Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mt Olive Newsletter October 2013

Olive Leaves
October 2013
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“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”
Celebrating Our Freedom in Jesus Christ

Pastor Paul C. Sizemore

And Jesus said, “If you continue in my Word, then are you truly my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free!” (John 8:31-32)

For any of us who grew up in the Lutheran Church, we heard these words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ each year on Reformation Sunday (the Sunday closest to October 31), but perhaps it wasn’t until many years later that we began to actually comprehend them more fully.

“To become free,” is to become anxiety-free; worry-free, if you please.  To become free is to be set free from the fear of God’s lowering the boom of his judgment upon us because of our transgressions.  To become free is to become free from the fear of death and the grave and to live confidently in the hope of everlasting life. To become free is to receive the forgiveness of our sins in such a way that all our guilt is not only taken away from us, empowering us to forgive ourselves for our own past transgressions, but also empowering us to forgive others for the sins they may have committed against us too.

One great byproduct of our continuing to “read, hear, learn, mark and inwardly digest” God’s Word, our Lord Jesus tells us, is that we will then become personal possessors of divine truth.  And truth is a most valuable commodity in our culture today. For truth rids us of all need for false pretenses. Truth acknowledges the possibility for lies and self-deception. 

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a young man, who lived for years in a spiritual prison from which he could not set himself free.  It was not a prison made with iron bars that kept him confined to a small geographical location, but a psychological prison that prevented him from ever experiencing any real joy or true peace or happiness in his life.  Luther would have resonated very easily today with those people who label themselves as being “perfectionists.”

No matter how hard perfectionists strive to attain a high level of moral perfectionism, or to be the very best in their field at what they do in terms of their own career-development, they always end up disappointing themselves.  Consequently, suffering from a great deal self-disillusionment, they may falsely imagine that others readily perceive their apparent faults and foibles too. They imagine falsely that God only has ill will in his heart towards them too.

Luther eventually joined a monastery in the hopes of finding some personal peace.  He studied for the priesthood and actually became ordained as a priest in the Roman Catholic Church.  At the Spirit’s urgings, Father Martin eventually ended up teaching theology at the University of Wittenberg.

One day when he was lecturing on St Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, Luther came to discover the great freedom our Savior promises to us in that eighth chapter of John’s Gospel. St Paul’s writes, “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (Romans 3:21-25).

Suddenly, Martin Luther felt that a tremendous weight had been lifted from him.  He came to experience the liberating grace of God through his faith in Jesus Christ and his Gospel.  He realized that God’s love was nothing he had to earn or merit through his own attempts at being self-righteous, but that God’s love and redemption were gifts of God’s free grace and mercy available to him that were first unleashed when our Savior died on the cross to make a complete atonement for our sins.  The proof of all this was bound up in our Lord’s glorious resurrection from the dead that first Easter morning.

The hymn writer puts it well: “Salvation unto us has come, by God’s free grace and favor.  Good works cannot avert our doom; they help and save us never! Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone, who did for all the world atone! He is our one Redeemer!” (LSB 555:1)

Please join us for a Festival Service of Holy Communion on Reformation Sunday, October 27th.  As we sing, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” we will do so joyfully, as people who celebrate our freedom in Jesus Christ yet today! For the One who was crucified for our sins is now risen from the dead and has opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. 
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Board of Elders: Clergy Appreciation
  Jerry Garlington

“Serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13b

Before I realized that this month was Clergy Appreciation Month, I started my article about Pastoral Care.  I don’t mean Pastoral Care for us, but rather how we care for our pastor.  At Mt. Olive, we have been blessed with a caring, loving pastor.  That blessing comes with responsibility.  We are charged with caring for our pastor. 

While the Board of Elders has a large part of that care (i.e., prayer, salary, benefits, support) members of our congregation also have responsibilities.  We are called to pray for the pastor.  That doesn’t mean to pray for him in times of need or when October rolls around.  We are called to pray a lot more often.  We can also be encouraging.  It doesn’t take much to say a kind word or do a kind deed. 

The LCMS recommends October 13 as Clergy Appreciation Sunday.  Make it your personal goal to say a special prayer for and encourage Pastor Sizemore that day.  I know he appreciates the things you do for him and his family.

Remember, the apostle’s encouragement to “serve one another in love” also applies to the relationship we have with our pastor.
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A Message from our President: Prayer is Free
Bob Massa

Prayer is free; however, the house in which our corporate prayer takes place has costs that must be paid.  “What?” you say.  This is just one way of saying that our church boards are in the process of preparing their budgets for 2014.  We have been blessed this year by our worship and Sunday school attendance, our midweek Bible studies and other ministries, and the improvements to our facilities. 

