This week, on Feb. 1, our dear friend George Beverly Shea celebrates his 103rd birthday! He has accomplished so much in his lifetime, ministering alongside Billy Graham since the beginning. Just last year, he was honored with a GRAMMY® for Lifetime Achievement. He is such a friend to the ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and The Cove. In fact, he donated the organ currently in the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, and he joins us regularly for our Senior Celebration events. And, he’s still singing! Here’s video proof:
In honor of Bev’s birthday, here’s an excerpt we found from his memoir Then Sings My Soul:
One morning not long ago Billy and I were out for a morning walk through the enchanting streets of Lyons, France.
“Billy, how long do you think I’m going to be able to keep up with you?” I asked.
He stopped and said apologetically, “I’m sorry, Bev, I didn’t realize I was walking so fast.”
“That’s not what I mean. How long do you think I’m going to be able to keep going in this work?”
“Why Bev,” he answered seriously, “I want you to sing for me all your life.”
“I’d like that,” I told him.
And I would. Singing is my life, and I hope that I can serve the Lord with my voice, in some way, for many years to come. Yet I realize that the day will dawn when it will be better for everyone if I do all my singing “down behind the barn,” where I first sang as a boy. If I feel that God wants me to stop I won’t resist Him for a moment. Not that I think that that time is imminent – for never in my life has God opened as many doors as He has in the past two or three years. Opportunities have come to me that I never expected; I am still awed by the responsibilities He has placed on my shoulders. Yet with the additional challenges, He has given new strength, new insight, new friends, and sustaining old friends.
I was just doing the math. At one point in time, we had one grandchild. I couldn’t believe my wife was old enough to be a grandmother! But then – within a matter of years, that one has become eight grandchildren!
But that’s nothin’. In that same period of time, a billion more people have joined us on this planet. And this week, our “global village” just changed the population sign from six billion to seven billion.
Not just seven billion people. Seven billion souls. According to Jesus, each one of them is worth more than “the whole world” (Mark 8:36 ). And according to the Bible, each one of them will ultimately spend forever in heaven or hell. And 150,000 of them will slip into eternity every single day. I don’t know about you, but I find all that more than a little breathtaking.
And the orders of Jesus remain unchanged: “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone” (Mark 16:15 – NLT). Everyone. Each of those seven billion humans deserves the chance to know that God “so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son” (John 3:16 ) to take their hell and give them heaven.
So, with the seven billionth soul born this week, the stakes just got higher. The Final Orders (AKA, the Great Commission) just got more urgent.
But as the number of lost souls grows exponentially, something strange is happening. Many Western churches are cutting back their missionary budgets – sometimes to spend more on themselves. The percentage of believers’ income given to God’s work is declining – and the percentage of that which goes to reaching a lost world is shamefully small.
Missionaries who are ready to take that Good News to some needy place in the world can’t go yet – it’s taking them three years to find the support to go. And when some Christian young people tell their Christian parents they’re sensing God’s call to world missions, their parents are telling them to “do something more secure and just give to missionaries.” We want our kids to do something important, right? Don’t tell God that. His Son was a missionary.
With nearly a billion people more to reach with each decade, how can we possibly be content to do it the ways we’ve always done it? At this time of an unprecedented people explosion, we also have within our reach an unprecedented communications explosion. Through technologies like the Internet, social networks like Facebook, mobile systems like iPads and smartphones – and, in some parts of the world, the still powerful “old school” technologies of radio and television. Does this population explosion leave us any choice but to use “all possible means” (1 Corinthians 9:22 ) to give every soul a chance? To capture the most powerful delivery systems in history to deliver the most powerful Message in the world!
If Jesus wept over a city that was lost (Luke 19:41 ), how must He weep over a world that is lost? With more lost souls than ever before. But as world evangelist, D. L. Moody, said: “The Master’s heart is pierced with unutterable grief…not over the world’s iniquity, but the Church’s indifference.” Forget about the Church’s indifference – what about yours and mine?
The exponential growth of souls on this planet isn’t just a fleeting headline – it’s a mandate for the people of God. All of us. Each of us. To pray differently. Give differently. Even plan our future differently. We certainly cannot explain to God “business as usual.”
Because God so loved the world.
Ron Hutchcraft will be speaking at The Cove on March 23-25th. His seminar is titled: “How Then Should We Live: Bold Living in a Meltdown World.” Special offer: FREE seminar if lodging on property! Click here to register and for more details.
Ron Hutchcraft is an evangelist, speaker, author, and radio host. He is president of Ron Hutchcraft Ministires and founder of On Eagles’ Wings, a Native American leadership program. Ron Hutchcraft is committed to communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost in their language and to motivating and equipping believers to communicate Christ in their world. For more information about Ron and his ministry, visit www.hutchcraft.com
Delicioso! We served this chowder the other day at our Women’s Bible study luncheon, here at The Cove, and had an ENORMOUS amount of requests for the recipe. We hope you will enjoy this as much as we did!
1 lb. 80/20 ground beef
½ cup diced carrots
1 cup diced onions
½ cup diced celery
2 Tbsp. diced red bell pepper
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
8 cups chicken stock
8 cups beef stock
12 oz. lentils
1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
¾ teaspoon black pepper
¼ lb. butter (1 stick)
1 cup flour
1. Brown the beef.
2. Add butter to the beef and melt, then add flour and stir for 20 seconds.
3. Add carrots, onion, celery, and garlic to the “roux”.
4. Stir in the beef and chicken stocks. Simmer for 45 minutes. Stir often.
5. Add red bell pepper, lentils, mushrooms, black pepper, and thyme.
6. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Stir often.
7. Serve with sour cream and chopped herbs.
8. Relax and ENJOY!
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Want to taste the food at The Cove for yourself? Come see us!
Visit our website, www.thecove.org, to see a list of events.
“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” – Mark 6:31
Need a location for your next group retreat? At The Cove, you will discover an experience far beyond that of typical conference centers. Our year-round facility rests on 1,200 acres in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. Amid rich natural forest, woodland streams and abundant wildlife, you will find stillness and seclusion within our gated, all-inclusive retreat. Our well-equipped meeting, dining and lodging facilities, combined with scenic views and unparalleled service, provide a refreshing and relaxing atmosphere. The Cove can accommodate small groups, such as board meetings and church staff retreats, as well as large groups up to 450 guests. If you choose The Cove, we know you’ll leave refreshed and ready for what God has in store.
“Every aspect of our encounter with The Cove was done with Excellence. I thought to myself, ‘Lord, this facility and people must please you and reflect a touch of what you intended for man in the beginning. The grounds are well landscaped and maintained, the beauty of the mountains, the hiking trails, the architecture of the buildings, excellent food and rich fellowship, and so on.’” — Guest from a large Christian Organization
“I cannot say enough about The Cove. The ladies thoroughly enjoyed our time there. The atmosphere was heavenly and the fellowship was second to none. What a glorious time we had. I’ll tell anyone before you go to heaven you have got to stop by The Cove. A special thanks to your staff they were so accommodating.” – Guest from a large Church in Jacksonville, FL
Brooklyn Tabernacle’s Pastor, Jim Cymbala, knows a thing or two about “Ministering Christ to Others,” the title of his upcoming seminar at The Cove in Asheville, NC, March 28-30.
God called Jim and his wife Carol, to a small church in Brooklyn, NY, in the 1970s. It was in this struggling inner-city church where the Cymbalas realized God’s love could meet the most desperate of human needs. Pastor Cymbala now oversees Brooklyn Tabernacle’s thriving congregation of several thousand people, through which several other churches and missionary stations around the world have blossomed.
At his seminar at The Cove, Pastor Cymbala will speak to the great need of ministry in the world today that’s anointed by the Holy Spirit, centered on God’s Word, and filled with love. Participants will discover how the Holy Spirit, the Word, and God’s people as loving vessels are the solutions for the challenges facing the church.
Will Graham, grandson to Billy Graham and Assistant Director at The Cove, will lead the closing session. For more information or to register for this event online, click here or call 1-800-950-2092. If you come, you’ll take home fresh inspiration to share Christ with others while acknowledging your dependence on Him.
By Jack Munday, Director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team
Dealing with tragedy often leaves people feeling overwhelmed and helpless. What do you say to a loved one who found out that she has cancer? Or to a friend who just lost his parents in a tragic accident? As you wrestle with the realities of life and death, what can you do to bring the smallest amount of comfort into an unbearable situation?
Many, if not all, of you reading this are going through a life-changing hardship, or know someone who is. When the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, a nationwide network of chaplains trained in crisis-response, deploys into an area impacted by a man-made or natural disaster, we often find that up to 70 percent of the people with whom we interact were already in the midst of a personal tragedy in their lives before the large-scale disaster struck.
When personal disasters occur, there are multiple needs that must be met. There are the obvious physical needs, such as financial assistance, medical care, rides to the hospital and pharmacy, and others. Beyond that, however, exist the emotional and spiritual needs that often receive less attention.
What do you do if a friend or loved one’s world just changed forever? Perhaps the most important thing to offer is what we call a “ministry of presence.” Simply being there for your friend can mean more to them than you may ever know. It seems that many of us have a built-in fear of getting too close to sorrow, so our first inclination is to run from the pain. We’ll say, “I’m praying for you,” as we run out the side door. We treat our friends, with whom we were laughing and shopping two weeks ago, like we want nothing to do with them.
The emotional toll of that, especially in addition to the physical circumstances of whatever they are going through, is enormously destructive. That’s why it is so important to be there for your friend. What should you say? Consider this: maybe you don’t need to say anything! Many of you know the biblical story of Job, a wealthy man who lost nearly everything he had – his possessions, his family and his health. Three friends came to mourn with him, and the Bible tells us: “Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.” (Job 2:13, NIV) They didn’t have to say a word; they just sat with him as friends. In fact, everybody was a lot better off when the friends weren’t speaking!
Very few people who are going through a tragedy feel like listening to a sermon. What they do want is the chance to share their story and the concerns of their heart. Ask questions that give them that opportunity. We have found that asking “How are you holding up?” is a much better option than asking “How are you doing?” If you ask “How are you doing?” many will reply “fine,” even though we all know they aren’t. Or, in more extreme circumstances, they may angrily retort, “How do you think I’m doing!?” Asking “How are you holding up?” acknowledges that they are going through a hard time and opens the door for an honest answer.
I would also encourage you to not discard the spiritual as you minister to the emotional needs of your friend. As we travel through despair and trial, it’s important to know God is greater than our current pain and sorrow.
Two verses that offer a great amount of hope are Jeremiah 29:11, which reads, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (NIV) Also, Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose.” (NIV) God is very much able to take the broken pieces of our lives and make something good out of them, though we may never know this side of Heaven what that is.
The cornerstone of the Christian faith is the wondrous truth that God, rather than remaining distant and aloof from our suffering, sent His one and only Son Jesus Christ into this world as a “Man of sorrows who was acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). After dying on the cross for our sins, Christ – through His resurrection from the grave – made it possible for us to have hope that endures for eternity.
Whether you are supporting someone who is dealing with tragedy, or if you yourself are the one walking through this valley, lean on God, not on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5). And please remember that through it all, often the best thing you can do is simply be available to offer love, respect, support and encouragement … without ever saying a word!
If you are interested in learning more, The Cove is offering a leadership training seminar entitled “Sharing Hope in Crisis” on February 25. This program will equip you to give effective emotional and spiritual care to people experiencing tragedy and crisis. Designed for use in daily life and ministry, as well as community or regional catastrophic situations, it will introduce you to the work of RRT and is a requirement to be an RRT chaplain. Click here to learn more.
Jack Munday is the director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, a nationwide network of crisis-trained chaplains who are prepared to deploy into manmade and natural disasters to minister to the emotional and spiritual needs of survivors. He is also a senior chaplain with the International Fellowship of Chaplains and a chaplain with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Jack lives in Charlotte, N.C., with his wife of more than 40 years, Bonnie.
If you are able to participant, we are sure you will sense God’s presence in the majestic setting of The Cove and during meaningful times of worship and Bible teaching. There will be small group opportunities to connect with new and old friends.
At the morning study each week(starting Jan. 10), an optional ($10) lunch will be available by reservation. Reservations for lunch must be made by noon on the Friday prior to the Bible Study. Please note meal tickets are non-refundable.
For more information, or to register, call (800) 950-2092 or visit www.thecove.org. We hope to see you there!
The blog of the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove