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Natalie Grant Finds God’s Peace in ‘Hurricane’

Natalie Grant from BGEA articleBy Kristy Etheridge, BGEA Staff Writer

You’re spinning out of control again. Your life feels like a sinking ship. You’re wondering how it came to this.

The first few lines of Natalie Grant’s new single, “Hurricane” aren’t just another set of lyrics; they tell the personal story of an inner battle Grant experienced for more than a year.

“The hurricane started with the birth of my third child,” Grant told the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Already a mother of twin girls, Grant had a “surprise” pregnancy after being told she couldn’t have any more children.

She loved her new baby daughter, Sadie, but found herself facing postpartum depression that pulled her into a dark and difficult season.

“There was an inner war—the guilt I was feeling that I was this Christian artist who was supposed to have her life together, and here I was, dealing with depression,” Grant said.

As a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter who won the Gospel Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year five times, Grant’s success has led many of her listeners to assume she’s always on top of the world, finding the perfect balance of marriage, motherhood and music.

Grant says that’s just not the case.

“I must give off some sort of very false impression,” she said with a laugh. “I don’t balance it at all. I’m terrible at it. That’s where the grace of God comes in. I get to wake up in the morning and try it all over again.”

Grant says focusing on God’s Word is what keeps her sane…and what helped pull her out of a season of depression.

“Get yourself in God’s Word,” Grant said. “Even if it’s only for 15 minutes in the morning. Take some time and spend it with the Lord. On the days that I don’t, those are the days I feel that crushing weight.”

On Aug. 22, Grant will lead worship at a place where studying God’s Word is a way of life—the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove.

The 1,200-acre mountain retreat is the result of Billy and Ruth Graham’s vision of a place where believers could go to be spiritually refreshed, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Grant is returning for a second year in a row for An Evening at The Cove. Her last visit was in Sept., 2012. “It was amazing, and that’s why we’re coming back,” Grant said. “We loved it. Not only did I just love the audience, I loved the venue. It was so intimate, and the setting is unbelievable. My band stayed there in some of the cabins. It was just a time of refreshing for us.”

Grant’s latest trip to The Cove comes at a busy time, as she prepares to release her new album, Hurricane, in mid-October before going on tour—an event that used to be a family affair.

“With the twins, they never missed a show,” Grant said. “They toured with me full time. Then I had my third child, and going from two to three is really a shell shock. You’re outnumbered. You feel like this is a game-changer.”

To make sure she puts her family first, Grant has scaled back her touring a bit, and she makes a point to not be away from home longer than three days if her family isn’t traveling with her.

“My calling as a wife and a mommy is first,” Grant said.

While finding that perfect balance will always be a work-in-progress, Grant is confident that she’s answering God’s call in her life—as believer, singer, wife and mom.

As for the lyrics about life spinning out of control…well, fortunately, that’s not where the story ends. It’s never too late, never too far…and when you feel the rain, call His name.

Grant has learned that life’s storms may not cease as quickly as we’d like, but God is always there, in the midst of every struggle.

He’ll find you in the hurricane.

Click here or call 1-800-950-2092 to purchase tickets for An Evening at The Cove with Natalie Grant.

Cove Bible Verse for Week of August 12

We are meditating on 1 Chronicles 28:9 this week at The Cove. This is a longer verse, but don’t let that scare you away from memorizing it.

Following are some helpful tips on verse memorization from John Piper.

For week of Aug 12 2013 1 Chron 28 9 small

 

By John Piper

How Do You Memorize Scripture?
First of all, by praying for discipline and setting aside time.

I set aside a block of time in the morning (an hour or so) to be with God alone, reading my Bible, praying for my family, praying for the church, and praying for my soul. And I can generally finish my four chapters or so of Bible reading in about 20 minutes, depending on how long I pause and contemplate. And my prayers may extend for 20 or 30 minutes. So I’ve got 5 or 10 minutes in that hour.

If you decide to memorize Scripture for 5 or 10 minutes a day, you can memorize a lot of Scripture! I mean, it’s incredible! And I put circles around the paragraphs or the verses, and I put a little “M” beside them if I worked on them so I can come back and review.

I got my help here from a little booklet about how to memorize long passages of Scripture. And basically he says to take your first verse, read it ten times, and then close your eyes or shut your Bible and say it ten times. And that’s the end for that day. (I think if you do that you can memorize almost any verse in the Bible: ten times read, ten times said, and then you’ve got it.)

Then you come back the next day. You open your Bible up, and you say that verse again 5 or 10 times. If it’s easy, just 5 times. And then you do the same thing with the next verse. And then you do them both together. And then you shut your Bible and you leave. Then you come back.

So basically, the answer is: repetition and review. Repetition and review.

Here’s one other little tip that I use. If I pick a verse or a couple of verses or a paragraph, I’ll put it on a piece of paper and I’ll carry it here in my shirt pocket. And at little times during the day, I’ll pull it out and read it for my soul. For my soul! I don’t memorize verses that don’t help my soul.

I’m not into mechanical memorizing. I’m into fighting the fight of faith. I want to memorize Scripture so that I can defeat the devil at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, that’s why! It’s so that I can minister to a saint in the hospital at 10 o’clock at night if I’ve forgotten my Bible. This is for our soul. So I carry it around and I review it. Review is so crucial.

So I would just encourage people to set aside 5 or 10 minutes, and then repeat, repeat, repeat. Read the verse 10 times, say it 10 times, close your Bible, and then review it during the day from a piece of paper.

©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Used by Permission.
Click here to view article on Desiring God Foundation Website. 

An Evening at The Cove with Natalie Grant

Natalie Grant (2)“When we live the love of the Gospel out loud, a revolution will occur.” – Natalie Grant

She has an amazing voice and a beautiful heart.

But it is this multi-award winning Christian singer/songwriter’s message of the Gospel, and the revolutionary power of love it carries, that she waves as her banner and her hope.

Natalie Grant will perform at The Cove on Thursday August 22nd. 

Join us for a delectable prime rib dinner, followed by an uplifting evening of worship. Overnight lodging is available too!

Click here for more information and to get your ticket(s).

Natalie shares, “Matthew 14:22-33 inspired my new song Hurricane. I found myself in a dark place, and was begging God to stop the storm. But instead, He came to me in the middle of my storm, and brought with Him courage, strength & peace.”

Listen here to her brand new song, Hurricane.        

Church Staff Retreats at The Cove in August

Is a 2-Day Church Staff Retreat at The Cove for you?

If you answer yes to any of the questions below, then pack your bags and get away to a place where you can focus on the needs of your church and its shepherd.

• Would you like to get away for two days and focus on your ministry vision without the interruptions that occur in daily life?

• Would you like to “understand” the needs of your flock better?

• Would you like to learn how to communicate more effectively?

• Is your church in conflict?

• Is your “tank” running low when everyone is looking to you to spiritually fill their “tanks”?

• Would you like to transform your ministry?

Our two-day retreats are designed for church ministry staff and para-church ministry teams.  The retreats will feature solid inspirational biblical teaching by experienced ministry leaders (see your fantastic choices below) with time and space created for individual ministry teams to meet on their own for strategic planning, prayer, group interaction and reflection.

For a snapshot of a typical retreat schedule click here

Now that you have decided that this is just what the doctor ordered, read on for details on what will be covered, our speakers, date options and cost. 

Stuart McAllister head shot for 2013“Do You Speak Klingon?” Creating Bridges Between the Gospel and Culture
Church Staff Retreat with Stuart McAllister – August 8-9

When it comes to proclaiming the unchanging Gospel of Jesus Christ to an American culture—which is always changing, there are many challenges to effective communication.

What are the best avenues to build bridges—to translate—between the Good News and the lost in today’s world?

Come explore ways to better understand your audience.

Learn how to help your ministry team think strategically about the work of translation today as you consider how to do evangelism better in your local setting.

