God speaks through thoughts and we must learn to discern between our thoughts and His thoughts. The authors wrote about developing a “new theory of mind.” This concept of hearing things that are perceived is a very clinical perspective of how God speaks. Learning to really trust the “thoughts” as being God’s word directly for the individual is part of the exercise of being a believer. The quote from C.S. Lewis what explains that some things in Christianity can be understood from the outside but most things are understood after “going a certain distance along the Christian road.” So how do you even begin to identify the thoughts that are really God or how to pull out what is God from the ordinary static in your mind? The art of hearing God is still something that resonates within Christianity today. Prayer as the way to talk to God but also to listen to him can be confusing. Her explanation of prayer is quite interesting “people must learn to treat some inner mental phenomena as heard by an external presence and other mental phenomena as not their own but as emanating from that presence.” The honesty of this complication I believe mirrors what many have discovered about God. There is still something of a mystery when interacting with God and the incredibly exciting thing to me is that he does it personally with individuals.
So, does God still speak? One of the fascinating things about this book is all the interviews and personal first hand stories that the author tells of individuals who experienced God speaking, God directing, God preventing and God leaving alone in the “wilderness” or isolation. As I was reading, the thought kept coming to me that this is simply an extension of the book of Acts or a further reading of the experiences recorded in the Bible. It does take a great amount of faith to believe in God. It does take a great amount of faith to believe that God wants to and does speak to individuals today. The synergy of this book makes me want to know God even more personally than I do and gives me a greater picture of who God is. There are so many dimensions and this book explores them with great insight and with great questions.
Even in the chapter on darkness: “when God doesn’t come through”, the explanation of “name it, claim it” is very matter of fact and from an outsider’s perspective crystal clear. From “doubting Thomas” to the miracles that Jesus performed, all of this walk of being a Christian is about faith. Is it real or is it not real? When things do not go our way is God still God? Do we trust him even in the moments of darkness? What about when things do not change for a long time? Does God still speak when he is silent? Can Christians become mature in their faith that when things don’t go their way that they still believe? The author pointed out that this is basically the story of the Gospels as well. The problem of faith is not finding the idea of God plausible but sustaining that belief in the face of disconfirmation.  Inside the reality of real world fact is where this faith and belief in Jesus become reality.
So, does God still speak?
I know my own personal story, just like the ones in the book, includes God speaking to me directly. I know without a doubt that in a prayer meeting at the front of Central Assembly in Muskogee at the age of 16 God spoke to my heart to serve him with my life. I agreed. I know without a doubt that at the age of 20 God spoke to me, through his word Mark 16:15-20 to make disciples. It was in my bedroom at my parent’s home in Kingston, OK at 1 in the morning. I was trying to figure out what to do, go back to OSU or what? He brought a person across my path whose dad happened to be a Bible university president. I went to that school to learn to make disciples. While interning in London, I went to Birmingham, England to a conference on the Holy Spirit with a new evangelist by the name of Reinhardt Bonnke. He was preaching and during his sermon, God asked me to preach for him. I told God yes, but I needed a sign to confirm that request. Reinhardt, who is from Germany, said that he was going to pray in person for everyone who felt called to ministry in his altar call. He stated that he was going to do it by country. I spoke to God that I would run to the front if he called USA first. I figured in my human reasoning that we are in England, he is from Germany, that request was a pretty safe bet. Of course he called USA first, I jumped over people to get to the front to respond. At the front of the auditorium, Reinhardt simply walked by praying for people, not taking the time to lay hands on them or anything. I found myself on the floor as he passed by. God spoke to me then of things that I was going to do in my life for him. He has fulfilled most of those things in my life.
So, does God speak? What about today? I sensed him calling to me again this past week when I was hearing about ministry in Cuba. It is not all happy and feel good moments because there has been loss, heart break and heart ache along the way or darkness as the author labeled it. I have felt lost and abandoned in moments but I have also felt incredible jubilation.
One last speaking moment, twelve years ago, I was in Limerick Ireland walking down a city street when I felt God calling me to do a work in that town. For the first five years after the moment that God had spoken to me, I pursued doing ministry with the local church in Limerick, but was politely rejected each time. But on the sixth years attempt, my team was received and our partnership has started a revolutionary change in the town. I have been back seven times and now on the street where God spoke to me, there is going to be a church housed in what at that time was a toy store. It is right across from the police station and on the main intersection in town. There are so many stories I could tell of just this one miracle. Being persistent with what God is calling you to do is the lesson that I learned.
Yes, I do still believe that God speaks. God does talk back and for me, I decided years ago to be a Christian and to simply believe that I can take God at his word and “at his word.” I have many more stories that I could tell but that would simply bore you but I know God is still speaking.
 T.M. Luhrmann, When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God, (New York, NY: Vintage Books, 2012), 13.
 Ibid., 40.
 Ibid., 45.
 Ibid., 47.
 Ibid., 47.
 Ibid., 278.