See Him.

If you feel far from God today —

He’s okay with that.  You can draw near Him and tell Him, “I feel far away from You.”  Jesus welcomes your doubts, confusion, frustrations, and questions.  He invites you in any and every condition.

If you’re mad at God today —

He’s okay with that.  He made you an emotional being, and more than that, a human being.  You can vent to Him and He won’t bite your head off.  He doesn’t want you to pretend your feelings at Him.

If you’ve messed up on God today —

He’s still rooting for you.  He still wants to work on this together.  He will receive you the very second after you mess it up.  Your moment of defeat matters less than the moment right after.  He has grace to pick you up, to dust you off, to keep you moving towards Him.  Choose grace.

If you haven’t spoken with God in an embarrassingly long time —

He’s okay with that too.  You have right now.  He’s given you this moment to talk to Him.  Don’t wait another second.  Find the endless well of joy that’s waiting.

If it’s all gone upside-down and life has been unfair —

Please don’t write off God just yet.  You will need more grace and not less.  You will need more help, more strength, more wisdom, more truth, and not less.  Go to the source.  Please don’t let your life throw you around into a lesser version of you, but let God say who you are amidst your surroundings.

If you don’t like yourself today —

God loved you before you stepped into the room.  God pre-approved of you before you did a single thing.  God will love you when no one else does.  There is nothing you could do to change His heart towards you: and it’s His unchanging heart that will change you.

If you’re not sure that God loves you today —

See the cross. See Jesus.  All our fears, worries, hurt, injustice, and rebellion are answered there.  Jesus knew what we would do to him: but He set this plan in motion before time to be with you for eternity.  The cross has removed every single obstacle between us and Him.  Jesus achieved the cosmic victory of demolishing sin, Satan, and death, for your good and for His glory.  Know this love, and everything else will be okay.

— J

The Brutally Honest Surgical Self-Confrontation

Why doesn’t Nathan simply rebuke David on the spot? Why the long story and the strategic side-tackle?

It’s because before confronting ourselves, we need to undo our self-righteousness.

We each have a nearly impenetrable fortress of resistance when we’re called out on our wrongs. It keeps us blind to our blindness.

The way that God punches through David’s self-deception is one of the most lauded turns of literary brilliance in written history. Nathan doesn’t simply accuse David. Nathan peels back David’s self-righteousness by turning his rules against him. David is knocked over by the weight of his own standards. The very mechanism by which David has condemned the guilty to cover his guilt is turned on himself. His excuses have become his own liability, like a sword with a blade on both ends. It’s what Jesus meant when he said, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  

David required a brutally honest confrontation, but it would take more than a lesson in theology or a list of sins. No one changes that way.

God rebukes David by first removing any possibility of an excuse or objection.
God revokes David’s self-righteous capacity to absolve his own sin.
David needed to confront himself, before the sight of God, without the slimmest avenue of escape or deflection.

If you want any hope of change, freedom, progress, recovery, and growth: you’ll need to confront yourself, too. It’ll be the most painful thing you’ve ever done, because we’re so used to protecting our fragile, brittle egos. But it’s more painful to stay stuck in the lie.

If you’ve ever tried to confront your friend about their thing, you were amazed at their automatic defenses and sudden snarling. I’m sometimes surprised by my own excuses, too. When I’m guilty, I attack. It’s the perfect way to get out of accountability. When someone does something wrong, it’s all their fault, but when I do something wrong, it’s my environment or my family or my stress. When we get caught red-handed, we go into a monologue of rehearsed responses that we almost really believe, because it took so many steps of rationalizations to get there.

When you want to escape by saying, “Well-what-about-them?” — God will twist you around to say, “Well-what-about-me?” The only thing that will destroy hypocrisy is humility. Part of humility is to quit holding up a mirror at others and to use it on myself first.

For the first time in a long time, David is being honest with himself before God. He lets the truth undress him. There’s no place for him to run. His own judgment has betrayed him, and this is how God will work on us, too. He will dislocate your blame, one excuse at a time, until you really take a look at yourself and see you as you really are.

J.S. Park | The Life of King David

I Trusted My Guilt Until Grace Spoke The Truth

Photo from The Work of Chad

I trusted my guilt, my shame, my self-pity to move me.
I grit my fists, clenched my teeth,
I reached for the person I should be.
Yet I could not be shamed into change, because it only re-arranged my behavior. I could not fundamentally break my ego, for I was only restraining my nature.
I needed a new heart, a Savior.
Grace caught me: by faith, He had already raised me, and had moved me far much more than I dared to believe.
For I forgot the price of grace to bring me back, grace that cost His hands and feet.
I dared for a love stronger than all my shouting, my sickness, my shadow in the mirror.
A love busting at the seams of my heart, a new heart –
– a love that loosened my fists and my failure.

— J.S.

The Two Words We Want Least But Need Most

Hello wonderful friends! This is a message I gave called, The Two Words We Want Least But Need the Most.

It’s about two words that we quickly avoid but desperately need for growth, healing, and wholeness, for our relationships, churches, politics, and faith. Stream below or download directly here.

Some things I talk about are: When you see someone else’s kid misbehaving in public, the most unappealing things about Christianity for Christians, thinking the sermon is for the guy in the next row, tracing the theme of water and chaos through ancient history and Scripture, and how Jesus’s war cry obliterated our worldly warfare.

I’m also on iTunes here. Be immensely blessed!

The Gospel in Two and a Half Minutes

The entire storyline of the Bible in two and a half minutes. And a different way to see the Gospel.

Subscribe to my channel here.
Be blessed and love y’all!

— J.S.

[Thank you to Steven Hause of pudgyproductions]

Our Contradictory Divided Self

We can be pretty weird.

We cry “It’s not fair!” when it happens to us, but blink when it happens to the next guy.

Hardly ever do we admit we’re wrong, and when we do, it comes with a “But” explanation that undoes our apology.

We’re threatened when someone else achieves success, yet run to those who are successful to ask for special favors and collaborations.

We’re quick to buy into the false philosophies of Hollywood and pop songs and romanticized soundbites, but we re-post dreamy idealistic quotes and never live out what they say.

We resist change, even when those changes come from free services we don’t have to pay for.

We feel entitled to things that didn’t exist a year ago.

We get mad in traffic, which does nothing to the traffic.

We do everything possible to extend our lifespan and live comfortably, but are less likely to work on our motives and our hearts and our inner hurts.

We know this is all true: but we think it’s true for someone else. Not you. Not me. We read these kinds of things thinking about someone else, including me. I can worry later. I’m fine today. She needs the help. He needs the advice. I’m the hottest, smartest one in the room, you know. I secretly know more than the guy I’m talking to, I think, with an amused half-grin on my face, and they’re thinking the same about me.

But we all have blind spots, and we can’t see them: which is why they’re called blind spots. I can only hope a friend loves me enough to twist my head around, turn on a light, and get me to see what I’ve been missing. To help me laugh at my own ridiculous hang-ups. To love me through the worst of myself, to a better place, where I’m a step closer to the person God has created me to be.

Love does not belie truth. We need both. Be my friend today and help me to see what I cannot see on my own.


“3 Ways Accountability Will Change Your Life”

Here’s an article I wrote that’s been published on X3Church, called:

“3 Ways Accountability Will Change Your Life.”

It’s about the uncomfortable, brutally surgical confrontation of accountability and its necessary benefits for growth and life.

Here’s an excerpt:

You’re ready to quit your addiction.

You’re ready to be teachable, to be under leadership and mentoring.

You’re ready to own your problem and get the help you need.

You’re ready for accountability.

All this sounds romantic, but accountability is a deliberate confrontation with yourself through another person—and confrontation is hard. It’s even harder when you begin to see the depth of your own issues and all the ugliness inside, the things you were happy to ignore before you decided to recover. We’re so much more entrenched in our habits than we think, so accustomed to “the way things were” that our bodies will desperately claw back to our old destructive ways.

Recovery is a street-fight, and our darker side will never fight fair.

Read the full post here. My book on quitting porn is here.

Who I’m Voting For.

I was asked about my politics. About who I’m voting for.

I don’t know who I’m voting for, but I know who I’m hoping for.

I’m hoping for a candidate who won’t use easy buzzwords and one-liners to pander to a party, who calls out who we should be, and calls us to who we could be.

I’m hoping for a candidate who actually cares, from-the-pit-of-their-stomach until their voice shakes, for black lives and cops’ lives, for teachers’ lives and adopted lives, for lives outside the four lines of a party line; for the least of these, for the working class and freshmen class and aristocrats, for shamed and blamed victims in universities; for the mentally ill, the fatherless, the lone veteran, and refugees; for majorities and minorities, those in Wall Street and on the streets, for those in need and those who lead, for the Constitution and spiritual liberties: not to accuse one to lift up the other, but to raise up without dichotomies, without looking for exceptions and squeezing into our isolated categories.

I’m hoping for a candidate who doesn’t crudely appeal to the entitled or the corporations, who doesn’t ride on young votes or legacy votes or angry votes or religious votes, who doesn’t tickle the little racist in all of us, who can pull together a unified diversity and a diversified unity, without demonizing or cartoon-villainizing a caricature of the “other side,” who reaches across the divide but without compromise.

I’m hoping for a candidate who listens more than talks, who hands the microphone across the stand, who questions more than lectures, who doesn’t condescend but descends where I am.

I’m hoping for a candidate who isn’t poaching for my vote by the end results of a focus group, who might disagree with me but still tells me the total truth.

I’m hoping for a candidate who won’t play zero sum, who won’t falsely promise a full pocket by reaching into my other one.

What I’m hoping for is impossible and illogical, and I remain cynical. I might as well be talking about Jesus, and look what they did to him: his cross became his pedestal.

I’m probably asking for too much — but maybe we haven’t been asking for enough: because enough would be someone who had the guts to say, “It’s not them or you, it’s them with us.”

Because who I’m voting for won’t matter

unless we figure out what matters.

I got a hope bigger than politics and polls,

and that’s the hope that we know there’s better and more.

Call me an idealist, or naive, or romantic, or say I’m avoiding the question: but if we can’t relinquish our verbal weapons, we’ll have nothing left past the aftermath of an election.

And really, all these changes that I want to see,

it doesn’t start with a vote, but a wild hope in we.

These changes, really,

they have to start with me.

All this starts

with you and me.


The Hardest Thing About Perseverance Is the Whole Thing

I wrote a guest post for the wonderful Pursuit NYC, headed by my friend Sam Won.
The post is about perseverance and what it really means.

An excerpt:

Plenty of us can quit without physically quitting. We can live this way for years, thinking that “showing up” is enough and we can skate by on the bare minimum.

In other words, perseverance is not just staying in, but being in. It’s being present and engaged.

It’s not that we don’t have it in us to persevere. It’s that all of us wasn’t in the task at hand. Even a person who gets to the finish-line, who didn’t put their all into it, hasn’t really persevered.

I do this, too. I can be there but not there. And I’m learning that being disengaged begins with my expectations.

… No one ever told me, “Emotions are different than passion. Emotions are the little spark that gets it going. Passion is what keeps you running the marathon, even when it gets boring, even when things don’t go your way, even when the path takes a bunch of detours and it’s not as pretty as the picture in your head.”

Read the full post here!


Dialogue, Maybe Over Coffee.

Some time ago, a blogger completely destroyed my entire blog. He wrote a detailed analysis of the whole thing, from my theology to posts to quotes to my childhood. He posted it all over my blog just to make sure I saw it. He actually had great points, and I imagine that if we sat down for coffee and discussed these things, we would find a lot of common ground. I had to really think about some areas that I mishandled. My only issue, really, was that he was so very distasteful and trashy and condescending that I just couldn’t take him very seriously. (He later deleted his blog and I never heard from him again.)

I’m afraid I’ve fallen into the same trap of just going off on someone online, especially when I’ve had a bad day. I usually don’t respond to hate, but when I do: it never works. Even when someone offers fair criticism, I’m not always sure they’re interested in actual dialogue. There’s about a zero percent chance it will be a healthy talk, anyway. The more you defend and explain, the more it’s misinterpreted. If you miss a single thing, it will be pounced on and torn to pieces. If you apologize, it’s never enough. Semantics always escalate. And I’ve learned: Christians love to devour their own. There’s some epidemic of Christian men who love to watch other Christian men burn. (Cue the Hans Zimmer TDK horns.)

