Category Archives: Guest Posts

A Thanksgiving Message from Will Graham

Will Graham Guest Post

By Will Graham, Cove Executive Director

I really do appreciate Thanksgiving. What’s not to like? You get to enjoy time with family, a day full of football, and—of course—food. More than just food, it’s good food. And there’s often a lot of it.

It’s true that many of us will be feasting on significant portions of tasty treats on Thanksgiving, but as we look ahead to this wonderful time of year, I’d like to focus on a different type of hunger.

While food that nourishes our body is good, it is nowhere near as eternally important as that which nourishes the soul. We need something that will feed the spiritual hunger that is within us.

My grandfather, Billy Graham, often said that there’s a “God-shaped hole” inside each of us. It’s that space that many people try to fill with wealth, possessions, sex, drugs, alcohol, work or relationships.

The problem is, the things of this world are fleeting, they’re broken, and they’ll eventually let you down. Money and belongings can be ripped away from you in a moment. Relationships falter. Drugs and alcohol wear off and leave you right back where you were, or worse.

There’s a beautiful passage in the book of Psalms that I’ve grown to love. “For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalm 107:9, NKJV).

It’s such a simple sentence, but it encompasses all that mankind has been seeking for millennia. It is God who fills us up. He is the One who refreshes our soul and dwells in our innermost self, meeting those needs and desires that seem to be so elusive. We hunger for Him, and He alone satisfies.

Let me ask you this: What are you filled with today? Are you consumed with bitterness and anger? Do you feel like you’ve gotten a raw deal in life? Are you chasing the things of this world to fill an emptiness in your soul? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?

If so, I’d encourage you to seek God and the goodness that He brings. Rather than being consumed with the temporary and broken, you could be filled with the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Draw close to God, let Him satisfy your longing and hungry soul, and you’ll truly have something to be thankful for this year!

Bless you,
Will Graham

Reaching The Next Generation: A Message From Will Graham

mi-pham-151954 sm girl with Bible sm blogThe stats are alarming and discouraging. According to a Barna report from 2016, “Nearly six in ten (59%) young people who grow up in Christian churches end up walking away, and the unchurched segment among Millennials has increased in the last decade from 44% to 52%.”

It is incredibly important to engage with young people today in a way that encourages a real, authentic and life-changing relationship with Christ. It’s possibly more important than ever!

What’s the answer to these problems? It’s more than simply dragging your child to church until they’re old enough to run the other way.

It begins first with living the life you want your child to live. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (ESV). Parents, I would encourage you to take this to heart and invite Jesus into your life and home. Make sure your faith is more than lip service. Allow Him to direct what you see, hear, discuss, and pray as you go through your day. Love your child with the grace-filled love of Christ.

Second, disciple the children in your care—both at home and in the church—and encourage them as they learn and grow in the faith.Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “You shall teach them (the words of the Lord) diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (ESV).

You only have a limited amount of time with your children before they are sent out into the world. Never miss the opportunity to impart Scripture and sear the Word of God on their hearts.

Similarly, pastors and youth workers, Sunday morning or Wednesday night might be the only time some of your young people are exposed to the Gospel. When church or youth group is over, they may go back to very difficult lives in homes where the name of Christ is never spoken. Disciple your youth. Feed them a healthy diet of truth from the Scripture, tackle the tough issues, and mentor them as much as you can in the limited time you have.

Finally, if the children and young people in your life have not yet made a decision for Christ, pray and watch for opportunities to present the Gospel. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (ESV). As you pray, God will soften their hearts, break down barriers, and open doors for you. I truly believe it.

My friends, the Gospel is for every generation. Live a godly life, disciple your child, and reach the young people around you with the Gospel. Every day your youth are going into an incredible Mission Field. Equip them to shine the light of Jesus. There’s too much at stake to let this moment slip by!

Will Graham


Just Announced:

Sportscaster James Brown (J.B.), know for hosting The NFL Today on CBS Sports and Thursday Night Football on CBS Sports and NFL Network, and previously FOX network’s NFL pregame show, Fox NFL Sunday will be speaking at a two-day men’s event at The Cove on June 15-16, 2018.

What a great opportunity for you (if you are male) or someone you love to take their son, father, cousin, brother or men’s group from church.  Register now.

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Will Graham: Lessons from a Selfless Servant

By Will Graham, Cove Executive Director

I first met Michael Ruheta in Kisumu, Kenya, in 2013. I was there to hold an evangelistic outreach, and Michael was one of two men who came from Arusha, Tanzania, to observe the Celebration and extend an invitation for me to hold a similar outreach in their city.

Michael was one of those guys who had an infectiously-positive attitude, and a smile that radiated love and joy.

He became one of our local coordinators for the Tanzania Celebration, and wholeheartedly and passionately guided the efforts that ultimately resulted in thousands hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ. Michael recognized that time was short and eternity was at stake, and he did everything he could to ensure that as many as possible heard of the death-conquering love and sacrifice of Jesus.

In fact, more than 1,700 made a commitment to Christ, thanks in no small part to Michael’s efforts for the Kingdom.

Sadly, he was not there physically to see the fruit of his labors.

In April of this year, just two months shy of the Celebration, Michael was tragically killed in a car accident. He was riding in a public transportation van that was in a horrific accident. He was the only fatality. Michael, the devoted and selfless servant of the Lord, left behind a beautiful wife and four sweet children.

Will meeting with Mr. Ruherta’s widow for July 28 2015 post
Will meeting with Mr. Ruherta’s widow.

I’m sharing the story of Michael Ruheta for a few reasons.

First, I want you to know his name. This man who gave so much and served so diligently deserves to be remembered.

Second, I want to point out that time is short. We do not know the number of days we have left on this earth, and we need to make every moment count for the sake of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. You cannot go back and reclaim lost time, and so much of our time is spent on things that are irrelevant in the scope of eternity.

Michael had an urgency to share the Gospel message, and he used the days that he had (so few, in our earthly view) to preach the hope of Christ. He made use of the days he had.

Finally, Michael’s life shows that we may not get to see the harvest. I know that he was looking forward to seeing his countrymen respond to the hope that can only be found in Christ. He desired that deeply, and worked hard for it. But God called him home before he had the opportunity.

We need to understand that in sharing the Gospel, we may not see the immediate fruits of our labor either. One plants, one waters, and one harvests. You may be the person who plants the seed by first sharing the hope of Christ. You may be the one funding missions overseas who will never actually have the front-row view of the crowds streaming forward.

Whatever role God has for you, do it wholeheartedly and trust that – whether you’re there to see it or not – He is at work through you.

Michael’s life and testimony were shared at his funeral; a testament to his love for Jesus and passion to see Him shared and glorified. Because of this, even after his death, many gave their lives to Christ.

Can we say the same in our lives? Are we living every day like it may be our last and eternity is at stake? Are we seeking glory for ourselves, or are we selflessly proclaiming Christ regardless of the outcome?

Michael is an inspiration and challenge to me, in his life and in his death. I hope you can say the same, and will make every moment today count for Christ.

Andrew Peterson to Perform at The Cove

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By Donna Riesen

Father’s Day is fast approaching, and today we are thanking the Lord for the blessing of fathers. In addition to the treasured gift of life, a good father will give his child a myriad of other valuable gifts over the course of a lifetime: love, wisdom, guidance, discipline, and an appreciation for the varied applications of duct tape. When we pause to think about it, some of us would love to give back a few of the things we’ve inherited from our fathers: a lead foot, a stubborn streak, male-pattern baldness or the tendency to snore!

Whether we were raised in a godly Christian home or brought up by unbelieving parents, each of us possess the same inherent human nature and propensity towards sin that our father inherited from his father and his father’s father before him. What an amazing gift of love our heavenly father gave us when He sent His own Son to redeem us from sin and bring us into His family, giving us “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading (1 Peter 1:4).” If you have been blessed with the gift of a Christian father who points you to Jesus and lives life as a godly example for you to follow, then you have much to celebrate, on Father’s Day and every day.

Gifted musician and lyricist Andrew Peterson beautifully celebrates the joys of family and gives voice to many of the deep emotions that accompany marriage, parenthood and family life at its core. The son of a pastor, Peterson spent his early childhood years in the rural farmland of Illinois before his family relocated to Florida when Andrew was seven.

