Be Secretly Incredible with Bob Goff at Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast

Bob-Goff-Bio-featuredOn March 31st thousands of city leaders, ministers and citizens will gather at the Broward Convention Center for the 54th Annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast with a mission to unite and encourage our community in fellowship and prayer. Bob Goff, bestselling author of Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World, will give the keynote address. When I asked him what message he planned to share, he said simply, “Love everybody always.” It was a shockingly simple reply.  But after reading his book, I should not be surprised because Bob, as he would prefer to be called, has a knack for relating seemingly complicated and challenging concepts about God in ordinary relatable ways. You will find no religion in his book – only relationships. And many of them are unlikely connections that come about as Bob simply says yes to the opportunities that appear as he is guided by “what pings me.”

His book is a collection of stories from his life – simple, everyday experiences that have revealed things to him about the nature of God. For example, Bob writes, “I used to think you had to be special for God to use you, but now I know you simply need to say yes.” He’s made it his mission to encourage ordinary people to be secretly incredible. “It’s about doing capers without any capes,” said Bob, a reference to the Pixar movie, “The Incredibles” when an ordinary insurance salesman finally sets aside his mundane life to be the superhero he was created to be.  You may remember the scene when Edna is designing his costume and she insists, “No capes!”  Why? Because the capes, which Bob compares to our pride, inevitably get in the way and cause a whole host of catastrophes.

Bob said he’s convinced, “God’s plans are full of ‘just us’ kind of people, folks who don’t get capes or stained glass windows. We just get the opportunity to do what God wants us to do without a lot of fanfare.”

But he also warns, “Don’t take the bait that that if we do incredible things Jesus will dig us more.  He can’t. He already digs us more. And more than that, our pictures are already in his wallet.”

If you ask Bob what he’s been up to, he’d say, “I’m still practicing law and trying to live palms up.  I travel to Uganda often to look for kids forgotten in jails and for bad guys who would hurt them.”

An attorney by profession, Bob is the founder and CEO of Restore International, a non-profit organization fighting injustices committed against children around the world, making a difference for those who do not otherwise have a voice.

Restore has worked with Uganda’s judiciary in more than 200 cases to free children from wrongful imprisonment without trial.

Bob said he wrote Love Does because he wanted to make a difference. He has dedicated all of the proceeds from his book sales to fund the building of schools in these war-torn areas.

“We thought we were just going to build a school in Uganda, but the book sold over a million copies, so now we have schools in Somalia, Iraq, Nepal and soon Nicaragua,” Bob said. They’ve also built two safe houses in Uganda, one in Somalia and an orphanage.

Asked how he got started, Bob said he just started making friends. “If there’s a pattern, find a country in a civil war and start developing friendships there. The big plan is to be helpful. It’s about all the stuff you do, not about trying to figure out who’s right or wrong.”

In the end, Bob said, “We are remembered by the way we love people.”

So, at the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, Bob said, “We’ll be talking about the greatest commandment.” In Matthew 22:37-39, “Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“Saying it is easy, but doing it is hard,” said Bob. When it comes to difficult people, Bob said, “I try to love them 30 seconds at a time. That’s been really good. Then I reset the clock and try again. If we break life down into manageable chunks it makes things doable.”

Instead of starting with people who are like us, Bob suggests we love people who can’t do anything for us and then we don’t have an angle.

He hopes that at the end of reading a book called Love Does that you would ask, ‘So what do I do?” It can be a daunting question; just ask yourself what the next step is and do that.

“For most of us the answer is as simple as picking up the phone, sending an e-mail, writing a letter, buying a plane ticket, or just showing up. After that, things just start happening. Things that perhaps have God’s fingerprints on them.”

To purchase your tickets to the 54th Annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, visit ftlpray.org.

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