About / Bio.

Photos by Lewis Chi


Photos by hospital staff



“I believe; help my unbelief!” — Mark 9:24

Welcome to the blog of J.S. Park, a once devout atheist turned skeptical pastor.


The Big Secret is that even the “strongest believer” has doubts.
We all doubt God sometimes, more than we want to admit.
Even the “best” of us.
We live with the tension of wanting to believe, but struck with the constant panic that faith is crazy.
Me, too. I’m a full-time doubter. And I’m learning it’s okay.
Let’s talk about it.

This site is for the honesty we all long for and the grace we all need.
However you believe, where ever you come from, both veterans and rookies to faith —
We have questions. Let’s work through the answers.


My constant prayer for you and me is Psalm 139:23-24

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”



J.S. Park is a former atheist/agnostic, sixth degree black belt, hospital chaplain, a recovered porn addict, intense introvert, and loves Jesus.
Here’s what a hospital chaplain does.

In 2012, he gave away half his salary to fight human trafficking, a check for $10,000.
Matching contributions raised another $10k.
[Part of this story was in Eugene Cho’s book Overrated (pp. 164-165), and his blog here.]

J.S. has a B.A. in Psychology from USF and M.Div from SEBTS.
He likes Cuban food, cold brew, tomato juice, and old black and white noir movies. He has a German shepherd named Rosco, and is overly fond of C.S. Lewis.
He has two toenails growing out of one toe. Really.

J.S. has been featured on the front page of WordPress.com here and here.
He’s a contributing blogger for X3Church.
Also for ChurchLeaders and ChurchPlants.



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Comments on this blog are replied to about once per week or so.
Questions are answered directly through Tumblr.



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Copyright © 2016 by J.S. Park
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This blog or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher,
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or study/presentation material.



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Other pictures are credited to their owners, and many of the pictures are under the Creative Commons license for non-commercial use (CC BY 2.0).
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My podcast is The Way Everlasting, with sermons and more.
Click here or here or the image above.



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133 thoughts on “About / Bio.

  1. Wow! WHAT A STORY! And yes, I agree with you that the church can be strange. Coming from a background of faith in Christ I really didn’t know him until my 30’s. Now years later, he is the center of my life, finally. A work in progress, I say!

    Love that karate! I was a Green belt in high school; many years ago. Blessings..glad I found your blog!

    Like

  2. Ok, if I have your permission I would like to write a post with you in mind. If you don’t want me to give your name or blog address that is fine. If so I will be glad to.

    I write a lot of humorous Christian posts because God brought laughter back into my life after times of depression….I believe that is how he wants me to spread his word.

    It would only be good about you because you are a real inspiration. If you would prefer I not do this let me know or I could send it to you to read first.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for your comment here and your encouraging words. You don’t need to ask permission! I appreciate that you did. Let me know when it’s done, I would love to read it and to continue reading your blog.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Hello!
        I am a 20 year old female fighting for the purity and beauty of girls and women all throughout the country! I am continually praying for more wisdom on the subject that girls need to hear.
        I try my best to be a voice for those who don’t have one.
        I have also been at a point where I doubted the belief of God- so strongly I couldn’t even hear his name. Therefore, it is easy for me to relate to this blog!
        My recent blog called “Where Do YOU Draw the Line?” based on “Fifty Shades of Grey” has been spiking with high stats. I would love for you all to share my post on your page- I feel you would really enjoy reading it.
        I love what you are doing with your testimony. It is truly inspiring! God works in funny ways. I am so thankful He is using your amazing testimony to reach so many out there.
        – Kaylee Craft

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  3. Hello!

    I have enjoyed visiting your website today! What a powerful testimony; what a great God we serve!

    Your comment “I still struggle with doubts: now and then I think this is all crazy” really struck home. Those have been my thoughts the past ten months since our 12 year old son was taken home to heaven in a skiing accident. The walk that we have walked since then has been one filled foremost with grace, but also a hard,hard fight to continue to believe every word in Scripture.

    My name is Terri Stellrecht, and I am the author of the book “How My Savior Leads Me.” It would be an honor to send you a copy of my book for your review.

    Following is the book description, as well as the Amazon link showing the book. Please let me know if you would like me to mail you a copy of the book.

    Thank you!! I look forward to hearing from you! Keep fighting the good fight of faith!

    Terri Stellrecht

    *********

    On Friday, February 18, 2011, God did the unthinkable in our lives: He chose to take our 12-year-old son, Trent Lee Stellrecht, home to heaven in a skiing accident. It is only considered the unthinkable because our plans are not God’s plans, and our ways are not God’s ways. Follow along on my journey through the valley of the shadow of death as my Savior, Jesus Christ, leads me.

    How My Savior Leads Me is the powerful, moving account of God’s faithfulness in what appears to be a tragedy. Terri Stellrecht begins by sharing glimpses from Trent’s childhood, and before, that God graciously revealed to prepare her for the day that her son would enter His presence, and the day that her prayers would be answered: prayers that God would save Trent and allow him to dwell in heaven for eternity, and that somehow his life would be used in a mighty way for the glory of God and the gospel going forth.

    Can God really be good in “accidents”? Is He really there? Does He really have a purpose for everything that happens on this earth? Stellrecht explores the promises and truths found in the Bible as she lays out the foundation of her faith and shares the whispers that God has continued to give to encourage her every step of the way through the hard process of grief.

