Thursday, January 29, 2004

This letter is from a member of my church. These kind of stories are a reminder of the powerful way God can use the ministry of books. I can't believe I get to be an author. Reading something like this makes me shake my head in amazement at God's kindness...

"Hi Josh,
I wanted to drop a line to encourage you and to give testimony
to God's grace in the life of my extended family through the fruit
of your labors. At the mens meeting this fall, I picked up three
copies of your book, 'Not Even a Hint.' I knew it would be a
blessing to me in my life, but I also wanted to share the book's
message with my two brothers. I purchased the books with the
intent to give them out as Christmas presents.

My youngest brother lives in Florida, and we traveled down to
celebrate his wedding to a wonderful Christian lady over the
Thanksgiving holiday. I left the book with them, gift wrapped
with several other presents, for him and his family to open at
Christmas. A couple of days after Christmas, we called down
to wish everyone a belated merry Christmas and to catch up
on the latest news. My now sister-in-law answered the phone,
and quickly began to thank me for the book.

I thought to myself, 'Book? What book?'

She said that shortly after opening the gift, she began reading it.
She went on to say that it was a very thoughtful gift; she was
enjoying its content (she had already read the first two chapters);
and it was opening her eyes and addressing issues she had not
considered before.

Somewhere in the middle of all this, I gently asked (trying to
save face), 'What book did I give you?' She replied, 'You
know, the one written by Joshua Harris; the one on lust.'

You see I had purchased the book with my brothers in mind,
not considering that the materials might benefit my sisters-in-law
too. When I wrapped the book with the other gifts, I didn't
label anything as specifically going to any one individual. Much
to my delight (and, yes, to my surprise) my sister-in-law had
opened the gift along with my brother and was now being fed
spiritually from its content!

My middle brother and his wife joined us for the road trip down
to Florida for our youngest brother's wedding. On the way
back, we gave them our Christmas gifts (including your book)
for them to take back to Pennsylvania and open as part of their

I spoke with my middle brother on the phone this past Monday
(on MLK Jr. day), and as we were concluding a good phone
conversation and getting ready to say goodbye to one another
he spontaneously added, 'Hey, thanks for getting me that book!'

He then went on at length to tell me that he had read the entire
book, and had given it to one of his colleagues at work who is
now reading it. He said that the book has opened his eyes to
the world around him. He told me that when he and his wife
are watching TV or deciding which movie to watch/rent, they
now stop to evaluate what they are watching. He also said that
now wherever he goes, he is realizing just how much the world
is selling lust. He described an ongoing dialogue with his wife,
'There's lust; that's lust'; & and concluded, lust is everywhere!

Thank you for investing your time, energy, and life into writing
such a candid and relevant book. Thank you for working to
put this message into print. May this note be an encouragement
and a testimony to the potential impact of the written word in
contemporary publishing. Thank you for investing your life in
Covenant Life Church, and praise God for impact on the
broader body of Christ (including my family!). Thank you
for your leadership and personal example."

Be encouraged,

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

In July I had to give a 1-minute pitch to a group of buyers from Wal-Mart on why they should carry my book. Talk about feeling nervous! Wal-Mart practically owns the planet these days. If they decide to carry your book it's a really big deal. Even though what I shared wasn't very impressive, God gave me a favor and they ended up deciding to do a test run. So I think it's in select stores this month.

I got this letter from a girl who found it at her local Wal-Mart...

"So I was at Wal-Mart and I found your book...Not
Even A Hint. And when I saw that it was a book about
lust I begged my mother to buy it with the last few
dollars she had.........I told her about my
situation [with her boyfriend].....and well she thought it was the right
thing to do. God Bless her for getting that BOOK!!!!!
You really said things in the book that people don't
talk about........and think about. In the past few
months the relationship between my boyfriend and I
have DRASTICALLY changed. Our conversation is
different, my TV habits are different.......I even
skipped through commericals like your Pastor did
during the super bowl football game. I realized how
much sex invades our life and.....now I need to change
that. THANK YOU SO MUCH for writing a book that
helped me and my boyfriend's relationship grow closer
to God."—D.S. Baltimore, Maryland

I think it's amazing that God knew about this girl when he led the buyers at Wal-Mart to give it a try. Isn't that incredible?
If you haven't checked out www.discerningreader.com this great website is a quick way to find out about quality books and music.

They recently released their Best Books of 2003 list. They gave "Not Even a Hint" the "second place" finish with an honorable mention which is a huge encouragement. Harold Best's "Unceasing Worship" took the top spot.

