Weekly Bible Verse: Psalm 32: 6-7

Our weekly Bible verse comes from Psalm 32:6-7:

“Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
    while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
    will not reach them.
 You are my hiding place;
    you will protect me from trouble
    and surround me with songs of deliverance” (NIV). 

Draw closer to the Lord by reading and studying His Word. His Word will give you peace, wisdom, joy, and strength for anything that you may be facing today. His Word is life-giving and alive.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

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.

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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Senior Salt Hymn Sing

We invite you to join us for one of our upcoming Senior Salt Hymn Sings at The Cove. Senior Salt Hymn Sings are a wonderful opportunity for senior adults to gather for a morning of worship and fellowship. Centered around the joyful singing of beloved traditional hymns and choruses, the morning program will also include inspiring Scripture passages and interesting stories behind some of our favorite songs.

A delicious buffet-style meal in the dining room will follow. While here, guests are welcome to view The Cove’s inspiring displays of memorabilia from Billy and Ruth Graham’s life and ministry, shop in Ruth’s Attic Bookstore at The Cove, tour our Visitors Center, or simply relax and fellowship together.

This is a great opportunity for church groups to gather and have a mini-getaway together. Many churches being their senior adult ministry or prime time groups.

Click here for more information on our Senior Salt Hymn Sings. Our next one is November 18th.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

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.

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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8 Things Christians Can Do for Veterans

8 Things Christians Can Do for Veterans

By Bruce Ashford   •   November 11, 2019

This post was originally published in November 2016. It is appropriate to read this month as the United States observes Veterans Day.

On November 11, 1918, the world celebrated the Treaty of Versailles. This treaty signaled the end of World War 1, a war in which “civilized” Westerners had remained in trench warfare firing guns at one another for four solid years.

Soon after, the United States instituted a national holiday—Armistice Day—to remember the sacrifices of our WW1 soldiers. In 1954, Congress changed the holiday’s name to Veterans Day so that Americans could remember the sacrifices of all our soldiers.

In a moment, I will mention eight things Christians can do to honor and minister to Veterans. But before I do so, I want to mention two moments in my life that caused me to appreciate our veterans in a way I would not otherwise.

The first moment occurred when I was in my early twenties working as a journalist, and was able to feature my grandfather—Col. John T. Ashford, Jr.—in the Sunday edition of the paper. Grandfather was a WWII bomber pilot and had flown 25 combat missions and been shot down over the European theater. As we interviewed, he stopped several times to mention friends of his who were shot down or otherwise killed during the war.

The second moment occurred last week, as I was preparing the “war and democracy” portion of my lecture notes for a course at The College at Southeastern. As I wrote about the sacrifices made by so many of our nation’s veterans, I reflected on what the United States would be like if they had not made those sacrifices. What would it be like for Americans to live under the iron-clad and oppressive rule of fascists such as Hitler or Mussolini?

Or, to switch the analogy, how would we like to live in certain Middle Eastern or Central Asian nations where women are beaten for appearing in public with a man who is not a relative? To live in Yemen, where citizens are kidnapped and tortured because of their profession of faith in Christ? To live in Zimbabwe, where a totalitarian ruler has stolen everything from his people for decades on end?

These question are hypothetical for us because we, in fact, live in a nation that provides us great freedom. And we have that freedom because the men and women in our armed forces secure it for us, at great cost to their families and sometimes sadly at the cost of their own life.

For this reason, it is not enough for us merely to remember veterans and military personnel once a year on Veterans Day. It is incumbent on us to minister to veterans and other military personnel. Here are eight ways we can do so:

1. Thank them. Make it a point to find veterans, look them in the eye, and thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

2. Support their spouses and families. If they are active personnel, find ways to support their spouses and families while they are deployed for months at a time.

3. Connect them with each other. Veterans understand veterans better than anybody else. Churches are especially well poised to foster friendship and support networks within the local body, or among and between local churches.

4. Know good medical professionals and counselors. Sometimes the most urgent thing for a veteran is to be connected with caring medical professionals and trustworthy Christian counselors.

5. Find places for them to work and lead. Veterans have already served our nation, often at great cost to themselves and their families. The least we can do is help them find good places to work and appropriate places to lead; after all, they are uniquely gifted persons whose contributions can extend far beyond the military base or battlefield.

6. Volunteer at a veteran’s home or hospital. Usually, veterans homes and hospitals welcome volunteers who are willing to visit veterans, listen to veterans and talk with them, and perhaps bring them gifts on holidays such as Christmas, Easter, or Veterans Day.

7. Participate in fundraisers for veterans and their families. Wounded warriors and other veterans find themselves financially disadvantaged. As Christians, we can show love to them by organizing and participating in community fundraisers on their behalf. This type of tangible display of love can change their lives for the better and, for those who are unbelievers, perhaps open their hearts to Jesus.

8. Be a good citizen. One good way to disrespect a veteran is to disrespect the nation on whose behalf they fight or have fought. Conversely, one good way to honor a veteran is to be a good citizen by voting during elections, fighting for justice, and praying for our nation.

At one point during my interview with Grandfather, as he recounted being shot down while flying anti-sub patrol over the Bay of Biscay, we had to stop for a moment so he could regain his composure. He called my attention back to some of his good friends who were killed during the war, and reminded me that it wasn’t his own skill that made him safe during combat: “It was the Lord looking after me. For some reason, he spared me.”

The Lord spared my grandfather and gave him many years and a good life after the war. May we, as Christian Americans, do everything we can to minister to veterans in the hopes that they will have many years and a good life during and after their service.

*Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on BruceAshford.net and is used with permission from the author.

Bruce Ashford is Provost and Professor of Theology and Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the co-author of One Nation Under God: A Christian Hope for American Politics, the author of Every Square Inch: An Introduction to Cultural Engagement for Christians and I Am Going: To that Nations and in the Streets.

*If you are currently an active-duty military personnel, we would love for you and your spouse to attend an upcoming Military Marriage Retreat. We offer these retreats throughout the year. They include free materials, meals, lodging for all active-duty, Guard, Reserve military members and their spouses. Click here to learn more. 


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

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.

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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Coming Soon To A Church Near You

Coming Soon To A Church Near You

By: Pastor Erwin W. Lutzer

Overnight your Gospel-preaching church could change from being “a cool place to worship” to being branded as a church of bigotry and hate. That’s what happened at The Crossing in Columbia, Missouri—and it could happen anywhere.

On Sunday, October 13, Pastor Keith Simon preached a message on Genesis 1:27 as part of a new series on Genesis. His topic was gender. The sermon was thoughtful, welcoming, and non-judgmental. In an attempt to speak to the issue of gender confusion, the tone was one of respect and compassion. However, he did affirm the biblical teaching that God created only two genders: male and female. He ended with a series of questions including:

Are we sure that erasing the concept of father and mother and substituting parent 1 and parent 2—are we sure that this is good for families?”

Are we sure that it is fair for sports to have biological males [who transitioned to female] compete with biological women?”

Are we sure that we should give hormones to boys entering puberty to prepare them for gender reassignment surgery?”

Are we sure that our internal feelings of who we are always define reality?”

Normally, such a sermon would not only be expected in an evangelical church, but would be accepted as consistent with Scripture and biology. Nothing unusual so far.

But on Monday, a social media firestorm ensued, and the surrounding community was thrown into a polarized debate. The church had been a long-time sponsor of a local art gallery and a documentary film festival. Within days, an online petition emerged, and was quickly signed by 1,000 citizens urging the art community and film festival to cut their ties to the church. They obediently did so. Personal attacks followed, including calling the pastor the “Anti-Christ.” People who had never entered the church and did not even hear the sermon weighed in, fueling the fire of outrage. After widespread coverage in local newspapers and television, it has now drawn some national attention.

