The Sweet Spirit


 Olive Branch United Methodist Church                                               


June, 2013



Cross and...



Just a thought

Editor's Note: This poignant satire by Brian Jones points out some of the ways we put evangelism in the backseat. We hope you'll read it with the tongue-in-cheek voice that Brian intended. We also hope it will serve as a bold reminder to share the good news today.  

10 Ways to Stop Feeling Guilty Your Friend Is Going to Hell

by Brian Jones


If you're tired of feeling guilty for not sharing your faith in Christ, this list might be for you.

1. Here’s the easiest one: Stop being a part of a church that truly teaches the Bible.

Especially the parts that make you feel bad for the low number of times you have personally shared your faith. After all, the purpose of going to church is just to make you feel good. Right?

2. Find a church that makes you feel like you’re doing evangelism, but never actually encourages you to do it.

Usually this falls under the heading of “getting involved in giving back to the community.” Because that’s why Jesus died on the cross. So we could “give back to the community.”

3. Never, under any circumstances, pray for your non-Christian friends to accept Christ.

At least not more than once. That would be creepy and fanatical.

4. Stop reading the gospels in your daily time with God.

Jesus constantly talked about the afterlife, especially hell. Let’s be honest: It’s pretty tiring to have to keep shielding your eyes from those verses while hunting for the gems that talk about how you can be happy and successful.

5. Lie to yourself when you feel a twinge of guilt for not sharing your faith by repeating this phrase:

“Evangelism is God’s (and my pastor’s) job. My job is to be a good example.”

6. Justify your lack of evangelism by telling yourself that you’re not trying to be like the creepy fundamentalists who come on too strong.

Like the nuts on Facebook or that crazy church who sent people to your door recently. Because in every other area of your life, of course, you stop doing important things because other people take things a little too far.

7. Dabble in other religions.

Buddhists are cool. You don’t have to believe in God and there are no hard demands made on your life.

Of course, keep your Christian “cover” (most of your friends are Christians, and, quite frankly, it’s good for business contacts), but don’t let the Christainity thing go to your head. It’s all pretty much the same thing, right?

8. Stop being so deeply involved in your church.

And for the love of God, stop giving to your church. Let other people do that. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

Money will eventually drop out of the sky to create and nurture ministries that build up believers and reach non-Christians. Other people will pay for the awesome stuff the church does for your kids.

Let other people sacrifice. You spend that hard-earned money on yourself.

9. Every time the topic of hell comes up, mention the example of the poor, lonely native in a Third World country who's never heard the gospel.

And how it would be horrible if God sent that person to hell. Then make sure you add, “That’s not the God I choose to believe in.”

Because as we all know, if there actually is a Creator, he’s not intelligent enough to clearly communicate the way the world that he created works. And he definitely won’t mind if you “create your own” version of reality.

10. Completely block out of your mind the scene of your friend standing before God on judgment day.

And the fact that when he or she looks back on all the time they spent with you, they’ll wonder how in the world you justified not doing everything within your power to nudge them back toward God.

Yes, you talked about football, politics, golf and the Kardashian sisters. But talking about Jesus would have been out of line.

I get it.

You don’t need that on your conscience. You have too much stress in your life as it is. Just block it all out. Turn on some Jimmy Buffet. And stick to dreaming about your summer vacation.




Second Sunday Luncheon

Sunday June 9th will be the date for our Second Sunday Pot Luck Luncheon. This month we are asking all who can to bring non-perishable goods and cans of green vegetables and meat for our food bank. Everybody is invited and asked bring a dish to share. We will start right after services.





Outreach Committee to Meet on June 11th at 6:00

The Committee is planning to have a Homecoming to celebrate the 230th anniversary of our church. The true history dates to at least 1783 and before as we worshipped in arbors on the Mason and Dromgoole farms. If you have any ideas or suggestions please let the committee know. Also they are looking for volunteers to assist in this celebration.