I just found out today that "Not Even a Hint" will be published in Korean sometime in March.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

I'm in Orlando, Florida, this week. I'm here with the pastors from my church. We're taking a class on 1 Corinthians that is outstanding. We're learning so much and having a blast together.

We've gotten an amazing response to our "Free Book for Bloggers" offer. We've sent over 50 copies out to bloggers all over the world. I'm not sure how long we can afford to do this, but I'm grateful for all the men and women offering to read and review the book. My publisher agreed to send another 75 copies to us so that we can keep mailing them out for awhile.

The following is a portion of a letter I got today. I love the fact that this girl took immediate and specific action in response to what God revealed to her...

"I also wanted to let you know that your book of "not even a hint" is a very good book.. i realize that i did have a lust problem.. which i threw out all the videos that didn't please the Lord.. there was even a PG video that had the ouji board .. so i threw that out.. and everytime i get my girl magazines.. i throw them out as well.. and some of my cds that i had i threw out too. I think that book was a very helpful tool to everyone.. because i know everyone has some lust problem inside themselves if they want to admit it.. That was a start to see that i had a problem with my lust.. now if i watch a movie with kissing in it.. it gets me bent out of shape.. because i might stumble just watching that.. So it makes me aware of what i should and should not watch.. SO i wanted to say thank you for writing your books that you have so far wrote.. they are very useful and a good guidance for a single person myself."—R.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

This letter is a wonderful reminder of the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He has died for our sins so that we can be forgiven, cleansed and freed to obey Him. I so appreciate this young woman's honesty and faith...

"I'm a 19-yr-old young woman, and I recently read "Not Even a Hint", and I was truly touched by God in the moments I spent reading, praying and studying God's word. I also read many of the other stories on the website page and I just thought to myself, "hey, I need to share my story".

As a young child, I was sexually abused by my step father, and even though I "told on" him, my mother wasn't in a position to leave him. Obviously, that has been something for me to deal with: being angry at my mom for not protecting me. However, they remain married to this day. The sexual abuse stopped, and that's only by divine intervention. But, there was still constant emotional and mental abuse. I grew up feeling less than worthless, and I was constantly being criticized. My step father still criticizes me and tries to make me feel worthless sometimes, but God has been and I believe still is working on him.

The point of this part of the story is because it set the scene for so many broken hearts. When a little girl doesn't have a daddy who tells her she's a precious pearl of great price, it never occurs to you that you are worth more than nothing. I spent all of high school trying to find a guy who would love me enough to make up for the love my dad didn't give me. Needless to say, I also did everything I could to keep those guys in my life. Fortunately, God has protected my virginity, even though I have come dangerously close to losing it. Since sexual things were introduced into my life at a very early age, I have always struggled with lust. I realize that I could blame oher people for this, but no matter the cause, sin is sin. After reading "Not Even A Hint" i see that Christ set me free from all of those things: Anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, and lust.

Above all, I see that God is my father, because he IS the father to the fatherless. God has been carrying me since last August when I dealt with every aspect of my abuse and twisted view of men and what men see me as. The truth does indeed set you free. Jesus allowed us a forgiveness that we would never be able to earn, or even imagine. I am thankful that because He has forgiven me, I can forgive those who have used me, and mistreated me. God's love abounds and covers all."—Name Withheld

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I just found another good place to buy books. It's the webstore for John MacArthur's church: www.gbibooks.com. They're featuring "Not Even a Hint." It turns out the pastor of the young adults liked it so much he bought 800 copies so he could give them to every single man and woman in the church. This is all more encouraging when he told me that he didn't really like my first two books! Here's the review he wrote for the website:

"The sin of sexual lust is mostly a private battle in the lives of men and women in the Church. And finding help in this battle is not easy. But finally, a book has been written that should find itself in the hands of all who wrestle with lustful thoughts—men and women, youths and adults. Joshua Harris's Not Even a Hint is the most biblical and appropriate treatment of this subject I have read. Harris's strategy is correct—the only hope for dealing with lust is rightly understanding and applying the truths of the gospel in our battle. Because victory in this struggle is so important, I even gave a copy away to each person in my college ministry. This is one of the rare "must reads" of the year!"—Rick Holland. Pastor, College & Youth Ministries, Grace Community Church

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

God is at work in hearts...Awesome! Check this letter out...

