8 Worst Body Language Mistakes/Tips For Non-Verbal Communication Skills

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Hey TD!

Both the guys and the girls groups had tremendous times at T&T Night.  Not only did we discuss issues, but we began learning little nuances that go a long way towards not only fulfilling the bottom-line big-picture practical duties of becoming future men and women of God, but also the manner in which we learn to fulfill those roles.

At church, often times, we focus on what to say to people; we don’t spend enough time on how we say it … including our body language. While we want to make sure we don’t use learned external mannerisms as ways to portray ourselves or to manipulate how people think of us, we don’t want to go to the other extreme and not pay any attention to what our mannerisms may communicate to others.

When I saw this list from learnex, I immediately knew this would be useful for us at TD, as many of us can be … hmmm, let’s be honest … underwhelming … in the vibe we give and the impression we leave. Some of it may indeed be that we really don’t care much about the vibe we give people. For those of you who fall into that category, that needs to change. However, for others, it’s not that you don’t care; rather, it’s that you don’t know what needs to be adjusted or how to do it.

So, for the sake of continuing conversation with those around you – both outside and inside the church – check out these body language mistakes and see where you could improve (I’ve edited, added to, and adjusted some parts for conciseness and clarity):

Eye contact

The first one is avoiding eye contact.  When you are not looking into the person’s eye, it shows that you’re either nervous or not confident about yourself … and you’re being a little disrespectful. So you definitely don’t want to show these emotions. You’re probably just nervous, but making eye contact is extremely important.

Slouching

When you slouch in front of people while talking with them, it shows you’re not confident, have poor self-esteem, and don’t have the energy for them. It conveys that you’re bored talking with them.

Hand-shake

Make sure that you give a firm but warm handshake to the people that you meet because it’s a sign of  … of confidence and engagement. When you give a poor or weak handshake, it shows that you are least interested in shaking hands or dealing with that person. A very aggressive, very firm handshake is also not acceptable.

Arms folded

Folded arms can possibly show that you’re nervous, not confident, or uninterested. If you lean back with your arms folded, it could give off the impression that you are skeptical or wanting to keep your distance.

Frowning & Scowling

Frowning and scowling while conversing with someone may give the vibe that you have already jumped to a conclusion and made a negative judgment before knowing the context and considering all the facts. This could make someone more reticent to share openly and freely.

Invading Privacy & Space

There are people who love to invade others’ space. For example, you’re at your workplace and your co-worker comes in and just sticks around you way too much and you don’t want that. You want him or her to maintain distance. There are people who treat your possessions or your space as if it’s their own. They may be crossing personal boundaries. It’s important to maintain your boundaries when you are talking to a person or hanging around them. You want to maintain the appropriate space and distance commensurate with your relationship – not too close and not too far.

Fidgeting

Fidgeting with an item in your hand, with your hair, or constantly moving are signs of nervousness and being uncomfortable in the conversation, which can lead the one you’re speaking with to become uncomfortable conversing with you as well.

Glancing at the clock/checking your phone

Glancing at the clock or checking your phone during a conversation gives the impression that you can’t wait for this conversation to be over or that the person you’re speaking with isn’t very important to you. You may have legitimate reasons to look at your watch or the clock, or you to check your phone – maybe you have another appointment afterwards and you don’t want to be late, or you are expecting an important text; just make sure you communicate that with the person you’re with, so you don’t leave them wondering and feeling unimportant.


1 Cor. 10:31 implores us, “Whether then you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” This includes working on glorifying God in the way that you converse with others; loving others enough to work on communicating with them considerately and with care. It’s something for all of us to consider, including me. Let’s keep working on it! – Arthur

TD Fri. – “Food For Thought ’18” is Over – Now What?

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Hey TD!

Last Saturday night, high schoolers came to Food For Thought ’18 from all over the SGV to have a great time over great food and to engage in great open, honest, and safe dialogue that was spurred on by a great talk given by Daniel. Conversations were vibrant and alive as people stayed well past the designated finish time to continue discussing things of significance. But now what do we do, now that FFT is over?

Listen to FFT ’18 message here: “Identified – FFT ’18” – Daniel (mp3 message)

This Friday night at TD, we’ll learn how to continue the conversations meaningfully and respectfully, yet effectively in His Name.  We’ll work on next steps to take to not only continue the conversations with your friends, but to do so in a way that leaves everyone feeling refreshed and challenged at the same time.

See you Friday!

 

A Personal Conversation with RC Sproul, Pt. 3 of 3

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In this final installment with RC Sproul, one of the world’s leading theologians and a hero of mine, you will get a very personal, real, and honest look into the life and heart of one of the world’s leading theologians, and a spiritual hero of mine.  My hopes for these interviews is for you to be able to not only learn directly from what he says, but also by the manner and humility with which he shares his life with us.  Glean and grow! I think you’ll be surprised.  Enjoy! – Arthur

Arthur:  I have one or two more questions. In giving my audience a glimpse into the life of RC Sproul, I wanted them to get a whiff and a peek into the passion and purpose of RC Sproul … Can you just preach it to me right now and charge me with what you desperately and passionately want my audience to know? What is the thing that you want to say, “Make sure you don’t forget to communicate this to them, Arthur.”

RC: What has been intimately connected with the holiness of God has been my lifelong preoccupation with justification and with Christology, because as I’ve said in teaching systematic theology, our doctrine of God informs every other doctrine that we have; and you can’t really understand salvation unless you understand who God is; and you can’t understand who Christ is unless you understand the nature and character of God. We’re living in a time in evangelical circles where people are attacking the doctrine of imputation and the righteousness of Christ. They’re attacking the active obedience of Christ, and when they do that, I feel like they’re trying to steal the gospel away from me. And so I say, whatever else you do, don’t forget the gospel. And understand the gospel in theological terms. Gospel is doctrine before it’s ever life. You have to get the doctrine right.

Arthur: You don’t have to answer this … but what would you prefer people not know about you?

RC: What would I prefer people not know about me? That I smoked for 40 years.

Arthur: You know, that’s one thing I was going to ask you since you are RC Sproul, the Christian hero, and in your mind you didn’t really want to smoke but … Can you talk about what was going on in your soul and what you were thinking during those days?

RC: It almost destroyed my soul. I mean I never prayed about anything so much about what I did as much as I did about that. I’m the one who proved the adage that it’s easier to quit smoking because I did it a thousand times. I hated it … but it was an addiction, a physiological addiction and I just couldn’t kick it.

Arthur: You didn’t do it in public, during conferences, or anything like that …

RC: With conferences, that was later, but earlier on when I was teaching, when I was in the church, and with certain colleges, it wasn’t all that big of a deal. If you would go to conferences at Westminster Seminary, and everyone would have a smoking break – Van Til and Murray, and everybody … ‘cuz everybody smoked, especially those Dutch guys. It wasn’t a big deal then as it is now … but then there came a time where I was careful not to blatantly smoke in public because people just couldn’t handle that. I remember once, the last cigarette that (he names a prominent Christian leader) ever smoked, he borrowed from me. One time, he was smoking and somebody came and he didn’t want him to see him, so he handed the cigarette to his associate … his associate put it in his pocket and it started to burn up his pants! (laughing) I could tell you some funny stories …

Arthur: Lastly, could you quickly talk about your changing relationship with Vesta (his wife) through the years … Fifty-some years now, right?

RC: 53 years. And I tell you what. She’s been my greatest help and really a biblical helpmate in the highest degree. It’s just like … umm … we just fit together; and I’ve had to take care of her these last couple of weeks like I’ve never had to do in my whole life, because she’s the healthiest person I’ve ever known. She has this serious back problem and it’s been awful to see her in all this pain. But, we know what each other’s thinking before we say it.

Arthur: And you guys started liking each other at the age of six, before you became Christians.

RC: Yeah, we were engaged before we became Christians Arthur: How did that change your relationship … when you became Christians? How did that change things? RC: It changed the focus of our relationship. We were now both in love with Jesus. It made all the difference in the world.

Arthur: Thanks A LOT, RC!

RC: Well, I hope it helped. How’s your family doing these days? (After some dialog about each of the kids, we finished up) Well, blessings on ALL of you guys!

Arthur: Thanks for the time, the discussion, and really, thanks for your life. I want to steward this time well.

RC: Oh, thank you, Arthur. You are too kind. Ok, buddy, we’ll see you. Bye now.

A Personal Conversation With RC Sproul, Pt. 2 of 3

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Hey TD, we have an exclusive treat for you.  In this honest, candid, and real conversation with RC, you will get a unique look at one of the Christian giants of the last 40 years. He has had a profound influence on my life, and unbeknownst to you, he has influenced your life too.  He is known to many as America’s most influential theologian; yet, while influential, he possesses a sense a humility and authenticity that is endearing, as you will see.. Some of his answers will surprise you. Please read on and glean. – Arthur

RC: When I left teaching in the seminary and started teaching at the study center (called Ligonier Valley Study Center) in the middle of the mountains 50 miles east of Pittsburgh … the closest town was two miles away, with a population of under 200 people … I thought that by doing that, that I had actually committed academic suicide; that I had basically really sentenced myself to everlasting obscurity (starts laughing).

Arthur: Why did you do it?

RC: Ahh, because I love to teach and people were asking me to do it. People wanted me to do it and they wanted to learn.

Arthur: So, basically you’re telling me that if you wanted a fast track to notoriety, that wasn’t going to be the way to do it.

RC: Nooo, hardly! (begins laughing loudly and heartily) …

Arthur: So, you did it for the purity of it, like how athletes talk about the love of the game.

RC: It WAS the love of the game … the love of the students … and got us back to the experiences we had when I was teaching in the college, where students were living in our house, eating meals with us, and learning

Arthur: Did you have a vision for the Ligonier Study Center, or for the students that you taught, as to what this would emerge to?

RC: We were called there to help educate staff members who were there, like for Young Life, Intervarsity, the Coalition for Christian Outreach. These were all people who were college educated but did not have the benefit of seminary. And the leaders of these organizations got together and asked me to come and start a study center, where these lay [leaders] could come and get sort of a shorthand view of seminary theological education while they were in the field. I considered myself what I called a “battlefield theologian,” not an ivory tower theologian. I liked that. These guys were involved on the college campuses with people around the city and they needed to be equipped with theological understanding of their ministry. That was my vision. I was trying to help them become knowledgeable and articulate Christian leaders … lay leaders. That was it. I didn’t think of Cecil B. DeMille and a cast of thousands or anything like that.

Arthur: So, that has expanded and now is reaching the local church. But now you’re far removed from reaching the personal side of [the ministry]. You were a pastor for a little while, right? Then you quit or something? You mentioned many times in messages or in conferences that, “I didn’t have the stuff to become a pastor. It’s the pastor that’s the hero.” But then you went back to the pastorate.

RC: Well, I had a student pastorate when I was in seminary for a year. Then I had two years of experience of being on the staff of a church, and I was happy to be on the staff and not be the senior pastor, because my job was as a minister of theology; I just taught, that’s what I did. What I thought I lacked to be a pastor was the skin … I mean people, they eat you up, they eat you alive; pastors are chewed up and thrown out. They get very little respect. They have power in the church but they don’t have any authority … I was just too thin-skinned, I was too sensitive. My feelings got hurt too easy doing that. (laughing)

Arthur: Did you toughen up to a point where you thought you could do it with St. Andrews (the current church he’s pastoring)?

RC: St. Andrews is another horse that got away. It was called St. Andrews Chapel because there was a handful of people that didn’t have a church to go to that they were happy with. They asked me to start a church, and I said no a few times. Finally, they asked me to pray about it. I finally said, “Well, if all I do is preach and teach, I can do it but I cannot be your pastor. I already got a full time job. We started with a handful of people and that was the understanding, and I just preached and taught, and then we got someone to take care of congregational life and the pastoral life of the church. Burk’s done that. Burk’s really the pastor at St. Andrew’s. All I do is preach and teach. We called it a chapel because the idea was to keep it small … you can’t really do that necessarily

Arthur: The personal aspect that really drew you to teaching … has that somewhat returned since you’ve been there?

RC: Well, I’m not really teaching that much any more. At first, I did a lot of teaching and preaching, but then I had health problems. I used to teach an hour Sunday School class and then I would preach, and then preach again in the evening. Now, I don’t have the Sunday School class anymore and I only preach once in the morning. I was preaching twice in the morning and then once in the evening; but now I’m down to one service a week. It’s all I can handle, health-wise.

Arthur: Winding down here, let’s start with that Young Life group in Saranac, New York. People have their signature series, the one that launches [careers] – like Ravi really got his explosion … the Harvard series was there, but it was when he came to Ligonier conferences repeatedly over a couple year span there that really exploded his ministry. I always tell people that if RC were worried about gate keeping, he wouldn’t have sent those [messages of Ravi out to RC’s supporters]. You sent it out and said that this was the #1 requested message from the whole conference and you wanted us supporters to hear it. I always thought how neat that was that you were not gate keeping. I only found out about Ligonier through John MacArthur, when he was speaking at a Ligonier conference and let his supporters know about it. He was not gate keeping. I thought it was really neat.

With respect to the Holiness of God series, that was so pivotal for you … Can you tell us what was going on in your life and what you were experiencing during this time of forming your messages. What was going on in your life that burst through, that the Holiness of God was borne out of?

RC: Well, the first thing was … I was teaching at a conference that the evangelist, John Guest, was preaching at, and he preached a message from Isaiah 6 … and I had never heard anything like that before. That was the greatest sermon I’d ever heard in my life, and in fact my first sermon in The Holiness of God series on Isaiah 6 … is heavily influenced by John’s treatment of it, as well as by Alec Matire who was John’s professor in England, who wrote the commentary on Isaiah. So, that helped. Then I fleshed it out and expanded it beyond it. Another impact that had a big impact on me was reading Rudolph Otto, the German critical theologian, and his study on the idea of the Holy.

Putting those things together, also with the impact of Edwards and Luther and Calvin on my understanding of the justice of God and the grace of God, that all fit together.

Arthur: Were there things going off in your soul as you were discovering and reading these things – epiphanies and things that made you go, “Wow!”?

RC: (laughing heartily) I tell you what! My whole study of theology has been an epiphany, Arthur … I have had sooo many epiphanies in that sense of the word.

Arthur: Were you moved in studying that topic in such a degree that it just shook you, because every time I listen …

RC: The thing that frustrates me, and you’ve probably heard me say this, was that my study of the holiness of God really … I mean I already knew it … really overwhelmed me in terms of revealing to me how unholy I am and we are. Isaiah’s experience was my experience – “I’m a man of unclean lips and I dwell amongst a people of unclean lips.”

One of the things that annoys me about that signature series is that because I’m so interested in the holiness of God, people jump to the conclusion that I must be exceedingly holy myself, and it’s just the opposite. What attracted me to the holiness of God is that I realized that my tendency as a sinful person is to shield myself from that vision of God; and what I needed if I was going to go anywhere in the Christian life, what I needed to keep in front of me at all times is a clear understanding of who God is. Does that make any sense?

Arthur: Oh, totally, totally. I think that’s what it does for a lot of us …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Personal Conversation With RC Sproul, Pt. 1

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As I’ve shared many times, RC Sproul is one of my heroes in life.  I think you’ll enjoy this candid, honest, and one-of-a-kind conversation that I had with him earlier this summer.  Learn and glean from one of the world’s leading theologians over the last 4 decades, and allow his enduring passion for the Lord encourage and spur you on! Comments welcomed. – Arthur

Arthur: We are starting a summer series called, “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” …  I wanted to do not only biographical sketches, but capture the passion and thrust and vision that you have, and had, and that God has called you to … If you could share your life and vision and what you want people to know, that would help me to be faithful to you and to what God has called you to.

RC: I would say, Arthur, understand where my theological passion comes from.  It comes from the initial days of my conversion … When I was converted, it was a Damascus Road kind of experience.  It happened to coincide with the beginning of my freshman year in college, which happened to be a church related college.  I went there not because it was church related, but because I went on [an] athletic scholarship.

I was converted the first week and then I had to go to an “Introduction to the Old Testament.”  So, I started to read the Bible for the first time, and my virginal reading of the Old Testament, particularly overwhelmed me (with emphasis) with the sense and majesty of God the Father.  I can remember walking the dormitory halls at 3 in the morning when everybody else was asleep and dealing with this portrait of God that I found in the Old Testament; and then I realized that this God plays for keeps [and] this can’t be something that’s just a matter of peripheral or surface commitment …

My next experience was in a philosophy class when I had my teacher expound an article from Augustine on creation – creation ex nihilo – and again that had a remarkable impact on my understanding of God.  Then, of course, when I went to seminary and studied under [John] Gerstner, I was exposed to the great minds of church history, particularly … Augustine, Anselm, Athanasius, Thomas Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Edwards, and each one of these giants upon whose shoulders we stand today differs in some degree from the others – usually in small matters – nevertheless, what came across to me in all of them was that they were all intoxicated with the majesty of God the Father.  And that defined my theological thinking, I think, more than anything else …

… and the realization that in the church that we live today, there seems to be a shallow approach to the nature and character of God; we’ve become almost unitarians of the second Person of the Trinity, preoccupied with Jesus, as important as Jesus is, obviously.  Remember that His work was that He was sent from the Father to reconcile us TO the Father.  What I was afraid [of] was that we were losing the very nature and character of God; and if you don’t understand the very nature and character of God Himself, you can’t understand the very character and nature and work of Jesus.  And so those are the things that really informed my vision to communicate the character and nature of God in my teaching through so many decades.

Arthur:  You were talking about the shoulders of giants that left you in awe because they were intoxicated with God the Father.  I talked to you back in the early ’90’s … and asked you for advice for me in leading youth.  Your response to me back then was, “Teach them who God is. Teach them the character of God.” Now that you’ve had the chance to rub shoulders with the [newer guard, like Mark Driscoll] and have seen a little bit more of the youth today, would you add to that advice at all?  Or would you say we need it more than ever?

RC:  [We need it] now more than ever!  Particularly now, if anything that’s awakened me since pastoring a church, Arthur, is where this works itself out at the level of worship.  I’m afraid that the shallow way in which God is being worshipped in the evangelical world today reflects the theology that people have.  I think our worship should reflect what we believe about the nature and character of God. And when you understand who God is, you can’t be casual or cavalier in His presence.

Arthur:  The shallowness that you see … can you expand on that a little bit more?

RC: How we dress, how we sing, how we behave in church is at kind of a casual level, which doesn’t make sense to me if we understand Who it is we’re worshipping.

Arthur:  Is there a place for maintaining the respect and yet not being “outdated?” for maintaining the respect, yet being in current culture and not just putting on the “dress of the old?”

RC:  I’m sure there must be.  I just haven’t seen much of that.

Arthur:  When speaking of standing on the shoulders of giants, how do you feel about being considered by many to be one of those giants today?

RC:  Well, I think that the people who think of me as a giant instead of a dwarf are the people who don’t really understand who the giants are, the people whose shoulders I’m standing on.  But I understand that in every age people are pushed into positions of leadership and it normally is the case that contemporaries pay more attention to contemporaries than to leaders from the past.  I mean that’s common human experience, and I understand that.  In fact, even when I write, every time I’ve written a book, Arthur, I have felt like whatever I’ve had to say in this book has been said so much better by people in the past than I can do now.  But I also realize that people won’t read the people from the past, and so what I’m trying to do in a sense is introduce them to those people from the past and then they’ll at some point get rid of my books and then get to reading the giants.

Arthur:  Now RC, you really believe that?  Or is that … the “right answer?”

RC:  Well, that question is a little bit insulting, Arthur, (chuckling)!  Yeah, as a matter of fact, I do believe it.  I couldn’t believe it more strongly.  I’ve said it many times and I’ve had that feeling when writing and struggling to communicate certain things. Like when I was writing on Willing to Believe, of course I’m giving a little rehearsal of what others have said, like Luther and Edwards, and I’m thinking, I wish the people would really dig into Edwards on this because he does it so much more profoundly than I did.  And I thought many times that I realize that I’m in a position of prominence, if you want to call it that; but I have often felt that if I lived in another century, where the Warfields and the Hodges, and people like that were around, people wouldn’t be paying me any attention.  I think the reason I’m in some kind of prominence today is because of the age in which we live.  I do honestly believe that and I have for years, Arthur.

Now at the same time, to get to the other side of what you were getting at, I … I was talking with a church leader recently who is prominent in his denomination and he’s 20 – 25 years younger than I am, and he asked me to do something, and I said, “Why do you want to hear from me on this point?  I’m a dinosaur now, you know,” and he was horrified that I said that, and he said, “I don’t think you realize that your influence right now is greater than it’s ever been.”  And I was not just surprised but I was shocked he said that.  I thought, hmmm, maybe he’s right.  When you think about all the things that Ligonier does to expand the outreach of the ministry, and the way it’s gone overseas, and the way radio has multiplied.  You know, the guy may be right, but I may be just kind of feeling my age.  Does that make sense to you?

Arthur:  Yeah, totally.  Hey, have you been on the internet yet?

RC: What do you mean have I been on the internet?

Arthur:  I was watching you tell Mark Driscoll (a couple of years ago) that you haven’t been on the internet. 

RC:  Well, since I have my iphone, I guess it counts.  Like if someone asks me a question about who starred in a movie in 1946, and I don’t know the answer, I have this app that says, “google,” and I go google that question, and so, I know this may sound stupid, but I understand that that’s kind of like being on the internet, right?

Arthur:  Yes, it is (RC laughing)

RC: I still don’t have a computer. (laughing)

Arthur: So, you don’t spend too much time on http://www.ligonier.org?

RC: Uh, you mean the internet site?

Arthur: Uh huh

RC: You want me to tell you something?  Are you standing up or sitting down?

Arthur: I’m sitting down.

RC:  I’ve never seen it, Arthur.

Arthur: Is that right?

RC: Yeah, that’s right.

Arthur: Let me tell you, they’ve done a tremendous job [with the site]

RC: I’ve heard wonderful things about what we call Ref Net and all the things we’ve done online, but like I said I’ve never visited the app.  I know there is one, but I’ve never visited it.

Arthur:  Now is that intentional to keep your clarity?

RC:  I really haven’t given five minutes thought to it.  I’m just not into that kind of stuff, you know?  I was on the radio for at least five years before I ever heard a broadcast of Renewing Your Mind, Arthur.  I don’t read my own books.  I don’t listen to my own messages.  Is that unusual?

Arthur:  No, I don’t think so.  I figure that once you hear yourself a couple of times to evaluate yourself, that would’ve done it.  Yeah, I wouldn’t want to hear myself either if I already know what I said.

RC:  Yeah, well, I tell you this.  The other side of that is that sometimes when I have listened to my program, I’ve gotten very engaged in it, listening very carefully, and enjoying it, and liking what the guy is saying, forgetting that it’s me! (laughing heartily)

Arthur: (also laughing heartily) Haha, that is so good!  I’ve done the same thing when I’m listening to a message that I did, and then I say, “Man, that’s good!”  Then Sandra walks by and she kind of gives me that look!

RC: (laughing harder) Yeah, I know that look! (continuing to laugh)

Arthur:  When you had your conversion, you took your classes, and you were so voracious.  You said before that you read the Bible in like two weeks or something, and then you’ve taught it to so many, you’ve taught Dust to Glory, you’ve written seventy plus books and all that.  When you come to it today, is it still your food?  Are you still fresh?  Is it still alive to you?  Does it still make RC Sproul come alive?

RC:  Yes, I would say if anything, moreso.  I’ve never gotten jaded about that … It’s still very difficult for me, however, to preach and to teach from a nervous anxiety aspect.  I’ve never gotten any less nervous about speaking.

Arthur:  You’re still nervous today?

RC:  Oh, absolutely.  You mention today?  You know I always preach without notes, so as soon as I’m done with one lecture, I immerse myself in the next one, and I worry about, am I going to do justice to the text next time, and so that never stops, absolutely never stops.