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!

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Thank You Letter from CA.S.T. to our Church

Dear Participating Church, 

As we begin the year of 2009, I want to thank you on behalf of the board for your faithful support of C.A.S.T. with financial contributions, food cellctions and participation in the outreach programs. In the sixteen and a half years of existence, because of your support, we have been able to help so many individuals & families in so many ways. In 2008 alone we gave out bags of food, help people with shut off notices for utilities , kept families from being evicted, outfitted 367 children for back to school, helped individuals grow vegetables for their own consumption and gave over 62 families 476 Christmas gifts and food. This was only accomplished becuase of your loving outreach through C.A.S.T. Thank you seems so small and inadequate for your enthusiastic support. Since becoming a participating church you have embraced the work of C.A.S.T. in many different ways. First, you have made your congregation aware of us resulting in your financial support and collection of non-perishable food items. Second, you have supported our various program needs, (back to school, S.E.L.F. [Seeds, Earth, Labor, Food] Easter, Thanksgiving, and the Christmas giving.) This ministry has grown and is growing in so many ways because of your generosity. 

I know that with all the needs in the world we are constantly being asked for help and I also know that you will not forget the needs of the people in Beaver County. I can say with full confidence that God will truly bless the members of your church for helping Churches Are Serving Together, Inc. to put God's and your love into action. 

Gratefully yours in Christ, 

Mary Jane Verbe 
President/ Director 

P.S. I am asking that all food items collected be checked for expiration dates and discarded by you. Also, it would help us if you could call to see what items we are most in need of in the pantry.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Leaning on the Word of God in Challenging Times- Part 10

Usually, when we suffer our faith is tested at the same time.  We suffer, and we ask God "why?". We may feel like he isn't listening, or that he doesn't care. I hope our past studies have helped you if you struggle, and are losing your grip on the Word and salvation.  

Suffering can refine our faith and cause us to cry out: "I know that my redeemer lives!" (Job 19) May the Holy Spirit align your sufferings with the sufferings of Christ, so that you may become more like him.  

God has not forgotten and he has promised to end your sufferings, and bring you into the joy of heaven.  For now we can be like Paul in 2 Corinthians 11 and 12, and boast in our troubles! 

1) Read 2 Corinthians 21b-29 

Why is Paul listing all of his sufferings? If you made a list, how would it compare? 

Paul does not want to show off how tough he is, but to show that if a Christian has to boast it should not be in their strengths and accomplishments. A Christian should boast in suffering to show that in our sufferings God has identified with us. Then others will know that there is no kind of suffering that God will not understand, or there is no trouble so low that we cannot find God.  

Look at John 19:3; 19:23; and 19:28 and compare these verses with Paul's list of hardships. Do you see any similarities? 

2) Read 2 Corinthians 12:6-10 

Paul recieved a thorn in his flesh (how nice!). What was this thorn? Do you have any thorns? 
The thorn might have been a physical disability or a speech impediment or some other handicap. A thorn in the flesh might mean some kind of physical suffering, or a weak area where Paul was constantly tempted.  Most of us have a thorn(s) like this. 

Where is the gospel in this passage? 

We find it when we read that God's grace is sufficient for Paul. It is sufficient for you too! God shows his strength in our weakness. He gives his grace and strength to the pain racked- decaying body. He gives it to the handicapped, and the despised people of the world. The death and resurrection of his humble Son is more than enough to sustain us for now, and in the end it will restore and heal us on the Last Day. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Trusting in the Word of god in Challenging Times- Lesson 9

This week we are going to look at Isaiah 42:1-9- the first Servant Song. The four Servant Songs in Isaiah refer to Israel and Christ. (The other servant Songs are  49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12) As we read them think of Israel first, then Christ, then us.  For our purposes we will see how the servant clings to the Word of God in humility depite his struggles. 

1) Read Isaiah 42:1-4. How do you picture this servant? 

God chose the servant to do great things. Scripture shows us how God chose Israel. God chose to send his Son. Has he chosen you? 

Yes! God has chosen you. God calls you with his Holy Spirit through your faith to serve him. He can use you no matter what your status or abilities. Look at how humble the servant was in Isaiah 42. 

2) Look at verse 3 again then jump down to verse 6. The servant goes from a smoldering wick to a light to the nations! How does this happen? 

The Lord is glorified by our weakness. He can use the weak, and the fragile to shine before all men. Through our weakness we can glorify God. We can show others a genuine, and tested faith that has been preserved by the Holy Spirit.  

Read Luke 2:32. Do you see any similarities between between this verse and Isaiah 42:6? 

Christ is the light of the world. He removes the darkness of our sin and he gives us access to the bright and beautiful glory of God. He shines in us, so that we shine before others with our actions. 

3) Read Isaiah 42:8-9 

What new things will God declare? 

Read Luke 22:19-20 and Hebrews 9:15- The new things are God's new covenant. We are no longer under the law. Christ has fulfilled the old covenant for us, so that we can have grace and live by faith under Christ. In this new covenant we can have access to eternal life, salvation, and forgiveness of sins through the Word, Lord's Supper, and baptism. 

Spiritual exercise- The last servant song is Isaiah 52:13-53:12. It carries many reminders of Christ's crucifixion. Read through this song and think of Christ as the suffering servant. Consider his agony, and thank God for his tremendous love and devotion to his people.  

Council Meeting Feb. 22


IN ATTENDANCE: Matt & Debra McCauley, Pastor Pingel, Vicar Zach, Debbie
Levato, Helen Gillingham, Janet Frisch, John Musser, Rex
Pagani, Doreen Hietsch, Steve Petterson, and Marilyn Huber

1) Debbie Levato spoke more on the Pre-K STEP 2 program. The maxium # will be 12 students & there are already 6 enrolled for the upcoming fall. The cost is $85.00 a month and $25.00 for registration. They will need to hire a teacher to assist.
2) Dorren Hietsch is asking for someone new to run the 2 of a Kind program for next year. She would like to train another class for the Steven Ministry program. It would be an asset to have some men join the class. Classes run for 20 weeks.
3) Steve Peterson shared at the last Elders meeting, discussion was on all of the new initiatives the church is involved in. Also, the servant event that will be held at our church this summer. 75 will be the maxium # of people to attend.
4) Matt & Debra McCauley had a wonderful attendance on between 90 and 100 people for the Chili cookoff, with 16 different kinds of Chili. The Wine Tasting party will be on 4/25.
5) Helen Gillingham discussed how the Publicity committee is working on business cards and glossy photos of the hall with information for rental. A printer in Eastvale will produce the products for a nominal cost.
6) Vicar Zach is thinking of starting a devotional group with the attendance of more Geneva students. The Jr. Youth Group will be traveling to York, PA from 7/26-7/31 to perform community services. He is considering an evangelism service of offering free blood pressure screening and possible glucose testing at the upcoming Maple Syrup Festival at Brady’s Run Park.
7) Pastor discussed the Trustees did a good job of fixing Vicar’s sewer line. The Trustees are also considering putting showers in the old laundry room, especially with the servant event coming this summer. The elevator has been inspected by the state and all is well. There is consideration for putting in an exercise room for the youth, parents and perhaps having a seniors exercise program 2 days a week. He asked for counsel to consider stopping Telecare, at least for awhile. Also, the expense for snow removal so far this winter is exceeding $7,000.00, he asked for consideration of the church purchasing a used truck with a plow so we can do it ourselves. It could pay for itself in a year or possibly 2.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Leaning on the Word of God in Challenging Times- Part 9

We have talked about the doctrine on the Word of God. (The Word of God comes to us as the Incarnate Word, Written Word, Spoken Word). We have also learned about The Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Now we are continuing to apply this doctrine in a meaningful way to the life of the Christian. 

When we suffer we need to trust that we can find the Word of God in its three forms, and know that the Holy Spirit is always working. In this we can find comfort in the forgiveness of sins, salvation, and the resurrection. 

Have you ever been tempted to turn away from the Word of God? 

Have you ever felt that your trust in God was broken?  

If you feel this way please continue to look at the Bible study below, but also talk to a pastor or a counselor. 

1) Consider the case of Job: 

Read Job 1:1- How does the book describe Job? 

Job is a man who lost everything. He family, his wealth, his health, and even his friends turned against him. However, he was not a man who was hiding some secret sin. God has not set up a reward and punishment system where if we behave we will prosper, and if we sin we will suffer. Suffering is NOT a sign that God is punishing you.     

2) Instead, our suffering can be part of our sanctification. (The process in which we are made holy.) 

If God is allowing us to go through a crisis of some type it can cause us to despair of everything else, except God. We see our place in the world as weak and vulnerable.  In our position, we cannot overcome the world without Christ.  ( This is only a product that suffering might produce. We cannot pretend to know God's exact puposes for us or his will.Yet, we do know that God is working for our good, and the he loves us more than we could know.)

Look at what Job said about his agony. Job 23:10-11  Our troubles can certainly refine us as it did for Job. 

Also see Romans 5:3-5. 

3) Job's sufferings point us to Christ. Job, a man who had everything stripped away, cried out to his God for hope. (Job 19:25-27) Christ is that hope. 

How is Job like Christ? 

Read Matthew 27:38-44- Christ had lost everything as well. Yet he endured more and went further than anyone else could go. He died. He died, so that Job might live. He gives you life as well. 

In our sufferings, we can look to our redeemer and know that we have onewho can lead us from crisis to crisis to eternal life, security, and a fulfilled hope.

Remember, that in the end God has promised something even greater than an end of human suffering. He promised to save us through his son Jesus Christ. That is a trust that cannot be broken, and that is his will for all who believe. 

Again, if your current struggles are causing a crisis of faith talk to a pastor or Christian counselor, and as always feel free to comment below. 

Spiritual exercise

Memorize Job 19:25-26  Pray for a faith like Job's. Ask God to let your stuggles produce in you a greater hope in Christ's return. 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Leaning on the Word of God in Challenging Times- part 8

This week we will continue our discussion of confession and Psalm 32. 

1) How do we keep confession from becoming empty and meaningless? 

It is easy to let our confessions become mechanical. We repeat the same words, or confess the same sins, and then we hear that we are forgiven. Sometimes we can get lost in the pattern and forget the meaning by reciting the words without thinking. 

Yet, our confession retains its value when we do it in view of the cross. There our savior gave up his life! He bore the particular sins that you have committed. Confession is not meaningless, but in it, we can die to our sins and rise as Christ did. (1 John 1:9) 

2) Read Psalm 32:8 

David is using himself as an example. Look at the healing and forgiveness he has recieved. His example, as well as the example of Israel when they returned from their sins is a testimony to us about the faithfulness of God. 

How can being honest with God about your failures improve your relationship with him? 

3) Read Psalm 32:11 

God is good! He fills us with his grace and love. He heals the broken hearted. The Lord does not make us upright after we make a complete and perfect confession. He makes us upright through the faith that he gives us. Through this faith God gives forgiveness. Confession is a way of living out our faith and trust in God. 

Spiritual exercise- Pray these Penitential Psalms throughout Lent: Psalm 6, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143