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.

98deea9eba6c4341a6ad72526b162566.jpg

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.

 

 

Refocus

Tips for Refocusing

Tips for Refocusing

Grace-college-of-divinity-online-bible-college

     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


grace-college-of-divinity-online-bible-college

     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.

GCD Alumni Student Experience

 

GCD Alumni Student Experience

The Expereience Student Ministry Internship

During my time in the Experience internship with GCD, most of my classes took place in class rather than online. I remember having a hard time becoming acclimated to the online courses because they were structured differently. After the internship, I moved back home to Roanoke Rapids, NC and continued my education completely online. Immediately, I ran into an issue – I was unable to find all my required courses in online form. Because of the issue, I had to call GCD to find out if any of my electives could substitute for a required class. Luckily, a couple of my previous classes substituted for prerequisites.

Year 1! So on the top left of the picture, you will see some of my friends I grew up with. These guys were my life, and still are. But after a series of God moments and a lot of tears, the Lord directed and CONVINCED me to do theExperience internship with GCD. I didn’t want to do it, but I’m glad I did. After a series of events, God broke my will, and I quickly fell in love with the people and ministry at GCD and Manna. The people in the second photo are the interns I now call my lifelong friends. They mean so much to me. God took us to Costa Rica (bottom left picture) and showed us what he was doing over seas and brought us together as a team. Then after a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and coffee, we made it through our first year of the internship and we were radically changed people. When I look back on this year, I clearly see that this year was a time of building foundations! God took everything I had built my life upon beforehand and completely shattered it. Then He built a new foundation in me and taught me that you can only grow as tall as you are deep. These words end up being the basis of all to come in the future, because little did I know of the terrors that lay ahead of me in the next year of my life! More on that in the next post! To be continued…! @captainseaturtle #internship #theexperience #changed #neverthesame #ministry #friends #coffee

A photo posted by Grace College Of Divinity (@gcdivinity) on

 

Year 2! So this was the year I dread and love them most. After wrestling once again with God, He convinced me to do the second year internship, which means more responsibility, school, people, and gallons of coffee. The years set up was pretty much the same as before, but the challenges were different. You know the story when Jacob and God wrestled? Do you remember how God touched Jacobs leg and it came out of socket? Well during this time, I was wrestling with God, and He touched me in a sensitive spot. He touched my identity which left me completely and utterly a wreck! I had no idea who I was anymore and I could hardly make it through the days. But I learnt so many things that year, and it became by far the most important year of my life thus far. So here are a few tid bits I learnt. The first lesson is that no matter how lost you are, you are always a child of God first, and the rest second. The second lesson is that where you have been and who people say you are does not define you, God defines you. The third lesson is that you can either let brokenness control you, or let brokenness humble you so God can lift you up through His power and Grace instead of opposing you. Matthew 23:12. The last lesson is that even if you are as lost as an Easter egg, and your identity is unsure, the Lord our God who knitted you and fashioned all your parts together knows who you are exactly. And that, my friends, is a solid rock you can rest on. You don’t always have to know the answers. But you do have to rest in Gods truths. And in that place God will reveal who you are. #theexperience #internship #year2 #important #jesussaves #redeems #heknowsyou #helovesyou #restinhim #pureunabridgedmajesty

A photo posted by Grace College Of Divinity (@gcdivinity) on

 Online Bible College

I cannot say that doing four to five classes online every semester has been good for my health, especially early on. The process is very stressful and time consuming. However, after two semesters, I got the hang of online study and was able to reduce my study time by a couple hours. Because of the similar course patterns in almost ever class, I began to find a rhythm, and work became easier as I became a better student. My grades have been better through online classes, and that is important to me. I believe the online courses have forced me to study and pay attention more to detail as opposed to being in class with people. I realized that I do not retain information being spoken to me as well as information read and written about.

