Eugene Cho

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

ash wednesday primer and gathering

ashwednesdayluidliwanagafpgetty

This is from last year but still helpful for those who are not familiar with the purpose of Ash Wednesday.

For 2010, Quest is holding their ASH WED service on Wednesday, February 17 (7-8am). There is also a Family Ash WED event that same night from 6.30-8.15pm. All the info can be found at http://seattlequest.org

Depending on your background, you may or may not be familiar with Ash Wednesday or otherwise referred to as ‘Day of Ashes.’  It marks the beginning of the Lent season as we journey towards the Holy Week in the Christian calendar.  The Lent season culminates with Good Friday [Dark Friday] and Resurrection Sunday.

And a simple primer from Beliefnet: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, faith, Jesus, quest church, seattle, ,

i don’t live for the jesus who eats red meat, drinks beer, and beats on other men

Several weeks ago, I had an extensive phone interview with a reporter from the New York Times about the growing popularity of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in the wide and nebulous net of “evangelical churches.” The reporter had come across one of my previous blog entries and contacted me.

The NY Times article came out today (February 2, 2010). You can click here or the image above to read the full article.

My hour interview was reduced to basically one quote:

“I don’t live for the Jesus who eats red meat, drinks beer and beats on other men.”

Let me clarify since I have a feeling I’ll be getting my share of visitors over the next couple days who have no idea who I am or the context behind that one quote. But first, some initial thoughts: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, culture, Jesus, seattle, , , , ,

what exactly is a worshipper?

What is worship? And what does it mean to be a worshipper?

After teaching through the Book of Acts for the past two years, and relishing in the years we studied and taught through Genesis and Exodus, and seeing this Truth throughout the narrative of the Story of God in a book known to us as the Bible, it has become clear[er] to me what worship is.

Worship is acknowledging that not only is there a God but that this God, the one True God, the Infinite God…is not just merely propositional but personal. We know that this God is personal because we know that this God becomes personal when God chooses to be consumed by the very flesh and bone that consume our essence and chooses to become anthropos.

He chooses to become one of us though His Son, Jesus Christ, and in a world of constant and extravagant upward mobility, God does the unthinkable and becomes one of us, dwells with us, walks with us, and ultimately, dies for us.  Jesus…Amazing. Truly amazing.

Worship then is acknowledging that not only is there this Personal and Infinite God but Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, seattle, , , , ,

couch surfing is not what i envisioned

Eights years ago, I endured through one of the most difficult seasons of my life.  I left my (then) current pastorate in hopes of planting a church called Quest but everything I had envisioned didn’t immediately come to pass. Instead of planting a church, I was working as a custodian scrubbing toilets, vaccuuming and struggling to provide for my (then) one child and pregnant wife. I still remember bitterly sobbing in my room one night and saying  a few choice words to God:

I am so angry at you. I feel like I lost control of my life.
(the PG version)

I learned through that experience that (again) I don’t have ultimate control over my life and prayed I would never go through anything like that again…

Well, I guess life has its seasons of unexpected turns. Nearly two weeks ago, I had to make one of the most difficult decisions of my life. It was a painful decision but consulted with my wife, and then informed our kids that because of some financial situations (and investment with One Day’s Wages), Dad & Mom had chosen to sublet our furnished home for couple months to some strangers and within 72 hours, we’d have to pack up some stuff and stay with some friends.

And for the past couple weeks, we’ve been “couch surfing” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: faith, seattle, , , , ,

visionaries are crazy

charitywater2

If you’ve got a crazy idea, please do not dismiss it and please do not dismiss the crazy vision and ideas of others.  Read the whole entry.

Take a few minutes to consider the difference between the concept or difference between a million and a billion. How would you explain that? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: justice, non-profit, seattle, social media, , ,

i really dislike these people

westboro

I really dislike these folks from Westboro Baptist Church – the folks behind the hideous website GodHatesFags.Com (I don’t even want to link it).  Hate is way too strong of a word. And inappropriate in light of the sermon I preached this past Sunday about the sin of hatred. For the past two years, I’ve been teaching through the Book of Acts and while Paul had his issues and shortcomings, I spent some time talking about the “religious” folks that become the adversaries of Paul – that while they sought to defend their ideas of truth and proper doctrine, resorted to the ammunition of hate.  Hate that leads them to plot murder.

I don’t care who you are. No matter your religious affiliation or allegiance (or lack thereof) or if you are a self-professing Christian:

If hate is your motivation, you are far from God. And you need to repent.

And while it may be easy to dismiss “hatred” to others, I would contend that ‘hatred’ can seep into all of our lives and impact our relationships – those far and even those in our inner circle of relationships.

Why am I talking about WBC and giving them press on my blog?   Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, religion, seattle, ,

$700,000 in debt and never been so excited to hear from the IRS

eugene matrix

Last week, I shared a post about fear entitled, Do Not Be Afraid: Dream, Pursue, & Jump.  And one of my readers, Matt S., doctored one of my photos to give me Neo-like skills.

For the past year, my biggest fear has been this burden and conviction that I feel God has placed upon my soul to engage the fight against extreme global poverty through the birth of a new organization.

I have been kicking myself for going public with the vision about a year ago. There’s been hiccups, setbacks, criticisms, and plenty of self doubt but after a year since sharing our vision and starting a group on FacebookI’ll finally be sharing the name of our organization, current logo, and our vision and fundraising letter this Friday.

As usual, I’m both excited and scared and covet your prayers.

I came home yesterday having doubts if I was ready to share the vision but lo and behold, Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: seattle, , ,

do not be afraid: dream, pursue, and jump

We are people with the gift of hope and the capacity to dream. The minute we stop dreaming is the moment we begin the process of death. So share your answer to this question:

What is one of your dreams you want to pursue in your life?

I’m 38.  Married over 12 years.  3 children.  Planted two churches. Currently pastoring my dream church.  Love the cafe and music venue.  I’ve taken plenty of “risks” in my life but “the fear” never gets old.  I feel like I constantly wrestle with ‘fear.’  In fact, I think this thing called “the fear” is actually growing in my life. It’s getting worse.

Maybe, it’s because I feel like I have so much more to lose.  When I was single and roaming around the country all alone in my VW Bug or Toyota Camry, taking risks was really no big deal.  But now, I’ve got stuff, mortgages, car payments, kids, a wife, a staff, a $5000 espresso machine, responsibilities, hair products Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, faith, seattle

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, , ,

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

My Instagram

People often ask, "How does one stand all that rain in Seattle?" Actually, it doesn't rain that much. I like the rain. Keeps everything "evergreen" and clean. Keeps our air fresh. What's challenging is the gray weather. Give me a few more sunny days. 99 more days to be specific. 
Regardless, still love this city. 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.

my tweets

  • Cheer up Toronto & Canada. Great season. Also, you have free health care, toonies and your political candidates are not as crazy as America. || 42 minutes ago
  • Make friendships more than transactions. There's a huge difference between "I appreciate you" and "I appreciate what you can do for me." || 9 hours ago
  • There's much to ponder in this article. Much to repent. Much to grieve. "Seattle's vanishing black community." - seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-mag… || 1 day ago
  • People often ask, "How do stand all that rain in Seattle?" Actually, it doesn't rain that much.… instagram.com/p/BF2giXwyWTY/ || 2 days ago
  • Don't obsess about your platform.Just do your thing with passion, humility, integrity. We do what we do for God's glory, not human applause. || 2 days ago
  • Someone tell Steph Curry that he's the MVP because he's playing a lot like me in my rec league. || 3 days ago

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