Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 2012 Newsletter

Olive Leaves November 2012
Pastor’s Article
by Pastor Paul C. Sizemore

Excel in the Grace of Giving – Stewardship Emphasis 2013
“Giving: Dutiful Obligation or Joyful Opportunity?”

As the Apostle Paul traveled to various churches on one of his great missionary journeys, he collected offerings for the Christians in Jerusalem who were experiencing hard economic times (2 Corinthians 9).  In writing to the believers at Corinth to join him and others in this worthwhile endeavor, Paul references the Christians in Macedonia as his primary exhibit number one.  In spite of the Macedonian’s own economic troubles, they gave joyfully to support the work of their brothers and sisters in Christ, resident in Jerusalem.
The Macedonians’ love for Christ and their genuine concern for their fellow believers in Jerusalem moved them to give “beyond their ability,” as that ability would have been logically assessed by merely human point of view.  They excelled in the grace of giving!

How was this possible? 

The Apostle Paul says it happened because the Macedonians first gave themselves to the Lord, and then, Paul continues, they “urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints” (2 Corinthians 8:4). In Christ, they saw their giving as an opportunity to help other believers in need.
Do people who view giving only as a dutiful obligation, plead for the opportunity to give? Usually not! Probably not! When giving is only an obligation, we may give, but our giving will not be done joyfully, or given by us as those who are privileged for the opportunity to give.  

Yes, as God’s people, we have both an obligation and an opportunity. Scripture is clear that we are called to give. Paul said, “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made” (1 Corinthians 16:2).

As spiritually renewed people living out transformed lives, our attitude toward giving then is changed by the Holy Spirit—from a “got to” to a “get to” mentality! We stop giving begrudgingly, and we start to excel in the grace of giving by giving willingly and cheerfully. We want to give, because giving is an expression of our love and gratitude to God. We worship him for who He is and what He has done and continues to do for us. The more we give of ourselves, the closer our relationship with Christ becomes. The more we want to give, the more God blesses us, to enable us in our continuous lifestyle of giving.  The apostle writes: “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11).   The motivation behind it all, of course, is the Gospel.  “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich!” (2 Corinthians 8:9)

We thank God that He fills us daily with His love so that we, as members of Christ’s body here at Mt Olive Lutheran Church, may come to see our giving as a holy privilege and joyful opportunity to praise and thank Him!

+  +  +  +  +  +  +

A Note from our President
by Bob Massa

Where no counsel is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. Prov. 11-14
The church boards (Counselors) are in the midst of preparing budgets and planning for next year.  This can be an unrewarding and mundane task; however, their vision for moving Christ’s and Mount Olive’s mission to spread the gospel is exciting to observe and energizing to be a participant.  To accomplish some of the goals they have identified will require disciplined stewardship, and as a church body we will take time out from our usual Sunday School classes for three Sundays in November to focus on growing and caring for our many gifts from God.

The church counsel has already identified several items as critical in the coming year.  First, we are in need of ushers and greeters for the second service.  While we have a higher attendance at this later service we have fewer volunteers than the early service.  Second, as the pre-school year continues we are receiving more inquiries from families desiring to enroll their children but being unable to afford the tuition.  We are reluctant to turn these families away and the pre-school board where possible offers scholarships to deserving children.  To continue sharing God’s word with these needy ones the pre-school needs our financial support and any amount towards scholarships is appreciated.  Third, in July 2013 we are sending 11 of our youth and two adult chaperones to the Youth Gathering and even though all eleven young people have worked hard to raise the funds for this wonderful event they remain approximately $600 short of their goal.  Finally, the Board of Trustees has identified numerous items needing attention and repair.  Some are critical and need immediate attention.  One such item is our parking lot, which not only needs resurfacing and striping, but we also need to come into compliance with the Federal American Disabilities Act as it relates to handicap parking/spaces.  This cost is approximately $6,500 and our existing budget has very little discretionary money for this unanticipated expense.

