Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day from all of us at The Cove!

Fourth of July _2014

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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 He tried to convince my grandfather that his way of thinking was outdated and the Bible couldn’t be trusted.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

Click here for information on Will Graham’s seminar at The Cove Agust 15-17, 2014.

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7 Steps on How to Respond to an Angry Person

Sticks and Stones may Break my Bones But Words Will Always Hurt MeRemember the childhood saying about sticks and stones?  As we all eventually learn, words can cut us to the core.

Have you ever been angry with someone and lashed out with hurtful words or actions you wished you could take back?

Have you noticed that sometimes it is the people closest to us are the first to catch the worst of our anger?  Whether it be a spouse, your child, or a close friend. 

Over the weekend, Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, addressed the topic of anger in relationships as he ministered to 150 couples who were attending our military marriage retreat weekend. (Click here to see pictures from the weekend.) 

Anger can be an issue in any marriages, but because of the unique nature of military marriages with long periods of separation and sometimes very little communication, this emotion rears its ugly head all too often.   In an effort to provide helpful tools that can be applied to any relationship, Dr. Chapman shared the following 7 steps on how to respond to an angry person:

1. Listen to the person who is angry.  Hear them out.  Just LISTEN.  James 1:19 tells us,  Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.  Try to remember that the person who is angry with you is angry because, in their mind, you did wrong.  You will never get to the root of the issue until you listen and find out what is/has bothered the angry person.

2. Listen to the person who is angry.  Yes, we are repeating step 1–that’s how important it is!  In most cases, people don’t hear most of what was said the first time.  In the heat of the moment, angry word poured it out to you, but you didn’t hear it all.

3. Listen to the person who is angry.  Are you starting to get the gist of how important listening is?  Listen at least 3 times.  The issue will not be resolved until the angry person has been very clearly heard.

4. Seek to understand the angry person.  Put yourself in their shoes and try to see the world through their eyes.  You cannot have a proper understanding until you understand where they are coming from.

5. Express understanding to the angry person.  Try a statement like this: “If I were in your shoes, I’m sure I would be angry also.”   6. Share additional information.  You can now give your perspective on the situation.  The benefit of this step is that through this process you are teaching others how to respond to an angry person. (This is also an excellent way to model healthy communication in front of your children.)

7. Confess any wrongdoing.   Admit your wrongdoing if they have a legitimate reason for their anger.  This step will also build trust.  It’s a big step for most people to admit when they are wrong.

Active-duty, Guard and Reserve military service-members can attend seminars, concerts and retreats at The Cove at no costClick here for more information.

Click here to see what’s going on at The Cove in the coming months.

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Cove Bible Verse for Week of June 30th

Scripture 26 small

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Saturday Snapshot

The beauty of God’s creation will never cease to amaze us here at The Cove.  Both the doe and the butterfly were seen near the chapel this week.

As you go about your day, take a look around and notice the beautiful details your Creator has gifted you.

Have a blessed weekend!

Doe near the chapel June 27 2014 Tommy Berry photo

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. ~ Psalm 42:1
(Photo: Young doe seen in the meadow near the chapel.)

butterfly near the chapel June 27 2014 Tommy Berry photo

One of God’s masterpieces.

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Woodrow Kroll to Teach on Psalm 119

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” —Psalm 119:105

Bible-1 with hands

By Tiffany Jothen

Browse any Christian bookstore and you’ll find Bibles in all colors, sizes and translations, with various commentaries in the notes section for easy reading.

And yet …

“We’re basically a Bible illiterate society,” Bible teacher Woodrow Kroll said.

Woodrow Kroll for 2014Kroll will be at The Cove July 21-25 for an intensive, five-day Bible study on Psalm 119. That’s right, five days and just one Psalm.


Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible with 176 verses. The chapter includes 95 statements about the Bible and the many benefits that come from reading and obeying it.

“People read what they want to read, and a lot of people find the Bible disinteresting,” Kroll said, adding that the biggest excuse people give for not reading the Bible is lack of time.

“It is an excuse; it’s not a reason,” he said. “We do whatever we choose to do.”

Kroll lives in Ashland, Neb., with his wife of 49 years. He first noticed the trend in Bible illiteracy as the department chair of religion at Liberty University in the 1970s—and said it hasn’t improved.

At Liberty, Kroll would test freshmen on their Bible knowledge. Many students were from the South, came from Christian families and even went to Bible-teaching churches and schools. But by 1980, his final year there, Kroll was sad to see that of 1,100 incoming Liberty freshmen, only 45 got more than half the test questions right.

“Most Christians have not ever read the Bible all the way through,” he said, but rely on devotionals or short verses here and there as their Bible reading. “There’s no systematic study.”

But the Bible is a big book. It takes a long time to read, right?

“Half the books of the Bible can be read in less than 30 minutes,” Kroll said. “Twenty-six (books) take less than 15 minutes.” And that’s not speed reading.

“Time is not the issue,” he said. “I think the issue is more desire than it is time.”

The Bible is chock full of God’s promises for our lives and direction for all kinds of life issues, Kroll pointed out. It addresses marriage, money, parenting, manager-employee relationships, reconciliation, temptation, the role of the church, speech, missions and service. It’s full of history, war, love, revenge, grace and hope.

“I think you get people to read the Bible if you show them what they miss in (not) reading the Bible,” Kroll said.

For 23 years, Kroll worked with Back to the Bible International, a worldwide ministry that uses media to share the Gospel and help Christians grow in their faith. He has studied theology at multiple colleges and seminaries and now heads Woodrow Kroll Ministries. After teaching in more than 100 countries, and with 50 books under his belt, he said he continually sees the same basic needs all over the world.

“The most basic need people have is to restore the relationship with God that was severed in the Garden of Eden,” he said.

People want meaning, significance, Kroll added. They might look for it in being a grandmother or a great basketball player, “but never does it satisfy us until that relationship (with God) is restored.” And even when people have that relationship, he added, they sometimes wonder if they’re really getting everything out of it.

Is their faith too shallow?

Kroll’s seminar here at The Cove can help people deepen their faith by learning how to interact with His Word. With so many belief systems in the world, he said, failing to do that can mean failing to recognize false doctrine and the inability to defend one’s Christian faith.

Click here for more information and to register for this seminar.

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Kendra’s Bible Study…Nehemiah 4:11-12

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!

Kendra Graham NOTES from Nehemiah 4:11-12 

In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage.  DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts.  Do not paraphrase.  Use the actual words of the passage.  This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts.  If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it. 

11a: Our enemies said…..

11b: They will not know or see until we come, kill them, and stop the work.

12: The Jews who live near them came and told us 10 times.  They will come against us from every place.  

Look for a lesson to learn from each fact.  What are the people doing that they should be doing?  What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?

Is there a command to follow?  A promise to claim?  A warning to heed? An example to follow? 

11a: The enemies of God will always have a voice it seems…. and a loud voice at that.  Notice that it has only been “voices” though.  Until this point there has only been mockery trying to get God’s people to stop…. often that is all it takes. 

11b:  The enemy…. “A roaring lion?”….. a lion only roars after it catches it’s prey, to signal to others, the kill is his, and to signal to the prey, there is no escape now.  A lion seeking for prey; however, is very stealth, quiet and patient, waiting for just the right moment to pounce and capture.  The lion does not announce how or when it is coming in, it just does, in a moment.  The prey must always be on guard, watching.  Here in 11b, those seeking to destroy God’s people are making a plan, a “sneak attack”, but as so often with the enemy, they cannot keep their plans to themselves, and in their pride it gets out just what they are planning.  The plans are daunting though…. just the plans without proof of implementation again are often enough to stop the work of God’s people.  The people of God do not know if it is rhetoric or real, but judging from the past, they believe it to be real.  If work continues on the wall, the people could possibly be killed for it.  Is the wall something they are willing to lay their lives, and their families’ lives down for?  The enemy’s plan is always to stop the work of God’s people no matter what they have to say or do.  Again… the enemy has no problem being single-minded vs. all things God’s people.  BE ON GUARD!!!! 

12:  I read this verse and one word comes to mind: FEAR.  The positive thing here: hey, they found out the plans of the enemy!  God revealed this information to them!  Great, now, the lion in wait will not be quite so invisible, they can formulate a plan and make a stand!  Often formulating a plan to combat the enemy is not what we do.  If you are me, I totally freak out and want to hide.  10 separate times the Jews who overheard the plans of the enemy told Nehemiah…. this shows me that there was some panic brewing in their hearts and minds.  If the enemy cannot mock us enough to stop the work, maybe the enemy can scare us to stay in bed and not continue… BUT “If God be for us, who then can be against us?” Romans 8:31

Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.

As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.

*Do not rush.  Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think.   This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next.  Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to? 

11a:  Do I give more credence to the voice of the enemy than the voice of God in my life?

11b:   Do I listen more intently to the plans of the enemy for me instead of the plans God has for me?  How has the enemy been able to distract/stop me from the work God has called me to?  Am I on guard for similar attacks from the enemy?  (Mockery and threats.) 

12:  Do I believe God and take Him at His Word?  Do I believe God will be faithful to me? Is it easier to believe God will be faithful to everyone else but me?  Can my life be described as a life of faith or fear?  Am I quick to panic or pray?  Do I know what God has called me to and believe that He will complete it until the Day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6)? 

LORD, help me to see the plans of the enemy and then not to panic, but to pray, leaving them at Your feet as I continue that which You have set before me to do.  Help me to give more credence to Your Word than the word of the world.

Homework: Nehemiah 4:13-15 

Get stuck?  www.annegrahamlotz.com  and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!

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Cove Bible Verse for Week of June 23rd


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Saturday Snapshot

Just wrapped up a week of Intensive Bible teaching with Michael Card.  Following are a few behind-the-scenes images we thought you would enjoy.

Michael Card giving banjo lessons to participant June 2014

Michael taking a break from his Bible teaching schedule to give a banjo lesson!

Reflections from participants of Michael Card IBT June 2014

Michael asked the participants from his Intensive Bible Seminar to write something significant they learned and post it to the wall of windows in the auditorium.

Reflections from participants of Michael Card IBT June 2014 2

Interested in attending an Intensive Bible Seminar this summer? Click here for information.

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Recipe From The Cove Kitchen: Grilled Coffee Rubbed Rib Eye Steak & Lemon Roasted Asparagus


It’s grilling season and whether you are a coffee drinker or not, you will LOVE this Coffee Crusted Grilled Rib Eye Steak recipe prepared by Executive Chef Douglas Walls here at The Cove 

The Lemon Roasted Asparagus recipe and Sriracha Horseradish Sauce add the perfect touch of freshness and zip to finish off this delicious dish.   

Watch here as Chef Walls expertly shows you how to prepare this great summertime meal.    

Coffee Rubbed Grilled Rib Eye Steak
(Serving Size: 1) 

8 oz. rib eye steak
1 Tbsp. ground coffee
1/2 Tbsp.  paprika
1/2Tbsp.  light brown sugar
1/2Tbsp.  ground mustard
1 tsp. granulated garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste.

Mix dry ingredients and rub on both sides of steak.  Grill steak on a hot grill for 3 minutes on each side.  Let steak rest for 5 minutes to allow juices to redistribute.  Enjoy!

Lemon Roasted Asparagus
(Serving Size: 1)  

1/2  bunch of fresh asparagus
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. chopped garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste.

Place asparagus on baking sheet.  Mix ingredients well to coat asparagus.  Place in 375 degree oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Just before removing your steak from the grill, throw asparagus on the grill for a minute or two.

Sriracha Horseradish Sauce 

2 Tbsp. mayo
1 Tbsp. sour cream
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. Sriracha
1 tsp. of prepared horseradish
Dash of black pepper and salt.

Mix ingredients together well.  Drizzle desire amount over steak and asparagus.

CLICK here for PDF of recipe

Come stay with us at The Cove and enjoy wonderful meals such as this while attending one of our seminars, personal spiritual retreats or guest group retreats.  Click here to visit our website.     

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