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The Olive Press – December 2017

Dear Members and Friends of Mount Olive,

Don’t you envy people who have the means and the sort of flexible schedule which allows them to travel on a moment’s notice? How great it would be, on a cold, dreary day, to get on a plane flying to Honolulu or Mazatlan! Most of us would have to save up our money and carefully plan our schedules to make a trip like that. But now during the Advent season we are planning another sort of trip. We’re preparing our hearts to return to Bethlehem for the celebration of our Lord’s birth.
That preparation is very important. Without it, we could easily miss out on the true purpose of Christmas. Without that necessary spiritual preparation, we might end up focusing only on the secular and transient aspects of the holiday, and end up feeling empty afterwards.
How do we prepare to journey to Bethlehem and rejoice in the incarnation of Jesus? Taking our example from the shepherds who traveled from the nearby fields to the manger, we should first consider an unpleasant and frightening truth about ourselves. The shepherds were “sore afraid” when the angel messenger first appeared to them as they kept watch over their flocks by night. The appearance of a holy being sent from the very presence of God not only startled them, it shook them to the core. They were immediately reminded of their own sinfulness and they feared God’s judgment.
We shouldn’t expect an angelic visit like the shepherds received, in order to frighten us between now and December 25th. But now during Advent we should pay attention to God’s holy law and thereby come to the same realization. For as we consider what God demands of us, His creatures, and as we think about our failure to obey His will, then we too rightly shudder at the thought of being accountable to Him and coming under His perfect judgment. Then, like the Psalmist, we could only plead with God: “Do not bring Your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before You.”
What gave the shepherds the courage to leave the fields and venture into Bethlehem that night? It was the message announced by the angel. “Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” That was the good news which took away their fear. The Son of God had been born for them, the long promised Savior had come. On the strength of that message, the shepherds set off at once “to see this thing which has come to pass, which the Lord hath made known to us.”
It’s the same Gospel which invites us and draws us to Bethlehem. Jesus, the Savior of the world, was born for us. He was born to offer Himself before the holy God as our substitute and to suffer and die in removing our sins and their just punishment. He has come for each one of us, and confessing our sins and trusting in Him we stand before His manger bed in awe and gratitude.
No, we can’t go back to Bethlehem and see what the shepherds saw. But we don’t have to! Our Lord is so rich in grace and mercy that He brings to us here and now the blessings of Christ born of Mary. By His word and sacraments, He places into our hearts the forgiveness and peace and hope for heaven which the Savior earned for us.
May He bless our preparation for His nativity! To that end, please make plans to be with us for our midweek Advent services, scheduled for Wednesdays at 6:30 PM on December 6, 13, and 20. Happy traveling!

Pastor Petersen


The faculty and staff

of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and School would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year !

Today in the town of David, a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:11 (EHV)


SERVING MOUNT OLIVE

Greeters

December

1st Service

Mark & Michelle Graham, Steve & Lois Jaeger

2nd Service

Dan & Joanne Maas, Robert & Ruth Heidenreich

January

1st Service

Dan & Kathy Bruss, Lois Otto, Keith Anderson

2nd Service

David & Kathryn Sulzle, Dan & Joanne

Ushers

December

1st Service

Jeff Younge (captain), Aaron Younge, Joseph Roemhildt, Tim Roemhildt, Dustin Basel

2nd Service

Mark Madson (captain), Kirk Hankins, Joel Peterson, Andy Overn, Ian Overn, Chad Feistner

January

1st Service

Tom Bode (captain), Eli Bode, John Schauer, John Pfeffer

2nd Service

Chris Kind (captain), Larry Rude, Luke Buelow

Altar Guild

December: Heidi Graham, Sharon Madson
January: Connie Gullixson, Connie Meyer

Organists

Week of 1st Service 2nd Service Monday
December 3 Dennis Marzolf Mark DeGarmeaux Kristin Matzke
December 10 Cassie Johnson John Baumann Lexi Fosburgh
December 17 Dennis Marzolf Mark DeGarmeaux Kristin Matzke
December 24 Cassie Johnson Mark DeGarmeaux
December 31 Cassie Johnson John Baumann Lexi Fosburgh

Counters

December: John Foede, John Baumann
January: Steve Lussky, Jon Pfeffer

New 2 You Volunteers 9:45-12:15, 12:15-3:00 PM
Saturday, December 2 Maybe here? How about here?
Saturday, January 6 Jacie L. You?

