Eugene Cho

When your daughter’s name means “Joy of God” and yet, joy becomes the biggest challenge. #HappyBirthdayJubilee

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It’s hard to believe but it’s true. Time doesn’t stop for anyone. While I think I still kinda sorta wanna look young, I’m reminded how old I’m getting when I see my children. Today, my eldest child celebrates her 16th birthday.

Her name is Jubilee and her name means the “Joy of God.”

Jubilee also has a very powerful Scriptural meaning. It’s referenced in the Book of Leviticus where it is to “occur every fiftieth year, in which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest.” We pray that our daughter lives into both of these meanings.

It’s been particularly hard because joy has often become the biggest challenge for her. It would not be appropriate for me to broadcast her life story because it’s not for me to tell and I know that when she’s ready, she’ll share her story with the rest of the world…and it’ll be raw, painful, honest, and beautiful. Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s my birthday and I’d love to send you a gift – a personalized signed copy of my book.

Dear Friends, Supporters, Blog Readers, Critics, and Stalkers:

So, it’s that time of the year. It’s my birthday on October 20 and I’m turning… [pause for dramatic effect] … 44 years old.

Gulp. Double 4s.

And for my birthday, I’d love to mail you a personalized signed copy of my book, Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World than Actually Changing the World.

Here’s how:

In lieu of cards, flowers, iPhone 6+, drinks, or whatever…I’d like to ask you to consider making a small donation to my birthday campaign to help support the work of One Day’s Wages.

ODW recently celebrated its 5th anniversary and during this time, we’ve raised nearly $2.35 million dollars to come alongside those living in extreme poverty through carefully vetted organizations. AND we invest 100% (minus any credit card fees) of those donations for projects. We don’t take a single penny and raise our administrative fund separately. Read the rest of this entry »

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Thanks for your prayers and support. This is the week I share #OverratedBook with the world.

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Dear friends, supporter, and folks that have prayed and encouraged me over the years:

First, thank you for your love, prayers, and support. Sincerely.

This is the big week/month I get to share my first book, Overrated: Are We More in Love With the Idea of Changing the World than Actually Changing the World? with the world. (The official launch date is Monday, September 1.)

I’m excited, nervous, humbled, and everything in between. In many ways, it feels like that hour immediately after you’ve preached your guts and heart out…and you feel very vulnerable to everything. You want to just go to a corner, hide, and think about all the ways you should have said certain things differently. This is how I feel. I wish I could have changed this and that in the book. There are times I wish I never clicked that “send” button on my computer.

On the other hand, I’m humbled and really excited about this book. I’m humbled because all one can do is to be faithful to the opportunities that God places before you…and that’s it. I rest in this.  Truthfully, I’m also excited because I believe in this book. I know that authors are supposed to say that about their own books but this book flows deeply out of my own heart as my personal confession. This book is about Justice, Discipleship and ultimately, about following Jesus. But I’ve learned, at times painfully, that it’s not just about us doing justice, this journey is also about allowing the work of justice to change us. Our calling is not simply to change the world but perhaps as important…is to be changed ourselves.

So, here’s my humble ask: If I’ve been of any encouragement to you in your faith and life journey, would you consider helping me get the word out on this book. Here’s three ways you can help:

SPREAD THE WORD

This week and if you’re able, throughout September, please help spread the word about this book – especially through social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter. If you can, please link http://areyouoverrated.com and use the hashtag #OverratedBook. You can find assets and graphics to help promote the book here. Read the rest of this entry »

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If we want to seek the peace of the city…we have to engage the conflicts and injustices of our city.

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Unless you’ve been living in absolute isolation, there’s been much in the news – here, there, and everywhere – including the violence and protests in Ferguson. But in the midst of much shouting, screaming, finger pointing, tweeting, and ‘Don’t Shoot’ hand raising…we also need to engage in practical solutions. It would be tragic if it simply resulted in lots of noise…and it doesn’t compel us (as individuals and church communities) to examine our own lives, our blind spots, and our commitment to live into our calling as ministers of reconciliation.

