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



Random thoughts of the moment...

Last year, I was playing The Two Towers game on the PS2. Today, I got my first taste of The Return of the King on the PS2. Oh is...Precious to me! The game follows the same format as the first's, but improves upon a lot of little things that make it so much more fun! You start out playing as Gandalf. My first instinct was to rush in and start killing everything in sight...MUAHAHAHAHAHA! How fun!

Mon left to go back home today. Woohoo! I'm glad she's's been about two and a half years since she's been at home, and she's long over due for a visit. If any of you see her, which I'm sure you will, tell her that she needs to bring back pictures with her :)

In a couple of days, the New Attitude conference will be starting up. I'm taking off from work this week to go, so this is something I'm really looking forward to. In all honesty, though, I'm not sure what to expect. I've been praying that God would open me up to Him, but I'm not sure how He'll answer that prayer. Pray for me, that God does some amazing things in my heart.

Louisville smacked around Kentucky this past Saturday. I should give Ed Ganigan a call...hehehe :) Go Cards!

Then again, the 'Niners aren't in the playoffs, and the Cowboys are. Bleh. Maybe I'll hold off on that phone call.

posted by Bolo | 3:25 PM
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I think it was Dr. Akin. He was preaching on disappointment in ministry, and he related to us the story of a young man who, when faced with the frustrations of hundreds of ministers turning away from not only ministry, but the God they supposedly loved, wanted to leave his own ministry training at a seminary Dr. Akin was at. Dr. Akin told us that he sat there as the young man related his frustrations, giving example after example of people who should have been living lives "above reproach," but certainly were not. Dr. Akin told us that he sat there for a while, and listened as those cases were laid out. His response? One I forget far too often: people have and will disappoint us, but Jesus has never disappointed, and never will.

I'm thinking about that message today because I need to. Disappointment has run wild as of myself, in people, in circumstances...*sigh*. But God has not disappointed. I've not understood all He's done, but that's not disappointment. I told Scott today that this break has been tough. I find myself struggling with both the small and the big. I find myself wondering why I'm here. Am I fit for this school? Am I fit for ministry? Those questions (and more) are pondered daily, and yet I find no answer, save Dr. Akin's: Jesus has never disappointed me.

You know what? I find myself feeling like that young man Dr. Akin told us about. I, too, wonder about those who taint people's taste of the God they once loved. I wonder what taste I'm giving to people of Christ: sweet, or bitter? How do you convey God's sweetness when you yourself are still trying to wash away the backwash of bitterness? How do you convey hope, when doubt is the ever-present monkey on your back?

And yet, when I look upon myself, I must remember that what I see is not what God sees. Though I may frown with doubt or despair, He smiles with triumphant glory, knowing His grace is sufficient. I sometimes feel a little like Moses, telling God that he's a wuss who can't go back and face Pharaoh. For as much as I may talk the big talk, I feel like my voice is so little, so frail. I suppose that's part of the process, though :)

posted by Bolo | 3:03 PM
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It's Monday morning...nearly Christmas. I talked to my family this past Saturday night, when most of them were at our annual Family Christmas Party. Kayla was particularly one point, our conversation went something like this:

John: "Uh-huh!"

Kayla: "Nuh-uh!"

John: "Uh-huh!"

Kayla: "Nuh-uh!"

John: "Uh-huh!"

Kayla: "Nuh-uh!"

John: "Uh-huh!"

Kayla: "Nuh-UH!"

John: "Uh-HUH!"

Kayla: "NUH-uh!"

John: "Uuuuhhhhh-huh!"

Kayla: "STOP IT!"

John: *Silence for a few seconds*..."Nuh-uh!"

Kayla: "Uh-huh!"

John: "Nuh-uh!"

Kayla: "Uh-huh!"

John: "Nyuh-uh!"

Kayla: "Uh-HUUUH!"

John: "Nuh-uh!"

Kayla: "UNCLE JOHN!"

