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Prayer Note: May

We hope that 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 will share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that, you too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note(3)
By Donna Riesen

Have you opened your windows yet? The warm spring days we’ve been enjoying here in Western North Carolina call for open windows and long walks in the fresh air. For many of us, the dark, closed-in feeling that brought on cabin fever in February is eclipsed in April by the hopeful signs of spring, bringing renewed energy and a desire to start fresh on the inside and out.

Thus signals the annual return of a longstanding tradition: Spring Cleaning. We scrub and polish and dust and shine until every surface sparkles. By the time the overhaul is complete, only a few errant dust particles remain suspended in the bright beams of sunlight streaming through freshly cleaned windows.

Some years are different, though. However noble our housecleaning goals may be, sometimes a busy schedule overrides Spring Cleaning. That’s where practical shortcuts can come in handy.

Since I’m pressed for time this year, scented candles and plug-in air fresheners will have to do the trick. With such enticing names as “Gorgeous Day,” “Lilac Loveliness,” “Ocean Breeze” and “Sundrenched Linen,” I’m having a difficult time choosing; however, anything’s better than what I have at home: “Midwinter Dust.”

When necessary, this shortcut approach can come in handy. After all, we all enjoy taking a whiff of a pleasant aroma.

Did you know that our prayers are a pleasant aroma to God?

“Let my prayer be counted as incense before You, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice (Psalm 141:2, ESV).”

“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people (Revelation 4:8, NIV).

Author Elisabeth Elliot explains, “In these verses, our prayers are described as being “like incense” to God. All of our prayers are included, from the most eloquent ones to the most inarticulate groanings. What is incense good for? It appears to serve no practical purpose at all, and its smoke and fragrance soon dissipate. Our prayers are like that, because they seem to accomplish little and they soon vanish, but God likes the smell of them.” (Elliot, Elisabeth. Be Still My Soul. Grand Rapids, MI.: Revell, 2003.)

What makes our prayers smell sweet to God?

  • Prayer Offered in the Name of Jesus — “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name (Hebrews 13:15).” The book of Hebrews describes how Christ came as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of a coming Messiah. His perfect atoning sacrifice on the cross put an end to the need for the Old Testament system of sacrifices, as His death and resurrection opened the way into the very presence of God (see Hebrews 9:13-10:23). The book of Ephesians calls this amazing act of love “a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2, ESV). We can pray because Jesus opened the way!
  • Prayer of Repentance — After the prophet Nathan confronted King David with his sins of adultery with Bathsheba and themurder of her husband, Uriah, David acknowledged his sin and repented with deep humility. Psalm 51 records his prayer for God’s mercy, forgiveness and cleansing. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise (Psalm 51:17, NIV).”
  • Prayer of Faith—“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6, ESV).” Our Father is pleased when His children trust Him. “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him (1 John 5:14-15, ESV).”
  • Prayer of Humility/SurrenderJesus offers the supreme example of this type of prayer, as we hear Him pray the ultimateprayer of surrender in the Garden of Golgotha the night before His crucifixion. “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’” (Matthew 26:39, ESV).
  • Prayer for God’s Glory to be Displayed —Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me (Psalm 50:14-15, NIV).” Elijah prayed thistype of prayer as he stood on Mount Carmel and faced the prophets of Baal. “And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, ‘Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again’ (1 Kings 18:36, NKJV).”
  • Prayer of Thanksgiving and Praise — God loves to hear us praise Him! “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (Psalm 50:23, ESV).

Need a break from Spring Cleaning? Take a deep breath and breathe out a prayer!

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Join us in praying for the following events in May:

MAY 2016 EVENTS
All seminars in 2016 are free (lodging and meal fees apply.)
(For more information or to register, click on the links below.)

Senior Celebration :The Church in the Last Days
with Don Wilton — May 16-18

An Evening at The Cove : Dinner, Concert & Meet and Greet
with Mark Schultz —May 22

Intensive Bible Training: Acts of the Apostles, Acts for You
with Mark Yarbrough — May 23-27

Military Marriage Retreat: Back to the Basics
with Michael Easley — May 27-29
Note: Entire package (program, meals, and lodging) is free to active-duty military.  Click on link to complete application.

Thank you for praying!