Consider volunteering at New 2 You, which supports our primary & secondary schools. Volunteers are needed for each shift and are scheduled with a more experienced volunteer. If you are interested in volunteering, sign the clipboard at the narthex table.

Coffee & Treats 8:00 – 10:30

Sunday, December 3 You?
Sunday, December 10 How about here?
Sunday, December 17 Or Here?
Sunday, December 24 Service at 10:00 AM
Sunday, December 31 No classes between services

If you would like to sign up for Sunday 9:40 AM coffee & treats, the sign up link is at the bottom of our web site. If you’re unfamiliar with the kitchen or have other questions, contact Sam Barbosa [sambarbosa3@gmail.com or 507-382-4928 (call or text)]. Volunteers are asked to arrive at 8:00 AM to prepare the coffee (regular and decaffeinated), and provide & prepare treats to be served. Serving time is from the end of 1st service until 10:30 AM. Volunteers are also responsible for clean up and may end serving sooner if needed.

Flowers

December 3-4 Jerry & Sandy Hansen
December 10-11 Sam & Sarah Barbosa
December 17-18 Poinsettias
December 24-25 Poinsettias
December 31 Poinsettias

CDS Library Volunteers AM Shift PM Shift

Thursday, December 7 Annette, Ashley Annette, Gabe
Thursday, December 14 Mary, Mindy Darci, Jen
Thursday, December 21 No CDS Christmas Break
Thursday, December 28 No CDS Christmas Break


Introducing

Mount Olive member Jessica Marx and her 3 children. Jessica was born and raised in North Saint Paul. Elementary education was at Christ Lutheran Evangelical Church and School. High school was Saint Croix Lutheran High in West Saint Paul. Her parents—Barb and Randy—still live in North Saint Paul. After high school, Jessica spent 2 years at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, deciding on a nursing career. Then it was South Central, Riverland in Austin, and finally Rasmussen College with an LPN degree. She works at the Open Door Health Center in Mankato.
Her 3 children are Alex (age 8, and a 3rd grader at Mount Olive) and identical twins Dominik and Bennon (age 4, pre-schoolers). They are a handful; the twins have used a chair and one climbing on top of the other to get candy from the top of the fridge. Jessica and the kids love playing outdoors.

They have 2 pets, a bearded dragon lizard named Godzilla. (but they call her Zilla for short) and a dog that’s part Tennessee treeing hound named Beatrice Bleu.
Jessica loves to travel the world, and has been to China, England, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Japan. In China, she got to be up close with a panda bear. She has also visited most of the states. Her bucket list includes a trip to Africa where she would love to ride an elephant. She currently collects elephant figurines. She had thousands but has trimmed it down to hundreds because of the rambunctious twins. If you get a chance, say, “Hello!” to this fascinating family.
Applications are now being accepted for an office position here at Mount Olive. Those interested should contact the church office.


Making an impact

Mt. Olive is once again participating in Sibley Park’s Holiday Lights display for this Christmas season. Our church has a decorated tree at the park. We need 16 volunteers to work during the open hours of the light display on Thursday, December 14. The ‘early’ shift is 4:30 – 7:00 PM and is served a light supper. The ‘late’ shift is 6:30 – 9:00 PM and is provided a snack. Sign up at the narthex table.

The 2018 Flower Calendar for the church year is now up in the entry way next to the bulletin board. Thank you for signing up to bring flowers to beautify our altar this coming year!

After-School Care is in need of Christmas wrap and gift tags for an upcoming project. Please drop off all donations in the youth room. Thank you!

