Category Archives: Behind The Scenes

Saturday Snapshot — A Psalm About God’s Purpose For You

Twelve-year-old Quinn Graham (Billy Graham’s great-grandson) is at it again.  Now a published author (Quinn’s Book of Psalms was published in December 2017 and gifted by him to his parents for Christmas), he’s kicking off the new year with a psalm titled, God’s Purpose For You.

Won’t it be interesting to see how God continues to use Quinn’s gifts in the years to come!

Print the psalm now.

In case you were wondering, Quinn does give you permission to print and share as God leads you.

To read more of Quinn’s psalms, click here.

Have a blessed weekend, friends!

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!


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.


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.

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.

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.


Saturday Snapshot — A Christmas Greeting

Wishing all of our faithful blog readers a very Merry Christmas! This photo was taken earlier this week at our staff Christmas gathering.
For your Christmas viewing pleasure, we’re pulling a video from the archives.  Enjoy this Billy Graham Christmas Special from 1953 and 1956, featuring Billy and Ruth Graham, Franklin Graham, Cliff Barrows, George Beverly Shea, Amy Grant, Cece Winans, Johnny and June Cash, Michael W. Smith, and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.   If you’ve been to The Cove you’ll recognize the Training Center deck and lobby featured throughout the video.

May each of you be filled with the joy of our Savior during this wonderful season.  God bless you!

Merry Christmas!

Click here to view upcoming seminars, retreats, and concerts at The Cove.

Saturday Snapshot – Merry Music on the Mountain

Philips, Craig, and Dean wrapped up our last official 2017 Christmas at The Cove event on Thursday night and it was an absolutely beautiful celebration of our precious Savior.  If you weren’t able to join us in person for the Christmas festivities this year, please plan on it next year…you will be blessed beyond measure!

PCD December 2017

While the events at the Training Center have wound down for the year, we still have music ringing out on our little mountain over here.

Listen as Lovey, one of our faithful Chapel volunteers spreads cheer to visitors touring the Chapel on Friday.

Tell us your favorite Christmas song in the comments below?

Praying you will have a lovely weekend, friends!

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.

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Saturday Snapshot- Cove Christmas Decor

While The Cove is a beautiful place year-round, there’s something spectacular about seeing it all lit during the most wonderful time of the year. We wanted to give you an exclusive glimpse at how it looks all decorated for Christmas. Take a look…

Better Lit Sleigh
This beautiful sleigh greets you at the front door of the Traning Center.
The details of this nativity scene are astounding.

Cow CLose nativity

Lobby Fireplace
The fireplace in the Training Center lobby is warm and inviting.
Nutcrackers stand guard at the 2nd-floor elevators.

Lobby Tree Tall Tree

Center Dining Room
The decorations in our dining room are as exquisite as the meals that are served under them.

Side Dining Room Cross Toy Tree

Military tree
This tree was decorated by one of our employees to serve a military group that was staying here at The Cove. It is covered with all sorts of tasty goodies.
Billy Graham and decor
These decorations found on the 1st floor are centered around the Bible.
Tree Cutting
You will see a tree-cutting inspired scene just before the gatehouse on your way out of The Cove.

May your days be merry and bright this blessed Christmas season!

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This week’s verse is brought to you by Diane, an employee in the Guest Groups department here at The Cove. Her verse is Philippians 4:13.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.


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

Prayer Note: December 2017

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 Title Image

The Unlikely Arrival of a Savior

An Inconvenient Law

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city” (Luke 2:1-3, NKJV).

It was a tough job keeping up with all of Rome’s subjects throughout the known world; so the emperor made a decree—a law which proved inconvenient for many as they were required to travel great distances to their ancestral homes to register. Yet that same law—that inconvenient requirement sent down from the world’s highest seat of power—was simply the means God used to fulfill one of the ancient prophecies of the coming of His Son. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2, NKJV).

The Savior whose birth we celebrate is the Son of God, the second member of the Trinity, eternally existing, not bound by time; yet “it came to pass” because of Him!  As we turn the calendar page to the month of December and face an already jam-packed schedule, we can pray a prayer of thanks that whatever comes to pass will be only what He has allowed. Even inconveniences may be priceless gifts that arrive wrapped in brown paper.

A Scandalous Story

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child”  (Luke 2:4-5, NKJV).

If you’ve recently turned off the evening news in favor of watching a Christmas movie, you’re probably not alone. At this point we’ve all had our fill of scandals. Yet as we open the Bible and read the numerous accounts of shocking betrayals and shamelessly deceptive relationships we’re reminded that scandals are not new. There were even whispers and rumors surrounding Jesus’ birth, and these seemingly shameful circumstances of His conception were later used to mock and discredit Him by those who felt threatened by Him (see John 6:42, 8:41). Yet the fact remains that God in His wisdom chose to place His sinless Son in the womb of an unmarried young virgin. Christ’s virgin birth, prophesied hundreds of years before it occurred, was a sign of His undeniable divinity. Why is the miracle of Jesus’ virgin birth important? As Billy Graham has said, “It tells us that Jesus was indeed the divine Son of God, sent from Heaven to save us from our sins.”

An Overbooked Inn

So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:6-7, NKJV).

We’ve heard the story a hundred times, yet the words “no room for them in the inn” still cause us to shake our heads in bewilderment. The divine Son of God, creator of the world, comes to be born in a body of flesh and finds no room? The “No Vacancy” sign reminds us that from His first earthly breath Jesus showed us His humility, identifying with us in our humanity. Rejection. Homelessness. Poverty. He experienced it all (see Philippians 2:5-8 and Hebrews 4:15).

A Fragile Peace

Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’”
(Luke 2:10-14, NKJV)

Jesus may have been born during the time of peace known as the Pax Romana, yet the peace in Israel was one of heavy-handed domination by Rome. And although the vast empire was seemingly free from war, the fallen human race was still at war with itself due to the effects of sin. On the night the angels sang their majestic worship song to the audience of astonished shepherds, the world around them was filled with prejudice, oppression, abuse of power and religious hypocrisy.

The days we live in are much the same.  Nuclear missile tests…terror threats…political scandals…racial and cultural divides. Peace on earth? Goodwill toward men? Take a quick glance at social media and you’ll find proof of an alarming lack of goodwill. Seething anger often simmers just below the surface, regularly boiling over and finding outlet in cruel and abrasive words sent via an innocuously named social media phenomenon known as a “Tweet.”

Yet despite the lack of peace and good will, despite news reports of tragedies and scandals, despite illness, exhaustion and overcrowded schedules, we celebrate. Emmanuel has come.

A Timeless Truth

Every December we do it again. We pray that He would make the story come alive in our hearts. We pray that He would again fill us with a sense of mystery and wonder as we read the familiar words that tell us of His incarnation.

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23, KJV).

Emmanuel…God with Us. With us in our brokenness—the same brokenness that broke His heart as He wept at the tomb of Lazarus.

With us in our woundedness and lack of peace—the same woundedness that caused His wounds.  “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, ESV).

Every December we close our eyes and pray for fresh tears as we hear the familiar story. Each Christmas we pray for fresh joy as we celebrate the advent of Emmanuel…God with Us. This is the Redeemer we celebrate. This is the God who hears us as we pray. This is the Savior who is with us as we serve.  Oh come, let us adore Him!

—Donna Riesen

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

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.   (Psalm 95:6, NKJV)


Christmas at The Cove with Point of Grace — November 30, December 1 & 2

SeniorSalt Impact Carol Sings — December 4, 11 & 12

Christmas at The Cove with Mark Schultz — December 7

Christmas at The Cove with Veritas — December 8

Christmas at The Cove with Michael O’Brien — December 9

Women’s Christmas Luncheon with Lori Frank — December 10
The Glory of Christmas

 Christmas at The Cove with Phillips, Craig & Dean — December 12 & 14