The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God. Having the Guts to Respond by Bill Hybels (Zondervan)
Bill Hybels is the founding senior pastor of well-known Willow Creek Community Church and the author of more than 20 books. In The Power of a Whisper, he authenticates the practice of listening for God’s voice.
Hybels opens with events of his youth when God spoke to his heart—before he even knew how to listen. Next, he states the case for hearing from God. From Moses to Paul, he briefly recounts God’s relational quality, clearly supporting his conclusion: “In short, our God is a communicating God. Always has been, and always will be.”
Willow Creek members supplied material for one chapter. Hybels e-mailed the congregation, asking for testimonies of a time when they’d heard from God and how they’d responded. In just a few days, he received more than 50 stories as “evidence of God’s interactions with us.” Hybels shares some of these “whispers” of assurance or admonition, warnings or promptings that caused people to take action—to go, to stop, to do things they had no previous intention of doing.
The Power of a Whisper includes guidance for discerning when we’re hearing from God—and when we’re not. Hybels also expounds upon written whispers that come to us through the Bible. “Although God may not be whispering his specific wisdom to your particular situation, he has already provided you with default wisdom. … The most predictable way to hear from heaven is to read and apply God’s word.”
Introducing the Missional Church: What It Is, Why It Matters, How to Become One by Alan J. Roxburgh & M. Scott Boren (Baker Books)
Imagine being safe and comfortable in your home for many years. Then, suddenly, you open a door that reveals a pathway inviting you to enter a world in which most of what you knew was challenged, and a radical-yet-refreshing new change in living and interacting with the world took over.
This isn’t a new version of C. S. Lewis’ Narnia. However, missional church leaders Roxburgh and Boren ask, “What’s behind the wardrobe?” and offer an introductory guide to the “missional church movement,” a way of being the local church and engaging people within their own contexts with the gospel.
If you’ve ever wanted “missional” and its theology explained and presented as a possible model to becoming a missional church, this book might be for you. Separating this volume from many published in this movement’s conversation, the thrust of this book is not in church planting but in changing the culture and social systems of an established “traditional” church to be-come something truly different in a post-something culture—and relying upon the Spirit-led “non-professional” church members to lead in the innovations.
Greg Bowman, minister to students
First Baptist Church, Duncanville
Anna Finch and the Hired Gun: A Novel by Kathleen Y’Barbo (WaterBrook)
In Anna Finch and the Hired Gun, Texas author Kathleen Y’Barbo spins the story of a young woman who prefers riding and shooting her Smith & Wesson to being courted by the prospective husbands her father chooses. Mr. Finch laments allowing his headstrong daughter a Wellesley education. But he doesn’t know that along with her degree, she earned a nice sum writing dime novels under a pseudonym and aspires to become a reporter.
Anna accidentally meets Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp and begins to pursue their story, landing the interviews of a lifetime. What she doesn’t know is that Pinkerton agent Jeb Sanders is watching her every move.
Anna’s father secretly hires Sanders to keep her under control until he can turn her over to a husband. But her father doesn’t know she already has met the detective under less-than-ideal circumstances. And Sanders doesn’t know that the lovely reporter is his client.
Y’Barbo starts each chapter with an appropriate quote by or about Doc Holliday and fills the book’s pages with history, intrigue, humor, faith and, yes, romance. Read Anna Finch and the Hired Gun for good, clean fun.
Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president
Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas, Waco