I read a work by Pastor Kerry Shook recently and in it he mentioned a book that his sons had written. When I saw that "Firsthand" by Ryan and Josh Shook was available for free to me, through the book review program for bloggers available at http://www.bloggingforbooks.org from the Crown Publishing Group, I decided to obtain a copy. I am glad I had read it, and believe that it is a topic that was needed to be addressed, but no one necessarily knew to ask about when requesting a good subject to cover. Allow me to explain.
The book is written by two brothers who are the sons of a 'mega-church' Pastor in Texas. It tells the story of how they realized that the faith in Jesus Christ their parents possessed was not their own. They were, basically, 'second hand Christians'. "Firsthand" documents their journey, each on their own, to discover if they really believed what they had been taught their entire lives. And, while written from the perspective of two Pastor's kids, the book would be good for anyone raised in a Christian home or in church their entire life.
The topics addressed in each chapter touch on issues such as why it matters, the soul thirst we all have, getting rid of our religious 'checklist' and other parts of learning how to experience a firsthand faith. The chapters end with real stories from others who have gone on similar journeys, things to think about and suggestions to help you try and explore the topic covered in the chapter.
Not many would think to address the subject of whether belief is personal or not, and if they did, they might not write about it. In our culture, it could be tempting for Christians to assume that people raised in church are automatically Christian. But, everyone has to develop their own relationship with God. If you are someone, or know someone, who is struggling with what they believe, this would be a great book for them to read. Ultimately, the Bible refers to God in many places as the God of "Abraham, Isaac and Jacob". I pray that He will be your God too, that you will get to know Him firsthand.