My Newest Book: Grace Be With You, a Compendium of Stories, Thoughts, & Poems

Grace Be With You paperback


Hey dear friends! This is my newest book, Grace Be With You: Stirring Truth and Abundant Joy for Fellow Travelers. It’s a collection of stories, quotes, and poems, most of which have gone “viral” on this blog, with all new content. The Foreword is also by my wonderful friend T.B. LaBerge.

The book has four chapters, each a unique theme: to encourage, convict, engage, and transcend. Contained are quick quotes, humbling plot twists, and everyday encounters on the road, at the hospital, at cafes and gas stations and funerals and churches.

The paperback is only 8.99 here and the ebook is only 3.99 here and it works on every device. If you’re blessed by the book, please consider leaving a review on Amazon.

Be immensely rocked by His grace!
J.S.


Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Grace-Be-With-You-paperback/dp/069269031X

Ebook: http://www.amazon.com/Grace-Be-With-You-ebook/dp/B01E4XXCVM

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

“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.
J.S.

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: www.amazon.com/Overratedebook/dp/B00K04IX9Q/

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: https://eugenecho.com/2012/11/26/an-inspiring-story-of-courage-and-generosity-youth-pastor-donates-half-of-his-salary-to-fight-human-trafficking/


eugene cho overrated ODW book Joon

Finding Home in the Dark: A Fiber of Fine Light.


The hard part is that when you decide not to call on lesser idols to numb your hurt and you finally reach out to God, suddenly you’re inside the pain. It’s all there. You can’t do anything to hide it anymore. It seems like a terrible idea.

One of the toughest things about excruciating pain is that it’s embarrassing. There’s a humiliating stench of astonishment that this is happening to me. It’s malheur, or a pain about your pain. If you live with it long enough, you’ll begin to identify yourself by your hurt, as if this is your only value. It’s understandable, because it takes up so much space in your mind. It’s no wonder why we’re tempted to run to everything else.

The pain is blinding. But — blinding ourselves to the pain is even worse. In doing so, we erase ourselves down to the bottom.

So then: Calling out to God is remembering who you are.
Remembering where you come from.
Remembering what you were made for.
Remembering that you are not your pain.

Most of all, remembering who He is.

This will look different for everyone. It could mean taking a long drive to the shoreline. It could mean standing over the sea in total silence. It could mean opening your Bible to Isaiah 40 or Psalm 23. It means asking a friend to hot chocolate and hearing you out. It means actively seeking encouragement and community, because 1 John 4:12 says, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” It means journaling, or busting out your guitar, or crying for a long time, or having an intense conversation with yourself. It means finding a need and serving that need. It means finding an older brother or sister and asking for wisdom on what to do next. It means dressing your Sunday best and singing at church at the top of your lungs, in hot tears and laughter.

A lot of this might feel rote and mechanical. You might not feel like doing any of it, and I don’t mean to add another burden on your hurt.

I just know that for a moment, when I can trace the sunbeam back to the sun, I remember who I am. It doesn’t make me instantly whole. It doesn’t solve things today. It’s often just a brief glimpse. But when I return to the heart who made me, I momentarily find something stronger than my pain. It is stronger than everything else that calls my name.

This is a difficult thing to do. It’s not merely psychological re-arrangement, because it requires getting up. It requires tapping into a very fine frequency, which is there for a flash and gone. But it’s there.

You might have even been on the other side of this and helped someone else remember. Maybe you took someone to lunch and listened to them without interruption for an hour. You made actual eye-to-eye contact, and you never knew, but you changed the course of that person’s day from driving off a cliff. You randomly volunteered. You wrote a thank you note. You picked up a call from a distant friend. You wrestled with someone’s questions, maybe not even fully paying attention, but you stayed with it to the end.

You didn’t know, but you were part of the frequency.
Once in a while, God breaks in. He reminds us of beauty. The pain doesn’t stop, but there’s a joy in the middle of it, just loud enough to remember.
We can break in, too.
You can pray. You can sing. You can seek others. You can visit home in His Word.

It is painful, sloppy, and scary. It’s not easy to turn our internal axis to Him, especially in hard times. But by slow, stumbling degrees, I can breathe Him in — and He is the only air that fills these crumpled lungs.
I remember: we’re not home yet.


J.S. Park | Mad About God


Wonderful Quote Artwork


This is wonderful artwork from Cristina G., a quote from my book on getting through pain, Mad About God.

It perhaps encapsulates the entire theme of the book.
Thank you for the art, dear sister!
— J.S.


The Strength You Never Knew You Had.


Photo from Noel Shiveley


I know that not everything has a happily-ever-after. We do hurt, a lot. There are lifelong battles and unconquerable defeats and irreversible losses. There is, at times, unresolved tension that remains unresolved.

Yet our bold response to all these things can show a reservoir of strength we never knew we had. Our daily victories build scars that build stories that build bridges to broken hearts. Our boldness shows we don’t need to lose ourselves in loss, that we don’t need to fall apart when everything else does. The dark can make us more human, and not less. In our outright rebellion against apathy, we find a flash of divinity. We find a story better than the childish bleakness of tragedy, but instead the mature growth of comedy, where we have the humility to laugh at ourselves. We find hope in pain together. Maybe even the hope that there’s an ever-after. We don’t have to hope in solitude.

— J.S. from Mad About God


Does God Use Pain “For My Good”? Does Everything Happen For a Reason?


Is suffering a “part of God’s Plan”? Does God use trials to teach us a lesson? Does everything really happen for a reason?

A hard look at the Problem of God vs. Suffering, and why easy answers won’t work in the middle of the mess.

Get my book on persevering through trials & suffering, Mad About God.

— J.S.

Taking Down Goliath Starts Here.


Right now, you might be facing a ton of giants, and others have told you to “be the bigger person.” This is good advice and I recommend it. Yet if everyone is trying to be the bigger person, we end up stomping on each other. If you treat every person and problem like Goliath, you’ll be bitter all the time. It’s a triumphalist, self-affirming theology that cries, “They’re in my way.” It stirs up a dichotomous conflict by turning people into obstacles and critics into haters. It keeps us in the cycle of retaliation.

Taking down Goliath means taking me down first. It’s me. I’m the giant. I’m the bad guy.

The thing is, the idea of the “underdog” shouldn’t even have to exist. It implies that there is “my side” versus “your side” and it forces me to demonize an opposition. We cheer when an underdog wins, but we forget that someone else had to lose. You might think you’re the good guy, but to someone else, you’re definitely the bad guy. So who is cheering for whom? Who gets to win?

Jesus is the only one who won every side by losing for them. In order to undo our back-and-forth, binary violence, Jesus stepped into the crossfire and called us all equally loved and heard, which meant that every side hated him for loving the other side. He got rid of sides. He crossed the dichotomous divide of demonization. The divide died on the cross with Jesus. He called you a friend when you called him an enemy. Jesus killed his enemies by making them friends. And that’s why they had to kill Jesus.

But I can’t be against them. I’m them. You’re them. And I’m crossing over, that grace might win.

— J.S. | The Life of King David


Right Where You Are.


Right now, you could be toiling away unseen and unnoticed, waiting for your big break. You might be discouraged because nothing is paying off, or you feel you’re constantly catching up to a version of someone you’ve yet to be. You could be compensating for a failure behind you or trying to prove your merit to the people around you.

No one likes this part, because we see everyone else’s highlights and we presume they’ve got it together and we’re relegated to second-rate status. We might even feel that our current work is beneath our true potential. We want to be doing “great things,” but we’re stuck in limbo, in that icky middle.

The truth is that you can prosper right where you are. You can still be teachable in your season behind-the-scenes, even if that season is for life. God’s greatness is available to you so long as you remain available. No one needs to climb the throne to get there. You only need to be present and presently engaged.

This is tough, because we’re so used to climbing the pecking order. We’re tempted to superimpose a future hologram of big stages and big audiences on our current station. But such fantasies draw us out of engagement with now. There’s work to be done today, no matter the size of your stage. Your effort doesn’t always have to “pay off.” Some of us want to be the king of our fields overnight, but God has already called His children a royal priesthood, and we’re called to harvest for a lifetime. No matter what kind of work you’re doing, it’s essential in the tapestry of God’s Kingdom.

— J.S. Park | The Life of King David


We Need a Self-Confrontation.


We need help beyond ourselves. Like David, we need a Nathan. We need someone who can gently revoke our self-righteousness and apply truth to usurp our sinfulness.

Here’s how we see that grace is a surgical, sculpting chisel that renews us by confronting the worst in us with pinpoint precision and acknowledging our desperate need as sinners. Grace, after all, is a love that presses through sin. The God of the Bible doesn’t merely drop a truth-bomb and beat you into submission, but gently removes your self-deception and empowers you to return home. It hurts like crazy. His grace does not merely comfort, but grabs your sin by the fistfuls and kills it with the relentless violence of love. It neither condemns nor condones, but convicts and re-creates. It’s a scalpel that will work with you to the messy end.

It demands getting honest. It demands getting with those who will graciously rebuke you because they love you and know you can do better. It takes knowing that you might be wrong, that you might be blinded, that you don’t have it right this time. It takes confession.

— J.S. Park | The Life of King David


David: Chronic Doubter, Constant Believer

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One of the most remarkable things about David was his doubt.

All through the Psalms, we see David contending with his doubts about God. Whenever there’s a stanza of praise, it follows just as quickly with despair and confusion.

There are so many Psalms where David is singing in a flowery refrain of awe, but out of nowhere, he’ll say, “Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.”   It’s all going so well, until you turn the page. These are like cysts that swell over the canvas, so jarring and troubling that you won’t see them on coffee cups and Twitter.

David was really all over the place in his faith.

But just as much as David interrupts his own Psalms with rage and grief, these are rolled over by a sudden clarity of God’s goodness, like a splash of cold water for bruised, bent hands. Most of the Psalms have a Turn, an about-face resolve where David recalls the truth about God’s sovereignty. These upward Turns don’t solve the situation, but they break David’s fear and paralysis, and keep a terrible season of life from making him just as terrible.

These sharp Turns in the Psalms are a frail and feeble call to remember God in the midst of so much distress. The deepest of David was calling out to deep.
In David’s prayer-life, we see both severe drops into depression and sudden bolts of euphoria, and we find a point of dizzying tension.

David managed to live with both complete joy and complete sorrow at the same time. He had a foot in the heavens and a toe in the abyss. He had a frighteningly pessimistic view of the world in the worst of his questions, but he was absolutely optimistic about a God who was working all things together.

David let the gravity of his hopelessness sink in. The Psalms are full of yelling because David and the other psalmists don’t hide under false coping mechanisms to dampen the pain. They hardly ever run to thrills and pills and religion and therapy, and if they do, they just as quickly run back. David allows the emptiness of his heart to take full course until the bottom gives out, so that he has no other choice but to find refuge in a bottomless God. The resolve of every Psalm could only come by scraping along the walls of a downward spiral, until there was a landing. It’s in our full-on grief that we find the fullness of grace.

— J.S. Park | The Life of King David


“4 Ways To Prevent Porn in Your Home”

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Here’s an article I wrote that’s been published on X3Church.

It’s called 4 Ways To Prevent Porn In Your Home.

These are the first steps we can take in our homes to recover from porn addiction. Here’s an excerpt:


The very act of taking a first step to prevent porn can lead to momentum, which can lead to total, lasting freedom. Those first steps matter.

If you can do what you ought for a while, it can become what you want for life. Once you’re in the stream of recovery, it builds on itself until you’ve hit a sweet spot of small victories that link to big ones.

It’s the initial smaller victories that require an uncomfortable re-structuring of your habits and your home.


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

— J.S.


An Artist Turned My Words Into Art.

Quote Alyssa Wans


This is the first time anyone has ever made art out of my words. A quote from my book. I’m absolutely amazed by the beautiful skill and artistry, and the fact that anyone would make art out of anything I’ve said. Thank you so much, Alyssa!

Alyssa’s Tumblr blog and Instagram! Her art is incredible.


“In your crushed swollen chest where the hurt pulls in: Christ comes to fill the broken places like so much water in cracked earth, new breath stretching your lungs, so we may thrive and bloom and stand on our shaking feet again.
Turn. He is there.”


My book What The Church Won’t Talk About is here.

Everyone’s Screwed Up, Busted Up, and Catching Up: And That’s Okay

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I don’t think I’ve ever really met anyone who is living out of a full cup.

What I mean is: Everyone lives a lot further ahead than they really are, giving advice they don’t follow and loving others without any love for themselves and running on empty all the time. We’re all on fumes.

I’m finding out this is okay for today, and no lifetime is meant to be lived in a day.

There’s this Secret Guilt going around that we’re all halfway hypocritical frauds who will maybe one day catch up to an awesome version of ourselves. It’s a desperate hope that we’ll eventually do what we’re preaching with our mouths and our blogs. And then we blow up or flip a table or punch a wall and that monster comes out, and we think “Where did that even come from?” — and the Guilt chokes the pit of our stomach again.

The finality of settling into your own skin never arrives.

We co-exist with the monster.

I remember a famous pastor who deleted his entire backlog of podcasts from his first years of preaching.  Because he “no longer agreed” with those old messages.  I thought it was pretty humble.  But I also thought, What about those people who heard those old messages?  What if they followed through on that stuff?  Are they just screwed?  And ten years from now will you delete your stuff from today?

Every artist I’ve met says their first drawing, song, poem, novel, or dance routine was unworthy. They’re hard on their first creations. You know, that whole “you are your own worst critic” paranoia. But: Don’t we all have to purge these things before moving onto greatness?  And what about those people who enjoyed the first creations?  Are they just idiots?

Everyone keeps saying, “I used to be so stupid.”  Or, “I was so empty when I taught that thing.”  Or, “I didn’t even deserve to preach that sermon on marriage, my own marriage was failing.”  Or, “I wasn’t even following my own advice.”

It’s a reoccurring pattern.  No one ever thinks they’re good enough to do what they’re doing.  Or they think now they’re okay, but everything before today was terrible.  “I finally found my voice,” they say, which is at once a victory and an admission of defeat.

It’s scary to think we’re always walking in the dark, the light dissipating just out of reach.

Continue reading “Everyone’s Screwed Up, Busted Up, and Catching Up: And That’s Okay”

Through Fire, By Faith: A Testimony.

I got an incredibly humbling email from a wonderful therapist who read my book on persevering through pain and used it for a book club with other therapists. She also shared her journey through some very hard times. I wept reading her email, both tears of sorrow and joy. With her permission, I now share her testimony with you.

Continue reading “Through Fire, By Faith: A Testimony.”

“3 Lessons I Learned Instantly In My First Week of Marriage”

X3Church 3 lessons marriage


Here’s an article I wrote that’s been published on X3Church, called:
3 Lessons I Learned Instantly In My First Week of Marriage.”

It’s about three hugely important lessons I learned early in my marriage that I’ll need for life.

It was originally posted here and has also been published in the revised edition of my first book, What The Church Won’t Talk About.

Here’s an excerpt:


Marriage means your stuff isn’t your stuff anymore.

In our first week, we didn’t fly off to the honeymoon, which was another two weeks away. We spent time unpacking, opening wedding gifts, frolicking in our new home, and merging our lives together. About five days in, I wanted to meet up a friend to hang out, one of the groomsmen in the wedding.

I neglected to tell this to my wife. This is one of those very obvious things that I should’ve knew from the get-go, but in my defense, I’m an idiot.

Marriage is about Two-As-One, as We instead of Me. My time was no longer my own. It was our time. Our things. Our bank account. Our bed. Again, this sounds obvious, but I’ve spoken with so many singles and unmarried couples who were dismayed at the idea of splitting a life in half. No one is quite prepared to completely surrender unilateral decisions. We quickly learn why Apostle Paul compared our relationship with God to the marriage union — because we are entrusting our will with another.

The wonderful advantage is that rather than “splitting in half,” it actually feels more like a merging of strength. Our individual abilities can make up for each other’s weaknesses. Our knowledge and our view on life is suddenly augmented with an entirely new angle. By the end of the week, I was figuring out what she would want and why, which helped my tiny brain to open to new avenues I had never considered.


Read the full post here!

— J.S.


The Revised Edition of “What The Church Won’t Talk About”


My first published book What The Church Won’t Talk About has turned a year old, and for its anniversary I’ve made a revised second edition with over 16,000 words of new content, plus a new cover. The paperback is here and the ebook is here!

The Foreword is by the amazing T.B. LaBerge and the updates include topics like marriage, ministry, social media, race, career, and fighting depression. The first edition is still available here.

The rest of my books are here.
Be immensely blessed and love y’all!
— J.S.


My Newest Book: The Life of King David


Hello wonderful friends! I’m excited to announce my newest book, The Life of King David: From Stone Slinger to Royal Sinner

This is a literary dynamic journey of David, from an unknown nobody to overnight celebrity, to his dark side as a chronic doubter and a royal sinner, and how his life ultimately points to Christ. It’s in a devotional style written for those who feel a bit intimidated by the Old Testament and have always wanted to get in-depth on David. Each chapter is wrapped in theology, philosophy, psychology, application, and the genre thrill of narrative. In discovering David’s story, we find our own.

It’s in paperback here and ebook here. The Preface is here or you can preview the book on Amazon. The rest of my books are here.

Be blessed and love y’all! — J.S.