Tag Archives: Asheville retreat

A Time to Rest

Every day is a gift from God. Sometimes we let our busy schedules distract us from our precious time with the Lord. One of the most valuable programs that we offer at The Cove are the Guided Personal Spiritual Retreats. These offer times of group reflection, collective prayer, and satisfying conversations at meals to discuss how God is working in your heart. Spend time walking our mountain trails, in private devotions, journaling, and more. Take some time before the rush of fall to have a retreat with the Lord. 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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Obedient Rest: A Cove Devotional

One of our newest interns at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Abigail Bowen, wrote a devotion entitled, “Obedient Rest” that we would like to share with you. 

Obedient Rest


The word that permeates our culture and our calendars. It’s a hot topic in every conversation and has taken the place of “good” in response to the question “How are you?” We pull out our calendars and compare with one another how little spare time we have in our lives.

I don’t know when this busyness became the trend. But I think part of it is because we have forgotten the beauty of rest; we have forgotten what God calls us to and what He did on the seventh day.

As I write this, I realize what a theme the need for rest has been for others and me in the past few weeks. A theme that came to a peak this weekend.

We spent Saturday at The Cove. Its seclusion from the city created an environment of rest and restoration. I don’t know about you, but when I am surrounded by trees and can’t see busy roads or tall buildings, I feel the most peace. The world slows down its spin for a moment and we get to enjoy the pace of a day as a day, not as a square on a calendar. Billy and Ruth Graham’s heart for The Cove was just that, too. They prayed that it would be a place of rest and that people would come there to come closer to God.

Walking through the woods along the trail to Ruth’s Chapel, I felt that rest. When we had to run through the woods because the rain began pouring down on us, I felt that rest. As we sat on the deck in rocking chairs under the overhang protecting us from the rain, I felt that rest. In the moment, I did not consciously acknowledge that I was resting because it felt natural. It felt like how life should feel.

Then, on Sunday, the pastor spoke about the fourth commandment: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. The way he spoke about rest was unique and not like anything I had heard before. He said we should work FROM a place of rest and not FOR rest. When you start your week, your day, or even every new hour from a place of rest, it allows you to thrive in what you do. Working for rest becomes draining because once the weekend is over, you have to push toward a place of rest again. But, if you start from a place of rest, if rest is the beginning and not the end goal, it creates a sturdy foundation for your week, or day, or hour.

Even in the Christian culture, we focus more on how our work is glorifying to God. In reality, though, we glorify Him in our rest too. It is an act of obedience to take rest. “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of the disobedience” – Hebrews 4:9-11 (NKJV).

I am thankful for the reminder of rest this weekend brought me, especially at The Cove.

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.

Follow us on social media. click map

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Saturday Snapshot: God is Faithful

The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove is a place that Billy and Ruth Graham founded to train people in God’s Word to win others to Christ. We have remained committed to that vision for more than 30 years, and today we continue to see lives transformed and changed through what God is doing here.

This past week we held one of our Military Marriage Retreats led by Michael Easley. One of our favorite parts of this retreat comes at the end when couples share how their marriage has been impacted and what this time together meant for them.  Here are a few testimonies from couples who were at the retreat:

“We just celebrated our 10 year anniversary on March 1st.   We are here celebrating our anniversary at this retreat. A good part of the 10 years have been a struggle. There have definitely been more downs than ups.  We have really been struggling through those years. But, a few years ago, God placed on my heart that  the ten year mark would be the end of the struggle. This year has been better! But,  as we were walking through the woods, I was talking to my husband and shared with him that I still have doubts and fear that  it is not going to last. Even though God put on my heart years ago that the struggle would end, I kept in fear of not knowing. How could it be a  guarantee that it would last?  How will we keep this feeling? As I just finished sharing this with him, we walked past one of the verses in the garden.  It read  ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:6-). I knew at that point that God was telling me that I did not have to worry, it will all be ok. I can trust Him.”

