We have just finished our first two rounds of Winter SWO Retreats. This year, our Winter SWO teaching focus is Psalm 23. This passage is a very familiar for most Christians, but it’s one that few of us have ever really dug into and studied. The feedback from staff and students so far is really positive, and it seems that this is a very practical and encouraging study. One of the goals we have here in our teaching ministry is to be faithful in our handling of God’s Word while being practical in our delivery and instruction. We want staff, students and leaders to be encouraged as they sit under the teaching and preaching ministry of SWO, but we also want them to be focused and determined in their own commitment to study God’s Word—that they’d be shaped by it.
The kickoff to Winter SWO was pretty wild as unseasonably warm temperatures left us with no snow and no possibility of skiing or snowboarding. Many of the groups that come for Winter SWO sign up to spend an afternoon at the slopes. But this year, we just didn’t have that option. With temperatures in the seventies, we did what we had to in order to make the experience memorable. We went whitewater rafting! That’s right. We took students down the Nantahala River on the first day, but even that was cut short! We’ve gotten a lot of rain here lately, and since the forest service said the water levels were too high, we couldn’t go rafting the second day of the retreat.
The week between Christmas and New Years brought the craziest weather we had ever seen for that week, but the SWO staff, Pastors, and students who were here just made the most of it. In the end, we had a blast, and the Gospel remained the focus of the week. Students were challenged both spiritually and physically and God moved in our lives.
We will be traveling and preaching a lot over the next several months and maybe we will see you while we are on the road. God is good, and we want to see him do great things in 2016.