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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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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