I enjoy and appreciate the ministry of a number of well-known radio “preachers” including David Jeremiah, Max Lucado, Charles Swindoll, Jeff Schreve, Ravi Zacharias, Erwin Lutzer, the late Adrian Rogers and more. But since I’m listening in my car as I go visiting, run errands and so on, I seldom hear a whole sermon.

A week or two ago I was listening to one of my favorites, Dr. Tony Evans. He was speaking on the topic of how Christ relates to us through our relations with Him and others. One point had to do with our giving and he told this story:

One day a woman went to her mailbox and inside was a note: “I’ll be joining you for dinner this evening. Jesus”. Surprised but delighted the woman surveyed her pantry and hurried to the store for groceries. She stocked up and was heading home to cook for the Savior.

Just outside the grocery store, the woman met a poor beggar whom she could tell hadn’t eaten in a while. He asked for food. Her first thought was that the groceries were for Jesus. But her heart was touched by the plight of the man so she gave him some of her food. Then she hurried on toward home.

Just down the street she met an older woman also begging for food. It was apparent that she too had not had much to eat. Again, the woman thought that her groceries were for Jesus. But she was once more touched by the need so she gave some of her food to the woman.

As she neared her house, she met a young woman and two small children. She also needed food and all three looked like they hadn’t had a meal in quite a long time. For the third time, the woman wanted to take her groceries home to cook for Jesus, but again, so touched by this need, she gave the rest of her groceries to the woman and children.

As she arrived home, she was so sad that she had nothing really appropriate to feed the God of the Universe. She didn’t know what to do. As she opened her door, a note fell at her feet. It said, “Thanks for such a wonderful dinner. I had a lovely time with you. Jesus.”

I know; the story is simplistic and predictable. But the truth inside it is profound. Jesus said it Himself, “When you give to the ‘least of these’ (the truly needy), you give to me.”

The Thanksgiving/Christmas seasons are times our minds often go to the needs of others; and rightfully so. But the needy are always among us. So, our heart of compassion, of generosity should be the same in January, July, September and December (and the other eight months as well).

We cannot meet every need; but if we all meet the needs the Lord reveals to us and puts on our heart, many people will be touched by the love of Christ, through our simple giving.

This was illustrated this past Saturday when a group from our church traveled to Charlotte to Samaritan Purse’s Operation Christmas Child shoebox processing center. Inside this huge warehouse, hundreds of volunteers were “busy as bees” preparing boxes to be shipped to boys and girls all over the world. Each box contained school supplies, toys, hygiene items and more. And when the boxes reach their destinations, local churches will pass them out, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and discipling kids. In all, OCC will process (in total) about 9 million boxes this year; almost 2.5 million will come through the Charlotte center.

This is too much for any one of us or any one church. But when the body of Christ works together, in His power, much can and will be accomplished; needs will be met and the gospel will be spread.

So, what can you do? Just give it some thought. Your church or your church’s denomination probably has benevolent ministries you can help. Locally, get involved in Churches Assisting People (CAP), Help4Kids, the Salvation Army and their many ministries (including the Red Kettle Campaign, Angel Tree and more), the Shepherd’s Table, area food banks and pantries, homeless shelters, Toys for Tots, nursing homes and hospitals, retirement communities, local schools, the list goes on and on.

You can sing in your church’s Christmas program, visit a lonely neighbor or someone you know (or don’t know) in a hospital or nursing home. You can take a meal to a shut-in or give a phone call (not a text or e-mail) to someone who may be lonely or “down”. Or, how about rallying your church family or Sunday school class to go caroling through the neighborhood? (Our church does that each December. and I’m always amazed at how touched people are with that simple act).

Finally, if you’ve exhausted all other possibilities, do this. Go dig out that newspaper insert Holiday Gift Guide 2019. (It was included in all of the Waccamaw Publisher’s newspapers a week or two back.) You may have to look for it, but do so! Get it out of recycling; unwrap whatever you used it to wrap; find another lining for your birdcage. Now turn to page 39 and read “30 Ways to Celebrate a Very Merry Month”.

Now, let’s get busy. Remember, the Lord promises to give us “enough”. When we have “more than enough” and most of us do, it’s there to help others. He may not come to your house for dinner, but you’ll make His heart rejoice (and your own) when you get into the spirit of giving and “other-centeredness” every day, every month, every year. “When you do it to others, you do it to me!” Jesus.

Christmas Luminary Candlelight Service

Everyone is cordially invited to the annual Goldfinch-Hillcrest Cemetery Christmas Luminary Candlelight Service to be held Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Come light candles that have been placed in the cemetery and honor the memory of your loved ones. Refreshments will be served. Those attending are asked to bring a canned food product to assist Churches Assisting People (CAP). Please plan to arrive early. Phone (843) 347-4909, (843) 248-4211 or go to www.HillcrestCemetery.com.

Aynor Cemetery Remembrance Service

Aynor Cemetery will hold its 11th Annual Candlelight Remembrance Service Dec. 19 at 6 p.m. Luminaries will be placed on each grave in the cemetery. Come light a candle to celebrate the life of your loved one.

