Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

August 2012 Newsletter

Olive Leaves
August 2012

Pastor’s Article
by Pastor Paul C. Sizemore

Why Jesus?

The June 2012 edition of the LUTHERAN WITNESS testifies to an ever-growing number of Americans today who identify themselves as being “spiritual,” while distancing themselves further and further from the church.  George Barna, the famous church growth pollster, in his most recent book FUTURECAST observes: “More Americans than ever name Jesus Christ as their Savior, while fewer Americans than ever go to church on a regular basis.  People say, ‘I believe in God. I believe the Bible is a good book. And then I believe whatever I want.’”

Why Jesus? With all of the spiritual smorgasbords that are out there today for people to choose from—why should you and I—never be ashamed to stand in complete solidarity with Jesus Christ and his cross? (Romans 1:16)

Certainly one reason would be because of the profound designations that Jesus ascribes to himself.  No other human being has ever made the kind of astounding claims for himself that our Lord does when he says to us, yet today, by his resurrection power: “I am the Living Water, the Bread of Life, the Light of the world, the Door to the sheepfold, the Good Shepherd, the Resurrection and the Life, the Way, the Truth and the Life!”  (John 4:1; 6:35; John 8:12; John 10:9; John 10:11; John 11:25; and John 14:6). True Christians believe that our Lord Jesus encompasses all of these self-assertions plus so much more.  He is also the “Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end; the One who was and who is and who is to come; the Almighty!” (Revelation 1:18).

Why Jesus?  Secondly, because we Christians believe that the clearest picture that God has ever provided to the human race of himself, he has provided for us in Jesus Christ.  While God was revealed long ago “in many and various ways by the prophets” (Hebrews 1:1), God’s most complete self-revelation is in the Person of his Son Jesus Christ.   Martin Luther’s explanation of the Second Article of the Apostles Creed begins, “I believe that Jesus Christ—true God, begotten of the Father from eternity and true Man, born of the Virgin Mary—is my Lord!”  If we want to know what God is really like, we need to look at Jesus!

Why Jesus?  Thirdly, because the ultimate truth about ourselves, who God is and who God now calls and empowers us to be in our relationship with him are revealed to us in the gift of his Son come to be our Savior.  But please take note that our Lord Jesus Christ never allows for any of us who are his disciples to dream up our own ideas about God, if we truly wish to remain among his loyal followers.  He says, “If you continue in MY WORD then are you truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free!” (John 8:31-32)  Our Lord demands, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23)

Why Jesus?  God reveals himself to us in Jesus as being a very personal God.  God is not simply some sort of metaphysical idea.  For philosophers, the traditional arguments for the existence of God tell us there is a great design to the universe so there must be a designer.  But Jesus lived in this world as a first century Palestinian.  By coming into our world as a human being, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity made it possible for us to know God in ways that are not unlike the ways we know other people; through a self-revelation of their thoughts, their plans and their intentions toward us. The name the prophets gave to the coming Messiah was “Immanuel,” or “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22).

Why Jesus?  God reveals himself to us in Jesus as being communicative.  We know about other people not only on the basis of our outward observations of them, but also through their self-disclosures to us as they communicate to us in words of human language; with words that we can both hear and understand.  Jesus says, “For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it” (John 12:49).

Why Jesus?  God reveals himself to us in Jesus as being absolutely loving. Jesus teaches us repeatedly that God cares for all of humanity; for the whole human race.  God is not simply a disinterested Judge, content only to be the Moral Ruler of the Universe.  Rather, our God is a God of love, whose love is chiefly revealed to us in Jesus actions; Jesus’ perfect life, death and resurrection. “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us” (I John 4:10-12)

Why Jesus?  The most practical answer to this question might be because we know that our human relationships are always fractured and splintered by our disobedience of God’s clear commands; that is by our human sin.  But in Christ’s call to repentance and faith, we can be honest with God and each other about our complete inability to love him or one another perfectly. 

