Eugene Cho

marriage – the greatest synergy

As we’re studying through Colossians, I decided to take some time to ‘park’ around Colossians 3:1-17.  Because of life circumstances in the life of our church, I thought it would be appropriate to engage in a topical series (six week) entitled, “God’s Ethics of Intimacy and Sex.”  Of the 400 adults at Quest, I would guess that about 70-75% are single. Every year, we have at least a dozen weddings.   This past week, I even learned that we’ll be having our first Interbay and Quest marriage.  This couple took the ‘church merger’ way too literally.  :)  Like any community, we have seen our share of both incredibly beautiful and broken stories in relationships.  And so, I hope these sermons have been both appropriate and helpful to our church community.  I’ve discovered that when you’re speaking to a larger group, you can afford to be brutally honest.  I’ve sensed that brutal honestly lends itself to a deeper understanding and experience of God’s irrational mercy and grace.

All six sermons can be accessed on the Quest website.  Yesterday, I very much enjoyed teaching about intimacy and sex in the context of marriage.  Over 80% of women preferred (according to a survey conducted in a Dear Abby poll) a good conversation on a couch rather than sex with the man they loved.  For men, ‘lack of sex’ is cited as the single biggest factor in the breakdown of their marriage.  This = tension.  Both women and men long for intimacy and when they’re unable to have those needs met (whatever they might be), it’s possible and at times, likely, for our ‘beauty’ to submerge and our ‘depravity’ to emerge.  I don’t say this to justify the choices that people make but statistics indicating that 53% of all folks will have an affair at one point in their lifetime is gutwrenchingly painful.

As my wife and I celebrate 10 years of marriage, we look forward to gathering with other folks at our church to renew our vows.   The worst thing that the church can do is to beautify ‘marriage’ in such a way that it isolates anyone and everyone whose marriage isn’t perfect.   Umm…that would be everyone.  So, everyone has to go around pretending how perfect their marriage is when in fact, we all know that it simply isn’t perfect.  One person said it pretty accurately:  marriage is the closest thing to heaven and the closest thing to hell…

I’m tempted to regurgitate my sermon here but I’ll just share this one thought that sprung up on me yesterday.  Marriage, as God intended, is the greatest synergy God has ever created.  When a man and woman, leave their parents, and embark on the journey of being “one” as husband and wife, imagine all that can be created not only for the the joy and pleasure of the two but for the glory of God.

mcquilkin2.jpgI recently discovered Mr. Robertson McQuilkin’s resignation speech from 1990. Each time I listen to it, it resonates deeply.  He was the president of Columbia International University in SC when his wife, Muriel, was struggling with Alzheimer’s.  He felt it both necessary and a privilege to take care of his wife.

In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, in joy as well as in sorrow, in successes and failures, in prosperity and in adversity. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.”

Filed under: church, family, marriage, ministry, quest church

9 Responses

  1. I’ll check it out. Thanks for the link.

  2. Jennifer says:


    A ‘Dear Abbey’ poll? Really??? :-) :-) :-) I’m teasing you a little, but on the serious side, I’m not sure that’s the best way to get at the reality of the subject. If you say 80% of women just want to talk on the couch, it makes it sound like women are not really interested in sex. It puts them back in the virgin/whore dilemma where nice wives just like to sit and talk. If it were based in some actual research, it would be one thing, but this is a Dear Abbey poll. Trust me, women like sex too.

    Lauren Winner’s book has a great holistic take on this, as do others.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Eugene….I mean, how would you like it if I said, “Korean men aren’t very sexual/they dont enjoy sex very much…they’d rather sit and talk”?

  4. e cho says:

    jennifer: you and your family were missed this past sunday. i wished you could have listened to the whole sermon. although it is possible you would have disliked it even more. i’m not sure but i poked at the dear abby poll, explained that sex doesn’t = the totality of intimacy, and that these statistics were dangerous because the generalizations that it portrays. as i shared on sunday, i’m certain that women enjoy sex and that men also enjoy converations. my hope was to convey the importance of the converage of intimacy: intellectual, emotional, spiritual, creational (stewardship), relational, recreational (play & laugh) and of course, physical.

    i’m sorry you’ve taken offense at the post. i’ll need to be more careful…
    and yes, i’ve heard incredible things about lauren winner’s book and am in the process of contacting her peeps to see if she’ll come and speak at quest – likely next year.

    and no, i don’t believe in pepetuating the virgin/whore dilemma.

  5. Jennifer says:


    Thank you. I really appreciate your response here.

    I promise I’m not trying to just be picky :-) Part of the reason I’m drawn to Quest is because its a group where so many people are talking about the issues of racism, sexism, etc….so, when sexist things like that are said, it stings even more.

    I appreciate your heart and leadership!

  6. Samantha says:

    I just want to thank you for the messages the past six weeks. Your personal honesty and ‘brutal honesty’ has been very refreshing and helpful. I look forward to the Q/A on the 26th.

  7. angela says:

    FWIW, I thought the sermon was incredible. I appreciated your comment about eat, sleep, laugh, pray, and talk as simple things that couples can do to build intimacy.

  8. cp says:


    what a refreshing series on marriage for the last 6 weeks…Thanks!!! i’ve been arguing with my wife the last couple of days and been feeling pretty crappy…but the video of McQuilkin’s speech was of great help. it really stung my heart. i need to go home, say that i’m sorry and give a big hug to my wife now…=)

  9. cp says:

    ooops, in the above post, i meant to say “series on intimacy and sex”…=)

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One Day’s Wages

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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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