As I write this week’s Church Talk, Hurricane Dorian is monopolizing the news. The storm is churning across the Caribbean toward the United States and the “cone of uncertainty” has everyone from Florida to North Carolina (and maybe even farther north) concerned.
There is very little humans can do about this storm except to prepare for it. We make sure we have gasoline, water, food, batteries and other necessities; we try to make our homes and other buildings as secure as we can. But we cannot control the direction or the ferocity of storms. Nor can we often control the arrival or strength of the other “storms of life”.
On Saturday we had our monthly men’s prayer breakfast at Bethany. Twenty men gathered for a great breakfast and time of fellowship; but most importantly we spent over an hour in prayer and supplication. Our list of praises and thanksgiving were many; our list of needs was humanly staggering. But as we prayed, we realized we were talking to the God who already knows the needs, is mighty enough to meet all the needs, and who is loving and merciful enough to hear and to care.
As I came away from that prayer time, I realized that my current storms are very small compared to what many in our church family are going through. But I also realize that, at any time, a major “life hurricane” could erupt in my life or family.
Why do hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and other natural disasters come? Why is there poverty and famine? Why does death come so suddenly via wars, homeland shootings, accidents and disease? Why do we hear so much about cancer, heart attacks and Alzheimer’s? Why does a good, loving and mighty God allow such things?
There are basically three reasons for such life storms. Sometimes they are the result of our own personal sin, bad choices, mistakes in our own lives and the lives of those around us.
Sometimes God brings them upon us to bring us closer to Him, to show us our weakness and dependence, to shine light on a need in our lives, and to test our spiritual mettle. And in these occurrences, He sometimes allows Satan to test us as well (as He did Job).
But I think for the most part, tragedies and disasters are simply the natural consequence of weak, sinful human beings, living in a sin-filled, fallen world. And so many times as we see people experiencing major difficulties, someone will say, “I don’t know how people get through things like that without Jesus Christ!”
Some people believe that every life problem, every difficulty, every negative event is the result of our own sin or being out of the will of God. I’m glad that is not the case. In Mark 4 we see an interesting story.
Jesus and His followers have had a tiring day. As evening comes, Jesus tells the disciples, “Hey, guys, let’s all get into the boat and go to the other side”, and they do. Then verse 37 says, “there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat on the ship until it was full of water.” The disciples just knew they were going to sink and drown!
Get the picture! They were in the storm because Jesus told them to go. They were “in the storm in the will of God”. They could have drowned, but Jesus quieted the storm and gave us a valuable lesson…God is still in control…of storms, disease, everything. He allows these things to happen to us for a reason. But for His child, He is always there with us as He was with the disciples.
A young man I met many years ago (he was my camp counselor in 1963, the year I came to Christ as Savior and Lord) was called to the mission field. He took a ship to Africa and on the way from the ship to the mission station he was killed in a car wreck! He wrote these words, “Each of us is an island surrounded by the sea of God’s love; and nothing can happen to us without first passing over the sea of God’s love.”
Storms of all kinds can arise in our lives at any time. We constantly live in the “cone of uncertainty”. But this one thing is certain, we can know personally the God of the universe as Savior and constant friend, and He will walk with us through each and every storm!
We aren’t foolish; we keep up with what’s going on around us. We don’t invite problems and storms. But we don’t worry about them either! Jesus told the storm in Mark 4 to end, “Peace be still”! And He asked the disciples, “Why are you worrying? Have faith!”
“All who sail the sea of faith find out before too long how quickly blue skies can grow dark and gentle winds grow strong. Suddenly fear is like white water pounding on the soul, still we sail on, knowing that our Lord is in control!
“He has a reason for each trial that we pass through in life; and though we’re shaken, we cannot be pulled apart from Christ! No matter how the driving rain beats down on those who hold to faith, a heart of trust will always be a quiet peaceful place.
“Sometimes He calms the storm. With a whispered ‘Peace Be Still’, He can settle any sea, but it doesn’t mean He will. Sometimes He holds us close and lets the wind and waves go wild; sometimes He calms the storm and other times He calms His child!”
NOTE: While writing I saw some of the already-Hurricane Dorian-devastation in the Bahamas. Let us be aware of the storm (and other storms of life) and let us be available and willing to help out those in need -- family, friends, neighbors -- and remember who Jesus said is our neighbor in Luke 10. We may be called upon to give time, energy, talents or material things, but let us do so generously and willingly. And we can all pray!
First Friday Prayer
Conway’s First Friday evening of prayer will be held this week at 7 p.m. in Bethany Bible Chapel, 1668 Four Mile Road. All of God’s people are encouraged to come out for a time of praise and prayer. Phone (843) 369-7729.
Children’s Ministry Conference
Child Evangelism Fellowship of the Greater Pee Dee will hold its annual Children’s Ministry Conference Saturday 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.
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.
Coastline Welcomes Abby Johnson
Coastline Women’s Center is hosting “An Evening With Abby Johnson”. Abby is the author of the book “Unplanned” which brought about the movie of the same name. She is the brave young woman, former head of a Planned Parenthood “clinic”, who witnessed firsthand the horror of abortion and shone the light on the lies of the abortion industry.
This special time 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 (I already have mine). Call Coastline Women’s Center at (843) 877-9653, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or go online to coastlinewomenscenter.org.
Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry
■ 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 Saturday. 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 $15 per person (before Aug. 26; $20 after this date). 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 Sunday 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.
■ Brown Swamp UMC, 4725 U.S. 501 West, will hold a “Blessing of the Animals” Sept. 14 from 10 a.m.-noon.
And on Sept. 27 at 5:30 p.m., there will be free music in the church parking lot. Bring a lawn chair, your cooler with snacks and/or dinner (no adult beverages, please) and enjoy the evening.
■ Homewood Baptist Church, 3296 S.C. 319, invites you to Homecoming on Sept. 15 beginning at 10:30 a.m. Musical guests will be Johnson Edition, a sibling quartet from upstate South Carolina. And 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.
■ Good Hope Baptist Church, 6101 Privetts Road (between Conway and Loris), will celebrate “Homecoming 2019” Oct. 6 at 10:30 a.m. The church choir and others will lift you to “higher ground” singing about the Lord Jesus Christ. The Rev. Laneir Singleton will bring the message. A delicious meal will be served at noon. Everyone is invited! Phone (843) 365-6242.
■ 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
■ 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 from 10 a.m.-noon and includes 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
■ Once again Sun Coast Christian Church of Myrtle Beach presents its annual Fall Festival, this year Sept. 14 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Featuring a delicious pulled pork dinner (carry-outs are available), tasty homemade baked goods, exciting door prizes, donated by local businesses. This year’s Fall Festival is certain to be an enjoyable event for all ages. And your attendance assists the church in support of the many missions and charities in the community.
The church is located at the corner of 44th Avenue North and Little River Road in Myrtle Beach (between Kings Highway and Grissom Parkway). Phone (843) 444-0731.
■ Murrells Inlet Presbyterian Church, 4499 S.C. 17 Bypass, invites you 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 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 was set for Sept. 4 before Hurricane Dorian became a concern. Before and aftercare is available upon request (fees apply). To register your child, 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 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.
■ Mt. Leon Baptist Church invites men to the Men’s Retreat at FFA Camp on Sept. 20 and 21. The camp is located at 1069 FFA Camp Road in North Myrtle Beach. Cost is $25 for overnight or $10 for 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 on 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.
High Holidays Schedule:
Selichot: Sept. 21, 8 p.m.-10 p.m.
Erev Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.
Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 30, 9 a.m.
Tashlich Ceremony 1 p.m.; Evening Service 7:30 p.m.
Rosh Hashanah Second Day, Oct. 1, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Kol Nidre, Oct. 8, 6:30 p.m.
Yom Kippur, Oct. 9, 9 a.m.; Private Devotion 4:30 p.m.; Mincha & Neilah 5:30 p.m.; Break-the-Fast, 7:26 p.m.
Camp Judaea: Israel, Judaism, Nature, Community, Individual growth. It’s 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, 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.