As you can see, my communication skills have exponentially gained in eloquence and gentility since I've enrolled at Boyce. Can you imagine what FOUR WHOLE YEARS will do for me? By the time I'm done, I'll be able to snarl and growl back and forth with cats and dogs!

As for somewhat more serious matters, I found out last week that I may be working full-time at Moore (the security gig), at least for the next month or so. After that, I'll be able to work just 4 nights a week. My take on it? If I can manage it, I'll try to work at least the 32 hours during the semester, since it's almost all study time for me. Hopefully, it works out :)

The break has been good for me...God's done a lot of "heart surgery" that I'd been sorely in need of. I remember once thinking that part the sanctification process must include God holding up a big holy mirror in front of us while we're naked...spiritually naked, that is. In that mirror, all the spiritual flab sticks out, and God doesn't let us put our clothes back on to hide it; He puts us on the spiritual treadmill and makes us go through the spiritual workout. I just better make sure I've got the spiritual Gatorade handy :)

It's not like there's been any huge "spiritual breakthrough's" to write home about, though. Nothing wrong with's just that life has been slow and simple, kind of like watching paint dry. Occasionally, a birdie will fly by and poop on the drying paint. I figure it adds a little...umm...character to the color scheme ;) (I think I should've put a disclaimer on this post before I wrote it...I don't know where the heck all of this funky thinking is coming from. Actually, it's a lack of real human being interactaction that does this to me...*shrug*.)

Anyway, here's hoping you look better in the mirror naked than I do! *John raises his bottle of spiritual Gatorade to you*

posted by Bolo | 11:00 AM
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At long last

Three and a half hours or so of pure bliss. The Return of the King finally came out...and yes, I sat in the theater on Bardstown Road, and watched it in a state of boyish wonder and amazement. What gets to me is that despite the long runtime, the film *still* felt short! I was disappointed in that several scenes that I wanted to see weren't added in...oh well. I don't blame them, you know? The movie never dragged on, and the flow was very fast.

I called Matt last night and asked him these questions...I figured I'd post them here, and if you've seen the movie, you can take a stab at 'em, too :)

1. Is the finger that Frodo gets bitten off in the book the same as in the movie? Which is it in the movie? What about the book?

2. Gilraen, a character not introduced in the movies, says what two lines that are repeated by Elrond and Aragorn in their dialogue? Who is Gilraen? Why would that statement be a pun?

3. Which characters that bore the device of a rayed star on their raiment were in the books but not in the movies?

4. One character leaves the Grey Havens on the ship in the movie, but not in the books. Who is this character?

I had one more question, but my memory does not serve me very well today...oh well :)

posted by Bolo | 4:49 PM
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It's been One Week...

I've noticed something about myself recently. It's not something I'm entirely proud of, either. In fact, it's something I'm very much ashamed of. I've noticed that I have become very good at putting up a front...not letting people, in essence, in deceit. For some reason, I've let this false notion that I must always be "ok" creep into my soul. I've always though that I've done a pretty good job articulating how I'm doing. Is that really the case? Or am I mistaking my own pride for spiritual maturity?

When I was talking with Jeff the other night, he asked me what God taught me about Himself stands out the most from this past semester. At the top of the list, I told him, was God's sovereignty. Why that? It's because He's shown me, through various circumstances and the teachings I've received, that He alone is in control...not me. I've told that to others; but I wonder now, do I live it? Have I become so "close" to God, that I no longer feel awed by Him? No; for when one is truly close to God, one cannot help but be awed by Him. I'm thinking that maybe what God is doing right now is showing me how foolish I've been; the good thing is, when God shows His children what fools they are, He always does so lovingly.

posted by Bolo | 4:22 PM
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Child's play

It's just past 8:45 am EST. I have until 4:30 pm EST to type out and turn in a 10 page paper on the philosophy of youth ministry. So I guess I'd better get cranking on this blog entry, huh? ;)

It's the nearly the end of my first real semester. Yesterday was a doozy...three finals, something like six essays for Theology I, and a slew of "I think I can's". Various thoughts floated through my head at 2:30 this morning, as I tried valiantly to go to sleep. This semester brings so many mixed emotions to the fore. Deep friendships, sleepless nights and sleepy days, doubt and despair, silly smiles and unexplained tears...they've all contributed to make the past few months memorable. Yet, what do those things mean? What have I learned? How have I been changed? You know, there's so much to sift through.

Monday nights have become special. After sitting through nearly three hours of New Testament Survey with Dr. Deklavon and his endless rows of corny jokes, you'd think I would be done for the day, ready to turn myself in. You'd be right in such an assessment, as most Mondays I felt forlorn and frustrated, wondering if I was really ready in my heart to go into our Dorm Meeting and worship our Lord. The good thing about that? I realized over and over again, I would never be more worthy than I already was, covered by the blood of Christ, and therefore I could be made ready by the grace of God. I could come hurt, joyful, broken, or confused, so long as I came asking God to take me and make me right before Him. Many was the time I entered a dorm meeting not wanting to go in, yet leaving not wanting to go out. Scott and I would take a walk and talk after those sessions with the rest of the student body. Over time, we've gotten to know each other well...sometimes too well :) Once, when trying to protect me from a situation, he deliberately deceived me. I'll never forget when he said to me, "dude...I was just blowing smoke!" I'll love the boy forever for it :)

Much more has transpired this semester...however, being that it's now 4:28 pm EST, and I just turned in my last paper, I'll save writing for a little later...maybe today...maybe is good, though :)

posted by Bolo | 4:28 PM
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Reason #92 why Boyce College Rocks: The Orchestra. It was our Winter Formal event, and I actually did go, sans date. I reasoned, however, that if I didn't go with a date, then I'd have to look good enough for two people. Mission accomplished ;) All svelteness on my part aside, we had a blast, and managed to forget about the crazy, zany finals for several hours.

On another note...

There are lines from an old John Newton hymn that read like this:

If justice was my only plea

My tears would all be vain

How can the Holy welcome me

For I the Lord have slain

With those lines, Newton conveys the truth that not only has Christ died for us, but because of us. Were I the very soldier pounding the nails through Christ's flesh and into wood, I still would not be any more guilty of His death than I am now. Why am I guilty of His death? 'Tis my sin, vile and malignant, unrelenting in its offense toward God, that has nailed Christ to His horrible and glorious cross. And yet, each morning when I am shocked out of my slumber by my phone's alarm (none too gently, I might add), I do not remember that precious truth. I forget that He died not just for me, but because of me. I forget that His dying on the cross and rising again is *enough*. I forget that no matter how much I may foolishly (and sinfully) try, I cannot add to His grace.

Amazing Grace, indeed.

posted by Bolo | 10:08 AM
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Today's post is one where I'm going to start typing, and whatever comes out comes out. (Note: This could be offensive, or could possibly get me into trouble. If what I write is particularly amusing, I may get kicked out of school and sent back home!)

I've been going through shopping withdrawals. Every once in a while, I'll look at someone wearing something I find particularly interesting, either because of the fabric itself, its texture, or perhaps the style of the garment, and go, "!" I know. I pay way too much attention to what's on my body. Carol Moreno would have gone into an epileptic seizure to read this now. Well, maybe not now...a few years ago she would've :)

Scott Davis works in Admissions here on campus. A few weeks ago, he asked me to consider becoming a Student Ambassador at Boyce next year. What they do is recruit for the school, but from the point of view of the student...those of us who actually go through the daily grind, and not simply sit around in an office thinking everything is always hunky-dory. It's a great thing, really, and I'm looking forward to doing it. I'd give tours to prospective students, make phone calls to see how they're doing in the admissions process, and go on one trip a year. Mon used to do it for the Seminary, but she had to stop because the Seminary Ambassadors have to make donor phone calls, which take up waaaay too much time. The only reason I can figure out they want me is I'd fulfill so many of the minority requirements...I'm one of those people who has to check the "Other" box under "Race" on all the forms :) On top of that, I'm one of the few people that can go around campus yelling, "I'm not Baptist!!" The school gets all sorts of non-mainstream perspective with me :)

posted by Bolo | 11:29 AM
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Finals. There's such a sense that word. Hehe :) A year ago, I was slowly becoming used to the idea that I'd be going to school in Kentucky. Finals were, for the most part, a foreign concept, a vague echo from a past stint in college that never panned out. And yet here I am, about to embark upon my first "real" semester's set of finals. Whoa.

I have a friend who has, over the years, taken it upon himself to give me advice. Some has been great. Other bits...not so great. One thing he would often tell me was to go back to school. No offense to him, but I thought he was a fool for saying so. Am I eating my words now? I don't think so. If anything, quite the opposite. Call me idealistic, but I'd always believed that school should be something I enjoyed. So why in the world would I go to school simply because, in effect, I was getting the old, "You should go to school so you can make something of yourself in the eyes of the world and be successful and provide for your family with two point five kids and grow old comfortably and retire with your 401k and start wearing 501 blue jeans again and play with the grandkids and sit around and wait for them to come over and and and..." talk? What a load of...yeah :)

So last year, I was at that crossroads, that point where school suddenly became a serious option. Why did I choose it? Or, to be more accurate, why did God push me in that direction?

I remember one day reading from my bible. Psalm 27:8 made me tremble..."When You said, 'Seek My face,' my heart said to You, 'Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.' " I couldn't deny it; God wasn't sending me to school, but calling me to an even higher calling: seek Him. What could be sweeter? What could be more incredible? What could be harder? I thought of all the times I'd promised God I'd go anywhere...China...Africa...10/40 window...wherever. But KENTUCKY?!?! "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God." I guess so :)

I still wonder why I'm here and not at home. I write about it often...sometimes in my journal, sometimes here on the blog. I think about it all the time. But you know what? I'm glad God is so much wiser than me. Being here has been sweet. It's also been incredible. But oh hard it is! And yet, why would I go home now? Why would I leave this crazy little piece of earth I now smile about? Why is it that when I think about sitting on the wall at Kewalo's (thanks, Boss...I can truly say I heard the surf while I was up here), or driving over the H3 just for the heck of it, or sitting outside the Uchida house late at night talking story with Andrew until we gotta go inside and pee, or the way I used to drive up to Jon and Amy's just to say "hi," or even walking into Ward Starbucks and seeing everybody and their mommies, I can smile and know I'm still in a better place? It's simple, really. It's because I'm exactly where God wants me, and being there and nowhere else truly is sweet, and it truly is incredible, but it truly is hard sometimes.

Back to those finals :)

posted by Bolo | 9:03 PM
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I'd like to be able to say that a week of rest and relaxation, which was sorely needed, was just that: a week of R & R. The previous week, I was in Atlanta for a conference, sick and tired (literally and figuratively), and in desperately in need of some rest. So you'd think that this past week, with absolutely no school, would be just what I'd want. But it wasn't. The thing is, when the roar of school and the crazy typing I did to oblige my professors (see the entry from last Monday, the 24th) finally quieted down, I didn't get the utter silence of a week off that I'd hoped for.

Instead, I heard a lot of little noises. Things that would whisper and wiggle into my head. Lots of things I'd ignored, or perhaps taken for granted. All of a sudden, my quiet week began to get pretty loud. A lot of that realization came just this morning. It's hard to hear God, sometimes, because quite often we are only listening for the things we want to hear. It's always humbling when we realize that the irritating noises aren't being made by all the bad things out in the world, but by God Himself. I'm always amazed at what God says to me to get my attention...I just hope I learn to listen the first time.

posted by Bolo | 6:25 PM
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