The 2018 New Canaan Society New England Regional Retreat was held November 2-3 at Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in Hancock, MA. The theme was “Community Changes Everything”. This is Doug Goulding’s “Keepin’ It Real” testimony shared on Saturday morning. Doug was introduced by his brudder Paul Michalski.
Rev. Albert Ray Dancy shares with tremendous vulnerability a life story that proves beyond any doubt that we worship a God of second chances. Dancy tells how he went from a prisoner serving time for armed robbery to a prison chaplain. He transparently notes that while his role had changed, his heart had not been transformed. For the heart change to occur, Dancy had to experience a “dark night of the soul” in which he lost everything–including his home, marriage and children. He explains how he felt like a “beast”. Although he was back in prison, God sent hope through a prophetic word and then miraculously restored him to his marriage (which had been dissolved for seven years), his children and his home.
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.