Category Archives: Books

book review: guy’s guide to god, girls, and the phone in your pocket

I’d like to introduce you to a new favorite book for teenage guys: The Guy’s Guide to God, Girls, and the Phone in Your Pocket, by youth ministry author, speaker, and leader Jonathan McKee.

McKee writes to teenage guys in a creative and captivating way. He covers a wide range of topics, from proper use of cologne to nudity and sex. Each “chapter” is titled with the bottom line advice and is followed by stories, personal insights, scripture, questions, and final thoughts.

Guys Guide

Some of my favorite pieces of advice for teenage guys that McKee includes:

  • “God wants you to enjoy a naked woman… one naked woman.”
  • “Learn a skill that would help you survive a zombie apocalypse.” (A clever reference to McKee’s zombie apocalypse devo for teens.)
  • “Don’t text and drive until you’ve learned how to juggle straight razors nude.”

One of my favorite aspects of the book is the opportunity for reflection included with each piece of advice in the form of questions. It would be a great book to explore with a guys small group or even as a father and son study. It could get awkward, but it can lead to very important conversations.

It’s a great read for any teenage guy, but I would say that it would be best for guys ages 14 to 16. At the same time, anyone who reads these pages are bound to learn something useful. I found the advice about sleep and smartphones profound. I know the consequences of looking at your phone right before dozing off to sleep, yet I keep doing it. I also know that if I want to live a healthy life and be an example to the students in my ministry, I need to follow McKee’s advice:

“Turn off your phone at night. The consequences of leaving it on are pretty straightforward, and let’s be real: you aren’t going to miss much if it’s off. Do yourself a favor and power down when you brush your teeth” (McKee, page 20).

God is More Than Enough (book review)

In the book God is More than Enough, Tony Evans takes the readers on a stroll through Psalm 23, looking at the implications of this classic text on our lives today.  Evans claims that this psalm is an attack on a life that believes God is not enough for everything that comes their way, including our emotional, physical, directional, spiritual, and eternal needs.  Based on biblical truths, Evans’ book is a great reminder of our Father’s presence and provision in our lives.  With some reservations, I do recommend this book as it takes you through the classic psalm, illuminating God as our shepherd, who “is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice—he puts it all on the line for the sheep” (Evans, 20).

I do worry that Evans presents God as a… I am going to make sure you’re happy and you get everything you want kind of God.  While I agree that God provides for all our needs, God is not simply an “insurance plan” for present and eternal security.  God does not promise happiness just because we follow him, as evidenced throughout biblical and church histories.  But we do know that God is faithful and will be present with us, providing for our needs as we seek Him first and foremost in our lives.

While an “insurance plan,” as Evans describes God, is an unfortunate and misused metaphor for God’s provision, we do worship a loving, caring, Provider.  If read with an attitude of making sure God doesn’t get boiled down to an “insurance plan,” this book is a good reminder of God as our Shepherd, and, as Evans points out, when God is our Shepherd, we will not be in want.  Feel free to read the first chapter for yourself on Scribd!  Find it here.

I received this book for free through the WaterBrook Multnomah Blogging for Books program.  The views in this post are my own. This post is in compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s commercial practices.

Book Review: The X and Y of Buy, by Elizabeth Pace

In Elizabeth Pace’s book, The X and Y of Buy, she explores the similarities and differences between men and women when it comes to shopping and buying.  By looking at the historical, physiological, emotional, and social differences between men and women, Pace explains how marketing to men and women differ.  She then gives valuable information about how to market to each gender.

From understanding what a head nod communicates to women in conversation to knowing when it is appropriate to help a man find things while shopping, this book is perfect for mom-and-pop shop owners and department store executives.  It provides essential insight for how men and women differ in their shopping needs and experiences.  Pace presents her ideas in a well organized, easy to read manner that keeps you reading every chapter.  While I am not in the selling business, the information is still practical for a ministry position, as men and women ministries market to their specific gender.  Overall, I recommended this book to anyone who is looking for a layman’s guide to marketing and sales or even understanding your significant other.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 

Family-Based

In his book Family-Based Youth Ministry, Mark DeVries presents the current crisis in American churches: the way youth ministry is being done is not an effective way to lead students to mature Christian adulthood.  This is due to, as DeVries explained, “the ways our culture and our churches have systematically isolated young people from the very relationships that are most likely to lead them to maturity” (36).  Churches need to move away from a youth ministry that reinforces the isolation of adolescents and move toward a family-based youth ministry that connects students with both their nuclear and extended Christian family units.

The impact of the family on the faith development of a child is outstanding.  Recent research shows that parents who simply talk about faith in the home and serve with their children will double, and sometimes triple, their children’s chances of becoming a mature Christian.  This is something that cannot go overlooked, as Devries states, “doing youth ministry without parents is like driving a car without the engine” (67-68).

With the traditional family in a state of crisis due to divorces, chemical dependencies, financial crises, abusers, etc., it is more important than ever to provide each adolescent with opportunities to be impacted by the extended Christian family: “the community of believers who affirm and encourage growth toward Christian maturity” (87).  While the impact of this family is great, the chances that these connections will happen naturally are slim.  As adolescents are cut off from this family of support, they enter more relationships with the less-healthy, peer-centered youth culture.

In order to move students toward being a mature Christian, youth pastors have to include the family.  This foundational model of ministry begins by empowering parents to be the primary nurturers of their children’s faith.  The church then needs to equip the extended Christian family of the church to come alongside students to cheer them on, be people of continuity, and support their students through the adolescent years.

Instead of spending time rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, youth ministers need to walk toward a movement of family-based youth ministry in the church, which “accesses the incomparable power of the nuclear family and connects students to an extended family of Christian adults to the end that those students grow toward maturity in Christ” (176) through uniquely family-based events and including the extended Christian family into the already developed youth programs.

 

Source: DeVries, Mark.  Family-Based Youth Ministry.  Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2004.