Eugene Cho

ted williams: finding your true voice

Have you heard the story of Ted Williams?

It’s likely that you may have heard the story (and voice) of a “homeless” man named Ted Williams. His voice is indeed amazing but the story behind his voice, truly shines.  Most will focus their attention on the voice and the feel good story of second chances but if we listen to his story – in his own words – we’ll hear the story of redemption and reconciliation and…

a God who is still speaking to the world today.

While his story is unique, it also has a common thread that can be understood by all: we’ve all been down and out in some way or another.

  • A few years ago, he was strung out on drugs & alcohol, barely surviving, and living out on the streets.
  • Even a few days ago, he was homeless and simply looking for a break.

And then this video below was filmed this week. It was uploaded on January 3 and at the time this post got published, it was viewed 8,747,752 times and counting:

You’ve heard his voice…

Now, listen to his story…in his own words.

Just take 6 minutes to watch this video. It’s pretty amazing. In his own words, he speaks of 2010 – while perceived by most as another wasted year –  as the most significant year of his life as he encountered God in his life.

Stories of redemption & encountering God never grow old.

They are the most beautiful stories.

I love this story – maybe even more than the story of Susan Boyle – because it gives a face and a story to many who are homeless.

So many nuggets of wisdom and life lessons, no?

We’re cruel and unfair when we paint everyone who are down and out with a broad stroke or description of ‘homeless.’

We all have a story and a voice.

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…

Everyone needs a break. 2 million?

And as we feel all tingly and mushy inside, know this:

When the frenzy dies down, we need to remember that there are anywhere from 672,000 to 2 million people that are homeless in America that are looking for 2nd chances.

They, too, have stories and voices.

How about you? What’s your takeaway from this story?


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13 Responses

  1. KH says:

    no words…just feelings…and words don’t work!

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eugene Cho. Eugene Cho said: Ted Williams: His VOICE is amazing. But the STORY behind his voice…is life changing. – http://bit.ly/hwQhn1 […]

  3. brian says:

    ha! updated my blog and then checked twitter and found out we were on the same brainwave snd had almost identical posts. funny 🙂

  4. Garry says:

    What an inspiration to all!! Wishing him the best of luck!!

  5. Pat Pope says:

    I saw him on the Today Show this morning and I cried as I listened to him and saw how he seemed to really impact Matt Lauer. He talked of what has changed in him is that now he doesn’t miss an opportunity to talk to God and to thank Him, whereas before, he took so much for granted. I wish him all the best!

  6. Tim Morey says:

    Great piece Eugene. Thanks for posting –

  7. Deb says:

    Love this story! Love your post. Thanks for the reminder that he is just one of many. My take away:how many people drove by this guy with his sign? All it took was one guy to stop and ask him about his story. What can I do as one person?

  8. Peter Jang says:

    What an encouragement and challenge to start 2011!

  9. What a cool story…loved the video of him reuniting with his mother, as well.

  10. Rosie says:

    God is Awesome!
    It’s expected that people will criticize, but how often doesn’t God come knocking at our own door and we don’t let him in. God’s always on time!!

  11. Elvin says:

    It had to be a**holes who called him a phony and looked at his previous history. That shouldn’t matter. As a 15 year old boy, that is an inspiration for me to pursue my dreams and it definitely brought a tear in my eye. Congrats Ted, you deserve it.

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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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