As the boards pray and work to finalize their budgets, I urge every Mount Olive member, visitor, and congregational friend to also pray and ask God to direct their hearts how to be good stewards with His gifts.  Beyond your regular tithe, can you assist with these needs?

+  +  +  +  +  +  +

Board of Elders
by Jerry Garlington

I want to thank Randy Voyles for volunteering to fill a vacant position on the Board of Elders.  Randy has served as an Elder before, and I expect he will be a blessing to those members assigned to his list.  There is a list of Elders with their assigned member care groups on the bulletin board outside the office.  If you don't see your name or have any other questions, contact Jerry.   
I was recently making nametags for our newest members and was reminded that many of our members have not been using nametags.  Since we have so many new members that joined in the past couple of years, it will help them get to know you and you to know them.  If you are as terrible with names as I am, nametags are a great help.

+  +  +  +  +  +  +

Altar Guild’s Message
by Susie Hoffman

The paraments during the last month in the CHURCH YEAR CALENDAR are changed to white to celebrate two important occasions: ALL SAINTS SUNDAY on November 4th and CHRIST THE KING SUNDAY on November 25th.  All Saints Sunday is dedicated to the memory of the saints and martyrs of history.  In addition, it is an occasion to remember family members and friends who have gone before us into the presence of our Father God.  The Last Sunday is celebrated as a time to give special honor and glory to our Lord Jesus, King of kings and Lords of lords.  The white of the paraments indicates divinity, purity and completeness.

Our national holiday of Thanksgiving, though not originally a church celebration, allows God’s children to recognize and give thanks for the many blessings we continually receive from His hand.  The paraments will remain white throughout this month.

+  +  +  +  +  +  +

LWML (The Olive Branch)
by Carole Mueller, President

The Bible study “Servants of the Lord” will continue during the month of November (Nov. 13 – Esther & Nov. 27 – Mary Magdalene).  Our Bible study is from 10:00 – 11:00 AM, and followed by a brief meeting and lunch.  The hostess provides dessert and beverages.  Thereafter, we will work on assembling Chrismons for the upcoming Christmas season.  We conclude at approximately 2:00 p.m.  Plan on joining us for Bible study and lunch and, if you are interested and able to help in the afternoon with our current project, we welcome your assistance.  Copies of our Bible studies are located on the table in the Narthex.

The LWML has begun a new project for November:  assembling care packages for those who are serving our country in the U.S. Armed Forces.  A special meeting will be held on Monday, November 5th at 10:30 AM to assemble these special packages.   Afterwards, the group will have a sub sandwich lunch.
We welcome new projects to benefit our church & community.  If you know or are aware of one, please bring it to our attention for consideration.

Please review the flyer on the LWML bulletin board if you are interested in attending the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League’s 35th biennial convention, Thursday, June 27 – Sunday, June 30, 2013.  Efforts to have a bus go to Pittsburgh next year are in the works should you be interested.  This information is also posted.
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.  Delegates to the 2011 convention in Peoria, Illinois, adopted a mission goal of $1,825,000 for our 2011-2013 biennium. The Carolinas District grant goal is $66,000.  Thank you for your past support. 

+  +  +  +  +  +  +

Preschool News
by Krista Bernthal

The preschool is enjoying the wonderful season of fall.  Leaves, pumpkins, and Halloween have kept us busy!  During the past month we have welcomed a new staff member.  Amy Pierson is teaching the three-year-old class.  Some of you may have had a workout class with her at the Irmo YMCA!  However, her passion is children and teaching.  We are glad to have her!

It has been a joy to get to know our three new students, who are with us on scholarship.  They would never have had a chance to go to preschool without Mt. Olive.   The families are so appreciative.  We have found, however, that we feel just as blessed to be with these children.  You can feel God’s hand in these new relationships.   Thank you to those you have chosen to be a part of this scholarship program.  If you are interested in helping out one of these children, or any new ones we get (we will allow 2-3 per class), let me know.  A half scholarship would be as little as $75 a month to a whole scholarship that would be no higher than $150 a month. 