“My husband and I have been to four of these Military Marriage Retreats. The first time we were here, our marriage was in crisis. We had been through over a dozen deployments. Never before had we received help for our marriage.  The Vet Center in Ohio told us about The Cove and the Military Marriage Retreats. We submitted our application in July. The seminar was scheduled for September.  When we  submitted our application, I honestly did not know if we would even make it to September.  I prayed everyday for us to get accepted  to this program. When the acceptance came back saying ‘yes, you are in’, I saw that as a huge answer to prayer! I was just hoping we would make it to September. That first seminar literally saved our marriage. Since then, we have been to three more! I just want you all to know the power of this place, what you all do, and that you don’t know what we have been through before you see us walk in the door, you don’t know what we are going through.  I just want to thank you all at The Cove  and want you to know that we have been blessed.”

Military Marriage Retreats include free materials, meals, and lodging for active-duty, Guard, and Reserve military members and their spouses.  If you or someone you know would like to attend one of our Military Marriage Retreats or any of our seminars, click here. 

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.


Make Plans Now to Spend a Week at The Cove


This summer, The Cove is offering five Intensive Bible Training Seminars, designed to take an in-depth and comprehensive approach to understanding a specific topic or section of the Bible. 

Instead of the typical 3-day seminar, these seminars offer a 5-day format.  Allowing you time to really dig into God’s Word.

As an added bonus, all seminars in 2016 are free!  (Meal and lodging package fees apply.)

As you’re making  summertime plans, we hope you’ll consider setting aside time to grow in your relationship with God right here at The Cove, nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.  

2016 Intensive Bible Training Seminars
(For more information and to register, click on one of the titles below or call 1-800-950-2092.)

Acts for the Apostles, Acts for You (Acts
with Mark Yarbrough, May 23-27, 2016

The Bible’s Roadmap: Living Confidently in Christ (Romans)
with Woodrow Kroll, June 20-24, 2016

The Arrival of the Day of the Lord
Joel 2:18-3:21; Ezekiel 33-47; Isaiah 19:1-25

with Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., June 27- July 1, 2016

The Midnight Cry (Matthew 25:1-13)
with R.T. Kendall, July 18-22, 2016

Recovering the Lost Language of Lament (Selected Scripture)
with Michael Card, July 25-29, 2016
NOTE:  Join Michael for An Evening at The Cove (dinner & concert)on Sunday, July 24th .  Click here for details.

We hope to see you soon!


Join Will Graham As He Teaches on the Book of 1 Samuel


By Will Graham 

Epic battles, the prophesied deaths of an entire family, the earthly embodiment of the holiness and presence of God carried away by captors, a nation judged by the Lord – Nobody can say that 1 Samuel 4 lacks action and drama!

Last year at The Cove, I hosted a seminar in which we began the process of working through the entire book of 1 Samuel, verse by verse. We progressed through the first three chapters of 1 Samuel, and things were looking pretty good for Israel. Samuel was being used by God in incredible ways as the Word of the Lord went across the entire nation. We’re told that God did not let a single word of Samuel’s “hit the ground.” In other words, everything Samuel said on behalf of God was impactful and came to be because he only spoke when and what God told him to speak.

Now, when things are going really well, doesn’t it always feel like something negative must be lurking around the corner? You’re on the peak of the mountain, but you’re still surrounded by valleys of darkness. When we return to 1 Samuel for my seminar in August of this year, that’s where we’ll find Israel. Things are turning bad.

You see, God had already spoken against the priest Eli and his family in chapter three, saying He would do something so amazing it would make “ears tingle” in judgment of the sin in the house of Eli, particularly with his two sons.

That fateful day of judgment came in chapter four as the Israelite army went out to battle the Philistines. The battle raged, the Israelites were defeated and lost 4,000 men.

While the soldiers of Israel were tending their wounds and trying to figure out why they suffered such great losses, they had an idea. They would send for the Ark of the Covenant. It was almost like they were treating the presence of God as a magic box that would guarantee military success.

So Eli’s sons took the Ark of the Covenant from the temple into the battlefield, and – in fact – the mere presence of the Ark and the thunderous roar it drew from the Israeli camp did initially intimidate the Philistines. However, they readied themselves for battle.

When the fighting was over, 30,000 soldiers from Israel, as well as Eli’s two sons, were dead. Worse, the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines. It was a dark, dark day for Israel as the judgment of God fell upon it.

We’re told that Eli was anxiously waiting for word about the Ark; not about his sons, but about the Ark of the Covenant. A weary survivor ran back to Eli and told him his sons were dead and the Ark was captured. When he heard this, Eli – who we’re told was old and heavy – fell out of his chair, broke his neck and died.

His pregnant daughter-in-law, upon hearing that Eli and her husband had died, went into labor and gave birth to a son. The life began to slip from her as well due to complications from the birth, but with her last breath she named her son Ichabod, saying “The glory of God has departed from Israel.”

I know, this is some pretty heavy stuff, but have you ever noticed that we learn more about the love and hope of God as we go through hardship? I believe that will be the case with the lessons we’ll draw from the next few chapters of 1 Samuel.

We’ll look at parenting, for instance. Eli had two sons who were lost in sin, but he didn’t do anything to discipline them and bring them back to God. He’d speak against his sons, but he didn’t deter them. In some ways, he had become as bad as them. He had his choice of meat in the temple and had become spiritually lazy. We’ll look at being a good example for your children and grandchildren.

We’ll also look at the idea of Ichabod. What’s Ichabod in your life? In what ways does it feel like God has departed from you, and how can you get the glory of the Lord back in your life as it was in Israel before God’s judgment on the nation and the family of Eli.

And, of course, we’ll look at the holiness of God. You see, God’s judgment is real, and His holiness is not a joke. When idols were placed in front of the Ark of the Covenant, they fell and physically broke. When people touched the Ark, they died. In fact, the Philistines couldn’t even keep the Ark of the Covenant – their great trophy from battle – because God inflicted their people with tumors just for being near it and possessing it.

There is power in the holiness of God, and this seminar will be an opportunity to hear the Word of the Lord, allow it to work in your life, let it take root and turn you back to Him. We’ll see that God’s love for us compels Him to chase us, even through our own wickedness.

And, spoiler alert, by the time we get to the end of the seminar, the Ark will be back in Israel…

God bless you, my friends –I hope to see you in August!

Click here to register for Will’s seminar at The Cove August 15-17, 2014.

Watch here as Will shares his excitement on teaching from 1 Samuel. 

An Invitation from Chip Ingram

Plans for Memorial Day weekend?

Chip Ingram would like you to join him here at The Cove on May 23-25, 2014. 

Chip will be teaching from the Book of Titus in his seminar titled, Doing Good: What Happens When Christians Live Like Christians. 

As Chip mentions here in his video invitation to you, one of the best parts about being at The Cove for an entire weekend is getting to hang out with you and hear about what is going on in your life. 

Don’t miss this chance to get away, study God’s word and fellowship with Chip Ingram.

For more information on Chip’s seminar, click here or call 1-800-950-2092.

November at The Cove

The Cove is designed to help you get away, relax, and hear God’s voice.

Take a look at the many wonderful options we have to offer in November.

We’re saving a seat for you! 

Autum shot 2 long




Jack HayfordPursuing the Will of God
with Jack Hayford, November 1-3, 2013
Click here to register.

Wise people still seek God’s will today. Retrace Abraham’s footsteps and mine timeless principles for daily living that are practical and unmistakable. Discover, grow, and experience His will in a way that leads to fulfillment and fruitfulness.

Tullian_headshot for 2013 sm versionOne Way Love: The Power of Unconditional Love in a Conditional World
with Tullian Tchividjian, November 4-6, 2013
Click here to register.

Everything in our world demands two way love. Everything’s conditional. If you love me, only then will I love you. If you do for me, only then will I do for you. If you serve me, only then will I serve you. This conditionality plagues us at every level and keeps us enslaved to fear and insecurity. Grace, however is one-way love. Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable. The idea that there is an unconditional love that relieves the pressure, forgives our failures and replaces our fear with faith seems too good to be true. Come explore the radical unconditionality of God’s love to us and how that sets us free to love others unconditionally.

20110719-Ash_TheCove_71911066SeniorSalt Impact
November 4, 2013
Click here to register.

Looking for an encouraging day trip? This morning program is designed to encourage senior adult believers to reach their friends and family for Jesus Christ. This event will feature the showing of the inspiring, full-length movie Seven Days in Utopia, followed by a buffet style lunch.

Henry BlackabyR  Blackaby Pic for 2013Mike BlackabyThe Seasons of God and His Purposes for You
with Henry, Richard & Mike Blackaby, November 6-8, 2013
Click here to register.