    A book that will make you laugh, weep, and rejoice as well as challenge your own belief of this good God. It will ultimately ask you to answer the question: “What if it had been you that died in that skiing accident? Where would you be? Do you know this Savior of mine? His name is Jesus.”

    http://www.amazon.com/How-My-Savior-Leads-Me/dp/1449725724/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325796349&sr=8-1

    Like

    1. Wow. This is a tough one to reply to. Sorry to read of your loss, Terri.
      I was just scrolling down and happened to see those words.
      If there are no accidents, but we are not puppets, then we have to
      allow for human freewill – and we will choose wrongly. That’s part
      of the game. Nevertheless, I do believe in Divine Coincidences. So,
      I’d like to offer these words, written for folks who have been through
      the worst circumstances this world and this life have to offer. Peace, UT
      http://uncletreeshouse.com/2011/05/15/when-god-takes-a-child/
      (Thank you for allowing this, Mr. Park!)

      Like

    2. Thanks for your beautiful story of victory for Trent and for your family. I couldn’t see how to respond on your blog site, so thanks to j s park for this chance to communicate with you. I am 81 years old and somehow God willed for me to remain on earth through an aorta dissection and an acute heart attack five hours from a hospital (rescued by air flight) in the Colorado Rockies. I’ll never understand why He willed that but willed Trent to be taken on to Heaven. My story is under About me, Why Me, Lord” if you would like to read it. It is a wonderful by-product that you have your story in book form. May it bless a lot of people as they learn from your heartache and victory. I love your line “How My Savior Leads Me.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I believe that some of today’s Christians are trying to redefine what it is to be just that.

    Can we believe and still doubt? What about faith? Can we truly surrender all? Are there and were there any perfect Christians? Is a man’s doctrine that he “interpreted” from the Bible the way to go? Are denominations the cause for divisions in a unified church? Is the word of God the only way that teaches how we should live our lives?

    It’s nice to hear from you again. 🙂

    Other blog.

    http://womanwritetwo.wordpress.com/

    Will return here.

    Like

    1. Well I will say yes there is alw a ys room for questions in our spiritual walk with God. However, never a question of if the Bible is our road map. The Word of God is perfect without flaw or our whole substance for being is in question.

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  5. You are a marvelous weapon for the LORD! And your honesty and transparency is awesome. We do need to “get real” because eternity is REAL, and the ONE who gave HIS LIFE is real. I appreciate you taking the time out of all you do to visit and follow my blog. We are all vessels, part of the body, willing to do HIS WILL to reach the lost, AND complacent.
    May GOD continue to work through you, Jerry. And I look forward to reading more…

    Blessings,
    ~Dulcinea

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for the recent “like” on my blog and for following along. I have enjoyed browsing your blog and what I’ve read so far really resonates with me. I look forward to reading more and to sharing the journey!

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  7. Hi there, J.S. Park! You are very original, which is tough to do since
    “There is nothing new under the sun.” Yah, I don’t like that verse either.
    You made me smile this morning at something that wasn’t simply cute.
    I smiled at the smartness of your character and the predicament
    which led you to come to this non-conclusion. As human beings,
    we all have a right to hold at least two disparate opinions. You hold
    yours…well, you hold yours front and center – no doubt about that.

    I wish you well! Peace & Luvz, UT 🙂

    Like

  8. Dear Mr. Park,
    Tonight, after logging onto WP, I learned that you followed my blog. Thank you for doing so, but most especially for allowing me to know about your blog, and about your wondrous experiences in the Lord.
    I look forward to learning more and reading more from your blog.
    God bless you,
    liliessparrowsandgrass

    Like

  9. Glad to have found your blog.
    Hebrews 4:2
    “For the word preached did not profit then not being mixed with faith.”
    You will find thia verse a good benchmark for translations of the Bible.
    This concept transends mortality into the eternal where God can do all thimgs.
    Because He first loved us,
    C.C.T.

    Like

  10. I know you’re currently on a self-imposed hiatus (hope you’re feeling better soon) and I’m not quite sure what to make of these blogging awards but I recently received the “Sunshine Blog Award” and I thought I would pass it on to you. It states that it’s for “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”, and you have definitely been an inspiration in the relatively short time I’ve been reading. Whether or not you choose to accept or pass it on isn’t the big deal to me, but letting you know you’ve made a difference, I thought, was. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi. Thanks for visiting my blog & for the Follow. I’ll be looking forward to reading more of your posts.

    I must confess, though, that this “atheist/Christian” thing has me stumped. An atheist believes there is no God; a Christian believes in the God who has revealed Himself both in creation and in the person of Jesus Christ. Is it possible to be both?

    However, I’m thankful that God was able to get through to you and help you through some very traumatic experiences. I’ve found that as time goes on He reveals HImself more and more to those who want to know Him. “Seek and ye shall find…”

    It’s great if you can keep the perspective of someone who doesn’t know and hasn’t found. Religious folks get too settled into the “everybody who really wants to know does ” mindset and forget what it’s like to be a seeker/learner.

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    1. Thanks!

      To clarify, I’m definitely a believer. But an “Atheist Christian” would be someone who heavily doubts at times, even though he or she does not stop living out the faith. This is the opposite of a “Christian Atheist” (coined by Craig Groeschel), who believes all the right things but does not live out the faith.

      Since I was an atheist/agnostic, I’m easily drawn back into those overwhelming doubts. Yet I don’t quit church or prayer or reading the Bible or serving or giving. It’s probably an odd case, but perhaps more common than we think. I’m sure that every Sunday, there at least a few of us who love God and love the church but struggle with doubting. It’s time we just admit that and come to a safe place to say, “Sometimes I think this is all crazy.” You’re not alone.

