Archives for May 2009


jft6The random winner of Bellissima’s $25 gift card is Anna (minkona@)! You should have an e-mail from Pierce My Heart in your inbox. If not, please contact us within seven days to claim your prize.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this contest by leaving comments on our article. If you didn’t win this month, please try again in June, because we have another fun giveaway coming up.

Congratulations, Anna! We pray this gift card will give you a great start to having a stylish and modest summer wardrobe.

– Davonne Parks

Working Your Own Carwash

hh1Ephesians 6:7 “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.”

We’re entering into summer, and it’s a great time for service, with the warmer weather offering us plenty of opportunities to serve outdoors. This month’s project idea can be done any time during the summer––a carwash!

After getting the okay from the elders of your church (if using the church grounds), you’re ready to begin the planning. Although many of our recent projects could have included the involvement of youth group friends, this is a great time to get them involved if you haven’t yet. You can also make it a church-wide service project, including some older people from your church who might be interested. Start with a date. Often, Saturdays are going to work best, since this is when school is out and people tend to be on weekend work breaks. Check the forecast as best you can, and plan on a sunny day carwash. One thing to remember––if it’s nearing exam time, don’t plan on doing it until after if many volunteers will need the weekend to study, or you may find yourself with a very small group of washers! Once you have your volunteers and scheduled date, it’s time to start preparing.

Be Prepared

The carwash is going to be a washout if you get there and realize things were not prepared in advance. Designate some artistic people in the group to make signs for the day of the carwash. Make sure the signs announce that the wash is free. You’ll need one large sign for the entrance to the wash, but also some smaller ones to post around the nearby community. It will definitely be beneficial to be located near a water spout for hoses. And you’ll need soap. Make sure you’re using something mild that won’t damage cars. Have plenty of rags and sponges on hand. This needs to all be collected well in advance so you’re not rushing around the day of the carwash trying to track stuff down as cars start pulling in. (Buckets and other supplies may be donated by those in the church, borrowed, or bought with some church finances.)

Be modest

hh2This is among the most important things to remember. Consider who you are representing––God and His church. It’s all too common to see carwashes where the young women and girls are dressed to turn heads. So it’s a little hot. Remember that you’re not doing this to impress everyone that drives or stops by. You’re doing this to serve others, and ultimately, God! Wear something comfortable that you don’t mind getting messy and wet, but don’t dress in anything that is going to be inappropriate––before or after getting wet.

Be efficient

It may be fun to fool around with your friends and have a water fight mid-way through the day, but remember that people are waiting. Those who have stopped have come to have their cars washed––not to witness an afternoon water fight among friends. When someone stops by, be as quick as possible to get started on their car––and do a thorough job. You’re there to serve them, and they have other places they probably need to be.

Be clear

You are doing this as a service. If anyone asks about paying you, let them know that you are doing this to serve others and God, and that the service is free of charge. If they insist on giving a donation, suggest they donate the money to their favorite charity.

Washing Up

When the day is over, be sure to clean up any mess that has been made. Gather your supplies and make sure they are returned to wherever they need to be. Hopefully the day has gone smoothly and has been a success in making others feel the love from your service. And hopefully, those served will be encouraged to go out and serve others.

“If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 4:11

By Lisa Grimenstein

Last Chance to Win $25 Gift Card!

jft5Today is the last day to submit photos of bedroom and household decorations you’ve made (picture frames, pottery, pillows, wall art, paintings, etc.) for use in our Gifted Girls article next month. You can send pictures to Info @ PierceMyHeart . com (remove spaces).

This is also the last day to enter to win our May giveaway. The winner, who will be announced on May 31, will receive a $25 gift card to Bellissima’s.

If you have any questions, let us know, and we will respond to you as quickly as possible.

– Davonne Parks

Staying Pure: Music

mm1I really value good, clean music. First of all, who doesn’t love music? Music can be a great way to relax and unwind, and can be common ground between friends. But music can be very harmful too. There is so much out there that just pollutes the mind and causes us to develop an insensitivity to the things that hurt us spiritually. So, when I find a good song, it gains a spot on my mental list of favorites. I know how hard it can be for teens to stay away from the popular entertainment sources, but we are called to be different––and that’s an honor! Why should we be cautious to keep our minds pure? Read Romans 12:2, Matthew 5:8, 1 Peter 2:9, Philippians 4:8, and Colossians 3:2. Today I want to mention some of my favorites songs and groups, in hopes that you will always be in search of pure entertainment––to keep your thoughts pure, to be an example to others, and to please God!

I often wonder what expression would be on the face of the apostles if they were hanging out with the youth of today, and one of today’s “Top 40” songs came on. Not every song is bad, but for someone who has not been exposed to certain types of music (or someone who has made a commitment not to listen to impure music), it is a shock to hear some of the lyrics that are on the radio. The older I get, the more disciplined I get with myself about what I listen to. I can no longer listen to a single station on the radio without having to change it within a maximum of 10 minutes!

It seems like the world just accepts whatever message songs have, whatever vulgar lyrics, and whatever implication. We as Christians hear these songs (and know good and well that they do not please God) but continue to listen to what everybody else listens to. We cannot do this any longer. The quicker people run away from temptation, the quicker they can run into God’s protective and loving arms. He knows what happens when we fill our minds with sinful things––and He doesn’t want us to! So what can we do? How can a Christian teen get away from those songs that trash our minds? I have a few tips that I hope will help.

  • mm2Keep CDs of songs that have a clean, positive message on hand. (Make mix CDs!) If you drive, keep those CDs in the vehicle so you will not be tempted to listen to inappropriate songs that may be on the radio. (I Cor. 10:13)
  • If you have an iPod, mp3 player, or CD player, load it down with music that makes you smile (and is clean!) and take it with you when you go places where you cannot control the music, so that you always have a backup.
  • When your friends play songs that you know are not right, explain to them in a calm and loving way why you would like them not to play that music around you. If they don’t respect you, then you probably should not be running around with those people, because they will affect you in a negative way. (I Cor. 15:33; 2 Cor. 6:14)
  • Talk to God about your concerns. Ask Him to give you the strength and courage to stand up for what you know is right! He will help you purify your mind, if you are truly seeking to please Him first. (Matthew 6:33; 1 Peter 5:7)

Some of my favorite artists who have a lot of good, clean music are:

-Red Shepherd (alternative/calm)
-Josh Turner (country)
-The Ambassadors, Cornerstone, Essence (acappella)
-Rascal Flatts (country)
-Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (bluegrass)
-Switchfoot (alternative/rock)
-Reliant K (alternative/rock)
-Diamond Rio (country)

By Hannah Smith

Parents’ Night Out

dating2Sometimes we get so wrapped up in dating, and spending fun time with our significant other, that we can easily forget to help others. Serving God is something that we should all be doing––and it is certainly something couples can do together (1 Peter 4:10). So this month, we’re going to focus on a small service we can do for other couples, specifically parents––allow them to have a free parents’ night out!

Talk to the elders at your church to get this event approved, then start planning. (If you can’t host the event at your church, host it in your home or a friend’s home.)

In advance

Choose a date and time (such as a Friday night, from 6:00 until 10:00 PM), then enlist help from a few friends. It may help to also have a responsible adult or two plan on attending the evening (but don’t stick them with the planning, clean-up, or childcare!) in order to make parents feel comfortable leaving their children, especially if the children are very young or have special needs.

Start announcing the event. This can be posted in the church bulletin, announced, and spread by word of mouth or e-mail. I suggest keeping the event limited to church members at first to keep the number of attendees smaller and familiar with one another. Once everyone has the hang of what to do, it can be spread into the community if future events are planned.

Plan food and activities. This should be kept simple. Pizza and kool-aid should be plenty, but people can also donate snacks or chips if they want to. If the church is sponsoring the event, it may be willing to pay for the food, but if not, the parents can all chip in a dollar or two per child. Keep in mind that the money is for food, not baby-sitting, so don’t overcharge! Activities can be as simple as having a few balls and board games set out to help occupy kids of all ages.

The night of

dating1Be early. If your evening begins at 6:00, be there at 5:30 to turn on the lights, set up the activities, and to make sure everything is ready and that dangerous objects are put away.

Get phone numbers. Have a sheet of paper and a pen handy––as parents arrive with their children, make sure they write down their names and cell phone numbers so you can contact them in case of an emergency. This would also be a good time to get any important information, such as allergies or special needs.

Keep track of who’s there. Know the kids’ names, and how many kids there are, then keep a running count, and don’t leave any of them alone. If someone has to use the restroom, a female babysitter can take them there while the other sitters stay with the other kids. Once a child leaves with his or her parents, simply cross that parent’s name off the list of phone numbers so you know which children are still there. Do not allow a child to leave with any other adult unless you received permission, in person, from the parent!

Clean up. After the event, clean everything up before leaving. Make sure to check the bathrooms for cleanliness, sweep all food crumbs, take out the trash, turn off the lights, and lock the doors.

Many parents don’t have the opportunity to date very often (the idea of weekly––or even monthly–– dates is often a long-forgotten concept), so feel good knowing that you gave several couples an opportunity to rejuvenate themselves and revive their romance (Proverbs 5:18).

By Davonne Parks


ts2It’s spring, and summer is quickly approaching. For most, this is a great time of year that brings newness and excitement. But for others, it is hard to get into a good mood. From time to time we all get the “blues.” We feel sad, lonely, disappointed, or rejected. But for some, these feelings can intensify into a state of depression that is not easy to get out of. Many people believe depression is something that affects only adults, but that is not so either.

Signs and Causes of Depression

Depression can be caused by many different life factors. Death of a family member or friend, conflicts with parents, or issues with friends or school mates can factor into depression. Many times the divorce of parents or the breakup of a relationship plays a part as well.

Sometimes the cause of depression is something that is physiological. As teenagers, we have many hormone changes, body changes, or issues with self-esteem.

There are many signs associated with depression. These signs can include (but are not limited to):

  • Lack of energy
  • Very noticeable fluctuation of weight (in either direction)
  • Increased irritability or sadness, rage, hostility, or frequent crying
  • Change in sleeping habits (sleeping too much or too little)
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Presence of suicidal thoughts or thoughts of death
  • Loss of concentration
  • Not feeling valued
  • Lack of regard to appearance and hygiene
  • Dangerous and reckless behavior

Is it a bad mood or depression?

extra6It is important to note that just because you may be sad it doesn’t mean you are suffering from depression. Depression is usually characterized by the signs listed above that last more than two weeks. Most of us will have bad moods occasionally, but they’re usually a result of our sinful nature such as selfishness or unrighteous anger. When you find yourself in a bad mood, go to God in study and prayer for help in overcoming the sin that may be causing your bad mood.

If it is simply a bad mood, we need to consider why we are in this mood. There are several things you can do when you are down to cheer yourself up.

  • Find the positive. Even if it seems like something miniscule or insufficient.
  • Pray. Find somewhere quiet, peaceful, and where you are comfortable.
  • Get outside. Look at God’s creation and think about His awesomeness and sovereignty.
  • Make yourself your favorite food and read a book or watch a movie.
  • Count your blessings. Make a list. When you are done, hopefully you’ll not only feel better but you’ll also appreciate what God has done in your life even more.
  • Exercise. Even if you don’t feel like it. Get your blood pumping (usually at least a 30-minute workout), and finish with a nice cool shower.

Treating Depression

If you or someone you know is depressed, it is important you seek help. Sometimes just talking to someone who is willing to listen can help you to refocus your attention on the most important thing––your relationship with God. If you know someone who talks about suicide or dying, don’t take it as a joke even if they are smiling. Suicide is not a joke, and many times thoughts of suicide are brought on by depression. Talk to the person and alert an adult to the situation. You never know when it may save a life! If you are unsure of what to do there are many help lines all over the country that can help. 877-YOUTHLINE (1-877-968-8454) is toll free and can help you find a solution or give advice.

Above all else, remember Jesus loves you and is always there for you. Even when we feel like nobody else cares, He does, and He never leaves us.

“…For He hath said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5

By Sarah Ancheta

Ten Ways to Serve

extra1“Pierce my Heart to serve.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines serving as: “to answer the needs of, to be enough for, to contribute or conduce to, or to provide services that benefit or help.” Serving God is a way to help in the lives of others, and can be a way to enrich our lives as well. I’m sure that you have heard of the saying, “It’s not the gift, but the giving.” This implies to serving as well. By serving others, you have helped others and also yourself at the same time. Here are some tips for serving:

10) Getting exercise and being healthy is a great way to serve God. Our bodies are Christ’s temples, and we should treat them as such (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). So, a great way to exercise, while seeming not to exercise, is to play a game that requires movement. You can get together with friends and “serve” by playing tennis, volleyball, racquetball, or ping pong.

9) Fill a serving bowl full of your favorite snacks and enjoy a clean movie with friends!

8 ) Be an example at work by serving others in a manner that reflects God within you.

7) Give money to a worthy cause. Many churches have ongoing projects that need help. Or you can donate to a service project. St. Jude Children’s Hospital is one place you can donate to, but there are many other organizations out there, so look until you find the one that you want to support––make sure they are sound organizations that do not support unbiblical principles.

topten26) Find a service project that interests you, and then dedicate your service to completing the project.

