Tag Archives: The Cove

The Cove Weekly Snapshot

We had a wonderful week at The Cove with multiple groups on campus. The week started with an Intensive Bible Training and the arrival of  several Guest Groups for their retreats and donor events. We also offered a Personal Spiritual Retreat for individuals or couples looking to refocus on growing their relationship with God in the beauty and peaceful quiet of The Cove.

We were blessed to have Pastor Mark Yarbrough with us from the Dallas Theological Seminary. Worship was led by Richard and Gina Kingsmore.

We had students attend from the Dallas Theological Seminary that received seminary credit for their graduate work and CEU credit for a teacher certification. We also had several families and individuals who wanted to dive deeper into the Word.

Here is a sweet mother and daughter that decided to take their vacation to The Cove and spend time in the Word and with one another.

We also had several guest groups events and a personal spiritual retreat. The Training Center lobby  at The Cove was filled with many conversations, fellowship, and prayer.

To end our week, we have an Evening at The Cove with the wonderful group Veritas. They are a classical crossover vocal group that leads uplifting songs of worship. They recently  released their third full-length album, “Simply Veritas”, a collection of a cappella standards, patriotic tunes, and classic hymns, dear to their hearts.

Our summer is just beginning and we have an incredible line-up of Bible teachers, worship artists, and more. We hope that you can visit us soon!


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: Week at The Cove

This past week at The Cove was quite busy with several Guest Group Events, a wonderful Seminar taught by Pastor Jonathan Falwell, and many guests at our Visitor’s Center.  Everyone enjoyed the wonderful weather and the beautiful surroundings.

View from the Training Center Deck
Pastor Jonathan Falwell Seminar


Pastor Jonathan Falwell teaching on “Understanding the Important Doctrines of The Bible”


Beautiful flowers at the Chatlos Memorial Chapel and Visitor’s Center

The trails are great for a relaxing walk or even a nice run

A quiet evening on the Training Center Deck


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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KENDRA GRAHAM SPRING BIBLE STUDY

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. Our prayer is that you  will grow deeper in the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and His promises for you. 

STEP ONE: Pray

STEP TWO:  Read the Text. 

Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed by stages from the wilderness of Sin, according to the command of the LORD, and camped at Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink.

(Exodus 17:1, NASB)

STEP THREE:   WHAT DOES IT SAY?
THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE

All the congregation of Israel journeyed from wilderness of Sin according to the command of the LORD, camped at Rephidim and there was no water for people

STEP FOUR:  WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
THE LESSONS

Have you ever felt like God had definitely led you to a place; I mean you felt a calling deep in your bones and it took such a tremendous act of faith on your part to trust God in His leading, only to get where He led and all you see is lack and hardship?

I am sure you all are better than me, but my first reaction is not to get on my knees and pray, my first reaction is to raise some serious questions.  Did I hear God right?  Was this all a huge mistake?  Why would God impress such a bold move of faith and then lead me to a place like this?

I have some questions about what God is up to. Does He hate me?  Has He abandoned me?  Has God led me right off a cliff just to watch me fall?  Did God lead me here so that He could hide me from everything productive?

Here in Exodus 17:1, God’s people have followed Him all the way from Egypt, through the Red Sea, to Marah, to Elim, to the wilderness of Sin, and now to Rephidim.  Where is Israel going?  The people of Israel are on their way to Sinai.  God has promised to take them out of Egypt (Exodus 3:8) and lead them to Sinai (Exodus 3:12), and then God will lead them to the Promised Land (Exodus 3:8).

The Wilderness of Sin is halfway to S-I-N-A-I. Rephidim is 3/4 of the way to Sinai.  Israel is ALMOST there!

Rephidim was historically known as a “place of resting.” It was a place in the desert where there were palm trees, and it was known for having water. Yet here in this passage, when the Children of Israel arrive at Rephidim, there is no water.

This is a problem.  There is expectation when God leads you and calls you to a place, isn’t there?  Israel had faithfully followed God and His leading for more than two months at this point.  They had done some grumbling along the way, yes, but the Bible tells us the “whole congregation” followed God.  What did they get for following God?  Hardship and need.  As we come to this part of the story, it almost seems as if God went out of His way to dry up the water that was supposed to be there, doesn’t it?  It seems that way to me.

