Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Firsthand by Ryan & Josh Shook


Ditching Secondhand Religion for a Faith of Your Own

Ryan and Josh Shook are the sons of pastor Kerry Shook, the Senior Pastor of Woodlands Church in The Woodlands, Texas. Although they were raised in the church and accepted the beliefs of their parents, something was missing for both of them. They were simply going through the motions of playing church and were trying to be satisfied with a secondhand faith that only left them empty. Perhaps, you know this feeling yourself. I was one of those who accepted Christ as my Savior at an early age, and then thought I had done my part by praying a prayer. I made a lot of assumptions of what they Bible said, but most was based on Bible stories from Sunday School. Twenty years later, I realized that I wanted to know what is was I claimed to believe and for it to make the impact on my life that I observed in others.
 Ryan and Josh Shook have written a book that challenges the reader to take a look at their own faith and uses their own experiences as well as input from others. There are also videos to watch, Scripture references, and questions for you to explore after reading each chapter. If you are ready to take the next step forward, or to encourage others to own their beliefs, this is an excellent starting point. This probably isn't a book for the seasoned Christian who has taken more than superficial steps in faith, but I do recommend it for new Christians, especially younger ones who have been raised in the church, and anyone who simply feels like there is something missing in their spiritual life. There is no point in sitting on the sidelines when you can be in the game and living your life to honor and glorify Christ...because you KNOW what YOU believe.

I was given the opportunity to read this book through WaterBrook-Multnomah's Blogging For Books program. I was not required to write a positive review, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.


James Hartline said...

Seriously, Cindy, do you actually believe that the Shook sons have lived out the things they are describing in their book and films? Do you really believe that they have actually suffered in the ways they have described in the book and their films? I recently read that Shook's slake films are modeled after Rob Bell. Bell is a heretic who is now declaring that he doesn't believe in hell and he is now promoting gay marriage and the sin of homosexuality as acceptable forms of Christianity. I really want to know what you think on these matters.
James Hartline
in ministry in San Diego, CA

Cindy Navarro said...

Mr. Hartline, I was asked to review a book, not to do an investigation. If they are indeed following the same path as Rob Bell, I pray their eyes are opened to the truth.
I agree that Rob Bell is a heretic and pray that he repents of his false teaching. He will answer to God for leading people astray.
As I said in my review, I think the book is a bit lightweight. However, I am also tired of seeing cultural Christians who claim the Name, but do not follow Jesus...and this book may cause someone to THINK about their relationship with Jesus and to not merely go through the motions.
Perhaps people are more personality-driven than I realize; I read or listen to pastors or other Christian authors/speakers, but the Bible is my final source. I reject what does not line up with God's Word, and if someone (like Bell) has a habit of misconstruing Scripture, I stay away from them.
To be fair, I know nothing of your personal beliefs either. I do appreciate you taking the time to read and respond, though. If there needs to be a red flag raised over the beliefs of these men (or any other book I review), I encourage you to comment.