Speaking & Listening Skills

It’s been a good year since I’ve had the opportunity to sit down and type my thoughts out. Now that I’ve finished my first year of teaching, I’m planning on making time now to take several hours from my week to share my thoughts on life. There’s several reasons that prompt me to stay committed to writing. One, I am a teacher and always encouraging my students to write every day and share their thoughts. Two, writing is like exercising…the more you do it, the stronger and more efficient you become.

July signifies that we’re in the middle of the year, and we have about five more months before we see 2015. I took July 1st as a time to reflect and see where my life was this year and plan where I want to go for the remainder of 2014. I started off by praying, and in the middle of it got this crazy idea to start something new that I had never attempted to try. This challenge was to listen to the audio Bible for the remainder of this year (It’s something I can either sit down and have read to me, or listen to while driving).

As I entered this midway point of 2014 I came before God and said, “God, here is the list of things I need work in my life…” As I was naming the list I felt like I was not being heard. Then as I started to listen to the Word, all of a sudden certain themes of the Old Testament passages started to resonate within me. I felt God telling me, “Chris these are the things that I’ll be working in your life right now, hold on for this journey.”

I went through the ending of the book of 2 Kings, where gossip was evident. The passage the came to mind that shared the same concept comes from Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) which states, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” After reading, I started to think how easy it is to get caught up the latest news of the people around us (thanks to social media…lol). I was challenged to reflect and ask myself, “What business do I have sharing with you someone else’s business?” As a Christian, we could even present gossip in prayer request format such as, “Help me pray for (insert name) they’re going through…” Gossip is a cancer to the soul, it is a toxin that destroys friendships, and it usually isn’t meant to edify those around us.

So how do we avoid it? Great question, and something that I’m still asking myself. The two responses that I would probably find myself saying would be the following: 

  • I honestly don’t feel comfortable talking about that person while they’re not here.”
  • Why don’t you talk to that person and explain to them how you really feel?

Some great resources that I’ve read (and will probably dive into again) come from John Townsend and Henry Cloud in their Boundaries series. They’re accredited Christian psychologist that know how to break down the barriers of passive aggressiveness and encourage readers to be assertive through the love of Christ. So if you do not like confrontation or people getting “all up in your business” then check them out.

The next theme that really spoke to me was the power of listening. This past year one of my basketball players represent our school site in the Chula Vista District speech contest. He opened his speech by stating, “There are two kinds of people in the world…the ones who walk into a party and say ‘here I am!’ And the others who walk into a party and say, ‘there you are!’” The opening to this particular speech was the first thing I thought of as I dove into the Word. I began thinking “how many times have I been in a conversation and had something quick to respond or ‘one up’ the story being shared with me?” I started to think, “What would Jesus do in this type of social setting?” Looking through biblegateway.com and searched the keyword “listen.” I found this verse that perfectly described Jesus in an interesting social situation. Here’s the verse:

  • After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” Luke 2:46 (ESV)

This particular verse is found in the story when Jesus was left behind by his parents and he spent a few days hanging out with the teachers of his day. The verbs that intrigued me were that Jesus was “sitting,” “listening,” and “asking.” Understand that Jesus is 12 years old. I couldn’t sit still for the life of me at 12, yet even listen or ask a good question (it was more like argue and ask annoying questions).

So what does this all mean? Basically for me this means that I want to only speak life and what is edifying to those in my household, my close friendships, my co-workers, and church family. Next, giving my undivided attention to those I engage in dialogue with. Not taking out my phone to check on text messages, the latest Instagram post, who tweeted, or whatever. I want to be fully engaged in the conversation through listening and asking good questions (I’ll probably write another blog on asking good questions, it’s something complex that I’m learning to teach young adolescents).

Be encouraged reader! I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect, but that’s the beauty of waking up daily to keep on learning and hustling in our everyday lives.

God Bless!

Chris

 


Finishing Strong

chrisgarcia03:

This is a blog that I wrote for USD! Follow them, and you’ll follow some of my updates!

Originally posted on SOLES Admissions and Outreach:

guatemala“Finish Strong!” This is what I keep telling myself over and over again. I need to finish strong, and keep looking forward to accomplishing this amazing opportunity of graduating with my Master’s degree by next July (although I get to somewhat party with walking in May…oh yeah). One of the factors that continues to motivate me to finish strong this semester is the thought that I’ll be in Guatemala for about two weeks in January with the School of Leadership at USD. First off, that’s the beauty of being part of the family of SOLES is that we get to travel with other departments. The opportunities to travel the world with SOLES would probably be one of the main reasons I would want to continue to be a grad student for a few more years.

action research word cloud

Now, let’s talk a little about how the Learning and Teaching aspect of being a…

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A Hunger for Creativity!

Now here’s a surprise: The master praised the crooked manager! And why? Because he knew how to look after himself. Streetwise people are smarter in this regard than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits. I want you to be smart in the same way—but for what is right—using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior.Luke 16:8-9 (MSG)

I find this verse very relevant to my experience so far here in Nairobi, Kenya. As I tour around the city, I sense a hunger for spiritual things…yet very creative spiritual things. I was glad to hear that a majority of the people here are Christians. Yet, it is sad to see a country that is barely developed in the simple things such as a limit to clean water and stable road ways. As I was asking God to give me a verse, I was prompted to look for the word “creative.” Finding this verse I saw it fitting perfect for my first day here in Nairobi. People here are constantly on alert (especially when walking/crossing in front of cars nearly getting hit), spirituality is definitely at a high, and I can see that people here are doing what they must to survive.

Here’s what gets me the most…the potential for their creativity and what they could do with it to revolutionize this nation. So far that’s some of the questions I have for the students I’ll be interacting with the next few days, how is their creativity motivated? and how would they use their creativity to make a difference in their communities?

According to the book of Genesis we were made in the image of God. We have His characteristics engrained in us. One of those characteristics is creativity! We are a society that has come a long way in the last 200 years from Henry Ford and his Model T to Steve Jobs and his corporation of Apple. I mean, even someone put a bathrobe on backwards and developed the snuggie. Creativity is just something that is instilled in us naturally. So my question for myself, the students in Kenya, and for you would be…”Are you doing something with your creativity?

*The photo attached is me in front the world’s largest (concentrated in population) slum, Kibera that consists of 1 million people. Tomorrow I will be going with my University of San Diego team to observe another local slum area…I ask you for your prayers in health, communication, and more importantly establishing an encouragement!


My African Expedition


To all my family, friends, and readers of my blog! I know it’s been a few months since I’ve written anything, but here I am preparing myself for my first trip to Africa in the next 24 hours. I’m excited and confident in all that will take place during this trip. It’s not a usual missionary trip as we would expect, but rather it is a study abroad trip for a couple of weeks in which I will observe several schools on their instruction, curriculum, and school philosophy. My main project is actually to instruct teachers and students in how to use some of the ipads and ipods, we will be leaving as gifts, as a learning resource to enhance what they already are learning (or subjects their struggling with).

Ultimately, I know that God has given me a gift (and appreciation) for technology and to teach. I love putting those two together. More importantly, I have a love for people from all cultures and this is a great opportunity to exercise everyone of those aspects. I hope to keep you posted (depending on my internet access) through this blog and my youtube channel for vlogs.

If there is one request I have from you as a reader is that you keep me in prayer. Specifically for health, safety, and ministry opportunities. I hope to not only teach, but encourage, pray, and find solutions for the needs that may be encountered in such a trip!

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (ESV)


Lover of Your Presence

The gathering rendition of Lover of Your Presence by Bryan and Katie Torwalt.


What’s in your heart?


“Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts…” Proverbs 4:23

I love this verse! And while, 80 percent of the time it’s been referenced in the use of relationships these past few months it’s had a whole new meaning in my life. This new meaning has brought up this question for every motive, every reason, and how I react to anything that has happened during this time period…“Chris, what’s the motive of your heart?” That question has tore me up, mended me up, and made me stronger.

Asking this question, has prepared me to make sure that my heart is in the right place to minister to anyone and everyone at any given moment. We all have our own issues, insecurities, and stuff that we’re ashamed of (doesn’t matter if they’re wrong decisions of sin, our past, or even our own culture…that’s another discussion for another time). Truth of the matter is that whatever it is, we constantly need to check ourselves and see if our heart is in the right place for ANY decisions we make in our lives.

