I just finished reading Bill Hybels book, "The Power of a Whisper: hearing God, having the guts to respond". This book is packed with numerous examples of how God has communicated in Hybel's life
and the lives of others he knows over the years. If you are looking for a motivational read on purpose for life and ministry this book is full of good advice and direction on what God wants for your life. From wisdom on parenting, dealing with the dark night of the soul, to justice this book lays out very practically and biblically the direction one should go in the choices they should make with how to live.
The premise of the book is that God continues to "speak" to people, that God is a communicating God. Hybels lays out a good argument for this. Whether you call it an impression, a word from the Lord, or even a whisper Hybel's point is that God communicates. If you are like me, however, as you read this book you may end up wondering about why God doesn't communicate the same way to you as he does to Bill Hybels. There is a clarity of God's voice in how Hybels presents his examples and an expectation of frequency. Even though Hybels mentions that there are times in our lives when the prompting voice of God may seem to be silent (as noted in the life of Mother Theresa in her own words and life) with all the overwhelming examples of God communicating in such a direct manner in the book someone could be left with wondering what is wrong with me if I am not "hearing God's voice". The use of quotations in the book while grammatically correct because of the topic of this book could leave someone with the impression that the words presented in the book were audible words spoken by God directly into someone's life rather than impressions of the spirit.
I loved the examples of God communicating and the simple reminders of how to ready yoruself to receive God's voice in your life. The chapter on how God speaks through Scripture is full of Scripture verses that can be used for counselling others in various life situations. The key chapter in the book is "How to know when you are hearing from God". Hybels presents five filters or questions to ask to determine whether or not a "prompting" is of God (or something else like the pizza you ate last night).
Asking God, "is this message from you?" Is it Scriptural? Is it wise? Is it in tune with your own character? What do the people you most trust think about it?
These are great questions but it would have been helpful if the book worked out the process of these questions with the examples of promptings of God given and obeyed with more frequency in the pages. The reader is left with the impression many times that God speaks and you should act versus you are impressed that God may have spoken now how do I figure out if this is God before I make a decision to obey. The examples in the book can then leave you with a "maverick style" of obedience to the promptings of God in your life.
Now, I will affirm that some of this may be driven by personality and I think an extended discussion on personality and the process of deciphering God's voice and will in one's life would be helpful.
Overall I would give this book a three out of five. Very motivational reading.