Tag Archives: Senior Celebration

What’s Happening at The Cove – September 2015

COMING TO

“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10

We’ve had a busy summer with lots of great ministry taking place on this mountain–we give thanks and praise to the Lord for that!

We’re looking forward to what we have in store for September too!  Scroll down and see what we’ve got scheduled.  We hope to see you then.

PERSONAL SPIRITUAL RETREATS (2)

Click on the link below for September dates or call 1-800-950-2092.
September Personal Spiritual Retreats

PERSONAL SPIRITUAL RETREATS

MILITARY MARRIAGE  RETEAT— God and Family: Enhancing Your Most Important Relationships (Free to active duty military personnel & spouses.)
with Gary Chapman,  September 4-6, 2015
NOTE: Lodging is full at this time, however there is still room available in the seminar.

PASTORS’ INSTITUTE The Stewardship of Influence and Spiritual Leadership (Free to qualifying pastors & spouses.)
 with Johnny Hunt, September 8, 2015
3 rooms still available for optional “Stay Over” on the 8th.

Spiritual Infiltration: Apostasy Through Jude’s Eyes
(Free to qualifying pastors & spouses.)
with Jerry Vines,  September 9-11, 2015
NOTE: Lodging is full at this time, however there is still room available in the seminar.

SeniorCelebration— Joy for the Journey: Making Our Latter Days Our Best Days! – SOLD OUT
David Bruce with Guy Penrod,  September 14-16, 2015

Wisdom: The Greatest Gift
with R.T. Kendall,  September 20-22, 2015

What The Church Can Be
with Bob Russell,  September 22-24, 2015

Stony creek - Copy
Stony Creek at The Cove

Want to get away with God, but can't(2)

Click here to visit our resources page.

Cliff Barrows – Celebrating 25 Years of Ministry at The Cove

Earlier this week we had an amazing time of worship and celebration as we celebrated the goodness of God and the faithfulness of one of His servants, Cliff Barrows.  Mr. Barrows was honored for 25 years of ministry at The Cove.

0039 smThrough laughter and tears, a full auditorium listened as Cliff shared fond memories of his time at The Cove and some of his experiences over the years with the Billy Graham Crusades. Guy Penrod, Tom Bledsoe and Pete Briscoe were all a part of this wonderful celebration.

A special one-of-a-kind bird house replica of Chatlos Memorial Chapel at The Cove (hand-made by Cove employees) was presented to Mr. Barrows and his beautiful wife Ann in recognition of their many years of faithful service. The presentation was made by Will Graham, Executive Director of The Cove and grandson of Billy Graham. Will thanked Mr. Barrows for his ministry and shared his affection for his “Uncle Cliff”.

Cliff later said that he and Ann had decided to place the treasured birdhouse right on their kitchen table where they will be able to enjoy it at all times.

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Barry and Jim are the two talented Cove employees who created the beautiful birdhouse.
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Barry working on the birdhouse in The Cove woodshop.

Above all of the festivities, it was the Lord Jesus Christ that was given all of the glory that night and the sweet presence of the Lord was surely in that place.

On behalf of all of us here at The Cove, thank you Mr. and Mrs. Barrows. Thank you for ushering us into the presence of Jesus all of these years. We look forward to creating more memories in the years to come. We love you very much!

Click here to visit The Cove website.

When Life Loses Its Color

Remember in your yearbook superlative section, where it listed the most likely to be President, cutest couple, class clown, etc.?

Do you ever feel like you could have been titled the most unlikely to be used by God? 

Ann Barrows approved for 2014 use smallThis week Ann Barrows, wife of longtime friend and ministry partner of Billy Graham, Cliff Barrows, spoke to a group of Senior Adults during the 3-day Senior Celebration.  In a workshop entitled “When Life Loses Its Color,” Ann examined how God uses the humbling experience of getting older to prepare us for Kingdom living.

She assured the group, “As long as there is life and breath in you, there is something God has for you!”    

Ann shared the truths that God has taught her through the “colorless days” and calamities of her life. 

Prior to marrying Cliff, Ann was married to her first husband, James Prince, who died of cancer after 34 years of marriage. 

“Life lost its color when he died,” Ann says.

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!  For my soul trusts in You;  and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by.  Psalm 57:1

She recounted the day James told her, 4-weeks before he died, that he prayed God would bring someone very special into her life.  Hearing this broke her heart.  She couldn’t imagine losing her husband, much less marrying someone else. 

Today, Ann gives thanks for this gift her dying husband gave her that day.

Just months prior to losing her husband, Ann was introduced to Billie Barrows, Cliff Barrows’ then wife, by a mutual friend.  Ann was able to minister to Billie in a special way through her bout with cancer.  On their first phone conversation, Ann asked Billie is she could pray for her right there on the spot.  Thus a beautiful friendship began.  “God knit our hearts together,” Ann said.  “We had cancer in common.  We became great friends.” 

Their friendship, initially only over the phone, grew.  They first met face to face at Ann’s husband’s funeral.  Billie lost her fight to cancer 1 year and 4 months later. 

After Billie’s death, Cliff told Ann, “Someday we need to sit down and have a long talk.” 

Ann smiles as she remembers receiving a call at 2 a.m. one morning, some time later.  Cliff was on the other end of the line, calling while ministering at a Crusade in Puerto Rico. He asked Ann for permission to see her.