Forgiveness, purchased through our Savior’s shed blood on the cross, becomes the central guiding force in our daily lives that we now share joyfully with each other, as Christ our Savior revitalizes and renews all of our relationships with our Heavenly Father and with each other.  Day by day, we march as pilgrims, hand in hand together—to the Promised Land—of an eternal home with our Lord in heaven.
Why Jesus?  “If anyone commits sin, he is a slave to sin.  But if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!” (John 8:31-32)

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A Note from our President
by Mike Knowles

Mt. Olive voters will be asked to consider a change to the church by-laws.  This change centers on converting committees with elected chairs to elected boards.  The following “Frequently Asked Questions” are offered to help explain the reason for considering this change.

Why change from an elected committee chair to an elected board?
Three-year terms will allow a continuum of direction, less experienced members are better positioned to participate, the work load is shared over more of the congregation, and members with time conflicts will have more flexibility to participate.

How is a board different from a committee?
A board is elected with staggered three-year terms with board members electing a head each year.  A committee chairperson is elected and recruits his/her own committee members.

How are board members recruited?
At each February's Voters Assembly meeting the nominations open.  The nominating committee recruits board candidates.

How many members serve on each board?
The constitution includes a minimum board size; however, boards may have additional members as needed.

What if there is a board vacancy?
Our constitution allows for Council appointment of vacant positions.

Regardless of the outcome, our mission is to grow in faith and love by spreading the Word of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
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Altar Guild’s Message
by Susie Hoffman

We are now in the non-festival half of the CHURCH YEAR CALENDAR.  It celebrates Jesus’ promise to send the “Comforter”. Fulfilled when the Holy Spirit was revealed on Pentecost.  We are part of the Christian Church born on that day. We have received power to believe and grow in faith and ministry through the workings of that same Holy Spirit.

One of the first customs the early Christian Church adopted was to hold Sunday as the day of worship to commemorate our Lord’s resurrection on that day.  The early church fathers also stressed the value and importance of keeping the “traditional liturgical forms, such as the order of the lessons, prayers, vestments, etc.”  These have been handed down for centuries.  A weekly theme connects the readings for the day.  In general, all Lutheran Churches follow the same three-year-cycle of Old Testament, Epistle and New Testament readings.  Many other Christian churches follow this same pattern.

Parament color and other visual symbols are intended to inform, renew, and direct the prayerful attention and worship of those who would be disciples of the Risen Christ.  We grow in faith, love, and service to Jesus and to those we contact in our life’s journey as we learn more of Him who died as a ransom for us and all sinful humankind.
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LWML (The Olive Branch)
by Carole Mueller, President

Although the Olive Branch does not meet during the months of June, July & August, several members are attending one or more chrismon classes at Rufty’s Chrismon Shop in Salisbury, NC.  All these Chrismon ornaments are made with beads & once we have learned the basic assembly process and have acquired the skills, we will be able to select which ornaments to make when we start our monthly meetings in the fall.  We welcome anyone interested in assisting with this project and those ladies who have the expertise to lead others at our meetings.  To volunteer or to get more information, please contact me at church.  Since the cost of making Chrismons is more than allocated in the LWML budget, donations will be needed.  Please look for information on making donations in future Olive Seeds.  I believe everyone who commits to helping will find it a rewarding experience.  Our meetings will resume in September at 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, on the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays.  Each meeting begins with a Bible study followed by lunch and crafts.  Please consider joining us.

The Carolinas District LWML Convention will be held Sept. 14th & 15th at Christ Lutheran Church, Hickory NC.  Registration deadline:  Must be received at Hickory by Aug. 18th..   Cost for early registration is $30.00.  If you would like to attend, please complete the necessary registration form found in the Carolinas Cross Connection, dated May 2012.  Paperwork is also located on the LWML bulletin board directly outside of the workroom.

Mark your calendars & prayerfully consider attending the 35th Biennial Convention to be held Thursday, June 27 – Sunday, June 30, 2013, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The convention theme is “Quenched! By the Water.”  Check out the LWML bulletin board for details.
Remember the first Sunday of the month is designated as LWML mite box collection Sunday.  Contributions to be placed in the large Mite box located in the back of church.  Thank you for your support.

