Author's details

Name: Joseph
Date registered: March 3, 2012

Latest posts

  1. Joseph Yoo: 1000 — November 20, 2014
  2. Joseph Yoo: #whyIbelieve: Patrick — November 19, 2014
  3. Joseph Yoo: 34 is the New Black — November 14, 2014
  4. Joseph Yoo: #whyIbelieve: Elyssa — November 12, 2014
  5. Joseph Yoo: #whyIbelieve: Jin Kyung — November 5, 2014

Most commented posts

  1. Joseph Yoo: So. Is God a Republican or a Democrat? — 2 comments
  2. Joseph Yoo: That’s Enough! — 2 comments
  3. Joseph Yoo: He Is Out of His Mind — 1 comment
  4. Joseph Yoo: Non-Negotiables Part II — 1 comment
  5. Joseph Yoo: Non-Negotiables — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Nov 20 2014

Joseph Yoo: 1000

Original post at

1000 posts.
On one hand, it seems a lot. 1000 of anything is a lot. I’d appreciate a 1000 dollar bills. Or heck. I’d take a 1000 pennies, too.

On the other hand, it doesn’t seem much considering that I’ve had this particular blog since 2007. But I’ve had other blogs before this one, too. I’ve had a couple of Xanga pages. Remember those? And a couple iterations of this blog on blogspot before it became this blog. Choosing a name for the blog was the hardest. I remember the one of the first versions of this blog was called Mind-Bloggling. Eh? Eh? EH?
Then there was the Daily Planet. (Are you that surprised?) I quickly scrapped that because there was going to be nothing daily about it.
I remember trying to model a blog after the writer of Somewhere on the Masthead. And wrote a lot of (embellished) stories about my personal life and ending each post with a cliff-hanger for the next post. That didn’t last very long. I had nothing really interesting in my personal life worth embellishing. Or for cliff-hangers.

Then I finally switched over to wordpress, mainly because people like Andrew Conard switched over to wordpress and I liked the way his blog looked.

I started by calling this blog “Step by Step.” But eventually, I got a bit narcissistic and decided to take before some other Joseph Yoo took it.

My first post ever on this blog was about a young girl who died of cancer. I was confronted with my first experience with Death as a pastor — someone, despite all my efforts, I’d get more familiar with as time went on.
I wrote about my shortcoming. Instead of being pastoral, I was hesitant. I was scared. I was young and a 12 year old was dying. I had no idea what to do. So, I ran and hid. And 7 years later, I still think about her once in a while. I think about watching Little Mermaid with her and ordering a Brooklyn Style pizza from Domino’s because she wanted to try it. I’ll also remember how scared I was to pick up the phone and say, “I’ll be coming over again.” Maybe it would’ve been different if my wife was there with me. She had to go back to DC to finish school (I was in Hawaii). Someone once mentioned that I should go and move on from it. I don’t think I ever will. And I’m okay with that. I’m not being eaten by guilt — at least not anymore. But it will remind me that some times, things are bigger than me. And when I’m confronted with the reality that I am nothing but a speck of dust, I must remember to lean in and depend on a source of strength that is far greater. I still get scared. I still hesitate. But nowadays, I trust in God and just dive in, praying that where I am weak, God will equip.

This blog has always been an outlet for me. I write these posts more for me than anyone else. I have to choose words more carefully now, since more church folks have been reading them over the years. I’ve gotten into trouble over the past with a few posts here and there. A rule of thumb on this blog is that if I can’t say it in person or to the person/group, then I can’t write about it. We pastors have come to know that the most chicken-s**t thing folks do is leave scathing “anonymous” notes. “From Someone Who Cares” or “A Concerned Member”. I don’t want to write anything that I can’t sign my name to.

This blog also has opened up a few awesome doors for me. Somehow, some way, I got connected with Shane Raynor and by the grace of God, he likes me (well, at least I think he does). I’ve never met the dude in person, but one of these, if I ever find myself in Nashville, I’m going to make him hang out with me over coffee. Shane’s given me an awesome opportunity to write for Ministry Matters. He’s also given me the opportunity to be part of the Converge Bible Study series where, again, I had this awesome opportunity to contribute to two studies for the series. (Sorry — shameless plug: Practical Prayer & Encountering Grace).
I’m grateful for this sacred space to write out my thoughts, reflections, and ramblings. Sometimes for over 1000 words. But more, I’m grateful for you who take time to read these posts.

Thank you for reading. Always. I’m grateful that you take time to read through my grammatical errors and ramblings.

1000th post. In the words of Miley Cyrus, “That’s purty cool.”

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Nov 19 2014

Joseph Yoo: #whyIbelieve: Patrick

Original post at

If you want to contribute to this series and share your story, please email me at pastorjosephyoo(@)gmail(.)com, without the parentheses.

We live in a time of great skepticism and with the use of the Internet the skeptics seemed to be louder than ever and harder to ignore.

As a member of the believing Church, I do not ignore facts and reason in my journey of faith. The facts at hand do not diminish my faith, but usually do the opposite and strengthen my faith.

​My faith in Christ is not merely an accumulation of facts and reason either. God has shown me in my life multiple times His grace and His promise to me and to us. For instance, God has sustained a book written roughly two thousand years ago that still brings relevant teaching to lives of millions of readers.

God has brought me purpose for a life that was consumed by materialism and selfish desires. God has brought comfort in the midst of great loss and in the midst of great joy. Majestically, God maintains the cosmos while simultaneously providing life, love, and purpose to my own personal life.


Patrick hails from the great state of Ohio, which is not known for corn. Bless his heart and soul, Patrick has started the ordination process for the United Methodist Church and is a first year student at Seattle Pacific Seminary. He knows what heartbreak feels like, not because he’s going through the ordination process, but because he roots for the Detroit Lions.


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Nov 14 2014

Joseph Yoo: 34 is the New Black

Original post at

The sun has rotated around the earth 34 times since I have been alive. (Galileo, who?)
I have officially outlived the incarnational version of Jesus Christ.
But I have not accomplished nearly what he did in 3 years. But that's not a fair comparison. He's God after all. And well, it's been proven that I am not.

Last year, as I was getting ready to write the (obligatory) post of turning 33, fear was all I could think about.
As I'm writing this (and at the time of writing this, I still have a few good days left of being 33), joy comes to mind:
the lack of joy in seasons of my life this year;
the need to be joyful and the constant reminder I get of that from our foster son.

A lot has happened this year.
We got a new car.
And of course, our foster son came into our lives.

I've also felt frustrations that I've never felt before. I've been tired and bored like I've never been before. I also never have stayed in a church this long this longer either. So there's been a lot of “new” things that I've experienced.

It's scary just how easy it is to forget to be joyful and thankful.

You can spend so much time being frustrated, annoyed, angry and so forth that it really does begin to consume your soul. You become obsessed with it. You can't think about anything else but to fix this situation; to eliminate the problem or the “thorn in your side” one way or another. And you dig yourself deeper into this hole that is void of joy and… life.

One of my biggest wake up moments professionally — and the decision that led me to leave the Korean church for the time being — was a conversation with a senior pastor of mine. He claimed that we (as clergy) were to live a joyless life because ministry isn't supposed to be fun. We are serving and sacrificing — and to chase joy is not our calling. Joy is a side-effect. If joy is not there, you still grit your teeth and move forward.
I didn't how else to disagree with him but unfairly associating his thoughts with all Korean churches and leaving the Korean church altogether.

But, this year, I kinda see that he had somewhat of a point. Not that ministry is joyless — but that if we're not careful, it can sap the joy out of us. Quickly.

And I think, it all depends on who we are ultimately serving.

Just because you're a pastor doesn't mean you're serving God at your church.

We could be chasing to please and serve the long-time matron/patron or the biggest giver of the church.
We could be chasing to please and serve ourselves — making sure that through it all we are the biggest benefactors of our work.
Or, we could be chasing after God's heart. And at times, this last one is the most difficult one.

Just the daily grind of the demands of ministry can take your focus off of serving God.

It's easy to get lost in work, work, work; meetings after meetings; sermon prep after sermon prep. And it's easy to dig yourself into a rut. We may end up just going through the motions of being a pastor. But our hearts and our minds are elsewhere. Drifting further and further away from our calling.

The biggest blessing in my life has been a wake up call in the form of a now 4 year old giant of a boy.
He exudes joy.
It's so tiring.
But it's so contagious.

How he finds joy in a new pair of pajamas is so foreign to me. It's a onsie. You sleep in it. But he gets so giggly when he puts it on. And he's so excited, he's drooled all over me. Much like how Mary washed the feet of Jesus with her tears, this Kid washed my hair with his drool.

Or how he finds joy in riding a bus. When his school bus pulls up to the drive way, you'll swear that he's a One Directioner and he just saw One Direction walking up his drive way. So much squealing. So much laughter. So much joy. Though I instantly regret admitting to the fact I know who One Direction is (are?). AND, that I know what their fans call themselves.

From this point on, whenever I read Paul's words of “Rejoice always,” this little kid will always pop up into my mind. And I hope that he will be this joyful for the remainder of his life. I hope the world doesn't drive it out of him as it is wont to do.

I need to be more joy-filled. Not be more happy — but joyous. I need to have joy overflow from my heart. And in order for this to happen, I need to lean into God's grace and promise of assurance rather than depending on my own strength and lean on my own (limited) accomplishments.

This year, I think the key scripture for me will be:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:4-7)

Happy birthday to me!
May I spend my 34th year on this earth more attuned and aware to just how beautiful the world is and how great God truly is.
May my heart (and yours) be filled with joy!


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Nov 12 2014

Joseph Yoo: #whyIbelieve: Elyssa

Original post at

If you want to contribute to this series and share your story, please email me at pastorjosephyoo(@)gmail(.)com, without the parentheses. 

I’m glad Pastor Joe reached out to me. I have an interesting story, but needed coercing to tell it.

I was born into Buddhism, and some of my earliest memories include attending temple with my aunt. My family converted to Christianity when we immigrated to America. However, my first day as a true believer wasn’t until seventh grade.

A lot of things happened in seventh grade. I attended the best retreat of my life, during which I first felt the presence of the Lord. I experienced an overflowing happiness emitting from the inside of my body’s core and knew it had to be God’s doing. I felt like a changed person, and I definitely couldn’t have made myself feel that way. Also in seventh grade, Pastor Joe taught me to be confident in myself. I watched as him sing your heart out during every worship song and that’s when I found my own singing voice. I don’t know if I’ve ever told him that, but I thought about it a lot during middle and high school and thanked him in my head.

God continued to stay real in my life and I continued to sing my heart out. In college, I joined InterVarsity (a bible study group) and attended small church gatherings with University Christian Ministry.
But I eventually stopped attending the weekly gatherings and soon quit going to church altogether. I encountered many obstacles that significantly weakened my faith and for a period of time, I was very confused. In fact, I haven’t attended church regularly in about five years. But ultimately I chose to believe – and will until the end.

… Because my mom doesn’t have cancer anymore, despite its discovery so late in the stages of the disease.
… Because I am freed from sleep paralysis every time I say a prayer.
… Because it alleviates my fear of death.
And because nothing else can explain that night at Spa World.

In August 2009, the summer after I graduated from high school, Jaime, Sean, Henry, and I planned a trip to Spa World as our last hang-out before we went our separate ways for college.
We had a great time at the jjimjilbang playing silent games in the dry saunas and thinking up punishments (push-ups in the hottest room, standing on the ice of the ice room, getting hit, etc) for each other.

After we were sauna’d out, we sat in the common area and chatted for a while. We talked about sleep paralysis, ghosts, and the likes. In the middle of the conversation, I suddenly got really, really cold. If you’ve ever been to a jjimjilbang, you’d know that the common area is always set to a very comfortable temperature. It never gets too cold or too hot. I was very comfortable one second and then shivering the next. It was the strangest thing. I asked if anyone else was cold, and no one felt the slightest bit cool. I was so cold to the point where it became unbearable and after about a minute, I told everyone that I’d head into the charcoal room first, and for them to join me later.

When I entered the room I felt really, really bad. It was an ominous feeling, like one you get walking into the classroom to take a final you haven’t studied for, but a thousand times magnified.

No one else was in the room, but someone was yelling in my head to not lie down — no matter what. I don’t know what would have happened if I’d lied down, but it made me so scared that I remember gripping onto the wall to prevent myself from doing so (this is not my normal behavior).

I don’t know how long I was in that position but my friends eventually caught up with me. I’m not sure if they even noticed what I was doing because within seconds, before any of them even sat down, Jaime started speaking in tongues.

Confused, we all looked at her and asked, “Are you… praying right now?”

She shook her head, her eyes wider than I’d ever seen. She was trying to talk to us, except she couldn’t talk over the tongues that were controlling her mouth. We literally had her shut her mouth, pinching her tongue down with her fingers. But nothing worked. She just kept going.
She eventually stopped her voicebox from making sounds and just let her tongue run silently. Then she discovered how to talk to us by elongating every word she wanted to communicate with her throat rather than using her tongue. She said, “My jaw hurts. My jaw is hurting.”

We quickly found an unoccupied infant/toddler room, went inside, and locked the door. Henry brought his bible and we all started praying, asking for the tongues to stop and for some answers. Nobody knew what was going on, but we knew it couldn’t be good- Jaime was hurting, and it had been over a half hour since it started. We sat in a circle, Jaime in front of me, Sean and Henry at my sides.

I then had a weird image in my head. It felt like a passing daydream, but I wasn’t daydreaming. In this image in my head, I saw Jaime in front of me and Sean and Henry at my sides – the same scene that was actually in front of me – except Jaime’s head turned demonic. I really don’t know how else to describe it. She then raised her finger, pointed at me, and said, “This is happening because of you” in a deep, grumbling, demonic voice.
I snapped out of it and continued to pray. I just thought I was hallucinating from how absurd and weird this situation was.

Then Jaime raised her head and looked right at me. She then raised a finger, pointed it at me, and said, slowly, through her tongues, “I don’t know why, but I think this is happening because of you.”

The three of them stared at me. I told them, “Guys, don’t freak out, but I just saw Jaime to that in my head just before it happened.”
We prayed for hours that night. Sean and Henry both have the ability to speak in tongues while deep in prayer and at one point, all three of them were praying in tongues, except me. Sean and Henry encouraged me to pray out loud, but I felt uncomfortable doing so.

I’ve never felt comfortable praying out loud. On top of that, this was all happening because of me.
I was so confused as to why this was happening, I didn’t even know what to pray about or pray for anymore.

Jaime’s tongue finally stopped after about two hours. At some point during the night, I had a vision of a dark shadow release itself from clasping onto my back.

I still have no explanation for why any of that happened but I know that a spiritual battle had taken place, and we won. Nothing from this earth — that I know of — could explain the events from that night.
If I were to take a guess, I’d think a bad spirit attached itself to me the moment I felt that overwhelming coldness and God exorcised it out through Jaime’s, Henry’s, and Sean’s

I don’t have any tangible proof that that night happened but the morning after, we went to eat at IHOP and took some pictures of ourselves – sort of as a vow to never forget that night. It’s probably the craziest thing that’s happened to me, and I’d be crazier not to believe after an event like that.

Thank you for reading. I don’t tell this story often. I’m immune to the scariest of scary movies and don’t know a single person with a tolerance for the creepy quite like mine, but this memory still gives me the chills.


 Elyssa is from Virginia and was one of my former youth students. She’s currently living in the Mid-West pursuing her dream of being an artist. 

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Nov 05 2014

Joseph Yoo: #whyIbelieve: Jin Kyung

Original post at

If you want to share on why you believe in God, please email me at pastorjosephyoo(@)gmail(.)com (remove all the parentheses). 

Jin Kyung currently lives in Kapolei, HI. While I admit that my fantasy football team isn’t the greatest, I’m far better off than our commissioner, who at the time of writing this, is still winless at 0-9. You can follow Jin Kyung on twitter

I believe in God because I beat Pastor Joseph Yoo’s Peyton Manning led fantasy football team without having a quarterback start for me. #EZ

To be fair, his team sucks; but so does he.

In all honesty, this is a question I’m frustrated in myself for not immediately knowing the answer. For someone who is so keen into asking the question “why?” in everything I do, the most important thing I believe in is the rationale I avoid most.

My God, Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Maybe it’s because there is no logical explanation for my belief in God. It’s completely spiritual. I feel God laugh with me in my joy and hurt with me in my sorrow, and he’s been at the forefront of my healing.

I am loved by my Heavenly Father. I am daily reminded of this through God’s beautiful creation.

I will never fully understand the concept of love but I know God IS love. Throughout the rest of my life, I will always strive to match the love God has shown me. My God is good to me.

Scripture says, by keeping his commands, I’m showing God my love and I am faithful in his word.

Faith without works is dead because it’s not faith, its belief.

Faith, I believe is belief through actions. God has actively taken ahold of my life. I “hear” God in the choices I make. While there are times I ignore God’s voice, God does not give up on me. Instead, God continuously guides me in the path of righteousness to do what’s good.

He is always there to listen to my prayers and will never leave one unanswered.

God continues to seek me and continues to feed my spirit. Because of this, I believe that I’m a better — more complete– person.

I don’t think I can rationally explain my faith in God. For me, rather than trying to intellectually figure everything out, I choose to come to God through complete surrender, offering all I am and all I have to God.


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Nov 04 2014

Joseph Yoo: #WhyIBelieve

Original post at

I've been asking folks to see if they'd be interested in writing a short post about why the believe in God.

Starting tomorrow, the posts on why people believe in God will start going live — probably once a week or so.

I'm really excited to see where this blog-series goes and have been excited to read what folks have been sending in.

If you want to contribute to this series #WhyIBelieve, please email me a post to pastorjosephyoo(@)gmail(.)com (remove the parentheses). I look forward reading yours too!


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