So, I thought I’d share one practical way we can – not just love the idea of reconciliation but actually be agents of reconciliation. Reconciliation has many nuances and aspects but I’m convinced of this:

Reconciliation isn’t pretty or sentimental. It’s messy but it begins with first acknowledging that something is broken. We’re broken y’all.

In other words, if we want to seek the peace and shalom of the city…we have to engage the conflicts and injustices of our cities. Read the rest of this entry »

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Please don’t ignore it. Five ways that Christians and churches must engage Ferguson and Michael Brown’s death.

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I have so much emotions and thoughts in my mind, heart, and body – in light of the oh-so-much that is going on all around the world – including the utterly tragic, brutal, and unnecessary “death” of Michael Brown.

But I thought it would be helpful to share a few thoughts how churches, Christians, and leaders can be engaging the events of this past week in their respective churches – not just for this weekend but for the future. I’m not suggesting that pastors have to completely alter their sermons but to altogether ignore the injustice of Michael Brown’s death would be altogether foolish.

To be blunt and I say this respectfully,

The integrity of the church is at stake because when it’s all said and done, it’s not a race issue for me, it’s a Gospel issue. It’s a Kingdom issue. We shouldn’t even let isolated issues in themselves hijack the purpose of the church. The Gospel of Christ is so extraordinary that it begins to inform (and we pray, transform) all aspects of our lives. So, in other words, we talk about race and racism because we believe in the Gospel

So, here are five suggestions for Christians, leaders, and churches:

1. Don’t ignore.

Silence, it itself, is a statement.

In some cases, it may be a powerful expression of wisdom but this is not that case. To say nothing, to pray nothing…is to communicate that it’s not a big deal. To say nothing, to pray nothing…is to tell your congregants – especially your black congregants and others of color, “C’mon. You’re taking this too seriously. Suck it up. Let’s just worship Jesus. It’s all about Jesus.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Never stop learning. Go deep. Be deep. Have more depth than 140 characters.

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There are many beautiful aspects of our larger culture … and then they are broken things. There are also things that are incredibly encouraging and of course, disconcerting.

One of my concerns in our larger culture – including the Church:

We’re
lacking
d  e  p  t  h  .

In my first book – Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World than Actually Changing the World? (set to release on September 1 but available for pre-order now),  there’s a chapter entitled, “Have More Depth than 140 Characters.”

I am the first to tell you that I don’t know everything about everything. But when it comes to my core pursuits, my passions, the issues that inspire me and drive me to serve, I try to learn as much as I can.

Over the past few years, I have met many people who are not only interested in serving the world in various ways but who are engaged in their convictions and passions. But I am often surprised to find out that they do not know the basic history and background of their chosen interest.

I remember one time in particular, at a conference, when a woman came up to me and told me she was very grateful and appreciative of a talk I had just given. We chitchatted, and eventually I asked her what she did as her vocation.

She said she worked at an NGO, serving the poor in Central America. We were having a polite conversation. She asked for advice, and I tried my best to encourage her in our short conversation. As I shared one of my favorite quotes from Óscar Romero, I asked her if she had read much of his works or about him.

“Aspire not to have more but to be more.” – Óscar Romero

She had this blank look on her face.

“No, I haven’t met him yet, but I’d love to. Can you connect me? How can I contact him?” Read the rest of this entry »

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Remember that our lives matter. Remember to be more human – to loved ones, neighbors, and strangers alike.

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It feels awkward and even a bit inappropriate to be talking about ‘celebrity news’ when so much is going on around the world: Iraq, refugees in Syria, children stranded at borders, Michael Brown’s death and Ferguson, Ebola, Ukraine, and the list tragically goes on.

But then again, it feels appropriate because it’s another reminder of the fragility of our humanity.

