By Good News Today Staff
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A hookah bar in Saudi Arabia. Gay friends in Durango. A forest fire sweeping toward a Colorado youth camp. All three can help improve on Christian love?
Yes, and all three feature prominently in Andy Braner’s new book—No Fear In Love—Loving Others the Way God Loves Us. Available May 19, this uncommon book from the bracingly uncommon youth leader challenges readers to love people God’s way—brokenness and all—and to trust that God stays in control.
“It’s in our unlikely encounters that God shows love boldly and without reservation,” Braner said. “And my only conclusion is to love his way too—based not on the other person’s performance or familiarity to me but simply because God created and loves that person.”
Braner is founder of Ahava Ministries, helping young people see the world through Jesus’ eyes. In a typical year Andy speaks to more than 100,000 students, parents and teachers around the world—and works with hundreds of young people at Ahava’s Camp Kivu in Colorado. In No Fear In Love, he traces his personal journey through 21st-century cultures and to loving people nothing like him.
“We Christians, myself included, lock onto the appearances, blind to the core fears common to every person,” Andy says. “So what if, just for a moment, we forgot about our own safety, security and sense of normalcy? What if we looked past the obvious to connect for real?”
Braner’s story takes readers to a hookah bar in Saudi Arabia and a meeting with a Muslim imam—a man he reflexively feared. And yet that meeting opened a conversation about how Jesus is viewed from differing perspectives. With a group of gay friends, Braner learned to listen without prejudice: to understand as he wished to be understood. As for the forest fire raging straight for Camp Kivu, and all he and his wife, Jamie Jo, had poured their lives into . . . it passed them by in a way even local firefighters called miraculous. And it taught Andy about trust.
In a world connected but contentious, Braner says, Christians are too well known for all they’re against. But to an unbelieving world, is that the best way to show God’s love? With deep insight and compelling storytelling, No Fear In Love hands readers new glasses to see a world in flux through God’s timeless perspective.
“Braner nails it with No Fear in Love. No simple platitudes, just real-life stories soaked in truth that will set you free.” Carl Medearis, author of Adventures in Saying Yes: A Journey from Fear to Faith
“The pathway of authentic love has led Andy past fear and into that wonderful, adventurous place where ‘the other’ becomes a friend. Like Andy, I’m learning that’s often where Jesus does his best work in and through us.”
Lynne Hybels, advocate for global engagement, Willow Creek Community Church
No Fear In Love is available online now for preorder and for sale in stores and online May 19.