Peace with God through Jesus Christ

The Olive Press – January 2018

Having an Enlightening Epiphany!

 A favorite professor of mine at Bethany often spoke about that wonderful “A-HA Moment!”—where a new realization strikes you and you feel energized and enlightened by seeing this thing that before had not been known to you.
I love that “A-HA Moment!” It is a joyful moment to experience—(as pictured in cartoons) when that light bulb of understanding suddenly goes on over your head. As Christians, we have many such “A-HA Moments” when we study God’s Word. The Holy Spirit opens our understanding to see new details and interconnections that were previously unseen. Not that there is some new revelation that might be discovered in Scripture—but as we grow and mature as Christians, God peels back the layers to reveal a little bit more of His wisdom to us. And as we stand back and see God’s plan which He reveals to us in His Word, we can’t help but marvel at the beautiful intricacy of His work! Yet, though incredibly complex and interconnected, it is also so simple and singularly beautiful.
That is the brilliance and beauty of God’s Holy Word. As an old seminary professor used to put it: “The Holy Scriptures are so gentle and shallow that even a child can wade through its waters; Yet so deep that the wisest, most learned man could never plumb its depths.” Small children understand the point and message of the Bible as they sing “Jesus Loves Me!” and yet, even the most esteemed seminary professors continue to mine new gems that they hadn’t yet considered from the Bible’s pages as they are busy writing and studying.
Though Scripture is full of such “A-HA Moments,” we must realize that every new detail that is revealed to us points us to the greatest “A-HA” of all time—the revealing of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.
In the upcoming season of Epiphany, we, like the Wise Men follow a divine guide. For them it was a star that God had specially designated to reveal the Christ to them. For us, it is the divine guide of God’s Word. It leads us to see our Savior from sin and it continues to reveal Him to us. As we continue to let God’s Word lead us and to provide for us these “A-HA Moments,” we are continually being pointed to Jesus as our Savior! What an important and wonderful “A-HA Moment” this is for us to continue to have!
May God Bless your Epiphany with these continued “A-HA Moments.”
Pastor Luke Ulrich

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.

Serving Mount Olive



1st Service:Dan & Kathy Bruss, Eldon & LuAnn Sting
2nd Service: David & Kathryn Sulzle, Dan & Joanne Maas
1st Service: Dean & Cathy Kluge, Scott & Theresa Dzwonkowski
2nd Service: Mike & Anita Smith, Robert & Ruth Heidenreich



1st Service: Tom Bode (captain), Eli Bode, John Schauer, John Pfeffer, David Reagles
2nd Service: Chris Kind (captain), Larry Rude, Luke Buelow


1st Service: David Norris (captain), Jacob Norris, Dan Gerdts
2nd Service: Bill Bohning (captain), Dan Neubauer, Mark Olson, Scott Pithan, Taylor Pithan, Ethan Pithan

Altar Guild

January: Connie Gullixson, Connie Meyer
February: Ellie Fisher, LuAnn Sting


Week of, 1st Service, 2nd Service, Monday
January 7, Cassie Johnson, John Baumann, Lexi Fosburgh
January 14, Dennis Marzolf, Mark DeGarmeaux, Lexi Fosburgh
January 21, Dennis Marzolf, John Baumann, Kristin Matzke
January 28, Dennis Marzolf, Mark DeGarmeaux, Kristin Matzke


January: Steve Lussky, Jon Pfeffer
February: Andy Overn, Chris Kind

New 2 You Volunteers

Saturday: 9:45 ‑ 12:15, 12:15 ‑ 3:00 PM
January 6, Jacie Lieske, You?
February 3, How about here?, Or maybe here?
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, January 7, You?
Sunday, January 14, How about here?
Sunday, January 21, Or Here?
Sunday, January 28, Perhaps here?
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 [ 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.


January 7-8 You?
January 14-15 How about here?
January 21-22 Janet Wassman
January 28-29 Or maybe here?

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!