Proudly Pro-Life Weekend

As we continue to fight the good fight for the lives of our most helpless citizens, our unborn children, we salute and support the organizations that lead us, groups like South Carolina Citizens for Life and Grand Strand Citizens for Life.

SCCL will again sponsor a Proudly Pro-Life Weekend, Jan. 10-11, 2020, in Columbia.

On the 10th, attend the Proudly Pro-Life Dinner Theater featuring a one-act pro-life play entitled Viable. This will be held at Seawells, 1125 Rosewood Drive. Tickets are $45. Doors open and silent auction begins at 5:30 p.m., buffet is served at 5:45 p.m. and the program begins at 6:45 p.m.

(If you wish to stay overnight, contact Graduate Columbia, formerly the Inn at USC at (843) 779-7779. SCCL has a block of rooms at a special rate available through Jan. 2

On Saturday, join the Stand Up For Life March and Rally. And on Jan. 15 there will be a press conference on the Heartbeat Bill.

Meanwhile, may we all pray that the holocaust of abortion will end soon!

Peace in the Womb Christmas Caroling

This Saturday, people all over the nation will be bringing the joy of Christmas to one of the world’s darkest places, the abortion clinic. Christmas caroling will be held in many cities in America that house Planned Parenthood abortion facilities, including Charleston.

St. Michael’s Church Respect Life Committee is organizing a trip to Charleston on that day. Meet at the church, 542 Cyprus Drive in Garden City, at 7:30 a.m. to carpool to the facility at 1312 Ashley River Road. If you can drive and take others, please make that known. Contact Barbara Umbleby at (843) 516-0867 or e-mail to hannahbumpleby@yahoo.com.

It is hoped that the familiar and joy-filled carols of the season may be used to save lives. The gathering is open to all and will be held on public sidewalks so dress for the weather.

Invite your community

Most churches, synagogues and other houses of worship have special services during the season of Christmas, Hanukkah/Chanukah and so on. Invite your community to come celebrate and worship with you.

Send your announcements to Church Talk in a timely manner and our four newspapers will help you get the word out. You can fax your announcement to (843) 369-7731 or e-mail to bethanyb@sccoast.net.

Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry

■ Conway’s First Friday Evening of Prayer will be held this week at 7 p.m. at Bethany Bible Chapel, 1668 Four Mile Road. All of God’s children are encouraged to attend for a time of praise, thanksgiving, intercession and supplication. Phone (843) 369-7729.

■ This Saturday from 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. North Conway Baptist Church, Sessions Street, will present its annual live nativity and choral concert, Lights Music Christmas.

■ The Music and Arts Ministry of First United Methodist Church, 1001 Fifth Ave., announces its 2019 Advent Concert schedule: Dec. 8 and 15 at 4 p.m. in the Hut Chapel: Candlelight Advent Concerts with members of Long Bay Symphony; Dec. 11, 6:30 p.m. Christmas Handbell Concert with Asbury Ringers and Voices in Bronze; Dec. 18 at 6:30 p.m. Angels Say What?, a children’s Christmas musical complete with set, props and wardrobe; Dec. 22 at 10:30 a.m. Festival of Lessons and Carols with Chancel Choir, members of Long Bay Symphony, organ and handbells. All programs are free and offered as a gift to the community. You are welcome to attend!

■ Dogwood Hill Baptist Church, 1040 Mt. Zion Road in Loris, will host the Allen Family Ministries, sharing God’s Word in music and song. This will be held Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. All are welcome. Phone (843) 756-3450.

■ One of the area’s most anticipated Christmas activities is back! Conway’s Maple Baptist Church, 4500 S.C. 65 will host its Eighth Annual Nativities’ Exhibition Friday from 2 p.m.-6 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from noon-4 p.m.

The exhibit of more than 200 local, national and international nativities is located inside with a few large sets and a live nativity outside. This amazing exhibition contains sets in various sizes, materials and interpretations, including professional artwork, originals by local artisans and antiques.

Costumes are provided on Saturday for a photo-op at the live nativity stable. There will be a silent auction, and snacks and goodies available for purchase. Papa John’s Pizza will be available on Friday after 5:30 p.m. and BBQ plates to go will be available on Sunday from noon-1 p.m. Free admission; donations accepted. Phone (843) 365-3685 or go to www.maplebaptistchurch.com. (Personal note: I have visited this exhibition the last two to three years and have found this a wonderful and worthwhile activity. Join me this year!)

■ Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, 2105 U.S. 501 E (across from HGTC), announces two upcoming events: On Saturday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. enjoy the Christmas Cookie Sale. There will be old-fashion homemade cookies plus decorated, sprinkled and traditional cookies. Everything delicious! And homemade candies, too! Yum! Phone (843) 457-3547.

On Dec. 13 at 5 p.m. the church will serve a free dinner to the community. This meal is open to anyone who would like to attend! Phone (843) 347-4914.

■ The Chancel Choir of Aynor United Methodist Church, 1007 Elm St., will present a Christmas Cantata Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to this special service to celebrate our Savior’s birth. Refreshments will follow in the church fellowship hall.

