Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 2013 Newsletter

Olive Leaves
April 2013

Pastor’s Article
by Pastor Paul C. Sizemore

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When They Remembered His Words…
The celebration of our Lord’s resurrection throughout the Easter Season is a deliriously wonderful occasion because it reminds us as Jesus’ disciples, that we are all destined to win this formidable earthly struggle called life. The Gospel doesn’t tell us the exact score during the game, but it empowers us to believe that we are always on the winning side.  As the Apostle Paul voiced it so victoriously one day, “We are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us!” (Romans 8:37)
On that first Easter morning, the women went early to the tomb where Jesus’ dead body had been laid to rest two days earlier.  They heard the angel’s proclamation: “He is not here, but he is raised from the dead!”  But for these first beleaguered, downhearted and dispirited disciples, this good news was just too unimaginable; too surreal and too good to be true!  Yet, the surmounting evidence of that joyful proclamation just kept building and building and building.

First the stone was rolled away.  Second, the tomb was empty.  Third, they saw that the grave clothes of Jesus had not only been taken off of his bruised and battered body but were now folded up very nicely and neatly, just as if someone—like our Risen Savior—was soon expecting company!  You know what I mean.  It is the same thing that we do when we make our beds properly and place the pillows just so when we are expecting company to our homes later that day!

Adding to the reality of the resurrection is also the well-known fact that no first century Jew would have ever sought to substantiate a false claim he had merely concocted, by choosing women as his primary witnesses.  In their Hebrew society and culture, a woman’s testimony was regarded as unreliable, on the same level as a child’s testimony.  Yet, true to form, when the women folk reported to the men folk their hopeful news, St. Luke tells us that the men not only disbelieved the women, but also regarded the women’s testimony as “an idle tale” (Luke 24:11).  Bah, humbug!

When did Easter really first happen for Jesus’ initial followers?  In the face of all skepticism and their raw disbelief---the angel went on to declare, “Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise!?!” (Luke 24:6-7) That’s when it dawned on them, Luke tells us: “When they remembered his words”-- the decisive hour of their truly believing actually arrived.

None of us can create faith within ourselves concerning the good news of Easter!  But the Risen Christ still uses his all-powerful Word and blessed sacraments, along with the powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit, to create faith and trust in our hearts yet today.  The Apostle Paul attests to this when he says, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe; to Jews first but also to the Greeks!” (Romans 1:16)  

May God strengthen your faith in his good news, throughout this joyful Eastertide!  May we too say with the Apostle Paul, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain!” (Philippians 1:21)

My prayer is that you will faithfully worship the Risen Savior with us every Sunday, culminating on May 19th, Pentecost Sunday.  May 19th is also the day when we are planning to celebrate Mr. Bill Boykin’s acceptance of Mt Olive’s call to him to officially become a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod trained and certified Lay Minister on our church staff.  Look for more details on our celebration of this event in next month’s newsletter.

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A Note from our President
by Bob Massa

Are We Role Models?

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.”  Proverbs 17:17
A 2011 study asked teens to list their role models.  They were specifically told not to include their parents, because it is often an automatic response.  One would think the obvious answer then would be a celebrity.  However, the teens listed other family members:  uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, and grandparents. Family members outnumbered celebrities by a wide margin.

Daily as we interact with our loved ones and other people, we might not realize it, but we are being role models.  Are we modeling Christian attitudes and behavior or are we conforming to the norms of a secular world?  We seldom realize it but our words, dress, and actions speak louder about who we are than our professions of faith!   Each of us, as we proclaim to be Christians, evangelizes to the non-believers around us as strongly with our actions as we do with our words.  Think about how much you learned from watching a loved one or someone you admired.

What is the message we are sending?  Is it one we want the next generation to reflect on when we no longer have an earthly influence?  Is it one that honors God and his Word?

