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!)
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!
When John Smith crashed through the ice on a frozen lake near St. Louis, he was trapped for 15 minutes, and after he was rescued he had no pulse for 43 minutes. The ER physician called his mother in so she could say her final goodbye. She prayed instead and that’s when a miracle happened…John came back to life.
John Smith was probably like a lot of the boys in your eighth grade class. He played basketball. He played video games. He hung out with his friends. Although he was abandoned as a baby in Guatemala, he was adopted into a loving Christian family in Missouri.
January 19th, 2015 started out as just an ordinary Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. To celebrate the day off of school, John and his two friends (both named Josh) decided to play on a frozen lake. After taking a selfie and running around… CRACK! The ice wasn’t as thick as they thought. Suddenly, the three boys found themselves in a cold lake with no means of escape.
When the emergency team responded, they found one Josh had managed to pull himself out of the water, and the other Josh was treading while trying to keep hold of an ice sheet. But John was nowhere to be seen. Since he had sunk underwater long before the rescuers arrived, they were prepared for the worst. As fireman Tommy Shine searched through the water, he heard a voice say “Go back!” He retraced the area he’d just searched and, sure enough, found John. Tommy Shine later tried to figure out who called out to him to go back, but no one on his team had said anything during that time. It was divine guidance that could have only come from God. Especially unusual since Tommy didn’t even believe in God!
It was a miraculous rescue, but it was only the start to a chain of miracles. The lifeless John had been submerged for 15 minutes- no breathing, no pulse. Yet the rescue team still did everything they could as they transported him to the hospital. He was considered dead for an hour by the time Joyce, his mom, was able to see him. After crying loudly, she shouted, “Holy Spirit…breathe life back into my son!”
No one expected John to make a full recovery. He was unlikely to even make it through the night, and if he did, he would have severe brain damage. But sixteen days and two hospitals later, John headed home as the healthy boy he’d always been. Prayer does work, and miracles do happen.
As you’ll see in the movie, God wasn’t present only in John’s hospital room. His story made waves around his community. The classmates at his school gathered for prayer, and people came to his church to do the same. The prayer vigils were just as important as the prayers spoken at his bedside.
Do you know someone that needs prayer right now? It doesn’t necessarily have to be for a life-threatening issue; God hears all prayers and knows that each request is important to us. Take a break from reading- yes, right now!- and pray for a family member, friend, or someone in your community.
Need an idea for something to pray about? How about that Breakthrough would change lives! Here are a few other things you can do to help with that:
You can reserve your ticket right now! If your local theater doesn’t have showtimes for Breakthrough, ask what it would take to get the movie to your town.
Bring some people to see the movie in theaters. You can get discounts on group tickets, so this may be something you want to coordinate with your church, youth ministry, or other group.
Even non-Christian friends might be interested to see the movie for its cast of stars or basketball player-turned-producer Stephen Curry. Invite some people to the movies and then pick a restaurant, coffee shop, or ice cream parlor near the theater to chat afterward.
Visit breakthroughmovie.com to find out more about the movie. You can also access some “share tools”, that include printable prayer cards as well as images you can post on your social media.
Allow the message of the movie to affect your life. And keep on praying.
The message of Into The Deep could be summarized in this quote:
“Following Jesus doesn’t guarantee sunny skies and smooth sailing.”
Into the Deep, written by Lauren Gaskill, is not just well written, organized, strongly themed, and easy to follow. It’s a new approach to Christian living–or if not new, better. Gaskill’s book divides between two crucial parts of the faith journey: choosing to trust in Jesus, and choosing to live for Jesus.
The part about choosing to live for Jesus really spoke to me.
Where I live, stories about “how God turned me around” and “how God changed my life” run rampant. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with a testimony of how one got saved, sometimes leaning on this perspective of Christianity limits us.
The truth is, Christianity isn’t just a quick fix to solve our depression, relationship problems, and selfishness. Christianity isn’t just that part where God lifted you up when you hit rock bottom. Christianity is living with God every day–swimming with Jesus–even when the skies aren’t sunny and the sailing isn’t smooth.
It is those parts of our journey, Lauren says, that truly deepen our faith. Deep waters require deep faith.
I can’t describe how this book strengthened and encouraged me, but I would definitely give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars and I’m looking forward to sharing it with my friends. Whether you’re in a dark time or looking to deepen your faith, this book is for you.
This book is not a checklist of “do this, do that and you’re set!” Rather, it’s something to lean on–a source of strength. A reminder that you’re not alone, and God is there, because that message is always true.
(At least it is here at Girlz 4 Christ headquarters in the beautiful PNW.)
Let’s face it–for many of us, January is the month where we find ourselves in a bit of a mood slump. We say goodbye to the beauty and magic of the holiday season, and welcome in a month of…nothingness. If you’re like me, January seems to stretch on endlessly, with NOTHING fun on the horizon.
But I’m here to say…let’s change that! Let’s plan something fun for the weekend that will give us something to look forward to and help us beat the winter blues.
1.) Spa Day In!
Who doesn’t love a good manicure, pedicure, or facial? Even if you’re on a budget, you can easily recreate a relaxing spa experience in the comfort of your own home. Invite a few of your best girlfriends or make the day all about you! Either way, you’ll find yourself feeling recharged and refreshed.
Find a soothing, spa-like instrumental playlist online, and light a candle or two before giving yourself–and maybe a friend or two–the works. Trying to save money? There are plenty of recipes online for inventive and inexpensive face masks that you can make with a few basic ingredients found in your kitchen. Even the simplest brand of lotion can feel positively luxurious if you spread it on while giving your hands a mini-massage.
If you’re feeling really fancy, break out a robe and slippers and read a new book or magazine while you let your mask set or your polish dry. Make a day of it by brewing a pot of herbal tea or making a jug of fruit-flavored spa water. You could even buy a few healthy snacks (think fresh fruits, trail mix, or veggie sticks and hummus) to munch on in between treatments.
Most of all, focus on relaxing and recharging–it’s important for your inner beauty as well as for your outside appearance.
2.) Cooking Competition
It’s tough to shy away from a challenge…especially one that promises to yield delicious results! Grab a friend or two and set a timer–may the best dish win! There are several different challenges you can participate in, or you could come up with one of your own!
Grocery Store Showdown: If you’re looking for a good reason to get out of the house, then this one is for you! Head to the closest grocery store and give yourself a set amount of time in which you can shop for ingredients for your meal, then throw in a twist. Maybe you can only buy ingredients that start with a certain letter. Maybe you can only shop in the even-numbered aisles (or vice versa). Or set a budget: no more than $10–or $20 if you’re feeling generous! Then race back home and set another timer before you start cooking. Ready, set, GO!
Pantry Powwow: This time, there’s no trip to the grocery store to help you out. Everything in your pantry is fair game…but that’s it. Missing a key ingredient? You’ll have to improvise! Make sure to set a tight time limit to heighten the tension.
Mystery Ingredients: Invite your friends and ask each of them to each bring a “secret ingredient” (make sure you have one too!) then put them all together and unveil them, like on a TV cooking show. Divide into teams, work together, or go mono e mono. May the best chef win.
3.) Make it Bookish
Gather a group of friends who enjoy reading and read the same book. When you’re done, meet together and discuss the story. Sound too much like a book club? Add an element of the extraordinary by challenging everyone to come dressed as their favorite character. When you meet, prepare a meal or snack mentioned in the book–or get creative and come up with your own menu! You could even try your hand at an activity described in the story. If there’s a movie version of the book, turn it into a movie night complete with PJ’s and popcorn. Below are a few books that Girlz 4 Christ suggests:
Porch Swing Girl, by Taylor Bennett (Contemporary Christian YA with a summery setting on the beach in Hawaii!)
Rooms, by James L. Rubart (A breakout speculative Christian fiction novel with a BIG twist at the end.)
The Tethered Worldby Heather L. L. Fitzgerald (A book–the first in a series–filled with fantasy and flights of fancy, all written from a Christian worldview.)
We hope one of these ideas sparked something in you…here’s to surviving the rest of the winter with NO MORE boring weekends! Have any more ideas to add to this list? Drop them in the comments.
I’m writing this on Valentine’s Day, a holiday known for excluding singles while couples display lovey-dovey acts. I myself am single. No husband, no boyfriend. But this Valentine’s Day, I don’t feel alone. Maybe it’s because I know a lot of other single people now. They’re right in the Bible.
They Were Single Too features eight chapters, each outlining a single person from the Bible and explains what we can learn from their lives. One of the chapters is about Anna. I remember when I first read her story in the book of Luke. I was working at a camp as a teen and was so excited about it, I texted the girls’ dean and asked if we could learn about her at that night’s Bible study. She liked that idea, but I learned even more from reading her profile in They Were Single Too. Author David M. Hoffeditz delves deeper into explaining what singleness and the lifestyles of these people meant in relation to their culture and time period, and how that can personally translate to my life today.
I would recommend They Were Single Too to singles of any age and circumstance. Maybe even married people should read it, because understanding each other diminishes the “us vs. them” mentality. Reading this book would be a great way to spend your Singles Awareness Day. Here are a few other Valentine-less ideas:
Watch a movie on PureFlix, which has a host of clean movies and shows in different genres. Whether you want a romantic flick or nothing of the sort, you’ll find something here. (You can even watch God’s Not Dead 2 before the next movie comes out!) Click here for a free month of PureFlix streaming!
If you have a job, offer to cover an extra shift. You probably have a coworker who would love the night off for Valentine’s Day. You’ll make some extra money and be too busy to wallow in self-pity.
Listen to an audio sermon from your church or by another pastor. Since Valentine’s Day lines up with Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent this year, it’s a good reminder to keep focused on loving God.
A copy of They Were Single Too was provided by Kregel Publications for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was made. Links may be from affiliates, which will help our ministry while offering positive deals for you.
A few weeks ago, I did a series of polls using Girlz 4 Christ’s Instagram stories. All of them were about relationships. Presumably, most of our Instagram followers would consider themselves Christians, so I asked questions surrounding that idea, from hotly-debated topics such as “Do you prefer dating or courting?”, to what I thought would be unanimous questions like “Would you ever consider dating a non-Christian?” I assumed just about everyone would vote “no” for that last question, but boy was I wrong!
Just as I was wrong about the poll results, some girls get caught up in the wrong relationship with the wrong guy. It may be because that guy’s not a Christian (which about 10% of our female Christian voters would at least entertain the idea of going out with a guy like this), or may be some other negative situation, like he’s controlling or encouraging you to get physical.
Then I got a copy of She’s Got the Wrong Guy.
As it turns out, lots of Christian women get into a relationship with the wrong guy. This book lays out the facts, gives explanations for this phenomenon, and makes suggestions for how to avoid this. You’re a smart woman. You shouldn’t have to settle for less than what God wants for you.
Girlz 4 Christ is glad to be part of this book’s blog tour. We received a copy of this book to assist in our review, but all opinions are our own.
Earlier this year, I came up with an idea I thought would revolutionize Christian television production. Along the same vein of The Office and Parks and Recreation, we needed to shine a light on the world of ministry through a mockumentary of those front-line workers. I created characters, ministry jobs, and early versions of a script. Unfortunately, while writing is my forte, I do not have an in with anyone working in Hollywood.
Little did I know that, around the same time, a new mockumentary-style Christian series was in the works. I admit it might even be better than my show idea. Hitting the Breaks premiered last month. I watched it on Pure Flix and am hyped to tell you about it.
In case you forget why this mostly-normal Christian family ended up in an anything-but-normal Colorado Rockies town, just listen to the theme song. The title sequence begins with the opening sequence of Cars 3. (That’s also the same scene as the final race of the first Cars movie, but I digress…) Without giving away too much of the setup of the show (or the Pixar Cars franchise), there’s an accident on the racetrack. This forces driver Randy into a midlife crisis of early retirement and moving his family cross-country to his recently inherited hotel, which is where we first meet them in the pilot episode.
The Wilcox family walks into The Serenity Inn, their new home in Colorado. Oh no! What happened to the Wi-fi and cell service? I guess it lacks those features to make what otherwise looks like a just-built hotel set seem old and dilapidated. They never get those services, so I guess they won’t be able to read this review. Or watch their own show.
When it comes to the topic of finances, this modern-day Petticoat Junction is mysterious . Why did Randy’s father die and leave his estate conveniently at the same time that Randy also flirted with death and needed a place to move to? Why is Randy concerned about money when he has free housing and presumably a professional athlete’s savings account? How can a hotel that never has a paying guest afford to keep on a maid? (Although this does explain why she never does any work- there’s no one to clean up after!) How can Randy quickly get hooked up with an endorsement deal when he wants several thousand dollars, but can’t drop a hundred bucks to replace a falling-apart floor rug that everyone complains about? And the most mysterious of all: why are Christian films notoriously low-budget, but Hitting the Breaks is actually a good show?
Speaking of Christianity, this is an original series created by and available exclusively through the Christian entertainment company, Pure Flix. But don’t expect the characters to awkwardly pause the story line to give their testimony. Instead you’ll see the Wilcox family and some of their friends living out their life with Christ through Bible studies, church events, reading, and prayer. For them, Christianity isn’t a separate part of their lives that they focus on for two minutes but ignore the remainder of the episode. It’s how they live their whole lives. That’s a good takeaway for all of us.
But although there are mysteries and faith themes, Hitting the Breaksis a comedy. You’ll be reminded of that every four seconds when the laugh track goes off. Sometimes it gets so cheesy that you’ll want to grab tortilla chips and make some nachos. The characters even acknowledge this a handful of times while breaking the fourth wall.
Randy Wilcox is played by that ever-present actor in nearly every Christian movie, David A.R. White. Instead of his typical portrayal of a pastor or an Amish man, David branches out in this show as a retired race car driver. The word “retired” might be a bit harsh, since he’s only middle-aged with daughters still in school. But what can you do if you have a family full of women who convince you that your line of work might be dangerous after your last race ended in smoke and shambles?
Coincidentally, I was also in a car crash shortly before Hitting the Breakspremiered. (I’m not a race car driver; I just share the road with people who think that a red light means “keep going!”) I even got the same lingering injury as Randy: a shoulder in so much pain that I couldn’t raise my arm. But since Randy’s arm was instantly cured by falling off a roof, I am definitely jumping off a building now. If anything goes wrong, I’ll just send my hospital bill to the production company. (Not everything you see on TV is meant to be impressionable, kids!)
Charlie Wilcox is Randy’s wife. Actress Andrea Logan White is also the real-life wife of David A.R. White. In Christian film world, that means it’s okay for the couple to share a bed unlike the sitcom couples of the 50s, and kiss each other without pulling Kirk Cameron’s stand-in stunt from Fireproof. Yay for realism!
Delancey Wilcox is the oldest daughter of Randy and Charlie. Since she’s a teen, the writers gave her typical teen traits like being obsessed with boys and shampoo. Wait, shampoo? Is that a legit obsession? I started working on this teen magazine (that you should subscribe to) as I was aging out of my own teen years. All this time I guess I forgot to include a much-desired magazine section dedicated to shampoo. If you’re a teen girl with a shampoo obsession, please leave a comment at the end of this post. I need your help with an upcoming article.
Darcy Wilcox is basically a female version of Brick Heck from ABC’s The Middle. Book brainiac, youngest child, remembers everything, socially awkward… you get the picture. I almost expected her to repeat words in a whisper. Maybe they’re saving that for season two.
Other Characters abound in this Rocky Mountain town. A fan favorite is Sky, a vegan-restaurant-owning/ motorcycle-riding/ friends-with-everyone twentysomething who knows the rest of the townsfolk are unusual without realizing that she’s a different kind of offbeat as well. The bumbling cop Bernie makes Barney Fife look like a SWAT Team agent. Then there are two old guys who continually wear bunny costumes. It’s weird how quickly you get used to that.
Let’s not forget the special guest stars! There’s Alyson Stoner, and Morgan Fairchild, and Carrot Top, and IS THAT TIM TEBOW? LET’S FREAK OUT LIKE EVERY CHARACTER DID IN THE SEASON FINALE!
Joking aside for a moment, you probably know that there are fewer and fewer sitcoms airing that the whole family can enjoy. Two of the three family-friendly shows I alluded to above (The Andy Griffith Show and Petticoat Junction, which also has episodes available to stream on Pure Flix) were first filmed in black and white. The other mention, The Middle, is in its final season as television networks turn to edgier shows with more shock value. I’m glad that Pure Flix is stepping up to fill this widening gap. We need more shows that are funny, entertaining, and hold to God-honoring, family-friendly values.