Happy Father’s Day! In the days before cell phones, internet and Facebook, it was said that the day of the year with the most phone calls home was Mother’s Day and the day with the most “collect” phone calls home was Father’s Day.

I hope you have fond memories of your father today and are honoring him in person or in your memory. It was in God’s perfect plan, before the creation of the universe, that He would orchestrate this world with the family, a father (male), a mother (female) and children; and this is the way He created it and brought it about.

Because that was God’s plan (and still is), it is the only plan that will “work” and accomplish His will for the natural order of the world. God created the first father, Adam, and he became one of the first sinners and all of the rest of us, coming from him, have his sinful nature (as evidenced that the man who would become the second father was also the first killer).

The Bible is filled with examples of fathers: Noah, Abraham, Lot, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon and on and on. Each one was a sinner, as was my father and yours (and you and me) and each one had to come face-to-face with God to accept or reject Him and His commands.

While the Bible is not specifically a “handbook” for fathers or mothers, it is filled with instruction, examples, promises to help them make their extraordinarily important and difficult job “doable” and to accomplish God’s plan for parenthood: to bring up Godly children (Malachi 2:15).

In God’s plan, for the family to grow and serve Him and others, it would require those necessary elements, a dad, a mom and children -- all of whose primary focus was on the Lord. There are just some things that only a man can model and show to his children and the same is true about the women. But we all know our own sinful and wayward hearts and how this world has turned and keeps turning away from God’s plan, headed straight for disaster. So now we have so many single parent homes, many that do well, many that do not.

And psychologists and sociologists write and speak about the “absent-father” homes and the devastation that this leaves on children. And yet our culture keeps doing all it can to eliminate the God-ordained nuclear family.

Thank God for single mothers and fathers raising their children in church and for the Lord. And thank God for the many “whole” families that are likewise serving God in the church, the family and the neighborhood.

I was truly blessed. I wouldn’t trade when and where and how I “grew up” for anything. My grandfathers were both railroaders (like most of the people in our town). Hardworking, moral, “God-fearing” and church-going. They were honest and strict and yet loving family-oriented men. They taught my father and mother well.

My dad, I called him Pop (with a lot of respect), grew up well in his family, the third child, second son. After high school came World War II and he joined the Army, rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant and served in the Pacific Theater where he earned a Purple Heart. (His older brother died in the invasion at Enzio).

Following the war, he came home, got a job on the railroad, eventually met my mother. They got married and in 1948 my brother was born, followed by me three and one-half years later. By that time the railroad was laying off so my dad drove a taxi (often being paid with “commodity oatmeal or cheese”, you old-timers know what that was) and he painted houses.

We didn’t have a lot, but we always had enough, which is what God promises to those who follow Him. A church started up a couple of blocks from home and we started attending, though my dad was not yet “saved”. Thanks to a “rough-as-a-cob” evangelist who would come to the house after evening revivals and sit around the kitchen table with my dad and drink coffee, the Lord opened my dad’s heart to Himself and dad got saved. Then we, as a family, all got involved in the little church I grew up in.

My dad couldn’t sing, but when there was no one else to do it, he could call out hymn numbers and give announcements and pray. He wasn’t a preacher, but when the preacher was sick, dad read Scripture (which is the most important thing any preacher does in a sermon) and close in prayer. We were at church every time the doors opened.

My dad finally got a “good job” at the local post office, my brother graduated and went off to college and in a few years I did too. In my senior year of high school, my dad suffered a serious heart attack, but recovered and went back to work. Five years later, the year after my wife and I were married, we were eating Saturday dinner with my parents. My dad got to feeling bad and went to the sofa to lie down; I sat in “his” chair and we chatted, and in a moment of time my dad was with His Savior, at age 51.

I’ve missed him, his sense of humor, the twinkle in his eye. My fondest memory is seeing him sitting in his reclining chair, a cup of strong coffee by his side and his big “Scofield Reference Bible” open on his lap. And the greatest tribute that can be given came following his death when one of his co-workers said that his testimony at work and his “untimely” death made him think and in so doing he also gave his life to Christ.

In God’s grace and mercy, just a year earlier, He’d given me another dad, my father-in-law. He was very different yet also very much like my dad. Another railroader (and farmer), strong, hardworking, disciplined, loving, a family man with three wonderful daughters; he gave me his oldest (and sent a check each month to make me keep her – not really, but that’s what I’ve always said). He was Godly and served in the church and until he died of cancer in 2017, he was my father.

That’s not everyone’s story, I wish it was. But that’s God’s plan and God’s plans are always best. And they “work” except when we, in our stubbornness and sin refuse to accept them and obey! I thank God today for every dad, daddy, pop, poppa, granddad, grandpa, grandfather, and every man who is trusting God and working to be the man God created him to be. Happy Father’s Day! My tribute is this song written and sung by Holly Dunn:

“I remember daddy’s hands folded silently in prayer and reachin’ out to hold me when I had a nightmare. You could read quite a story in the callouses and lines, years of work and worry had left their mark behind.

“I remember daddy’s hands how they held my mama tight and patted my back for something done right. There are things that I’d forgotten that I loved about the man, but I’ll always remember daddy’s hands.

“I remember daddy’s hands working ‘til they bled, sacrificed unselfishly just to keep us all fed. If I could do things over, I’d live my life again and never take for granted the love in daddy’s hands.

“Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin’; daddy’s hands were hard as steel when I’d done wrong. Daddy’s hands weren’t always gentle but I’ve come to understand…there was always love in daddy’s hands.”

Cancellations, Postponements and Reopening

As South Carolina and especially Horry County begin to “reopen”, we will see churches and organizations trying to get back to some degree of normalcy in services and ministries. As your church or house of worship, faith-based organization etc. starts to function “person-to-person” again, let Church Talk know and we’ll share that with the community.

But let’s continue to monitor cancellations and postponements so we’ll all be “on the same page” and “in the right place at the right time”!

Helping the Helpers

As we continue through this worldwide “emergency”, needs seem to be multiplying. There are many economic problems from those out of work; there are medical needs for the ones coming down with COVID plus the other “normal” diseases and physical problems; there are emotional needs of loneliness and depression; and there are nutrition needs as many in our area (and around the world) are hungry.

I was always taught, growing up, that all God ever promised His children was “enough”, and if we have more than enough, it’s probably so we can help others. It’s time for all of us to assess our “enough” and to open our pantries, checkbooks and our hearts to help meet the needs of others.

There are a lot of groups that are trying to do that: the Salvation Army, Help4Kids, the Red Cross, CAP, the Shepherds Table, many local churches and so on. The Waccamaw Community Foundation collects “gifts” and distributes them to a number of charities. And we need to remember groups like Coastline Women’s Center and Bethesda Home for Single Mothers who go beyond the physical to assist the spiritual and others needs of our people. If you look, you can find someone to help. Let’s all open our eyes and hearts to friends, neighbors and strangers and be the hands and feet of God to the needy.

Trip/Conference Canceled

The July “Trip of a Lifetime” to the Oberammergau Passion Play, directed by Wayne and Joy Brown has been canceled due to the current worldwide situation. The Passion Play in Germany has been put “on hold” until 2022. Lord willing, the Browns will plan a trip for that time. If you have questions please call them at (843) 796-0397 or e-mail to Wayne@WayneandJoyBrown.com.

Also, the always-much-anticipated Coastal Evangelism Conference, held annually in August at Langston Baptist Church, has been canceled for this year.

Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry

■ The Catholic Church of St. James, 1071 Academy Drive, collects nonperishable food items for Catholic Charities and CAP Monday-Friday from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the church. Please help as you are able.

■ Tilly Swamp Survivors of Suicide, a new faith-based support group for those having lost someone to suicide, meets the first and third Mondays of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the church: 4619 S.C. 90. Phone (803) 566-0702.

■ 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

■ The New Beginnings drive-thru food distribution will be held Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon at the Church of the Resurrection, 8901 U.S. 16 Bypass in Surfside Beach. Phone (843) 215-4500.

■ The Colombiettes of St. Andrews Church, 37th Ave. North are in need of crafters and vendors for their November 7 Christmas Bazaar that will take place from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Community Life Center. Contact Patricia Martelli at (908) 938-1433 or e-mail to patriciamartelli57@gmail.com.

■ St. Philip Lutheran Preschool is currently registering students for the 2020-21 school year for the 2, 3 and 4-year-old classes. Come join the fun! Contact the director, Jenn Loeswick, at stphilipppreschoolmb@gmail.com or look us up on Facebook: St. Philip Preschool-Myrtle Beach. The preschool is located at 6200 N. Kings Highway. Call (843) 449-4322 and they’ll get back to you.

■ Low Country Food Bank and Faith Outreach Ministries sponsor Drive-Thru Food Distributions at the Myrtle Beach Bowl, 101 Philip Gray Drive. Future dates include July 10, Nov. 6 and Dec. 4.

■ Horry Friends Monthly Meetings, formerly known at Five Rivers Friends, has offered unprogrammed, silent Quaker worship in our area for more than three decades. Now meeting virtually, Horry Friends welcome new attenders and visiting Friends. Contact clerk Grace Gifford at (843) 365-6654.

■ 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 e-mail Joanne.bennett55@ gmail.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).

Current Second Nature Project: we are collecting items for New Directions of Horry County that provides shelter and meals for those in need. Please bring paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, diapers), bath towels, laundry soap, toothpaste and brushes and cleaning supplies. They are continuing to collect new packages of children’s underwear and socks. Take donations to the Rosen Center and place them in the basket provided by the front door. All Mitzvoth greatly appreciated! Questions? Contact Karen Osborne at (843) 446-1060.

Steffi Nathan Scholarship Fund for Jewish Students is awarded each semester. Applications are in Temple Office.

Youth 12-16, the Jewish Historical Society of SC has a contest just for you: create an essay or media piece on the topic: My South Carolina Jewish History. Phone (843) 953-4930 or go to the website jhssc.org/contest.

■ Don’t miss the 12th Annual Ground Zero Dragon Boat Festival has been rescheduled for Sept. 19. Sign up your team today.

■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 1226 Burcale Road, opens its Thrift Store each week, Monday-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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