December 5th is our annual Preschool Christmas program and dinner.  Plan on attending this fundraiser at 6pm!

Questions?  Krista Bernthal – 803-781-7180,

+   +   +   +   +   +   +

Christian Education
from Katrina Folks

Follow the Leader … … …to Bethlehem

Sunday School children ages Pre K-4th grade will be adding their voices to the 10:30 worship service on Sunday, December 16 in conjunction with the cantata performance by the Mt. Olive Church choir.
Music by the children will be learned during the Sunday School openings.  One formal practice will be held on Saturday, December 1 from 10-11 for those children who are planning on singing.  Parents, please email Katrina Folks at to verify your child’s participation.  More information will be forthcoming in the December newsletter.  Please put these dates on your calendar now, as the Advent season will be here before you know it!

Follow the Leader...on the Internet???????  Really?

Yep that’s right!  There are a lot of you out there that say I would love to know more about what my church teaches, but I am sooooooooooo busy!  Here’s your chance!  A great 24-hour Bible study is going to be as close as your laptop!  But pay attention!  It is being held Friday, November 2nd starting at 2 pm through Saturday, November 3rd at 2 pm.  That’s right!  It is sponsored by Issues, etc., which is a Lutheran, “Christ Centered-Cross Focused Talk Radio” broadcast.  They have real, live pastors and theologians online 24 hours that day to explain questions that revolve around our Lutheran theology.  Get insights to questions like, “If I am baptized isn’t that enough?”  “What is the real presence anyway?”  “I know I’ve heard before, but I still don’t get the whole Trinity thing.”  “Why do Lutherans keep talking about this original sin thing?”  “What do Lutherans believe about the end times?” 

If you have friends or relatives that no longer attend a church, but ask you questions all the time, give them this site.  If you have young adult children who have lost interest in religion, give them this site.  If you wake up in the middle of the night with heartburn… check out this site!  Post this on the fridge now so you can see it right away!  Remember, it’s this Friday and Saturday, November 2nd-3rd!

Follow the Leader……….through Advent

The Advent season is soon to be upon us; the rush, the schedules, the concern.  We are providing a four-week Bible study focusing on the season of Advent, beginning on December 2-23 in the Wagner House during the Sunday School hour.  Each class is a contained unit, so even one class will be beneficial as you try to absorb how a self reflective Bible time will enrich your Christmas celebration this year.  If you have never tried a Bible study once, this may be a good one to try.  Meet other members of the Mt Olive family and see what God reveals in His Holy Word this Advent season.
+  +  +  +  +  +  +

Youth Group News
by Vanita Fiedler

The Mt. Olive Youth Group participated in the “Home Works” October Blitz Saturday October 20, 2012.  We had the privilege to serve Mrs. Vernell Curry by putting a fresh coat of paint on all window trim, doors, bargeboard, fascia, and soffit.  As well as assist in major repairs to her bathroom and completing heavy cleaning in her kitchen.  Those of us that worked on kitchen duty had the opportunity to learn some very special details about Mrs. Curry.  We mentioned to Mrs. Curry that our Youth Group is studying how to “Live Love (d)”, and asked if she would share with us where she learned about love.  Mrs. Curry said she learned love from her parents through discipline.  She said she didn’t realize it at the time but much later in adulthood that the discipline was love.  Beautifully stated by a lovely lady!

“Great Job!!!” to our youth group members who worked from 8 am - 3:30 pm and didn’t even stop for lunch!  Mrs. Curry was moved to tears with the wonderful work you did to beautify her home.  THAT’s LOVE!!!

