We’ve made it to the sixth month of what may have been the most unusual year of our lives! Normally, time of year, I would be telling you how to get ready for camp, but a lot of summer camps have either delayed their start day or closed entirely for the year. I know many of you live in areas where there are safety concerns, and please know that you are being prayed for. So, what can we do for the month of June?
That’s right. Many libraries and bookstores are opening back up, and Amazon’s book shipping isn’t so delayed anymore. You may have a library, bookstore, restaurant, or school near you that offers a summer reading program, where you’ll get a prize for reading a certain amount of books this summer. (Don’t gloss over this if you’re an adult now- while a lot of programs are for kids and teens, some summer reading includes adults, too!)
So instead of a summer vacation, we invite you to take a “bookation” and explore new lands through the written word.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3
Our Top 5 Reading Suggestions
After entering the book giveaway above, and then scrolling down to see G4C’s upcoming book, you may be wondering how else to fill your summer reading list. Here are a few suggestions:
First of all, we’d highly recommend looking for Christian books. They come in all types of genres, but unlike other books, they will better remind you of God, the Ultimate Author. Bookstores and libraries have sections set up just for Christian books. And if you order books online, it’s easy to search for Christian genres. The number one Christian book that we’d recommend above all others happens to also be the world’s number one bestseller: The Bible! We challenge you to read a little bit of that book every day this summer.
Need more book ideas? We have a whole Teen Reading List here. We’d love to update this page with your favorite books, so let us know what we should add!
Remember that not all reading has to be done in the form of books. Most of our books are available on Kindle as ebooks, and there are a ton of great blogs out there too. Naturally, we’d recommend reading our blog posts, but we know there are a lot of great blogs out there. Look through Pinterest for blog suggestions on topics you like.
And of course, don’t forget magazines! Here are a few of our past issues of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine that you can order. These ones feature an interview with an author, so you can get even more reading suggestions while getting behind-the-scenes info about the creation of each book!
Reading is great. But it’s a good idea to balance it with a well-rounded lifestyle. Here are a few FREE programs I’ve been using lately, including my invite links so you can join me!
I’m walking my way to some fantastic prizes! Sweatcoin is an app that counts your steps, which you get paid for. Use your sweatcoins to buy some cool rewards. Start using Sweatcoin today!
Do you like shopping? I bet you’d like it even better if it cost less money! Use Ibotta and you can get rebates on your purchases in most popular stores. Some items you can even get for free! Sign up for Ibotta.
In case you haven’t heard, we’ve got a giveaway for Beyond the Break, a brand-new book from Penguin Teen.
Beyond the Break is a funny and gorgeous debut about a girl experiencing her first love. Well, second, if you count her faith… and that’s where things may get complicated.
Manhattan Beach native Lovette has two rules in life. One: no surfing. Not after her brother’s accident. Two: absolutely, no dating. And going into her junior year of high school, she’s pretty happy with that arrangement. She has friends, her church youth group, and God to fall back on when things get dicey. But after Jake Evans walks into her life, following these two simple rules gets a lot more complicated.
Jake is the boy from Lovette’s childhood who grew up. Handsome and sweet, he unlocks the part of Lovette that wants nothing more than to surf the waves again. And as their relationship grows, she begins to question what it means to be faithful: to her family, to God, but mostly, to herself.
Told with humor and heart, Heather Buchta delivers a sparkling debut that asks the question: Can you fall in love, be a teenager, and also be a good Christian?
You can read the first chapter of Beyond the Break by Heather Buchta here. If you want to read the whole thing, you have two options. Starting today, you can find it at any online or brick-and-mortar bookstore. Or, you can enter our contest.
EDIT JUNE 1ST 2020: Thank you to everyone who contributed! One True God, 80 Devotions will be a great book featuring all your work, available for preorder soon! If you missed your chance to write this time around, know that we are planning for another book that you can be a part of. Join our newsletter so you can get the next announcement.
Have you been enjoying our newest book, 77 Days of Devos? We’re making another devotional. Except this time, we want YOU to get involved!
Write a short devotional about any topic you’d like. Make sure to follow our devotional format (see examples here) and include:
A Bible verse or two, including the reference and translation
100-200-word life story or application related to the scripture
A short “Action,” something the reader can pray for or do to help apply the lesson of this devotion to their life
Of course, include your name at the bottom of the devotion unless you’d prefer to remain anonymous (If your work is accepted we may ask for a bio line. If you’re not sure what that is, don’t worry- we’ll explain when the time comes.)
If you look carefully, you’ll notice that we published 77 Days of Devos under “G4C Publications” instead of our full name, “Girlz 4 Christ Publications.” That’s because we want girlz AND guyz to have a daily devotional resource that will draw them closer to Christ! We would like this next devotional to be accessible in the same way.
Anyone is welcome to contribute to this book. That means if you know someone else who likes writing, feel free to forward this to them. However, if you’re under 13, please have a parent review and send your submission to us.
All submissions can be sent as a Word document to Girlz4Christ@yahoo.com with the subject line “Devotion Submission”. You’re welcome to submit more than one devotion. If your work is accepted for publication, you will get a free advance digital copy of the book before publication. After publication, you can also get a free paperback copy of the book as well as some free resources to help you as an author get featured in your local news.
Ephesians 5:16 encourages us to redeem our time, because the days are evil. In days like these, I’m often reminded of this verse. But how can we redeem our time for good when we are homebound? We’ve collected some ideas from Girlz 4 Christ and other Christian organizations to help you make the most of your day:
-This is a great time to catch up on previous issues of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine. You can even order print copies here. Right now, we only have a handful of our 40 issues available in print. However, if there’s a certain issue that you’d like to see in print, let us know and we’ll make it available!
-You may remember us reviewing the animated film, “The Pilgrim’s Progress”, in the Fall 2019 issue of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine. The makers of this movie just announced that they are allowing FREE streaming! This is great if you’re at home with siblings, but even if you’re alone, I think the messages behind this allegory are powerful for anyone.
-If you’re at least 18 and aren’t able to work right now due to closures, you cansupplement your income online with Swagbucks. Make money doing simple tasks like taking surveys, watching videos, and even online shopping.
-Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and other streaming services have been getting more subscribers recently. Did you know that there are Christian movies and shows on many of these streaming services? Look for them! You can sign up for a free trial of PureFlix, a streaming service that is filled with wholesome, Christian films. You can also find tons of quality Christian YouTubers. No matter what you end up watching, look for God in the storyline!
-Since so many churches are including streaming their weekly services or currently are only streaming online due to social distancing rules, now is a great time to watch a bunch of great (and often free) sermons from churches all over the world. If there’s an audio-only download option, you can listen while working out, doing chores, or going to bed.
-Catch up on your reading, and make a new TBR (to be read) list. If you normally read fiction, now is a great time to expand your horizons with nonfiction: read about a topic, then try it out in your real life. We have a free book download this week only to get you started.
More than anything, we need peace during this storm. We don’t know how long this will last, but we do know that the next 77 days can be the beginning of peace, hope, and restoration. Our latest book, 77 Days of Devos, is available on Amazon now (in eBook or paperback), and can help guide you towards peace and living life God’s way.
Girlz 4 Christ’s new book, Girls Who Change the World, released on October 1st. Christian news company theDove included a feature with Girlz 4 Christ’s editor and publisher about her work with co-writing this book. Check out the video clip, and then check out the book!
Many of you have loved our recent interview with Overcomer’s movie star, Aryn Wright-Thompson. But we’ve had the privilege of interviewing dozens of amazing young women over the years, and for the first time ever on October 1st, you’ll be able to have these role models all in one place.
Maybe you’ve been inspired by Bethany Hamilton’s new documentary, Unstoppable. Or you love reading books by teen authors. Or you’ve found inspiration with the younger members of the Duck Dynasty crew like Sadie Robertson, John Luke Robertson, and Mary Kate Robertson. In Girlz 4 Christ’s new book, Girls Who Change the World, you’ll find interviews and profiles of people like these and so many more! There are even girls who are making an impact in their everyday lives all across the globe. Of course, there will be tips for how you can change the world, too!
Girls Who Change the Worldis available October 1st, but you can get a sneak peek in the Fall 2019 issue of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine. You can also preorder a Kindle copy from Amazon. (Print copies will be available for preorder soon!)
Are you involved in a sport or other team? Is there one that you want to join? Imagine showing up on the first day of tryouts. You have your choice of seats, because no one else is there yet. You get a little nervous, and check the paperwork to make sure you’re in the right place. You are. Eventually, the coach shows up. No one else does. You’re the only person on your team.
What would you do? Stay? Quit? Encourage the discouraged coach?
Hannah Scott is in this situation in the movie Overcomer. Her cross country coach, John Harrison, isn’t thrilled that he had to give up basketball and instead coach his least favorite sport, which no one else seems to be interested in either. He’s more frustrated when he finds out that Hannah has asthma, which may jeopardize her ability to place in competitions.
But that’s the least of Hannah’s struggles. She’s new to this Christian school, and her home life is a stark contrast from her rich classmates. She lives with her grandmother, who’s told her that both of her drug-addicted parents died long ago.
But this one-person cross country team may be the life change that both Hannah and Coach Harrison need.
*2020 Update: You can read interviews with the cast of Kendrick Brothers movies, including actresses from Overcomer, War Room, and Courageous, in our book: Girls Who Change the World, available now!*
Kendrick Brothers Do It Again
Which of these films have you seen before?
Facing the Giants
All of these movies were made by the Kendrick Brothers, pastors who decided to expand their ministry with the silver screen. If you haven’t seen them all yet, order them online or check them out at your library this summer. That way, you can be all caught up before Ovecomer hits theaters on August 23rd.
Alex, Stephen, and Shannon Kendrick are the filmmaking Kendrick Brothers, based in Albany, Georgia. For OVERCOMER, Alex co-wrote, directed, and plays the role of Coach John Harrison. Stephen co-wrote and produced the movie. (He also has an onscreen cameo similar to War Room.) Shannon serves as the movie’s executive producer. They are excited to release their sixth movie.
The Kendrick Brothers exist to honor Jesus Christ and make His truth and love known among the nations through movies, books, curriculum, and speaking. By prayerfully blending engaging stories with doctrinal integrity, the Kendricks seek to encourage and inspire viewers and readers with resources that impact their spiritual lives and strengthen their families and personal relationships.
The Kendrick Brothers enjoy including little things to watch out for in their movies. Be on the lookout for these:
A favorite breakfast cereal for many of their movie characters is Coney Bombs. Who eats Coney Bombs in this movie? Can you figure out what real-life cereal it’s based on?
Alex Kendrick is the brother that gets the most screen time. He’s played a major role in every Kendrick Brothers movie, plus other Christian movies like Moms Night Out and The Lost Medallion. However, Stephen has made cameos in the last two films as well as Fireproof. Can you find him in War Room and Overcomer? (Hint: he seems to like competitions.)
Speaking of competitions, do any of the other teams seem familiar? Perhaps a school from Facing the Giants?
Many of the cars don’t have license plates. That’s because it appears that they were recently purchased, and still have the dealership plate. Where were they bought from? You might know if you’ve seen their first movie, Flywheel.
Can you find any other Easter Eggs or references to other movies as you watch Overcomer? Let us know and we’ll share your findings on our social media!
Aryn Wright-Thompson is an honor-roll student, a leader in her community, and studies piano and dance: ballet, jazz, tap, acro, and lyrical. Aryn also plays volleyball, basketball, and softball. Aryn has also participated in pageants including the Miss N.C.’s Little Miss program and the Black Miss North Carolina Organization. Overcomer is her debut film.
We had the opportunity to ask Aryn about her role as Hannah Scott in Overcomer, and we’re excited to share the inside scoop with you about her acting, her life, and her walk with God.
*2020 Update: You can read even more about Aryn Wright-Thompson and other actresses, athletes, and amazing Christian girls in our book, Girls Who Change the World!*
Have you done any acting or theater before Overcomer?
Yes, a little. I had done some regional NASCAR commercials, and extra work. I was an extra on the Three Stooges movie. That was a lot of fun because I was younger and there was a lot of playing outside and a big cafeteria scene where I got to sit next to my brother and eat and be silly all day. Jennifer Hudson took the time to talk to me that day. Still a highlight of my life…lol!
I have done both school and community theatre. I really enjoyed both.
How did you get involved with the Kendrick Brothers film?
My agent sent over the audition request. I read the sides that were sent and loved that. I taped the audition at home and made my dad cry.
What did a day on set look like?
Every day we would have devos as a group of all the cast & crew at between 7 and 8. Someone would pray and give a motivational or inspirational speech during breakfast. That was my favorite part of the day. Then I’d go to wardrobe, then hair and makeup. Sometimes I’d meet with Ms. Beth, the acting coach, to review my scenes. A lot of times Ms. Shari would talk with me or pray with me. We’d shoot some, have lunch. Shoot some more, then have dinner. There could be another wardrobe, hair or makeup change in there somewhere. We were also fortunate enough to have different churches volunteer to either cook or bring us all dinner to set! We’d eat, fellowship and then head home. Usually about 7 or 8 for me.
Your character is a runner, but do you do any sports?
Yes! My parents have always kept us busy and active. Dance has been a constant in my life. I’m a competitive dancer and tap is my favorite style of dance. I have also played softball, basketball, volleyball and been a cheerleader. I also enjoy competing in pageants. I have participated in several North Carolina pageants.
How did you balance acting with school or your other commitments?
To be honest, it has always been a challenge because I live in North Carolina and I have often had to travel for opportunities. My mom would work with the schools and my teachers so that I wouldn’t fall behind and I have had to attend Saturday school a few times to make up missed time. I am very serious about my education and school work, so I always take every opportunity to work on assignments so that they’re on time.
How are you and your character Hannah alike?
I think that we are alike in the sense that we are both unsure. I had not always been sure of myself or my purpose. Spending time getting to know God and the love he as for me and all of us has given me the confidence to follow my dreams and I know who I am in Christ. That’s a big deal.
In real life, what’s something you’ve been working on accomplishing or overcoming lately?
Hmmmm…lately I think it’s been body image. Social media is such a big influence on the world. It seems the expectation is perfection. That’s not realistic and actual. I think it’s ridiculous. I’m definitely overcoming looking at myself from the view of the expectations of other people. God made me exactly the way he intended to, Who am I or anyone else to second guess that? As far as accomplishments, I’m working on being a professional at doing my own hair, there’s a lot to it!
Now that filming is wrapped up and the movie’s almost out, do you have any plans or hopes for a next project?
Ultimately, whatever God has for me..I’ll do it and give Him my best. I would love to continue acting and telling stories! I have another project I’ve been cast in called Don’t You Tell A Soul. I’m super excited about it because it’s a period piece. I get to play a young lady in the 1940s. I have always wanted to do that. I also plan on going to college and maybe becoming an attorney one day.
Did you have a favorite scene or moment on set?
Every day was my favorite. If I could redo last summer all over again I would. Maybe my favorite day was the first day because everything was new to me. I was a little nervous, but after completing that first day I knew I could do this. I also LOVED getting to spend so much time with all of the Kendrick kids! That was so much fun.
Last question: how much did you REALLY have to run for the movie?
LOL! A lot! Probably an average of 3 miles a day, and when we were filming most of the distance running scenes probably about 7 miles a day. But the girls that were in all of those scenes with me are actual runners. They kept me going and encouraged. The crew was amazing in helping us get through those scenes.
I just came back from an amazing trip. I visited Ireland and the United Kingdom, collectively known as the British Isles. There I celebrated my birthday, kissed the Blarney Stone, took a river cruise, straddled the Greenwich Meridian, rode double-decker buses, circled Stonehenge, stormed castles, saw the Crown Jewels, rode the London Eye, ate delicious Irish and English food, and so much more. Does this sound like a trip you’d like to take? Go for it!
“But wait!” you say as you start the excuses. “I don’t have enough money!” I didn’t either at first. It took months of saving and careful planning to make this trip happen. If you’d like to take a trip this summer or next summer, now is the time to start preparing. Wherever you want to go, these tips will help you get there as you enjoy some snapshots from my recent European adventure!
by Jessica Lippe
How I Did It
I decided on a savings goal. I did this by figuring out the cost of my must-dos for the British Isles, as well as cutting back on areas that weren’t important to me. I could have spent less if I decided to only visit free attractions and only eat meals I cooked myself. However, I also could have spent a lot more if I stayed at resorts instead of hostels and only ate at sit-down restaurants. When it comes down to it, splurge on what’s important to you, and don’t feel obligated to spend on things that don’t matter to you.
In the months leading up to my trip, I found ways to save money on both trip expenses and everyday living. I kept all of my savings listed in a computer document. Check out below a few of my favorite ways to save. Even if I only saved five cents, I would add that to the list. Every penny counts!
I worked extra. That could mean being willing to put in extra hours at my regular job (it may help if your boss knows your travel and savings goals), babysitting, or doing some work from home. While some of the extra that I earned went to tithes and taxes, a large portion went directly into my travel fund.
I planned out my trip, but also left some time for spontaneity and incidentals (which came in handy as my flight was late). Although I’d be happy to return to the British Isles, I wanted to make sure that I did all my must-dos so that I wouldn’t feel like I missed out.
I packed up, prayed over the trip, and headed to the airport!
$aving at Home
Saving for travel is possible! Cut back on some of these expenses and prioritize your trip savings instead.
Pack your meals instead of eating at restaurants. Even fast food prices add up (not to mention your homemade food will probably be healthier).
Try to drive less by walking, biking, or at least combining your car trips. You’ll save on gas as well as your car’s wear and tear.
Carry a refillable water bottle or travel mug with you so you’re not tempted to buy pricey drinks.
Do you spend a lot on books and movies? Borrow from friends or the library instead. You can also check out the internet, as Amazon offers some free eBooks and YouTube streams some free movies.
Get great deals on clothing at thrift stores, or combine coupons with the clearance rack at your favorite department store. Better yet, make use of the clothes you already own.
Set a designated time (a week, a month, or until your travel departure date) where you buy nothing. Instead, appreciate the toiletries, food, and entertainment you already have at home.
No matter where you’re headed, try using these money-saving tips:
Try different forms of accommodation. Hostels, campgrounds, and inexpensive Airbnbs are my favorite frugal options. As long as it’s a safe place, where you stay doesn’t matter too much as you should be out exploring most of the time.
Plan one or two nice meals if you’re interested in that sort of thing, but supplement restaurants with street food and grocery stores. Yes, shopping for food in a foreign country can be an interesting experience in itself!
Pack light. If you’re flying, you’ll save time and money by only bringing carry-on bags. If driving, you’ll get better gas mileage with a lighter load.
You don’t have to take a taxi or Uber. Walk as much as possible to get a better lay of the land, and perhaps even stumble upon a local secret! For longer distances, you can rent a bicycle or take public transportation, such as a train or bus.
Don’t spend too much on souvenirs. Unless you’re visiting China, why buy something stamped with “Made in China”? Buy just a couple quality items, or collect free souvenirs like photos and ticket stubs.
Most destinations have some interesting free attractions, like parks and museums. One of my favorite free travel activities is attending a church service, especially in an iconic building like London’s Westminster Abbey!
“Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.” — Zechariah 7:8-10
Today, across the globe, people will be observing World Refugee Day, an opportunity to show compassion, empathy, and charity for those fleeing their homes in search of a better life. Today, more than 65 million people are forcibly displaced from their home and 25 million that the United Nations considers refugees.
These aren’t just numbers. These are families fleeing violence in search of the safety and security and a better life.
That’s why we are proud to feature a cause called the Ration Challenge, which asks people to survive for one week on the food rations that a Syrian refugee eats in a camp in Jordan. The Ration Challenge seeks to raise money and awareness for these refugees, in the hope that we can both help ease their suffering as well as influence the way we think about refugees – especially those in charge in Washington.
The Ration Challenge was established by co-founders Kaz McGrath and Ben Littlejohn in 2014 during a visit to a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border, where they met with refugees and saw first-hand the rations refugees had to survive on. Funds raised this week by the challenge will provide food rations, medicine, and education for Syrian refugees living in camps in Jordan.
Following the mission of Church World Services who have implemented the challenge, we believe that as Christians we sometimes must sacrifice what we’re accustomed to help those in need. And while eating rations is only one small glimpse of the incredible challenges many refugees endure globally, we hope that we will contribute to the discourse on how we should all be doing more to support displaced people around the world.