Highlight, Cafe, Garden.

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.

Book Review: Overrated by Eugene Cho

by Eugene Cho


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.


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.

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