Saturday Snapshot — A Christmas Greeting

Wishing all of our faithful blog readers a very Merry Christmas! This photo was taken earlier this week at our staff Christmas gathering.
For your Christmas viewing pleasure, we’re pulling a video from the archives.  Enjoy this Billy Graham Christmas Special from 1953 and 1956, featuring Billy and Ruth Graham, Franklin Graham, Cliff Barrows, George Beverly Shea, Amy Grant, Cece Winans, Johnny and June Cash, Michael W. Smith, and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.   If you’ve been to The Cove you’ll recognize the Training Center deck and lobby featured throughout the video.

May each of you be filled with the joy of our Savior during this wonderful season.  God bless you!

Merry Christmas!

Click here to view upcoming seminars, retreats, and concerts at The Cove.

COVE BIBLE VERSE FOR THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 18th

This week’s verse is brought to you by Teresa, a volunteer coordinator here at The Cove. Her verse is Luke 1:37.

For nothing will be impossible with God.

Teresa_Program Volunteer Coordinator


Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC. Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden.

Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

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Saturday Snapshot – Merry Music on the Mountain

Philips, Craig, and Dean wrapped up our last official 2017 Christmas at The Cove event on Thursday night and it was an absolutely beautiful celebration of our precious Savior.  If you weren’t able to join us in person for the Christmas festivities this year, please plan on it next year…you will be blessed beyond measure!

PCD December 2017

While the events at the Training Center have wound down for the year, we still have music ringing out on our little mountain over here.

Listen as Lovey, one of our faithful Chapel volunteers spreads cheer to visitors touring the Chapel on Friday.

Tell us your favorite Christmas song in the comments below?

Praying you will have a lovely weekend, friends!


Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC. Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden.

Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

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Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — John 10: 9-11

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!

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Kendra Graham notes from John 10: 9-11

  “I am the door of the sheep, if anyone enters through me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal, and kill and destroy; I came that they may find life and find it abundantly.  I AM the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

THE FACTS:  

I am the door of the sheep. If any enter through me he shall be saved, go in and out and find pasture.  The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.  I came that they may find life abundantly.  I AM the good shepherd; lays down his life for the sheep.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   

I’ve been thinking about this verse in conjunction with my trip to Israel for the past six months.  I had the opportunity to go to Bethlehem, where Luke 2 describes how the shepherds were living in the fields, keeping their watch over their flocks by night.  Wil and I weaved our way through the city and out to where the hills were littered with caves.  These caves are where shepherds would bed down for the night as they hustled the sheep deep into the darkness of the cave for safety.  At the mouth of the cave there could be found evidence where fires had been, blackened marks on the roof of the cave.  The shepherds would start a fire, cook their dinner perhaps, and maybe use the fire for warmth and protection from any wild animals that would be tempted to attack their sheep.  The shepherd would then bed down in the front of the cave, lying his body across the opening so that an intruder would first have to get through the shepherd before attempting to take the life of one of his flock.

mouth of cave where shepherds would stayStanding there in the darkness of the cave was overwhelming.  The John 10 parable of the shepherd and the sheep came alive to me.  I could hear the sheep bleating in the dark, not understanding why they had to be trapped in this cold, dank, dark place.  I could see the shepherd as he set up camp for the night.  Unbeknownst to the sheep, their safety was first and foremost on his mind.

Can you see it? The sheep are in the cave, protected by the physical body of the shepherd.  The shepherd will lay down his life and die before he relinquishes one sheep to the slaughter.  The shepherd’s body is the actual door.  The LIFE of the sheep is on the mind of the shepherd.

The sheep will go in for protection led by the shepherd and will be led out by the shepherd to eat.  So what do they eat?

Standing on the hills outside of Bethlehem made me wonder this very thing.  I asked our local tour guide and pointed to the lushest spot that I could see from the hill just beyond the city.  Do they eat there?  Are those the pastures of Bethlehem that David penned the 23rd Psalm in?  There was what seemed brown desert as far as my eyes could see… except for this one beautiful patch of greenery! An oasis in the desert!

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Our guide laughed,  “Oh no! The sheep would never be allowed to graze there! Farmland is hard to come by here in the desert, there are not fields of green!  The sheep may be able to glean the fields after harvest, but never be allowed to romp in the crops!”

Ok…. then where in the world would these sheep eat?  Luke 2 says they were living in the “fields by night” and Psalm 23 says pasture land… is that not lush green new delicious grass as far as the little sheepie eyes can see?

Standing in the “fields” which are really  “shepherds’ desert hills”, because that is where the caves would be found and where they would bed down, he told me how the sheep have always grazed in that land, and it has been rolling around in my mind ever since.  It isn’t what I thought.