The Crossing has always been actively involved for the good of their community. For example, this past August they raised $430,000 to pay off the medical debt of 42,000 patients in Missouri (a sponsor cooperated with the church, so the sum total of forgiven loans was in the millions). The church supports multiple local organizations that assist those in financial need, and plans annual missions trips to partner with effective ministries in countries with great poverty. Started 20 years ago, it now has an attendance of 4,000. No wonder the word on the street was that this was the place to worship. They were known for what they were for, not what they were against.

But they crossed a trip wire. The current culture rejects civil discourse, rational discussions, and honest evaluations of biological and scientific evidence accepted by many doctors which state that gender tampering can be harmful for children and, for that matter, adults. There has been a consistent push to uncritically accept the contemporary dictum that gender is fluid, that it is a state of mind which can be changed based on vacillating desires and inclinations. Not only can a man become a woman and a woman become a man, but there are also other genders somewhere between the two. The growing number of stories of heartbreak by those who experienced transgender surgery, only to determine that their gender dysphoria had not been resolved, are ignored. Simply raising these questions has resulted in hatred and vilification of anyone who dares to ask.

For years I have wrestled with the oft-repeated statement, “We have to be known for what we are for and not what we are against.” Given our present political and moral climate, what you “are for” will evaporate in the minds of many once they hear “you are against same-sex marriage and gender fluidity.” It won’t be long until other convictions elicit the same response. We already know that to be pro-life means you hate women; to believe that Jesus is the only way to God is religious bigotry.

Some people may leave The Crossing as a result of this media backlash. But this is the reality that many churches will likely be facing in the coming years. As this issue begins to divide families, communities, and churches, some will begin to separate themselves from organized religion and reject Christianity as a whole. Congregations may begin to thin out. It seems that the church is in a process of being pruned, and while some will remain, others will walk away.

I know that parallels between our situation in the United States and Nazi Germany can be easily overdrawn. But there is this similarity: at some point God separates the chaff from the wheat in His Church. Most of the churches in Germany were either silent or supportive of Hitler after he announced “The Muzzle Decree” which made criticism of the Reich a crime.

But Martin Niemöller, who would spend time in a concentration camp for his boldness, preached these words to his congregation:

We have all of us—the whole church and the whole community—we’ve been thrown into the Tempter’s sieve, and he is shaking and the wind is blowing, and it must now become manifest whether we are wheat or chaff!…[we] must see that the calm of meditative Christianity is at an end…

It is now springtime for the hopeful and expectant Christian Church—it is testing time, and God is giving Satan a free hand, so he may shake us up so that it may be seen what manner of men we are!

Satan swings his sieve and Christianity is thrown hither and thither; and he who is not ready to suffer, he who called himself a Christian only because he thereby hoped to gain something good for his race and his nations is blown away like chaff by the wind of time.”

Blown away like chaff by the wind!

It has been aptly stated that “a Christianity without courage is cultural atheism.” Let us resolve as a church that silence is not an option. Jesus commanded us to rejoice when others speak evil of us, and be prepared for what we are facing when He said, If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 15:18; 16:33).

I think I hear Him saying to us what He said to the church in Sardis:

Wake up and strengthen what remains.”

 


We invite you in 2020 to attend a Seminar or a Pastor Renewal Retreat led by Pastor Erwin W. Lutzer. Click here to learn more.

Click here for a schedule of all seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

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.

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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Beth Moore Seminar

An absolutely wonderful seminar with Living Proof Ministries with Beth Moore​ this week entitled, “Seeds to Sheaves of Joy” and worship by Travis Cottrell​. Beth is encouraging believers to explore the distinction between just reading Scripture and planting the seed of God’s Word within so that new life and growth are possible. Take a look at a few of our photos from this event.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

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.

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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Weekly Bible Verse: Romans 11:36

Our weekly Bible verse comes from Romans 11:36:

“For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (KJV).