Prayer Note: April

We hope that 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 will share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that, you too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note(3)
By Donna Riesen:

“But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly f:or it. In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness…” Romans 8:25-26a

A whiteboard is a marvelous thing. Age notwithstanding, my memory has never been good. This lifelong tendency toward forgetfulness has tripped me up so many times that I’ve taken to using little tricks to help it along. While I know there are great mobile apps for creating reminders and to-do lists, most of my tricks are decidedly old-school, like the small dry-erase board attached to the side of my refrigerator. On any given day it may hold reminders to pick up milk, dish detergent or prescription meds.

For several weeks at the beginning of this year, the top section of the whiteboard held this reminder: “Pray for Miss N.” That prayer prompt helped us to remember to pray daily for a senior adult friend from our church who was making the transition from independent living to an assisted living facility. We, along with many others, prayed often for our friend, asking God for healing and ease of transition; yet not long after she was moved to her new residence, N’s fragile health worsened, resulting in hospitalization and death.

It’s important to remember that God is faithful all the time.

Even in the midst of the loss, there were reasons to praise God for answered prayer. Her suffering did not linger for a long period, and our friend was not alone as she transitioned from this life into the presence of Christ.

After the funeral of a Christian, we can rejoice in the fact that we will see them again one day in heaven, yet it can still be hard to go through the process of erasing their name from our prayer list. After the name is removed, the memory remains and the list continues to grow. There are so many needs around us, the list need never remain empty. We simply need to ask God to help us fill in the blanks.

How blessed we are to serve an omnipotent (all-powerful) God who is not dependent upon our faulty memories or hastily scribbled whiteboard notes. When we accept His gift of salvation we are not only forgiven, we are adopted into His family. As His beloved children we can come to Him at any time and pour out our heart to Him. Because His Holy Spirit dwells within us, we can trust Him to lead and guide our thoughts as we pray.

God’s Holy Spirit is greater and more powerful than any whiteboard, sticky note or mobile app, and I pray He will make us more and more sensitive to His quiet promptings, trusting Him to show us as how we should pray.

“But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:25-27)

I hope you’ll prayerfully review The Cove’s April schedule, trusting the Holy Spirit to lead you. God desires for us to come to Him with our needs, and we can trust Him to answer as we pray, guided by His Spirit in alignment with His will.

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Join us in praying for the following events in April:

APRIL 2016 EVENTS
All seminars in 2016 are free (lodging and meal fees apply.)
(For more information or to register, click on the links below.)

Unwavering Faith in an Unraveling World
with Ron Hutchcraft — April 1-3

Pastors’ Institute: Jonah on the Run
with Jerry Vines — April 12-13

Living the Life You’ve Always Wanted
with Jonathan Falwell — April 18-20

An Evening at The Cove
with Jason Crabb — April 24

Leadership Renewal Retreat for Youth Pastors:
Engaging the Next Generation
with Sean McDowell & Alex McFarland — April 25-27

Thank you for praying!

 

Prayer Note: March

We hope that 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 will share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that, you too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note(3)

By Donna Riesen

“The most important events in human history were the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” –Billy Graham

There are those hoping for “huge” turnouts on a certain day in March at key locations all across our country. No, I’m not referring to March 1st, “Super Tuesday.” I’m referring to an even more significant date on the calendar: Sunday, March 27th, Easter Sunday. While I am praying about results from Super Tuesday, I’m hoping that on Resurrection Sunday, churches throughout the U.S. will be filled to overflowing, both with those who know Jesus Christ and with those who need to come to know Him.

Our country is in the midst of a pivotal election year, with great issues hanging in the balance, and we as Christians should be faithful and committed to pray and to vote as God leads us. Yet even as we pray for God’s will and His blessing on our country, we acknowledge this reassuring truth: Our hope does not rest on election results, it rests on the fact of Christ’s resurrection.

While talk show hosts and political pundits make predictions and wait expectantly for exit poll results in key states, we can pray the prayer of the psalmist David, My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him” (Psalm 62:5, NKJV).

As the noontime sky darkened on a Friday afternoon outside the walls of Jerusalem 2000 years ago, the hopes and expectations of Jesus’ followers seemed to be dashed. After long centuries of waiting and praying for the arrival of the promised Messiah, the one in whom they had placed their hopes hung bleeding, hands and feet nailed to a wooden cross. How could hope survive, when the promised deliverer was dying a horrible, shameful death?  And how could a day like that ever have earned the name “Good Friday?”

We call it good because on that day, the good and holy and sinless Son of God gave His life to pay the penalty for our sin. We call it good because three days later, the stone was rolled away, the tomb was empty and death was defeated. We call it good because God’s agenda always exceeds our own expectations.

When the women went to the tomb on the Sunday morning after Christ’s crucifixion, they expected to find His cold, lifeless body sealed within a tomb. Instead, they found the stone rolled away and the grave empty, except for the linen graveclothes left behind. The angel summed it up succinctly: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5, NIV).

Talk about exceeding expectations!

We have much to pray about in this election year, but praise God that the results of Resurrection Sunday far outweigh the results of any Super Tuesday. This is why we can pray with great hope about any situation.

As you pray for The Cove throughout the month of March, pray with a resurrection mindset. Expectations are high as we head into the month of March, with a little of everything on The Cove’s ministry schedule. We know what we’ve planned for and what we’re expecting as we review The Cove’s calendar, but what is really on God’s agenda?  Let’s remain faithful in prayer and watch for God to exceed our expectations!

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:18-20, ESV).

“Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3: 19-21, HCSB


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Join us in praying for the following events in March:

MARCH 2016 EVENTS
(For more information or to register, click on the links below.)

An Evening at The Cove
with Phillips, Craig & Dean, March 1

Guided Personal Spiritual Retreat
with John Parrish & Trish Lancaster, March 4-6

Exit Ramps off the Narrow Road to Life
with Larry Crabb, March 7-9

Women’s Spring Luncheon: I Want It ALL
with Gwen Smith, March 13

SeniorSalt Impact Crusade Journey Hymn Sing
with Ron Whittemore and David Gaines,  March 14

Women’s Seminar — The Larger Story: What the Christian Life is All About with Rachael Crabb, March 31-April 1

We appreciate your prayers. God bless you!

PRAYER NOTE: FEBRUARY

We hope that 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 will share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that, you too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note(3)

By Donna Riesen

Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NKJV)

We made it through! Although much of the snow has melted, images remain frozen in our memories…we, the survivors of “The Blizzard of 2016.”

The huge winter storm affected the entire eastern third of our nation and disrupted the lives of more than 100 million people. Aside from the usual snow-day inconveniences of school closings and grocery stores emptied of milk and bread, there were serious and deadly consequences resulting from this massive weather system. At present, the total number of deaths attributed to the storm stands at 55. At any given moment during the storm or in its immediate aftermath, a look at online news feeds and TV newscasts revealed a study in contrasts.

One minute we viewed pics of adorable snow-suit clad children sledding with dad; next, we heard accounts of horrific traffic fatalities as semi-trucks lost control on icy highways. We grinned as we watched a Giant Panda delightedly frolicking in the powdery snow…but grins faded as we heard the tragic report of a mother and toddler who perished in their idling car—deaths blamed on carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of the vehicle’s clogged tailpipe. Our hearts broke as we learned the child’s father had been just outside, shoveling to free the car of snow.

In an odd confluence of events, we saw simultaneously the breathtaking beauty of a world covered in glistening white…”Yaaay, God!”…and the heartrending tragedy of death and destruction…”Why, God?” The varied images of the blizzard brought it into focus again: The human condition exists in a kaleidoscopic jumble of joy and pain, laughter and tears, hope and despair. At any moment, you may have a relative suffering from cancer and another celebrating the birth of their first child. On any given Sunday, your pastor may be preaching to a business professional who just received a promotion, and another who never found work after last year’s layoff.

The Old Testament records the account of Job, who after learning of the loss of his cattle, servants and even his own sons, held tight to his faith as he issued this challenge to his wife, Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? (Job 2:10, NKJV).

As the account of this faithful man’s suffering continues, we see him begin to question God. Yet among the many lessons the book of Job teaches us, one of the most important is this: God is big enough to handle our questions. In Job chapter 38, God lays out some questions of His own, all designed to lift Job’s eyes away from his current dire situation and up to the omnipotent, sovereign God who created and sustained him. Among the many revealing questionsGod asked Job is this: “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail?” (Job 38:22, NIV).

Rather than providing a detailed meteorological map and a lesson on low pressure systems and atmospheric phenomena, God gave Job a vivid mental image of the true Source of blizzard conditions. When we’re hit with a storm of trouble and “Yaay, God!” changes to “Why, God?”, we’re tempted to ask, “Who’s minding the storehouse?” The God who’s big enough to handle our questions answers, “I AM.” There are other biblical references to God’s storehouses. The psalmist David reminds us, “He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; He sends lightning with the rain and bring out the wind from His storehouses.” (Psalm 135:7, NIV).

