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Pressure Points: A Guide to Navigating Student Stress

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This humorous, poignant, and conversational guide invites young men and women to practically apply gospel solutions to all of life’s pressures, big or small. From navigating failure, roadblocks, and spiritual warfare to tackling relevant, hard-hitting topics such as drinking, sex, dating, pornography, and the fear of missing out, Pressure Points by Shelby Abbott encourages college students to consider Jesus in the midst of everyday struggles.

With twenty years of experience in college ministry, Shelby Abbott is keenly aware of the pressures young men and women face. Used for biblical reflection, group discussion, devotional reading, or large group Bible study discussion, Pressure Points is full of rich gospel hope for all readers. This flexible resource points to Scripture and Abbott’s funny, easily digestible reflections to help modern-day college students maneuver their early years toward the gospel, challenging young adults to see their struggles through a biblical lens.

By addressing relevant challenges and practical hardships with gospel advice, Pressure Points guides readers to see and lean on the person of Jesus, reflecting on important issues in light of the gospel. From waiting on the Lord with patience, learning to fellowship with him in his sufferings, to wrestling with purpose, relationships, and the growing challenges of today’s culture, Pressure Points is a timely and refreshing voice for young people pointing to a bottomless pit of grace.


Shelby Abbott is an author, campus minister, and conference speaker on staff with the ministry of Cru. His passion for university students has led him to speak at college campuses all over the United States and author the books Jacked and I Am a Tool (To Help with Your Dating Life). He and his wife, Rachael, have two daughters and live in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.


“Shelby Abbott has a sharp mind and an even sharper wit, and he brings both to bear on some of the key issues facing so many in our churches today. He writes with the wisdom of a mentor but the tone of an older brother who’s on your side. This is a terrific resource with so much biblical and practical guidance.”
Sam Allberry, Speaker, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries; author of Seven Myths about Singleness

“Being a student is stressful. We’re at an age and time where pressure feels perpetual and overwhelming. So we need help. We need resources from those who’ve been there and done that and can give us seasoned, brilliant advice. Enter Shelby Abbott. Shelby’s not only been there and done that—he works full-time with students who are still doing it. He’s funny, biblical, faithful, and wise. Pressure Points is a book every college student needs to read.”
Jaquelle Crowe, Author of This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years

Pressure Points serves as a timely book full of wisdom to transform life’s greatest pressures into opportunities for spiritual transformation. Shelby Abbott offers a beautifully written, vulnerable, and biblically sound book to guide us on our journey through the stress of finding purpose, managing relationships, and understanding suffering. With excellent discussion questions and relatable examples to explore, you’ll love reading this book alone or with a group. Don’t miss this book!”
Heather Holleman, Faculty Commons, Cru; author of Chosen for Christ: Stepping into the Life You’ve Been Missing and Seated with Christ: Living Freely in a Culture of Comparison 

“Shelby’s put together an excellent work. I know he says it’s for college students, but I can’t imagine anyone in any stage of life not feeling every one of these pressure points. He helps us see that so many things that cause us stress in life don’t have to be distractions that take us away from Jesus, but they can be divine signposts—each one highlighting a unique thirst for satisfaction in Christ. A must-read for all students who will find themselves inevitably struggling through these issues.”
John Onwuchekwa, Lead Pastor, Cornerstone Church, Atlanta, GA; council member, The Gospel Coalition

“The pressure of decisions, relationships, and failures can be overwhelming, yet God’s Word supplies grace to calm our anxious hearts. Pressure Points applies God’s truth to these stressful areas in a way that strengthens our faith in the God who promises to care for us every step of the way." 
Garrett Kell, Lead Pastor, Del Ray Baptist Church, Alexandria, VA

“With children in grade school, high school, and college, my family is just now learning to navigate the stresses and strains of student life. My children are grappling with the unique challenges it brings and we, as their parents, are learning to lead them through it. Pressure Points is just the guide we needed to do this well.”
Tim Challies, Blogger at

“When it comes to student ministry, there are few people I trust more than Shelby Abbott. I’ve watched him up close and far away. He understands the challenges, the struggles, and the angst that so often haunt the college years. In Pressure Points: A Guide to Navigating Student Stress, Shelby deftly blends biblical insight and experiential wisdom to help young people navigate life-shaping questions. Buy two copies of this book—one for that twentysomething in your life, and one for yourself. You won’t regret it.”
Matt Smethurst, Managing Editor of The Gospel Coalition; author of Before You Open Your Bible: Nine Heart Postures for Approaching God’s Word

“Life grows increasingly complex, and adulting brings challenges we underestimate and don’t expect. Shelby Abbott invites you to process tensions under the surface in your life while helping you practically navigate pathways to finding belonging, worth, meaningful relationships, and purpose.” 
David Robbins, President & CEO, Family Life

“Shelby nails it with Pressure Points. This book is a must-read for any Christian university student who walks passionately with Christ yet is honest enough to admit they struggle with the unique pressures that can trouble a young person at such a formative period of time as college.”
Josh D. McDowell, Author and speaker

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0.50 LBS
5.50 (in)
8.50 (in)
0.40 (in)
Shelby Abbott
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15-18 Years
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REL012120 RELIGION / Christian Living / Spiritual Growth
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17 Reviews

  • 4

    A Stress Reliever for Students

    Published by Theron St. John on 08 26 2019

    It has been said that we live in an age of anxiety. This would help explain the fad of stress balls. At my previous workplace, each employee received their own. The purpose of the stress ball is as you begin to feel stress or anxiety come upon you, grab this object and repeat the process of squeezing and releasing it with your hand until you feel less tense than when you started. While, for some, the stress ball seemed to work, others still faced the anxiety they were experiencing before. The fact is whether this particular object works or not everyone deals with stress. This is especially true for high school and college students. As they prepare and face new seasons and experiences in life, the squeeze and release of a rubber ball will not do the trick. Students need more than a fad in navigating stress, and that is exactly what campus minister Shelby Abbott puts forth in Pressure Points: A Guide to Navigating Student Stress. Understanding Student Stress As a college campus minister who has served with the ministry of Cru for many years, Shelby Abbott is well acquainted with challenges and stresses college students face. He has been there for young people as they walk into a new season of life. As a natural fit to write a book on this topic, Mr. Abbott approaches student stress by observing the pressure to find purpose, the pressure of relationships, and the pressure because of difficulty. Under these three headings are additional counsel on more specific details such as relationships both in romantic interest and in parental authority. Since not every student faces the same set of stresses, the book reminds the reader stress comes in all shapes and sizes (Abbott 2). Transparent and Truthful Counsel Shelby Abbott does not shy away from the complexities of anxiety either. The constant refrain that makes for the characteristic of the book is it is both honest in the struggles and hopeful in the solutions. Abbott is transparent as he opens up to readers about where he has faced stress and dealt with anxiety. The solution goes beyond fads and leads the students to see it lies in faith. This faith is founded upon Jesus Christ and is based on God's Word. The opening pages lay out the presentation of the gospel (Abbott 4-5). The book hits on relevant themes in the life of a student with rich with counsel from God's Word. From calling and God's will to relationships of romantic interest and with parents, this book covers many areas where stress levels of students may flare up. In place of fear, Shelby Abbott offers more than the latest fad; he points to faith in the provision and wisdom of God. He encourages students to not only hear this truthful counsel but to heed it as well with reflection questions at the end of each chapter for application. A Sturdier Biblical Foundation In a culture of shaky foundations, Pressure Points is a solid work on navigating student stress with biblical counsel. That said, this solid work could have been made even sturdier with more references to Scripture in some of its counsel. One particular example comes from the section on romantic relationships. In its discussion on sex and its context for marriage, counsel is offered but in the guidance given Hebrews 13:4 is nowhere to be found. This is worth noting since Hebrews 13:4 counsels, "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled". In a chapter on this matter, it would seem most appropriate to include such a verse. (As a side note, there is a great appreciation for the author's intentionality to speak on sexual shame while writing on purity since readers may be survivors of sexual abuse and struggle with that.) Regardless, this small critique does not reveal any cracks in an overall solid work. A Stress Reliever for Students If Abbott's guide on navigating student stress is described as a solid work, then the effectiveness of the stress ball can be relayed to its squishiness. While it may work for some, it is not a firm foundation in handling stress. Rather than squeezing and releasing to relieve stress, one needs to take their cares and cast them on the One who can handle them and who cares for them. That is what Shelby Abbott's book reminds us to do. If you a student facing anxiety and stressing out over matters of life, relationships, and hardships, then find rest in reading Pressure Points by Shelby Abbott. You will find relief as Abbott shows you where you can find your rest. I received this book from New Growth Press in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

  • 5

    An excellent guide to handling stress and finding yourself.

    Published by Laura on 06 17 2019

    Going to college in the fall? Know someone who is? PRESSURE POINTS is the book for stressed out students (that might work for everyone.) It would be excellent for small group studies or college and career Sunday school classes. It would work for one student alone, too, but it's friendlier with two. The topics are mentioned in the description so I won't repeat them, but they are addressed in a friendly, conversational voice and include discussion questions with room to write.

