We Are Thankful for You!

When you enter through the gates at The Cove and make your way up the mountain, you are coming for a seminar, a church retreat, a senior or women’s event, a personal spiritual retreat, a concert, a luncheon, a meeting, or as a visitor at our Chapel and Visitor’s center.

But, we also know you are coming for your own reasons:  a need, a hope, a prayer, or an answer to God’s calling.  You are coming to be with God, and we are here to set the table for that meeting with Him.  It is our hope and prayer that you are blessed with renewal, refreshment and inspiration from your time spent here.

Now, isn’t it just like God to bless US, through you!  We, the Cove employees and volunteers, are in fact, blessed by you.  We are thankful for you.

From a light-hearted conversation to a heartfelt sharing of a testimony… a smile, handshake or hug as you walk by or an opportunity to pray with/for you. We have the opportunity to do what God has called us to do – to  serve you, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Thank you, and thanks be to God.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Reflections from Will Graham

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

Yet, as I ponder the amazing love of the Lord, it strikes me that so often we view our salvation as commonplace. We have received this unbelievable gift, and rather than bursting with thankfulness and jumping with joy we tuck it into the back of the dresser like a pair of socks.

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, God 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!

Will GrahamWill Graham is the third generation of Grahams to proclaim the Gospel under the banner of BGEA. Will has spoken to audiences around the world. He graduated from Liberty University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Religion and in 2001 graduated from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree. He currently serves as assistant director of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, N.C.

Ladies Christmas Luncheon at The Cove: Dec. 4

Only a few spots remain for the Ladies Christmas Luncheon at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove on the afternoon of Dec. 4. Tickets are $20 and include a meal along with a special inspirational message and musical program. For more information, call (800) 950-2092.

Rachel-Ruth Bell Wright, Anne Graham Lotz’s daughter and granddaughter of Billy Graham (and namesake of Ruth Bell Graham), will provide an inspirational message. Guests will also enjoy music from “Erin Elizabeth,” a duo made up of two sisters – Erin Bailey and Meagan Elizabeth Brown – from the musical group The Brown Family.

Rachel-Ruth, with her mother Anne Graham Lotz

Other Christmas Happenings at The Cove
In addition to the Ladies Luncheon, other Christmas events at The Cove include SeniorSalt Carol Sings, Christmas at The Cove concerts and more. While all of these events are very popular and fill up quickly, some spots are still available. The complete schedule is available at www.thecove.org. Call (800) 950-2092 for the latest information on availability.

The Cove will be adorned for the season with decorations including vibrant poinsettias, ornamented Christmas trees and a Nativity in its lobby. Guests are welcomed to visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, which is open daily Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Michael Card on the Emotional Jesus

Tonight at 7:15 p.m. ET, we are pleased to present a free webcast session of Michael Card’s seminar, The Gospel of Passion. Make plans to join us to learn a side of Jesus we don’t know as well—His emotional side.

The focus of the seminar will be the book of Mark. “Once you accept that Mark is writing Peter’s memoir, then you can read this gospel with Peter’s influence and point of view in mind,” Card explains. “The Book of Mark is a portrayal more so than any other gospel of the emotional life of Jesus. Peter is clearly the person Jesus is closest to.”

Tune in for the webcast at www.thecove.org/webstream

While Michael Card is widely known for his musical accomplishments, he received a calling at the age of 14 to teach. The musical career was not his idea. As he was getting his education to become a Bible teacher, one of his professors asked him to start writing music. When he teaches at The Cove this week on the Gospel of Mark, he will be excited to get back to his roots of teaching. Joy Allmond of BillyGraham.org spent some time with Michael to ask him about this.

“In a lot of ways, getting to do this is getting back to my original call: to help people engage with the text, not just hear ideas. I want to encourage people to engage with the Scripture on their own.”

To read the entire article, click here.

Bring Your Operation Christmas Child Shoebox to The Cove

This week is National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child! If you live in the Asheville area, or you are coming for an event, you can bring your shoebox gifts to The Cove! That’s right, The Cove is a relay drop-off location this year. Just pack your shoebox gift (click here for some great gift ideas!) and bring it by anytime between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Nov.  14-21.

Here’s some more information about Operation Christmas Child – it’s the world’s largest Christmas project and a part of the international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered more than 77 million gift-filled shoe boxes to needy children in more than 130 countries. For more information, visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.

A Heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to Our Military

This Veterans Day, we want to say thank you to all of our military personnel, both past and present, who have served our country to protect the freedoms we all enjoy. We love you, and we pray that this Veterans Day you will know how much we appreciate your service.

At The Cove, one way we show our appreciation is through our scholarship program for active-duty military. We are pleased to offer full scholarships for active-duty military personnel and their spouses to attend a seminar here at The Cove. Come renew your spirit through encouragement and sound biblical teaching from respected Christian speakers.

Here’s what some recent attendees have said about their trips to The Cove:

“My wife and I wanted you to know how much we enjoyed our Personal Spiritual Retreat at The Cove.  Like most military couples with children, we spend most of our days moving in opposite directions.  During our 3 days at The Cove, we were able to read, pray and talk together more than we have in a very long time.  The friendly staff and the quiet, peaceful surroundings made our time extra special as we grew closer to each other and closer to God.   Because of your generosity, our marriage is stronger and our family has been blessed.  Thank you so much for presenting us with such a wonderful gift.” – MSG Joseph Laskowski

“My hope in these days is in the Lord and the personal spiritual retreat reminded me of the lasting hope we have in Christ regardless of what happens around us.  I preached this weekend with renewed passion.  Thanks to those who gave so that I might stay at the Cove and be spiritually refreshed and deeply encouraged.” — LTC Ken Sorenson

“From the bottom of my heart, I would like to extend my highest gratitude of appreciation for providing such a wonderful weekend at The Cove in Asheville, NC; with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.  We had an absolutely wonderful time at The Cove, as their hospitality and accommodations were extremely superb and unmatched.” – Maj. Ross Lightsey, Sr.

If you are on active military service or serve as a current military chaplain with the North American Mission Board, please call us at (800) 950-2092, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday to learn more.

If you are not in the military, but you would like to show your support, you can give to our scholarship fund to help make this program possible. We can’t do it without your help! Contact Anna Contoleon at The Cove (828) 298-2092.

Happy Birthday, Billy Graham

Today is Billy Graham’s birthday! As he turns 93 today, he shares his hopes, struggles and prayers, and his gratitude for each of you.

From Billy Graham:

Through the miracle of technology, God is graciously allowing me to proclaim the Good News in several countries this year—three of them where I never had the opportunity to lead a Crusade.

As I turn 93, I am thankful to the Lord that not long before my birthday, I was able to complete a book I’ve been working on for some time. The book is called Nearing Home, and it’s about how to prepare for and face the challenges of growing old, and how to finish well. I’ve written down lessons and insights I wish I had learned earlier in life, because I have come to realize that although I know how to die, no one ever taught me how to grow old.

Even as I look forward to seeing Jesus Christ face to face, and to being reunited with Ruth, my parents, and a host of friends who have now gone on before me, God continues to give me time on earth. My failing eyesight keeps me from reading as I once did, and my physical stamina is low, but I have more time to pray. I talk to the Lord about the needs of family and friends, and about the work of evangelism that God has called us to at BGEA.

Read the complete letter here. To send personal greetings to Billy Graham, post comments on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ReverendBillyGraham or on Twitter using the hashtag #happybdaybillygraham.

Billy Graham Sermons Available Online!

Have you heard? The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has launched – for the first time – an online audio archive of Billy Graham’s sermons. The searchable database, which you can find at www.billygraham.org/audioarchives, contains 1,673 messages spanning the more than six decades of Mr. Graham’s worldwide ministry.

You can search the database by topic, date or location. This project is unique in that such a large amount of data is being shared with the public in one location. Previously, one would have to request hard files, transcripts or rely on outside sources to find Billy Graham messages for use. Audio can be streamed, but not downloaded. We hope you are as uplifted by these messages as we are.

GUEST POST: Be Filled with the Spirit

By Will Graham

Have you ever noticed how life’s distractions and temptations can change your spirit? Think about it. You go into work in the morning with a smile on your face and a song in your heart, only to overhear a co-worker denigrating your abilities in front of your boss. How do you react? Later you have an opportunity to work your way out of a difficult situation by bending the truth to fit your needs and cover your back. How do you react now? Finally, you see an accounting error that could add some extra money to your paycheck if you simply stay quiet and do nothing. With all of these frustrations and temptations piling up, you probably would not be feeling overly spiritual at that point.

The fact of the matter is that in our fast-paced society, with so many different distractions around every corner, it is easy to be filled with a worldly mindset and not filled with the Holy Spirit. That, however, is no excuse. Frankly, we are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit. What does this mean? It means that you are to be under the total influence of the Holy Spirit—God, dwelling in you, ordering your steps.

Stephen, the first Christian martyr in the Scriptures, gives a beautiful picture of someone who is filled with the Holy Spirit. Acts 6:3 and 7:54-8:1 offer a few key characteristics in this example of a man who was facing the cold reality of death at the hands of an angry mob.

First, someone who is filled with the Holy Spirit is of good report (6:3). It is not that having good report—being known by others as virtuous and pure—fills you with the Holy Spirit, but it is the Holy Spirit that allows you to have this trait. The Sanhedrin were opposite of this. They called murderers, betrayers, stubborn, and disobedient (7:51-53). Why?  Because they resisted the Holy Spirit. They wanted nothing to do with the Holy Spirit.

Second, unlike the Sanhedrin, those who are filled with the Holy Spirit welcome the truth (7:55-56). Stephen sees Christ standing at the right hand of God, and he commits his spirit to God. He was glad to see Jesus and trust Him with his spirit. Those who are not filled with the Spirit were the same ones that—in verse 57—began to “cry out in a loud voice” because they heard truth and wanted to drown it out by their own words.  They also covered their ears, trying to prevent the truth from affecting them.

Finally, those who are filled with the Holy Spirit will intercede for others (7:60). Stephen was falsely accused, falsely arrested, and was about to be stoned, and yet he prayed for those who were about to stone him. What compassion! The only way Stephen could do this was because he was filled with the Holy Spirit. This was not a one-time deal but a way of life for Stephen. Acts 6:3, 5, 8 and 7:55 all state that Stephen was a man who was filled with the Holy Spirit.

This needs to be a way of life for us as well. Too often we only want to be filled with the Spirit on Sundays, and as soon as we leave church, we return to our worldly routines of mundane tasks, acceptable temptations or angry confrontations.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit—being of good report, welcoming the truth, and compassionately interceding for others—has a lot to do with your effectiveness as an evangelist for the cause of Christ. If you are someone who truly wants to reach the lost (a motivation all believers should share), you need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. If you have been witnessing to that friend from work, but then turn around and terrorize your colleague for speaking ill of you, or bend the financial rules for dishonest gain – My friend, you are doing more harm than good for the Kingdom of God.

Conversely, if you are living a Holy Spirit-filled life, in which—much like Stephen— you take the distractions, frustrations and temptations of this world and handle them with the purity, truth and compassion of the Holy Spirit, others will want to know what it is that makes you tick. They will want to know what is missing in their life that is present in yours.

My friends, be filled with the Holy Spirit. Eternity is at stake.

Will Graham

Will Graham is the third generation of Grahams to proclaim the Gospel under the banner of BGEA. Will has spoken to audiences around the world. He graduated from Liberty University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Religion and in 2001 graduated from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree. He currently serves as assistant director of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, N.C.