Eugene Cho

Garrett Swasey: Christ Follower, Son, Husband, Father, Pastor, and Police Officer. We see you. We honor you.


It’s just utterly tragic. I’m just starting to read the tragic news of the shootings at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs. Information is still being gathered for the shooter, his motivations, and the victims.

One of the killed was a first responder – Officer Garrett Swasey, a six year veteran of the campus police force of Univ. of Colorado (Colorado Springs).

Let’s be honest: There’s been so much horrible news of police brutality throughout our country…news of police abusing their power and authority including and especially with their engagement with Black Americans. As some of you may know, I’ve been a vocal supporter of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Yet, if we’re not wise and discerning, we can make a similar kind of tragic mistake by making sweeping generalizations over the entire police force …. similar generalizations (aka profiling) that our black and brown community have been protesting over (and rightfully so). Couple of my friends who are in the police force have shared this very new reality and tension:

“Eugene, folks don’t see us as human beings any more. They just see the uniform and thus, public enemy #1. We begin each day with two strikes against us.”

The irony of these words are that they are eerily similar to the stories I hear from my black and brown friends…”two strikes against us.” These are indeed challenging and complex times….ones that require much prayer, courage, tenacity, and humility.

One easier-said-than-done way we can seek to remedy and fight against such broad stereotypes and generalizations is to choose to “see” each person.  This is clearly complex in the face of enormous structural issues and yet, this is so critical for us as Christians because we believe that each person is created in the Imago Dei – the image of God.

Clearly, I did not personally know Office Garrett. Never knew him. Never heard of him. And only now starting to soak in various narratives about his life. He was only 44 – one year younger than me. I’m sure like all of us, he had his flaws and failures but in reading about his story, this I know: I wish I had known him.

Garrett wasn’t just a good police officer. In other words, he was more than his uniform but even his uniform had purpose that was informed by his character and faith. He was also the husband to his wife, Rachel, and father to their two children: Elijah and Faith. All that knew him speaks deeply of his courage and faith in Christ. In fact, he we was also a co-pastor of a local church in Colorado Springs called Hope Chapel.

“Here’s a guy who worked full time as a police officer, and then gave a great amount of time to his local church and didn’t get a dime for it,” said Scott Dontanville, a co-pastor who knew Officer Swasey for 15 years. “He did it because it was the thing that he felt he needed to do.” [source]

Garrett Swasey: Christ Follower, Son, Husband, Father, Pastor, and Police Officer.

I never had the privilege of meeting you but…We see you. We honor you. We lift your wife, kids, family, church, and all those that are grieving your passing in heart and prayers. It is an honor to call you a brother-in-Christ and fellow co-laborer of the Gospel. Thank you for your courage and faith. As many mourn and grieve, may their tears turn to a growing peace – knowing that you are united and at peace with our God: Father, Savior, and Spirit.

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After Charleston: An Open Letter to White Christians from a White Female Pastor


We are all still in shock and pain. Yesterday, I wrote these brief words on social media about the tragic events at Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina.

There’s a time to argue issues and there’s a time to just grieve, mourn, weep. Now is that time to grieve, mourn, weep.

Tomorrow will come and may God give us wisdom and courage to be both fierce and gentle, prophetic and pastoral…in pursuit of God’s Kingdom here on this earth.

But today…we lament. We lament. We lament.

Well, we continue to lament, and grieve, and weep. And as we do so, we must have the courage indeed to be both fierce and gentle, prophetic and pastoral. We must have the courage to speak up. Today, I asked Rev. Liz Mosbo Verhage, one of our pastors at Quest Church and also an adjunct professor at North Park Theological Seminary, for permission to share her courageous post entitled, “An Open Letter to White Christians From a White Female Pastor.” 

Please take a read. Please take this heart.

An Open Letter to White Christians from a White Female Pastor

I am grieving and lamenting and beyond angry over what feels like open season on the Black Community/Church right now in the United States.

White Christians, this is the time to pay attention and be part of our nation’s struggle to understand and address the continual violence happening against our black sisters and brothers. When one part of the Body hurts we all hurt – when one part of the Body is repeatedly targeted, killed, not protected, pulled out of swimming pools, seen as threats when unarmed – and then misrepresented, silenced, or made small through ahistoric excuses, side-stepping through political mess, or any other form of evil – we need to stand up. We need to show up – loudly. We need to demand a different response – and start with our people in the church.

White church – and the wider church in general – this is the time for all of us to engage. Read the rest of this entry »

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The injustice in McKinney reminds us again that we desperately need a fresh imagination of restorative justice.


I need to share some thoughts. And I know that some of you may get confused, upset, or angry. That’s ok.

This past week, we saw another example of egregious mis-use of power; We witnessed another example or byproduct of systems, institutions, and structures that’s skewed or distorted; That diminishes the value of black bodies as lesser than…That’s what racism is. Not only can people be racist but what’s even more dangerous are structures that are distorted in such ways that it can be racialized … and people don’t even know. Which explains why after every nearly episode (Ferguson, Baltimore, Cleveland, McKinney, etc.) so many ask, “How is that racist?”

This is why – even at personal costs – we have to begin and continue to name certain things. Just name it! What officer Eric Casebolt did was wrong. He was out of control.

So, what’s justice in this situation? Is justice ensuring that he gets suspended or fired or forced to resign? That’s what happened, right? He resigned. (I initially thought he was fired). So, justice is served, right? On to the next story. Read the rest of this entry »

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Quest Church has purchased the building formerly known as Mars Hill Church. Full transparency: Here’s why and how.


Update: Quest is currently renovating our new space and will be hosting our first service in our new location on Sunday, September 13.

I have some big news to share – news that will likely solicit mixed emotions for many people.

If you’re an internet junkie, it’s possible that you may have already heard as I’ve been receiving my share of texts and tweets. About two weeks ago, Quest Church – the church I lead – purchased Mars Hill Church (Ballard). Yes, that Mars Hill Church.

Since then, there’s been a trickling of blogs, online news, and television reports that have covered this. As such, there’s also been a trickling of criticism of why we would do business with MH, questions about the transactions, and simply, erroneous info about Quest on the blogosphere.

No, Quest is not a social gospel church. No, I’m not a socialist. No, we’re not an emergent church. No, I’m not an Angry Asian (OK, only sometimes). No, Quest is not a cult. No, I was not in a boy band in the 80s. Blah blah blah.

Because Quest deeply values transparency and integrity, I thought it would be good to answer the most common questions we’ve received thus far. We have nothing to hide and would actually ask for your help to clarify any false information or rumors that you may hear. We share this because of the highly sensitive firestorm surrounding MH this past year. We share this because we covet your support and prayers. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Drop Box film. Why it’s complicated, why it matters, and why you should watch it.

It’s true. The topics of orphan care and adoption are incredibly complex.

Anyone that says otherwise are naive or selling something. It’s complicated on their own and even more complicated in the same sentence. And even more complicated when you engage it on local, national, and international level. They might be undergirded by certain same principles but they can (and should) look different on the ground. There’s no one simple, generic solution. And whenever solutions are presented, eventually – surely enough – loopholes are found to be exploited or what’s relevant in one context and culture may not be as relevant – or even dangerous – in another context.

Adoption – locally and globally – are fraught with complexities and even justice issues. It’s sad but that is sometimes the case when people [in this case, adoptees and especially young children/babies] are seen as commodities – particularly in international adoption. When we speak about adoption or orphan care, we must begin with two overarching principles for us as followers of Christ: 1) God cares for children and thus, 2) Children must matter to us – their well being, their safety, and their future. But often times, children themselves are often what’s most forgotten in these conversations, complexities, and politics.

Having said that – and while others may disagree with me, my conviction about international adoption is that we must seek to keep children with their biological families if at all possible – if children are in a safe environment. This needs to be the pervasive ethic so that economics isn’t the ruling factor – especially with international adoption.

Now, having said that, we know that we don’t always live in a society and culture of ideals and thus, the tension. This is why orphan care and adoption require much prayer, discernment and critical thinking.

This leads me to a film that I’d like to encourage you to watch: The Drop Box.

The Drop Box is a powerful documentary coming to theaters in March of 2015.

The film tells the story of Lee Jong-Rak, a pastor in Seoul, South Korea, and his wife, who built a drop box at the front of his church as a safe location for babies who are otherwise abandoned on the streets. It has an inspiring message for all of us, challenging us to consider what role we might play in advocating for orphans and supporting adoptive families.

Read the rest of this entry »

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There will come a time to hope but for now, we mourn. We lament.


“…Mourn with those who mourn.” [Romans 12:15]

This picture.

Oh no, not again.
Just utter pain.
Deep lament.

It hurts to just stare at this photo and even more so, to imagine the shrieks and intensity of this father’s deep scream. Read the rest of this entry »

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In prison or in freedom, the good news is that God has not abandoned us. Christ is with us…

Over two years ago on November 3, 2012, we heard about Kenneth Bae’s arrest in North Korea.


Over a year ago on August 10, 2013, we held a special prayer vigil for Kenneth Bae and his family.

2021587226 Read the rest of this entry »

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Pray for the people of North Korea. Lord, may your light shine forth.


I’m sitting in front of my computer and I’m crying. And I can’t stop.

There’s a tidal wave of emotions. As a follower of Jesus, I’m ecstatic over Kenneth Bae’s release from jail. Many will know that he was detained in North Korea not because he was trying to topple its government but because of his faith in Christ and his love for the people of North Korea. And while many question the wisdom of going to a country like North Korea, I know that following Christ will sometimes lead us to places that might be irrational to many – even to the Church.

As a pastor, I’m overwhelmed with joy for Terri and Andy Chung, and their two daughters. Terri is Kenneth’s younger sister and their family worships at the church I lead, Quest Church. Having had numerous meetings with Terri’s mother, Myunghee, I can’t imagine how she must be feeling right now. For goodness sake, her love and devotion to her son led her to visit him in North Korea about a year ago. Just last Sunday, our church spent time hearing from Terri and praying for their family. It was emotional as we pondered his two years in captivity. Kenneth was in captivity for a total of 735 days…and tonight, they will be reunited.

And as I genuinely rejoice…

I’m reminded of what remains: a people under a brutal regime. Approximately 24.5 million people.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Two years. 730 days and counting. It’s time to release Kenneth Bae. #BringBaeBack

This is a deeply personal post and I hope you’ll take a moment to read it and share the video above. While I have never met Kenneth Bae personally, his sister and family attend the church I lead, Quest Church. He is an American citizen. He is also a son, a father, a husband, a brother…and also a follower of Christ. I do not know him personally but I consider him a brother-in-Christ. Yes, he is a missionary although he was not directly doing ‘missions’ work in North Korea but he was captured on November 3, 2012.

If you do the quick math, today marks 2 years. That’s 730 days. And every day adds another day to what is already the longest detainment of an American citizen in North Korea. Read the rest of this entry »

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When your daughter’s name means “Joy of God” and yet, joy becomes the biggest challenge. #HappyBirthdayJubilee


It’s hard to believe but it’s true. Time doesn’t stop for anyone. While I think I still kinda sorta wanna look young, I’m reminded how old I’m getting when I see my children. Today, my eldest child celebrates her 16th birthday.

Her name is Jubilee and her name means the “Joy of God.”

Jubilee also has a very powerful Scriptural meaning. It’s referenced in the Book of Leviticus where it is to “occur every fiftieth year, in which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest.” We pray that our daughter lives into both of these meanings.

It’s been particularly hard because joy has often become the biggest challenge for her. It would not be appropriate for me to broadcast her life story because it’s not for me to tell and I know that when she’s ready, she’ll share her story with the rest of the world…and it’ll be raw, painful, honest, and beautiful. Read the rest of this entry »

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stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

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The Western Wall in Old City of Jerusalem (aka The Wailing Wall) - from the Second Jewish Temple.

I'm hoping to share a few stories of people that I met (Jewish, Muslims, and Christians) in the Holy Land in the days to come. One of our Palestinian tour guides said to me, "You will leave with more questions...and that's a good thing." He was absolutely right. We want everything so nicely packaged but if we're honest, it's very rare in a broken, complex world...and I can't think of too many things more complex than the situation in Israel and Palestine.

While I certainly understand and resonate with Israel and its history and its need to protect itself from harm, one can't deny the history and existence of Palestine as well. 
Is peace possible? This was the focus of my trip to the Holy learn more about the conflict and those that are working towards peace. My friend, Scott (and other pastor), Mae (our guide) and I had the privilege of going to a Jewish synagogue this past Friday. We were then hosted by a local rabbi and his family for a Shabbat meal. It was marvelous. Incredible. Illuminating. Delicious. A true honor to be invited to his home with his wife and three children. To pray, learn, share, and ask questions. 
What I loved the most was the story of how Rabbi Daniel and his wife rented a bus to take 15 of their friends to the West Bank ... to see for themselves the impact of the wall and the Israeli policies. Some of their friends had never even entered the West Bank...don't personally know a Palestinian. It's impossible to work towards peace when we don't know anyone from the other side...when we don't understand the other side.

Thank you, Rabbi Daniel. Old Jerusalem. So many stories. So much history. The synagogue in Capernaum (Galilee) where Jesus began his public ministry. He taught with authority... Pray for your pastors and teachers...that they may teach with courage, conviction, humility, and ultimately, directing people to Christ - the Word made flesh.

Speaking of, so excited to be teaching at @Quest Church tomorrow. If you're in the Seattle area, join us. A glimpse of Jordan River where John baptized Jesus. "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." What amazes me most about this event is about...timing and patience. For Christ, it wasn't about "if" but about "when." In a world of supersonic pace,  impatience, quick results, hurry and now and NOW...Jesus waited for the Father's timing. He was patient and faithful. I need to learn that waiting on the Lord in itself isn't apathy but rather an act of faith. The town of Bethlehem and at the site of the cave (aka manger) of the birth of Christ.

One of the highlights was a class of Palestinian Muslims and Christian kids in a local public school singing a Christmas carol for us in Bethlehem...just across the Shepherd's Field. Galilee. Surreal to be at the mountainside where Jesus delivered "The Sermon on the Mount" ... aka The Beatitudes. Walking around praying for Paris, Beirut, Istanbul, Nigeria, Mali, Palestine/Israel... This verse is so particularly important in light of all the violence in the world. "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God." - Matthew 5:9

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