Eugene Cho

ash wednesday primer and gathering

ashwednesdayluidliwanagafpgetty

This is from last year but still helpful for those who are not familiar with the purpose of Ash Wednesday.

For 2010, Quest is holding their ASH WED service on Wednesday, February 17 (7-8am). There is also a Family Ash WED event that same night from 6.30-8.15pm. All the info can be found at http://seattlequest.org

Depending on your background, you may or may not be familiar with Ash Wednesday or otherwise referred to as ‘Day of Ashes.’  It marks the beginning of the Lent season as we journey towards the Holy Week in the Christian calendar.  The Lent season culminates with Good Friday [Dark Friday] and Resurrection Sunday.

And a simple primer from Beliefnet: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, faith, Jesus, quest church, seattle, ,

water the da*n grass on this side of the fence

water your grass

We’re all familiar with this phrase:

The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

It may or may not be true but often times if not most of the times, it’s because we spend most of our time dreaming, coveting, envying, complaining, wishing, stop caring, and before you know it, we stop watering the grass on your side.

You may eventually get to the other side of the fence but for now:

Water the da*n grass on this side of the fence.

Here’s the sermon from this past Sunday about 10 things that Build Community. This is the sermon in response to the Things that Destroy Community. This goes about 58+ minutes long and I wished I could have gone a tad longer to flesh out a few more things but I made a pact in blood w/ our other staff to end at a responsible time. And I barely made it this Sunday.

And a short clip about ‘Watering the Grass on This Side’:

Here are the 10 contextual points I shared: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, Jesus, pastors, quest church, , , ,

our church’s response to the H1N1 – swine flu

communion at quest

I just sent out this note to our church email database in response to the growing concern of the H1N1 Virus (aka Swine Flu).  In addition to some cases in the larger country, there have now been seven new cases of what is likely the H1N1 virus.  Six of them involve children which explains why six schools are now closed.

With the impact of media and social media, news of the ‘Swine Flu’ is going literally viral.  While there clearly isn’t ONE response, we should not err on the extremes: Panic or Ignorance.

Leaders: No need to propagate fear and panic but don’t ignore the fact that some of your congregants are genuinely worried for themselves and their families. In Seattle (article above), six schools have temporarily closed their schools in response to the virus. There’s clearly no need to cancel church but we should take measures and precautions to reassure our congregants.  Remember: Pastoral Care.

Having said, our church staff made the following precautionary decisions that impact our church worship

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, ministry, quest church, religion, seattle, , ,

generations of faith and salvation

Last Sunday, couple folks were baptized at Quest. Their stories of coming to faith in Jesus always moves me. With permission, here’s the story of Rosalind – one of only 30,000 Karaite Jews in the world and now one of two Karaite Jew believers.  I want to encourage you to read it and be blessed.

quest church baptism

“The Lord said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. ‘I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’ So Abram left, as the Lord had told him…” Genesis 12:1-4

It feels like my faith journey began before I was born. I guess that’s why my testimony might feel more like a history lesson than a story about God’s grace, but the fact that I’ve made it here is almost testament enough.

I am a Karaite Jew; a sect of Jews that has been around since God passed down his laws to Moses. Originating in Mesopotamia, the area between the Tigris-Euphrates river system (present day Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc.), only 30,000 of us remain in the world today, 4,000 of which reside in the U.S.

My parents were born in Egypt and, like many of the Karaite Jews, were also imprisoned, and then expelled, Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, faith, Jesus, ministry, quest church, religion

all jesus wants is to eat with you

last supper by leonard da vinci

There are numerous significant theological and biblical meanings behind the Last Supper (Passover Seder) and while the pursuit of those meanings are worthwhile and powerful, here’s the most simple and as significant:

Jesus wants to eat with us.

Let me say that again.  The Triune God of the cosmos not only created the world and humanity but desires fellowship, communion, and friendship.  And when sin entered the world and humanity to wreak  havoc and choas, God intervened again – with the redemptive mission of restoring Shalom – all that which God intended for us.

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood (John 1:14 / The Message)

Throughout Jesus’ journey, he was eating with Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, christianity, church, emerging church, Jesus, quest church, , , ,

the blog post no one wants to read

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Let’s be honest.  There are some posts you naturally want to read and there are others that just don’t interest you at all.  I can post about Rob Bell, Mark Driscoll, talk politics, or the uber traffic magnet – Mac computers – and attract at least 4000 reads/post.  But bring up something like homelessness and I might be lucky to get 200 readers.  That’s 5% for those that don’t have my mad math skills.  

