Friday, February 11, 2011

Book Review: "The Power Of A Whisper"

Often when people come to me and tell me that "God told me..." my first reaction is a healthy dose of skepticism. The world has been plagued with people who have said and done crazy things because "God told them to." That being said, The Bible teaches us very clearly that God desires to be known by us and does reveal Himself to us - in nature, in the Word and through special revelation. The New Testament speaks of God's Holy Spirit who was sent to "guide us into all truth." The question then is, how do we discern between the truth and the counterfeit?

Bill Hybels' book "The Power Of A Whisper," is his attempt to answer that question. In the book, Bill recounts times when the trajectory of his life, and others, was changed because of a whisper from God. The premise of the book is very simple - God is still speaking today, and we need to put ourselves in the position to hear Him. One of the quotes I highlighted was this: "There is no more critical goal in life than to keep a pliable heart before God." That being said, the logical question follows, how do we determine whether or not the whisper, prompting or direction we are receiving is actually from God?

Bill has complied a list of 5 "Filters" that he uses to help him test every "whisper" he receives. Filter #1 - Is The Prompting Truly From God? Does it square with God's character? Is it God speaking, or someone else trying to further their own agenda? Filter #2 - Is It Scriptural? God has already spoken to us by His Word, and He will never contradict Himself. So, if you sense God telling you to do something that violates His written Word, you can be sure it's not God. Filter #3 - Is It Wise? Just because an opportunity presents itself does not mean that it came from God. While God sometimes calls us to do things that go against conventional wisdom, we'd best be sure that it is God. Step back, pray, consider, consult. Filter #3 - Is It In Tune With Your Own Character? This filter is based on the truth that God has wired each of us in a certain way. If you can't hold a tune in a bucket, it's highly unlikely that God has called you to be a worship leader. It's likely wishful thinking on your part. Filter #5 - What Do The People You Most Trust Think About It? The Bible tells us that there is safety in the multitude of counselors. Ask trusted people to help you dsetermine whether God is speaking - or last night's pizza!

This book, just as in Hybel's speaking and other writing, is given in an easy to understand style. There are a lot of personal examples in the book that will speak to anyone truly desiring to find God's will for their life. It is filled with practical advice on how to put yourself in a place to hear God. There was one page however, that particularly got my attention with it's four simple keys to hearing from God.

Key #1 - Fervently and frequently ask God to improve your hearing.
Key #2 - Reduce the ambient noise in your life. (Be quiet and slow down so you can hear God).
Key #3 - You simply must fill your head with Scripture. The vast majority of God's will for your life is revealed in His Word.
Key #4 - Be sure that you confess the sin in your life, because it puts up barriers between you and God.

If you are a Christian sincerely desiring to hear God's voice, this book will help you. Let me end with a quote from the last chapter of the book. "If we were to boil down Christianity to its core, we'd be left with simply this: relationship with God. The living, loving God of the universe has spoken throughout history, and still speaks today - not just to pastors or priests, but to anyone who will listen. God will speak to you."
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