All posts by mcoleman

Saturday Snapshot: A New Season

As we move into this next season, we can expect that change is coming. We see it between summer and fall, as the temperatures cool slightly and the leaves slowly begin to change. We see it as kids go back to school and families  wrap up vacations and return to work.  We all know it’s inevitable that we will experience change in our lives, in ways big and small.

As we anticipate that change is coming, what are some ways that we can be prepared and stay firm in our foundation? Let’s take a look at Psalm 28:7, ” The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him” (NIV).

No matter what change comes in our lives, it cannot destroy the unshakeable truth that our God’s love for us never changes.  He is our strength and shield for everything.  We can always lean on Him for the support that we need. Change and transition is hard for most people, but it becomes less difficult when we recall the promise that God is always  our firm foundation.  One of the ways that we can stay strong is by trusting in His Word,  meditating on verses just like this one and holding tight to His promise.

Another way to stay strong is by simply acknowledging and anticipating that change will come. It may come through a trial or just by a shift in life circumstances. Maybe it is a positive change that you direct, knowing that you want something new. Knowing that change will arise can prepare you for it.  As we look at 1 Peter, we see that the Apostle wrote this letter to his Christian brothers and sisters who were getting ready to face a change that would threaten their very lives: persecution.

In this short epistle (letter), Peter encourages the believers and instructs them in how to face the looming persecution they will undergo because of their faith. He tells them to, ” gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13, NKJV). When he spoke of “girding up [their] mind,”  Peter was referring to what many of those early Christians knew as “girding up your robe.” In the historical context of this verse, the term is reminiscent of the ancient Near Eastern custom of pulling up long robes and tucking them a belt when running so that nothing would be loose. In this passage, Peter is telling them to do this with their mind. He is saying that their focus needs to be on Heaven and on Jesus. Peter understood that when believers are heading into persecution, they have to make sure that their only thought pattern and focus is the Lord. He knew that these Christians would not endure if they did not have that singular focus in their mind. They could not allow “loose” thoughts to run wild. As we acknowledge that change will come to us in the days ahead, let’s remember to prepare our minds by focusing on Christ and Him alone. The enemy may want to put doubt, fear, and other things in our minds, but we will stand firm as we keep a singular focus on Him.

Another way to stand strong is through worship. Psalm 59:16 states, “But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.” As we move through change and things begin to feel uncomfortable, that is the time to press-in even more in our worship of the Lord. As we enter His Presence, everything changes! Our perspective changes, and we gain hope and strength. We have peace. As we walk through seasons of change, we must pursue His Presence in the difficult moments.

How are you going to go through the changes that will come this year? How about the battles you know are inevitable. We can anticipate opposition, just like the people Peter spoke to in 1 Peter. Because of the words the Lord spoke to them through Peter’s letter, they had a plan of action when that time came. They were prepared; and because they were prepared, the First Century Church exploded! As those early believers kept their eyes on Christ, they did not waver; and as a result, everyone around them deeply desired what they had. Those around them wanted that eternal promise.

We have the same opportunity to show Christ to everyone as we ourselves go through periods of change. As people watch us go through this next season, will they be drawn to Christ in us? Will they want what we have? We must make up our minds now as to how we will go through this next season. He is with us and will never leave us!


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 GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

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KENDRA GRAHAM: ONLINE BIBLE STUDY

“Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you.  I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.  I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.”   (Leviticus 26:11-13, NASB)

 What Does it Say?

I will make MY dwelling among you. My soul will NOT reject you. I will walk among you, be your God and you MY people.  I AM the LORD your God who brought you out of Egypt, so you not be slaves, I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.

What Does it Mean?

Aaron Shust recently wrote a song called, “Zion.”  There’s a line in the song that says, “You have no other shepherd, you have no other Lord.”  This phrase has been rolling around in my heart and mind for a few days, and in the end it brought me back to Egypt.

God’s chosen people had been captive in the land of Egypt for over 400 years.  Pharaoh was the leader God’s people knew.  The Egyptian gods were gods with whom the Hebrews were well-acquainted.  Throughout the land of Egypt, Pharaoh was seen as deity—a direct descendant of the gods.  In the eyes of the Egyptians, He made the sun rise and set, and he ensured the Nile would flood so the crops could grow. It was Pharaoh who brought the seasons and Pharaoh who protected the land.

Do you think it was possible for the Hebrews to believe that their own God had forsaken them after 400 years?  Is it too far-fetched to think that some Hebrews even found themselves in Egyptian temples, worshipping Egyptian gods?  Did the Hebrews ever look to Pharaoh to have their needs met?

In many ancient pictures of pharaohs, the ruler is portrayed holding a shepherd’s crook in one hand and a flail in the other, with his arms crossed over his chest.  In this way, the pharaoh was represented as being the shepherd and lord (or master) of Egypt.  The flail had multiple meanings: it was seen as a tool representing harvest, but it was also seen as a tool of power and punishment. The shepherd’s crook, on the other hand, represented the pharaoh as the leader of his flock.

In the Exodus, God’s chosen people were called out from under the leadership of and bondage to the pharaoh, yet that was all the Hebrews had known for generations.  God must have seemed very silent to them throughout those years of captivity.  Exodus 3 speaks of the pharaoh being a harsh taskmaster, breaking the Israelite slaves in both body and spirit.  Yet here in this Leviticus passage we see it revealed that Pharaoh would no longer be shepherd and lord:  YHWH, I AM that I AM would be their God and they would be His people.  That was the deal.

God was not ignorant of the hardships His people endured.  The Exodus 3 passage tells us God heard their cries and sent Moses, the deliverer (a foreshadowing of the day when God Himself would come as deliverer through Christ’s incarnation).  Here in Leviticus, the Word of God reminds His people that God did not reject or forsake them.  YHWH is a God who desires to walk with His people; yet in order to walk with them, God had to call them out.  When God called His people out of Egypt—out from under the thumb of Pharaoh, out from bondage, and out and away from the gods Egypt worshipped, He was calling them #home.  They would have to go through the desert, yes; but that was where they would learn to walk with, see, and experience the love of this personal God who #delivered them.

God’s call is the same today, and the same choice lies before us.  We are created to serve someone or something; that’s how it is. The choice is Egypt, or God.  Egypt had all the amenities and wealth of life. Sure, the Israelites were slaves. It was terrible and they were miserable, but it was predictable. Walking with God in freedom is a daily choice of dependence.  Freedom is HARD.

God created us to walk with Him—to know Him and to need Him.  There is no better shepherd, no kinder Lord than the LORD, YHWH.   We have been called out from the slavery the world offers, into the freedom that God gives.  The world of Egypt (the world) offered slavery and death, and it still does today; whereas God gives LIFE and life eternal (John 10:10).

I pray that you’ll determine today to have no other Shepherd, no other Lord.  Resolve to let YHWH lead you #home, even if the desert must be traversed in the process.  Oh, that we have ears to hear the One True God and voices to declare that the LORD is our God and we are His people.

What Does it Mean to me?

Who is my shepherd?  Who is my Lord?  Am I walking with God daily in freedom, or am I a slave to the world and all of its demands?

Do I even want to live in the freedom God gives?  What is the hardest thing I would have to leave behind in my “Egypt”?

Live it out:

Teach me how to walk with You, Jesus, even if it is through the desert.  Draw me to Your Word and teach me.  Give me the strength to live in the freedom You offer and died to give.  (John 3:16)

“Zion”
Aaron Shust


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 GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media.
click map

Weekly Bible Verse: 1 Peter 5:8

Our verse for the week comes from 1 Peter 5:8

 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (NKJV).

As you head into this week, stay on guard and be vigilant. The way that we have victory over the enemy is by: praying, reading the Word, speaking life-giving words over situations, and above all trusting the Lord in all times. He already won the victory!


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 GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

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Saturday Snapshot: The 2019 Program Guide Schedule

We had a wonderful week as we launched the 2019 Program Guide Schedule with such an incredible line-up of speakers and worship artists!

Here is just a snapshot of who you will see in 2019

We are so thrilled to announce that Beth Moore will be with us October 30th-November 1st! You can register for her event by clicking here.

