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


Anonymous asked a question:

How do single people embrace their sexuality without falling into sexual sin? I have seen many fall into this sin and regret it. However, I have seen many more try so hard to repress their sexual desires that they see sex or their sexuality as a dirty and evil part of them even when they marry. Is there a median to owning one’s sexuality and desire for sex, but not falling into lustful sin?

Hey there my friend, I believe that sexual desire is extremely difficult to master, and the church’s main solution has been to bash sex to scare you out of it.

The main thing here is that “sexual desire” itself owns too much of the focus in relationships.  Everyone’s talking about “sex” before they talk about faith, communication, maturity, finances, children, career, direction, decisions, and mental health.  None of these exist in a vacuum; they’re all interdependent.

I’ll even say that that there are many, many issues just as important as sexuality because people are not merely sexual beings.  You’ve probably heard it before, but any microscopic view of one issue tends to diminish the entire individuality of a whole person.  If we can begin with a holistic view of relationships, then we’ll see that sexuality is only one ingredient to a much larger, fuller understanding of people.

When we constantly come up with methodologies for a singular problem, then such a narrow-minded focus turns the problem into an unbeatable monster.  At the same time, if we relax about it too much or ignore the issue, then we’re ill-prepared to handle all the feelings as they come.

While some may disagree, I believe sex has a lower priority in the scale of relationships because when you’re over forty years old, it becomes way less critical in your mind.  I want to consider the long-term.

Continue Reading…


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.


Image from CNN, showing Syrian Kurds behind border fences to cross into Suruc.

prism0prone asked:

Why isn’t anything being done about ISIS? The Muslims I know are silent, & we’re all just living our privileged little lives. As the days pass I feel more depressed & farther away from God. I cry to Him about it but I hear nothing & I’m afraid. And every time I see a cheerful Christian post about God keeping us safe, I feel bitterness and anger and I can feel my emotions slowly shutting down and I don’t want that but it just hurts. So. Much.

My friend, honestly, your question very much stirred me and disturbed me and convicted me.  It broke my heart.

Because I think I’m part of the problem.  I re-blog prayer requests about ISIS or some other atrocity or disaster or tragedy, and I question myself.  Am I doing this to show I care?  Do I really care?  Can I do more?  If there are 27 million slaves in the world and 26,000 children who die everyday of preventable causes: how could I even be on this blog?  How could I even think about anything else?

It’s so discouraging.  To be truthful, it keeps me up at night.  I’m not saying that to boast.  The one time I really did anything about it a few years ago, I gave away half my salary to fight human trafficking, and even then, I felt guilty that I wasn’t doing enough.  I don’t say that to boast, either.  We live in a painfully broken world where even a single glance at it could eat us alive.

There’s another layer to this guilt, too.  Sometimes I think I use poor people as a prop for my own “savior-narrative.”  Or I become a pseudo-Social Justice Warrior about Michael Brown, or I try to be a Google-Expert about statistics that I haven’t double-checked.  I donate money to various charities every month, but maybe even this is because I look around my apartment and I see wealth, and it disgusts me, and I donate out of a self-loathing heart.  I want to boycott a billion different things, or say to everyone, “Your problems are dumb, because kids in Somalia are dying and there’s still genocide in Iraq and 80% of the world lives on less than a dollar per day.”

The more news I read, the more it kills me inside.  The more I see mocked up selfies, and cute Christianese slogans on Instagram, or these theological debates that only other theologians care about: the more I get angry, frustrated, hurt.  How can we break free from this cycle?

Continue Reading…

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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Obliterating Fear.

October 20, 2014 — 2 Comments

You don’t have to wait for the fear to subside. Often fear is obliterated by the very act of deciding and doing.

The more you can act in spite of yourself — you’ll suddenly find that none of your worst fears are all that bad. The sky doesn’t fall on you and your pants don’t spontaneously disappear (if that’s happened, I’m so sorry). True confidence is just going for it anyway. Emotions are a good fuel at best and unreliable at their worst. Your emotions are real, yes, but they can’t determine your decisions. As determination wins, it gets easier every time.


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


Beggars, Choosers, Truth.

October 17, 2014 — 8 Comments


I’ve been serving on and off at the homeless ministry for over four years now, and when volunteers say “Beggars can’t be choosers,” I always say “No, they totally can.” I don’t mean they can be spoiled, but the homeless have preferences and likes and dislikes, like everyone else. Sometimes they don’t want the pasta or the mashed potatoes or the tuna casserole and they just want the salad. Sometimes they don’t want your really old used up walkman or your backpack from middle school. And not every homeless person is there to ego-boost some wealthy person’s savior-narrative. They want the same respect and humanity and dignity we all do.

– J.S.


warmwordsforcoldnights asked a question:

One thing that’s on my mind some days is about witnessing and living your life. Is it a daily thing, that you witness to others or in the course of your life when your led is it that way. It may be a crazy question, but seeing that I’ve never seen it done or have been discipled. It feels like most times I’m just guessing and when I have shares my faith it was like I felt I didn’t say the right thing or I left something out.

Hey my friend: I think you landed on exactly what’s so tough about evangelism.

There’s a secret fear with Christians that we’re somehow fooling people into Jesus, as if we’re selling a campaign that we don’t quite believe ourselves.  It could be that we’re never quite certain about the right doctrine or the best presentation.  Or we’re not exactly living up to the ideal that we share, and there’s a troubling guilt that we might be wrong about this whole thing, so it’s this awkward sheepish hesitation masked with an almost too-loud confidence.  Like selling snake-oil that we want to really believe in, but remain unsure.  And some of us just feel straight up unworthy or too unknowledgeable to speak up.

I think a lot of this is because of the way we’re taught evangelism.  In the mainstream church (which I love, by the way, and I’m not bashing), we’re mostly taught to package the Gospel with one-liners, retorts, psychological allurement, and a final deal-closing prayer.  I mean let’s think about this.  I’m going to tell you the truth of the universe about God in a five minute sale at your front door.  I’m cool with door-to-door evangelism: but is this really the standard for sharing our faith?

This is a sort of “success model” in which we’re expected to “convert” people by numerical values and scripted responses.  In the end, it’s trying to turn the Gospel into one more program.  So of course, we get nervous that we’re not living it right AND saying it right, and it’s a double-fear that many Christians don’t talk about.  We just act as convinced as possible but we’re not willing to doubt our own product.

Continue Reading…

When You Mess It Up Again.

October 16, 2014 — 1 Comment


God totally has grace for you when you mess it up. He loves you no matter what. He wants you to cast off guilt and shame, because it doesn’t work and it’s not who you are and it’s what Jesus came to die for.

On the other hand: God does want you to recover. He wants you not only to experience the cover of grace, but also His grace-empowered Spirit for a fruitful, passionate, purposeful, mission-driven life.

I believe God will restore you every time you fail for the rest of your life, so when you relapse and go down a porn-binge, God is still going to love you afterward, every time. But my question is: Do you really want to keep living this way?

I’m not asking this to guilt-trip you. I’m only saying that once the old self is dead, it’s not worth it to go back there anymore. I don’t think Lazarus missed his tomb and climbed into his coffin sometimes. I don’t think the healed blind man Bartimaeus wore a blindfold to reminisce on his days tripping over things.

You’ll be forgiven by God every single time, but God wants you to experience the fully forgiven life too.

So if you break a “clean streak,” please don’t wallow in self-pity. When you mess it up, it’s okay. But what’s even better is getting to the place where going back is no longer an option, and you’re so in love with God that turning around is unthinkable. I believe we can get there. I believe our God is that powerful. I believe we are not merely works in progress, but we are empowered by It Is Finished.


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


honeyinheart asked a question:

I know you’ve mentioned in some of your posts about relationships regarding praying with a partner is not “soul-sex” but a speaker at retreat last year said praying together as girlfriend and boyfriend is one step closer to having sex and should be avoided. Care to help explain?

Hey there my dear friend, I don’t want to be one more guy who badmouths the church: but our church subculture has often given really, really bad advice about dating, because most religious conservative people are very scared of teens having sex.  Then emerges all the scare tactics.  That’s the whole deal, right there.

So of course, there are teachings on courtship and soul-sex and purity rings and love languages — and none of these are necessarily bad in themselves.  Yet any idea taken to an extreme will kill you.  A healthy culture of accountability then becomes a toxic subculture of paranoia, and your pastor will try to scare the sex right out of you.

But there’s an equally grievous error, which is to be way too relaxed about sex: and this is really a reactionary subculture to appear relevant and “with it.”  There’s always some hipster laid-back emergent pastor saying, “Don’t be like those uptight Christians, just go with the flow man.”  And while it’s good to relax about dating, if you take this to an extreme: then you won’t take your own body very seriously.

Continue Reading…

He Can Handle That.

October 15, 2014 — 2 Comments


Don’t think that you’ve been gone too long to come to Him. God is not some spiritual parole officer waiting for you to fail. If you’ve strayed from prayer, He is not keeping some score. If you don’t feel Him at all, tell Him that: “I don’t feel you right now, God.” Pray with any amount of faith that you have; believe that prayer works; ask for faith if you have none. If you’re mad, tell Him. If you’re ashamed, guilty, confused, afraid, doubtful: tell Him. He can handle that. He is understanding, patient, gracious; He loves you. You’ll soon find you’ll want to talk to Him, because He’s actually pretty awesome to talk to.


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


Highlight, Cafe, Garden.

October 14, 2014 — 3 Comments


The other night I gave one of my friends a hard copy of my book. I’ve been discipling him for over five years. We sat across from each other at a cafe to read. He asked me for a highlighter and headphones. At once he dug into my book and began highlighting, digging deep, nodding his head. He would pause to tell me a line he liked or a thought that convicted him. Suddenly, in the middle of this cafe, I began tearing up, overwhelmed by the whole thing.

I know who I am. I’m selfish. I’m wretched. I’m weak. I have done a lot of wrong things in this life. I have hurt many people, including myself. Ten years ago, there was zero chance I would be a pastor or write encouraging things or talk about Jesus. And yet here was my friend, actually reading things I wrote and taking them to heart. I couldn’t believe it was happening. It was both horrifying and humbling, and I instantly thanked God like crazy. This is what He does. He’s always doing things like that. God takes the worst of us, the most shattered and damaged and rebellious and prideful, and reverses our entropy into pulsing life. He sees a desert and says, “I see a garden.” God can take a miserable sinner like me and you and breathe something brand new into these jagged veins. This is the work of Christ, shaping us, connecting us, healing us. He loves even us, dear friend.

— J.S.



Overrated
by Eugene Cho

Summary:

Eugene Cho, founder of charity One Day’s Wages and lead pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, writes an honest, searing book about the popular issue of social justice, and how it’s not just a popular issue. Pastor Eugene gets deep into the hands-on grittiness of doing justice that lasts beyond our flashy social media and emotional trappings. He also shares his own personal journey in getting there, a vulnerable season of his life when he was brutally humbled and he honestly confronted himself.

Review:

I must first admit my own bias here because I’m absolutely excited that my own story is in the book. A couple years ago, I donated half my salary to Eugene Cho’s charity One Day’s Wages to fight human trafficking. It was a check for $10,000, and after attempting to raise a matching donation, an anonymous donor contributed $8085 to reach $20,000. What convicted me most to save for the year was hearing one of Eugene Cho’s messages from the Catalyst Conference in 2011, in which he delivered a passionate sermon about really doing justice more than loving the idea; incidentally, it has become the main thread of his first book. Though I’ve never met Pastor Eugene, I’m truly honored that I’m a part of his work.

Here’s a confession. I’ve read over 200 Christian books and I’ve been a pastor for over seven years, and I can truthfully tell you that I’m woefully jaded to the Christianese scene of books, podcasts, and conferences. I’ve read the best there is and have heard the best preachers. I know every great one-liner, buzzword, and knock-out tweet in the entirety of our Christian bubble. There’s not a single Christian book in the last year or so that has impacted me deeply, and perhaps the last truly great book I’ve read is Josh Riebock’s Heroes and Monsters. So while I love Eugene Cho and his charity, I approached his book with some fear that it would encircle the same tropes I’ve come to eye-roll.

Continue Reading…

Real Healing.

October 13, 2014 — 1 Comment


Real healing begins when you scoop out the lies of your distorted thinking and replace them with God’s truth about you. This will hurt. But it’s the only way to real freedom and peace and joy. Everyone will naturally resist this because it feels corny or intrusive, but more than that, it feels undeserved. When we’re so comfortable with the dark, we squint at the possibility of things getting better in the light.

Yet God is so willing to rub the salt of His Word on your wounds so that you can wake up from your own self-loathing. He’s the well of cool water for your bruised tired hands. He’s the only love who could fulfill you enough not to overreact to the pain. God really does want you to know that you are not what has happened to you nor what you’ve done. Jesus came to take your wounds into his own hands and feet, so that you may live. He did this for our final victory in eternity: but he also did this for you today, in this moment, so you may experience a foretaste of that wholeness. And God is going to move at your tempo, never rushing, because He knows that your healing will take a step at a time. But so we must be willing to hold up those truths to our naked hurt, because healing begins with honesty.

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




I’m a sucker for long artsy titles and whimsical song names.  This is the official Coffee Table of Contents for my book, released forKindle and now in paperback!  If you’ve been blessed, please consider writing a review!

Love y’all, dear friends. :)

— J.S.



JS Park WTCWTA


JS Park:

Thank you so much for the wonderful review!

The book is now in paperback for only $8.81 on Amazon!

Originally posted on Resting in His Grace:

Imagine confiding from the pew, “I can’t win the battle over my lustful desires,” or “I’ve committed the same stinking sin fifty plus times this week, and right now, I want to go do it again” or even “I’m on every medication known to man for depression… and I’m getting worse.”

JS Park WTCWTABeing already the fan of JS Park’s writing at The Way Everlasting, I was super-excited to hear of his new book, What the Church Won’t Talk About. It did not disappoint. As a matter of fact, I found myself glued to its pages as believer after believer poured forth questions ranging anywhere from issues of lust to relational concerns, from discouragement to religious dependence.

The fascinating gift this author wields is the ability to not only answer these questions, but to answer them with amazing grace that only finds its source in Christ.

When discussing the unlovable…

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My Formula For Preaching.

October 10, 2014 — 7 Comments


My formula for preaching.
– We have a problem, you guys.
– I have this problem really, really bad.
– This part of Scripture talks about it.
– God is awesome and then plot-twist, Jesus.
– C.S. Lewis, something something C.S. Lewis.
– Last thing: A story with lots of hand motions.
– Oh wait, one more last thing. Story, more hand motions.
– Prayer, which recaps the whole sermon again.
– I go to the bathroom and try not to cry.
– Taco Bus.

— J.S.



There are days when I keep imagining what other people in my small tiny town are saying about me.

You’re not the good guy you pretend to be.  I know who you really are. I know what you’re about. You’re not fooling anyone.

I get into a mental chokehold, a constant tortured paralysis, not allowing myself any joy for too long, because I feel that’s a righteous punishment.

Are we all doomed to our former selves, time-stamped to who we used to be?  Will this loop of self-condemnation never end?

No one likes to flip a page because cynicism appeals to our laziness. It’s less work to bury someone under their baggage than to help them unpack.

But if you were to sit down with me for an hour over coffee, maybe you’d understand a bit more. That we have the same hopes, dreams, passions, and ambitions. That we are not so different. That we’ve both failed. We both have a past. That we love children, love dogs, love good movies, enjoy coffee, laugh at viral videos, and weep at tragic headlines. That we share fears, addictions, complexes, and worries. You’d certainly see horrible things in me, but perhaps you’d feel love instead of judgment, unless you’ve forgotten what love really is.

And you’d see we are both multi-dimensional people who fight the same battles with our multiple split selves, and that you and I are not stock archetypes from a backyard Disney vault. We are real, gritty, imperfect: just people.

Maybe you’d hear the honest struggle, and recognize that we are both breathing human beings who don’t always get it right: and that my failures should not give you a weaponized filter to suffocate everything else I do.

— J.S.


JS Park:

Thank you so much to Ryan of One Christian Dad for the wonderful detailed review!

“JS Park takes us on a journey through the grittier section of his email in-box, where the hardest questions get asked. Questions about faith, doubts, struggling with lust and porn, to the hard questions about forgiveness, depression, homosexuality and abortion … If you believe that people can’t change, if you believe that God can’t change hearts and minds, then this book will challenge you with the sovereign grace of God. You will be challenged to think outside the box and look at the person behind the problem.”

The book is also now available in Paperback on Amazon! It’s on sale for less than $9!

Originally posted on One Christian Dad:

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“We were enduring the consequences of poorly made decisions. We had no idea how to help our friends go through their terrible trials. We were disappointed weekly by the church’s avoidance of tough topics, or the black-and-white binary boxes. The church gave us cat-poster clichés or pulpit-pounding guilt-trips. So we adopted the self-improvement techniques of culture, which turned out to be self-improvisation, and it only made us worse.”

_____________

From the intro to JS Park’s new book, “What the Church Won’t Talk About.” Which begs the question…So what is the answer? What will make it better?

When pastor and blogger JS Park messaged me and asked me to review his new book, What the Church Won’t Talk About, I was both shocked and honoured that he would ask lil ol me. I should warn you that I came into this book expecting to like it. I have been following blogger…

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