With all that said today I heard an amazing message at my church, The Experience, in which we started a new series on “Idol Slayers.” If this is the last message I ever hear, that’ll be enough to get me through life (thankfully it isn’t). An amazing rubric to determine whether we’ve allowed idol’s in our lives is that if we hold value, significance, and worth to anything other than God. I know that my family holds value, significance, and worth to my life but no more than God. This rubric here leads me to keep a check over my college education, my successes, and current (along with future) relationships I find in my friends and my future spouse. It’s important to understand that we cannot “let a good thing in our life become the ultimate thing.”

The last question that was presented to me was “what would bring you despair?” Meaning, that if there was something that you lost today…your education, your 401k, a loved one, a relationship, or whatever…could you go on? The first answer that came to my mind when I heard this was…”God your daily grace and mercy!” I started to think how I valued my communion with God more than my education, my status, my car, and yes even my family. I hope to leave you pondering with what I’ve been hearing from God the last few months. “What’s the motive behind your heart?” & “What do we hold with value, significance, and worth?”


Obedience Creates an Opportunity

I should be writing a paper over a lesson plan I taught with an English Language Learner right now, but I thought I’d take a quick few minutes and see what was up with twitter. So I log on and I find that TJ Anglin is following me (probably because I started following him), and he’s seriously the strongest individual in the City of San Diego right now….don’t believe me check out this link

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45429392/ns/local_news-san_diego_ca/t/miracle-baby-home-holidays/#.TtW1CXNcLkw

(This story hit news and close to home being that my pastor is friends with TJ, which prompted me to write when we heard the sudden news of the passing of Letta Anglin)

While on his twitter feed, I see that he retweeted one of his wife’s tweets (RIP Letta). So I view her twitter page and notice that she recommends this thought/blog by Pastor Steven Futrick. The title immediately grabbed my attention because that is the theme that God has been speaking to me about. It was the title of a message that I shared with at the UC Davis Chi Alpha (aka Davis Christian Fellowship) Fall Retreat this past October. However, what’s a crazy is that I looked at the date… “Oct. 17, 2011″… that’s the day Pastor Steven Furtick published his blog. I’m in shock because on Oct. 17th, 1999…that’s when I decided to give my life wholly to God in baptism. Not only that but it hasn’t failed that God allows me to have some crazy act of obedience on Oct. 17th’s. So with that said, here is the thought/blog that caught my attention from Pastor Steven Furtick….Enjoy, listen, and do something about it!!

Obedience Creates an Opportunity

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.
Matthew 25:21

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
Luke 16:10

I think there’s a major misconception that exists about how God gives opportunities to His people to do something for Him. Many people want God to first give them great opportunities so they can display great obedience. But often until then, they won’t be obedient with what they’ve already been given.

Maybe it’s the church planter who wants to preach for 5,000 people before he’ll preach with faithfulness and excellence to 500 people. Or 50 people. Or 5 people.

Maybe it’s the person who would love for God to give him $1 million to be generous with, but won’t even be generous with the paycheck he is receiving right now.

Maybe it’s the college student who is willing to die for his faith in the Middle East, when he can’t even share his faith with his roommate.

If you read the Bible, it’s pretty clear that that’s simply not the way it works with God.

Joseph had to be faithful and obedient in slavery and prison before he was put in charge over Egypt.
David had to herd sheep before he killed a giant.
Stephen had to wait tables for widows before he defended his faith to the masses.
God won’t give you more to do for Him until you can do what He’s already given you to do.

So:
Stop praying for a life of impact and do something impactful.
Stop praying for a bigger platform and use the one you’ve been given.
Stop praying for a better assignment and start performing better with the one you have.

Obedience creates opportunity, not the other way around.

Do something right now with what you have and watch the miraculous power of God multiply what you have. Be obedient with what God has given you, and He’ll give you more to be obedient with.

http://www.stevenfurtick.com/personal-development/obedience-creates-opportunity/


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