Student Spotlight: Rachel Choi

Q&A with a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership student

What is your name, and what are you currently doing (occupation/career-wise)?

My name is Rachel Choi, and I am both a GCD alum and grad student! I currently stay busy with two jobs. For my main career, I have the privilege of being the owner (plus artistic director and one of the teachers) of Alpha & Omega Dance Academy, LLC. On the side I work with Manna Church Fay/Ft. Bragg as a copy/editor and site administrator!

Why did you decide to become a student with GCD?

I decided to pursue my bachelor’s at GCD about a semester after graduating from theExperience College Internship with my Certificate in Christian Leadership and Certificate in Missions Leadership in 2011. I had the unique opportunity to be one of the first interns; it’s no joke that the directors called my class “guinea pigs” because we helped worked out all the kinks! After theExperience, I had a different plan for my collegiate journey, but that next semester I found myself at a fork in the road. I saw how much I had already changed spiritually and emotionally, as well as all the ways I practically grew in leadership through theExperience. And through God’s leading and the advice of trusted authorities and mentors in my life, I decided to redirect course and stay at GCD.

How has your time with GCD helped you with where you are at right now?

Two of the best ways GCD personally helped me was in public communication and specific, practical leadership skills, such as vision-casting, leading a meeting, planning/executing an event, team delegation/accountability/conflict resolution, and much more. With a team of over 20 at AODA, everything I learned about leading a team helped me get started on the right foot!

Would you recommend GCD to other aspiring business owners?

I would definitely recommend GCD’s leadership degree and/or certificate to aspiring or current business owners, especially if they are followers of Christ and wish to learn leadership through the model Jesus provides! Granted, if you need to learn how to balance books, fill out tax forms, set up HR, and start a website, etc, these courses probably won’t provide all the ins-and-outs you’re looking for. But honestly, I never took a class for any of that; I did my own research, talked to a lot of people who knew what they were doing, and worked hard — I mean HARD. But you know what I couldn’t have gleaned from just doing my own research that GCD provided? How to be a Christ-like leader. How to be servant-hearted, authentic, and transformational. How to communicate better. How to cast a vision and give direction, discipline, encouragement, and counsel. And I know for sure I would not have been able to bear the weight of the responsibility that comes with leading, had I not received the spiritual, emotional, practical, and knowledgeable training from GCD.

GCD Student Spotlight – Christina Reed

Mom, Hair Designer, Student

 

What do you do all day? This is a question that makes many people cringe when they hear,  because we all feel busy in our everyday lives, but can’t always recall exactly what they did all day. I know that I felt absolutely overwhelmed with the things going on in my life and wondered how people could ever add the task of school to their lives when they already worked numerous hours a week and were raising two kids, like in my case. Yet the tug at my heart would not cease the gentle but constant tug to enroll at GCD. “Me, God? Are you sure you weren’t talking to the person next to me and I just overheard?” This was a question I kicked around for a while before enrolling here at GCD. I am a hair designer and have been for 19 years. This job suits my ADD quite well and my need for instant gratification from something that doesn’t lose my attention easily. I was sure I couldn’t focus long enough to make it through a class and actually pass it. I talked myself out of enrolling for some time. I had all kinds of excuses but the biggest one was that I did not have enough time. Time is something we all get the same amount of and choose to use in the way we decide is most important.

 

I finally quit ignoring the gentle, consistent tug at my heart to enroll at GCD and took the plunge. Thank God there was an amazing person that answered the other end of the phone and literally walked me through every aspect of the process; I’m sure she was tired of seeing my number pop up on the caller ID but she always answered the phone with grace and guidance. I was ready to quit the first week of school and another student there talked me out of it, how grateful I am now for these two people that helped usher me into a new era. I now have a much more positive outlook on my journey and have earned high marks so far in all my courses here at GCD. Every single day I am proving myself wrong; there is no place for the previous negativity that once controlled my thoughts.
I am still a hair designer and raising two beautiful kiddos and have somehow found time to add in school and still go the park with my sweet babies and not miss out on the life God had planned for me. God has a plan that involves me trusting Him and letting Him manage my time. So, what do I do all day? I am walking out God’s plan for me, one step at a time.

Student Spotlight: Jonathan Fletcher

Bible College Student:Manna Church teaching pastor

Meet our student spotlight of the week through his answers to a few questions about his life and what he is doing right now.

What is your current occupation?

         “I am the Teaching Pastor and Executive Place Site Pastor at Manna Church.”

How did GCD help you get there?

         “GCD has helped me by providing sound Biblical training to assist in my vocation.”

What was your favorite thing about GCD?

        “My favorite thing about GCD is that we are not just about people learning information. Rather, we attempt to provide sound Biblical teaching that helps people understand more about God, while at the same time helping them use that knowledge in practical ministry experience.”

Experience at GCD.

      “I have taken classes as both an undergraduate and in the master’s program, and I have found both of those experiences to be incredibly insightful. I feel better prepared as a pastor through my involvement at GCD.” 

There you have it, Pastor Jonathan Fletcher everybody. If you want to learn more about our students here at GCD and want to see more about our students’ lives let us know in the comments below.

Belle Szalkowski Devotional

 

Belle Szalkowski Devotional

Student Devotional

     Have you ever felt completely and utterly out of your depth? Like you are grasping for air and you can’t seem to get your head above water? Finally you wade into shore and you can breathe free and clear again. You look back at the water and realize that no matter how hard it was, you survived. You feel invigorated, you made it! You’ve accomplished something huge by just surviving and smiling! This has been my relationship with God through my life. One of my favorite verses that I keep coming back to is:

Psalm 13:6 I will sing the LORD’s praise, for He has been good to me.”

     I have spent many years of my life simply trying to keep my head above water. College is overwhelming. I’ve had multiple exhausting injuries, and serving in ministry can be draining. It is through God’s grace that I’ve made it as far as I am in life. The reason I keep going back to this verse is because no matter what point of my life I am in it applies. If I am drowning in schoolwork I can still praise God for blessing me with an education. If I am overwhelmed with my ministry work I can praise God for giving me a chance to share His glory.

     I say all this because I have learned that praising God even in the midst of struggle is the best lesson I’ve learned. Even when I was homeless I thought of this verse and that God, no matter my circumstances has been good to me and is worthy of my praise.

     I challenge you to meditate over this. If you truly believe God is good, then doesn’t He deserve our praise even when things aren’t going our way? Even if you feel that you are drowning, God has been good to you and is worthy to be praised.

 

 

Tips for Refocusing

Tips for Refocusing

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     Spring Break is here and we are all ready for it. The semester has been long and tedious for most and everyone is ready for a chance to kick back and relax. Before heading back to class we should take this time to refocus ourselves.

     With the semester soon ending and Spring Break providing an opportunity to relax, we must all shift our attention to the final stretch of the semester. How do we refocus our attention? Start with these three tips to help you get by.

     1. Realize God is the center of everything

     With all the tests, assignments, activities, and events of this past semester it is easy to lose sight of where God is. Acknowledging God is the center is the first step in putting him back into focus. Also putting God at the center gives you a chance to step back and take some of the weight off your shoulders.

Matthew 6:33 ESV  But  seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

     2. Make a plan

     The end of the semester is around the corner, do you have an idea of how you’re going to get there? Plan out your homework and study times so that you can have less stress as exams come up. Make a definite decision to excel in these last few months. By planning out the rest of the semester you will be more likely to follow through and keep the goal of graduation in mind.

     3. Rest

     To refocus you need to take some time to rest. Spend the remainder of the spring break trying to refocus your goals and plans for the semester. Even after spring break ends find times to rest so that the day to day tasks do not become overwhelming. Not taking time to rest can make you lose focus and feel overwhelmed. Rest doesn’t always mean sleep. Simply make time to relax or do a hobby you enjoy. Find peace in the things that you love.

     Refocusing is about recognizing God in all things, planning for where you are going, and taking time to rest and recuperate. Don’t waste time running around frantically with no direction or energy. Take advantage of the time you have to improve and move forward towards graduation.

 

Echo Montoya Devotional

 

Echo Montoya Devotional


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     Psalm 23

Today I will be sharing about Psalm 23, some people call it a classic that all church goers must know. All I know is, that once I truly understood this verse it changed my life! I just wanted to share with you what I have learned through studying this chapter almost my whole life as a Christian.

Psalm 23

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
    He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
 for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
 I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff,
     they comfort me.You prepare a table before me
 in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with     oil; my cup overflows.Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall        dwell in the house of the Lord
 forever.”
The starting verse of Psalm 23 is such a beautiful reminder that as Christians, we will always have provision through Christ. “The Lord is my  Shepherd, I shall not want.”
After a reminder about the Lord’s provision; the verse going into talking about how God leads us for our good. “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” Not only does He calm us but He leads us there. The third verse says, “He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His names sake.” A reminder to us that He is the only one who can truly bring back to life our soul. It is nothing in us, but God himself and who He is.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” The verse starts out my saying God protects us from evil. When the writing says ‘Valley of the shadow of death.’ It means that through the lowest of lows God is walking right there with you. Many people get scared or worried when they hear ‘rod and staff’ but the Shepard has both for a purpose. The rod is not to beat the sheep, but to protect when wolves or bears came near. The staff is for guidance, another example of God leading our steps. Imagine the last part of the verse saying: ‘your protection and guidance, they comfort me.’ What a beautiful image God is giving to us! “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” The beginning part speaks on how God blesses us abundantly. How even when my enemies are near He wants me, and He wants me front and center. He anoints us with oil as a sign of promotion in His eyes. What a powerful thing to even be seen if even a little bit worthy to God! For him though, to anoint us with oil, to the point where our cups overflow! What a powerful picture!
 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” If you choose to trust Him, these promises prevail. Know that God wants to bless us! Sometimes it is as easy as recognizing that He wants to do this for us, He never had to.