Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...



We were sitting outside of Carver Hall near midnight, and it was cold. Scott had just said something profound: no matter what, there's going to have to be a first time, but maybe it's just that *this* time will have to be the first.

Today I was sitting in class, and I thought about why I'm doing what I'm doing, and what I really want. The questions I had asked Jeff have come back to bite me in the butt...that sometimes happens with my so-called wisdom :) Why am I doing this? What do I really want?

Before Scott told me about this time possibly having to be the first, I had told him that I'd been feeling a little down. With each passing moment, the reality that I won't be going home for Christmas becomes more and more imminent. It wouldn't be so hard to take, but everyone else is going home. I've run from it, I've tried to ignore it, but it's becoming more and more apparent that I may be spending Christmas here. I'm glad Scott understood the pain...he just knew it might be necessary pain.

The answer to that question of what I really want? It's hard to answer that, sometimes. A quick response will come from my head, but it's my actions that give the true answer. If I'm here during the Winter break, will I see my self as alone? We had a guest speaker share some attributes of a youth worker today in Dr. Adams' class. Her last point hit a little too close to...umm...home. She talked about looking to experience God every day, and doing so by constantly being in His presence.

The questions I now have to ask myself are ones I can't answer right away. If I'm here for Christmas and not at home, will I really be alone? Scott helped me to see a gift I was ignoring...that guest speaker helped me to open it...but will I rejoice in this gift? What a silly human I am.

Oh, and for Malia...happy birthday :)

One more thing. The true beauty Autumn? I get to experience more of my wardrobe. And hey...this way, I'm "sharing" my clothes, right? :) I *do* love lambskin...

posted by Bolo | 9:32 AM
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Bleh. I've begun to wonder if the tension is beginning to take its toll on me. It's one of those things that can sneak up on you, especially when you're facing a whole bunch of needs, and all of them seem equally needy. When I was talking to Jeff last week, I asked him a simple question: why? Why are you doing the things you're doing? When I ask myself that question, the answers are there, but they're mechanical, stiff, lacking effervescence. I'm blind to the work inside, and drudgery feeds my pride.

posted by Bolo | 9:34 AM
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Reason #103 why Boyce College rocks: Capture the Flag. It's Preview Weekend here on campus, so we had the ritualistic campus-wide CTF night. Much like last April, my team lost. Twice. Still, we all had a blast, and most of us looked like veritable freaks running around in black shirts, pants, and ski masks :) Hehe...that reminds me of when I was going through my Ninja stage when I was younger (ask one of my siblings). No wait, don't ask them. I like deceiving myself into thinking I'm not as big a dufus as I am ;)

posted by Bolo | 11:44 AM
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Preach it

For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. Nothing but Christ crucified...

Dr. Akin spoke to us in Boyce Chapel last week; it's a sermon I pray I never forget. He spoke of the dangers of loving our system of theology more than we love Christ. There are a lot of Calvinists on campus, and a lot of us wear our Calvin Club badges proudly. Nothing but the cross...

Last night, a bunch of us sat around and brainstormed. We pondered what the first thing would be that we'd do as pastor of a church. Preach? Get to know the congregation? Get to know the community? In the end, we were reminded of One thing, One duty that we *must* get right, because we wouldn't get anything else right if we didn't get the first One right: to know Christ, and Him crucified. Nothing but the cross, and the Son of God crucified upon it...

How does one come to grips with the reason for leaving friends and family to go to a strange land thousands of miles away, to live there and seek for that which he does not know, and to do so wondering all the while if he shall ever find? How does one continue when his brother is a murderer on death row, and all that he believes just doesn't seem to be enough to get him through the night without having to fight back demons he can't see? What does one do when her brother has attempted suicide, and her sister is a drug addict and a thief who neglects her own daughter and steals from her own family? For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

posted by Bolo | 2:26 PM
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Read this just now; it's from an interview with Amy Grant, and she's recounting a conversation she had with Minnie Pearl. Here's the excerpt:

We talked about a lot of things that I can't remember, but I left there and wrote down one thing that she had said. She asked me what was the most important color on the palette and I didn't know. And she said, 'Black,' which surprised me. She said, 'Without black there's no depth of color, but you add black to any other color on the palette and suddenly you can create depth. You can take a picture that looked flat and make it look three-dimensional.' She said, 'That's the way life is. It's the hard times, the heartache, the sorrow, the grief, and the struggle that creates depth of character.' I just thought that was beautiful.

Interesting...I've never thought of black being quite so...well...beautiful.

posted by Bolo | 12:17 PM
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Fast Kine...

This is going to be one of those rare double postings...the second post for the day. So if you're reading this one, look below, too, 'cause there's another one...

Last Friday night, we began to gather. The name was Focus. Its intent? To focus the lens of our hearts. It was to be Boyce College's first ever night of prayer and fasting, going from Midnight until 7 am, Saturday morning. We were supposed to be fasting from sleep, though most of us fasted from food as well. All told, there were over 60 of us who made the pilgrimage to sit before the Lord, to come into His holy presence and subject our hearts to His searching. Jim opened us up with about an hour of scripture reading and meditation, with the scriptures focusing on holiness, repentance, humility, mourning, weeping...for some of us, God came in and tore us open.

