Eugene Cho

rejoice:reconcile:reflect

Since this past Sunday was the first Sunday of 2008, I chose to preach a ‘Heart to Heart’ message entitled, Rejoice, Reconcile, Reflect, to the community at Quest. I preached from Philippians 4:2-9 and am especially captivated by vv 8-9:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

After each of the services, I felt so personally encouraged and convicted.  There’s a great joy and satisfaction when you’ve read, studied, prayed, and prepared — and the sermon just comes together and you sense the Holy Spirit has ministered through you.  I particularly enjoy preaching at the 5pm service because it’s my ‘no holds barred’ version of that week’s message.  I don’t have to worry about time, usage of certain words, and can just let it rip. 

The tech/audio folks are working to format podcasts into the new website soon but you can listen to the message focused on these three themes:  Rejoice.  Reconcile.  Reflect.  [Warning: it’s over an hour.]  But I do hope that it might be a source of encouragement to those who choose to listen.

Honestly, I think I was feeling a little too proud on Sunday night after I arrived home.  Later that night, I noticed that someone had linked to my blog.  WordPress has this feature that lists others that link to your blog.  Anyway, when I clicked on it, it was a post about his thought on the churches he’s recently visited which included stuff about Quest and me:

…probably the worst speaker I’ve ever heard.

We checked it out again…he was OK…But, it still didn’t really engage us toward Christ- so we decided to keep looking.

God has a funny way of humbling me…

Filed under: religion, ,

13 Responses

  1. Randall says:

    This sermon and Pastor Wayne’s a few weeks ago are some of the most amazing sermons I’ve heard in a long time – not just here at Quest, but anywhere.

    …and I’m not the devil.

  2. daniel so says:

    Eugene — I like that this person linked to you despite feeling so negatively. At least you made some progress from one message to the next (from worst speaker ever to OK). If this person had stuck around for a year or so, you might be perceived as the best speaker ever.

    The reception of a sermon is such a strange, subjective thing. That’s why I love, but also fear, preaching to children. If it stinks, their frowns & their groaning will let you know: “Are you done yet? Ugh!”

  3. j says:

    rejoice: on the success and accomplishment
    reconcile: with those who are the original members of Q when they were sitting in your living room as many have gone to the waste side…still questioning their faith
    reflect: what was done and what has not been done during your ministery to support these lost one, as they have been there when you were down and begining this long journey

    as a shepard, please go out to those little lambs who have wondered off from your ministry and carry them back to the house of our Lord.

    from: not an original member

  4. Pat says:

    It’s funny to me, but some of the best sermons I think I’ve preached fell flat with no response; and some of my worst nightmares made deep impact.

    If that’s not proof that God is speaking though an ass (oh, sorry, donkey), I don’t know what is 🙂

    Separate note – but Eugene, could you ask your webmaster to provide an RSS feed for your sermons, so that I can subscribe in iTunes? I’d love to have them handy.

  5. northpointcc says:

    I keep reminding myself that there is really only One opinion that counts. When He says, “well done,” it doesn’t matter what the rest of the church or the world thinks. Though I remind myself that only His opinion counts, I also know that the opinions of others hurt and humble us.

  6. Jennifer says:

    I found the blog you referenced…and I dont acutally think he’s saying YOU are are the worst speaker ever, but someone else that he heard at Quest.

    I thought Sunday’s sermon was one of the top 5 sermons I have heard at Quest.

    But honestly…to me, a sermon is just a small part of worship. Singing, prayer, eucharist, hugging friends, meeting new people, the benediction, quiet reflection, community – all of those make up worship too. I would hate for any pastor to feel they their part (the sermon) determins if people are being engaged toward Christ. Sermons are great, and important, but that is just a portion of what it means to engage Christ in worship.

  7. j says:

    what is this…a pitty session….”oh…it’s ok…..it is not your fault….they are ignorant…..they were not listening to your sermon but someone else”….

    come on…wake up…..each person takes in a message differently. you can’t please all. some good…some bad. shake it off like a dead bee that was stuck on the winshield of your NEON BLUE MAZDA MIATA CONVERTIBLE.

    pick yourself up and march on. meanwhile, ask for constructive criticism. Not all speakers are created equal, and you being no exception. However, the real difference between a good speaker vs you is that you truely believe in GOD, your own conviction, and striving to achieve what no other believer have done. it is up to your congregation, your family, to point out where are the deficiencies are and improve upon. you are only 37 (although with the beard, superman curls, you look like 50 yr old hobo) and got long ways to go….it is not just a humbling experience but GOD is chieseling the edges that you still have.

  8. j says:

    jennifer,

    thanks for highlighting what i have read already. And again, my comment stands. Including my “NEON BLUE MAZDA MIATA” comment.

    🙂

  9. e cho says:

    J: Please listen. While it’s an open forum, I’m politely asking you to be careful with the “tone” of your comments. It’s hard to discern accurately but you don’t need to sound so abrasive.

  10. j says:

    i guess jennifer deleted her entry before you read my latest.

    if my mere intention of pointing out the facts and historicals appears to be abrasive, i do apologize. that is my cynical nature but will try to tone it down.

  11. Rebecca says:

    Eugene-

    It was a fantastic sermon and I was definitely encouraged and convicted by it. It didn’t feel as long as it was (mark of a good sermon, in my opinion) but based on the actual recording time I guess it was a good thing I only had two songs for post-service worship!

  12. Andy Larsen says:

    Eugene,

    As is often the case for me, I was very encouraged and a bit convicted by your sermon. The HS did some wonderful work in my heart. Same with me wife. The Lord really used the metaphor especially about the garden and the weeds.

    For some reason I had my small Message version of my bible with me last Sunday and really took to heart Eugene Peterson’s rendition of Phil. 4:4,5…”Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!”

    Thanks for being an instrument in the hands of the HS.

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Grateful. Still reflecting on the letters that I've received from classmates and students that have come before me and after me. Never imagined all that God would have in store for me. Lots of humbling things but in the midst of them, there were literally thousands upon thousands of daily decisions and choices to be faithful. That's what matters. Seen or unseen. Noticed or unnoticed. You do your best and sometimes you stumble and fumble along but nevertheless, seeking to be faithful.

Also, you know you're getting old when your school honors you with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Lol. 47 is the new 27. Or something like that. Here's to the next 47. In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply. May our compassion not just be limited to the West or to those that look like us. Lifting up the people of Iraq, Iran, and Kurdistan in prayer after the 7.3 earthquake - including the many new friends I met on a recent trip to Iraq.

The death toll rises to over 400 and over 7,000 injured in multiple cities and hundreds of villages along the Western border with Iraq.

Lord, in your mercy... We are reminded again and again...that we are Resurrection People living in a Dark Friday world.

It's been a tough, emotional, and painful week - especially as we lament the horrible tragedy of the church shootings at Sutherland Springs. In the midst of this lament, I've been carried by the hope, beauty, and promise of our baptisms last Sunday and the raw and honest testimonies of God's mercy, love, and grace.

Indeed, God is not yet done. May we take heart for Christ has overcome the world. "Without genuine relationships with the poor, we rob them of their dignity and they become mere projects. And God did not intend for anyone to become our projects." Grateful this quote from my book, Overrated, is resonating with so many folks - individuals and  NGOs. / design by @preemptivelove

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