Saturday Snapshot

It’s January and that means we mail out our annual Program Guide!  We’ve got lots of great seminars, programs, concerts, and retreats (both group and personal) in 2016 and we anticipate God to move mightily, like He always does, in the lives of those who come.

Our Program Guide is not only a great informational piece, but a beautiful work of art, thanks to our talented designer.  We thought you might like to take a peek behind-the-scenes of the printing of the Program Guide.

This huge contraption is called a web press, a type of printing press that prints on continuous rolls of paper.  Can you see the Program Guide sheets in there?

web press

Here is a short video of the web press in action.

Click here if you are unable to see the video.

Program Guides will be arriving in mailboxes in the couple of weeks, so be on the lookout for yours.  If you do not receive one by February 1, but would like to, you can request one by calling 1-800-950-2092.

Click here to visit out website.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study: Ezekiel 37: 1,9

Kendra Blog Title

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these post straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from Ezekial 37: 1,9
“The hand of the LORD was upon me and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley and it was full of bones. (9b) breathe on these slain, that they may come to life.” 

Step 1

THE FACTS:  The Spirit of the LORD set me down in the middle of the valley full of bones… breathe on these slain that they may come to life.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:  Have you ever felt used up, unimportant, un-repairable, empty, dry, ignored, forgotten, not unique, your prime is past–never to be recovered–undesirable, broken, scattered, ruined unattractive, dead. or at least deserving desertion because you are good for nothing?  So often it is not weapons of war, machine guns, grenades, or bayonets that snatch our victory in life, but it’s past situations, past decisions, words of people-especially people we trusted-that leave us feeling mortally wounded and believing that God can’t possibly use us anymore.  This is the reality of the situation here in Ezekiel 37.

The bones in this valley are dry, scattered, torn apart, and…. precious to God…. why?  Does God not have anything better to do than hang out in a graveyard of empty lives and dreams?

God refuses to leave the bones here in Ezekiel 37, and loves these bones more than anything! God has a plan for these bones since the beginning of time and their current situation has not changed that one-iota!  God loves these bones so much so that He sent His Spirit off to fetch Ezekiel, so that Ezekiel could tell them that they matter, and that God has a plan and a purpose for them!  How crazy does that sound?  How much hope does that give me!

We were created to walk with God,  and to know God because we desperately need God, so God comes and breathes life where there was emptiness and death to make that purpose happen.  In verse 3 God asks Ezekiel if these bones can LIVE!?!  God is not focusing on that which rendered these bones in their current condition, God is seeing LIFE, but does Ezekiel?  Do you?  Is seeing believing or is believing seeing?  God is asking Ezekiel and the bones here in this valley to believe He is the God who gives life!  In verse 9, God says that these bones were “slain”… the Hebrew word is “Harag” which means murdered.  The life of these bones snuffed out by unforeseeable, unstoppable events!

We walk in a fallen world where there is pain, hurt, regret, shame, and we can’t change that.  So often we allow our lives to be defined by the elements that have hung us out to dry, but this should not be!  We are created to walk with God in victory and life, right in the middle of it!  How?

We find life and victory in the middle of those circumstances that want to break us down by daily burying ourselves in the Word of God.  When these dry bones allowed the Word of God to saturate their current state, God brought them to life!  Life!  Using the same canvas they started with, the same set of bones, not throwing them out and starting with another more suitable candidate!  The Word of God and the very breath of God brings life in the middle of darkness!  There is hope and that hope is found in the fact that God came Himself, for your bones and mine in the form of a man with skin on, and His name is Jesus.  Jesus came, lived a holy and righteous life and because of that, the bones in this valley could claim life, as can you and I.  In this world there is an opposition that desires to knock us down and devour us.  The enemy has a personal plan for you and your individual destruction, but God came Himself came to break the chain of death that is fastened tight, so that you can live!

Allow the Word of God and the breath of His Spirit to revive you and enable you to stand, and to do all you can to stand in a dark world seeking to put you out of commission!  The power of God will stabilize your feet upon the rock of His Word (I Peter 1:25).

Jesus has come to give us life and life abundantly! (John 10:10). Believe it and see the personal transformation of your bones!!  Oh to hear your story of how God has given you victory and life! #PressIn.  #Holdon.  #Stand.

4

APPLY IT:  Are you living a life of victory?  Will you choose to be victimized by your circumstances thus becoming another statistic of the enemy or will you allow the Word of God to saturate you and give you life?  #stand #holdon Will you share your story of the transforming power of God and give others hope in a dark hurting place?

3

LIVE IT OUT:  Today I will seek God in His Word and ask Him to give me victory over my circumstances. I will STAND and be defined by who God says I am instead of falling for what the world thinks I should be.

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If you’re in the Asheville, NC area, we hope to see you at our annual Women’s Bible study which begins tonight (Jan. 12, 2016) at 6:30 pm.

Special announcement from Kendra about tonight:

JOIN US FOR OUR FREE WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY AT THE COVE, BEGINNING JANUARY 12, 2016.

If you can attend in-person, we’d love to see you. Click on one of the links below to register.

If you’d like to register for Kendra’s Tuesday evening study (January 12 – February 16, 2016), call 1-800-950-2092.
NOTE: If you are unable to attend in person, we will continue the online study as well, using lessons shared during the LIVE study.

 

Free Retreats for Pastor and Spouse at The Cove

FREE LEADERSHIP RETREATS

Come be rejuvenated in a quiet peaceful setting tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains while continuing your work in growing the Lord’s Kingdom.  The Cove, in Asheville, NC, is a perfect setting for refreshing your faith and maturing your relationship with Christ.

Check out our FREE events for 2016 and click on a link below that is of interest to you.

Guests enjoying a seminar in the main auditorium at The Cove.
Guests enjoying a seminar in the main auditorium at The Cove.
Guests on the deck of the Training Center.
Guests on the deck of the Training Center.

 

These events are FREE for those actively serving in pastoral ministry (and their spouse), providing the opportunity to interact with their peers and receive insight, instruction, and best practices from experienced Christian leaders. 

Leadership Renewal Retreat: Encouraging the Shepherd
with Jim Henry, February 24-26, 2016

Pastor’s Institute: Jonah On the Run
with Jerry Vines, April 12-13, 2016

Leadership Renewal Retreat: Engaging the Next Generation (Specifically for YOUTH pastor and spouse.)
with Sean McDowell & Alex McFarland, April 25-27, 2016

Pastors’ Institute:3-D Discipleship: Loving, Growing, Reaching
with Lon Allison, July 12-13, 2016

Leadership Renewal Retreat:The Conviction to Lead
with R. Albert Mohler, Jr., November 7-9, 2016

Cove Deck 3
A guest reading outside at The Cove.

To make a tax-deductible gift to The Leadership Renewal Project, click here or call 1-877-243-2202.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study – Philippians 3:13b-14

Kendra Blog Title

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these post straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from Philippians 3:13b-14

Step 1

THE FACTS:
Forgetting what is behind, straining toward what is ahead, PRESS ON toward the goal which God has called me.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:
Happy New Year! The beginning of the new year is a new beginning, a clean slate. Some people are sad to see 2015 go, and some are thrilled, leaving behind heartache and disappointment they shake the dust off of 2015 and are hoping for a brighter year. The year 2016 is unknown territory and for some of us, it’s daunting and unsure with all the world chaos going on.

Here, in these verses, the Apostle Paul is urging his readers to not be brought down by the past. Each day is a new day, a new opportunity to press in to what God has called you to do. We were all created by God, knit together in our mother’s womb for a unique purpose from the beginning of time, to know God, to walk with God and to need God. Many of us have things in our past that haunt us, things we have done perhaps decades ago that strive to chain us down and keep us from that God-given purpose. We tend to beat ourselves up for past indiscretions and then year after year strive to atone for them by living our lives in misery, enslaved and defined by these epic fails.

What if… in 2016… we decided to forget what is behind and strive toward what is ahead? Learn from the past for sure. Know we never want to repeat some things, but accept the fact we can never change the past, it’s done…the brick was laid… we hate it, we wish it was different, but what can we do? We can do nothing… so that is why God, not trusting you to another, came Himself with skin on, His name, Jesus! Jesus lived a perfect holy life, in order to pay the bounty on that indiscretion of mine and yours. We are unable to pay off, work off or talk off the mistakes of the past, but oh that we would press in to Jesus this year and allow Him to pay that debt He bought outright from us. Let it go at the foot of the cross once and for all. Jesus paid it all on the cross so that we could grab a hold of that purpose He has set aside for us. We have to let go of our past to press on today to His call.

Aunt Anne Graham Lotz tells a story of a monkey that I found appropriate to start this new year with. The question: How do you catch a monkey? The answer: you place a banana in a jar that is wider at the bottom, and smaller at the top, then bury the jar at ground level, leaving the top of the jar open for easy access to that banana. A monkey comes by, with his sniffer, he smells the banana, sticks his hand in the jar, grabs the banana and then makes a fist around that banana… you have now caught yourself a monkey. That monkey will scream and holler and throw his hand around, but that fist won’t fit through the neck of that jar. The monkey is caught, ensnared, and unless he drops the banana, he won’t ever be free.

Whatever your “banana” is, the answer is found in setting our eyes today in the Word of God. Intentionally setting our sights on Jesus (Hebrews 12), and when we see who Jesus is, and His incredible love for us, that banana will pale in comparison. When we see what it cost God Himself to forgive us of our past, and present us with a future we will be constrained by the love of God to look no where else.

May this year be the year of healing for your heart. It cost God the agony of Calvary to provide us with the freedom and joy that is present and in Him, may we reach out this year and obtain Him. As we hold on to Jesus, we will forget all about that banana in the past that held us down for so long; this year may we have the strength to let it go. Let’s start this year, this day and the next and the one after that, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our days (Hebrews 12:1-3). This year, let’s daily seek God in His Word, starting now!

