Duncan Perry

Duncan Perry

Lose the Watch

As a kid I was fascinated with watches, particularly pocket watches. When we would sit down as a family and put in older movies, I always focused intently when the mayor, doctor, or detective would reach into their vest pocket and pull out the gold or silver timepiece, glance downward, and snap it shut as if to say, “Just as I expected.

Enough of that.” With fervor I hoped that I would one day be able to command my minutes with such style, such authority.

One Christmas Eve, as my family sat circling our Christmas tree, I pulled out a small package that was almost a perfect cube. Being the child that I was, I began to violently shake it. My mother quickly informed me that it was probably in my best interest to refrain from that.

To this day, I have not found a gift that is good to shake violently, but that is another story. A few minutes later, I tore open the paper to find the object of my dreams, a pocket watch.

I promptly lost that pocket watch in the following months. However, something I never lost was my love for tracking time. Over the years, I have scrutinized my time.

Subconsciously, my eyes search for the Casio on my wrist or the clock on the wall. In my truck, I calculate the drive time, usually because I am late. In vain, my heart falls for the age-old lie that I am somehow sovereign over my seconds, master of my minutes.

My mind is manipulated to believe that I can do whatever I want with my time. This has left me feeling rushed in spaces for quiet, and restless in places for calm. In prayer meetings, home visits, and sometimes worship services my heart sinfully looks to the would-be idol of my schedule in the name of “stewardship,” or “order,” without even thinking of it.

I tell myself that I want to make the best use of my time, when honestly, I simply want to sovereignly check the box on my ever-increasing to-do list. However, over and over again I must learn the hard lesson that I am lord of nothing. I never will be.

As I study the Bible, I often find kindred spirits among the lengthy list of characters, usually not the protagonists. When I come to Luke’s gospel, I see much of myself in the heart of Martha, the sister of Lazarus.

At the end of Luke 10, having just told the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus entered the home of Martha in Bethany, near Jerusalem. As he sat and visited with the family, Mary took the posture of an authentic disciple and sat at Jesus’ feet to listen to him teach. Martha, on the other hand, Luke describes as being “pulled away” from Jesus, “worried and troubled” with being the hostess to the Savior.

This is often my heart. In the times set aside to be with the Lord, whether in prayer, Bible study, or listening to others, I tend to be thinking of the next thing. Imagine with me: Jesus was physically there in front of Martha, yet she chose to concern herself with the preparations for hosting him. As I examine my own heart, I sense the tightness of the watch on my wrist and the tendency of my heart to look down at it.

It is humbling to see how deep sin runs. I even need to be rescued from the inclinations of my soul to create idols out of the fractions of my life. And yet, this is exactly what Jesus came to free us from.

When Martha complained to Jesus, she did what I often, sadly do when I complain to him. She put others down while elevating herself. The kind and firm response of the Savior still cuts deep.

“‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed -- or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her’” (Luke 10:41-42, NIV).

What was better? To be with Jesus where he was. How often I am where the presence of the Lord is and fail to be with him. And so, Jesus invites me over and over to lose my watch. When I sit down to pray, lose the watch. When I open my Bible, lose the watch. When I knock on the church member’s door, lose the watch.

Does it stay gone? Absolutely not. But for those moments, I sit with the Lord and rediscover what is better. Friend, may you find yourself faithfully freed by grace through faith in Jesus today -- free from the idols of your heart, even the ones you wear on your wrist.

Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry

■ 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 non-perishable 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. until noon. The mission: “We serve Christ when we serve people.”

Call (843) 347-5168 or go online to www.stjamesconway.org.

■ Bethany Bible Chapel will hold a free car wash with hot dogs, Oct. 23 from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 a.m. The event is open to the community at 1668 Four Mile Road, Conway.

■ Grace Presbyterian Church, PCA, 1955 Riverside Drive, Conway will host a fall conference, Christ and All His Benefits with the Rev. Sean Morris. The topic will be The God-Man Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. and Full of Kindness and Compassion, Oct.16 at 6 p.m. and Second Adam, Obedient Son, Oct. 17 at 9:30 a.m., Risen King at 10:45 a.m. and Returning Judge at 6 p.m. The public is invited.

There will also be a catered fellowship meal, Oct. 16 at 5 p.m.

Morris is the associate minister at Westminster Presbyterian Church, PCA, in Roanoke, Va., and the academic dean and director of Global Ministry Partnership at The Blue Ridge Institute of Technological Education (BRITE) where he also teaches courses in historical theology church history and practical theology.

With degrees from Grove City College in Grove City, Pa., Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Miss., and the University of Glasgow in Scotland, Morris is pursuing a PhD in historical theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Mich.

For the catered meal, RSVP to office@gracepresbyterianchurch.org

■ Dogwood Hill Baptist Church Food Pantry, 1040 Mt. Zion Road, Loris, has a food pantry the third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. “In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sigh Language, etc.) should contact the Agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8330. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda. gov/complaint_filing_cust.html and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

■ Christ the Servant Lutheran Church will hold its Fall Flea Market again.

Tables are available for a $15 donation.

The church is at 2105 U.S. 501 E., Conway, across from HGTC/CCU.

Call (843) 457-3547 for a registration form.

■ Bethany Bible Chapel will hold a free car wash with refreshments Oct. 23, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. This event is open to the community at 1668 Four Mile Road, Conway.

Myrtle Beach/The Coast

■ You are invited to the following services and activities at The Well by The Sea, 211 Forestbrook Road:

Something NEW: Broadcasting live on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. on The Well By The Sea Facebook Live, The Deep Dive is a question and answer show fueled by questions sent in by the community. Questions can be about God, the Bible, prophecy, things relating to the Christian life or any spiritual things that you don't understand or wonder about. No serious question is excluded. They will be entered into the queue for an upcoming show. "LIKE" The Well By The Sea's Facebook page and be automatically notified when the show is about to begin. You may also replay whatever you miss. If watching the show live, you may send a question in the comments section. Or, send questions to: deacondebhamilton@gmail.com.

Also, at the Well By The Sea: In-person Bible study/discussion group on the “9 Supernatural Gifts of the Holy Spirit” on Mondays at 11 a.m. (no cost, no RSVP, masks required).

An in-person (or Zoom) weekly bereavement/loss support group meets every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Email debhamilton56@gmail.com.

In-person hangout for young adults (ages 18-30); every Saturday at 7 p.m. Come for a free meal and planned activity. Email personalityprism@gmail.com.

n Father Anthony Montesinos Columbiettes Auxiliary No. 5086 of St. Andrew Catholic Church, 503 37th Ave. North is looking for crafters for its holiday bazaar to be held Nov. 13 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Community Life Center. Call (908) 938-1433 or email patriciamartelli57@gmail.com.

■ The Socastee Pantry is now open and serving. This food pantry will be located at A Father’s House, 4513 U.S. 17 Bypass in Myrtle Beach. Hours are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Saturday 7 a.m.-10 a.m.

The pantry is sponsored by Faith Outreach Ministries and operated by local veterans. It will provide much needed food and necessities to the needy in our community. Call (843) 474-9900 or visit www.faithoutreachministries-gs.org.

■ Temple Emanu-El by the Sea, 406 65th Ave., North, Myrtle Beach, will hold upcoming Zoom and Temple services. With conservative Rabbi Avi Perets. Call (843) 449-5552 or go to www.mbsynagogue.org.

Bereshit, Oct. 9 at 6 p.m., Shabbat, 10 a.m.

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities with wearing a mask and physical distancing.”

Call: (843) 449-5552.

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

Steffi Nathan Scholarship Fund

Open to all Jewish College students. Applications

available in the temple office. Scholarships are awarded each semester.

Fostering Hope

Sisterhood is once again collecting socks and underwear (any age/any size) for Fostering Hope.

■ Faith Church on S.C. 90 in Little River sponsors Celebrate Recovery on Tuesdays at 6 p.m.

■ Together in Christ has a Wednesday Zoom prayer meeting from noon-12:30 p.m. each week. Prayer changes everything and you are invited to pray with the mid-week group. Email hgprayer@sccoast.net.

■ St. Michael’s Catholic Church, 542 Cypress Ave. in Murrells Inlet, has 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 email Joanne.bennett55@ gmail.com.

■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 1226 Burcale Road, opens its thrift store each week, Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. You are encouraged to come out and browse and buy and, in so doing, you’ll be supporting this community outreach. Call (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. Call 843-903-6634 or go online to templeshalommyrtlebeach.net.

■ Grand Strand Community Church will hold an All Community 12-hour Prayer & Fasting Vigil, Oct. 2 at the church at 3802 Holmestown Road, Myrtle Beach.

Bringing the community together to seek God’s face as one body in Jesus Christ in prayer.

The sanctuary will be open for prayer from 6 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

An on premises “Prayer Walk” will be from 2 p.m.-3 p.m. Gather at the front lobby of the church at 2 p.m.

At 5:30 p.m.-6 p.m. all come together for a praise and worship service that will end the vigil and fast.

The group will adjourn to the fellowship hall to share dinner.

■ City of Prayer 2021: 40 nights of prayer & worship: through Oct. 9 at North Strand Community Church, 2582 Mt. Zion Road, Little River 29566; Oct. 10-16 at Christ United HUB, 3257 Waccamaw Blvd., Myrtle Beach 29579; and Oct. 17-22, Grand Strand Community Church, 3820 Holmestown Road., Myrtle Beach 29588.

Services begin at 7 p.m.

■ Spokes of Hope will hold a large distribution Oct. 8 beginning at 10 a.m. at 1111 S.C. 9 in Longs. Items to be given away can include anything from food to snacks, soap, masks, pillowcases, cleaning supplies, drinks, gallons of tea, toiletries and more. Organizers say they never know exactly what they will have to give away, but it’s always a large amount and well worth people heading their way to collect a package. Volunteers are asked to be there by 9:15 a.m. Call Shane Zaccole at (330) 518-5194. Zaccole says as many as 400 to 800 people usually come to the distributions, but they have two lines and 40 to 50 volunteers so it’s well organized and moves quickly. Go to spokesofhopesc on Facebook to receive alerts about future giveaways.

■ St. Philip Lutheran Church, 6200 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach will hold its Third Annual Chili Cook-off fundraiser, Oct. 23, 4 p.m.-6 p.m. The Fellowship Committee will provide cornbread, desserts and drinks.

A suggested donation of $5 per person will give diners access to a taste of a variety of chili and will allow them to cast their votes for their favorite.

Variations of the chili will include traditional, chicken, vegetarian and spicy. Funds raised will go to the building fund. Call (843) 449-5345.

All ages are welcome!

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