Girl! Interrupted!: An interview with Teresa Coelho of Power of Modesty

3 03 2011

Interviewing Teresa Coelho of Power of Modesty is such a blast. As a former model and a mother she has a keen eye for what teens, especially girls are going through. Issues like peer pressure, clothing, sex and pleasing God are on top of every girls list of questions. For me (as a guy) I also learned a lot.  And now without further a due, here is our interview Teresa.

ROCK:    Teresa, why do teens especially girls get peer pressured?

Teresa: Being a model in Southern California for 15 years, I understand the expectation to maintain what Hollywood and the fashion industry consider “perfection.”  It’s a never-ending, forever changing culture that pressures especially girls to compromise character and their self-worth.  It’s unfortunate that nine in ten teen girls are influenced by T.V. fashion mags and models.  Even though most girls know that the photos they’re looking at have been altered or photoshopped, still 75% of girls become depressed after fifteen minutes of reading a glam mag.  What I’ve learned after working in the entertainment industry is to be content with my body, and be happy and with whom I am when I look at myself in a mirror.

ROCK: How does this affect their life specifically being a Christian? How about you as a teen then?

I made mistakes as a young adult and it wasn’t until I had the opportunity at a second marriage that my fiancé’ stated that he would only marry me if I made Christ a priority in my life. I was a young Christian at the time, and I didn’t want to fail at another marriage, so I read my Bible often and listen to Christian radio broadcasts. I’ve learned to stand firm and trust God with my life, my marriage, the raising of four girls, and a ministry.

The Bible gives us an edge over the culture’s deception. As Christians we exist in Christ and in this world. But like most of us, it’s easier to listen to the lies that we’re unworthy than to believe that we are “Wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).  Romans 12 is key to remember when we struggle with those lies that whisper where not good enough.  The Bible says for Christians to be transformed by the “renewing of our mind” and not to conform to the pressures of a hostile world. Allowing God to transform us is like a metamorphosis, it’s a total change in our attitude towards how we think or feel about ourselves that develops from the inside out.

ROCK:   I thought this generation or culture taught us individualism yet why do teens and young adults fall for conformity on what media thinks, views on sexuality and the more obvious how they dress up?

Teresa: Media is always saying “Be your own girl!” “Embrace your uniqueness!” but then flashy sexy cover stories that read, “How to Look Like Your Fav Celeb”, or “25 Ways to Look Sexy.” Our culture is double-minded and if we choose the counterfeit culture over Christ we will set ourselves up for failure.

When I modeled, my life evolved around having a sexy appearance. I think for me that word “appearance” says it all. I appeared sexy, but that really wasn’t my heart at all. It was what I thought I was supposed to be, the girl with the sexiest clothes and the hottest body wins…right?

But after rededicating my life to Christ, I was convicted over the clothes I’d been wearing I began asking myself these questions:

Why do I choose to wear “sexy” outfits? Am I really that insecure that have to show off my body to compete with other women? Is it a rush knowing that my body caught a man’s eye and became the focus of his attention?

I think it’s important for every girl that struggles with modesty to ask themselves these questions, so that they can keep their heart in check with God’s standards and not the worlds.

 

ROCK: What are your advice for teens on how do they stand out while maintaining their Christian values?

Teresa: Isaiah 59:15 says “Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes prey.”

I believe this next generation of Christians must stand firm and engage in the truth of God’s Word. We have become too passive and have allowed evil to walk all over us.  It’s time for a grass-roots movement of repentance to wash across our heart so God can heal us and our land.

That’s why I’ve created the “Rebellion Newsletter.” It’s an email the gets basted all around the world to encourage girls to speak up against the culture when others are afraid too.

ROCK:   Lets go to clothing, why is clothing very important to teens?

Teresa: For teenagers, clothing is a social statement. It expresses to their friends and everyone else who they are and what they like.  It’s their signature or identity.  Clothing can categorize you into cliques or groups by what you wear. But most the time, teens are into a certain look of clothing because of peer pressure to wear the latest style.

ROCK:   How about sex. How can we tell teens to wait and invest in purity while their friends had given it already?

Teresa: Over 50% of teen girls between the ages of 12-17 feel pressured into having sex, either by their boyfriend or class mates.

Here are some statistics that I just read today from the Alan Guttmacher Institute:  They’re reporting there are 4 million new sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) that infect teens each year. And that the Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections account for about half of STIs diagnosed among 15- 24year olds each year.
I also found a study dated Tuesday, January 26, 2010 that reads: Following decade-long decline, U.S. teen pregnancy rate increases as both birth and abortions rise.

But let’s not forget about the AIDS/HIV report from The Kaiser Foundation that “new HIV infections among young people are at 2.6 million.”

I could go on about the statistics and risks of premarital sex, but many girls believe that getting pregnant or an STD would never happen to them. The reality is…its happening. And it’s happening to girl’s every day that have to go home and tell their parents their pregnant or have a sexually transmitted disease because they couldn’t wait till they were married to have sex.

I think it’s time for us girls to get real.
God is a relational God, and He created a husband and wife to be sexual. Marriage invites a man and a woman into each other’s life to know and to be known. There’s no shame. No regrets. No boundaries. Sex God’s way, is the best and safest sex out there!

But how do you wait when everyone around you isn’t? I tell teens that their feeling toward wanting to experience sex is normal. But God says to wait and for very good reasons until you’re married. Did you know that over 25% of teens that have premarital sex become depressed.  Dating and breaking up then dating again when sex is involved with different partners, overtime will callous your heart. What you’ve done is trained your heart, your body, and your brain to not fully give or accept love the way God intended.

Now that you know the truth, it’ll be easier for you to overcome Satan’s scheme.  Read Ephesians 5:5 and keep this verse in your brain. “Let there not be a HINT of sexual immorality.” What that means is this: When you talk to the opposite sex there should not be an indirect suggestion, a slight indication, a touch, a trace, and a drop of a hint or a potential opportunity for sexual behavior.

ROCK: Wow, Teresa very well said.   I know there are parents out their reading this, so what can you say to them on the proper way to talk to their kids about Christian modesty?

Teresa: It’s important to talk to your children about modesty when they’re still young. Instilling morals and values right away into your children teaches them that this is your family’s life style and expectation. Otherwise when your children become teenagers you’ll be battling over a freedom that once belonged to them. The double standard will cause friction and frustration between you and your teen.

