From January 29th through January 31st, SCCS secondary students gathered together for their annual retreat. These days and activities comprise a pivotal moment in the lives of students and staff alike as they focus together on faith and growth in the Lord.
“Give your entire life to God,” encouraged speaker and 2010 SCCS alum, Johnny Ardavanis. “Our pursuit of God is the result of God’s love for us, not the cause of God’s love for us. He loved you before time began and if that is true, we are to worship Him. The fuel for holiness is God’s love for us.”
Johnny’s passion is that people develop an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and he pursues that passion in his role as Camp Director at Hume Lake Christian Camps and as a speaker. Through multiple sessions of teaching and worship, SCCS students and staff dug into the reality of God’s love and what that means.
“You will always have a shallow view of God if you think you earned His love,” continued Johnny. “Sometimes we doubt His love and resist the idea that He can love us. If we were the cause of God’s love, we would never have confidence in it. We must look up to the cross where Jesus poured out His love for us.”
Those in attendance were further encouraged to understand that the Christian life involves thinking rightly and that we are to set our minds on things above.
“Faith is rational and logical and we will always be a byproduct of what we think,” shared Johnny. “As we pursue Christ-likeness, we are not to be Christian robots. We were created to experience transcendent love, fueled by His love and powered by His Spirit. We will scratch and claw at other things until we understand that what we are searching for can only be provided by our God.”
Johnny further spoke of the importance of abiding in the Lord, His word and His love as the antidote for sin. He also encouraged students to have a greater affection for Jesus than sin and the ‘things of this world will grow strangely dim’.
“As a senior, I am spending most of my days looking back on all that SCCS has to offer and the opportunities that have shaped my life and grown my faith and I couldn’t be more thankful,” shared student Alicia Castillo. “I appreciate the atmosphere of drive and pursuit of excellence all encompassed in the love of and for God.”
New this year, one day of the retreat, students traveled to Santa Barbara via Amtrak to spend time together in a different setting while worshiping and studying.
“I appreciated the new atmosphere that being in Santa Barbara gave,” continued Alicia. “The biggest take away for me was that information should result in transformation, meaning we can’t be static in life. We must be actively pursuing God and His Spirit deeper and to pursue Him with full force so that I can be transformed daily. It was great to hear from Johnny and exciting to hear from a younger generation.”
Students ended the week on Friday packing lunches and supplies (provided by elementary students) for the Canyon High School Resource Center, spending time in worship and reflection, and enjoying fellowship and breakfast together.