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:

    Eugene,

    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:

    Eugene,

    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:

    Eugene,
    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:

    pe,

    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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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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