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 Across the hills, there are noticeable sheep grazing trails which he pointed out.  All I see are trails in the dirt and I see rocks, a lot of rocks, I don’t see a bit of green.  More confused than ever, he explained to me about the desert climate.  Rain is a luxury in places like this, but there is a little humidity in the air, and it does rain, a little.  This little bit of rain combined with the humidity will accumulate on the rocks in the hills (fields), and underneath these rocks, as the water accumulates in the shade of that rock, a mouthful of yes, lush new green grass will grow.  The shepherd will look for a hillside that was exposed to this moisture and bring his flock to graze it from top to bottom or bottom to top.  Each step, a mouthful for the sheep.  The sheep must continue to follow the shepherd because he knows what hills have the food.

I could now see, each step, contains just enough food for the next step, and there’s not enough grass to bask in that one place for the rest of your life, but enough for the day.

This reality changes everything.  Today’s pasture is not enough to fulfill tomorrow’s needs.  The shepherd knows where the sheep need to be.  The shepherd leads the sheep through the desert, not for their harm, but to provide for their life.  The shepherd leads the sheep in the dark dank cave at night, not to punish or torture the sheep but to protect them.  The shepherd lays his own body across the door, not to keep the sheep in, but to keep the enemy out.

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 How often have we had the wrong view of God?  We look at God through the eyes of sheep, we can’t help it, we have more in common with the sheep than with God.  BUT GOD, loves us anyway, and in those very hills, in those very skies that I gazed into, that day, I remembered the night that was lit up with all heaven as the angels proclaimed to the shepherds and the sheep, “For unto YOU is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!” The hills that had fulfilled the needs of the sheep that day were those very hills facing the city of David.

Like it or not, we all follow someone or something, even you leaders out there.  The Word of God says, that everything else is like a thief, that comes to steal your joy, kill your dreams and ultimately destroy.  Have you ever asked yourself, “Is this all there is?”  LIFE is not elusive.  Jesus came to give us LIFE, to take us back from the thief that has stolen everything and restore us to the LIFE that He has intended us to have from the beginning of time.  It doesn’t look like we think, just like those sheep trails, but God with skin on came for US.  Jesus came to be our Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of peace Isaiah 9:6.  We are all created to follow after someone or something, so Jesus came, to lead us and to give us life abundantly, one mouthful at a time.

Jesus said I AM the good shepherd, so who better to invite to His bedside the night of His birth, than those shepherds who understood what it was like to lead, love and protect the sheep?

For God, so loved the world that He gave His only Son, Jesus, to be that shepherd for the sheep. Jesus would indeed lay down His life so that we, His sheep, could have life abundantly.

Glory to God in the highest! 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?

Where are you looking for sustenance in life?

When have you demanded that God provide everything you need up front?

Who or what are you hoping in to find your daily needs met?

What really do you expect God to do for you?  Have you been looking at God as though He is torturing you instead of providing and protecting you?  Will you seek to find the Good Shepherd this Christmas in His Word?

LIVE IT OUT:  

Open God’s Word today and glean who Jesus is, and how He desperately wants to lead you and give you life.  Ask today that your eyes be open to where He is, in this season, in your life.

– Kendra

P.S. Ladies, registration is open for my 2018 Women’s Bible Study at The Cove.  Let’s get together seven Tuesday evenings in January and February and dig into the Word of God.  Register online today.

Can’t make it in person?  We’ll be streaming LIVE each Tuesday evening on Periscope, via Twitter, where you can watch from the comfort of your own home.

Watch the 2018 Women’s Bible Study video here:

COVE BIBLE VERSE FOR THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 11th

This week’s verse is brought to you by Scott, an employee here at The Cove. His verse is 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Scott Bruns_


Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC. Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden.

Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

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Saturday Snapshot- Cove Christmas Decor

While The Cove is a beautiful place year-round, there’s something spectacular about seeing it all lit during the most wonderful time of the year. We wanted to give you an exclusive glimpse at how it looks all decorated for Christmas. Take a look…

Better Lit Sleigh
This beautiful sleigh greets you at the front door of the Traning Center.
Nativity
The details of this nativity scene are astounding.

Cow CLose nativity

Lobby Fireplace
The fireplace in the Training Center lobby is warm and inviting.
NutCracker
Nutcrackers stand guard at the 2nd-floor elevators.

Lobby Tree Tall Tree

Center Dining Room
The decorations in our dining room are as exquisite as the meals that are served under them.

Side Dining Room Cross Toy Tree

Military tree
This tree was decorated by one of our employees to serve a military group that was staying here at The Cove. It is covered with all sorts of tasty goodies.
Billy Graham and decor
These decorations found on the 1st floor are centered around the Bible.
Tree Cutting
You will see a tree-cutting inspired scene just before the gatehouse on your way out of The Cove.

May your days be merry and bright this blessed Christmas season!

