Eugene Cho

It’s official. I am writing my first book. Someone please pray for me.

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I have some exciting and humbling news to share with friends, supporters, critics, and blog stalkers.

First the news:

After several years of wrestling, praying, and mulling  (and very intensely the past few months), Minhee (my wife) and I finally thought it was time for me to work on my first book.  And while I’m not an agent kind of person (however much I like Jerry Maguire), the conversations about publishing were intimidating and the learning curve so high that I decided that it would be best to work with a literary agent. And so, I’ve decided to partner with Chris Park for many reasons including the fact that she’s sharp, become my unofficial grammar police, used to work for both publishers and as an editor in her former life, and got bonus points since her husband is a Ph.D candidate in New Testament.

With her help, we forwarded a brief book proposal to various publishers.

Just in case some of the publishers are reading this post, I want to again sincerely thank each of you for your interest in me and my book proposal. I was truly humbled by your time and interest and it made the decision more difficult than I could have ever imagined. I’ve also learned to never schedule that decision process during my vacation. It made for some unpleasant rides on Disneyland and a few rolling eyes from my kids. [Sorry kids. Daddy loves you.]

But because a decision had to be made, I took two extra days to arrive at a decision and agreed to a three book contract with David C Cook. You can read the press release from Publishers Weekly here. There are numerous reasons why I chose to work with David C Cook but one of them is the fact that as a non-profit organization, they invest their profits back into various aspects of missions.

Couple weeks ago, I flew out to Colorado Springs, met the team at DC, and finally signed the official contract. The picture above is me signing the contract. Next to me is Alex Field – the poor dude who will be working with me as my editor at DC. Alex: Bro, laff and smyle now becauze you mite not bee smileing layter after you reade the msnuescrpite. Get youre thicke red pen reedy! To the crew at DC: Thank you for welcoming me and I look forward to working together…

What’s the first book about?

The first book is tentatively titled, “Overrated: My Personal Confession of Being More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World…than Changing the World.”

I know. I know. It’s not quite the kind, affirming, and gracious title you’d expect from a pastor or leader. But before you decide not to read it or get offended, this book is not an accusation but rather my personal confession of being more in love with the idea of changing the world…than actually changing the world. Over the years, I’ve learned this truth:

Everyone loves the idea of compassion and justice…until there’s a cost. But the truth is: There’s always a cost to justice.

This book is about my journey in learning this truth – the hard way. It’s a book that details the collision of faith, justice, following Jesus, praxis, and counting the costs. It’s messy and painful but it’s real and it’s my invitation to others to not be so infatuated with telling a good story and instead, to live a good story – a story of faith, hope, courage, sacrifice, and justice.

My greatest hope behind this book is to truly encourage the Church – especially in its pursuit of seeking justice and pursuing the dreams and visions that God may have deposited in our hearts.

I love Christ and love the Church.
I love people and love the privilege of encouraging and exhorting.
I love young people and truly feel blessed to speak, mentor, and invest in this and coming generations.
I love calling and reminding people to the purpose of God.
…to call people to a deeper engagement with God.
…to love mercy, seek justice, and walk humbly with our God. (Micah 6:8)

Can you pray for me?

I’ve had opportunities and offers to write before but it never felt right: I questioned my own maturity in the past. I was concerned about my capacity and bandwidth; I had reticence about my own motivations in writing. But I’ve learned to find peace with those issues. I now have some genuine life experiences and scars to share. It’s time.

In addition….I’ll be turning 44 when the book releases in the Fall 2014.  [Gulp]  I’m not getting any younger. I’m regularly reminded of my human mortality. I’m reminded that “life is but a vapor.” As I’m fully immersed in the second half of my life, I want to keep pouring into my marriage, my children, and my church but I’ve been also convicted of the influence that God has given me. God has been so gracious to me as I recall my great-grandfather being one of the first believers in small town outside of Pyongyang (in a country that is now called North Korea) and his decision to flee south because of persecution and the threat of Communism. My father was then six years old. I was that same age when my parents chose to take their three sons to a foreign land called the United States. Through years of turbulence, deep anguish, and a longing for meaning and identity, I came to a revelation and chose to receive the good news of Christ at the age of 18. There is so much I can share and this in part, one of the main reasons why I’m choosing to publish…because I want to proclaim God’s goodness, mercy, and grace.

I’m also choosing to write this and other books because I’m reminded of the call to leave a legacy, to exhort others, to pour into younger leaders, and to speak – even through my broken voice and life – into this and coming generations and the greater Church – all in hopes of proclaiming the Kingdom of God.

So, I humbly ask that you’d consider praying for me when I come to your thoughts. I have to turn in the first draft of my manuscript of approximately 50,000 words by September 1. That’s this year. Like in couple months. And I’ve yet to start.🙂

Leave a comment…

if you have any questions.
if you’re willing to pray for me.
if you’ve got some good advice or encouragement.
if you have good ideas for the next book.
if you have the gift of prophecy and you have a word for this brother.
if you have anything to say.

Lastly, thanks for your kindness, prayers, support, and encouragement. They mean much. The last few years have been so challenging in so many ways but God has been faithful and I have been often reminded that no man, woman, or child are an island to themselves.

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70 Responses

  1. Greg says:

    I’ll buy it! Can’t wait.

  2. Matt Appling says:

    Excited for you, Eugene! I’ll be praying for you as you go through this incredible and challenging process.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      Appreciate that, Matt. Did you write a post speaking to that “incredible and challenging process” on your blog. I’d love to check it out.

      I did want to also thank you for sending a copy of the book. I’ve yet to start it but hope to do so when I have some downtime.

  3. A true and needed word. God’s protection, love, and power be yours in abundance.

  4. ryan d. says:

    Eugene–I am excited to hear this news, knowing that it was made with much prayer and discernment. Looking forward to reading the books, and thank you for your ministry and leadership!

  5. Matt K says:

    Can’t wait! Let us know when we can preorder on amazon🙂. praying for you.

  6. Ellis Andie says:

    I teach the ‘trophy generation’ and I say…’go for it, Eugene’.
    There will, however, be no sticker or prize for completing the book:-)

  7. AndreaAndrea says:

    This is such exciting news! I can’t wait to read it. Will be praying and preordering!

  8. Exactly what I’m conflicted with now! Stay in $ making job because I’m comfortable and like not to worry about my bank account or leave it for ft ministry and really make a difference. Look forward to reading it!

  9. D says:

    Sounds like a fantastic book – I know I’ll definitely be getting it. It’s a struggle I go through, can’t wait to read your thoughts on a topic that’s difficult to broach! (:

  10. Shawn Kang says:

    Blessings and prayers for you Eugene and for your family! I am excited for your journey in writing it!

  11. Congrats! This is really exciting news. Definitely eager to see the first book released!🙂

  12. yvids says:

    Congratulations, Pastor! I feel happy for you. May God bless you and use you through this book to inspire and touch many people’s heart all over the world!

  13. hopefulleigh says:

    Congratulations, Eugene! I’m so excited about your news and will be praying as the writing process gets underway. I’m both intrigued and convicted by the premise of your first book.

  14. Lesa Engelthaler says:

    You’ve had a book in you since I first started reading your crazy radical posts. :o) My prayer for you — that is nailed big and loud on the wall by the back door so I see it every morning as I leave for work — “Always Trust Your Story.” Yah!!

  15. Josh Roberts says:

    Wonderful news Eugene. Congrats. Look foward to hearing about the progress and eventually reading the finished product. I’ll make sure to twert/FB others once its available. God bless.

  16. Jon Wilcox says:

    I’m looking forward to reading your book next year. Appreciate what you do and what you’re about. Congratulations on your partnership with Cook. Many good people there… I wish you success.

  17. Congrats, Eugene. I look forward to reading it. I think the topic area is one that needs some attention. Besides, I need another quote on this besides Shane Claiborne’s “Everybody wants a revolution, but nobody wants to do the dishes”! Grace and peace to you.

  18. Amy E Patton says:

    As one writing a book herself, all I can say is I am praying for you, brother!

  19. Great news Eugene! Appreciate your wisdom and humility. Looking forward to read your honest, provocative and persuasive words. Grace!

  20. somerbhanson says:

    I will definitely purchase and gladly review/promote via my blog! Can’t wait to read it!

  21. That’s a book I want to read! Already excited for it!

  22. Nathan says:

    Good job! I’m looking forward to it. Now get back to the keyboard, you’ve got a deadline.😉

  23. Al Doyle says:

    Thank for sharing the news. he world needs to hear a voice (your voice) that speaks across all generations, and I know you will approach this with your usual courage, engaging perspective, loving humor and natural humility. Will pray. Will buy. Will read. Will help spread the word! Go for it!

  24. Sonja says:

    Definitely praying for you Pastor Eugene! May the words flow freely and the computer regularly auto-save:)

  25. I’m so thrilled to read this announcement! You were, through your life and work with ODW, a major (the primary) influence that led my brother and me to launch The Move Project and put our thoughts and words about justice into action. Grateful for your inspiration and can’t wait to read your book!

  26. Rob Mohrweis says:

    Camp does wonders for writer’s block (and the fishing’s pretty good too)!

  27. Shrazzi says:

    Congratulations P Eugene! This is so exciting. We will be praying too. 50,000 seems like a lot, but the words will start flowing and you’ll probably have to cut back.🙂

  28. KatC says:

    There’s always a cost to justice, but there is a greater cost without it. I’m glad you’re addressing this, especially with our generation, so enamoured with ideals and committed to comfort at the same time. May the writing go well.

  29. Helen Lee says:

    So excited for you, Eugene–and thrilled for how God will use your words and ideas to spur the Church on to a a deeper and more faithful relationship with Christ. May God be your guide through each and every step of the process, and may you experience HIs presence with every word you write! Prayers for you, absolutely. =)

  30. Very excited for you. I heard you talk briefly about this topic at the Philly Justice Conference. Look forward to reading the rest of the story (and I’m sure the movie will be awesome too, lol). I’m embarking this summer on my PhD dissertation in Community Leadership, so I will have some empathy for you. I will pray for you as I type and hope you can do the same. I truly appreciate your ministry, the words you share on FB and your blog, and just your heart for God and for people. Now, stop reading these comments and get started on that book!

    • Eugene Cho says:

      Thanks Dave.

      Yes, the book is based on the topic I shared at the Justice Conference. It’s been something on my heart and mind for couple years and one I’ve personally struggled with.

      Starting next week. For real start.

  31. Andy Larsen says:

    Eugene, this is wonderful news and I will pray with you for sure. Interestingly, I’m a few steps behind you, working on a book proposal this summer. I’m trying to speak to the split we allow ourselves between praxis and belief, and “confess” my reticence to embrace justice. Lots of stories from Palestine and what I’ve learned from Muslims. You inspire me and I like the title already. You have a way to succinctly capture, and pitch, a prophetic word! This book WILL rock. And it will sell like hotcakes. It will be on my shelf for sure. You have an excellent platform already. I feel honored to know you, and have you as my pastor!

    • Eugene Cho says:

      Andy:

      Thank you. Your words mean much and I am blessed to be in relationship with you. Thank you for giving me the privilege of being one of your pastors.

      I’m looking forward to your book as well. It may not sell as “hotcakes” but we both know how critically important it is to this and coming generations.

  32. Dave says:

    Eugene:

    How about you share some of your struggles in your blog about the writing adventure ? That way we can feel a part of the adventure, be reminded to keep praying for you, and maybe even give you some useful feedback.

    Dave

  33. what great news! i have been following your blog for some time now and would be most interesting in buying your book; i think the topic sounds intriguing. =) i am also encouraged by your desire to leave a legacy (as your grandparents did for you years ago.) praise God from whom all blessings flow.i look forward to updates on the book when it it is published.

  34. Ninan says:

    HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SELL IT? Price? Is it going to be by donation?

    Let me explain why I am asking you this question:

    I came to know about you a few weeks back through the 2013 Justice Conference video. I was very encouraged and moved with your message and the work you do. The one point in your message that resonated with me was the fact that you disclosed your annual salary. Transparency is very important to me.

    This is my first time on your blog, and I understand that you are going to be writing a book.

    I always get concerned when Christians write a book and then it is only available for a fixed price.

    I understand there are expenses related to publishing a book. However what i don’t understand is, why Christian writers can’t give away their work to people who can’t afford it or sell it by donation.

    In the last few years i have got to know a bit of how the technology community works. The best example is the WordPress community. There are so many plugins and widgets that are written by people who put it out there for everyone. A lot of them don’t sell it but only ask for a donation if the user likes it.

    This makes me wonder why Christians have to copyright and sell their work. I am not against copyrighting or selling but i am against not making it available to people who can’t afford it or people who will not buy it because of the price.

    Latest example of a technology writer trying to sell his book by letting you decide the price: http://breakingthetimebarrier.freshbooks.com/

    I will definitely buy your book because I strongly feel as believers we should support the work of other believers whose work inspires and encourages us.

    I will remember to pray for you.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      Ninan:

      Yes, there will be a fixed price with the publisher but I’m absolutely certain that the book will be available at lower prices via different sources. It will also be available as an e-book.\

      I also chose to work with David C Cook because as a non-profit, they invest their profits in missions – including the distribution of books and resources in places around the world that can’t afford the books. They are sometimes given away free but most often, for a very small amount (because FREE isn’t always a good thing).

      Let me say this. If there are people who absolutely can’t afford to buy this book, I’d be happy to send them a copy.

  35. daniel so says:

    Eugene – So excited for you, bro! You and your family have exemplified the hard work & love it takes to seek justice — the world needs your story🙂

    If you need someone to design a controversial book cover, just drop me a line😉

  36. Bruce Strom says:

    Congrats! I look forward to reading. My greatest challenge in writing Gospel Justice was seeking to put the focus on Christ and not me. Like you, I am someone who lives justice – a doer of the word and not a hearer only. But that is only because I am so grateful for God’s grace in my life. God’s grace makes me just. Stay humble. Speak grace and truth. And I look forward to the message God provides you.

    Your fellow justice laborer,

    Bruce Strom

    • Eugene Cho says:

      Thanks Bruce. Please remind me to send you a copy. I look forward to reading your book too and joining you and your family in November.

      My prayer is that however it’s written, many are drawn and fascinated by my Christ.

  37. djchuang says:

    thrilled to hear of this dramatic lifechanging news! And you thought hacing to keep up with daily blogging for years and then to go off the grid for weeks and months was hard, you ain’t seen nothing yet🙂 what a gift you’ve got to have a publisher wanting you to write, and not have to go a self-publish or kickstarter crowdfunding route.. hallelujah rejoicing with you

    • Eugene Cho says:

      Thanks DJ.

      I’m glad I waited to write and I’m glad that were publishers interested. The process was fascinating and truly humbling to have so many respected publishers interested in working together.

      Appreciate your support. On a side note, thanks for convincing me to get on Twitter couple years ago.

  38. I just got around to reading this (thanks for the re-post on FB!) and I am so thrilled to hear about upcoming books! So thankful for all the times that God has used your voice to speak into my life, and for all that He continues to do in and through you as you chase after His dreams for you! Praying with you for the process and for the eternal results!

  39. Deb says:

    I too just got around to reading this. Will definitely be praying for you as you make progress putting into words the message God has put on your heart to share. Look forward to hearing about the journey and reading the result.

  40. […] man. I don’t know if I should write this. I’m supposed to be busy writing the manuscript for my first book…which is already a month late. But hey, I need a writing break and what’s a better way […]

  41. […] man. I don’t know if I should be writing this. I’m supposed to be busy writing the manuscript for my first book…which is already late. But hey, I need a writing break and what’s a better way to take a break […]

  42. Eugene, first heard you speak at UYWI with my big brother Larry Acosta. Your words were inspired by the Spirit. I look forward to hearing and reading more of your words, seeking God’s words to me in them. I am overrated too. Sobering, yet true. Thanks man.

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One Day’s Wages

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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 Happy Birthday, Minhee! I'm so grateful for you. You radiate faith, hope, and love.  No...you don't complete me. That would be silly and simply humanly impossible but you keep pointing me and our family to Christ who informs and transforms our lives, marriage, family, and ministry. Thanks for being so faithful. I love you so much. (* And what a gift to be in Korea together.)

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