Fidelity to a Worthy Purpose

Helen Keller once said, “People have the wrong idea about True Happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through a fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

Truer words have rarely been spoken. 
As the walls seem to be closing in around you, with the stresses of work, finances, relationships, world politics, it can all give you a feeling of helplessness. 

In my years on this Earth, I have found one of the best remedies is to take the spotlight off of yourself and focus on others. What can you do for someone else?

Look to those around you that are hurting and in need, ask them, “What can I do for you? What can I do to ease your burdens and your pain?”
With this I am beginning a campaign, #ForACauseFriday 

Each week I am going to post a photo to bring attention to a worthy cause. Worthy of your time, money or resources in helping others.

October being breast cancer awareness month (and that being something close to my heart) we will start with the Susan G. Komen Foundation (ww5.komen.org)

In the coming weeks I will seek out other worthy causes to shine the light on. 

I ask for you to join me, send me pics or drop me a note. What is your worthy purpose?  

 Let’s show the world that people still care about other people

#ForACauseFriday #RealMenWearPink #ForMyMom

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Family Legacy

As the calendar turns to fall each year, my heart is filled with mixed emotions.

I am an old soul with ties to the Midwest. I love the crisp air of the fall, the leaves changing from green to orange and yellow. However I live in California, where the only change in color is when the landscape goes from brown, to orange and yellow to black as wildfires blast across the land ravaged by another hot summer.

The Fall also leads up to the big family holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. And who doesn’t like that.

However as the years have gone by, the Fall has also had its share of family tragedy. This week will mark the 30th year since my Mother lost her battle to cancer. In November it will be 10 years since I got the call that my Dad’s health had taken a turn for the worse and he was heading to hospice care.

Over the years I have spent a lot of time battling depression at the end of the year, as the holidays roll in and I am left with just memories of two of the people I loved the most.

As the years have passed, I have gotten better and with conversations with friends and family, along with the Men of The Grove, I have been able to talk about the good times without reliving the bad times.

That is a big thing for a guy that LOVES to tell stories. And in the past year, as I am making family plans of my own, I have found myself able to talk about the past and tell stories from my childhood about my Mom and Dad and not get choked up, and lose it.

Just last week at Bible study we were discussing how we carry ourselves as Christians, and I brought up what I learned from my Dad. How he always lead by example. and would never judge others. He would let you know where he stood on things, but never beat you over the head with it. He instead chose to live out his life as an example of his love for God.

As I was talking about this I found myself in full storyteller mode, and I brought up how he had these people he knew at work, Jim and Cheryle Parsons. I didn’t really know all of the people in the room, but I knew the Parsons had been prominent members of our church at Liberty Baptist, prior to Jim’s death a few years ago. I knew everyone would know who I was talking about (one of the people was even wearing a JKOMs T-shirt, the brand sold by Cheryle).

I talked about how at some point God put it on my Dad’s heart to bring the Parsons to church. Our families had interacted on occasion, his kids and their kids were the same age. So he started going over to their house and inviting them to church. It didn’t matter that they drank and smoked, or didn’t have the “right” background. My Dad did not treat them as if they were something less, he just let his actions do the talking and they responded.

They started coming to church with us at Magnolia Ave. Baptist, and were saved. Our families spent a lot of time together, especially in the months leading up to my Mom’s passing.

That was more than 30 years ago, and the Parsons and the Goffs are still together. The younger Parsons, Travis is married to my sister, Betsy. I sit in church in Sunday school and church with Josh Parsons and his wife and kids.

Despite my Mom and Dad and Jim not being around anymore, our families are as tight as ever. We celebrate the good times together, we mourn the bad ones. And we do it all in the Faith that we got from our Parents.

The point of my story was that it would have been easy for my Dad to go in guns blazing, thumping the Parsons over the head with his Bible, telling them to repent. It would have been easy for them to reject what he had to say.

I am so grateful for how things turned out. I am am always trying to live up to the example that my Father set. And as I head into a life of raising three boys, I pray that I can leave the same kind of example for them.

 

 

 

Revival time

I have been listening to and enjoying Third Day’s music for quite some time now. I have blogged before on how their music speaks out to me, just as I need it the most.

As they are well into their second decade of Christian music, I am always interested when they come out with a new album. Always intrigued by what kind of new twist they are going to bring to their classic southern rock sound.

Over the years they have gone from Rock, to worship, to live albums. Their latest album “Revival” is a throwback to the Gospel sound they all grew up on.

The title track “Revival” grabs you from the start …

“Anybody here looking for revival; In our own hearts and across the land
Anybody looking for a revival; Lift up your voice and say Amen”

As you let the entire album play, you can just feel the Holy Spirit wash over you.

Gonna Be There With Me; Leave This World BehindIn Your Hands

Take your pick, all are filled with the Word of God, and the smooth sounds of Mac Powell’s deep voice.

“Faithful and true” just might be my favorite of the bunch …

“More than I could ever hope for, More than I would ever need
Everything I’ve ever been or ever hoped to be
It’s all because of You, Your love is faithful and true”

Take a moment to listen …

 

Or maybe Let There Be Light

“Let there be light, Where there is darkness
Let there be hope, When there is none
Let there be peace, In the midst of sorrow
Let there be love, To bring us back home
To bring us back home”

 

We live in trying times and are desperately more in need of a Revival than ever before, and here is Third Day with a new message.

I have found over the years that Third Day has a song for just about everything you are going through. From dealing with loss and sorrow, to struggling to find your way through life’s storms, Third Day always seems to hit the right note and find the right words to say.

Or rather God finds a way to deliver his message through them. And He is always Faithful and True.

 

It’s a GOFF thing, I pray you understand

Two weeks ago, I was heading into church on another beautiful Sunday morning. As the worship songs began to play, I pulled out my phone to mute it, and I opened up Facebook to “check in”and let people know I was feeling blessed to be at church.

As my post cleared, I was about to put my phone away when I saw a post from my cousin Jared, speaking about his Dad, my uncle Mark. I had to read it twice to make sure I understood. As I saw the “RIP” at the end, my heart sank, and I fell to my seat. As I read it again, trying to wrap my head around it, the tears began to fall.

My girlfriend Tonya asked what was going on, I had no words, I just handed her my phone. After the first song it was time for the welcome, and I saw my opportunity and made a break for the door. I was consumed with grief.

As a journalist, when things happen my curiosity takes over and I want answers, but this was a different feeling.

My old friend Art Cobb had followed me out, and prayed with us. I pulled myself together enough to slide back into the service. I sat down in time to hear Pastor Mark Beigle get into his prepared sermon on how when the storms of life come calling, as Christians we need to rely on our Faith in Jesus and His promises. And the darker the storm is when we find out what we really believe.

Sometimes you just have to look to the Heavens say, “I know that was you, God” and give Him a nod for always being on point.

Military and first responders will tell you how they get through the toughest of times is that they rely on their training.

Christian hip hop artist Lecrae says, “when the storm’s brewin’, and when the tide’s high
That’s when I lean into the truth that I abide by.”

I am a member of the Goff Family. Our training that we fall back on is the Word of God.

My Grandfather, Harold Goff preached from the pulpit in churches from Ohio to West Virginia. He raised his seven children on the teachings of Jesus. They went on to raise their kids the same way, and today I watch as my fellow cousins are raising their kids with the same love for God.

I can attest, this family has seen more than it’s share of storms over the years. And in times of trial, we lean on our Faith. It is ingrained in us.

It’s a Goff thing.

So as I reached out to my family on that day, I could not help but rely on my training. I turned to the word for understanding. As I thought of Mark, I thought about what a man’s man he was, but how he was also was a loving man,

I thought of one of my favorite verses. In the past month Pastor Beigle has been going through I Corinthians at Wednesday night prayer meetings. It is one of my favorite books of the Bible.

“Be on the alert, Stand firm in the Faith, Act Like Men, Be Strong” — I Corinthians 16:13

It is a very manly sounding verse. Like a Chuck Knoll or Vince Lombardi halftime speech, it fires you up.

Watch out, be aware of your surroundings. Standing firm, cleats in the ground, gathered together with your brothers in arms, ready for an attack.

Act Like Men — in some translations it says “Be Courageous.” I like that those two phrases are considered synonymous.

Being courageous is not about being fearless. Having fear is part of being human. Being courageous is about having the ability to overcome your fear and do what needs to be done.

Uncle Mark was every bit of that.

I also know that you can’t just cherrypick verses from the Bible to suit you, you have to give it context, and look at the surrounding verses to get the whole story.

In this case you just have to look at the next verse.

“Do All Things in LOVE.” — I Corinthians 16:14

Jesus tells us that if we have Faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. And Paul tells us that if we have Faith that can move mountains, but have not Love, it is useless.  We are commanded to prepare for the storms, to be on the alert for attack, but if we act without Love, we are nothing.

Uncle Mark was every bit of that verse too.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean your life is going to be perfect, it means you will be better prepared when the storms come.

I will be traveling to Ohio this weekend, as the Goff family will gathers together at Country View Baptist Church to say our goodbyes (for now) to Mark Goff, beloved son, father, uncle. We will once again weather the storm together. We will fall back on our training. And on the Word of God.

Third Day does a great version of the old Rich Mullins song, “Creed.” The chorus goes, “I believe what I believe in, it’s what makes me what I am.”

As Goffs, that is what we believe.

And we will find God’s Love, Grace, Kindness and Mercy waiting for us, as it always has.

 

 

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How can I help you today?

In time of uncertainty, we all have something we fall back on.

If you ask military types or first responders, they will tell you to “always remember your training.”

For me, that takes me back to things I learned from my parents.

A lot of people have stories about their Dad that involve things he said. “Dad always said …”

My Dad was  more a man of action. So when I find myself at a crossroads, or a time of crisis, I try to think of the things my Dad did. As I look back, Dad was always praying. My fondest memories include him sitting at the kitchen table in the morning eating a bowl of Cherrios and reading his Bible.

As my life becomes more complicated, and I edge closer to some major changes — professionally and personally — I have been following my Father’s example and praying to find the correct path to take.

But in my experience, as the walls start to close in on you, sometimes you need to take a step back and take the focus off of yourself.

The other thing you would always find my Dad doing was helping others. Even during his biggest struggles in life, he would always be finding ways he could help you, any way he could.

As I have been pondering all of this, I received my daily email from Air1 Radio, with their Bible Verse of the Day.  Sometimes I open it and take a look, other times I can get busy and not see what they send me. Today I looked …

“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them, intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them” — I Timothy 2:1

Sometimes God is not so subtle with his message.

The Bible calls for us to be subject to one another, to serve one another. So in setting aside all of my own drama and worries … what can I do to help you.

I am not quite the handy man my Dad was, but I can still help. What do you need today? Do you need lifted up in prayer, someone to lean on, a shoulder to cry on, or just an ear to listen. I am here for you.

A while back I had a friend call, with some personal family issues that were getting out of control. He was not a “religious” person, but he knows where I am with things, so he spilled all of the family drama to me, not really looking for advice, so much, as someone to just listen, and say a prayer.

Sometimes it seems like that is not doing much, but for a person in need, it can make all the difference in the world.

I am here for you. If we all took time to set aside our own drama and unselfishly help one another, maybe we come to realize our own problems aren’t so big.

As usual, I have a song in mind. Toby Mac’s “I’m for You” where he asks to “let me be the voice through all the noise”

“Whatever I gotta be, I’ll be for you. Whatever you need from me, To see you through …”

“I know the feeling
I know it’s real when the drama’s all in your face
You see a mountain
I hear a promise – it’s never more than we can take
Well it ain’t over, ’til it’s over
We can learn from our mistakes
So let me be the voice through all the noise”

I am praying for you all, and giving thanks …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Eddie Ray!

As I get older and begin new experiences in my life, the more I find myself saying things and behaving in ways my Father did.

As I reflect on the life of Edward Ray Goff on what would have been his 67th birthday, nearly 10 years after his passing, I begin to realize just how many things I learned over the years. Every thing from history, to mechanics and mannerisms to relying on my Faith in God..

I have been spending a lot of time with my girlfriend Tonya and her three boys, and I find myself pointing things out to them. Teaching them things from the history of certain places to how things work.

On trip to Las Vegas we stopped off at the Hoover Dam. While the boys (who are 13, 11 and 8) didn’t seem impressed at all, I continued pointing out how the whole thing worked. Telling them how the water turns the turbines, creating electricity, which powers places like Las Vegas and in Arizona.

Sometimes they are impressed with what I know, other times not so much.

Dad had a mechanics mind. He was the builder of The Living Christmas Tree at Magnolia Avenue Baptist Church. He knew how all the pieces fit together so that it not only looked great, but was structurally sound and safe for the kids to climb on and perform.

He didn’t have a college degree, but he had a lifetime of experiences in figuring how things worked, and loved to share his knowledge.

Whether it was changing the oil in our cars, or trips to places like Hoover Dam or the state capital, Dad loved to explain how things worked, and I always took notice.

He wasn’t very athletic, but he taught me how to play baseball, how to golf and how to bowl. If there were mechanics involved, he could break it down and show you how to do it.

But there were plenty of other things that he didn’t have to teach, because he showed you be example, especially when it came to his Faith.

One of my clearest memories is of him sitting at the kitchen table, eating his Cheerios, reading his Bible. That was how he started every day. In good times and bad, and there were plenty of both, he was never far from the Word.

No matter what was going on in his life he always showed the Love that his God had showed him. Never judging, never assuming, he just Loved on people.

As I carry out my days on this Earth, I try to live up to the bar that he set. I try to live up to his legacy, always showing people kindness and respect,  whether they deserved it or not. Help people in need, and – above all else – Love one another.

In an ever threatening world, sometimes the simplest things seem the hardest to do, but they usually are the only things that will make a difference.

I miss you Dad, every day. Thank you for the example that you left behind. Happy Birthday!

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Favorite Christmas Story

This time of year has always been special. Family and friends gathering together, with lots of food, music and fun.

And let’s not forget the storytelling. The sharing of Christmas’ gone by. Over the years stories get told, embellished and re-told to new faces.

They are the stories that you may have heard a thousand tomes, but they bring a smile to your face each and every time you hear them, and you look forward to getting a chance to share them with someone new.

I was reminded of this recently, when a certain 8-year-old was upset that his older brothers had told an embarrassing story about him. I told him that was common among siblings, and proceeded to tell him a story from my childhood.

Probably my favorite Christmas Story … which is commonly known in the family as “The Waffle Maker Story.”

It was Christmas 1977 (I think, or maybe ’76), we were living in Ohio. I was just 2 or 3 years old. Some of my earliest memories are of our house on Bagley Road, which had a big bay window in front, and I remember looking out that window at all of the snow piling up outside (which was also a big reason we wound up back in sunny Southern California).

This particular Christmas, Mom had made it clear she wanted a waffle maker. And I don’t mean one of those little plastic things they sell now, I am talking about the heavy, cast-iron deals from Sears and Roebuck. Someone else had one she had borrowed and she really wanted one of her own.

One day while she was out of the house, Dad pulled out some stuff he had gotten for Christmas and began wrapping them and putting them under the tree, including a big box with a waffle maker in it.

As We were wrapping it up, I saw Mom coming up the walk. Dad grabbed all of the wrapping supplies and the waffle maker and headed for the bedroom. I jumped about like one of the three stooges, then followed him.

Mom came through the door in time to see us heading up the hallway. Dad put the stuff on the bed and told me to keep the door closed and not let Mom in until he had finished wrapping.

Mom was knocking on the door and wanted it, Dad was telling me not to. Mom asked what we were doing, and in the chaos, I blurted out, “You can’t come in Mom, we’re wrapping your waffle maker!”

Dad gave me his best, “You’re killing me, smalls” look and told me to open the door. When I did, I found my Mom sitting in the floor, head in her hands, laughing so hard she was crying.

And on Christmas morning she acted surprised when she tore the paper off of her new waffle maker. And we had waffles for breakfast.

To this day my sister and I will use the “Don’t come in” line when it is needed.

It is my favorite Christmas Story because it shows the kind of loving, joyful, caring house that I grew up in. It reminds me of my parents, who are no longer around, and how much they loved the holidays.

As I told this story to 8-year-old Trevor, he busted up laughing, which got me laughing. And that is what sharing your old stories are all about.

At our Christmas party a few days ago, my old friend Andrea told her favorite Christmas story, one that also included my Dad.

One Christmas Eve she was just about to set out some cookies for Santa, when there was a big knock at the door, and a hefty, “Ho, Ho, Ho!”

She threw the cookies in the air and sprinted off to bed, only to find out it was my Dad and Uncle Marv, coming to pick up a Christmas gift they had hidden in their garage. My uncle had won a three-wheel motor bike. They wound up running it around the neighborhood before bringing it home.

My addition to the story was that once they brought it home, one of my cousins wound up running it over the embankment behind our house.

As you go throughout this holiday season be sure to share your favorite Christmas story.