ROCK: Any tips or advice to teens and young adults that I know for sure wants to please God and their parents. So what do think are the steps in doing it?

Teresa: Every teen deep down wants to please their parents. I’ll give you a few tips that I believe teens need to be intentional about that are non-negotiable when it comes to relationships with God and their parents.

The first tip is trust. If you break your parents trust, it’ll take time to rebuild, so don’t expect your parents to just hand over the car keys or allow you to go out after you’ve gotten caught breaking the rules. Many times teens feel the need to sneak around behind their parents back.  This behavior only results in a guilty conscience that will cause all kinds of emotional and physical attitudes to flare up between you, your parents, your friends, including your relationship with God.  The best thing to do is talk with your parents about how your feeling, before there’s a mountain of tension in your relationship.

The second tip is to obey your parents.  Many times teens refuse to listen and will talk back or flat out rebel because they don’t agree with their parents rules. It’s important for the teen to understand that your parents are there to empower you through your teen years to help prepare you now, so that you will make wise choices for your future.

My last tip is to honor your parents. I know that this could be difficult for some teens that have been neglected and hurt by their parents.  I was mistreated growing up, and my mom made me feel as though I was destroying the family when I chose to get Christian counseling. But when she got older, I honored her by lovingly caring for her needs. It’s important to honor your parents by the choices you make with your life. The things you choose to do are a reflection of your Heavenly Father.

These simple steps are what God desires from you too.  He wants your relationship to be built on trust, as you depend on Him to get you through the turbulent times of your teenage years.  However, that depends on you being obedient to His Word, and putting it into action in your life.  And most of all God wants you to honor Him by representing Him and His Kingdom.

ROCK: Teresa it’s such a pleasure interviewing you. I learned a lot from you. Now, Teresa what is Power of Modesty? Please tell us about it? Invite them to check you website or Facebook page.

Power of Modesty was founded in 2004 and it was created to be a safe environment where teen girls can find the love, understanding, support, accountability and guidance that they’re seeking through relationships, and to give them the message of freedom and grace that we can only receive through Jesus Christ, allowing transformation to be a process and a journey so they can make a positive influence on our culture.

I would love to have your readers’ blog me and join the Rebellion Newsletter on the P.O.M. website at http://www.powerofmodesty.com

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Basta Advice ni Kuya: ROCK interviews Kuya Kevin Sanders

19 06 2010

Love, sex and relationships. These three grabs Pinoys interest. You don’t believe me? Well check out tons of Mexican and Korean telenovelas out there. Or your neighborhood sari-sari store pocketbooks for rent. Or try to tune in the radio to hear Joe D’ Mangos wannabes. Filipinos love talking about these topics.

ROCK Ministry recently got a hold with Kuya Kevin Sanders, a campus minister, author and host of the radio show “Basta Love Life” and asked some questions about his blog, books, radio and campus ministry.

ROCK Ministry: How did all this things happen? Did you plan all this? When did you start being a kuya?

Kuya Kevin: I became a Christian when I was very young.  A few years later (my teenage years) I felt that God was calling me to serve Him.  It didn’t make much sense to me at the time because I’m more of an introvert (shy type).  But God has continued to confirm this decision.

To make a long story short, I got interested in missions when I was in college.  I told God I would be willing to go if He would make a way.  He eventually did, and I ended up here.  One of the reasons I chose Manila is I really wanted to work with college students.  There are hundreds of thousands of them here, so I have plenty of work to do.  This is my dream job!

ROCK Ministry:  There are lots of people especially in the media that has this love advice segments or columns. Dr. Love copycats are like mushroom here. So tell us what makes your advice different from those gazillions out there who wants to take a stab on someone’s relationship problem?

Kuya Kevin: The show was started in part as a response to some of the shallow, worldly advice that seems so prevalent on some shows.  Erwin (my co-host) got the idea while on a late-night bus ride.  He heard this radio “counselor” telling a caller that same-sex relationships are OK as long as you are in love (definitely not what the Bible teaches).  We started talking about doing our own show–a show based on biblical principles.

I think what sets us apart is the biblical approach.  We stick to the Word and try to make it very practical and relevant.

We are also careful to avoid legalism.  The Bible gives us some clear guidelines (such as saving sex for marriage), but I’m afraid some Christian teachers and authors go a little overboard.  It makes me think of Paul’s words: “Do not go beyond what is written” (1st Conrinthians 6:4).

ROCK Ministry:    One question that rises is: you are American, so how can you give advice to Pinoy considering the culture background?

Kuya Kevin: Well, part of the answer is this: many of the issues I deal with are common among youth/singles all around the world.  Sometimes I find myself personally relating to questions I’m asked–things I’ve experienced myself when I was a student in the States.

But culture does play a role.  I had already lived in the Philippines for a few years before I started doing purity seminars–I didn’t start this as soon as I stepped off the plane.  In other words, I had a pretty decent understanding of Filipino culture by the time this aspect of ministry developed.

ROCK Ministry: Wow. So what can you say about Pinoys and how they handle their love life?

Kuya Kevin: I think Filipinos tend to take courtship very seriously.  The process is a little more formal than what we do in the States.  We Westerners, for example, only use the term “propose” to refer to a marriage proposal.  We don’t make a formal proposal for courtship.

I hate to admit this, but the Filipinos’ biggest problem is they are starting to act like Americans–having premarital sex, having children outside of wedlock, cohabitation (living together outside of marriage), etc.  The traditional Filipino values more closely match the biblical teaching on love, sex, and marriage.

RM: What do you think makes good advice?

KK: First and foremost, good advice is based on the Bible.  Beyond that I think keeping things as simple and as practical as possible is the way to go.

RM: In your experience as a campus minister, what are the challenges you face daily as you minister to students? Do you have an unforgettable story you can share with us?

KK: The ministry I do is kind of unique in that I spend a great deal of time outside the church.  Most of my ministry happens in schools, with students that may not have any spiritual background.  The greatest challenge is reaching out and being patient with the students’ responses–even those who are not interested in the gospel.

I’m not sure that I have one favorite story–there are so many.  Celebrating victories is important, so I make sure to reflect on every life I see changed by the power of the gospel.

