In his own inimitable way, Pastor Guy Goodell is challenging the prevailing attitude toward suffering, adversity, and crises found in American Christianity through his newest book, “Living Without Miracles.” With a peerless passion to see the hearts of believers rooted deeply in the love and will of God no matter the cost, Pastor Guy Goodell has written candidly on an intensely troubling issue that has given Christians in this country pause for time immemorial: In the face of unrelenting crises that seem to refute a loving yet all-powerful God, do we still believe in His love, and love Him enough to serve Him through the fires of adversity? While that might be a mouthful, more than that, it is a heart-full which often bears down forcefully against our understanding of the love of God, especially in a country and culture with the glut of abundance, influence, and power found in America and her church.
The book’s thought provoking title adds a layer of mystery and hangs a bit like a curtain over a window making you wonder what’s going on behind it! “It doesn’t deny miracles,” explains Goodell, “what it does is answer a question: If you heard a knock at your door and you went to the door and you opened the door and it was actually God and He requested to come in and sit down and talk with you, and you sat at a table and He sat across from you and He said, ‘I’m getting ready to bring into your lives some really serious problems. There are going to be some crises, there’s going to be a lot of frustration. You’re going to wish that you could have a miracle to get rid of the crisis or remove you from it. However, I just want you to know in advance that you’re going to have to stay in this crisis until I accomplish what I intend to accomplish. I have a question for you before I leave and the question is this, ‘Do you still love me enough to serve me?’ That is the basic theme of the book.”
To that end then, “Living Without Miracles” is a collection of vignettes based upon Goodell’s counseling experiences that offer real-life object lessons on dealing with crisis as a Christian. “It collects a series of stories of people who wanted a miracle to remove their crisis or remove them from the crisis,” Goodell observes. “These are people that I had an opportunity to counsel with and show them that sometimes, a crisis is designed to develop in us, something that could never be developed without a crisis.”
Continuing, he says, “Therefore, you can’t expect God to do like some clown at a Memorial Day parade that goes around tossing candy to spectators. A lot of people have the attitude that, if I just had a miracle, if the clown would just toss me some miracle candy, I could get out of this mess and I wouldn’t have to deal with it.”
He adds, “That’s the direction of the whole book. Not only do I introduce principles, but I also show how each set of circumstances in their lives developed because they either applied these principles or they didn’t develop because they didn’t apply the principles to their lives.”
Paul’s words in Acts 14:22 seem to resonate through Goodell’s thesis, “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.’”
“I think we need to reverse the shallow approach to Christianity and recognize that we’re not going to grow if we don’t have some pressure,” he says fervently.” The Apostle Paul, in his two letters, (1 and 2 Corinthians), he actually lists all of his trials, tribulations, and difficulties and if there’s anybody you would expect to be able to call for a miracle to be delivered from something, it would be the writer of two-thirds of the New Testament.” Goodell adds emphatically, “He says on one occasion, after he lists the trials, the beatings, the whippings and the adversity, and the difficulties, ‘but none of these things moved me.’ He was actually unshaken.” Point taken, in this world we will have tribulation (John 16:33) it is part and parcel of walking with God, expecting it and expecting God to use it for His glory will help shape a godly attitude and response toward crises!
However, Goodell points out that the source of our adversity can be critical to God’s responses — particularly when we are intentionally disobedient to the Word. “I think one of the big problems and one I tried to cover in this book, was that a lot of people create a crisis for themselves by violating God’s Word and then when they violate God’s Word, they haven’t accepted the consequences that come from that,” he explains. “I give some Old and New Testament Scripture where God promises certain results from disobedience and certain results from obedience. If you create your own crisis, God isn’t going to send a miracle to show approval of your disobedience.”
After more than half-a-century of ministry, Pastor Guy G. Goodell knows whereof he speaks. He has pastored for decades and has preached everywhere from prisons to street corners. He has also founded churches and fought for Christian education rights all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where he emerged victorious. Goodell has also conducted over 200 seminars for various Christian educators’ conventions, helped establish churches and training centers in Haiti, and cooperated with the Reagan Administration to smuggle Bibles into the Soviet Union. Additionally, he has established Bible colleges and seminaries in Romania and several former Soviet Union countries.
All this on top of multiple articles for countless news outlets and Christian publishing groups, the authorship of numerous books, and the creation and leadership of the Strength for Living Counseling Center through his local church. And as if all this wasn’t enough, he shepherds Greater Glens Falls Bible Baptist Church, located in Hudson Falls, New York, while recently making a commitment to author one book a year until the Lord takes him home.
Oh, and did I mention a pilot’s license, a Ph.D., years of university-level teaching experience, and two-years of studying the Russian language? To say he refuses to rust out, but is instead committed to burning out ablaze with Christ’s love might help us see the picture the way it is (while making us all a bit uncomfortable about our own accomplishments — or lack thereof).
The 77 year-old Goodell was born in Jacksonville, Florida to alcoholic parents who left his home life with a lot to be desired. They surrendered their lives to the Lord when young Guy was about 12 years-old, and the change in them was so stark and jarring that he followed suit roughly a year later.
His call to the ministry came when he joined the military and a Southern Baptist chaplain who took an interest in him challenged him. “He began talking to me about the call to preach and he began talking to me about God’s power on my life,” explains Goodell. “He would train me and have me lead Bible studies on a volunteer basis in the barracks in the old Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado.” He continues, “Those guys were all going into combat so he wanted to be sure that I gave them the Gospel and gave them the opportunity to get saved. That was when I really came to the realization that God had His hand on me and that I needed to surrender my life to preach.”
Married some 50-plus years with two children and three grandchildren, Pastor Goodell spends most of his time at Greater Glens Falls Bible Baptist Church where he pastors. As might be expected, his church cooperates with many similar organizations to spread God’s Word world-wide. The fellowship has multiple ministries that, in addition to preaching and teaching, include counseling, evangelizing, missions, children’s programs, an onsite bookstore, a Christian K-12 School, and a Bible Institute/College program.
Pastor Guy is the quintessential servant-leader as reflected in his personal philosophy of leadership. “Basically,” he reflects thoughtfully, “my philosophy of leadership is for me to be a model of the truth I want people to adopt for their own lives.”
“Living Without Miracles” is available from its publisher, King James Baptist Publishers, or conventional Internet outlets such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple E-books, or Christian Book Distributors (CBD). Additionally, it can be ordered through the Website of Pastor Guy’s church, located at www.ggfbbc.org.