Not Even a Hint – GIVEAWAY!

mm1This month’s giveaway is featured at the bottom of this article. Keep reading for details.

As we strive to reach the potential God has planned for us, let’s not forget about one very important aspect––that of sexual integrity.

How much impurity can we allow into our lives before it becomes a problem? According to God, none (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4). There’s no amount of lust or sexual impurity that is appropriate or pleasing to God, and author Joshua Harris goes into the hows and whys of the sinfulness of impurity, as well as reminding us of a better way to live.

Not Even a Hint is an easy-to-understand, 175-page book crammed full of information about lust and sexual purity. This book is written for anyone who desires to be completely pure, but struggles, whether male or female, married or single. He tells us that we can’t win the battle of sexual integrity on our own, but must rely on God to help us. The sections and chapters are well organized and written in an easy-to-read format.

Part One: The Truth About Lust
1. Not even a hint: Why can’t I seem to beat lust?
2. What God Called Good: Is it biology or is it sin?
3. You can’t save yourself: Where can I find the power to change?

Part Two: In the Thick of the Battle
4. A custom-tailored plan: Where am I weakest and what can I do?
5. Guys and girls: How are we different and how can we help each other?
6. Self-centered sex: How do I deal with masturbation?
7. Half a poison pill won’t kill you: How do I cope with the temptations of media?

Part Three: Strategies for Long-Term Change
8. Lone rangers are dead rangers: Why is accountability so important?
9. The sword of the spirit: Can the truth help me defeat the lies?
10. Holiness is a harvest: How can I sow the Spirit?

mm3Joshua Harris doesn’t allow room for excuses in his book––sin is sin, and lust, in any form, is still lust. He talks about impurity issues that guys and girls deal with, and he doesn’t give an easy out––as one doesn’t exist––but he does give practical suggestions about how to overcome all forms of lust. Not Even a Hint also discusses God’s plan for sex, and we’re told what lust isn’t.

We’re encouraged to look to God and to examine ourselves––Harris knows, and explains, that all purity begins with the core of our being––our heart (Proverbs 4:23). To truly be pure, and to fully live up to God’s potential for us, we must guard our hearts so we can live a life free from the entanglement and heartache of sin.


We are giving away one copy of Not Even a Hint to a reader! To enter, leave a comment below by Sunday, March 29, 2009, stating at least one thing you’d like to see reviewed in an upcoming Media Matters article. You may enter to win this book for yourself, or to give it away as a gift for someone else.

Comments are moderated, so they may take a day or so to appear. Make sure to include a valid e-mail address in your information (this will not appear in the post). The winner will be announced on March 31 and will be e-mailed with simple instructions on how to claim this prize.

By Davonne Parks

A “Twue Love” Story

mediamatters11There are many, many love stories out there, but one stands out above the rest. It’s the perfect movie to watch with your date, with your friends, or with your family. It has the handsome hero, the beautiful princess, the (real?) giant, and the “inconceivable” villain.

Told as a story being read to a sick boy (Fred Savage) by his grandfather, The Princess Bride tells the love story of a beautiful maiden, Buttercup, and her farm boy, Westley. But when her love is captured by pirates and thought to be dead, she is chosen by Prince Humperdinck to be his princess bride. Through mistaken identity, kidnapping, fencing, and poisoning, the couple comes together again, only to be parted once more. But even ROUS’s and “mostly dead” cannot stop their “twue love.”

With interruptions by the “real-life” character, the sick boy, throughout the story, this movie is a delightful telling of a mediamatters2love story that everyone can enjoy.

Complete with action, humor, and fantasy, this movie of hilarious twists is sure to be the perfect addition to your date, girls’ night in, or family night together.

I give this movie two thumbs (or six fingers) up!

By Lisa Grimenstein

Magazine Mania

Magazines are everywhere; they’re at the gas station, grocery store, and library, as well as regular occurrences in our mailboxes. Many of us often flip through them to look at the pictures and read a few of the articles without giving it a second thought, but maybe we should think twice.

In preparation for this article, I recently flipped through a few teen magazines, and found some pretty vulgar things. Titles such as “How to hook the hottest guy in the room,” “The Pill,” and “Using Protection” fill the covers of these magazines. Inside the magazines are even worse! Girls are encouraged to take condoms with them on dates if they think intercourse might take place; almost every picture shows fashion as something that reveals most of our body; and gossip about celebrities is running rampant.

Some of you are probably nodding your heads in agreement, and others are probably shrugging your shoulders and thinking, “Who cares? It’s not that big a deal.” The thing is, it is a big deal! If you don’t think that looking at things like this affects you, stop and read The Heart of the Matter before finishing this article.

Now that we’ve read the article, and are considering the fact that maybe small things actually are “that bad,” what can we do about it? We love the fashion articles, the beauty tips, dating information, and advice columns, right? How can we give that up? The good news is that we don’t have to! We can continue to read the articles we like, but in a different way.

How to do it

Find good magazines! Pierce My Heart is expanding and changing to include the things we like in normal magazines, but from a godly perspective. There are other decent, godly magazines out there too (if you’ve found one, leave a comment about it below this article).

Lose the bad. This is the hard part. You have to make a conscious decision to rid your life of any and all trashy magazines, then follow through on that decision, so that you will only be filling your heart and mind with worthy thoughts, as we’re encouraged to do in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” In order to fully do this, we must get rid of fashion magazines that tell us to dress in revealing ways, magazines that gossip about celebrities, and magazines that encourage us to be sexually active with people we’re not married to. I don’t need to name the names – you know which magazines I’m talking about. If you’ve subscribed, un-subscribe, even if you lose money. If your mom buys them for you when she goes to the store, talk to her about it, and ask her to support you in your quest to become a purer person this year. If you’re going to a friend’s house that has inappropriate magazines you like to read, take other reading material instead, whether it’s a book, another magazine, or articles from this magazine that you print off.

Notice the difference. When you haven’t been reading those magazines for about a month, you’ll start to notice that you have a better self image (you’re no longer seeing airbrushed models), a purer mind (you’re no longer being encouraged to engage in sinful behaviors), and a cleaner heart.

Be renewed

Ask God to renew your heart this year, so that you will desire to be pure, inside and out. Make sure the choices you make with magazines affect your desire to be pure; rejoice in that pureness; and meditate on this verse: “The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing in the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Psalm 19:8).

Davonne Parks

I’m Dreaming of a Christmas Movie

This month, some of the staff is offering their own favorite Christmas movie review. So, choose one of these, or grab your own favorite, curl up with a blanket and cup of hot chocolate, and enjoy the spirit, or humor, of the season.

When I was a child, there was nothing better than the anticipation and time spent watching the line-up of Christmas classics during the weeks approaching Christmas: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, and Charlie Brown’s Christmas. My favorite among them was probably Mickey’s Christmas Carol. But the one Christmas movie that I love to watch year after year now is Miracle on 34th Street––the 1947 version. While I love the nostalgic feelings that the animated movies create, Miracle on 34th Street reminds me of the sweetness and spirit of the Christmas season.

– Lisa Grimenstein

My Favorite Christmas movie is a toss up between It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story. I love to watch both every year with lots of family around. I think of the two, It’s a Wonderful Life is my favorite because it puts me in the mood for Christmastime. Davonne purchased both of these for me for Christmas last year on DVD, so we are  planning on continuing the tradition!

– Nathan Parks

I love Charlie Brown and Frosty the Snowman because they bring back fond memories of my childhood. My favorite Christmas movie, however, is the colorized 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street, because it’s a sweet, timeless movie which shows that true joy is found in what we give to others, not what we take from them.

– Davonne Parks

There are several movies I like to watch during the Christmas season. They are White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, The Bells of St. Mary’s, Frosty the Snowman, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (cartoon version), but my absolute favorite is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Every year when my children were little, we would all watch Rudolph and many other Christmas cartoons. I truly cherish those memories.

––Carol Gartman

It Truly is a Wonderful Life

2 Corinthians 9:15: “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

I have a friend who, like me, loves Thanksgiving. However, he doesn’t really care for Christmas. You may be wondering why. Is it because it reminds him of a bad memory? Because he has no family to share it with? His reason is actually very simple––and sadly, a reality. He says that Thanksgiving is a time when people focus on what they do have. But then those feelings of thanksgiving have barely taken root before our attention is turned to what we don’t have. Yes, he loves Christmas––he spends it with his large family and celebrates Jesus’ life, which we should celebrate every day. But he is saddened that people can so quickly forget, just days after Thanksgiving, all the things they are blessed with.

It’s a Wonderful Life is a wonderful example of celebrating the things that are most important in our lives. It also shows how easy it is for us to get distracted by everyone else’s successes and possessions. Although this 1946 holiday classic has been around for decades, I only first saw it a couple years ago––but it quickly became a movie I will watch year after year.

As a young man, George Bailey dreams of traveling and making an impact. His goals are so honorable. But because of the man he is, these dreams are never able to unfold. The sacrifices he makes for others interfere with and delay his plans for travel and influence, until, years later, he realizes they will never happen. Like many of us, he doesn’t realize that the “wasted” years actually meant something. He didn’t get to travel the world and make an impact on the entire earth, but he made a large impact on the people in his own community.

This holiday season, let’s choose to be thankful for the things, people and talents we are blessed with, rather than the things we don’t have. We should always be “giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

by Lisa Grimenstein

Virtue in Mind, Heart, and Body

Most of us want to be virtuous, but many of us struggle with that to some extent. Maybe we don’t know exactly how to be virtuous, or if it’s even worth the effort. Every Young Woman’s Battle by Shannon Ethridge and Stephen Arterburn addresses that in a very straightforward manner. These authors tell us what it really means to be pure, how to reclaim purity if we’ve lost it, how to stay pure, and how to fully love and rely on the One who will never disappoint us, Jesus Christ.

Every Young Woman’s Battle is broken down into seven sections, with each section having three or four chapters, making a grand total of 222 pages full of information about all areas of sexual purity. The sections include:

Part 1: Understanding Our Battle
Part 2: Avoiding Self-Destruction
Part 3: Avoiding the Destruction of Others
Part 4: Guarding Your Mind
Part 5: Guarding Your Heart
Part 6: Guarding Your Body
Part 7: Looking for Love in the Right Places

The chapters in these sections discuss modesty, flirting, the media, breaking cycles of abuse, common excuses for premarital sex, how far is too far, and more. The final section tells us how to know when the time is right for Mr. Right, how to become Mrs. Right, and how to fall in love with Jesus.

Who is this book for?

This book is for anyone who has become sexually active and wants to learn how to stop, girls who haven’t yet had their first kiss and want to know where to draw the line before they make mistakes, and people who don’t think having sex or fooling around outside of marriage is wrong (you’ll probably think otherwise after reading this book).

Boy Book

To learn how a guy’s mind works, read Every Young Man’s Battle. Learning about purity from a guy’s perspective is very eye-opening as to the large role we play in helping them to be pure. A note of caution: some of the issues discussed in this book are very personal and not for the young teen reader.

Your Mind, Heart, and Body

We’ve previously discussed the disease and heartache that premarital sex can bring, and it’s important to keep in mind that just because we’re not having sex outside of marriage, it doesn’t mean we’re okay. God wants us to be completely pure for our own good. First Thessalonians 4:3-4, 7: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.”

Sexual impurity happens long before technical virginity is lost. Nobody is going to guard our purity but ourselves, and if we are going to win this battle, we must enter it prepared. Every Young Woman’s Battle gives us the information we need to prepare ourselves as much as possible for the road that lies ahead, so one day we will be able to show our love to our husbands fully, without reserve, and without regret.

Davonne Parks

Davonne Parks

A Passion for Christ

I have seen many powerfully stirring movies, but among the most moving is the Passion of the Christ. Although there have been films made which depict the life and final days of Christ, none is more vivid or unsettling. Directed by Mel Gibson, the Passion of the Christ offers a very real glimpse into the days leading to Jesus’ crucifixion.

Although the film has additional content that is never mentioned in the Bible, the details reveal a very accurate portrayal of Jesus’ betrayal and death. Tension in the movie results from the violence committed against Christ, and has been criticized by many as being too graphic. To relieve some of this tension and offer a human aspect to Jesus, there are occasional flashbacks into His earlier life. Although parts of the movie are difficult to watch, I believe it has most effectively shown how horrible Christ’s death was––something I think many of us tend to disregard. The scenes showing Jesus’ beatings and death made me realize how much He really went through for me, a sinner who would disobey Him and neglect to realize that sacrifice.

I encourage you to see this movie. The Passion of the Christ will reveal to you, or remind you, of the suffering our Savior endured for us. We spend much of our time watching movies and shows that have no meaning to our lives, or that display negative and sinful themes and situations. We need to consider God’s Word when we sit down in front of a screen. In Psalm 101:3, David declares, “I will set my eyes before no vile thing.” Paul encouraged the Philippians to set their minds on “whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely” (v. 8). This month, let’s change our habits so we will use our time to study God’s Word and to learn what is right and pure so that we can set our thoughts on these things. Let’s learn more about Christ so we can be passionate about Him, just as He is passionate about us.

Lisa Grimenstein

Mansion Mystery

Now that school’s in session, some of us may want to watch a fun school-related movie to help us get excited about the new school year. A great school movie that I’ve recently seen is the new movie, Nancy Drew.

Back to the Books

This Nancy Drew movie derived from the Nancy Drew book series which began in 1930 with The Secret of the Old Clock. As of 2001, The Secret of the Old Clock alone had sold over 2.7 million copies. Over 550 Nancy Drew books have been written since she completed her first mystery. There is a series for children under ten, and young teens. Too old for that? No problem! Nancy Drew also has a series geared toward high schoolers and even collegeage girls! Amazon has a great selection of Nancy Drew books.

These books concentrate on solving various mysteries with Nancy as the lead, but with others chipping in to help as well. While some of the story lines and friendships in the series build on previous books, each book is a separate mystery, allowing the reader to skip books without becoming confused.

Nancy Drew––the movie

Nancy Drew is a fun movie to watch with a friend, a younger sibling, a parent, or a grandparent. The movie is simple and fun enough to appeal to a younger audience and has enough substance and timeless appeal to attract the older viewers.

Nancy Drew is a smart, confident, and friendly high school detective. In this mystery movie, Nancy and her father temporarily move from River Heights to Los Angeles, where Nancy enrolls in a new school. She sews her own retro-inspired clothing, drives a little blue convertible, and befriends a twelve-year-old boy named Corky who tries to help her solve her latest mystery. The case? A mysterious death in the mansion Nancy and her father are currently living in. This wholesome teen tempts people’s taste buds with homemade sweets in order to get information she needs to help her solve her case. Does it work? Watch the movie and find out!

Titus 2:7-8: “In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.” This year, let what you don’t watch make a statement about who you are!

By Davonne Parks

Freedom of Media


Fireworks. . . automatically, without thinking, most of our minds tune into radiant light shows occurring on a special day for our country: the Fourth of July.

When our forefathers were embracing the ink-tipped feathers to create our nation, I know that one thing was on their mind. Freedom was the reason why we, as immigrants, united along-side one another to create this nation. However, this “freedom” has transformed from its preexisting form to an immoral, irrational monster that grows at a faster pace from the day before. A major cause of this is media.

I do not mean that all media is bad (it is helpful in many instances). But it has given our nation answers (both right and wrong) to questions dealing with moral issues. Most of us can think of examples of this (homosexual relationships, unmarried couples living together, unplanned pregnancies, etc.). The media tell us that people are entitled to freedom and, therefore, it is morally acceptable to participate in acts that in the past were thought of as immoral.

Freedom has allowed our country to become what it is today. Many developments over the years have encouraged us spiritually by allowing us more opportunities (for example: school prayer meetings, revival/gospel meeting advertisements, religious stations, etc.). Today, in many areas, the world is becoming more open to immoral activities; however, it is also giving us the freedom to stand against and conquer the devil’s temptations.

Many opportunities are open to us as Christians through the media itself. We tend to not take advantage of the artistic ways of spreading God’s word, such as through television shows, newspapers, books, posters, and even online magazines. Hopefully, though, with the ever growing popularity of media in our daily lives, we can help the world grow not only in the advancements of technology, but spiritually as well.

Freedom Book of the Month

A Farewell to Arms
Ernest Hemingway

Many books have been written describing the effects of war on the average person in order to attempt to explain how much freedom means to the human-being; however, most of these books bore the average teenage girl. We tend to be more interested in social issues than political motifs. To solve this problem of boredom, while reading a classic war story, Ernest Hemingway wrote a book called A Farewell to Arms.

Although I am quite certain he didn’t intend the book to be directed toward the teenage-girl audience, he did an excellent job of relating it to social issues while including a war background.

Set during World War I, this novel tells the story of an American ambulance driver who is injured during the war and is placed in a foreign hospital. Combining graphic war images with love and death, Hemingway captures the picture of war surrounded by seemingly real characters. Be prepared to fight back the tears as you embrace the price of freedom in its original form.

By Sarah Brown

Soap Operas and the Heart

As a Christian woman I am trying to live the life Christ wants me to live, while also living in a world full of sin. Of course, it is difficult when most of the world relies on sinful things to live, and Christians, as well as non-Christians, are affected by worldly doings. The media often uses sex in order to make a profit for themselves, because they know people are drawn to this worldly pleasure. Soap operas are often described as sexual dramas because of the emphasis the directors and writers place on sex within the storyline.

As Christians, we learn that sexual lust is wrong. First Peter 2:11 says, ”Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” Although we know the sin involved with lust, most everyone struggles with this to some degree because of the way God designed our bodies for marriage. Sexual images are everywhere, feeding the world’s sexual appetite in an unholy way, which is discussed in Hebrews 13:4: “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

A example of lust is the recent movie The Other Boleyn Girl. Although this is not the typical soap opera, many reviewers have referred to it as the 16th-century soap opera. The story is not historically accurate, and the immorality discussed continually throughout the movie creates a very sin-filled film. However, it has become a popular film, and many Christians are recommending it to others. I have not seen it, but the Christian reviews concerning the film prove that Hollywood has struck again in its attempt to fill our hearts with sinful thoughts.

Many Christians believe that as long as they aren’t the ones active in the sin, they aren’t sinning. But watching soap operas and other immoral shows or movies can be committing sin in our hearts. In Matthew 5:27–30, Jesus talks about not only committing adultery, but having lustful thoughts in one’s heart, and explains that it is a sin. Also, by allowing ourselves to view the act of sin (real or fiction), we are making ourselves vulnerable to the present sin, which could have long-term consequences. Hebrews 3:13 says, “But exhort one another daily, while it is called to day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Now that school is ending for the summer, many of us are left at home, without parents, eating and watching television. If we follow what God has commanded, hopefully we will all exercise our ability of choice in what we watch and will follow the Biblical examples of purity while exercising our thumb on the remote.

Trying to stay pure is a continual process and is never easy; however, with prayer, persistence, and the help of fellow Christians, our walk with Jesus will be more fulfilling than we ever imagined.

By Sarah Brown