Notes From The Cove

Weekly Bible Verse: Hebrews 10:24-25

Our weekly Bible verse comes from Hebrews 10:24-25

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

 

 

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Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

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Weekly Bible Verse: Isaiah 9:6-7

Our weekly Bible verse comes from Isaiah 9:6-7

“For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
 Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this. “

As we read this prophecy in Isaiah, we are reminded of the names attributed to Jesus Christ. These are titles that could only be attributed to God. We are reminded of His wisdom, His power, His love and His peace through the names given to Him. As we reflect on these titles, we can thank Him that He is everything that we need. During the moments in our lives where we are facing difficult situations, we can know that He is with us.

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Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

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A Thanksgiving Devotion by Will Graham

A special Thanksgiving devotion from Will Graham.

William Franklin Graham IV (Will) is the third generation of Grahams to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ under the banner of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). Will is the grandson of Billy Graham and the oldest son of Franklin Graham. Will also serves BGEA as executive director of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, N.C.

As I reflect back on the past year, there is so much for which I am very thankful. I’ve been blessed with opportunities to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ in 2019, from Canada to the Philippines, Montana to Albania to Hawaii. I’ve seen miracles take place this year as I’ve watched people place their eternal faith in the hands of Christ.

As I ponder the amazing love of the Lord, it strikes me that there’s an ongoing risk of taking our salvation for granted. We have received this unbelievable gift, and rather than bursting with thankfulness and jumping with joy we tuck it away.

Let’s take a moment to focus on the topic of thankfulness. Luke—the physician—recorded this event in the life of Jesus, showing why we ought to be thankful. Found in Luke 17:11–19, this is the story of Jesus healing ten lepers. Once they were healed, the ten men ran off excited. But only one came back to praise God for what had happened. Just as these men were physically healed of their leprosy, we receive salvation (or spiritual healing) from Jesus that warrants our gratitude.

First, we can be thankful that Jesus came to us (vv. 11–13). The text says that Jesus went through Samaria and Galilee, both of which were made up of people stigmatized by society. Samaritans were considered unclean people. Galileans were misfits and rogues, and yet Jesus made the effort to go to them. They did not have to go to Jesus. Similarly, Christ came down from heaven some 2,000 years ago in order to redeem mankind.

Second, we need to also be thankful because Jesus hears our cries (v. 14).  The text says the men yelled out to Jesus because they were lepers, and the law required them to stay at a distance in order to prevent infecting others. But Jesus stopped and answered their cry for help. This is significant. These men realized their own situation—that they were very sick and they could not help themselves. If they could have, they would have already done so. They realized that only Jesus could help them and so they cried out to Him. Likewise, when we cry out to Christ for our salvation, it is because we understand that we are unable to save ourselves. We are spiritual lepers in need of healing.

Finally, we need to be thankful that Jesus can cleanse us and make us whole (v. 14).  Jesus told the men to go show themselves to the priests, and on the way, the men were healed. They exercised faith in Jesus—they believed He could heal them—and showed obedience as they did exactly what Jesus commanded them to do. Only Jesus has the ability to forgive sin and cleanse us spiritually, as He cleansed the lepers physically.

We should be thankful that we serve a God who can heal, cleanse and save – physically and spiritually – and who comes to us and invites us into communion with Him. When we give thanks to God, He is honored and glorified (vv. 15-19). The Bible says that only one man came back to thank Jesus, and when he did, he was honoring God.  We’re entering the holiday season and things will begin to get hectic, but I encourage you to be sure that you aren’t like the other nine. Please take the time to come back to God and thank Him for what He has done for you. He came down, He heard your cry, and He answered it by healing your soul. My friends, we have every reason to be thankful!


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

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Weekly Bible Verse: Thankfulness

As we enter this Thanksgiving week, we are reminded to be thankful for all that the Lord has done for us.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18 (NIV)

“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” – 2 Corinthians 4:15 (NIV)

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Ephesians 5:18-20 (NIV)

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” – Colossians 3:15 (NIV)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

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Weekly Bible Verse: Psalm 32: 6-7

Our weekly Bible verse comes from Psalm 32:6-7:

“Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
    while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
    will not reach them.
 You are my hiding place;
    you will protect me from trouble
    and surround me with songs of deliverance” (NIV). 

Draw closer to the Lord by reading and studying His Word. His Word will give you peace, wisdom, joy, and strength for anything that you may be facing today. His Word is life-giving and alive.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

Senior Salt Hymn Sing

We invite you to join us for one of our upcoming Senior Salt Hymn Sings at The Cove. Senior Salt Hymn Sings are a wonderful opportunity for senior adults to gather for a morning of worship and fellowship. Centered around the joyful singing of beloved traditional hymns and choruses, the morning program will also include inspiring Scripture passages and interesting stories behind some of our favorite songs.

A delicious buffet-style meal in the dining room will follow. While here, guests are welcome to view The Cove’s inspiring displays of memorabilia from Billy and Ruth Graham’s life and ministry, shop in Ruth’s Attic Bookstore at The Cove, tour our Visitors Center, or simply relax and fellowship together.

This is a great opportunity for church groups to gather and have a mini-getaway together. Many churches being their senior adult ministry or prime time groups.

Click here for more information on our Senior Salt Hymn Sings. Our next one is November 18th.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

8 Things Christians Can Do for Veterans

By Bruce Ashford   •   November 11, 2019

This post was originally published in November 2016. It is appropriate to read this month as the United States observes Veterans Day.

On November 11, 1918, the world celebrated the Treaty of Versailles. This treaty signaled the end of World War 1, a war in which “civilized” Westerners had remained in trench warfare firing guns at one another for four solid years.

Soon after, the United States instituted a national holiday—Armistice Day—to remember the sacrifices of our WW1 soldiers. In 1954, Congress changed the holiday’s name to Veterans Day so that Americans could remember the sacrifices of all our soldiers.

In a moment, I will mention eight things Christians can do to honor and minister to Veterans. But before I do so, I want to mention two moments in my life that caused me to appreciate our veterans in a way I would not otherwise.

The first moment occurred when I was in my early twenties working as a journalist, and was able to feature my grandfather—Col. John T. Ashford, Jr.—in the Sunday edition of the paper. Grandfather was a WWII bomber pilot and had flown 25 combat missions and been shot down over the European theater. As we interviewed, he stopped several times to mention friends of his who were shot down or otherwise killed during the war.

The second moment occurred last week, as I was preparing the “war and democracy” portion of my lecture notes for a course at The College at Southeastern. As I wrote about the sacrifices made by so many of our nation’s veterans, I reflected on what the United States would be like if they had not made those sacrifices. What would it be like for Americans to live under the iron-clad and oppressive rule of fascists such as Hitler or Mussolini?

Or, to switch the analogy, how would we like to live in certain Middle Eastern or Central Asian nations where women are beaten for appearing in public with a man who is not a relative? To live in Yemen, where citizens are kidnapped and tortured because of their profession of faith in Christ? To live in Zimbabwe, where a totalitarian ruler has stolen everything from his people for decades on end?

These question are hypothetical for us because we, in fact, live in a nation that provides us great freedom. And we have that freedom because the men and women in our armed forces secure it for us, at great cost to their families and sometimes sadly at the cost of their own life.

For this reason, it is not enough for us merely to remember veterans and military personnel once a year on Veterans Day. It is incumbent on us to minister to veterans and other military personnel. Here are eight ways we can do so:

1. Thank them. Make it a point to find veterans, look them in the eye, and thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

2. Support their spouses and families. If they are active personnel, find ways to support their spouses and families while they are deployed for months at a time.

3. Connect them with each other. Veterans understand veterans better than anybody else. Churches are especially well poised to foster friendship and support networks within the local body, or among and between local churches.

4. Know good medical professionals and counselors. Sometimes the most urgent thing for a veteran is to be connected with caring medical professionals and trustworthy Christian counselors.

5. Find places for them to work and lead. Veterans have already served our nation, often at great cost to themselves and their families. The least we can do is help them find good places to work and appropriate places to lead; after all, they are uniquely gifted persons whose contributions can extend far beyond the military base or battlefield.

6. Volunteer at a veteran’s home or hospital. Usually, veterans homes and hospitals welcome volunteers who are willing to visit veterans, listen to veterans and talk with them, and perhaps bring them gifts on holidays such as Christmas, Easter, or Veterans Day.

7. Participate in fundraisers for veterans and their families. Wounded warriors and other veterans find themselves financially disadvantaged. As Christians, we can show love to them by organizing and participating in community fundraisers on their behalf. This type of tangible display of love can change their lives for the better and, for those who are unbelievers, perhaps open their hearts to Jesus.

8. Be a good citizen. One good way to disrespect a veteran is to disrespect the nation on whose behalf they fight or have fought. Conversely, one good way to honor a veteran is to be a good citizen by voting during elections, fighting for justice, and praying for our nation.

At one point during my interview with Grandfather, as he recounted being shot down while flying anti-sub patrol over the Bay of Biscay, we had to stop for a moment so he could regain his composure. He called my attention back to some of his good friends who were killed during the war, and reminded me that it wasn’t his own skill that made him safe during combat: “It was the Lord looking after me. For some reason, he spared me.”

The Lord spared my grandfather and gave him many years and a good life after the war. May we, as Christian Americans, do everything we can to minister to veterans in the hopes that they will have many years and a good life during and after their service.

*Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on BruceAshford.net and is used with permission from the author.

Bruce Ashford is Provost and Professor of Theology and Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the co-author of One Nation Under God: A Christian Hope for American Politics, the author of Every Square Inch: An Introduction to Cultural Engagement for Christians and I Am Going: To that Nations and in the Streets.

*If you are currently an active-duty military personnel, we would love for you and your spouse to attend an upcoming Military Marriage Retreat. We offer these retreats throughout the year. They include free materials, meals, lodging for all active-duty, Guard, Reserve military members and their spouses. Click here to learn more. 


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

Coming Soon To A Church Near You

Coming Soon To A Church Near You

By: Pastor Erwin W. Lutzer

Overnight your Gospel-preaching church could change from being “a cool place to worship” to being branded as a church of bigotry and hate. That’s what happened at The Crossing in Columbia, Missouri—and it could happen anywhere.

On Sunday, October 13, Pastor Keith Simon preached a message on Genesis 1:27 as part of a new series on Genesis. His topic was gender. The sermon was thoughtful, welcoming, and non-judgmental. In an attempt to speak to the issue of gender confusion, the tone was one of respect and compassion. However, he did affirm the biblical teaching that God created only two genders: male and female. He ended with a series of questions including:

Are we sure that erasing the concept of father and mother and substituting parent 1 and parent 2—are we sure that this is good for families?”

Are we sure that it is fair for sports to have biological males [who transitioned to female] compete with biological women?”

Are we sure that we should give hormones to boys entering puberty to prepare them for gender reassignment surgery?”

Are we sure that our internal feelings of who we are always define reality?”

Normally, such a sermon would not only be expected in an evangelical church, but would be accepted as consistent with Scripture and biology. Nothing unusual so far.

But on Monday, a social media firestorm ensued, and the surrounding community was thrown into a polarized debate. The church had been a long-time sponsor of a local art gallery and a documentary film festival. Within days, an online petition emerged, and was quickly signed by 1,000 citizens urging the art community and film festival to cut their ties to the church. They obediently did so. Personal attacks followed, including calling the pastor the “Anti-Christ.” People who had never entered the church and did not even hear the sermon weighed in, fueling the fire of outrage. After widespread coverage in local newspapers and television, it has now drawn some national attention.

The Crossing has always been actively involved for the good of their community. For example, this past August they raised $430,000 to pay off the medical debt of 42,000 patients in Missouri (a sponsor cooperated with the church, so the sum total of forgiven loans was in the millions). The church supports multiple local organizations that assist those in financial need, and plans annual missions trips to partner with effective ministries in countries with great poverty. Started 20 years ago, it now has an attendance of 4,000. No wonder the word on the street was that this was the place to worship. They were known for what they were for, not what they were against.

But they crossed a trip wire. The current culture rejects civil discourse, rational discussions, and honest evaluations of biological and scientific evidence accepted by many doctors which state that gender tampering can be harmful for children and, for that matter, adults. There has been a consistent push to uncritically accept the contemporary dictum that gender is fluid, that it is a state of mind which can be changed based on vacillating desires and inclinations. Not only can a man become a woman and a woman become a man, but there are also other genders somewhere between the two. The growing number of stories of heartbreak by those who experienced transgender surgery, only to determine that their gender dysphoria had not been resolved, are ignored. Simply raising these questions has resulted in hatred and vilification of anyone who dares to ask.

For years I have wrestled with the oft-repeated statement, “We have to be known for what we are for and not what we are against.” Given our present political and moral climate, what you “are for” will evaporate in the minds of many once they hear “you are against same-sex marriage and gender fluidity.” It won’t be long until other convictions elicit the same response. We already know that to be pro-life means you hate women; to believe that Jesus is the only way to God is religious bigotry.

Some people may leave The Crossing as a result of this media backlash. But this is the reality that many churches will likely be facing in the coming years. As this issue begins to divide families, communities, and churches, some will begin to separate themselves from organized religion and reject Christianity as a whole. Congregations may begin to thin out. It seems that the church is in a process of being pruned, and while some will remain, others will walk away.

I know that parallels between our situation in the United States and Nazi Germany can be easily overdrawn. But there is this similarity: at some point God separates the chaff from the wheat in His Church. Most of the churches in Germany were either silent or supportive of Hitler after he announced “The Muzzle Decree” which made criticism of the Reich a crime.

But Martin Niemöller, who would spend time in a concentration camp for his boldness, preached these words to his congregation:

We have all of us—the whole church and the whole community—we’ve been thrown into the Tempter’s sieve, and he is shaking and the wind is blowing, and it must now become manifest whether we are wheat or chaff!…[we] must see that the calm of meditative Christianity is at an end…

It is now springtime for the hopeful and expectant Christian Church—it is testing time, and God is giving Satan a free hand, so he may shake us up so that it may be seen what manner of men we are!

Satan swings his sieve and Christianity is thrown hither and thither; and he who is not ready to suffer, he who called himself a Christian only because he thereby hoped to gain something good for his race and his nations is blown away like chaff by the wind of time.”

Blown away like chaff by the wind!

It has been aptly stated that “a Christianity without courage is cultural atheism.” Let us resolve as a church that silence is not an option. Jesus commanded us to rejoice when others speak evil of us, and be prepared for what we are facing when He said, If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 15:18; 16:33).

I think I hear Him saying to us what He said to the church in Sardis:

Wake up and strengthen what remains.”

 


We invite you in 2020 to attend a Seminar or a Pastor Renewal Retreat led by Pastor Erwin W. Lutzer. Click here to learn more.

Click here for a schedule of all seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Beth Moore Seminar

An absolutely wonderful seminar with Living Proof Ministries with Beth Moore​ this week entitled, “Seeds to Sheaves of Joy” and worship by Travis Cottrell​. Beth is encouraging believers to explore the distinction between just reading Scripture and planting the seed of God’s Word within so that new life and growth are possible. Take a look at a few of our photos from this event.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

Weekly Bible Verse: Romans 11:36

Our weekly Bible verse comes from Romans 11:36:

“For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (KJV).

10/22/2019 The 2019 National Law Enforcement Retreat at The Cove in Asheville, NC. PHOTO BY TODD SUMLIN

Take time this week to thank the Lord for His goodness and the beauty that He has created around you. There may be trials and hardships, but He is with you and He loves you. Rest in knowing that He is faithful.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.