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


Second Breakfast!

Last night, I was faced with the possibility of spending the night out in the cold, with a Tornado Warning in effect for the area I was in. Yeesh.

Once I was holed up, however, all went well...I was well sheltered, and talked to a bunch of folks...Boss...Goose...Michelle...and Mom. Not to mention, I was able to stay up the whole time :)

This morning, I read a little something about the Puritans that caught my attention. "...We cannot but conclude that whereas to the Puritans communion with God was a great thing, to evangelicals today it is a comparatively small thing. The Puritans were concerned about the communion with God in a way that we are not. The measure of our unconcern is the little that we say about it. When Christians meet, they talk to each other about their Christian work and Christian interests, their Christian acquaintances, the state of the churches, and the problems of theology - but little about the inner realities of fellowship with God. Our sermons contain much sound doctrine - but little relating to the converse between the soul and the Saviour. We do not spend much time, alone or together, in dwelling on the wonder of the fact that God and sinners have communion at all; no, we just take that for granted, and give our minds to other matters. Thus we make it plain that communion with God is a small thing to us. But how different were the Puritans! The whole aim of their 'practical and experimental' preaching and writing was to explore the reaches of the doctrine and practice of man's communion with God. In private they talked freely of their experiences of God, for they had deep experiences to talk about..." So said J.I. Packer.

I sat there, eating my breakfast (actually, come to think of it, it was about 2:30 in the afternoon...I'd gotten off of work at 7:00 in the morning), thinking on that. Do my thoughts of God do Him justice? Of course not. But does my communion with Him seek to do His condescension justice? Said differently, does my communion with Him reflect the cost He paid to commune with me? Are my thoughts and words of Him savory and sweet, ever seeking to be full of reverence? Hmmm...

posted by Bolo | 6:34 PM
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The weight of my heart

Reading through 2 Corinthians 5 and 6 yesterday, and Proverbs 24 today, I was struck by some things. First, check out the passages:

2 Corinthians 5:20 - 6:10 reads:

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain - for He says,



Behold, now is "THE ACCEPTABLE TIME," behold, now is "THE DAY OF SALVATION" - giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.

And Proverbs 24:12 reads:

If you say, "see, we did not know this,"

Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts?

And does He not know it who keeps your soul?

And will He not render to man according to his work?

Several observations. Paul "begs" the Corinthians to "be reconciled to God." He makes this appeal "on behalf of Christ." Following that, Paul writes that famous verse stating that God made Christ to "be sin on our behalf." Paul then "urges" them "not to receive the grace of God in vain." After reminding them that God has already done everything to bring their salvation unto them, Paul lists some characteristics of solid Christian living. In Proverbs 24:12, we're told several things of God's character: He knows all, even the things we try to hide; it is He who keeps our souls; He will give to us what we deserve.

What does all this mean? Here's what my head was churning with. First, when Paul "begs" the Corinthians, he's pleading with them to make themselves right with God. He's telling them that they have no reason not to, for Christ has done all necessary. Second, when he "urges" them, he's urging them on to right living. Having been reconciled, the Corinthians must not simply rest on that status. Indeed, Paul points out that such a reconciliation is in vain if it does not lead toward a fundamental change in the way life is lived, and that's why he lists those characteristics. In a sense, this seems to be one place where Paul would be shown to agree with James' claim that faith is shown by works (James 2:18). That verse in Proverbs 24, on the other hand, goes hand in hand with what Paul is saying. I often think I can get away with doing things improperly, so long as I keep up appearances. Of course, I don't come out and put it quite that way, as that would sound horrendous. No, I'll justify my wrong actions in my heart as being just, for I've been "confirmed" as being a good person by those around me...even those I trust, those in whom I confide. But what does Proverbs tell me? What does Paul tell me? That God knows the true motives of my heart, and in my deception I'm receiving His grace in vain.


posted by Bolo | 1:45 PM
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What's the haps?

It's been over a year since I was last at home. During my stay there, I blogged once. That's it. Perhaps I was having too much fun at the beach. In any event, this week and a half has been the longest non-blogging stretch I've had in quite some time.

What's happened? A lot...and not a whole lot. I worked a sixteen hour shift last Saturday. Watched Denzel Washington's latest movie...pretty good...watched "The Return of the King," thanks to Jim Murphy, who works at Blockbuster. They get the new releases a week in advance :) I fixed Jared's computer, which previous to my tinkering would only give him an error message telling him his c:\windows\system32 directory was missing such and such file. I now have the privilege of posting this post on that very same computer. Oh, the thrills of a working computer :) What else? I went to Brennan and Kathy's wedding today...congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Webb. Oh, the best part of the whole ordeal? Right after they got into the car to leave the reception, with everyone clapping and smiling, the car suddenly stops. It goes full throttle into reverse. Brennan gets out, pops open the hatchback, and pulls out their little nephew, who had been stowed away in the back of the car by the bridal party. Now THAT was funny!

I gotta cut this post short, since I have to work in...oh...seventeen minutes. Jared's running me over to the LG&E building shortly. Very shortly, I hope. I think I'm getting hungry, too...

posted by Bolo | 10:33 PM
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Just Another Magnificent Monday

Reason #19 why Boyce College Rocks: Dorm Meetings in Carver Circle. Last night, just after 10 pm EST, about twenty to thirty students made their way outside and onto the grass. The night was cool, the sky was clear, and our God was in our midst. Todd Thomas said that we had to come outside since Media Services didn't set up the sound equipment in Boyce Chapel, but I think it was for the best. No announcements, no message that someone prepared, no PowerPoint...just Todd on a guitar, Hammy on a conga, and us with our voices. We sang a bunch of songs and shared a bunch of thoughts.

I myself reflected aloud on David Livingstone's famous, "I never made a sacrifice." Over four thousand miles separates me from friends and family, yet such distance is no sacrifice; I look forward to being separated still more. That exclamation to the end of Livingstone's incredible journey as a missionary will be all the more real to me one day when I, with effusive joy flowing from my heart, will look upon the face of my Savior for the first time. At that moment, I can say, "that's the reason there was never a sacrifice!"

We ended the night on our knees. I was reminded of the big gathering waaaay back one Saturday night in August, where we prayed prayers for the upcoming school year. Friendships have been made, hearts of stone have been broken and made tender, and faces have come and gone. Through it all, Christ has been exalted. Through it all, He's used us to exalt Himself. Wow.

Several hours before, I'd finished my last final exam. New Testament Survey II, with Dr. Deklavon. I forgot a couple of answers, but I think it'll come out ok.

I'm still thinking about Piper's thoughts in The Pleasures of God. God is happy, and infinitely so. The remarkable thing? He wants to share that pleasure with us. Infinite pleasure is mine to share in. It is not cheap, it is not shallow, and it most certainly is not what I'd choose for sinful flesh is more than enough evidence of that. Nevertheless, it is mine. It is yours, too. Think on that, and enjoy Christ. God does, and infinitely so :)

posted by Bolo | 4:29 PM
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Glorious Gazing

"I thought to myself, surely this is one thing implied in John 17:26 - that the day is coming when I will have the capacity to delight in the Son the way the Father does. My fragile eyes will get the power to take in the glory of the Son shining in his full strength just the way the Father does. The pleasure God has in his Son will become my pleasure, and I will not be consumed, but enthralled forever."

-John Piper, The Pleasures of God

I sat in Chris (it's actually Chriyus...that's how he says his name...he's from 'Bama) Davis' room a little while ago, and read that little bit from Piper's book. It's an amazing thought...that I would be able to gaze upon the glory of the Son. Such a gazing is not one that is taken lightly...such a gazing is one that should, by all rights and consequences, cause me to be shuddering in horror and shame.

But it is not. The thought of gazing upon the glorious Son had me grinning from ear to ear in Chriyus' room and letting out a loud "woohoo!" I, who have no real capacity to partake of even the tiniest bit of the pleasures of the Son, can look forward to the fullness of the glory displayed in the face of Christ. Such is mine, for it is promised, it is sealed by the Holy Spirit, and it is Truth.

posted by Bolo | 9:22 PM
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True love

Andrew Uchida loves me. How do I know this? How can I, without a doubt, know that my brother loves me? Is it that he says it? Is it that he prays for me? Is it that he listens to me and bears my burdens with me? Sure. But there's more.

True love, my friends, is this. Every single time Andrew goes out to surf, he picks one wave...just for me. This wave must be gorgeous, a wave of particular excellence, a wave that would cause the heart to flutter and the eyes to water. And what does he do with such a wave? He gets into position to ride it...feels the power of the wave as it forms under him...sees the glassy face and the length of the break...and lets it go by. His wave offering (Numbers 8:21) serves as a memorial to me. *Sigh* can I doubt such friendship, such brotherhood, such love?

posted by Bolo | 12:29 PM
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Glorified Ushers

Finals. I got two coming up in the next twenty-four hours, and my eyeballs are about to start falling out. Fun fun fun!

During my conversation with Boss early this morning, we talked for a bit on worship leading. I shared with him one thing that I've been tossing around in my head recently: the idea of a worship leader being a teacher, a preacher. I asked Brian if he, when he goes in to worship the Lord with his brothers and sisters, is immediately ready to worship, and he is at a point where he has a clear apprehension of the gospel and his affections toward God are being stirred by powerful conviction based on truth. My point in asking was to show that we, while saved by the atoning work of Christ, are still stuck in this sinful body, and therefore we desperately need to hear the saving and sanctifying truth of God's Word over and over again. More often than not, I find my affections dry, and my convictions weak.

With that in mind, I would desire for the person who is leading a congregation in worship to be able to, in the midst of his leading, constantly convict people with the truth that points toward the Cross of Christ. Why? It's simple. I'm not going to assume that people are at a point where they're seeing God rightly. To do that as a preacher would be disastrous. Why do that as a worship leader? Jerry Bridges, in The Discipline of Grace, says, "to preach the gospel to yourself means that you continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life." Continually. The assumption that we must take is that we all are in need of the gospel each and every day, each and every hour, each and every minute. If we don't, we're deceiving ourselves. I told Brian that what people will often say of our worship leaders is that they're there to "usher people into the presence of God." I don't know about that anymore...I don't want to settle for just a glorified usher...I want someone to tell me how I ought to behave when they lead me before the throne.

Leeman once said that he hears more gospel from Chip Stams than anyone else. What makes that so remarkable is that Chip Stams isn't "preaching" anywhere on Sundays. Rather, he leads worship at Clifton Baptist Church, where he and Leeman are members. I suppose I've had this idea stuck in my head for quite some time now, since I remember being struck by what Andrew told me last summer about Pat, the worship pastor at Andrew's church up in Langley. He said that corporate worship was different under Pat. Why? I don't remember exactly what Andrew said at the time...but I think I may have an idea now, though.

posted by Bolo | 11:36 PM
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Tastes like chicken!

Next Fall is shaping up to be pretty good. School-wise, I'll have the following things to handle: four classes I'm taking for credit, one class I'm going to try to sit in on (Dr. Draper's the man...his Interpreting Hebrews class will be awesome, I'm sure), the Boyce Ambassador...ship, and leading a Howdy Group. The Howdy Group is pretty cool...I'll get to help new students get used to the ebb and flow of college life here at Boyce. I'm one of five guys and five girls who will be doing this, so I'm excited :)

At church, I'm still helping out with the youth group, but I may be moving over to help out with a new college ministry that will be starting up. I won't be leading it, but the guy who is is has already been a college professor both here and abroad, so he has a ton of experience with college students. It's something worth looking forward to, I'm thinking.

Earlier today, I sat in on Dr. Orrick's Great Books class once more. They had their "final exam"...two hours of eating and discussing The Return of the King. Yeah, I know...suffering for Jesus ;) Oh, I ate my first bit of squirrel today in that class. Dr. Orrick caught it and prepared tasted like chicken, I promise. A little more tender, though. Very, very good stuff. Mark Knapp had gathered and prepared some mushrooms that Dr. Orrick said are very expensive...somewhere in the neighborhood of eighty dollars a pound. Ouch! Ginger made some Lembas Bread, gathered what was supposed to be Athelas/Kingsfoil and gave it to Cleve, and also made some PO-TA-TOES. I myself bought (yeah, like I was gonna bake it from scratch) Honey Nut Cakes of the Beornings.

Mmmm...getting hungry...

posted by Bolo | 9:38 PM
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Tired...tired...tired...very, very tired. I'm so tired right now it's not even my eyes that are aching with a dull burn, but the eye sockets themselves. Yeesh.

In 2 Corinthians 6:16, God says "I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." Yesterday, as I read that, it struck me that I am the very temple of God. The temple. King David wanted to build one, yet God would not allow him; it was to be for David's son Solomon to do. It was, to all of Israel, not simply a representation of where God resided, it was where God resided. He dwelt within the temple, and access to Him was highly regulated, as common people could not just go into the presence of God. Rather, God gave the priests to Israel to intercede and make atonement for sins, and thereby "satisfy" God's wrath toward His sinful children.

But you know what? Such sacrifices never satisfied God. That was the whole point. No matter how much blood was spilled, no matter how much atonement made, true atonement was not within our grasp.

Yet, here I am, naught but a common man, nothing priestly within my lineage, and I can freely enter the presence of God. Why? Look at what the first part of verse 16 says: "Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God." We are the temple of the living God.

There's so much wrapped up in that statement, so much that I take for granted, so much that is over my head. The high priest, during the yearly sacrifice (see Leviticus 16), had to take special care that he was "clean" before the Lord. If not, he would be struck dead when he entered the Most Holy Place. Christ, as our High Priest, is the One who grasps us with His atonement. I, as the temple of the living God, am now carrying within me the very presence of God, His Spirit. How so very tiny my grasp is of those truths! I do not take them seriously, nor am I changed by them as I ought to be.

Last night was the last dorm meeting of the semester. Leeman gave an excellent message that was, as he put it, his swan song. He's ending his tour as Student Life Coordinator for the boys of Boyce. It's a sad thing, but it's a necessary thing, and therefore a good thing. He won't be going anywhere, and he'll be teaching my Political Science class this Fall. I think I have a thing for guys named Jonathan...or, perhaps to put it in perspective, God loves to bless me through guys named Jonathan.

Jim is finishing up at Boyce, too. He's graduating on the 14th, then he'll be going back home to Maryland to attend Sovereign Grace Ministry's Pastor's College. Blind Brandon and Rob will be driving with him and his stuff in a U-Haul trailer to help him move and keep him company. It's crazy to think that he'll really be leaving so seems like just yesterday we were chilling in downtown Louisville at the New Attitude '04 conference, hitting Steak 'N Shake late at night...almost every night :) Crazy stuff, really. Before long, the Fall will be here. New students, new memories.

But first, I've got some finals to take care of. *Sigh*...

posted by Bolo | 9:44 PM
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