Tag Archives: James Emery White

Find Refreshment at The Cove in May

Creek at The coveEach day, we experience new beauty at The Cove.  

During the this time of year, our mountain creek is flowing in abundance from the Spring rains, groups of young deer frollick and graze in the meadow, flowers are blooming and the birds are singing joyfully.   

We have lots going on indoors too. 

Check out our schedule for the month of May.  Click one that interests you for all the details. 

We hope to see you soon!   

Personal Spiritual Retreats
Several dates throughout the month, click on link or call 1-800-950-2092. 

Church Staff Retreat — Higher Level Leadership: Making Your Ministry Team Stronger
with Bob Russell, May 1-2, 2014

Proverbs: Discovering the Wisdom of God
with Alex McFarland, May 5-7, 2014

An Evening at The Cove
with Chris August, May 10, 2014

Pastors’ Institute: The Heart of a Soul-Winning Pastor
with Jim Cymbala, May 13, 2014

Growing Up in the Spirit: The Role of the Holy Spirit in Spiritual Maturity
with Jim Cymbala, May 14-16, 2014

SeniorCelebration with Cliff Barrows and Friends–Living in the Fullness of Christ
with Charles Price with Steve Amerson, May 19-21, 2014

Doing Good – What Happens When Christians Live Like Christians
with Chip Ingram, May 23-25, 2014

Lifting the Veil on God’s Invisible World
with Erwin Lutzer, May 27-29, 2014

Jesus and the Gospel of John: Telling the Untold Story
with James Emery White, May 29-31, 2014

World Medical Mission, 2013 Prescription for Renewal, BGTC at The Cove

Getting–And Staying–On Spiritual Track

By Kristy Etheridge

James Emery White 2James Emery White has picked up on some similarities between a believer’s relationship with God and the relationship between a husband and wife — there are bound to be ups and downs, highs and lows, romantic nights and mundane days.

It’s a reality that can hit newlyweds hard once the honeymoon’s over.

“Thirty-minute kisses in the rain become morning breath,” said White.

Much like a married couple walking together through highs and lows, a Christian must also face the reality that following Jesus isn’t always a walk in the park.

“You’re going to have ups and downs no matter how well you’re doing spiritually,” said White. “I don’t care how long you’ve been a Christ follower; your life is a series of peaks and valleys spiritually and emotionally. That’s the way we are as humans.”

But even in the valleys, there can be a constant. During a three-day seminar at The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, N.C., White hopes to show believers how to get—and stay—on spiritual track by returning to God in fullness.

At the end of the month, White hopes to share some lessons he’s learned by delving into I and II Kings. Together, the Old Testament books tell a dramatic story of God interacting with a wide range of personalities.

“The headline for my time spent in that section of Scripture is that it really is primarily a story of God wanting to help his people get back on spiritual track,” said White.

The prophet Elijah illustrated that point when he cried out to the Lord on Mount Carmel during a particularly dark time, when the Israelites had turned to idolatry.

“Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” –I Kings 18:37 (NIV)

God’s people had veered off track, worshiping false gods at high places.

“We all have our high places,” said White. “Sometimes we’re not even aware of them.”

That’s one of five areas White will address during the seminar, showing believers what God has to say about navigating those peaks and valleys of spiritual life.

“What tends to get people off track is in those lows of life, in those times when we feel apart from God, we tend to go with our feelings and let our feelings take us wherever they will,” said White. “We bought into the idea that feelings lead to actions, but that’s not true. Actions are what lead to feelings and reality. You act your way into being.”

The example of marriage comes to mind once again. What should a couple do when the romance seems to be fading?

“A lot of people think the way to solve it is to work up romantic feelings,” said White. “But that’s not how you have a lasting, meaningful marriage. You don’t feel your way along. You act your way along.”

In the end, White believes the same is true in a relationship with God.

“What you’re really after isn’t one big, long high, but an intimacy with God—a life with God that carries you through the ups and downs.”

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, N.C., and president of the ministry Serious Times, which hosts churchandculture.org. He is also an adjunct professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and author of over a dozen books including Serious Times, Christ Among the Dragons, and A Traveler’s Guide to the Kingdom.

Click here or call 1-800-950-2092 to learn more about James Emery White’s seminar at The Cove on May 30- June 1, “Getting Back on Spiritual Track.”

The God With Scars

By James Emery White 

James Emery White, pastor in Charlotte, NC and author, will be teaching on Living as the People of God in Turbulent Times at The Cove on October 24-26, 2012.

 One of the first things that happens at a violent crime scene, after evidence has been collected, is the removal of any and all signs that violence has taken place. Broken glass is swept up, blood is wiped away, bodies are covered up and removed. Everyone wants to do everything possible to keep the memory of the event from lingering in their minds.

 

Not God.