ABOUT OUR SPEAKER:
Stuart McAllister is North American regional director and vice-president of training for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. A native of Scotland, he is a renowned speaker, writer, and an associate fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University (Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics). He formerly served as general secretary of the European Evangelical Alliance and has been involved with the European Lausanne Committee.

To register for your retreat with Stuart McCallister, click here or call 1-800-950-2092. 

BreakthroughMichael Catt for 2013!
Church Staff Retreat with Michael Catt – August 15-16

In every church, there comes a point where we hit a ceiling or a wall.

It could be in relationship, within a ministry, with other leaders, or even within our own staff.

Come explore the dynamic lives of Abraham and Nehemiah in God’s Word.

Gain practical, biblical principles to help you experience breakthroughs in times of conflict, in leadership, in vision, and in your own personal walks.

Discover together ways to build momentum and see your ministry transformed!

ABOUT OUR SPEAKER:
Michael Catt is senior pastor at 3,000 member Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., and is featured on the nationally-syndicated television broadcast “Path to Truth.” He is also the co-founder of Sherwood Pictures (Facing the Giants, Fireproof, Courageous), founder of the ReFRESH™ conferences, editor of the leadership resource site 2ProphetU.com, and former president of the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference.

To register for your retreat with Michael Catt, click here or call 1-800-950-2092. 

COST:
$129 per person, with a special reduced group rate of just $99 per person for groups of 3 or more!
Come Early and/or Stay Over opportunities will also be provided for those desiring an extended retreat time.

May God bless your ministry abundantly!

Devotion from Billy Graham: The Rainbow of Hope

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8

By Billy Graham

The Rainbow of Hope

Let me put a rainbow of hope in your heart.  It has been proved millions of times over that Jesus Christ can meet and solve the basic problems of your life. 

This is the promise of Hebrews 13:8.

The word yesterday in that verse means the past—when He was on earth.

The word today means now, the present—when He is in Heaven. 

And the word forever looks into the future—when He shall return to earth to rule and reign.

Yesterday, the past, when He was on earth—He made atonement; He forgave and covered your sin, your past. 

Today, now, in Heaven—He is an advocate, representing before God those who place their trust in Him.  He is right now willing to solve your problems, lift your burdens, wipe the tears away, and bring joy, peace, and satisfaction such as you have never known. 

Tomorrow, in the future—He will return to be King of kings and Lord of lords.

Other things may change, but Christ will never change. 

We are living in an age of grace in which God promises that whosoever will may come and receive His Son.

When this age of grace ends, the judgment of God will strike and the world will suffer from the judgment hand of God.

But today I can offer you an unchanging Christ who can forgive your past sin, lift your present burdens, and give you hope for the future.  He will take your sins and bury them in the depths of the sea. 

Prayer for the Day: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for providing forgiveness for my past, respite from today’s burdens, and hope for all of my tomorrows, Help me to share Your hope with those around me. 

Daily meditation from Billy Graham’s book, “Alone with the Savior”.

The Real Meaning of Freedom

A Staff Devotion by Scott Hoffman, Donor Ministries Regional Manager for The Cove

freedom-signThis week we celebrate the 4th of July! We’ll have picnics, we’ll hear and sing the wonderful old patriotic tunes, we will probably even sing some of those songs in church this coming Sunday.

We Americans have a lot to celebrate, don’t we?

We have built a society that has given an unprecedented measure of freedom to each of its citizens. I can do whatever I want as long as I do not interfere with your pursuit of whatever it is that you want to do. And in this land of plenty, there is a veritable supermarket of desirable things to do….and you and I have become little more than the consumers of all these things…and we are FREE to enjoy them to our hearts content!

Our problem, with regard to FREEDOM, is that we don’t even know what true freedom is.

The teenager can hardly wait for the freedom that comes with adulthood. The older person longs to be a young again. The poor would love the freedom of the rich, but the rich remember what it’s like to be free of the worry that has accompanied their growing fortunes. They long for the simpler life and a good night’s sleep once again. That great theologian, Bruce Springsteen wrote some lyrics that went something like this: “Poor man wants to be rich, rich man wants to be king, king won’t be free until he owns everything.”