I think that at times as we read a familiar Old Testament story and already know its ending, some of the original tension of the story can be lost, and we’re almost prevented from getting a real appreciation of the amount of faith God was calling His people to have. Let’s stop where we are and live in the moment of this verse: God’s people followed Him to a place where they would have a greater need than before.  Can you see that in your own life?

God’s people could not manufacture water in the desert.  So many times we do not come to God until all other options are off the table, so God, in His grace and love, brings us to places where we cannot be creative enough to provide for ourselves.  God wanted His people thirsty.  Why?

God’s name is “Jehovah Jirah”—Jehovah, the LORD, the God who is highly exalted above all Gods, and Jirah, who wants to be personally known as your provider. The fact is, we do not know that God provides for us, until we have need.  We do not know that He is the Living Water (John 4:10, John 7:38)…until we thirst.  My soul within me cries “Ugh!” and “Yay!” at that very statement.  I hate to have need! Yet I love when I get to see God provide.

I tend to have faith that God will provide for Israel, and for Moses, and for my pastor, and for all the really important people in the world; yet my faith fails when it comes to me believing that God wants me to know He is my provider.  God wants to write His name across the stories of our lives, and He cannot do that so long as I continue to be so self-sufficient.  Dependence is both a great place to be and a hard place to be.  God was leading Israel, and God is leading you and me.  Let’s hold on to that together.

God leads us to where He is… out of Egypt to Sinai!  For the Children of Israel, Sinai was the place of God’s presence.  Remember that God goes before us like a shepherd goes before His flock (Psalm 23).  Keep following the Shepherd. Keep depending on Him. Keep pressing on, and keep your eyes on Jesus when all your eyes can see is dry desert and all your soul can feel is a deep thirst.

Hold on to the fact of who He isShout it out!  Shout it in the car…on your walk…in your house on top of your coffee table:  “JEHOVAH JIRAH is God’s name, and because of HIS name He will be MY JEHOVAH and MY PROVIDER even when I can’t see how!”
(See I Samuel 12:22)

STEP FIVE:  WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?
NOW APPLY IT…. TODAY
.

 When has God led you to a place that seemed more lacking than full?  When has Jehovah written His name, “Jirah,” your provider, across the story of your life?  How is God trying to teach you to trust in His name?  What causes you to doubt that God will provide for you?

STEP SIXLIVE IT OUT.

Today, in all the chaos, in all the empty, and in all my thirst, I will claim the name of Jehovah Jirah; even if I do not feel it or see it, I will shout what His name is and ask God to open my eyes and heart to the truth that He is “Jehovah” who wants to be known to me as “Jirah.” 


Will you prayerfully consider encouraging someone with your story of how God wrote His name of “provider” across the story of your life?  We would love to hear from you here, in the comments section.  Also, consider sharing your story of God’s provision with someone in your own community.  As God’s people we need to get back to a place where we not only remember His name, but believe it!  Your stories can help encourage us to hold on to Him in the hard and desolate places.  Life is hard, but Jehovah is Jirah!

Thank you again for joining us for this Bible study. Feel free to let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Praying that you have a very blessed week ahead!


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

 

Saturday Snapshot: Will Graham New Release ‘Redeemed’

We are so excited for Will Graham’s devotional book to be released on October 23rd! Redeemed: Devotions for the Longing Soul features 50 devotions. Some include stories about Billy Graham. Others use examples from Will Graham’s life and ministry. All devotions point to the eternal hope we have in Jesus Christ!

“God Stories.”

That’s what Will Graham calls the anecdotes in his first book Redeemed: Devotions for the Longing Soul.

“I’m excited about it because I get to share some personal stories,” Will said.  There are stories of his grandfather, “Daddy Bill”- known to the world as Billy Graham- his grandmother, Ruth Graham, and his own experiences.

Click this link to order your copy! 

*All proceeds from Ruth’s Attic help support World Wide Evangelism through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.


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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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.

Follow us on social media. click map

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest

PRAYER NOTE: JULY 2018

We hope you will enjoy our “Prayer Note”—an internal communication here at The Cove, created each month to remind and encourage our staff to pray. We share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that you, too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note(3)

ROAD WORK

“Sometimes I’m asked to list the most important steps in preparing for an evangelistic mission, and my reply is always the same: prayer…prayer…prayer.”  —Billy Graham

Our relationship with God is sometimes referred to as our “spiritual walk,” our “walk with God,” or our “faith journey.” Recent road work at The Cove has reminded us that we as a staff are “road workers,” preparing the way for people to come here to meet with God and move closer to Him in their journey of faith.

PAVE THE WAY WITH LOVE

The Apostle Paul often used the “walk” metaphor in his letters to the churches.  In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul explained that as believers, “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10, NASB).

In chapter four, the apostle described what that walk would look like:  “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,  with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,  being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3, NASB).

FOLLOW YOUR FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS

In the opening verses of Ephesians five, Paul stresses the importance of walking in love, giving us the picture of a young child walking beside his father and trying to imitate his walk. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;  and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Ephesians 5:1-2, NASB).

While we will never reach our Heavenly Father’s standard of perfection in our own strength, we are told to be imitators of God and to walk as Christ walked.  If we have repented of our sin and accepted Christ’s offer of forgiveness through His blood, we are transformed, reborn and adopted into God’s family. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and the leading of God’s Word, we can choose to walk in a way that shows others the family resemblance. Loving others with a selfless, sacrificial love will point them to Christ, who made the ultimate sacrifice to bring us to God.

PREPARE THE PATH WITH PRAYER

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul commends the believers and expresses thanks to God for their faith in Christ Jesus and their love for all the saints. Paul’s love for them is evident as he assures them of his unceasing prayers:

“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understandingso that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,  to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might,  for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light” (Colossians 1:9-12, NASB).

The roads at The Cove are in great shape, ready to receive vehicles filled with individuals who will come here seeking a closer walk with God.  Our peaceful walking trails await those who need a quiet place to meet with Him amid the beauty of His creation.  So what’s our job now as “road workers”? As Cove staff, we have various job descriptions and To-Do lists, but there’s one thing we’re all called upon to do before every seminar or event: we pray.

It is both our privilege and our responsibility to pray for each other and for those who will come to The Cove. The physical tasks we perform on a daily basis while serving here will have no lasting spiritual impact unless they are carried out in love and bathed in prayer. Acknowledging that only the Holy Spirit can truly open a heart, we do our best to prepare a safe, comfortable, welcoming environment free of distractions which might take attention away from the truth of God’s Word. As we seek to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,” faithfully and prayerfully carrying out the tasks He has called us to, we help to clear the way for the Lord to work.

Let’s commit being faithful in prayer. Consider praying the words of Colossians 1:9-12 for your co-workers, loved ones, and for all those who will visit The Cove in the month of July.

—Donna Riesen


We appreciate you joining us in prayer for the following events that will take place on The Cove property during the month of July.

JULY CALL TO PRAYER

Lisa Harper — July 6-8
(Emcee: Patty Stump; Worship Leader: Stephanie Seefeldt; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
Women’s Seminar— The Life of Job: An Unlikely Joy

 Don Wilton — July 9-13
(Emcee: Bill Wolfe; Worship Leader: Stephanie Seefeldt; Pastor-in-Residence: Preston Parrish)
Intensive Bible Training — Come, Holy Spiri

Alex McFarland — July 16-18
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: Johnny Prettyman; Pastor-in-Residence: Kevin Wimbish)
Amos: The Principles of Revival and the Pathway to Spiritual Awakening

Guided Personal Spiritual Retreat — July 16-19
(Facilitator: John Parrish

Tony Evans — July 19-21
(Emcee: Ron Whittemore; Worship Leader: Johnny Prettyman; Pastor-in-Residence: Jim Brackett)
Kingdom Disciples: Heaven’s Representatives on Earth

An Evening at The Cove with Michael Card — July 22
(Emcee: Michelle Bachelor)

Michael Card — July 23-27
(Emcee: Ron Whittemore; Worship Leader: Michael Card; Pastor-in-Residence: David Taylor)
Intensive Bible Training — Follow Me

 Darren Thomas — July 27-29
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: Michael O’Brien; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
Restore My Soul

Cove Bible Verse for the Week of April 16th

The Lord Is My Rock and My Fortress

Our Bible verse for the week is from Psalm 18:1-3

“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. ”


 

 

 

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

Prayer Note: April 2018

We hope you will enjoy our “Prayer Note”—an internal communication here at The Cove, created each month to remind and encourage our staff to pray. We share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that you, too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note(3)

JUST WHO DO WE THINK WE’RE TALKING TO?

“…in Jesus’ name, amen.” We often end our prayers in this way—probably more times than we can count. But what do we do after our petitions have been made and our prayers ended? After saying amen, have you ever raised your head, risen from your knees and stooped right back down to pick up your burden?


The little girl stood with tiny feet planted in the cool, wet sand. A strong, salty breeze blew and the hot sun warmed her skin. Not yet old enough to comprehend the immensity of the vast ocean before her, she busied herself with the task of collecting water in her little red pail. With patient determination she squatted low and tipped the bucket down to allow the incoming wave to fill it. Then, squealing with excitement, up she jumped, grinning as she ran, cool seawater splashing over the sides of the bucket as she scampered across the sandy shore. Her parents watched, amused at the seriousness with which their little one viewed this endeavor. The tiny water-bearer grinned up at them as she dumped the seawater into the hole she’d dug earlier. She watched with a mixture of fascination and exasperation as the thirsty ground drank up most of her offering. Then, shrugging her shoulders she rose and ran back down to the shoreline for another fill-up. With sober determination she knelt and tipped the bucket down to allow the next wave to fill it. Satisfied, she lifted her head, scanning the huge incoming waves with wide eyes and an expression of surprise. “Mama,” she cried, “it just keeps on coming!” Then she lifted her half-filled bucket and began making her way back across the sandy beach…

How often my prayer life resembles the activity of this industrious child on her first trip to the beach. I bow my head and dutifully tilt my bucket of need, prepared to catch the incoming flow of blessings I’ve requested of my Father on behalf of myself and those I love. After pouring out praise and petitions, I rise and think the ‘task’ of prayer is complete. Another item checked off my list. Yet often the depth of need seems to remain or grow bigger. Worry and anxiety return to keep me company. I’ve poured out my bucket of prayers, yet the burden still weighs heavy and the depth of my need increases.

LIFTING OUR EYES

What if, instead of keeping my head lowered and my eyes on my tiny bucket, I simply lifted my eyes to survey the vast ocean of grace and goodness in front of me?

What if when we prayed, we paused with each request to consider Who it is we are coming to? How might our prayers change if we began to try to comprehend just a fraction of the limitless sea of sufficiency we have in Christ? Would it help us to pray without ceasing if we paused to remind ourselves that His mercies never cease?  (See 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and Lamentations 3:22.)

“Lord, there’s a big decision I have to make—please give me wisdom. Your Word says that You Yourself are the embodiment of Wisdom, and that in You ‘are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (Colossians 2:3, NKJV). You’ve told me to ask for wisdom when I need it (see James 1:5), so I’m asking now. Thank You for hearing and answering, Lord!”

“Jesus, I’ve blown it again. I’ve failed You and fallen into the same hateful sin. I confess it before You and ask You to forgive me. You are the Savior who died to pay the penalty for my sin, and You are my Redeemer and Deliverer. (See Colossians 1:13-14.) Thank You that nothing in all creation can separate me from Your love.” (See Romans 8:38-39.)

“God, I’m facing a huge task and I’m in need of strength. Your Word tells me that You are my ‘refuge and fortress’ (Psalm 91:2, ESV).  You are omnipotent—all-powerful, and You give strength to the weary and power to the weak. (See Isaiah 40:29.)  I need Your strength and power today, and I’m trusting You for it. Thank you.”

“Lord Jesus, these waves of grief and loss washing over me threaten to knock me off my feet. The Scriptures tell me that you were ‘a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief’ (Isaiah 53:3, NKJV) and that You are ‘near to the broken-hearted’ (Psalm 34:18, ESV). Please help me as I bring these pieces of my shattered heart to You. Let me rest in You, trusting You to hold me and bring comfort, courage and healing.”

“Heavenly Father, the need I’m faced with appears huge—insurmountable—like a towering mountain casting a great shadow over me. Yet I thank You that I can ‘seek refuge in the shadow of Your wings’ (Psalm 57:1, HCSB).  Help me to remember that You are the all-sufficient Creator who holds all things together. (See Colossians 1:16-17.) As I lift my eyes to the hills, help me to remember that my help comes from You, the Maker of heaven and earth. (See Psalm 121:1-3.)”

As we pray for the seminars and events that will take place at The Cove this month, let’s search the Scriptures, claim God’s promises, and pause to remember just Who it is we are talking to.

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
(Ephesians 3:14-19 NKJV)

Keep praying and seeking!

