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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Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
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#northwestisbest Took a train to Busan. Did not encounter any zombies but I was ready just in case.

Busan. First visit to this city (couple weeks ago) and was blown away by its beauty. Also, shocked that it has become the fifth largest containment port city in the world. That's a lot of import and export.

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