By now, most of you know that Robin Williams past away today (August 11). His life ended way too short at the young age of 63 – apparently because of suicide. While this was news to me, Robin had been struggling with intense depression – especially as of late.

To be honest, I don’t get caught up too much on celebrity happenings mainly because there’s not much genuine connection. I don’t really know them personally. Make sense? Robin Williams’ death – on the other hand – just felt like a painful punch in the gut. Perhaps, it’s because Mork and Mindy (Nano Nano) was the first TV show I watched (along with Buck Rodgers) after immigrating to the United States. I deeply resonated with Mork – this ‘alien’ or ‘foreigner’ from another land trying to fit in. Read the rest of this entry »

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I covet your prayers for wisdom, for humility, and for courage to boldly preach the whole Gospel.

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First, let me dispense with some information for those that may be interested.

God’s been gracious in allowing me to visit a few churches and events over the next six weeks as part of a mini book tour for Overrated. Folks can pre-order the book now at your favorite online store and at stores on September 1 but if you’re anywhere around these cities, please be my guest. It’ll be a joy to meet you and to encourage one another in Christ:

August 10 – New Life Fellowship, NYC (Queens)
August 17 – Overlake Church 9am/11am
August 31 – Antioch Church (Bend, Oregon)
September 7 – Engedi Church, (Holland, MI)
September 13-14 – Ecclesia Church (Houston, TX)
September 19 – Collyde Conference (Rockaway, NJ)
September 21 – Metro Church (Englewood/Fort Lee, NJ)
September 28 – The Meeting House (Toronto) *
*still discussing content

Some of you may know but I’m currently on a three month sabbatical. I so deeply appreciate my church, my congregation, my leadership, and my fellow staff – for allowing me to take this time to rest, retreat, and in the middle of this, to prepare for the release of my first book, Overrated.

Since the launch of my sabbatical (since July 1), I’ve been retreating, hiking, resting, fishing, disconnecting and spending much time with trees. It’s been refreshing to say the least. This is also good because I’ll need to do a little juggling as the book releases on September 1 and I’ll soon be traveling (just on weekends) to visit some churches to share the message that I feel God has placed upon my heart in authoring this book.

As a first time publisher, this is all new to me. And I suspect that – by God’s grace – as I write future books, this will always feel a little strange to me.

Which is why I’d really appreciate your prayers. Read the rest of this entry »

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We have to see justice as part of discipleship and ultimately…our worship of God.

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Over the years, I’ve been given by some the mini-reputation as a leader in the field of justice. At first, I took it as a compliment and  of course, I still do because I care a lot about justice. I know that people mean well. But I care about justice not  just for the sake of justice. I care about justice…because I care much about the Gospel.

And sometimes, when I hear folks talk about justice in the church, I cringe…

I cringe because if we’re not careful, we’re again compartmentalizing justice rather than seeing it as part of the whole Gospel; We need to see justice as a critical part of God’s character and thus, our discipleship and worship.

Just like we shouldn’t extract the character of “love” or “grace” or “holiness” from God’s character, such must be the case with justice.

People often ask me, “What’s the most critical part about seeking justice.”

My answer:

We must not just seek justice but live justly. Justice work and just living are part of our discipleship. Justice contributes to our worship of God. Justice is worship.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Great news: I’ve finished writing my first book, “OVERRATED”. Here’s the official cover and what it’s about.

Well, I have some exciting news to share with you all.

My first book, Overrated, is done. Manuscripts. Revisions. Edits. Rewrites. Edits. Copyedits. More edits. Copyedits. Then I thought I was finished. And then I wasn’t. More edits. Copyedits.

And ready or not, finally…the book is finished. The book is at the printers right now.

So, here’s some info about the book: Read the rest of this entry »

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stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

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First day of our daughter's college years at this great school. We love you. We're so proud of you.We believe in you. Go Huskies. Go Dawgs. And also, beat Stanford this Friday. As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 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.

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