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      1. I believe that’s part of a devil’s job, whispering in a Christian’s ear, “This is all phoney, you know. There’s nothing to it.” As in Pilgrim going through the Valley of Shadows.
        Yes, I hear that, too, at times, and must remind myself of the times I’ve heard the Holy Spirit’s voice giving me direction for my life. All the “diamonds” that have fallen from heaven and bonked me on the head. 🙂

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      2. Hi Brother,
        I too felt that athiestic tug, although I strongly wanted to please God. I realized that until I came to Him utterly broken, asking Him to “possess” my life with a Spirit Filled walk, leaving behind all my “selfs” (self worth,self-righteousness,etc) which caused me only to stuble again and produce doubt. My words of encouragement come from our Lord:
        “So I say to you,ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

        Blessings

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  12. How do you serve a God that you doubt exists? This is not to sound judgmental or accusing. I just don’t see how it is possible to genuinely give a life of service to God but at the same time doubt His existence. We are not perfect, our minds are limited and we all fall short in truly comprehending an unlimited God. But from reading your bio, it seems as if you deliberately include these doubts as part of you. In the context of life on earth, is it worth it to devote your life purpose to a cause in which you question its legitimacy? Why is it that, out of your personal experience with God’s divine grace and your choice to follow Christ as your savior, that you don’t strive to let go of these professed doubts of God’s very existence to serve God more faithfully, without being hindered by doubts? Especially since you were called to lead others to God.

    You mention in your earlier explanation that you live out your faith but sometimes face overwhelming doubts. Very understandable, but Isn’t this simply another sin that all followers sometimes go through? What makes these doubts so significant that it receives the word “Atheist” in its label? (These are questions, again, out of curiosity, not to point fingers or accuse.)

    I’m sure labels are worthless to our God who loves all and wants all men to come to His truth, but out of curiosity, why exactly do you call yourself a Christian Atheist pastor? I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around this thought and your claim.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and I appreciate the nomination! I like the usual fanfare too. Indeed we are all in this together. Look forward to your blog as well! 🙂

      Like

  13. Hey!

    This is Jennifer from Jennifer’s Hope (jennifershope.wordpress.com). I wanted to write to you to first of all thank you for following my blog, and second, I wanted to let you know that I announced a few days ago that my blog has moved.

    The address to my new, self-hosted blog is http://www.jennifershopeblog.com. I am hoping that you will take a moment to check it out. Unfortunately, because of the new site’s location, you’ll have to subscribe by email if you want to still be notified of my new posts.

    To do so, you can go to http://www.jennifershopeblog.com and you’ll find a form to enter your email into on the left sidebar below my picture.

    Thank you so much & God bless!

    Jen

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  14. J.S. you have some fantastic posts but I’m really having a hard time wrapping my head around the atheist pastor title. Are you a believer or not? (I guess that’s your point…) I can definitely relate to you in several areas, I believe everything about Christianity in my head but struggle with seeing any difference in my life from that of a non-believer. Where are you in your journey?

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    1. I am certainly a believer, but also struggle with severe doubts. Perhaps you could say “spiritually bipolar.” There are days I have wanted to give up because the whole thing felt crazy: but I’ve seen this is actually more common with Christians then they will admit. Regardless, I continue.
      I’ve written about it more in detail here. Statement of beliefs is here.

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  15. Hey bro, fascinating story and background. I’ve found “Faith and Doubt” by John Ortberg to be pretty thought provoking in the doubt conversation, it is real…if we as Christians deny we ever have doubts we’re lying

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  16. Faith and doubt both have rational bases. Yet loving faith carries on in real life where rational movements in the brain can do nothing of themselves, reach impasse, and cannot follow. Loving faith is active, and so, if your service to God is active and real, faith is moving despite doubts formulating and dispersing in the mind like so many wavelets on the surface of a great spiritual ocean helping to obscure oceanic depth beyond measure, and a reflective relationship with the heavens equally beyond measure…

    In a recent chess game with a dear friend I entitled the chess game on a whim: “when the writing on the wall is just a measurement.”

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  17. Only God the Holy Spirit can make God real and reveal JESUS ! HE alone can remove every doubt. ask Him .. there will be no place to doubt.. only BELIEVE WITH ALL YOUR HEART .. John 15:26 – But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.
    Rom 8:15-16 : For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself BEARS WITNESS WITH OUR SPIRIT that we are children of God,
    God bless you and guide you in His truth!

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  18. Dear J.S.,
    I’m not sure how you found my blog, but I am grateful you did. I just finished commenting on another blog about how I reluctantly call myself a “Christian” but believe many might consider me to be heretical.

    My life tends to be a continuous fluctuation between belief and unbelief, with a heavy dose of cynicism battling against knowing that I know that I know.

    I’m looking forward to exploring your site.

    Be well,
    Kina

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    1. Thank you! I forgot how I found your blog, but the first article I saw was about cats. So of course, I had to read.

      And yes, the Christian’s journey is not a clean black-and-white linear path. It’s rugged. But God totally gets that about us.

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  19. Thank you for your honest confession Ps Park. I’ve been going to church quite regularly for a few years, and previously been running away from God for more than a decade, but He chased me down somehow.

    I’m not able to worship God freely like others with them raising their hands, because I don’t really feel like it, and then wonder if I’m being proud or weird. Often, I wonder if God is real because I can’t see, hear or touch Him. I can’t bring myself to praise Him freely like how others do, and I feel like I’m not really a christian.

    Just like how you describe “The Big Secret of Every Christian is that we all have doubts about God. Even the “best” of us. Whether He is good, true, powerful, real.”

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

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    1. Thank you for your comments and kind words. I personally know many good Christians who express worship differently and don’t feel the need to raise their hands high or sing super-loud. That sort of church-atmosphere was only popularized in the last half-century by the Charismatic movement, and while I think it’s pretty awesome, it’s also not some kind of mandatory requirement. Thanks for your honesty and appreciate you!

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  20. How refreshing to “run into” your blog today, JS! I loved your evolution post (reblogged it, hope that’s ok), and am looking forward to reading more. Finding folks who are ‘real’ and transparent in the Christian community can be a daunting task.

    My husband (a Reformed Seminary graduate, Army Chaplain, and now a marriage and family therapist) and I have left the organized church but are desperate to find community. (We now host a group 1 time each month called Beer and Bible Study, or B&BS for short. ;))

    Because of my 33-yr. involvement in churches, I never realized how difficult it is to connect with people outside the 4-walls (and when you leave them, a lot of your Christian friends abandon you as well).

    Anyway, didn’t mean to go there. 🙂 I just wanted to share that you had an experience as an atheist which may be similar to the one I’m having as a wilderness-wandering believer. I appreciate any and all messages pointing in the direction of grace. God’s grace could be called my family’s theme. It is our greatest passion to spread the news of God’s love and that, while Jesus spoke quite a bit about accountability, mercy will always triumph over judgment.

    Grace and Peace,
    JF

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    1. Dear friend: thank you for sharing your story. It’s totally cool you reblogged. And I love the theme of your Bible study! I’ll pray you do find a gracious church community.

      You know, I only recently got hit by grace like a freight train. If you read old writings, you won’t see it as much. But thank you for pointing that out, and I feel perhaps I’m heading in the right direction. Looking forward to further discussion!

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  21. Hey, I am wondering if you could write a few sentences about what faith is to you, how you learned what it is, how did you discover it. I am going to do a post on faith, mostly because I never have! anyway I am asking a few other “genius theologians” from wordpress to add their thoughts. This is in response to a blogger who is really searching. And….I will link back to the blogs you guys write. Hopefully he will read it and see where we have all been and where we are now and where we are headed. LOL! If you will please send it to me at cathyneil@rocketmail.com Thanks, Cathy

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  22. God bless you pastor. Another way to put the mission that God has given you is that no one should stay where we are. We should want to go from faith to faith(Rom 1:17) and that happens with honest confession of areas that we want him to grow. Paul boasted in his struggles ,fears and weakness he saw his humanity as an opportunity for him to grow closer with God. This is what the church needs to get back to: truth in love.

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  23. Hello pastor JS park! I’m just new to tumbler and I look forward to reading ur post everyday. God’s power is really at work in you. Nod doubt about that. hehe Not just any power— but a MIGHTY one at that. hehe Thank you for responding God with “Game on! ” the moment He called you for this ministry. I am so blessed with your articles. It’s like I’m reading a very good book– and the best part is it’s free. hehe You must be good with darts, coz when you write, it’s always bull’s eye! i thank God for your ministry! May he find us all faithful till the very day he comes. God bless u, sir. May u write unceasingly too…

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  24. I love what your blog is all about! Especially what you said that “everyone struggles”. I see a lot of problems with how Christians are nowadays, and I am someone who often questions whether I am “authentic” or not because of doubts (mostly in myself).
    Thank you for following my blog by the way. I hope you enjoy it too as I know I will enjoy yours 😉

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement! And yes, I really do believe we all need to relax and breathe easy about doubts. They happen, they’re a part of the journey, and when properly confronted can lead to a better place.

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  25. You are a bold man and I think God honors your honesty. I sit and read my bible and the whole time the enemy is whispering in my ear that it might just be made up or that I’m wasting my time and I never thought it was legitimate to have those thoughts until this blog where I see I’m not the only one. No doubt when I gave my life to Christ there was an undeniable change. I was a pain pill addicted adulterer who was fraudulently obtaining and selling narcotics and Christ lifted those things from me. But in reality it’s hard to continue in faith because we see time so differently from God. Like I want a microwave God who works miracles right now, but he sees the grand scheme of things and is a slow cooker! I just want to praise God for this ministry because people are taught to “Never question God” and that is not what God wants. A question for God shows an acknowledgement of him, it isn’t frowned upon in his sight. God bless you and I’m so thankful you are doing the work of the Lord in this very unconventional way. I think it’s safe to say he is pleased with it!

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    1. Thank you so much for your honesty here and dropping such encouragement. I love what you said about God being a “cooker,” like a crockpot.
      I think asking questions of God is perfectly healthy and leads to a robust faith, rather than the other way around. I’d imagine a lot of people have been trained to never question the Bible as if that’s humility, but those old Hebrews had the chutzpah to wrestle with God until they were satisfied. We will probably wrestle all the way to glory.

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      1. I agree completely! We will never be able to fully comprehend God and his perfect will but that doesn’t mean he wants us to stop trying! God bless you and I’m so glad I found this page. I have many friends and family members who will prosper because of it. By the way, the whole “10 ways your pastor will use the meteor” thing was hilarious. It’s as if you were inside the minds of all Southern Baptist preachers. You even emphasized the accent….Brilliant!

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  26. Brother, you really have a way of expressing a situation. Made me crack-up with laughter. Humour is such a powerful God-given talent if it is used for His glory. For many years I was a Christian-Atheist. I proclaimed the power of God and the mercy of Christ, but I served Him on my terms and I was the captain of my own little rowing boat. Today I think this is still the case of most Christians. We want to serve God, but we just cannot do it according to His Will.

    On Sunday we enjoy the praise and worship, get cleansed from all our filthy sins, drink in the message, socialise with fellow believers and on Monday we are back to square one… badmouthing the boss, flirting with a colleague, fighting with the spouse, swearing at the kids and kicking the dog. There is a great deal of “lip-service” going on, but no proof in the budding. Doesn’t this leave plenty of room for doubt? If you don’t see the sun for a very, very long time, will you eventually not start wondering if it still exist or partially exist?

    In 2008 God helped me on my feet. I lost my car… I lost everything. I lost my father, father-in-law, mother and family dog in eight months. Then I got divorced. I was flat on my face, pouring dust on my head like the Jews did when mourning. See God can only reveal Himself (and not like a pixie on a shoulder…), when we are stripped of our self-righteousness, arrogance and materialism. How does one survive such ordeals without ending up on Prozac, a Stray-jacket or at the AA? Through the mercy of God! I don’t just mean reading a Psalm here and praying a prayer there. It is about diligently seeking God day and night. It is about waking up at night singing praises to God and directing all thoughts to God and pouring out your heart constantly at the feet of Christ. It is about changing EVERYTHING!!! From the music you listen, to the t-shirts you wear and the very bad habits that goes into your mind and out of your mouth!

    Now I am a Child-like-Christian. I understand that I cannot put God in a box or even try to comprehend. All I can do is enjoy His mercy on me and flourish in His love. I can experience one miracle after the other or deal with it when God says “No, not now”. The Word of God is comprehensive. It covers everything that we should know about God. Sometimes when my analogical brain wants to start questioning certain aspects of the Word, the Holy Spirit pours out such a revelation that it knocks me off my chair – kneel-mode!

    If all else fails there is always some weird, charismatic, cool, funny, karate junky… did I mention weird Pastor that has a whole new approach to dealing with questions and doubts.

    Be blessed!

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    1. What a testimony –! I’m sorry for all that happened before, and grateful you’re powering through with Him. All of that’s a process, always. I’ve said before, some days are like Romans 7, others like Romans 8. Defeat, victory, tears of hurt, tears of joy (I feel a blog post idea). I appreciate your super-encouraging words and look forward to continuing the good fight.

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  27. what exactly is an ‘atheist’ pastor? is it a pastor who is an atheist? is it a pastor to atheists? is it a christian who struggles who trys to pastor other christians who struggle? or are you just going for the whole ‘post-modern’/’relevant’ thing going around the church these days?
    if it is the ‘struggling christian pastoring other stuggling christians’ as i have gathered from your blog and this about page, (do you actually ‘pastor’ them personally off the Internet?) then i would say ‘atheist pastor’ doesn’t really and honestly apply. why refer to yourself or those struggling christians you pastor as ‘atheists’? i don’t believe it’s either helpful or truthful in a literal sort of way. and there is enough of dishonest ministry going on these days, wouldn’t you agree?
    -mike

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  28. by the way, “serving God but doubting He exists” is just psudo-intellectual double talk. james might even say it’s ‘double minded’. you really should get an understanding of what an atheist really is… not a doubter or a struggler, but someone who outright doesn’t believe. try reading or watching some christopher hitchens for a better idea of what an atheist is. stop trying to be ‘cool’ and relevant. serve God and Jesus with a whole heart, imperfect as we all are, or be honest enough to say to yourself and others that you don’t really want to… and don’t.
    Jesus says “Those who don’t gather with me will scatter” Gather with Christ and stop playing the middle to justify your ‘struggle’ or seem relevant. be honest with yourself, God and others… that is Integrity
    -mike

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    1. This man’s heart is in the right place, just because you disagree with the terminology he uses doesn’t mean he isn’t serving God or called to do so! If you can say as a Christian you never struggle, then you sir are either Christ or a liar…and I’m certain you aren’t Christ or you wouldn’t have come across in such a judgmental, arrogant fashion. We were all created with unique personalities so it takes different techniques to minister to each one of us especially when you consider the fractured society we are now brought up in. If a man can proclaim Christ and say he is the Son of God, but can also admit to being human and having struggles and wants to help and work with others who have struggles, then who are you to say he isn’t doing the work of God? My suggestion to you would be to not put God in a box, and to not Judge a man who is trying to help and minister to the needs of people, just because you “say” you don’t understand those needs. Don’t you know that Christ’s strength is made perfect in our weakness? As for J.S. Park, you just keep doing what God will have you do and let him be the judge.

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  29. erica,
    obviously i have touched a nerve as i see with your emotional response. my point was that the terms ‘christian atheist’ and ‘atheist pastor’ are oxymoronic. if you take the word and term ‘atheist’ for what it means and what atheists mean when they use it for themselves, it cannot be applied logically or honstly to a christian or a christian pastor, struggling or otherwise.
    try being less defensive and insecure and being more rational and biblical. i never said christians don’t or can’t struggle. i think i accepted that we all do. just don’t use oxymoronic terms to describe it. we should never make allowances for the flesh and excuses for our own weaknesses. make a choice every day. serve God in Christ or admit you don’t want to. don’t blame some ‘kitchy’ or ‘relevant’ sounding term.
    -mike

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  30. I see your point and it’s well taken. However I think you came across in a way that seemed judgmental, at least to me. I agree we have to make a choice every single day to serve God. I meant no disrespect and I apologize for the ridiculous amount of irritation in my response. I later read your post again and I saw what you were trying to say. My mind only picked the parts I didn’t agree with the first time. I feel like a jerk. People who are on the same team should not pick each other apart, so please forgive me. God bless you.

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  31. Thank you for taking the time to visit my page. I have read some of your posts and truly am grateful for your i sights as a few of your struggles are also my own. I look forward to reading more.

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  32. Thanks for stopping by “Unwalled” and deciding to follow; I am truly honored. I pray that the Lord will use my posts to encourage, edify, and/or inspire you in some way in 2103 and beyond…….Blessings!……Kim

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  33. You love tomato juice? That’s too gross, man. I think you went overboard with honesty on that one.
    T . . . M . . . I
    I’m not sure I can read your blog anymore.
    (I’ll resist the urge to put a winking emoticon here, although tomatoes are pretty yucky.)

