Author calls students to love in faith

Bob Goff spoke to students during Chapel Monday morning in Waco Hall. Josh Aguirre | Multimedia Journalist

By Rewon Shimray | Cartoonist

“You thought this was chapel. It’s actually an intervention.”

Bob Goff, New York Times best-selling author and diplomat in the honorary consul for Uganda challenged students to express their faith by loving others in Chapel Monday morning in Waco Hall.

Burt Burleson, University Chaplain, introduced Goff as “One of those children of God who fight against injustice brought against children.”

“Love Does” is the title of Goff’s best-selling book and nonprofit organization. His organization works to provide education and employment in post conflict zones around the world, including Iraq, Nepal, Uganda, Somalia and India.

Goff referenced Galatians 5:6, which states “the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love,” as the inspiration behind his work.

Killeen sophomore James Wallace said Goff was “so aware of the darkness in the world” as a Uganda diplomat, “and yet he is probably the most joyful anybody in the room had seen or heard from, so his outlook opened everyone’s eyes.”

Goff entered the stage saying, “Opa! It’s good to see you! I’m Bob!”

Wallace attended twice to hear Goff speak. He said he had heard about Love Does beforehand, as a “really popular book, especially in the Christian youth group community.”

“Dude’s crazy. That was my first thought when he came onto the stage. He just exuded crazy,” Wallace said. “Because he was so entertaining, [the students] were totally engaged and were super interested in what he had to say.”

Goff tailored his message toward believers who struggled with sharing their testimony with others.

“We spend all this time talking about what Jesus meant. We don’t do the things that Jesus did,” Goff said.

Goff said Jesus honored the people around him by making himself available to everyone. Inspired by Jesus’ “extravagant availability,” Goff put his cell phone number in his book to talk with or answer any questions to his readers.

“Living a life like Jesus leads to constant interruption,” Goff said.

He dared students to a similar act by answering every call they receive for a week.

Goff himself strives to follow this rule of thumb. Goff said there is a man who calls him exclusively to swear at him, but he ends every conversation assuring the caller that he will always pick up and listen.

Goff said a report card on faith is looking at how you treat people you avoid the most.

“Your faith is a sum of everything you’re holding onto and everything you’re letting go of,” Goff said.

Goff illustrates this concept by cutting off the left pocket on all of his pants. The right pocket represents what he holds close to him. The left represents what he chooses to emotionally and spiritually release. Most often, what he releases is comfort.

Wallace said it can be difficult to share the gospel in the direct manner that is found “among the evangelical community.” Goff said he hopes that thinking of the gospel as a call to love others will “make faith simple, but not easy.”

“Jesus doesn’t need us to defend him or to tell people that they need him. He’s going to take care of that. So, what his [Goff’s] challenge to us was to love people, and do that in the simplest way and do that well. So rather than being an evangelist that says ‘you need Jesus,’ love people and let Jesus show himself to them,” Wallace said.

“Beforehand, I had the feeling of being guilty of not sharing his word enough, or something cliche like that, but after, I felt free to love people and trust in the fact that Jesus doesn’t need me necessarily to say his name, but be able to if the opportunity comes up. The love speaks for itself.”

Goff challenged students to “love everybody always,” starting with the people that creeped them out the most.

Goff suggested students to begin trying to understand their enemies’ situation by thinking of the “least creepiest explanation.” Goff said students didn’t have to travel internationally to make a difference.

“Jesus isn’t dazzled when we go across the ocean. He’s wowed when we go across the street,” Goff said.

Students can create change where they are, according to Goff.

Wallace said Goff’s message affirmed his decision to follow his passion of photography in college. While he knows it may not “make enough money” or “give a certain image,” Wallace said he loves that photography is a “way to display God’s creativity.”

“I want to use what I’ve got to get what I want,” Goff said.

Along with speaking at Chapel, Goff met with students at an “Impact the World Conversation” at the Bobo Spiritual Life Center at and a keynote address on leadership development in 506 Cashion on Monday night.