Psalm 136 begins, “O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good; for His mercy endures forever.”
Three additional times in this chapter the Psalmist encourages us to give thanks as he recounts God’s mercy and goodness. And we can all say “Amen”, God is good, all the time! Thank you, Lord!
As we come into the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, we often stop to count our blessings, something we should do much more often, like 365 days a year (366 days next year!). And one of the blessings we often overlook is the blessing of family!
HTC’s recent change to digital television gave me the Hallmark Channel and now I’m “addicted” to Hallmark Christmas movies (and other channels are already showing Christmas movies). There are recurring themes in these movies and even though the plots are quite predictable, and the ending is generally happy, family plays an important role.
I thank God for my family, my families. While most of my “blood” family has gone on, I treasure the memories and love those that remain. I thank God for my wife and my in-laws. I love my Bethany church family and my West Virginia church families. And I have been so blessed to have wonderful families in every place I’ve worked.
It is so tragic to see the destruction of the nuclear family in our world today. In God’s perfect creation, which He deemed “very good”, He created family. When Satan despicably decided to destroy that creation, his first target was the family, and as they say, the rest is history.
Today we see so many torn families, hurt spouses, destroyed children. We see church families splintered; work families stabbing each other in the back for promotions or money.
And we seldom stop to realize the blessing of family life when we live in harmony and peace. No, it is not easy. Each family member is a sinful, flawed person, but in family we rejoice in our diversity and accept each other. And we always make room at the dinner table for the whole family.
Recently my wife showed me this poem in one of her cookbooks. It’s by the noted early 20th century poet Edgar Guest and entitled “Old Fashioned Dinners”. It is my Thanksgiving gift to you, faithful member of the Church Talk “family”!
“It wasn’t too much work for her in days of long ago to get a dinner ready for a dozen friends or so; the mother never grumbled at the cooking she must do or the dusting or the sweeping, but she seemed to smile it through.
“And the times that were happiest, beyond the slightest doubt, were when good friends were coming and we stretched the table out. We never thought, when we were young, to take our friends away and entertain them at a club or in some swell café; when mother gave a dinner, she would plan it all herself and feed the people that she liked the best things on the shelf.
“Then one job always fell to me, for I was young and stout, I brought the leaves to father when he stretched the table out. That good old-fashion table, I can see it still today with its curious legs of varnished oak round, which I used to play; it wasn’t much to look at, not as stylish or refined or as costly or as splendid as the oval modern kind. But it always had a welcome for our friends to sit about and though twenty guests were coming, we could always stretch it out.
“I learned it from my mother, it is foolish pride to roam, the only place to entertain your friends is right at home. Just let them in by dozens, let them laugh and sing and play and come to love and know them in the good old-fashioned way; home’s the place for fun and friendship, home’s the place where joy may shout, and if you crowd our dining room, we’ll stretch the table out.”
Thank You: Waccamaw Publishers and Readers!
This week marks my fifteenth anniversary as a contributor to Church Talk for the newspapers of Waccamaw Publishers. This has been a great experience for me and I’ve met a lot of wonderful people and learned so much.
I take this seriously as a ministry for the Lord and appreciate the opportunity. I pray over each column that the Word of God will be truly spoken and will reach into the hearts of each reader. I believe God’s promise that His Word will not return void and I understand this is not my work, not my words but His.
I want to say “Thank you” to Publisher Steve Robertson for continuing to have the courage to publish a column like Church Talk in today’s climate. And I want to say “Thank you” to Kathy, Annette, Janet, Charles, Betty, Ettie and all of those who work for the newspapers and do the hard work of editing, sorting, printing and getting these newspapers out to the public. In a time of e-news and e-mags, I hear so many people say they appreciate the “uniqueness” and “reality” of the Independent, Scene, Chronicle and Herald.
I also want to thank all of those in the churches and faith organizations who send in the announcements and articles. I’ve met a lot of wonderful folks, some “live”, some by phone, by e-mail or by fax. But I appreciate your using our “vehicle” to let the community know the important things that you’re doing for the Lord,
Last but certainly not least, thanks to the readers; we may not know many of you, but we appreciate all of you. And I really appreciate those who take time to let me know you read Church Talk, those who agree and those who don’t! God bless you all!
Pray for the OCC Shoeboxes
Thousands of boxes have been packed with t-shirts, socks, pencils, pens, notebooks, toothbrushes, toys, novelties and much more. Each box is as unique as the child who will one day receive it.
Each box and each child will receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news that He died for all and that He loves all of us. Now let us pray for the boxes, those we packed and those that were packed by others.
Pray that the boxes will find their way safely to their destination. Pray that the boy or girl who receives it will understand the love of the giver and more importantly the Love of Christ. Pray that boys and girls will be saved through this simple, yet profound ministry. And pray that these young lives will be discipled and will grow in the Lord and likewise bear fruit for God!
Christmas Luminary Candlelight Service
Everyone is cordially invited to the annual Goldfinch-Hillcrest Cemetery Christmas Luminary Candlelight Service to be held Dec. 8 at 5:30 p.m. Come and light candles that have been placed in the cemetery and honor the memory of your loved ones. Refreshments will be served. Those attending are suggested 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.
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 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!
Salvation Army needs you
The Salvation Army works 24/7/365 all around the world. At Christmas, there are a number of special ministries and you can help out.
We’ve all seen the familiar Red Kettles, manned by bell ringers, collecting donations throughout the community. You or your organization can help by ringing that bell. This will take place beginning in November through Christmas Eve.
Angel Tree is designed to provide new clothing and toys for children in our community. The trees are decorated with “Angel tags” with a child’s name, age, gender and you purchase gifts for that child. What a great holiday family activity! Adopt an angel!
Last year more than 1,200 children received toys and clothes through Angel Tree. This year, the need may well be 1,500. If you can’t do an Angel Tree child, perhaps you can help with a Toy Drive, collecting new toys for needy children.
To see what you can do phone (843) 488-2769 or go online to www.tsahorry.org. And remember, need knows no season. Show the love of Christ to others all year long!
“I Believe” Fundraiser
The 13th Annual I Believe Children’s Holiday Fundraiser to support Help4Kids will be held Dec. 10 from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. at the Hot Fish Club, Murrells Inlet. Tickets are $125 in advance, $150 day of; tickets include entry, entertainment, food and open bar. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.com (searching “I Believe”).
Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry
■ Conwayites John and Mary Long will be at Kingston Presbyterian Church in Conway Sunday at 10:30 a.m. to talk about their year serving as missionaries in Tanzania. The couple works as part of the Beautiful Feet ministries.
■ The Music and Arts Ministry of First United Methodist Church, 1001 Fifth Ave., announces its 2019 Advent Concert schedule: Dec. 1, 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 on Dec. 6 from 2 p.m.-6 p.m., Dec. 7 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Dec. 8 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 for take-out 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 past two or 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 Dec. 7 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 Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend this special service to celebrate our Savior’s birth. Refreshments will follow in the church fellowship hall.
■ Conway Christian School, 1200 Medlen Parkway, will host its 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, other participants include Aynor, Trinity Byrnes, Socastee, Clarendon Hall, Scotland Christian, New Life Christian and Laurence Manning.
Friday night’s activities will also include a three-point shooting contest and slam-dunk contest. Phone (843) 365-2005.
■ 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
■ On Thanksgiving Day, the Well by the Sea Church, 211 Forestbrook Road, is providing an absolutely free full-course homemade dinner for all who would like to come. Hungry? Alone? College student? First Responder? Unable to cook for yourself? Just want to get out? No need for hunger or loneliness this Thanksgiving Day! No RSVP; just come! More info? Phone the church office at (843) 236-8852 or Debbie Hamilton at (843) 733-2430. Or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Help spread the word!
■ 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, Friday and again on Dec. 13 from 3 p.m.-5 p.m.
■ The Long Bay Symphony with members of the Carolina Master Chorale and the St. Augustine Choir presents Handel’s “Messiah” Dec. 7 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 Dec. 8 at 2:30 p.m. at 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.
■ 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. (No classes Nov. 27)
Current Second Nature Project: we are collecting canned goods and snack items 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.
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!
■ On Dec. 7, 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 sigh up and sign a waiver.
■ 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 in 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.
■ 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.
■ 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.