10/22/2019 The 2019 National Law Enforcement Retreat at The Cove in Asheville, NC. PHOTO BY TODD SUMLIN

Take time this week to thank the Lord for His goodness and the beauty that He has created around you. There may be trials and hardships, but He is with you and He loves you. Rest in knowing that He is faithful.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

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.

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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15 Comforting Bible Verses for Troubled Times

There are so many terrible things occupying the headlines these days, it can be hard to wrap your head around them. When will the madness end?

The people who lived in Bible times were no strangers to atrocity. But many were also well acquainted with the character of God—a loving, protecting Father quick to console His people. He comforted them then and comforts us now.

Take a few moments to soak in these passages of Scripture and let them sustain you in the days ahead.


“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
—Psalm 27:1

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
—Deuteronomy 31:8

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
—Psalm 23:4

“He sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.”
—Job 5:11

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
—Lamentations 3:22-23

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
—John 14:27

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
—Psalm 46:1

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.”
—2 Corinthians 1:3

“Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.”
—Psalm 119:76

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
—John 16:33

“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”
—Psalm 139:11-12

“Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.”
—Isaiah 49:13

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
—Matthew 5:4

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
—Psalm 55:22

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
—Romans 8:37-39

(This blog post is  from the Billy Graham website.  Click here to access this site and grow your faith).


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

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.

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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Christmas at The Cove

CELEBRATE THE MIRACLE AND MUSIC OF CHRISTMAS

Come to Christmas at The Cove for an unforgettable evening of Christ-centered music and fellowship. Relax over a festive dinner prepared by our chefs and enjoy songs celebrating the Savior performed by Michael O’Brien, Mark Schultz, or Marty Goetz.

Tickets for dinner and concert are $64 per person. Optional overnight lodging at one of our inviting mountain inns is available at applicable rates and includes breakfast.

Space fills up quickly, so reserve your spot today! Click here to find out more information or call 828-771-4800 to make reservations.

“For there is born to you this day …
a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

—Luke 2:11, NKJV


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

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.

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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Psalms by Quinn Graham

We have a modern-day psalmist on our hands:  Quinn Graham, Will Graham’s son and Billy Graham’s great-grandson, has written two special  psalms to share. 

Travel the World!

Go and travel the world!

Shout His name wherever you go!

Share His Word with others around you!

They should know what you know!

Save them from the devil’s evil grasp!

And bring them into the light!

Share His Word to the World!


Anything is Possible!

Nothing is impossible in this world

God can do anything

He can heal the unhealable

He can fix the unfixable

He can cure and incurable disease

He can heal the brokenhearted

Nothing is impossible

If you believe in Him


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

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.

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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Kendra Graham Fall Bible Study: “Suddenly”

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. Our prayer is that you  will grow deeper in the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and His promises for you. 

Suddenly

Acts 2:2-3

And SUDDENLY there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

(3) And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each of them.

What Does it SAY?

Suddenly– came from heaven, a noise- rushing wind, filled the house where they were sitting, appeared to them as tongues of fire distributing, rested on each of them.

What Does it Mean?

  HOW many of us feel like it takes God FOREVER to act “SUDDENLY”.   I know I am feeling that right now.

 It is very uncomfortable to answer the questions, “Hey Kendra, what now? You quit all the jobs you got paid for and now what exactly are you doing?”

 Cue the awkward silence. (LOL! Right?) I do not like having the appearance of just sitting.  I have the temperament where “just sitting” is not ok.  I am a busy person.  I always have somewhere to go or somewhere I should have been five minutes ago.

 Recently, as the last box was unpacked, I found myself without a list of “to do’s” that would take 16 hours of time each day.  Then the question started, what now?  Ok God! I AM READY! GO!

Silence

A week or so ago I was reading Acts 2 again and I got stuck on that word… SUDDENLY.  What happened “suddenly”?  Well, suddenly the house was filled with the Holy Spirit and It rested upon each of them.  After the Holy Spirit came, things got pretty intense.  God started working all over Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the utter most part of the earth (Acts 1:8) SUDDENLY started to come to fruition.

How long did it take God to work suddenly?  Well, in this case it took 10 days.  In other cases it took generations.

“LOOK! I AM sending My messenger to clear the way before Me; and the LORD whom you seek, will SUDDENLY come to His Temple” Malachi 3:1. God promised He would come Himself, to mankind, back in Genesis, and then FINALLY – Luke 2:11, For unto us was born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord.”

I want God to work faster.  I don’t want to feel awkward.  I want to understand why God has lead me here.  I have heard plenty of sermons encouraging  “in the meantime” just do something, anything.

Is that what I need to do?  Is that what the disciples did?  In the meantime- they had their orders to be fishers of men, and to testify to what they had seen and heard, and “feed My sheep” (Matthew 4:19, John 21:16, Acts 1:8). It’s not like the Great Commission was not given, right?  So they should just come up with a blueprint of their ideas, and flow chart their callings out, with present goals and future goals and what success looks like and then get after it? And along the way God is going to bless their goals, right?  In the meantime- so you don’t have to feel that awkward silence, stay busy?  Doing good things, for God, right?

Personally, I think that it is easy to become religious exhibitionists.  I think we TRULY want to do great things for God.  I think that is the heart of it, but somewhere we get the idea that we need to manipulate God in order to get Him to use us in the way and time that appeals most to us.  We end up getting busy in programs  we were never called to because we want the praise and approval of others, and we don’t want to look like we are, well, just sitting.  I know that is the direction my heart goes in anyway.  I just need God to hurry up and act SUDDENLY.  All these other things in my life happened suddenly, so what now? What next?

What did the disciples do?

Luke 24:52-53 gives us a little insight. They returned to Jerusalem with great joy, (53) and they were continually in the temple, praising God.

Acts 1:14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer… (NASB)

Jesus did tell them that they would receive power after the Holy Spirit came  upon them. Sure, but we know sitting was definitely not their strong suit.  In John 21 they fished while they waited.  Here in Acts, however, things change.  The disciples embrace the silence and fill it with anticipatory praise.  They fill their days with praise and prayer, while they are waiting for God Himself to lead, direct and empower them.

The thing about God’s calling on your life, is that it is a call that is absolutely impossible for you to do! Isn’t that GREAT?!?!!  Even today, we cannot do what God has called us to do without Him empowering us.  We are not clever enough, or brave enough, or powerful enough to do it on our own. We are dependent on God, not the other way around.

I love how the Holy Spirit came to all 120 followers of Jesus waiting in that house that day.  It was not just Peter or John, but the Holy Spirit was given to each person present, sitting in that house, in the presence of God as they DEVOTED themselves to prayer.  They knew the calling, but needed God to do the leading.  What if they were out and about busy doing important things for God in the meantime?  The verse says, those present, in HIS presence, in that house, received the Holy Spirit, the POWER to do that which they were called to do.

It’s not about what I can do for God, it never has been, it’s about what He wants to do through me.  It’s about what He wants to do through you.

It’s HARD to sit and devote ourselves to prayer and just sitting in the presence of God.

Psalm 16:11, “You will show me the path of LIFE; in Your presence is fullness of joy.”

What Does it Mean to Me?

Do you know what God has called you to do?

Have you ever decided to go ahead of God and start the work instead of waiting for the Holy Spirit to come and empower?

What are you devoted to?

When has God worked suddenly?  How long did it take?

LIVE IT OUT

Lord, I have this tug on my heart of what I want to do! I want to do so much for You!  Help me to put all my notions aside, and instead just enjoy Your presence.  Open my eyes to see where You are suddenly working around me! May my “ACTs”, the movement in my life, be towards where YOU are.  AMEN and AMEN!


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

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.

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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The blog of the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove