Eugene Cho

Palm Sunday: He’s Jesus. He’s Lord. We’re not. We’re just the donkey (or ass). Remember, it’s not about us.

Palm Sunday.

I’m very fond of this season in the Christian calendar because I can mention the word “ass” during my blog post and sermon and still keep all the fundamentalists off my back.😉

But seriously, the message of Palm Sunday is very significant. True, this fulfills the prophecy of the Old Testament and that’s very significant but there’s more:

The image of Jesus riding on a donkey – aka “an ass” – during Palm Sunday is a great paradox.

In some ways, it’s when things go downhill really fast for Jesus and for anyone and everyone associated with Jesus that had a different agenda about “the Kingdom” than Jesus. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, Jesus, justice, leadership, ministry, , ,

one of the greatest sermons…

It passed quietly this year but as I’ll likely do each year, I want to share about one of the greatest sermons I’ve ever heard. It didn’t come from a pulpit but rather through the stories of about 50-60 folks from a church community that no longer technically exists continues to make an impact through their lives, legacy, stories, and friendship.

Three years ago (June 2007), a 65-year-old church named Interbay Covenant Church (our landlords for several years) chose to “die to themselves” and gift themselves and all their assets to Quest Church.

These amazing folks gave away more than property and assets worth about $5-6 million dollars. More courageously, they shared their lives, stories, and legacy.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote:

One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons…

I am so humbled and blessed to have witnessed Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, faith, leadership, ministry, pastors, seattle

jimmy carter leaves the southern baptist convention: “losing my religion over equality”

womensilence

I read this piece from former President, Jimmy Carter, over the weekend explaining his decision to sever his ties with the South Baptist Convention – after being an active member for six decades.  While I don’t agree with everything he writes, I agreed with the crux of his column: Enough is enough.

Most of you are aware of my hermeneutics and convictions pertaining to the issue of equality of women and my full support for women in all levels of leadership in the Church. I’ve written numerous posts about the issue but here are some worth checking out:

I hate to admit it but it still seems lonely with that “position” so I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be a woman – called by God – but seen not only as “unqualified” but in essence, “living in sin” for being deceived…a la Eve all over again.   Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, christianity, church, Jesus, leadership, ministry, , , ,

why is everyone leaving the church?

nm_youth_church_090506_mnTalk about a string of bad press! In addition to a write up in the Christian Science Monitor [The Coming Evangelical Collapse], a cover article of the Newsweek Magazine entitled “The End of Christian America,” a more readable and short article popped up last week on ABC News entitled, “Young America Losing Their Religion.”

While these articles aren’t great news, I must be a bad pastor Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, christianity, church, culture, emerging church, faith, Jesus, ministry, religion

our church’s response to the H1N1 – swine flu

communion at quest

I just sent out this note to our church email database in response to the growing concern of the H1N1 Virus (aka Swine Flu).  In addition to some cases in the larger country, there have now been seven new cases of what is likely the H1N1 virus.  Six of them involve children which explains why six schools are now closed.

With the impact of media and social media, news of the ‘Swine Flu’ is going literally viral.  While there clearly isn’t ONE response, we should not err on the extremes: Panic or Ignorance.

Leaders: No need to propagate fear and panic but don’t ignore the fact that some of your congregants are genuinely worried for themselves and their families. In Seattle (article above), six schools have temporarily closed their schools in response to the virus. There’s clearly no need to cancel church but we should take measures and precautions to reassure our congregants.  Remember: Pastoral Care.

Having said, our church staff made the following precautionary decisions that impact our church worship

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, ministry, quest church, religion, seattle, , ,

generations of faith and salvation

Last Sunday, couple folks were baptized at Quest. Their stories of coming to faith in Jesus always moves me. With permission, here’s the story of Rosalind – one of only 30,000 Karaite Jews in the world and now one of two Karaite Jew believers.  I want to encourage you to read it and be blessed.

quest church baptism

“The Lord said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. ‘I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’ So Abram left, as the Lord had told him…” Genesis 12:1-4

It feels like my faith journey began before I was born. I guess that’s why my testimony might feel more like a history lesson than a story about God’s grace, but the fact that I’ve made it here is almost testament enough.

I am a Karaite Jew; a sect of Jews that has been around since God passed down his laws to Moses. Originating in Mesopotamia, the area between the Tigris-Euphrates river system (present day Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc.), only 30,000 of us remain in the world today, 4,000 of which reside in the U.S.

My parents were born in Egypt and, like many of the Karaite Jews, were also imprisoned, and then expelled, Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, faith, Jesus, ministry, quest church, religion

the beauty of diversity, community, and uniqueness

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Ministry has its up and downs. Such is life.

But one of the joys of planting and pastoring Quest Church is that it’s one of the most unique and diverse communities I have been a part of. This isn’t meant to be a slam against homogeneous churches.  In fact, I believe that every community is multicultural on some level – [Hint: think beyond race.]  While I miss (very much) the uniqueness of my experiences in Korean-American churches – food, generations, languages, etc. (and still am involved in KA/Asian communities), I now understand why God called Minhee and I to venture out from our homogeneous suburban church into the city to plant Quest and Q Cafe.

While we have a long way to go, we’re thankful that Quest is growing as a multicultural, multigenerational, and urban faith community – with a desire to be an incarnational presence both in the city of Seattle and the larger world – teaching and living out the Gospel of Christ.

Questions: What are ways that you encourage your community to grow in diversity, community, and uniqueness?

These are my encouragements to fellow leaders and pastors:

  1. Know the diversity of your community.  Simply, do you know their stories?  They may “look” the same but they represent different ‘cultures’ – if not ethnicities.  We all have diverse stories.  If you know their stories, are you making their stories known?  FWIW, this is my story.
  2. Nevertheless, have a vision of the larger Kingdom and the “future Church” and consider what it looks like to take “one step closer…” Even if your church community isn’t ethnically diverse, how are you personally building friendships and encouraging your congregants to live in friendship with neighbors and the  larger community?  How is your church serving  “other” churches and communities – especially those that don’t look like yours?  You don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket and think that “worshipping together” is the only expression.  Think outside of Sundays and outside the building box.
  3. Be committed to the truth that each person is uniquely created in the image of God.  Consider the lessons learned from the story of Susan Boyle of Britain’s Got Talent and meditate on this quote from C. S. Lewis in The Weight Of Glory.

“There are no ordinary people. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, churchplanting, ministry, pastors, seattle, ,

“new calvinism” as 3rd most powerful idea – according to time magazine

john_calvin_-_young

Time Magazine created a list of 10 new ideas that are impacting the world right now and #3 on their list – incredibly – is an old but new movement called Calvinism or “New Calvinism.”  Listed as some of the movers behind this new movement are John Piper from Minneapolis, my neighbor Mark Driscoll from Seattle, and Al Mohler.  I find it encouraging and phenomenal that this was on the list but think we’re missing something if we think the Holy Spirit is working exclusively through the “new Calvinists.”  Despite our cynicism and reports of the collapse of the evangelical church, the Holy Spirit is working…

Mark – on his Resurgence blog – listed the distinctions between Old and New Calvinism.  He cites four main differences:

  1. Old Calvinism was fundamental or liberal and separated from or syncretized with culture. New Calvinism is missional and seeks to create and redeem culture.
  2. Old Calvinism fled from the cities. New Calvinism is flooding into cities.
  3. Old Calvinism was cessationistic and fearful of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. New Calvinism is continuationist and joyful in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
  4. Old Calvinism was fearful and suspicious of other Christians and burned bridges. New Calvinism loves all Christians and builds bridges between them.

While I personally roll with the Covenant denomination, I am advocating that we never be an island to ourselves.  I spent most of my early years in Reformed and Presbyterian Churches including two years in Korea at what I perceive to be one of the most influential [but completely unknown to Westerners] churches called Onnuri.  I received my Masters of Divinity degree at Princeton Theological Seminary so I have a good deal of exposure and understanding of Calvinism and Reformed Theology.  It’s clearly shaped a portion of my theology and ecclesiology.

So having said that, I like to think that we’re really all part of One Larger Team called the Kingdom of God.  Thus, if those four traits are the characteristics and commitments of New Calvinism, we should all be BIG fans.  I would certainly be and would genuinely love to see my co-laborers in the New Calvinism team be committed to being Missional, Urban Minded [and not just the Suburbs], led by the Holy Spirit, and Bridge Builders. 

How about you?  Thoughts about the article?

Here’s the article from Time: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, Jesus, ministry, religion, seattle, , , , ,

Christian books that should NOT be published.

Is it ok to sometimes poke fun and laugh at ourselves? I hope so because if not, I’m in some big trouble. As in, I might get blacklisted by the Christian evangelical subculture.

In reponse to the question about the 10 Most Essential Christian Books, I received some fabulous and interesting suggestions. But I also started getting a list from people regarding the most anti-essential Christian books or in other words, books that should never be published so I’ve taken the liberty of listing some of them here.  And if you’re gonna get offended, I have two things to say:  1) It’s not my list or umm, it’s not all mine.  Don’t kill the messenger! and 2) Relax. It’s okay to make fun of ourselves sometimes. I hope.

If you want to laugh even more, check out 10 reasons why men shouldn’t be ordained.

I’ll share my list of essential book soon but for now, enjoy this list of the Christian Books that should NOT be Published from various commenters from this blog.  You folks are mean!

And dare I ask:

What would you add to the list?

Update: I’m adding the American Patriot’s Bible to this list.  The crazy thing is that it’s a real book unlike the list below.

  • Everyone Is Going To Hell Except Me – John MacArthur
  • There’s No ‘U’ in Ministry: A Woman’s Guide – Mark Driscoll Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, emerging church, ministry

an upside to the economic downturn

serve

The doom and gloom news about all things economy related can be paralyzing.  I know it’s impacting many individuals, organizations, and churches as well.  I’ll share later this week how it’s impacted my family but I wanted to share how Quest is trying to respond.  Last year, Quest was fortunate and just met our budget.  I’m not certain how since a) 2008 was the first year we hadn’t  numerically grown since the beginning of our church and b) 10% of our church have experienced job layoffs.  As difficult as the economic climate may be, this is also an incredible opportunity for the [C]hurch to be a source of care and grace to one another and the larger city and world.  Difficult times are when we can demonstrate our substance and convictions of Loving God and Loving People.

Let’s share some ideas and good news.  Question:

How are you or your church seeking to care for one another and the larger city & globe?

I recently wrote the following letter to our church sharing how we are stumbling our way to care: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, emerging church, ministry, quest church, seattle

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

My Instagram

Checking out Canada in case I need to move up North after the presidential election. Just saying, eh.

Downtown Toronto. Fascinating architecture. Amazed by the diversity of this city. We desperately want our children to not just be captivated by the beauty of creation...but more importantly, to the actual Creator of all that is good and beautiful.

Actually, we want and need this truth for our souls, too. What a privilege. This isn't possible without all those who give, pray, and support the work of @onedayswages. This week, I signed and mailed grants to three partner organizations totaling over $170,000. These grants will empower people by supporting maternal health care, refugee relief efforts, access to clean water, provide education, etc.

Sometimes, the brokenness of the world feel so overwhelming but let's keep running the race with endurance. Let's keep pursuing justice, mercy, and humility. Let's be faithful and may we be spurred on to keep working for God's Kingdom...on earth as it is in heaven.

Again, thank you so much for your support for @onedayswages! My wife, Minhee, and I stand on the shoulders of praying mothers. I'd like to take a moment to honor my mother-in-law. It's hard to put words together to embody her life but she is a very special, anointed person. I'm so blessed to have her as a mother in my life.

She was a devoted wife until she lost her husband to cancer, mother to three daughters, and later became a pastor. She became a follower of Christ as an adult and as such, led her her family to Christ. In her late 50s, she obeyed God's calling to go to seminary and be a leader in the church. She graduated #1 in her class and reminded us that it's never too late to follow a new dream or calling.

As she'll soon celebrate her 80th birthday, I'm especially grateful for the ways that she poured into and prayed over Minhee and her other children.  Even though she's officially retired, I'm inspired that the concept of retirement is not in her vocabulary.  She continues to serve the local church, evangelize and bear witness to Christ, and goes to the early morning prayer meeting at 5am everyday to pray for our family, our church, and for others. 
Jangmonim, we love and honor you. 어머니, 사랑합니다.

Someday, I hope that when my kids speak of Minhee and I...above all, they would say with integrity that their parents prayed for them and kept pointing them to Christ. On this Mother's Day, I want to take a few words to honor mother.

There’s a moment from a few years ago that will stick with me until the day I die. It’s regarding Sung Wha, my mother.

Minhee and I were at a point of transition, between working at an ethnic Korean church in the northern suburbs of Seattle called Lynnwood and launching Quest in urban Seattle. As I shared earlier, I was in desperate need of a job. I had a mortgage to pay. A pregnant wife. A kid at home. 
Then, praise God, after months without work, I finally landed a job.

My mom was in between jobs at this point in her life. She was in her late fifties, but she had such bad knees and degenerative hips that it was, and is, difficult for her to walk. My mom is like a human barometer—when a storm is coming and when it rains, her hips throb. Although my parents lived in San Francisco, she was visiting us in Seattle to encourage us in this difficult season.

As I prepared to go to work one early morning, I walked downstairs to put on my jacket and shoes, and forgot that my mother woke up early every morning to pray. In fact, she had been praying for months that I would find a job. “Eugene, where are you going?” she said when she saw me.

I hadn’t told my mother the news that I had just recently been hired for the janitorial gig at Barnes and Noble. I chose not to because I thought she and my father would be devastated. I didn’t want them to think that after laboring, sacrificing, and doing so much for us over all those years that their son had failed them.

But I couldn’t lie to her, so eventually I told my mom that I got a job and was going to work. “Great! What job? What are you doing?” “Um, I’m working at Barnes and Noble as their custodian,” I said finally.

Without asking another question, my mother got up from the dining table where she had been reading her Bible and praying. She slowly walked slowly toward me.

She approached me, then walked past me without saying a word, and I realized she was headed toward the closet. She opened the closet door, put on her jacket, turned around and said to me (in Korean), “Eugene, let’s go together. I will help you.” This is my mother. I love all the free amazing views in our Evergreen State. #RattlesnakeLedge

my tweets

  • .@SeattleQuest recently hosted Kenneth Bae (Prisoner 103). He was detained in DPRK for 735days. WATCH his testimony: vimeo.com/167680426 || 10 hours ago
  • RT @seattlequest: Suffering is a short cut to God's heart. Even if your circumstances don't change, God is always w/ you. - KennethBae http… || 1 day ago
  • Oh Lord, You love North Korea, Syria, Iraq, Congo, Nigeria, Turkey and ______. You love the nations. Give us Your heart for the world. Amen. || 2 days ago
  • Please remember and pray for Pastor Lim Hyeon Soo who was sentenced for life in North Korea. goo.gl/VvuyQs https://t.co/XonidqDlhb || 2 days ago
  • If the grass looks greener on the other side...stop staring, stop comparing, stop complaining & start watering the grass you're standing on. || 3 days ago
  • RT @OneDaysWages: You don't have to be a millionaire or a celebrity to make an impact. YOU can make an impact. OneDaysWages.org || 3 days ago

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