“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul!’

“My sin, O the bliss of this glorious thought, my sin not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.

“And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll, the trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, even so, it is well with my soul.

“It is well with my soul! It is well with my soul. It is well, it is well with my soul!”

Horatio Spafford wrote the words to this wonderful hymn of the faith after a devastating loss of his children in a shipwreck. It is a comforting fact that the children of God can and should have this peace of mind and heart in the mountainous ups and downs of life.

As our world goes through this “PAN-dem-IC” that has produced worry and fear across much of the globe, God is giving His people, the church, the opportunity to shine brightly and show love and compassion to all those around us. In fact, a light always shines brightest in the darkest night, if the light is turned on.

One of my favorite preachers, Dr. David Jeremiah, gave a message related to this coronavirus situation a week or two ago in his church, Shadow Mountain Community Church in California. I was able to watch that brief, only 37 minutes, but encouraging message via computer.

He gave six points that we should each consider: concentrate on prayer, control your mind, count your blessings, claim your promises, consider your responsibilities and continue your work. I can’t expound on those points here, but I’m sure you can find the message online.

In the message he gave a number of pertinent Scriptures for us to meditate on during this time. In the days of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, a great army came against them. They realized their only hope was from God. In II Chronicles 20: 9 and 12, the king prayed: “If disaster comes upon us, sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this temple and in Your presence and cry out to You in our affliction and You will hear and save…O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude this is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon you!”

Other good verses for our meditation include: “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” (Psalm 56:3) “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for YAH, the Lord is my strength and song.” (Isaiah 12:2) “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because He trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength.” (Isaiah 26:4-5)

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6) “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1:7) And one of my favorite verses: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

This current “crisis” is not the first or the worst our world or our nation has experienced. It is producing a temporary “new normal” with closed schools, churches and businesses, empty grocery store shelves, thoughts of isolation, quarantine and social distancing and so on. But it is not the time for the church to go into isolation or for God’s people to put their heads in the sand.

In times of catastrophe, the church of Jesus Christ has always come to the forefront to offer help, council and prayers to those in need. We have seen it here in Horry County in our recent floods with many, many “people of faith” sacrificing to help clean up, rebuild, feed and clothe us.

During the Eurasian “black death” of the mid-14th century, 75 million to 200 million people died; that amounted to 30 to 60 percent of the population of Europe. (Statistics were not so easily or well-kept in those days, therefore the wide range of estimated deaths, but a tremendous death toll nonetheless.) Those who were wealthy and could, fled the cities for safety in the country. But the church rose up to care for the sick, to feed and clothe the needy and, in doing so, many Christians contracted the plague and died serving the people and the Lord.

In the 1800s, a Belgium monk named Father Damien moved to the leper colony of Molokai where he worked among the “outcasts”, giving physical, emotional and spiritual help. He bandaged running ulcers, he built coffins and dug graves. He headed up the construction of roads, schools, hospitals and churches. And he showed Jesus Christ more by his life than by his words.

One day he scalded himself with boiling water so bad his skin blistered; but he didn’t feel the pain and knew he was then a leper himself. That day he began his message with the words, “My fellow lepers” and after working for eleven years with these “beloved of the Lord”, he died at age 49. He said, “I make myself a leper with the lepers to gain all to Christ.”

And that must be our goal as God’s people during these “dark” days. God gave us minds to take care and not be foolish in how we live. But He also gave us a heart for others, especially the lost, and the verse, “For to me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” None of us are looking to die during this time of disease. But Christ does call us to minister to others, all others.

Take care of your family. Take care of your neighbors and your church family. Check in with older friends and acquaintances and those who may be more “at risk”. Share what you have with those who have needs (yes, even your toilet tissue).

We are not called to be “rash” but to be “radical” in our love for and service to others, as Christ showed us when He left heaven, became a man and gave His very life to give us eternal life.

