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 Phil Zaldatte was our Ministry Leader for the weekend. This is Phil’s Morning Devotional on Saturday morning.
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.
Kicking off our 2019-2020 NCS New Canaan season, Mark Fee powerfully and emotionally walks through a new way to think about sharing the good news of the Gospel of Jesus. Instead of being “obnoxious for Jesus” or merely sharing our personal faith testimony, he urges us to begin loving people and to become so much like Jesus in the way we love people that they want to learn more.
Fee emphasizes that people–not worship bands or elaborate programs–are meant to be the attraction of Christianity. He explains the self-absorbed failings of “performance” Christianity and contrasts it with a Christianity that is all about loving people as Jesus first loved us. Fee also helps reframe “sin” in terms of its harm to others (being unloving) rather than as “rule-breaking”. He gives examples of how the little things–seeing people, noticing them, asking their name and caring–can have a huge impact on lives.
Although he generally hates talking about himself or his past, Terry Wilcox humbly and transparently shares the amazing journey of his life with Jesus. Terry explains the decisions that set the course for his life–accepting Jesus, surrendering his life to the Holy Spirit and telling God he would embrace any opportunity God provided to talk about Him–and he reveals the incredible adventures that were in God’s plan for a “farm boy from Western Pennsylvania who barely got through college”. Terry also shares the conclusions of a life lived fully with Jesus–God is faithful and His grace is sufficient.
With great humility and vulnerability, Richard Williams shares his amazing journey “from selfishness to servanthood . . . from death to life”. After talking about growing up in a loving home of 13 children with a mother who cared for everyone and a father who learned to read at 54, Williams explains how the desire to “succeed” and “fit in” as a college graduate in a professional career led him to years of drug addiction that eventually destroyed his “successful life” and even his relationships with his family.
He then tells us about the amazing journey back to “life” that began when he arrived at Pivot Ministries in Bridgeport, CT. Richard transparently shares his 12-year transformation from a new Pivot student whose life was “all about me” to the Executive Director of the ministry–a position that is “all about the well-being of others”.