Matthew West will be joining us on May 19th! Matthew is a multiple- Christian Music Songwriter/Artist of the Year winner and lauded by The New York Times as “a vivid and compelling songwriter with impressive approaches to the familiar.” A four-time GRAMMY® nominee, Matthew West’s discography includes acclaimed releases: Happy (2003), History (2005),Something to Say (2008), The Story of Your Life (2010) and Into The Light (2012). His 2010 studio album, The Story of Your Life, was inspired by 10,000 stories from every state in the U.S. and 20 countries. The album garnered attention from CNN Online, Fox News, Billboard, Country Weekly, American Songwriter and more. The Story of Your Life gave West the largest street week debut of his career, selling over 10,000 units the first week landing at No. 3 on Christian Soundscan, and No. 41 on the Billboard Top 200.  To register for Matthew West, click here

Mark your calendars for June 28th-30th for Lisa Harper as she returns to the Cove. Lisa has been lauded as a gifted communicator whose writing and speaking overflow with colorful pop culture references that connect the dots between the Bible era and modern life. Her style combines sound Scriptural exposition with easy-to-relate to anecdotes and comedic wit. She is a blessing to have with us. Lisa’s seminar tends to sell out quickly, so make your reservations now! Click here to register!

We are also excited to have Will Graham back August 9th-11th! Since beginning his evangelistic ministry with youth-oriented, one-day events in Canada, Will has spoken to audiences across North America, Australia, India and other parts of Asia and South America. To register for his seminar, click here!

We have so many more incredible speakers and worship artists! Take a minute this Saturday and visit our website to see our 2019 Program Guide Schedule. We hope you will come visit us at the Cove and take some time to connect deeper in your relationship with the Lord and receive refreshment from 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 GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

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Weekly Bible Verse: 1 Peter 4:7-8

Our verse for the week comes from 1 Peter 4:7-8

” But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins‘”(NKJV). 

As you start this week, remember to love one another with a fervent love.  Take some time and ponder what this truly looks like and what steps you can take this week to put this into practice.


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 GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

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Having Mixed Emotions About Back to School Time? A Word for Parents

Having Mixed Emotions About Back to School Time?
A Word for Parents

As our kids go back to school this year, let us determine to kindle afresh our love for the Word of God.

For I am mindful of the sincere faith that within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother, Lois, and you mother, Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. And for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God…  (2 Timothy 1:5-6a)

What Does it Say?

I am mindful of the sincere faith in you which first dwelt in your grandmother and mother, I am sure it is in you as well.  I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God

What Does it Mean?

I have put off this blog for three weeks.  I don’t want to think about school starting again.  I am one of those parents that LOVES summer and wishes time would stop for a minute—but it never does.  Today, with my eldest child, I begin the trek known as “senior year.”  Today, like it or not, she will have her senior portraits taken.  My heart can’t handle it.  I don’t want to feel all the conflicting emotions that are fighting for precedence.

Bittersweet is a great term to describe it. “Bitter,” because this is my last year with her at home 24/7. This is my last school year to pour into my eldest daughter all the things she needs to know before she heads off to a college four hours away. This thought makes me panic; it makes me want to grasp to keep her here with me, just as she’s always been for the last 18 years. The bitter hurts.

(CJ’s Senior Graduation Pic)

This time can also be described as “sweet,” because I am so excited for her to embrace this new direction in life. I love that she prayed for months and months about where God wanted her go to school.  I can’t wait to watch the journeys she embarks on and what she gets to see.

My heart is an absolute conflicted mess.

Whether we as parents are dropping kids off at kindergarten or they are driving themselves to their first day of their senior year, the school year can be daunting.  Every year I say, “I want to be better, more engaged; I don’t want to forget which day is a half-day and what time my parent teacher conference is. I will not run from that dreaded science fair project and wait until the night before to get all the supplies. I will be on top if it this year!”

What does being “on top of it” really mean in the grand scheme of things?  What does it really look like?  I ran across these verses in 2 Timothy a few weeks ago, and God spoke to my heart about what is really important. Living out a sincere faith in front of your kids is a BIG DEAL.

