Join Us Online Tonight!

Tonight, you can tune in at 7:15pm ET for the first session of Brooklyn Tabernacle Pastor, Jim Cymbala’s seminar, Ministering Christ to Others…for FREE!
The great need in the world today is ministry that’s anointed by the Holy Spirit, centered on God’s Word, and filled with love. Discover how the Holy Spirit, the Word, and God’s people as loving vessels are the solutions for the challenges facing the church. You’ll take home fresh inspiration to share Christ with others while acknowledging your dependence on Him.

Please share this great opportunity with friends and family.
Click here to watch online.

Kendra’s Bible Study: Joshua 8: 9-17

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study.  This is a place where women can come together and share their journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity.  We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Kendra suggests you use the following process when studying Scripture.  We have included an example of this process from John 1:1.

Step 1:  Pray
Step 2: Read God’s Word (look at the passage)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  
Step 3: What Does God’s Word Say? (list the facts)
1 In the beginning the Word was with God and was God.
Step 4: What Does God’s Word Mean? (learn the lessons)
1 God‘s Word is not just ancient philosophy, it is eternal Truth.
Step 5: What Does God’s Word Mean to Me? (listen to his voice)
1 How do I view the Bible?

Kendra Graham NOTES from Joshua 8:9-17

FACTS from verses 11-13
11. All the people of war came before the city and camped. 
12. He took 5,000 men and set them in ambush.
13. Joshua spent the night in the valley.

LESSONS from verses 11:13: 
Sometimes God’s plan leads to an offensive attack at the doorstep of our enemies.

God’s plan involves my active obedience and it will probably take an insane amount of   courage that will strengthen my faith in the end.  It is never easy.  There is always a gap between what I can do and what God must do…. that gap will demand courage and will produce faith in my life.  

APPLICATION from verses 11:13:
Would I rather live in a defensive mode or offensive?  Am I willing to go on the offensive against the enemy?  Are there places and things if God calls me to do them that I just won’t do? “I’ll go there, but I won’t go there”?

Do I trust God if He asks me to place myself in a position of vulnerability in front of friend or foe? Or do I demand from God a place to play it safe and a constant “comfort zone”?

Will I press in to what God is asking of me, or get out?  Was I thinking this would be easier than it really is?

FACTS from verses 14-17
14.The king saw it, rose and went to meet Israel in battle. 15. Israel pretended to be beaten and fled. 16.All the people pursued and were drawn away from the city. 17. They left the city unguarded

LESSONS from verses 14-17
14. Often the ENEMY will use the EXACT SAME strategy against me until it doesn’t work anymore.
15. GOD uses a NEW strategy with His people, Trust God with His plan and the results.
16- 17. The enemy is often times bold in their pride and arrogance, James 4:6 “God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.” The enemy will over-reach due to their arrogance.

APPLICATION from verses 14-17:
What strategy for defeat has the enemy used on me time and time again and has found victory in my defeat?

Have I asked God what His plan is, His new strategy for the enemies defeat and His victory in my past or present circumstances?  Am I willing to “do all”  according to God’s plan even if I don’t like it, or it’s not easy, or it doesn’t make any sense?

When do I think the arrogant enemy just prospers and prospers thinking that God does not see it?  Do I take God at His Word and trust that He is in control?

Homework for next week: Joshua 8: 18-23, 29

Share with us your lesson(s) and what it means to you. 
Do you know someone that might be blessed by joining our study?  Please share this blog link with them.    

A Message from Will Graham

I recently accepted the position of executive director of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, N.C. This transition in responsibility is extremely personal to me, specifically because of the way that my grandparents, Billy and Ruth Graham, are completely ingrained in the fabric of this wonderful place.

Decades ago, God gave my grandparents a shared vision for The Cove. For my grandfather, the vision was one of inspiration, instruction and intercession. While his massive crusade outreaches were targeted to non-Christians and were his opportunity to reach them with the Good News of Jesus, he wanted to build The Cove to provide a place for Christian believers to spend time reading the Bible, developing a deeper understanding of their faith, and committing concentrated time to prayer. He knew that when people take time to allow God’s Word to transform their lives, they will – in turn – impact their community for Christ.

For my grandmother, the focus was more on the rest and renewal that this unique piece of mountain property could offer. She wanted to provide a respite, allowing Christians to get away from the world and recharge their spiritual batteries through resting in the Word of God. She was very involved in the development of the buildings and made every effort to make it a beautiful, inspiring sanctuary. You can still see furniture throughout the property that she personally hand-picked.

It’s unique that both of my grandparents’ visions are represented in the name on the sign as you drive into the 1,200 acre property: The Billy Graham Training Center (my grandfather’s vision) at The Cove (my grandmother’s vision).

All of this to say, my family heritage runs deep in this place and it is a humbling honor for me to be called by God to continue the great work that my grandparents began so long ago.

Two of the main things that I see in The Cove’s future involve making it a recognized place of prayer, and spreading the amazing teaching that takes place there to more people.

My grandfather used to talk about a place in South Korea that was known as Prayer Mountain. People would go there to get away and spend time specifically in prayer. He had a burden to make The Cove into a similar destination; a holy place where people can cry out to the Lord. We began efforts in that direction a couple years ago by placing markers on the property, encouraging people to stop and pray. Over the next year that will become an even greater focus as we facilitate additional opportunities for people to stop and cast their cares upon Him.

Those who know the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association well know that it is our mission to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to everybody we can through every effective means available to us. That’s why my grandfather was one of the first to use radio, motion pictures, television, satellite and the Internet in communicating the Gospel. It’s with that in mind that I also want to make sure that we are using modern technology to offer the wealth of training that has taken place at The Cove over the past 24 years to those who have never even stepped foot on this property. There is plenty still to be worked out on that, but it’s something that I hope to accomplish in the months and years ahead.

As I close this note, I would ask you for your prayers. Please pray for The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, that we would continue to follow my grandparents’ vision and continue to glorify and direct people to our Savior. Please pray also for me. I’m on the road a lot, and my new role at The Cove will also require devoted attention. Pray that I will be able to balance my roles and get everything accomplished that God has placed before me.

Thank you,

Will Graham
Executive Director

Will Graham will hold a special seminar called “When the Shadows Speak” June 29 – July 1. Space is still available – reserve yours today!

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 executive director of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, N.C.

 

Kendra’s Bible Study: Joshua 8:2-9

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study.  This is a place where women can come together and share their journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity.  We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Kendra suggests you use the following process when studying Scripture.  We have included an example of this process from John 1:1.

Step 1:  Pray
Step 2: Read God’s Word (look at the passage)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  
Step 3: What Does God’s Word Say? (list the facts)
1 In the beginning the Word was with God and was God.
Step 4: What Does God’s Word Mean? (learn the lessons)
1 God‘s Word is not just ancient philosophy, it is eternal Truth.
Step 5: What Does God’s Word Mean to Me? (listen to his voice)
1 How do I view the Bible?

Kendra Graham NOTES from Joshua 8:2:

FACTS from verse 2:

a.  Do to Ai & it’s king like Jericho, take only its spoil and cattle.
b.  Set an ambush for the city

LESSONS from verse 2:

a.  God commands Ai to be burned like Jericho…. BUT…. Israel gets to keep the booty!  Again, God does not point His finger and hold their past sin that occured in Jericho against them… God does not say, “Lets try this again… everything to MY treasury, can you handle it this time?”  GOD BLESSES HIS PEOPLE as they walk in obedience.  God not only restores their standing and calling before Him, but restores their BLESSING as well.  See how good it is to be near the shepherd, obeying and following Him… life will still have challenges and battles and tough stuff…. BUT will be FULL of HIS BLESSING!!!  God will not with-hold His present blessing because of our past mistakes! PRAISE GOD! Not only are we victorious, we are blessed! ACCEPT IT!

b.  God gives Joshua a plan, now he must follow it.  The quickest way to re-gain victory in my life, is to listen to God’s plan, and “Be careful to do all” (Joshua 1:8).

APPLICATIONS from verse 2:

a.  Do I think God will with-hold a calling or blessing in my life because of my past mistakes?  Do I KNOW God wants to bless me?  When and How have I been undeservedly blessed by the awesome hand of God?  Will I accept God’s blessing, or walk away from it b/c I don’t deserve it?

b.  What has God laid on my heart to do today in obedience?  Start something? Stop something?  Wait for something? Encourage someone? Share something? Testify to someone?  Will I be careful to do all He has asked? No more no less?

 Homework for next week: Joshua 8: 10-17

Share with us your lesson(s) and what they mean to you.    

Kendra’s Bible Study: Joshua 8:1

 Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. This is a place where women can come together and share their journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it meansand What it means to you!  Kendra suggests you use the following process when studying Scripture. We have included an example of this process from John 1:1.