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave us this reassurance: “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?” (Luke 12:24, NIV)

After confronting the Israelites with their sins of apathy, unfaithfulness and corruption, the prophet Malachi delivers God’s message of hope, promising blessing to His children if they will turn back to Him in repentance and obedience:

“’Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty,’and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’” (Malachi 3:10).

On any given day in 2016, we will minister to a wide range of people at The Cove. When this year’s seminar season begins on February 12 with the Chip Ingram Military Marriage Retreat, some of the military personnel who attend will have just returned home from a long deployment. No doubt there will be couples whose marriage is near breaking from the strain of long periods of separation and stress. Others may be visiting The Cove simply as a relaxing getaway and a means of celebrating and strengthening an already strong marital bond. Newlyweds and seasoned marriage partners will be in attendance—each person as individual as a snowflake. How can we adequately minister to the heart of each participant? We can’t, but God can! Pray that He will throw open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing on these men and women. Pray that God will open their hearts to each other and to Him.

The February 24-26 Leadership Renewal Retreat with Jim Henry will bring pastors from various denominations and varied situations. One pastor and spouse may arrive with joy and excitement, happy to be attending the retreat and anticipating some well-deserved downtime. Another pastoral couple may come with heavy hearts, seeking respite from a troubled ministry that is strained to the breaking point. Each retreat participant will arrive with a different set of needs and expectations, but all will be knocking at the door of the same Storehouse. Pray that the blessings of refreshment, renewal and encouragement will be poured out upon these faithful servants. Praise God, He hears our prayers, and His storehouse is never empty.

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Join us in praying for the following events in February:

FEBRUARY 2016 EVENTS
(For more information or to register, click on the links below.)

Women’s Bible Study with Jane Derrick — Morning:
January 12-February 23
Love that Makes A Difference

Women’s Bible Study with Kendra Graham — Evening:
January 12-February 23
Portrait of a Disciple

Military Marriage Retreat:
Experiencing God’s Best for Your Marriage
with Chip Ingram — February 12-14

An Evening at The Cove (dinner, concert, and meet & greet) with Brandon Heath — February 14 (lodging also available)

Leadership Renewal RetreatFree to Lead: Encouraging the Shepherd with Jim Henry — February 24-26
NOTE: This retreat is free to qualifying pastors and their spouses.

We appreciate your prayers.  God bless you!

What’s Happening at The Cove – APRIL 2015

COMING TO(1)
Beautiful dogwood blooms at The Cove.
He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5

Find yourself refreshed and renewed by the Holy Spirit at The Cove this Spring.  Join us during the month of April and find a new way to connect with Jesus!

Check out our schedule for April below.  Click one that interests you for more details and to register.

PERSONAL SPIRITUAL RETREATS (3)

Click on the link below for April dates or call 1-800-950-2092.

April Personal Spiritual Retreats

PERSONAL SPIRITUAL RETREATS(2)

Click on the links below for more information and to register.  You may also call 1-800-950-2092.

An Evening at The Cove – Dinner, Concert & Meet and Greet
with Point of Grace, April 9, 2015

SeniorCelebration- Living in the Fullness of Christ
Charles Price with Buddy Greene & Jeff Taylor, April 20-22, 2015
NOTE:  There are still of seats available for this event, but on-site lodging is currently full.

Women’s Day Away- Listen In: Building Faith and Friendship Through Conversations That Matter
 with Rachael Crabb, April 23, 2015

Standing Strong in Truth: Effective Evangelism in the 21st Century
 with Alex McFarland., April 27-29, 2015

Momma bear on Cabin Road
Our friendly neighbor, the black bear, at The Cove.

Want to get away with God, but can't(2)
Click image for more information.

SAVING A SEAT FOR YOU: Coming up in 2014

THE BGTC shot

We have so much to look forward to in the New Year.  Take a look here to see what’s happening at The Cove in 2014. 

 

Click here for information on the free Women’s Bible studies beginning on January 7th.

Select one of the dates below for more information on the Military Marriage Retreats in 2014:
February 14-16, 2014 with Michael Easley
June 28-30, 2014  with Gary Chapman

And last but not least…

Save the date: An Evening at The Cove with David Phelps on February 13th!