Category Archives: Seminars

Information about upcoming seminars.

Join Will Graham As He Teaches on the Book of 1 Samuel

1samuel

By Will Graham 

Epic battles, the prophesied deaths of an entire family, the earthly embodiment of the holiness and presence of God carried away by captors, a nation judged by the Lord – Nobody can say that 1 Samuel 4 lacks action and drama!

Last year at The Cove, I hosted a seminar in which we began the process of working through the entire book of 1 Samuel, verse by verse. We progressed through the first three chapters of 1 Samuel, and things were looking pretty good for Israel. Samuel was being used by God in incredible ways as the Word of the Lord went across the entire nation. We’re told that God did not let a single word of Samuel’s “hit the ground.” In other words, everything Samuel said on behalf of God was impactful and came to be because he only spoke when and what God told him to speak.

Now, when things are going really well, doesn’t it always feel like something negative must be lurking around the corner? You’re on the peak of the mountain, but you’re still surrounded by valleys of darkness. When we return to 1 Samuel for my seminar in August of this year, that’s where we’ll find Israel. Things are turning bad.

You see, God had already spoken against the priest Eli and his family in chapter three, saying He would do something so amazing it would make “ears tingle” in judgment of the sin in the house of Eli, particularly with his two sons.

That fateful day of judgment came in chapter four as the Israelite army went out to battle the Philistines. The battle raged, the Israelites were defeated and lost 4,000 men.

While the soldiers of Israel were tending their wounds and trying to figure out why they suffered such great losses, they had an idea. They would send for the Ark of the Covenant. It was almost like they were treating the presence of God as a magic box that would guarantee military success.

So Eli’s sons took the Ark of the Covenant from the temple into the battlefield, and – in fact – the mere presence of the Ark and the thunderous roar it drew from the Israeli camp did initially intimidate the Philistines. However, they readied themselves for battle.

When the fighting was over, 30,000 soldiers from Israel, as well as Eli’s two sons, were dead. Worse, the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines. It was a dark, dark day for Israel as the judgment of God fell upon it.

We’re told that Eli was anxiously waiting for word about the Ark; not about his sons, but about the Ark of the Covenant. A weary survivor ran back to Eli and told him his sons were dead and the Ark was captured. When he heard this, Eli – who we’re told was old and heavy – fell out of his chair, broke his neck and died.

His pregnant daughter-in-law, upon hearing that Eli and her husband had died, went into labor and gave birth to a son. The life began to slip from her as well due to complications from the birth, but with her last breath she named her son Ichabod, saying “The glory of God has departed from Israel.”

I know, this is some pretty heavy stuff, but have you ever noticed that we learn more about the love and hope of God as we go through hardship? I believe that will be the case with the lessons we’ll draw from the next few chapters of 1 Samuel.

We’ll look at parenting, for instance. Eli had two sons who were lost in sin, but he didn’t do anything to discipline them and bring them back to God. He’d speak against his sons, but he didn’t deter them. In some ways, he had become as bad as them. He had his choice of meat in the temple and had become spiritually lazy. We’ll look at being a good example for your children and grandchildren.

We’ll also look at the idea of Ichabod. What’s Ichabod in your life? In what ways does it feel like God has departed from you, and how can you get the glory of the Lord back in your life as it was in Israel before God’s judgment on the nation and the family of Eli.

And, of course, we’ll look at the holiness of God. You see, God’s judgment is real, and His holiness is not a joke. When idols were placed in front of the Ark of the Covenant, they fell and physically broke. When people touched the Ark, they died. In fact, the Philistines couldn’t even keep the Ark of the Covenant – their great trophy from battle – because God inflicted their people with tumors just for being near it and possessing it.

There is power in the holiness of God, and this seminar will be an opportunity to hear the Word of the Lord, allow it to work in your life, let it take root and turn you back to Him. We’ll see that God’s love for us compels Him to chase us, even through our own wickedness.

And, spoiler alert, by the time we get to the end of the seminar, the Ark will be back in Israel…

God bless you, my friends –I hope to see you in August!

Click here to register for Will’s seminar at The Cove August 15-17, 2014.