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Kingdom Impact: A Message From Will Graham

Will Graham Guest Post(1)

The man behind the wheel was an alcoholic. His marriage was broken. He was angry and bitter, and he didn’t mind one bit showing his disdain to the people who climbed into his vehicle.

The year was 1959, and Ron Baker was one of many Australian bus drivers who had been hired to transport people to and from my grandfather’s Crusade at the Sydney Showground. Night after night he put up with his riders singing hymns and worshiping. He’d drop them and sit in his seat stewing until the doors opened and his bus filled again with jovial people who were excited about what God was doing in their city.

Mr. Baker’s wife attended the Crusade and she committed her life to Christ. The following week, Mr. Baker found himself in the same stadium to which he had begrudgingly brought others. When the invitation was given, Mr. Baker walked forward.

God radically transformed Mr. Baker’s life following his salvation. He gave up those things that were poisoning his body, mind and marriage. He pursued theological education and became ordained.

As I contemplate the story of Ron Baker, I’m left with three thoughts.

1)      There are a lot of Ron Bakers out there. We pass by them every day; people who are hurting and broken, and probably know it. Their addictions control them, their marriages are fractured, and their hearts are far from God. In Mr. Baker’s case, he flat-out hated Christians, yet deep down he was searching for hope. Once he found it, it changed his life and eternity.

2)      As I approach an evangelistic outreach, I often pray that God would raise up “the next Billy Graham” from the people who respond to the invitation. I pray for the person that would reach the world with the Gospel. Mr. Baker, however, is proof that even if a person doesn’t reach millions, they can and do influence others, passionately sharing the Gospel to those around them.

3)      Evangelism is vertical. Mr. Baker and his wife made individual decisions for Christ, reconciled their marriage, and began living for Him. Their children were then raised in a Christian home and went into ministry. Mr. Baker’s grandchildren were raised by godly parents and began relationships with Jesus. Entire generations can be impacted when people turn to Christ.

It’s easy to think that a heart is too callous to be pierced by the Holy Spirit. We may believe that our neighbor, our co-worker, or the bus driver for that matter, could never find hope in Christ or be used by God to reach others. The story of Ron Baker, however, shows that God can reach and use anybody. We just have to do our part in sharing the Good News with them.

Blessings,

Will Graham, Cove Executive Director

COVE BIBLE VERSE FOR THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 4th

This week’s verse is brought to you by Diane, an employee in the Guest Groups department here at The Cove. Her verse is Philippians 4:13.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Diane_GuestGroups


Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC. Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden.

Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

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Ruth’s Attic Bookstore Highlight – New Year’s Preparation

Ruths-Attic-Logo-wKO_CMYK

As autumn diminishes, signs of winter are heralding the finale of this year. We’ve prepared a list of items that are certain to draw you closer to the Lord in 2018.

Whether you purchase in person, or call and have us deliver right to your home, we hope you will find something that will encourage you, or be the suitable gift for someone special in your life.

Each of these products is a great reminder of how our great God longs to spend time with us so we can get to know Him better.

Beth Moore Devo
Pray God’s Word Day by Day is a year-long devotional. $15.99 SKU:9780805444209
Experiencing God Devo
Experiencing God Day by Day is a year-long devotional by Henry and Richard Blackaby. $15.99 SKU:780805444780
Hope for Each Day for Kids
This is a great year-long devotional for kids. $15.99 SKU:9780718086176
Hope for Each Day
This year-long devotional has a beautifully embossed leather cover. $22.99 SKU:9781404189706
Easy to Read Bible
This Bible has large print to make it easier to read. $39.99 SKU:9780310621454
Journaling Bible
This Bible has a lined space at the bottom of each page for those who like to take notes or journal. $39.99. SKU:9781433552816
one year bible
This Bible is arranged in 365 readings to help the reader completely read the Bible in a year. $24.99. SKU:9781414389813
Military Bible
This Bible is a great gift for anyone who has served in the military. $19.99. SKU:9781586403652
lined journal
This journal has lined pages for easy journaling. $12.99. SKU:88462
floral journal
This spiral bound journal is pretty and makes a great addition to any of our featured Bibles or devotionals. $9.99. SKU: 9781432119799
Tree Journal
This journal like the ones above would be an excellent companion to any of the devotionals or Bibles featured in this post. $9.99. SKU:9781432119843
pens
This pen and highlighter kit is compact and pairs perfectly with any of the books featured in this post. $6.99. SKU:3498912345

 

To order any of the products seen in this post, you may either purchase on-property at Ruth”s Attic Bookstore, by phone at 1-800-950-2092 (menu 3) or by email at bookstore@thecove.org.

God bless you!


 

CoveGiftCert
Give the gift with eternal benefits. Cove gift certificates make the perfect gift for your loved ones. To order a gift certificate call 1-800-950-2092.

To see a full list of events at The Cove, click here.

