Hearing God: Eliminate Myths. Encounter Meaning, by Nathan Finochio
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Multnomah Waterbrook in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
When I was reading this book, I was admittedly not entirely sure what the author was getting after. Hearing God is a tricky matter, and a great deal can be considered as part of it. For example, one can think of hearing God as an issue of mystical experiences, and the author does talk about the mysticism of the supposed Toronto blessing. But this is not a book about mysticism or about climbing above the timberline to see God through the beauties of nature (although there is some discussion about the importance of creation). At its heart, this is a book about communication, namely the author’s discussion of the ways that God attempts to communicate to mankind. There are a lot of ways that God can do this, and the author manages to cover quite a few of them with, as one would expect, lots of personal examples. Some of the examples, including the author’s admission of some serious failings in college, certainly intrigued me, and will likely intrigue a great many other readers as well.
This book is about 200 pages long and is divided into ten chapters. The author, who is a teaching pastor at Hillsong NYC, begins with an introduction that discusses the fears people may have about not being as spiritual as others. After that the author discusses the myth of easy conversation (1) with examples from his own marriage, answers the question of why God communicates with us in the first place (2), and then discusses the desperation that people have for answers about the future (3). There is a discussion of the way God communicates through the Bible (4), the importance of fellowship for Christians (5), the vital importance of prophecy (6), as well as the importance of respecting Creation (7). There is a thoughtful discussion by the author of the way that God can communicate through the less than ideal circumstances we may be dealing with (8), as well as the importance of faith (9), and a recognition that God is far from boring (10). The author then gives his conclusion, after which there are response areas that deal with the material from each chapter as well as acknowledgements and notes. Each chapter includes a reminder about a particular way that God speaks to us.
Does this book actually help people hear God better? It very well could. If we can be sensitive enough to hear God in our frustrations and our longings, hear Him when we read His word and seek to live it, hear Him in reflections on His Creation, and through the encouragement and reproof we receive from others, then we will have gone a long way to hearing God enough to feel ourselves involved in a relationship with Him. Given the way that people deeply want to hear God, it is worthwhile to know what ways we can hear Him, whether it is through answered prayers, or the right Spirit-guided flashes of insight we may receive from time to time, or even in a peaceful night’s sleep and friendly conversation with friends, family, and other loved ones. It is easy to wonder what it is that the author faced in his past–he seems a bit hard on those who would avoid keeping Halloween, viewing it as superstition rather than obedience, and the author appears not to well understand the relationship between the believer and the law, but on the narrow subject of listening to God, the author has some wise advice, that perhaps he can better learn to follow when it comes to reading the Bible with the aim of following its commandments, laws, and precepts.