I must say, I find it quite rare being able to read a book from an author that I got to meet firsthand and have coffee with. To actually serve in the very same ministry (San Francisco City Impact) that he started, and meet some of his family and friends that are also mentioned in his book. To read about some of the same places and people that I got to see and meet in Roger Huang's, Chasing God has been a unique privilege. From the streets to the buildings, I am able to create a vivid picture of what areas were mentioned, while immediately picturing the faces and voices of some of the people. To explore a book from this perspective is rare and perhaps a luxury that not many readers get to have. It was not much long after I left City Impact, that this book became published. The digital version was readily available, but being one that prefers physical books, I wanted to find a paperback copy version. It was several months later that I found one, and purchased it.
I had an idea of what I was expecting from Chasing God. I knew it would explain how City Impact started, but that was about it. Little did I know that I was only scratching the surface of a published entry that would captivate me throughout the whole 251 page duration.
Chasing God is the life story of Roger Huang spoken in his own words. Roger documents his life as early as his days of being a child in Taiwan. His story grabbed my attention right away from the beginning, but not for reasons you would think. Roger spent most of his childhood in an abusive home vacant of any love. To read his account of the horrific experiences he endured as a child had me gripping this book from the start. Determined to escape these conditions that nobody should ever go through, Roger eventually sets off to find a new life in San Francisco, USA. Roger ends up discovering more than just a life in San Francisco; He finds his future wife, Maite; And through a television evangelist, ultimately finds his faith in God. In an incident that Roger will never forget, he ignores the cries from a boy that was being beaten and robbed in the Tenderloin. God clearly challenged Roger that if that was his child, what would he have done? Although Roger said he would have protected his son, God told him, "They are all the same to me". From that point on, Roger develops a passionate hunger for chasing after God. That chase creates a destiny of intervention and change in the Tenderloin in unparalleled miracles that only God himself could orchestrate.
Roger generally keeps his sentences short and to the point with his words. I have always appreciated that style of writing. For some reason, it adds more emotion, emphasis, and meaning to what is being spoken. He also provides the reader with many detailed descriptions of the sights, smells, and sounds of his environments as well as the physical, psychological, and emotional feelings he experiences. This was a very strong aspect I admired from this book as it helps the reader identify everything Roger is experiencing. It also emotionally attaches the reader as if he/she is presently there and are in the story with Roger. Some of the my favourite parts of Chasing God are the miracles upon miracles that God accomplishes. With obstacles that seem immovable, Roger's praying and fasting over each issue leads to God's hand of provision while moving the insurmountable challenges in ways nobody could ever predict.
"The path that God has set me on is not always clear. But I know that if I chase Him, if I spend time praying and laying down my desires before Him, He never fails me. Throughout the years He has shown Himself to me over and over again. Our practice of fasting and prayer is about to open doorsfor us that I would have never imagined, never dreamed of." - page 170
Roger mentions a lot about Prayer and Fasting in Chasing God, especially at the end as there is even a FAQ section dedicated to Prayer and Fasting. I personally appreciated that this was added since Fasting is a topic that is not really mentioned, taught, or spoken about in the churches I grew up in.
To say that Chasing God is worth reading would be an understatement. It needs to be read. This was another captivating experience that had me reading every chance I had. It could be easy for me to say that this book is meant for Christian inspiration but it goes much farther than that. It is meant especially for the broken down of this world. People like Roger that were chasing false securities and happiness, not knowing there is a loving God chasing after them. As San Francisco City Impact celebrates their 30th year of ministry serving and intervening in the Tenderloin district, it is beautiful to read how far they have come simply by one man's incredible journey. To go from handing out 50 sandwiches in 1984, to a large organization serving and loving thousands upon thousands in 2014. Chasing God is a shining example of how God can use ANYONE in ANY circumstance.
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