In the song “All the Way Home,” he testifies to the blessing of being raised in a Christian home: “Well, they may not have walked on water, but I know that their house stood firm. All the way home they followed the tracks that the saints have trod. By the grace of God they walked in the rain of His mercy, let it soak them down to the bone. And they splashed in its puddles and danced in its streams as they’d go. And oh, they walked in the rain of His mercy…when they sat in their home, when they walked along the road, when they slept and when they rose.”*

In the song, “Tools,” Peterson recalls the memory of being invited to enter his grandfather’s shed to take his choice from among the selection of old tools. “You sent me to the shed with all the tools. I remember how you said that I could take what I could use. I got a hammer and a ratchet set. A hundred tools I ain’t used yet. They’re rusty, but they work as good as new. Tools.” The lyrics then turn to reflect the singer’s gratitude for the heritage of wisdom and faith passed down from his grandfather:  “When my daddy was a baby, oh you gave him to the Lord. And the faith you handed down has somehow stuck around. And love has called you home again to roam again no more. You sent me to the shed with all the tools. I remember how you said that I could take what I could use. Faith and Love and Hope are what I carried home. They’re rusty but they work as good as new. Tools.”*

Peterson’s latest recording, After All These Years: A Collection (Centricity Music), is a twenty-song retrospective that features four new songs and re-recordings of several old favorites. The title track, “After All These Years,” is a new song, and as Andrew explains, it is a song of gratitude. “I felt compelled to open this collection with an Ebenezer stone. I like the idea of having to sing a song that reminds me of God’s provision at every concert for the next year or two.”

God has provided a gift for the body of Christ through the insightful lyrics and musical artistry of Andrew Peterson. From songs that capture the deep woundedness and struggle of life in a fallen world to songs of hope and anticipation of the new world to come, his music gives voice to the heart cry of God’s family.

Perhaps the most heartwarming depiction of the joys of earthly family and fatherhood comes in Peterson’s song, “Family Man.” Enjoy this early father’s day gift…

Join us June 20, 2015 for An Evening at The Cove with Andrew Peterson.  This special night will include dinner and a concert, followed by a meet-and-greet opportunity with Andrew.  Father’s Day is June 21, so consider blessing your dad with the gift of Evening at The Cove tickets.  Dad, bring your son–children as young as nine may attend!

Overnight lodging is available at applicable rates and includes breakfast the following morning.

Click here for more information.

Andrew Peterson

 

“All The Way Home” from the album Carried Along (2000).
“Tools” from the album Love and Thunder (2003).

Will Graham to Preach the Gospel in China

By Will Graham
Executive Director, The Cove

In 1916, a young American doctor named L. Nelson Bell and his wife arrived in what is now known as Huai’an, China.  He would spend the next 25 years as a Presbyterian medical missionary, raising his family in the medical compound and offering healing of both the body and soul. He’d tend to people’s wounds, while never neglecting to also share the hope of Jesus.

Over the course of their quarter-century in China, the Bells would bear four children: Rosa, Virginia, Clayton, and my grandmother, Ruth.

Bell family China small
The Bell family in China

My great-grandfather spent years sowing the seeds of the Gospel in China, but – frankly – did not get the opportunity to see much of a harvest.  Despite his years in missionary service there, precious few found their eternal hope in Jesus through his efforts.

However, his sacrificial work cultivated the ground and he is still warmly remembered in that city.  Many in Huai’an still consider my grandmother, who was born there, to be Chinese; to be family.

Billy and Ruth Graham in front of her childhood home in Huai an China
Billy and Ruth Graham in front of her childhood home in Huai’an, China.

My great-grandparents and my grandmother are all in Heaven now, but they would be thrilled to know that I will be returning to Huai’an next week, not just to visit the place of my grandmother’s birth, but to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In addition, I’ll also hold a pair of Gospel celebrations in the city of Wuxi.

The Christian faith is growing quickly now in China, and doors are opening for the Gospel.  I’m visiting at the invitation of the Jiangsu Province Christian Council with the approval of the Chinese government.  They’ve been very hospitable, kind and easy to work with.

I anticipate that this trip will be a blessing, but also a very emotional time.  To visit a grandparent’s place of birth in a foreign land is an amazing opportunity as it is, but to carry on the legacy of my family is an even greater honor.  My great-grandparents and my grandmother loved – dearly loved – the people of China, and now I will be able to share with them how they can find their hope and purpose in Jesus.

Please pray with me that the work begun by my great-grandparents nearly 100 years ago would bear amazing fruit over the coming days.  Pray that the children and grandchildren of those same people to whom my great-grandfather ministered would hear clearly the call of the Holy Spirit on their lives.  Above all, pray that Jesus Christ would glorified and many would surrender to Him!

You can find Will Graham on the following social networks: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Easter Message from Will Graham

By Will Graham, Cove Executive Director (and grandson of Billy Graham) 

Often as we think about the sacrifice of Jesus, we tend to focus on the unbearable physical pain He endured. We’re told that He was hit, flogged nearly to the point of death, and had a crown of thorns driven into His scalp. He was made to carry His own cross. Nails were punched through His hands and feet before He was hoisted into the air to suffocate in one of the most inhumane and cruel forms of capital punishment ever devised.

4-1-Glory-in-the-CrossMy friends, it’s hard to not focus on the pain He endured for us. But, as we look at this Easter, I want you to consider another way Jesus was made to suffer in the moments before His crucifixion. Consider the emotional pain Christ endured as those who were closest to Him turned their backs.

Jesus personally chose 12 disciples whom He poured himself into. These men were almost His earthly family, surrounding Him, learning from Him, and serving in His ministry. They were what we may refer to as Jesus’ “inner circle.”

Jesus loved them, and yet He knew – long before they did, in fact – that a couple of these men would publicly betray Him.

Judas, of course, is the one that comes instantly to mind. After all, it was his betrayal of Jesus that ultimately led to the crucifixion. We’re told in Luke 22 that “Satan entered into Judas…” (ESV).  John 13:2 says “the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him” (ESV). Judas went to the chief priests and officers, accepted a payment from them and then actively plotted how to betray Jesus into their hands when there wouldn’t be a crowd around Him.

Judas’ treachery was the ultimate betrayal, directly resulting in a sham trial and the agony of the cross. But I wonder if the second betrayal might not have hurt just as much as the first.

Along with James and John, Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends whom He chose to be a witness to key moments in Jesus’ earthly ministry. For instance, Peter was there for Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain and at Gethsemane on the eve of Christ’s sacrifice.

Peter’s denial of Jesus – which, according to Mark, Jesus foretold prior to leaving for Gethsemane – must have stung deeply. As Jesus was being beaten and ridiculed (Mark 14:65), Peter was busy distancing himself from Christ (Mark 14:66-72). Three times people approached Peter to ask him if he was associated with Jesus, and three times Peter denied Him, even going so far as to “…invoke a curse on himself and to swear, ‘I do not know this man of whom you speak.’” (Mark 14:71, ESV).

At a time when Jesus was being accused and beaten, His friends turned their backs on Him. What emotional pain this must have caused, even as Jesus knew it was coming and understood that it had to be!

Maybe you’re reading this, and it sounds a little too familiar. Maybe you have friends or family members who have turned their backs on you, or perhaps – like Judas – they were instrumental in causing the suffering you are now enduring. Maybe you’re struggling through pain and despair, and the people you thought you could depend on have disappeared. Maybe you’ve been hurt by others in the church. Bodily pain hurts physically, but emotional pain slices directly to your soul.

My friends, I’m here to tell you that people will let you down. People will turn their backs on you and cause you pain. But here’s the key – Jesus was forsaken, betrayed and crucified, but He conquered all of that! People are imperfect, but Christ is risen and will not let you down!

The Bible tells us not to put our faith into men or princes. Instead, this Easter place your eternity in the One Who endured scorn, pain, and – yes – betrayal from His friends, so that you may have a hope that extends far beyond the pitfalls and pains of this world.

_________________________________________

Click here to share the Gospel this Easter season using Billy Graham’s program, The Cross.

An Invitation from Will Graham

By Will Graham,

Will Graham Those of you who follow my ministry know that one of the things that drives me the most is my love for the Bible. Not just the New Testament, which is glorious and full of hope, but the Old Testament as well. When we just focus on the New Testament, we miss so much history and context, and we only see a portion of what God is telling us. So much in the Old Testament informs what we read in the New Testament.

Given that, I bet you won’t be surprised to hear me say that I am extremely excited to lead a seminar at The Cove in October, focusing on the book of 1st Samuel.

I’m preparing to do something that we’ve never done before in the 25 year history of The Cove, and that is work through an entire book of the Bible over the course of multiple years. Sure, we’ve had seminars that have covered entire books – Jonah and 3rd John, for instance – in one setting, but for our study of 1st Samuel we will work through the book deeply and deliberately and we will take as long as needed.

I have a game plan, and an idea of how far we’ll get during the first seminar, but I’m also ready to be redirected if I feel God’s leading that we need to speed up or slow down. And, boy, am I ready to go!

There are two things that I find really interesting about 1st Samuel. The first is simply the person of Samuel. The Bible says “the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.” (1st Samuel 3:19, NKJV). In other words, God didn’t allow him to say anything that didn’t come to be. Samuel is an amazing person and leader to study and from whom we can learn much.

Secondly, 1st Samuel takes place during a very unique time in the history of Israel. At this point, Israel is in the Promised Land, and when Joshua died there was no heir apparent. They chose judges such as Samson and Gideon to handle local issues.

Samuel was the last of those judges, and his focus was much more national in scope. He oversaw the transition of Israel from the realm of judges to the leadership of kings, and anointed the first two kings of Israel – Saul and David – with God’s direction. The kingship of Israel is a major theme throughout the Bible, and it all began in 1st Samuel. (It wasn’t always a clean and pretty thing, either!)

In the seminar we’ll look at the warnings that Samuel gave the Israelites as they demanded a kingship, and we’ll look at Saul – a man who looked the part (we’re told in chapter 9 that he was taller and more handsome than anybody) but was a colossal flop. As we proceed we’ll also look at David, God’s man, who would be the greatest king of Israel.

Can you tell I’m excited? I hope that you’ll make plans to join me. If you can only come one year, I pray it will be a blessing to you. If you can come back year after year, that would be a lot of fun too! Let’s just look forward to spending some time together learning about a few of the most historic leaders in the Old Testament and see what God has in store for us in the process.

Blessings to you!

To register for Will Graham’s seminar titled, Second Guessing God’s Plan, on October 7-9, 2013, click here or call 1-800-950-2092.  

GUEST POST: The State of the Nation and the Genesis 3 Attack!

By Ken Ham, President, Answers in Genesis.

Ken Ham for 2013On August 9-11, I will be returning to speak at the beautiful Billy Graham Training Center, “The Cove,” in the North Carolina  mountains.

I will be giving four presentations, plus holding a question-and-answer session, that will cover a variety of topics that touch on the state of our nation. Using God’s Word, I will shed some light on what is really happening spiritually in America—and what we as Christians can do about it.

One of my verses for this special time at The Cove will be 2 Corinthians 11:3:

“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”  (2 Corinthians 11:3)

As we look at the state of our nation today, we see godlessness and unbelief sweeping across the culture.  “Gay” marriage and abortion are increasingly being accepted.  Also, the atheists are growing in number and aggressiveness in this once very Christianized culture. 

Something else is very sad in my adopted country of America. Statistics reveal that at least two thirds of our young people are leaving the church by college age, and very few return.  What is happening?  What has caused this?  What can we do about it?

God’s warning to us in 2 Corinthians 11:3 is that Satan is going to use the same method on us as he did on Eve to get us to a position of not believing the things of God.  It behooves us to carefully find out what that method was and to understand how Satan’s strategy applies to our world today.

If we go back to Genesis 3, we read about the method Satan used on Eve: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?””  (Genesis 3:1)

That question, “Did God really say?,” is the essence of his method to create doubt about Christianity’s validity .  Note that Satan successfully attempted to get Eve (and Adam) to doubt God’s Word, and that doubt led to unbelief. Just look at the mess this rebellion caused in our now sin-cursed universe. 

Note, however, that the very first attack by Satan was on the Word of God.  I call that the “Genesis 3 attack.”  There have been many types of Genesis 3 attacks over the six millennia since this first one in the Garden.  But even though these assaults manifest themselves in different ways in different eras of history, the attacks are essentially all the same: to get people to doubt and then disbelieve the Word of God.  That attack from Satan has always been on the authority of the Word.

Because of this warning God has given us, we need to be asking ourselves, “How does the Genesis 3 attack manifest itself today?”  We certainly see the consequences of the attack in the increasing moral relativism and the rejection of biblical authority across the nation, but what more needs to be understood?