—Donna Riesen


We appreciate you joining us in prayer for the following events taking place on The Cove property during the month of April:

Jan Harrison — April 8
(Emcee: Michelle Bachelor; Worship Leader: Shannon Wexelberg)
Women’s Spring Luncheon —
Life After the Storm: God Will Carry You Through

SeniorSalt Impact Hymn Sing — April 9
(Emcee/Worship Leader: Ron Whittemore)

Jim Cymbala — April 10-11
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: Shannon Wexelberg)
Pastor Renewal Retreat—
Breakthrough Ministry: Lessons From the Book of Acts

Guided Personal Spiritual Retreat — April 16-19
(Facilitator: John Parrish)

An Evening at The Cove with David Phelps — April 19
(Emcee: Michelle Bachelor)

 

Special Easter Message from Will Graham

“What then shall I do with Jesus?”

By: Will Graham

For Christians, Easter is one of the most holy times of the year. With all that surrounds the holiday from a worldly perspective,  I find that many people simply miss the point of why we rejoice. Easter exists because Jesus died for our sins and conquered the grave. We celebrate life at Easter, because death lost its sting with Christ’s triumphant resurrection.

Sadly, so many of our family, friends and neighbors enjoy Easter, but have never experienced the true meaning of it. They may know of Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross, but they can’t or won’t make a decision about Him as their Savior.

In the Bible, we see a man who will forever be linked to what we call Easter. He talked to Jesus directly, he evaluated him, and yet he too, couldn’t bring himself to make a decision about what to do with Christ. His name was Pontius Pilate and Matthew 27:11-25 tells us a lot about this Roman Governor who oversaw the trial of Jesus.

First, Pilate rejected Jesus’ own confession of who He was: the Christ, the Savior. Pilate asked the question and heard the truth (straight from the mouth of the Son of God), but he took it no further.

Second, Pilate rejected clear evidence. Pilate investigated Jesus and came to the conclusion that He was innocent, finding that He had committed no crime. Pilate realized that the only reason Jesus was on trial was the envy and hatred of the religious leaders, but he rejected that truth.

Third, Pilate gave in to pressure. Though he heard the claims of Christ and knew He had done nothing wrong, Pilate was compelled to sentence an innocent man to death because of the influence of the crowd.

Finally, Pilate tried to cleanse himself from the death of Jesus. He knew that he had just condemned an innocent man to die, and he was responsible. In a symbolic gesture, he washed his hands and proclaimed the guilt for Christ’s death on the crowd instead.

My friends, Pilate had a decision to make. He knew the truth, but he couldn’t take a stand one way or the other. Instead, he asked a question: “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:22, NKJV)

That’s the question that so many today, perhaps even you, have a hard time answering. In far too many situations, people know the truth but – like Pilate – they give in to the pressures of others and walk away from Jesus, putting the decision off for another day.

However, indecision is a decision. Making no decision for Christ, is making a decision about Christ. And it’s one that has eternal consequences.

If you have been putting off the decision to follow Christ and make Him the Lord of your life, now is the perfect time. Jesus’ death and resurrection, which we celebrate as Easter, paved the way for you. I encourage you to receive that hope and accept Him as your Savior today!


To learn more on how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and to have Peace with God, click here. 


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Kendra Graham Online Bible Study: Mark 15:39

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 Mark 15:39

A Triumphal Entry

And when the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

What Does it Say:
The Centurion standing right in front of Him saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God”

What Does it Mean:
The book of Mark goes through the narrative of the crucifixion in a unique way.  Recently I was reading, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire by Nigel Rodgers and was pretty amazed by what I read.

Romans had what was called a “Triumph”.  A triumph started probably back in the days of the Greeks, but Octavian, Caesar Augustus made the honor of triumphs for emperors of Rome only.  When Rome would win a major battle, there would be a huge parade, celebration in the street which would parade the captives of that particular battle in front as proof of his accomplishment and then the emperor, “humbly” behind.

The triumphator, the emperor, would be taken into the place of the palace called the Praetorium, where the Praetorium guard of Rome would be.  The elite soldiers would take a special sash called a toga picta, which symbolized, and drew the connection between the emperor and one of their Roman gods, like Zeus, Mars or Jupiter.  The emperors since Octavian were known as the “sons of the gods” and these triumphs would remind the people of that very thing.  The Praetorian Guard was the closest thing to the emperor so they would of course know the deity of the emperor more intimately than anyone, so for them to dress the emperor was a very important part of the triumphal process.  The emperors would often pay off the Praetorian Guard, so that they would really make a convincing show of this whole process.  The soldiers would place a crown of laurel upon the head of the emperor.  The emperor would begin the processional in the field of Mars  (Campus Martinus) and proceed down the sacred way to Capitoline Hill (the place of the skull where tradition has it that as the Romans were building their city, a full in tact human head was found here).  At Capitoline Hill the captives were either killed or they were set free depending on the rule of the emperor.  The Roman guard would go before the emperor on this journey and would exclaim to the crowd, “HAIL! The son of god!  HAIL, the son of god!”  The crowd would cheer and bow as the emperor passed. Lastly the emperor would ascend up the steps of the temple of Saturn with one man on either side.   One man would tell him that he is the son of god and the other would remind him that he is mortal.  The emperor at the top of the steps would be offered a goblet of wine, which he would pour out on the ground as an offering to the gods and to Rome signifying that the emperor would give his life blood for the gods and Rome. The crowd would cheer.  An animal would be sacrificed there, at that place to satisfy the payment to the gods in thanks in adoration for the victory and power that Rome enjoyed.  The city would feast the rest of the day.


(Picture:  Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified)

Now, read Mark chapter 15.  How would the disciples explain to the Roman world the triumph of the Savior, Jesus, to a pagan world who did not know the Word of God and were not looking for a Messiah?  Through the triumphal procession of Jesus.  The similarities cannot be ignored.  Mark 15:16, the soldiers took Him, Jesus into the Praetorium and dressed him in a fine kingly toga picta of purple and fashioned for Him a crown, not of laurel but of thorns.  They put it on Him.  The guard went before him on a procession (Mark 15:18) and exclaimed, “Hail! King of the Jews!” They led Him out of the palace and through the city, to crucify Him.  They brought Him to a place called , Golgotha, translated “The place of the skull” (Mark 15:22).  Jesus wound through the city along the way called the “Via dolorosa” which means the way of suffering and is seen today as “the sacred way” as many this Easter will make their pilgrimage down the same way.  The soldiers offered Jesus wine mixed with myrrh, Mark 15:23, but He would not drink it.  The guards continued their mocking and jeering in the face of the son of God who was not just symbolizing that He would pour His life blood out for His people the Jews and the world, but He was doing it (John 10:17-18).   He was crucified between two thieves.  One thief proclaimed, (Luke 23:39) “Are You not the Christ save yourself and us!” The other thief asked Jesus to “Remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).


(Picture: Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified)

All this was taken in by the Roman Praetorian Guard in Jerusalem.  This particular centurion soldier at the cross saw Jesus as the undeniable Son of God.  How many times had that soldier been a part of Roman triumphs?  How many times was he forced to bend his knee to the emperor exclaiming that the emperor was the son of god?  How often had he been paid off by the Roman authorities to pronounce the deity of the Roman leader?  Yet here, in front of the cross, this man proclaimed without payment or force, “Truly this man was the Son of God”.  He had seen so many imposters, that here, at the cross, the Truth of Jesus was seen.  Even the Roman world would be able to see, understand and believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God (Matthew 16:16).

Do you see similarities to that of a Roman triumph?  Truly this was the ultimate triumph.  The triumph once and for all for sin.  Jesus triumphed at the place of the skull.  Jesus triumphed over sin at the cross and three days later rose again and triumphed over death at the grave.  The cross is not a defeat, but the greatest triumph that the world will ever see.

Many of us have seen failures of men who claim to be next to God.  We have seen failures of leaders who preach the Word the God.  We have seen failures of godly men and women who have fallen to adversity in this world.  We have seen failures of the church.  We have seen failures in Christian schools and universities.  We have seen failures in Christian organizations.  It is so easy to focus on all those who have fallen, but truly isn’t that just proof of the reason and desperate need of the world for Jesus?  This Easter, let’s join the centurion at the cross standing in front of Jesus alone.  As we look to Jesus this Easter may our words ring ever so similar to that centurion as we proclaim, “Truly, this is the Son of God!”.

What does it Mean to me?

Who do you say Jesus is?  Everyone must decide about Jesus.  This Easter will you make that choice to cry out to Jesus who alone is able to forgive and redeem your sin? (Acts 16:31, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:33, Romans 5:8, I Corinthians 15:3-4)

When have you truly taken the time to see Jesus for who He has proven Himself to be?

LIVE IT OUT.

Dear God, I am a sinner and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that you raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

Daily read the Word of God and get to know the love this God has for you since before time began.


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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