Archive for the ‘Advice for the Young’ Category

Good works or good looks?

Posted: July 28, 2015 by abestratton in Advice for the Young, Articles, Parents

Walt Mueller presents some very helpful perspective on our culture in this post, “What you see is what I am...”

As a guy who is inundated with the culture’s message of “body-is-everything” just like everyone else, I understand the pressure that we and the next generation are facing. So we must keep preaching the Good News of Jesus to ourselves and to the teens who are coming after us. “God is concerned with our hearts. That’s the message we should tell the one we see in the mirror and the message we should pass on to our kids” (Mueller).

“Class of 2015. . . it’s not going to work out the way that you are hoping, planning for, dreaming, or imagining. How do I know that? The same way that every single adult my age who was once sitting where you’re sitting today knows it.

You are sitting there today with a script that you believe is going to play out for your life. You’ve written that script. I had a script way back in 1978. It was a good one. It was good because it was smooth, full of pleasure, and void of pain. But in the years since then, God has given me a different script. It’s a script filled with a lot more difficulty, disaster, surprises, and suffering than I ever could have imagined being able to weather. But you know what, I wouldn’t trade this script for anything. Seriously. It’s far better than the script I had dreamed up for myself. The reason? God’s gift to me of His script for me has slowly forced myself out of myself and into Him. Whether I’ve known it or not, that’s where all my yearnings have pointed. . . and in His grace and time, He’s taking me there.

So, the best advice I can give you today is this. . . immerse yourself in a quest to faithfully follow the incarnate Word (Jesus) into every nook, cranny, and second of your life. And, immerse yourself in a never-ending quest to faithfully know and love the written Word where God has revealed His will, way and story (the Bible). And as you engage endlessly and passionately with both, continually pray these three prayers:

1. Lord, show me you.

2. Lord, show me me.

3. Lord, show me your plan for me.

Now, sit back and enjoy the unfolding of His script!”

Walt Mueller

Walt Mueller’s thought-provoking comments on our technology are worth a read. I’ve included an excerpt below, but you can read his entire article here.

Death by iPhone… Sort of…

OK. . . that was a dirty little trick, wasn’t it? But now that I have your attention, let’s talk about technology and what it does to us.

death by iphoneBetter yet, let’s ponder Gillian Share-Raab’s out-of-the-box thoughts on what her smartphone has done not only to her life, but to the lives of her peers. Gillian, a student at a suburban Philly high school, wrote aninteresting op-ed piece for her local paper, entitled “Why my iPhone is ruining my adolescence.” Gillian’s thoughts are out-of-the-box for the simple reason that she is thinking about what her technology is doing to her life. Most people her age. . . or anyone of any age for that matter. . . aren’t thinking about these things. I’m guessing she has no idea who Marshall McLuhanwas or what he’s famous for saying, but her thoughts put meat on the bones of McLuhan’s conviction that “first we shape our tools. . . and then our tools shape us.”

Gillian writes, “In between being awake and sleeping, I need to be on my phone checking endless social media accounts in order to keep up with every friend and acquaintance whose lives somehow ended up in my daily scrolling. . . if I were to print and lay out every inch of Instagram and Facebook I have examined, I’ll bet it would circle the planet three times. . . The smartphone exists to provide a barrier between people in order to make both parties feel more secure and comfortable, allowing each person to remain in his or her security bubble forever. . . In a time when I’m supposed to be meeting new people, having new experiences and breaking out of my shell, I feel more and more as though phones act as a virtual wall. Now, my conversations consist of dehumanized, emotionless messages used for necessity that are conducted without essential facial expressions or body language (i.e., texting). . . I often think of how different the high school experience must have been for my parents’ generation, or even just 15 years ago, when two people seated next to each other with common interests and mutual friends were able to have a civil conversation without looking down at their phones in order to avoid eye contact. . . In my experience, the only way to truly be connected with the thoughts and feelings of others is by disconnecting everything else.”

Walt Mueller, a writer, speaker, and expert on culture, writes about how easy it is for the generations to be divided by preference, pride, and stereotypes. But God’s plan is for us all to live together, learn from one another, and grow along with each other.

“It’s in the full width, depth, and breadth of the body of Christ that we find that sweet, sweet balance of idealism, realism, optimism, and wisdom. That’s why we are committed to continuing to bring the generations together to listen and to learn. . . one from another!”

Read the rest of his brief article here.

Code Words Can Help

Posted: March 25, 2015 by abestratton in Advice for the Young, Parents

“It’s hard being a teen–and it’s hard having one. Teens need independence, that’s normal and good (and how they learn to be adults), but they also need their parents. The challenge comes in figuring out the balance–for both of you.”

Here’s an interesting idea for a way that parents and teens can help each other through the messiness and craziness that is often “teen life.”

True Manhood

Posted: July 2, 2014 by abestratton in Advice for the Young, Books, Resources

“Determined men refuse the nostalgia of the past or the speculation of the future. Instead, they embrace the present because they know that every choice right now determines how the future will look. [You are becoming today what you will be tomorrow.] They don’t shrink from reality but courageously confront it.”

Darrin Patrick in The Dude’s Guide to Manhood

I would definitely recommend this book to young men. Yes, pick up a book, and read it!

Great words by Randy Alcorn and Brandon Andersen.

Parents, teens, young adults, read it; consider it; practice it!

 

Brandon Andersen with The Resurgence has written great advice to men on relationships. Here’s a summary of his article with some of his quotes, and then my own thoughts added in.

Be intentional

The intentional man repeatedly and constantly goes first and takes on all of the risk of rejection. He always lets the girl know where he stands so she feels secure and isn’t left guessing. (On the other hand, don’t weird her out by talking about marriage on the first date.)

I agree. Male leadership wasn’t the result of the Fall, but of creation (as Genesis implies and Paul makes clear in 1 Timothy 2). Loving servanthood should be a man’s goal.

Clean your act up today, not “when”

The lie is that once you find the right girl, all your problems will go away—you just need the right motivation, right? Wrong! If Jesus isn’t motivation enough to grow in maturity and pursue godliness, then you are not ready to pursue a woman.

This is great advice. Joshua 1:8 says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.” Every man needs to realize that he will only be worth following if he follows God.

God wants to use the next years of your life to send your roots deeper into His Word, deeper into a walk with Christ. He wants you to draw from the reservoir of a solid Christian life, with strong personal accountability to godly men, and from that reservoir to stand strong for Jesus. Satan, on the other hand, wants to mess you up with pride, sexual impurity and every other thing he can do to discredit your testimony for Christ and derail you from serving Him, and from one day having a godly marriage.

Plan ahead

Don’t spend time with your girlfriend without a plan. Decide ahead of time the prudent time to say goodnight and where you should go.

Gaps always get filled, often with temptations to sexual impurity. Know what you’re doing and either stick with the plan or go somewhere safe, where you’re in the sight of others (particularly others who respect the need for purity). You can still have a private conversation even in a room full of people. But their presence will encourage you to focus on the conversation rather than on temptation to impurity.

Guard her heart

A mature man knows that the person that can do the most damage to a woman’s heart is him, and he takes that very seriously.

Philippians 2:3-7 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who…made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.”

Be very careful about physical touch

The Bible only outlines two categories for Christian women in relation to Christian men: either she is a sister in Christ or she is your wife. There isn’t a middle ground.

I would also encourage you to read through an article I’ve written that contains Guidelines for Sexual Purity. It’s material that I’ve presented to many young people and their parents over several years. When my now married daughters were teenagers, I honed it further for sharing and discussion with them and the young men who asked to date them.

Men and women symbols / Advice to Christian guysOne of the things I say in that article is that it’s essential to realize that your date is your sister in Christ—NOT your “lover.” “Treat older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity” (1 Timothy 5:2). Don’t go into dating with the goal of romance, but the goal of spending time with your sister. When you begin a relationship, a rule of thumb is, don’t do anything physically you wouldn’t do with your sister by birth.

If a Christ-centered and positive relationship develops, then you might move to cautious displays of affection such as hand-holding. But be alert to the difference between appropriate affection and intimacy. You must stay safely back from the line where either one is propelled toward sexual intimacy. It’s very hard to move back once you’ve crossed a line—so don’t cross it in the first place.

This person may end up being a lifelong friend, or married to your best friend. Don’t do anything with her that would cause you to be embarrassed or self-conscious if you end up being best man at her wedding.

It’s important that throughout your relationship, you stay close to godly people who can give you advice based on God’s Word and who love you enough to tell you the truth…even when it hurts. One of the things I say in several of my books is that what is right is always smart, and what is wrong is always stupid. That which is for God’s glory is also always for our good.

Finally, let me recommend a great book by a man I respect, Voddie Baucham Jr. It’s called What He Must Be: …If He Wants to Marry My Daughter. Whether or not God calls you and this woman together for the long haul, Voddie offers excellent counsel for you as you prepare for the future God has for you.

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