Peace with God through Jesus Christ

The Olive Press – June 2015

Letting Go of Bitterness—Embracing Forgiveness

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” –Eph. 4:30-32
Charlotte Elliott of Brighton, England was a bitter woman. Debilitated by poor health she had hardened her heart. “If God loved me,” she muttered, “He would not have treated me this way.” Concerned for her and her faith, Charlotte’s family invited a minister to their house, hoping he could speak with her. But over dinner, Charlotte lost her temper and railed against God and her family in a fit of rage. Embarrassed, her family fled the room, leaving only her and the minister sitting across the table from her.
After a thoughtful pause, the minister asked, “You are tired of yourself aren’t you? You are holding onto your hate and anger because you have nothing else in the world to cling to. And so you have become sour, bitter, and resentful.”
“And what do you propose will cure me?” Charlotte retorted.
“The very faith you are trying to despise!” As they talked, Charlotte softened. “If I wanted to become a Christian and to share the peace and joy you possess,” she finally asked, “what would I do?”
“Turn yourself over to God just as you are now, with your fightings and fears, hates and loves, pride and shame.”
“I would come to God just as I am? Is that right?”
Charlotte did just that—she came just as she was. Her heart was softened, she studied the Scriptures and found the great Love that God had for her—shown through the forgiveness won by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. She understood that God had restored her to Himself as His own beloved child. She came to understand that God was with her through the disabilities and disappointments that she dealt with—even working through these trials for her good! And as His child, she was able to let go of her bitterness and anger.
Years later, Charlotte’s brother, Rev. Henry Elliott, was instrumental in starting a school for the children of poor clergymen. Charlotte wrote a poem that was published and sold to raise funds for that school. It was a very meaningful and personal poem to her—a meaningful poem that we are familiar with as well:

Just as I am, without one plea, But that Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come. (ELH #319)

There are many things in our lives that can easily cause us to become bitter and to harden our hearts against each other and against God. But as St. Paul encourages us in the verses above from Ephesians 4, let the knowledge of God’s forgiveness for us, through Christ, give you the ability to set aside all bitterness and anger that you might have with situations, or with other people, or even with yourself. Instead, when you are hurt, when you are struggling, when the burdens of life come crashing down upon you, know that you can go to God just as you are, and seeking His help, He will enable you to let go of that bitterness and to embrace forgiveness!
By Pr. Luke Ulrich


Get to Know Your Congregation

Handevidt FamilyGreg and Annette Handevidt and their daughters Shylah (8), and Stevie (3) joined Mt. Olive shortly after moving to Mankato.
Greg grew up in Jackson MN, and then moved to California where he played guitar and sang in several bands in L.A. and Hollywood. One of the bands in which he played released a record worldwide, and sold 30 million records. Greg earned his Law degree at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and then served ten years in the Navy while stationed in San Diego.
Annette was raised in Rolling Prairie IN, and later earned a degree in criminal justice. She also served in the Navy and graduated at the top of her class in Officer Candidate School. As such Annette was awarded the Command Sergeant Major Coin, and gave the commencement response at graduation.
The two met while serving in the Navy in San Diego. Greg hung up his shingle in private practice and worked until the couple developed a plan to return to Minnesota. This came about as a result of hearing a message on stewardship. This inspired them to begin tithing to the dollar, and after three years they had saved enough money to move to Mankato and buy a home. This was a special experience for Greg and Annette as they were clearly reminded of God’s faithfulness.
Both Shylah and Stevie are active in gymnastics. Shylah is entering the third grade at Mt. Olive, and Stevie will start pre school soon. The girls have fun with their cats Izzy and Fern, and dog Woodrow.

Financial Assistance

Our congregation is making financial assistance available to all Mt. Olive Youth who will be attending LYA or Camp Indianhead this summer. Please contact the church office for more information.

 LYA is coming to Bethany!

Senior High School and 8th Grade Youth: The 2015 Lutheran Youth Association convention will be at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN Thursday, July 23 – Sunday, July 26. Many fun activities are planned including a taste of what classes are like at BLC, a trip to the Twin Cities to
the Mall of America or the Waterpark of America, a concert by “The Divers,” and a keynote address by Rev. David Thompson, author of the book, “What in the World is Going On? Identifying Hollow and Deceptive Worldviews.” Hope to see you all this summer for LYA 2015. Register online now at If you were involved with any fundraisers, you will be reimbursed.


1st Service: Bruce Gratz (captain), Alec Gratz, Seth Tweit, John Sehloff, Jonathon Sehloff
2nd Service: David Munsen (captain), Matthew Munsen, Dan Maas, Justin Maas, Craig Christensen
1st Service: Ross Hermanson (captain), Craig Brown, Broderick Brown, Will Holt, Nathan Younge
2nd Service: Robert Irwin (captain), Scott Dzwonkowski, Dennis Soule, Kent Waletski

Altar Guild

June: Elyse Haugen, Ruth Heidenreich July: Connie Meyer, Terri Westphal


June: John Schauer, Jim Gullixson July: Genie Selvey, Joni Bode


Church Keys

We are updating our records of those who have church/school keys. If you have need of the key you may keep it. If you don’t need it please return it to the church office. Please call or text Keith Eisberg if you need to keep your key, and provide him with your name and the code (letters & numbers) stamped on the key so we can update the records.