5) Find a way, every day, to show His light within. Regardless of the sinful habits of those around you, you can pray for God to help you allow His light to be shown through your behavior and words.

4) Put others before yourself. Be willing to help someone else before doing something for yourself.

3) Remember why Jesus came: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

2) Share Him. It is so awesome to tell others about God’s gift of salvation, and by doing so, serve His purposes of sharing the gospel with the lost.

1) Serve God as an example, as teachers, mothers, friends, and sisters in Christ (Matthew 5:19). Set an example by hanging onto your temper, practicing patience around others, and by forgiving someone who has wronged you.

Megan Skinner

Today’s Kind Deed

extra2It’s easy to get so busy and caught up in our own lives that we can forget to help others around us. I suggest committing to do one kind thing for someone every day. The concept is old, but it’s still a good one! Once you begin to get in the habit of helping others, you’ll find the opportunities come easily, since you’ll be looking for them, and many kind deeds can be accomplished in just a few minutes.

Kind deed ideas

1) Let someone go ahead of you. If you’re waiting in line at the store with your arms full of items to purchase, and there’s someone behind you with just a few things, let him go first. You’ll only have to wait a few extra minutes, and it might make his day.

2) Straighten up something. Maybe the living room is covered in a younger sibling’s toys––put them away! Or load the dishwasher, or put toiletry items in the bathroom.

3) Speak to someone new. The new girl in your youth group or at school may need a friend, so be one! Go up to her and start a friendly conversation. You may end up making a new friend.

The possibilities are endless! Pray that God will open your heart to helping others; then have fun serving Him by doing a kind deed every day for someone else (Matthew 25:40).

By Davonne Parks

Simple Solutions

haf2We have been talking about renewing an exercise routine and living healthy. Eating healthy is a big part of living healthy. No one likes the thought of dieting, because that means eliminating the stuff that we want to eat and the stuff that is convenient to eat. However, there are many simple food substitutions we can make to eat healthier––and still enjoy the foods we love. The Bible tells us to be wise in our eating habits. The way that we eat, drink, and care for the body that God gave us can bring glory to Him. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV).

Portion Control

One of the simplest things we can do is watch the serving size of foods. Become familiar with nutrition labels, and read the ingredients. Nutrition labels contain the amount of calories per serving size. A serving of cereal does not mean just grabbing the cereal box out of the cupboard and filling the bowl to the top. Most serving sizes for cereals are ½–1 cup of cereal, followed by ¼– ½ cup of milk. When you are eating chips or cookies, don’t just grab a handful––look at the serving size. If the serving size is 17 chips or 2 cookies, just take that amount. It may initially feel like a pain to have to count out everything you eat, but you will become accustomed to what a serving looks like and you will feel so much better about your progress in the long run. You can also purchase a kitchen scale, as some serving sizes are based on ounces or grams.


Other changes you can make involve substituting healthier choices for the more fattening snack ideas. You can substitute applesauce instead of oil for cake and brownie mixes. The applesauce still makes the batter moist and delicious, and you don’t have the negative qualities of the oil. Switch to whole wheat breads, pastas, and rice instead of white, making sure the first ingredient on the nutrition label is “whole grain.” Salsa with fresh tomatoes, onions, and garlic is a much healthier alternative to most chip dips. Baking instead of deep frying also cuts down on the calories. Compare different cooking sprays versus butter, margarine, or Crisco when frying and baking. I found this handy chart for junk food cravings at

Instead of Try
Ice cream Nonfat frozen yogurt or reduced-sugar ice cream
Can of cola Mineral water with fruit juice or a squeeze of lime
Doughnut or sweetened pastry Whole-grain bagel with jam
Slice of cake Low-fat banana-nut or zucchini bread, or angel food cake topped with fresh strawberries
Sugar cereals Whole-grain cereal or oatmeal topped with brown sugar and cinnamon
Potato chips Low-fat chips, microwave popcorn, or pretzels
Sour cream Nonfat sour cream or nonfat plain yogurt
Sundae toppings Fresh berries or sliced bananas. If you crave crunch, throw on some crispy rice cereal.
Canned fruit in sugar syrup Fresh fruit or unsweetened frozen fruit
Chocolate Fat-free hot cocoa made with nonfat milk. Or make some trail mix with raisins, dried fruits, nuts, and a small handful of chocolate chips.
Cookies Graham crackers. Add a little peanut butter for pizazz.
Cheesecake or other creamy dessert Small slices of cheese on whole-wheat crackers, or low-fat rice or vanilla pudding