In the Book of Revelation, John comes face to face with a scroll, sealed with seven seals, that no one is worthy to open.  Weeping that no one could open the scroll,  and that the very heart of the revelation would be kept from him, John is told that there is one who can open it—the Lion of the tribe of Judah. When John looks for the Lion, he instead sees a Lamb in the center of the throne. The Lamb is alive but bears all the marks of having been slain, suggesting that its death is somehow part of its power (Revelation 5).

Why is a previously slain lamb at the center of John’s heavenly vision? Why is a unique word used for lamb found 29 times in Revelation, but only once in the rest of the New Testament? (John 21:15). How can a lion of power be found in a lamb?

To understand all of this involves understanding the Passover. During the time when the Jewish people were enslaved by the Egyptians, God sent the deliverer Moses and unleashed 10 plagues before the stubborn hearts of the Egyptians would allow the release of the Jewish slaves. The tenth and decisive plague was the death of the fi rstborn of Egypt.

The sacrifice of an animal was a common way for people of that culture to make amends for their sins. It sounds strange to us today, but there was a very important idea behind it. They saw sin as something serious, deadly and gruesome, something that could cost them their life before a holy God. So it was only through some type of atoning, sacrificial death—something equally serious, deadly and gruesome—that the sin could be addressed.

God told the Israelites that if they would sacrifice an unblemished lamb—one without defect, perfect in every way—and then take the blood from the lamb and spread it on their doorposts, the angel of death that was being sent to deliver the tenth and final plague would pass over them, hence the term Passover.  The Israelites did as God said. The angel of death came, the firstborn of Egypt were killed, and the Israelites who had covered their homes with the blood of the lamb were saved. It had such an impact on the leaders of Egypt that they released the Israelites from slavery.

Jews have been celebrating the festival of Passover ever since as a reminder of God’s deliverance from death, and the freedom that came from that deliverance, through the blood of a lamb. The festival came to be marked each year with the slaughter of a lamb that would then be eaten, along with unleavened bread, in remembrance of the quick departure from captivity in Egypt that did not afford them time to add yeast. But even more important, the taste would remind them of the bitterness of the slavery that the blood had released them from.

Just before His death, Jesus gathered His disciples together to celebrate the Passover, but with a twist: “[Jesus] took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This  cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’” (Luke 22:19-20).

Jesus gave the bread and wine new meaning. It would now represent Him as the unblemished Lamb that was sacrificed. Those marked by His blood would be freed from the slavery of their sin and would be passed over from the spiritual death that comes from sin. Through Jesus, “This was one death that was not to be airbrushed from the world’s consciousness. Instead, it was to stand at the center of human history, for we worship, as theologian Jurgen Moltmann once wrote, a crucified God.”  God was calling His people out of a deeper slavery than ever existed under the Egyptians—the very slavery of sin—into a new community in relationship with the living God.

This was one death that was not to be airbrushed from the world’s consciousness. Instead, it was to stand at the center of human history, for we worship, as theologian Jurgen Moltmann once wrote, a crucified God.

Any other God is false.

Even when facing a doubting Thomas, Jesus relied on one mark of authenticity: See my hands, see my feet, look at my side. I am the One that was crucified.

And that led Thomas to exclaim, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).

It reminds me of the controversy surrounding the violence portrayed in Mel Gibson’s film on the passion of Jesus. There was a great deal of conversation about the brutality, the torture, the blood in the movie. “It’s so violent,” people said.

I wanted to say, “Yes, because it was.”

The film was rated R, and it deserved that rating—but I would argue that the R stood for Realistic.  I would have been more offended if the film had tried to water it down, sanitize it or make what Jesus went through something less than it really was.

Scars matter. When you pray to a Lamb that was slain, a crucified God, you pray to One who is able to understand your scars.

I once read of a little boy who went shopping for a puppy. He went into the pet store and asked how much the dogs were. The owner said that they sold for anywhere from $30 to $50. The little boy pulled out $2.37, all that he had.

“Here is all of my money. I don’t know how much it is, but it’s worth it.”

The store owner knew it wasn’t enough, but he let the little boy look at the puppies anyway. He looked at all of them, but at one in particular: the runt of the litter, which had a limp. The boy asked the owner what was wrong with that dog, and the owner said that he was born without a hip socket.

“That’s the puppy I want!”

“Son,” the owner said, “I can’t sell you that dog. He’s not worth it.  I’ll just give him to you for free.”

Tears filled the little boy’s eyes.  “Mister,” he said, “that dog is worth as much as any other animal in this store. You take my money.”

The owner did, and only as the boy walked out did he notice that the boy had an artificial leg.

Let us now and always worship the Lamb that was slain, the crucified God. But remember that you get to pray to Him, too. And when you do, you can trust that He understands whatever is making you limp.

This article is from the June 2012 Decision magazine.

James Emery White’s seminar titled Living as the People of God in Turbulent Times takes place at The Cove on October 24-25, 2012.  Call 1-800-950-2092 or click here for more information and to register.