The day Cliff visited Ann’s home, they stood in the hallway for 45 minutes just looking at one another.  “There were tears. Lots of tears,” Ann remembers.

Cliff told Ann that he felt the Lord did not want him to be alone any longer.  He felt the Lord wanted them to be together. 

The next day, Cliff asked Ann to marry him.  God had confirmed in both their hearts that this was of His doing. 

“You might wonder how I could marry someone I barely knew.  I learned more about Cliff through my friend Billie than most people know about the mate they chose to marry in an ordinary circumstance.” 

“Billie had told me of Cliff’s servant’s heart, his unconditional love and commitment to her.”  Ann knew he was a good and godly man. 

cliff and ann barrows at the coveAnn and Cliff have been married 19 years in June, blessed with a large family with 53 members.  “We have been through just about everything in our family.  There are no exemptions just because my husband is Cliff Barrows.” 

God had a plan much greater than either Cliff or Ann Barrows could have imagined.

Ann reminds us of the calamities that Naomi from the Book of Ruth went through.  Famine forced Naomi and her family to leave their home in Bethlehem, the “City of Bread,” only to enter Moab, the “City of Incest,” where her husband and both their sons died.

It became a “colorless day” for Naomi.

“When you become a widow, it is easy to feel like life is over,” Ann shared.

When Naomi returned to Bethlehem with Ruth, one of her Moabite daughter-in-laws, would either of these women have felt like there was much left for them? 

God’s plan for both Naomi and Ruth was much greater than either could have imagined.

Ruth married Boaz, the son of Rahab the harlot. 

Don’t you imagine these two would have been voted least likely to be part of a Royal lineage?   

Yet in the New Testament account of Christ’s birth, Matthew tell us that our Savior Jesus Christ comes from the line of Boaz and Ruth.

God had a plan much greater than either Boaz or Ruth could have imagined.  He was not done with them yet!

And had it not been for Naomi, Ruth and Boaz would not have met. 

God’s plan for Naomi was much greater than she could have imagined.  He was not done with her yet!

God in His sovereignty is at a work in your life in a mighty way right now.  He has a work for each of us to do. 

“Does God have remarriage for every woman?  No,” she explained, while Naomi was to remain single, Ruth was to remarry.  Naomi was no less blessed of God because she did not remarry. 

Each of us is precious is His sight. 

Ann directed us to Habakkuk 1:5 for another example of God’s awesome works and sovereignty.

“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed.  For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.

If we watch, God will amaze us time and time again. 

Ann noted, that during trials we often ask the Lord why or for how long, our suffering will continue. 

She encouraged us to keep our focus fixed on God at all times, reminding us that when we focus on our circumstances, we tend to fall apart.

Staying focused of God can be hard to do when the circumstances are controlling our feelings, Ann acknowledged, but our feelings don’t always tell us the truth. 

Her advice?  Run to the strong tower in your day of calamity, and God will give you the “peace that surpasses all understanding” and grace that endures.

Habbakkuk’s response to the calamity of his time was to rejoice in the God of his salvation and to give thanks in all things.  

Have you learned how to embrace your calamities?

Ann encourages us to grow and be strong and share with other people the reason for our hope and how God has brought us through many things.

God’s plans for us are much greater than we could ever imagine, and He often uses the “least likelys” to carry out His plans. 

If life has lost its color for you, take heart—God is not finished with you yet!______________________________ 

Would you like to attend a Senior Celebration with Cliff Barrows?  Click here for information and to register.

GUEST POST: What Ray Ortlund Saw at The Cove

Cliff BarrowsBy Ray Ortlund

“I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:1-3

Last week Jani and I had the privilege of serving at The Cove in Asheville – at the Billy Graham Training Center. It was a Senior Celebration, with Cliff Barrows as our gracious host. Evie and Pelle Karlsson brought the music. Tom Bledsoe was our emcee. John Innes played the piano.

I wish you could have been there with us in the green room, as we gathered before each service. I saw no ego at all. They were relaxed friends, enjoying one another. But there was more. I saw a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For example, as they were discussing the music, now and then Cliff would spontaneously break out in song, and everyone would join in, right there in the planning session. I saw no distinction between planning the worship and worshiping. It was beautiful. It was heartfelt. It was real. I saw Cliff, with zero affectation, speak about his Lord with emotion breaking his voice. I saw the members of the team speak to and about one another with tears in their eyes. I saw biblical Christianity – a sincere and pure devotion to Christ flowing and overflowing.

How remarkable that something so obviously right and beautiful seems so rare among us. There is always some lesser thing to intrude itself into that place of sacred centrality. There is always a legitimate but non-ultimate something to make too much of itself. Then our hearts grow cold. The spiritual power is diminished. And we wonder why. But the devil isn’t wondering. His cunning has succeeded.

What I saw at The Cove last week was the only kind of Christianity my mind and heart believe in, the only Christianity that reduces me to tears. If some write this off as “pietistic” – well, I’m not a huge fan of dismissive labels. But if what I saw there at The Cove is pietism, then I hope by God’s grace always to be a pietist — unashamed of a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. And I want to influence as many others as I can to join me in, above all else, the “foolishness” of a simple, heartfelt love for Christ.

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

The last Senior Celebration of 2013 will take place on September 9-11.  Click here for details.