“The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” This quote is what worship is all about, says Rebecca St. James. And, that’s the focus of her latest album entitled I Will Praise Him, which was released this spring.
Australian born St. James has become one of Contemporary Christian Music’s most enduring and beloved artists, embraced by audiences worldwide. Her signature sound yielded 17 Top 10 singles (nine of which were No. 1) and two RIAA Gold Album certifications (commemorating sales of more than 500,000 units) for God(1996), as well as GRAMMY winning Pray (1999).
Her new worship album might appear as a departure from her pop hits for which she’s known, but actually she describes it as back to the foundation of her music. In a recent interview with CCM Magazine, she elaborates: “My other albums, even those that I would consider more teaching or topical rather than worship are mostly all vertical in nature. There aren’t that many that are just person-to-person. I think it’s just kind of an essence of who I am. Even live, so much of what I do song-wise is directed to God.”
Do you know what you believe and why you believe it? The answers to these questions shape how we live our lives. We cannot live out God’s purpose for our lives until we understand what it is and how it should be reflected in our lifestyle.
July 15-17, renowned author and apologist Josh McDowell, along with his son Sean, will join us for a special seminar entitled “Unshakable Truth, Relevant Faith.” The content for this special study is based on their new book “The Unshakable Truth” which explores the 12 foundational truths of the Christian faith, why they are credible and how they are critical to living out what you believe.
This Thursday, our friend Matthew West will be joining us for An Evening at The Cove.
Matthew’s latest single, “Strong Enough,” has spent 11 weeks on the Billboard Christian music charts. This song was inspired by a single mom, Tonia, and the story of her daughter, Haleigh, who was home visiting from college when she was in a devastating car accident. After 13 surgeries in three years and being forced to give up her college aspirations, Haleigh was very frustrated.
“The Lord doesn’t put anything on us that he doesn’t think we are strong enough to handle,” Tonia told her daughter. “Oh yeah? Well, he must think I’m pretty FREAKIN’ STRONG!” was Haleigh’s honest reply.
That story led Matthew to pen the song “Strong Enough.” The song ultimately draws its inspiration from Philippians 4:13 and the simple truth that we don’t have to be strong enough. In fact, we are not strong enough … but God is!
In the annals of world history, you won’t find many mentions of a lady named Pearl Goode. She never ran for political office, never commanded troops, and never served as the CEO of a Fortune-500 company.
Pearl Goode was a widowed nurse in her mid-60s, living in Pasadena, Calif., in 1949 when a young evangelist came to hold tent meetings in Los Angeles at the corner of Washington and Hill streets.
The very first night of the Crusade, she watched the fiery preacher Billy Graham and his team share the Gospel. As Pearl later recounted in an interview, “That night God laid those boys on my heart as a burden.”
Pearl then joined the volunteer prayer team for the Greater Los Angeles Crusade and was a part of seeing the campaign extended from three weeks to eight weeks, with people cramming into the tent every night to hear the Good News.
After that early Crusade, Pearl became a prayer warrior for the Crusades, without anybody on my granddaddy’s team even knowing. She would spend her own money to travel by Greyhound bus to wherever they were holding an event, quietly check herself into a motel near the venue, and immediately begin praying. Pearl estimated that she covered 48,000 miles by bus, simply to pray for the Crusades.
Even later in life when Pearl could no longer travel, or when my granddaddy was preaching overseas, she would make it a point to know exactly when he would be preaching, and she would spend those exact hours in prayer.
In an address he gave in 1994, my grandfather said, “She prayed all night many nights, and I could sense the presence and power of that prayer. When she died, I felt it.”
We must never underestimate the power of the prayer that is lifted up by wonderful saints like Pearl all around the world. Prayer – talking to God – is of paramount importance in developing our relationship with our Savior and in building up and supporting others through the work of the Holy Spirit. The great significance of prayer is – I believe – why we see so many calls to prayer in the New Testament*.
But, with everything going on in our world today, and with all of the distractions that life throws at us, how many of us actually make the time to become a prayer warrior like Pearl Goode? She would use her own money to travel to far-away states, only to lock herself in a motel room and pray all night long. What a challenge to the rest of us who can’t find 15 minutes in a day to spend with our Lord!
My granddaddy has told me that one of the few regrets he has in life is that he didn’t pray more. That impacts me deeply because almost every time I walk into his house he’s either praying or reading the Bible. He firmly believes that if he had spent even more time in prayer he could have reached even more people with the Gospel.
Pearl Goode, Billy Graham … you and me. Let’s make today the day we cast off the things of this world and commit to be a prayer warrior!
Will Graham is the third generation of Grahams to proclaim the Gospel under the banner of BGEA. Will has spoken to audiences around the world. He graduated from Liberty University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Religion and in 2001 graduated from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree. He currently serves as assistant director of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, N.C.
Matthew West, fresh off his appearance at the recent Will Graham Jersey Shore Celebration in Ocean Grove, NJ, will perform at The Cove on June 23.
The concert will be a mix of older, more familiar songs from the radio, as well as songs from his latest album, The Story of Your Life.
“As a songwriter, every song has a story behind it, and I am excited to play in an intimate setting like the Cove, because I’ll get to dive in to some of the amazing stories that inspired these songs,” he explained.
West’s hopes and prayers for this Evening at The Cove go far beyond music and entertainment. It’s about the most important connection a person could ever make—a connection with God. To register for this event, click here.
Matthew accepted Christ watching a Billy Graham Crusade on television when he was 13. Joy Allmond from BillyGraham.org spent some time with Matthew and discussed his long-standing relationship with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Click here to read the story.
In fact, anytime he can bring his wife with him, like last weekend, he does.
“The setting’s just awesome,” Ingram said.
But to describe it in more detail took a little more thought process.
“It’s excellence without opulence,” Ingram said. “It’s well done but it’s not overdone.”
And what hits Ingram the most is how thoroughly enjoyable his experiences at the Billy Graham Training Center have been.
Year after year after year.
“It really honors God, from the top to the bottom,” he said. “From the person at the door to the the kitchen staff to the maids who pray for the guests when they make their beds, there’s a servant’s attitude here that’s real.”
Ingram gave a “Next Generation” parenting retreat over Memorial Day weekend aimed at those 45 and under called “House or Home” and if the wrap-up testimony time was any indication, this was more than just a three-day seminar where couples walked away with head knowledge.
“God works here,” Ingram said. “Not to be overly mystical or anything, but the hand of God’s favor has been on this man (Billy Graham) and organization.”
The blog of the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove