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Firsthand: Ditching Secondhand Religion for a Faith of Your Own

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted March 20, 2013

    It's exciting to see something that steps out of religiosity and

    It's exciting to see something that steps out of religiosity and gets real. People cannot live on their parent's faith, they must develop their own. Great book - wonderful truth.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Simple Read But Good Content Ryan & Josh Shook sons of Ker

    Simple Read But Good Content

    Ryan & Josh Shook sons of Kerry and Chris Shook authors of One Month To Live have written a very relevant and necessary book for this generation in firsthand.

    Ryan & Josh grew up in church but as they got older they realized their need to find their own faith instead of relying on the faith of their parents or teachers. They have used their own personal struggles in achieving an authentic faith to write firsthand.

    Firsthand deals with replacing secondhand religion with a faith that is your own, a firsthand faith. Secondhand religion is the religion that you accept as your own but it really belongs to someone else and has been passed down to you either by parents or teachers. You accept and believe things because someone else does. The book firsthand challenges you to look at what you believe and build a relationship with Christ for yourself.

    I really believe this book is necessary. There are so many young people who are questioning whether the church or God are relevant in their lives. They are living the Christian life on shaky ground because they do not have a faith of their own. They have a faith that is borrowed from someone else. They will eventually find their own faith the hard way or turn away from Christianity all together. Firsthand's goal is to help people who are struggling with second hand religion find their own firsthand faith. Each chapter in the book is followed up by questions for the reader to answer as well as testimonials from others who have struggled to find their own faith.

    This book was a pretty easy read. Usually I am not a fan of easy read books but I think that in this case the fact that it is an easy read is a good thing. The reader really needs to focus on their own lives and answer some pretty challenging questions in order to gain their firsthand faith. If this book's difficulty level were any harder it would get in the way of the purpose of the book especially when dealing with a generation of readers who are use to reading online in the format of blogs, wiki's, Tweets and Facebook.

    I am recommending firsthand as a Christian growth and development tool not as a Bible Study. If you are struggling with your experiences in church, with the Christian life, or are a ministry leader who has noticed that people in your ministry may be struggling you could very well benefit from using this book.

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  • Posted April 19, 2013

    Brothers Ryan and Josh Shook grew up in church. In fact their pa

    Brothers Ryan and Josh Shook grew up in church. In fact their parents planted a vibrant, exciting church in Houston. Now they are actively seeking careers far away from Houston. Ryan is a filmmaker living on the west coast, while Josh is a musician living in Nashville. And though they seem to be far removed from their roots in Texas, they write a book about how their faith roots are stronger than ever.

    In a day when more and more people in the younger generation are growing disillusioned with the faith of their parents, the Shook brothers have found the secret to faith that is lasting and real: stop playing at religion that is at best a hand-me-down from your parents and replace it with a firsthand, no-holds-barred relationship with Jesus Christ.

    This book is less of a “how-to” book and more of a “what could happen” vision. Starting with their own wandering away from their parents’ faith and building on that with interviews and candid remarks from a number of people who had discovered the difference between plastic religion and real relationship, the authors weave a story that is at both challenging and a bit unnerving. There is no sugar coating here, just real admission of attempts and failures followed by struggle and success. Bottom-line advice from these two young men who have “been there” is to stop trying to be a Christian, and just build a relationship with Jesus.

    This short 8-chapter book deals with all the things that church-goers try to do to get in good with God, and gives testimony and example of how one might stop going through motions and let their relationship grow. Their term, as the title suggests, for this authentic experience is “firsthand faith.”

    This book is a good starting point when someone has grown disappointed in the church experience of their roots. While believers are encouraged to do the things that our church society has done as a sign of their relationship with Christ, the motivation is moved from marking your checklist of being a good Christian, to letting the actions flow from who you are.

    Even so, because the book is focused on the generation of younger adults, those who are approaching or have even passed middle age who are dealing with the same questions about faith are neglected. This is not necessarily a fault of the authors or the publisher but a drawback built into focusing on a particular audience, limiting further an already limited audience. That said the book has value when someone is struggling with whether what they’ve always believed is really real—especially when it is believed because that’s what they (or their family) has always believed.

    Each chapter includes a sampling of quotes from a handful of the people interviewed in the researching of the book, some questions for deeper thought, and some practical application suggestions to put what the preceding chapter has discussed into action.

    I would suggest that pastors and youth pastors, as well as collegiate ministry workers, would want to have a copy or two of this book handy to help young people who are dealing with questions of faith. The struggle of authentic faith is one that has been around for ages and will continue to haunt the church. In Firsthand the church has a resource to address this struggle head-on. I give the book 4 out of 5 reading glasses.

    —Benjamin Potter April 19, 2013

    [Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.]

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