Fishers of Men


Catherine Minks thanks our Church Family's “Coins for God's Ministry” calling us to be “Fishers of Men”. The coins were blessed on Sunday, May 19th.  Everyone heard the call and  the coins jingled “Big Time”!  It was really exciting to be to see the bags and cans of coins that were brought to the altar. When the counting was over $658.00 was given to the church to reach out to the least of our community.



Church Pantry and Food Distribution


Please don't forget our Church pantry.  We, currently serve 10 families on the second Tuesday and Fourth Friday of each month. During our last delivery cycle we were approached to take on two more families. Our brothers and sisters in the greater community are suffering and need help. Help keep our pantry stocked with your donations and God bless.


Administrative Council to Meet


Our Administrative Council will meet this month on the 11th at 7:00pm.  Remember this is our church and we each have a stake in it.  These meetings are open to all church members.  Last month many items were discussed. Besides the reports from the Church’s organizations we had updates on the projector/screen project, the UMM stew fundraiser. The cemetery committee was established. John Mihoc will chair this committee. Also serving will be Rev. Jeff, Monty Evans, Judy Kibler, Leland Williams and Ed DiStefano. Everyone is needed to help us grow.  If you have an idea of how we can make OBUMC better, bring your ideas to the council and let’s talk about them. We can only be as good as our participation in the way we do things! Council meetings are for each member of our church to be heard.   



Rev. Jeff’s Bible Study

Rev Jeff has been conducting an in depth study of the Bible. We have completed our study through Exodus. As we approach the vacation and holiday summer season it was decided to put the Bible study on vacation until September. If you have any suggestions on what books we should be studying in September let Rev. Jeff know.





United Methodist Women

The United Methodist Women will meet on Wednesday, the 12th of June for their business meeting which convenes at 2:00 pm. The meeting place will be the fellowship hall.  If you would like to help in their different mission programs please join them in the fellowship hall at 2:00 PM.



United Methodist Men


 The United Methodist Men will meet on June 15th at 8:00 am. Breakfast will be provided for all by our own Jack Smith and Monty Evans. There will be a devotional and a meeting after breakfast. All men of the church are invited to join us as we continue our year of reaching out.  We are trying to obtain a door for one of our food recipients as her door is in terrible condition.



Sunday School  


Sunday School is available each Sunday morning.  The importance of Sunday School is that, though you may think hearing the word during the worship service will suffice for you, you really need to be in attendance at Sunday School to gather all the information that you can in an open discussion classroom.  Jesus’ word cannot be totally understood just by listening to a sermon.  You have to interact with it and with other Christians to learn what He was saying to us.  This is a life long study and you should take part.  Please plan on joining us to learn more about our Lord, Jesus Christ and the Word.  The class is, currently, studying the early history of Christianity. We are, also, planning a study on prayer using “Pray the Price” by Rev. Terry Teykl. Also, in the future we will look at studying Revelation by Dr. James “Mickey” Efird.  We have a full calendar and look forward to all joining us on this journey of study and thought as we try to understand why we are Christians and what God’s Word means for us. Sunday School begins at 10:00 AM





Celebrating birthdays this month:


Pam King              Tom King

Leland Williams


Happy Birthday from your church family.



Make a Joyful Noise


Yeah that’s the name of our choir. We will begin practicing in late August and are looking for volunteers who would like to make a joyful noise at our worship services. If would like to join us let Ed DiStefano know.




This is our newsletter. It is meant to be a way to communicate what your church is doing and what all the organizations are doing both in the congregation and the community.  I will be sending this electronically via email and copies will be made available for those who need a printed copy. 


There are many organizations within our church and I hope they would like to have their achievements, plans, and meetings made known to the entire church. It is my hope that they will ask one of their members to drop a short note as to what they doing each month. The line of communication in the church needs to be open and full of what we are doing at Olive Branch to make disciples in our area.


If you would like to send us something, please bring it to church or send me an email ( and we will see that it gets published.  Please, let’s keep our church informed on what we are doing. See you at church and God bless.


Ed DiStefano