RM:   I’m also a campus minister and I learned a lot from listening to students when they pour their hearts out. It’s not just to connect to their generation but to share what I experienced. How about you? What is the most important lesson you have learned while these college kids express how they feel?

KK: The most important thing I learn is whatever is going on in that particular student’s life.  It is a great honor to have someone share his or her life with you.  I’ve learned that just being willing to listen goes a long way in doing ministry.

RM:  Who do you seek for encouragement and advice?

KK: My parents have been a source of support and encouragement for me.  They’ve always told me to do whatever it is God is calling me to do.

I have some great friends, and each of them encourage me in different ways.  Some of them may just hang out with me for coffee and a movie.  I have a friend in the States who has known me since college.  He’s the one I usually email to talk about issues in my personal life–I can pretty much tell him anything.

I’ve also been blessed with some great mentors over the years.  I still keep in touch with most of them.

RM:  Lets get to your books, you wrote two of them. Can you tell us about the books? How did you get the idea to put out a book?

KK: It all started with the blog (KuyaKevin.com).  I was looking for a way to connect with students I met in seminars–a way to keep sharing my thoughts with them once the seminar was over and they go back home.  I started blogging as a way to share advice.

Students were responding to my blog articles, so I kept writing.  I contacted Church Strengthening Ministry (CSM, my publisher) after a year or so of writing–it seemed publishing was the next logical step.

That’s how Basta LoveLife came into being.

I’ll give you a little more background on Basta LoveLife.  I noticed two things when looking at relationship books in the Philippines: 1. Most of the books here were simply imported from the States.  2.  It seemed many of the locally authored books were written by women.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but I figured it was time for something written from the masculine perspective.

This first book is basically a collection of my thoughts about love, sex and relationships–from a biblical perspective, of course.

The second book, Learning the Hard Way, also started on my blog.  I was seeing a lot of sad stories in my email inbox–testimonies of those who were making terrible mistakes and paying the price. “What if stories like these were used to warn others?”  I asked myself.

I started a “Learning the Hard Way” section on my blog, and it was a big hit.  It seemed like it would make a good book, so I approached my publisher (CSM) about it.  The end result was book number 2.  Erwin designed the cover and artwork for it.

RM: Those are things that a Christian Pinoy looks for. You know Kevin “Basta Love Life” book is very Pinoy. What are some reaction of people who read that book?

KK: It’s funny you mention that.  One of the greatest honors I’ve received is hearing Filipinos tell me they can relate to what I’ve written.  It puts a smile on my face because I known I somehow managed to reach my target audience.

RM: Your radio show/podcast is great. You and Kuya Erwin make a good tandem. So tell us how do you prepare for the radio show? Have you already made your response to the questions that you received? How do you pick the questions you will discuss in the show?
KK: Thanks–I’m glad you like the show.  Erwin and I jokingly call ourselves the Philippines’ most unprofessional broadcasters.  Don’t get me wrong–we are very concerned with quality.  But neither of us really come from a broadcasting background, and both of us have full-time ministries off the air.

Here’s how we usually arrange the show:  I choose the topics and questions, and Erwin is responsible for the music and production.  You’ve heard the show, so you know he also gives his own insights during counseling segments section.  This arrangement works well because Erwin is the musician/artist.

Or different cultural backgrounds are also a big asset.  Erwin is a Filipino.  He grew up in Manila, moved to the States as a teenager, and moved back to the Philippines a few years back.   I’m an American who moved here about eight years ago.  I think it gives us a pretty good balance in terms of cultural perspectives.

RM: You have a blog, books, radio podcast and you minister to students. I think many are curious; do you still have time for your own love life?

KK: Well, it can be challenging to balance full-time ministry and a social life.  But the biggest challenge for me has been finding the right person, not finding the time.  I can always make time for the right person.

I’ll add something here–something I find a little amusing.  People have asked me how I can write a book on love when I’m not married.  Here’s my answer: my books are not about married life.

I think it is great to hear from those who marry young and had relatively few romantic troubles.  But what about the rest of us?  I think we need to hear from those who, like me, have experienced rejection, breakups, blind dates, and all the other trials of single life.  Basta LoveLife, for example, has a chapter or two on breakups.  I included this because I noticed this kind of thing was mysteriously absent in some Christian books–as if Christians never experience broken hearts.  Believers need to know God is with them in the midst of their most trying moments.

RM:  In closing, please give a message to those who follow you in Twitter, Facebook, read your blog and books and listen to your podcast. Most of them really benefited with your advices for sure.

KK: I would probably refer back to the “two commandments”: be pure and be wise.  Keep yourself sexually pure and use biblical wisdom in your relationship choices.  Do this and you’ll avoid most of the disasters.

Bro Kevin thanks for giving your time for this interview and God bless as you minister to students.





Fully Booked! Enjoying Christian Books: an Interview with Church Strengthening Ministry Publishing

21 05 2010

Aside from the Bible, we ought to read Christian books. Reading makes us grow and mature as Christians. We learn a lot and discover things about being a Christian .So we asked Ms. Joy C. Solina, Editorial Manager of Church Strengthening Ministry Publishing, about Christian books, what to read and more…

ROCK Ministry: What’s the importance of reading Christian books?

Joy C. Solina: Christian books are literature or reading material that are written from a Christian or biblical perspective. They help hone the reader’s mind to see things from a biblical point of view and learn to think that way. Otherwise, he is vulnerable to all sorts of ideas that do not necessarily reflect spiritual values or have anything to do with God. Good Christian books, next to the Bible, satisfy one’s spiritual hunger for knowledge and guidance in dealing with life’s struggles and questions. They have often inspired gifted Christian writers to fulfill their calling of changing people’s lives through the printed word. What would this world be like without the works of C.S. Lewis, John Stott, A.W. Tozer, Oswald Chambers, Rick Warren and Billy Graham?

ROCK Ministry: How do we cultivate reading as part of our Christian life?

Joy C. Solina: It pays to start early. If you grew up in a family that loved books, you already have an advantage. You have developed the interest and the habit, and all you have to do is choose the books you read. If you didn’t grow up reading books for pleasure, you can still develop the interest and habit. First of all, you have to believe in its overall spiritual benefit because if you’re not fully convinced that it will make you a better person and Christian, you’ve lost the battle before you’ve even started. Second, ask godly people you admire and respect what books they can recommend to you. They would most likely lend or even give you some books that have blessed them tremendously in their spiritual growth. It also goes without saying that reading the Bible everyday helps instill the discipline if not the passion for reading Christian books.