Watch here as Will shares his excitement on teaching from 1 Samuel. 

A Moment in History That Changed Billy Graham’s Life Forever

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

On a daily basis I’m blessed with memories and stories of the many ways God chose to use my grandfather to reach people around the world over the course of many decades. Nearly everywhere I go people stop to tell me about how entire families and generations were impacted by his ministry. It’s humbling.

What many people may not know is that it almost didn’t happen. Everything we know of the ministry of Billy Graham from the late 1940s on – the massive stadium events, the evangelistic movies, the radio programs, the counseling of presidents and kings – hinged on a singular moment in history that took place at the California retreat center of Forest Home.

I visited Forest Home last year to get a fresh perspective on my grandfather’s story, and I’m returning there next week to speak at their annual Summer Family Camp.

As such, now seemed like the right time to share the story of the evangelist named Billy Graham, a discouraged young man searching for answers and direction in his life, unsure of God’s plan for him.

At the mid-point of the 20th century, he had already been an evangelist with Youth For Christ and had preached across Europe in the aftermath of World War II. He had held his first “Billy Graham Crusades” in places like Charlotte, N.C, and Grand Rapids, Mich. He was also the president of Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minn., the youngest college president in the country.

Not everything had gone as planned, however. His crusade in Altoona, Pa., had been – in his own words – “a flop.” It was spiritually difficult and he felt things had gone poorly, and it left him questioning whether or not evangelism should be his focus.

At the same time, a very good friend and contemporary of my grandfather’s, a man named Charles Templeton, had begun challenging my granddaddy’s way of thinking. Mr. Templeton, who had preached with Youth For Christ as well, had gone on to study at Princeton, where he began to believe that the Bible was flawed and that academia – not Jesus – was the answer to life’s problems. He tried to convince my grandfather that his way of thinking was outdated and the Bible couldn’t be trusted.

My grandfather had more questions than answers.

As a young man in his early-30s, all of these things were swirling in his mind when he traveled to California in 1949. Should he invest fully in the college, which he knew meant seeking further education for himself? At the time Northwestern wasn’t accredited, and for it to become so he – as president – would need to get an advanced degree, which would require taking several years off from preaching.

Should he leave the school and follow the calling of an evangelist, even though Altoona had gone so poorly?

Did he even believe the Bible from which he was preaching, or should he follow Templeton in questioning its validity? 

It was at this time that my discouraged grandfather reluctantly accepted the invitation of Henrietta Mears to visit and speak at a Christian retreat center called Forest Home. Mears had worked at First Baptist Church in Minneapolis for Pastor Riley, who was also my grandfather’s predecessor at Northwestern, and she was a very well-known and godly woman. She would end up having a huge impact in Hollywood, Calif., as she served as the director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. She took grief for inviting him to speak because he was not part of the camp’s denomination, but God had a plan in all of this.

As I toured Forest Home last year, it moved me greatly to walk the paths that my grandfather walked as he struggled with the Lord, and ultimately had the experience that would change the course of his ministry and the eternities of millions.

You see, while he was at Forest Home, he spent a great deal of time studying the Bible, and he kept seeing the same phrase pop up. “Thus sayeth the Lord… Thus sayeth the Lord…” While my grandfather had always accepted in his head the authority of the Scripture, this became the turning point as he realized in his heart that God’s Word is divinely inspired, eternal and powerful!

Forest Home Bible on Tree Stump smallOne night at Forest Home, he walked out into the woods and set his Bible on a stump – more an altar than a pulpit – and he cried out: “O God! There are many things in this book I do not understand. There are many problems with it for which I have no solution. There are many seeming contradictions. There are some areas in it that do not seem to correlate with modern science. I can’t answer some of the philosophical and psychological questions Chuck and others are raising.”

And then, my grandfather fell to his knees and the Holy Spirit moved in him as he said, “Father, I am going to accept this as Thy Word—by faith! I’m going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts, and I will believe this to be Your inspired Word!”*

My granddaddy wrote in his autobiography that as he stood up his eyes stung with tears, but he felt the power and presence of God in a way he hadn’t in months. “A major bridge had been crossed,” he said.

Forest Home pic Billy on mountain smallThe resulting change did not go unnoticed. The next day my granddaddy spoke at Forest Home, and 400 people made a commitment to Christ. Henrietta Mears remarked that he “preached with authority” that she hadn’t seen before from him.

This was August 1949, and mere weeks later Billy Graham would go on to hold the historic 1949 Los Angeles Crusade in the tent erected on the corner of Washington and Hill Streets. That outreach was scheduled to last three weeks, and ended up going for eight weeks as people packed the “Canvas Cathedral” and media outlets nationwide began talking about the upstart evangelist.

Because of that moment kneeling by a stump at Forest Home, I get to hear stories of lives changed through my grandfather’s ministry. Because of that moment, my father and I are invited around the world to share the same hope of Christ that my grandfather preached in Los Angeles and hundreds of other locations both near and far. That moment not only changed Billy Graham’s ministry. It impacted eternity.

*Just As I Am, Billy Graham, 1997
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Click here for information on Will Graham’s seminar at The Cove Agust 15-17, 2014.

When Life Loses Its Color

Remember in your yearbook superlative section, where it listed the most likely to be President, cutest couple, class clown, etc.?

Do you ever feel like you could have been titled the most unlikely to be used by God? 

Ann Barrows approved for 2014 use smallThis week Ann Barrows, wife of longtime friend and ministry partner of Billy Graham, Cliff Barrows, spoke to a group of Senior Adults during the 3-day Senior Celebration.  In a workshop entitled “When Life Loses Its Color,” Ann examined how God uses the humbling experience of getting older to prepare us for Kingdom living.

She assured the group, “As long as there is life and breath in you, there is something God has for you!”    

Ann shared the truths that God has taught her through the “colorless days” and calamities of her life. 

Prior to marrying Cliff, Ann was married to her first husband, James Prince, who died of cancer after 34 years of marriage. 

“Life lost its color when he died,” Ann says.

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!  For my soul trusts in You;  and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by.  Psalm 57:1

She recounted the day James told her, 4-weeks before he died, that he prayed God would bring someone very special into her life.  Hearing this broke her heart.  She couldn’t imagine losing her husband, much less marrying someone else. 

Today, Ann gives thanks for this gift her dying husband gave her that day.

Just months prior to losing her husband, Ann was introduced to Billie Barrows, Cliff Barrows’ then wife, by a mutual friend.  Ann was able to minister to Billie in a special way through her bout with cancer.  On their first phone conversation, Ann asked Billie is she could pray for her right there on the spot.  Thus a beautiful friendship began.  “God knit our hearts together,” Ann said.  “We had cancer in common.  We became great friends.” 

Their friendship, initially only over the phone, grew.  They first met face to face at Ann’s husband’s funeral.  Billie lost her fight to cancer 1 year and 4 months later. 

After Billie’s death, Cliff told Ann, “Someday we need to sit down and have a long talk.” 

Ann smiles as she remembers receiving a call at 2 a.m. one morning, some time later.  Cliff was on the other end of the line, calling while ministering at a Crusade in Puerto Rico. He asked Ann for permission to see her.

The day Cliff visited Ann’s home, they stood in the hallway for 45 minutes just looking at one another.  “There were tears. Lots of tears,” Ann remembers.

Cliff told Ann that he felt the Lord did not want him to be alone any longer.  He felt the Lord wanted them to be together. 

The next day, Cliff asked Ann to marry him.  God had confirmed in both their hearts that this was of His doing. 

“You might wonder how I could marry someone I barely knew.  I learned more about Cliff through my friend Billie than most people know about the mate they chose to marry in an ordinary circumstance.” 

“Billie had told me of Cliff’s servant’s heart, his unconditional love and commitment to her.”  Ann knew he was a good and godly man. 

cliff and ann barrows at the coveAnn and Cliff have been married 19 years in June, blessed with a large family with 53 members.  “We have been through just about everything in our family.  There are no exemptions just because my husband is Cliff Barrows.” 

God had a plan much greater than either Cliff or Ann Barrows could have imagined.