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Altar Guild’s Message
by Susie Hoffman

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LWML (The Olive Branch)
by Carole Mueller, President

The LWML Bible studies for April explore “Women Whom Jesus Helped” (4/9) and “Women Who Helped the Apostles” (4/23).   Copies of the Bible studies are located on the table in the narthex.   We meet on the second and fourth Tuesdays, beginning with Bible study 10:00-11:15, followed by a brief meeting, lunch (dessert & beverage provided), and crafts/ projects until 2:00 p.m. 

The Southern Zone LWML Spring Rally will be held at Grace Lutheran Church, Summerville, SC on April 13, 2013 (9:00 – 1:15).  The theme is “The Good Samaritan.”  The cost to attend is $7.00 and a sign up sheet is posted on the LWML bulletin board located in the hallway outside the workroom.  Deadline for registration is April 7th.  There are only three active churches in the Southern Zone that are currently participating in hosting the Spring Rally.  Please consider supporting the LWML and plan on attending and worshipping with other ladies in our Southern Zone.  Gifts from the heart will be gathered and forwarded to the LWML convention in Pittsburgh, PA, June 27-30.  There is a collection basket in the narthex for those who wish to contribute.  Requested Items are:  bath towels and washcloths, full-size toothpaste, toothbrushes, women’s or men’s deodorant, bath/bar soap, Christian tracts or Bible verses.  The deadline for bringing items is Wednesday, April 10th. 

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.  Our January and February mites, which are forwarded to our district, totaled $112.45.  Again, thank you to everyone who contributed. 
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Preschool News
by Krista Bernthal

We are blooming down in the preschool!  We all have enjoyed watching spring arrive, especially the warmer weather.  Exploring the miracle transformation from winter to spring has only been over-shadowed by learning about our Easter victory! 

We have 25 sweet students, plus two new two year olds who attend on Fridays only.  Fun Fridays often has 15 children in attendance now!  The preschool really appreciates its many volunteers who help make Fridays run smoothly.   Registration continues for the fall - we hope you will recommend us to friends and family!

One of our assistant teachers is home on maternity leave and plans to stay at home with her new baby next fall.  We are currently filling her position with a great preschool parent who has been subbing for us this year. 

Mark May 11 on your calendar.  This is the date of our annual Mother-Daughter luncheon.  This is a non-fundraiser event meant for fellowship.  The theme is "Growing Together in God's Love” and you will have an opportunity to create your own terrarium!  More information and tickets will be available soon.

Thanks for all of your help, support, prayers and snacks! 

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Christian Education
from Katrina Folks

VBS?  Already?
The Education Committee has decided to do something new and fun with VBS this summer and NEED 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 or Katrina.

Congratulations to our Confirmands!
Congratulations to Abigail K. and Joshua H. upon their Confirmation on Palm Sunday.  In addition to completing two years of Confirmation classes, Abby and Josh participated in community service activities and learning dialogues with Pastor Sizemore, Confirmation Teacher Bill Boykin, Christian Education Chairperson Katrina Folks, and their parents.  A reception was held during the Sunday school hour in the fellowship hall.
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Youth Group News
a special article from Eddie Magic

When a disaster strikes and knocks out power, there is a special team available at each utility around the nation.  I happen to be on one of those teams represented by our local power company.   Each year, we get together and review and train, to refresh each other of our duties and responsibilities.  Now granted, you can’t figure in all the variables that occur in a disaster.  For example: How many lines are down?  Are the roads open?  How do you get there?  Where do you make fuel stops?  Where do you find food?  Where are rooms for 150+ employees on the team? How long will we be gone?  And the list goes on.  But we do have a core plan and we do know each other quite well and how we fit into the team.  Our training reminds us of what our role is and how we can respond together in all of those variables.  We also have a list of every employee’s cell number, emergency contact info, and much more.  We are a special unit, ready to take on this challenge, and it is quite exhilarating when it happens.  But what is most rewarding in this adventure is when you see how happy people are when they get their power restored!  This makes all our preparation and hard work worth it!