ROCK Ministry: Many Christians read but are not readers. How do you encourage them to pick up a book?

Joy C. Solina: If you’ve personally enjoyed a book, you won’t keep that to yourself. You would gladly recommend it to your family, your friends or people you’re discipling. Aside from a highly respected author’s name on a book, a friend’s recommendation is a good enough motivation to read that book. Like a coach, ask feedback after a couple of days or weeks. If your Christian friend stopped reading it, ask why. Point out which sections you enjoyed the most or have proven helpful in your life and encourage him to read some more. When he has finished the book, suggest another one and help him get a hold of a copy. Nothing is as effective as a friend’s encouragement and example.

ROCK Ministry: For first-timers, what advice or book do they need to read?

Joy C. Solina: If you mean first-timers in reading Christian books, I would encourage them to find out who’s the best Christian author in the genre that interests them the most. If a person is fond of historical novels, go look for one that was written by a Christian. If a person is fond of biographies, find one that’s about a well-known Christian. If a person is fond of deep, philosophical discussions, find one that’s written by a Christian philosopher or apologist. You may also look for books that can help meet a pressing or current need. If a person is new in the faith, offer books that explain what salvation means and how to grow as a Christian. If a person is having trouble with finances or people at work, look for Christian books that deal with this.

ROCK Ministry: How do Christians choose the right Christian book?

Joy C. Solina: The “right” Christian book will depend on your interest, your need, and your budget. Whichever of these three takes priority, ask your pastor, your friend who loves books, your discipler, and Christians you look up to for their recommendations. Check the blurbs of books for endorsements. Classical authors on the Christian faith such as C. S. Lewis, John Stott and A.W. Tozer are always a good choice. The latest best-selling title by a Christian author may not necessarily appeal to you unless someone you know personally benefitted from reading it. If you have learned a lot from a Bible study guide or curriculum, you may take note of books mentioned in the lessons or in a reading list given by the author(s).

RM: Is there a right time to read a particular type of book? Let’s say, a new Christian should read Christian living first then if he is mature enough, he can read about apologetics.

JCS: New Christians instinctively know that they need to study the basics of the faith for them to grow spiritually but I would not limit them to one kind of books. It will also depend on their level of reading “maturity” and the genre they’re interested in. Those who love to read can read “unexplored territory” to find out if they’re prepared for it or not. If a new Christian wants to know what apologetics is all about, he can go ahead and read it, then decide for himself if he can already handle it or not.

But to maximize one’s time (hardly anyone has all the time in the world to read anything), I would recommend a mix of serious study and light reading. Choose a tested and proven study material on growing spiritually, such as Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God or Beth Moore’s A Heart Like His, alongside an easy-to-read but insightfully loaded book, such as Bob Sjogren and Gerald Robison’s Cat & Dog Theology or Rene Resurreccion’s Called to Excel.

RM: Church Strengthening Ministry has lots of titles to offer. Tell us what books you highly recommend to people.

JCS: We have a lot. I’ll try to be brief (if I could). This year we have local editions of best-selling Christian authors in the US, such as Gary Chapman (Five Love Languages, Five Love Languages for Singles, Five Love Languages for Teenagers), Nancy Leigh de Moss (Surrender, Brokenness, Lies Women Believe, Lies Young Women Believe), and Richard Blackaby (Unlimiting God).

For church lay leaders and pastors, James Garlow’s Partners in Ministry will enlighten and equip pastoral and ministry teams. Pastors can add variety to their exhortation when officiating the Lord’s Supper by using Jim Townsend’s Two-Minute Messages for Communion.

The Lord has blessed us with more local authors who have equally powerful messages to share to Filipino believers and Filipinos in general. Rene Resurreccion’s The Power to Create Righteous Wealth and The Heart of the Economic Crisis are positive reads for facing these financially challenging times. Bing Pajaron’s Parenting Teens gives much-needed advice and biblical principles to parents struggling to understand and raise their teenaged kids the right way. Campus minister Kevin Sanders’ second book with CSM, Learning the Hard Way, uses true-to-life stories sent by readers of his blog. Former mayor Marides Fernando’s Urbanidad explains how urban dwellers can live harmoniously under the law based on biblical insights shared by DZAS station manager and pastor Eric C. Maliwat who also has his first book with us, Maging Ubas Huwag Pasas.

A growing number of readers now prefer conversational Tagalog and need not feel limited in choosing books to read. For people in the workplace, Maloi Salumbides’ ProTips, Standing Tall through Tough Times and Shining Attitudes for Women at Work are ideal reads while traveling to and from the office or during break times. For young mothers, Bessie Rios’ Memo ni Mommy serves as daily doses of advice and encouragement. For couples wanting to communicate with each other better, Gary Chapman’s Now You’re Speaking My Language in conversational Tagalog offers practical tips on developing intimacy in your marriage. For anyone else who wants to relate to God more deeply, Joey Umali’s Mahal Ka ng Diyos contains selected messages from his well-loved early morning radio program, Hardin ng Panalangin.

For readers who also listen to MP3s and audio CDs, we have compiled Ed Lapiz’s messages into 15 audio CDs, each containing eight (8) messages, and have also produced three (3) audio books of his best-selling titles, I Will Survive, Pera o Puri and Sa Tao ang Ngawa.

RM: How does CSM choose a book to release? Do you choose it because this will be a best seller; it’s the fad or what?

JCS: A publisher always wishes each title it releases becomes a bestseller. But realistically, that will not happen. So what’s our basis for choosing which books to publish? Those that align with our company’s mission of strengthening the church, equipping the saints and reaching mankind for the Lord—what our name stands for. When we translate this mission into products, they fall into the following categories: evangelism, discipleship, worker training, family enrichment, Christian living, missions, and leadership.

Our core products have always been church-based curriculum (Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, discipleship and pastoral resources) which we consider our special niche in local Christian publishing. Therefore, we are on the constant lookout for curriculum writers, editorial board members, reviewers, translators and songwriters/arrangers.

When it comes to books, we follow the same basic guideline. For imported titles, we choose the titles from publishers’ catalogs, request review copies from the publishers, have them read and reviewed, then seek republishing rights. For local titles, we choose the authors and/or manuscripts based on certain criteria, such as writers’ credentials, writing style, unique approach, timeliness of message, theological stance, etc.

RM: Just an observation, why do most Pinoy Christian readers prefer foreign titles than home grown titles?

JCS: We haven’t gotten over the colonial mentality or the Pinoy’s propensity to be mesmerized by anything foreign. But that is significantly changing. Our line-up of local authors and conversational Tagalog titles is increasing. More and more Pinoys are buying locally written books, but the preference for foreign authors (especially the famous ones) is still strong.

For one thing, foreign titles have the uncontested advantage of “marketing” or media mileage. They’re more exposed to the international market because of the much promoted success or wide following of the authors’ ministries in their home countries. We can already learn something from that picture. We do have gifted Pinoy Christian leaders who have a lot to say that will benefit a much wider audience. The challenge lies in putting those messages into well-written, attractive, affordable print form and getting it into the hands of readers who will appreciate it the most.

RM: I’ve checked your website and you carry Ed Lapiz titles. Tell us more about him and his books.

JCS: Ed Lapiz’s books have enjoyed huge sales in mainstream bookstores for years. His success as an author is the exception to what you previously said about Pinoys preferring foreign titles to local ones. I can only explain the secret to his publishing success as his ability to communicate flawlessly and to teach deep, biblical truths simply to any Pinoy who reads his book. When I asked a friend why she likes reading Ed Lapiz, she said in Tagalog, “I don’t have to analyze further or ask someone to explain to me what he means. I get it right away.” His radio program, Day by Day, raises the ratings of any radio station that airs it. We are, therefore, so privileged to enter into an agreement with him to exclusively distribute his titles and will soon publish two new book titles from him.

RM: Please tell us more about CSM, what you do and how they can contact you. What can we look forward to in the coming year from you?

JCS: In keeping with our name, we also publish curriculum for churches and Christian schools, conduct training seminars and workshops for church workers and pastors, and produce audio books and videos for equipping and outreach. We strive to keep up with the changing times by studying how technology affects the way people communicate and learn. Thus, we have added audio (MP3 format) and video CDs to our list of products.

We have just produced our first one-year children’s Sunday school curriculum pack called Faith Grower containing free CDs for the music and reproducible teaching pictures. We plan to release another one-year Sunday school curriculum pack for all ages with a separate CD of new songs by the end of this year. We also released our first children’s music video entitled Songs for Jesus that was quickly sold out. Another children’s music video entitled God of Creation will be released soon.

In our last training season (November to April), we organized over 30 training workshops for Vacation Bible School and children’s Sunday school for local church workers and volunteers in partnership with PCBS bookstores as well as Thompson Chain Bible Institute seminars for pastors and preachers all over the country. We will expand our training program to include youth and adult Sunday school teacher workshops, parenting seminars, and trainings for school teachers.

This year we started offering music clinics for worship teams. Some of our clinic instructors are our video “authors” (Bernie Duran for Learning to Play Bass Guitar, Dehann Ballesteros for Guitar for Beginners, Relly Villanueva for Drums for Beginners). Other instructional videos in our Music Station line-up are Worship Leading by Roy Fabella and Voice Lessons by Lyn Fabella, the husband and wife team of Windsong. We are exploring possibilities for training accredited facilitators of these instructional videos.

We’re the first Christian publisher to offer audio books. We have released 22 titles by local authors: Leah Darwin’s Yes! I’m a Pastor’s Wife, Eric Maliwat’s Maging Ubas Huwag Pasas, Maloi Salumbides’ ProTips in 3 volumes, Standing Tall and Shining Attitudes, and Ed Lapiz’s messages in 15 volume CDs. We have just released three (3) audio books by Ed Lapiz and three (3) new Ed Lapiz videos soon. Our latest MP3 audio CD title is John Maxwell’s Leadership 101 containing nine of his books.

CSM also offers design, typesetting and printing services for your church and school. Our building has facilities that churches and other groups can use for seminars and corporate events, and guest units for travelers at affordable rates. We are located very near the international airport or NAIA 1 and can be contacted by phone (8527301 to 02) or email (direct@csm-publishing.com). You may also visit our website (www.csm-publishing.com) for a complete listing of products, updates and upcoming events.

RM: Thank you granting us an interview and God bless your publishing ministry. God bless also those Christians who read and support your books.





Eat this Book: Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints by John Piper and Justin Taylor

15 05 2010

This is the by far the best in the Desiring God Conference turned into print form. Best because 3 of the leading Christian authors (my favorites) John Piper, Jerry Bridges and John MacArthur Jr. are here. It’s like the best of three worlds in one great book. Rarely would you find such book. You will get some teasers on what their ministry offers here also. And oh don’t forget Randy Alcorn and Helen Roseveare. You may think these two not so famous speakers won’t make such great contribution on this book. But in fact their part is important.

As the title suggest it’s about enduring and standing firm to what God calls every Christian. As the world tells us to embrace change and go for greener pastures, God tells us to hold on and stand firm no matter what. The authors are perfectly picked to be included to this book. Not only does it give biblical response to endurance but also personal experience from the authors. So the interview part in the last part is exciting. At first an interview part is odd for me but it adds more personal and up close profile on the lives of these men (and a woman) of God. Each one is gave different talk about godly endurance but when blend together its one power pack book.

The book opens with Jerry Bridges (author of Pursuit of Holiness) with his usual bible teaching combined with his enduring to the end journey titled “Four Essentials for Finishing Well”. He is good in discipleship teachings and I think you’ll appreciate this. Then John Piper (author of Don’t Waste Your Life and Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ) exhorts “Getting Old for the Glory of God” on which he discusses and tell us to make Christ our treasure till the end of our lives. You can sense some Don’t Waste Your Life sprinkled over his piece. John MacArthur (Grace to You, author of Ashamed of the Gospel) relates his 40 years as a pastor of Grace Community Church. Randy Alcorn (author of Heaven and Treasure Principle) wave his Christian flag for the fight of the unborn. Lastly Helen Roseveare with her experience in a war torn mission field. Truly this is a book you won’t ignore.

The best part for me is the one from Helen Roseveare. She gave something that no other contributors can give: the woman side of godly endurance. Her talk was filled with fascinating stories about her mission in Africa. Teenage and young adult girls read her piece first specially the latter part. You will be inspired and be blessed for sure.

Recommended to mature Christians and leaders this book not only inspires but makes you think and evaluate your life in Christ if it counts. Go beyond fascination with the lives of the contributors. Make your Christian call count. Stand firm to the end and finish it well.

You can buy this book at PCBS for P195 only or you can download the entire book on PDF format from the Desiring God website FREE by clicking here. R.O.C.K. Ministry also gives hard copies of it for FREE to all supporters, leaders and committee members of the student organization.





Eye Candies: An Interview with Justin Jackson of Central Films

5 05 2010

You may have catch it on Youtube, someone might have posted it at Facebook or featured on our Soul Fuel gatherings. No matter how you have seen it, you were blown away. Videos like The Truth, God’s Pie and Good-O-Meter connected and sticks lessons about God in your life. We recently got a hold of Justin Jackson, Creative Director of Central Christian Church and talked about these videos and more.

ROCK Ministry: How did you start making these short films? Where did you get the idea?

Justin Jackson: I work for a church in Las Vegas. We are committed to using story and creativity to help communicate the life-saving truths of the Bible. Film/video is not only a powerful way to do so, but also a very reproducible way to do so. In other words, live stage elements such as drama and interactive speaker elements are powerful, but only at the time they are done and only for the people who are in the room. Video has a life of it’s own after the live event is over.

ROCK Ministry: How do you plan in making these videos? Do you consult the church first for the need or do you have those light bulb moments that needs to be laid into film?

Justin Jackson: My church gives me an incredible luxury: they plan in advance. Sometimes 6 months in advance. This gives me the opportunity to think and soak on the topics that we will be addressing. We accumulate ideas over time, pitch them and get approval. Then we go to work writing and producing the videos.

ROCK Ministry: Who are the actors in those video presentations? Do you pick them or did they volunteer? Does their real life character sometimes reflect on the roles they play? I think what they are in real life makes them play their role better.

Justin Jackson: They are all volunteers who were hand chosen. And yes, if a character calls for a certain look or personality, we’ll often ‘play to the strengths’ of the actors / volunteers that I have access to.

ROCK Ministry: In producing a video what materials and equipment you usually use? How about the technical stuff, who are the people behind it? Justin Jackson: Most people think that the camera is the most important piece of equipment, but I find audiences are much more demanding of good audio than good images. Good audio means you have clear, echo-free dialog, engaging, fitting music and convincing sound effects.

That said, two of the videos you referenced don’t have dialog or footage, but rather are graphical videos. These are created using Adobe After Effects. This is in invaluable tool. Lately we have invested in DSLR technology. These are amazing little cameras that produce incredible imagery. They are opening up whole new worlds or possibilities for us. We currenlt have a Canon 7D and a Canon T2i. We also have 3 Panasonic hpx 170s.

Currently our team consists of myself (Writer, Director, Producer, Shooter, Sound Designer and Editor) and David Tate (Shooter, Editor, Effect Supervisor, Colorist, After Effects Artist and Sound Mixer).

ROCK Ministry: Among those you produced which is your favorite and why? Justin Jackson: Right now my personal favorite is a graphical video we did called Hijacked. I got to voice it and do all the sound design. David had a lot of fun animating it. You can watch it here.

http://www.youtube.com/thatjustinguy#p/u/5/H_Q9Ar4-Fe8

ROCK Ministry: Tell me how can we present a slick, humorous and cool video while it really connects to the viewers and most of all, maintaining it biblical? Justin Jackson: Well, I think it all comes down to honesty. The reason God’s Pie connects with so many people is because it’s how we feel… or at least, it’s how I feel. Many times, I felt exactly like that guy who just wants there to be a little left over for him… and then realizes he has left nothing for God.

Once we had the visual analogy, the direction was very easy. Good ideas are always simple, too. Not simplistic… but simple. If it takes you 2 minutes to explain a 2 minute video, it’s too complex. If you can explain your idea in a sentence or two (and have people like it) then you are on to something. And at the core of every story, whether it be a 2 hour movie or a 2 minute video, is truth.

The more universal and ‘felt’ the truth is, the more it connects with an audience. Fortunately for us, the Bible is full of truths. The trick is conveying those truths in a way that is understandable and emotional. I’m afraid there is no formula for this. It’s just something you shoot for.

ROCK Minstry: We have shown your videos in our monthly gatherings called Soul Fuel; we got a lot of reactions on your videos. We would like to list some of it here and can you give us insights or interesting facts on these videos.

1. God’s Pie

Justin Jackson: This has been downloaded and shown by 2,000 churches. The volunteer actor who played God is frequently recognized on the street even when travels to other cities. He’s lost track of how many times strangers have offered to buy him a piece of pie.

2. The Truth

Justin Jackson: This was based on an Argentinean political ad. Granger Community Church was the first to spin the technique of this ad (the reversing lines) into a church video. We made our own version – with the music arranged and performed by one of our worship leaders.

3. Good-O-Meter

Justin Jackson: We did a Man on the Street interview in Las Vegas where we asked people, “How do you get to heaven.” 48 of 50 people said, “By being a good person.” I wanted a simple, visual way to show the Christian principle of Grace, and how it differs from the predominant public opinion. I think the most shocking thing about this video is the bitter, vitriolic comments we get. People are enraged that God would operate this way. I honestly thought it would be good news for people, but there seems to be a basic human need for self-right(eous)ness. People want heaven on their own terms, not God’s. This video (lighthearted as it is) either produces heartfelt gratitude or angry / searing bombast.

4. Love Lesson Learned (not yet shown but coming soon)

Justin Jackson: This was the easiest video I ever wrote. It’s my story. I was married at a young age to a non-Christian. It ended in divorce. This devastating experience drew me to God and He accepted me. Healed me. And most surprisingly, wanted to use me. Most churches consider the divorced to be damaged goods. Outsiders. Failures. Second-class Christians. This is a tragedy. It’s a misrepresentation of God’s character. God restores the repentant. He rebuilds the broken. And then uses them.

Its saddens my heart that more churches have not shown this video. I’m so thankful for Youtube. I pray God will land this message in front of people when they need it most.

ROCK Ministry: For those who want to do this for their church or as an individual what advise can you give to them?

Justin Jackson: Technology is getting cheaper and cheaper. Blogs and web-training are more and more prolific. If you have an interest in making films, it has never been easier. My advice: start. Just do it. Learn by trying, failing, correcting, succeeding and trying again.

1) buy a camera like the Cannon t2i ($900)

2) buy a good mic like a Wired Countryman b6 and plug it into a zoom h4n ($350 + $300)

3) listen to podcasts like http://www.izzyvideo.com or http://www.thec47.com (small fee + free)

4) read The DV Rebel by Stu Manshowitz ($20)

5) buy an iMac with Final Cut Express ($1,500 – $2,000)

For under $4k you are ready to go. ROCK Ministry: In closing, please tell us your ministry, your church and how can they view the videos.

Justin Jackson: My personal Youtube site is here.

http://www.youtube.com/thatjustinguy

Our official Central Films page is here.

http://www.vimeo.com/centralfilms

You can purchase and download several of our videos here.

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/producers/124/Central-Christian-Church

Thanks for the great questions! And thanks for all you do to bring attention to faith, truth and God.

ROCK (Reaching Out for Christ’s Kingdom) Ministry has a monthly gathering called Soul Fuel. We presented some of Central Film’s videos and we got a lot of feedback on this. Catch more videos (including Justin’s creation) on Soul Fuel. If you missed out some of them you can catch them at ROCK’s Facebook Fan Page or check those videos below:





Sex Sold: An Interview about Prostitution with Mastering Life Ministry

12 03 2010

We always hear these stories about prostitutes in some campus. They are students by day and prostitute by night. Others go by groups to a certain beach destination and sell their bodies. Its hard to imagine the oldest profession in the world can be found in an institution that promotes morality and dignity.

ROCK Ministry recently got a privilege to interview David Kyle Foster a former prostitute, now a pastor and heads Mastering Life Ministry and Pure Passion TV. We talk this very sensitive and controversial topic and we learned a lot from this issue.

ROCK Ministry:  First why prostitute yourself? Is their no other alternative to chose from for an individual? Do these individuals count what will cost them to sell their bodies? What really goes through their minds?

David Kyle Foster: The reasons people prostitute themselves vary widely. For me, I was very angry at God and wanted to do something that would demonstrate my extreme anger at Him. I happened to be at a location where prostitution was going on and accepted an offer from someone.

Financial need drives most prostitutes to do it. They are generally people who are being propositioned often anyway, so they decide to meet their need that way because it is the quickest way. They often dot not seriously consider the dangers because their need is so great.

ROCK Ministry:  What are the reasons why some goes to prostitution? I think no one will go to the mirror one day and say “I will prostitute myself today”.

David Kyle Foster: Sometimes people are violently forced into prostitution and sometimes they are tricked into it and then fed drugs and are beaten to keep them doing it.

Others continue because they are sex addicts and it becomes a way to satiate their unquenchable sexual appetite.

ROCK Ministry: I know that you have talked to people who gone to this line of “work”. What was the first time experience for them? How did they start? Do they look for a pimp or what?
David Kyle Foster: Every story is completely different. Some people are sold into prostitution by their parents or guardians. Others are lured by pimps. No one goes looking for a pimp. Male prostitutes almost never work for pimps.

ROCK Ministry:  What are the emotional and mental effects of having sex every night and getting paid for it? Especially for students how can they live a normal life by day and be a prostitute at night?
David Kyle Foster: Emotionally it is very difficult. It makes you feel less than human, worthless, perverted and sick. It is likely that the person already felt this way about themselves which is why they even considered prostitution to begin with. But to actually do it makes you feel like dirt.

ROCK Ministry: Are their any physical abuse? Any horror story you might have heard?
David Kyle Foster:  Every male prostitute gets beaten by about 10% of those who pick them up. For females, it is probably closer to 40%. A smaller percentage also attempts to torture the prostitute. It’s only a matter of time and luck before it happens. People tried to murder me on 3 occasions during my 7 years as a prostitute.

RM: what diseases they might catch in having different sex partner? Are they curable? How about HIV? Do you have cases that got AIDS?

DF: It is guaranteed that a prostitute will contract many sexually transmitted diseases, no matter how careful they try to be. Even condoms do not prevent some diseases like HPV virus, which eventually causes cancer. HIV is also prevalent. I have had many friends and acquaintances die from AIDS.

RM: I don’t think some of them really like this kind of work. But is their a point in time that they actually enjoy what they are doing?

DF: If the prostitute is a sex addict, there are times when they enjoy the work on the surface, but the underlying self-hatred and self-disgust never goes away.

RM: Does nymphomania develop to prostitutes? What other abnormal behavior do they get in this?

DF: Some prostitutes are nymphomaniacs or sex addicts and even more male prostitutes are satyrs or sex addicts. The consequences of this behavior are very severe. Demonic spirits from customers enter the prostitutes, so they end up with a great need for deliverance, for example. Needless to say, they are rendered incapable of ever having a normal, satisfying sexual relationship once they marry without significant inner healing prayer and ministry.

RM: Can a prostitute especially students sell their bodies without being hooked into smoking, drinking or even drugs?

DF:  It is extremely rare for a prostitute not to develop smoking, drug and/or drinking problems because they need those substances to cover up the psychic pain of their lives.

RM: Do straight prostitute eventually end up being a homosexual?
DF: Male prostitutes who start out mostly straight will inevitably program their minds and bodies to respond more and more homosexually over time if they are having sex with other men.

RM: How about those who will do it “just once” and their out? I mean just to pay this one tuition fee or pay a project for the school and that’s it. Nothing to follow. What can you say to them?

DF: Prostitution is like quicksand. Once you enter it, you cannot escape consequences. There will be spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical consequences that can be quite severe from the very start.

RM: Are prostitutes still longing for a real relationship? Even if they feel dirty do they still hope to have a family? Do they think someone will get serious to them in spite of what they have done?

DF: Prostitutes desperately long to be normal and to have normal relationships. However, their behavior prevents them from having that. Just the fear of their spouse finding out – that alone can ruin the peace they otherwise might have in a marriage. It is extremely rare for someone to fall in love with someone they know has been a prostitute. It happens in Hollywood movies, but almost never in real life.