4

What is your “banana” from last year(s) to this year? What do you just need to let go of so that you can press on toward all God has set aside for you to do? Do you need to let go of a ungodly relationship? Step away from an immoral practice? Let go of an unforgiving spirit, anger or bitterness from the past that continues to define you, enslave you and keep you down? Do you need to let Calvary pay once and for all that debt you seem to think is too great for the blood of Jesus to cover? This year will you be defined by the grace of Jesus or will you work yourself to death trying to make it right on your own? You will press on toward someone or something… so what will it be?

3

Today I will press in to God’s Word and seek out what He has to say to me. I will ask God what I need to let go of, and what I need to grab hold of and do it.

___________________________________________________________________

Special announcement from Kendra:

JOIN US FOR OUR FREE WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY AT THE COVE, BEGINNING JANUARY 12, 2016.

If you can attend in-person, we’d love to see you. Click on one of the links below to register.

If you’d like to register for Kendra’s Tuesday evening study (January 12 – February 16, 2016), click here.
NOTE: If you are unable to attend in person, we will continue the online study as well, using lessons shared during the LIVE study

Register for Kendra’s Tuesday evening study here or by
calling 1-800-950-2092.

Prayer Note: January

Each month one of our staff, Donna Riesen, prepares a “prayer note” to remind and encourage our staff to pray. We will begin sharing these with you on the first of each month in hopes that, you too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note(3)

By Donna Riesen:

Have we lost Jesus? Another Christmas season has come and gone, and we’ve shopped and eaten and wrapped and traveled, but have we marveled at the miracle? Like Mary, did we take the time to “ponder in our hearts” the truth of God coming to earth as a helpless baby, on a rescue mission of love? Like the Wise Men, did we go out of our way to seek Him?

Aside from the New Testament birth narratives, the visit from the Wise men, the account of Christ’s circumcision, and the flight to Egypt, the Bible is silent on a large portion of Jesus’ childhood until Luke 2:41-52 gives us a brief glimpse of the boy Jesus at age 12.

Following their usual custom as faithful Jews, Mary and Joseph made their yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. Luke records an astonishing sequence of events as—after an entire day’s travel on their return to Nazareth—Mary and Joseph realize they have lost track of Jesus. If you’ve ever lost sight of your child for even a few minutes in the aisles of a department store, you know that heart-stopping feeling they experienced.

(Side note: Before accusing the couple of child neglect, we should consider that the large crowds who made the Passover journey together usually divided into two groups: men, and women & children. Since Jesus was now twelve years of age, Mary may have assumed her Son had joined with the group of men to make the journey home, while Joseph probably believed Him to be with the women and children. Since the crowd of pilgrims probably included lots of extended family, Jesus would have had plenty of relatives to look after Him in either group. Who wouldn’t volunteer for that babysitting job?)

After searching and inquiring to no avail among the group of travelers, the worried couple made a hasty return trip to Jerusalem. Verse 46 tells us that “after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions” (Luke 2:46, NKJV).  We let out a sigh of relief at hearing that the boy was found safe, then catch our breath again in amazement as we read that “all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers” (2:47, NKJV). The amazement increases as we picture a frazzled Mary scolding the Son of God: “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought you anxiously” (2:48, NKJV).

Jesus’ reply gives us the first clue that He is aware of His identity and destiny as the Son of God. “Why did you seek me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49, NKJV)

The Bible then tells us in verse 50 that “They did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.” In spite of being misunderstood, verse 51 shows us the humility of Christ, as He “went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.”

From the day the angel first appeared to her in the little village of Nazareth, to the temple at Jerusalem, and then to the foot of the cross, tender-hearted Mary would have much to keep and ponder.

As we ponder the happenings of 2015 and look ahead to 2016, may our prayer be to never lose track of Christ. As He was found in the temple  discussing the Scriptures with leaders two and three times His age, may we be found seeking for Him in the pages of His Word and in prayer.

As Cove staff, we are privileged to work in a place where we are daily “about our Father’s business.” Whether we are changing bed linens, changing an inn reservation or changing a lightbulb, we all serve in a place where lives are changed by the power of the Word of God and the work of His Spirit. 2016 will be a year of change for all of us at The Cove. Although we will “hit the ground running,” may we never run ahead of Christ in self-sufficiency or lose track of Him by lagging behind in disobedience. Instead, let’s enter this new year on our knees in a posture of prayer. If you’ve lost track of Jesus, that’s the best place to start.

Click here to see what’s happening at The Cove.

Saturday Snapshot

If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve probably seen pictures of the beautiful deer that grace our 1,200 acres.  We love the chance to snap a photo and share with you.

With lots of deer on property (no hunting allowed), our groundskeepers find antlers in the woods that have been shed throughout the year.

So,…what does one do with a bunch of antlers, you may ask?

You decorate a Christmas tree at The Cove!

This tree in our administration building was decorated by our amazingly talented Guest Services Coordinator, Angie.

Keep it in mind for your tree next year!

ant

antler Christmas ornaments from Cove property 2015 small for blog 2

carribou antler
This is a caribou antler that one of our staff’s son sent him from Alaska. All other antlers on the tree are from The Cove property.

We hope to see you next year at The Cove! God bless you!

The blog of the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove