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





Love Hurts? An Interview About Domestic Violence with Vision of Hope Ministries

19 09 2010

Black and blue is not the color of love. But sometimes people paints it to others who they suppose to give their love. We shouldn’t  expect domestic violence in a relationship but in this fallen world we need to open our eyes to reality.  It really happens. A nightmare comes true when boy beats girl. A very painful truth.

Jason Sweeton of Vision of Hope Ministries gave us some dose of this sad reality and much more as we talk about domestic violence.

ROCK Ministry: First let me ask about your ministry and who do you minister?

Jason Sweeton: Vision of Hope Ministries is a Christian counseling ministry. We were started to minister to the victims of domestic violence. We also counsel teens in their many issues from cutting, depression, and sexual abuse. We counsel the victims of sexual abuse and post traumatic stress disorder. Our counseling centers also provide family and marriage counseling. Our centers treat much more though. We have counseled everyone from people that don’t go to church to pastors and missionaries and their families.

V.O.H.M. was started as an answer to a local problem in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area. God had been dealing with my mother Joyce Sweeton for some time to start a ministry for battered women. At the time I was serving as the chaplain of the Chattanooga Rescue Mission. C.R.M. is a emergency homeless shelter in Chattanooga. I noticed women and children being brought to the shelter by the police from domestic assault situations. The women and children would stay at the most a couple of days and return to there abusers. I realized the women felt they had no choice. C.R.M. didn’t have the facilities to help them.

In 1997 I resigned from C.R.M. and with my mother we started V.O.H.M. to help the victims of domestic violence. The ministry God called us to do has grown beyond our expectations. We have ministered to 4,745 women 23,725 children 1,265 men in the past thirteen years. God has blessed us with the opportunity to lead 14,867 people to Lord Jesus Christ. We now have ministries in four states here in the U.S.

V.O.H.M. administers counseling centers, clothing and food distributing ministries for the homeless and poverty-stricken. V.O.H.M. has three 24/7 hour mission churches in Georgia and Tennessee. We have 11 full time missionaries and 54 volunteers. God has allowed us to counsel women and men in sixty five countries by way of the internet. Men and women who need help but we would never be able to reach any other way. God has blessed us so much. Our key purpose is to help people. We know no better way to help people than to share Jesus Christ with them. Jesus is at the center of everything we do here at V.O.H.M.

ROCK Ministry: I have a straight forward question: Why do guys sometimes beat girls?

Jason Sweeton: A batterer abuses because he wants to, and thinks he has a “right” to his behavior. He may think he is superior to his partner and is entitled to use whatever means necessary to control her.

ROCK Minstry:  Why does this kind of violence commonly happens in a relationship?

Jason Sweeton: Domestic violence often occurs because men may believe:
1 they have the right to “control” their female partners in any way necessary.
2 “masculinity” is physical aggressiveness
3 they “possess” their partner.
4 they should demand intimacy.
5 they may lose respect if they are attentive and supportive toward their girlfriends.

ROCK Ministry: What are common abuse women undergoes in domestic violence
Jason Sweeton: Domestic Violence includes a wide range of abuse including:
1 Physical Assaults
2 Sexual Assault
3 Psychological abuse
4 Threats
5 Intimidation
6 Emotional abuse
7Isolation
8 Manipulation of children
9 Economic control
10 Destruction of property or pets

RM: What are the physical and emotional trauma attached to those experience?

JS: Victims of domestic violence often experience emotional systems like:
1 Having unwanted thoughts or pictures in the mind about the abuse when nothing’s happening to remind you;
2 Suddenly reliving the abuse as if it’s happening again;
3 Getting distressed or upset when reminded of the abuse;
4 Having the kinds of physical reactions when being reminded of the abuse that it’s usual for people to get when they’re frightened, like the heart beating faster, the breathing speeding up, the muscles getting tense, getting butterflies in the stomach, and other things;
5 Trying to avoid thoughts and feelings that remind you of the abuse;
6 Trying to avoid conversations, activities, people and places that remind you of the abuse;
7 Being unable to remember some important things about the abuse;
8 Losing interest in things like the job you were doing before, or the social activities or other things you used to like;
9 Feeling detached or cut off from people around you;
10 Feeling emotionally numb; so that would mean being unable to experience some feelings, perhaps loving or joyful ones, and being unable to cry;
11 Feeling as if you’re bound to die before your time or that you won’t achieve anything in life; not expecting to live to raise children to adulthood, or to be able to get a good job, and so on.
12 Having difficulty falling or staying asleep;
13 Feeling anger and grief about what happened.

