Eden Chen

Eden ChenA SHOPLIFTER’S SEARCH FOR GOD

   I equated material possessions with happiness, until a high-school mission trip changed my thinking.

   While growing up, I was something of a nomad. I spent the first years of my life in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. Then at age six, I moved to Hong Kong, where I would remain until the third grade, before moving back to Maryland. I grew up speaking Chinese at home and learned to master English at school. At a young age, I became adept at adapting to different environments. My ambitions were as quirky and unorthodox as my upbringing. Since I loved watching movies and morphing into different personas, I thought I might like to become an actor someday.

   My dad was a musician and my mom was a journalist. They raised my brother and me in the church, but gave us a long leash to explore. By the time we returned from Hong Kong, both of us had stopped going to church. In any event, my priorities lay elsewhere. I was obsessed with four things in particular: video games, sports, acquiring material things, and chasing women (at one point, I found myself trying to see three different girls at once).

 

   On the court, I loved playing basketball and tennis. But I really excelled with the video game controller in my hand. I hung around with a community of hackers and programmers; and at one point, I was one of the top 10 Warcraft 3 players in the United States.

   But my grades were suffering. Meanwhile, I had begun regularly shoplifting at the mall. On a weekly basis, my friends and I would compete to see who could walk out of the mall with the highest dollar value of stolen goods. Thankfully, God wouldn’t let me drift too far down this dangerous road.

Appetite for God

   At age 16, I began attending church again, hoping to find another source for friends and fun. Instead, I found myself slowly developing an appetite for God, and always believed that He existed. From my perspective, it seemed that nature and human creativity resulted from creation, rather than random chance. Everything had to come from something, so who started it all? Still, for all of my curiosity, I wasn’t eager to hear the answer. I knew well enough that discovering a righteous God could interrupt my preferred lifestyle of pursuing pleasure and doing as I pleased.

   After attending church for a while, my youth pastor invited me on a mission trip to a rougher part of Nashville, Tennessee.  I went because I thought it might be fun. During that trip, I met a missionary couple from Germany and a missionary from Florida, who helped reignite my search for God. These missionaries had lived in the inner-city projects for extended periods and materially speaking they had next to nothing; but were the most joyful people I had ever met. I had always assumed that more riches and possessions led to greater joy, but these missionaries were debunking that theory. How could people who were living in a place with so little have so much joy?

   After returning home, I embarked on an all-encompassing search for God. I studied the major world religions, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. I figured that if God was real, then he would probably make himself known. I read C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, the most logical expression of faith that I had encountered. All of a sudden, it struck me that running away from Christianity would require more faith than running toward it. I felt that the gospel offered the most compelling answers to life’s most important questions: Where does all of the good in the world come from? Where does all the evil in the world come from? How do I deal with personal guilt over the way I have lived my life?

   Eden Chen is Founder @fishermenlabs - Forbes 30 under 30 - advising businesses, building products, connecting people, fighting all forms of poverty, following Jesus. In 2014, Eden launched Fishermen Labs, a company specializing in app and website development, virtual reality and augmented reality for brands and startups. Clients include Sony, United Nations, HTC, Qualcomm, Quintiles, NFL and NBC.  Mr. Chen also founded Knife and Fox, a design studio for brands and startups.

I became CEO of the gloBible Bible app.

   GloBible is a Bible app that enables users to track a single word throughout the Bible using highlighted and color coded words for study and cross reference, The Christian Post previously reported. Users can write in margins, return to previous passages, and refer to footnotes and pop-up menus. The app has been downloaded over three million times worldwide.

   Tracking single words throughout the Bible is just one of the app's major advantages. "Churches can create their own plans around a sermon series that they're on and even have their own set of branded themes," Chen told The Christian Post during a recent interview.

   Without having to create their own Bible app, "churches can get their congregation involved by having [for example] a branded Saddleback Bible, so they can go along with a reading plan that's part of their sermon series," he explained.

   Chen contrasted gloBible against the YouVersion Bible App, saying that his is more powerful and offers greater functionality.

   He told CP, "They (YouVersion) have so many translations (1,500 versions of the Bible in over 1,000 languages) that the easiest way for them to handle that (highlighting specific words) is to have users select an entire passage, versus just selecting words."

   "We (gloBible) thought that because you have the ability to highlight based off of color, there's no point in highlighting different colors if you can't highlight by word, because why would you highlight different passages (in the Bible) different colors? The whole point of the colors is so that (for example) you can highlight all the times that Jesus' name is mentioned. You highlight all of Jesus' name a certain color."

   GloBible works with contributing ministries, churches, publishers, and pastors, and connects verses with video, sermons, commentaries, virtual tours and study tools. According to its creators, gloBible is the first media Bible that acts as a central platform for all of these functions.

Eden Chen Hearing His Voice Testimony