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Preschool News
by Krista Bernthal

We are excited about starting our sixth year of the preschool at the end of August.  Our Kindergarten Kamp will be August 6-10.  Don’t forget to sign up your rising kindergartener for this fun week!
We have been getting good reports from our graduates who have moved on to elementary school.  Our program has given them a good foundation for school.   We have a few spaces open in all of our classes.  Please invite people you know to consider our preschool!  Kindergarten Kamp is also an open house for the preschool.  It is a great time to see our school in action.

Please keep us in your prayers as we get started in our new school year.  You can also show support with a monetary donation or snack donation.  A snack list will again be available on the preschool table in the narthex.  You can also donate time through many volunteer opportunities that exist.  Call the church if you can help.  This ministry works best when you all are involved!
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Christian Education
by Katrina Folks

I’d like to teach but…………..We’ve all heard those words.  Maybe you have said them.    Why not join us on Saturday, August 18 and learn as we review basic lesson planning, classroom management, and child development?  We invite all those who have committed as teachers for the new Sunday school year, and encourage those who are able to be on our list of substitutes for this year.  Bring your questions and concerns from 9-12 am for problem solving and brainstorming.  Who will answer gladly saying “Here am I send me, send me.”

Rally Day Aug 26th ALL Ages Invited!
Rally Day is a family event and the start of the new Sunday School year at Mt. Olive.  Join us on August 26th following the 10:30 service as we will gather at the Red Bud Shelter at Saluda Shoals Park, 5605 Old Bush River Road, Columbia, SC  29212, about 2 miles from the church.  Entry to the park is free.

If you are not acquainted with Saluda Shoals, it is a beautiful setting with walking trails and super facilities.  The kids will have access to the “Splash Pad” and the tweens and teens will participate in team building activities. Adults chat and meet new friends.  Some people play cards in small groups.   The Education Committee brings the fixings for hot dogs and hamburgers, drinks, utensils, and dessert.  Homemade ice cream is in the works!  We are asking each family to provide a side dish to round off this traditional picnic our members have enjoyed for over a decade. 
Please join us and connect with friends old and new from Mt. Olive!
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VBS August 2012
by Mandy Kibler

We’re going on an Amazing Desert Journey this summer in VBS!  Our Amazing Desert Journey will be held each Sunday during the month of August during the Sunday School hour.  Each Sunday the children will learn about God’s love and how He provides for their lives now and in eternity through Jesus, His Son, our Savior!  Registration is open for ages 3 years old – 4th grade and will be set up in the narthex.  Kids will meet friends, explore Bible stories, sing songs, and make crafts.

We appreciate your prayers for Amazing Desert Journey. Ask God to bring children to our program so they can know and grow in Jesus, our Savior! And ask God to provide leaders and helpers for this important mission.

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First Communion and Confirmation Class
by Bill Boykin

Pastor Sizemore will teach First Communion classes for children who are rising 5th graders and older beginning August 12 – September 2nd during the Sunday School hour.  These classes will focus on the institution of the Lord’s Supper and its proper reception and benefits.  A parent must also attend these four classes.  Students who complete classes and prove to be ready will receive First Communion on Reformation Sunday, October 28th at the 10:30 AM service.

On September 9th, these students, along with our 6th graders will continue in Confirmation Classes each Sunday.  Kevin K and Bill B will continue to teach these classes during the Sunday School hour.  This year, parents, grandparents, or other adult family members are being asked to attend as mentors for their children.  There is also a new curriculum, Partners in Learning: A Family Confirmation Approach.  It takes a more interactive approach and is designed to help parent-mentors share their faith and strengthen relationships. 
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Youth Group Thanks Mt Olive for their kind support!
from the Education Committee

Thank you to the congregation for the continued support of Mt Olive Lutheran Youth Group!  Your attendance and financial support move us towards the goal!  August, Emily, Tyler, Zachary, Kathleen, Krista, Tyler, Jeremy, and their parents spent Saturday, July 28 prepping food and decorating the fellowship hall in a Tex Mex theme to set the mood for our July 29 fellowship dinner.  Working together as a group to present this event helped the youth to bond together as a group and helped them to connect to the congregation as a whole.  It continued the preparation for one of the highlights of the Youth Gathering.

