Live Webcast Tonight!

Join us tonight at 7:15 p.m. ET for a free live webcast with Dr. Gary Chapman, best-selling author of The Five Love Languages series. This is the first session of his weekend seminar at The Cove entitled “The Greatest Commandment.” Visit us at www.thecove.org!

Jesus said, “Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Learn how a vibrant relationship with God enables Him to use you to lead others to Himself.

We hope you can tune in, and share it with your friends!

Nominate Your Pastor!

Don’t miss this opportunity to honor your pastor! Christian Tools of Affirmation (CTA) seeks to honor, affirm and encourage pastors by recognizing their Christ-like sacrificial commitment and dedication to God’s high calling to care for the lives of those they shepherd.

A servant heart demonstrates selfless love and service – motivated by a love for Christ. Nominate your pastor for the “Servant Heart Award.”

Online nominations will be accepted until 6 p.m. EDT on July 29, 2011. The grand prize winner will receive a trip to the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, NC – an opportunity to escape for a spiritual retreat.

Also, a gift will be given to the first 1,000 nominations submitted online! Click here to read the Servant Heart Award rules.

GUEST POST: Love and Relationships

By Dr. Gary Chapman

Mark was a successful businessman. He admitted that he was reluctant to call my office. “But I’m desperate,” he said. “My wife told me last week that she does not love me; in fact, she doesn’t even like me and she wants me out of her life. How can that be true?” he continued. “We have a good marriage. I’m a good provider. We have a nice house and three wonderful children. I love Suzanne deeply. I’ve given her everything she wanted. I don’t understand. How can she just throw away seventeen years of marriage? If I were a bad husband, I could understand; but I’m a good husband. I’ve never been unfaithful to her.” Tears are now flowing down Mark’s face. “Besides that,” he said, “we’re Christians and Christians just don’t stop loving each other.”

I spent some time expressing empathy with Mark’s pain and frustration. Then I asked, “Has Suzanne verbalized complaints to you over the past few years?” “She’s always saying that we don’t spend enough time together. My business is very demanding.” “What else has she complained about?” I inquired. “She says we don’t talk. When I get home, I’m tired of talking. I’ve talked all day and I need some down time.” “What else has she complained about?” I asked. “A couple of weeks ago, she said that I loved golf more than I loved her. That’s not true. Golf is one of the ways that I unwind and it’s good for the business.”

It was obvious to me that Suzanne’s primary love language was Quality Time, and Mark had not spoken her language in a long time.  I knew that there was no quick fix for Mark’s marriage. I wasn’t even sure that Suzanne was willing to talk about it.

The need to feel loved is our deepest emotional need. When that need is unmet over a period of time, we lose our romantic love feelings for our spouse. Then, their negative behavior patterns begin to annoy us. That is why Suzanne could say, “I don’t love you; I don’t even like you.”

After thirty years of marriage counseling, I am convinced that there are only five basic languages of love. Each person has a primary love language. If you don’t learn how to speak your spouse’s primary love language, he or she will eventually lose their feelings of positive regard toward you and will, in fact, dislike you. If you speak your spouse’s primary love language, you keep emotional love alive in the relationship.

Let me briefly describe each of the five languages.

Number one: Words of Affirmation: using words to affirm your spouse. “You look nice in that outfit;” “Thanks for taking the trash out. I really appreciate all the hard work you do.” “You are the greatest.” The scriptures say “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21)

Number two: Gifts. My academic background is anthropology, the study of cultures. We have never discovered a culture in which gift giving is not an expression of love. A gift says “She was thinking about me. Look what she got for me.” Gifts need not be expensive. Haven’t we always said, “It’s the thought that counts”? If Gifts is your spouse’s primary love language, it is not what you give but how often you give that communicates love.

Number Three: Acts of Service. The scriptures admonish that we are to love not only in word but in deed.  (I John 3:18) Cooking a meal is an act of service. Washing the car, walking the dog, mowing the grass, doing the laundry, changing the baby, and vacuuming the carpet are all expressions of love.

Number Four: Quality Time. Quality Time means giving your spouse your undivided attention. It is not sitting on the couch watching television. It is sitting on the couch with the TV off, looking at each other; or taking a walk down the road and talking with each other. It may involve a picnic or a weekend away. The important thing is the two of you are sharing life with each other. The next time you are watching television and your spouse walks in the room, put the TV on mute, turn and look at your spouse. Give them your undivided attention and you communicate that they are more important than anything on television. It is a powerful expression of love.

Number Five: Physical Touch. We have long known the emotional power of physical touch. Holding hands; embracing; kissing; sexual intercourse; putting your arm around their shoulder; putting your hand on their leg as you drive down the road; a back rub; or perhaps gently wrestling them to the floor are all expressions of love.

The key to keeping emotional love alive in a marriage is learning to speak each other’s primary love language. So how do you discover your spouse’s love language? Answer the following three questions. “How does my spouse most often express love to me?” If they give you words of affirmation regularly, that may be their love language. They are giving you what they wish you would give them. Number two: “What does your spouse complain about most often?” Our complaints reveal our deepest desires. Suzanne complained, “We don’t ever have time for each other. We don’t talk. You love golf more than you love me.” Quality Time was her primary love language. Number three: “What does your spouse request most often?” If your spouse says “Would you help me make up the bed?” “Would you give the children a bath tonight?” Such requests, if they come regularly indicate his/her primary love language is Acts of Service.

Three things are required if you are to be a successful lover. Number one: Information: What is your spouse’s primary love language? Number two: The will to love. Love is a choice. And Number three: Regular expressions of love, using your spouse’s primary love language.

It took Suzanne nine months of counseling to work through the pain, the hurt, the neglect and the lack of empathy exhibited by Mark. But eventually, their marriage was reborn. “If anyone had told me that I could have love feelings for him again, I would never have believed it,” said Suzanne. “But I do. He’s speaking my language,” she said with a smile on her face. Learn to speak your spouse’s primary love language and you too can live with a smiling mate.

Dr. Chapman will be at The Cove July 29-31. Space is still available. Click here for more information. A free live webcast of the first session will take place on July 29 at 7:15 ET on www.thecove.org.

Gary Chapman

Dr. Gary Chapman is the best-selling author of The Five Love Languages series and an international speaker on marriage, family, and relationships. The government of Singapore invited him to present his marriage seminar, and the Chaplain’s Office of NATO invited Dr. Chapman to speak to the NATO forces in Germany. Other engagements have taken him around the world. He has served for more than 35 years as senior associate pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, NC.

The Greatest Commandment

In Matthew 22:37, Jesus affirms the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” He continues in verse 39: “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Dr. Gary Chapman

Can you love others without loving God first? Dr. Gary Chapman, best-selling author of The Five Love Languages series, will tackle that question at his seminar at The Cove later this month.

Joy Allmond, from BillyGraham.org, spent some time with Dr. Chapman delving deeper into the topic and what will be covered in the seminar. You can read the full article here.

Space is still available for “The Greatest Commandment” with Gary Chapman July 29-31. Reserve your place today.

Mel Blackaby Teaches at SeniorCelebration at The Cove

Last night, we kicked off a wonderful time of worship and Bible study at our SeniorCelebration, hosted by Cliff Barrows.

Soul-stirring music from the Smith Family set the stage for the evening, and Mel Blackaby of First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Ga., led a time of study on the topic of abundant life, using Scripture from John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

How do you have abundant life? If you don’t have joy and peace, you may have “religion,” but not a personal relationship with Christ. Abundant life is not about us … it’s about Him. We must give ourselves away.

Jesus did not tell us to go and make “decisions.” He said go and make “disciples.” If our hearts are truly changed, we will experience true joy and excitement at the opportunity to serve Him.

This seminar, which wraps up on Wednesday, promises to be another event where those attending leave challenged and full of Biblical truth to return and make a difference in their home churches. New friendships begin and prayer connections are found with people who have never previously met. Abundant life is not what we receive, but rather what we can give to others.

The Smith Family performs at The Cove's SeniorCelebration

Will Graham Reflects on his Time in Kenya

Will Graham, assistant director for The Cove, recently held a Celebration in Nakura, Kenya, where in preached the Gospel (in the rain) to thousands.

Will’s wife, Kendra, joined him on this trip and spoke to a women’s group.

“We had a wonderful time. She had a wonderful time,” Will said. “She was extremely nervous. She hadn’t worked with a translator very much, but she was a huge blessing to the women. She’s a gifted speaker and very good communicator of the Bible.”

You can read about Will’s and Kendra’s experience here.

Live Webcast Tonight!

Join us tonight, Friday, July 15th at 7:15 ET for a free live webcast from The Cove!

Josh and Sean McDowell will be with us leading a seminar called “Unshakable Truth, Relevant Faith.”

The first session will stream live on www.thecove.org. You can also participate in a live Q&A session.

Don’t miss this great opportunity to experience a session at The Cove from the comforts of your own home.

Rebecca St. James: I Will Praise You

On Aug. 11, contemporary Christian music artist Rebecca St. James will perform an intimate concert at The Cove. Her latest album, I Will Praise You, is all about the vast “unfathomable love of God.” She’s describes it in detail to The Baptist Standard:

“In this season of new music, God has been reminding me: ‘This is about Jesus. This is about praising him and inviting other people into that journey with you.’ My mission statement and focus is, ‘Get out of the way, Rebecca, and just let people see Jesus.’ It’s all about his glory.”

Hear more of Rebecca’s inspiration:

You can hear Rebecca St. James live at The Cove on Aug. 11. Tickets are still available. Contact us today to reserve your seats.

Josh McDowell: 3 Practical Steps to Help Believers Share Their Faith

From Josh McDowell*

First of all, make sure your life backs up your words of proclamation. If people don’t see it in your life and in your attitudes, no matter how well you present the Gospel, your words will fall on deaf ears.

Second, listen to the other person. Ask him or her, “What is your spiritual journey?” Do this before you share your own. This communicates that you care.

Third, declare biblical truth within the context of your own testimony. I share my story, but I proclaim truth within it.

Next, be ready to defend your faith. As 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (NIV). Which simply means, when somebody asks, “Why do you believe in Jesus?” give an answer. “Why do you believe in the Bible?” Give an answer.

But when you witness, make sure you use Scripture because God promises to honor His Word.

And finally, call for a decision. That’s where most people miss out. We tell our story and everything else, but we don’t ask for a decision. That’s essential!

You can learn more from Josh when he leads “Unshakable Truth, Relevant Faith” at The Cove. Click here to learn more.

*Excerpts from a recent interview with Decision magazine.

Military Scholarships

To honor the brave men and women in uniform and their service to our country, the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove is pleased to offer full scholarships for active-duty military personnel and their spouses to attend a Cove seminar.

Come and be renewed through encouragement and sound biblical teaching from respected Christian speakers, while also enjoying plenty of time and space to be alone with God in the quiet seclusion of this mountain retreat.


Photo from Flickr by USACEpublicaffairs.

If you, or someone you know, is currently in active military service or is a military chaplain with the North American Mission Board, please visit www.thecove.org or call (800) 950-2092 to inquire about these special scholarships!