All posts by notesfromthecove

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Mark 10:47-48

Kendra Blog Title

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our 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!

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left-hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from Mark 10:48

Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept on all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

THE FACTS:

Many were sternly telling him to be quiet; he kept on more. Son of David have mercy on me.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

Bartimaeus was blind, so he lived a life of begging for scraps to stay alive. One day Bartimaeus (we’ll just call him “Bart”) heard with his ears that Jesus was walking through Jericho. There sat Bart, begging at the back gate as people left the city on their way to Passover in Jerusalem.  Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem as well—to the Last Supper and to Lazarus, who had been dead a few days.

Suddenly Bart began to yell, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47). The crowd did not like this, because they could not hear the teaching of Jesus; all they could hear was the shrieking of an unimportant, forgettable blind man.  Oh how they wished Bart would pipe down!  They pressured him to stop; he did not.  The crowd continued all the more to pressure Bart to quiet, but he refused.

What was blind Bart saying? I argue the reason Jesus even went through Jericho—and not around the Jericho bypass (especially with Passover looming)—was because blind Bart was the message. Jesus went through Jericho for two reasons: First, to gather a crowd to hear Bart’s message; and second, to heal Bart.  Bart was saying, “Jesus, Son of David.”  This was a BIG deal.  Bart was telling the Jewish crowd on their way to Passover that Jesus was the Messiah. This very statement would be what the Sanhedrin would use to crucify Jesus in the next week or so.  This was a BOLD message, and Bart was preaching this message in his darkness.  The crowd bullied him to stop. Yet Jesus didn’t stop Bart’s message, nor did He stop the crowd from pressuring him. Did you ever think about that?  Jesus allowed Bart to be bullied into shutting his mouth. What would Bart do?  Why would Jesus allow that?

Last week we noted that when God delivered Israel out from under the thumb of Pharaoh, He led them to the desert. Why?  Deuteronomy 8:2 gives us the reason: “To test them to see what was in their hearts.”  So God would know what was in their hearts?  NO—so that Israel would know what was in their hearts. Marah—bitterness—was in their hearts, and God needed to deal with it. What was in Bart’s heart? A message of hope.

Have mercy on me!”  Bart had the hope of healing because he knew who Jesus was.  Even if Bart had not been healed, it would not have changed the fact that Jesus is Messiah.  Even if Jesus ignored him, even if Jesus walked by or would not defend him in a crowd that was yelling at him, Bart’s message did not waver and did not change.

What would make your message waver and change? Bart would preach Jesus Messiah.  Bart was the message. Perhaps Bart begged often in the courts of Jericho’s synagogue, hearing the teachings of the Torah and scrolls of the prophets.  With his keen sense of hearing, Bart connected the dots of Messiah better than those who had seen Jesus do countless miracles.

Bart, being blind, knew his own desperation and need for Jesus. When Jesus walked by, Bart’s message could not be taken from him. In his darkness, in his blindness, in his pain, Bart preached until he was heard.  Tested in his heart, and in spite of being ignored by Jesus and bullied by the crowd, Bart continued to preach Jesus Messiah.  He continued to plead for mercy until he received it.

Jesus stopped (verse 49).  Bart’s faith stopped Jesus in His tracks.

Then Jesus, through the crowd beckoned Bart to him.  Cruel?  Seriously.  Think about it.  The crowd is mad and annoyed at Bart.  Jesus is not right beside him, obviously, because He “beckons” him to come (49).  Bart is blind, and Jesus is asking him to weave through a crowd?

I love that it doesn’t matter to Bart.  BOLD Bart gets up, leaves everything he owns in the world, and takes that first step.  I’ll bet there was help after that first step was taken.  It’s the first one that seems so daunting, so impossible–so cruel even.  But God will make a way when there is no way.  Bart believed this.  Jesus did not promise Bart healing; Jesus only called to him.  Yet Bart left everything just to be in the presence of Messiah, knowing Jesus would take care of the rest.  What faith!  Blindness in the end is not what Bart is known for; we remember him today for his  BOLD belief.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?

When have we been tested to know what is in our hearts? Did we press into belief, or raise our fists in “Marah”?

What has caused our message of Jesus to waver and change? Culture? Pressure for tolerance? Scientific data?

How is our belief known to the world around us?

LIVE IT OUT:

Lord, open my ears to hear your message of Truth to me, then open my mouth to make known with BOLDNESS the mystery of the Gospel.  (Ephesians 6:19, NASB)

– Kendra

P.S. Ladies, our in-person Winter Women’s Bible Study at The Cove is now underway, and it’s not too late to join us!  Let’s get together Tuesday evenings in January and February and dig into the Word of God.  Register online today.

Can’t make it in person?  We’ll be streaming LIVE each Tuesday evening on Periscope, via Twitter, where you can watch from the comfort of your own home.

Cove Bible Verse for the Week of January 15th

Make sure your path is illuminated by staying in God’s word.

This week’s verse is Psalm 119:105.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.


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

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest

Saturday Snapshot — Safety First!

We take safety serious around here and our annual staff Safety Training meeting is anything but boring! This year our Property Services Manager and his team went with a NASCAR theme!

Just look at the creativity used to share important safety information with our staff and volunteers! Flags, tires, sound effects, outfits–the works!

Jane Derrick began her 22nd year of teaching Women’s Bible Study at The Cove this week.  She asked who had been coming the entire 22 years and a few hands popped up across the packed auditorium.  That’s dedication–on both parts!  Jane is teaching on the Beatitudes this year.

Kendra Graham opened her first night of Women’s Bible Study with a call to the ladies (and a few gents) to live life boldly as so many in the Bible modeled for us.

If you’re wondering what all that is on the stage in front of the podium, it’s a bunch of Lindor chocolate truffles.  You don’t think Kendra would start an evening Bible study without chocolate, did you?!

At the end of the evening, Kendra asked everyone in attendance if they were ALL IN.  If so, as a symbolic gesture, each person could sign their name on an #ALLIN canvas.

If you’d like to join Kendra’s evening study on Tuesday nights from the comfort of your own home, you can tune in by clicking here around 7:15pm ET each Tuesday evening.  The videos are available for viewing later, too.


And let us leave you with this pretty scene on a rainy and overcast morning this week.  God loves to grace us with beauty around every corner, doesn’t He?!

Have a blessed weekend, friends!

 

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Exodus 15:2

Kendra Blog Title

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our 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!

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left-hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from Exodus 15:2

The LORD is my strength and song,

And He has become my salvation;

This is my God and I will praise Him

My father’s God and I will extol Him.

THE FACTS:

The LORD is my strength, song, my salvation, my God. I will praise Him, I will extol Him.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

The Israelites were on the bank of the Red Sea–Egypt was in hot pursuit.  The hand of God had released Israel from under the yoke of bondage and had exacted judgment upon the Egyptian gods.  All those Egyptian gods, including the ruling Pharaoh, were no match for God Almighty, the #deliverer.

Israel was panicked though.  The people had followed God, which led to the sea.  They were hemmed in… freedom was somewhere on the other side.  The Egyptian chariots were closing in fast.  The Israelites could hear the war cry of angry soldiers led by an even angrier Pharaoh.  Death was certain…. or was it?

Moses cried out to God and God parted the Red Sea.  The land was not muddy and mucky to walk across, but it was solid and dry. The Sea represented for Egypt and the Israelites an abyss.  The sea was “bottomless”, a place of death, a place where the gods came from, the underworld.  The sea was a place to be feared.  The Israelites could do nothing about that abyss that stood before them, destruction on either side, so God did.  God made a way, across the abyss, across the “underworld”, now the choice would lay in the lap of each Israelite.  What do they do?  Do they cross, or do they stay?

I know some of you are like, “That’s crazy! OF course they cross!

Come on!”  Put yourself there.  The sea was an image just as much as Egypt was an image of everything they feared.  It may have looked like a trap to them.  How many times do we think God is trapping us and just walking us off a cliff?  What about you and your kids go first, and I see if the walls of water stay…. then I will decide!  There is no time for hemming and hawing, though.  The choice must be made.  The opened sea offers the #hope of #deliverance.  The shore offers sure death.  The shore is what they know.  The sea is an unknown.  The Israelites could do nothing to open the sea and do nothing to hold the water back.  The Hebrews could do nothing to aid in their deliverance, they just had to accept it, trust that God would save them, as they walked across Hades on dry land.

We like to have a hand in our deliverance, don’t we?  We want to be part of it, to ensure that it will stick.  Well, we don’t have that option any more than the Hebrews did on this night.  We either stay on the shore of Egypt, or we walk across to freedom.  We cannot have one foot on one side and one foot on the other.  A choice must be made and that choice is an #allin choice.  If you stop in the middle of the sea, to have some deliverance and some captivity, you drown in the middle.  The enemy has come to steal, kill and destroy, Jesus has come to give life and give it abundantly (John 10).   We are created to serve someone or something, it’s either Egypt, with its power, prestige, and excess, or it’s God.  There are two kingdoms, and the Bible says you cannot serve two masters (Luke 16:13), you serve one, and the one is your choice.

God was not going to force Israel to freedom, to where He is, but He would make a way to get there.  Each Israelite had to choose.  They did nothing to obtain their deliverance, but they had to receive it and walk across that sea.  #Allin or #Allout.  As they stepped off the bank of Egypt and began to walk to the other side, something miraculous happened, a song welled up in their souls.  We do not get the song until we step and receive.  We want the song beforehand, but that is not how it works.  AS we trust and put feet to our faith, we see that the walls of water will stand, we see that the path across is dry and will hold and will not swallow us up.

When they got to the other side, God became personal to each of them.  Each of them sang their song of #deliverance.  God provided corporate #deliverance and a personal #deliverance to each one of them personally.

God saved ME!  God provided for ME! God protected MY family, God held the water back for ME! God is MY deliverer.  God became personal.  Oh God became MY God.

We can do nothing for our #deliverance.  God came down, personally, not trusting you to another, and His name is Jesus.  Jesus lived a perfect life, and as He died on the cross, that cross became a path across Hades for all of us.  Jesus rose from the dead the third day and crushed death.  God has made a way for us to get to the other side.  #Deliverance is offered corporately but must be personally received.  The kingdom of this world has come to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus has come to give life and give life abundantly.  The choice is yours.  You cannot serve two kingdoms.  Israel proclaimed “You are highly exalted” in verse one.  Exalted derived from the Hebrew word Meloch, which means king.  Each of us is following someone or something, which kingdom that is, is our personal choice.  Choose wisely.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?

Who or what are we following?  Which kingdom?

We are #allin but on what side?

Who or what is keeping us on the side of Egypt when we know its intentions? (Steal, kill, destroy.)

Is the reason we are slow about accepting deliverance because we want a hand in it?

Do we have a personal story and song of #deliverance?

LIVE IT OUT:

Today is the day of salvation.  Today accept the free gift of deliverance that the cross offers.

Oh God, I am a sinner, I have been following, been a slave to the kingdom of this world.  Thank you for making a way through it all.  Thank you for dying on the cross and conquering sin on the cross and death at the grave.  By faith, I step, accepting your free gift of salvation.  I am #allin for You.  You are highly exalted.  You are my God and my deliverer. Help me to follow You.

– Kendra

P.S. Ladies, our in-person Winter Women’s Bible Study at The Cove begins today.  It’s not too late to join us!  Let’s get together seven Tuesday evenings in January and February and dig into the Word of God.  Register online today.

Can’t make it in person?  We’ll be streaming LIVE each Tuesday evening on Periscope, via Twitter, where you can watch from the comfort of your own home.

Cove Bible Verse for the Week of January 8th

Well, it’s a new year and with that comes a new Monday verse format here on the blog.  This year we will share pictures of Scripture from the pages of the Bible.

Are you one that underlines, writes, and draws in your Bible?  Many people find that this process helps them engage more deeply in their study of the Word.

Whether you do, or not, we hope the Lord will show you something fresh each week with these posts.

This week’s verse is Psalm 46:1.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.


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

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest

Saturday Snapshot — Wired

If you’ve spent any time with us in one of our auditoriums, you know we take sound quality seriously.  We want the speaker and musical artist’s voices to project crisp and clear and the video sound to project nicely so the story communicated on the screen is told well.

With all this being said, a mixer is integral to the sounds that are projected in our auditorium and ours was on its last leg, so for Christmas, we got a new mixer!!

Following are some behind-the-scenes shots of our amazing tech team putting in the new system.  Apparently, you don’t just unplug one cord and plug in another!

Just look at the process!

Let’s begin with the most frightening shot…

Do the number of wires above cause anyone else to shudder?!

On the bright side, what a lovely shade of blue on this big spool of wire!

We’re gonna need a few tools for this venture…

Good thing John has so many brain cells!  Lots of figuring to do on this job.

Afraid of heights or tight spaces?  No need to apply for a job in Tech Services!  Look at the middle left side of this picture.  Do you see the auditorium seating?  Just wanted to give you a little perspective.

Peek-a-boo!

Napping on the job??

Making sure the wiring is arranged correctly under the stage floor is part of the process, too…

Here’s the new prized piece of equipment everyone has been preparing for!

And one, two, three, lift!  Both strong and smiling!

Placing DiGiCo with tender loving care.
Perhaps we should give her a new name.  DiGiCo just doesn’t seem to flow.  Any suggestions?

Ta-Da!! Look at all the buttons!!  Who wants to guess how many?  There may be a prize awarded! : )

The guys are still working as this is posted but major progress was made this week as wires were pulled through conduit in the ceilings, walls, and subfloors.  Progress may look like a mess some but is “organized chaos” to others!

Let’s hope the guys get some well-deserved rest this weekend.

Have a blessed weekend, friends!

Prayer Note — January 2018

We hope you will enjoy our “Prayer Note”—an internal communication here at The Cove, created each month to remind and encourage our staff to pray. We share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that you, too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note(3)

“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:6, NASB).

Remember 2017? Terror attacks. Wildfires. Violent protests. Nuclear threats. Political divisions. A concert shooting. School shootings. Church shootings. Sexual assaults. Hurricanes. Floods. Earthquakes. Amid the chaos, confusion and sadness brought on by many of these tragic events, we saw glimpses of goodness, bravery, compassion and human kindness. Brave soldiers, firemen, police officers, EMTs, relief workers and ordinary citizens ran toward danger rather than away from it, saving lives, relieving burdens and providing glimmers of hope in the midst of heartbreak. Some made headlines while others did not.

One positive event that occurred last summer brought Americans together from coast to coast, and the hype surrounding it was almost as memorable as the event itself. Dubbed “The Great American Eclipse,” the total solar eclipse that took place in the skies over the United States on August 21 of 2017 was an unforgettable shared experience. Scores of Americans laid down hard-earned cash to buy goofy-looking protective glasses in cardboard frames. Some traveled great distances to gather in public squares, on mountaintops or in open fields along the path of totality. Many of us at The Cove even donned those classy protective shades to glimpse the eclipse from the Training Center deck or parking lot!

While many Christians were moved to expressions of awe and praise to God for the breathtaking display of His handiwork during the celestial event, there were also plenty of unbelievers who were moved to near-religious fervor at the spectacle—praising nature, the sun or “The Universe.” God’s common grace allows us all to recognize beauty when we see it. Almost equally as miraculous was the fact that despite our political or religious affiliation or skin color, we all were looking up in unison as the path of the eclipse moved from the Oregon coast and across the country to South Carolina.

As we reflect back on 2017 and look ahead into the new year, we may be tempted to give in to feelings of fear, anxiety, anger or disappointment. Some of us may progress into 2018 with heavy hearts as we still move in the shadows of a serious personal trial or loss. Like the shadow cast when the sun, moon and Earth aligned last August, we stand in a dark and gloomy place, wondering when the light will return. It’s in these places where we realize rose-colored glasses provide no help. We need much more than positive thinking to carry us through. We need to look up.

“Lift up your eyes to the sky, then look to the earth beneath; for the sky will vanish like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants will die in like manner; but My salvation will be forever, and My righteousness will not wane” (Isaiah 51:6, NASB).

Despite the very real shadows that may obscure your path as you begin a new year, look up and acknowledge God’s sovereignty and seek Him through prayer and study of His Word. As we intentionally seek to view the world and our circumstances in the light of God’s eternal truth and unbreakable promises, we can gain the courage needed to walk through the shadowy places, knowing He walks beside us though we may not see His face.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4, NASB).

Before plunging ahead into the activities and events of this new year, let’s take the time to look up. Let’s pray and seek the face of our Shepherd, asking Him to light our path, guide our steps and encourage our hearts. His promises are true and we can trust Him!

“The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11, NASB).

 Keep praying and seeking!
—Donna Riesen


We appreciate you joining us in prayer for the following events taking place on The Cove property during the month of January.

Women’s morning Bible study: January 9-February 27
(Teacher: Jane Derrick; Worship Leader/Emcee: Carole James)
Living the Blessed Life (Matthew 5:1-12)
Register online today.

Women’s evening Bible study: January 9-February 20
(Teacher: Kendra Graham; Emcee: Jill Gottenstrater)
Live Bold (Selected Scripture)
Register online today.

NOTE:
 
Can’t make it in person? Kendra’s Bible study will also be streaming live each Tuesday evening on Periscope, via Twitter, where you can watch from the comfort of your own home.

Happy New Year!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

We look forward to spending time with you here on the blog in 2018!  What a joy it would be to see you in person, too!
We’ve got a great year of ministry ahead of us! Click here for a schedule of our seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

What do you most look forward to in 2018? Tell us in the comments below.

Saturday Snapshot — Quiet and Busy

It’s been quiet around The Cove the last couple of weeks.  After a busy year of ministry, many of our staff are taking time off to rest and enjoy time with family.

As you can see, the deer are enjoying the space normally occupied by our RV (Recreational vehicle) volunteers.  Click here to read more about that ministry.

The nearly 10 miles of walking trails have not seen much activity in the last couple of weeks either.  Just look how the ice has formed on a branch hanging over the creek!  To put it in perspective, the largest ice formation in the middle of the picture is the size of a 16-ounce bottle and appears to be hollow inside!  God never ceases to amaze, does He?!

Meanwhile, over at Pilgrim’s Inn this week there is a flurry of activity.  Because we don’t have many guests staying in our inns during a pocket of time between late December and early January, we use that time to take on big cleaning and/or construction projects.  This winter, our big project is the completion of the Pilgrim’s Inn renovation.  We’ve updated all the inn rooms at Shepherd’s Inn and one half at Pilgrim’s Inn over the last few years, and this is the last phase of that renovation project.

Here’s a look at some of the work that took place this past week.  We’d appreciate your prayers for safety and favor during this project.

We look forward to providing a lovely updated inn-room for your next stay at The Cove!

Happy New Year, friends! We look forward to seeing you back here, or in person, in 2018.


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.

 

COVE BIBLE VERSE OF THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 25th

This week’s verse is brought to you by James, a guest here
at The Cove. His verse is Proverbs 3:5-6.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will direct your paths.

James_Merritt Seminar


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.

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

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest