Book Review: Is That Really You, God? by Loren Cunningham

This is the fifth in a series of book reviews Cornerstone is publishing on our WordPress site. This week’s review is on Is That Really You, God? by Loren Cunningham. The idea is to encourage our readers to soak themselves in Gospel-centered literature this summer. Let the break from school not be a break from our Father in Heaven.

Youths With A Mission (YWAM) is an interdenominational organization enabling youths who have graduated from high school to go on mission trips around the world. It all started with an ordinary man who was committed to hearing the voice of God. While on a trip in Bahamas, Loren Cunningham received a vision of waves on the shorelines of the various continents around the world. The waves then changed to young people covering the continents and sharing their faith. Is That Really You, God? narrates the conception of this organization in the voice of its founder, Cunningham himself.

The book is structured chronologically, largely similar to an autobiography. In setting the context of the book, Cunningham reminisced not only of his marriage and first mission trip but even his early childhood years. Every story was a powerful testimony of the power of being in Christ, about self examination and being predisposed to letting selfish agenda takeover our service to God.

Unlike other narrative testimonies I have read, Is That Really You, God? was bluntly honest about failures YWAM faced in its formative years without any attempt to explain it away. I found the lack of sugar-coating and raw confession of sin very refreshing as I was quite tired of reading testimonies that seemed too perfect. One notable failure involved a project of raising money to fund a ship for medical missions. Cunningham recounts hearing God calling him to build the ship, before going forward to garner much financial support for it. However, the fundraiser fell short of the amount required and the ship was turned into scrap metal instead. Through the whole process, Cunningham painfully learnt the lesson of letting go of pride. He recounts,

The cleansing season had set me free—the devil had none of my secret resentments and sins to hold over me anymore.

Having first read this book about a year ago, I recall struggling with hearing God’s voice and abiding by His instructions. While the book spoke more about missions, of which I have been on none, it did help me to be more attentive to God’s voice. I remember hearing an inner calling to start a Bible study group among the Christians in my military unit and starting a series of book reviews on my personal blog just hours after putting the book down a year ago. I had been deliberate about following Cunningham’s three step process of hearing the voice of God.

First, we took Christ’s authority to silence the enemy.
Second, we asked the Lord to clear from our minds any presumptions and preconceived ideas. Third, we waited…believing He would speak in the way and in the time that He chose.

Frankly, I’m not sure on issues like prophecy and visions which Cunningham recounts. While I have my reservations about them, I would still recommend the book as a very practical guide to hearing God’s voice and starting a youth ministry. I do hope to go on a mission trip sometime in the near future and perhaps, feel the same way as Cunningham did as he recounts,

From the very first country I visited, I knew I was not on this trip just for sightseeing. I did enjoy all the new experiences, but I had a strange certainty that I was being guided toward something I could not yet see.


Nicholas Chuan

Is That Really You, God? is available in most Christian bookstores and online at


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