Jeremy and Kelsey Espeland, who joined us in September.
Kelsey was born and raised in Richfield. She attended the Sheridan Hills Public School. During her junior and senior years, she took college classes at Normandale. During the school years, she participated in many co-ed sports. After high school, she graduated from the Empire Beauty School. At age 22, Kelsey moved to Winnebago. Schooling continued at South Central College in Mankato as an EMT major, becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant and trained Medical Aide. She now attends the Nova Academy, training in esthetician skin care.
Jeremy was born and raised in Gaylord. Elementary education was at St. Paul’s Lutheran in Arlington. He then attended MVL High School, where he participated in football and track. He learned welding at Ridgewater in Hutchinson. He also attended South Central College and is a Certified First Responder. Jeremy now works at Everridge in Winnebago. They make big, commercial walk-in freezers. Clients include the big Walmart Distribution Center and the Minnesota Vikings Football Team.
Jeremy and Kelsey met on a dating website, and married about two years later at St. Paul’s in Arlington.
They are both First Responders with the ambulance service. She likes crafting and gardening. He enjoys sports, and they both like the great outdoors. They take a yearly trip to Wisconsin to visit relatives. They have a dog, a miniature schnauzer called A.J., nicknamed Dumbo because its ears weren’t cropped. The dog also acts as a therapy dog for Kelsey.

Applications are now being accepted until January 7 for the part-time office assistant position here at Mount Olive. Those interested may pick up an application in the church office.

Making an Impact

Mount Olive hosts a blood drive on Friday, January 26, from 1:00 – 6:00 PM. If you would like to schedule a donation appointment, please call 1 800 733 2767 or go online to & use sponsor code MTOLIVEKATO. 1 pint of blood has the potential to save multiple lives.
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!
Mt. Olive’s Tuition Scrip program offers gift cards for purchase for 700+ participating retailers. A percentage of your purchase goes toward your Mt. Olive Tuition. Visit to view the. If you have any questions or need help getting started, email Tanya Norris or Tiffany Riesgraf
Mt. Olive youth (grades 5-12) sell Kwik Trip Cards as a fund-raiser to help defray camp and bus fees for Camp Indianhead, LYA, or Honor Choir. A percent of a student’s sales goes toward their personal camp fees. Cards are sold between Sunday services. Contact Angie Younge: 389-9137 or Rebecca Strom: 386-0372 with questions.
Missing Coat: An extra large, black, Eddie Bauer, men’s 3/4 length coat (no hood) was mistakenly taken from church. Kindly return the coat or notify our church office for assistance.
The 2018 flower calendar is available. Consider signing up to bring flowers to beautify our altar this coming year.  Thank you~!

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 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.

Building Committee Update

On June 12, 2017 the Church Council agreed to extend the deadline for pledge forms for the building program by three months to October 1, 2017. This decision was presented to the congregation at the June 25th voters’ meeting. The building committee and fundraising sub-committee undertook additional efforts to contact members who had not responded regarding the program as well as providing a “Project Overview” document to the congregation on September 27, 2017.
The building committee convened on October 4, 2017 to review the final pledge information. After reviewing that information the committee’s recommendation to the Council was that it would not be advisable to move forward in recommending the current plan to the voters of the congregation.
HOWEVER, considering the amount of support that had been shown by the congregation to address current and future facility challenges, the building committee also made a recommendation to the Council to reengage with ISG on the possibility of a revised plan.  The purpose of that revised plan would be to lower the estimated costs and still keep all of identified needs intact.  Costs would need to be reduced to a point where the sum of pledged amounts, current funds available, and a lower amount of additional financing would allow us to extend our current mortgage length, which is currently 10 years, to 20 to 25 years and keep our monthly mortgage payment the same as it is today. Reasons noted for considering a revised plan include the following:

  • $2,200 of the $10,000 that the voters approved to be used for the architectural design phase of the project is still available to reengage ISG in the revision process.
  • A significant number (a simple majority) of the estimated number of “active giving” households have expressed support for a building project.
  • $463,000 has been pledged toward the proposed building project already.
  • We currently have $317,000 in funds available in the Capital Campaign Fund.
  • The current building plan, though presumably beyond our current financial capabilities, does address the most highly rated concerns of the broad-based user groups that were identified and surveyed.
  • Based on financial information received in September of 2017, Mt. Olive could borrow an additional $1,000,000, include the additional funds necessary for the purchase of two additional houses (pre-authorized by the Church Council), and still keep our current monthly mortgage payment the same by extending the current 10 years left on our current loan 20 to 25 years, depending on what direction interest rates go over the next few months.
  • From research done by committee members, a maximum of $100,000 in grant/subsidy money may be available for the project ($50,000 from Antioch Foundation and $50,000 from Lutheran Schools Subsidy). These are the only potential sources out of many that were researched where additional funding may be possible.  However, applications for these grants/subsidies cannot be submitted until an actual project has been approved by the voters of the congregation.

After discussion, the Council approved moving forward with utilizing the remaining $2,200 to reengage with ISG to see what possibilities may exist for cost reductions.  Chairman Bohning contacted ISG and they agreed to engage in a process they call Value Engineering, which is a process their engineering team utilizes to examine the current plan and identify potential changes that may better meet our financial capabilities. ISG has completed this process and the revised building plan, including revised estimated costs and revised architectural designs/rendering have all been completed.  The revised architectural renderings are now on display in the church narthex.

  • The covered drop off that spanned the drive through area has been eliminated

WHY? Reduction in costs as this was not identified as an official “need”, but had been added as a “would be nice to have if possible.”

  • The square footage of the new basement under the new administration area has been reduced significantly. It was 2,030 square feet in the original plan and has been reduced to 946 square feet.  Per ISG, we must have a basement to house the utilities for the new construction.  This accomplishes that and still leaves a little room for storage, but certainly not the square footage that existed in the original design.

WHY? Reductions in square footage reduces overall costs.

  • The new kindergarten room remains in the same location, but the square footage actually increases from the original 1,163 square feet (including bathroom) to 1,553 square feet (including bathroom) to accommodate up to 25 or 30 children.

WHY?  Our current kindergarten class utilizes two classrooms with 785 square feet per room, for a total of 1,560 SF and ISG recommends 1,500 square feet for 25 to 30 kindergarten students. 

  • The new music room, music storage, and music office are no longer new construction. These spaces were moved to the current space that will be vacated due to the construction of the new administration area.

WHY? We can accommodate our music needs with less square footage, which reduces overall costs.

  • The physical demo/remodel of the all areas noted in the new design with X’s throughout the spaces, along with the related material costs, are now the sole responsibility of our congregation.

WHY?  It is far more cost effective for volunteers from our congregation to complete the demolition and remodel of these areas vs. paying a contractor to complete that work. 

  • New youth room – the location and size of this room will change due to the domino effect of relocating the music room, music storage, and music office. This room moves from its’ location in the original design to the space labeled Youth/Multi-Purpose room that is located between the narthex and the gymnasium in the new design.

WHY?  Necessary for cost reduction.  The Youth Room is reduced from 853 square feet in the original design to 566 square feet and we also lose one of the Multi-Purpose rooms from the original design with this revision.

  • The Title 1 room is relocated to share a room with A/V just off the sanctuary.

WHY?  Combining these two rooms maximizes usage and reduces square footage, which reduces costs.

  • The new administration area remains as shown in the original design

WHY: The current admin area in our facility does not work well for the security of the building and the current configuration is not well arranged for work spaces and offices

  • The two new handicap accessible restrooms located just off the new corridor along the gymnasium remain as shown in the original design

WHY?  These are necessary to maximize security during after school events, offer easily accessible options for visitors, and provide easier handicap access.

  • The new enclosed corridor along the gymnasium remains as shown in the original design, although it will be shorter.

WHY? The corridor is still there, but will be shorter due to changing the location of the Music Room as outlined earlier.  The shortened corridor results in lower costs.

  • The new narthex remains as shown in the original design

WHY?  ISG feels it is very important to stay with the current design of the narthex if at all possible.  They believe the openness of that design is critical in handling noise effectively.

  • An additional classroom still becomes available as a result of the project

WHY? Building the new kindergarten room frees up two existing classrooms and only one of them is necessary to return to a 1 classroom per class environment, which will be needed in future years.

  • Security – even with the proposed design changes listed earlier, the integrity of the security and the location of potential key checkpoints remain unchanged

WHY? Security is a high priority and the key checkpoints needed to stay intact to maximize security effectiveness.

  • We lose the cover over the drive up, the square footage of the new basement is reduced significantly, the Music Room/Music Office/Music Storage areas are moved and reduced in size, the square footage for the new kindergarten room is increased, the Youth Room is moved and reduced in size, we lose one space currently designated solely as Multi-Purpose, the Title 1 room is combined with the A/V room, and we lose some storage space.
  • The physical demo, remodel, of the current space that will be vacated due to the construction of the new administration area (1,946 SF), along with associated costs, is now the responsibility of the congregation and is not included in ISG’s estimated project costs.
  • All identified “needs” are still addressed although some are at a reduced level compared to the current design (along with associated costs). However, other key areas remain intact and we actually increased the space needed for the kindergarten room. We also retain one new multi-purpose room (the one next to the Teacher’s Workroom). The music room could also be used for multi-purpose when needed and we still have one additional classroom available.


  • Original design = $2,318,724
  • Revised design = $1,707,514
  • Reduction in estimated costs = $611,210
    • NOTE – additional expense will be incurred for materials etc. for demo/remodel of spaces we are now responsible for (estimated at $72,000
Revised Design – Funding Summary
Estimated Costs
ISG Estimated Costs $1,707,514
Demo/Remodel Materials $72,486
Total Estimated Costs $1,780,000
Congregation Funds Available  
Current Funds Available $317,000
Congregational Pledges $463,000
Total Funds Available $780,000
Amount To Be Financed $1,000,000

A VERY IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION: The amount shown above that would need to be financed for the project can be REDUCED by additional gifts designated toward the building plan.
The building committee encourages all members to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider this information and attend an informational meeting that will be held between services on SUNDAY, JANUARY 7th in the social hall to update the congregation on this revised plan. That meeting will be followed by presenting the final design plan, estimated costs, and financing needs to the voters at the semi-annual voters meeting on SUNDAY, JANUARY 14th for a formal vote on whether to move forward with the actual construction process or not.

What are Connect Groups?

My first Connect Group was introduced to  me by a pastor of a church in Denver, CO. I had been busy with work and on my own for a few months, and I was not going to church every Sunday. The pastor called me up to have coffee and we talked about life in general. Near the end of our coffee, he suggested a Connect Group for young professionals. Our first meeting was in a conference room, but we later moved to a more comfortable environment. There were about 12 of us who shared information about ourselves through the interrogation genius of icebreakers. Already we were laughing and crying, sharing our life stories and troubles, requesting prayers and asking for help.
No matter where you’re at in life, Connect Groups work. The group in Denver was perfect for when I was lonely and needing friends. They were a resource for daily needs as well as spiritual support. Most of us were either in professional and demanding jobs or working on Masters or CPA license (there were three accountants). The most grateful group member was a man who was struggling with drug addiction and just learning about Christ. Thanks to the support he got from us, he was able to overcome his addiction and stay clean. We were all busy, the only time we were free from our busy schedules was the Friday evening that we would meet in our small group or on Sunday morning when we’d seek each other out after the service.
I didn’t understand how important that Connect Group was at the time or why it seemed to be the best thing for me. Now, I realize that we had a common foundation that made our relationships strong: Jesus. With Christian friends who were active in sharing the Word together, we were more willing to defend, encourage, and love unconditionally. We met in a casual lounge area at the local university, and after our hour of biblical discussion and prayer, we would spend another couple of hours at the frozen yogurt bar. The leaders of our group actively guided us through the Bible for a lot of our answers, and we naturally included biblical references to our daily discussions and practices.
In the Bible, we can see encouragement for these kinds of Christian gatherings. Acts 2:46 – 47 has an example of early Christians gathering and spending time together:
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
From this they were able to grow in faith and share their faith with the city surrounding them, and the Lord added to their number daily! Jesus and His disciples have multiple examples of meeting together and sharing food and discussing some of the most important parts of Christ’s ministry. Finally, Jesus and the Apostles asked the early Christians to love one another and encourage one another. Mt. Olive believes that one way of achieving this same culture is through Connect Groups.
I can only encourage you to join a Connect Group and find out for yourself what they are like. Each of us has a different reason for wanting Christian friends, but I discovered more than what I wanted, I discovered what I needed. There are blessings in togetherness and one of those ways we practice togetherness is by connecting outside of the Sunday morning service.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity and peace!… For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore” (Psalm 133:1-3).
Jon Basel

Dates on the Calendar

MARK YOUR CALENDAR! The revised Building Proposal will be presented for the congregation BETWEEN SERVICES, SUNDAY, JANUARY 7. Information is available in advance in print (distributed December 17 and available at the church) and on the Mt. Olive website. The revised plan will be voted upon at the voters’ meeting on Sunday, January 14.
There’s only 44 days between New Year’s Day and Ash Wednesday. If you or your group would like to sponsor a Lenten meal, the dates are going, going… March 14 & March 21 are the only two dates open. Reserve your date by calling the office 507-345-4966.
Camp VBS dates have been set for the last week of June, 2018: June 25 – 29.


There is a story of a pastor who, one day, met a young boy standing outside his church, carrying a rusty cage, in which several birds fluttered nervously.
The pastor inquired, “Son, where did you get those birds?” The boy replied, “I trapped them out in the field.” “What are you going to do with them.” “I’m going to play with them for a while, and then I guess I’ll just feed them to an old cat we have at home.”
When the pastor offered to buy them, the boy exclaimed, “Mister, you don’t want them, they’re just little old wild birds that can’t sing a lick.” The pastor replied, “That’s ok. I’ll give you $5 for the cage and the birds.” “Okay, it’s a deal,” the boy said, “but you’re making a bad bargain.” The exchange took place and the boy went away whistling, delighted with his crisp new $5 bill.
The pastor then walked around to the back of the church property, open the door of the small wire coop, and let the struggling creatures soar into the blue.
The next Sunday, the pastor took the empty cage into the pulpit and used it to illustrate his sermon about Christ’s coming to seek and to save the lost—paying for their sins with His own precious blood.
“That boy told me the birds were not singers,” said the pastor, “but when I released them, and they winged their way heavenward, it seemed to me they were singing: ‘Redeemed, redeemed, redeemed!’
To “redeem” simply means to “buy back.” When you hand the cashier a coupon, the store is literally buying back the coupon’s stated discount price.
You and I—along with everybody else—had been trapped by sin; sinful from the moment of our conception (Ps. 51:5), and condemned for eternity. But God, our heavenly Father, had such a love for you and me, and all mankind, that He sent His one and only Son, “born of a woman, so that He would be born under the law, in order to redeem those under the law, so that we would be adopted as sons.” (Gal.4:4,5 EHV). He was born to be our Substitute! With His perfect life, His innocent suffering and death on the Cross, and His victorious rising from the grave, Christ purchased (redeemed) our pardon! We are free and forgiven!
Now our song echoes the song of those liberated birds: “Redeemed! We have been redeemed!”
As we enter all the unknowns of this New Year, we do so with the utmost confidence, because our gracious and almighty God, who does know what the future holds, has purchased us and fashioned us into new creations, in Christ!
Now our lives have purpose, as we serve our gracious Savior-God, and we proclaim the Good News of Jesus; reaching out to others with the same amazing love He has showered upon us!
~ ELS Board for Home Outreach

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***

Kingdom Workers

… is looking for an experienced professional to join our Operations team: The Director of Finance has a leading role in overseeing the Financial operations and Human Resource activities for this global Christian non-profit. The job description and application process are at
Whether you volunteered, donated, or prayed for Kingdom Workers’ missions, you changed the world for someone. In 2017, you helped:

  • Serve 12,000+ people around the world
  • Engage 1,800+ volunteers
  • Construct 25,307 square feet of construction for a savings of over $323,700 to churches
  • Establish sanitation solutions to villages in Indonesia
  • Develop garden projects to address health needs of people on Apache Reservations
  • Treat those challenged by disabilities in Malawi
  • Provide sustainable farming training in Grenada
  • Supply English teachers in Chile

Thank you so much for your gifts and encouragement.

Energy Assistance Program

With heating season upon us, Greater Minnesota Gas, Inc. (GMG) would like to remind residential homeowners or renters of the Energy Assistance Program (EAP). This federally funded program helps pay for home heating costs and furnace repairs for income-qualified households. Please contact your location EAP Service Provider to apply. For help finding your local EAP provider, call 1-800-657-3710. Applications must be received or postmarked by May 31, 2018 to be processed for benefits for the 2017-2018 program year. You can find more information on-line at the Minnesota Department of Commerce website at:

ECHO Food Shelf

… thanks the members of Mt. Olive for donations in 2017.
Date    Pounds        Total
1.10         40.5         40.5
3.14           8.5         49
3.28           9.5         58.5
4.11         34            92.5
4.18         11          103.5
5.09         16          119.5
6.06           7.5       126
6.20           6          132
7.11           4.5       136.5
8.01           8.6       145.1
8.15           6          151.1
10.02         4          155.1
10.15    146          301.1 Bonfire
10.31       10          311.1
12.05         9          320.1
12.19         3.5       323.6
ECHO helps feed an average of 1620 households per month and distributes 103,000 pounds of food per month. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat.” Matt. 25:35