US Retreat Blog 2018

Upper School Fall Retreat 2018 | #weareNCCS

Day 2

by Jonathan Ray, Student Life Director

There is only so much you can pack in one day. But today felt like we were given a double portion of that time. Our time was so full of devotion, fun, singing, laughing, eating, walking, relaxing, and maybe some more fun after that. We started bright and early and went strong all the way until dinner. 

In the morning, right after an early breakfast we met as a group for a quiet time devotion, and over 400 people quieted themselves before God, leaning to listen, to draw near to Him, to listen for His voice. Afterward, Bible teacher, Zach Shaffer, led us in a teaching on what it means to be a Christian and to have a new heart given to us by the Lord.

Through all our sessions, we’ve been exploring the topic of what it truly means to be a follower of Jesus, to be reconciled, redeemed, and to live out the gospel in everything from discipline, devotion, our relationships, our schooling and learning, our sports teams, and everything else under the sun. Our heart for this week was to learn more about what it means to dig deep roots into the soil and river of God, that our love and faith may grow deep and strong. It’s been such a blessing to watch our students dive so deep into that calling. I can’t wait for our parents to have discussions with their students about what was learned, what was heard, and how God worked in their lives.

We each only have one life, but God in His goodness has worked wonders in giving us an eternal purpose. Through the games, the singing, the fun, the relaxing ... that is my prayer: that we would each press into that calling and into the arms of our Maker. We live in a world that offers so many counterfeit joys. Through this week, I think we’ve all learned a bit more about the deepness and bitterness of the joy our God has for us. 

We can’t wait to see everyone soon!



by Connor McArdle, Senior student

This morning, Shocco Springs provided a filling breakfast complete with the signature of the South, biscuits and gravy. Then, the first session of the day began. After Mr. Smith and Mrs. Browning delivered the Gospel, Mr. Shaffer unpacked Jeremiah, and he explained how resounding our God is compared to any other god. Mr. Shaffer used plenty of current analogies, including Marvel movies to explain his points. His thesis for this morning was to trust in the Lordship of Jesus Christ and to not doubt what he has for you, because His full-time job is to make us happy. It is only when we turn from his word and venture into the valley of sin when we do not find true happiness. This message was the highlight of my morning, but before and after his sermon, we worshiped through songs performed perfectly by Mr. Ray’s band of extremely talented musicians.

As you may know, color squads are a big deal for any retreat, but especially important to me this year. As this is my final year in high school, I wanted to impact the younger students and do the most I can to leave a mark and be present. Shout-out to the yellow squad for currently being in FIRST PLACE, but also for the amazing amount of enthusiasm they have. I cannot be more grateful for my team!

Now it is off to a series of gym games after a great lunch with my friends, and it is only halfway through the day. 

Go yellow!!


Day 1

by Lily King, Junior student

High school retreat has officially started, and everyone is having a great time. The high schoolers arrived at school and loaded the buses ready for a time of fellowship and hearing from God. We arrived at retreat safe and sound. After a time of announcements and lunch, everyone got all geared up for color wars. Each team showed tons of team spirit, encouraging their teammates who were playing ultimate frisbee. Then everyone enjoyed free time where we were able to make new relationships and hang out with friends. After dinner, we headed to service where Mr. Shaffer talked about Jesus being Lord. After worship, it was time for the lip sync battle. Ultimately, today has been full of making new friends and memories. Everyone is super excited to see what Jesus has in store for the rest of the week! Please continue to pray that we all stay safe and encounter Jesus in new ways.


by Megan Strange, US Principal

What a Wednesday! Our Upper School Retreat is off to a great start! We are so grateful for all of our families who are praying for us. We’ve also heard from several NCCS alums who are praying and cheering us on. It truly is a gift to be able to take these days away from campus to focus on building our relationship with the Lord and with each other. Several times this year already, we have reminded our students and ourselves that we are all here in the Upper School Family at NCCS for a purpose. God has an incredible plan for this year. Mr. Ray kicked off our camp welcome meeting with this reminder earlier today.

We laughed a lot during the lip sync battle, cheered a lot during the color battles, worshiped our great God through praise time, and dove deep into Matthew 8:5-13 to study more about what it truly means to treasure Jesus as Lord. Mr. Shaffer did an awesome job unpacking this scripture, and we look forward to seeing where that takes us tomorrow. Our students are doing a great job reaching out and including one another. Many of our new students are so connected that we forget they are new! These are precious moments!

Thank you for praying with us and celebrating what God is doing in and through this special time!




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