■ Langston Baptist Church, 763 S.C. 905, invites you to its Christmas musical drama Come See the Lamb to be held Dec. 14 at 7p.m. and Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. Suggested donation is one canned food item for INASMUCH.

■ Conway Christian School, 1200 Medlen Parkway, will host the annual Tip-off Basketball Classic Dec. 12-14. The first game will begin that Thursday at 4 p.m. In addition to the homestanding CCS Eagles, participants will be Aynor, Trinity Byrnes, Socastee, Clarendon Hall, Scotland Christian, New Life Christian and Laurence Manning.

In addition to the games, Friday night will include a three-point shooting contest and slam-dunk contest.

Phone (843) 365-2005.

■ You’re invited to Christmas Eve at the Rock with three services at 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Visit rockc3.com.

■ 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 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.”

Myrtle Beach/The Coast

■ Ocean Drive Presbyterian Church, 410 Sixth Ave. South in North Myrtle Beach, invites you to Sunday Advent Worship services: 9:15 a.m. and 11 a.m., Contemporary; and 11 a.m., Traditional.

In addition, come Dec. 15 at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. for A Celtic Christmas Celebration. The Christmas Eve Candlelight Services will be held at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Go online to www.oceandrivechurch.org.

■ Now through Christmas, from 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 1226 Burcale Road, has its Christmas Tree and More sale: wreaths, trees, hot cocoa, red truck photo op and so on. Phone (843) 236-1121.

■ The Long Bay Symphony with members of the Carolina Master Chorale and the St. Augustine Choir presents Handel’s Messiah Saturday at 4 p.m. in Trinity Church, 3000 N. Kings Hwy. Admission is free with a donation of a book and snack for Freedom Readers, but tickets must be reserved in advance.

A second presentation will be given Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in All Saints Church, 3560 Kings River Road, Pawleys Island. This is also free for a donation, but no reservations are needed. Phone (843) 448-8379 or go online to www.LongBaySymphony.com.

■ Saturday, Broadway at the Beach will have its annual Christmas Parade. At 12:45 p.m. you will want to be part of the Flash Mob for Christ. What is the purpose? To offer hope during the holidays.

This is sponsored by Seacoast Vineyard Church and Journeychurch of Myrtle Beach. There will be some practices and the dance will be available on Youtube to learn. Contact Kate Decker at decker@Iam4health.com or (732) 236-7917. All participants will need to sign up and sign a waiver.

■ 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 and Hebrew 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.

Current Second Nature Project: we are collecting canned goods and snack items to help both the Community Kitchen and Helping Hand. Place them in the basket by the front door of the Rosen Center. All Mitzvoth greatly appreciated. Questions? Contact Karen Osborne at (843) 446-1060.

And Save the Date: next Mahjong tournament will be Dec. 13.

Chanukah Dinner and Talent Show (children and adults welcome), Dec. 22, 6 p.m. Dinner will include salmon, spaghetti, salad, grilled vegetables, latkes, sufganiyot and ice cream. Adults $17; children 12 & under, $10; 3 and under, free. Make checks payable to Temple Emanu-El Brotherhood and mail to 406 65th Ave. N., Myrtle Beach, SC 29572. Or call the temple office at (843) 449-5552 to make your reservation via credit or debit card. Your payment is your reservation and should be received no later than Dec. 16. Each family should bring a Menorah!

■ St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, 3301 33rd Ave. North Ext., will host its Ninth Annual Pancake Breakfast with Santa Saturday at 8 a.m. This is sponsored by the Myrtle Beach Professional Firefighters, and all donations and proceeds will purchase Christmas gifts for local children. Contact Adam Oleszkowicz at (843) 602-1597.

■ Faith Outreach Ministries of the Grand Strand and Lowcountry Food Back, will have “Drive Thru Free Food Distribution” at the Myrtle Beach Bowl, 101 Philip Gray Drive, on Dec. 13 from 3 p.m.-5 p.m.

Also, the New Beginnings food distribution, which includes free groceries, lunch social services information and a children’s craft table, will be held Dec. 21 from 10 a.m.-noon at the Church of the Resurrection, 8901 U.S. 16 Bypass in Surfside Beach. Phone (843) 25-4500.

■ The Carolina Master Chorale will present Christmas and All That Brass at 4 p.m. on Dec. 14 in Trinity United Methodist Church, 706 14th Ave. S in North Myrtle Beach, and at 4 p.m. on Dec. 15 at Trinity Church, 3000 North Kings Hwy. Tickets will sell fast so don’t wait to get yours. Phone (843) 444-5774 or go to www.CarolinaMasterChorale.com.

■ Festive Brass presents Christmas Around the World on Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. in First United Methodist Church, 901 Kings Highway. The event is free and family friendly and accessible for all ages. Don’t miss it.

■ Each evening, from Dec. 22-30 at 5:15 p.m., gather at Valor Park in the Market Common for the Lighting of the Menorah. Temple Shalom will hold the service the first night.

■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 1226 Burcale Road, opens its Thrift Store each week, Thursday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. You are encouraged to come out, 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.

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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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