Upcoming Events:

Second Sunday of the month we'll have our Youth group meeting following the second service. 
Thanksgiving Day - Youth Group will be at the Coliseum to hand out Care Bags

+  +  +  +  +  +  +

Musical Memos
by Karen Meetze

The choir is hard at work on the Christmas cantata, "Holy Night of Miracles" which will be presented at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 16th. All are invited to attend and enjoy the inspirational readings and moving music that will re-tell the story of God's great love for us.  The Handbell Choir will also participate that day as well as some other featured instrumentalists.  We are blessed with members in our congregation who have abundant musical abilities and we are doing our best to allow them to use their gifts as we worship together.  So listen carefully and you may be hearing some new instruments and seeing some new faces on Sunday mornings in the future.

There are two special practices: November 10th from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
December 1st from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 
So mark your calendars and we pray this special presentation will add some extra joy to your Christmas this year.

+  +  +  +  +  +  +

by Jon Richter

Sharing our best with those in need…

Throughout November, here at Mt. Olive we will be studying stewardship – the opportunity we have to direct our resources (given to us by God) to bring Glory to Him in this world.  In our Offertory Prayer each Sunday, we acknowledge that our Merciful Father has first given us “ourselves, our time, and our possessions” and we offer these back to Him in thankfulness.

When we consider the time that we have – some of that time which is most precious to us is spent communicating with each other: our family members, our co-workers, our neighbors, even strangers that we meet….  How often do we allow our relationship with Jesus to enter in to that communication – with our spouse, our children, our neighbors, and those strangers that God puts in our path? 

If our relationship with our Lord is precious to us – that bond should easily overflow into our conversation.  The Holy Spirit will cause this to happen naturally in our conversations – if we are praying that He will work through us, and we allow Him to come up in the conversation.

You don’t need to preach on a street corner to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:5); you just need to let His Love come out of you in natural way, in your everyday conversations…

+  +  +  +  +  +  +

Irmo Churches Share the Good News of God’s Love with Children from Lisa Sizemore

Did you know that children in Irmo Schools can hear the story of “God’s Plan of Redemption” during the school day?  That’s right.  School Time Bible of South Carolina has been instrumental in organizing 18 school release time programs in the Midlands.  Locally, 95 sixth grade Crossroads School students have been attending a Bible survey course since the first week of school.  In total, the children have received 18 hours of class featuring Bible themes and stories from Genesis through Revelation.  They learn that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.  They are taught the world was created by a loving God.  They learn of the fall into sin, the history of God’s people, Israel, and the redemptive work of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, as presented in the book of John.  Finally, they are taught of the great day of Pentecost, when the disciples are filled by the Holy Spirit, to spread His Word throughout the world and that Jesus will come again.  It is said that 90% of the students, who are signed up for this elective class by their parents, do not have an affiliation with any church or religion before.  It is a mission field right in our midst!

The program is taught by volunteer teachers from St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Grace Point Church, Union Methodist, and this year, from Mt Olive Lutheran Church.  Lisa Sizemore was the teacher for 12 children this year.  Class time is begun with prayer.  The teachers then review material from all previous classes using visual Bible charts for cues.  Information is provided using power point presentation, with workbooks for the students to complete.  Memory work is assigned each period. 

The children conclude the 9-week period with an oral and written examination.  This year we thank Jon Richter, Shari Selke, Nancy Thompson, and Martin Steinborn who volunteered Monday, October 22, to listen to the individual oral exams.  On Thursday, October 25, St Andrews Presbyterian, teaching site, hosted a graduation ceremony where the students demonstrated what they learned and were presented with a certificate and personal Bible.  A reception was held following for teachers to meet parents and students and to encourage the students to continue their walk with Christ. 

Learn more by going to

+  +  +  +  +  +  +

Stephen Ministry
from Bill & Aresa Boykin

Thank you so much to our volunteers and our Mt. Olive Stephen Ministry team for graciously giving your time and expertise for our Stephen Ministry workshop on November 3rd to be such a success!  We pray that the churches of those in attendance will be able to implement Stephen Ministry in their congregations.

Even with all the workshop preparation, Mt. Olive’s Stephen Ministry team is still going strong!  All of our Stephen Ministers currently have care receivers and meet with them on a regular basis.
The Stephen Ministers continue to meet twice monthly for continuing education and supervision groups.  They have recently explored caring for those who are hospitalized, and begun a unit on ministering to people who are experiencing losses related to aging.  At one of our sessions on hospitalization, a guest panel shared the greatest challenges and inside information about hospital visits.  Panelists included our own Dianne B and Katrina D, along with Jerry F, a hospice chaplain.  

Our Stephen Ministry team also took a “field trip” to Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church in Lexington, to participate in one of the Midlands Stephen Ministry Network’s continuing education sessions on boundaries.  It was wonderful to meet, learn, and fellowship with Stephen Ministers from other area churches.

November 4th will begin our recruiting efforts for our next Stephen Minister training class beginning in mid-January, 2013.  We hope to have classes on Monday evenings at church.  And if there are several folks from northeast Columbia interested in training, we would like to bring training closer to you if a time and place can be worked out.  If you are being nudged by the Holy Spirit to become a trained caregiver, please talk to Pastor Sizemore, Bill or Aresa Boykin, Stephen Leaders, or one of our Stephen Ministers (Connie, Dave, Charlie & Twila, Jon & Ellen, or Shari).

And as always, when an event shakes up your world and you would like help in turning a life crisis into an opportunity of growth and faith, a Stephen Minister is ready to be there for you.  Contact Pastor Sizemore or Stephen Leader Bill Boykin.
+  +  +  +  +  +  +

A Stewardship Minute
from David Buck

“As Thanksgiving Day approaches, take time to think about your reasons for being thankful. How deep are they?”
Thanksgiving is a special day for us all to take time to thank our loving Creator for all that makes life worth living on God’s earth. We can thank God for salvation through Christ. Thank God for loving families, for caring friends, for opportunities to learn, labor, and serve in this free land. Thank God for our churches and this wonderful land we call home. Oh, how blessed we are living in this endowed and hallowed land! We are privileged to not only enjoy the innumerable benefits of our country, but we Christians are also given the opportunity to work on behalf of God’s kingdom. However wonderful our nation is, there are still great needs among us. Consider those millions who do not yet know Christ and the glorious salvation he offers. Think of the poor among us. Consider the slums in our teeming cities. Our work is cut out for us!

Thanksgiving should not only be a time of giving gratitude to God, but also a time of remembrance of those who need to be redeemed. The Danish novelist, Anker Larsen, decided to take God and God’s work seriously. He looked around him and seeing the vast needs of those in spiritual trouble, Larsen vowed to report to God daily with the words: “What orders do you have for me today?” Truly thankful Christians are those who use whatever gifts and talents they have in the service of God.
Prayer: You but open your hand towards us, O God, and all our needs are met. Give us grateful hearts and show us where and when we are to serve in the name of Christ. Amen
Parish Publishing, LLC      (888) 320-5576

+  +  +  +  +  +  +

Social Ministry
by Shari Selke

November is the month when Americans focus their attention to God and country, with the election at the beginning of the month and Thanksgiving at the end.  What a perfect time to show our appreciation to those who have served and are serving in our military.  Throughout the month of November, Mt Olive will be collecting donations for the U.S.O.  We will also be displaying the different missions, charities, and volunteer opportunities available to further show our support for the people who sacrifice so much to keep us free.  We continue our support to Sharing God’s Love and Mt Olive’s - Love Fund to help those in our community and congregation.

U.S.O. South Carolina NeedsSnacks & Beverages: Rice Crispy Treats, Chex Mix, sunflower seeds, individual fruit or pudding cups, peanuts, individual bags of chips, Mini Moo coffee creamer, bottled water, PowerAde or Gatorade, canned soda, or juice boxes
Additional items: Disposable razors, travel size shaving cream, travel size toothpaste, toothbrushes, eye drops, travel size sunscreen, International calling cards, plastic spoons, coffee stirrers, sugar, low calorie sweeteners, Chapstick, and ink cartridges (HP 920 & 940 black and color)
Monetary donations: USO South Carolina, 3250 Airport Blvd. Ste. 7, West Columbia, SC 29170

Sharing God’s Love NeedsHousehold items: Sheets and towels: Can be used but in good condition.
Pantry Items: Peanut butter, jelly, spaghetti sauce, noodles, laundry detergent, shampoo, deodorant, dish washing liquid, grits, toothpaste, tooth brushes, bar soap and toilet paper.
Sharing God’s Love also helps with utilities bills, if you would like to make a monetary donation, please send your check to: Sharing God’s Love, P.O. Box 1021, Irmo, SC   29063.

“Therefore, I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and the poor and needy in your land.”  Deut. 15:11b

+  +  +  +  +  +  +

Announcements & Opportunities

November is Stewardship Month:  Excel in the Grace of GivingOn the first three Sundays in November, there will be a series of Adult Bible Classes on Stewardship. The classes will be taught in both large adult classes in the fellowship hall and downstairs. Please be on the lookout for three Stewardship mailings including one with your sealed commitment card from last year and your new one for this year. The third Sunday, November 18th, will be Commitment Sunday.  Please join us to learn more about God’s perspective on stewardship.

Daylight Savings Time EndsRemember to “Fall Back” on Saturday night, November 3rd, or else you will get to church an hour early!

First Communion
Congratulations to three of our young people:  Bailey S, Christopher B, and Noah L who received First Communion on Reformation Sunday, October 28th.  These children, along with their parents, completed a series of First Communion Classes with Pastor Sizemore during August and September and they have been anxiously waiting the day to come to the Table of the Lord.

Hanging of the GreensIt's never too early to "Save the Date".  We will be "Hanging the Greens" on Saturday, Dec. 8, as we get ready for Christmas.  So come on all you tree erectors, bow makers, and garland stringers.  We need you!  Let's set a new record and get it all done in 2 hours.  With lots of hands working hard from 9:00 - 11:00, I know we can do it!  Let's deck the halls y'all!  Call Karen M with questions or suggestions.

Midweek Bible StudiesPlease note the upcoming changes for our two Wednesday evening Bible Studies: 
The Bible study in the Northeast will continue to meet through November 14th at the home of Jerry & Liz G.  The group will take a break beginning November 21st through Advent so that folks can attend the services at church.
The second Bible study that meets at church in the fellowship hall is now recessing until January in preparation for Thanksgiving and Advent. 

Nursery ReminderThe church nursery is open during the Sunday school hour and 10:30 service from 9:00-Noon for children ages birth to 2 years during Sunday School, and age 3 during Worship.  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.

November Newsletter DeadlineMark your calendar!  The deadline for submitting articles for the combined December-January newsletter is November 20th.  We would also like to include “shout outs” for those in our congregation, especially children, who accomplish special achievements at school or in the community.  Also, those of you who love taking pictures of Mt. Olive events can e-mail your photos to me, too.  Please send articles, shout outs, and photos to  Also, remember to “like” our Facebook page at

+  +  +  +  +  +  +

Remembering our Veterans

Veterans Day has its roots in what was called Armistice Day, the day when a peace agreement was signed with Germany ending World War I. Armistice Day was established with a proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson which reads in part: “Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.” On June 1, 1954, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.  On Veterans Day this year, let us remember and honor those men and women who gave of themselves, and let us continue to pray for our men and women currently serving in the military.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Join Us in Worship

Sunday at 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Sunday School and Adult Bible Classes:
Sunday at 9:15 a.m.

All are invited!

Learn about our Preschool that serves
the Columbia, SC community.

Mount Olive Lutheran Church

1541 Lake Murray Boulevard
Columbia, SC 29212

Get directions

©Copyright 2012 Mount Olive Lutheran Church | Privacy Policy