  • 5

    Engaging, to the point, and encouraging

    Published by Jan on 06 17 2019

    Pressure Points: It’s About Choices When I think of pressure points, I usually think of something you do to relieve pain, a.k.a. acupressure. According to Shelby Abbott however, “pressure points” are those situations that college-age kids specifically, but most any person from 13-30 might have to deal with. You know, the questions about: “What am I really here for? What am I supposed to do with my life? Does knowing Jesus really make a difference in me?” The pressure points are those inevitable choices we have to make – the really tough ones that all people face as they are negotiating the world as young adults – and especially, as Christian young adults. Two of the subjects near and dear to my blogging heart are electronics and social media, and their influence on the lives of our kids. Talk about a pressure point! As a teacher, mom, and grandma, I have seen it take active, lively kids and turn them into couch-potato zombies (I couldn’t decided which, so I put them together). I have actually seen a student decide to drop out of school so he could play games on his electronics all day. (I am serious, I was his advocate and teacher). I’ve seen kids have screaming fits because parents made them stop playing on their electronics. I’ve seen teens take hours to find things to post on FB, Instagram, etc., in order to get as many likes as possible. I’ve heard (but not witnessed) of kids and even adults breaking up with each other via text or email instead of in person. Electronics in general, and smartphones in particular have turned our world upside down. Well, in his book Pressure Points, Shelby Abbott spends considerable time addressing our current culture and the effect electronics, and social media in particular, have in it. He also addresses the “constant cynicism” and “heavy negativity” that surround today’s college age adults. I loved Mr. Abbott’s book, Pressure Points. Especially from a high school teacher’s point of view, I could see this book used for high school age Christians, with just a few modifications. Pressure Points is written in three sections: Purpose, Relationships, and Difficulty. It is written for and directed toward young adults who are already Christians and struggling to come to terms with their culture, and their relationship to Jesus Christ. Mr. Abbott spends a lot of time discussing social media. He doesn’t dislike it, but focuses on how social media has influenced self-esteem and the importance many, many young adults attach to being “Liked”. They look to social media for acceptance and validation, and even answers to questions such as “What should I do with my life?” He shares the negatives of dependence on social media, including depression and anxiety. He addresses one of the biggest areas college-age adults must go through, that of relationships. With friends – but mostly – romantic relationships and how social media has changed them. Most importantly, he shares the alternative found in going to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who has all the answers. In Pressure Points, Abbott works to reground young adults in their faith. Using scripture, he teaches Christian college-age young people what they may have heard before, but need to hear again: That it is God who is in control and He knows more than we do. If we love and trust Him, He will guide us a lot better and more lovingly than a “friend” who has “liked” us on Facebook. At the end of every chapter, he asks questions of the reader, who has the opportunity to apply what they have read to their own life, and answer the questions according to their own experiences. This book can be read without answering the questions at the end of each chapter, but it would probably have more of an impact if Pressure Points were read as a Bible study, with a small group of college-age people. Shelby Abbott, Author of Pressure Points I easily gave this book, Pressure Points, five stars, because I think it is engaging, to the point, and encourages young adults to look at their own life, not just read about what other people are doing.

  • 5

    5 out of 5 stars

    Published by Tanja Lunney on 06 17 2019

    As a fresh graduate, entering what one call’s “the real world”, how are we supposed to live with all these new found freedoms from a Christian perspective? In Shelby Abbott’s Pressure Points: A Guide to Navigating Student Stress he addresses what life throws at you as you enter into the transition to adulthood. Throughout Abbott’s book he touches on a wide variety of “pressure points” that can be a huge factor for stress and anxiety and supplements these points with biblical wisdom he has given and used himself through the years of being a college student and engaging with college students on a daily basis. I love that Abbott’s book is focused on the culture we live in at hand. Rather than shaming the millennial generation, he builds them up as leaders of the next generation. In Pressure Points Abbott talks about purity, technology and people pleasing, and purpose. He covers a huge variety of topics seamlessly. Pressure Points is a great tool not only for high school graduates, college students, but anyone who is known as the “millennial generation”. Shelby Abbott has written a wonderful guide that is extremely quotable and easily applicable. While Pressure Points did take me a while to read in comparison to other novels I have been able to read, it was due to the heaviness of the text. When you pick up Pressure Points, expect to mediate of godly counsel and the Word of God. Pressure Points by Shelby Abbott is a 5 out 5 stars. This guide is one of a kind, jam packed full of godly wisdom for the millennial generation, and applicable to the culture we live in today.

  • 5

    Simply put, Shelby gets it!

    Published by Andrew Allan on 06 10 2019

    Combining wit, wisdom and practical advice, Shelby knows the pressures because he’s been there. For the last twenty-plus years, he’s spent thousands of hours connecting with college students from the stage, so he knows what he’s talking about!

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