Welcome to Mt. Olive's Online Newsletter! This site serves to herald the activities and day-to-day happenings at Mt. Olive, as well as provide resources for continued learning and community awareness. Links on the right point to various groups that operate at Mt. Olive as well as points of interest and additional resources. The space below contains articles and information from the newsletter. A up-to-date church calendar is always at the bottom of the page. Thanks for visiting and please let us know what you think!

For more information on Mt. Olive Evangelical Lutheran Church please visit our website.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Clean Up Day

I want to thank everyone who came out on clean up day on Saturday. We got allot of things done. Rich Winkle for heading up the clean up on the outside of the building. John Schofield for heading up the paint in the old hall. He was there until wee hours of the night finishing up. Thanks. I installed 6 new emergency light through out the old building. I have one more to install in the Church.
I also want to thank Jo Martin for getting all the food ready on trays for our lunch. It was a great time and fellowship.

Thanks again for everyone who showed up.

Gods peace, Bryan Leslie

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Council Meeting Minutes - April 20

The meeting opened with a reading and prayer by Pastor Pingel. There were no minutes for March's meeting.

Board of Elders - Bill Logan
Bill reported that at their last meeting they talked about financial issues. They also said that we have to reach out to some of our members that haven't been contacted lately. The prospect of renewing Tele Care was discussed at that meeting.

Evangelism - John Hazelwood
No meeting this month. John spoke about the Ongoing Ambassadors For Christ group that came in February. He reported that it was a very successful event. He also spoke about renewing the evangelism class that Vicar Matt taught last year.
John mentioned that it is not helpful to talk about others and this might lead to the alienation of some people.

Stephen Ministry - Ron Hietsch
Ron reported that Stephen Ministers were studying the chapters on divorce as part of their continuing education. Stephen Ministers will also be assisting with a renewed Helpmates program.
Additionally, he is starting a 12 step program on addictions. It will start on Tuesday, April 29th at 7:00. It may be called a Safe Recovery Group.

Volunteer Ministries - Janet Frisch
Pastor and Janet have reworked the Tele Care Program and got it on track again. Lists have been sent out and new callers have been obtained to facilitate the program.

Publicity - Helen Gillingham
Helen still sends out cards to everyone that moves into the area. She shared that there are a lot fewer people moving into the area than in the past.

Pastor reported that the midweek program, Gospel Gang, has run its course and that staff appear burned out. In its place he suggested a program that would be run by a council of 5 or 6 under the auspices of the Board of Education. Pastor wanted some feedback from council before talking to Bonnie Hazelwood. He indicated that she has done a wonderful job running the program but that it is just too much for one person to run, and that no ministry should depend on one person. In the meantime we will involve District staff and explore alternative programming.
Pastor also said that sometimes people who are apt to complain are not participating themselves in the activities of the church, such as Bible Study and general programming.
Additionally, Pastor reported that the church has received $100,000 from the estate of Marge Patton that is to be put in the LCEF Building account. These monies are restricted and cannot be used for general fund purposes as per the wishes of Marge Patton. Only church council has the authority to free them for use.

Scott Rodenbeck delivered the report on behalf of the Trustees. Work day is scheduled for Saturday, April 26, 9am-1pm Lunch will be served. The Leslies purchased replacement emergency lights for the church.

Board of Education - Scott Rodenbeck
Scott reported that they have a nice summer Sunday School planned. The format is 13 lessons from the Bible. Teachers are still being sought to help instruct these classes. The notion of spending a portion of class time outside was discussed to take advantage of the nice weather. The Board of Education also wants to encourage adults to continue attending classes during the summer. Plans for Vacation Bible School are underway.

Preschool - Deb Levato
Deb went to a literacy program at the mall last weekend and it was very successful. It was very good publicity for the school. Both Pre-K morning classes are filled and the afternoon classes are coming along. Deb talked about the need for a transitional kindergarten for those children that are not ready for the first grade.
Deb thanked everyone who bought flowers. With the $3,000 that was raised the school was able to financially assist 8 students.

MOPS - Heather Greco
Heather returned from a summit convention and wants to start an evening MOPS group.

Other business
Ron Hietsch reported on the state of the church mortgage. Payments are on schedule however the loan documents call for a change in the payment amounts to accommodate interest rate changes. This has not happened and could create a balance due at the end of the 30 years. The Lutheran Church Extension Fund has been questioned about this situation and we are waiting for a reply. Ron will keep track of this as it progresses.

Council President -
Rex Pagani
Rex stated that when times are tough, new things need to be tried. Instead of sitting back, extra efforts and attempts can be done. He thanked everyone and the meeting was closed with the Lord's Prayer

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Believing Vs Following --- Rev. Dr. Harry Wendt

In his book Beyond Guilt (pp. 19, 20), George Johnson includes the following statement by Dr. Ernest Campbell, who once served as pastor of Riverside Church in New York City:

“It began innocently enough–a friend recommending a book by Jon Sobrino. The Salvadoran Jesuit blew most of my ducks out of the water. He threw a hat down on my scrabble board and messed up many of my combinations. He forced me to contend for the ground that I had claimed. The question that Jon Sobrino put to me I must share with you: ‘Are you following Jesus, or believing in Christ?’