Fast food tips

haf3If you are craving fast food, or if fast food is your only option and you need something quickly, try ordering from the kid’s menu. Kid’s meals are smaller portions, and more accurate to the amount we actually need, meaning fewer calories. Most fast food restaurants now offer side dish options where you can choose a salad or fruit instead of french fries. Water instead of soda is always a good option, and grilled chicken sandwiches contain less fat and calories than hamburgers (just don’t negate the healthiness with tons of mayo!). Many fast food chains are making the nutritional information for their products available. Make sure to ask for that information if it is not readily available. A good tip when ordering––the words “small,” “kiddie,” and “regular” identify the appropriate serving sizes with fewer calories.


Eating healthy can be as simple as making some food substitutions. Fruits and vegetables are always great snack options over candy and chips. Watch your serving sizes, and make sure you are staying active. Make sure you do not become obsessed with counting everything out and always eating the healthiest choice. It is okay to splurge once in awhile and have some ice cream instead of the yogurt. If you feel that you do have a problem with food, exercising, or being overweight, make sure you speak with your doctor. He or she can help you make out a food or exercise plan that is specially suited for you. Do not allow your eating behaviors to become unhealthy, and remember that our most important goal is to follow Christ’s example and live for Him. “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? … But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:25, 33).

Food of the Month: Water

haf4The human body is about 50–70% water. Water serves as the medium through which nutrients and wastes enter and leave the body. Water is needed in all aspects of bodily function. It regulates body temperature, blood pressure, and blood volume. Water lubricates joints and serves as a cushion (such as in the eyes and in the amniotic fluid during pregnancy). It is recommended for adults to take in 8 glasses of water per day. Water intake is encouraged throughout the day, especially when sweating, partaking in vigorous activities, being in hot climates, and during illness. Thirst is a late sign of dehydration, which has already occurred before the body is prompted to replace fluid loss. The best part about water is that it has no calories! Water can be consumed at every meal, and still not add any extra calories to what you are already eating. You can even add a twist of lime or lemon juice to add some flavor if you need an extra kick. With warmer months approaching, make sure you are taking in plenty of water to stay healthy and active.

By Sherri Houmard

Delightful Dining: Entertainment and Menu

Stock PhotoIn parts one through four of our “Delightful Dining” series, we discussed the people, planning the meal, preparing the meal atmosphere, and service. Today we’re going to offer tips for entertainment, and give menu suggestions that include links to recipes online.


Options: The entertainment is optional––you may choose to just have company over for dinner. But if you’d like to make an entire evening out of it, feel free to plan a little after-dinner entertainment––just make sure your guests know in advance so they can plan ample time to stay. Be sensitive to the guests’ needs––if dinner ran long, and they need to get home, graciously accept their declination of the offer to stay. (If you had a great game night planned, the hosts can still play after the guests leave!)

TV-Free: A note of caution: unless all of your guests are movie buffs, keep the TV off! If they are movie buffs, and you choose to watch a movie, make sure the movie is clean and appropriate to watch. (Plugged In is a great movie review website.)

Talk: If the conversation is going strong, everyone can just sit around and talk for awhile, but that may put more pressure on people to keep the conversation flowing, especially if they’re not used to being together for extended periods of time, so it may be better to have actual activities planned.

Games: The other option is to play a game. Someone in your group may bring a fun game that all ages can enjoy. Cards are an easy choice, as games can include an indefinite amount of people, and rules can generally be adapted to meet the needs of the players. Depending on the ages and interests of the players, games like Catch-Phrase and Clue may also be good options.


Click on a menu item below to be directed to that recipe. Feel free to use these ideas, or to come up with your own.

Lemonade or Iced Tea
Coffee (make sure it’s decaf!)

Dinner – Option One
Chicken – grilled or baked
Fruit Salad
Broccoli and Cheese (use fresh or frozen broccoli)
Fettuccine Alfredo
Dinner Rolls

Dinner – Option Two
Spaghetti or Lasagna
Fresh Fruit
Garlic Bread

Lemon Meringue Pie (use an unbaked homemade crust for best results)


All good things must come to an end, including the evening (and this series!). When your guests begin to leave, gather their coats and purses, and see them to the door. Make sure to thank them for coming and sharing the meal, and the evening, with you.

Romans 12:10–13 “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor…devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.”

By Davonne Parks