It is my contention that the atheistic, evolutionary beliefs that are taught through the education systems of the world,  broadcast on TV, and presented as fact in most of the secular museums of the world are all a major part of the Genesis 3 attack of our day.  This attack (and sadly a significant part of the church has also succumbed to doubting the full Word of God) has undermined the authority of the Bible, beginning in Genesis, throughout the culture.  As a result, generations of kids from the church have been put on a slippery slide of unbelief.

Many people in the church today don’t know how to defend against this attack on God’s Word.  Of course, they are concerned for their children and grandchildren, and so they ask: “How to do we counter and answer this Genesis 3 attack?”

God has raised up Bible-upholding ministries like Answers in Genesis to help equip Christians to defend the Christian faith against the Genesis 3 attack of our day, and to challenge non-Christians concerning the truth of God’s Word and the gospel.

I hope to see you at The Cove on  August 9-11, as we discuss how we can deal with the Genesis 3 attack of our day.

For more information and to register for the 3-day retreat with Ken Ham on August 9-11 at The Cove in Asheville, NC click here or call 1-800-950-2092.

DISCOUNT FOR YOUTH: Given the appropriateness of this seminar for youth, registration is open to young people of middle school and high school age at a discounted rate when accompanied by a parent. Please contact our Reservations department at 1-800-950-2092 for more information.

GUEST POST: A Night Like No Other at The Cove

By Tiffany Jothen

I’m not sure I have ever seen my dad clap along to a worship song, but Saturday, I witnessed the phenomenon TWICE when Irish folk band Rend Collective Experiment took the stage at The Cove.  I don’t think anyone can see them in concert and not move around.

I first saw Rend Collective in Buffalo, N.Y., last fall when they performed at Rock the Lakes, a BGEA youth event.  Listening to their music is like a holy band room exploding in your soul — a Jesus jamboree.  It’s the kind of band that makes me want to learn an instrument so I can be in it, too.  My parents and husband gladly came along Saturday when I showed them a few of the band’s YouTube videos.

A couple of weeks before the concert, I ordered Rend Collective’s latest CD, “Campfire,” so I could sing along on Saturday.  I don’t like playing my music loud when I drive with the windows down, but this CD I want to share with everyone.  Seeing it live was even better.  They truly know how to honor God’s majesty and creativity.

One of the best things about Saturday’s performance — besides the high-energy band itself — was the audience.  More than 20 states — from California to Florida — were represented, with a few people under 10 years old and several over 70.  Some people wore sundresses or khakis; others went with the cutoff jean shorts and beanies.

An older woman who sat next to me at dinner before the concert said she knew nothing about Rend Collective, but was in the area and thought they would be good.  A group of 20-somethings who sat behind me during the concert called them a “sweet” band, and one guy in the group said a concert doesn’t get much better — a delicious dinner beforehand, no crowds to fight and not a bad seat in the house.  Outside, it poured down rain, but inside everyone eagerly anticipated the next song.

“When it rains this much in Ireland, we’re all just grumpy,” band member Gareth Gilkeson said in his Irish acccent.  He put up his hands in his vest pockets, wore a red tie and hat and used words like “wee li’l” and “shindigery.”  (His wife and fellow band mate, Ali, said after the concert that if you eat enough Lucky Charms, you’ll get the same accent too.)

Throughout the show, the band used all kinds of instruments, including an accordian, xylophone and trash can.  I was impressed with Ali’s ability to switch instruments multiple times during a song.  Lead singer Chris Llewellyn picked up a ukulele toward the end.

“It’s mostly played by little girls, but that doesn’t bother me,” he said.

RCE from TiffanyI was sad when my camera died about half an hour in, but I decided it was better to experience the concert first-hand anyway.  The lyrics on the screen made it easy to sing along, and it’s always moving to witness an entire room of people praising God together — voices and sometimes arms raised.  For one song, we put an arm around our neighbor and jumped in sync.

(Check out this video another person in the audience posted on YouTube!)

Other highlights included the band letting the audience lead “10,000 Reasons” and sharing their rendition of “In Christ Alone,” which I LOVED.  (Next CD maybe?)

This is a picture of me and my family, taken in my parents’ inn room after the concert.
RCE concert Tiffany and family