J.S. Park


Posts tagged with "Joy"

Maybe you don’t know if this new person you just met will be your friend. Take the chance anyway. Maybe you don’t know if this girl wants to have lunch with you. Take the chance anyway. Maybe you’re scared to hit up that church event. Go anyway. You don’t have to wait for the fear to subside. Often fear is obliterated by the very act of deciding and doing.

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

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

There are very, very few places where we have the freedom to fall on our face without fear. Most of us are just trying not to screw up, barely hanging onto the artificial composure of our false paper-confidence.

The best kind of community, I’d imagine, is the one that sort of allows you to laugh at yourself for being so dang weird, where you’re a little free to be a little loopy, and if you have to screw up, they first point fingers at themselves. We could take our time with each other, and we could disagree, and we could handle rebuke with grace, and we could rebuke graciously.

In that sort of place, we wouldn’t be so scared and stiff and twitchy, because you feel like the God-created you has been the real you all along, buried under layers of socially-driven anxieties that never worked anyway.

- J.S. from this post 

You Need To Know: No Matter What


You need to know you’re loved no matter what.

That doesn’t hinge on your GPA, or your family history, or that talent show, or your singing voice, or your secret addiction, or your sharp theology, or some blogger’s comments, or your dirty past, or your weight, or that fake impression you spend hours modifying, or your number of Likes, or another human being’s opinion, or your own opinion.

You’re loved and accepted and approved through the cross of Jesus Christ no matter what. He qualified you to Himself before you took a single breath in this room.

Believe it, every moment.  That God in Heaven on His throne sees you right now and says, That’s my boy, right there.  That’s my girl.  You’re my kid. My child forever.

Don’t even for a second diminish that cross in the middle of human history by thinking your thing escapes His Love. That’s selfish foolishness and self-pity, and it has no place in the glorious universe-exploding grace of God.

If you think that sort of grace is a free pass to be reckless and dangerous and free, you’re absolutely right.  Reckless to build, not destroy.  Dangerous to give, not steal. Set free for joy, not a dead end of misery.

You’re truly set free by love for love. 

You need to know that. It’s the only way we’ll make it.

I am loved. Say it, bro.  Brag on God.  Brag the truth.

Aug 8

Not Every Pain Has A Lesson




There is NO connecting-the-dots on every instance of pain.  You can’t tell everyone, “God has a plan for your life.”  You can’t always say, “Everything happens for a reason.”

A blind theology on suffering only works for the unquestioning.  It can work until you have to comfort a young boy with cancer, a mother who has lost her son, a suicidal high schooler, an entire nation oppressed by genocide, a family torn by a school shooting or drunk driver, a pregnant victim of rape.  At this point: it is atrocious to say, “Pain forces you to grow” or “It takes a painful situation to change your ways” or “God is teaching you to trust.”

I think we probably say those things because most of us have had it way too easy.  And actually: they’re not biblical or from the heart of God.

What if there really is no spiritual lesson from your pain?

What if “God’s amazing plan” only makes sense to the privileged upper-class?

What if you never see the reason for why you’re going through this horrible ache? 

What if you’re that starving, kidnapped, beat-up kid in a scorched third world country?


Certainly there is some accommodating theology, but we jump to that too quickly.  The hard truth is that we live on a fractured planet with a broken people who are dislocated from their source, and nothing is as it ought to be.  Ugliness is bound to happen, and when we try to moralize or spiritualize, we find ourselves on unsteady ground with unanswered questions.

We’re not to gloss over this with pat doctrine and retroactive theology — but to enter into the fray with sleeves rolled up and armed with the strength and mercy of God. To say “God has a plan” while people are suffering is not incorrect, but it is incomplete. 

God does have a plan, and that was the sending of His Son to redeem this fallen world.  It was the inauguration of a Kingdom in which we are the participants, and until Jesus comes again, we’re called to fight evil in its every form.

All this “Let go and let God” complacency has us sitting on the sidelines.  If you are united with Christ: you are an agent assigned to aid in the healing of your corner of the universe. God is still the God of every situation — but more than that, God is the God IN the situation, suffering with us, embracing the broken, restoring wounded hearts, and waiting for us to get involved too.

I hope we are not too quick to declare a life-lesson for every pain, but instead show solidarity as Jesus did.  His very presence as God in the flesh means we do not need more talk, but rescue.

— J.S.

Aug 4

Here’s what I’ve learned about choosing the things of God.

I’ve noticed that after I disciple a young kid and see his eyes light up from the truth of the Bible, I can’t go back to how I was. It’s too good to give up. After I serve food at the homeless ministry, after I volunteer at a retreat, after I go on a mission trip, after I serve at an orphanage or a prison or the projects — the attraction of sin loses its grip on me.

Because the things of God are so much brighter and bigger and deeper than the things of this world. This is what Thomas Chalmers called the Expulsive Power of a New Affection.

Ever notice that after the gym, you’re too tired to fight anyone? Ever notice that after a healthy meal, you’re much less willing to eat a bag of Cheetos? And whether you “feel like” going to the gym or eating healthy, you choose it anyway: because not only is the alternative bad for you, but it makes the alternative less attractive.

Sometimes people wait to “feel right with God” to go serve Him. You don’t have to wait. You don’t have to be qualified or clean or deserving to serve. Your choices change your heart just as much as your heart changes your choices. What you do comes out of who you are, but who you are also comes out of what you do.

- J.S. from this post

Aug 2

God Is Not a Box, But a Body




I find myself in spiritual discussions where my Christian faith is choked by a narrow box of Calvinist Augustinian thought, when billions of intelligent people before me have said smarter things than my small-minded kid’s drawing of God.  No single system of theology has the monopoly on Jesus, because Jesus is a person and not an idea that I can squeeze into my safe sorry studied-up checklist.

I find those mocking other camps in Christianity, divided by tiny flagpoles no higher than the two-foot ivory tower they’ve locked themselves into from the inside.  There is a snobby doctrinal vocabulary, an immature sort of bullying that implies no one else understands but “me,” certainly not “them,” because “we” got the truth in my abstract systematic outline of God and “they” don’t.  I seem to remember Jesus jumped out of Heaven for “them” too, and crossed an infinite ocean of sin to die on a cross for others who mocked him.

When we see the Cross, we can mistakenly see a limited obtainable knowledge, like a trophy on a shelf that is static unto itself and gets you into Heaven based on sermon points one through seven.  But did God become man to become a mental agreement?  For factual foreplay? To be engulfed by categorical dogma as a weaponized ideology against the stranger?  You call this spiritual warfare and I call it the hatred of self-justification.

I behold faith as a living, moving, pulsing, breathing dance — an uncontainable hardly explainable dynamic in its endless contours like waves of grace washing the sands of our rigid rebellion.  God is throwing haymakers at our stubbornness, an uppercut at the self-justifying fortress of our inwardly curved souls.  You can read Scripture, or you can breathe it.  One dies at your fingertips; the other thrives in your lungs and your language, the way you extend your hands into the dirt.

You will breathe differently than I do.  You prefer silence; I prefer Starbucks.  You like journaling; I like long walks on the beach. You enjoy the crowd and company; I walk my dog and shut the door on the world.  You sing louder than the band; I soak in lyrics like an angry sponge.  You need an intellectual sermon; so do I, but with passion.  You want the megachurch; I want to know whose shoulder is touching mine.

So we are still unified by Jesus.  He makes room for tough guys like you and wise guys like me.  So we are still His body, loved by a love that I am not worthy to fully comprehend, but enough to know I am to love you, dear stranger, with all my bleeding heart and soul.

— J.S.

Aug 1

My fears are getting the better of me lately, no actually, my whole life. I am socially awkward, shady, shy, and spiritually weak. & I'm scared of being judged and rejected. Because of the way I am, i lost and hurt so many people in my life that cared about me. I recently went to church camp and the pastor was talking about fear and how it can overcome and break you &learned that Trusting in God is the answer. But how do i strengthen my trust for God? How do I find the courage to fight my fears?

Hey my dear friend: May I first please say, without going into advice-mode, that you are absolutely loved by me, by our fellow bloggers, and our God Himself.  Even with a tiny thread of belief, whisper this to your heart, no matter how small it seems. 

Please allow me to point you to a few posts here.  As always, feel free to skip around or skip them all.

- I Am Just Struggling Like Crazy

- Struggling With Loneliness: How Is God Enough?

- The Desperate Difficulty of Knowing God’s Love

- Fighting Off That Stress

- The Fear of Man, Image, and Reputation

- I Am Anxiously Anxious About Being Anxious

- I’ve Totally Screwed Up and I Can’t Pick Up The Pieces

- Why Did God Make Emotions? A Mega-Post


I know there are no magic words to make this all better, but the best thing I can encourage you to do is find a mentor, a pastor, or a mature believer to talk all these things out.  Maybe you’ve tried this already, but please try more than once and keep trying.  It really helps to articulate your worst fears out loud, because we cannot carry all these burdens alone.  God often aims for us to find Him by finding His love in others, and if you’ve never heard that before, 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.  You will find a safe place where you can tell your story and then decide to change directions by His grace — and that starts with out-loud eye-to-eye conversation.

May I also leave you with an awesome quote by one of my favorites, Brennan Manning.

For those who feel their lives are a grave disappointment to God, it requires enormous trust and reckless, raging confidence to accept that the love of Christ knows no shadow or alteration or change. When Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened,’ He assumed we would grow weary, discouraged, and disheartened along the way. These words are a touching testimony to the genuine humanness of Jesus. He had no romantic notion of the cost of discipleship. He knew that following Him was as unsentimental as duty, as demanding as love. He knew that physical pain, the loss of loved ones, failure, loneliness, rejection, abandonment, betrayal would sap our spirits; that the day would come when faith would no longer offer any drive, reassurance, or comfort; that prayer would lack any sense of reality or progress …

What the disciple has not learned is that tangible reassurances, however valuable they may be, cannot create trust, sustain it, or guarantee any certainty of its presence. Jesus calls us to hand over our autonomous self in unshaken confidence. When the craving for reassurances is stifled, trust happens.

— J.S.

The Reckless, Relentless, Sloppy Grace of God: The Church That Jesus Had In Mind
J.S. Park

Perhaps the one sermon I ever preached that could be my last one.

About grace, upon grace, upon grace.

— J


Hello lovely wonderful friends!

This is a message I had the privilege to preach at an amazing college ministry in Gainesville, FL. 

The message is titled: The Reckless, Relentless, Sloppy Grace of God: The Church That Jesus Had In Mind.

Some things I talk about are: My time at the mental institution with drug addicts and sex addicts and recovering mental patients, the awkward harrowing nerve-racking experience of bringing your friend to church (and it happens to be sacrifice-a-live-animal day), the cringe-inducing moment when the preacher goes political, finding out what percentage of the church is actually God’s intention, the recent trend of movies where bad guys are not really bad but have a tragic back-story, what saying “I do” really means, that time I fought a pastor in a parking lot, and sculpting a real eye-to-eye face-to-face friendship over coffee.

Stream above or download here!

Here are other messages from the podcast.

Be blessed and love y’all!

— J.S.

I think about my life before Christ, how I used to live for myself and I would do good to look good and get good back.

I think about how something was always missing then, like I would find a particular interest and it would almost click but the edges wouldn’t catch and they’d just slide off the inside of my heart.

I think of how I objectified humans as blunt weapons for my secret dirty desires and planned out my next crime scene like an elaborate diorama: and all this to avoid the God who would speak to me at 3 am in the darkness when I couldn’t lie to myself about the futility of my deceit. I remember how the ceiling fan would accuse me of guilt with its every cut into the sides of my lying mouth.

I think of those moments when the veil of shallow shadow-living was lifted for a blinding second, and my reality was torn open to the idea of a Creator and how there must be more than just collecting toys to build an empire until I die. It was only a glimpse, but everything else around it would be sterile and insignificant in comparison. I remember the drawstrings of my cold protective fortress being tugged by gentle hands that plunged through my lungs, never too sharp, but just enough to know there was something else about this life that life was not telling me, that a cosmic problem existed with a solution that would click as easily as a key in butter.

I think of how even though I ran from Him — God still literally loved me to death and afflicted my selfish emptiness with a love that cost the blood of His only son.

I asked myself then, “Is it possible to miss someone you never knew about?” Because before I knew Him, I knew Him, and I dearly missed Him, if only in dreams and whispers and longings I could hardly stand to utter. I was terrified to discover that life wasn’t about me. I was scared to find my Maker — but He found me, and now I cannot go back. I don’t ever want to. I cannot imagine any other way without Him, and He does not imagine His story without me.

- J.S.

The Reckless, Relentless, Sloppy Grace of God: The Church That Jesus Had In Mind
J.S. Park

Hello lovely wonderful friends!

This is a message I had the privilege to preach at an amazing college ministry in Gainesville, FL. 

The message is titled: The Reckless, Relentless, Sloppy Grace of God: The Church That Jesus Had In Mind.

Of anything I’ve ever preached, this one is the truest message of my heart: that we would become a community of reckless honesty that gets entrenched into the mess of real lives with thoughtful nuance and that costly love called grace.  Whether you hate church or you’ve attended your whole life, I believe this is what God is after.

Stream above or download here!


Some things I talk about are: My time at the mental institution with drug addicts and sex addicts and recovering mental patients, the awkward harrowing nerve-racking experience of bringing your friend to church (and it happens to be sacrifice-a-live-animal day), the cringe-inducing moment when the preacher goes political, finding out what percentage of the church is actually God’s intention, the recent trend of movies where bad guys are not really bad but have a tragic back-story, what saying “I do” really means, that time I fought a pastor in a parking lot, and sculpting a real eye-to-eye face-to-face friendship over coffee.

Here are other messages from the podcast.

Be blessed and love y’all!

— J.S.

How Do I Know If It’s God Or The Devil? A Mega-Post On Pain, Evil, and Suffering



Anonymous asked:

Would God purposely put His children in a situation where they would be hurt in any way (rape, kidnapped, something like that)?  Or is this the work of the devil? I don’t think He would, but I don’t know.


My dear friend: There’s probably a huge list of questions I’d like to ask God the second I see Him (right after I collect my eyeballs back into my head).  So right upfront: I’m not sure why the devil is given a long leash.  I’m going to ask about that one, probably with my arms crossed.

The Question of Evil has not been adequately answered by the greatest philosophers of history, and I probably won’t be the one to crack the code on that today either.  It’s the kind of stuff that makes me doubt God everyday.  Even if I did have some solid theology on why certain atrocities happen, I still doubt it would satisfy the victim of rape and abuse and slavery and oppression, no matter how much “logical sense” it makes to the brain.  Even if I concluded, “All the bad stuff is really Satan,” then a suffering person could only reply, “So now what?”

I can only offer a few thoughts that might help you on your journey here: because this tension of why bad things happen will never be resolved by any single answer.  Anything we say on pain will always be inadequate for the actual suffering person.  No such all-encompassing answer from any belief system really exists.  I can only say that I believe the Christian perspective best accommodates the problems we see today.  I’m also aware that some of us will never meet eye-to-eye on this and it’s easy to “deconstructively reduce” anything I’m saying with our current artistic cynicism.  And that’s okay.  We are free to disagree and wrestle and think for ourselves.

And please know: I would never, ever enumerate these reasons out loud the moment after a person has been seriously harmed.  Really none of this theology matters as much as you being there in the trenches with a heart of listening and love. 

As always, please feel free to skip around.


1) Our current world is not the way it ought to be.

The Bible tells us our world is fractured by sin.  Sin is not just disobedience against God and how we’re made, but also a disconnection from the all-fulfilling love of God.  So we try to find God in things that are not God, and that’s how our internal disconnection manifests into external disobedience.  In other words: a legitimate need to seek comfort can lead to alcohol addiction or codependency or a string of shallow one-night stands.  

We end up abusing people as “obstacles” and using people as “vehicles.”  We build a kingdom of self because we’re apart from our true king.  We try to find fulfillment through stuff and people and experiences — and none of this is very wrong, but we go about this in illegitimate harmful ways.  We try to squeeze from people and things what only God can give us.  These expectations crush others and crush ourselves, and in a way, it crushes the heart of God.  The elevation of self-fulfillment leads to an authoritarian tyranny of self that no one could possibly bear, including ourselves.

Sin not only causes problems with other people, but also personal issues (like vanity and insecurity and greed) and planet issues (which is why our earth doesn’t function liked it was supposed to).  At every level, our whole world is shriveled by the disease we call sin.  It’s not as bad as it could be, but it’s nowhere near where it should be.

From God’s point of view, He’s working with a world that is in every way completely disarrayed.  It’s like walking into a room where someone flung paint and glass all over the place.  Where do you start cleaning up a mess like that?  And beyond that, the Bible tells us there is a devil who exacerbates our struggle, so that we’re getting mixed signals thrown into our already turbulent mess.

Before we even talk about why God lets this or that happen, I hope we first confess that a major part of the problem is me.  It’s you.  It’s us.  The devil only comes in to poke at our pre-existing selfishness.  We are the ones who marred the world with dirty paint; we chucked the shards of glass at God’s creation.  If you think, “That’s not fair, Adam and Eve did that!” — well, let’s imagine you and me in that perfect Garden.  How long before each of us would’ve done exactly what they did?  Even if it took a million more years, we would’ve done the same thing.  


2) If this world is not how it was meant to be, then not every pain is meant to be God teaching us a “lesson.”

Since our world is broken apart from its original design, this also means that God suffers with us when we suffer.  He doesn’t stand by waiting for us to “get” some kind of epiphany. Which leads me to believe that pain is pain, that pain sucks, that it doesn’t need to be spiritualized, and that God doesn’t so much lead us towards it but leads us through it.

To more fully answer your question, I’m not sure if God purposefully leads us into harmful situations.  I don’t know if “yes” or “no” would suffice for that.  But I do know we’re all walking through a world of jagged glass, and at every turn we are wading through an innumerable number of consequences that began in the Garden.  And God is working through this infinite number of misaligned imperfections in our universe to write (and re-write) His story the best He knows how — and from His throne, I can’t imagine how difficult His job must be to guide the best possible options for the human story while never infringing upon our free will. 

When Jesus taught us to pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” — this implies that God doesn’t always get what He wants.  However blasphemous that might sound to you, this world can’t possibly be how God wants it to be.  Which means God is just as angry as you are when injustice happens.  He’s looking at the human story with all the anguish of a single mother who lost her only child, with all the betrayal of a church with a lying pastor, with all the hurt of a father who prays for his prodigal son. 

When Job’s friends try to tell him, “You got wrecked because you sinned bro,” at the end God drops by in a storm and says all of Job’s friends are wrong.  God is pretty angry that they would connect “hurt” with some kind of unconfessed sin.  At the same time, God doesn’t give some simple answer about life and pain and lessons.  Probably because no human words could accurately resolve this tension between what is and what ought to be. 


3) If God were to intervene every single time, there would be nothing left.

It seems like God could step in at any time and stop evil.  But I just wonder at what point God should do this.  At the level of action?  At the level of thought?  Of atoms?  Of free will?  If God were to electrocute us every time we were about to do something bad, we would all be fried chicken.

Much of the evil in the world is a direct result of our choices.  The irony is that the very gift of Free Will that God gave us to make us human is also the same gift that could make this world a better place — but by and large, we still continue to destroy each other throughout history.  To blame God for all this is a serious lack of responsibility for our choices, and it only exposes the Western over-privileged entitlement that is killing us postmoderns today.  Even the non-religious person will blame their parents or environment or government or city, and while all these are partially responsible, it’s really just me.  We are each accountable.  I can yell, “God why do you let this happen?” — but God could just as easily ask me, “Why do you?

God allows our cycle of consequences to unroll, mostly because this is what makes us human and accountable.  And even then, God does often relieve us by His grace over and over.  That brings us to the next point.


4) God has probably saved us by an innumerable amount of close calls.

Whenever someone asks, “Why couldn’t God have prevented this one?” — I always want to counter that God probably has prevented a lot of stuff, and that the world is not as bad as it possibly could be or should be. 

I don’t think I can count all the times I almost got into a car accident or was steered out of an explosive situation or found random help at the exact right time: and from God’s point of view, we never thank Him for this stuff.  We just explain it away as “coincidence” or “serendipity” or “good luck.”  An earthquake happens in the ocean and it’s a “weather pattern.”  When it happens on land, we call it an atrocious oversight by God.  But maybe this says more about us than God.

In the Book of Acts, the account of the early church, we find out that Peter and James are both arrested for their faith (Acts 12).  James is immediately beheaded but Peter is kept alive.  Try to imagine this happening in your church.  “Did you hear?  Pastor Bob and Deacon Bill were arrested for being Christians.  Bob was killed and we don’t know about Bill.”  Imagine Bob’s family.  They would be going crazy, asking God why He let Bob die, and perhaps secretly wondering why God let Bill live. 

We never find out why.  It feels cruel when you read the passage.  God prevented Peter’s death, but in some sense did not intervene for James.  Yet both actually could’ve died, because evil men were killing Christians by their own free will.  And when Peter and James were arrested, their church thought they were both pretty much dead.  It’s only a miracle that Peter actually lives, and I hope we can celebrate that.  I hope we can see that God’s gracious hand is still at work.  It’s definitely awful that James died and I never want to diminish that.  But I also imagine the families of both Peter and James comforting each other throughout the whole ordeal, because really, this is what matters.


5) God did send an ultimate provision to upturn evil.

Here’s why I believe in Jesus.

Because at some point in human history, God became one of us and reversed the human condition.  Just one place, at one time, in the dirtiest sand-swept stain of a city, He healed our entropy: and He invites us into that better story.