Some of the broad considerations our boards and council will be discussing include:
Expanding and/or adding ministries, education, and worship
Exploring additional possibilities for evangelism, social ministry, fellowship, and public relations
Assessing anticipated facility needs and improvements for the coming and future years.
As the boards strive to prepare Christ-centered plans, they will seek through prayer, our Lord’s guidance, discernment, and wisdom.  Won’t you pray for our boards as they work through this process?  After all, prayer is free!

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A Stewardship Minute:
“Grow as Stewards in Faith, Love and Hope!”
David Buck

The theme for this year’s stewardship program is titled “Grow as Stewards through Faith, Love and Hope!”  In Paul’s letter to the people in Thessalonica, he wrote, “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3).  God graciously gives us faith, love, and hope – virtues essential for our lives as Christians and as God’s stewards. Each week during this three-week program in November, we will be focusing on one of the triads of faith, love, and hope.

In week one, November 3rd, we are reminded that it is through faith that we have access into God’s grace and a new relationship with him.  Not only does faith justify us and give us peace with God (Romans 5:1), we are told by Paul in our theme verse that faith produces works.  Faith leads to action.  Through faith, we are empowered to fulfill God’s purposes. Our deeds as stewards are evidence of our faith.

During the second week, November 10th, we will focus on the virtue of love.  Love seeks the welfare of others “ since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” (1 John 4:11-12).  God’s love in Christ will compel us to do things that appear foolish to unbelievers.  God’s love prompts us to give freely of our time, talents, and treasures to help others and extend his kingdom.

The third and final week, November 17th, we will bring focus on the virtue of hope.  Through the resurrection of Jesus, we, as believers, are given the victory over death and the assurance of our salvation.  Filled with the hope of eternal life with Jesus, we “give [ourselves] fully to the work of the Lord, because [we] know that our labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Praying that each of you will be in worship and in Bible study as we focus on the theme “Grow as Stewards through Faith, Love and Hope!”  Commitment Sunday will be November 24th, when we offer our sealed pledges for the Lord’s ongoing blessings at Mt. Olive.

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Youth Group News
Vanita Fielder

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."  Galatians 5:1

The Mt. Olive youth will have several opportunities this fall for service and fellowship.  First, is the Homeworks Fall Project, Saturday, October 19th.  Our youth participated in this project last year and look forward to another day of service.

The Southeast District Youth Gathering Event is coming up the weekend of November 8-10 at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Cary, NC. 

The group is also looking to begin their fundraising for the 2016 National Youth Gathering.  Details will be provided soon.

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Christian Education
Katrina Folks

September was a great beginning for Sunday School.  We have been singing hymns and Bible verse songs, hearing about the kings of Israel, and learning about sin and forgiveness.  We sent a check for $250.00 to the Lutheran Heritage Foundation to purchase 50 French language Bible storybooks, our mission project for 2012-2013.  Moving into October, we will continue with openings beginning promptly at 9:15 AM.  For those who arrive early, please make sure there is an adult upstairs before leaving your child.

During October we will continue to hear about the Israelites and how they spiraled down into lives of sin, consistently breaking God’s Ten Commandments.  We will learn how God never left them, sent them prophets, and loved them despite their sinfulness.  All these stories reinforced in God’s Word are applied to the children’s lives through puppets, object lessons, and song.  We, too, are sinful creatures.  We, too, sin against God in word and deed.  The children have learned about Confession and Absolution as we approach our worship each week.  We will be introducing parts of the liturgy in our openings as well.  Please praise your child for his or her participation in the worship service.  The children are trying hard to emulate what they have been taught at Sunday School.

On Reformation, October 27th, there will be some special activities in commemoration of Martin Luther’s work and insight of God’s Holy Scriptures.  On that day, we encourage your child to wear red.  We have will have some fun learning games and a German treat, as well as learning a Reformation song.
We deeply appreciate the offer of David and Joy Fletcher to help us with our growing group!  What a wonderful addition to the all our Sunday morning activities!  If anyone else would like to lend a hand, but can’t be there on Sunday mornings, we could use someone who is willing to cut pieces for a project on Reformation and someone to help make a German treat for the same day.  Contact Lisa at 546-0600 if the Spirit is moving you to use your own spiritual gifts.

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Preschool News
Krista Bernthal

The preschool is in full swing now!  Our 26 students have settled in well and are enjoying school.  Check out the new barn mural in our hallway.  The two-year-old class will use it all year as a backdrop for learning about farm animals, seasons, shapes and colors.

We are in need of snack donations for our hungry learners.  We offer a sweet and salty snack each day such as pretzels, goldfish, crackers, teddy grahams, and assorted cookies.  We also like to have cheese cubes and fruit once in awhile.  If you want to donate perishable food, place it in the preschool office fridge.  Thank you for your help with snacks!

At the Okra Strut, the Preschool had a duck pond game in the church tent.  Many children and adults stopped by to say hello and play!

Thanks you, as usual, for your strong support and prayers. 

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Altar Guild’s Message
Susie Hoffman

As the long season of Pentecost continues through the month of October we celebrate LWML Sunday on Oct. 20th.  The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League is celebrated for its many contributions to our congregation and to missions, both locally and throughout the world.  Making Chrismons for our Christmas trees, quilts for those in need, dresses for girls in Africa, and collecting mites to fund many mission projects here and abroad are but a few of the projects this group has been involved in helping to complete.

On October 27th we will remember the contributions Martin Luther made to our understanding of Biblical Truths.  Diligent searching of scripture revealed to Martin Luther the life-giving truth that we are saved solely through the grace of our loving God.  He sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the price demanded by sin.  Jesus became the ransom to redeem each believer who can now receive salvation.  God, in His love for all mankind, formed the plan and accepted Jesus’ sacrifice as payment for our sins.

Red, the color of truth, fervor, and love is the parament color for this day.  The open Bible on the altar parament reminds us of Luther’s credo that scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone saves us.  The Bible is the source of knowledge and understanding of God’s everlasting love for each of us.

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Public Relations
Aresa Boykin

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”   Acts 1:8

Mt. Olive’s Public Relations Board is responsible for distributing information about our church to our members and the community.  Most of you are aware of the Olive Leaves, our newsletter, the countless photographs that line the halls, our Facebook page (, our website (, the “photography lady” who shows up in your classes and activities, and most recently, the pictorial directory.  The PR Board is also responsible for Mt. Olive’s Yellow Pages, both print and on line (, the Worship Directory in The State Newspaper, and even our internet provider, to name a few.  The PR Board is always looking for new and better ways to spread the word about our wonderful church and its witness to the power of the Holy Spirit’s working through our church body!

The Public Relations Board will be meeting Sunday, October 6th after the late service to discuss its responsibilities and commitments, and the 2014 budget.  Anyone who is interested in PR activities (website, Facebook, photography, publicity, media) is welcome to join our board and give input to our elected members, Sue O, Sarah V, and Aresa.

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LWML (The Olive Branch)
Carole Mueller, President

The Olive Branch meets the second and fourth Tuesdays, October 8th and 22nd.  The ladies begin with Bible study at 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM; followed by a brief meeting, sack lunch (dessert and beverage provided), crafts, and projects, concluding at 2:00 PM. 

LWML Sunday will be observed on October 20th with the ladies serving as ushers and lectors at both worship services.  After the second service, the ladies will meet in the fellowship hall for a salad luncheon and a short program.  One of our own members, Daniela Straeuli-Paul, will be giving a presentation on life in the Lutheran Church in South Africa.  You won’t want to miss this!  A sign-up sheet is located in the narthex.

Be a missionary with your mite box!  Here are some suggestions to help you remember to add coins to your mite box most every day:  Put your pennies or loose change in your mite box at the end of each day.  Say “thank you” with an appropriate amount whenever calamity or misfortune has been averted or when you are especially thankful for the Holy Spirit’s work in your life.  Empty all your loose change from your pockets or purse each Sunday into your mite box.  If you need to get a mite box, they are located in the hallway table outside of the church workroom.

The first Sunday of each month is designated for LWML mite box collections.  As a reminder, the large mite box will be located in the narthex.  You may also donate your mites anytime, as the large mite box is housed in the back of the sanctuary.  Our mites go toward the LWML’s national mission goals and district grant goals.  These are posted on the LWML bulletin board in the hallway.  As always, your contributions are greatly appreciated!  It is astonishing what great things mite giving accomplishes!

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Evangelism: We Start with Prayer
 Jon Richter

When Peter and John were released after being threatened by the council, they gathered with their friends and prayed.  And then… and then…
And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.  (Acts 4:31 ESV)
Evangelism is the work of God – we do need to pray.  But what should we do if He really wants to use us – or even to work through us…?  I have been praying that our outreach at the Okra Strut was everything that Our Lord wanted it to be.  And, our Caring Evangelism training program continues to meet on Wednesday evenings through November.
We start with prayer.

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Stephen Ministry:

What Exactly is This Stephen Ministry We’ve Been Reading About in the Weekly Bulletins?
Bill & Aresa Boykin

“Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Stephen Ministry is lay caring ministry.  Stephen Ministers are not counselors or therapists; rather, they are caring Christian friends who can offer a listening ear to help others through the tough times in life.  Stephen Ministers are trained and supervised in their ministry.  All of us go through tough or difficult situations.  Sometimes, we manage on our own.  Other times, we get stuck or feel so overwhelmed that it would help to have a special Christian friend to meet with on a weekly basis – a friend who will listen and share your burden.  Confidentiality is of utmost importance in Stephen Ministry:  your identity and everything you talk about is held in confidence.

You may be asking what qualifies as an overwhelming situation?  Just about anything, such as: the death of a loved one, separation or divorce, adjusting to living in a new community, illness, living with a difficult family member or situation, unemployment or job loss, aging or loss of independence, facing difficult decisions, feeling alone, having faith questions, retirement, or even feeling overwhelmed and at the end of your rope because of your circumstances!   The list goes on and on.

To find out more, you can visit, where you can even hear testimonies from care receivers.  If you are going through a tough time and could use a caring friend, contact Pastor Sizemore or Stephen Leader Bill Boykin to find out more about having your own Stephen Minister to walk by you through your difficult time. 

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Social Ministry: Sharing God’s Love and Ameris Bank
Shari Selke

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”  1 Corinthians 15:58

WOW!  Ameris Bank is sponsoring their annual food drive throughout the month of October.  The Ameris Bank branches will collect food donations for their local food pantries.  The bank will then give a matching cash donation to each food pantry based on the food collection of each branch!  These have been substantial donations all over the state! 

Our local food bank is Sharing God’s Love, serving those in need in the Irmo area.  Because this is such a wonderful way to add to our support of Sharing God’s Love we will be taking all food donations to Ameris Bank on Lake Murray Blvd. throughout the month of October.  So please look for the specially marked box that is ready for your food donations!  For our members who do not live in Irmo, we encourage you to take your food donations to your neighborhood Ameris Bank Branch and support your community food pantries.  I believe we can fill the pantries to the rafters and strengthen the funds that are so needed by so many in our communities!

Remember Mt. Olive accepts donations for Sharing God’s Love throughout the year along with many other area churches.  Donations are not limited to food items.  Sharing God’s Love provides clothing, household linens, personal care items, school supplies, and assistance with utility bills for those in need in the Irmo area.   So please bring whatever you are moved to bring to support this ministry.

**The Social Ministry Board will be will be meeting October 6th after late service.  Anyone interested in helping, especially with the approaching holidays, would be more than welcome!

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Announcements & Opportunities

November Newsletter Deadline
Mark your calendar!  The deadline for submitting articles for the November newsletter is Sunday, October 20.  Send articles to:

LWML Sunday
LWML Sunday is October 20th.  Ladies of all ages, please sign up to attend the salad luncheon in the fellowship hall after the 10:30 service.  One of our own, Daniela will be sharing with us “The Lutheran Church in South Africa”.  There will be a sign-up sheet in the narthex.

New Members Class
Pastor Sizemore continues to teach the new members class during the Sunday school hour through October 20th.  Mt. Olive’s new members will be “officially welcomed” on October 20th at the 10:30 worship service.

Midweek Bible Study at Mt. Olive
The Caring Evangelism course continues to meet on Wednesday evenings thru mid November at 7:00 PM.

Monthly Bible Study in Blythewood: Food for Body & Soul
Why not try the monthly Bible Study on Thursday, October 3rd?  The first Thursday of each month, folks will gather at the home of Bob and Teri in Blythewood.  After enjoying dinner together, we will then have a one-hour Bible study.  The lesson will not be part of a series, and conclude in that one evening.  Dinner will be at 6:30 PM with Bible study going from 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM. 

Stephen Ministry Snacks
Did 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 beside the fire extinguisher, 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 Mary S for providing snacks during the month of September. 

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 grab several!  These are a gift to you from the PR Board!  Take them and enjoy!

Nursery Reminder
The 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.

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