Eugene Cho

social justice matters because the gospel matters

Social justice.

Those two words – depending on the circles you  roll with – are either really bad news or really good news.

But for the latter, it’s not truly the good news.

But if you truly believe in the good news … as in the Gospel

If you truly believe in the Gospel, then you have to believe that it matters not just for your personal salvation and blessings but God’s pursuit of restoration, redemption, and reconciliation for the entire world.

I believe in this Gospel.

I live for this Gospel.

And while folks may disagree on the meaning, context, and agenda behind the vernacular or verbiage of such words as social justice…

Christians ought to agree in the Gospel that is revealed to us in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

  • a Gospel that not only saves but also serves
  • a Gospel that not only saves but seeks to restore all things back unto the One that ushered forth all that is good and beautiful
  • a Gospel that not only saves but ushers in the Kingdom of God
  • a Gospel that not only saves but restores the dignity of human beauty – even in the midst of our brokenness and depravity.

This Gospel is not just for us. It is good news for all

– especially the least, the marginalized, the poor, the forgotten, the forsaken, the alone…

How can we not believe in this kind of Gospel…when this Gospel has been extended unto us?

Truly, the Gospel saves…but thankfully, it does more than save. The Gospel not only saves, but invites us to a life that God intended for us and in that pursuit, God desires for us to

love mercy, seek justice, and walk humbly.

One of the things that’s giving me great joy and vitality in this current season of my life  is our church’s commitment to bumbling and stumbling our way in living out the Gospel.

Mind you, it hasn’t been easy but it’s been a culture – rooted in the Scriptures and the Gospel of Christ – that we’ve sought to incubate and incarnate from the beginning of our church.

During the month of November, we challenged and invited the church to help us raise $50,000 over two Sundays to fund the vision of our church’s Justice & Compassion Care Center. The pastors and elders were so humbled and amazed by our church as we collectively gave $70,105.24.

Part of those funds was allocated to hire a Homeless Advocate & Case Manager to work with our Justice and Compassion Pastor and to identify an office space (outside of our small building space) and closer to the main streets of our larger neighborhood.

Something pretty crazy happened: A 2500 square feet office space was extended to us – for free – and to use for the purposes of living out our faith.

the gospel matters…

And so, we begin this week with the mini-renovation process of making the office spaces our own as we get ready to celebrate the open house of the Quest Justice & Compassion Center on the last Sunday of January.

If there are some encouragement I can extend to my readers, fellow pastors, and leaders:

  1. build the culture of biblical justice and compassion. and remember, it takes time
  2. cast the vision again and again – and again.
  3. don’t underestimate yourself, your leaders or your church – especially if you’re a small/medium sized church.
  4. loving your neighbors often means serving your neighborhood.
  5. don’t give up.

Regarding #5, the work of justice and compassion is well…in the long run…not very attractive or dare I say, “sexy.” For example, advocacy for the homeless or housing challenged community is a struggle and if we’re honest, it’s the blog post no one wants to read.

But…the gospel matters.

Update: Here’s an update of the Bridge Care Center (about 9 months post launching) and video:

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17 Responses

  1. Annie M says:

    This is so exciting!

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eugene Cho, Ben S and others. Ben S said: "How can we not believe in this kind of Gospel…when this Gospel has been extended unto us?" @EugeneCho http://tinyurl.com/2wlrx58 […]

  3. […] because the gospel matters « eugene cho […]

  4. […] Like everyone else I saw the videos and news stories tracing Ted Williams’ meteoric rise to fame. I hadn’t planned on writing about it however, until I read a huffingtonpost.com post by Eugene Cho. I quote: “Stories of redemption & encountering God never grow old. They are the most beautiful stories. We are created in the image of God. We are loved by God. This — in essence — is the definition of human dignity. Indeed, the Gospel matters …“ […]

  5. Jason says:

    Awesome….you guys are an inspiration….

  6. […] Social justice. Those two words – depending on the circles you  roll with – are either really bad news or really good news. But for the latter, it's not truly the good news. But if you truly believe in the good news … as in the Gospel… If you truly believe in the Gospel, then you have to believe that it matters not just for your personal salvation and blessings but God's pursuit of restoration, redemption, and reconciliation for the entire wo … Read More […]

  7. Indeed an inspiration to us all. Never would social justice be negative on the eyes of the people with a pure heart.

  8. […] While it’s true that it’s often the blogpost no one wants to read, it has to matter if the Gospel truly matters. […]

  9. […] The Holy Spirit will convict and change. May our lives simply testify and point to the truth and gospel of Christ. […]

  10. […] Thank you for not only loving Jesus but for living in a way that demonstrates that the Gospel matters… […]

  11. […] The Holy Spirit will convict and change. May our lives simply testify and point to the truth and gospel of Christ. […]

  12. […] Wow. Amazing. Makes me wonder if we truly believe in the Gospel? […]

  13. […] Wow. Amazing. Makes me wonder if we truly believe in the Gospel? […]

  14. […] Cho also tackles this subject on his blog today with this intro, “Today is World Day of Social Justice. Those two words, “Social […]

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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

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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. Seattle. 7:00pm. Desperately holding on to summer. #goldengardenpark #nofilter

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