The 2016 New Canaan Society New England Regional Retreat was held November 4-5 at the Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club in Lenox, MA. The theme was “Wholeness Changes Everything”, and Jack Deere was our Spiritual Guide for the weekend. This is Jack’s opening talk on Friday night.
Jack Deere reveals the secret of our most powerful weapon–our unique story of God’s mercy, beauty and love in our life. Jack shares his amazing story–a story of God continuously pursuing him and bringing him back, time after time. If we tell the story of our experiences with God, and we tell it in love, God can bring power to the story and change hearts. We do not need apologetic skills or vast theological knowledge.
Richard Berry shares miraculous stories of how God–or “Dad”, as he affectionately refers to Him–responded to the heartfelt and desperate cries of a small-town pastor wanting to provide a home for the homeless and food for the hungry in Skowhegan, Maine. With tremendous humility, Berry explains how his eyes were opened and his heart changed toward the homeless. It is a message of hope. “Dad” is still in the miracle business when his children get on their knees and ask for help.
James Anderson, the President of the New Canaan Society, shares the importance of telling our stories–transparently and authentically. He starts by telling the unpleasant but sacred story of how God brought him from empty “success” (from Hollywood to a wildly successful real estate career selling homes to celebrities) to fulfilling “significance” through Focus on the Family and now NCS. With great humility, Anderson talks about the seeds and depth of his fall and the tremendous grace (both from God and a loving wife) that lifted him back up. He also reflects on how sharing “our story” leads to friendship, friendship lead us to a “better story” and friendship with Jesus draws us into God’s “bigger story”.
Biggs Burke shares his incredible journey from poverty in Harlem, to the top of the music business, to prison and then to life as a follower of Jesus. With great transparency and humility, Biggs reflects on how his life was being derailed even as he thought he had it all under control. He also explains how he came to follow Jesus and get back on track through an unlikely prison friendship, the love shown to his family by NCS brudders and miraculous answers to prayer.