The 2019 New Canaan Society New England Regional Retreat was held September 13-14 at the Heritage Hotel in Southbury, CT. The theme was “Understanding Changes Everything”, and Dr. Mark Gordon Fee was our Guide for the weekend. This is Mark’s opening talk on Friday night. Below is a link to the Retreat materials.
Kalim Andraos challenges his audience with the question “Where is the Kingdom of God in your life?”
After sharing his own incredible story of growing up in war-torn Lebanon and coming to the United States as a refugee of the civil war in Beirut, Kalim tells about his introduction to the love of Jesus through a retired missionary in Winston-Salem, NC. Andraos recounts how this missionary visited gas stations talking about Jesus to the employees. Kalim also explains not only the struggle he went through surrendering his life to Jesus (because he feared how much he might lose) but also the amazing vision in a dream that finally brought him to submission. He also describes how he has continually experienced God as kind and loving despite his sinful behavior.
Finally, Kalim shares how he and his wife now try to spread the love of Jesus through extending radical hospitality in their home and by leading mission trips throughout the world to help refugees and encourage those who support refugees. He also recounts some extraordinary experiences and people from his travels.
Kalim leaves his audience with the questions: Do you really trust God when He says to seek His Kingdom and all else will follow? Are you “all-in” for Jesus? Will you hear “well done”? How does the Kingdom of God rank in your life’s priorities?
With great humility and humor, Chip Skowron shares vulnerably and transparently about his transformative time in Federal prison and the impact of community on his experience. He describes how NCS fellowship brought him through the period leading up to prison, how God orchestrated extraordinary fellowship with his fellow inmates while he was there, and how NCS fellowship is helping him with the difficult transition of coming home. Chip also shares amazing stories about how the Holy Spirit moved within the prison and about some of the ways God exhibited His faithfulness time and time again by showing up miraculously at just the right times.
Bill Blezard shares the extraordinary faith journey that ultimately led to the founding, growth and success of Packaging Technology Group, Inc., a “Kingdom” class developer of thermally engineered, transport packaging solutions for the biotech and biopharmaceutical industries. PTG is a Christian faith-based company with its core values centered on faith, relationships, courage, and creativity.
In addition to recounting highlights of his personal life story, challenges and faith walk, Blezard describes the numerous acts of faith and obedience and the miraculous events that allowed PTG to achieve profitability in its first year of operations, exceeding revenue projections by nearly 1000%. He also shares how PTG’s faith-based culture serves, and has opened doors to prayer and transformation in, PTG’s employees, suppliers and customers.
Paul Michalski transparently shares his amazing faith journey and the lessons he has learned about ambition, priorities and identity. He talks about a life of performance, achievement and control that had to face the reality of a marriage crisis in 2003 and near-divorce in 2004. Paul explains the promises of God that he leaned on through that crisis, the way that his life priorities were perfectly upside down, and the stages that eventually culminated in a miracle reconciliation in 2004 (chronicled in Eric Metaxas’s book “Miracles”).
The next turning point in his journey came in 2009 when he felt God’s prompting to leave his prestigious Wall Street legal practice for “a different plan”. Paul discusses what he believes to be a critical identity choice for every follower of Jesus–whether you see yourself as “what you do” or “who you are”. He also shares the implications of that choice in the workplace. Paul’s ensuing nine-year journey since 2009 has included helping NCS in its transition from a regional to a national organization and, most recently, has led to the formation of Integrous LLC (integriosity.com)–an advisory and legal practice helping faith-inspired leaders integrate their work into their faith by pursuing “Integriosity”.
Click the link below for a PDF copy of the slides Paul used in his presentation.
Click the link below for a PDF of the chapter “God and Marriage” from Eric Metaxas’s book Miracles.