Tag Archives: The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove

Saturday Snapshot: Pastor Renewal Retreat with Jim Cymbala

Our week started with a Pastor Renewal Retreat featuring the ministry of Pastor Jim Cymbala.

Pastor Cymbala was born in Brooklyn, New York,  and serves as the lead pastor of The Brooklyn Tabernacle. Because of the challenges God has brought him through over the years, Pastor Cymbala is an amazing speaker for other ministers to hear.  So many pastors today can relate to those same challenges.

When Jim and his wife started in ministry,  they found a congregation of less than 20 people meeting in a rundown building located in an impoverished part of downtown Brooklyn. Over the years God has shown his faithfulness to them and their congregation in many incredible ways. Pastor Cymbala believes that churches are built on prayer!  Brooklyn Tabernacle’s present campus includes a large renovated theater in downtown Brooklyn where thousands of people come each week to hear the Good News of Jesus.

Jim is the author of several books,  including Fresh Wind Fresh Fire, which was named Christian book of the year. His wife, Carol, directs the six-time Grammy Award Winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir whose music has blessed people around the world.

Cove Pastor Renewal Retreats include free meals and lodging (based on availability) for those actively serving in pastoral ministry. Each retreat provides the opportunity to interact with peers and receive insight, instruction, and best practices from experienced Christian leaders. We are pleased to offer these retreats as an opportunity for pastors and their spouses to be refreshed in the Word and have some time to rest.

Of their retreat experience this weekend one pastor and his wife wrote, “We had an amazing time at The Cove with Pastor Jim Cymbala. God has a way of using servants who have a passion to share the Word to lift and edify others. We are filled-up and encouraged.” We were sold out at this weekend’s retreat, but we do have many more coming up! We encourage you to let your pastor know about these retreats! We hold them during the week so that pastors will still be free for their church’s weekend services. It will be a blessing to your pastor and their spouse.

Upcoming Pastor Renewal Retreats led by:

Jim Henry: May 1st-3rd (click here to view more)

Ed Stetzer: May 30th- June 1st ( click here to view more)

Richard Blackaby: September 4th-5th (click here to view 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 GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

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Kendra Graham Online Bible Study – Judges

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left-hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

KENDRA GRAHAM NOTES FROM JUDGES

So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD” (Judges 6:6, NKJV).

What does it Say?

Israel was greatly impoverished and cried out to the LORD

What Does it Mean?

We don’t need God … well, until we need God. We hate that God allows hardship.  If God really loved us then He would give us everything we wanted—when we wanted it—and would not allow any difficulty or struggle to come into our lives.  God would not allow us to hit rock bottom, that’s for sure!  Isn’t that what we think a loving God would be like?  When life hits us hard and knocks the wind out of us, we do not question our love for God—we question His love for us.

In verse one of this chapter, we read, … the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD.”  Israel decided against following God’s laws, choosing instead to follow their own hearts.  God’s chosen people believed that they knew best, and that they no longer needed God.

The Israelites started out focused on God; and as they walked with God, He allowed them to prosper. Somewhere in the midst of prosperity, however, they forgot God. Israel decided to live life the way they wanted to; they did not want to be strapped down to God’s Word and obedience to Him.  And the Scriptures tell us that Israel’s God—refusing to force obedience—allowed His people to walk away from His protective hand. God allowed the Midianites to ruin and ransack the land.  The first few verses of this chapter reveal how the Midianites were like locusts on the land—everything that had been full became empty, and the land was left barren.  The livestock and crops were taken.  The children of Israel were living in caves and dens, full of fear that the Midianites would come back and take their lives.  The lives of God’s people had not just fallen apart—they were completely dismantled.  God’s people had lost everything.  The people were greatly impoverished.

How long did it take for God’s people to come back to God? Was it right away?  Did they return before they wandered too far from God?  Did they quickly see how God loved them, instantly understanding that walking with God and following His laws was for their protection not for harm?  Sadly, no.  Israel was no different than we are.  We walk away from God. We demand God leave us alone; and then when He does, our lives really fall apart and our fists fly as we blame God for everything . In our pride and stubbornness we determine we will “show God,” so we fight and fight and fight the Midianites until we are utterly exhausted. If we’re honest, it is not Midian we are so upset with—we’re angry with God for being so far away from our terrible plight.

Meanwhile, God has not gone anywhere. It was not God who walked away.  God is still where He can be found (Deuteronomy 4:29, Isaiah 55:6), but we refuse with all that is in us to go back to Him.  So we continue to live in our pride, digging a hole deeper and deeper until we are greatly impoverished physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.  Here, in this passage in Judges, Israel fought Midian and lived in their own stubbornness for seven years. Yet God is patient and has eternity to wait.

