firsthand: Ditching Secondhand Religion for a Faith of Your Own by Ryan and Josh Shook

I was really excited to get this book today, and once I got started with it, I truly couldn’t put it down.  The authors are brothers, sons of a well-known pastor and author, Kerry Shook.  I hadn’t heard any of their names before seeing the description of the book, but was intrigued from the start.  This is what it says on the back of the book:

Join us on a journey to find a faith of your own.  A faith that isn’t your parents’ or your youth pastor’s or your church’s.  Start from scratch, question everything, and get hold of a faith that’s real.  We call it firsthand faith.

At the start of this book are words of praise from many authors that I did know, including: Mark Batterson (The Circle Maker), Steven Furtick (Greater) and Rick Warren (The Purpose Driven Life).  Knowing those authors like I did, and knowing how incredible their ministries have been, I took their positive words seriously – and I was definitely glad that I did!

The authors are very easy to read, and for someone who grew up in church, easy to relate to.  As they’re giving advice, they’re backing all of it up by Scripture, telling you not to take their word for anything, but to ask God to make it clear in your life.  They even say “we truly believe in a God who is active and alive in our lives.  So if there is any truth to what we believe, a loving God will reveal Himself to those who search for answers” (page 12).

Each chapter ends with quotes from people from all over the country (not authors or famous people we’d all know, but normal, everyday people like you and like me).  After those quotes you get a list of questions to ask yourself and really ponder over.  I think that this book would make a great small group study, and these questions would be great to talk with others about too!  Then it goes into a list of things that you can try, in order to put what the chapter talked about into practice.

This is a truly amazing book that really challenges not just what you believe, but why you believe it.  If you believe in the God of the Bible because of your parents or your grandparents, you may only have “Secondhand” faith.  This book leads you down a path to find how to have faith that is really “Firsthand” – faith that’s yours, and that is “authentic and genuine” as the authors say.

I pray that God would touch your heart through this book too, and help you to see that there is so much more to your faith than what you’ve been living thus far.  This book is definitely one that everyone should pick up – even those who think they have all the answers.  I think it’s great that these two guys decided to write and share about their struggles, and the joy that became theirs over time.  This is really an amazing book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, and was asked to provide an honest review.  The thoughts and opinions expressed here are completely my own.


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