Eugene Cho

ONE sermon challenge

I’m a supporter of the ONE Campaign.  I support them and thousands of others – regardless of their age, gender, religion, ethnicity, or organizational background – if they are fighting, singing, writing, advocating, and working towards eradicating extreme global poverty; If they are loving mercy and pursuing justice.  This isn’t just a Christian issue, it’s a humanity issue.  Everyone needs to be involved and NO ONE gets a free pass. Please read this loud and clear:  we have the capacity to eradicate extreme global poverty.

Recently, I spent some time with the ONE Campaign in Washington DC.  They interviewed me in this video talking a little bit about the opportunity that we have as pastors and leaders to utilize our voices to speak for the voiceless, poor, and oppressed.  Here’s what they wrote on their ONE blog about the ONE Sermon Challenge:

[original link] We’re inviting you to lift up your voice and inspire others to join and act with ONE in the fight against extreme poverty.

The ONE Sermon Challenge, part of ONE Sabbath, invites leaders and members of congregations across the country to create and submit sermons connecting their own faith to these vital issues and lift up the important role of advocacy as an act of faith.

Today we are faced with a global financial crisis in which the world’s poor are the first and most adversely affected. Yet we have proven solutions: Two million people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa receiving lifesaving medicines. Millions of families protected from malaria thanks to simple bed nets. Tens of millions of African children going to school for the first time. and YOU.

Continuing through May, the ONE Sermon Challenge will accept original and inspirational sermons, d’ivrei torah, and khutbas related to global poverty and collect them online at ONE.org. Through the ONE Sermon Challenge, pastors, rabbis, imams and other faith leaders have the chance to share their message to ONE’s millions of members and congregations nationwide, inspiring advocacy and action. At the ONE Sermon Challenge you’ll find inspirational preaching from many traditions, including original Christian, Jewish, and Muslim messages all lifting up a call for action against extreme poverty and treatable, preventable disease.

At the ONE Sermon Challenge you can read Rev. Abby King Kaiser’s inspiring word on the “Work to Do,” download and listen to Rabbi Eric Solomon’s reflections on the role of prophetic leaders like Martin Luther King and Abraham Joshua Heschel, or watch Imam Johari Abdul-Malik’s inspiring Friday khutba on the vital role advocacy plays in fighting global poverty and treatable, preventable disease.

Participants that send us their inspired message will receive a ONE Sabbath Action Pack, resourcing them and their local congregations with next steps to act with ONE.

Last week I caught up with Pastor Eugene Cho, of Quest Church in Seattle, at the Sojourners Mobilization to End Poverty here in Washington DC – he shares his challenge to you to do your part and join the ONE Sermon Challenge.

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7 Responses

  1. ison3000 says:

    Sounds all nice and warm and fuzzy. Didn’t hear the name JESUS once. You can quote scripture till your tongue falls out. You can raise more money than Trump. You can feed more hungry mouths than Taco Bell. If it isn’t built on the cross, the sacrifice of death, that Jesus paid so that you could know God, then it’s empty. Good works and good intentions don’t count. Why? Because we have free will. And so does God. But He’s perfect, and we’re not. That’s our choice. Jesus makes it right. Jesus.

  2. daniel so says:

    Eugene – I’m with you! The people and things that matter to God should matter to us as well. We, as the church, are called to be a movement of redemption and hope. What’s good for us, as the church, should be good for our neighbors and our neighborhoods. Continued blessings as you share Jesus’ love through your anti-poverty campaign.

  3. Eugene,
    I found Quest on Google Maps looking for churches near Seattle Pacific University. I am very glad I did.

    I am excited to see a church so engaged in the surroundings, being the hands and feet, promoting the awareness of poverty…and doing something about it.

    If i ever attend SPU, or at least visit, I will definitely stop by.

    You have inspired me.

  4. eugenecho says:

    @ison3000: dude, relax.

  5. Matthew Svoboda says:

    Eugene,

    I appreciate what you and MANY others are doing with this campaign. But is that the only way you respond to ison3000? He is right, biblically, that Christ is not at the center than it is in vain. Who cares if they get a sandwich as we act like that is all they need? Start with a sandwich, sure, but if it never moves on towards us sharing Jesus then it is a big waste of time. It is even evil. “Being Jesus” by feeding the hungry does not mean anything if we are not also “proclaiming Jesus” to the hungry.

    I am disappointed that all you had to say on the issue was “dude, relax.” But don’t worry about me, I am relaxed.

  6. me says:

    @matthew: i’m not sure what else i could have said. he posted that exact same comment on several venues that were posted. i emailed him personally.

    it’s clear that you and i have different perspectives on being jesus in feeding the hungry. i don’t mind proclaiming jesus to the hungry. i care about what i will do when they say, ‘i’m not interested.’

    will i stay and feed or will i move on to the next person.

    glad you’re relaxed.

  7. Matthew Svoboda says:

    Eugene,

    Thanks for a kind, humble response. Of course, I would continue to feed. It’s not like I am promoting a “believe in Jesus or I won’t feed you.” What I am promoting is preaching the gospel to all, while you feed them. We aren’t being “like Jesus” if we only feed and never proclaim the “good news.”

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One Day’s Wages

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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 .
May we keep working 
on ourselves 
even as we seek 
to change the world. 
To be about the latter 
without the former 
is the great temptation 
of our times.

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