We often overlook the spiritual realities of life.

After all, they tend to be hidden in plain sight. The groan accompanying an aching back that finds comfort in a favorite rocking chair; the long sip of steaming coffee in the dark moments before dawn; the overdue embrace following months or years of missing a loved one — these all are signposts that are intended to point our longing hearts towards the deeper things of life, and the satisfaction that is ultimately found in knowing God through Jesus Christ. Recently, I recognized one of these deeper things, a profound spiritual reality, in a simple greeting.

I hadn’t seen her in quite a while, so when our longtime family friend called my cell phone and I asked how she was doing, her response sunk deep into my heart, “Pressing on.” Those two words have weighed heavy for the past month. In fact, there have been many quiet moments when I sat considering the busyness of life, the brokenness of the world, and the burdens of those around me that left me wondering, “What next? What should I do, Lord?”

The longer I live and learn what it means to walk by faith in Jesus, the clearer I see that the answer is often, “Press on.” In fact, when I look to the pages of the Bible for God’s direction, I am struck by how determined the saints remained under pressure.

When the way was unclear, when the storms raged, when the kings failed, when the people rebelled, there was always a remnant that learned over and over again what it meant to simply press on. Why was this a recurring message? Because the tendency of our absolutely broken hearts is not to move forward, but to turn back, to return to people and places, to wanderings and ways of living that we once thought would satisfy our longings. They never did; they never do.

Like many of you, I grew up in Conway. In fact, some of my most treasured memories involve sitting on the wide, worn arm of my grandma’s rocking chair on our back porch. I would lean back against her and say, “Grandma, tell me a story.” She always began with, “Have I ever told you about...” and then, whether I had heard it once or dozens of times, I would always say, “Tell me again. Remind me.” In moments, I was whisked off to a different time and place, listening to the words of people I never met and laughing at the jokes of family I never knew.

There is importance in knowing our past. There is value in knowing where we come from. However, the people of God in all ages have never been called to live in the past. Throughout the pages of Scripture, God never commanded his people to move backwards. The clarion call was always to move forward with hearts and eyes set on God himself.

The Christian faith is not one that tries to get back to “the good ol’ days.” In fact, for the one who has trusted in Jesus, the “good ol’ days” don’t exist. Rather, the Christian faith is one that consistently moves forward and deeper into the hope-filled future available exclusively in Jesus Christ.

This week, friends, as you go about your day, look for the signposts that God intended to point you towards himself. Be mindful of the ways in which he is orchestrating your every moment and movement to tell you of who he is and what he has done. Remember the character of God, his unwavering faithfulness.

The hope of the gospel is that, by trusting in Jesus Christ, every sin is met with forgiveness, every sorrow is met with joy, every longing is met with satisfaction, every wrong is met with justice, and every illness is met with redemption. We may not see it now, but we will see it one day when we stand before him and hear him say, “Well done.” Today, I invite you to trust in Jesus who will accomplish this and infinitely more. Remember his faithfulness and love. And, like the saints of old, pick up your tent stakes and press on.

"Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."

CAP’s anniversary

Churches Assisting People (CAP) invites the public to join in a community celebration of their 35th anniversary of helping needy people in our area. This will take place on Sept. 18 from noon-4 p.m. at Thompson Farm, 100 Brickyard Plantation in Conway.

This is a free event to thank the churches and the community for their support and prayers for the past 35 years (You must sign up on Eventbrite).

There will be food, a petting zoo, corn maze, cakewalk, entertainment and a special guest. Call (843) 488-2277.

Christian church golf tournament

The Myrtle Beach Christian Church will hold its annual golf tournament Saturday with tee off at 2 p.m. at River Oaks Golf Plantation.

Registration begins at noon with a BBQ lunch, followed by a putting contest from 1 p.m.-2 p.m.

Cost is $80 person or $300 per team.

Hole sponsorships are $100, with corporate sponsorships beginning at $200.

There will be a 50/50 raffle, door prizes and mulligans. The tournament is a Captain’s Choice format with a shotgun start.

There will be awards for the longest drive and closest to the pin for men and women.

To register call or email (843) 236-1121,

christichchurchmb@gmail.com or

visit the website at myrtlebeachchristianchurch.com

Senior Minister Daniel Banks (843) 236-1121 is organizing the tournament.

Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry

■ St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, 3449 S.C. 65, will be distributing food on the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 10 a.m. until noon.

■ 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, anyone who wants to donate items can 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.

Myrtle Beach/The Coast

■ Everyone is invited to the following services and activities at The Well By The Sea, 211 Forestbrook Road.

Something NEW: The Deep Dive, questions and answers live-streamed; anyone may submit questions about God, the Bible, the Christian life, spiritual things and so on. All honest, respectful questions are welcome. Add questions to the queue by submitting them to deacondebhamilton@gmail.com. Then tune in to The Deep Dive on Facebook Live every Wednesday at 6 p.m. Go to The Well By The Sea’s Facebook page and click “Like”. Listeners will be notified when the show starts.

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.

■ 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 on 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. Call (843) 449-5552.

Services with conservative rabbi Avi Perets are on Zoom and at the temple. Re’eh will be held Aug. 7. Shabbat is at 10 a.m.

Selichot Eve Program, Aug. 28, 8 p.m.-10 p.m.

Hebrew School Registration, Sept. 19, Rosen Center at 10 a.m., Pizza Party Sukkah Decorating

Steffi Nathan Scholarshp Fund: Open to all Jewish College students. Applications available in the temple office.

Fostering Hope, Sisterhood is once again collecting socks and underwear (all ages and sizes) for Fostering Hope.

*High holiday services will be held at the Dunes Club

Erev Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 6 at 7:30 p.m.

Rosh Hashanah (First Day), Sept. 7, at 9 a.m.; Evening service at 7:30 p.m.

Rosh Hashanah (Second Day) Sept. 8 at 9 a.m.

Erev Yom Kippur (Kol Nidre), Sept. 1, at 6:30 p.m.

Yom Kippur, Sept. 16 at 9 a.m.

Private Devotion at 5 p.m., Mincha & Neilah Services at 6 p.m.

Sukkot, Sept. 21-22

Simchat, Torah Celebration, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.

Call (843) 449-5552. The website is www.mbsynagogue.org.

■ 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 all 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. Everyone is 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. Everyone is encouraged to come out and browse and buy and, in so doing, support this community outreach. Call (843) 236-1121.

■ Temple Shalom, 4023 Belle Terre Blvd., invites everyone 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.

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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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