Did you know that just as God has purposes for the seasons of nature, He also uses seasons in your life to grow you, work with you, and talk to you? Understanding the principles of these seasons can offer you hope, direction, insight, and intimacy with God Himself. Come explore God’s patterns at work in your life—and find out how His will is being carried out in the best way, at the best time. Learn to recognize and understand the current season you are in and better navigate the numerous changes you encounter. Gain inspiring insights into life, relationships, and families and get the most out of the rest of your life.

Briscoes imageLiving in the Word: How to Engage with Scripture
with Stuart & Jill Briscoe, November 8-10, 2013
Click here to register.

The American Bible Society reports that, while their traditional objectives of translating, publishing and distributing the Scriptures are being fully met, they are concerned that the number of people engaging with the Bible are in serious decline. Living daily in God’s Word has profound and far-reaching results. Come discover how to explore and apply the Scriptures so that you experience real discipleship, embrace unadulterated Truth, and enjoy biblical freedom as Jesus promised. Take home a renewed love for the Word of God and a more practical grasp for applying it, and see its transforming power in your daily life.

Gary Thomas Snapshots from the Greatest Sermon Ever Preached
with Gary Thomas, November 10-12, 2013
Click here to register.

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is the most profound and famous sermon in history. It contains the proclamation of God’s love, the call to a new way of life, a road map to salvation, and practical guidance for everyday living. Along the way, it unlocks a wealth of spiritual wisdom and insight. Transform your walk with God as you discover what it means to be “pure in heart” and how this helps you see Him. Learn how to “take the log out of our own eye” before humbly examining the speck in your brother’s and be inspired by Christ’s blessing of commitment. Delve into Jesus’ astonishing remedy for people’s sins against you and how it supports your focus on seeking first God’s kingdom.

Jonathan Falwell from webRomans: From Guilt to Glory
with Jonathan Falwell, November 12-14, 2013
Click here to register.

Since God will never hold our sins against us, why do so many Christians wrestle with guilt and shame? Discover how Jesus has overcome these obstacles and come, immerse yourself in the greatness of the love of God. Learn to experience more of His mercy and grace.

AnneGrahamLotz smallFilling Up to Overflow
with Anne Graham Lotz, November 14-17, 2013
Click here to register.

Are you a serious Bible student? Come enrich and prepare yourself to become an effective communicator of God’s Word. Examine the life of Abraham, and get equipped to read, study, and teach the Bible with relevance and power. Learn how to immerse yourself in Scripture and allow God’s Word to saturate your life and spill out to others. Audience participation will be required. This seminar’s worship leader will be Fernando Ortega.

Fernando Ortega from webAn Evening at The Cove
with Fernando Ortega, November 17, 2013
Click here to register.

Come for a worshipful evening of music and fellowship. Enjoy friendly conversation over a fine buffet dinner, followed by an uplifting concert program. Overnight lodging is available at applicable rates and includes breakfast the following morning.

Mac Brunson for 2013Storms: When You’re Rocked, Rattled, & Wrecked with Mac Brunson, November 18-20, 2013
Click here to register.

In today’s society many people believe if a person is blameless, upright, fears God, attends church, reads the Bible, and prays, then God will bless him or her with an emotionally, physically and financially comfortable life. The Bible, however, paints a very different picture. God doesn’t promise His followers we will avoid the storms of life, He assures us He will be with us through the storms. Delve into God’s Word and grasp more fully the hope of His promises and change the way you respond to depression, criticism and conflict. Don’t just survive life’s storms, experience victory in their midst and beyond.

Rob Wilton for 2013 close upWho Am I? How God Sees You
with Rob Wilton, November 20-22, 2013
Click here to register.

In today’s society, many people find their identity in their vocation, marriage, friends, material possessions, or even political party. Yet, for believers, Scripture reveals our defining identity is in Christ. Come explore the Bible’s important truths for knowing who you are and learn how your identity informs your response to today’s issues as a Christ follower. 

jennifer rothschild for 2013 2 smallWomen’s Day Away:
Filling in Your Missing Pieces: Real Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense
with Jennifer Rothschild, November 23, 2013
Click here to register.

Does God care? Is He fair? Is He even there? You may know all the right answers, but they don’t always feel right. Come explore these and other questions in this realistic look at the messy, mysterious uncertainties of faith. God’s ways don’t always make sense to us, but He is trustworthy. He wants to reveal Himself to you and fill in your missing pieces with something far more satisfying than answers—God wants to fill in your missing pieces with Himself. Draw near to Him, and experience unexpected peace even in heartache.

Click here to see available dates for your self-guided Personal Spiritual Retreat.

Individual financial assistance available.  Click here for information and an application. 

Visit TheCove.org to view all events.

Spiritual Simplicity with Chip Ingram

In today’s busy world, do you ever feel so tired that your family and friends seem to wind up with the scraps of what is left of you?

Do you suffer from fractured relationships, a drifting marriage, painful loneliness, or a coping addiction?

Do you feel spiritually depleted?   

Do you know that the Bible shows us how to live in this fast paced world in a truly meaningful way?   

On May 24-26, Chip Ingram will be at The Cove to dig into God’s Word and help you learn how to experience spiritual simplicity…by doing less and loving more!  Come and learn how to change love from a noun to a verb and choose to concentrate on what really matters.   

Watch here as Chip Ingram explains that the key to spiritual simplicity is not techniques; it’s doing less so you can love more.

Click here or call 1-800-950-2092 for more information and to register for Chip Ingram’s seminar titled Spiritual Simplicity: Doing Less, Loving More on May 24-26, 2013. 

For information on our financial assistance program, click here. 

Join Us For a Ministry Wives Retreat at The Cove

By Joy Allmond

Ministry wives, do you find it hard to confide in anyone? Or, maybe you constantly feel defensive of your husband’s critics. No matter what issue you face, Gail MacDonald has walked in your shoes.  

Gail and her husband have been through the ups and downs of ministry life for more than 50 years. Over this period of time, God has equipped her to speak into the lives of other ministry wives. During April 4-5, she will lead a Ministry Wives Retreat at The Cove. 

“We have all these people in church, yet it is difficult for younger ministry wives to find older women take the time to mentor them. They feel like they’ve done their thing, instead of coming alongside them,” she explained.

So, how can you best serve the ministry wife in your life?

Gail’s first piece of advice centers around conversation.

“If you take a ministry wife to lunch, talk about how God is growing each of you rather than church issues. The conversation is bound to head toward church critique. She doesn’t need that. If she finds that people who take her to lunch have an axe to grind, she will use greater caution as to who she lets in her life.”  

The most important thing you can discuss with a ministry wife is what are you learning from Scripture. “Relationships should be based on what God is doing in our lives.” 

Today’s ministry wife also deals with much criticism—that of her, and that of her husband. Furthermore, she often has a harder time dealing with criticism of her husband than even he does.

“We are people pleasers. The good news is, we love people. The bad news is… we love people,” said Gail. “If opinions become too important, this can set us in a bad place where we’re never satisfied. I always encourage everyone on staff to be themselves.”

Another way lay people can help ministry wives is to help her with practical things.

“Pastors’ wives are aware that both they and their husbands wear entirely too many hats. A pastor is hired to be a pastor but often fired for not being a good manager. Church life can be very complex, especially if a pastor and his wife are in a smaller church. There is not a staff to delegate things to, so they end up with most of the work.

“This is especially true of the last couple of decades, since more women in the church have gone into the workplace. There are not as many people to volunteer to do things.”

A ministry wife should be encouraged to know her limits, and to say no when necessary.

The most important thing you can do for a ministry wife, Gail says, is to pray for her.

“If she ask you to pray about something, get back to her and check on it. She needs to know you are genuinely interested in her prayer needs. Prayer and affirmation are the biggest needs of anyone in ministry.”

If there are things you see in her life that you can’t talk about, pray those thoughts into her. “Sometimes we can move people only by prayer. They are not ready; they can’t bear our words,” she explained.

When she is at The Cove with this group of ministry wives, she wants to show them that you can be in ministry for over 50 years—and still love it.



“I want them to see that Christ and His availability to us and the power He gives us will sustain us. Often times, we try to make God into our image. We need to ask how we can fall into step with Him instead of Him falling into step with us. “


Click here or call 1-800-950-2092 for more information and to register for The Ministry Wive’s Retreat at The Cove on April 4-5, 2013. 

Gwen Smith will be leading worship for this retreat!    

Financial assistance is available.  Click here for an application.