Eugene Cho

Thanks for your prayers and support. This is the week I share #OverratedBook with the world.

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Dear friends, supporter, and folks that have prayed and encouraged me over the years:

First, thank you for your love, prayers, and support. Sincerely.

This is the big week/month I get to share my first book, Overrated: Are We More in Love With the Idea of Changing the World than Actually Changing the World? with the world. (The official launch date is Monday, September 1.)

I’m excited, nervous, humbled, and everything in between. In many ways, it feels like that hour immediately after you’ve preached your guts and heart out…and you feel very vulnerable to everything. You want to just go to a corner, hide, and think about all the ways you should have said certain things differently. This is how I feel. I wish I could have changed this and that in the book. There are times I wish I never clicked that “send” button on my computer.

On the other hand, I’m humbled and really excited about this book. I’m humbled because all one can do is to be faithful to the opportunities that God places before you…and that’s it. I rest in this.  Truthfully, I’m also excited because I believe in this book. I know that authors are supposed to say that about their own books but this book flows deeply out of my own heart as my personal confession. This book is about Justice, Discipleship and ultimately, about following Jesus. But I’ve learned, at times painfully, that it’s not just about us doing justice, this journey is also about allowing the work of justice to change us. Our calling is not simply to change the world but perhaps as important…is to be changed ourselves.

So, here’s my humble ask: If I’ve been of any encouragement to you in your faith and life journey, would you consider helping me get the word out on this book. Here’s three ways you can help:

SPREAD THE WORD

This week and if you’re able, throughout September, please help spread the word about this book – especially through social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter. If you can, please link http://areyouoverrated.com and use the hashtag #OverratedBook. You can find assets and graphics to help promote the book here. Read the rest of this entry »

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If we want to seek the peace of the city…we have to engage the conflicts and injustices of our city.

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Unless you’ve been living in absolute isolation, there’s been much in the news – here, there, and everywhere – including the violence and protests in Ferguson. But in the midst of much shouting, screaming, finger pointing, tweeting, and ‘Don’t Shoot’ hand raising…we also need to engage in practical solutions. It would be tragic if it simply resulted in lots of noise…and it doesn’t compel us (as individuals and church communities) to examine our own lives, our blind spots, and our commitment to live into our calling as ministers of reconciliation.

So, I thought I’d share one practical way we can – not just love the idea of reconciliation but actually be agents of reconciliation. Reconciliation has many nuances and aspects but I’m convinced of this:

Reconciliation isn’t pretty or sentimental. It’s messy but it begins with first acknowledging that something is broken. We’re broken y’all.

In other words, if we want to seek the peace and shalom of the city…we have to engage the conflicts and injustices of our cities. Read the rest of this entry »

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Please don’t ignore it. Five ways that Christians and churches must engage Ferguson and Michael Brown’s death.

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I have so much emotions and thoughts in my mind, heart, and body – in light of the oh-so-much that is going on all around the world – including the utterly tragic, brutal, and unnecessary “death” of Michael Brown.

But I thought it would be helpful to share a few thoughts how churches, Christians, and leaders can be engaging the events of this past week in their respective churches – not just for this weekend but for the future. I’m not suggesting that pastors have to completely alter their sermons but to altogether ignore the injustice of Michael Brown’s death would be altogether foolish.

To be blunt and I say this respectfully,

The integrity of the church is at stake because when it’s all said and done, it’s not a race issue for me, it’s a Gospel issue. It’s a Kingdom issue. We shouldn’t even let isolated issues in themselves hijack the purpose of the church. The Gospel of Christ is so extraordinary that it begins to inform (and we pray, transform) all aspects of our lives. So, in other words, we talk about race and racism because we believe in the Gospel

So, here are five suggestions for Christians, leaders, and churches:

1. Don’t ignore.

Silence, it itself, is a statement.

In some cases, it may be a powerful expression of wisdom but this is not that case. To say nothing, to pray nothing…is to communicate that it’s not a big deal. To say nothing, to pray nothing…is to tell your congregants – especially your black congregants and others of color, “C’mon. You’re taking this too seriously. Suck it up. Let’s just worship Jesus. It’s all about Jesus.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Never stop learning. Go deep. Be deep. Have more depth than 140 characters.

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There are many beautiful aspects of our larger culture … and then they are broken things. There are also things that are incredibly encouraging and of course, disconcerting.

One of my concerns in our larger culture – including the Church:

We’re
lacking
d  e  p  t  h  .

In my first book – Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World than Actually Changing the World? (set to release on September 1 but available for pre-order now),  there’s a chapter entitled, “Have More Depth than 140 Characters.”

I am the first to tell you that I don’t know everything about everything. But when it comes to my core pursuits, my passions, the issues that inspire me and drive me to serve, I try to learn as much as I can.

Over the past few years, I have met many people who are not only interested in serving the world in various ways but who are engaged in their convictions and passions. But I am often surprised to find out that they do not know the basic history and background of their chosen interest.

I remember one time in particular, at a conference, when a woman came up to me and told me she was very grateful and appreciative of a talk I had just given. We chitchatted, and eventually I asked her what she did as her vocation.

She said she worked at an NGO, serving the poor in Central America. We were having a polite conversation. She asked for advice, and I tried my best to encourage her in our short conversation. As I shared one of my favorite quotes from Óscar Romero, I asked her if she had read much of his works or about him.

“Aspire not to have more but to be more.” – Óscar Romero

She had this blank look on her face.

“No, I haven’t met him yet, but I’d love to. Can you connect me? How can I contact him?” Read the rest of this entry »

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Remember that our lives matter. Remember to be more human – to loved ones, neighbors, and strangers alike.

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It feels awkward and even a bit inappropriate to be talking about ‘celebrity news’ when so much is going on around the world: Iraq, refugees in Syria, children stranded at borders, Michael Brown’s death and Ferguson, Ebola, Ukraine, and the list tragically goes on.

But then again, it feels appropriate because it’s another reminder of the fragility of our humanity.

By now, most of you know that Robin Williams past away today (August 11). His life ended way too short at the young age of 63 – apparently because of suicide. While this was news to me, Robin had been struggling with intense depression – especially as of late.

To be honest, I don’t get caught up too much on celebrity happenings mainly because there’s not much genuine connection. I don’t really know them personally. Make sense? Robin Williams’ death – on the other hand – just felt like a painful punch in the gut. Perhaps, it’s because Mork and Mindy (Nano Nano) was the first TV show I watched (along with Buck Rodgers) after immigrating to the United States. I deeply resonated with Mork – this ‘alien’ or ‘foreigner’ from another land trying to fit in. Read the rest of this entry »

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I covet your prayers for wisdom, for humility, and for courage to boldly preach the whole Gospel.

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First, let me dispense with some information for those that may be interested.

God’s been gracious in allowing me to visit a few churches and events over the next six weeks as part of a mini book tour for Overrated. Folks can pre-order the book now at your favorite online store and at stores on September 1 but if you’re anywhere around these cities, please be my guest. It’ll be a joy to meet you and to encourage one another in Christ:

August 10 – New Life Fellowship, NYC (Queens)
August 17 – Overlake Church 9am/11am
August 31 – Antioch Church (Bend, Oregon)
September 7 – Engedi Church, (Holland, MI)
September 13-14 – Ecclesia Church (Houston, TX)
September 19 – Collyde Conference (Rockaway, NJ)
September 21 – Metro Church (Englewood/Fort Lee, NJ)
September 28 – The Meeting House (Toronto) *
*still discussing content

Some of you may know but I’m currently on a three month sabbatical. I so deeply appreciate my church, my congregation, my leadership, and my fellow staff – for allowing me to take this time to rest, retreat, and in the middle of this, to prepare for the release of my first book, Overrated.

Since the launch of my sabbatical (since July 1), I’ve been retreating, hiking, resting, fishing, disconnecting and spending much time with trees. It’s been refreshing to say the least. This is also good because I’ll need to do a little juggling as the book releases on September 1 and I’ll soon be traveling (just on weekends) to visit some churches to share the message that I feel God has placed upon my heart in authoring this book.

As a first time publisher, this is all new to me. And I suspect that – by God’s grace – as I write future books, this will always feel a little strange to me.

Which is why I’d really appreciate your prayers. Read the rest of this entry »

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We have to see justice as part of discipleship and ultimately…our worship of God.

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Over the years, I’ve been given by some the mini-reputation as a leader in the field of justice. At first, I took it as a compliment and  of course, I still do because I care a lot about justice. I know that people mean well. But I care about justice not  just for the sake of justice. I care about justice…because I care much about the Gospel.

And sometimes, when I hear folks talk about justice in the church, I cringe…

I cringe because if we’re not careful, we’re again compartmentalizing justice rather than seeing it as part of the whole Gospel; We need to see justice as a critical part of God’s character and thus, our discipleship and worship.

Just like we shouldn’t extract the character of “love” or “grace” or “holiness” from God’s character, such must be the case with justice.

People often ask me, “What’s the most critical part about seeking justice.”

My answer:

We must not just seek justice but live justly. Justice work and just living are part of our discipleship. Justice contributes to our worship of God. Justice is worship.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Great news: I’ve finished writing my first book, “OVERRATED”. Here’s the official cover and what it’s about.

Well, I have some exciting news to share with you all.

