J.S. Park


Posts tagged with "radical"

Why Did I Donate Half My Salary of $10,000? Because of the Gospel




About a year ago, I donated half my salary to charity to fight human trafficking.  I had saved for the entire year to make one check for $10,000.

I don’t say this to brag, at all. 

I say this because I’m a selfish person.  I love comfort, my shiny things, the safety of a new gadget and adding things to my wish list.  I am naturally lazy and indulgent and self-absorbed.

But I also believe in a God who humbled Himself to become one of us.  I believe in a God who paid an infinite price to set us free.  I believe in a God who wrote Himself into the story of humanity to enter our struggle, to lead us into life, and to ultimately exchange our brokenness for grace.

Because I believe in a God who has this sort of heart —

I am compelled to have the same heart for others.

The selflessness of God utterly melted my selfishness to pieces.  His grace tenderized my conceited heart.  I gave my life away because God did the same for me.


Of course, we should help people just to help people.  But so often it’s like performing on a stage or validating your existence or getting a pat on the back, and it becomes selfish again. 

Jesus showed us the embedded fabric of our human reality: that we are designed to love one another even at a great cost to ourselves, and even if no one notices.  He tells us there is no greater love than he who lays down his life for his friends.  I’ve experienced it, and I can tell you: giving your life away is when life most makes sense.  Writing that check is probably the first time I actually felt like a Christian.

Compassion sounds lovely until it costs you something.  When you are compassionate at your convenience or to expect applause, that’s the easy thing.  But when it kills the selfish part of you without reimbursement: that’s the right thing.


After I had donated to the organization One Day’s Wages, they graciously set up a fundraiser to match another $10,000.  It went to about $2000.  I was super thankful, but honestly, also a bit bummed out.  I was really hoping to raise more, and maybe that was my conceitedness again. 

Some months ago, someone anonymously donated $8,085 and we hit $20,000.  I was absolutely floored and humbled.  Floored at the generosity, and humbled by the anonymity.

I am realizing: We can’t do this without God.  But more than that: I wouldn’t even want to.

I hope you know this God on the cross.  I hope you know this Creator who has made us for more.  I hope He drives your hope. 

He loves us, and He calls us to do likewise.

— J

My story is now in Eugene Cho’s book, Overrated: Are We More In Love With The Idea of Changing The World Than Actually Changing The World?

Sep 2

"I Got Wrecked": Measuring Your Spiritual Life With Podcasts, Blogs, Conferences, and Bestsellers



It’s too easy to say “I got wrecked.”

I listened to Paul Washer or John Piper or Francis Chan, and I got so wrecked. We all read the same Christian books and get so convicted. We read those Christian blogs that are deadly serious and we feel “on fire”, and then we read those snarky satirical “I’m above church-culture” blogs and we feel like we’re above it all too.

We are the same hundred thousand people in America going to the same conferences with the same speakers and the same hit songs.  There’s a lot of hard-hitting wreckage going on here —

— but I quickly deceive myself.  I think that just because I did these things, I win Christian-Cool-Points.  No one would ever say it out loud — “I’m winning at this walking-with-Jesus thing!” — but we think that the act of absorbing Christian memorabilia is equivalent to true conviction and repentance. 

We can line up at Chick Fil A to protest something, and meanwhile the church hates poor people.  We have these abstract high-minded online fights about doctrine, which are probably important to someone, and meanwhile we sing praise songs just loud enough to drown out human trafficking and fatherless homes and Gospel-less urban communities. 

If you think that’s the “new legalism” or “Social Justice,” I’m really tired of finding excuses to back out of Kingdom-Healing.  I’m tired of Christians yelling “Don’t guilt-trip me” or “You’re a Pharisee” or making radical into a bad word.

Of course we can slip into legalism if we’re not careful.  I just hope you’re not paying off your conscience with more self-deception, because it’s way easier to get lukewarm than fire-hot.  It’s easy to say ”I got wrecked” than to be actually be wrecked.


I do love to enjoy the latest big-name podcast.   I love blogs and blogging.  I love singing with thousands of other people at giant conferences.  I like to turn my conference attendance into watercooler talk about the “best speaker” and “my favorite parts” and “what I didn’t like,” as if I’m part of a church fandom.  Reading John Piper in your underwear is really cool, and you’ve possibly reached a greater faith doing that, and you didn’t even need pants for it.

All this is good and God-ordained.  We need to soak in right doctrine to steer right and avoid heresy.  But the greater heresy is cutting off your own hands and feet to the world as the sent Body of Christ. The sober reality is that we get so emotionally amped up in our Christianese circles but do absolutely nothing.  And then I write posts like this one and only add to the problem.

Can we just maybe possibly consider doing what God says?

Not because some blogger guilt-tripped you — but because it might actually turn out awesome and glorious?  That God has much more for you than getting wrecked in your shorts?  That maybe the sermon wasn’t meant to tickle your heart, but actually get you to do the crazy tough radical thing for Jesus?  Could we be both emotional AND in motion?

When you step out into the world and you love on messed up people: then without a doubt, you will absolutely get wrecked. 

We’re not merely saved to soak in.  We are sent to pour out.

Go, my friend.  If we must be convicted: let’s carry it beyond these walls.

— J.S.

Francis Chan and Ed Stetzer discuss the recent criticism of the “new legalism” and radical Christianity.

For the record, I’m on Francis Chan’s side.  I’m also grieving over the comment section of the article with Christians attacking each other.  We sure are good at eating our own.

My biggest fear, even now, is that I will hear Jesus’ words and walk away, content to settle for less than radical obedience to Him.

- David Platt

The modern-day gospel says, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Therefore, follow these steps, and you can be saved.” Meanwhile, the biblical gospel says, “You are an enemy of God, dead in your sin, and in your present state of rebellion, you are not even able to see that you need life, much less to cause yourself to come to life. Therefore, you are radically dependent on God to do something in your life that you could never do.”

- David Platt

To everyone wanting a safe, untroubled, comfortable life free from danger, stay away from Jesus. The danger in our lives will always increase in proportion to the depth of our relationship with Christ.

- David Platt

How can you tell when you're actually living out your faith? Is it simply the fruits of the spirit gradually becoming apparent in your daily routine or does it look more radical?


So it looks we’ve set up a conflict here between fruits and radical living.  In other words: Is the Christian life just about personal holiness?  Or should I be fighting crime and rescuing slaves and beating up dictators?

Let’s be clear: The American church absolutely loves the whole personal holiness thing.  Almost every Christian book in your bookstore is about transformation, renewing your mind, a better you, “Gospel Centrality,” fixing your heart, tending to your emotions, and a bunch of other self-involved disciplines.  Not all these are bad, but the focus is obvious. 

Even missional work in America is considered a personal holiness thing.  I’ve heard it preached, “In the end you’ll grow closer to God and see what He’s doing for you.”  Again, not really wrong, but you see the implication.

We’ve very much disconnected God’s saving grace with His call to glorify His name.  When we stick a wedge between Grace and Glory, we’ve lost the Gospel. A lot of theologians want to set up Jesus and Paul like they were saying different things, but NO, they were not.  Jesus and Paul would both say Jesus is both the Gate and the Road.

I’ll put it simply, in sort of a rhyme:

The saving truth of God’s grace, the story of the cross, our redemption = LEADS TO = Empowerment for the glory of God, our sacred mission.

Most of us are in love with Jesus’ words but not so much his mission.  We like meditation and transformation and revelation but not suffering with Jesus for the sake of the Gospel. We do not intuitively embrace suffering for Jesus.  Therefore, you get the comfortable confines of an American church.  It is absolutely insane to think the majority of Americans understand the NT church; it’s freaking crazy out there.

So to answer your question: I’m not sure what particular convictions the Holy Spirit has given you about your journey, but the fruits of the Spirit will include you actually fulfilling the Great Commission. 

I’m not saying it’s 50-50 — I do believe that we must be resting in the glory of the Good News to really understand our purpose and His Story, so Prayer-Praise-Scripture is super-essential.  Then as you seek for yourself all the fruits of a God-centered holiness — the love, joy, peace, purity, and all the goodness in Him — this also means you’re Going, Making Disciples, and Giving for the Gospel.

Please don’t disconnect those things, and also check your heart that you’re not merely “doing to do.”  I believe God actually does care more about who you’re becoming, but out of your being will emerge the faithful doing. 

Mar 7

Internal and External Realities – Growing Vs. Going
J.S. Park

Today’s blog post is a nine minute podcast: About how the church has withdrawn into a place of moral “be-good” teaching instead of a Spirit-empowered, danger-filled, risk-taking missional people with a heart for the lost and hurting.

Not a new problem here: That we can be a super-spiritual transformed church at the expense of God’s Dirty Discipling Mission. There’s an obvious disconnect between Internal Prayer-Praise-Scripture and External Going-Making-Giving.

Is it any wonder that we are more discouraged, lukewarm, and stagnant than ever before?

Mar 3

Because he is owned by Christ, he owes Christ to the world.

- David Platt, on Apostle Paul and all disciples

Mar 2

Jesus was not, and never is, interested in being seen as a respectable teacher. He is the sovereign Lord. He doesn’t give options for people to consider; he gives commands for people to obey.

- David Platt

This is where we come face to face with a dangerous reality. We do have to give up everything we have to follow Jesus. … You know that in the end you are not really giving away anything at all. Instead you are gaining. Yes, you are abandoning everything you have, but you are also gaining more than you could have in any other way. … Why? Because you have found something worth losing everything else for.

This is the picture of Jesus in the gospel. He is something — someone — worth losing everything for. And if we walk away from the Jesus of the gospel, we walk away from eternal riches. The cost of no discipleship is profoundly greater for us than the cost of discipleship. For when we abandon the trinkets of this world and respond to the radical invitation of Jesus, we discover the infinite treasure of knowing and experiencing him.

- David Platt

The key is realizing—and believing—that this world is not your home. If you and I ever hope to free our lives from worldly desires, worldly thinking, worldly pleasures, worldly dreams, worldly ideals, worldly values, worldly ambitions, and worldly acclaim, then we must focus our lives on another world. Though you and I live in the United States of America now, we must fix our attention on ‘a better country—a heavenly one.’

- David Platt (via tterzek)