We have no idea how long this “new normal” will last. I think it will be longer than most people would guess, and I hope I’m wrong. But one thing I know, God is still sovereign and still on His throne. He is still in control and He is calling on His children, His church, to be the light that this every darkening world needs!

“Be anxious for nothing (don’t worry about anything), but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

Cancellations and Postponements

It would be impossible to list every cancellation and postponement in our faith community. Most of our churches and houses of worship will be canceling services, as least for the next few weeks. Many will offer online sermons, live streaming and so on. Be sure to check with your church for the decision of your church leadership.

But don’t take a “vacation” from feeding your spirit: stay in the Word, stay in prayer, keep up with your church members via internet, phone or in small groups. Be available to help others as needed!

For the list of events in this week’s Church Talk, we suggest if you do not know if it has been canceled to call the church before heading out.

A New GAME APP for Kids

Believing that most of us, especially our children and youth, spend way too much time on phones, tablets and computers, I seldom promote this type of thing.

But since your kids are likely to be home more in days to come, how about a new app, a game that will be fun and also spiritually enriching.

Samaritan’s Purse has developed a new Bible game app for ages 5-9. It’s called Greatest Journey and is based on their international discipleship course created for Operation Christmas Child.

It’s a great way for children to learn about God’s Word. Encourage your children and the children in your church or neighborhood to explore the Bible and learn how to follow Jesus through this new mobile app. The app is free and has no in-app purchases or advertisements. It’s available at the App store and Google play. Check out samaritanspurse.org/tgj-app.

Trip of A Lifetime

Wayne and Joy Brown are taking the “trip of a lifetime” and are inviting you to accompany them. This trip to the Holy Land and Germany will include the magnificent and world-famous Oberammergau Passion Play (put on every ten years since the early 1600s). The trip will start July 23 and conclude Aug. 3.

This trip is all inclusive: air transportation from JFK (New York), breakfast and dinner daily, first class hotels, ground transportation, all entrance fees, taxes, tips and gratuities. It is truly going to be a “trip of a lifetime”.

To receive a descriptive brochure with complete itinerary and additional information, call or text the Browns at (843) 796-0397; you may e-mail to Wayne@WayneandJoyBrown.com. Or request in writing at: Wayne and Joy Brown, PO Box 70777, Myrtle Beach SC 29572.

Upcoming Events

Springtime Jubilee, the old-time Gospel Conference for “mature and senior” adults will be at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center April 27-29.

Musicians include Ricky Skaggs, the Booth Brothers, Karen Peck & New River, the New Speer Family and Gold City. Speakers include Johnny Hunt and Dr. Robert Jeffress. Go to jubileeconferences.com or phone 1-800-616-8863.

Rise Up! The Women of Joy 2020 Tour. Myrtle Beach Convention Center May 1-3. Enjoy Sheila Walsh, Mark Lowry, Chrystal Evans Hurst, Lisa Bevere, Michael W. Smith, Lysa Terkeurst and Charles Billingsley.

Register at the website: womenofjoy.org.

Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry

■ First United Methodist Church, 1001 Fifth Ave., will offer Lenten Organ Meditations on Wednesdays at noon during Lent, continuing through April 1. Area organists will present 30-minute concerts on the church’s Schantz Organ. This is free and open to the public.

■ The Catholic Church of St. James, 1071 Academy Drive, invites you to the Stations of the Cross each Friday during Lent at 6 p.m. Then enjoy a free meal at 6:30 p.m. Contact Suzanne McDonough at (843) 347-5168.

■ The Refuge Savannah Bluff (formerly East Conway PH Church), 306 S.C. 544, invites you to its Spring Festival March 28. Browse and buy at the yard sale going on from 7 a.m.- 4 p.m. (or rent a 10’x10’ space for $20 to earn extra cash) and enjoy the Festival from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. There will be music, food (BBQ sandwiches or by the pound) and drinks, bouncy house, games and much more. Phone (843) 347-3406 or (843) 503-3070.

■ Bethany Bible Chapel, 1668 Four Mile Road, will postpone its 27th Annual 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament. It will be rescheduled as soon as feasible.