Step 1: Pray
Step 2: Read God’s Word (look at the passage)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Step 3: What Does God’s Word Say? (list the FACTS)
1 In the beginning the Word was with God and was God.
Step 4: What Does God’s Word Mean? (learn the LESSONS)
1 God‘s Word is not just ancient philosophy, it is eternal Truth.
Step 5: What Does God’s Word Mean to Me? (listen to his voice, find the APPLICATIONS for your life)
1 How do I view the Bible?

Kendra Graham NOTES from Joshua 8:1:

FACTS from verse 1:  

a.The LORD said to Joshua do not fear.  b.Take all the people of war with you.  c.Arise and go to Ai.  d.I have given you the king, people, city & land.

LESSONS from verse 1:

“Do not fear or be dismayed”
- God RENEWS Joshua’s confidence w/ the same familiar words as Joshua 1.  We have a tendency to “live” in the fear of past mistakes & not go forward even after God has dealt with them.  God is so tender and gentle here, not reminding, or chiding Joshua, “Don’t mess it all up again!”, but God sweetly renews Joshua’s confidence reminding him of His Word.  God’s Word did not change b/c Joshua and Israel messed up last chapter, Joshua didn’t lose his spot, his favor or his calling, it was all just re-enforced.  God renews His people through His never changing Word and promises.

Take all the people of war with you
- God kindly RESTORES the entire nation of Israel to Himself.  In Joshua 6, again, God used all the men of war to march around that wall, and here, for the small city of Ai, God is going to use them all.  God is interested not just in restoring Joshua, God not only just cares about Joshua, but cares about His entire nation.  God did not say, “Since you messed up in chapter 6, now I’m not giving you Ai, you will have to settle for less.”  NO! Our past sin does not disqualify us for present service. 

 Arise and go to Ai:  God REDEEMS the previous failure at Ai. God forgave Israel for their sin back in Joshua 7, but NOW He wants to REDEEM  it!  Go back and face that which formally defeated you and beat you down, this time with Me in the lead, in My power in MY plan! God does not leave people in the state of their failure to remind them of it time and time again… He leads them out…. He calls them to ARISE and GO in His victory as He redeems that exact failure and replaces it with His conquering victory.  Notice they did not “try again” with a different city, in a different place, with a different challenge…. no, they had to conquer Ai before they moved on to another challenge.

I have given you the king, people & land of Ai.  God REMINDS His people of His promise.  The land He promised is still theirs, and is clear, it is “this” land, this city of Ai.  My promise hasn’t been altered or changed because of any of your actions.  My promises stand, now go and claim them in confidence!  Again, it is this city, don’t go looking anywhere else, it is this one which has held you in such a grip of fear for the past bit here.  God has given us the victory over things which in the past have been a source of fear to beat us down with…. go and claim the VICTORY, stop living in DEFEAT! Know what God promises in His Word! Those promises do not change!

APPLICATIONS from verse 1:

a.  Am I allowing the failures of the past to discourage me instead of God’s present Word to encourage me?  What lies of discouragement do I listen to?  You are a failure?   God’s Word renews His people, so whose word am I listening to?  Am I allowing God to build strength and courage, or allowing the world to tear me down with fear and discouragement?

b. Have I believed the lie that since I have messed up here and there I have disqualified myself for God’s service?  Where in my life do I need restoration back to a place of honor in the presence of God?  Will I allow God to restore me or will I stay in the fact of my failure?

c. Will I allow God to redeem that past failure (the one I don’t want to talk about) through my present obedience?

d. What victories has God given to me that I am too afraid to claim?  What present victories do I have over past failures that I have claimed and live in victory over?

QUESTION:  What has God given you the victory over?  What past pain or failure has He redeemed and turned into victory?  You fill in the blank!  depression…self pity…bitterness…eating disorders…legalism…bigotry…

Watch this beautiful music video, When Love Sees You, by Mac Powell (Third Day).
HE came for YOUR story…Yes, you–reading this now.

  

Homework for next week: Joshua 8: 2-9
Thank you for sharing!  Thank you for being a part of this community!  We thank God for each of you.

GUEST POST: What a Church Needs in Times of Change

By Reggie McNeal

Things were on fire—well, not literally, but in terms of church conflict, things were heating up.  FAST!  I had been called in to present a leadership workshop about the future, but when I got to the church, it was too obvious that talking about the future would be a waste of energy, because the collision of the past and present was creating too much smoke to see clearly into a new chapter.

I was too late to the scene really, because the smoldering embers of discontent had erupted in the preceding weeks and there was just too much trash around by then waiting to combust. The result? A fired pastor, a congregation in turmoil, and a steady advance to the PAST.  Setting up for the same scenario again in the future.

So, what was the problem here?  A moral failure?  Absolutely not.  Poor vision for the future?  Actually, what was being proposed was spot on.  Was there a lack of talent on the team?  Nope. The players were seasoned veterans.

The cause of the conflagration was one of the most common accelerants determined to be the problem in these cases: blown change leadership

In this particular instance, no one had warned of the impending disaster. Leaders mis-read the situation. Some actions were too fast; others, too slow.  The bottom line: unavoidable conflict and there is always tension when dis-stasis occurs during change escalated into avoidable staff and leadership disruptions.

So, how could the unnecessary fall-out have been avoided? By addressing two areas that church leaders are often inadequately prepared to deal with: better change management and transition leadership. While spiritual forces are always at play in these situations, more often the dynamics revolve around psychological and emotional forces.  People act like people everywhere and respond to change and transition at church like they do in every other arena. Learning how to deal with these powerful forces is Change Leadership 101.

On May 23-24 I will be leading a Church Staff Retreat at the Cove. The focus of these two days will be equipping you and your leadership team with information and insight for giving leadership during times of great change and transition.  The workshop will help you know some of the major shifts that are creating the need for change as well as arm you with strategies for dealing with each stage of transition. 

Good leaders and good ideas are too precious not to be protected against going down in flames during the change process.  These two days at the Cove should provide you with great insurance.

Please share this information with the pastors in your area. 

Reggie McNeal’s Church Staff Retreat titled Charting New Territory: How to Lead Others in Times of Change takes place on May 23-24 at The Cove in Asheville, NC.  To register click here or call 1-800-950-2092.

Reggie McNeal is an accomplished author, a founding pastor, and the missional leadership specialist for Leadership Network. He has spent more than a decade as a denominational executive and leadership development coach and has taught as adjunct faculty for Fuller Theological Seminary, Southwestern Baptist Seminary, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Recipe from The Cove’s Kitchen: Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

You will love this one!!!  We served this recently at our Women’s Bible study luncheon, here at The Cove.   

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Ingredients:
8 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
6 tablespoons chicken soup base
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cooked white rice
1 cup diced, cooked chicken meat
16 slices lemon
8 egg yolks

Directions:
1. In a large pot, combine the chicken broth, carrots, onions, celery, soup base, and white pepper. Bring to a boil on high, and then simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Blend the butter and the flour together. Then gradually add it to the soup mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes more, stirring frequently.

3. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks until light in color. Gradually add some of the hot soup to the egg yolks, stirring constantly. Return the egg mixture to the soup pot and heat through. Add the rice and chicken.

Add lemon juice last for fresh taste.

Ladle hot soup into bowls and garnish with lemon slices.  Enjoy!

Don’t miss when we post other recipes here!  Make sure to subscribe to our blog…just go to the top right hand side of this page to do so. 

Want to taste the food at The Cove for yourself?  Come see us! 
Visit our website, www.TheCove.org, to see a list of programs and events.

Kendra’s Bible Study…1 Kings 19:19-21

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study.  This is a place where women can come together and share their journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity.  We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…what it means…and what it means to you!

Kendra suggests you use the following process when studying Scripture.  We have included an example of this process from John 1:1.

Step 1:  Pray
Step 2: Read God’s Word (look at the passage)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  
Step 3: What Does God’s Word Say? (list the facts)
1 In the beginning the Word was with God and was God.
Step 4: What Does God’s Word Mean? (learn the lessons)
1 God‘s Word is not just ancient philosophy, it is eternal Truth.
Step 5: What Does God’s Word Mean to Me? (listen to his voice–write the applications)
1 How do I view the Bible?
———————————————————————

Kendra’s Notes on 1 Kings 19:19-21:

What Does it Say?
FACTS:

  • Verse 19:  Elijah went and found Elisha. He was plowing with 12 yoke of oxen, himself driving the 12th pair. Elijah threw his cloak around him
  • Verse 20: Elisha left and ran after Elijah.  Let me kiss my father and mother and I will come. Elijah: Go back, what have I done to you?
  • Verse 21: Elisha left and went back, took his oxen, slaughtered them, burned the plowing equipment, followed Elijah and became his attendant.

What Does it Mean?
Lessons:

  • Verse 19: Be found faithful where God has placed me.
  • Verse 19: God’s call is clear
  • Verse 20: The choice to follow is mine, and is costly
  • Verse 21:  Sometimes a “promotion” in God’s eyes is a “demotion” in the world’s eyes

What Does it Mean to Me?
Applications:

  • Verse 19:  Would I be found faithfully doing what God has called me to do, where He has called me to do it? Being a wife, mom, soccer coach??? Or are my eyes looking for a more “important” post to be sent to? Something else? Anything else?
  • Verse 19:  If God’s call is clear, then am I living a life that evidences that I’m doing what God wants, or does my life show evidence of me doing what I want?
  • Verse 20: Have I really decided to “follow Jesus”, really? Or do I just choose to follow when the choice is convenient for me?
  • Verse 21: Have I rejected God’s call in my life because it’s beneath me? Not the important “leadership” position I thought I deserved?

LIVE IT OUT!

  • Ask God where He wants me, and where He doesn’t.  Pray for the strength to quit those areas He never called me to, and strength to pick up the ones He has.

Share with us, by using the comment section, your lesson(s)/application(s) from any part of 1 Kings 19:19-21 and what they mean to you.   

HOMEWORK for March 20th online discussion:  JOSHUA 8: 1
Yes, just one verse for next week!  There is a lot to discover in those two sentences.

GUEST POST: Reflections of a Quickly Beating Heart

By Mike Blackaby

I’ve always hated hospitals. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they exist, and we would be in trouble without them. But there is just not much I enjoy about the whole hospital experience. In particular, I have always been terrified of needles.

Several years ago, I was rushed to the emergency room due to some frightening physical symptoms. Waiting in the ER provided me with numerous reasons to be miserable, including the unknown state of my health, the groaning mystery patient veiled behind the curtain beside me, and the backless lavender dress they had given me in exchange for my dignity. I could hardly move because various monitors were attached to me, dripping and beeping and hissing ominously.  Needless to say, my spirits were low. Very low.

But then, two BEAUTIFUL nurses entered the room. Suddenly the sun broke through the clouds and the birds began to sing! Surely these maidens were here to comfort me. One of them was already reaching for my hand. Oh, Sweet Mercy! But my bliss was short-lived, as I realized that she was holding a colossal needle! It looked like a tool of medieval warfare. Just before plunging the point deep into my flesh, she paused to ask a question.

“You aren’t afraid of needles are you?” 

“Of course not!” I replied blithely. It was a bald face lie. “What’s the holdup? Let’s get this show on the road!” To my dismay, both nurses burst into laughter, but not the “you-are-so-brave-and-handsome-you-make-us-giddy” kind of giggle.  Between fits of chortle, one of them said, “You can’t lie while you’re hooked up to a heart monitor!” I followed her eyes to the machine beside my bed and watched as my heartbeat recorded about 100 beats per second! My heart was giving away my secret!

That was not the first time my heart has ratted me out, nor will it be the last. Trials have a way of revealing our true character. When life gets scary, we may try to portray all the correct Christian responses: courage, faith, compassion, or whatever the situation calls for. But the Bible says that what is really in our heart will inevitably come to light and reveal our true character.

 My heart aches for my generation. So many young people grow up in church, only to turn away from God by the time they graduate high school. Why is this? Perhaps adulthood presents them with some challenges they are spiritually ill-equipped to handle. When life gets hard, Sunday School answers will not help someone who does not have a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. Right now, there is a generation of Millennials being reared in Christian homes, but many of them go out into the world and crumble under the weight of the secular philosophies they encounter. These young people may be heavily ‘churched’, nurtured, well-dressed, talented and educated (and those things are all great) but the most important investment, one that often gets neglected along the way, is developing a Christ-like heart.

When the hard times come, our hearts are laid bare before God and we see who we really are. My prayer for my generation is that we will take time to invest in our hearts. If we fail to do this, we are in trouble. How about you? What does your heart reveal?

“As in water face reflects face, so a man’s heart reveals the man.”  Proverbs 27:19

Mike Blackaby will be joining his grandfather, Henry, and his father Richard, at The Cove on April 20-22.  Their seminar is titled:  “Experiencing God Through the Generations.” We encourage you to bring multiple generations from your family.  There is a special rate of $129 for youth ages 15-21 when attending this seminar with parents or grandparents.  Click here to register and for more details.

Mike is the minister of single adults at First Baptist Church, Jonesboro, Georgia. He is the oldest grandson of Henry and Marilynn Blackaby. Mike is a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is passionate about music, hockey, and anything to do with Star Wars! He and his brother Daniel have written, When Worlds Collide. Mike is a popular speaker to youth and young adult conferences. Check out his blog at http://mikeblackaby.wordpress.com.