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Prayer Note: December 2017

We hope you will enjoy our “Prayer Note”—an internal communication here at The Cove, created each month to remind and encourage our staff to pray. We share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that you, too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note Title Image

The Unlikely Arrival of a Savior

An Inconvenient Law

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city” (Luke 2:1-3, NKJV).

It was a tough job keeping up with all of Rome’s subjects throughout the known world; so the emperor made a decree—a law which proved inconvenient for many as they were required to travel great distances to their ancestral homes to register. Yet that same law—that inconvenient requirement sent down from the world’s highest seat of power—was simply the means God used to fulfill one of the ancient prophecies of the coming of His Son. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2, NKJV).

The Savior whose birth we celebrate is the Son of God, the second member of the Trinity, eternally existing, not bound by time; yet “it came to pass” because of Him!  As we turn the calendar page to the month of December and face an already jam-packed schedule, we can pray a prayer of thanks that whatever comes to pass will be only what He has allowed. Even inconveniences may be priceless gifts that arrive wrapped in brown paper.

A Scandalous Story

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child”  (Luke 2:4-5, NKJV).

If you’ve recently turned off the evening news in favor of watching a Christmas movie, you’re probably not alone. At this point we’ve all had our fill of scandals. Yet as we open the Bible and read the numerous accounts of shocking betrayals and shamelessly deceptive relationships we’re reminded that scandals are not new. There were even whispers and rumors surrounding Jesus’ birth, and these seemingly shameful circumstances of His conception were later used to mock and discredit Him by those who felt threatened by Him (see John 6:42, 8:41). Yet the fact remains that God in His wisdom chose to place His sinless Son in the womb of an unmarried young virgin. Christ’s virgin birth, prophesied hundreds of years before it occurred, was a sign of His undeniable divinity. Why is the miracle of Jesus’ virgin birth important? As Billy Graham has said, “It tells us that Jesus was indeed the divine Son of God, sent from Heaven to save us from our sins.”

An Overbooked Inn

So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:6-7, NKJV).

We’ve heard the story a hundred times, yet the words “no room for them in the inn” still cause us to shake our heads in bewilderment. The divine Son of God, creator of the world, comes to be born in a body of flesh and finds no room? The “No Vacancy” sign reminds us that from His first earthly breath Jesus showed us His humility, identifying with us in our humanity. Rejection. Homelessness. Poverty. He experienced it all (see Philippians 2:5-8 and Hebrews 4:15).

A Fragile Peace

Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’”
(Luke 2:10-14, NKJV)

Jesus may have been born during the time of peace known as the Pax Romana, yet the peace in Israel was one of heavy-handed domination by Rome. And although the vast empire was seemingly free from war, the fallen human race was still at war with itself due to the effects of sin. On the night the angels sang their majestic worship song to the audience of astonished shepherds, the world around them was filled with prejudice, oppression, abuse of power and religious hypocrisy.

The days we live in are much the same.  Nuclear missile tests…terror threats…political scandals…racial and cultural divides. Peace on earth? Goodwill toward men? Take a quick glance at social media and you’ll find proof of an alarming lack of goodwill. Seething anger often simmers just below the surface, regularly boiling over and finding outlet in cruel and abrasive words sent via an innocuously named social media phenomenon known as a “Tweet.”

Yet despite the lack of peace and good will, despite news reports of tragedies and scandals, despite illness, exhaustion and overcrowded schedules, we celebrate. Emmanuel has come.

A Timeless Truth

Every December we do it again. We pray that He would make the story come alive in our hearts. We pray that He would again fill us with a sense of mystery and wonder as we read the familiar words that tell us of His incarnation.

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23, KJV).

Emmanuel…God with Us. With us in our brokenness—the same brokenness that broke His heart as He wept at the tomb of Lazarus.

With us in our woundedness and lack of peace—the same woundedness that caused His wounds.  “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, ESV).

Every December we close our eyes and pray for fresh tears as we hear the familiar story. Each Christmas we pray for fresh joy as we celebrate the advent of Emmanuel…God with Us. This is the Redeemer we celebrate. This is the God who hears us as we pray. This is the Savior who is with us as we serve.  Oh come, let us adore Him!

—Donna Riesen


We appreciate you joining us in prayer for the following events taking place on The Cove property during the month of November.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.   (Psalm 95:6, NKJV)

DECEMBER CALL TO PRAYER

Christmas at The Cove with Point of Grace — November 30, December 1 & 2

SeniorSalt Impact Carol Sings — December 4, 11 & 12

Christmas at The Cove with Mark Schultz — December 7

Christmas at The Cove with Veritas — December 8

Christmas at The Cove with Michael O’Brien — December 9

Women’s Christmas Luncheon with Lori Frank — December 10
The Glory of Christmas

 Christmas at The Cove with Phillips, Craig & Dean — December 12 & 14 

The blog of the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove