Passionate About Purity
About the Guest
Today on the broadcast, Christian recording artist Rebecca St. James talks about her new project for mothers and daughters, Secret Keeper Girl. Rebecca explains why personal purity is a necessity for the Christian woman and how honoring God must be our main objective in life.
Rebecca St. JamesWith diversity and depth, the Sydney, Australia native has made the globe her mission field since debuting in 1994 at age 16. Almost 10 years into the journey now, it's remarkable to remember what has transpired and to consider what still may come in the life of this 25 year-old. That's the stimulus of Wait for Me: The Best from Rebecca St. James. In the United States, Rebecca's a Grammy winner who quoted Scripture during her acceptance speech and who writes compelling faith editorials and b...more
Rebecca St. James explains why personal purity is a necessity for the Christian woman.
Passionate About Purity
Bob: Rebecca St. James loves to sing and to use her music to point people toward her relationship with Jesus Christ. She has a passion for seeing people walk in the truth.
Rebecca: When we have a true, living, alive, love relationship with Jesus, we want to please Him. We want to live holy lives – lives that He can delight in. And so it's a big passion, and I just see so many of my generation ripped off, you know, believing the lies that they've seen through TV and movies and so much of music today that you can do whatever you want with whomever at whatever point and just do it. You know, but they're not talking about the consequences.
Bob: Believe it or not, this is the contemporary pop music – almost hip-hop – version of FamilyLife Today for Monday, August 21st. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We're going to talk today about having a passion for purity.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Monday edition. How about that new music, huh? Do you like that? You noticed there was a didgeridoo in that new theme, didn't you?
Dennis: A didgeridoo?
Bob: Didgeridoo, yes. I know you're thinking it's a hairstyle, but it's not, trust me.
Dennis: You know, I grew up in Ozark, Missouri.
Bob: They didn't have didgeridoos in Ozark?
Dennis: I don't recall seeing one of those at the Ben Franklin.
Bob: Well, I think you're going to need to know, if today's program is going to be at all successful, because we're kind of taking a cultural …
Dennis: … hold it, hold it, hold it, hold it. This feels like this comes from another country.
Bob: It does come from another country, that's right. It comes from Down Under.
Dennis: Do you know what a didgeridoo is?
Rebecca: I do, and I better, because it's an Australian instrument, and I'm from there.
Rebecca: If there were Australians listening, they would be very disappointed if I didn't know exactly what a didgeridoo is.
Dennis: What kind of instrument is it?
Rebecca: It's this big, long, skinny wood thing that makes a really funky sound, like, booonnnnnnng – like that. And the Aboriginals in the middle of Australia play it.
Bob: Would you like to hear what it sounds like? Listen, here …
Dennis: … not really.
Rebecca: After my rendition, who would?
Dennis: Well, I am thrilled – Barbara joins us for this bit of trivia – my wife Barbara. Welcome to FamilyLife Today, sweetheart.
Barbara: I'm better off for knowing what the didgeridoo is.
Bob: You didn't know beforehand, did you?
Barbara: I didn't know. I've heard the word but didn't know it was an instrument.
Dennis: I've been thinking about this – Bob, you're the music groupie here at FamilyLife, and I just …
Bob: … groupie? Is that …
Dennis: … I want to give you the honor of introducing our friend from Down Under.
Bob: You're going to let me do it?
Dennis: Yes. That's just what I did, didn't I?
Bob: That's true. That's because you figure I probably know more about her than you do, right?
Dennis: I think that's a safe bet.
Bob: Well, our guest on the program today many of our listeners will know. Rebecca St. James is an internationally known recording artist, the winner of a Grammy award for your album, "Wait for Me?"
Bob: "Pray," I'm sorry.
Rebecca: Yes, that's okay.
Bob: She is also an acclaimed author, had a book go to the number-one slot on the teen charts in CBA, and that was the "Wait for Me" book, right?
Rebecca: That's right, yes.
Dennis: Well, we're excited you are here to join us on FamilyLife Today, and I was personally fascinated to hear about your family. You are the oldest of seven children.
Dennis: You didn't finish high school in Australia, you were home-schooled; came to America, and God's favor fell upon a career. When did that career actually start?