RM: How can someone who says he loves a girl ever raise his hands to that girl?

JS: This one will be fairly simple, he can’t. love is not just word and feelings it is actions. Violence at it’s root is an action of selfishness and hate not love.

RM: What are the signs that most likely identify an abusive partner?

JS: Early warning signs that your date may eventually become abusive:
1 Extreme jealousy
2 Controlling behavior
3 Quick involvement
4 Unpredictable mood swings
5 Alcohol and drug use
6 Explosive anger
7 Isolates you from friends and family
8 Uses force during an argument
9 Shows hypersensitivity
10 Believes in rigid sex roles
11 Blames others for his problems or feelings
12 Cruel to animals or children
13 Verbally abusive
14 Abused former partners
15 Threatens violence

Common clues that indicate a teenager may be experiencing dating violence:
1 Physical signs of injury
2 Truancy, dropping out of school
3 Failing grades
4 Indecision
5 Changes in mood or personality
6 Use of drugs/alcohol
7 Pregnancy
8 Emotional outburst

RM:  What should a girlfriend do if she wants to get out of this relationship?

JS: Gather the support of your friends and family. Confide in your friends about your situation. Your friends and family should help for the first couple of weeks after your break up.

Make sure your mind is clear when you break up with your boyfriend.

If your afraid your boyfriend may harm you after you tell him you want to break up, take at least one friend with you, keep a cell phone by you at all times, and have another one of your friends waiting in a car outside so you can quickly escape.

If you are afraid of him harming your friends and family, do not even tell him about breaking up. Gather all your belongings ( Without him noticing of course) and leave immediately. Notify him that you have left him, and tell him that you are going to file a restraining order against him. This should be enough incentive for him to leave you alone.

File a restraining order against him. Do not answer his calls or texts.

Make sure he doesn’t know where you are. You may have to live in motels for a couple of weeks, but in the end, it will be better than having him find you. If you have children, keep your children with you at all times.

RM: There are girls who undergone this abuse and feels that no one will ever love them. What can you say to those girls who feel hopeless?

JS: The thing you need to keep in mind domestic and dating violence is an isolating experience. Let them know they are not alone. Simply put be a friend. Never push them to do anything they are not ready for. It will only make them feel more isolated and alone. Let them know you love them and will always be there for them. Above all else let them know Jesus loves them and is concerned about there suffering. When they are ready to seek help be prepared to act quickly.





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.





A Trip to Booksale: Finding Christian books at a Second Hand/Used Bookstore

21 05 2010

Want to do something that will flex you Christian life? Read a Christian book! But you don’t have a budget to buy those books at National or PCBS. Go to Booksale!

Booksale is a popular second hand or used bookstore in the Philippines from a company called Visual Mix Inc. It’s a sort of ukay-ukay for books. They sell those books (from novels, children’s, coffee tables, comics etc.) in a very cheap price. It also carries new and back issues of magazines, local and international. You can find it at malls as stalls or a store branch. Sometimes it has Christian books that are classics and written by famous authors.

For years now, I’ve brought books at Booksale. Some had impact my life. You don’t have to pay expensive Christian books just to fuel your Christian walk. You can find some treasures at Booksale.

This article intends to give advice and tips on finding a Christian book if you ever be or planning to go to Booksale.

For first timers: Prepare for a lot digging, flipping and bending for books at Booksale. But your effort will be paid off if you get hard to find or classic books in a very affordable price. It might surprise you that big stores sell that same book for a hefty price but find it at Booksale very cheap.

You might as well be informed that this is not a Christian bookstore. Booksales carries men’s magazines and other stuff Christians should not set eyes upon.

Another don’t expect for the sales clerk to know or find a book for you. They are not like those from big bookstores.

The budget: Booksale gives prices as low as P10. The price ranges to P10-75 and over 100 which are still cheap compare with popular bookstores. If you’re going there, it’s safe to have P50-100. If you’re lucky, with that amount you can buy 3-5 books. If the book is prolific in Booksale, you might as well wait for them to lower its price. I’ve observed that if a book wouldn’t sell, they will change the price. You might notice the multiple price stickers on the book. I brought books which are classic for as low as 10-25 pesos. They don’t price it because of the authors, but to sell and dispose it.

Some publishers you might look out while digging: This list will give some ease and save some time on what is a Christian book by looking at the publisher’s name. Some publishers are Whitaker, Tyndale, NavsPress, Revell, McMillan, Moody Press, Regal, Bethany House, Spire, New Leaf, CLC (Christian Literature Crusade), Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, Inter Varsity Press. These are legitimate Christian publishing company, but that doesn’t mean we should put off our discernment radar. Let’s use our Christian discernment by comparing those books with our stand in doctrine, morality, biblical worldview etc. Also I would recommend old stuff (50’s -70’s) from them which, I think still have biblical integrity rather that the new one (driven to just make money).

