5/5 ⭐ | How to Be a Christian in Today’s World by Reverend Matthew Hogan
Sometimes there’s a book that comes into your life at the exact right moment, it knocks you off your feet and makes you take a good hard look in the mirror, “How to Be a Christian in Today’s World: Shame or Fear of Failure vs. Living Confidently in God’s Love” was that book for me.
Author, Reverend Matthew Hogan does a great job opening this book by connecting with readers. He doesn’t immediately jump into preaching like so many books of this nature before it, but rather invites us first to his own story. Showing us his own path to faith, sharing the gritty, raw, and emotional bits before carrying us to God. Throughout the book, Rev. Hogan is respectful. Instead of directly quoting scripture he provides the verse and allows readers to find the passages in whatever book they call their own. However, in doing this he pairs it with a story and communicates it in a way that makes you want to embrace the noted verses and look it up so you too can relate and be in on the story. Hogan’s years of experience as a minister and councilor lend marvelously well to that of an author connecting and drawing in readers. I’ve never met Rev. Hogan in person, and yet I feel like his book counseled me on how I can truly be a better Christian and focus my life more precisely in the way of God’s teaching, exactly as he set out to do. I found many timely connections to my own life, as if God was reaching me through the author, plucking me out and telling me “listen.”
As Easter rapidly approaches it felt relevant the mentions of Easter morning in one of Hogan’s messages. In this story we are told Easter morning isn’t the end as we may feel compelled to believe with Jesus’ ascension to heaven and resurrection, but instead it is a story teaching us not to fear, a story in finding comfort in His ascension. I also felt immensely connected to the descriptions of the importance of baptism, the submersion and return to air that connects us to Christ. The symbolism and reminder this book provides me in remembering to come up for air as I remind myself repeatedly of God’s role in everything I do.
Like everyone, the author isn’t perfect. But, he reminds us of the importance of truly living a Christian life as God intends. We often lose sight as our lives are feeling “good.” When we get the job we wanted, afforded the new car, etc. we can begin to feel less of a need for God. Or, we attend the obligatory Sunday mass and then walk out the door and fail to keep God ever present and top of mind. This book is thus not only a key reminder, but a crucial guide to recognize our weaknesses, grab ahold and be willing to go back to the beginning to reconnect with, and reaffirm, our faith. While not always simple to humbly admit or do, the author shows us it can be done through his own life circumstances and the stories of scripture he shares. “How to Be a Christian in Today’s World” is the answer to a prayer you may not have even known you needed.
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