"Hi, My name is J. I am 19 and a sophomore in college in Texas. I recently purchased and read your newest book, "Not Even A Hint". I bought it Saturday night and finished it about five minutes before writing this email. I am already making plans to read it again. I'm sure you hear so many stories from so many people it's overwhelming, but God has blessed me and I wanted to let you know. I remember when your first book "I kissed dating goodbye" came out. I laughed at the thought. I thought it wasn't for me since I wasn't dating everyone in sight every weekend. When I saw "Not Even a Hint" at the bookstore I stopped dead in my tracks. Lust has been something I have seriously dealt with since I started high school. I also remember the first time I admitted it. I had been struggling for 3 years, alone. I must say that God has used your book to change my life in less than 48 hours. It made me so aware of the little sins of lust. It made me see that I CAN choose to ignore the temptations with God's strength.

I have always been one of those girls that has a steady boyfriend and is a normal amount of popular. I had two serious boyfriends in high school and this past summer was nearly engaged to a guy I met in college. I was so concerned with getting my life in order that getting married right after college was a priority and this guy was fine with that plan. Fortunately I realized he was not the man God had chosen for me about a month before we were going to get a promise ring. Since that near mistake, I have sworn off dating. At first it was because I was appalled at my ability to be so misguided. Now, it's a choice I am proud to have made. At the time, I was really seeking God's will and managed to get caught up in the fairy tale romance that unfolded. It was so wonderful I felt like only God could've arranged it. When I saw the truth, I was left feeling very cynical.

Since then, I have been fine with not dating, but I have struggled with lust more and more because there was no love life for me in the foreseeable future. This little less-than-200-page book irrevocably changed me. Or, I should say that God spoke through it to change me. Your words have touched my heart, to the very center of who God has made me to be. It truly is a freeing experience to shake off the chains of lust and embrace the freedom of the truth of sex and sexuality that is created by God. My friends and I joke that some of us are blessed with a "healthy sex drive" and we have spent minimal amounts of prayer time on it. Seems to me that this book will bring to all of our attentions the purity of heart and manner God's looking for.

I have struggled with guilt from a past relationship that left me feeling used and broken. This book has helped me to see God HAS mended the pieces and He allows me the freedom, no the joy, of choosing to be pure in all senses of the word, in every aspect of my life. I thank God that someone found the way to write this poignant book about the lies of lust and the truth of the desires God created us to have. Thank you so much for allowing God to use you like this." — J.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

An old friend of Shannon's wrote her and mentioned that she had seen my new book at a Barnes & Noble bookstore. She picked it up, realized that it was about battling lust and "turned bright red" in embarrassment. A lady from my church wrote me and confessed that she enjoyed the book but found it difficult to give to others out of fear of what they'd think of her. She also told me about a friend she knew who was reading it but had it wrapped in brown paper so people wouldn't see what she was reading.

All these stories amused me. But they saddened me a little, too. I've gotten used to being very honest about this subject but I sometimes forget that others aren't so comfortable. Hearing these stories made me see that the reach of this book will be limited because of peoples fear. I guess I forgot that some people, even people who really need it, are too afraid to be seen reading it. That's too bad.

The publisher was always afraid "Not Even a Hint" would be a "brown paper bag" book that people wouldn't want to take to the counter and buy. I'm happy to say I don't think that has been the case. Gratefully there are many men and women (I guess about 65,000 so far) who are confident enough and real enough to be willing to buy a book on overcoming lust. And even risk being seen reading it.

Monday, January 05, 2004

This letter was encouraging and it made me laugh...

"Yesterday I sat on my couch sobbing because I realized the utter filth in my heart as a result of lust.  To everyone around, I look as though I'm the "perfect" Christian and am frequently given the name "Jesus Freak."  However, man doesn't see the heart.  I ended up taking a two hour drive to be alone with God and pray.  Last night I went to Barnes and Noble with a gift certificate.  The friend who was with me only knew God had been teaching me a lot yesterday and I asked her to look with me for a book that would be challenging.  She picked up your book, read me the title and description and I immediately said "Give me that now!" 

I have read your other two books and although I agreed with them, they did not change my life as Not Even a Hint has already.  I read the whole book today and have shared with a couple of people that I feel on my favorite book list it is second only to the Bible.  I underlined so much today and plan to go back and type up what I underlined to use as a constant reminder of God's plan for me.  I also plan to begin memorizing the scriptures listed in the book. 

Thank you for allowing God to work through you and Shannon and sharing your "secrets" to show others the endless possibilities in spiritual growth.

I must admit I laughed pretty hard when I got to page 81 and read.. "Women have sex drives too!" a woman named Katie wrote me.  "Believe me, as a twenty-two-year-old virgin, I know."  You see, my name is Katie and I am a 22 year old virgin (also I was born in 81).  If that's not a sign a book was made for you, I don't know what could be.  I believe God lead me to your book last night and I just wanted you to know the impact is has and will continue to make on my life." - Katie

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