As our kids go back to school this year, let us determine to kindle afresh our love for the Word of God.  A genuine faith is a faith that is not one where we dust off our Bible app on Sunday mornings. A genuine faith is one that gets us out of bed a bit earlier or drives us to stay up a bit later and open up the Word of God and ask God to transform our lives. A genuine faith is one that stirs up in us in such a way where we must carve out specific minutes each day for God’s Word and direction.

I remember in high school when I would get out of bed early to ensure I had enough time to properly tease my hair and hairspray it in place so that it did not move. I still remember glancing into the dining room and seeing my dad every day with his Bible open, reading the Word of God and praying.  That image is forever seared in my memory.  My parents lived out their faith in the most genuine way in front of me, and remembering my dad at that dining room table has had a life-long impact on me.

Here in these verses, Paul is reminding Timothy of his grandmother and mother. These two women, in the middle of a corrupt Roman society, lived out their faith. They lived out the message of the Gospel in front of Timothy. Their legacy of faith had impact. Paul uses that real life example of faithfulness in the home to stir up and remind Timothy of the faith that is in him as well.

Paul goes on to remind Timothy in verse 7 that God has not given him a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and love and discipline. It can sometimes be HARD and frightening to live out genuine faith in our culture today; but this school year as parents, let’s determine to pass on that legacy: the legacy of a sincere faith that is not just talked about but is lived out. This school year let’s determine to be disciplined, above all, in the Word of God. Let’s LIVE BOLD, faith-filled lives in front of our families.  A fire left to itself will burn out, so let’s stir the embers of faith this school year as never before.

Homeschool parents, public school parents, independent private school parents, and Christian school parents, what if we all together got on our knees and prayed fervently day after day for God to raise US up to live the Gospel in front of our kids in a supernatural way? Can we even imagine how in this school year we would see God work in unbelievable ways?

As the school year progresses we may fail at being those “super-parents” we expect ourselves to be: attending every performance, volunteering for every field trip, and having the most incredible science fair projects. But what if this year we determined to be those parents with a faith that is on fire? This will be hard; but God has not given us a spirit of fear but power, love and discipline.

Today, I embark on a bittersweet journey with my daughter.  I pray that above all she will remember the Gospel fire that lives within me. Let’s tackle this school year saturated in the sweetness of the Word of God.

What Does it Mean to Me?

When are you carving out disciplined personal minutes to be in the Word of God?  If not every day, will you determine to discipline yourself to open God’s Word three times a week?

Do you have a legacy of faith in your family, or will you be the beginning of that legacy?

How can your faith be described?

LIVE IT OUT:

Today, LORD, thank you for meeting me here in Your Word.  As today proceeds, please stir up Your Word within me.  Give me the power to live out the Gospel in front of my family today.


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 GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

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Verse of the Week: Jeremiah 29:13

Our verse for the week is found in Jeremiah 29:13, ” You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (NKJV).(Photo taken from the Will Graham seminar)

There is nothing sweeter than being in the Presence of God. It changes everything.


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 GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

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Saturday Snapshot: Operation Christmas Child

We had such a wonderful week with Operation Christmas Child as a  guest group!

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse. The mission is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.   The group met in the auditorium for worship and teaching. They spent time in prayer over the children and families that they would be reaching this next season.

One of the guests shared that his favorite part of giving a child a shoebox is when they first open it up. They are so grateful for each and every item. He shared that even getting a washcloth is something that the kids rejoice over. To see their eyes filled with hope and excitement is amazing! 

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 146 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 150 countries and territories. For many of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received. 

We thank all of the amazing staff and volunteers who work so hard to reach these kids all over the world.


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 GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

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Weekly Bible Verse: 2 Peter 1:5-9

Our weekly verse comes from 2 Peter 1:5-9

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,  to knowledge self-control, to self-control, perseverance, to perseverance godliness,  to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins” (NKJV). 

No matter where you are today or who you interact with, remember that others can know the love of Jesus by the way you show His love to them.


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 GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest