All posts by notesfromthecove

The Cove Welcomes Shaun Groves

On Saturday, May 21, we are excited to welcome singer-songwriter Shaun Groves for An Evening at The Cove!

His 2001 debut “Invitation to Eavesdrop” scored five songs on the charts and a number of Dove Award nominations, including New Artist and Song of the Year for “Welcome Home.” He was soon touring coast-to-coast and around the world with Bebo Norman, Jars of Clay and Michael W. Smith.

Since then, Shaun has traveled with the Christian child development organization Compassion International. He has invested himself entirely in spreading a new message: salvation is not just about being “saved from” something, as he’d learned as a child. It is about being “saved for” something. Very true.

We hope you’ll join us for this special time with Shaun. We know your heart will be touched.

Here’s a video of a performance of his hit song “Welcome Home” on Faith Café.

Tickets for this event are $50 and include dinner. Concert-only tickets are available for $28, and overnight lodging is also available. To register, click here.

God Rocks the Rebel

Next weekend, we are excited to welcome our friends Pedro Garcia and Levi Lusko to The Cove for a very special seminar called “God Rocks the Rebel.”

Here’s a sneak peek of Levi Lusko speaking on the topic.

From their exploding churches in Miami and Montana, Pedro and Levi are seeing God bring revival to many in their generation. In this seminar May 19-21, participants will study – through the book of Jonah – the process God employs to sanctify His wayward children for use in ministry.

Pedro Garcia is senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Kendall, one of the fastest-growing churches in Miami. Pedro’s enthusiastic love for the Lord and the lost is contagious. He teaches verse-by-verse through the Word of God, resulting in lives that are impacted, built up, and equipped to do the work of ministry. His humorous, passionate and contemporary style connects with a wide audience without compromising the truth of the scriptures. He currently serves on several Boards of Directors including Samaritan’s Purse with Franklin Graham. Visit the Calvary Chapel Kendall website, Pastor Pedro’s blog, or follow him on Twitter.

Levi Lusko was invited by Skip Hetizig to serve as youth pastor at Calvary of Albuquerque, one of the largest churches in the state of New Mexico. In 2004, Levi began the O2 Experience, a high-energy event geared at reaching young people with the message of sexual purity and the gospel. In addition, he has spoken at churches, concerts and evangelistic outreaches all over the country. Levi has served as host for Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusades, and has recently worked with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as a creative consultant. He is the Senior Pastor of Fresh Life Church, a church he planted, in Kalispell, Montana. His teaching style is real, relevant, and raw. Visit the Fresh Life Church website, Levi’s blog, or follow him on Twitter.

“God Rocks the Rebel” is a Next Generation Retreat, an event specifically designed for those 45 and under and offer modern worship, discussions with the speakers and optional recreational activities. Next Generation Retreats are offered at a special price. Register today to reserve your spot.

A Conversation with Kendra Graham

For Mother’s Day, our friends from BillyGraham.org recently caught up with Kendra Graham—wife of Will Graham—about the importance of a mother teaching her children the ways of God through His Word. Here’s a glimpse of that conversation.

How do you believe a mom should prepare herself to be a godly influence on her children?

For me, it has definitely been my daily quiet time with the Lord. Nobody knows better what your day is going to entail than God almighty. It’s the key to doing anything well.

How would you describe the importance of having a godly mom in a home?

I try to be a godly mom. It’s so hard. It seems as soon as you’re finished with your quiet time, you’re yelling at your kids! Something I can say from experience is that I watched my mom when she was raising us. I can look back and see how her days were bathed in prayer and how she was there for me. My mom’s mother, my grandmother, didn’t get saved until her death bed. So, I believed that impressed on my mom more of a passion to guide her children in the ways of God, keeping them in His Word. I have so much respect for my mom—she could have perpetuated cycle of sin, but God broke it with her. She stressed the importance of hiding God’s Word in our hearts, and had us memorizing Scripture from a very early age. Now, years later, those verses are still with me. I can see that my mom has helped me be a better mom by being a strong foundation for me. I hope and pray I can be that for my kids. I suppose it’s hard to really know until they grow up!

What are some of the ways you pray for your children?

I pray that they grow to love the Lord more every day and honor and serve Him. That He will be the main focus in life. That He will put a hedge of protection over them. That He will bring godly role models in their lives. The list is so long! God has entrusted these three lives to me. I can win the whole world for Christ, but that won’t matter if I’m neglecting the souls of my children. I pray that I never miss them through over involvement. I pray for myself as a mom—that I can focus on that of which God has entrusted to me.

For the complete interview, click here.

Kendra Graham has been married to Will for 13 years. Together, they have three children: Christine Jane (“CJ”), Rachel Austin and William Franklin V (“Quinn”).

Night of Worship

**UPDATE** The Asheville Night of Worship event on Saturday evening is full. We hope you can join us for the Open House from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This Saturday, we are looking forward to our 4th annual Open House at The Cove! And, our friends at Camp Cedar Cliff and 106.9 The Light are excited as well. We hope you will join us during the day (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), but, if you can’t, you can be a part of the Asheville Night of Worship at 7:30 p.m. It’s free, but there are only a few seats remaining, so registration is recommended to guarantee your spot.

Robert Williams from Seacoast Church Asheville will be the musical director for the evening, and Seacoast will also be the house band. And, Nate Huff of Highland Christian Church will join us in leading worship. Will Graham will give an inspirational message.

Call us at (800) 950-2092 to reserve your seat!

Stop By and Say Hello!

What are you doing on May 7? If you are in the area, you should stop by The Cove. We are hosting our annual open house community event, along with our friends from Camp Cedar Cliff and 106.9 The Light.

Come experience the beauty of The Cove and enjoy a day of activities for the whole family. At the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, you can view a special exhibit honoring legendary gospel singer George Beverly Shea, who at 102 years old, recently received a Lifetime Achievement GRAMMY!

Camp Cedar Cliff will offer a taste of summer camp with fun activities – including archery, a bounce castle and other inflatables, as well as a climbing wall, double zipline, face-painting, and horse rides – and a free hotdog lunch. Illusionist Bill Grimsley will perform from noon to 1 p.m.

Our friends at 106.9 The Light will open up their studios for tours. Listeners will be able to meet their favorite on-air personalities!

Samaritan’s Purse will have one of its Disaster Relief trucks available for tours. Visit www.samaritanspurse.org.

And, you want to hear the best part? It’s all free!

On Saturday evening, area worship leaders and musicians will offer “Asheville NOW (Night of Worship)” – a free community concert event at The Cove, beginning at 7:30 p.m. While it’s free, registration for this event is recommended as space is limited. Before the concert, you can enjoy a gourmet meal. (The cost for this option is $20). Click here to register for Asheville NOW.


Lessons from a Criminal

An Easter Message from Will Graham

As we enter the Easter season, we can learn several lessons from the criminal who hung alongside Jesus, says Will Graham in this timely message.

The cross means different things to different people. For some it’s just a pretty piece of jewelry. To others it is a decoration for their home. To Christians it is a symbol of the sacrificial love of Christ and His conquering of the grave.

However, to criminals under Roman rule in the first century, and those who witnessed the punishment, the cross was a symbol of torture, cruelty, death and humiliation.

As we enter the Easter season, we can learn from a man on a cross. This individual’s name is only known to God. We find this man – a criminal sentenced to death – hanging beside Jesus in Luke 23:39-43.

The first lesson that we learn is that he had a correct view of reality (vv. 40-41) and a correct view of himself. He saw himself as a criminal who was rightly condemned for the deeds he had committed. He correctly realized that he deserved death. Further, he had a correct view of Jesus. He recognized Jesus as the spotless Lamb of God and he testified to this while hanging on the cross. He knew he was a sinner, and Jesus was innocent.

The second lesson that we learn is that this criminal had a correct view of life after death. Though he was sentenced to death and hanging to life by a thread, he believed that his soul would continue to live after he died. Many people today live as if this life is all there is, but the Bible says that your soul lives forever and that it will abide in one of two places—heaven or hell. (Matthew 10:28, Luke 12:5, John 3:1-21)

Finally, we see that this criminal had a correct view of salvation (v. 42). He saw himself as totally helpless. He could do nothing to improve his odds in life or save himself. He was now bound to death and could not escape. Yet he cries out to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” He wanted to offer the last thing he had to give (his soul) to Jesus. He realized that Jesus was the Son of God and that he wanted to be a part of Christ’s Kingdom.

The criminal on the cross: he knew who he was and who Jesus was, he knew that his soul would continue after he died, and he knew that Jesus was the Savior. He could do nothing but cry out to Jesus and place his faith in Him for his salvation. To which Jesus replied, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

Have you seen the world through the eyes of this condemned criminal? Do you understand your need for the Savior, and—more importantly—have you cried out to Him for your salvation?

If not, the Easter season is as good a time as any to surrender your life to Christ. If you have made that decision, I encourage you to not miss the opportunities God puts in front of you to share that same hope with those around you. Jesus saved the criminal on the cross, and He desires to save each of us as well.

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.

We are all called…

By Will Graham

As an evangelist, I have been called to share the Good News of Jesus Christ whenever and wherever I can, and I’ve had the opportunity to do that in many venues around the world.

Are you ready for the uncomfortable part? You, my friends, are also called to be evangelists. Just because your last name isn’t Graham doesn’t mean that you get a “free pass” on offering the hope that you have to your friends and loved ones.

While you may not preach in front of hundreds or thousands, you should still be able to put into action the words of 1 Peter 3:15: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 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)

There is an often quoted saying by St. Francis of Assisi that reads, “Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary use words.” I appreciate what St. Francis was saying. His desire was that people not just preach, but live what they are preaching. He also said, “It is no use walking anywhere to preach, unless our walking is our preaching.”

Unfortunately, I think many of us hide behind the mentality of “lifestyle evangelism.” We timidly think that if we live a good enough life, people will see our faith and will, in turn, make a decision for Christ.

On some level, that may be true. We are supposed to live in a way that the light and love of Christ shines through us. We want others to realize there is something different about us. But our calling to fulfill the Great Commission doesn’t end there.

In Romans 10:17, it is written, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God.” (emphasis added; NKJV) Notice that the verse doesn’t say faith comes through a friend being a really nice guy. It doesn’t say faith comes from a positive transaction with a local businessman. It says “faith comes from hearing” – not showing.

What would you say right now if a friend called you and asked why you believe in Jesus? Do you have the words to say, and the verses to back it up? Further, do you have the heart of an evangelist in you; one that breaks for the lost souls around you who are dying without the hope of Christ?

That is your calling. We are all called to be evangelists. Are you willing to spend the time in prayer and in the Word so that you’ll be ready when those opportunities arise?

Yes, we should behave in a way that opens the door to conversations about our faith. Our actions should affirm our love for Christ and not be a stumbling block for others. But, on top of that, my friends, “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

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.

Asheville Next Generation Summit

On Monday, April 18, a group of youth pastors and student leaders from across the city of Asheville, NC, will meet at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. It’s a gathering for all who are willing to play a role in the mentoring of a generation. The group from Collision AVL has been praying together for almost two years for unity among the churches in the area in order to reach the youth and give them guidance and direction at a critical time in their school and community life.

We must reach the next generation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you are local, join us. If you are not, pray for us and organize something in your own community. Together, we can reach the next generation.

If you have questions, please visit www.collisionavl.com for more information.

GUEST POST: The Call to Give an Answer

By Alex McFarland

Doubts and questions about God and the Bible are nothing new. There have always been skeptics. Some are sincere yet misguided, while others are unwilling to embrace the truth once they’ve encountered it. Others simply have an axe to grind.

A number of websites (many of which are aimed at teens) are devoted to debunking the Bible. Books like The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, or Bart Ehrmann’s Misquoting Jesus have generated media coverage for “the new atheism.”

Consequently, many of the questions raised by these high-profile skeptics are also on the minds of skeptics with whom I interact.  During the course of planning this special conference at The Cove, here is one of the more common questions on the minds of people I encounter:

What about those who haven’t heard of Christ?

The Scriptures are clear that those who believe in Jesus will be saved (John 1:12).  But what about those in un-reached people groups?

The fact is that God has not forgotten the un-reached peoples. I Timothy 2:4 clearly states that God “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”  Acts 17:26-27 says that God has determined the times and places for everyone to live “so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27).

Scripture and contemporary missionary evidence support the claim that those who seek God based on the light they have will be given the knowledge of the Gospel in some way, even if this is supernatural (like the Gentile Cornelius, found in Acts 10).  This conclusion has been held by Christian thinkers ancient and recent, such as Thomas Aquinas, James Arminius, to modern theologians like Ronald Nash and Robert Lightner.  This view satisfies the claim that a loving God would make salvation universally available, but it avoids the problematic claim of inclusivism that people can be saved without knowledge of the gospel.

A striking example from modern missions that supports such a position is related by Don Richardson in the book Eternity In Their Hearts.  A man named Warrasa Wange from the Gedeo people of Ethiopia cried out to “Magano” (his tribe’s notion of the highest and most benevolent Deity). Warrasa asked the Deity to reveal himself.

Almost immediately, he began having visions of two white men building shelters under a large tree in his village.  A voice in the visions told him, “These men will bring you a message from Magano, the God you seek. Wait for them.”  Eight years later, two Canadian missionaries came to Warrasa’s village and met him under the same tree he saw in his vision. The missionaries shared the gospel and Warrasa and many of his fellow tribesmen believed.  I believe that this is a compelling example of God getting the Gospel to a person who honestly sought after Him based on the “light” he had. But what is important is that his salvation was based on the gospel he believed, not just on the “light” he had.

Beyond this the Bible does not clearly teach what will happen to those who never receive the good news of the Gospel but do attempt to seek God. As C. S. Lewis puts it in Mere Christianity, “The truth is God has not told us what His arrangements about the other people are.”  The best a Bible-believing Christian can do is to trust in God’s wisdom, mercy and grace, and to suspend judgment salvation of the un-evangelized.  As the editors of Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World conclude in their introduction, “These optimistic hints can never become a first-order control belief” because the Bible is just not clear on this subject.

In reality, there is only one person of whom you may speak authoritatively regarding the condition of their soul:  yourself.  As with so many things in the Christian life, C. S. Lewis offers practical wisdom for the situation: “In the meantime, if you are worried about the people outside, the most unreasonable thing you can do is to remain outside yourself. Christians are Christ’s body, the organism through which He works. . . If you want to help those outside you must add your own little cell to the body of Christ who alone can help them.”  The bottom line is that we can trust that God, who loves the whole world, will take care of the questionable situations, but our job as Christians is to bring the gospel to a world that desperately needs it.

Learn more about apologetics with Alex McFarland, when he leads a seminar April 15-17 at The Cove entitled “When Worlds Collide.” Click here for more information.

Alex McFarland

As a speaker, writer, and advocate for Christian apologetics, Alex McFarland has spoken in hundreds of locations throughout the US and abroad. He has preached in over 1,300 different churches throughout North America and internationally, and has been featured at conferences such as The Billy Graham School of Evangelism, Focus On The Family’s Big Dig, and California’s Spirit West Coast, sharing the platform with leaders such as Chuck Colson, Josh McDowell, Dinesh D’souza,and many others.

What is a Worldview?

Binoculars

Photo from Flickr by sittered.

Do you know what it means to have a biblical worldview?

Our friend Alex McFarland says this of worldviews:

A worldview is exactly what it sounds like; it is how someone sees the world. That sounds simple enough when the term is first heard, but it is much more complex when all that it includes is thought upon. A person’s worldview entails a set of truth claims that are embraced to the extent that it becomes reality. Because the worldview is reality, it drives what and how a person thinks, acts and feels.

A worldview provides the foundation from which one discerns and makes all moral and ethical choices throughout an entire lifetime. Therefore, a worldview choice is extremely crucial due to the influence for each person, since it determines how a person deciphers right from wrong and from where his truth derives.

What does having a Christian worldview mean to you?