It’s hard to overstate how much NCS plays into my faith journey. From the moment waiting in the January cold in 2006 for the Lodge doors to open before my first meeting to helping host Friday mornings nearly 17 years later, NCS has become a part of me. But the thing that really took things to another level was the national NCS Retreat. I made a goal at the end of 2005 to go on my first Christian retreat the next year. When I heard about the NCS national retreat, I knew it was meant for me. Unfortunately, at that time they met at the intimate Mohonk Mountain House in upstate New York, and it was sold out. But one Friday morning in February, Bob Mills announced that he had a room reserved but couldn’t make it. I think I interrupted him before he was even finished talking saying that I would take it. My good friend Bryan Parker was game to go as well, and I could sense this was going to be anything but a typical weekend getaway. That 2006 retreat was simply an embarrassment of spiritual riches. Eric Metaxas’ humor set the stage, and Dudley Hall and Jack Deere had incredible insights and made it personal. Paul Baloche led worship in a way I had never experienced before (I’m now an unabashed Paul Baloche fan), and Tim Keller preached at each of the sessions. I knew God had been working on my heart for a while, but I wasn’t sure where it was leading. But sitting in that session at Mohonk, the concept of Grace went from my head to my heart, and I’ve never been the same since. I quite simply couldn’t believe what Jesus had done for me personally, and I knew that I had to make a commitment to follow Him and leave many of my old ways behind. Fast forward to present-day. So much has happened in these 17 years—a lot of Friday mornings at the Lodge and a lot of life outside the Lodge. Some of those “old ways” of focusing on self and my ways instead of His ways have crept back in, and I need a refresh. What better place than the NCS retreat in March to really get that kick-started? I have been to every national retreat we have offered since 2006 except for one. Those weekends have always been highlights of each year. The camaraderie, the humor, the spirit-filled atmosphere—it just can’t be replicated anywhere else. Having hundreds of NCS guys from all over the country getting out of their ordinary routines to spend a weekend with brothers to draw closer to Jesus—I can’t think of anything more inspiring. The experience of having conversations with old friends and meeting new brothers is deeper, richer and more meaningful than you can imagine. So what do you say? Do you need a refresh in your life? Come join me, many of your Winston-Salem brothers and brothers from all over the country in Orlando in March. I promise you won’t regret it. And, hey, maybe it will even change your life like it did mine. Check out these photos from a past retreat.
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