The 2013 LCMS Youth Gathering has the goal of sending 10,000 teens and youth leaders into the San Antonio community to serve in servant events.  During this three-day period they will serve in community centers, Habitat for Community sites, nursing homes, day care centers, and environmental cleanup sites. What a wonderful way for our kids to serve as witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  Remember, Mt Olive Youth are grounded for life…. in Christ our Savior and His Word.

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Social Ministry News
by Shari Selke

Sharing Gods Love will be hosting a school supplies drive in August.  Please bring items to the basket in the hallway.  Also, thank you to everyone who donated blood on July 28th.  

SHARING GOD’S LOVE FOOD DRIVE:  On Friday, August 17 from Noon-6 PM at the Bi-Lo at 6021 St. Andrews Road in Columbia. We need volunteers to greet customers and hand them a list of items to buy. If you can help, please call us at 732-3188 or email  Thank you so much!  Marcia Adkins, Director, Sharing God’s Love

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from Dan Jorgenson

Evangelism = Love
Living In Vibrant Relationship With Jesus1
A vivid relationship with God lies at the heart of real evangelism, which is based in a Trinity of Relationships: with God, within the congregation, and with people outside the church whose lives are not centered in Christ. The heart of evangelism emerges from the interaction of these three sets of relationships: our personal relationship with God, healthy congregational relationships, and caring about people who don’t have a conscious connection with Christ.  The heart of evangelism is being in love with God, being part of a church you love, and caring about (emphasis “loving”) other people who do not know that faith.
In my previous message, I presented Paul’s model for preparing disciples to have an impact on the world by using the Thessalonian church as an example. Paul described them as “imitators of us and of the Lord for you have received the word with much affliction” (1 Thessalonians 1:6). As Rev. Lucas might describe it, they were “living in a vibrant relationship with Jesus”.  It was not an easy time for the Thessalonians to have a vibrant relationship with Jesus because affliction was part of early Christianity. Paul was beaten and even stoned by angry Jews who followed him. I am sure that others who continued to spread the word after Paul received similar treatment.

Today may not be an easy time to be a follower of Christ either. We have been in the majority for centuries in the Western world but we may be the minority in the future. I feel that there is a tendency when we find ourselves to be in a hostile culture to go on the defensive.  The balance of the “Trinity of Relationships” may change so that we focus on our relationship with God and our church family while allowing the circle of relationships outside the church to shrink. If that happens then we have to intentionally restore the balance by showing the same love and concern to those outside the church as we do to our brothers and sisters in Christ within the church.

I would ask each of you to prayerfully contemplate your “Trinity of Relationships”. If you find your circle of relationships with those outside the church has shrunk, then consider joining the Evangelism team.  Jon R has volunteered to be the new Evangelism chair.  I hope that all of us already consider ourselves members of the Evangelism Committee but I am sure Jon would prefer to have more members actually come to the meetings. Please look for Jon’s announcement for the September meeting.

  The Rev. Glenn A. Lucas, Executive Director for Mission Development, SED, LCMS

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Stephen Ministry
by Bill & Aresa Boykin

Being Receptive to Care
Most people are much more open to giving care than to receiving it.  When a person is giving care, he or she is in a position of strength, stability, and authority.  When a person is receiving care, he or she is acknowledging weakness, insecurity, and vulnerability.

As a result, there are countless people today who, though they really could benefit from a Christian friend who would listen and care for them, instead tough it out on their own.  They remain the strong silent type, or wear a smile across a face that is holding back a flood or tears.  Society encourages this, particularly for men.  To ask for help is to admit weakness.  To show weakness is to admit inferiority.

But God did not create us to be independent.  We were created to be interdependent.  God’s Word is clear on this all the way back to Genesis:  “It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)  The New Testament underscores this theme with more that 50 verses that contain the words “one another.”  These verses include admonitions such as “love one another,” “encourage one another,” “build up one another,” and “pray for one another.”