Israel did not turn and cry out to God until they had lost everything.  They lost their land, their prosperity, their food, their homes…their pride.  Did you know that it is impossible for a prideful, arrogant person to “cry out to the LORD”?  Prayer takes humility.  Prayer takes an attitude of “I need You, God because I can’t without You.”

Seven years of hardship.  Seven years of pain.  Seven years of loss.  Seven years of bitterness towards God for allowing Midian to do such atrocities.  Seven years of living in their pride, even in the midst of humiliating circumstances.  Seven long years of trying to show God they could fix it without Him.

But God loves us enough to wait. We have such a misunderstanding of God’s love, don’t we?  When I read this passage I could not help but think of the prodigal son.  The Father allowed the son to leave, and then he waited.  Love waits.  It waits until we are done.  God’s love kept Him waiting for His people, and that same love keeps Him waiting for you and me. God has not gone anywhere. God is found in His Word, and in His Word you and I will find that God is love. He loves for His children to cry out to Him. When we cry out to God, we find Him waiting with arms open wide—not condemning us, but loving us.

You and I were created to walk with God—to know Him and to need Him. As we walk with God and cling to His promises day by day, we will not find our lives to be problem free and full of material wealth, yet we will live a life full of God.  God’s purpose and personal plan for each of us is to live a life full with Him!  In the midst of hardship we can have peace, patience, and perseverance (John 16:33, 2 Corinthians 4:8).  In the midst of prosperity we can have a thankfulness for God’s generosity and presence (Psalm 127, James 1:17).  The key to a life of purpose is God Himself.  Cry out to God today and begin anew to walk with Him.

What Does it Mean to Me?

What causes you to cry out to the LORD?

When was a time you walked with the LORD faithfully, but then fell away?

What will it take for you once again to walk with the God you were created to walk with?

LIVE IT OUT

LORD, today as I cry out to You, help me to come back to You. Teach me Your Word.  Walk with me once again as this new day starts.

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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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Cove Bible Verse for Week of March 6

This week’s verse is brought to you by:
Michelle | Cove Program Manager | Zephaniah 3:17

“The Lord you God in your midst, The mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing,” (Zephaniah 3:17, NKJV). 

SMALL_Michelle_Program Manager


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

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden.  Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

Recipe from the Cove Kitchen: Banana Pudding

Recipes from The Cove kitchen logo

Did you know that Cove Executive Director, Will Graham’s, favorite Cove dessert is banana pudding?  Well, our pastry chef, Natalie,  is sharing her delicious recipe today.  We hope you will enjoy as much as Will and our guests do.

Banana Pudding from Canva

Banana Pudding
Served at The Cove
Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients
1 package (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup whole milk
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
½ tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 oz heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Vanilla Wafers
Bananas, sliced as needed
Extra sweetened whipped cream as needed for topping

Whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar into soft peaks. In a separate bowl, whisk together the whole milk, condensed milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Slowly whisk in the pudding mix and continue whisking for 2 minutes. Fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture 1/3 portions at a time. In the bottom of a 9”x9” casserole dish, spread an even layer of vanilla wafers. Spread sliced bananas on top of wafers. Spread half of pudding mixture over the bananas. Repeat wafers, bananas, and pudding.

Top with sweetened whipped cream.  For best results, make 1 day ahead of time and chill overnight.

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE BANANA PUDDING RECIPE.

To find additional recipes from The Cove kitchen click here.

Enjoy delicious recipes like this on your next stay at The Cove.  Click here to see a full list of upcoming events at The Cove or contact our Guest Group department to book a group retreat.

Recipe From The Cove Kitchen: Coconut Cheesecake with Brownie Crust

Recipes from The Cove kitchen logo

COCONUT CHEESECAKE WITH BROWNIE CRUST

At The Cove, we are blessed with amazingly gifted chefs with a heart to serve God.  Today, our pastry chef Natalie shares her recipe for
Coconut Cheesecake with Brownie Crust.  Delicious!

Coconut Cheesecake with Brownie Crust
Served at The Cove
Makes 1 – 9 inch pie, 6-8 servings

Ingredients
Brownie Crust:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine flour and baking powder and set aside. Melt butter and chocolate together over a double boiler. Whip eggs with the sugar until thick and light in color. Fold melted butter and chocolate into eggs. Gently stir in the flour. Pour into a 9 inch round cake pan that is lined with parchment paper and greased. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until toothpick comes out with wet crumbs.

Coconut Cheesecake:
2 pounds cream cheese
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded coconut

Directions: Mix cream cheese on medium speed with a paddle until smooth, scraping the bowl several times. Reduce speed to low and add sugar and salt. Mix until smooth, scraping the bowl. Add eggs and egg yolk one at a time, scraping the bowl well after each addition. Stir in the coconut milk and vanilla. Stir in shredded coconut. Pour batter over baked brownie crust. Bake at 325 degrees, in a warm bath, for 45 minutes-1 hour or until center is almost set. Immediately run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake crust and cool completely in the water bath before refrigerating or freezing.