Over the course of the night we would pray in groups, we'd worship the Lord in song, and we'd go outside and walk around campus to pray for our school and community. At the outset of the first prayer walk, we felt fresh and energized. By the time the second rolled around, we were tired and hungry, not to mention that I was freezing my little brown butt off. Scott and I went off by ourselves, and we quickly realized that our prayers would have to be short and hopefully not too stupid, 'cause we simply weren't very intelligent-sounding at 5 am :) God was gracious, though, and one thing we learned over the course of our hour-long prayer walk was that we could want to just get the whole thing over with so we could get to bed, but then we'd be missing the whole point of our fast from sleep. God put it on our hearts to finish well, to truly desire to want more of Him and His fullness. I think it safe to say that we did that :)

The dawn came, and with it the end of our time. It wasn't as if we walked out of Boyce Chapel with some holy glow like Moses, but we did know that God had heard our prayers, and even as our eyes finally forced themselves shut, we knew that a spirit of unity borne only of our adoption in Christ had knit us closer to our Father and each other.

posted by Bolo | 7:11 PM
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As I spoke with several people today, one theme continually arose to the surface and exposed itself to scrutiny: tension. The more I ponder it, the more I find it to be tantalyzing. This tension I'm thinking of is one that, despite its abundance of obstacles, still bears forth the beautiful fruit of surrender. Such a tension comes from painstakingly adding bits and pieces to the plates of our lives, until it seems that one tiny, unforseen shift would suddenly send all the pieces crashing to the floor. It's almost as if God is playing Jenga with our lives, moving things to create an ever greater tension, with the inevitable crash but moments away. That's how life feels right now. A new job, an internship with the youth ministry at church, meetings, events, and that little thing called studying all contribute to this tension. Move one thing or add one thing, and they all may fall, breaking the precarious balance. Yet, early on in the semester, God reminded me of something vitally important, something vital to dealing with this tension: He's in control. It's absurdly simple, but so true. I can't control the things that He'll bring my way, but it is my responsibility to trust Him to provide along the path He puts me on. It's my responsibility to turn toward Him as I read His word and lift up prayers unto Him. It's my responsibility to realize that I'm frail and prone to flight, unable to handle the frights that come my way. It's my responsibility to surrender to His working in and through and around me, and to rejoice in Him as He does so.

I'm learning that tension isn't such a bad thing. At least, it's not bad until we take it on ourselves to handle it. When we're trusting God along the way, however, it can be a sweet delight, much like the tension one feels when sliding down the face of a glassy wave - one wrong weight shift and you could hit reef, but if your board holds you're in for an amazing ride. The fruit of surrender is sweet indeed.

posted by Bolo | 6:25 PM
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My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Last Thursday night, we sat there, unable to come up with an answer. We sat there feeling tiny and pathetic, almost foolish to even try. Yet, try as we might, every answer we came up with fell short of the mark, for we were pondering how to be like the Puritans, those great examples of faith that surpass anything that we as bible college students will likely ever muster. J.I. Packer's words taught us that night, and he shared with us how the Puritans could be compared to the great Redwood trees of California: massive, enduring, and incomparable. After reading about these giants of the faith and seeing the high standard to which they strove with every ounce of their being, not one of us felt worthy of aspiring to the same.

I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. But then Jonathan brought us out of our stupor. He reminded us that power is perfected in weakness, and that though he knew that it would be all but impossible to be as the Puritans were, he could be one thing that they were: weak. That sent the light flooding back into our downcast hearts. Weak...that, we knew we could be.

For when I am weak, then I am strong. Christ's strength is mine to have. That's an astounding thought. Yet, in order to claim that strength, I must be weak...humble...broken. Just as He was. I like to have things in control, to tell myself that I'm self-sufficient and without need. I like to wrest control of my life back from God, and tell Him that I don't need Him. That is why my life is lacking power, lacking depth. Oh, to be weak again...

posted by Bolo | 6:08 PM
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I never really understood what people meant when they said that everyone always remembers where they were when JFK was shot. And although I remember it, I think I was too young to really grasp the significance of the situation when the Challenger exploded. Two years ago, however, I understood the significance. It's been two years, and I can't forget what it was like, trying to unglue my eyelids at foursomething in the wee hours of the morning just to see the smoke billowing from those Twin Towers.

Rob had called to tell me to turn on my TV. I said we didn't have cable; he said it didn't matter, just turn it on and I'd see. Unfortunately, he was right. I heard Goose come out of his room to take a leak, and I told him to come and see what had happened. He looks even more Japanese when he's just woken up, by the way :) I watched, glued to the TV set, unable to turn it off, unable to fall asleep, yet wishing I'd wake up and find I'd dreamt it all.

Of course, I didn't have to go into work that day. I met up with Lisa and Leo (and I forget who else) for lunch, then I went surfing. The next day, getting into the office was harsh. By the time I got onto base, the day was a wash anyway, so we just left after a couple of hours of catching the latest web footage and whatnot. It was a strange environment; nobody knew what to do, and nobody knew how we should be feeling. It's strange like that, working for the military all the way out in Hawai'i. Sometimes, you get a mix of both worlds that comes up weird. September 11 provided a little bit of that, but to an extreme degree.

Dr. Mohler shared an interesting term today in chapel. He said many Americans are "September 10 Americans." The term is pretty much self-explanatory. It's the head-in-the-sand outlook on things that ignores the pain, even at the cost of ignoring the truth. I often find myself guilty of that, and I wonder to what degree I'll be guilty of that in the future.

Still, that early morning from two years ago is firmly imprinted upon my mind. It's a gripping reminder that life is serious, life is precious, and life is fleeting and frail. The question is, how will I respond to that reminder?

posted by Bolo | 6:29 PM
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Reason #14 why Boyce College rocks: Dorm Meetings. I know, the name sounds boring, but it's actually a time of worship and prayer, plus a few anouncements sprinkled in for good measure :) Last night, it seemed like God decided to impress upon my heart the need for clean hands and a pure heart. *Sigh* short I fall of His standard. Yet, as I sat there last night, utterly helpless to find a reason why God should reach down and hold me, still I felt Him beckoning, still I felt Him reaching. At times like that, when I find myself ever so unworthy to reach up toward Him, He'll often reach down to hold me once more, pulling me down to the depths of His humility and the heights of His majesty. And you know what? There's still sooooo much *more* of Him that I'll experience for eternity! But oh, how foolish to not yearn for Him even now! Yep...God shows up at Dorm Meetings :)

posted by Bolo | 9:34 AM
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One of the thoughts that's been prevalent in my head as of late is one that is hard to comes to terms with, at least in practice: being rooted in the Lord. John 15:5 reads, "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." When I think of that, I can't help but feel lacking in that, as it's been difficult to find that balance this semester. Studying for four classes is definitely enjoyable, but it still takes a certain kind of discipline that I haven't had to call upon for a long while. all honesty, I've probably *never* called upon it, at least for a whole semester :) Add to that the new ministry duties I get to participate in with the youth group at church, and things begin to get interesting. I do have to work a little, but not too much, and working at the country club is far from difficult ;)

No, what makes this new season difficult to adjust to isn't the weight of the load, it's how I'm handling that load, and what's driving me to go on. I suppose it's much like taking a long hike with some camping equipment. If everything is distributed properly, my energy is put to use with much more efficiency; if not, I'll feel like I'm carrying twenty grocery bags up the stairs at our old Alewa Heights house. If I'm enjoying the environment while I hike, I'm encouraged to continue on, even though my energy may be flagging. But perhaps most importantly, if I am sure of my purpose, then I will not be discouraged by the obstacles in my way, and will be sure of the reason for my hope. I can remember that whenever we hiked Olomana, the view from the top was always well worth the scrapes and sidepains. It's like that with God, I'm thinking. Only right now, I easily forget my purpose. Sure, the scenery may be great, but why go on? If I'm not looking toward what God wants me to look toward, where am I going to end up?

Sometimes it's easy to forget why I have to type out those questions and answers for Dr. DeKavlon, or why I have to read all that theological stuff. I suppose if I'm not abiding in Christ, my purpose becomes mundane very quickly. I suppose I'm learning how being rooted in the Lord extends even to my homework ;)

posted by Bolo | 6:36 PM
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I was reminded today of the power of confession. Something so simple, so powerful, yet so difficult because I'm so blind to my own sin, and so stubborn when it comes to dealing with it. In our Youth Ministry class this morning, Dr. Adams led us through a time of prayer, where we asked God to show us sins we've been hiding. It's one of those prayers that I often think I don't need; it is then that I usually need it most.

posted by Bolo | 9:32 AM
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school time...blues?

Never was there a time where I remember being *this* excited about school. Wait. Scratch that. There was *never* a time where I was excited about school. Period. Sure, there was the back to school excitement...seeing friends I hadn't seen all summer, the breathless anticipation of seeing which teacher I had, and seeing just how much I'd be able to get away with in each class. That was silly excitement, though, prone to die off quickly and without much pomp or fanfare, replaced by the promise of each new holiday on the calendar. So in a very real sense, that excitement just doesn't cut it.

Until now. This excitement runs deep. Ironic as it sounds, this excitement is deep for a simple reason: it's rooted in joy, God's deep and overflowing joy. I think I realized that just now, as I type this. The joy of being in school isn't simply because I'm in school, but because I'm exactly where God wants me, learning and growing in a fashion I'll never be able to reproduce. Sure, there'll be tons of learning and growing down the road, but right now, it's coming in a pure form, and there's no lack. How sweet it is :)

A few quick shouts to some folks who deserved it yesterday and today: Andrew...older and wiser...Scott...younger but older looking...and Britton, for hookin' up the Louisville Crew with some sweet, sweet, sweet video of OneDay03.

posted by Bolo | 9:53 AM
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