RM: For guys and even girls who found out their partner is or use to be a prostitute, how can they face this issue? How can they forgive their partner and still be with them or call it a split? How can they live out their relationship day by day thinking his or her partner is a prostitute?

DF: No one should stay in a relationship with someone who is a prostitute. You never know what day they will bring home to AIDS virus, or some other incurable disease.

If they fall in love with someone who used to be a prostitute, that is another story. They should take measures to be certain, however, that the person has truly been transformed from that way of thinking and living, and have been checked out physically by a doctor.

RM: How can a prostitute forgive that one who led them to prostitution? Maybe a partner or a family member who force them to this work.
DF: Sometimes only God can give us the power to forgive someone, but He does do that if we want Him to.

RM: What if someone wants to get out of this lifestyle? What is the first thing they have to do? Maybe someone reading this and they want to get out. Is their hope for them?

DF: A person who wants out need only turn to Jesus Christ for forgiveness, cleansing, healing and transformation.

They need to get into fellowship with believers who are faithful to God’s Word and who study it together and pray for each other.

They need to find a church that practices intimate worship of God, which is spiritual warfare.

I ended up attending a large church that also had small home fellowship groups, where I got alot of prayer. I also went through various healing and deliverance sessions at conferences and at a YWAM training school.

RM: How do they get back the respect for themselves? How can they go back to society with dignity and without guilt? How do healing the wounds starts? Who can they approach?
DF: Only God can give them their self-respect back. They need to pursue an intimate relationship with God where He speaks worth and value into their hearts, and where they come to experience the fact that Jesus’ blood has cleansed them from all sin. They need to practice believing 1 JN 1:9 and operate from what God says rather than from what they feel or have felt in the past. The Bible says that they are a new creation if they have repented and made Jesus Christ truly the Lord of their life. They need to learn and practice spiritual warfare. Dean Sherman’s book, Spiritual Warfare for Every Christian really helped me.

As for who to approach, they need to carefully watch people in church and see who are the ones who pray for and care about sexually broken people, and approach them.

RM:  I remember this one story about Ravi Zacharias. He was witnessing in a red light district and a prostitute say something like” If Jesus can really get us out this, how can He help us to find our daily living?” What practical help can a Christian do for these people?

DF: Our churches need to have outreaches to people who are coming out of these kinds of highly dysfunctional lifestyles. We need outreaches to former prostitutes, and human trafficking victims, and strippers and homosexuals and you name it. Pray for God to send those who can minister to such populations as Christ would and approach your pastors and entreat them to financially support such outreaches. As I read the Bible, these kinds of outreaches were among Jesus’ favorite!

People coming out of sex trafficking, for example, often need a place to live for a year or so while being trained in job skills as well as discipled in God’s ways. The church should finance these things. It is infinitely more important than plush carpeting and all the other excesses that we too often concern ourselves with.

RM: Thank you for this interview. We learn alot from you. Can you tell us about your ministry, what does it do and how can we reach you.

DF: Our ministry (www.MasteringLife.org) does 2 things: 1. we reach out to sexually bound and broken people with the news that God can set anyone free from anything, teaching them how He does it, and 2. we equip the Church to do the same.

We are trying to reach as many people as possible and so now put all our efforts into media outreaches, whether it be our weekly TV program (www.PurePassion.us), our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/purepassiontv), our iPhone app (which should be ready in a few weeks), our multi-front internet outreaches, Google ads, and our teaching resources (DVDs, CDs, books).

Currently our Pure Passion TV program is seen on 11 TV networks around the world in English, Bulgarian, Romanian, Spanish, Arabic and Russian, and we hope that we will be seen in every country and every main language very soon.





Eat This Book: Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper

12 03 2010

Everybody got excited with this book. Not just because we gave it for free but the central theme of this book. Its rarely we see a subject about salvation dealt this way. So we gave Fifty Reasons… book five reasons why we like this book:

  1. It answers the “Why” questions. Everybody wants answers to why questions. Fifty thought provoking answers drawn from the New Testament. Some are common, some are very intriguing. John Piper opens those common answers then expounded with clarity and those intriguing answers, that we often miss, were given the magnifying glass treatment for us to zero in and intimately know more.
  2. The theme is about salvation and we only say “Wow. Jesus did all that!” You will never look at Christ redemptive act the same way again. It tackles also justification, sanctification and future glorification.
  3. An easy to read book. Because every reason or (God’s purpose as the book calls it) acts like a chapter which is just 2 pages long. You can actually finish this 127 pgs book in 1 day or so. Done in sort of a “countdown style”, you want to read it until you get to the “Top 50”.
  4. Not only is it a Christian living book but also an evangelistic one. It represents the gospel within those reasons. It mentions salvation by faith alone and eternal security to name a few.
  5. It’s not just a Christian living or evangelistic book but you can use it as a devotional book. Those fifty reasons can be use in a fifty day devotionals. Every chapter starts with Bible verses. Talk about usefulness.

My Top Five Favorite Reasons (and must read reason):

  1. Reason #5 To Show the Wealth of God’s Love and Grace for Sinners
  2. Reason #7 To Cancel the Legal Demands of the Law Against Us
  3. Reason #22 To Bring Us to God
  1. Reason #28 To Free Us from the Futility of Our Ancestry
  2. Reason #37 To Call Us to Follow His Example of Lowliness and Costly Love

Quotables:

“Imitation is not salvation. But salvation brings imitation. Christ

is not given to us first as model, but as Savior. In the experience

of the believer, first comes the pardon of Christ, then the pattern of Christ.” pg. 92-93

“When all is said and done, God is the gospel. Gospel means

“good news.” Christianity is not first theology, but news.” pg. 62

John Piper’s “Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die” will give the reader a better understanding of Jesus Christ of why He came to die. Powerful read for everyone who seeks more depth on why God send His Son for us.

This book is available for FREE to ANY one in Lyceum of the Philippines University Batangas City campus Please contact leaders and advisers of ROCK campus ministry for your copy. Also you can download this book FREE (PDF format) by clicking here:

http://www.desiringgod.org/media/pdf/books_pojc/bpojc_all.pdf