Monthly Archives: August 2014

Rules for Middle and High School Guys

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It is hard to believe but school starts this week in the area I serve as a youth pastor. So yesterday, I did things a little different in our youth group. I split up the guys and gals so we could have some straight talk, my wife went with the girls and I went with the guys…of course. Why did I do this? Well, last week, I came across this post on Sandra Stanley’s blog: Allie’s Rules for High School. You can read it here. As I read through the post, I realized these are rules, or guidelines, I believe any girl in any youth group could benefit from them. As a result, I came up with a list of rules/guidelines for guys to share with the guys in our group. As you read through them, you will notice some similarities as I simply adopted them for a male audience. Therefore, I do not take full credit for all of these and want to give Allie Stanley full credit for the rules she came up with and thank you for taking the time to find ways to encourage the girls in your small group, and as a result, challenge girls around the country. Thank you Sandra Stanley for sharing these rules as well.

Now, I do not believe there is anything special in these rules in and of themselves. Could a guy follow all of these rules and still not have a relationship with Jesus? It is possible. But it is my prayer that if only ONE guy from this group catches on, he could change our area for Christ. With that said, here are the rules for middle and high school guys.

  1. Learn to put God first in everything.
  2. Lead – you are a leader in one way or another. Lead in a way that brings the best out of others.
  3. Stand up for those being picked on or mistreated. It will make you a stronger person.
  4. Live in such a way that when you graduate or move away, you will be remembered for who you were, not simply what you did. Being cool or popular will not take you very far in life.
  5. Go to church – even when you do not want to – and get involved.
  6. Spend time with God and learn to study God’s Word.
  7. Pray, pray, pray and pray some more. If you do not know how to pray…learn.
  8. Be careful what you put in front of your eyes. It is extremely difficult to “unsee” something.
  9. It is not okay to “window shop.” In other words, Respect the women in your life…your mom, teachers and the young ladies around you…and guard their hearts. Women are not an object for our pleasure.
  10. Be careful who you date, it will have a lasting impact on you more than you know.
  11. Set standards and stick to them even if your friends think they are silly. It will keep you from regretting something in your future.
  12. Stay vertical – Don’t do anything with a girl you would not want a guy doing with your future wife.
  13. Respect authority…from teachers, to coaches, to parents to anyone over you. You will always have people over you, learning to respect them even if you disagree with them is essential.
  14. Spend time with your family.
  15. Obey your parents, even when you do not want to. They know you better than you think and they care about you.
  16. If you are involved in any situation you would not want your parents or others to know about, get out of the situation immediately.
  17. Find an accountability partner and meet consistently for encouragement and challenge.
  18. Find an older man outside of your dad to regularly meet with to learn from.
  19. Do not let the world tell you how to live your life.
  20. Work hard at what you do. Do not get involved in anything that you will not be able to give 100% to.
  21. Don’t be afraid to say no. Better to be seen as a wimp than wind up dead.
  22. If you mess up with any of these rules, know this: God NEVER turns His back on us and will forgive. And I will be here for you.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you know a youth pastor, or a volunteer who works with youth or leads a small group of guys, feel free to share this with them.

 

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Essentialism

Essentialism

Essentialism is for the busy person looking for a way to take control of their lives. Essentialism, as the front flap says, is not about “getting more done in less time, but getting only the right things done.” Focusing on the right things can be a difficult task, especially for the person stuck wearing many hats. This book is similar to What’s Best Next by Matt Perman, you can read my review for that book here, but without the Gospel woven into everything.

Essentialism is divided into 4 parts: Essence, Explore, Eliminate and Execute. Essence is all about the mindset of someone who wants to focus on the essentials of life and goes through how what we do with our lives is basically our choice. When it comes to our day and how we plan it out, we have the choice with most things we do. For many businessmen or women, there are things that are required but Greg talks about how each person needs to choose what they take part in and what they wind up giving their time to and learn how to say no to things that are not essential. He uses personal stories to help drive this story home. Along with that he speaks of needing discernment and learning how to make trade-offs when it comes to our choices.

The second part goes deeper into the idea of discernment and how if we are to be successful at becoming an essentialist, we need to determine what is essential to our lives. Greg drives this point home with these essential parts of what every “essentialist” should have in their lives: escape, look, play, sleep, and select. Each of these parts is important for a person to keep their wits about them. I specifically enjoyed the section on play. He mentioned a couple companies that strategically placed times of “play” in their employees work day and the benefits that resulted from those times.

Part 3 is about elimination, what can be eliminated from our lives that keep us from focusing on the essentials. This starts with clarify, the moves on to dare, uncommit, edit, and limit. So far, you can see that Essentialism is pretty basic but the author’s intention is to help people make the decisions necessary to become more focused and not allow the things on the peripheral to get more attention from us then they need. This part is probably the hardest for most of us because sometimes we do not want to eliminate anything from our lives, no matter how trivial it may seem or no matter how much we know we need to cut it out. It can be compared to the person who knows they need to diet but loves food so much they do not want to cut anything out. For us to gain control of our lives elimination is a must and this part helps lead someone through deciding and discerning what can be cut out.

The last part is what most everyone struggles with: execution. Even the best laid plans fail if there is no execution. No matter how many books you read on productivity, or how many apps you have on your smartphone to get things done, it does not matter if there is no execution on our part. Imagine a sports team training for a big game. They go through drills over and over again, they watch film of themselves, they watch film of their opponent, and they plan. Coaches will sit down and come up with a plan of attack on how to play their opponents and then they will practice that plan, and keep practicing until they feel they are ready. However, at the end of any big game, if you ask the coach of the losing team what went wrong, many times you will hear something similar to this: “we just didn’t execute our plan.” This is where the rubber meets the road. If you fail to execute what you just spent time reading, then nothing will change in your life and years will pass by and you will wonder what happened.

Overall, this book is a good book for someone wanting to simplify their lives and learn how to become an “essentialist.” I cannot say it is my favorite but the author makes some great points and it helps that he has actually experienced what he is writing about. This is not a bad book though and if you find yourself struggling to catch your breath because of everything pulling at you, pick up this book as it is simple and easy to read but also practical.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review as a part of their Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.