Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Thursday, January 31, 2013

February 2013 Newsletter

Olive Leaves
February 2013

Pastor’s Article
by Pastor Paul C. Sizemore

Midweek Lenten Sermon Series

Ash Wednesday falls this year on February 13, opening another Lenten Season in the Holy Christian Church.  This is the community of faith given that special name also by God through St. Paul to be “the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:27). Here we find a gathering together of God’s people, created and sustained yet today by the powerful ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Every year, the Lenten Season opens with a gracious invitation being extended by God through his chosen ministers to us who are Christ’s followers, in the world today, to become participants in the observance of a Holy Lent.  On this day, we will be asked to return in a very personal, private, and public way to the day of our Baptisms; rehearsing once again the promises made on that day, not only by God to us but also by us to him who is our Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier.

In doing so, we will acknowledge publicly that what the Word of God teaches us, is true.  “That we all are conceived and born sinful and so are in need of forgiveness.  We would be lost forever unless delivered from sin, death, and everlasting condemnation. But the Father of all mercy and grace has sent his Son Jesus Christ, who atoned for the sin of the whole world that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life!”  [Liturgy for Baptism, LSB, p. 268; Psalm 51:5; Ephesians 2:1-10]

This year our mid-week Lenten sermon series will be entitled: “I Am Trusting, Thee Lord Jesus;” also the title of a favorite hymn of many people (LSB 729).  The Biblical foundation will be Psalm 118:8: “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in human beings!”   Here is the outline of the Wednesdays in Lent:

Ash Wednesday   February 13  “I Am Trusting In Your Power”
Midweek Service 2  February 20  “I Am Trusting In Your Promises”
Midweek Service 3  February 27  “I Am Trusting In Your Presence”
Midweek Service 4  March 6   “I Am Trusting In Your Pardon”
Midweek Service 5  March 13  “I Am Trusting In Your Passion”
Midweek Service 6  March 20  “I Am Trusting In Your Peace”

Why not make a commitment to worship with us faithfully during the Wednesdays of Lent today, either at 12 Noon or at 7 PM, by penciling these service times into your appointment calendar now?  They are only six Wednesdays out of the 52 Wednesdays of the whole year. 

People make time for things they value most.  Who says, “I don’t have time to attend my father’s funeral!”?  Or, “I don’t have time to attend my daughter’s wedding!”?  Jesus teaches us that life in the kingdom of God is so often a matter of a person’s priorities: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these other things will be yours as well” (Matthew 6:33)!

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A Note from our President
by Bob Massa

Are We Healthy?

As a church we just finished one year and are starting a new one, which seems an appropriate time to pause and look at our fiscal, physical, and spiritual health.  Fiscally, we finished 2012 in solid financial shape with expenditures well within the estimated budget.  Physically, our structures needed some repairs and 2013 will require additional repairs, some significant, challenging our 2013 budget.  But they are necessary to operate our facility safely and healthily for all.

Spiritually, in 2012 the congregation grew adding new members and this trend appears to be holding for 2013.  Our Evangelism Board, Education Board, and Preschool Board all have ideas and plans that are exciting and God-centered that should continue to grow Mount Olive both physically and spiritually.  We finished 2012 with growing numbers in our Youth and Child Sunday Schools.  However, a troubling trend appeared in the Adult Sunday Bible Study classes.  Their numbers leveled off and depending how you view them even showed a slight drop.  As a measure of our spiritual health this is a concern.

Logically, as we grow in members, we would presume to see an increase in attendance for these classes, but it hasn’t occurred.  Why?  Are the old guard attendees not welcoming?  Do the classes seem too advanced? Or, is it felt that we don’t need to hear God’s word after attending the worship service?  I can’t answer the first question, but I do know that both classes are structured so no matter what level your Bible knowledge is you will be comfortable learning and enjoying the fellowship of the other members.  And we can never hear, study, or converse enough over our God’s word.

With Lent on the horizon, it is a perfect time to get involved in the study of God’s Word.  Take a few Sundays and attend each adult class then choose the one you would like to regularly attend.  Becoming a regular attendee you will help insure yours and Mount Olive’s spiritual health for 2013 and beyond.

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Matthew 6:19-21
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

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A History of Ashes

On Ash Wednesday, as Lent begins, worshipers’ foreheads are often marked with ashes in the sign of the cross.  The ashes traditionally come from burning palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday.  In Old Testament days, ashes were a sign of mourning and repentance.  Today, some worshipers wipe off the ashes before leaving church, to symbolize being cleansed from sin by Jesus’ death; others wear the ashes the rest of the day, carrying the cross of Christ into the world.  The speaking of Genesis 3:19 often accompanies the placement of ashes: “You are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
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Board of Trustees
by Geoffrey Griesch

We ask the congregation to continue to pray for guidance in our work to maintain the church and grounds. Below are the items we have completed and those that are currently planned.

During December the Board of Trustees obtained a proposal for replacing the windows in the education wing. The cost will be approximately $4600 for the windows with installation estimated at $5200. The termite damage to the sanctuary floor near the transept in front of the pulpit was completed at a cost of $750. The HVAC unit for the Wagner house was replaced at a cost of $3800. This month the faucet in the men’s room was replaced.

Four inches of new mulch was added to the preschool playground at a cost of $840. At the request of the Worship Committee lights in the sanctuary above the candles and flowers will be added. At the same time lights will be installed in the attic. The parking lot will be sealed and striped. Termite treatment and bond will be done to help us avoid new termite damage. The hot water heater will be replaced. The elevator was inspected. Also, there is a dead pine tree next to the Wagner house that needs to be removed.

Mark your calendars!  We have also scheduled Saturday, March 16th (March 23rd if we run into bad weather on the 16th) as "Spring Clean Up Day. In addition to general cleaning in and around the church building we would like to clean out the cellar under the Wagner house and the shed next to it. If you are willing to help there will be a sign-up sheet in the narthex. If you have a pick-up truck we would appreciate you volunteering as we anticipate it will be necessary to make several trips to the recycling center.

If anyone has questions or suggestions please let anyone on the board of Trustees know.

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1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast;
it is not arrogant or rude. 
It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
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Altar Guild’s Message
by Susie Hoffman

The quick succession of parament color changes early in Feb. remind us of the changes we study as the life of Jesus proceeds to His earthly death on the cross.

The Church year cycle is a yearly reminder of these changes.  The green of the SUNDAYS AFTER THE EPIPHANY season changes quickly.  White reminds us of the godhead and purity of our Savior whose glory and divinity are shown in part on the Mount of Transfiguration.  In the presence of three of His disciples, God declares Jesus to be His Son. (Luke 9:28-36)

The parament color change to purple makes us aware that the penitential season of Lent begins with the Ash Wednesday service.  The color of penitence, introspection and renewal helps us change our mood from the celebrations of Christmas and the Transfiguration to the more repentant mood and feel of Lent.  We contemplate all that Jesus suffered as He became the ransom for our sins.  The name “Ash Wednesday” derives from the custom of an Ancient Church ceremony in which the Church applied ashes to the foreheads of worshippers to remind them of the words, “For dust thou art and to dust thou wilt return”. (Gen. 3:19)

The Christ Candle, which reminds us of the earthly presence of Jesus, is removed during the Lenten Season…a reminder that Jesus will soon leave the earth in His physical presence, and ascend into heaven to be with his, and our, Father God. 
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LWML (The Olive Branch)
by Carole Mueller, President

Did You Know?  Official Name:  Lutheran Women’s Missionary League
Doing Business as (dba) Name:  Lutheran Women in Mission
Seal:  Adopted in 1947
Logo:  Adopted in 1991
Colors:  Purple & Gold
Motto:  “Serve the Lord with Gladness"   Psalm 100:2
LWML Sunday:  Celebrated annually, usually in October 

The Olive Branch meets the 2nd & 4th Tuesday of the month with Bible study 10:00-11:15, followed by a brief meeting, lunch, and crafts/projects l2:00-2:00.  Our Bible studies for February are entitled Great Women of the Bible:  Rebekah (2/12) and Leah & Rachel (2/26).  Copies of the Bible studies are located on the table in the narthex.

Some ladies expressed a desire to order and assemble additional Chrismons.  Others will work on machine and hand tied lap quilts. There is interest to visit homebound members of the congregation following our lunch.  If crafts are not your forte, come for Bible study, lunch and then coordinate with other ladies to visit with those members who are unable to come to Sunday worship.  Consider being part of the LWML by joining us for Bible study and assisting in current projects.

The Mite Box:  Based on the biblical account of the widow’s mite (Luke 21:1-4), the Mite Box is intended for regular contributions of “Mites” – offerings above and beyond the support given to congregation and the LCMS.  The monies are divided: 75% for the district mission goal and 25% for the LWML mission goal.  In its first 65 years, over $85 million dollars have been given to support missions all over the world.  Our total for 2012 submitted to district was $589.66.  Thank you.  The first Sunday of each month is designated for LWML mite box collections.  Please place your monetary contributions in the large mite box located in the back of the sanctuary.

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Preschool News
by Krista Bernthal

Hopefully by now you have turned in your RSVP for the Mardi Gras Dinner and Auction.  If not, contact me ASAP at or 803-781-7180.  With a great DJ, good food, and cool things to bid on, you don't want to miss this fun event!  I heard we might even have a Cornhole game set up to play!  All of this, of course, is to benefit the preschool.

Our program is having a growth spurt right now!  We have added 5 new kids in January. We appreciate your help with snacks, scholarship fund donations, and prayers.  This ministry of the church really is really having an impact in our community.

We teachers will be attending a conference this month to sharpen our skills with our primary curriculum, Zoo-phonics.  We are anxious to learn how to better utilize this unique program.

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Christian Education
from Katrina Folks

Jesus I Will Ponder Now On Your Holy Passion
Lent is a time to reflect on the suffering Jesus did for us – to ponder His passion.  What does it mean to ponder?  How can you do it this Lenten season?

The word “ponder“ means to contemplate, to think over, to meditate on, reflect, or dwell on.  The Education Committee would like to assist you in pondering Christ’s passion this Lenten season by offering a discussion class on the readings of the lectionary.  Please join us in the Wagner House during the Sunday school hour from Sunday, February 17th through the Sunday of March 17th.  We hope for this to be an informal and fun discussion group while we ponder over the Holy Word this Lent.

VBS?  Already?
The Education Committee has decided to do something new and fun with VBS this summer and NEEDS YOUR HELP!  We are calling all willing and able bodies to help serve the youth of our congregation and reach out to the youth in our community.  Your spirit is willing, but your flesh is weak, you say?  You can still help!  VBS will take place on three separate evenings of the summer so it is not a huge time commitment like it once was.  We pray that you will join us in “Growing in Faith and Love by Spreading the Word of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”!  To volunteer or learn more, please contact Anna W. or Katrina F.

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Youth Group News
by Vanita Fiedler

Our youth group has had a busy, and I hope rewarding, year of Servant work and fun!  We have completed yard work for Mrs. Nelson on several different occasions for which she was very appreciative.  We prepared several meals for our congregation for fund raising as well as servant works. We have completed construction work on the home of a very grateful Mrs. Vernell Curry with the "Home Works" project. We have handed out care bags to the homeless with the "Street People Project" witnessing the gratitude in the speech provided to us by a man whom wished to remain anonymous.  And most recently, we cleaned at "Sharing God's Love" our local food pantry.

Mother Teresa said, "Works of love are always works of peace.  Whenever you share with others, you'll notice the peace that comes to you and to them."  

We also had a few fun events: our Super Bowl Party and our Frankie’s Fun Park day.  We definitely need to schedule more "just for fun" events for the upcoming year.  They provide the best opportunity for the youth to get to know one another.  That being said, the youth group did request a Midnight Bowling Party.  Another parent and I have discussed that the girls can sleep over at her house and the boys at mine.  We live very close so the youth can visit at length and have breakfast together the following day.  So please check your schedules and let us see when the majority can get together for this event. 

In our Youth Group Study, we have begun reading 1 Corinthians, chapters 1-3 in preparation for the National Youth Gathering this summer.  The group has been discussing “loving one another” and ways to promote unity within the youth.
I am not the most articulate individual and have found it very difficult to find the appropriate words to convey to my own children on how they can defend their faith.  In my research I've come across some recommended reading and a YouTube video that you might wish to read and view with your children.  The recommended Reading is The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. (  He is a renowned Christian author and apologetic.  The Screwtape Letters is a series of letters that describe how the devil entices/lures one to his den of Hell.  He also wrote The Chronicles of Narnia series.  (I still have the books if anyone wishes to borrow them.)

The YouTube video is of Dr. Ravi Zacharias an apologetic who defends Christianity with wonderful clarity.  (  I hope you enjoy these suggestions and I would appreciate any suggestions you might wish to share.    

Peace be with you!

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by Jon Richter

As our committee is studying the "Me, an Evangelist?" book, we are considering a “process-oriented” way of relating to all people.  This should help us in all of our relationships, and especially as we seek to partner with the Holy Spirit in witnessing for Christ. “Instead of just telling people they need God whether they know it or not, we listen and witness in order to help them discover for themselves their need for a Savior.”

In Caring Evangelism, we communicate the Good News about Jesus in many different ways – through what we say and what we do.  We don’t limit our evangelism just to words, or just to actions.  We balance both words and actions in order to tell and show the love of God.” If you would like to join us in this study, please call Jon.

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Stephen Ministry
by Bill & Aresa Boykin

Caring ministry at Mt. Olive will be expanding soon as six members began Stephen Minister training in January.  Our new trainees are Dianne BouFawaz, Cleta Dunaway, Jerry Garlington, Liz Garlington, Cyndi Nelson, and Flora Weed.  At the completion of their training in May, these six caring individuals will be commissioned as Stephen Ministers.  They will then join our eight active Stephen Ministers in providing one-to-one care to individuals experiencing difficulties in life.

Stephen Ministry training combines sound theological principles with caregiving skills.  The skills our Stephen Ministers learn and practice prepare them to provide a very high level of Christian caregiving.  The training is intense because it explores some serious life issues, but it is also a growth-producing and enjoyable experience.

More than a half-million people have gone through Stephen Ministry training in more than 10,000 churches worldwide since the ministry began in 1975.  We are definitely part of something big!  The support for Stephen Ministry in our congregation has been tremendous!  People whose needs might otherwise slip through the cracks are coming face to face with Jesus’ love through their Stephen Ministers.  Our new class will help us touch even more lives with the Gospel.
Please lift up the training class in your prayers over the coming months and watch for regular training class updates in the Sunday bulletins. 

As always, if you or a friend are going through a difficult time and would be interested in having a Stephen Minister, please contact Pastor Sizemore or Stephen Leader Bill Boykin.
We ask that every member of Mt. Olive keep Stephen Ministry in your daily prayers:
For Stephen Leaders – as they balance training a new group of Stephen Ministers with teaching continuing education sessions for active Stephen Ministers.
For Stephen Ministers – that they are filled with the love of Jesus as they meet with their care receivers and that they receive Christian care in peer supervision groups and continuing education.
For Care Receivers – that they experience the presence of the Holy Spirit as they meet with their Stephen Ministers, and that others in our congregation will be identified and accept care from Stephen Ministry.
For Stephen Ministry Trainees – as they study and prepare for their weekly classes & their retreat on Feb. 1-2.

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A Stewardship Minute
from David Buck

“My gifts cannot be on a par with God’s gifts to me, but my gifts, large or small, can be my way of showing love and glorifying God.”

That sentence should compel us to stop and ask ourselves “Do my gifts give evidence of my love for God?” And … “If not, why not?” I wonder sometimes if many, if not most of us have the same mind-set as this rich young man who thought he wanted to follow Jesus. Jesus perceived that the fellow valued worldly riches more than his relationship with God. When the Lord asked him to first get his priorities right regarding worldly goods, the young fellow sadly turned away grieving. (Matthew 19:22)  Apparently his love for his possessions had priority over his love for God. Jesus was never prejudiced against people of wealth. He just wanted them to use their money in the right way.
You may remember the story of the Lord going to the home of Zaccheus, the rich tax collector. Zaccheus became a changed man. He got his priorities regarding money straight. He began to help the poor in a very generous way. This story is in the Luke 19: 9. Do you recall what Jesus said after Zacchaeus’ heart and mind were changed from being a greedy selfish person into a loving sharing person? Our Lord said, “Today salvation has come to this house.” When each of us begins to use our resources and talents and time for the glory of God, then we will know that true salvation has come to us.

Prayer: Lord God, you have showered each of us with goodness and grace. Stir us up so that we may use our gifts, large or small, to glorify you. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen

Parish Publishing, LLC      (888) 320-5576

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Social Ministry
by Shari Selke

How grateful I am to be a member of Mt Olive and serving as Social Ministry Chair. I get to see firsthand God’s work in our community because of the generosity of our church membership. I have many thanks to put to paper, but Paul said it best:
“The rendering of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also overflows in many thanksgivings to God.”  2 Cor. 9:12

I received a wonderful thank-you letter from the mother of the family we adopted at Christmas.  I know she was overwhelmed by Mt Olives outpouring of gifts to her family.  She writes, “…You are truly a blessing to us.  I can’t explain our gratitude enough for your thoughtfulness.”  Please keep her in your prayers as she strives for a better life.

“Pats on the backs” to everyone who participated in the American Red Cross Blood Drive, especially Katrina Davis who volunteered all day.  A total of 18 units were given.  Our next blood drive will be this summer. 

The Sharing God’s Love Appreciation Reception hosted by Mt Olive deserves a special note of appreciation to those who donated food items and volunteered their time to help set up, serve, and clean up.  It was a cooperative event with the Fellowship Committee that truly displayed how much we appreciate Sharing God’s Love’s service to our community and to our Pastor, Rev. Paul Sizemore who has been serving as President of the Board of Directors.

There will be a planning session February 10th in the fellowship hall after the 10:30 service.  This is open to all members, so please join us as we plan how Mt Olive will serve God in our community this year.  We are looking to expand on some commitments and hoping to introduce new opportunities.  The hope we all share in Christ allows us to share that hope with others.  I do hope you can attend.  If you cannot attend but have a suggestion, please contact Shari.

The Souper Bowl of Caring Sunday is February 3, 2013.  This year, the Confirmation Class will be collecting donations after both worship services, with the money going to Sharing God’s Love.      

Doing the will of God from the heart. Eph. 6:6  

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Announcements & Opportunities

Save the Date!  New Pictorial Directory Coming Soon!If you pull out your copy of our last church pictorial directory from 2010, you will barely recognize our Mt. Olive family and probably enjoy a good laugh!  Photos for our 2013 directory will be taken on August 22-24th.  Please save these dates on your calendar so that you and your families will be available!  Each family who participates will receive a free 8x10 picture and a directory in one of three formats:  traditional size, pocket size, or CD.  The directory will also have a free, secure app for those with smart phones.  You will be able to sign up for appointments in mid-June.  Updates will be in future newsletters & bulletins.

Cantata LinkIf you would like to listen to Mt. Olive’s Christmas Cantata, Holy Night of Miracles, here is a link provided by choir member Charlie Sandt:

Mission TripMt. Olive’s own Hannah K has the opportunity of a lifetime to serve on a mission team!  Hannah reports: “Over the past year, I have become involved with Lutheran Campus Ministry at University of South Carolina.   Over spring break, March 9-17, I have the opportunity to go to El Salvador with fourteen other students to do mission work at a Thrivent Build site in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity. We will also be participating in fellowship at a local church.” If you would like to make a contribution, please make you check to Mt. Olive, indicating for “Hannah K’s mission trip.” 

Midweek Bible StudiesMt. Olive’s two Wednesday night Bible Studies, at the church and in Blythewood, have been back in session in January; however, they will break in February and March for the Lenten Season.  There will be Wednesday evening Worship Services from Ash Wednesday through March 20th.

Stephen Ministry SnacksA wonderful, simple, yet very meaningful way to be involved in Stephen Ministry is to provide a light snack for our trainees!  Veggies, fruit, cheese, crackers, & cookies are some examples of past snacks.  Please sign up on the sheet in the hall under the Stephen Ministry bulletin board. Since classes are on Mondays, you can bring snacks on Sunday, mark them “Stephen Ministry,” and leave them in the kitchen.  Thank you so much to those of you who supplied snacks for the January meetings and meals for our retreat.

Nursery ReminderThe church nursery is open at during the Sunday school hour and the second worship service from 9:00-Noon for children, ages birth to 2 years, during Sunday School, and through 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. 

March Newsletter DeadlineMark your calendar!  The deadline for submitting articles for the March newsletter is Wednesday, February 20th.  Also, remember to “like” Mt. Olive’s Facebook page at

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