Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mt. Olive June/July Newsletter

Olive Leaves
June-July 2013
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Pastor’s Article
by Pastor Paul C. Sizemore

Beautiful Feet Bring God’s Good News to Others
Feet—we don’t usually think of our feet that often, do we, until they start to cause us trouble; a blister on our heel, a corn on our little toe, or even far worse, an ingrown toenail?  Of course, people can break a foot and then hobble around on crutches for weeks as they wait for that broken foot to heal.

One day St. Luke tells us that a man who was a Pharisee named Simon throws a dinner party for Jesus and his disciples in his own home (Luke 7:36).  There is nothing to indicate that Simon had any impure motives behind his gracious invitation. But something most unexpected happens in Simon’s house that day, nevertheless, causing Simon to greatly furl his eyebrows. 

While dessert is being served on the lanai, a woman comes in and weeps at Jesus’ feet, bathing them with her tears, drying them with her hair and then anointing our Lord’s feet with some costly perfume.  This action infuriates Simon because the woman in question has a notorious reputation that precedes her.  Simon says, “If this man were a prophet he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner!” (Luke 7:39)

Alongside of this woman’s open expression of love towards Jesus, our Lord tells a story to Simon of two creditors who owed respective debts to the same loan officer; with one man’s debt being a huge amount more than the other’s.   Surprisingly enough, the debts of both are completely cancelled and forgotten.  This is when Jesus asks Simon, “Now which of them will love the lender more?”  Simon answers, “I suppose the one from whom he canceled the greater debt!” (Luke 7:43)

This woman was there because she had received the forgiveness of all her sins from our Lord, and as Jesus further teaches Simon: “Because she had been forgiven much, she now loves much” (Luke 7:47).  She has great love in her heart towards the Savior who had forgiven her all her sins and who furthermore was empowering her to receive a whole new lease on life through God’s great grace and mercy. 

All throughout our Lord’s life, he is blessed with beautiful feet that carry him as he runs and plays with his friends as a Boy; the same feet that carry him into the synagogue of Nazareth on the Sabbath Day.  These are feet that walk the dusty roads of Galilee and Judea as he ministers to people. These feet empower him to walk on water, but they are also beautiful feet that eventually become pierced with nails; feet that bleed profusely for the sins of every human being, including the sins of that notorious woman, for the sins of Simon the Pharisee and for all of us, when Jesus is hanging from the cross for our soul’s salvation. 

On that first Easter evening, and again one week later, the Risen Christ appears in the Upper Room and shows his nail-pierced hands and side to his disciples (John 20:20, 27), proving to them that he had triumphed over death and the grave.  In his glorified body, he still bears those scars as “rich wounds yet visible above, in beauty glorified” (LSB Hymn 525:3). 

The prophet Isaiah writes: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7)

Do you have beautiful feet?  If you let God’s love for you in Christ make of you a good-news person in the lives of others around you, the Bible says that you will be blessed with beautiful feet too!
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Congratulations to Mt. Olive’s 2013 Graduates!

Gracie B, Dutch Fork High School, will attend Greenville Technical College.
Jeremy F, Dutch Fork High School, will attend The Citadel.
August K, Chapin High School, will attend Clemson University.
Alex K, Clemson University, Philosophy & Economics, will attend Law School at the University of Georgia.
Katie M, Midlands Technical College, Pharmacy Technology.
Sarah V, Columbia College, Masters of Education.

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Board of Elders
by Jerry Garlington

In preparation for the upcoming 65th Regular Convention, The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, I have gotten several emails and mailings from Pastor Matthew Harrison, President of the LCMS.  In a recent email, he emphasized the theme of the convention:  Baptized for this moment, with focus on Acts 2:38-39, “repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…”

Pastor Harrison adds:  Luther wrote of Baptism, “It is, in short, so full of consolation and grace that heaven and earth cannot understand it.  But it requires skill to believe this, for the treasure is not lacking, but this is lacking:  people who grasp it and hold it firmly.  Therefore, every Christian has enough in Baptism to learn and to do all his life.”  (Emphasis added by me.)

He continued:  “In the past weeks, I’ve been paying very close attention to the Supreme Court cases on gay marriage.  What is billed as simply allowing people to love whom they please, in reality threatens to rule unconstitutional the divinely created mandate that marriage is between one man and one woman.  And we who hold to natural law and the Scriptures are increasingly labeled “bigots.”  The assault on our religious freedoms will increase exponentially—and soon, as we refuse to capitulate to the world.  Our world is slipping so rapidly away from sanity that I shudder to think what is just ahead.  Amen!  Come, Lord Jesus!

Baptismal strength is what we need now.  We need it as we face a world gone berserk.  And we need it as we face this world, together, as The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.  God grant us all a daily return to Baptism through repentance.  God grant us all faith in His blessed Son’s cross.  God grant us love for each other and strength to stand as witnesses before the world, come what may.  We are baptized for this moment.”

I ask for your prayers for all the convention delegates as we begin to prepare the LCMS to face the future. 
I will be conducting the LCMS Bible study "Baptized for This Moment" starting June 2nd in place of David Mash's normal Bible study.  The LCMS has asked all the congregations in the Synod to use this study to prayerfully prepare for the 2013 LCMS convention July 20-25 in St Louis.

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President’s Message
by Bob Massa

Have the Best Summer Ever!

We all have had to think about summer and most of us, at some point, have had to write a short essay for school on ”What I Did Last Summer.”  Maybe we took an annual vacation, or had several cookouts, or visited family, or just chilled at the beach.  Will any of those things make this the best summer ever?  Probably not!  But what about these two Bible verses:  “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” (Philippians 4:11) and, “A tranquil heart is life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30)

Both of these verses are addressing the subject of contentment.
Genuine contentment is a gift from God to those who trust Him and follow His commandments.  So while we do all those summer things and more, remember this: in order to have the best summer ever, we need to involve God in our lives everyday!  Remember to pray, do a daily devotion, attend Sunday School, and/or a weekly Bible study.  One author addressing the issue of contentment said, “ If we seek Him and obey Him, we will be blessed with an inner peace that is beyond human understanding.” 

By spending some quiet time daily with our Lord we truly can have the best summer ever!

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Altar Guild’s Message
by Susie Hoffman

The non-festival half of the church year is known as the SUNDAYS AFTER PENTECOST or THE TIME OF THE CHURCH.  It begins with the Sunday celebration of the Holy Trinity.  During this time in the CHURCH YEAR CALENDAR, the focus is on the teachings of Jesus and how they apply to the living of our lives.  To help us recognize the unifying theme of the day’s Scripture readings, Pastor Sizemore has included this information in the front pages of the Sunday Bulletin; information to help us remember the particular aspect of a faith-filled life that Jesus’ teachings will cover.

In the early church each Sunday was a celebration and reminder of the resurrection of Christ, though not with the intensity of the Easter celebration.   For us today, each Sunday remains a mini-Easter celebration…a time of joy and thanksgiving.  When the green altar paraments are in place you can know that the longest season in the church year is running its course.  Green is the color of the abiding life and nourishment, which we can find in the scriptures as we study the life of our Savior, Jesus.  It is a time when the church should live and exercise its ministry.  There are 26 Sundays during the SUNDAYS AFTER PENTECOST season this year.  It will end on Christ the King Sunday on November 24th.

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LWML (The Olive Branch)
by Carole Mueller, President

The Olive Branch will not meet during the months of June, July & August.  A new web site,, has been established with the latest district news, mission grant updates, registration forms, Carolinas Cross Connection newsletter, upcoming events, and much more. Visit the official website of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League at or go to

As a congregation, we send $180.00 to provide a camp counselor for Camp Linn Haven, Linville, NC, and $50.00 to the LWML Convention Delegate fund. 

The first Sunday of the month is designated for LWML mite box collections and the large mite box will be located to the left as you enter church.  All other Sundays, you will find it in the back of the Sanctuary.  Over the summer months, please continue with your contributions, as our district is short on meeting their goals.  The LWML national goal of $1,825,000 has been met and surpassed.  The Carolinas District goal is $66,000.  Mt. Olive’s contributions to date that have been forwarded totals $298.71.    Find out more by visiting the web site or check the LWML bulletin board. 
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Preschool News
by Krista Bernthal

Seventy-five members of the preschool family and friends had a wonderful ending to our school year on May 16th!  We graduated eight students, five of whom have been with us for all three years.  Then we enjoyed the splash park at Saluda Shoals, which included a great picnic lunch together.  It was crowded at the park that day, so it was really neat to see the crowd look our way as we sang a table prayer together.  It was a "witness moment" indeed!

As the year ends, I have many thank yous to pass on.  I want to thank the board, for leading the program so well and offering countless hours of service.  I thank you, the congregation for attending our events, donating snacks, helping with specific requests, providing monetary donations, and prayers.  A few of you participated in the new scholarship program.  I was able to pair up all of the needy students referred to me by the school district with a scholarship donor!  The school district was impressed with your generosity and with the improvements seen in these students' growth and development while at our school.
I will be in the office on Tuesday mornings during the summer. Feel free to call (781-7180) or email ( if you have questions.  Remember to spread the word about our school!

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A Stewardship Minute
from David Buck

A pastor was serving a struggling church in a large city. He had become a close friend of a sixty-plus-year-old unmarried man who was a member of the church. As the friendship developed, one day they began to discuss the subject of personal wills. For some reason this parishioner had never made a will!

Of course, failing to make a will was not wise because upon his death, his estate would be dispersed by government officials and possibly in a manner in which the man would not have approved. The pastor explained the importance of having a will, if for no other reason than to legally assure that the man's possessions would go to chosen relatives, friends, or worthy causes. The outcome of the discussion was that the man left half of his estate to his beloved church. Some two years after the man did have a will made, he was in a terrible automobile accident and died at age 67. His estate was worth two million dollars! Imagine the joy that surged through the hearts of the pastor and fellow parishioners. They were all given new hope.

Many of you may be thinking, “So what? That story is not relevant for me. I don't have a large estate. I don't need to make a will.” We may know the worth of what we have right now and maybe it is not much, but none of us know what we may possess when our time on earth is over. It certainly would be wise to put in print our desires of where our goods are to go upon our death.

Prayer: Gracious God, help us to remember that every good and perfect gift comes from you. And encourage us to honor you with whatever we have. Through Christ our Lord, we pray. Amen

A Stewardship Minute is available to subscribers of Stewardship at
Parish Publishing, LLC      (888) 320-5576

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Christian Education
from Katrina Folks

Summer Sunday School (Pre-K through Rising 4th Graders)

Planning on taking a vacation this summer?  We are pleased to announce that Mt. Olive won’t be taking one from the teaching of God’s Word.  We pray that you faithfully continue bringing your children to Sunday School this summer.  The years from birth to age ten are highly formative years on all fronts: physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually.  That's just one reason why Sunday School is SO important!  Pre K through rising 4th graders will be in a combined class and learn about the Lord’s Prayer, its petitions and a Bible Story for each.  Not only will this help them learn about what they are praying at home and at church, but also it will help prepare them for Confirmation lessons later on.  We are looking forward to seeing your little ones’ smiling faces on Sunday mornings over the summer!  If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Sizemore at or 407-9811.

Summer Confirmation Class (Rising 5th- 6th Graders)

Confirmation classes will continue throughout the summer.  The students will study Lutheranism 101 for Kids, by Julie & Scott Stiegemeyer.  They will be learning more about the Bible, The Small Catechism, and our Lutheran Service Book.  Parents, you will have the summer to participate in Adult Bible Classes, but be ready to join you confirmands in the fall.  If you have questions, contact Bill Boykin.

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Youth Group News
from Vanita Fielder

2 Corinthians 5:20, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” 

The Mt. Olive Youth Group continues to study what it is to Live Love (d), and how God uses us to reach others.  In the last year and half, the Youth Group has participated in many servant works, enjoyed a little fun, and studied God’s Word together.  Once we return, we are planning a presentation for the Mt. Olive congregation so you can see where we’ve gone to prepare for the National Youth Gathering and to hear how the experience impacted each of us. 

Current news on the Youth Group, we conducted a NYG Parent Planning Meeting May 19th and scheduled a follow-up planning meeting June 16th.  Our flight for the NYG departs Jun 30th out of Charlotte, NC at 6 AM, and we return July 5th.  It is very exciting to share such a wonderful experience with Mt. Olive Youth; they are a joy to be with.

Reminder to our Youth Group Parents: LCMS has recommended reading “Life Together” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a study guide for the National Youth Gathering.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “The Church is Christ Existing as a Community.” 

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by Jon Richter

A Garden that needs Tending…

Saint Paul describes Evangelism as a process, almost like farming or gardening.  In I Corinthians 3 he writes: 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

Last week I planted some new begonias in front of my house – they are starting to perk up pretty good, but their roots are not very deep yet.  When I go on vacation for 10 days this summer, I will ask my neighbor (let’s call him Apollos) to water these new plants on any days that we do not get rain…

Now “Apollos” is probably an even better gardener than I am – but if he forgets, or is afraid or too hesitant to water these extra plants while I am gone, do you think I will be greeted with colorful begonia blooms when I return?  Probably not, as they will likely wilt in the summer heat!!

As Paul described it, God is indeed giving, and expecting, growth in the Body of Christ.  But, He is also giving many believers the opportunity to play our parts in the “process”.  When we meet someone new at Church, or are standing next to someone in a line, or are talking with a friend or neighbor, is the Holy Spirit giving us a chance to trust Him and speak that “due word in season”?  I am certain that we will all have opportunities, and I pray that we will recognize them and respond with the Love of Christ.

Our Evangelism Committee at Mt Olive thanks you for your prayers as our Wednesday Evening “Caring Evangelism” course suspends for the summer, and then reconvenes in September.  Meanwhile we are making plans for another Okra Strut in the fall; so please talk to Jon or another committee member with your ideas, encouragement and prayers.

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Musical Notes
by Karen Meetze

The Adult and Handbell Choirs have begun their summer break and are looking forward to some relaxation and time to recharge their batteries.  They sacrificed their time to rehearse and are so faithful in leading the congregation in worship!  We are so grateful for their dedication and wish them lots of rest and peace this summer!

Even though they will not be singing weekly, we hope to have some special music from time to time during our services.  If you are interested in using your musical gifts, please contact Karen. Whether you sing and/or play an instrument, we want everyone and “everything that has breath” to join in the praise.  You can add to the worship experience this summer and consider being a more regular member of the chorus in the fall.  Hope to hear from lots of you…soon!

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Public Relations
by Aresa Boykin

Early Bird Sign-Up for Mt. Olive’s 2013 Pictorial Directory was a booming success!  Thank you so much for your willingness to check your calendars and schedule your appointments so far in advance!  Our Friday and Saturday sessions, August 23-24, are nearly filled, but there are still slots available on Thursday, August 22nd. 

You may call the church office to schedule your appointment during the summer.  In mid June, you will also be able to schedule appointments on-line.  Please look for an announcement in the Olive Seeds that will explain how the on-line sign-up works.  If you participated in Early Bird Sing-Up, your appointment will be transferred to the on-line schedule.  If you don’t have computer access, please schedule through the church office or on Sundays between services.

Remember that the photography session is of no cost to you unless you choose to purchase pictures.  Also, each family will receive a free Mt. Olive Pictorial Directory in one of three formats:  standard size, pocket size, or DVD version.

Lastly, if your class or group is having a special event or project, let me know in advance and I’ll be sure to bring my camera.  You can also send me pictures through text (803-260-7198) or e-mail ( for posting on FB, printing in the Olive Leaves, or printing/viewing on the bulletin boards.

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Social Ministry
by Shari Selke

Summer is almost upon us…half the year is behind us! What will you do with those “lazy days of summer”? There are a few opportunities with Social Ministry and we would love to have you join us as we reach out to others in service for our Lord.

Sharing God’s Love:  SGL has an increased need for donations over the summer months, as this is the time of year when donations dwindle and needs increase.  Food donations are especially needed, but they are also asking for children’s’ clothing in good condition.  Also, they are starting to accept donations for their “Back to School” drive.

American Red Cross Blood Drive: Will be held July 27th in the fellowship Hall.  Look for the sign-up sheets closer to the event.  If you have any questions please call Katrina Davis at 732-3182

Summer Project “Seeds of Change”:  Heifer project International has just started a new project to help the needy in the U.S.A. called Seeds of Change. It’s goals is to help the working poor in the Arkansas Delta and Appalachia regions in our country by teaching and promoting sustainable farming and promoting and marketing local food sources.  Look for announcements in the church bulletins, as this will be an ongoing project during the summer months.

Thanks to all of you who helped stock the USO lounge at Columbia airport. What a wonderful way to support our troops.

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Stephen Ministry
by Bill & Aresa Boykin

Finding People Who Need Care for Stephen Ministers

In times of trouble, we look to caring Christian friends to listen to us while we work through our feelings.  A Stephen Minister can be such a friend, either to you or to someone you know.  Our Stephen Ministers are committed to providing Christian care for people who are experiencing many different needs.  If you or someone you know could benefit from the trained, caring presence, and listening ear of a Stephen Minister, contact Pastor Sizemore or Stephen Leader Referrals Coordinator, Bill Boykin. 

Stephen Ministers provide one-to-one lay Christian care for people who need crisis care, follow-up care, chronic care, preventive care, and supportive care.

Finding people who need care is the responsibility of the entire Mt. Olive congregation.  There are three easy steps to refer someone.

1.  Listen and care for your friend in your own relationship together.
2.  Ask your friend 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.
3.  Once permission is given, report his or her need as promptly as possible to Pastor Sizemore or Stephen Leader Referrals Coordinator, Bill Boykin.  Mt. Olive’s phone number is 781-5845.

Confidentiality is the foundation of Stephen Ministry.  Care receivers do not need to worry that others will find out what they discuss with their Stephen Ministers.  When you report a need, you are the first important link in this process of confidentiality.  You can help maintain confidentiality by:
Never talking about a need unless you have permission from the person to mention it.
Never asking a Stephen Minister about the caring relationship he or she is part of.
Never ask Pastor or Bill if a person you brought to their attention got a Stephen Minister.  If you followed the three steps listed above, they followed through. 
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, and the availability of Stephen Ministers.

Congratulations & Thank You

Congratulations to our six newly commissioned Stephen Ministers:  Dianne, Cleta, Jerry & Liz, Cyndi, and Flora!  They have faithfully completed their 50 hours of initial training and have already begun twice monthly continuing education and small group peer supervision sessions with our first group of Stephen Ministers!

Thank you so much to those who provided snacks during the month of May:  Carolyn, Judy, Liz, and Rita.  Providing snacks is one way that you can be involved in our congregation’s Stephen Ministry.
Most importantly, a huge thank you goes out to each of our care receivers for having the faith and courage to accept a Stephen Minister!  Without you, Stephen Ministry is nothing. 

Announcements & Opportunities

August Newsletter DeadlineMark your calendar!  The deadline for submitting articles for the August newsletter is Saturday, July 20. 

Midweek Bible StudiesThe Caring Evangelism course will take a summer vacation and reconvene on September 11th.   Look for announcements in the Olive Seeds for updated information about Bible Studies this summer.

Stephen Ministry SnacksDid you know that our Stephen Ministry team meets twice monthly throughout the year?  There is a sign up sheet for summer snacks, located in the hall under the Stephen Ministry bulletin board, or contact Stephen Leader Aresa Boykin (407-6040, 260-7198, or Since classes are on Mondays, you can bring snacks on Sunday, mark them “Stephen Ministry,” and leave them in the kitchen.

Attention Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Members:  CHOICE DOLLARS PROGRAM

Are you aware of the Choice Dollars Program offered by Thrivent to its policyholders?  The program allows policy -holders to direct a portion of available charitable outreach funds to a pre-approved non-profit agency.  Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and Mt. Olive Lutheran Preschool are approved agencies to which you can direct the funds assigned to your policy.  This can be done very simply on-line or with a phone call to (800) 847-4836.  Ask for the Thrivent Choice Program.  There are presently several members of Mt. Olive who have directed their Choice Dollars to our Preschool and church.  To continue to receive these funds, this process will need to be repeated with each notification to you that funds are available. 

Free Photos from Bulletin Boards!Parents, Grandparents, Sunday School Teachers, etc.:  Please take the photographs of your loved ones from the bulletin boards.  If you’d like to share photos with our homebound members, please do!  These are a gift to you!  Take them and enjoy!

Nursery ReminderThe church nursery is open during the Sunday School hour and the second Worship Service from 9:10-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.

Sharing God’s Love Always Needs:Pantry – jelly, grits, rice, flour, sugar, cereal, spaghetti sauce, dried beans, pork & beans
Toiletries – toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper, soap
Household –laundry detergent, dish detergent, children’s clothing
Linens – towels, wash clothes, sheets, comforters

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