    Like

    1. I imagine this being some kind of doctrinal debate. Orange juice-ists versus Tomato-minians. Hah.
      I haven’t had it in a few weeks, thanks for reminding me. I love it with that really unhealthy breakfast food; you know, sausage and grits and scrambled eggs and rye toast. Oh man.

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  34. Hey Pastor Park I just wanted to give you a huge thanks. I probably stumbled upon your website right after looking at porn over a a month and a half ago. Since then, my true battle against porn/masturbation began. Your website truly jump started me into retaking my life. Of course, it was completely providential that I ever came across this website in the first place. What were the chances that I would come across this extremely helpful blog after typing in “how to quit porn” on google? Extremely slim. I’ve been shown the way out of this valley of death and just need to continue along this long and arduous path. Anyways I’m glad that there are people like you actually willing to take a stand against pornography and masturbation. I’ve found another blogger/youtuber as well. I make sure to listen to your podcasts and watch his videos when they are released. Needless to say, the effects have been tremendous. I literally felt the urge to “relapse” earlier today but just dropped to the ground and did thirty five push-ups instead. Keep at it. And thanks so much for answering my question in your last podcast!

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    1. Daniel! Thanks again for your kind words. I appreciate you and I’m glad to answer your questions the best I can. Please feel free to email me about the other blogger so I can check out his stuff! We’re all in this together. Glad to hear about your daily victories, it’s those accumulation of small wins that count ..!

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  35. Thank you for what you are doing! You are filling a real need in the body of Christ (and to those not in the body of Christ). May God continue to guide you and establish the work of your hands for His glory!

    Like

  36. Hello!! I just wanted to stop by and let you know I have nominated you for the Liebster Award. Your blogs have been a breath of fresh air among the many Christian pretenses some of us put up (including me at times). Thank you so much for your honest and encouraging posts! Whenever you get back from your hiatus, if you choose to accept the award you can get it here: http://createdbythepotter.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/liebster-award-2/…I pray the blessings of Christ on you! 🙂

    Like

  37. Hi again J.S Park, Honesty which is very good seems to be your message, so whose are we talking about, worldly fleshy mankind’s or God’s, He knows our hearts which will be shown in our actions not just our words.

    I have ministered to Atheists and as I shared with you before, I had been one in my head not heart for almost 30 years, and for at least 15 years more or less, sorry I loose tract of years, I was also an Atheist Believer, yes I was set free but didn’t know it, what is the difference now , I know God’s heart of Love and His good will for us,1Corinthians2:9-16 and I am learning His real Truth, I may not always know my own reality but I never doubt God or His Love and it’s pure, He does not do evil or willingly allow it, even if man thinks He does because of their own fleshy understanding and they then deceive and confuse others with this untruth and yes some are wolves and false teachers who do it deliberately to stop us Trusting as a dependant child in God’s goodness.

    Lamentations 3: 33 For He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

    Isaiah 43:1-3 – Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.”

    Jeremiah 29 :11-12 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

    The unforgivable sin is rejecting Jesus Christ as the only way to God in our heart, not just our head, Salvation in Jesus is the message of the cross and we blaspheme The Holy Spirit by calling Him a liar and saying we have not sinned so we don’t need to repent and accept the free gift of Salvation. If we really reject Jesus the only way to be forgiven, we can’t be forgiven.

    Also if we continue to sin, we are calling God a liar but by True heart repentance, we can be forgiven and so put our flesh to death through the empowering of The Holy Spirit and be perfected in Love, which is our Maturity.

    Christian Love from both of us – Anne

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  38. Hi J.S! I have a quick question for you. Are there any blogs you know of that are specifically for Christian men and issues they struggle with? If you know of any I would love to know which one’s you recommend. Thank you!

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  39. very interesting thoughts J.S. There are many who struggle with the concept of God and probably more who have never opened his scriptures. The extraordinary gifts he’s given us are ours for the taking…but we have to take the first step.

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  40. So good! Love it when we can talk about our struggles/doubts/questions openly. Many Christians have made me feel bad for having them over the 14 years I’ve been a Christian. I still think it’s okay to have them. They aren’t the worst thing!

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  41. I have struggled so much with doubt, I’ve come close to driving myself crazy- but it’s not intellectual doubt because after studying apologetics and evolution/creationism; I truly believe it takes tons more faith to believe God does not exist. I have come to the conclusion that my doubts are rooted in fear and cowardice (which partly comes from a lack of understanding His love for me): If God truly exists, and the bible is true; the obvious response should be to seek God and obey His word which comes at the very present danger of suffering as Jesus did. Jesus was very frank about the cost of discipleship. I think at some point we just have to put our hand to the plow and refuse to look back. Jesus is worth that- His love and sacrifice should compel us. I often think of the verse: 1Cor.15:19- “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied”. The bible also teaches that the sufferings of this life cannot even be compared to the rewards promised us in heaven. What is helping me overcome my fear is reading the word (faith comes by hearing) and praying earnestly for courage, wisdom, peace and especially love (perfect love casts out all fear).

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing.
      C.S. Lewis himself said he entered the kingdom kicking and screaming, the most reluctant convert in all of England. If the Bible could possibly be remotely true: then of course we’d fight against it. But I also believe not all doubt stems from cowardice, and some of it comes from genuine questions that we need to ask in a safe place. Hopefully, by God’s grace, this blog is one of them.

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  42. Oh I absolutely agree- didn’t mean to imply that most people do not have sincere questions and doubts that arise because of that. Just for me, personally, I feel like my doubts are of a different nature.

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  43. Hi Pastor Park

    I am so happy I found your podcasts. Thank you for sharing your passion for the Lord and doing so with the charisma and humor God blessed you with.

    As someone who studies world religions, I have tremendous appreciation for the pastor who brings theology and history into context to help us better understand and navigate our lives as Christians. I love your passionate and uplifting sermons that have been impressively theologically sound as well. I just had one troubling thought, I was listening to Mark 4: Jesus Drops the Mic on Religion, and you were talking about these different world religions. You called Gandhi a religious leader and I think from studying these different faith systems, you know he is not and never claimed to be, that there is a distinction between being a spiritual leader or someone who has played an important role as he did. He is not worshipped. The practice of Hinduism, as with other faith systems, also have their nuance, and as you accurately state, their numerous leaders, or representatives, do not claim ‘God Status’. Maybe I misunderstood and for the sake of a podcast could not go into detail. I’d really love to understand because I treasure your podcasts and find them to be spiritual food.

    I just want to believe that you understand the nuances in how these different faith systems are practiced, how important figures in these respective systems configure into those histories/narratives, and what they mean for their followers. None of them ever espoused to be God Status, but not all of them (Gandhi included) were ever part of a religious narrative i.e. like Mohammad in the Quran. I long for you to bring that level of nuance to the discussion so I can listen to convicted leaders of our faith bring veracity and authenticity to the conversation when so many people like myself are listening so eagerly.

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    1. Hello there! Thank you for your kind words and your suggestion. I appreciate that you offered so graciously.
      I’ll be more careful to be nuanced in going over other narratives and cultures. As with all pastors/teachers/speakers, I’m still learning so I thank you for your input. At times it can be frantic to be “on stage” and have only a few moments to phrase things correctly, there are times I simply forget or fail to do better. Perhaps for the future I will memorize word-for-word what I’ll say in those areas. Here is to next time!

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  44. Thank you again Pastor Park for all that you do and your commitment to growing the faith. I want to say I’m not myself someone who studies world religions, and so I long for the pastor who does to bring that knowledge and nuance to the discussion so I can appreciate and understand it better.
    – Vijay

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  45. I’m a Christian turned atheist and I must say that I find many of these comments a little disturbing. Whilst trying to remain tolerant and accepting (a human trait not a Christian one), I find the self-delusion that so many Christians suffer from puzzling. What is this need that people have for external validation of their feelings? Why is it that so many people cannot get through their life without the need to rely on some invisible force, the existence of which there is no evidence for, nor will there ever be? Why do people read and quote the Bible when it contradicts itself at every turn and is interpreted in so many different ways as to become meaningless?

    I became an atheist when I realised that I could no longer tolerate the contradictions, hypocrisy, arrogance and confusion of Christianity. I’ve never regretted that decision.

    I do applaud you for recognising that doubt exists though and for openly discussing it. It’s a pity more of those who follow your faith don’t have a similar approach.

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  46. By God’s grace I stumbled upon your blog, and it speaks to my heart tonight on so many levels – thank you. I know it’s an answered prayer. Your honesty is what I needed; it’s palpable and real. I get tired of putting on a happy puppy-dog face and acting like the moment I was saved, I completely stopped questioning my faith. I’m analytically minded, and it’s part of my human nature to question everything as new information presents itself. But I love Jesus, and that love palpates to my core. He saved me from myself. But alas, I’m still myself! So I work daily on fighting the natural tendencies of my crappy mental habits while clinging on to my hope, my strength, my Lord. My spirit is new, not my flesh. I suppose it just isn’t a thing easily explained. I’m working on blogging my personal journey from Christian, to athiest, to new-ager, and back to Christian, and your blog has been an awesome inspiration. God bless you!

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  47. You have no idea how amazing it is to find your blog. What you described about doubts is exactly what I’m going through, and assuming that somehow I’ve missed the critical part of the Gospel (even though I desperately love Jesus!). Thank-you a million times over for your honesty!!!

    Like

  48. Can I ask you, and anyone else reading this: When you have doubts, why do you still believe? What renews your faith? My faith has turned from faithful to doubtful to unbelieving. I wonder if I will ever get back to faithful.

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    1. Hi,
      I’ve seen your query and would like to attempt to answer it, since I see no one else has and that disturbs me. I’d like to go away to consider my response and then return. It may take a few days. Hope that’s ok with you. Shalom!

      Like

        1. Hi JS, thank you for responding. Shall I go ahead with trying to reply? Do you mind (it is your site), although the person would probably prefer to hear from you.

          Like

    2. Hey dear friend: to be truthful, faith is hard. Believing is hard. There will be seasons where we’re on-fire, and seasons when we’re skeptical. It’s expected to feel that way for most of our journey. And I think the doubts are necessary, so we can ask the hard questions and land on something solid. You’re actually in a very good place.

      Here are a couple posts that I hope might be helpful. Feel free to skip around or skip them. Please feel free to reply again, if you’d like to get a dialogue going.
      https://jsparkblog.com/2014/09/16/a-faith-crisis-crushed-by-doubt-questions-and-disconnection-and-some-good-news/
      https://jsparkblog.com/2014/04/16/why-do-you-believe-in-jesus/
      https://jsparkblog.com/2013/06/28/question-how-do-you-defend-your-faith/

      Like

    3. Dear AnotherHuman, and fellow-readers,

      This is a long comment/reply because I did not want to leave an off-the-cuff, or inadequate response. I hope you will bear with me.

      First let me say that when it comes to God, I have no doubts whatsoever that He exists. My inviting His Son Jesus into my life and accepting Him as my Saviour, the changes that have occurred in my life as a result of this act, receiving His gift of the prayer language, the various ways He has intervened in my life and made provision in answer to prayers, the marvels of this world He has created and the amazing intricacy of the human body and mind, convinces me that God not only exists but He is very much alive!

      So if your question relates to doubts about whether or not God exists, I am not able to provide you with the answer you seek from a perspective of personal experience. I can only offer you a suggestion, which is since you believed He existed at one stage in your life (and you must have done to move from faith to doubt, to unbelief), it is surely possible for you to re-gain that belief. Maybe you need to reflect on what produced the doubt(s) in the first place. Did something occur in your life, which made you feel that God wasn’t there for you? Or made you feel angry/confused/resentful that God (if indeed He is God) did not zap a certain situation with His power and make everything right for you/a loved one, or better still prevent it from happening?

      I don’t think there is any Christian on this earth who could say they have not struggled with similar questions or feelings and experienced similar crises of faith (consider David, Job, or Jeremiah). But doubts about whether God exists, or doubts, which arise out of a desire that God prove himself to me as God, on my terms, are completely different. Then there are the doubts regarding his Word, or what I believe He has promised, or whether or not I can trust him unconditionally. My experience, which I offer to you, relates to the latter.

      When it comes to believing God’s Word on behalf of others my faith is fairly strong. When it comes to believing for myself, depending on what it is, my faith sometimes seems to drop to a lower level. Doubts creep in when there is a time factor involved, or when the very opposite of what I asked for happens.

      How do I deal with it? In various ways. I go back to His Word (after all, faith comes by hearing faith and, hearing faith comes by hearing the Word of God). I go back to him in prayer. I may seek out resources that have a specific focus on the area in which I wish to build my faith. And, although not as often as I would like or feel I should do, I engage in personal praise and worship sessions (just me and the Lord). You cannot beat this for realigning your focus and fostering an atmosphere of faith that touches your heart and infiltrates your mind. That is what I do, in order to dispel my doubts and re-establish faith. Most times it works. The situation does not necessarily change but my focus changes. My ‘ifs and buts’ about what God has said, or what I believe He has said, no longer have ringside seats within my mind and heart – He does!

      When it doesn’t work, I know the issue is not with God. It cannot be. He is not a liar and He is all-powerful. So the fault lies at my end. Either I have misunderstood His Word and am seeking to apply it in an incorrect way, which He cannot, or will not honour, or my faith is being tested, or there is a timing issue. Another thing I also bring into the equation is: He is GOD – He does things according to His own counsel and will – not according to mine! But, when I realise that I am at fault, that my faith is lacking, I cry out to him using that same desperate but honest plea recorded in Mark 9:24: “Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief!” and I leave the matter in His hands, trusting him to either act out of grace, or enable me to raise my level of faith.

      Doubts that cause you to examine what you believe are healthy and natural. However, if they cause you to question the integrity and veracity of God, or even the existence of God, then I believe they have been spawned by Satan and should be resisted, not accommodated. The devil actively sows seeds of doubt in our minds, to undermine our relationship with God. And, his strategy has not changed from that used in the beginning with Eve, in the Garden of Eden.

      In Christ’s parable about the woman who appeals to an unjust judge, Jesus concludes His story with a question: “…when the Son of Man comes, will He find [persistence in] faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8 (Amplified Bible). Clearly, he knew unwavering faith will be a challenge to his followers.

      AnotherHuman, I hope the above helps. May God be with you and grant you peace. And if you have not already done so, I pray you will be able to resolve your issues with doubt, so that once again you can trust and believe in God and maintain a love relationship with Him.

      Fellow bloggers/readers, if you have not switched off, clicked away, or skipped over, thank you for graciously hearing me out. My thanks also to JS Parker for allowing me to take the initiative and make this response.

      Liked by 1 person

  49. Hi J.S.Park,
    When I stopped by, it was with a misunderstanding. I thought you were an atheist, assuming a pastoral role, seeking to gather around you disillusioned Christians. Previously, I’d noted your blog site but decided it wasn’t for me. Today I stopped by intrigued to read what you had to say, to see whether in any way I could counter wrong beliefs by way of a comment. How wrong I was and how over the moon I am to discover I’d got you completely wrong.
    You are an inspiration. BIG TIME! You are a breath of fresh air. The Body of Christ needs more like you. Thank you for being you. May God continue to bless your endeavours. Thank you for this blog. I shall be diving in as a new follower and eagerly partaking of whatever it is God would like to say to me through your ministry.

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  50. hi i am Nova Ann Jacob from India. i’m working for a part time internship for a website INDshare.com which gives inspiration to the new generation to follow their passions. Can i get your interview? would you send me your email id so that i can contact you personally and send the questionnaire? thank you for your valuable time sir. i read a few of your blogs and i am impressed at the transformation from an atheist to a devout believer.

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  51. Hi J.S. Park,

    My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m Founder of Feedspot.

    I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog J.S. Park has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 60 Pastor Blogs on the web.

    http://blog.feedspot.com/pastor_blogs/

    I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 60 Pastor Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

    Also, you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog.

    Best,
    Anuj

    Like

  52. Hello J.S Park,

    We’re contacting you to introduce WordPress app for mac which is called WeBlog. We’ve been making it since 1.3years ago and now it’s almost there. And we are looking for good bloggers who could give us their voice and feedback. So we could make it better and give it back to bloggers.

    If you use mac and interested in the WeBlog then please consider join the Beta Program. Here is the relevant post.

    Thank you for reading this.
    Happy blogging!

    – WeBlog

    Like

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