi, Kenya, hired a young national to be her houseboy.

After three months he asked the baroness to give him a letter of reference, so he could work for a friendly sheik, who lived some miles away. The baroness, not wishing to lose the houseboy, offered to increase his pay. The lad shared that a search for a true religion, not money, was his motivator. He had seen how the Christian baroness lived; now he wanted to see how a Muslim practiced his faith.

The baroness, realizing her poor witness, could only say, "Why didn't you tell me this at the beginning?"

This is another story and, as far as I know, a true story: during his early days in South Africa, Mahatma Gandhi inquired into Christianity. For several Sundays he attended a Christian church. His evaluation was "the congregation did not strike me as being particularly religious; they were not an assembly of devout souls, but appeared rather to be worldly-minded people, going to church for recreation and in conformity to custom."

Gandhi concluded there was little in Christianity he could use, so he went his way. Two stories, but one point: Christians need to remember they are being watched. More importantly, the Savior is being evaluated on the basis of whether we practice our faith or not. People want to know if the lofty thoughts of Scripture are mere words, or do they have power to motivate people and change lives.

Knowing that, let me ask, "How does your congregation treat newcomers?"

The truth is your pastor may preach a first-rate sermon, but before he ever opens his mouth, the congregation will have shared numerous messages with those who are looking for a spiritual home, an earthly family of faith. For example,

1. when strangers sit down next to you, are they greeted or is that reserved only for someone you know?

2. when you exchange the "handshake of peace," do you do so only with your family?

3. when people come into the back of the church, are they greeted only by the greeters?

4. do you ask whether someone needs directions ... or help with the service ... or an explanation as to why we stand up or sit down?

5. when somebody comes into your pew, do you slide down or do you make them crawl across you?

Each of these -- and so many more things we do -- are messages: ways of letting your light shine so Jesus can be seen in the proper light.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, send the Holy Spirit upon me and our entire congregation. There are people out there who need what Your Son has to offer. Keep us, our lives sand our words from being a stumbling block to their salvation. This I ask in the Name of my Redeemer. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours, Pastor Ken Klaus Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran HourLutheran Hour Ministries ©1997-2008 Lutheran Hour Ministries, All rights reserved.

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