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Conversations with Pastor Jim Cymbala

By Joy Allmond

On March 28-30th, Brooklyn Tabernacle Pastor and author, Jim Cymbala, will come to The Cove to speak on “Ministering Christ to Others.”  In this interview, Pastor Cymbala discusses the Gospel, Church misconceptions, and the Holy Spirit.   

Cove: What are some of the things you will set out to discuss during this seminar?

Cymbala: I’m going to talk about the calling that’s on all of us to minister to people, especially those of us in leadership. We’re going to discuss the importance of the Word and the importance of the Word being the seed and planting that seed. We’ll explore what is the Gospel and what is not the Gospel.

Cove: I would imagine that most (if not all) of the people in attendance are already believers. Why is it important to review the Gospel with them?

Cymbala: It seems to be a review of that which seems simple, but foundational things can be lost. When we lose this, we’re at a disadvantage when we’re trying to produce fruit for the glory of Christ. We have to constantly depend on the power of the Holy Spirit. In some cases, He’s the forgotten member of the Trinity.

So, we’ll talk about that and also the kind of heart that’s needed to share Christ. Sometimes our sharing can become mechanical and sterile and we’re not seeing people the way God sees them. That can disqualify us from being really effective. When we preach the Good News but not have the heart of Christ, we miss the blessing and power available God promised us when we do His work.

Cove:  What are some of the misconceptions the Church has about the Gospel?

Cymbala: There are lots of misconceptions, but there are a few very common ones I see. Some believe that Jesus died without call to repentance—to just believe. Once I was visiting a church in another state. At the end of the service, the minister said, “Right now as I close, pray this prayer out loud, ‘Dear Jesus, I know you died for me. I put my trust in you.’ Now you’ve just become a Christian.”

48% of the people who call themselves “born again” evangelicals do not believe Christ lived a sinless life. 1,200 people stop reading the Bible every day.  This boils down to a lack of sound teaching in the Word of God.

Then on the other hand there is legalism. We tell God we’re going to try to live a better life. When we do this, we try to produce only what the Holy Spirit can. How can we be holy without Him controlling our lives?

This hinders us when we try to minister to people.

Cove: What do you hope to see happen as a result of this seminar?

Cymbala: I want to see God revive us, fill us with the Holy Spirit. I want Him to give us a new compassion, a new dependence on God’s word, a new faith, just a new beginning. The great thing about Christianity is no matter how you find yourself backsliding, getting hard-hearted, or getting mechanical in your worship, God is so good that He always can give you a new beginning.

For more information and to register for Pastor Jim Cymbala’s seminar, click here or call 1-800-950-2092.  Will Graham, grandson to Billy Graham, and Executive Director at The Cove, will lead the closing session.

Bev Shea: 103 and Still Singing!

This week, on Feb. 1, our dear friend George Beverly Shea celebrates his 103rd birthday! He has accomplished so much in his lifetime, ministering alongside Billy Graham since the beginning. Just last year, he was honored with a GRAMMY® for Lifetime Achievement. He is such a friend to the ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and The Cove.  In fact, he donated the organ currently in the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, and he joins us regularly for our Senior Celebration events. And, he’s still singing! Here’s video proof:

 

 

George Beverly Shea

In honor of Bev’s birthday, here’s an excerpt we found from his memoir Then Sings My Soul:

One morning not long ago Billy and I were out for a morning walk through the enchanting streets of Lyons, France.

“Billy, how long do you think I’m going to be able to keep up with you?” I asked.

He stopped and said apologetically, “I’m sorry, Bev, I didn’t realize I was walking so fast.”

“That’s not what I mean. How long do you think I’m going to be able to keep going in this work?”

 

“Why Bev,” he answered seriously, “I want you to sing for me all your life.”

“I’d like that,” I told him.

And I would. Singing is my life, and I hope that I can serve the Lord with my voice, in some way, for many years to come. Yet I realize that the day will dawn when it will be better for everyone if I do all my singing “down behind the barn,” where I first sang as a boy. If I feel that God wants me to stop I won’t resist Him for a moment. Not that I think that that time is imminent – for never in my life has God opened as many doors as He has in the past two or three years. Opportunities have come to me that I never expected; I am still awed by the responsibilities He has placed on my shoulders. Yet with the additional challenges, He has given new strength, new insight, new friends, and sustaining old friends.

Please join us in wishing Bev a happy birthday!

Unparalleled Service, Majestic Beauty

 “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” – Mark 6:31

Need a location for your next group retreat? At The Cove, you will discover an experience far beyond that of typical conference centers. Our year-round facility rests on 1,200 acres in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. Amid rich natural forest, woodland streams and abundant wildlife, you will find stillness and seclusion within our gated, all-inclusive retreat.  Our well-equipped meeting, dining and lodging facilities, combined with scenic views and unparalleled service, provide a refreshing and relaxing atmosphere.  The Cove can accommodate small groups, such as board meetings and church staff retreats, as well as large groups up to 450 guests. If you choose The Cove, we know you’ll leave refreshed and ready for what God has in store.