Ann reminds us of the calamities that Naomi from the Book of Ruth went through.  Famine forced Naomi and her family to leave their home in Bethlehem, the “City of Bread,” only to enter Moab, the “City of Incest,” where her husband and both their sons died.

It became a “colorless day” for Naomi.

“When you become a widow, it is easy to feel like life is over,” Ann shared.

When Naomi returned to Bethlehem with Ruth, one of her Moabite daughter-in-laws, would either of these women have felt like there was much left for them? 

God’s plan for both Naomi and Ruth was much greater than either could have imagined.

Ruth married Boaz, the son of Rahab the harlot. 

Don’t you imagine these two would have been voted least likely to be part of a Royal lineage?   

Yet in the New Testament account of Christ’s birth, Matthew tell us that our Savior Jesus Christ comes from the line of Boaz and Ruth.

God had a plan much greater than either Boaz or Ruth could have imagined.  He was not done with them yet!

And had it not been for Naomi, Ruth and Boaz would not have met. 

God’s plan for Naomi was much greater than she could have imagined.  He was not done with her yet!

God in His sovereignty is at a work in your life in a mighty way right now.  He has a work for each of us to do. 

“Does God have remarriage for every woman?  No,” she explained, while Naomi was to remain single, Ruth was to remarry.  Naomi was no less blessed of God because she did not remarry. 

Each of us is precious is His sight. 

Ann directed us to Habakkuk 1:5 for another example of God’s awesome works and sovereignty.

“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed.  For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.

If we watch, God will amaze us time and time again. 

Ann noted, that during trials we often ask the Lord why or for how long, our suffering will continue. 

She encouraged us to keep our focus fixed on God at all times, reminding us that when we focus on our circumstances, we tend to fall apart.

Staying focused of God can be hard to do when the circumstances are controlling our feelings, Ann acknowledged, but our feelings don’t always tell us the truth. 

Her advice?  Run to the strong tower in your day of calamity, and God will give you the “peace that surpasses all understanding” and grace that endures.

Habbakkuk’s response to the calamity of his time was to rejoice in the God of his salvation and to give thanks in all things.  

Have you learned how to embrace your calamities?

Ann encourages us to grow and be strong and share with other people the reason for our hope and how God has brought us through many things.

God’s plans for us are much greater than we could ever imagine, and He often uses the “least likelys” to carry out His plans. 

If life has lost its color for you, take heart—God is not finished with you yet!______________________________ 

Would you like to attend a Senior Celebration with Cliff Barrows?  Click here for information and to register.

An Evening at The Cove with Michael Card

Michael Card for 2014

Michael Card will be performing An Evening at The Cove on Sunday, June 15, 2014.

This Dove Award-winning musician has recorded 35 albums, written 19 No. 1 hits and authored and co-authored over 24 books!  

His classic songs include “El Shaddai,” “Love Crucified Arose,” “Immanuel,” and more recently, “Come Lift Up Your Sorrows.”

We hope you will join us on June 15th for an evening of warm fellowship, a delicous dinner, and an uplifting concert by this extraordinary musician.  You will even have the opportunity to meet Michael at the CD signing right after the show!   

For more information and to purchase tickets for the dinner and concert, call 1-800-950-2092 or click here.
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Michael will also be teaching a week-long Intensive Bible Training class June 16-20, 2014 titled: John: The Gospel of Wisdom. Click here for more information and to register.

An Invitation from Chip Ingram

Plans for Memorial Day weekend?

Chip Ingram would like you to join him here at The Cove on May 23-25, 2014. 

Chip will be teaching from the Book of Titus in his seminar titled, Doing Good: What Happens When Christians Live Like Christians. 

As Chip mentions here in his video invitation to you, one of the best parts about being at The Cove for an entire weekend is getting to hang out with you and hear about what is going on in your life. 

Don’t miss this chance to get away, study God’s word and fellowship with Chip Ingram.

For more information on Chip’s seminar, click here or call 1-800-950-2092.

Discipleship Multiplication Training at The Cove

Great Commission

On May 8-10, 2014, pastors and small group Bible study leaders are invited to participate in the Great Commission Discipleship training program at The Cove. 

