The Power of a Whisper
Hearing God and Having the Guts to Respond
by Bill Hybels
Pastor Stephen Campbell of Redding, California, triggered my rainy, Seattle-weekend read of Hybels’ newest book, The Power of a Whisper [Zondervan, 2010], and I’m glad he did. I finished the last of 260 pages and couldn’t help but compare the text to Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. Where Gladwell encourages readers to listen to their “gut,” Hybels encourages his audience to listen to the still small voice, uttered by a God who speaks in a language his followers can understand.
Anecdotally rich, Hybels recalls fifty years of experiencing God who speaks through the written word, the preached word and through the faithful. Career making and life changing, he says, of God’s whispers of which he hasn’t always been so fond. His candor and struggle with abject obedience keeps Hybels within reach of ordinary servants who can easily identify with his stories and those of many who cite Willow [his abbreviated name for Willow Creek] as their church home.
The perpetually youthful looking author writes like an aged veteran, prompting believers of all stripes to memorize Scripture, enhancing the venues through which God may speak in days to come. He testifies to the dark night of the soul and confesses the help he received from Mother Theresa in navigating those silent times.
With deep conviction, the mega-church founder tells how God led him to minister beyond the Willow campus and even the Willow Creek Association to take on extreme poverty in global areas, sanitation, impure water supplies, immigration issues, micro-enterprise, racial injustice and the need for racial reconciliation. Out of the lime-light, God consistently challenges this multi-talented man to “do good” to those unable to fend for themselves, illustrated by a whisper to help an elderly woman carry groceries to her apartment. In short, he champions God concern for the underdog and that’s especially telling given his birth to privilege.
Be assured, this text isn’t a warm rehash of Hybels unquestionable success. Rather, it’s theme is one that may discourage Willow Wannabees from flocking to Barrington but if they do, they will more than likely be the better for it.
Don’t read the book before bedtime. It’s unsettling, moving and good fodder for preaching.
Guest blogger – Randall Davey, Liberty Wealth Strategies, LLC