Eugene Cho

The Church must not forget our own. Remember. Pray. #FreeKennethBae

UPDATE: November 3 marks one full year since Kenneth Bae has been incarcerated in North Korea.

2021587226

This post will likely only make sense for people of faith and for followers of Christ. For others, it might just come across as ludicrous…because seriously, who would go to the ends of the earth? Who would risk their safety to pursue their convictions in Christ?

[Please also read this post explaining why Kenneth's mother recently went to North Korea to visit her son.]

I’m writing to you about a man named Kenneth Bae. He is a son, a father, a husband, a brother…and also a follower of Christ. I do not know him but I consider him a brother-in-Christ.

Much like us…and unlike us.

Kenneth is very much like us and in another way, he is completely unlike us. He is like us in that we all seek to honor Christ with our lives. We seek to pursue our calling and convictions. We seek to live out our faith – whether that be in and through our families, neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, and in our larger cities. But sometimes, God’s calling and convictions lead people to faraway places. We know this to be true because God calls us in Scriptures to Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth. [Acts 1:8]

And in this way, he’s very unlike us…because his calling and convictions have led him to a very distant, mysterious, and isolated place called North Korea.
Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: ,

His name is Messiah. He’s 17 so he’s prone to foolishness. But he is not a criminal. He’s just coming home.

IMG_20130718_014532

I love pastoring my church. It’s the hardest thing my wife and I have ever done but we are blessed to have planted Quest Church in 2001. One of our visions for Quest was that it would grow to be a multiethnic and multigenerational church – not for any other reason than it reflects the vision of the Kingdom of God.

The challenges are real but one of the blessings of such a community is that it exposes the blind spots that we all have. All of us. And if you don’t think you have any, that’s proof you have blind spots.  Imagine a church if only men were in leadership? Or if only women were in leadership? Imagine a church if only the older folks were in leadership? Or the entire church was completely homogeneous?

We would simply see things through a particular narrative or filter of lens.

And such is the general case, in my opinion, of how many are “seeing” the case and verdict of George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin.

I have encouraged my readers to consider taking the time to listen, seek to understand, and mourn with those who mourn.

I would additionally encourage you to not fall for the bait of the extremists or idiots on polar opposites. And by that, I’m talking about those that would resort to mayhem and violence or [shaking my head] those that would show up at a peaceful protest of young adults and kids…wearing a “Ni**er” shirt. These are rare stories and we would be wise not to allow them to hijack the large narratives of how people are genuinely seeking to process, understand, make sense, seek justice, and form their respective convictions.

But since we all have blind spots, we have to have the courage to examine our blind spots – perhaps even to begin by acknowledging we have them. Some of you insist you have none. We have to consider how we all choose (or have it be chosen for us) the filters by which we see and process things. This is why many have chosen to see the verdict purely from a legal or “evidence” perspective. As such, many of my readers or social media following  have pushed back,

“Where is the concrete evidence that race was ever an issue?

And that’s my point.

You’re asking the wrong questions.

It’s hard to explain if you haven’t experienced the nuances of being “an other”. I’ll write more of this another time but for now, I think we would all be amiss if we all don’t take the time to consider our respective blind spots. I have those blind spots, too, so I have been personally compelled to do so with all the respective comments, emails, and conversations that have been generated by the verdict.

As I shared earlier, I’m privileged to be a pastor to an imperfectly amazing church. Very imperfect. Very amazing. I wanted to share with you a very honest and raw piece written by one of my church folk. Her name is Wendi. Yes, she’s black. And yes, she has a son. And yes, he’s 17. And by the way, his name is Messiah. And yes, Wendi’s brilliant but I don’t need to spew her resume. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under:

If our black brothers and sisters are hurting, can’t we at least listen, seek to understand, and mourn with them?

trayvon-martin-family-photos-1_1

Soon, the headlines and media coverage will turn to the next magnet. And soon, another frenzy will ensue. What will it be about? Who will it be about? The answer I do not know but the fact that we’ll move on is certain.

But some will stay. Not because they want to per se but because it’s the reality of their lives.

It’s not that I’m trying to be a downer or “that pastor” that keeps bringing up the issue of race. I could contend that race doesn’t exist. Or it shouldn’t. It’s a human construct. It was a gift from God to reflect His creativity, beauty, and diversity but as a result of our human fall, depravity, and sinfulness…it has been constructed for domination, exploitation, and separation.

As a result, it is sadly a part of our reality and will continue to be so – until that glorious Day when all things will be restored. But in the here and now, we must continue to labor through the consequences of the curse of that suspicion and separation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under:

The power of the Gospel is such that God sees us, meets us, and adopts us as sons and daughters.

BabyFeet

The power of the Gospel is so profound that it meets us where we’re at. The power of the Gospel is such that God knows everything about us and nevertheless, continues to pursue us, court us, woo us. God remains jealous for us. This is the power of the Gospel…

The Gospel sees us.
The Gospel meets us in all of our brokenness, sinfulness, and depravity.
The Gospel meets the lost and brokenhearted.
The Gospel welcomes the sick, the lepers, the widows, orphans, the AIDS stricken, the ostracized and marginalized…
The Gospel even welcomes us.

When we receive the Gospel, the power and grace of the Gospel is such that God adopts us as His sons and daughters.
The Gospel is Jesus and Jesus is the Gospel.

This truth was especially revealed in a powerful way through an experience and conversation I recently had this weekend and further affirmed through a video I desperately invite you to see below.

First, the story:

This past Saturday evening, I spoke at a “Family Camp” in the Camp Cascades retreat center where numerous churches from the Northwest gathered. After my sermon, a family came up to greet me. It was an older couple and they were pushing along a very large mechanical wheelchair. To be honest, it was large and impossible to miss. In this wheelchair was their 19-year-old son who I’ll refer to as “John”. As we talked, they shared how something I preached on deeply resonated with them. It was the point I was making about our human inability to look at people in the eyes – especially those that don’t fit into our boxes of “normal.” They shared the pain of how literally none of the adults had asked about John thus far at this “family retreat.”

This, it itself, convicted me. I had noticed John but I didn’t bother to take the time to say hello to him or ask of his story.  As I shared earlier, it was impossible to miss him – not only because of the humongous mechanical wheelchair – but also because of his heavy breathing. While I was preaching, I could occasional hear his heavy breathing.

So, I asked this older couple,

“What’s your son’s story? What’s John’s story?”

Over the next couple minutes, they shared a glimpse of John’s story. John is paralyzed, deaf, mute, mostly blind. He is only able to feel some touch. They explained that when John was three months old… Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under:

Parenting for dummies. Parenting do’s and don’ts.

IMG_20130628_015122

Do yourself a favor and bookmark this post – especially if you’re a parent or a parent-to-be someday. Or if you have babies around you.

Refer to it often. Study it carefully.
Take notes. Draw diagrams. Connect the dots.
Consider this as a gift.

I still recall when we planted Quest Church about 12 years ago. The picture above was soon after our 2nd daughter was born and right when we started the church. How fast time flies: She’s already 12 and her sister (our oldest kid) is now 14.

[Note to self: breathe in. breathe out.]
Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , ,

“You are part of an imperfect family with imperfect parents…and where the foundation is God’s grace.”

IMG_20130624_112440

Dear Son: Happy Birthday to you, J!

Today, you turn the big ten. 10 years old! Double digits. Goodness gracious.

Mom and Dad love you so much. It’s difficult and perhaps impossible to fully articulate the depths of our love for you and your sisters.  We are so blessed to be your parents and I am so proud and blessed to your father. I am so proud of who you are and who you are growing to be. While I am proud of your accomplishments and how you seek to honor your parents, I am simply proud of you: The person that you are and not just what you do. Your love for God and your desire to serve Him with your life – even at such a young age –  brings so much joy. Your sisters love you. Your grandparents love you. And of course, God loves you. His love for you is vast and deep.

My hope is that through our love for you, we can give you a glimpse of God’s love for you.

Yet, you are part of an imperfect family with imperfect parents – including and especially your father. You know this very well. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: ,

It’s official. I am writing my first book. Someone please pray for me.

IMG_20130621_002948

I have some exciting and humbling news to share with friends, supporters, critics, and blog stalkers.

First the news:

After several years of wrestling, praying, and mulling  (and very intensely the past few months), Minhee (my wife) and I finally thought it was time for me to work on my first book.  And while I’m not an agent kind of person (however much I like Jerry Maguire), the conversations about publishing were intimidating and the learning curve so high that I decided that it would be best to work with a literary agent. And so, I’ve decided to partner with Chris Park for many reasons including the fact that she’s sharp, become my unofficial grammar police, used to work for both publishers and as an editor in her former life, and got bonus points since her husband is a Ph.D candidate in New Testament.

With her help, we forwarded a brief book proposal to various publishers. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , ,

Imagine a singular decision of courage and faith that will bless the generations to come.

20130614_143237

It’s been a very long time since I’ve blogged.  For various reasons, I’ve chosen to take a little sabbatical from blogging. It was meant to be life giving but somehow, it grew to become a chore, a job, a metric, a regular statistics checking habit…and to be honest, it was attracting more than its share of angry folks that were going out of their way to contact me. Just leave your comments and let it be. Please. I appreciate the dialogue and the comments but we don’t have to be best friends and you don’t have to save me. Fo realz.

But…I’m back.

Life has also been full. Beyond full.

And as much as I want life to be neatly packed, organized, and compartmentalized…it just doesn’t seem to work that way.

It’s been full but it’s not chaotic. Does this make sense?

You see, we live in a busy world but there’s a difference between empty fatigue and gratifying tiredness.

My hope is to invest in the things that I deeply care about. And this…takes prioritizing or in other words, a life audit. So, why the silence on the blog? Because it was time for a life audit… Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , ,

This is a hero you’ll never read about so let me share his story.

524726_10152720748060632_1145105666_n

All around us are people of great courage.
All around us are people that are true heroes.

We often miss them because we’re conditioned to look for the mighty, famous, and glamorous.

I was reminded of this again through a very tragic event.

Last Sunday (April 14, 2013), one of our church staff’s father tragically passed away. Jin An – a longtime friend and someone who has been with Quest Church from Day 1 – was part of our worship team last Sunday. After an amazing Sunday as he hosted Dr. John M. Perkins, he received news shortly after our 2nd service that his father, Mr. Se-Rok An, had passed away in a freak accident. According to KIRO News:

Se Rok An, 73, was fishing in the surf in Ocean City Sunday when he got in a rip current and disappeared.

Johanna An said her mother looked for her father and yelled for help.
“One minute she looked up and he was just gone,” said An.

“It was just one of those freak accidents where he got in the riptide and, you know, she went around trying to see where he was and she started running and nobody was around,” said An’s son, Jin An.

Our hearts mourn with Jin and the entire family.

This weekend, I flew up a tad bit early from my family vacation to preach at Jin’s father’s memorial service. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , ,

What would we do if we only had one week to live? Jesus borrowed a donkey, washed dirty feet, and got crucified.

Ferrari-LaFerrari_2014_1600x1200_wallpaper_03

Imagine if you had only one week to live, or one month, or one year. Seriously, take a few minutes to imagine the mental and emotional anguish.

Imagine if you knew that you were going to only live until you were 33 years old and that your death would come in the most horrific manner imaginable.

As some may know, “Palm Sunday” marks the beginning of Passion Week – the final week of Jesus’ life on earth. As we engage in Passion Week, it’s important to take some time to reflect on the life of Jesus and in particularly, his final week. Some may make the mistake of thinking or assuming that since Jesus was fully God, he didn’t experience human anguish. But Jesus wasn’t just fully God, he chose to be fully human. He was God who assumed humanity. He took upon himself flesh and bone. And in and through this…Jesus understood the fullness of our human condition. Jesus understood hunger, thirst, temptations, anguish, the pain of human betrayal, sadness.  During the final week of Jesus’ life, we see a glimpse of his humanity as he anguished in prayer at Gethsemane.

Before we try to jump to the celebration of His resurrection, we need to take the time to walk with Christ during the last week of his life.

So as I reflect upon the final week of Jesus’ life, it’s only natural for me to ponder what I would do if I knew I only had one week to live.

Don’t we all have what we call a “bucket list?” 

…Stuff that we want to do before experience our physical death?

I do. I have both a mental list and a list of some stuff I’ve started compiling in my notebook. Here’s at least 5 things I’d like to do if I have a week (or month) to live: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under:

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

My Instagram

Nakuru National Park, Kenya. Not your average neighborhood zoo. #flamingoes Kenya. Asante sana. Bwana asifiwe. So grateful for God's grace and provision. It's emotional and humbling every time we sign a check to award another grant. This is ONLY possible because of all of our generous donors and supporters.

This 19,932.90 grant is for a partnership with CREATE! ... that will train and empower 250 Sengalese women to produce and sell poultry, start their own businesses, etc.

Thank you and let's keep going!!! Share our stories. Share your day's wages. Or start your own birthday campaign.

ONEDAYSWAGES.ORG Seattle. Right now. That is all. 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

my tweets

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,026 other followers