Rebecca: Well, when I was 12 and still going to school in Australia, I really said, "God, I want you to use my life. I don't know how You can use me, but He is everything I've got." And it was that exact same year that God started to lead me into music. And I auditioned for a Christian rock band at my school, got involved as one of the singers, and then Carmen was touring in Australia, and he heard a demo recording that I had done.
Bob: Excuse me, for our listeners, that's Carmen, in case you didn't know who she was talking about.
Bob: There you go.
Rebecca: Oh, I know who you meant.
Dennis: You know what I want to say here, though, because I think sometimes we really do underestimate the level of spiritual commitment an 11-, 12-, or 13-year-old can make to Jesus Christ. And I just want moms and dads who are raising – well, who are raising children who are younger right now, and think that they have to wait until they're in their late teens or young adulthood before they can make a spiritual commitment that determines the future of a young life. You said you made a decision at 12.
Rebecca: Well, I was eight when I gave my life to God but at 12 I really said, "God, use me. I want to be involved in something that's impacting people's lives and I want to be in ministry." And so, yes, He started to lead me from that point on.
Bob: So from there you came to the U.S. and nobody had heard of you over here, right?
Rebecca: No. Well, I was 14, and, at that time, I really wasn't, like, pursuing music. Music has never been this big massive, consuming dream. Like I said, I wanted to serve God, but I didn't know what direction He would lead me. So after the Carmen tour, I recorded an album in Australia, like, just kind of the custom thing; moved to the States with my family; we went through kind of a living-by-faith time at that point, where my dad had lost his job. We had no income, furniture, didn't know where the next meal was going to come from, and saw God do mammoth miracles. You know, groceries dropped on our doorstep, furniture, I mean, checks come in the mail out of the blue. That, for me, was such a foundational time, because I now had something to tell people about, you know, God is so powerful and real, and I've seen Him move in my life.
So I started singing more officially a couple of years after we moved to America, and a guy saw me sing from a record label at my church and signed me up soon after that.
Dennis: You now live in Nashville.
Rebecca: I do.
Dennis: And you're in your mid-20's, shall we say?
Rebecca: I am, yes.
Dennis: And you're single.
Dennis: Now, we have a lot of single listeners who tune into FamilyLife Today, and now, guys, do not send pictures. We can't connect you.
Bob: This is not eHarmony.com.
Dennis: This is not eHarmony.com. You can go there for that. But you have to connect with single women all over the country. What are young ladies, who are in their – well, in their mid-20's thinking about being single today? What are they saying to you?
Rebecca: Well, I think, you know, purity is a big issue for people my age and teens alike, you know. And I think that's why I continue – I've spoken about sexual purity for a long time, and I think that's why I continue to talk about it, because not only is it a teen issue, but it's a young people's issue. Some people are saying that the 30's is the new 20's. So it's kind of, like, a lot of people are marrying later, and so the pressure continues. You know, just because you're an adult doesn't mean that you've got all this wisdom, and you can fight temptation way better. You know, maturity doesn't necessarily always bring ease with fighting temptation. So that's something that I think is a big issue.
Bob: Well, it seems like fewer are fighting temptation these days, doesn't it? I mean, it almost feels like in the church today, the standard of sexual purity – not just for teenagers but for singles in their 20's – has evaporated.
Rebecca: Well, and you look at a lot of statistics and, unfortunately, I've heard a lot of them because this is something that I've written about in my book, and I have spoken about for 10 years – those statistics in the church are, a lot of times, very similar to outside the church, and that's just so sad to me, because I think when we have a true, living, alive, love relationship with Jesus, we want to please Him. We want to live holy lives, lives that He can delight in. And so it's a big passion, and I just see so many of my generation ripped off, you know, believing the lies that they are seeing through TV and movies and so much of music today that you can do whatever you want with whomever at whatever point and just do it. But they're not talking about the consequences.
Dennis: That's exactly right, and I think men and women need older people to step into their lives.
Rebecca: Yes, mentors.
Dennis: And call them to continue to step up. Barbara, you were in a conversation with one of our adult children just exhorting her to guard her heart.