So, I’d like to challenge you to do your good deed for the day and read this post about homelessness.  

There are two main things I have learned over the years of living and engaging in the urban context.

  • Homeless is a very broad word that unfairly is used to portray the totality of a very diverse group of people.
  • Homelessness is a very complex and real problem that will only increase in light of the economic downturn.

I don’t have all the answers but it’s simply not acceptable to not do anything.  Several weeks ago, a group of pastors I meet with regularly hosted a representative from the mayor’s office of Seattle to ask, push back, and learn about what the city is doing.   It was actually pretty helpful.  We learned that the city devotes 38 million dollars in various ways to serve the homeless and displaced.  But is it making an impact?

But how is the [C]hurch responding? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: quest church, seattle,

an upside to the economic downturn

serve

The doom and gloom news about all things economy related can be paralyzing.  I know it’s impacting many individuals, organizations, and churches as well.  I’ll share later this week how it’s impacted my family but I wanted to share how Quest is trying to respond.  Last year, Quest was fortunate and just met our budget.  I’m not certain how since a) 2008 was the first year we hadn’t  numerically grown since the beginning of our church and b) 10% of our church have experienced job layoffs.  As difficult as the economic climate may be, this is also an incredible opportunity for the [C]hurch to be a source of care and grace to one another and the larger city and world.  Difficult times are when we can demonstrate our substance and convictions of Loving God and Loving People.

Let’s share some ideas and good news.  Question:

How are you or your church seeking to care for one another and the larger city & globe?

I recently wrote the following letter to our church sharing how we are stumbling our way to care: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, emerging church, ministry, quest church, seattle

why sundays still matter…

worship at quest

In conversations with people about the state of [Western] christianity, people can be all over the map.  And at times, I think it’s because we’re really that desperate, that upset, that disillusioned, or that [insert word here].  And then, there are times we just want to make a crazy statement to sound edgy and prophetic.  Yo, it’s pomo, bro.

One of those crazy conversations surrounds the topic of the corporate worship gatherings known to most people as ‘Sunday worship services.’  

I want to contend –  that whether it’s on a Sunday or another day – that gathering as a unified faith community is very important and healthy.  Or more accurately, it is one aspect of a healthy faith community.

Now, don’t mistake what I’m saying.  I’m not a big fan of big productions, fancy shows, gift giveaways, Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, churchplanting, emerging church, ministry, quest church, seattle

from the trenches: no idea where to get food

Quest has had the privilege of helping facilitate a new churchplant in the Kent, Washington area.  But it’s likely that these folks have never even heard of the word ‘churchplant’ and the numerous technical words that pastors like myself like to throw around.  And to be honest, these folks probably don’t care.

But they do care about one another, family, community, justice, their children, their people, and of course, they care about their faith in Christ.

Over a year ago, a group of friends including Rich and Teresa from Quest helped start a church community for refugees from Burma including the Karen and Chin people.  The group has since grown to over 100 people the last time I heard including tons of young children. I’ve had the privilege of visiting and preaching there and I’ve been immensely encouraged by this community – even though I know there are numerous hardships and struggles.  I was even greeted by a man who recognized me from my visit to Burma several years ago.  I’m glad to report that this community has moved to another location that better accomodates their growing community.  The last time I visited them, the kids were meeting in the janitor’s room.

karen-church-2-1-09-001

This isn’t an official Quest plant but we are supporting them through our Quest Churchplanting Foundation.  Years ago, Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: churchplanting, ministry, quest church, seattle

i’m okay with not always being okay

I hope it was ok for me to be honest about some of the suckiness I’ve been feeling recently.  Sometimes, I’ll read and hear what other pastors are writing or saying and I sometimes have doubts.  Everything they say, do, or experience about their lives or their ministry seems to be perfect, amazing, and incredible…like totally…like 24/7…every day.  That’s cool if it’s true.

I’m not like that.  I have my share of stuff, frustrations, and pain.  Of course, I don’t use the blogosphere to share alot of that stuff because it may hurt people but I don’t mind sharing – as honestly as I can – that sometimes, things suck.  Simply, I’m okay with not always being okay.  

The things I shared on my last post – When It Rains, It Pours – are stuff that sucked that I could share.  The stuff I couldn’t share were the real sucky stuff.  I don’t want to paint or portray that everything is perfect, beautiful, and rosy all the time.  Because it’s not.

So, what does that mean for Quest?  Nothing…except to say Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, quest church, seattle

thank god for george

No, this isn’t a post about President Bush although can read my latest one here about W.

About 8 years ago, Minhee and I sent an email to folks about our desire to plant a church in the city of Seattle  called Quest.  It was pretty scary not knowing who was going to show up – if anyone.  But seven people showed including two people that are still with us right now.  Over the next several months, about 30 people joined us of which about 5 people are still us with us.

Lots of changes.  People coming in and out.  Lots of pain.  Lots of growth.  Lots of joy.  Lots of memories.  And lots of “What in the world am I doing?”  There’s been lots of ups and downs and but through it all, Minhee and I have been privileged to have a handful of people journey with us for the majority of our journey.

In particular, I’m thankful for George and Jin – two brothers amongst the seven folks Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: quest church, seattle

I desperately need good news

communion

[photos by HageCreative]

Yesterday was a really sucky day.  A tough day for some reasons I won’t share here but I can share one thing.  I woke up to a phone call very early morning that our non-profit Q Cafe was broken into at some point in the middle of the night.  Whoever – broke in, made a little mess, broke into several office rooms, snagged a laptop, and took the cash from the cafe and live music venue.  We’ll get over the loss and damage but it just sucks bigtime to have someone rob your place. 

But in the scope of the bigger world, it’s nothing.  Even before the news of the break-in, I’ve been recently overwhelmed by heavy news: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, christianity, church, quest church, seattle

worship at home | guide and video sermon

As you know, Quest Church canceled our church services in light of the current snow storm [aka Snowpocalypse].  This is the first time in the 17 years of ministry that I’ve cancelled a Sunday gathering so this is awkward but the other elders and pastors believed this was the wisest decision for all involved.  

But it’s cool.  The “church” doesn’t cease to be the church if it’s not meeting in a building.  I hope that numerous Questers are choosing to intentionally worship at home.  In that effort, the pastors have put together a simple worship flow to guide you as you see fit.  Here’s the worship guide which includes prayer, Scripture reading, communion liturgy, etc.

Also, I recorded my sermon Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, quest church, seattle, ,

quest church services are cancelled BUT…

Due to Seattle’s version of Snowpocalypse, Quest Church is cancelling all three services for Sunday, December 21.  With safety in mind for the 500+ people that drive, cycle, and walk their way to church, the elders and I prayerfully made this decision.  I have to share that I feel a little strange since this is the first cancellation in the history of Quest but this is also a great opportunity.

This shouldn’t b excuse for us to play pagan and do nothing except watch football games, consume christmas cake and egg nog, and shovel snow.  We want to invite you to carve out some quality time tomorrow to  “Worship @ Home.”  While it’s an amazing experience to gather with fellow worshippers from the Quest family on Sundays, you don’t need a worship team, program, or minister to worship the Triune God.

Tomorrow, I want to encourage you Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, quest church, seattle

know and love your city

Minhee and I moved to Seattle in 1997.  We are entering our 12th year in Seattle but it was only about 8 years ago when I really began to grow in love with the city of Seattle.  I was kayaking in Lake Union when I just gushed over the beauty over the city.  And I just started praying for the city and the hope – someday – of being able to plant a church in the city.  God honored that prayer and on occasion, I’ll trek over to Kerry Park [few mins from Quest] and lift occasional prayers for the city and people of this city.

It isn’t a perfect city by any means:  I wish there was more diversity; city remains ethnically divided;  the road systems are wacky; a subway system would be nice; our sports teams are dreadfully cursed, we need more sun, etc.  But there are also some amazing things about this city:  the topography is absolutely breathtaking; the local music scene is alive and well; everything is green and wet; the city is a creative force and is the hub of numerous companies, etc.

How about you?  Where do you live and what do you like or dislike about your city or town?

One of the regular chats I give when I’ve had the privilege of speaking at conferences or churches has been the importance of knowing, loving, and engaging your city.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, churchplanting, family, leadership, ministry, quest church, seattle, travel

The oldest injustice in human history is the way we treat women.

Update [January 5, 2012] I read and saw this video yesterday and it tore me up. While perhaps this case and this girl’s situation may be extreme, the mistreatment and abuse of girls and women are nevertheless still common. It is and continues to be the “oldest injustice in human history.”

Don’t turn away. Read this article and watch this video:

Nicholas Kristof/NY Times

In every culture and in every part of the world, this injustice is present.  What is the oldest injustice in the world?

It is the way that “we” view, treat, and oppress women.

It would be erroneous for me to say that Asian culture is entirely proned to be against women but I can share my personal experience that as a young Korean man, I was influenced – partly through the Confucian culture and worldview that women were born to serve their fathers as young girls, their husbands when they got married, and their grown sons when they were older mothers.  Their lives and purpose – in part –  revolved around men.

As a person of the Christian faith, I learned – in bits and pieces (both in subtle and occasionally in direct ways) that women should be our “partners.” They should be quiet, submissive and know their place.  Obey and honor their fathers, love and submit to their husbands, and raise godly sons and daughters.

Why didn’t I learn that women and men are both created in the beautiful image of God?  Why didn’t I learn that while we have different roles, we are also created equal in the image of God?  Why didn’t I learn that through Christ, women and men can do all things through Him who gives strength and grace.

I still remember this email that I received from a congregant couple years ago after a sermon I gave at Quest regarding women:

But at one point today, you said, “Women, you were created equal to men in the image of God.” I mainly write because I don’t know if you realize how powerful that statement was. I don’t know if you realized what it would feel like to hear that statement coming from a man — what it would mean to me, and possibly to other individual women and men. You didn’t even say it to me individually…I have never been told by a man, Christian or not, that I am equal to him. I have never been told by a man that I am equal to him. And equal in that we are both created in the image of God…I cried all the way home. How is it that I’ve never been told by a male person that I am equal to him? That I am equally beautiful and broken? That we are both created in the image of God?

…Women are deeply wounded by living in this world, and wounded that men don’t fight for us. Instead, they fight to rule us, and we…sometimes we fight, but most of the time we believe them when they tell us we aren’t worth our weight (sometimes taken literally). Today I felt like a man was fighting for me, not because I can’t fight for myself, but because he recognized the wrongs in a world and a Church that have benefited him unfairly.

So, I ask you a simple question for dialogue:

Why is it that women – across cultures, religion, and history – are oppressed? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, emerging church, family, quest church, religion, , ,

caring: putting a “face” to the other

I had the privilege today to give a short chat in a class at Princeton Theological Seminary on the topic of justice and compassion and it’s intersection with the church.  The challenge of the church and its leaders is to raise the consciousness of the larger world – including the church – to a calling and purpose towards the reconciliation and restoration of ‘Shalom.’  We have to remind people that there are suffering and injustice in our cities and larger world - because many choose not to believe.  We know it’s there but we choose not to believe. 

We are competing against the principalities and forces of the world – compounded by the simple issue of human depravity – that prefers and chooses the stories of gossip and entertainment rather than the ways of Mercy, Justice, and Compassion.  The church struggles also with the church. We struggle with ourselves and our temptation to build up the Institution, Fame, and Programs of the church rather the elevate the Trinity and the work of the Larger Kingdom. 

Amongst many things that we can do, one that is absolutely critical is to put a “Face” to the other – or, to put a “story” to the other.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: quest church, religion, , , ,

a story of depravity, grace, and redemption

With permission [and couple minor edits], I want to share a story of depravity, grace, and [ongoing] redemption. It may take you 10 minutes but it may be one of the most honest and hopeful things about being part of a church community and ministry you’ll read in a long time. 

This “faith story” was written by a woman at Quest as part of her journey to become a member – something we do not take lightly at our church since members constitute the base of our church’s leadership.

10 minutes.  Don’t bother to leave any comments.  Just read it… Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , quest church, religion

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

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Wow. Blessed are the artists that help others reimagine the Gospel. #HeIsRisen #questchurch Amazing Resurrection celebration service. Especially love celebrating Communion every Sunday. Today, hosted a super Feast with bread from many different countries. #HeIsRisen Don't rush too soon to the empty tomb. Reflect on the cross. Thank you, Jesus, for your life & love. Thank you, Jesus, for you have redeemed this day of injustice and violence to be "good." You are truly the Light of the world. #GoodFriday Layover. San Francisco. Having grown up here, my heart still flutters. No other city like it. A quick, busy, & meaningful 26 hrs in Wash DC but managed to go for an hour walk for this view. One of the greatest monuments in the world. A true American hero. #AbrahamLincoln

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