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE PDF RECIPE OF THE COCONUT CHEESECAKE WITH BROWNIE CRUST

Enjoy other recipes from The Cove kitchen here.

 

Saturday Snapshot

We are blessed with Scripture etched in stone on some of our  buildings around the property.  These remind us of the abounding love, protection and grace we receive from our Heavenly Father.

Stone verse
The verse John 10:14 carved in stone at the entrance to Shepherd’s Inn.

DSC03419 2

The verse 2 Chronicles 6:18b at the entrance to Chatlos Memorial Chapel.

While attending your event or retreat at The Cove, make sure to allow for plenty of time to explore our property and take a moment to meditate on God’s word.

Click here to view upcoming events at The Cove.

Interested in bringing a group to The Cove for a special retreat, click here for information.

 

Kendra’s Bible Study…Isaiah 53:6-7

The Book of Isaiah

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study.  This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity.  We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Kendra Graham notes from Isaiah 53:6-7

WHAT DOES IT SAY? THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE.
In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage. DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts. Do not paraphrase. Use the actual words of the passage. This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts. If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.

FACTS:

Verse 6a: All of us have gone astray, turned his own way.

Verse 6b: The LORD caused the sin of us all to fall on Him.

 Verse 7: He was oppressed, afflicted yet did not open His mouth.

Verse 7b: Like a lamb before shearers.

Verse 7c: He did not open His mouth.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS.
Look for a lesson to learn from each fact. What are the people doing that they should be doing? What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?

Is there a command to follow? A promise to claim? A warning to heed? An example to follow?

LESSONS:

Verse 6a: Romans 3:23. We are all sinners, we all fall short of God’s holy standard. We are all separated from the God we were created to walk with, know and need. We all do what we want, it is not in us to please God, it is in us to please ourselves.

Verse 6b: There is a HUGE gap called sin that is separating us from the God we were created to walk with, know and need. So GOD, not trusting His hand made creation to another, came Himself, to bridge that GAP, Himself. God is serious about us knowing Him… and went to all lengths to show us. Oh that we would have eyes to see what He has done!

 Verse 7a: God came Himself, to fix the GAP between Him and His handmade creation. Someone has to pay the price to fix that Gap… forgiveness is not cheap… so God, Himself, chose to be afflicted and oppressed for my sin and your sin… whatever the cost, He would pay. We like to complain when things are unjust, and we are being “unjustly” accused, yet God Himself, unjustly accused, took the shame that was due me and you.

Verse 7b: Jesus, God with skin on, went forth… went towards the cross, towards the shame, towards the pain, without a fight, without regret. That fateful night in the Garden of Gethesemene, Jesus spoke up…. “I Am He”….. Jesus made a stand, when I run and hide. He stands for me and for you, walking down the Via Dolorosa… for us, so we would have the opportunity to know Him.

Verse 7c: Jesus could have spoken and killed everyone on command. IN the Garden, He said, “I AM He” and the soldiers in John, fell to the ground…. their gracious pause… to consider that which they were doing. Jesus could have slayed them with a word, and upon His return, He will, in Revelation, slay the armies of the world with a word. Here, now in Isaiah 53, Jesus must press in, to take the punishment for sin, or you and I are as a people without hope. Oh the deep deep love of Jesus, that He kept His mouth shut as He went through six trials and pronounced seven times that He is worthy to be scourged and then worthy to be slain as the perfect Lamb of Passover for our sin.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME NOW? APPLY IT…. TODAY.
Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.

As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.

*Do not rush. Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think.   This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next. Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?

Verse 6a: Do you realize you have sinned before God? Do you realize you were created to walk with God, know God and need God, but that your sin separated you from this loving God who did everything to fix that gap?

Verse 6b: Do you realize that God Himself didn’t trust your soul to anyone else, but Himself, so He came with skin on, His name was Jesus? Do you know that Jesus came specifically to pay the price that your sin had on your head?

Verse 7a: Have you spent time this Easter season to thank Jesus for coming to pay that debt for you? Do you realize the debt that had to be paid for you?

Verse 7b: Do you know that Jesus didn’t complain about it, but went forth out of love for you to the cross?

Verse 7c: Would you ever be able to keep my mouth shut while unjustly accused? How many times during the day, week or month do you speak up just to “set the record straight” about yourself? How often do you feel the need to respond to false testimony about yourself? Do you realize Jesus took on false testimony about Himself in order to pay for your testimony of sin?

LIVE IT OUT!

Hold yourself accountable to LIVE OUT in your daily life that which God impresses upon your heart. Write it out, sign it, date it and claim the transforming power of God’s Word and His presence in your life.

Spend time today realizing the love and total strength that it took Jesus to “go forth” on your behalf.

Homework: Isaiah 53:3-4

Get stuck? www.annegrahamlotz.com and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!