Much like an emergency team functions as one, our youth at Mt. Olive are about to be deployed on a journey to San Antonio.  They will be chaperoned by two very God Loving parents, Jim and Vanita Fiedler, who have stepped up with high hopes of providing a SAFE, JOYFUL and EDUCATIONAL journey.  Even more rewarding than restoring power, they will have the opportunity to learn so much about our Lord and his love for them - together as a special team from our congregation!

But remember, our youth will be in a strange and unfamiliar environment.  This is when they will need to function together as a team.  They will need to understand the purpose of the trip, what they can expect, and what to do with the unexpected because we don’t want them to be scattered by surprises.  This is where preparation is most important.  We are scheduling meetings with them and I have volunteered to help them grow together in study and preparation for the theme of the event – which is “Live Love[d]” – a Bible study, based on the book “Life Together” by Dietrich Bonheoffer.  There will be workshops, study groups and many other short and fast events for them to participate and grow together with.  (Pray they don’t miss out!)  The LCMS National Youth Gathering website also has a wealth of material for our youth to explore, and hopefully, get even more energized on what they can to do together when they arrive in San Antonio.

If you haven’t already, please let our youth know that we care for them as brothers and sisters in Christ’s and we REALLY appreciate their participation.  When our youth – whom I am sure we all can be very proud of – become travelers together, my prayer is that they look at each other as a special team – sent to San-Antonio as representatives of our congregation, and as ministers of the Lord working together to learn about the great commission.

Please join me in prayer that they have a safe, joyful and educational Journey together.  A journey that none of them will ever forget!  God's love to y’all!

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A Stewardship Minute
from David Buck

In the opening article in the April issue of Stewardship there is a Scripture verse that woke me up. The verse is from the Old Testament and written by the prophet Haggai.  Speaking on behalf of God, here is what God said to the Jews who were about to build a temple in which to worship: “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord.”  The writer of the 24th Psalm made the same point when he wrote: “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.”  So that compels us to ask, if ultimately God’s owns everything, where does that leave us? 

The answer Scripture gives us is very clear.  We are caretakers of God’s earth and all that is in it.  We are stewards, or managers, who have the responsibility of caring for the earth and for whatever God blesses us with.  Not only responsible for this earth, but our bodies, minds, and the resources that come our way.  Because ultimately what we say is ours is not ours at all.

There is an old joke about two men standing on a street corner when a funeral procession came into view.  They were respectfully silent until they noticed that somehow a Brinks truck had gotten right behind the hearse.  That was when one fellow said to the other, “Who says you can't take it with you?”  Well, the sober truth is we really can’t take it with us.  Yet there is a lot we can do with what God allows us to manage right now.  We are the servants of the Lord.  So let's be the best caretakers of whatever the Lord has placed before us.

Prayer: Dear Lord, you have given us such great responsibilities.  Please give us the guidance and strength to do what we can do for your Kingdom!  Amen
Parish Publishing, LLC      (888) 320-5576

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by Jon Richter

54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
 “Death is swallowed up in victory.”  55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  (I Corinthians 15:54-57 ESV)

We celebrate the Resurrection, because Christ was the “firstborn among many” and we count ourselves blessed to be with Him.   But what about those who do not yet know Him?

“The story of Jesus, what he has done and what he promises, is the best Good News possible.  The answer becomes more complicated, however, when you start asking how God’s Good News is good for people in specific circumstances… You need to tell people about God’s love in ways that speak directly to the needs they are experiencing. “   (From our upcoming course, Caring Evangelism, p.146)

The Holy Spirit who empowers us in this life will give us people to share the Good News with, and we want to be ready!  The Evangelism Committee is praying for the best timing to roll out the Caring Evangelism course for Mt Olive.  Please pray with us and consider joining the course when it is announced.
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Board of Trustees
by Geoffrey Griesch

The Board of Trustees thanks those who participated in the workday on March 16th. We accomplished quite a bit, but there is still much work that needs to be done around the church and church grounds.  We cleaned out quite a bit of stuff from the downstairs "dirt room”, the Wagner House cellar, and the shed.  We will schedule another workday to finish these and other areas.

Last month the water heater was replaced.  This month the parking lot was sealed and striped.
During April we will have spotlights installed over the candles and flowers behind the altar, as well as lights installed in the attic above the sanctuary.  We will also have the church building treated for termites and the building put under a termite bond.

Please continue to pray that the Lord guides us to do His will and maintain His house, and prayerfully contribute to the future building fund that we may continue with His work.

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Public Relations
by Aresa Boykin

Public Relations of Behalf of the Saints of Mt. Olive

“I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live…” John 11:25
A few weeks ago, I wandered out into the Mt. Olive Cemetery.  I was in awe of everyone whose earthly bodies were laid to rest, and I was overcome with reverence!  I wanted to cherish the moment, so I began praying and taking photographs of each unique monument and footstone.  Many were adorned with Bible verses, Christian art, wedding dates, prayers, and flowers.

As I meandered up and down the rows of graves, the Holy Spirit brought a question to mind from our latest LWML Bible study: “Do you attach importance to your genealogy and ancestry?  Why or why not?”  My response was that I was more thankful for my Christian heritage than my genealogy.  Now, I’m not physically related to any of the Saints who are laid to rest in the cemetery; however, I am spiritually related to every one of them!  Each one of these Saints played a role in the Christian legacy of what Mt. Olive is today, and that legacy has become a part of my, and your, Christian heritage!

There are those who founded Mt. Olive, who left their former churches, and stepped out in faith with a vision to build a better place for their families to worship.  There are those who used their gifts of carpentry and other skills to build Mt. Olive.  There are those who provided meals and celebrations for the builders and congregation.  There are faithful pastors who preached God’s Word through their actions and sermons.  There are Sunday school teachers.  There are infants and children who the Lord took to be with him “all too soon” in our human eyes.  There are families who ministered to each other every time someone was hurting, sick, or in need.  There are multiple generations, and others who were new to Mt. Olive. There are those who I had known in my time at Mt. Olive.  All of these Saints fulfilled their God-given roles in making Mt. Olive the thriving church it is today!

As I sat with one of our founding members, looking through the pictures, the Saints came alive as she related a memory about each one!   I was so moved and feel more connected to my Mt. Olive family.  I’m looking forward to the day when I will meet all the generations when we are united in heaven.  My prayer is that you, too, will take time from your busyness, take a prayer-walk with the Saints, and thank our Lord and Savior for the part each one played in our Christian heritage at Mt. Olive.

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Stephen Ministry
by Bill & Aresa Boykin

Whatever You Did for the Least of These…You Did for Me…

In Matthew 25, Jesus says, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in…” We have many opportunities to respond to Jesus’ great love by showing that love to others.  Stephen Ministry is one way our congregation shows that love to people who have deep needs for care.  You also have many opportunities to show Jesus’ love during the week.  As you encounter people daily, try asking yourself, “How can I show them Jesus today?”  And, as you do, if you run into someone who is overwhelmed, why not explain Stephen Ministry to him or her? 

Our Stephen Ministers are committed to providing same gender, one-to-one Christian care for people who are experiencing many different needs, including: the loss of a family member, a serious illness, an employment crisis, separation or divorce, disability, hospitalization, being homebound, or lonely.  Stephen Ministers can also provide care for those who are caring for a family member or for those who are overwhelmed by a combination of circumstances.   The Stephen Minister and care receiver meet for about an hour each week.  Everything in the Stephen Ministry relationship is confidential.  Stephen Ministers are not counselors or problem solvers.  They are trained Christian friends who listen, pray for, and walk beside hurting people.
Finding people who need care is the responsibility of the entire Mt. Olive congregation.  There are three easy steps:  First, you listen and care for your friend.  Second, ask for permission to share his or her need with someone who can help.  Be sure to tell your friend that all information will be kept confidential.  Once permission is given, report the need as promptly as possible to Pastor Sizemore or Stephen Leader Bill Boykin.  Remember to never promise a person a Stephen Minister.  Pastor and Bill will contact the person to determine if his or her needs are appropriate for a Stephen Minister or another type of care.

