The pastoral staff, their wives, and Angie and me enjoyed our time at The Cove last week. It’s fun and beneficial to spend time together. The Cove is a ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The retreat center is located in Asheville, North Carolina. The Cove is a special place to pull away from the demands of life and ministry and draw near to the Lord. We even saw a bear near one of the walking paths.
Church, thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement. Jesus taught and modeled the need for solitude and rest (Mark 6:30-31).
Our Bible teacher for the three days was Dr. Jim Henry. Bro. Jim is a dear friend and an inspiring mentor in ministry. He has a genuine love for Bradfordville. Bro. Jim’s encouragement is sincere and heartfelt. As a redeployed servant, he continues to encourage churches and pastors. I’m confident that Bro. Jim is fulfilling His divine purpose.
Bro. Jim shared from God’s Word and from personal experience about the importance of relationships. God calls us to love Him and to love one another (Matthew 22:37-39). He used four biblical characters to teach us.
- Joshua. Bro. Jim challenged us to seek holiness as we get older and guard against spiritual ruts. He revealed the schemes of the enemy and his unholy plans. A major need in the spiritual journey is encouragement. God encouraged Joshua three times. Whom do you and I need to encourage this week?
- Joseph. Bro. Jim shared about Joseph’s servant heart, his life of integrity, his persevering spirit, and his unshakable faith. God used Joseph to touch other people’s lives. You and I live in a high-tech world, but we need a high-touch ministry. Several pitfalls of ministry were revealed and explained from Joseph’s life. Whom do you and I need to touch this week?
- Paul. Bro. Jim asked listeners about their purpose in life. He invited us to follow God’s call, hold our plans lightly, and take risks in ministry. Three questions were given about how to know God’s will. (a) Is it based on God’s Word? (b) Do I have joy and peace in it? (c) Will it glorify God? Paul was a man on the move. God used him greatly. How do you and I need to follow God this week?
- John the Baptist. Bro. Jim invited listeners to think about their epitaphs. He stated that the greatest fear of young children facing death is, “I won’t be remembered.” John the Baptist had a human condition; he had a heavenly calling; and he had a holy commission. Ministry isn’t easy. We have three options in the fires of ministry: quit, back off, or endure. How do you and I need to live for God’s glory this week? As we look at the ministry calendar for 2018, we’re hoping to offer a trip to The Cove. We’d like for you to experience a ministry event and an overnight stay at the Billy Graham Training Center. We’ll keep you posted.
On the way home, we ate a meal at an unusual restaurant in Athens, Georgia. If you’re in that area, and you’d like to eat there, let me know. I’d be glad to share the name and address with you (and its not a BBQ restaurant).
Sitting at Jesus’ feet,