Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Thursday, March 29, 2012

April 2012 Newsletter

Olive Leaves

Pastor’s Article

by Pastor Paul C. Sizemore

Easter Comes With Its Annual Reminder

Let’s not minimize the importance of reminders! After all, we human beings are prone to forget things; familiar things as well as things that are absolutely important. Maybe this is why the Apostle Paul wrote a powerful reminder to his friends at Corinth, by saying one day: “Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which you also stand. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (I Cor. 15:1-3)

When it comes to Easter—we all need its annual reminder. The liturgical calendar compels us to return every year to the most basic foundation of our Christian faith and to the very heart of the Gospel message. From the Israelites wandering in the wilderness in the Old Testament, to Jesus’ “Ye-of-little-faith disciples” in the New Testament, the Bible points out to us how often we, as God's people, may easily forget. We forget what our God has said, what our God has done and what our God is like. And forgetting such matters can easily rob us of the abundant joy and peace our God longs to bring to us—especially at Easter. Twice in I Corinthians 15, St Paul uses the phrase: “In accordance with the Scriptures.” In the first case, it is a reference to Christ’s crucifixion; and in the second case, it is a reference to our Lord’s resurrection. “The Scriptures” for Paul, of course, were the writings that comprise our Old Testament and the significance of the phrase – “in accordance with the Scriptures” – is at least twofold.

First, the New Testament writers quote the Old Testament as the primary source of God’s own self-given authority. The person and the work of Christ are verified because they fulfill the prophecies and the foreshadowing of the Old Testament Scriptures.

Secondly, the Biblical writers will make such references as a way of showing to us that God calls all of his own shots. Time and time again, God tells us what he is going to do long before he does it. This is an especially crucial element in the Old Testament prophets. When these things do, in fact, happen—it’s only because they always were and forever remain God’s doing. As Paul recounts the resurrection of Jesus, he makes a careful point of sharing with us Jesus' post-resurrection appearances. “For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures. He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.

Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God! But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them--though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.

Here Paul makes a statement that raises a sobering question. He makes the confident claim that God's "grace toward me has not been in vain." Are we able to make the same statement with a great deal of Holy-Spirit given confidence? To what extent has the investment of God’s grace in us enjoyed a good return in us or to what extent has his grace toward us been in vain -- like the seed that fell upon the path or like the talent entrusted to the third servant in Jesus parable of the talents?

"In vain" is something of a recurring concern for Paul. Perhaps it is a concern born of his natural pragmatism, or his competitiveness, or whatever regret he lived with for his pre-Damascus living. In any case, he uses the phrase twelve different times in his letters, including five times in this chapter of I Corinthians 15 alone: The people's believing (15:2), their faith (15:14), and the apostles' proclamation (15:14) could all possibly be in vain. At the same time, he assures the people that God's grace (15:10) and their labor (15:58) have not been in vain.

“But by the grace of God,” Paul testifies, “I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them--though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe!”

A Blessed Easter be yours as we celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord!

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Note from our President

by Mike Knowles

Mt Olive will have a special Voter’s Assembly Meeting in the fellowship hall Sunday April 22 following the 10:30 service. The purpose of the meeting is to seek voter’s approval for spending for two projects: A 32 niche granite columbarium for the church cemetery Renovation and bricking of the current Mount Olive sign.

Based on current proposals we believe columbarium can be installed and landscaped with out further debt by using the funds in the building fund. The existing sign can be refaced and the sign base bricked using funds from memorials.I encourage you to attend the April 22nd Special Voter’s meeting. Also for more details, The April council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 12th at 7:00 in the fellowship hall; council meetings are open to the congregation and offer an additional opportunity to view plan details and discuss these projects.

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Altar Guild’s Message

by Susie Hoffman

While the season of Lent with its purple paraments is a time for Christians to meditate on their need for the salvation gained for us by the tremendous sacrifice of God’s only Son, joy and majesty are also part of the celebrations. Although the purple paraments through most of Holy Week do reflect our sorrow at the coming sufferings of the Christ, we know His death is not a defeat, but a VICTORY!! We have cause to rejoice.

We wave our palm branches with the crowds in Jerusalem to welcome Jesus into our midst…a welcome that changes suddenly to suspicion and hate and death on a cross. Our concentration on the passion of Christ is interrupted temporarily with a second joyful celebration. Confirmation is celebrated with the paraments and banners changing to the color red. It is the color of faith and fervor, the color we choose to represent the zeal of the church and love for humanity…. a very appropriate color for the celebration of confirmation.

On Maundy Thursday the parament color is changed to white to reflect gladness at the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus offers His body and blood to us for our life and salvation. (Matt. 26:26-29) We are charged to repeat this meal often in remembrance of Jesus, the Christ of God. Once again the mood changes. We acknowledge the part our sins play in the betrayal, desertion, trial, punishment and death of Jesus.

The altar is stripped bare for the Good Friday service to remind us of the awful price Jesus paid so we might have eternal life in heaven with our Savior/God. It was for real – and it was for US! Seven candles, representing the darkness that overcame the earth at the death of Jesus, are extinguished one by one. With somber, repentant thoughts, we exit the chancel.

With joyful anticipation we see the white paraments that show the celebration of Easter, the queen of feasts in the Christian church. The color white denotes the purity, perfection and divinity of Jesus. It is the color that reflects our joy and thanksgiving when we learn our Savior has risen from the tomb and defeated Satan to give us eternal life. The ransom for our sins has been PAID IN FULL!! All ornamentation is returned to the altar and throughout the church. The Paschal Candle is placed in the chancel to stand throughout the Easter season as a sign of the presence of the Risen Christ on this earth. It will be removed after our Ascension Day celebration to symbolize the ascension of Christ to heaven to sit at the right hand of His Father, God.

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LWML (The Olive Branch)

by Carole Mueller, President

The second & fourth Tuesdays in April, the 10th & 24th, are the regularly scheduled meetings for the Olive Branch. We will begin at 10:00 AM with Bible studies from our Lutheran Woman’s Quarterly. After lunch on April 10th, we will be looking into requested projects: sewing children’s costumes & the making of chrismons for the Christmas season. If this is your talent or you are interested in learning/assisting, plan on coming to Bible study, stay for lunch (dessert provided) & help in the decision-making. Thereafter, we will work on these projects.

We learned at the annual Carolina District Joy Event on March 17th that our mite giving to meet the 2010-2012 mission grants in the Carolina District were on schedule. Our district president, Debbie Roseman, stated that with the summer months approaching, we should be mindful to continue with our giving so that at the end of 2012, our goals will be met. Mites on the national level are behind & we were challenged to find ways to increase our mite giving so that they too would meet their mission grants. Suggested ideas for giving are posted on the LWML bulletin board. Thank you for your past contributions.

Ladies, mark your calendars, sign up on the sheet located in the narthex & plan on attending the Southern Zone Rally held here at Mt. Olive on Saturday, April 21st, beginning at 9:00 with registration & light refreshments. This event will end after the salad lunch served at approximately 12:15. Our theme for this day is “Let’s be Doers.” You will be joining other women in our zone for a day of sharing the love & joy our Savior brings to us in word & sacrament. We will have fun on this day, I promise. Any assistance you can give us is, as always, greatly appreciated.

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Preschool News

by Krista Bernthal

Spring has sprung here in the preschool. We are busy preparing for Easter, April showers and May flowers! Our little learners are growing just as fast as the flowers this time of year. The teachers are busy trying to keep everyone challenged and engaged.

Please mark your calendars, ladies, for the Mother/Daughter/Friend luncheon on May 12 from 11:00-1:00. This year, our theme will be "Aprons". We ask you to find aprons new and old to show off at the luncheon. We will be hosting a Pampered Chef party at the luncheon. Come prepared with a list of kitchen items you will need for yourself, birthdays, weddings, etc. that are coming up. Tickets will be available soon! For those unable to attend (men – this means you, too!), catalogs will be available before the event for you to order from. The money we raise will go toward replacing some well-loved, but worn out toys (well loved for 5 years now!), plus some new educational toys. Thank you for your steadfast support!

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by Dan Jorgenson

Jesus Weeps Over Jerusalem and when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. (Luke 19:37–42)

Jesus weeps twice in the gospels. The first time at the grave of Lazarus (John 11:35), the weeping is a Greek word that we would describe as shedding tears or weeping silently. The second time during His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the Greek word describes a weeping like a child, very audible, almost a wailing. While weeping, he is lamenting and saying if the people of Jerusalem had only known, they would have had “peace”.

Even though the following verses of Luke describe the warlike destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus is not referring to a worldly peace. The peace Jesus is referring to is peace with God that we obtain only through Jesus as our Savior. Through Jesus’ righteousness, we enter into a “right” relationship with God. By rejecting Jesus as their Savior, Jerusalem and her people, would not have “peace”, specifically, a “right” relationship with God and would be lost. Jesus will suffer and die at the hands of these very same people of Jerusalem, yet he feels only love, compassion and sorrow for their rejection of Him as the Son of God sent for their salvation.

Now, the question for all of us to ponder as we celebrate Holy Week is whether we shed tears when we think of the lost, the unbelievers in the world? We are certainly all called to have compassion and concern for the lost souls around us.

Admittedly, it can be intimidating to lead someone to Christ but it can start with something as simple as inviting friends, co-workers or family to church activities. We have great opportunities with Easter Service and breakfast and also every fifth Sunday with potlucks. These would be opportune times to bring guests. We should take inspiration from the Apostle Peter who would become the leader among the disciples, the “rock” of the church. When he was given his first opportunity to witness for Christ to unbelievers, he denied Jesus at least three times and then wept “like a child”. Some folks may not take you up on the offers but keep them in your hearts and prayers and keep trying.

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Christian Education

by Sarah Vickers

In celebration of Emily, Zachary, Andrew, and Kathleen receiving the Rite of Confirmation we will have a reception in their honor. Please come congratulate our confirmands April 1st at 9:15 in the fellowship hall. Cake and punch will be served. Sunday School and Bible Classes will begin after the reception. Please come help us celebrate with these young people as they confirm their faith at the 10:30 service on Palm Sunday.

The Education Committee would like to thank Bill Boykin, Kevin Kibler, Chuck Bauer, Rich O’Dell, Liz Rosinski, and Pastor Sizemore for giving of their time and efforts to help our confirmands along the beginning of a lifelong spiritual journey.

Calling all egg hunters!!! Mt. Olive’s annual Easter egg hunt will be April 8th, Easter Sunday. All kids through the 4th grade are invited to hunt for eggs. The egg hunt will begin at 9:45 in the Sanctuary with the reading of the Easter story and songs. All families participating in the hunt are invited to have breakfast in the fellowship hall starting at 8:45am.

The youth group is excited to host the next 5th Sunday dinner on April 29th. A free will offering will be taken up with all proceeds to benefit the youth's trip to the LCMS youth gathering in 2013. Thank you for your continued support of our youth at Mt. Olive.

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Stephen Ministry

by Bill & Aresa Boykin

Mt. Olive's first class of Stephen Ministers completed five sessions in March, and will go into overdrive during April! In addition to Monday evening classes, there will be a Friday session, April 13th, and a weekend retreat April 27th-28th! We will study the following eight topics in April: the process of caring, maintaining boundaries, crisis theory: danger versus opportunity, “Assertiveness: Relating Gently and Firmly”, confidentiality, telephone care, mental health and other community resources, and “Ministering to Those Experiencing Grief”. The sessions will also include in-depth studies of three caregiving books, Christian Caregiving – A Way of Life, Speaking the Truth in Love, and When & How to Use Mental Health Resources.

Thank you so much for those of you have provided snacks for our March training classes: Carole Mueller, Twila Sandt, Sue Knowles, Carolyn Kibler, & Sue O’Dell. If you are able to provide a light snack for one of our classes, there is a sign-up sheet under the Stephen Ministry bulletin board in the hall across from the workroom. You can drop off your snack at church on Sunday so that you don’t have to make a special trip.

In addition to snacks, we are looking for volunteers to provide two meals for our retreat: dinner on April 27th at 6:00 PM and lunch on April 28th at noon. If you or a group would be interested in supplying either of these meals, contact Bill or Aresa Boykin.

Please continue to keep our Stephen Minister trainees and Stephen Leaders in your prayers: Connie Cook, Dave Osborn, Jon & Ellen Richter, Charlie & Twila Sandt, Shari Selke, and Bill & Aresa Boykin. Pray that all will be drawn closer to God, be filled the Holy Spirit as they complete the weekly preparation, and feel the love of Jesus as they build their foundation of essential caregiving skills.

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Social Ministry News

by Shari Selke

I know everyone expresses with me a sincere appreciation for Kathie Voyles who has served “unofficially” as the Social Ministry chairperson for the past 19 months. Kathy has done a wonderful service on behalf of Mt. Olive to show God’s love in our community. Her last official “unofficial” acts were the Ronald McDonald House fundraiser and the American Red Cross Blood Drive, not to mention training the new representative. She is truly a devoted servant for the Lord and will continue to be a blessing to this ministry and Mt Olive.

Many thanks to those who participated in the fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House. Our goal was to raise $100.00 and we raised $130.00. Well done!

Mt. Olive also was able to raise 19 units for the American Red Cross at the Blood Drive last month. There will be another opportunity to donate in the near future here at Mt. Olive. So look for announcements in church bulletin. Katrina Davis will continue to organize these events us.

Mt. Olive’s ongoing support for Sharing God’s Love has been a wonderful cooperative outreach to those in need in our area. We are always accepting donations for this ministry. Any and all donations may be placed in the basket outside the church office. There is a list of items they are especially in need of posted on the bulletin board. Also, please note the following dates for Sharing God’s Love:

April 21 - Spring Yard Sale

May 12 – Post Office Food Drive

July – School Supplies Drive.

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A Stewardship Minute

from Charlie Sandt

In this month’s issue of Stewardship there is a story of a lady who had difficulties speaking clearly. So, when she was asked to be a greeter and welcome worshipers on Sundays, she wanted to say no.

Her thinking led her to the story of Moses. She remembered that when God called Moses to lead the Jews out of Egypt, he tried to dodge the responsibility. Moses reminded the Lord that he had a speech impediment and could not properly carry out what God desired him to do. God told Moses that he wanted Moses to do the job and that he would help him to achieve the task. The lady, who was asked to be a greeter, decided that she would give it a try. After all, even if she were totally mute, she could communicate lovingly by a winsome smile and a warm handshake.
Her story is a reminder God can use each of us in one way or another. Christian stewardship means being willing to use any and all of the gifts God has given us or will give us to enhance the kingdom of God on earth.

Jesus gave us his mandate in the 5th chapter of Matthew: “You are the light of the world. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel, but on the lamp stand and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Prayer: Loving God, giver of every good and perfect gift, help us to use the light you give us to repel the darkness of sin and evil and to make our world to be as you desire it to be in our Lord’s name, Amen

Parish Publishing, LLC (888) 320-5576

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Announcements & Opportunities

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.

Midweek Bible Studies
The two midweek Bible studies will resume on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 6:30 PM. 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 the Gospel of John. Call 447-9894 for more information.

The second Bible study meets at church in the fellowship hall. The group will continue to study the lectionary for the following Sunday. Call our Lay Minister, Bill Boykin, 781-5845, at church, 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 birth to 3 years. 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.

Additional Parking during Church Services

There is additional parking available behind the Wagner House and in the Adair Piano parking lot. If you are able to walk the extra distance, remember to park in these additional lots especially when Mt. Olive will be overflowing on Palm Sunday and Easter.

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.

May Newsletter Deadline

Mark your calendar! The deadline for submitting articles for the May newsletter is April 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 Aresa.

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