Eugene Cho

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

robin-williams-cover-ftr

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 »

Filed under: ,

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

IMG_20140702_144657

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 »

Filed under:

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

passion-2011-worship-and-justice

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 »

Filed under: , , , , ,

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 »

Filed under:

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 »

Filed under: , , ,

Churches Standing Together for Oso Mudslide Relief.

10155736_10152012755456476_1230201708_n

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.

——————-

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 »

Filed under: , , , ,

Invest in women and girls around the world as an affirmation of dignity that has already been given to them by God.

This is one of the reasons why my wife, kids, and I started One Day’s Wages. It’s because we believe in local heroes like Diana Keesiga who was  born in Western Uganda and at a very young age decided she wanted to be an engineer. She defies the dangerous stereotypes that we have about Africans being absolutely lost and helpless without Western saviors or only looking for handouts. Diana has a love and understanding of her Ugandan people and culture that we will never fully grasp – which is why its best for us to come alongside people like Diana but we should never take their place.

In doing the work of justice, one of the most fundamental questions we must ask is this:

“Who are we trying to elevate? The people we serve or ourselves?

I dare you to watch this short video (above) about Diana and the water partnership between One Day’s Wages and The Adventure Project – that is currently being featured on Upworthy. There are many but here are four reasons why I love this partnership:

1 in 3 water wells are broken in Africa

While there are few things in development as spectacular as seeing water gush out of the ground after a well is drilled, what happens in year 2, 5, and 10 is far more important and difficult. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , ,

Why we should support #EndItMovement and why we must ask good, critical questions about fighting slavery.

IMG_20140227_120619

Like some of you, I’m sharing my support and partnership with #EndItMovement. It sickens me to even have such a day or movement for this purpose but such is the reality of our world. We can’t mince words: Slavery and Human Trafficking are evil.

But for those that don’t know about #EndItMovement, here’s a summation:

This February 27th, join us and other Freedom Fighters from around the world as we SHINE A LIGHT ON SLAVERY. Draw a RED X on your hand. Tell your world that slavery still exists and YOU WON’T STAND FOR IT. Just use your influence any way you can to help us carry the message of FREEDOM so even more people know. Let’s make this SHINE A LIGHT ON SLAVERY DAY even brighter than ever.

I support it and thus, I’ve taken the time to place an X on my hand…and to join with others in proclaiming that I don’t want this to be just merely a gesture, a red mark, a one time action…

I deeply appreciate Louie and Shelly Giglio – the founders of the Passion Movement and the instigators of the #EndItMovement. While it would be inaccurate to say that I know them personally, I’ve met Louis on couple brief occasions including at a meeting at the White House on the matter of human trafficking.

Since organizations, leaders, and influentials have done such a good job in bringing the issues of human trafficking to the view of the larger mainstream, it’s especially important to highlight not just that “Human trafficking is wrong” but the critical discussion of “How we engage this justice work…” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , ,

Singlehood is a gift. Your future doesn’t begin once you find a “significant other”. It’s happening now.

67735981_640

It’s that season that some call Valentine’s Day and as such, it may be an occasion of celebration or an occasion of some anxiety. Or maybe neither. Maybe it’s just another day.

Or maybe it’s somewhere in between…and so, I thought I’d shared some unsolicited advice about singlehood, marriage, and the in-between.

I ain’t no expert on anything but over the years of being single, being married, and being a pastor to both single folk and married folk, here’s some advice for those who are single – whether dating, engaged, interested in marriage, or not interested in any relationship.

Our ultimate identity.

Our ultimate identity is not as single people or married people.  No dating status defines us. No person can complete us. No human relationship defines us. Saying or believing anything else is dangerous, unhealthy, unrealistic, and borderline idolatrous.

That _____ relationship is not the answer to your life.
Marriage is not the cure-all to the longings of your heart.

How do I know? Because I’m married…and it’s not the answer. I’m not dissing my wife. I love her…dearly. And my wife is a marriage therapist in Seattle and she’ll tell you emphatically that I am not the answer to her deepest longings. Darn. To say that a relationship, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a husband, or a wife, is going to be the answer to our lives and our deepest longings is simply just not fair to that person. And unrealistic and unhealthy for you.

God’s grand purpose for our lives … umm … is not for us to get hitched and married. Nor is it to be single and sexy. God’s purpose for our lives is that we be conformed to the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ. God’s purpose is that our ultimate identity and mission are formed as daughters and sons of God…

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under:

These children share their dreams…and poignantly show that we still have a long way to go. #MLK

1513265_639593162753736_1379972264_n

On this Martin Luther King, Jr. day, it would be good to take a moment to pause, reflect and honor this man.

Martin Luther King Jr. was an extraordinary person.  Not perfect but nevertheless, extraordinary.  And as we pause, reflect, and honor this man…it would be prudent for us to consider how far we’ve come and how far we must go.

Clearly, we live in a much better world today in comparison to the days of slavery, lynchings, and Jim Crow. We live in a better day in comparison to the Japanese internment camps. We live in a better day in comparison to yesterdays when women weren’t allowed to vote.

Clearly. Thankfully.

There is much to celebrate…genuinely and sincerely.

But let’s not be fooled.
Let’s not fall asleep.
We have a long way to go.
We have much work to do.

We must keep pursuing and seeking the Kingdom of God. And to give one glimpse of how far we must go, I wanted to share (anonymously) with you some perspectives of children because while they may still be young of age, there’s something about their raw honesty and painful innocence that can challenge us.

I know because we have three children in our home…and sometimes, the questions they ask and comments they make. “Out of the mouths of…”

We have numerous teachers that attend Quest Church and one of them contacted me this week – heartbroken by many of the replies given by her students in response to the assignment to complete the sentence: “I have a dream…” Many of these teachers purposefully teach in low-income schools. I admire them, respect them, pray for them, and honor them…because what they do truly matter. They are living out the Gospel – and that’s often difficult to do in the public school systems but they do their best – in all their own personal brokenness – to love Christ and love on these children.

Here are some of their answers. I don’t know about you but I want our kids – all our kids, of every color, of every background – to be able to dream in ways that capture and fascinate their imagination…which is why there’s a deep poignancy in reading their “honest” dreams: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , , ,

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

My Instagram

Video of Delta rivers and an amazing sunset in Myanmar on a #fastboat. We were on these boats for about 20 hours over 3 days. Exhausting but meeting villagers and experiencing these sunsets made up for the long and bumpy boat rides. 10 days ago. Unforgettable slow boat journey in the Delta rivers of Myanmar. Lots of reflecting and praying. Came to the conclusion - again - that in the efforts to change the world, I especially need to be changed by God's love, character, and justice. #Myanmar #slowboatreflections #onedayswages The 2nd baby turns 14 today. Oh my. How time flies. Every birthday now is bittersweet. So amazed at the young woman she is becoming ... and that much further away from being that little baby. Happy Birthday, @trintaay! The world is fallen, broken, and messy. This is the truth.

But the story is not yet finished. God is not yet done. This is the Truth. There is Hope. God is our Hope.

#Advent #MyanmarSunset #NoFilter #BackHomeSafe In solidarity. From Thailand. #ICantBreathe I'm in Thailand for two days to meet @theexodusroad - one of @onedayswages' partners doing compelling work in the fight against child sex trafficking in Thailand and other countries.

Several of their team members took me and Phillip (one of my staff ) into several brothels as part of their investigation. Needless to say, it was very disturbing but an important experience. Women were scantily dressed and places on stages ... as commodities. As part of the investigation, we spoke with some of these young women to collect information, liberate underaged girls, and shut down brothels that exploit underaged girls. To be honest, it's complicated... The evening was intense and my heart was beating so rapidly...but as the hours passed and my initial shock and fears subsided, I felt the Holy Spirit remind me that God loves each and every person and desires to draw them until Himself.  And so I prayed for these women, men, girls, pimps, johns, mamma sans... Lord, break these strongholds.
Lord, give us courage.

my tweets

  • Watch this video of the epic sunsets in the Delta rivers of Myanmar. Miss this place. - instagram.com/p/w0QycISWV0/ || 17 hours ago
  • There's nothing selfish about self-care. We can't give what we don't have. Experience life and you'll be life-giving to others. || 20 hours ago
  • Last week. Myanmar river. Slow boat ride. Sunset.Needed that time to reflect & pray. Grateful. instagram.com/p/wzJrJeyWSI/ http://t.co/0npoLW5UBQ || 1 day ago
  • Care for yourself. Rest. Sabbath. Exercise. Eat healthy. Read. Have fun. Be creative. Laugh. Don't burn out. We need you for the long haul. || 1 day ago
  • "There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more & more. The other is to desire less." - GKC youtube.com/watch?v=EAqNV2… || 2 days ago
  • If the God of the universe was born in a dirty messy manger, there is no mess in our lives that God is not willing to step into. God cares. || 3 days ago
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,074 other followers