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.
The full title of Chad Drea’s talk is “False Idols and Manufactured Identity: How Drive, Hope and Success Almost Cost Me Everything”. With remarkable vulnerability, Chad reveals that his life mantra for many years was “suck it up”. It led to an achievement-driven and “successful” life and career– until he faced the prospect of a failure so devastating that he could no longer “suck it up”. Dreas explains what brought him back from the precipice of losing literally everything and how he came to find his identity in Jesus Christ rather than in achievements.
With equally remarkable humility and transparency, Chad shares how he began to look back on his life and recognize the extraordinary grace of God that was present at each stage and at each “achievement”. It is a story that takes great courage to tell; it is a story for every man and one that takes great courage for a listener to reflect upon honestly.
Below is a short video shown in connection with Chad’s talk to NCS New Canaan. It consists of clips on “identity” from Tim Keller’s Friday night keynote address at the 2015 NCS Washington Weekend. The full talk is available HERE.
This is a memorable talk given by Jack Deere at the 2007 NCS National Retreat, held March 3-5, 2007 at Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA. In this talk, Jack introduces what some have affectionately referred to as the “tree of shame”. After explaining the various ways we get on the tree, Jack shares the only way off.
General Dees (Ret) shares his insights on how to weather the storms of life, including what he calls the “Resilience Life Cycle”. He explains how to (1) build resilience before a storm, (2) weather the storm when it comes and (3) bounce back after the storm. Dees then does a deeper dive into dealing with bitterness and anger by choosing forgiveness and gratitude.
Click the icon below to see General Dees’s slide presentation.
With incredible vulnerability, George Chochos shares his remarkable story of God’s Amazing Grace. At a young age, George struggled with identity after finding out that he was adopted by his Greek parents and experiencing hurtful racism by his brother and members of his parents’ church. Soon George found his identity on the streets, which eventually led to a life of crime and drugs. With several felonies and drug use that should have killed him, George found himself serving a 14 year sentence for bank robbery (including in the infamous Sing Sing Prison) after a dramatic “only in the movies” arrest. It was in prison that George discovered a devotional in a holding cell that was meant to have been swept clean of everything. His call to Jesus immediately and miraculously changed the course of his life. After earning three college degrees in prison, George was released and later became the first ex-convict ever admitted to Yale Divinity School.