You are loved.

You might have heard that a million times, but it’s no less true.

You do have a Creator. He is with you. He is bigger than your situation and closer than your deepest hurt. He’s not mad. He is cheering for you and rooting for you this very second. He’s okay about all the things before. He sent His Son for that very reason.

You can put down the blade. You can throw away the pills. You can quit replaying those regrets in your head. You can quit the inner-loop of self-condemnation. You can forget your ex. You can walk away from the porn. You can resolve your conflicts right now. You can sign up to volunteer at that shelter. You can thank your parents for everything. You can hug the person next to you. You can tell the waiter, “Jesus loves you.” You can go back to church. You don’t have to sit in the back. You don’t have to prove your worth to the people you’ve let down. You don’t have to live up to everyone else’s vision for your life. You’re finally, finally free.

You are loved.  I am loved.

As much as I love you, dear friend, He loves you infinitely more.

Believe it. Walk in it. Walk with Him.

God is in the business of breathing life into hurting places.

This is what He does, even for the least likely like you and me.

— J.S.



My e-book What The Church Won’t Talk About is still on sale for only $1.99 and climbed up to #4 and #5 in their genre ranking on Amazon!

If you’ve been blessed by the book, please consider writing a review on Amazon! They will definitely help out.

Be blessed and love y’all!

— J.S.


Squeezing Validation.

October 30, 2014 — 2 Comments


We often demand of people what only God can give us — encouragement, affirmation, strength, motivation — and we end up wringing them dry. It’s okay to expect some things from people, so long as you know they’re just human beings who thirst like you. They need an Infinite Well as much as you do. If you drink deeply of Him first, you’ll be less controlled (and controlling) by your expectations, and you’ll actually seek others not to squeeze from them but to encourage them by your overflow.

When you can let go of the idols of relationships, wealth, intellect, success, beauty, and career: you can actually enjoy them for what they are. You don’t expect salvation or redemption from them. You don’t crush them with expectations or demand them to serve your every whim. You instead see them as gifts, as privileges, as an honor to respect and to cherish. Treat the earthly as divine and you will lose both; treat the divine as your treasure and the earth will be just as beautiful.

– J.S. from The Christianese Dating Culture


peterpencomplex asked:

hi pastor j- i think your blog is AWESOME, but i didn’t have enough room to explain myself. just wanted to say i think you should keep being completely 100% honest/real, because that’s how everyone else knows their walk of faith is not in vain. wanted to ask you about prayer. why do i pray? am i the only one that feels like i am closing my eyes and whispering into a vast darkness of nothingness? why is God so insistent on prayer, yet I don’t see anything changing? (matthew 7).

seeking-a-revival asked:

When we pray for someone I know that our prayers alone cannot change them but when we see prayers answered God has listened and His spirit has helped the person we prayed for? I am not sure what to think when I see a prayer get answered no matter who or how many prayed for a specific cause.

Hey my friends: May I first please commend you because you both actually care about your prayer-life.  When people tell me, “The least we can do is pray,” I always think, “That’s the most we can do.”

But I also know that prayer is extremely, ridiculously, awfully difficult.  Whenever a preacher starts with his guilt-trip — “When was the last time you really prayed, huh?” — I immediately feel like crap.  I’ve never heard anyone say, “Man I got that prayer thing on lock.”  I haven’t met a single person who’s fully confident in the art and results of prayer.

Mostly we feel icky about this because —

1) We feel too guilty to pray.  We’re not sure God wants to hear us after we looked at porn / cussed out my parents / gossiped for two hours / punched that guy in the ear.

2) We’re self-conscious about it.  We’re not sure how long, or what words, or if we’re doing it right, or if we’re truly sincere.

3) And of course: We secretly wonder if it even works.

So here’s one thing I know about prayer.

Continue Reading…


I was a college drop-out with a 0.9 GPA who lost a scholarship and took seven years to graduate after going to two community colleges. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, everyone blooms differently. Setbacks are not failures and you are more than yesterday. Own your mistakes, quit the inner-loop of shaming in your head, smile big, move on.

— J.S.


Kindle Countdown sale


The e-book version of my book What The Church Won’t Talk About is now on sale for exactly one week at $1.99!
http://www.amazon.com/What-Church-Wont-Talk-About-ebook/dp/B00NYR9SGS

Also be sure to check out my new book on sex, dating, & relationships called The Christianese Dating Culture here!
http://www.amazon.com/Christianese-Dating-Culture/dp/150279053X

– J.S.


The Just-Because Love.

October 28, 2014 — 5 Comments


Whenever you love somebody, there’s usually a list. “I love you because of ___.” Your voice. Your hair. Your confidence. The way you crinkle your nose when you laugh. How you change your mind a hundred times at the drive-thru. How you bend down to a child to speak to them at eye level. How you look in a mean dress.

But at the bottom of this long list, God always adds one more. He says, “I love you just-because.” No specific reason, not based on externals, and not even based on anything we say or do. It just is. Because we all get old and gray. We all change over a lifetime. The reasons that others love us never stay the same, because we are a people in progress shaped by the edges of time. God loves us when our souls turn ugly, when we are cowardly and crass, when we fail and stumble, when we lose patience at the drive-thru and set a poor example for children. He loves us when the dress stops fitting. He loves us when those who’ve seen our underbelly silently walk away. Our God is the God who stays when everyone else leaves.

And when our voice fades, when our hair is gone, when we can hardly laugh without pain: God loves us just because. He can’t help it. This is who He is, regardless of who we are, because His love does not reside in a list. His love is free. It is reckless. It is forever.

– J.S. from The Christianese Dating Culture



Our engagement shoot.

Please pray for us!

– J.S.



Hello beloved wonderful friends!

Here’s my new book on sex, dating, and relationships!

It’s called, The Christianese Dating Culture: On Courtship, Purity Rings, Prayer-Sex, and Other Weird Things We Do In Church

The Foreword is by the lovely Lauren Britt of yesdarlingido and the cover art is by my most excellent friend Rob Connelly.

It’s about the bizarre subculture of Christian dating in church, with an honest response to Joshua Harris (who wrote I Kissed Dating Goodbye) and to our reactionary church tactics. I also talk about overcoming my fifteen year porn addiction and the time I tried to take my life over a girl. And like my last book, I answer real questions from real people about relationships.

The paperback is only $8.89 and the e-book is only $3.99!  With every purchase you’ll also be supporting my new calling into urban ministry, plus a soon-to-be-married couple!  And if you’re blessed by the book, please consider writing a review on Amazon! The reviews will really, really help out.

Love y’all and be blessed, dear friends!

— J.S.



- Be Passionate For Your Friend’s Passion -

We’ve all been shot down for being “too excited” about something, whether it’s anime or Lord of the Rings or comic books, or writing and dance and music and art.

But if it’s important to your friend, it’s important to you too.
You don’t have to get it, but you get them. That’s friendship.

And if your friend stays to the end of a Marvel movie to watch the end credits scene: don’t ever let them go. It’s real.

Please subscribe to my channel and love y’all!

— J.S.


If you dread going to your church because there are a ton of issues there, please consider a few things before blowing up or walking away.

1) Pray for your pastor. 
He most likely knows all the issues at hand and he’s just as desperate to fix them.  You might be angry about some stuff: but he’s probably losing sleep and having those midnight arguments in his head and losing.  Have grace for your pastor.  Ask him how you can help.

2) Be part of the solution, not the problem. 
We do need criticism, but at some point we need constructive restoration.  It’s easy to see what’s wrong from a distance; anyone can do that.  It’s hard to roll up your sleeves and get into the mess to help change things.  Find the weak areas and bring strength.  Go to what’s dead and bring life.  Don’t keep speaking death over death. And do NOT keep doing the most popular stuff in your church, like the praise team.  Help with the stuff that no one wants to do.

Continue Reading…

My mom and dad came to this country separately over thirty years ago and met in New York City, where they were married; my dad came to the U.S. with sixty dollars in his single pair of pants, and my mom couldn’t speak a word of English.  My dad was a Vietnam War Veteran, 2nd Lieutenant in the R.O.K. Army on the side of the U.S., and the only escaped prisoner of war from the Tet Offensive in 1969.  He’s also a licensed veterinarian and a Grand Master of Tae Kwon Do, a ninth degree black belt, the 54th 9th degree in the world.

Before my parents divorced when I was fourteen, my mom owned a laundromat and a grocery store next door to each other and would run back and forth between them to serve customers; sometimes she took old clothes that people left behind because we were too poor to afford any. My dad owned a martial arts dojo and mopped the entire floor every morning, then taught four classes in the evenings almost all in Korean.  Between the two of them, they worked almost 200 hours per week and slept maybe three hours per night.

One summer, someone spraypainted a swastika on the front wall of the dojo. My dad painted over it, but on those hot humid days, we could still see that Nazi symbol like an angry pulsing scar.

We got a message on our answering machine — maybe the same Nazi artists — who spent a good ten minutes making fun of my dad’s accent. I remember seeing my dad listen to it several times, staring quietly out a window. When he noticed me, he turned it off and said, “Just boys playing a joke.” The voices were from grown men.

When we visited with friends, we felt the invisible walls of cliques and class between us.  We were aliens from another world, just a foreign prop in the hero-story of the Westerner.  I was the token Asian.  When I visit churches, I still am.  Christians feel proud to know me because I meet their diversity quota; my other friends are proud to know me because they can make Asian jokes and explain, “Don’t worry, I have an Asian friend.”

In elementary school, when I first made friends and came over, I would immediately take off my shoes and bow to their parents.  I remember freaking out the first time I saw a fork.  I asked for two sticks to eat my food, and they said, “No, you can stab your food now.”  I still slightly bow to people as a reflex, and I still don’t get forks.

When I meet native Koreans from my own country, they call me kyopo, which is a slang term for misplaced native.  They make fun of my heavy American accent when I try to speak Korean.  They’re surprised I’m taller than them and say, “It must be hormones in the McDonald’s.”  They think I’m arrogant because I watch American TV shows and I have a blog written entirely in English.

I live in two worlds. I do not fully embody either, yet belong to both.

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Christians tend to eat their own.  Because when we have a vague half-formed awareness of the Bible, it becomes a shoddy justification to feed our bloodlust for self-righteousness.  We naturally default to using the Bible as a weapon instead of a mirror for our own repentance. 

Then really we have only traded the idol of violence for the idol of religion, and there has been no true surgical transplant by the love of Christ.  At that point we’re only doing Christianese things around God but not with Him nor for Him.  It’s like a soldier turning to his fellow man and stabbing him with a bayonet while pledging allegiance to the general.  This soldier might be many things — religious, moral, effective, gifted — but he is most certainly not a Christian.  The Christian is in the business of healing his brother and sister, because he knows Jesus died for them too.

It’s worth celebrating when we get it right and encourage our family towards better.  It’s a wonderful thing when we stand side-by-side in the battle as brothers ready to die for each other.  A church is my shoulder against yours, Jesus at the helm.

— J.S.



Here’s my first YouTube video, called “We Can Disagree, And That’s Okay.”

You like cats AND dogs? That’s okay.
You’re into science AND religion? That’s okay.
Single and not looking? That’s okay.
Introverted or extroverted? That’s okay.
You prefer romantic-comedy Ryan Gosling over Oscar-serious Ryan Gosling? That’s okay.
Republican or Democrat or neither? That’s okay.
Cheese on your ramen noodles? Well … maybe not okay.

Please subscribe to my channel and love y’all!

— J.S.


YouTube logo



My favorite author of the last few years, Josh Riebock, who wrote Heroes and Monsters, just retweeted about my book. I don’t mean to be that kind of guy, but I’m seriously cheering.

Get it here on Amazon!

— J.S.


My book


So I got my own book. :)

– J.S.


Anonymous asked a question:

I’m 27 years old and I’ve never had a boyfriend. I’ve only dated once but that didn’t go so well. I’ve prayed and I’ve prayed and I’ve asked God for my significant other but honestly sometimes I feel as if God doesn’t hear me. Which then causes my heart turmoil especially when I see other girls getting married and dating all the time. It just makes me feel like there is something wrong with me or I maybe I’m unworthy of someone else. I just really need some peace in this area or my life.

Hey dear sister, I know this is an especially painful season for you right now, but please allow me the grace to share a few thoughts with you.

1) Singleness is not a season of waiting.

I’ve said this before, but: You’re not waiting for a man.  A man is not the focal point of anything.  Jesus is the focal point of everything.

A Western culture indoctrinated in romanticism would lead us to believe that “singles” are simply biding their time, waiting for some significant other to save us from the throes of loneliness.  And I know that the latest pop song or chick flick or young adult novel has awakened some weird feelings in you, and it would even be nice to have someone.

But relationships are hard work, celibacy is hard work, and life is hard work.  There’s really no such thing as waiting for a spouse: your life has launched into being, and there’s work to do.  If God is your priority, then a man who comes along who can even catch up to you would be dang lucky to have you.

Continue Reading…

About a year ago, I donated half my salary to charity to fight human trafficking.  I had saved for the entire year to make one check for $10,000.

I don’t say this to brag, at all.

I say this because I’m a selfish person.  I love comfort, my shiny things, the safety of a new gadget and adding things to my wish list.  I am naturally lazy and indulgent and self-absorbed.

But I also believe in a God who humbled Himself to become one of us.  I believe in a God who paid an infinite price to set us free.  I believe in a God who wrote Himself into the story of humanity to enter our struggle, to lead us into life, and to ultimately exchange our brokenness for grace.

Because I believe in a God who has this sort of heart –

I am compelled to have the same heart for others.

The selflessness of God utterly melted my selfishness to pieces.  His grace tenderized my conceited heart.  I gave my life away because God did the same for me.

Continue Reading…



I was going through followers the other day and noticed some blogs that were “last updated 6 months ago” or longer. There were a lot of these.

Maybe they got bored or distracted or busy — but my guess is they probably didn’t get the huge number of likes and follows and reblogs they were expecting, and just gave up.

Please don’t do that. There are very few things we do consistently in this life. We’re quick to jump from island to island of halfway commitment. Taking a break is totally okay: but I exhort you to persist in sharing your one unique voice with the world community.

If you’re about to jump ship: please do NOT bail on your blog. Do what you must — take a sabbath, go on hiatus, commune with nature, restore relationships, try new things — but come back and tell us about it.

It doesn’t matter if you only have a few readers. You’re not doing it for that. And even if you were, those few people who follow you might really be encouraged by what you have to say. You might be the only one saying it.

But more than that: your blog is a captured snapshot of your one fleeting transitory life, like the dust mote suspended in a sunbeam that shimmers for a spectacular moment in time. It is beauty wrapped in expression, and you are putting something into the world that no one else can. God made you for it.

So keep sharing. Keep making art. Keep writing music. Keep taking pictures. Keep encouraging others. In some small way: you are healing your part of the universe. You are needed more than you know. You are making a bigger impact than you think.

— J.S.



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Purchase my new book on Amazon here!

If you ever met me, you would think I was an extrovert — I preach, I lead praise, I talk to everyone, I talk too much, and you can hear me laughing from across the street — but I am a full-blooded introvert.

If it were up to me, I’d rather be in my boxers all day eating Godiva while browsing food photo blogs and bothering my dog and cracking up at YouTube videos of Whose Line Is It Anyway and leaving dry ironic comments all over Facebook while reading the latest theory on how Sherlock survived the second season finale. 

I intensely guard my personal space and my private life.  It takes a herculean effort to step outside my comfort zone and interact with messy, fleshy, real live human beings.

Here’s how you handle us.

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An ongoing discussion about victory over sexual addiction.

The introduction here.

Part One, excuses and myths, here.

Part Three, the soul, here.

Part Three and a half, the soul, here.

Part Four: I’m Ready To Cut It Off. Here.

Part Five: Quitting Isn’t Enough. Here.

My podcast series “Cutting It Off” — here.

Why Do I Use Porn? Why Can’t I Stop? Here.

Every question submitted about porn on this blog, here.

**Updated: May 2013

For the podcast episode based on this post, click here.

The science behind porn addiction will not surprise you.  It can be easily mocked as apocalyptic research with an old-fashioned bias, but excuses to use porn are also biased by the hand down your pants. Objective evidence of pornography’s effects has one goal: to show how much porn screws up your brain. For some that will be enough to quit.

Obviously, something serious is happening in the neurology of a person who will not stop using porn.  Constant exposure to graphic, unreal, out-of-bounds sex doesn’t just go in one hand and out the other (bad pun). Like the heroin addict or the gambler or the alcoholic, several key things are happening.

Much of the following research is borrowed and not my own. Please keep in mind that the term “addiction” is a serious term and might or might not apply to you, but it’s worth investigating. I don’t mean to over-dramatize here or make a big show of scientific language, but porn use does have a particular undeniable effect on the brain.

Sources include Craig Gross’ Pure Eyes, Eyes of Integrity, and Dirty Little Secret, and William Struther’s Wired For Intimacy. I’ve read and re-read these important resources and highly recommend them to you.  There is also Michael Leahy’s Porn Nation, Mike Wilkerson’s Redemption, Tim Chester’s Closing The Window, and David Powlison’s tiny booklet Slaying The Dragon. Where possible, I’ve tried to research articles and current news behind pornography and the porn industry. And of course, there is personal experience with addiction plus countless hours spent with young and old porn addicts.

The Addict’s Path:

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Jesus’s death and resurrection built an iconoclastic world-upheaving truth that is upheld by the counterintuitive element of grace.

Jesus is existentially satisfying because he accurately describes the human condition and provides the solution. Every other system of belief is built on performance, maintenance, reward/punishment, dichotomous banner-waving division, moralism, superiority, self-improvement, and self-isolated relativism. Jesus destroys all these categories and provides a way above all ways that I have absolutely NOT found in any other system of thinking.

He speaks to my desperate need for self-justification. All day long, I’m justifying myself to prove I’m worthy. I am making myself better than others and comparing my weakness to someone who is weaker than me. I am in a moral race that causes me to laugh at a celebrity’s downfall or to help the poor to look righteous. Jesus destroyed this in the cross by calling us all equally guilty and all equally loved. It was never in us to justify ourselves, but only Jesus can do this.

He speaks equally to my lack of humility and my lack of confidence. Jesus had to die for my sin so I can’t be prideful: but he was glad to die for my sin so I can’t be in despair. Both are somehow true at the same time, and it’s this paradoxical union of tensions that keeps me oriented to a self-forgetting love for others and a right estimation of myself.

He speaks to my need to serve myself and make life about me. I’m set free because my life is not about me. Life is about the story of God and we’re all bit players. Imagine this sort of freedom: when you can quit living selfishly for yourself. You’re no longer enslaved under the tyrannical dictatorship of self. Imagine this sort of Gospel-shaped person who loved you but didn’t need you, because they’re not using you as a vehicle to serve themselves. They’re not killing you as an obstacle who is in the way of their desires. They’re instead seeking to love you simply because they love you and not because of what you can or won’t do for them, and this is because they are loved the same way.

You see: Every other kind of motivation is inherently selfish. It is all seeking a means to an end, one method using another for self-gain. We’re motivated by fear, by conformity, by trophies, by pleasure, by social standing: and while they might benefit a few, they really just benefit me. The love of God is entirely intrinsic unto itself, in a single direction initiated by its own essence, with nothing to gain and no reason to exist except that it does. When we understand such a love: we’re motivated by a purely one-way love to love in the same way, motivated by the reason of no-reason, because it has inherently punctured through our souls. There is no stronger force than this in the entire universe.


– J.S. from What The Church Won’t Talk About



I was driving in downtown Tampa and accidentally went into the pedestrian lane, and this guy walking through cussed me out, threatened to key my car, and flicked me off. I was a little shaken up because he sort of came out of nowhere. A bunch of people were staring at me and this guy, who was cussing the whole way. I drove around the block a dozen times and couldn’t find parking, so I paid ten bucks for a pass. I went into the pizza place (by myself to eat a whole 20 inch pizza, because Friday night) and was in sort of a crappy mood. A nice young black lady next to me asked, “Are you really going to eat that by yourself?” I laughed really hard and we started chatting. When I went back to my car, I took out my parking pass, which was good until midnight, and gave it to a couple that just happened to drive in. They thanked me a whole lot and I left feeling way better.

Life is up and down, all the time. Might be a bad moment now, but joy is around the corner.

– J.S.


Books JS Park


Pictures of my book from friends all over! From:

Eric Choi in Chicago, Illinois

Deb Simon in Cadillac, Michigan

Alexa Rae in Long Island, New York

Chan-Woo Park at UF in Gainesville, Florida

One of my mentors, Pastor Jake English in Lutz, FL

The book is on Amazon in both paperback and e-book, for sale here!
If you got the paperback, the e-book drops to 1.99. Be blessed and love y’all :)

— J.S.


gracewan1 asked a question:

Is there such a thing/anything wrong with placing too high of an expectation for your future spouse? This is when what you desire does seem to align with what God wants for us?

Hey my friend, I think it’s totally right to set good expectations for a spouse.  You’ll be living with this person the rest of your life and they’ll be raising children with you and at least half-responsible for your well-being and future direction.  It’s a pretty big deal.

Yet as much stock as we put into a spouse, here’s a few things to consider.

1) Setting unreasonable expectations on a spouse can crush them or crush ourselves. 

I’ve seen when men or women focus too much on finding the “right one” instead of making themselves the right one first.  When this happens, a subtle shift in our heart makes us into a blame-shifting nightmare.  When things go wrong, we blame the other person for falling short or we blame ourselves for screwing it up.  Or if your spouse is in a bad mood, having a bad day, or feeling distant because of their own inner-drama, you’ll crush yourself on thinking you did this to them.  An over-emphasis on anything in life will always control you or you’ll end up trying to control them.

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Dating preview


Hello beloved wonderful friends!
This is a preview for the cover of my new book, releasing this Sunday, October 26th!
It’s called: The Christianese Dating Culture: On Courtship, Purity Rings, Prayer-Sex, and Other Weird Things We Do In Church.

I talk about the bizarre subculture of Christian dating within our churches, including an honest response to Joshua Harris (who wrote I Kissed Dating Goodbye) and an examination of our reactionary church tactics.  I also get personal, about overcoming my fifteen year porn addiction and the time I tried to take my life over a girl. And like my last book, I answer real questions from real people about sex, dating, and relationships.

When you have time, please send a prayer, even for five seconds, that God will do His restorative life-giving work through these words, because God is in the business of infusing grace in busted up vessels like you and me.

Love y’all and thank you!
— J.S.



Whenever we dismiss someone as incapable of change, we instantly suckerpunch the sovereign grace of God.

We are downsizing His sovereignty to those people and not these. Then we’re no longer talking about God. We’re just exposing our laziness.

You know what I mean. I see a person on their first lap of faith and I make assumptions; I see 0.5 percent of a person’s life and somehow predict their future; I see half a story and presume the whole story. But this is a sort of evil that holds back potential, that undermines growth, that destroys a child’s dreams. It’s an ugliness that I’ve experienced from others, who wouldn’t give me a shot, who wouldn’t see past their negative filters and accusations and condemnations, who saw me as a deadbeat nobody with no hope of a turnaround.

But occasionally, love would cut in and open a door. It grew my heart. It embraced me in.

Love sees a greatness in someone who cannot see it in themselves.

Love keeps no record of wrongs. It hopes in all things, it does not rejoice in evil. It perseveres.


– J.S. from What The Church Won’t Talk About


I was speaking with a literary agent for the Christian writing industry about some of my favorite authors, and at some point she says, “Yes, her writing style is really easy to imitate, it’s easier for her publisher.”

I ask, “How do you mean?”

She says, “Oh, she hires someone who copies her style and writes her books.  She doesn’t have time to writer her own.  You didn’t know?  Tons of authors do this, those big celebrity preachers just pay someone to ghost-write.”

I was seriously crushed. Before I could ask her to stop, she began dropping names.  Each one hurt me a little more than the last.  I won’t share them here.  Maybe it would’ve been better if the names weren’t of Christians that I looked up to, but some of my heroes were slapped down from their pedestals.

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