Many things happened in the cross and resurrection.  Jesus absorbed the cycle of human violence.  He showed there was a better way than self-centered tyranny and retaliation.  He paid the cost of sin on our behalf.  He reversed the ultimate consequence of death from the first Garden by turning death backwards in a new Garden.  He bestowed that same death-defeating power into those who believed his story.  He identified with us by taking on all the harm of sin though he never sinned himself.  He promised us a union with Him by being united with the Spirit (or the “mind”) of God.  He inaugurated a new kind of kingdom where the weak can win, the poor can succeed, and all our survival values are flipped into sacrifice.  Jesus redefined what it meant to be human by creating an upside-down kingdom where the humble will be elevated and the prideful would be melted by love. 

Jesus essentially stepped into the glass and re-did the paint.  He went into the mess and re-created the pieces.  He doesn’t answer why bad things happen, but he gives us a love stronger than all that does happen.

Which reminds me of our brother C.S. Lewis, who said —

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?”


All this means that a victim doesn’t have to let their circumstances define who they are.  We don’t have to let what happens here on earth to say who we are forever.  While I don’t know why God might “allow” these things to happen, I believe that God doesn’t want these things to be the final word about us.  I want to believe Genesis 50:20 is true, and that the devil has limitations, and that even the worldwide permeation of sin is no match for the healing work of Christ.

A last note.  If your friend is going through some horrible pain right now at the hands of another person, it’s not our job to explain this within the box of our theology.  That’s a cold thing to do.  Jesus never did this: he only wept when he heard of Lazarus, he wept over Jerusalem, he stayed at the homes of lepers and demoniacs, he fed the hungry multitudes.  More than our persuasion, our friends need presence.  This is what God did when He became one of us, and this is how we embody love — by mourning when others mourn, by giving space to grieve, and by allowing joy to find its place when the time is right.

— J.S.

Gideon The Unworthy: God Has Given You Worth Apart From What You Think About You
J.S. Park

Hello lovely wonderful friends!

This is the fifth part of a sermon series called "Snapshots: The Men & Women of the Bible.”  It explores how the people in the Bible were just as fallen as you and me, and how God worked through them.

This message is titled: Gideon The Unworthy: God Has Given You Worth Apart From What You Think About You.

It’s about finding the gifts and greatness in you by the grace of God, and liberating ourselves from all the discouragement we’ve ever faced.

Stream above or download here!

Some things I talk about are: Outlandish auction bids for celebrity-owned items including Justin Bieber’s hair, my brother the totally unsuspecting MMA jujitsu fighter, the anxious fear of small-town gossip when you try to step it up, tough advice for my future daughter, how the church ought to be like a bunch of cheerleaders, my first pre-marriage counseling, and the words that you’ve secretly wanted to hear your whole life.

Be blessed and love y’all!

— J

(Source: thewayeverlasting.libsyn.com)

It can be easy to romanticize a passion or a social cause or a marriage or raising kids with tons of posed pictures and flowery words — but all such things are gritty, raw, rough, and painstakingly sculpted from our fully invested hearts.  There is a lot of standing around and sweating through our shirts and seasons of self-doubt and all the frustrated parts that no one else can see.  We fall in love with highlights but these were formed in the valley.  Please don’t be seduced by soundbites and filtered photos and bowtie daydreams.  Real joy actually hurts, but that’s why it’s real.  It was carved from the best of us.

— J.S.

May 7

I think there’s a double-guilt in the Christian community when we feel emotions. When we feel “bad,” we end up feeling bad about feeling bad. It’s because we falsely believe that we can’t feel bad if we have Jesus — so suddenly when we’re depressed or anxious or stressed, we think that we’re “betraying God” somehow. So there’s guilt, and then the guilt about the guilt.

But I want you to know, these are the everyday throes of being a human in a fallen world. We are broken by one or two or a dozen sin-tendencies while we live on this earth. Yours might be anger and mine might be lust: but we’re all saddled with a thorn (2 Corinthians 12). When you’re simply prepared for the thorn to poke you, you won’t be so shocked when it happens: and that’s half the battle. The other half is knowing how to handle it.

- J.S. from this post

The Art of Preaching To Yourself: Fighting Your Pride and Your Pain
J.S. Park


Hello beloved friends!

This is a message I preached for the lovely people of Refuge Full Gospel.  It’s called The Art of Preaching To Yourself: Fighting Your Pride and Your Pain.

Stream above or download directly here!

The Scripture is Psalm 42:1-15.  Some things I talk about are: My ultimate social fantasy daydream when I run for political office, growing up in the same town with the same labels, imagining that back room of rumors about you, the epidemic called Main Character Syndrome, when you crush someone with a false hologram version of them, and when God replaces your lungs.

Be blessed and love y’all!

— J