It will also help if you find a book or author to check them in the internet before buying it. You can search info, reviews, criticism and recommendations for that book and the author. Ask someone like a pastor or a fellow Christian if he knows something about the book you like to get.

Authors you shouldn’t miss: Booksale sometimes has great books by these authors: Chuck Swindoll, Josh McDowell, E.M. Bounds, Andrew Murray, Corrie Ten Boom, Charles Spurgeon, and C.S. Lewis. Some of these authors are available in thin pocketsize books. I spot Left Behind series, In His Steps and Lee Strobel’s A Case For Easter more recently. The list I provide are some that are prolific in Booksale (which I have seen in BS over the years) but not necessary always available.

Of course, there are Bibles in different versions and sizes you can find in Booksale. You can own the greatest book in the world for a very affordable price.

Topics or Category you may find: Mostly Christian living, devotional and discipleship.

Rarely are apologetics and theology.

Great titles that influence me: Here are some books I brought that greatly helped me in my Christian walk that I got from Booksale (and I hope you can find it too.)

  1. More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell
  2. Spiritual Maturity by J. Oswald Sanders
  3. In Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray
  4. Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
  5. Of The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis
  6. Discipleship: Up Close and Personal by Chuck Swindoll
  7. Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur Jr. (hardbound)
  8. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
  9. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  10. The Song by Calvin Miller

Books You Should Avoid: Once in awhile I find some books that have spiritual stuff but don’t uphold a biblical Christian stand. So please check carefully the book you’re buying. Here are some of them:

  1. self help
  2. Hare Krishna/Divine Consciousness
  3. Robert Schuller
  4. New Age, Yoga and Shirley MacLane
  5. Dianetics by Ron Hubbard
  6. Book of Mormon, Great Controversy, Steps to Christ and other so called religious text from cults.
  7. Horoscope and other fortune telling stuff.

Top Secret Tips: If you find something that you really like but forgot to bring cash or you budget it to something else and you don’t want to come back to find its gone, don’t worry. You can reserve the book for a few days with no additional fee till you can buy it. Just tell the sales clerk or cashier and they can keep it for you.

Booksale changes books every month. That means new (old) books with much lower prices are available. Sometime they do it every first day of the month. So before anyone get something, better know when they change products.

Advantages: Here are some advantages in buying at Booksale:

  1. The price is very low. As I have said, you can buy something for P10.
  2. If your fortunate a Christian book can be in hardbound.
  3. Popular, hard to find and out of print Christian books are available.
  4. Books are printed in the US.

Disadvantages: Although the prices are very low at Booksale (which is an advantage) there are some disadvantages.

  1. Quality of the books-sometimes (but not always) some got ugly because of the price sticker, has missing or falling away pages, worn out, torn and crumpled cover. Flap jackets are missing. Markings like “Used” or “Discarded”. Lots of pencil or ballpen markings.
  2. You won’t get what you want-unlike PCBS or National bookstore you can go to a section for a specific book or topic you’re looking for. Sometime you won’t find any that fits your taste.
  3. Sales clerk- aside for not having one attending, they don’t know about the books and won’t even recommend you one.
  4. Not all malls have Booksale.
  5. Some Christian books available at Booksale (or even at National or PCBS) can be read or in some cases downloaded in the internet for free.
  6. Some are old editions and not updated.
  7. Sometimes they don’t have multiple copies of a title.

Not all the time I buy at Booksale, I visit National or PCBS and purchase (if I have the budget) books that are new, fresh and relevant with the time or culture. Or simply research the internet for specific topics that are available in different digital format free.

Interesting stuff: Over the years of buying, collecting and reading books, I find in Booksale I notice some stuff worth noting. Some of the books are discarded from libraries in the US because it still carries the index card or has the name of the library stamp on the first page. In some books I own, you know it’s a gift because of the handwritten dedication for someone. You can also know who previously owns it with the sticker of the owner’s name complete with address! Other times, someone might be studying the book that you can see pencil or ballpen lines and hand written comments on the spaces of each page.

I hope this article help you in finding a worthy read for your enjoyment and spiritual growth. If you have some question you can send an e-mail: allstarboyscout@yahoo.com or use it to add me up in FaceBook. Booksale has a website:Booksale. Happy Christian book hunting at Booksale!





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.





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