It was a pleasant surprise to see a second book by Bob Goff released. His successful first entry gave me the belief he should write another book. But with years of no sign of a follow up had me wondering if he ever would. Well 5 years later his newest title, Everybody Always came to print, and the wait was worth it. With a release date of April 17, 2018, I was even more surprised that I was able to buy a copy over 2 weeks earlier. Bob will not say this is his second book as second books do not usually turn out good. The first draft to his second book was stolen anyways with no saved backup. Since he had to rewrite his draft all over again, he now calls Everybody Always his 3rd book. This may explain the 5 year wait.
Goff keeps the title as simple as his first book by using two words. But those two words again encompass the whole premise of his book. Love Does was 31 chapters. Everybody Always is 24 chapters. Both books have the same amount of pages at 240. This means while there are less chapters, each one is a bit longer at 7-9 pages. At a far glance I thought the cover consisted of miniature balloons. Bob has mentioned his usage of balloons in a few of his stories in both books as well as the cover of Love Does. But they looked too small to be balloons. I then thought it was confetti, but upon a closer look, it was actually in fact fingerprints. So whose fingerprints are those? Well near the end of his book, Goff explains whose fingerprints those are. The explanation of who provides these fingerprints will astound the reader.
In my review of Love Does, I forgot to mention how Goff actually goes out of his way to include his phone number. He does it again in his newest entry and it is still the same phone number. I always wondered how many phone calls he actually received. Goff does share that he has received A LOT of phone calls. This is no surprise considering millions of books gave access to that phone number. He even shares stories from some of the most unexpected people that called him. These 24 chapters display outrageous stories of Goff's life as well as the people he crosses paths with. The places and situations he finds himself in are as captivating as the type of people he mentions. Friends, family, complete strangers, convicted felons, or even enemies. There is a story that contains either laughter, tears, or inspiration.
It is easy to lift Bob up as a radical superhero living his life for Jesus, but he is not afraid to point out his mistakes. He is no different than us. He is still trying to figure this all out. But he does want people to know that while loving difficult people is hard, it does not have to be complex. Is it scary sometimes? Absolutely. But the actual action itself is not complicated. Readers will find surprising results from loving difficult people the way Jesus did. Bob offers far more examples of loving people in his life than any other author I have read before. What is comforting is that readers do not even have to do half of the crazy things Bob has done. These stories inspire the reader to love even in its simplest forms.
"I've heard a lot of people say they wish they could hear from God about this or that. Maybe they mean they want to hear his audible voice. I'm not sure. I don't think literally hearing something is what most of us are after. What we actually want is that extra nudge of confidence from God and the opportunity to move forward courageously to do those things we already know how to do. What a shame it would be if we were waiting for God to say something while He's been waiting on us to do something. He speaks to me the loudest on the way. Simply put, if we want more faith, we need to do more stuff." - page 136
"I've met a lot of people who say they're waiting for God to give them a "plan" for their lives They talk about this "plan" like it's a treasure map God has folded up in His back pocket. Only pirates have those. People who want a reason to delay often wait for plans. People who are becoming love don't. It's almost as if Jesus knew we'd invent excuses under the guise of waiting for His "plan," so He made it simple for us. He said His plan for all of us was to love Him and then find people who are hungry or thirsty or who feel like strangers or are sick or don't have clothes or are in prison or creep us out or are our enemies and go love them just like they were Him." - page 145
As beautiful as this book is, if not understood in context, can paint an inacurate picture of God's character. Readers may comprehend God as being ONLY graceful, merciful, compassionate, and loving. While those are true characteristics, those are not ALL His characteristics. God also has many other characteristics including justice and wrath. For the subject matter of this book, it is fine that Goff paints a picture of God's mercy, grace, compassion, and love. He is not saying those are God's ONLY characteristics. But readers should be aware of this and not see it as God's full character. His grace and mercy is not something to be abused. He will not tolerate continual sin and disobedience. Yes, we should strive to love everybody always. But not at the expense of agreeing with continual sin and disobedience in their lives let alone our own. There is tough love and justice. Goff at least communicates this to a certain degree in the final chapters of his last story.
Like his first book, Goff takes the less traveled path in his writing. He paraphrases what the Bible says rather than providing actual scripture. Readers that want actual scriptural support may challenge his thoughts. It is a fair point and I would caution readers that this is not meant to be a deep theological book. These are Goff's stories and thoughts communicated in the simplest ways. This is why many can appreciate his work. Readers should enjoy this book because the stories are an absolute thrill to read. Do not get caught up on expecting this to be a deep educational book. But also don't ground your entire knowledge on how to live the Christian life through it either. Enjoy the stories. Laugh (a lot), shed some tears, and just maybe be inspired to actually love everybody, always the way Jesus did.
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