Kingdom Workers & Builders for Christ need volunteers for a February 2018 project in Rock Hill, South Carolina—interior remodeling of a newly purchased building for a mission congregation: Demo of existing walls, framing new walls, insulation, drywall, painting and finish trim. Eight volunteers are needed every week. Deadline is December 15, 2017.

Pop Tabs: After-School Care is saving pop tabs as our service project this school year. These pop tabs benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities. If you have cans at home with the tabs still on them, please save them for us! Help us exceed what we collected last year! Thank you!

Missing Dishes? The kitchen has been cleaned of extra dishes. Those dishes are in the fireside room. Any dish not collected by Tuesday, December 12, will be donated to New 2 You.


The Christmas Shoe Box

The Evangelism Committee and the Mt. Olive Lutheran School children are involved in a collection of items for the children of the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota. This area is extremely poverty stricken and many communities on the reservation do not even have clean water and working sewer systems. Unemployment is high which has led to feelings of hopelessness and despair in these families.

Ellen Pietsch, daughter of Tim and Deb Pietsch, has been working as a nurse in the hospital on the reservation. Ellen will be so thrilled to know that her Mt. Olive family has reached out in Christian love during this Christmas season.

There will be collection bins outside each classroom door, courtesy of Tim Pietsch beginning on Monday, November 27 until December assembling begins.

We will be assembling the already provided empty shoe boxes after school during the week of December 11th. More information on a specific time to follow.

Suggested Items:

Socks, Underwear, Hats, Mittens, Scarves, Small toys
Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Hair ties, Books, Pencils, pens, & markers
Gum & candy, Bath & Bodyworks items, Cards (playing cards, trading cards, etc.)

Blankets will be added to our sleigh of Christmas gifts

Thank you for considering collecting these essentials for these wonderful children!
~The Evangelism Committee


Advent Supper

Wednesday, Dec. 6th
5:00 – 6:15 PM
served by the

Bethany Auxiliary


Children’s Christmas Service

The Mt. Olive Lutheran Church & School Children’s Christmas Service is Sunday, December 17 at 3:00 PM in the gymnasium. The Sunday School and Christian Day School students attending Mt. Olive present this service. Practices are held either during Sunday School or during the week as part of their CDS schedule. Attendance is important so that the children recognize their cues and know their locations.


Jesus is the Highway of Rest

“A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it.’” —Isaiah 40: 3, 5

Christmas time is upon us again! Is there anyone who sees it as a restful time? With the holiday program at our child’s school, the company Christmas party, the decorating and cooking, and of course, the shopping for the perfect gift, our pace is hectic. By the time Christmas Day arrives we are breathless. That’s ironic, since Christmas is the way to rest, perfect rest, as God purposed it.

A long time ago God sent a special messenger to remind the people of Israel that Christmas is the way to perfect rest. The messenger’s name was John the Baptist. He lived in the Judean desert, dined on odd holiday fare (locusts and wild honey), and spent his time preaching about Christmas rest. The Bible describes him, “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it.’”

Considering that we run ourselves breathless, going this way and that, and making little headway in this wilderness, John’s preaching is timely. He preached about the way that brings rest, which he called “a highway for our God.” He said that this way would be revealed for all mankind to see, and it was this: God’s eternal Son was born into the world from the Virgin Mary as the sinless man Jesus Christ. Jesus had come to save all people from their sins. Jesus had come to save all people from their sins, and by doing so, provide the way of perfect rest. John also preached that to catch one’s breath on the “Jesus highway” one needed to prepare.
But don’t worry! This preparation is not another task to be crammed into an already hectic schedule. He was talking about the inner preparation of the heart. John preached about confessing our sinfulness to God (repent) and trusting in Jesus. He also preached how this happens, and it is not through our personal willpower to reprioritize. Rather he said that God gives these gifts to our heart through Scripture and baptism for salvation.

Since God promises to work in our heart through these means, it reminds us of something essential. Before we begin each new week’s rat race, we need to pull off at God’s rest stop, the church. We will hear during Christmas and throughout the year that Jesus is the highway to heaven, and that this is not a hectic expressway of personal achievements, but a way of perfect rest. He came into the world to do for us what we could not do for ourselves: he lived a life of perfect devotion to his heavenly Father and then at 33 years old, he gave his holy life over to hell and death at the cross to forgive all sin. This forgiveness is God’s perfect rest for our conscience that is disturbed about all the times we rushed right past him. Best of all, it promises at the finish of our earthly race the eternal rest stop called heaven.

~ ELS Board for Home Outreach


Year-End Giving Opportunity

Our congregation’s delegates and pastors encourage our congregations to support our ELS missions and the other work of our Evangelical Lutheran Synod at our 2016 convention. We are now bringing that prayer and commitment to you and asking for your support. Please note on the narthex table are envelopes provided for a special offering to our ELS. You may place it in the collection plate today or in the following weeks, considering the question presented by the psalmist, “What shall I render to the LORD for all His benefits toward me?” (116:12) May our response be a generous gift in accord with our Lord’s abundant blessings to us.


Worship with Us

Telecommute, click, or come in! Can’t make it in? Our Sunday morning services are live streamed from our web page. Missed a service? Catch the archived 8:30 Sunday morning service at http://Vimeo.com/mountolive. Missing fellowship & coffee? Join us Sundays at 8:30 & stay for 9:40 Bible study or come to Bible study & stay for second service.

Mt. Olive services also are shown on local cable channels 181 (Spectrum) and 7 & 507 (Consolidated Communications) on Wednesdays at 10:00 AM and Thursdays at 11:30 AM.


A special ‘Thank you’ to all who helped with the Thanksgiving meal. Thanks be to God.


You’re Invited
to Our Jesus Cares Ministry
Christmas Service

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
6:30 PM
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church
1123 Marsh St.
Mankato, MN 56001


Bible Classes at Mt. Olive

9:40 AM Sundays Bible Class and children’s Sunday School. Register online for our children’s Sunday School classes using our web site. Bible Information Class (BIC) is available for anyone interested in learning more about our Christian faith. Talk to one of the pastors if you’re interested.

10:00 AM 2nd and 4th Mondays, off-site, Bible Study for Veterans, the Mount Olive Veterans’ Bible study group meets at the Mankato Veterans Townhomes (710 Raintree Road, Room C), across from River Hills Mall. Bible study ends at 11:00 AM. All veterans are welcome. Contact Herman Harstad at 385 0796 for more information.

8:00 AM Tuesdays, Ladies Bible study, working through Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, the People’s Bible Commentary by Harlyn J. Kuschel

7:00 PM 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, Fireside room, MOMs on a Mission, the book, Family Vocation, by Gene Veith, Jr. and Mary Moerbe. (No childcare is provided.)

8:10 – 10:00 AM Wednesdays, social hall, MOMs on a Mission, the book, Family Vocation, by Gene Veith, Jr. and Mary Moerbe. Childcare is provided. Sign in your child at the door.

9:00 AM Wednesdays, Bible Study led by Pastor Petersen

7:00 PM Thursday, Pastor Ted Gullixson leads us through Galatians. All are welcome to join.


New 2 You Family Thrift

1838 Commerce Drive, North Mankato
Phone Number: 385-1455

Business Hours
Monday through Friday: 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Donation Drop Off times
Monday through Friday: 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Mt. Olive provides volunteers to staff New 2 You
on the 4th Saturday of each month

***Our Volunteer hours are Saturday 9:45 AM – 3:15 PM***


Divers Christmas Party Concert, Friday, December 8, 7:30 PM in the Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center theater. Join The Divers for this 5th annual concert that includes a Christmas carol singalong. Seating is general admission, first come first served. Doors open at 7:00 PM. Yule love it!

J. S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio Sunday, December 10 at 3 PM in Trinity Chapel performed by the Bach Society of Minnesota and Lyra Baroque Orchestra. Tickets online at www.bachsocietymn.org, $25 regular, $20 seniors, $5 students. A pre-concert talk begins at 2:15 PM.


ELS Ottesen Museum holds its annual Christmas Open House Tuesday, December 5, from 2:30 to 5:30 PM. This year’s theme celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation and is titled Christmas with the Luther Family. Special displays highlight some of the Christmas customs and food that were common at the time of the Reformation. One special feature is the opportunity to join with local children in singing Luther’s Christmas hymn From Heaven Above as he wrote it – as a Christmas Eve play.

You are invited to join an ELS Heritage tour to Norway during the synod’s centennial year. Hear the stories that shaped our synod. Places to be visited include Oslo, Bergen and a journey to the mountains and fjords. A special highlight of this twelve day trip will be joining the ELS sister congregation for a Sunday service! This May 28-June 8, 2018 tour will be led by Adie Harstad and Craig Ferkenstad. There is still room, but this tour is limited to 40 registrations. The $4,370 price is all-inclusive. No extra tips or fees. Contact elsynod@blc.edu for further information. Registrations are needed by February 1.


Options For Women|Mankato is inviting you to a Breakfast Buffet at the Wow Zone, 2030 Adams Street, Sunday, December 3, 9:00 – Noon. Cost for Adults $12.00, Kids 5 & under $5.00. Pancakes, French toast, Bacon, Sausage, Ham, Fresh Fruit, Scrambled Eggs, Orange juice, Coffee. Money raised helps support limited medical services and education for women facing an unplanned or difficult pregnancy.


Can You Step In?

During this interim period of only one person in the front office, Annette is hoping to call the Gratis Group for help with tasks, that by themselves are simple, yet in the office setting are difficult—like keeping the copier running: The bulletin output tray holds only 52 slim bulletins and stops until its emptied. If you think you would like to help with even one thing once, would you please either send an email to church@mtolivelutheran.org or call the church at 507-345-4966 and ask to be added to the Gratis Group.
Thank you,
Annette & the Pastors


Our Barnes and Noble Book Fair is Thursday, December 7. You can shop all day. We have special entertainment provided by Mt. Olive students from 5:00 – 6:30 PM. Can’t make it on the 7th? SHOP ONLINE just use the Book Fair I.D number found on the vouchers AND continue to shop all week in the store or online, but please have the voucher number with you! SPREAD THE WORD ON FACEBOOK! Let family and friends know about our book fair through Facebook. Just post the I.D. number and encourage out of town family and friends to support our book fair online. Books, music, games, toys, DVDS are all eligible, so save your Barnes and Noble shopping for Dec. 7 and after. Pick up a voucher and let the sales clerk know that you are supporting Mt. Olive. All profits buy more books for our school library!

Thank you for your support!


Join us for these Worship Services

2017 Schedule

Wednesday, December 6 (Midweek Advent)
5:00 – 6:15 PM– Hot Sandwiches served by the Bethany Auxiliary
6:30 PM – To Whom Does Jesus Come? With Comfort to the One Who Waits (Luke 1:26, 31-33), Pastor Luke Ulrich

Wednesday, December 13 (Midweek Advent)
5:00 – 6:15 PM– Sloppy Joes served by the Evangelism Committee
6:30 PM – To Whom Does Jesus Come? With Enlightenment to the One Who Doesn’t Understand (Matthew 1:20-23), Pastor John Petersen

Wednesday, December 20 (Midweek Advent)
5:00 – 6:15 PM– Benefit dinner served by the Saidler family
6:30 PM – Readings & Hymns

Sunday, December 24, Christmas Eve
10:00 AM – Divine Service
4:30 PM – Christmas Eve Service
7:00 PM – Candlelight Service

Monday, December 25, Christmas Day
Office Closed
10:00 AM – Divine Service

Sunday, December 31, New Year’s Eve
8:30 AM – Divine Service
NO Bible studies or Sunday School classes
10:45 AM – Divine Service
6:30 PM – New Year’s Eve Service

Monday, January 1, New Year’s Day
Office Closed

Monday, January 8
Evening services resume