Barbara: Yes, and I think that young people need to be encouraged. I think they need to be reminded of what the standard is and be encouraged to keep it, and that it's worth keeping yourself pure. So I've been encouraging our kids since they were really young.
Bob: And I want to make sure our listeners understand – you've written about this, you've talked about this, you've taken a stand on this, Rebecca. That doesn't mean that you don't deal with temptation.
Rebecca: Right, and I think one of the things that I definitely seek to live out in my life, and I talk about quite a bit, is boundaries. You know, yes, you've got to have that – you know, the relationship with God to want to live the right way, and that's the most important element, but setting place – like boundary-keepers, lines in your life, and keeping to those is so key – having accountability.
Dennis: Such as?
Rebecca: Well, for me …
Dennis: Give us some of yours. There are some young ladies listening right now who could …
Rebecca: Who need the practical …
Dennis: They do. They need someone who is there, and who is …
Rebecca: Well, a big one for me is my shoe-in-the-door boundary. And so if I'm alone with a guy in a room, I either have it propped open or I put shoe, literally, in the door so that, you know, anybody could walk in at any time. So not only does that keep you from going too far or anything, because you're knowing that somebody can walk in, but, to me, I think it's always a good thing to remind yourself of God is watching. How would He feel about what I'm doing? But also how would my future spouse, considering that it might not be the person that I'm with right now, feel about what I'm doing, but also my future kids. It's a generational thing. You know, thinking ahead – it bothers me so much that there is such an expedient mentality of, you know, "Let's just think about now. Let's be in the moment," instead of looking ahead and going, "God, I want to honor You now, because I know that not only is it going to affect my life, but the generations to come, too."
Bob: You travel – most of the time your dad is on the road with you, right?
Rebecca: That's right, yes. My family is an integral part of my ministry. My dad's my manager.
Bob: That makes a little bit of a difference, doesn't it?
Rebecca: It does, and there is built-in accountability right there, which I greatly appreciate, because – and I get asked this a lot, you know, you're in rock-and-roll and, you know, like, what about all the temptations that go along with that and, really, I mean, having my family be an integral part – one brother sings background vocals, one runs lights, one runs the spotlight. You know, they're a part of the team and …
Bob: You just can't get away from it, can you?
Rebecca: But it's wonderful. I embrace it. And I think that's one thing my parents, from a very young age, they were speaking to us kids – I'm the oldest of seven – about the deep issues and about important things because, honestly, if parents aren't doing it, the culture is speaking to kids' lives first, and the culture is often speaking lies. And so my parents said, from an early age, "Hey, you do have a choice to do what you want with your life, but if you do make this decision, here's the consequences, and they're dire." You know, if you get involved in immorality and sex outside of marriage, not only are you going to have the guilt that goes along with that, but there's STDs, there's possibly pregnancy outside of marriage. You know, there are so many aspects that a lot of media is not talking about.
Dennis: And not only is the media speaking lies, it's speaking louder and louder and louder, and one of the things I know you also believe deeply about is how a girl dresses; really advertises what her heart is all about.
Dennis: In fact, you joined with us in a project, along with Dana Gresh and Moody Publishing, and we created a resource for moms and their daughters to be able to go on dates together. Share with our listeners what that's all about.
Rebecca: Well, it's called "Secret Keeper Girl," and we're talking about beauty and modesty and how to biblically look at that and how to live it out, because we live in a such a culturally beauty-obsessed generation, which is all about the appearance and oftentimes at the detriment of the inner beauty. Because when we're focusing so much on what we're about on the outside, the heart is being neglected. And so it's a real passion for me, but modesty – oh, it's so essential, and I think some Christian girls are actually naïve – kind of in the dark – about what they're portraying by what they dress. Some of them know it, you know, they know that if they're showing too much skin they know that they are leading guys astray, but a lot of girls, I think, don't understand the power of how you dress and the impact it has on a brother in the Lord, on guys.
Bob: They don't think like guys.
Bob: And so they think, "Well, it doesn't do anything to me when I see somebody dressed like that."
Bob: But it does something to guys, doesn't it?
Rebecca: It does, and we had a speaker at our church share with girls in our youth group a few years ago, and she said, "We have guys coming to this youth group complaining because they don't know where to look." You know, they're coming to worship God and to draw closer to Him, and they're seeing girls that have such tight clothes and not enough on, and they just don't know where to look. And so it's so distracting. Modesty is so key.
Bob: The "Secret Keeper Girls" project that we've worked on together is designed to give a mom an opportunity to have a series of eight dates with her daughter, and on each of these dates you delve into some of the issues that we've talked about – modesty and beauty and purity – how all of that interrelates. And it's not just talking about it, but there are activities to illustrate for a daughter exactly what you're talking about. There's a shopping trip you go on together, and you look at different fashions, and on your way to the activity and on your way home from the activity, you listen to a CD. On your way to the activity, you're listening to Dana Gresh, who wrote the material for this; and on the way home you get to listen to Rebecca St. James.
Dennis: Yes, and in one of the segments, it's the fifth segment, it's entitled, "Truth of Bare Fashion." You make a comment about how young ladies dress and how it impacts young men. In fact, let's listen to a segment. Again, you'd play this on a date, on your way back from that date with your daughter. Let's listen to Rebecca St. James.
(sound bite from "Truth in Bare Fashion")
Rebecca: I had a very interesting conversation with a couple of guys in my band. They are about my age, they're single guys, very, very committed to God, and they made some really good points the other day about modesty, and they were saying that they prefer it when a girl is mostly covered up. And, actually, they kind of say that it enhances that person's beauty. They don't like it when a girl has just kind of got skin hanging out everywhere, you know? It doesn't – I suppose it doesn't help their minds, but also it's not attractive, like there's a lack of beauty in that, that they were expressing. So I have found that very encouraging to hear my band members say this and express this to me.
(end of sound bite)
Dennis: And, you know, as I listen to that, I think about a mom and a daughter discussing that, and, Barbara, your comment was …
Barbara: … I wish we had had this when our girls were younger, because it was one of the big things that I wanted to teach our girls, and I went over and over and over the importance of dressing modestly. And every time we'd go shopping, we'd look at things in the store, and they'd pick something out, we discussed whether it was modest or not, and that was just a huge issue for me with our kids, and I wish I had had this to be able to be more practical – so it wasn't just Mom saying you need to be modest, but there were a couple of other voices with mine …
Rebecca: … backing you up.
Barbara: Backing me up, yes.
Bob: And when you've got somebody who is kind of hip …
Dennis: … kind of cool …
Bob: … yes, a little better than mom, isn't it?
Barbara: Yes, and it gives Mom a little extra help, and I think Moms need all the help they can get, because sometimes moms are not communicating with their daughters how important modesty is, and there are girls, like you said a minute ago, Rebecca, that really, naively, don't understand what their body is saying when they dress the way the world tells them to, and I think this will really help moms get involved with their daughters and take that responsibility, because I think it's the mom's responsibility to communicate the importance of modesty and the kind of message that she sends by the way she dresses. So I think these girls that don't know need moms to jump in there, and this will help them.
Bob: But I know what a mom thinks when she thinks about, "Gee, I'm going to have a talk with my daughter about modesty." She thinks, "Okay, here comes a painful, eye-rolling session." I'm going to talk to my daughter, she's going to roll her eyes back in her head.
Dennis: Not with this stuff.
Bob: That's the point.
Dennis: That is the point.
Bob: What we tried to do with "Secret Keeper Girls" – the daughter really wants to do the dates with Mom.
Dennis: Here is the thing – not long ago, Bob, you and I had a chance here in the studio to talk with three women about the subject of beauty. By the time that conversation was over, I remember going home and telling Barbara – "We really need, in the church today, a fresh biblical approach to beauty in the Christian community." Why? Because I think the Christian community is mirroring the culture.
Dennis: What "Secret Keeper Girl" does is – well, let me just give you the contents of what's in the book – "Your Beauty in God's Eyes," "Real Physical Beauty," "The Source of Beauty," "The Power of Beauty," "Truth or Bare Fashion" – that was the one that Rebecca just commented on – "The Bod Squad," "Internal Fashion," and date number 8 – "Affirmation of Beauty."
You know, by the time you finish this, I think you will have a very practical, working – shall I say it – theology of beauty.
Bob: This is designed for girls who would be pre-adolescent or right on the beginning of adolescence – probably fifth, sixth grade all the way up through the ninth grade. And these eight different dates for a mom and a daughter to do together, not just to pass on truth, but to connect heart-to-heart.
I want to encourage our listeners – we've got copies of "The Secret Keeper Girl" resource in our FamilyLife Resource Center. There is a guidebook for moms that walks you through each date; lets you know what to talk about, how to execute. There is a diary for the daughter, and the diary is kind of her workbook to go along on each date. There are stickers that she can use to signify that she has been through certain parts of the book, and then there is the audio CD that you use as you go back and forth on the dates.
It's a complete package available for moms and daughters, and we want to encourage our listeners to – not just get the resource but put it to use in your home. Call us at 1-800-FLTODAY to request a copy. That's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY, or go online at FamilyLife.com. You can see a picture of what it is there. Get out the calendar, mark down the dates, and start planning for an evening away with the two of you – you and your daughter – to go on one of these "Secret Keeper Girl" adventures.
Rebecca: And not only is the material so powerful, the subject matter of beauty, modesty, purity – but just the bonding between mother and daughter, in itself, is so powerful. That's something that little girl will never forget for the rest of her life. I know that those times with my mom – she's my mentor, she's my friend, she's my mom, she's awesome, and those times that I have spent with her are precious.
Bob: And a great way for a mom and a daughter to kick this whole thing off would be for the two of them to get away for a Passport to Purity weekend and go through that material. This is actually the the launch point for the whole "Secret Keeper Girl" experience. You don't have to do the Passport to Purity weekend, but it is a great way to get things started and this summer we've heard from a lot of moms and dads who have gone on one of these Passport to Purity weekends, and they've written back to us to say it was a great relationship-building time with my son or with my daughter as we listened together to the Passport to Purity material, and now a mom can follow-up from there with an ongoing series of these "Secret Keeper Girl" dates together with a daughter.
Again, if you'd like more information on any of these resources, go to our website, FamilyLife.com. You'll see a red button in the middle of the screen that says "Go," and if you click that button it will take you right to a page where you can get more information about Passport to Purity, about Secret Keeper Girl, about other resources we have available here at FamilyLife. Again, it's FamilyLife.com, click that red "Go" button or call us at 1-800-358-6329, that's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.
You know, over the last few weeks, we've been hearing from a lot of listeners around the country who have been contacting us to say "We want to help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today, but we also want to challenge other listeners like us to do the same thing. We have a challenge fund that has been set up during the month of August, and folks have been calling in to say we want to contribute to the challenge fund, but we also want to lay down a few challenges of our own.
We heard recently from Steve, who lives in Omaha, and he said, "I'm a landscaping professional, and I want to challenge other landscaping professionals to donate to FamilyLife Today. We heard from a mom in Texas, her name is Jenna, and she's a nurse, and she said, "I want to challenge nurses to support the ministry of FamilyLife Today." And then one listener called in and said, "I want to challenge young people to step up and make a donation to FamilyLife Today." You don't have to be a grownup to do this. You can do this as a teenager or even young than as a teenager.
Well, we appreciate those of you who have called in and issued those challenges, and we also appreciate your financial support. We are in the last few weeks of our fiscal year. We start a new fiscal year September 1st, and, as it turns out, we are headed to the end of the fiscal year about 18 percent under where we hoped to be by this time this year in donations to the ministry of FamilyLife Today, and you can imagine, if your family was going to be 18 percent under in a particular month, that would mean you'd have to make some cuts, and we're looking at where we may have to make cuts to the ministry of FamilyLife Today. But, at the same time, trying to encourage listeners if there's any way you can help us make up the difference and get to where we need to be by the end of this month, we would appreciate a donation.
You can donate online at FamilyLife.com or you can call 1-800-FLTODAY, and you can donate over the phone. In either case, when you donate, you might want to issue a challenge, as well, to other listeners and get them to donate. And we appreciate your financial support of this ministry. It's great to hear from you.
Well, tomorrow Rebecca St. James is going to be back with us, and we're going to talk more about what moms and daughters can do together to build their relationship and to press home this idea of purity into the heart of a young woman. I hope you can be back with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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