“Plunge into the Gospels anywhere and you will likely find Jesus asking someone to follow. The Greek verb is akoloutheo. It represents a dominant motif. Why, then, do we hear so little about following Jesus in the church today? I’ve been in, with, and around the church for more than 50 years. Not when I was in the communicants’ class; not when I joined the church; not when I became a candidate for the ministry; not when I was ordained; and never in any of my services of installation. Always the questions have dealt with belief. ‘Do you believe in God–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Do you believe in the veracity of the Scriptures and the Westminister Confession? Do you believe in the unity and purity of the church?’

“Do you believe in Christ? It isn’t hard to answer that. What is wanted is an affirmative response to treasured propositions about the Second Person of the Trinity. But when someone asks, ‘Are you following Jesus?’—this can get to be expensive. This question has to do with my lifestyle, my attitudes, my values, my surrender.

“If I’m following Jesus, why am I such a good insurance risk? If I’m following Jesus, why, when I have done my giving, have I so much left over for myself? If I’m following Jesus, why do my closets bulge when so many are unclothed? If I’m following Jesus, why do I have so many friends among the affluent and so few among the poor?
If I’m following Jesus, why do I have so much privacy in a world that is starved for love? If I’m following Jesus, why am I tempted to overeat in a world in which so many beg for bread? If I’m following Jesus, why am I getting on so well in a world that marked Him out for death?

“Are you following Jesus or believing in Christ? Unfair, you say; the two are inseparable. Theoretically, yes, but pragmatically, no. We separate them all the time. If we must, let us err on the side of following. For one can believe without following, but one cannot follow without believing.”

Friday, April 11, 2008

On The Anvil --- by Max Lucado

With a strong forearm, the apron-clad blacksmith puts his tongs into the fire, grasps the heated metal, and places it on the anvil. His keen eye examines the glowing piece. He sees what the tool is now and envisions what he wants it to be—sharper, flatter, wider, longer. With a clear picture in his mind, he begins to pound. His left hand still clutching the hot mass with the tongs, his right hand slams the two-pound sledge upon the moldable metal.
On the solid anvil, the smoldering iron is remolded.
The smith knows the type of instrument he wants. He knows the size. He knows the shape. He knows the strength.
Whang! Whang! The hammer slams. The shop rings with the noise, the air fills with smoke, and the softened metal responds.
But the response doesn’t come easily. It doesn’t come without discomfort. To melt down the old and recast it as new is a disrupting process. Yet the metal remains on the anvil, allowing the toolmaker to remove the scars, repair the cracks, refill the voids, and purge the impurities.
And with time, a change occurs: What was dull becomes sharpened, what was crooked becomes straight, what was weak becomes strong, and what was useless becomes valuable.
Then the blacksmith stops. He ceases his pounding and sets down his hammer. With a strong left arm, he lifts the tongs until the freshly molded metal is at eye level. In the still silence, he examines the smoking tool. The incandescent implement is rotated and examined for any mars or cracks.
There are none.
Now the smith enters the final stage of his task. He plunges the smoldering instrument into a nearby bucket of water. With a hiss and a rush of steam, the metal immediately begins to harden. The heat surrenders to the onslaught of cool water, and the pliable, soft mineral becomes an unbending useful tool.
“For a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (I Peter 1:6-7)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Mount Olive Church ---- A Safe Place For Recovery

Like a lot of things the Internet is a mixed blessing. This blogspot is an excellent idea for sharing and communicating information in our congregation and I thank Vicar Jon for bringing us this tool. However, we must remember that whatever we place on here for our own use is available to the entire world. I have seen my comments show up in surprising places when I have “googled my Name”. I am fully prepared to confess my sins when needed but only to my brothers and sisters in Christ, not the whole internet community.

With this little caveat in mind I do wish to share this shortened testimony concerning my recent miraculous weight loss.

The shortened version starts in September of 2007. Pastor Pingel presented the continuing education portion at our monthly Stephen Ministry supervision session. At that time he casually mentioned that he had some twelve step recovery materials and this was an area that someone could pursue if interested. Roughly 14 years previously I attended some 12 step meetings for compulsive overeaters and achieved considerable success. I didn’t stay with the program, relapsed into compulsive overeating and gained a lot of weight. I started reading 12 step materials again. The morning of September 29 I decided to once again read “The Big Book” by alcoholics anonymous (AA). It required some editing on my part. I substituted food for alcohol and compulsive overeater for alcoholic. AA like other 12 step groups, in order to be very inclusive, talks about a Higher Power of your own understanding. I naturally read Jesus Christ every time the “Big Book” said higher power.

After only reading a few pages, I asked God, in prayer, to please grant me abstinence from compulsive overeating. I then ate a small lunch and went down to my favorite Saturday afternoon “watering hole” and or “feeding trough” for what usually was two or three beers and a hamburger or two. I nursed one beer all afternoon and symbolically put the money for the hamburger that I didn’t eat in the tip jar. What a miracle - abstinence from compulsive overeating descended on me at that point. It is as if God was waiting for me to ask. I experience normal hunger at normal times but my cravings for food are gone. This power comes from God and not from me. (2 Cor. 4:7)

Step twelve of AA is to carry this message to others. I plan to continue attending 12 step meetings and hopefully when needed function - like Paul - as an apostle to the gentiles.
My true passion, however, is to bring a totally Christ centered program to Mt. Olive. This group could serve not only compulsive overeaters and alcoholics but other compulsive behaviors. I have spoken confidentially with others and there is interest in forming a Christian 12 step group here. Please feel free to talk with me in confidence and anonymity if you want to participate or need more information.

Ron H.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Spring: By Michael Halleen

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of people." (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
> The ice on our lake will soon give way. It cannot stay much longer. It's that time of year in Minnesota when the angle of the sun has become more direct and its rays warmer. Lake ice is not pretty as it dies — gray, mottled, rough. But it's clear there is no hope for it now.

I like to think of the little problems and burdens I carry as lake ice in its last stages — unpleasant at the moment, but not long for this world. A woman shared her worries with me some time ago, and they were many. She seemed overwhelmed by minor aches, frets and cares. Mouth drawn, eyes sad, voice cracking, she was unable to register hope. I tried to assure her that those concerns, as gray and depressing as they seemed now, would pass, that the world was full also of sunshine. But it was hard to persuade her of a coming spring, and I'm sure I failed to do so. Endless winter.

I met a man a few days later after who hardly noticed the ice at all. Though he had recently lost a high-paying job and had a family to support, he was not dwelling on the problem but rather looking ahead to what's next. Eyes bright, he spoke of those who had real problems in life and of his desire to be of service to them in a new line of work. Voice alive, he smiled as he talked of the love of family and encouragement of friends. It was as though the lake was already blue and sparkling in his life. There was no need to convince him of spring; he was showing it to me.

Each year, at the first sign of open water, some neighbor kids get into a paddle boat and venture out into the lake for the first time. They seek out the cracks that have developed in the dying ice and maneuver their little craft through them like French explorers searching for the headwaters of the Mississippi. I watch them from my window and remind myself that with eternity in our hearts we can find beauty even in life's trials, something to discover even in an expanse of gray.
When it happens — the last ice finally settling below the rising water—it takes only a few minutes. Next time I look out the window, the lake might be open, the last of winter's ice gone. Soon . . . maybe today.

You can contact Mike at mhalleen@att.net to be added to his weekly devotional email list.

Submitted by Doreen Hietsch

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Spring Clean Up

Hi everyone! I just wanted to let everyone know that the Spring Clean Up has been changed from April 19Th to April 26Th starting at 9am. I hope to see you there.
Thanks again.
God Bless. Bryan Leslie

Stewardship: Where is your treasure?

This is a daily devotional provided by "TODAY IN THE WORD" a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. The devotional reading for April 1, 2008 is included here. The rest of the series can be accessed at: www.todayintheword.com

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Read: Matthew 6:19-24

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:21
In Matthew 13:44-46, Jesus told a pair of short parables that speak to the heart of this month's study on stewardship. In the first, a man found a treasure in a field, then went and sold all he had in order to buy the field and obtain the treasure. In the second, a merchant found a perfect pearl, and he also went and sold all he had to buy it. The main lesson of both stories is the surpassing value of the kingdom of heaven. Good stewardship begins with knowing how to value what is truly valuable. Good stewardship begins by understanding that the things of this world are worthless compared to the things of God.

This is the mindset with which we approach our month's topic: We conduct our stewardship beneath the wings of the One who is worth immeasurably more than everything we are stewarding. Jesus also reminded us of this truth in the Sermon on the Mount. Our real treasure is not of this world. Earthly goods are temporary and always at risk; heavenly treasures last forever and cannot be stolen. Simple logic tells us which one is more worth pursuing and storing up. The principle is to prize what is greatest and to invest our energy and effort to acquire what really matters (vv. 19-21).

A second metaphor repeats this central idea. The “eye” is what we use to see and evaluate and choose the treasures on which we set our hearts. If we discern and strive for right priorities, we see clearly and walk in the light (vv. 22-23). Put God first, and everything else follows (v. 24).

Stewardship concerns not only money, which is often how we think of it, but also other resources such as time and energy, and other matters for which we bear responsibility, including relationships and the created world. This month we will study how to handle the people, things, and resources placed in our care or within our circle of influence as followers of Christ.