It’s confession time. When I’m in the car, and I’m out and about often during the week, I almost always listen to the radio.

And I’m a “constant” channel surfer. I like to listen to a variety of programming, from Christian ministry to Christian music to classic country! And as I turn the tuner dial, I hear lots of different things.

This past week as I was out and about, I heard some “oldies”, “classic rock” from when I was just a young man. The similar lyrics from two of these songs caught my attention.

The first was John Lennon’s song Imagine. He sang, “Imagine there’s no heaven; it’s easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky…” (1971)

The other, from 1968 was a Blood, Sweat and Tears song, And When I Die. They sang, “I can swear there ain’t no heaven, put I pray there ain’t no hell.”

Both songs are indicative of the era in which they became popular and the turmoil in America during the ‘60s and ‘70s. But sadly, all too many people, going blindly in their own way, echo the same “hopes” today.

Empty religion, hopelessness, sensual culture, selfishness, materialism, hate and discouragement leave many wondering about the future and fearful about what may be on the other side of the grave. So we revert to trying to convince ourselves that, maybe there is a heaven out there someplace, but surely there isn’t a hell.

But as much as we may try to convince ourselves of this, inside of each and every human being there are certain “default” truths, built into us by the Creator. Among these truths are these: the grave is not the end; while our bodies will one day go into the ground, our souls and spirits are eternal.

And inasmuch as our souls and spirits are eternal, there are two and only two possible final destinies for the human after death. These are heaven and hell.

Another truth is that we are all accountable to God, the Creator of the Universe and one day we will all stand before Him to give account of our lives. As we stand before Him, our eternal destinations have already been secured, on this side of the grave.

Certainly, most humans want to believe in a heaven, or some sort of place where we’ll find rest after this life. But also, certainly there could be no hell; a loving God would never send a soul to a lost eternity. And again, we know deep within the recesses of our being, the truth that if there is a heaven, there must also be a hell.

Yes, absolutely, God is a loving God. He created man and woman perfectly and placed them in a perfect garden; but He warned that sin would have its consequences, both in this world and in the next. And for the rebellious angel, Lucifer (Satan, the devil) and his followers, God prepared a place of eternal torment.

The Bible says clearly that God is not willing that any should perish. But if He is God, if He is just, if He is holy, if He is true to His word (and He is), then sin must be punished once and for all. So God allows all who have lived an absolutely perfect life to ascend to heaven at death (there are none of those); and He allows all of those who have committed one sin (or more) to destine themselves to eternal hell. And since all of us are sinners, what does that mean for us? It means we all deserve hell!

“But God” (two of the greatest words in the whole Bible), in His great mercy, love and grace, sent His Son, Jesus Christ into this world to become a man, to live a perfect life, to die on a cross bearing our sins. And while on that cross, Christ paid the full price; He literally suffered there what you and I would suffer for eternity in hell. Then He died, was buried and the third day rose again.

Christ ascended into heaven where, in His own words, He is busy preparing a place for us…but not for all of us. Certainly heaven is large enough to house every human being (as is hell). But all will not be in heaven.

Only those who accept Christ as Savior and Lord, having been convicted by the Holy Spirit, will be in heaven. (Read John 3, Romans 10 and Ephesians 2, among other passages.) As we stand before God, we’ll find that the blood of Christ covers and erases all sin. We’ll be ushered into our place in eternity, with the Lord Jesus, not because we deserve it but because Christ died for us.

And when those who willingly reject Christ stand before God, they’ll be speechless before Him, realizing they have no defense, no plea but are justly sent away into “outer darkness” for eternity.

So John Lennon can imagine there’s no heaven or hell; Blood Sweat and Tears can swear there’s no heaven and hope there’s no hell; the simple truth is that there is and you and I know it. The Bible says, “Today is the day of salvation”. We’re not guaranteed tomorrow, or even the next hour or minute. And when we breathe our last, our eternal destiny is sealed.

Please take a minute today and ask yourself, “When I stand before God, will He be my Savior or my Judge?” He wants to be your Savior!

See Overcomer This Week

First it was Flywheel in 2003; then Facing the Giants in 2006; next we saw Fireproof in 2008; then Courageous in 2011; it was War Room in 2015 and this week the Kendrick Brothers bring the next in a long line of Christian movies, Overcomer.

I was privileged to see the movie and it is indeed challenging and convicting. It deals with an issue facing almost all our young people and most of us adults as well! Check the theaters and see how long it will be around; if still in the area, don’t miss it.

Children’s Ministry Conference

Child Evangelism Fellowship of the Greater Pee Dee will hold its annual Children’s Ministry Conference Sept. 7 at Calvary Christian School.

This conference is a great training event and refresher for all who work in any children’s ministry: Good News Club, Sunday school, Children’s Church, etc. Go online to www.cefgpd.org.

Ground Zero News

Ground Zero of Myrtle Beach has the following three events upcoming. On Sept. 21 from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. you can participate in the National Day of Youth Ministry Training. This is a program for all members of the church youth ministry team. Eight different sessions will be held.

Then on Oct. 13, don’t miss iWorship with Sean McDowell. And on Nov. 16 hear the Newsboys in concert. Go to www.mygroundzero.com.

New Beginnings Food Distribution

Faith Outreach Ministries of the Grand Strand sponsors the New Beginnings Food Distribution on the third Saturday of each month at the Church of the Resurrection, 8901 U.S. 17 Bypass in Surfside Beach. The event goes from10 a.m.-noon and there will be free groceries, free lunch, social services information and a children’s craft table.

Fall dates for New Beginnings are Sept. 21, Oct. 19, and Nov. 16. Phone (843) 215-4500.