But, don’t take our word for it. Listen here to what others are saying  about their group experiences at The Cove:

“Every aspect of our encounter with The Cove was done with Excellence.  I thought to myself, ‘Lord, this facility and people must please you and reflect a touch of what you intended for man in the beginning.  The grounds are well landscaped and maintained, the beauty of the mountains, the hiking trails, the architecture of the buildings, excellent food and rich fellowship, and so on.’”  — Guest from a large Christian Organization

“I cannot say enough about The Cove.  The ladies thoroughly enjoyed our time there.  The atmosphere was heavenly and the fellowship was second to none.  What a glorious time we had.  I’ll tell anyone before you go to heaven you have got to stop by The Cove.  A special thanks to your staff they were so accommodating.” – Guest from a large Church in Jacksonville, FL

 

 
For more information or to make a reservation, call 1-800-950-2092, visit our website at www.TheCove.org or email us at GuestGroups@TheCove.org

A Fresh Start

Photo from Flickr by alkruse24.

With each New Year, we have the opportunity to wipe the slate clean…to get a fresh start. Most people take this opportunity to make New Year’s resolutions, which might include a new diet, starting an exercise program, spending more quality time with family, saving money or reaching a particular goal at work. Whatever the resolution, turning the calendar to “January 1” provides the added motivation we sometimes need to begin again.

There’s a great article from Anne Graham Lotz on BillyGraham.org on the topic of beginning again. In all of human history, few names are greater than that of Abraham. Yet his life was marked by failure. The reason we associate Abraham with faith and friendship with God is that when he failed, he didn’t quit. He began again.

If your goal in 2012 is beginning again in your relationship with God, we want to help. We have a number of resources on our website at www.thecove.org/resources. You can also visit the “Spiritual Growth” section of BillyGraham.org.

Or, if you prefer to just get some time away on your own, check out our Personal Spiritual Retreats. These are self-directed opportunities for an individual or a couple to refocus on growing their relationship with God in the beauty and peaceful quiet of The Cove in Asheville, NC.

For more information, please visit www.TheCove.org or contact our reservations department at (800) 950-2092. Special rates are available for those in full-time Christian ministry.

Whatever you do, we pray that for you, 2012 will be a year that you strive to know God better and help others know Him.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

We Are Thankful for You!

When you enter through the gates at The Cove and make your way up the mountain, you are coming for a seminar, a church retreat, a senior or women’s event, a personal spiritual retreat, a concert, a luncheon, a meeting, or as a visitor at our Chapel and Visitor’s center.

But, we also know you are coming for your own reasons:  a need, a hope, a prayer, or an answer to God’s calling.  You are coming to be with God, and we are here to set the table for that meeting with Him.  It is our hope and prayer that you are blessed with renewal, refreshment and inspiration from your time spent here.

Now, isn’t it just like God to bless US, through you!  We, the Cove employees and volunteers, are in fact, blessed by you.  We are thankful for you.

From a light-hearted conversation to a heartfelt sharing of a testimony… a smile, handshake or hug as you walk by or an opportunity to pray with/for you. We have the opportunity to do what God has called us to do – to  serve you, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Thank you, and thanks be to God.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Reflections from Will Graham

As I reflect back on the past year, there is so much for which I am very thankful. I’ve been blessed with opportunities around the world to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ over the past several months, from Canada to Kenya, the Jersey Shore to the Philippines. I’ve seen miracles take place this year as I’ve watched people place their eternal faith in the hands of Christ.

Yet, as I ponder the amazing love of the Lord, it strikes me that so often we view our salvation as commonplace. We have received this unbelievable gift, and rather than bursting with thankfulness and jumping with joy we tuck it into the back of the dresser like a pair of socks.

Let’s take a moment to focus on the topic of thankfulness. Luke—the physician—recorded this event in the life of Jesus, showing why we ought to be thankful.

Found in Luke 17:11–19, this is the story of Jesus healing ten lepers. Once they were healed, the ten men ran off excited. But only one came back to praise God for what had happened. Just as these men were physically healed of their leprosy, we receive salvation (or spiritual healing) from Jesus that warrants our gratitude.

First, we can be thankful that Jesus came to us (vv. 11–13). The text says that Jesus went through Samaria and Galilee, both of which were made up of people stigmatized by society. Samaritans were considered unclean people. Galileans were misfits and rogues, and yet Jesus made the effort to go to them. They did not have to go to Jesus. Similarly, God came down from heaven some 2,000 years ago in order to redeem mankind.

Second, we need to also be thankful because Jesus hears our cries (v. 14). The text says the men yelled out to Jesus because they were lepers, and the law required them to stay at a distance in order to prevent infecting others. But Jesus stopped and answered their cry for help. This is significant. These men realized their own situation—that they were very sick and they could not help themselves. If they could have, they would have already done so. They realized that only Jesus could help them and so they cried out to Him. Likewise, when we cry out to Christ for our salvation, it is because we understand that we are unable to save ourselves. We are spiritual lepers in need of healing.

Finally, we need to be thankful that Jesus can cleanse us and make us whole (v. 14). Jesus told the men to go show themselves to the priests, and on the way, the men were healed. They exercised faith in Jesus—they believed He could heal them—and showed obedience as they did exactly what Jesus commanded them to do. Only Jesus has the ability to forgive sin and cleanse us spiritually, as He cleansed the lepers physically.

We should be thankful that we serve a God who can heal, cleanse and save – physically and spiritually – and who comes to us and invites us into communion with Him. When we give thanks to God, He is honored and glorified (vv. 15-19). The Bible says that only one man came back to thank Jesus, and when he did, he was honoring God.

We’re entering the holiday season and things will begin to get hectic, but I encourage you to be sure that you aren’t like the other nine. Please take the time to come back to God and thank Him for what He has done for you. He came down, He heard your cry, and He answered it by healing your soul. My friends, we have every reason to be thankful!

Will GrahamWill 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.

Bring Your Operation Christmas Child Shoebox to The Cove

This week is National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child! If you live in the Asheville area, or you are coming for an event, you can bring your shoebox gifts to The Cove! That’s right, The Cove is a relay drop-off location this year. Just pack your shoebox gift (click here for some great gift ideas!) and bring it by anytime between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Nov.  14-21.

Here’s some more information about Operation Christmas Child – it’s the world’s largest Christmas project and a part of the international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered more than 77 million gift-filled shoe boxes to needy children in more than 130 countries. For more information, visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.

A Heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to Our Military

This Veterans Day, we want to say thank you to all of our military personnel, both past and present, who have served our country to protect the freedoms we all enjoy. We love you, and we pray that this Veterans Day you will know how much we appreciate your service.

At The Cove, one way we show our appreciation is through our scholarship program for active-duty military. We are pleased to offer full scholarships for active-duty military personnel and their spouses to attend a seminar here at The Cove. Come renew your spirit through encouragement and sound biblical teaching from respected Christian speakers.

Here’s what some recent attendees have said about their trips to The Cove:

“My wife and I wanted you to know how much we enjoyed our Personal Spiritual Retreat at The Cove.  Like most military couples with children, we spend most of our days moving in opposite directions.  During our 3 days at The Cove, we were able to read, pray and talk together more than we have in a very long time.  The friendly staff and the quiet, peaceful surroundings made our time extra special as we grew closer to each other and closer to God.   Because of your generosity, our marriage is stronger and our family has been blessed.  Thank you so much for presenting us with such a wonderful gift.” — MSG Joseph Laskowski

“My hope in these days is in the Lord and the personal spiritual retreat reminded me of the lasting hope we have in Christ regardless of what happens around us.  I preached this weekend with renewed passion.  Thanks to those who gave so that I might stay at the Cove and be spiritually refreshed and deeply encouraged.” — LTC Ken Sorenson

“From the bottom of my heart, I would like to extend my highest gratitude of appreciation for providing such a wonderful weekend at The Cove in Asheville, NC; with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.  We had an absolutely wonderful time at The Cove, as their hospitality and accommodations were extremely superb and unmatched.” — Maj. Ross Lightsey, Sr.

If you are on active military service or serve as a current military chaplain with the North American Mission Board, please call us at (800) 950-2092, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday to learn more.

If you are not in the military, but you would like to show your support, you can give to our scholarship fund to help make this program possible. We can’t do it without your help! Contact Anna Contoleon at The Cove (828) 298-2092.

Happy Birthday, Billy Graham

Today is Billy Graham’s birthday! As he turns 93 today, he shares his hopes, struggles and prayers, and his gratitude for each of you.

From Billy Graham:

Through the miracle of technology, God is graciously allowing me to proclaim the Good News in several countries this year—three of them where I never had the opportunity to lead a Crusade.

As I turn 93, I am thankful to the Lord that not long before my birthday, I was able to complete a book I’ve been working on for some time. The book is called Nearing Home, and it’s about how to prepare for and face the challenges of growing old, and how to finish well. I’ve written down lessons and insights I wish I had learned earlier in life, because I have come to realize that although I know how to die, no one ever taught me how to grow old.

Even as I look forward to seeing Jesus Christ face to face, and to being reunited with Ruth, my parents, and a host of friends who have now gone on before me, God continues to give me time on earth. My failing eyesight keeps me from reading as I once did, and my physical stamina is low, but I have more time to pray. I talk to the Lord about the needs of family and friends, and about the work of evangelism that God has called us to at BGEA.

Read the complete letter here. To send personal greetings to Billy Graham, post comments on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ReverendBillyGraham or on Twitter using the hashtag #happybdaybillygraham.