My first book, Overrated, is done. Manuscripts. Revisions. Edits. Rewrites. Edits. Copyedits. More edits. Copyedits. Then I thought I was finished. And then I wasn’t. More edits. Copyedits.

And ready or not, finally…the book is finished. The book is at the printers right now.

So, here’s some info about the book: Read the rest of this entry »

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Mourning with Seattle Pacific University. Remembering Paul Lee – SPU freshman. Rest in peace.

Another day. Another shooting.

Everyday lives impacted and scarred forever.
An innocent life lost.

The last day or so has been a blur. We live in a world where one can point to numerous recent examples of senseless shootings. Just typing that is infuriating. It happens in neighborhoods, street corners, houses, navy yards, sororities, and schools of all levels. Remember Sandy Hook?  Heck, two men were shot and killed just this past weekend in Central Seattle. But when you watch it or read it on the news (likely on your smartphone or tablet), you can’t possibly fathom it happening in “your school.” Well, yesterday, on a nearly perfect 72 degree Seattle day, that shooting took place at Seattle Pacific University.

And while SPU is not technically my school, it’s the closest thing to a school being your school without one graduating from that school.

SPU is located about a mile from Quest Church where I pastor. Numerous professors and administrators worship at Quest. Numerous. Several dozen undergrad and graduate students (and alumni) also worship there.  My wife, Minhee, recently completed graduate school at SPU. Several of my church staff went to school there. Q Cafe’s manager went to school there. One of our baristas is a freshman there. Couple of One Day’s Wages’ interns go to school there. My kids do summer basketball camps there.

It’s surreal. It’s painful.

While two were wounded but on the road to recovery, one was tragically killed. It is painful no matter what. And even more so when a nameless, faceless victim becomes named and identified. Couple hours ago, this faceless and nameless victim was identified. It was inevitable. It becomes even more painful and surreal when it is someone you’ve met. Read the rest of this entry »

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Churches Standing Together for Oso Mudslide Relief.

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UPDATE (4/24): Grateful for the spirit of collaboration between churches. Grateful for the spirit of generosity. As of today, 29 30 churches have covenanted together to pray and raise funds. Thus far, we’ve raised $129,000 for Oso Relief and Rebuilding efforts (of which 100% will go directly to efforts). Hoping for at least one more church to join us to come alongside the 30 churches in the Oso/Darrington/Arlington area.

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It’s been such a heavy week processing all the news from the tragedy of the mudslides in Snohomish County in Washington or otherwise known by locals as the Oso Mudslide.

On Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 10:37 am, “a major mudslide occurred 4 miles (6.4 km) east of Oso, Washington, United States, when a portion of an unstable hillside known as the “Hazel Landslide” collapsed, sending mud and debris across the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River and onto the adjacent river valley, covering an area of approximately 1 square mile (2.6 km). As of March 28, 2014, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed 17 of the dead have been identified,and that a further 10 bodies have not been formally identified, and 90 people remain missing or unaccounted for as a result of the landslide. [link]

To be honest, I had no idea this took place until later on Saturday evening. And by then, I was too focused on  getting my heart and mind ready for my Sunday sermon…and had no idea of the depth of tragedy and human suffering.

17 37 confirmed dead.
10 6 not formally identified
90 30 missing
And we know these numbers will increase.
Hundreds of families directly impacted.
Thousands grieving and mourning.

We cry. We mourn. And we cry more…

Sometimes, you just cry because that’s all that you can do. But we keep praying for all those that have passed and their loved ones. We pray for those missing. We pray for all the relief efforts and the relief workers.

Oh Lord, in your mercy, we pray…

As we pray, we act. We come alongside…

A vision has sprouted among some leaders within several Seattle area churches. Read the rest of this entry »

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Today is the last day of my 3 month sabbatical. That went by so fast... On the first day, our family went to Santa, Cruz, California. The first thing we did after we arrived at the San Jose airport was to go straight to In-N-Out. If these kids grow up and feel like they need counseling because their Dad didn't show them love, I'm gonna show them this picture as well and say, "I'VE GOT PROOF. I TOOK YOU TO THE BEST BURGER JOINT WITH NICE CHRISTIAN VERSES UNDER THE DRINK CUP." My prayer life always becomes a little more active when I go fishing. #NameItAndClaimIt #ComeOnSalmon Seattle. Home, sweet home. And home of the Super Bowl champions. Thank you, New York and NJ. You're beautiful. Appreciate your warmth & hospitality. Morning hike. My features over at @miir are hosting a book.giveaway + their world.class  tumblers. "Hot off the press! Eugene Cho, founder of @onedayswages, has a new book titled Overrated that will challenge you to actually change the world. We've got two signed copies to give away. Like this post AND tag a friend for your chance to win both copies and #MiiR tumblers."

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