CEF Softball Tournament Rescheduled

Child Evangelism Fellowship of the Greater Pee Dee will host its first Slow-Pitch Softball Tournament to benefit Good News Clubs.

The tournament has been rescheduled and now will be held Oct. 19 at 8 Oaks Park in Georgetown. This is a co-ed tournament, teams of 10-15 players, age 15 and over. Cost is $15 per player.

Go online to www.cefgpd.org, phone (843) 365-4233 or e-mail susie@cefgpd.org.

This Event is PLANNED!

Abby Johnson is the courageous young lady that God used to open millions of eyes to the evil of the abortion industry. Her book and subsequent movie UNPLANNED tell the story of an abortion clinic worker who bought into the lie that abortions are all about helping women. Witnessing firsthand the death of an innocent child in an abortion procedure changed her life and she took on Planned Parenthood and others to share the truth of this heinous practice.

As the guest of Coastline Women’s Center, there is a PLANNED event, An Evening With Abby Johnson. This will be held Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. in Christ United Church, Myrtle Beach. You won’t want to miss it. Tickets are now available and I believe this event will sell out quickly. Call Coastline Women’s Center at (843) 877-9653, email to jeannieandcartersmith@gmail.com, or go online to coastlinewomenscenter.org.

Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry

■ Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, 2105 U.S. 501, will serve a fundraiser meal Saturday at 5 p.m. Phone (843) 234-3266 or (843) 655-1503.

■ Bethlehem Baptist Church, 5201 S.C. 905, invites all ladies to More Than a Teacup, 2019 Women’s Retreat. Guest speaker will be Renee Kinlaw and worship time will be presented by Living By Faith, Saved By Grace.

This special event will be held Sept. 7. Session 1 begins at 8:30 a.m. with brunch served at 10 a.m. Session 2 begins at 11:30 a.m. Cost is $20 per person. Make checks payable to Bethlehem Baptist Women of Faith. Contact Lynn Edge at (843) 251-3263 or Nichole Gore at (843) 254-1545.

■ Johnson Edition, an upstate South Carolina sibling group, will be in concert Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. in Dogwood Hill Baptist Church, 1040 Mt. Zion Road in Loris. These young people blend a traditional and progressive sound for all ages and give the message that Jesus truly loves everyone. Phone (843) 756-3450.

■ Homewood Baptist Church, 3296 S.C. 319, invites you to Homecoming Sept. 15 beginning at 10:30 a.m. Musical guests will be Johnson Edition, a sibling quartet from upstate South Carolina. Lunch will follow morning worship. Phone (843) 365-3403.

■ Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 2610 Mt. Zion Road in Loris, invites you to Homecoming Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. Come hear the Rev. Michael Lee and the Wright Family. Phone (843) 365-5381.

■ Cherry Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 504 Church St., invites everyone to a Community Health Fair Oct. 12 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

The theme of the event is Health is Wealth: Fitness for your Mind, Body and Spirit. Vendors are needed for the event. 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.”

Myrtle Beach/The Coast

■ This Friday, the Church of the Resurrection, 8901 U.S. 17 Bypass South, Surfside Beach, will host a Hurricane Preparedness workshop. Meet and Greet at 10:30 a.m. and the presentation at 11 a.m.

The presenter will be Thomas Bell, Public Information Office for Horry County Emergency Management. Everyone is encouraged to come to be prepared for the upcoming hurricane season.

■ Murrells Inlet Presbyterian Church, 4499 S.C. 17 Bypass, invites you to hear the Pawleys Island Concert Band Jazz Ensemble in Java and Jazz Friday at 7 p.m. (Also enjoy hot coffee and sweet treats!)

You are also invited to hear Geof Kimber in concert Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. Phone (843) 651-3751.

■ St. Philip Lutheran Preschool, located at 6200 N. Kings Hwy., is now accepting new students for the 2019-2020 school year. There are openings for 2, 3, and 4-year-olds.

The first day for the new school year will be Sept. 4. Before and After care is available upon request (fees apply). Call preschool director Janice Myers at (843) 449-4322 or visit the Preschool page on the church website at stphiliplutheranchurchmb.com.

■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church Preschool Academy is now accepting applications for your child. This small, personal and Christian-based setting is run within a structured program including nurturing learning opportunities with a loving staff that cares for your child.

Cost is $75 per week/per child. Call the church office at (843) 236-1121. The church address is 1226 Burcale Road.

■ Have you ever secretly wished you could try your hand at acting in a small part or have you actually acted before? The Well By The Sea on Forestbrook Road is launching a new Creative Expressions Department.

The Well has a script in hand and is seeking community members from age 5-85, who want to be considered for a volunteer part in the drama. Speaking parts and nonspeaking parts are available. And there is a need for various volunteer stage crewmembers. No experience is necessary! Email Deborah at personalityprism@gmail.com.

■ Mt. Leon Baptist Church invites men to the Men’s Retreat at FFA Camp Sept. 20 and 21. The camp is located at 1069 FFA Camp Road in North Myrtle Beach. Cost is $25 for overnight or $10 Saturday only. Phone (843) 399-3793 or (843) 602-4542.

■ Temple Emanu-EL by the Sea, 65th Avenue 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 Registration, Orientation and Pizza Party will be held Sept. 8 at 9:30 a.m. (Students must be accompanied by a parent.) Tuition is $180 per child. Principal is Perri Sullivan.

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

Order High Holiday Challahs and Honeycakes at (336) 402-1014.

Rosh Hashanah begins Sept. 29!

Camp Judaea: Israel, Judaism, Nature, Community, Individual growth. For boys and girls age 7-15. Register for next summer by calling1-404-634-7883.

■ 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 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.

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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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