In closing, please continue to include Stephen Ministry in your daily prayers: Merciful Father, there are those in our midst who carry heavy burdens.  Help us to be sensitive to those needs, reaching out to them with your love and compassion.  Help us also to encourage those who are especially burdened to turn to Pastor Sizemore or Stephen Leader Bill, who can help them receive the individualized care they need.  In your name I pray.  Amen.

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Social Ministry
by Shari Selke

Cards of Compassion Ministry appreciates all the donations it has received to begin this outreach to our church members. We will continue to accept card donations throughout the year. And we would also welcome anyone interested in volunteering.

Sharing God's Love pantry donations can be left in the basket under the table outside the church workroom.
Palmetto Thrift Store needs volunteers to help at their store at 4068 Fernandina Rd., Columbia, SC, 29212.  Palmetto Thrift Store & Gift Boutique supports Children’s Chance (, which offers financial assistance for families of pediatric cancer patients. They need help with sorting and organizing donations, as well as light house cleaning. If you are interested please call Debbie or Heather at 803-750-6858.

Please note…. Social Ministry Meeting on May 5th following late service in the Fellowship Hall. This includes Cards of Compassion volunteers.

May you be blessed as you do all those kind things that show you are a child of God.
Phil 1:11
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El Salvador Mission Trip
By Hannah K

Our El Salvador mission trip started with fourteen students from USC’s Lutheran Campus Ministry.  We joined up with 40 other college students by the time we arrived in San Salvador, El Salvador.  Our build site was in Usulután approximately a two-hour bus ride from San Salvador. The most striking difference from home was the oppressive heat and the undeveloped infrastructure like lack of hot showers, poor sanitation systems, and lack of organized trash collection.

We helped with a construction site in an area devastated by an earthquake over ten years ago. It was eye opening to see the living conditions including tin shacks, trash along the side of the road, and crumbling structures.  A lot of our work was simple labor for concrete block home constructions. The home was the size of a classroom, but you could see the hope and joy that it brought to the prospective owner.  We were able to share God’s word with a variety of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ including the security guard at the hotel and the families whose home we were building.  It certainly adds a personal meaning to Colossians 3: 17 “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”

Thank you for your prayers and support.  Your Christian love is the foundation for this mission opportunity.  (Editor’s note:  Be sure to view the photos on the bulletin board near the fellowship hall.)

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Announcements & Opportunities

May Newsletter DeadlineMark your calendar!  The deadline for submitting articles for the May newsletter is Saturday, April 20th.  Also, remember to “like” Mt. Olive’s Facebook page at  Anyone can also send photographs for me to post of FB or to place in the newsletter.

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.  A light snack is served.  Mrs. Flora is in charge.

Midweek Bible StudiesBoth Wednesday Bible Studies have taken a break during Lent through Easter.  The Northeast group will resume the study of the book of John on April 3rd.  They meet at 6:30 PM at the Blythewood home of Bob & Teri, beginning with a light meal followed by study at 7:00 PM. The Second Bible Study, which meets at church, will resume later in April.  Look for an announcement in the bulletin’s Olive Seeds as to the exact date.

Stephen Ministry SnacksIt’s time to sign up for April snacks.  The sign-up sheet is in the hall under the Stephen Ministry bulletin board, or contact Stephen Leader Aresa.  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 Jan, Teri, Tom, and one of our care receivers who provided snacks in late February – March. 

Save the Date for Mt. Olive’s Pictorial DirectoryMt. Olive will be getting a new Pictorial Directory this fall.  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!  You will be able to sign up for appointments in mid-June.  Updates will be in future newsletters & bulletins.

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