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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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 Luke 24:26-27

Ad Fonte!

Luke 24:26-27

Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory? (27) And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. (Luke 24:26-27, NASB)


Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things?
He explained to them things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.


In his book, Martin Luther, author Eric Metaxis describes how confused and frustrated Martin Luther was with God. After having become a monk, Luther had more questions regarding God and who He than he had before he had ever taken the vows. The longer he served as a monk, the more confused Luther became. If only there was a way that he could understand the heart of God. THEN…. a novel idea came to him: “What if I made my cry, Ad Fontes!’” (The Latin phrase, Ad Fontes means “Back to the Sources!”)
Martin Luther dusted off his red Bible and began his search to discover who God says He is, not who Luther assumed Him to be. An AMAZING discovery was found by the inquisitive monk: Jesus is the Word of God in flesh!
The two disciples walking away from Jerusalem on resurrection Sunday were absolutely devastated.  Rabboni, their Rabbi—the one they left everything for in order to follow—had been crucified on Friday; then on Sunday they had received the news that the tomb of Jesus was empty. Jesus was just gone. What in the world was going on? Was Jesus even real? What just happened? Had they really given up lucrative jobs, homes, and comfort to follow Jesus?
These two men walking the road to Emmaus were labeled “disciples,” which in that day and culture, as we know from our studies, meant that they followed the Rabbi. They followed where the Rabbi went, listened to what he taught, and did what he did. Remember: Talmidin do not want to know what the Rabbi knows, they want to be what the Rabbi is. A talmid will give up his entire identity in order to be identified with the Rabbi. This was a lifestyle, not just a Sunday or Wednesday hour-to hour-and-a half.
These talmidin believed Jesus to be the Christ, the Messiah, the King of the Jews, the Deliverer who had been promised since Genesis 3:15. On this day, they were beyond sad as they walked away from Jerusalem. Jesus had not delivered them at all. If anything, being identified with Jesus now would put them at greater risk with not only Rome, but also with their own leaders. With chaos, pain and suffering swirling around them, they did the only logical thing: they walked away.
Jesus, however, was like no Rabbi was or ever will be. Jesus—the risen Jesus—on resurrection Sunday relentlessly went to these two disciples, not to chew them out, but to remind them of what they knew…. of Who they knew. Jesus was patient as He listened to all the reasons the men gave for why He could not have been the Messiah, Son of David. These men truly had proof that they had seen and heard. There was one problem: Jesus had died before He delivered His people, so they could only conclude that He was NOT Messiah.
Jesus had crossed a churning sea for a naked tomb guy, had diverted through the busy streets of Jericho to hear a blind man preach, and had shone light in the darkest places. Here in Luke 24, this same Jesus walks seven miles out of His way to give the greatest message never recorded on why He is Messiah. The Good shepherd leaves the 99 (or the other 11), to hunt down these 2 unknown talmidin.
Jesus did not chide the two weary disciples for not remembering what He’d said countless times; because Jesus does not authenticate the Word of God, the Word of God authenticates Jesus. All the words Jesus spoke were now in limbo anyway. Could they be trusted as Truth?
So AD FONTES Jesus went. The men and women of that day were VERY well versed in the Word of God. By the age of twelve, most boys and girls had memorized the first five books of the Bible, and most had huge portions of the prophets memorized as well. Without tablets, iPhones or iPads at the touch of a finger, they had to put to memory the precious Word of God. Often we interpret who God is through the lens of our circumstance, but here, Jesus would look at who God is, then see what that does to the current circumstance of these talmadin.
Jesus made it very clear…. the Messiah must suffer… THESE things. ‘Come on, boys! Do you not know Isaiah 53? Psalm 88?’ Cut off… afflicted… wrath of God…. bound… despised… bones out of joint… encircled by evil doers…led to slaughter… bruised… at exactly noon when the high priest was cutting the throat of the lamb without blemish and without spot, a loud cry from the cross came out, “IT IS FINISHED!
In verse 30 of this passage, Jesus broke the bread….remember… “This is My body, BROKEN for you” and poured the wine…. “This is My blood”… “Do this in remembrance of Me….”
WAAAAIIIITTTT a MINUTE!! Oh! Oh! Oh! And then they saw. The Truth of God’s Word may not be what we want to hear. We may not like it. But it points to Jesus.
The eyes of the talmidin were opened and they saw through BELIEVING the Word of God, not through believing what they thought the Word of God should be. As the Truth grabbed hold of these men, they realized that the grip that sin had on them from the beginning was broken. The enemy had bruised Jesus, but Jesus had crushed the head of that other king from that other kingdom. They were delivered from the grip of sin, redeemed beyond Rome, redeemed for eternity. Sin had been conquered on the cross and death at the grave! God’s wrath was met; and at the same time, His mercy was given!
“The GRAVE is empty” was no longer a message of sadness and confusion, but a message of JOY and clarity: Jesus is Messiah, Son of David, Son of the Most High God. Who else would suffer through those things that MUST be done to bridge the gap of sin except God Himself! God came Himself with skin on, and His name is Jesus.  The Truth of the Word of God set a BOLD direction in their lives that could not be tamed. 
Ad Fonte! We have so many assumptions of how God should be and what He should do, but have you ever personally gone to the Source and asked God to show you who He says He is? Jeremiah 29:13 says, “If you seek Me, you will find Me if you seek with your whole heart.” 




When have we settled for looking at God only through the lens of our circumstance instead of looking at who God says He is and then looking at our circumstance that way?

How often are we in the Word of God vs. the word of commentaries, pastors and Bible study teachers?


If I want to #LIVEBOLD, I must be in the Word of God and allow the Truth of God’s Word to settle in my heart and drive my steps.



Do the Three Questions on John 21.

P.S. Ladies, there are two more weeks of our evening Women’s Bible Study at The Cove, and hope you’ll  join us!  Register online today.

Can’t make it in person?  We’ll be streaming LIVE each Tuesday evening on Periscope, via Twitter, where you can watch from the comfort of your own home.