Participants will be equipped to experience and model a lifestyle of consistent spiritual growth, personal witness, and relational ministry in their own churches and communities.  

What happens when trained in this New Testament disciple-making process? 

Spiritual multiplication! 

Pastor Bill Boldt from Southern Heights Baptist Church in Kentucky, who attended a training earlier this year shares his “multiplication” experience here:

“My wife and I were there in January along with our youth minister and we were truly blessed. Since we have come back the three of us are now mentoring two individuals each and the success we are seeing in these people’s lives is incredible. They are witnessing and learning the Word of God at a marvelous rate and growing in the Lord.

We have made it a requirement of all of our new incoming members to go under the guidance of a mentor for at least seven weeks to go through the Call to Joy and then if they desire to go on, into the Call to Growth. I have one who has just started the Call to Growth after going through the Call to Joy and says he cannot get enough of God’s Word. He is very thirsty. He was a twenty year functioning alcoholic with a huge smoking habit. He has quit both of those vices and is now 5 months clean and growing in Christ.

We have now formed a team of Paul’s at our church and they are almost ready to begin mentoring others. We are sending six more to The Cove in May to return and be a part of the mentoring team. It has really taken off in our church and we are excited about what the Lord is going to do in the future. I believe that after 2-5 years of this style of mentoring our church will look entirely different and will have depth that it has never had before.

Thank you for the work you have done.  I look forward to our folks return when they come in May. God is so good.”

Take this opportunity to invest in your church while immersing yourself in the beautiful mountain setting of The Cove in Asheville, North Carolina.

For more information, such as schedule of events and cost breakdown, click here

To register, call 1-800-950-2092.
 

NOTE: Advanced Training sessions will be available for those who attended the Basic training in January.World Medical Mission, 2013 Prescription for Renewal, BGTC at The Cove

 

 

Find Refreshment at The Cove in May

Creek at The coveEach day, we experience new beauty at The Cove.  

During the this time of year, our mountain creek is flowing in abundance from the Spring rains, groups of young deer frollick and graze in the meadow, flowers are blooming and the birds are singing joyfully.   

We have lots going on indoors too. 

Check out our schedule for the month of May.  Click one that interests you for all the details. 

We hope to see you soon!   

Personal Spiritual Retreats
Several dates throughout the month, click on link or call 1-800-950-2092. 

Church Staff Retreat — Higher Level Leadership: Making Your Ministry Team Stronger
with Bob Russell, May 1-2, 2014

Proverbs: Discovering the Wisdom of God
with Alex McFarland, May 5-7, 2014

An Evening at The Cove
with Chris August, May 10, 2014

Pastors’ Institute: The Heart of a Soul-Winning Pastor
with Jim Cymbala, May 13, 2014

Growing Up in the Spirit: The Role of the Holy Spirit in Spiritual Maturity
with Jim Cymbala, May 14-16, 2014

SeniorCelebration with Cliff Barrows and Friends–Living in the Fullness of Christ
with Charles Price with Steve Amerson, May 19-21, 2014

Doing Good – What Happens When Christians Live Like Christians
with Chip Ingram, May 23-25, 2014

Lifting the Veil on God’s Invisible World
with Erwin Lutzer, May 27-29, 2014

Jesus and the Gospel of John: Telling the Untold Story
with James Emery White, May 29-31, 2014

World Medical Mission, 2013 Prescription for Renewal, BGTC at The Cove

Take Time This Summer to Dig Into God’s Word

Have you ever taken a vacation and on the last day, as you are packing up to leave, you feel like you are just starting to get in the swing of things?

Time With GodThe same thing happens when you are really getting somewhere in your quiet time with God or a Bible study you are working through.  Just as you are starting to feel inspired, you have to get up and go to work, make dinner, or go pick up the kids. The list goes on.  Life happens. 

This summer, The Cove is offering five Intensive Bible Seminars, designed to take an in-depth and comprehensive approach to understanding a specific topic or section of the Bible. 

Instead of the typical 3-day seminar, these offer a 5-day format.  Allowing you time to really dig into God’s Word.  

Open to anyone, these seminars are led by seminary-level instructors.  One of the seminars, led by Dallas Theological Seminary professor, Mark Yarbrough, even offers seminary CE and CEU credit, for those interested.

As you are making summer plans, we hope you will consider setting aside time to grow in your relationship with God right here at The Cove.  

2014 Intensive Bible Seminars
(To register or get more information, click on one of the speaker names below or call 1-800-950-2092.)

Michael Card
John: The Gospel of Wisdom
June 16-20, 2014

Mark Yarbrough
Grasping the Master’s Plan From Genesis to Revelation
June 23 – 27, 2014

Walter Kaiser, Jr
Revive Us Again: Biblical Principles for Revival Today
July 7 – 11, 2014

Woodrow Kroll
David’s 95 Theses: Biblical Transformation in Psalm 119
July 21 – 25, 2014

R.T. Kendall
Holy Fire: A Balanced, Biblical View of the Work of the Holy Spirit in Our Lives
August 4- 8, 2014

“The Lord has allowed me to have layers and layers of blessings this week from the teachings, from the fellowship, from the overall environment, and from His table in all manner.  I am very grateful for that.” – 2013 Intensive Bible Seminar participant

“There is just a touch of God all over this place, especially in the teaching.  This week, I received exceedingly, abundantly, above all that I could ask or think.  He has not only given me peaceful, fun-loving people, a beautiful place to stay, but He has ignited and fanned the flame of His power that works within me.” – 2013 Intensive Bible Seminar participant 

IBT speakers for 2014

For a list of Cove Leadership Events, click here.

GUEST POST: Is it bad to want to be a great Christian?

By Chip Ingram

Is it bad to want to be a great Christian?

There’s a question that I wrestled with for quite awhile for most of my Christian life: Is it really wrong to want to be great? Is it self-centered to want your life to really make an impact?

What I’ve discovered is that “greatness” is most people’s ambition in nearly every area of their lives. When I’ve asked a lot of people about their hopes and dreams, I usually get unapologetic answers about their desires to be great at what they do. Corporate leaders want their companies to be great, professionals want to have great careers, men want to be great husbands and fathers, and women want to be great wives and mothers.

Yet when I ask believers if they want to be great Christians, many of them seem to be afraid to answer the question, as if they’re worried that their ambitions might make them seem arrogant.

But is it really prideful to want to honor God with lives of great faith and excellent work? Should we accept mediocrity instead?

After spending three years with Jesus, the disciples didn’t seem to think so. They actually argued about which one of them was the greatest. What I find most fascinating is that Jesus never admonished them for having ambition or for their desire to be great. Instead, He just showed them a different way to get there.

In Luke 22, Jesus redefines greatness by laying out a clear but counterintuitive pathway that 11 of the 12 disciples eventually fulfilled. He responds to their desires to be great by saying: ” … the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.” (Luke 22:26)

Jesus modeled what it means to be truly great. He came to this Earth as a humbled servant of God, yet He didn’t live a life of mediocrity. The night before his crucifixion, He said to the Father: “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” (John 17:4) He went on to ask that the Father glorify Him and that His glory be shared with His disciples.

Jesus’ statements about greatness were bold, yet we would never accuse Jesus of being arrogant or immodest, would we? From God’s perspective, His desires were godly.

So what about you? Do you want to be great? I’m not talking about financial success or popular opinion. That’s usually a self-centered ambition. I’m talking about being great in God’s kingdom. That is a noble desire!

In fact, God loves it when his people are zealous about making a difference in His kingdom.

Maybe you’re wondering, would God ever use an ordinary person like me, just like the great Christians in the Bible or the men and women of great faith that we read about in church history? And what I want to tell you is, yes!

God eagerly looks over the landscape of this world to honor, empower, and strengthen those whose love and obedience bring him pleasure. For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.(2 Chronicles 16:9)

Our greatness – as He defines it – is His desire.

Click here or call 1-800-950-2092 to join Chip at The Cove on May 23-25, 2014 for his seminar titled, “Doing Good: What Happens When Christians Live Like Christians

Chip Ingram May 2014