■ Mt. Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church, 57 11th Ave. in Aynor, invites you to revival services March 31-April 2 at 7 p.m. Guest speakers will be the Rev. Murrell Riggins and Dr. Norman Gamble. Phone (843) 254-2944 or (843) 331-9200.

■ Living Water Baptist Church, 1569 S.C. 9 East in Longs, invites you to an incredible presentation of the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There will be heart-moving music from the choir and a play that will bring you to tears and lift your spirit to the fact that our Lord and Savior is risen! This will be held April 2, 3 and 4 at 7 p.m. and April 5 at 3 p.m. Go to info@livingwaterbaptist.org to learn more.

■ Langston Baptist Church, 763 S.C. 905, invites you to an unforgettable Easter family experience: Walk With Jesus. Bring the whole family and drop in to the Family Life Center from 9:30 a.m.-noon on April 4. Contact Kathie Tindal at (843) 222-7775 or e-mail to ktindal@hotmail.com.

And mark on your calendars that the annual Coastal Evangelism Conference will be held at Langston Aug. 5-7. More information as it becomes available.

■ Brown Swamp United Methodist Church, U.S. 501 West, will hold its annual Easter Egg Hunt April 4 from 10:30 a.m.-noon with a hot dog lunch. Candy and prizes for all kids through elementary school age.

■ Tilly Swamp Survivors of Suicide, a new faith-based support group for those having lost someone to suicide, meets the first and third Mondays of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the church: 4619 S.C. 90. Phone (803) 566-0702.

■ Cherry Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 504 Church St., and Stepnfaith Ministries will present Music Extravaganza 2020 in May and also the Battle of the Voices, a competition for soloists and choirs. Auditions and rehearsals are going on now. These will be led by Minister of Music Kenzie Carey, and you will want to participate. Winners will receive monetary prizes. Phone (843) 248-4900.

■ St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, 3449 S.C. 65, will be distributing food on the second and fourth Fridays of each month from 11 a.m. until all food has been distributed.

■ Loris First United Methodist Church, 3507 Broad St., has a Blessing Box in the church, and it is available each Friday from 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. This box contains nonperishable food items and individuals in need are encouraged to come to the church at those times. Also, if you would like to donate items, please place them in the box.

■ Dogwood Hill Baptist Church, 1040 Mt. Zion Road in Loris, has a food pantry on the third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m.-10 a.m.

■ Salem Baptist Church, 4008 Salem Road in Aynor, opens its Food Bank on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 9 a.m.-noon. The mission: “We serve Christ when we serve people.”

■ The Waccamaw WMU 2020 Spring Meeting scheduled for April 6 hosted by Conway First Baptist Church has been canceled.

Myrtle Beach/The Coast

■ Mt. Olive Church, 1108 Carver St., invites you to a 14-week Strengthening Families Program, each Tuesday through June 9 at 6 p.m. Phone (803) 791-5513 or e-mail thodge@growinghomesse.com.

■ St. Philip Lutheran Church, 6200 N. Kings Highway, will offer Lenten Suppers and Worship (each Wednesday through April 1). Supper begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall; Worship begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Phone (843) 449-5345 or to online to www.stphiliplutheranchurchmb.com.

■ Together in Christ announces these Christ-centered, community, free events. March 1-April 9: 40-Day Global Fast; and Community Prayer & Worship, Friday, noon to midnight, in Ignite Church, 4808 N. Kings Hwy.

■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 1226 Burcale Road, invites you to its annual Journey To Jerusalem, April 10 and 11 at 7 p.m. Come experience this outdoor drama of Jesus’ final week. Walk through Jerusalem. See His death, burial and resurrection. Phone (843) 236-1121.

■ The New Beginnings food distribution (that includes free groceries, lunch, social services information and a children’s craft table) will be held April 18, May 16 and June 20 from 10 a.m.- noon at the Church of the Resurrection, 8901 U.S. 16 Bypass in Surfside Beach. Phone (843) 215-4500.

■ Trinity Church, 3000 North Kings Highway, invites you to a special event! The church’s Music Program, in cooperation with the Grand Strand Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, will present 24 Hours of Bach. That’s right, 24 hours of continuous all-Bach concerts, beginning Friday evening, continuing through the night and into Saturday morning, concluding with a 3 p.m. choral concert featuring selections from Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.

The concert schedule includes a 6 p.m. children’s concert followed by cake and ice cream, four half-hour lectures on Bach’s life and music and two special guest organists, as well as solo and studio recitals by local musicians.

The Royal School of Church Music Treble Festival has chosen Trinity Church as its location for 2020! April 26 will feature two services sung by 50 young choristers from throughout the Carolinas, directed by Dr. Charles Hogan; this will be a 10:30 a.m. service with a 4:30 p.m. evensong, preceded by a 4 p.m. student organ recital.

Concerts and services are free and all are welcome. Phone (843) 448-8426.

■ Tidelands Ford will sponsor a Charity Glowball Golf Tournament April 24 at Wachesaw Plantation in Murrells Inlet. Proceeds will benefit Help4Kids and there are some wonderful prizes. Go to info@help4kidssc.org.

■ St. Michael’s Catholic Church, 542 Cypress Ave. in Murrells Inlet, will have a Life Chain every first Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on U.S. 17 Business, near the church driveway. You are invited to participate in this event. (Bring a chair if not able to stand for the hour.) Contact Joanne Bennett at (614) 313-8425 or e-mail Joanne.bennett55@ gmail.com.

■ Temple Emanu-EL by the Sea, 65th Ave. North and N. Kings Highway, invites you to Friday night service at 7:30 p.m. (Kosher Oneg), Shabbat Service at 10 a.m. (Kosher Kiddush).

Sunday School, 9:30 a.m.-noon,

On Wednesdays: Advanced Hebrew 12:45 p.m.-1:45 p.m., Adult Education, 2 p.m.-3 p.m.; Conversion, 3 p.m.-4 p.m.; Hebrew School, 4 p.m.-6 p.m.

Current Second Nature Project: we are collecting items for New Directions of Horry County that provides shelter and meals for those in need. Please bring paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, diapers), bath towels, laundry soap, toothpaste and brushes, and cleaning supplies. We are continuing to collect new packages of children’s underwear and socks. Bring your donations to the Rosen Center and place in the basket provided by the front door. All Mitzvoth greatly appreciated! Questions? Contact Karen Osborne at (843) 446-1060.

Steffi Nathan Scholarship Fund for Jewish Students (awarded each semester): applications in Temple Office.

Youth 12-16, the Jewish Historical Society of SC has a contest just for you: create an essay or media piece on the topic: My South Carolina Jewish History. Phone (843) 953-4930 or go to the website jhssc.org/contest.

■ Don’t miss the 12th Annual Ground Zero Dragon Boat Festival that has been rescheduled for Sept. 19. Sign up your team today.

■ Low Country Food Bank and Faith Outreach Ministries sponsor Drive-Thru Food Distributions at the Myrtle Beach Bowl, 101 Philip Gray Drive. These are no-cost community events to be held at 3 p.m. on the following Fridays: May 1, July 10, Nov. 6 and Dec. 4.

■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 1226 Burcale Road, opens its Thrift Store each week, Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. You are encouraged to come out and browse and buy and, in so doing, you’ll be supporting this community outreach. Phone (843) 236-1121.

■ Temple Shalom, 4023 Belle Terre Blvd., invites you to Shabbat services each Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Phone (843) 903-6634 or go online to templeshalommyrtlebeach.net.

■ Mark the Date: The 24th Annual Blessing of the Inlet at Belin United Methodist Church, Murrells Inlet, will be held May 2. More information coming up in Church Talk.

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I'm the editor of the Horry Independent, a weekly newspaper in Conway, South Carolina. I cover city hall and courts, among many other subjects. Know of a good story? Call me at 843-488-7241.

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