How we look at freedom depends on where we stand…and that concept is what makes freedom so hard…so very hard to define.

The New Testament is never confused about the real meaning of freedom, however.

The biblical view is that freedom, genuine personal freedom, consists in knowing that we are the children of God and then living joyfully out of that knowledge regardless of any external constraints.

Let’s consider, as our backdrop for this understanding, the story of the prodigal son. The younger of the two boys wanted to be totally free. He was tired of being told what to do….when he could come and go, and with whom! He wanted to get away where no one could give him orders anymore. He wanted to be FREE! You know what happened. The boy went off and he was totally free…or at least he thought he was.

Then everything changed! This young man who had wanted total freedom, wanted so badly he could taste it, wanted it so badly he was willing to hurt everyone in his path just to get it, decided that it was not freedom he wanted after all. What he really wanted was to return home to be a slave! There are all kinds of false religions that cater to that sort of personality and are built upon that exact psychology. That’s where cults and false religions go to find all their converts. That’s the point the prodigal was at….that’s what he was willing to have happen in his life.

That’s not what his loving father had in mind however!

Would that be freedom?

Certainly not, Paul would shout out loud! Paul said that it is foolish to return to slavery once you have been set free in the Son.

That was the essence of the passage from Galatians 3: 23-26. That’s the essence of the point that Jesus made in this wonderful old parable!

“No way!” says the merciful father, “you will never be a slave, but you will never be a child again either. You have to be an adult now. It’s time to grow up.”

So he calls for a ring and puts it on his finger. It was the ancient symbol of adulthood and authority. Then he called everybody together and said, “THIS IS MY SON! HE WAS LOST AND NOW HE’S FOUND. HE WAS DEAD AND NOW HE’S ALIVE!”

Freedom in ChristFor this “boy-now-become-man,” it was time to learn to live with a new kind of freedom….the responsible freedom of Sonship!

Having real freedom does not mean having complete freedom!

Let me repeat that, because it is vitally important to understanding biblical freedom: Having real freedom does not mean having complete freedom! It means living freely within whatever situation life happens to find us in. It means accepting the limitations of our lives and not feeling hampered by them. It isn’t necessarily the freedom to come and go as we please, but rather the freedom God gives us to be at peace wherever we are!

Consider the prodigal for a moment…let us speculate about his life after his homecoming party. Here’s what his new freedom was like. He rose early in the morning, before daybreak. After breakfast, he went to the fields to supervise the work of his father’s servants. During the heat of the day, the sweat ran down his face, and his clothes stuck to his body. He came in in the late afternoons dirty and grimy, scorched by the sun and burned by the wind. And yet….and yet, he was free!

He was no longer the prisoner of his passions or of his circumstances.

He was home…and glad to be there!

When he came in from working all day, he was thankful to have a place he called home. He craved the simple food of his farming family. He cherished the conversation at the family dinner table and the approving stroke of his father’s affirmation as he passed by. He loved to stroll in the moonlight and to think about the journey that had been his life. He remembered his escape to the far off country, the fickleness of his friends, the feeling of desperation, the sense of destitution when the money ran out. He was indeed thankful to be home and glad, for the first time in his life that he was truly free.

Do you see it? Real freedom, our freedom in Christ, is NOT the freedom to do anything we choose to do. It isn’t even the freedom to remake the world and everyone in it the way that we would like them to be. It isn’t the freedom to insure that the Supreme Court makes all the right decisions and that our President is someone who we are proud to have represent us.

Real freedom is the freedom of forgiveness and restitution, the freedom of acceptance and renewal, the freedom to be who God made us to be in joy and in peace and in love.

Real freedom is the freedom Paul spoke about in Galatians, not to be slaves to sin anymore, because that only produces lives of anxiety and jealousy and desperation.

Real freedom is the freedom to be sons and daughters of God, so that we can experience the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Real freedom is NOT the freedom to do nothing either, regardless of where we are in our lives! It is not the freedom to be anybody or anything we want.

Real freedom is the ability to be content with WHO we are as human beings and to give thanks to the Lord for all the human situations that we find ourselves in, knowing that God loves us and accepts us and is at work within us, preparing us, all the while, for our eternal destiny in Jesus!

Anything else is not freedom at all, but merely the illusion of freedom.

The way the prodigal son was made to be his father’s son and not his slave, this is what we, too, were made for! And when we finally discover that and integrate it into our self-understanding and into our way of relating to the world, we will experience the joy and excitement that the prodigal son must have felt when he strolled in the moonlight and realized just how good it all was after all!

God does not want us to be His slaves. He truly wants us to be His sons and daughters.

That is why He sent His Son…to give us that freedom for all time!

Thank you Father! Thank you Jesus! Thank you Holy Spirit!

Will Graham: God Loves Kenya

By Will Graham

Wil Graham in Kenya June 2013Has God ever laid something on your heart that has motivated you to go out of your way to minister to somebody or to a group of people? You simply have a burden for them that orders your steps and directs your actions?

God has done that in my life, and has given me a special burden for specific areas of the world. One of the countries to which He has directed my heart is Kenya. He has instilled in me a huge desire to preach to the Kenyan people the message of love, hope and peace that only He can bring.

Just yesterday I returned to my office and responsibilities at The Cove after holding a three-day evangelistic “Celebration of Peace” in Kisumu, Kenya, a city in which my grandfather preached some 53 years ago. Our event was held at the Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground.

This beautiful little patch of field was very humble by American standards, and most days it serves as a sort of thoroughfare, with people crisscrossing it to and from work or the market. But for these three days, that area was holy ground where people repented of their sins and claimed a new life – an everlasting hope – in Christ Jesus.

My friends, Kisumu is a beautiful place, but not an easy place to live. It is largely poverty-stricken, with many people seeking escapes through alcohol or glue sniffing. Children run the streets with no parents. It was one of the main epicenters of post-election violence a few years ago. One of our local volunteers told us that the rest of Kenya views Kisumu as one of the country’s “most evil cities.”

This is not to say that Kisumu is a godless city; not by a long shot. There is an awesome remnant of churches and Christians that are praying for and actively working in their city. It was a huge blessing to our team to have involvement from every Christian church and every bishop in Kisumu for the Celebration.

Kisimu city shot small for webSo we followed God’s calling to Kisumu, and He provided the harvest! Approximately 21,000 people crowded the field over the course of the three days, and when the invitation was given to commit their lives to Christ, more than 1,350 accepted that free gift!

Street boys who spend their young lives getting high and begging for money were found in the middle of the worship, responding to the call. A passerby who hadn’t even heard the message felt suddenly urged to stop and see what was happening, and ultimately gave her life to Christ. The wife of the governor stepped forward to rededicate her life to the Lord.

Wil Graham Celebration in Kenya people praying June 2013 smallFriends, only God can make these changes in people’s lives, and it was clear that He is very much at work in Kenya.

I would ask you to please pray with me for the people of Kisumu, that the seeds that were planted would fall on fertile soil and grow; not on rocky or weedy soil where they will wither and die. There is much hardship in Kisumu and there will continue to be many different temptations vying for the attentions and focus of those who came forward.

 We need to surround them with our prayers, and cry out to the Lord of the harvest that a new generation of believers will grow out of this event, and the city of Kisumu will forever be changed for His glory!

Thank you for your prayers and your support. God bless you!

Remembering Ruth Bell Graham

Ruth Graham holding glasses
Today would have been Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth Bell Graham’s, 93
rd birthday.   

Ruth went to heaven on June 14, 2007. 

Join us as we celebrate and remember the beautiful life and legacy of this great woman of faith.  A woman who loved people and loved Jesus! 

Watch here as Fernando Ortega sings Give Me JesusThis performance was produced for The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as a tribute to Ruth.
 

Fernando Ortega will be performing at The Cove on Sunday November 17, 2013.  Click here for details and to register.