Tone, approach, and demeanor are all crucial to being heard. I can’t hear someone who makes a million assumptions with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. It doesn’t matter that we agree or disagree. My question is: Would you listen to you if you spoke the same way to yourself?

I’ve failed at this many times, and I want to do better.

I love conversation. I love to be challenged. I think even conflict with a direction can lead to growth. The point isn’t to see eye-to-eye. The point is to lay down our presumptions and to grow from the best of each other. It’s to not make a false parody of the other viewpoint, but to truly listen, and then to offer an angle that hasn’t been considered. It’s to humanize someone so that we’re not equating disagreement with moral value. It’s to first consider that we don’t see the whole thing ourselves, and maybe the meeting of our perspectives can create an even higher ground to see more than before.

Of course, it has to start with a sensible approach on both sides, and the willingness to be teachable. If your mind is already made up, then never mind. We don’t have to like each other, but there’s a huge difference between winning points for preaching to the choir and actually caring about what you’re saying. There’s a difference between proving the point right and proving yourself right. One gets you heard; the other gets a shrug. We don’t have to agree. I just want to talk, over coffee.


A Quick Interview About Christian Faith.

Photo from Hillsong Gallery

An interview about my faith and denomination, from sjpark11 for his class.

1. What is your understanding and experience of spirituality?

– There exists a divine pulse to the universe, a breath of creation by a Creator. To experience spirituality is to be in touch with this pulse, to be “aligned” with creation in all its potential and possibility.

As a Christian, I also believe this divine pulse, God, revealed Himself on the earth at one point in time as one of us, to reverse the human condition of entropy and invite us into that story of healing.

2. What are some images or metaphors that support your understanding and/or your experience of spirituality?

– I like C.S. Lewis’s metaphor about the door. Currently, we are on one side. We get glimpses of a “reality” beyond us, something so grand and beautiful that we can hardly take it in. It’s evoked sometimes in our natural experience, whether by sunset or ice cream or romance or song, though these things in themselves come quickly and go. One day we will get to the other side of the door.

Faith is about the journey of looking through the keyhole, getting a glance of infinite beauty, until we permanently partake in the radiance of all that we hoped for.

Continue reading “A Quick Interview About Christian Faith.”

Eugene Cho’s Book “Overrated” Is Free Today

Eugene Cho‘s book “Overrated” is totally free today. He’s the founder of One Day’s Wages and very much the real deal. He also mentions my story in his book about the time I gave away half my year’s salary to fight human trafficking, a check for 10k, which was matched by contributing donations.

Grab his book here:

His book is incredibly good. The two parts that impacted me the most were his personal story about working as a janitor for years before being able to successfully launch a church (nothing wrong with being a janitor by the way, but throw in Asian cultural expectations), and the process of how he sits on an exciting idea for a while to see if it’s just emotional hype or truly deep passion. Powerful stuff.

The story about the donation here:

eugene cho overrated ODW book Joon

I Hope You’ll Know Me As I Really Am.


Lately, I’ve been trying to be as super-vulnerable as possible, even if it looks inelegant and clumsy. Even unprofessional or unkempt. Even if it looks sort of crazy.

I don’t mean over-sharing or crossing boundaries or being silly for the sake of appearing relatable. I mean just saying exactly what’s going on inside. Every neurotic little twitch and concern. Every fear and hope and held-back giggle. What my needs are. All the conflicting emotions and motives. The whole mess of it, the gritty weird details down to the inner guts.

Sometimes in the middle of talking, I’ve been backing up and saying, “Actually, I didn’t mean that. I just said it because I was processing out loud and I sort of winged it right then. Or maybe I was trying to impress you. I really don’t know anything about what I just said.” I’ve been catching myself when I know I’m about to exaggerate or cover up. I’ve been rewinding myself when I might have said something sketchy or incomplete or disingenuous.

Continue reading “I Hope You’ll Know Me As I Really Am.”