Bob Goff: How Do You Make More Space in Your Life for Love? Give Something Up!

I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

ACTS 20:24

Here’s a page from Bob Goff’s book of daily reflections, Live in Grace, Walk in Love:

You might not know this, but I spent decades working as a lawyer. I know, Jesus had a lot to say about lawyers, and not much of it was good, so it keeps me on my toes. I think I might have been the luckiest lawyer in the world because I partnered with a bunch of people who knew my work at my law firm was just that—it was work. It was a job. It’s something I did to provide for my family and then fund all the things I’m passionate about, like building schools for kids in Uganda and Somalia and Afghanistan and rescuing victims of human trafficking in India.

I used to devote way more of my time and energy to being a lawyer, but then two things hit me one day. First, all we’ll leave behind is our love, and second, our legacy will be in the people we loved. That’s when I realized I had to make a change. My life couldn’t revolve around trials and lawsuits. So here’s what I did: I quit. I’m not kidding. I got everyone at the law firm together and told them I was out. I took the key to the office door off my key ring and left—and I’ve never gone back.

I made the necessary changes to free me up to give more time, attention, and emotional energy to people in more desperate circumstances than I was in. I wanted to live a less traditional life. One that fit more closely with the person I had become, rather than the guy I used to be. I asked myself the question that might be worth asking yourself. Are you doing what you’re merely capable of or what you’re called to?

I’ve set aside Thursdays now to quit something. It’s easy to get so buried under responsibilities that we lose sight of who we’ve become. So here’s the deal.  Quit something! What will it be? What’s been holding you back? Taking up too much time? What no longer inspires you? Pick whatever day you want—it doesn’t have to be Thursday. Today is a pretty good day to start. Pick today. You don’t have to quit your whole job or move overseas, but you can start cutting things out on a regular basis. You’ll free yourself up to live a life that will give you a great sense of purpose and feed your passions.

What do you need to give up to make more room for love?

Bob Goff: Live in Grace, Walk in Love

St Isaac the Syrian: Hell is Love

One popular belief among Christians across many traditions and denominations is that hell is a place where the wicked experience pure punishment and where the love and mercy of God no longer restrains the justice of God.  St Isaac the Syrian (613-700), a bishop and theologian from Nineveh, strongly disagrees with these ideas.  St Isaac emphatically declares to “not call God just.”  Why so? What about 2 Thessalonians 1.6, which states that “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you”?  For Isaac, it is mercy, not justice, that describes God’s attitude towards humanity.  In fact, he goes so far as to say that “Justice (or rectitude) does not belong to the Christian way of life and there is no mention of it in Christ’s teaching”.  Some may consider this rhetorically hyperbolic and even theologically dangerous.  Isaac is contrasting a certain view of “justice” with God’s actions towards humanity.  He articulates this point by asking several questions:

“How can you call God just when you come across the Scriptural passage on the wage given to the workers? ‘Friend, I do thee no wrong: I choose to give unto this last even as unto thee. Or is thine eye evil because I am good?’ (Matthew 20:13-15). How can a man call God just when he comes across the passage on the prodigal son who wasted his wealth with riotous living, how for the compunction alone which he showed, the father ran and fell upon his neck and gave him authority over all his wealth?”  

Continue reading “St Isaac the Syrian: Hell is Love”

Bob Goff: We Don’t Need to Call It ‘Ministry’, Just Call It Tuesday. Love Already Has a Name.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

1 PETER 4:8

Here’s a page from Bob Goff’s book of daily reflections, Live in Grace, Walk in Love:

I hear a lot of talk about people going into ministry or serving in ministry. I know it’s a term pastors and religious leaders use, but it feels a little weird to hear it thrown around so much. The guy working at the tire store probably won’t know what you’re talking about.

Most people don’t want to feel like someone’s stooping down to serve them. They just want someone to empathize with their situation. Whenever I’ve messed up, the least helpful thing I’ve ever received was a lecture. The most helpful thing I’ve ever received was someone’s agenda-free presence. They might’ve been a little older or even a little younger than me, but they never said they were “ministering” to me—they just thought we were friends.

I’m usually doing a good job serving people, right up until I start telling everyone I’m serving people. Because when I do, I make it all about me—and it’ll never be about Jesus if we make it about us. We all want to feel like we come together as equals, with each of us bringing something unique and vital to the table. That’s how friendship works: we join forces, knowing each of us has something to learn from the other, and both of us benefit from the relationship. You bring the brains, I bring the ice cream, and everyone wins. As soon as someone thinks they’re there to “minister,” we are no longer equals.

What if we all got together and schemed ways to go make more friends? Whether we make soup for people, or sit down and talk with discouraged kids, or do some tutoring—what if we just did it because it was Saturday or Tuesday and these are great days for new friends? It might make people feel like they’re sought after for friendship rather than approached as a project. There’s no need to give what we do a new label. Love already has a name.

What’s a simple act of love you can do this week to build a stronger friendship with someone?

Bob Goff: Live in Grace, Walk in Love

Bob Goff: If Love Isn’t the Defining Characteristic of Our Faith, We Need to Find Our Way Back to Where We Started.

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

JOHN 15:18

Here’s a page from Bob Goff’s book of daily reflections, Live in Grace, Walk in Love:

Once Jesus and His disciples wanted to go to a village in Samaria. Here was the problem: the people in the village weren’t having it. Apparently, they had an issue with people from Jerusalem. The disciples heard the outcry from the village, and do you know what they said? “Jesus, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to destroy them?” Yikes. It seems a little harsh, yet at the same time not unfamiliar. We’re a lot like the disciples sometimes, wanting to tap into nuclear weapons when people say something we don’t agree with or rub us the wrong way. At some point, we started to believe that our doctrine is the defining characteristic of our faith. We got it in our heads that knowing the truth and telling others about it was our greater purpose here on earth than simply loving the people God made.

The gospel isn’t a set of doctrines we agree with, though. It’s actually Jesus. He said He was the way, the truth, and the life. Don’t add to it. It’s possible to have great doctrine and lousy theology. Loving people the way Jesus did is great theology. The Bible helps us understand how God wants us to live, but never let anything block your view of the fact that He’s the one who holds all things together. He’s the one who rescued us and who still rescues us when we slip up and need some grace.

There will be times you’re not welcomed. There will be times you’re misunderstood. There are times you’ll be angry about it. We don’t need to ask God to rain down fire on the people who have been difficult. Just keep moving forward, eyes fixed on Jesus and off of everyone else.

Is there someone you’ve written off because of the way they once responded to you?

Bob Goff: Live in Grace, Walk in Love

Carman: Serve the Lord

Christian Singer Songwriter Carman has died, 65, after a series of complications following a hernia operation.

Here are three of his lesser known songs that stand up with his better known ones. My particular favourite Serve the Lord; Are You the One? (John the Baptist); and Sunday’s on the Way.

I love the line, ‘Remember that ol’ blind man, John? Well he ain’t blind no more.’