Every person inherits a system of beliefs. Maybe yours came from community, or church, or society, or your parents. But one day you reach a breaking point. You look at the rituals and traditions and worship and theology and it all seems foggy. Foreign. Strange. You wonder why you believe what you believe. If you even believe anymore...
Brothers Ryan and Josh Shook reached that breaking point. Their book, "Firsthand, "is a smart, honest and deeply felt journey that invites you to leave behind handed-down beliefs and find authentic faith. A faith that lets go of how things are supposed to be. A faith that refuses to be defined by expectations or subcultures.
"Our goal is to help you replace secondhand religion with a meaningful relationship," write the Shooks. "We want to help you get from a religion that you wear on the outside to a faith of your own--one that's authentically yours all the way through."
Young people are leaving the church in record numbers, but Ryan and Josh know now that it doesn't have to be that way. They spent the past several years gathering research, trying to figure out the issues that make the most difference in whether a young person's Christian faith sticks or not. They surveyed over three hundred respondents on the really hard questions. Questions like:
- If God is real, then why do I feel so empty on the inside? (Chapter 2)
- Why should I even try to follow God when I often feel like such a failure? (Chapter 3)
- How do I experience real connection with Christ that's more than just surface level? (Chapter 4)
- How can I get past checklist Christianity and enjoy an every-day relationship with God? (Chapter 5)
- Is it possible to have a strong relationship with God even when I'm filled with doubts and questions? (Chapter 6)
- Can I really discover the meaning of my life through a relationship with Christ? (Chapter 7)
- How can I find a community of real people who take firsthand faith seriously? (Chapter 8)
In these pages, you'll hear from the Shooks about their own struggles with these questions, along with the life-changing answers they've discovered from the Bible and personal experience. You'll hear from other Christ followers, too, about their search for firsthand faith. And each chapter is designed to be shared--to spark a discussion with your friends--and comes complete with personal inventories, small group discussion questions, and links to creative video.
"Firsthand faith is the only kind that lasts because it's centered deep in your own mind and heart," write Ryan and Josh. "Sure, it's still a work in progress, but it's "yours." It's "you." In fact, firsthand faith is so real and personal that when hard times hit, it just gets "stronger.""