What these verses don’t say it that we alone are to love, encourage, build up, and pray for other people.  The “one another” wording gives them a reciprocal meaning.  It also tells us that we are to allow other people to love, encourage, build up, and pray for us!

It is most difficult for people to ask for help.  Whether it is because of guilt, shame, inadequacy, or fear of rejection, many would much prefer to suffer alone than ask for help.
But suffering alone is not God’s intent for us.  Jesus promises, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)  We can receive this promised rest when we turn to one another for comfort and help.

Our Stephen Ministers know all about receiving care.  Many of them have been on the receiving end of care at an earlier point in their lives – something that has motivated them to give care now.  They know how difficult it is to ask for help, but they know how to respond in a loving, caring, and nonjudgmental manner.  They are equipped, ready, and waiting to provide the comfort and care God very much desires you to have.

If you find yourself now or in the future facing difficulties in life, don’t succumb to society’s norm or remaining strong and suffering alone.  Take the courageous step of seeking help.  Open your heart to receiving God’s love and grace through another person.  Our Stephen Ministry offers the opportunity for a very confidential relationship with someone who will listen to you and provide you with the care and encouragement you need, while Christ works inside to bring rest to your weary, burdened heart.

For more information on Stephen Ministry, please contact Pastor Sizemore or Stephen Leader Bill Boykin at church. 
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[Jesus] Said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Mark 5:34

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A Stewardship Minute
from Charlie Sandt

An article in the August issue of Stewardship reminds us of our duty to respond to God’s goodness. For example, the article states that no portion of “our time” is really our time ... it is all God’s “time” and we should be grateful for the days and years God gives us to live here on earth. Likewise, since our bodies, minds, and spirits are gifts to us from God, we have the responsibility to use them all to honor God. If we misuse our minds, our bodies, or our talents, we are not being good stewards of what God has given us; we are ignoring the Source of our existence and thus cheating both God and ourselves.

In the fifth chapter of Matthew we find Jesus saying: “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how can it be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but it is thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Are we good “salt” striving to give a wonderful flavor to this world through our stewardship or are we simply living for ourselves without trying to serve God? If we are to be effective “salt,” doesn’t this mean that we must live as God’s people striving to be good stewards of our time, talents, and whatever resources God has given us? Surely Christ’s desire for us as his servants is to work to bring love, peace, hope, and service to the entire world!

Prayer: Help us to live our lives being worthy stewards, dear Lord, that we may ultimately enjoy eternal fellowship with you.   Amen.

Parish Publishing, LLC      (888) 320-5576
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Announcements & Opportunities

Thank you to Summer Sunday School Teachers
Thanks to all the people who volunteered to teach during Summer Sunday School.  Because of you, we were able to introduce this very important portion of Luther’s Small Catechism to children age 2 through the fourth grade.  The children who attended learned and relearned and reviewed the Ten Commandments.   They heard nine Bible stories that reinforced the meaning of the commandments.   We reviewed with the group, through specific examples, how we as Christians keep those commandments and how we break the commandments in our day-to-day lives.  They were introduced to a variety of traditional and “campy” Sunday school songs.  Above all the children learned, that despite the fact we sin, God always extends His love and forgiveness to all of us.  Children who attended received a “ten commandment” pin as a proud symbol of their dedication this summer.  Please take a moment to view the Sunday school bulletin board downstairs to see their pictures and read what the children learned this summer.

Midweek Bible Studies
Mt. Olive has two opportunities for midweek Bible Studies.  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 M.  Call the church for information.

The second Bible study that meets at church in the fellowship hall will resume on August 15th.  The group will continue to study the lectionary for the following Sunday.  If you would like to join us for supper, please e-mail the church office:

Men’s Prayer Breakfast
The Men’s Prayer Breakfast will adjourn for the summer.  Then next breakfast will be on the 3rd Saturday of September the 15th, at 8:00 AM.

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 W is in charge.

September Newsletter Deadline
Mark your calendar!  The deadline for submitting articles for the September newsletter is August 20th. 

Also, those of you who love taking pictures of Mt. Olive events can e-mail your photos to me, too.  Send articles and photos to Aresa.

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