 

Year 3! So, after I graduated the internship the Lord opened the door for me to move back home and take over as the youth coordinator. So I did, and I continued to work on my bachelors degree online. But I'll tell you what, online school is hard!! I've spent more hours reading and writing in one year than I did in two years in campus! Sometime I just want to jump off a cliff, but I refrain 😬. But in the end, all the hard work is worth it! I have fallen in love with the youth in the Church and they make my life awesome! I pretty much have the coolest job in the world. I get payed to have fun and teach kids, plus the occasional road trip! But the year has also had its challenges as it should. God really challenged me to step out my comfort zone and to do more adventurous things. So as a result I have gotten into hiking, long boarding and I even took a group of 30 from the youth group skiing practically on my own! That was tough! And as you can see, I have a lot of pictures of only a few of my adventures from that year. But through it all, I learned the most about Gods timing. I watched a lot of my friends gain things I have been desiring for a long time. And it's been a challenge to not get jealous, but I know that jealousy doesn't get you anywhere. My patience and trust in God has grown tremendously, and the biggest lesson I've learned is that a good thing at the wrong time becomes a bad thing. Therefore you must wait for the right thing in Gods timing, whether that be love, marriage, career, kids, purpose, promotion, (insert desire here). Isaiah 40:31 "but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Just wait on him, and He will carry you. #waitonhim #helovesyou #jesusissustainingme #year3 #worklife #pureunabridgedmajesty

A photo posted by Grace College Of Divinity (@gcdivinity) on

Bible College Student

Because of my experience with online courses, I do not believe online classes are for everyone. Some people learn much better through lectures, and others learn better with reading and writing assignments. If you are like me and learn by reading and writing, then online classes are for you. But, if you learn by listening to a teacher, then online courses may not be the best decision for you. However, you have to do what must be done in order to obtain your education. If you work hard no matter what your learning style is, then online classes are worth the extra work.

 

Year 4! So this year is my last year of college, and in many ways it has been the most challenging. It is not that school or even the work is the challenge, but it's the loss of friends… Sort of… Many of my closest friends have ventured off into their first year of college and I have been left here at home, lonely at times. But as my friends have left to start their own adventures, I have gained a whole new generation of kids in our youth group and I have learnt the value of adding value to others. And the biggest challenge is to help transport the culture that made the previous group soo amazing into these new youthees. But it's a good challenge. Yet, as I am coming to an end in this part of my journey, I am nervous and yet excited about the next steps. I don't have a clue what those steps are, but if I have learned anything in the past 4 years is that what ever God leads you to, it will always be great and worth it. I also feel a strong need for Gods wisdom because I need it. So I've dedicated this year to gaining wisdom with my whole heart. As a matter of fact, the scripture tells us to seek wisdom "Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth." And I know that the wisdom of God is going to direct my steps in the coming future. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6 God has got me! No worries 😁 #wisdom #timing #friends #growing #proverbs #trustinthelord #helovesyou #pureunabridgedmajesty

A photo posted by Grace College Of Divinity (@gcdivinity) on

 

Final post! So this has been a fun ride, but all good things come an end! I just want to give a couple final thoughts to end the night. So I'm playing my favorite guitar, her name is Nessa Rose. (Don't judge). I call her Nessa Rose because Nessa means pure and Roses are beautiful. So the name means Pure and Beautiful. 😁 I like that picture and I strive to find the pure and beautiful things in this world. They come in many shapes and are in each person. But the most pure and beautiful things are the workings God does inside of you. The question is can you draw them out? The hearts of man are like deep waters, and it takes work, patience, love, and the Holy Spirit to draw them out. So my final advice to you is to seek out the pure and beautiful things that God is doing inside of you and others, and capitalize on those deep workings. Be aware of what God is doing in you and others and always ask yourself how you can participate with God in what He is doing. Selah. Alright! Enough from me! God bless you all and continue to seek God in all you do! #gcdtakeover #fun #selah #Jesussaves #Jesuschangesus #gcd #pureunabridgedmajesty

A photo posted by Grace College Of Divinity (@gcdivinity) on

Student Spotlight: Rachel Shinnick

 

Student Spotlight: Rachel Shinnick

4340E3AD-55F2-40E6-A8C6-6A7D1007FB67.jpg

INTRODUCTION:

Meet our student spotlight for this week. Her name is Rachel Shinnick, she is a freshman attending GCD to obtain her Certificate in Christian Leadership while being an intern at Manna Church. Here are photos that she posted when she did the Instagram takeover. Instagram: gcdivinity.

 

Student Ministries Intern

 

 

Bible College Professor

 

 

Internship Trip to Honduras

 

 

Student Ministries Gen Ignite

 

Modeling the new @genignite sweatshirts. And then because our photographer had to get in on it too. #weinternsarecrazy #andIloveusforit

A photo posted by Grace College Of Divinity (@gcdivinity) on

 

Mentoring

 

 

Student Life