|Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...
Awash Woot! Tomorrow will see me, Scott, and Rob headed up to Indianapolis to chill for a day. If she acquiesces, Jewel will show us around Butler University and maybe throw the frisbee around with us for a little while.
I think it'll be my first true road trip with no big agenda. When I was in Ohio last week, that was for school...the road trip to OneDay03 was, well, for OneDay03...and Atlanta was for the ETS (Evangelical Theological Society) annual meeting. Cool, don't get me wrong, but still not something that was almost pure road trip. So yeah, I'm looking forward to this one :)
'Nuff of the road trip, though. Today in chapel, we had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Ligon Duncan preach on Ephesians 3:14 - 19. Wow. God's Word was taken apart and put back together again within my heart in an amazing way. Even more importantly, Dr. Duncan reminded me that the Holy Spirit works with power within me so that Christ may dwell in my heart. He also reminded me that the love that the Father has for Christ is the very same love that the Father has for us. That's God's word, not mine, not Dr. Ligon Duncan's. Read John 17:26 if you doubt it. That love is the love that Paul prayed would fill us up "to all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:19).
When Dr. Duncan spoke of being awash in the knowledge of the love that we cannot comprehend, I thought to myself of how I turn away from that love. I thought of the ways that God sings His overtures of love over me, of how He holds me and comforts me, and how I turn away. When I think of the possibility of going home, I think of how Kason will react to me the first time he sees me. He doesn't really understand it, but it would absolutely crush me if he were to tell me something like, "go away, I don't want to hug you!" In the same way, I often don't understand God's yearning for me, His love for me, but I know that I grieve Him when I run away from His affections. So what's my repsonse to God's love, to His love that is beautiful beyond comprehension? In all honesty, I'm not certain. God's love...wow...it's something to think on, to ponder, to wonder at. I'll be doing that for a while, I think. How long? For eternity :)
Oh, and Happy 21st Birthday, Malialani :) posted by Bolo | 11:46 PM
Bloggety blog blog blog There's always plenty of opportunity to catalog the silly and varied happenings in my life at Boyce College. The other night, for instance, Rob had this strange look on his face as he burst into Juheyurf's room because he'd just discovered that it's possible that he may actually like girls. Before you question Rob's moral bent, however, be aware that Rob has constantly stated that he wants to be able to be single.
Hah! And I'm Swedish!
That same night, I was conversing with Pablo about various random issues, and during the course of our conversation, I managed to snag some rather out-of-context phrases out of him. For instance, he said, "I want married couples to have lots of sex." Alright, Pablo! Good for you!
You get the idea :)
There've been countless times when I've caught myself thinking, "oh my...that'd make a HILARIOUS blog entry!" Kristin Wicker's goose was one such, and I'll never forget Poenie's classic encounter with Chris Spires. Yet, for each goosing outside Dean Scroggins' office and each cafeteria classic that I publish, there's bound to be two or three more that I forget about during the course of the day.
All of that to say there's now a new section on the right with links to some other folks in my sphere of influence who keep their own blogs, and do indeed blog regularly. They'll help me keep up with the things I miss, both facetious and factually fascinating. I'm sure there are a couple out there that I'm forgetting about, so if you'd like to be added to the list, shoot me a line. As Billy the Kid was fond of saying, "I'll make ya famous." posted by Bolo | 11:58 PM
Clarity Clarity is a good thing. Andrew, Kev, Brian, Leeman, Jim, Scott and my mom helped me gain a good deal of it this weekend, which I'm grateful for. I guess you could say I knew what I had to do, but was afraid to admit it...*sigh*...oh well...'tis one of life's great silly things. I guess I just have to bite the bullet and do what I have to do...perhaps I'll actually write details down for everyone to read. Then again, perhaps not ;)
On to other matters. Our intramural basketball game tonight went well though we only had five players, and the other team had a gargantuan six. Yeah, we were both sucking wind halfway through the first half :) I played...hmmm...how can I put it...better than I usually do. I think that's a fair and true assessment, one that does not diminish or increase my contribution to our winning effort. We even came from behind at the end of regulation to tie it, then pulled off the win in overtime. posted by Bolo | 1:05 AM
Dressed in white The book of Hosea? Absolutely beautiful. God strives with us, with His unfaithful bride, and though we run away time and time again, He always gets us back. In fact, through Hosea He shows us the lengths to which He'll go to redeem the Church, His wife of harlotry, and make her His bride once more.
God's overtures of love toward us are often misunderstood. I know that I often feel frustrated and hurt by the situations the Lord brings my way; yet, it's His right to act thusly. He's the Creator, the Maker (Romans 9:20, 21; Job 38, 39), the One who forms us fearfully and wonderfully (Psalm 139:13 - 16). When His acts of love are painful, they're still for our own good (Romans 8:28), still in accordance to His unfailing (Romans 8:38, 39), abiding (1 John 4:9 - 14), covenantal (Gensis 15:17), sacrificial (Ephesians 5:25), sanctifying (Ephesians 5:26), and glorifying (Ephesians 5:27) love.
So then, what's the response to God's unique love for us? Hosea 6:1 - 3 puts it beautifully, for amidst the angst of God's affliction toward His beloved, we see a glimpse of the hope and glory to come:
1 "Come, let us return to the LORD.
For He has torn us, but
He will heal us;
He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.
2 "He will
revive us after two days;
He will raise us up on the third day,
may live before Him.
3 "So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD.
His going forth is as certain as the dawn;
And He will come to us like
Like the spring rain watering the earth."
Even here, we see how He will ultimately heal us: Christ. The second verse speaks of God raising us up (with Christ) on "the third day." Wow. How beautiful it is to look and see and savor the glories of God in the midst of us, His unfaithful bride. He reclaims us, He dies that we might live, He sheds His blood to cleanse us and make us His pure spotless bride dressed in white.
posted by Bolo | 4:14 PM
Still smiling So...my brain is mush, my eyeballs are on fire, and my hands are jittery. Gah! Sometimes, it seems like you've got things going the right way...life is good, God is great, and despite the ups and downs, the smile comes easily. And then, as my buddy Dan Sheerin says, "yo, he just drops a building on you man!" Of course, Dan was speaking of Dr. Draper, but it still applies to God. God has a way of just...well...making you realize that you're definitely NOT in control of things the way you thought you were. Or, as Brian put it last night, "dude, I've NEVER heard you like this before." And Brian's heard EVERYTHING. Andrew could only say, "oh, wow!" Kev told me that I build up an immunity to things, but that process takes time. *Sigh*...
Don't get me wrong, I'm still smiling; it's just that the smile now comes with a shrug of the shoulders and a shake of the head. And a rather pathetic sigh :/ posted by Bolo | 3:49 PM
Geeky Pleasures Sometimes, computers are like...girls. Temperamental, fussy, cantankerous, and irrational, they are still, without a doubt, creatures of wondrous beauty and glory when behaving as they were designed to. But can we live without them? Some may say that computers have no hold over them, and some may say that girls have no hold over them (reminds me of that Rob Smythe conversation last night...what laughs he gave me!), but in any event, I can feel the pain of the comparison all too well.
I sat here more than twelve hours ago, trying in vain to fix the conundrum this computer presented me with. The operating system installed at the time? Windows ME. Yes, cringe or smirk heartily to your heart's content, depending on the compassion your personal convictions allow. I won't elaborate further on the state of the computer, as I've already done a great deal of confessing to the Lord in regards to this matter. Suffice it to say that it's now fixed, thanks in part to my good, nasally-blessed buddy (even better buddy now) Ryan Szcrama. The pleasures of a fresh Windows 2000 install (this computer wouldn't really be able to handle the weight of XP), locked down with all the latest patches and security software...*sigh*...GORGEOUS, absolutely gorgeous!
*Sigh*...but alas! I've devoted the better part of my day to this computer, and now I have to get ready to go to work so I can study for my two exams and my quiz tomorrow. Gah. Pray for me...I need FOCUS!
Oh, but before I do that, consider this with me. In Hebrews 5 - 9, Christ is depicted as being our "Great High Priest." The author goes to great length to show the differences between the priests that were chosen by God to be high priest over the nation of Israel and Jesus.
The high priests were sinful humans, for one thing, while Christ was the God Man who did not sin while clothed in sinful flesh. The high priests were "of the same kind" as Aaron, while Christ was "of the same kind" as Melchizedek, which meant that He did not have a forebear nor successor in His priesthood, just like Melchizedek. The high priests, in their sacrifices and duties, had to make atonement not only for the nation of Israel, but also for themselves. Christ, on the other hand, made atonement for the people, yet was Himself without sin of His own to atone for. The high priests, because of their sins, had a healthy balance of Godly righteousness and compassion in their view of sin. Christ, because of His full deity and humanity, had a perfect balance of Godly righteousness and compassion for those He atoned for with His own blood.
Of note is something I had never considered before I read it earlier today. Leon Morris, in his commentary on Hebrews, points out that Christ knows the full force of sin's strength and guile, whereas we do not. What that means is that when we fall prey to sin, sin does not have to exert all of its cunning to get us to fall; it's like some joe-schmoe fighting against Bruce Lee in his prime...no contest! Bruce Lee would never have to exert all of his considerable strength and skill to best us, so we'd never experience the full force of his talent. Christ, on the other hand, does know the full force of sin, because sin tried its best, and sin was overcome. Christ endured to the full extent of sin's considerable ability to cause humans to fall, and because of that, He truly is able to sympathize and deal gently with us.
One last point. In those chapters, there arises the need to differentiate between Christ's "atonement" for us, which was once for all, and His "intercession," which He lives to do for us forever. It's something to think upon...Paul alludes to that somewhat in Romans (8, I think), but it stuck out to me several nights ago, and I still haven't quite gotten it out of my head.
That's a good thing :) posted by Bolo | 5:24 PM
The sound of a Sigh There's a lot on my mind today. In fact, there's been a lot on my mind now for a lot of days. Unfortunately, I'm not really at liberty to elaborate upon exactly what I've been thinking; it's just that a handful of these issues are rather sensitive. In writing my thoughts out earlier this afternoon, I tried to encapsulate my feelings and emotions into a few words or phrases. You know what? I failed miserably.
Just a few words wouldn't cut it. Confused, uncertain, hopeful, silly, distracted, joyful, focused, unfocused, nervous, disciplined, trusting, despairing, tired, jittery...the list goes on.
So I called Kev. Perhaps I would've called someone else, but calling him wouldn't count against my minutes, so Kev it was. When I told him what I was thinking, it struck me what's bothering me the most: I don't have control of the situation. It's not so much that I'm out of control, because that sounds as if I'm careening wildly about; no, it's that I don't have a firm grasp upon the situations I find myself in, and it bothers me to no end. I'm usually rather calm and collected, able to slow down my thought process to the point where I can think rationally through something. But my emotions and feelings are letting me do that. Gah! I told Kev I feel like a nervous Freshman in high school all over again, zits and horrible manners and all. I get the butterflies in the pit of my stomach for no rational reason, and I find myself thinking and desparing and hoping all at once. *Sigh*...what's a normally calm person to do?
Kevin laughed at me for most of our conversation. Maybe, just maybe, you're reading this and doing the same. Either that, or you're thoroughly confused. That's fine, 'cause at least you're in the same boat as me :)
Temporarily on to other matters...
I got into the Louisville area at about 3:30 this morning after having driven for five hours from Canton, Ohio. I'd been up in Mansfield on Wednesday morning for a college fair, and then went up to Canton that afternoon. After stayed in a hotel for the evening, I hung out at Starbucks and Borders yesterday afternoon before hitting the fair in Canton yesterday evening. When the fair was over, I ate dinner then got going on the road. The drive was long but good. Unfortunately, I only got four hours of sleep before getting a phone call from Katie in Admissions telling me that I needed to get the travel kit back to school by 11 am. *Sigh*...
All that to say, I'm tiiiiiiiired.
Right now I'm talking to Rob Smythe...Rob Smythe from Libertyville, Illinois. We're talking about girls...girls with light brown hair. It's rather...interesting.
Perhaps I'll write more later. posted by Bolo | 10:57 PM
Growing Pains The other night, Kev asked me about being at a church where there's a difference in theology between you and the pastoral staff. He had prefaced his question by saying that his query would be rather light and simple.
Kevin's questions for me are never light. Never. Even the question, "so...any girls?" holds far more implication and meaning than meets the eye. Coming from him, a simple pebble could set an entire mountain to avalanche.
But I digress. As I pondered the question and he shared the background behind his predicament, I realized something important: I've grown. I notice it particularly in my conversations with old friends like Kevin, Brian, Jon and Andrew because of the difference in the ways I'll respond and the things I'll say. Mind you, I say that not to boast, because I'd almost prefer that I didn't realize it, but I say that because the realization comes with a deep responsibility not only to continue to press on, but to use that growth in a righteous manner.
When I think about going back home in the futures both near and far, and I'm beset with joy and fear. Joy for the simple thought of seeing those I love, fear for the weight of the burdens I think I must bear. *Sigh*...I know, I know, those supposed "burdens" are not truly mine, they're Christ's. Yet, I can't help but feel overwhelmed by the the immensity of them: my church back home, my family, and my friends. I still see myself as the little boy with so many weaknesses and not enough strengths. I keep hearing Chris (Chriyus) Davis telling me, "Johnny, I jist wanna be faiythfuhl!" As do I, Chris, as do I.
*Sigh*...if I remain faithful to the Lord, I'll have no fears to fear of. I have a Great High Priest who is mindful of my frailty and my failures, and who knows my weaknesses. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. He will not snuff me out when my light is dim, nor will He fail to call out to me, the sheep of His pasture.
So yes, I have grown. But what does that mean? It means God has a purpose, a purpose that will put me on a path whose end I do not see. Kev has grown, too. I say that because he's defending his God the way He ought to be defended: with his heart caring about what we say and do in light of who God is, and acting upon the convictions within his heart. And if that means that Kevin must be that little pebble, so be it; he's grown to pebble-size. posted by Bolo | 3:45 PM
Volleyballs Note: This was a written as a writing assignment for my English Comp I class. I'm supposed to sit down with Dr. Orrick and go over this with him in about three and a half hours, at 9 am. Why am I awake? Probably because I didn't write this earlier :) This is, by the way, supposed to be the rough draft. Thanks, Jewel, for the inspiration :)
I’ve touched many volleyballs in my life. Some have been very soft to the touch, filled with the perfect amount of air. Others have been horribly hard and inflated far too much, kind of like my stomach after Thanksgiving dinner. Yet, of all the volleyballs that my setter’s hands have cradled, all of them pale in comparison to one in particular.
Two years ago, I was coaching in a youth summer volleyball league. My church played an integral part in the league, which served as an ongoing outreach event to the junior high and high school kids in our local communities. Being one of a handful of people within my church who was able to not only coach volleyball but to outreach to the kids marked me as a coach very quickly. The fact that my oldest sister, Lisa, was overseeing the league was also no small factor.
Within our league, the B Division was considered the novice and beginner division, where the casual or inexperienced player could join in and have fun. The team I was given was comprised of a few core kids in our youth group, along with a few who were considered to be on the fringe. Since none of them had any real volleyball skill to boast of, we were entered into the B Division.
As the season went on, the number of losses our team garnered towered high above the number of wins. If I recall correctly, we won exactly zero games during the regular season. The young men, try as they valiantly might, could not muster enough athleticism to counter the inconsistency their gangly bodies haunted them with. Time and time again, the volleyballs would carom violently off their tense bodies rather then gently ascend off their forearms to the setter. The young ladies stood there in shy silence, batting their eyelashes at me whilst I smiled on the sidelines in encouragement.
Now, it might have appeared to the casual observer that I was a horrible volleyball coach. It might have even appeared to the skilled observer that I was a horrible volleyball coach. I probably would have agreed with them, had I not known something that they did not. I had decided early on in the season that my ultimate goal was not to coach these young people in volleyball, but in life. The wins and losses on the volleyball court came second to the enjoyment of the game, and more importantly, their enjoyment of one another. If I were able to impart to them some deeper sense of life, then I would have considered it a successful season. If I were able to impart a sense of who God is, then I would have been overjoyed.
It surprised me greatly then when in the latter portion of our summer season, a few of the girls approached me for some additional coaching. Julie, Sam, and Bevin wanted to know if I could help them improve their game by coming out to the park one Friday evening and going through some drills with them. Their reasoning was that they were tired of losing, and felt that they were not doing all they could to contribute to the team. Although I was a little surprised by their sudden desire to win, I was delighted that they had asked for additional help.
That Friday, I met them on the grass at Moanalua Park. The lights were on, and the girls waiting for me along with several other members of our team. We went through the drills, and they diligently obeyed my every command to the best of their abilities. Despite the fact that I would have pronounced their ability lacking had we been a serious volleyball team, I found a smile on my face as they slowly gained even the most rudimentary levels of skill.
After the drills, we went out to Anna Miller’s for a post-practice dinner. Once we were seated and had ordered our meals, the girls went off to the bathroom to wash up. They reappeared several minutes later, grinning mischievously with their hands behind their backs. Sam, Julie, and Bevin presented me with thank-you cards and a brand new Wilson volleyball, signed by each member of our team.
I think about that volleyball every now and again. It sits in a box in my sister’s house, over four thousand miles away. I’ll never play a game with it, and I’ll probably never even take it out of its box. It’s far away from me now, much like those kids. The permanent ink on the synthetic white leather has more than likely faded somewhat, much like the memories from that summer. Yet, as I look back in my mind, I can see their faces, I can hear their voices, and I can feel their smiles.
posted by Bolo | 5:30 AM
Only Leeman... I get this call from Jonathan Leeman last night, right in the middle of my conversation with Jon Field. It was a strange moment, because these are both men that I'm very close to, but don't get to talk to very much. Furthermore, I'd already talked to Jonathan the day before when I called to wish him a happy birthday, so I found it stranger still that he'd be calling me back so soon. Imagine my surprise, then, when he tells me, "Hey John? She said YES." I thought to myself, "said yes? Yes to what?"
Now hold up. I know what you're thinking. Usually when a guy is that excited, and he says something as simple as what Jonathan said, it can only mean one thing. BUT, this is Jonathan Leeman, and I've learned never to assume things, since we all know what happens when we assume things...
"Repeat to me exactly what you asked her, 'cause I refuse to assume anything. The last time I assumed something with you and Shannon, I ended up digging my foot out of my mouth for the next week," said I. Leeman replied with an exuberant, "Shannon, will you marry me? And she said yes, Johnny!" I started jumping up and down in the security console at LG&E's Broadway Office Complex, yelling rather effervescently for joy :)
Marriage is a great thing :) (Yes, I wrote that. No, you can't quote me.) posted by Bolo | 5:33 PM
Hopes Will the Irish win today at Michigan State? Or was last week's win over Michigan but a fluke? *Sigh*...I'll have to somhow track the progress whilst working my security gig at LG&E. I won't go into the ins and outs of the game; far better minds than my own have already twisted themselves into a pretzel trying to do just that. Let's just say I'm hoping...fervently...and praying...desperately :)
I had a great conversation last night at Java with Darren Thomas. He's another one of the Old Single But Normal Guys at Boyce. (Actually, he's taking classes at U of L now, but he's still on campus at Boyce.) I had meant to get some studying done, which I did, just not to the degree I had originally intended :) That's ok, I still learned a lot. Darren and I talked about a variety of topics: the Apocrypha, the book of Hebrews, Dr. Draper, Bush and Kerry, being a student at U of L, apologetics, personality types, spiritual giftings, ecclesiology, and more. One thing in particular that I think will stick with me for a long time is Darren's approach to apologetics, and as a result, sharing the gospel. His mind is very much geared to think in such a way that apologetics comes naturally to him; that's not been the case for me, although I have a hunch that if I put my mind to it, it wouldn't seem very foreign. Apologetics is one means by which he actively shares the gospel, and is very unafraid to do so. Since neither has been a strong suit of mine, I'm inclined to think that perhaps if I work on strengthening my apologetics skills, I'll be at least somewhat better equipped to handle the debates that come my way in witnessing. posted by Bolo | 3:46 PM
Missing Starbucks This is going to be one of those random posts. I'm going to write, and I won't know what comes out. Deal? Deal :)
Starbucks. I miss my Ward Starbucks. I say "my" because, quite frankly, it's still "my" Starbucks. It's the one I dream about, it's the one I picture myself walking into in the mornings and afternoons with the long line going all the way to the door, Matthew behind the bar, Dean and K.C. behind the registers, and a few people waving in greeting. Boss is sitting in his chair, earphones on, studying Japanese. If it's the morning, the sunlight is filtering through the blinds on the Diamond Head side of the store; if it's the afternoon, the Ewa side, which doesn't have blinds, so Boss will have his shades on. There was a simple, ritualistic rhythm to life in my Starbucks. I could count on seeing the same certain people doing the same certain things they did. Nori would be behind the bar, grinding beans for espresso, steaming the milk and causing the steam to waft sinuously. Matt provided endless hours of entertainment through his ever-hopeful love life. Dean provided much the same, but in a different manner. How so? Dean ran. And when Dean ran, we laughed. Have you ever noticed how some people do the most everyday things in an extremely strange, un-everyday sort of manner? That was Dean running. So when Dean ran, we laughed. There was the lady from New York whose name I never learned. We knew she was from New Yawk because of her accent. She was actually from Brooklyn, I think, but I'm not sure. I never did talked to her, but you know what? I'd love to sit her down and have a chat with her now. In fact, I'd give a lot for a simple talk with her. But if I were at home, at my Starbucks, I'd just sit and listen to her talk to someone else, sort of eavesdrop on her conversation. Why? Because that's what she did, and that's what I did. It worked that way, our little system did, in our little Starbucks.
Today is Leeman's birthday. I just talked to him a little while ago. He's doing well, editing Mark Dever's latest book in DC. It's amazing to me, how much of an influence he's had on my life. I was telling Jim a couple weeks ago that I've begun to associate a word with some individuals. For instance, when I think of Jim, the word "grace" pops into my head. Jim will always be quick to point to God's grace as the source behind any good in his life, and it's stuck with me. With Scott, I think "accountability". I can hear his voice telling me this summer, "you know what I miss? I miss hitting guys in the throat with accountability!" I love Scott O'Neal for that...he makes me hate sin and love Jesus with passion...wow. With Leeman, I think, "the Gospel." Jonathan was always very much in love with the gospel, and consistently striving toward being held under the weight of God's glory revealed through the gospel. I think he would be humbled to know that his labor in me has not been without fruit, and if I may say so, beautiful fruit. I find myself, in talking to the younger guys here on campus, constantly hearing his voice exhorting me to look to the cross of Christ in all I do, striving to not only interpret Scripture through the lens of the cross, but to cause others to do the same that we may live life by the power of the cross.
In thinking of Leeman, I also thought of my brother. He's several months older than Jonathan. Spiritually, though? He's anything but. I can remember several years ago, when I'd constantly weep at the thought of my father and brother. Now? My heart aches, but I don't *weep* the way I used to. I'm saddened by this. Yesterday in chapel, Dr. Hemphill related to us the story of one rather well known preacher who was slated to preach at a conference. This gentleman was the third of three in the lineup for the evening, which meant that he was hitting cleanup. Well, the first preacher did something he kinda sorta wasn't supposed to. He asked the audience if it had been a while since they had wept over the lost, and if it had been, he invited them to come up to the altar and confess that before the Lord. Dr. Hemphill, who was slated to preach second and was therefore sitting next to the gentleman waiting to preach last, was shocked out of his mind when this man got out of his chair to kneel down at the altar and bury his face in his hands to weep openly. So in thinking about my brother, I feel shame at the hardness of my heart that hides itself from the state of his soul. Do I have the strength to love him as I ought? No; but my strength comes not from me, so it doesn't really matter, does it? Thank God, no :) posted by Bolo | 5:32 PM
That your faith may not fail Luke 22 is one of my favorite chapters in all of Scripture. I read the story of Peter's denial (verses 31 - 34, and 54 - 62) to my Howdy Group last week, and read it again in leading my fellow Ambassadors in the devotional for our weekly meeting today. It's one of those stories that hits me hard with reality...not just truth, but reality.
There were several things that I pointed out to both the Howdy Group and the Ambassadors. Jesus told Peter that Satan demanded permission (in my NAS bible, it has in the footnotes, "obtained by asking") to "sift you like wheat." I don't know about you, but if Jesus told me that in person, I'd be peeing in my pants. Jesus follows that revelation up with what I suppose is something that could be considered "comforting." He tells Peter that He's prayed for him, that his "faith may not fail." In the context of the story, one would think that Peter's faith did fail; after all, didn't he deny Jesus three times? But I don't think it did. Why? Peter failed...his faith didn't. There's a difference between the two that we often forget...I'll expand on this later. In verse 33, after being warned about the sifting, what does Peter do? Clothe himself with humility, as he later would write about (1 Peter 5:5)? Hardly. Peter pulls his foot up toward his mouth (which Jesus had earlier washed like the Servant He is, partially because none of His disciples would) and boldly sticks it in, saying, "Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!" *Sigh*...how often have I bragged upon my own readiness, my own perceived prowess? In verse 34 come some of the most horrific words in all of Scripture that any biblical character would ever hear. It's there that Jesus tells Peter of the impending denial, the impending doom.
In verses 61 and 62, we see the doom fall upon Peter. He denies Jesus, and Luke's gospel tells us that Jesus turns and looks at Peter. I can't imagine looking into the eyes of Christ and feeling that guilt wash over me. Most of the time, I can't even bear the weight of confessing my sin to a fellow human, let alone my Creator, Savior, Eternal High Priest, Redeemer, the Lover of my Soul. How did Peter feel at that moment? Although the text doesn't really say it outright, I don't think that Jesus' eyes conveyed condemnation, especially after the interaction they shared the night before. Still, Peter "went out and wept bitterly." Oh, such bitter tears to shed!
I wonder if, even now, I have tears to shed that I've frozen in the cold confines of my heart. Today's been one of those days for me. God's there, but I'm busy doing His business, so He understands. Or does He? Psalm 73:28 says, "But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works." Am I near to God? The word "near" implies intimacy, closeness in relationship. Verse 17 speaks of going into the Lord's sanctuary...am I in His sanctuary, or am I simply relying upon the doctrine of God's omnipresence to fulfill my being "near" to Him? Is He my refuge? Am I telling of His works? *Sigh*...no, no, no, no, and no. Like Peter, I am prone to failure. The difficulty in my failure today is recognizing it. Pride comes in many forms, and just because I didn't openly deny Jesus doesn't mean that I am drawing near to Him, making Him my refuge, and telling of all His works.
One last tendril of thought to think upon, then I'm off to draw near to the Lord :) Before reading that passage in Luke to the Howdy Group, I had asked them a question: "what are you going to do here at Boyce?" After asking the question, I read to them Deuteronomy 8 (go read it for yourself...hehe), and then the passage in Luke. I told them that we can always plan what we think we're going to do, we can say to ourselves that we won't fail, and we can really begin to enjoy being in an environment like Boyce College. Yet, what happens when we fail? What happens when we're sitting in our rooms weeping bitterly? What happens when we feel so much shame, we tell no one of our failure? What happens when the guy down the hall is struggling, but no one seems to care? The reality of our faith is that it's filled with failure. The truth of God's word tells us that, but the shallowness of our hearts often sets us up to feel afresh the reality of our failure in ways we simply aren't prepared for. That's what happened to Peter, and that's what often happens to us. We fail, but we must get up. Why? Because Jesus has prayed for us, that our faith may not fail. In other words, our Creator, Savior, Eternal High Priest, Redeemer, the Lover of our Souls will look us in the eye with love and tell us that though we've failed, He went to the cross and died so that we wouldn't have to. That is the essence of faith; it is a gift from the Father given through the Son, a gracious one, and one that overcomes our failure.
What will I do while I'm at Boyce? I don't know; but if I fail, I'll trust that my faith will not. Jesus is praying for me, after all :) posted by Bolo | 5:10 PM
Manna One morning last week, as I was rushing out of the house to make it to my 8 am Interpreting Hebrews class, I thought to myself, "dangit! I'm all out of folder paper! I'll have to remember to borrow some folder paper from someone in class." I grabbed my phone, my wallet, and my keys, then proceeded out the door while trying to calculate how much time I had to make it through Jeffersonville's residential area, onto I65 South, over the JFK bridge, onto I64 East, and then on to campus. Imagine my surprise, then, at what I find lying near my car: a slew of loose leaf folder paper, strewn rather haphazardly across the road. No one being around to claim it, I promptly said to myself, "praise Jesus! Manna from heaven!"
The Lord provideth, indeed :) posted by Bolo | 11:43 AM
Water I told this analogy to Andrew Saturday night...it was one of those things that popped into my head in a manner explained by Einstein's Eureka Phenomenon. Anyway, the analogy goes like this. The way God uses me reminds me of having a cup of thick, dirty, murky water. Imagine getting a cup, dipping it into the Ohio River, and drinking it. Yeah, nasty, right? Well, I can see the cup in front of me, and it's repulsive. God tells me that no matter how much clean I wish the water in my cup would be, it's still nasty. BUT, He also tells me to take my cup, and pour my water into someone else's. I tell God, "uhhh, you want me to pour this FILTH into someone else's cup?" He responds affirmatively, of course, so I start to pour. The amazing thing? As I tip over my cup, the water coming out is crystal clear, clean, pure, and refreshing. So it is with our lives. God uses us in spite of us. How I speak life into another human is beyond me, what with the filth and garbage I know exists in my heart, yet He does an amazing work through me. That He allows me to see Him and enjoy Him working? Even more amazing :) posted by Bolo | 11:56 PM
Focus, Fall '04 Last night, Boyce held the first Focus, the once-a-semester night of prayer and fasting, for the 2004 - 2005 school year. In some ways, I think I was a little disappointed, and perhaps even a little distracted by the lack of students there. Many of those I thought would be there simply weren't, and many others left to engage in activities that weren't so...well...well-focused.
Perhaps I'm still bummed out by the lack of turnout...it bugs me for some reason. Don't get me wrong, it's not that Jesus wasn't savored; it's just that something like Focus is what sets Boyce apart as a college, and to see an opportunity like that tossed aside or not even considered by so many students is disheartening. Those who were there, I believe, were led to enjoy Jesus. But I don't think I would be alone in my misgivings about the lack of our fellow students.
Several weeks ago, I reflected on our student leadership retreat, and the love for one another that was so tangible. I reflected on how we had gathered to gaze upon the Lord together, and how that gazing was made sweeter by our being together. That's what was missing last night; Jesus was still sweet, but I missed having some of my fellow ministers of the gospel there with me. It was the corporate aspect of worship that was difficult for me really savor, and for that, I hunger. It is not wrong that I should desire that; God designed us for fellowship, and for worship with our brethren. Many of the psalms were meant to be sung aloud, and were written so as to be sung to one another. *Sigh*...I think that's what I missed last night.
Still, I'm grateful for those that were there. God moved our hearts to engage with Him, and as Scott reminded us at Focus last Spring, the prayers of a righteous man avail much. posted by Bolo | 1:19 PM
Cafeteria Fun Ok. So a bunch of us were sitting in the middle of the cafeteria the other day having lunch...Lindsay, Jessica, Brandon, Bruce, Ashley, Aaron, Sarah, Amy, and myself. One of the seminary students, Chris Spires, was walking near the cashier when he casually glanced into the room to see who was eating. He catches the eye of one of the males (we'll call him "X") sitting at our table (I won't say it was me, but I won't say it wasn't), and the two exchange the standard wave for two friends seeing each other across a cafeteria. Upon seeing Chris wave toward X, who is sitting across from her at the table, Lindsay sighs audibly and says, "there goes the man of my dreams...every time I see him, I just go 'huuuuuuuhhhhh'". X goes, "you want me to go get him for you?" To which Lindsay replies, "nooooo!" So of course X gets up and sprints out the cafeteria door, calling Chris back. When Chris gets back, he asks me, I mean X, what was up. X tells Chris that since they hadn't talked in a while, X thinks Chris should come back to the table and talk for a bit so they can catch up.
Now back at the table, Lindsay was sitting directly across from X, and to Lindsay's right was Sarah, and to Sarah's right now sat Chris. Lindsay looks at X and is mouthing, "I'm going to kill you!!!" while Lindsay's friends Jessica and Ashley are laughing rather hysterically at the whole predicament. Jessica gives me, I mean X, a high-five, all while Chris chats amiably with Sarah and Amy, who's sitting to X's left.
Now, did X stop there? No sirree Billy Joe Bob! After Chris leaves, another seminary friend of X's, Jason, comes to sit at the table. As it slips out that there's been a little incident at Lindsay's expense, X asks Lindsay if she would mind if Jason was brought up to speed on the happenings with the other seminary dude. After Lindsay says "noooo," Jason says, "well of course you're going to have to tell me now!" X reassures Lindsay by saying, "don't worry, I won't say his name." Jessica stage whispers to Jason, "he's Stephen Cannon's roommate!" Jason goes, "oh, Chris!" Lindsay proceeds to bury her face into her hands in hopes of finding a remedy for her embarassment. After Jason is told the tale, Jessica chimes in and says, "while Chris was here, I should've said something like, 'oh Lindsay, you were right, he does have pretty eyes!'" Jason asks us, "would you like me to tell Chris that?" Lindsay proceeded to continue her search for a cure for embarassment in the palms of her hands :) posted by Bolo | 1:20 PM
Tension Bleh. Sick. Tired...a little sneezy...itchy throat...bleh.
Other than that, life is not too bad. Chapel featured Dick Lincoln as our guest preacher for the day. He preached on John 1:14, emphasizing that "the Word became flesh." He highlighted the tension between the spiritual and fleshly aspects of our lives, with the main point being that since Christ Himself has dealt with that tension in the most perfect way imaginable, we can and ought to look to Him for guidance.
It's not a new idea, but it is one that I often struggle with. As I sat there today, I wondered how well I deal with this tension. Do I, in my attempts at being spiritually mature, lean "too much" upon the Spirit, and not actively participate in the world that I live in, despite the fact that I am an "alien" and "sojourner" in this land? Or do I live in such a way that I am so caught up in the tangible aspects of life, the humdrum of the daily grind, that I neglect the beauty and majesty of God?
I think that Mr. Lincoln's point was this. Jesus Christ, in obedience to the Father, chose to do His ministry *here*, in *human flesh*. Nothing else would suit His work. He did not neglect the spiritual matters, and He did not in any way diminish the glory of God by doing so; rather, He trusted that His obedient work would magnify the glory of God amongst mankind in a way that could not be done otherwise.
Wow. posted by Bolo | 6:47 PM
Random Matters... Random matters for today...
I spent over an hour waiting at the Indiana BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) to get my car temporarily registered. Yes, I have a car now :) Dr. & Mrs. David Parks kindly gave to me their '90 Camry, since they were preparing to leave to go overseas. Anyway, the BMV was quite an experience, and I'll have to go back on Tuesday after I get the emissions test done tomorrow.
We had our first "real" Howdy Group meeting of the semester last night, and I think it went really well. Even though Jessica (my co-leader) wasn't there, it seemed like we had a bunch of people who wanted to be there, and I think everyone will continue to come out each week. For that, I'm grateful. The Howdy Groups have been something that the Powers That Be at Boyce have poured a lot into, and I believe that if Jessica and I do our part well, we'll be more than satisfied with the fruit of our labors.
Time to eat! posted by Bolo | 7:05 PM
I am 16 going on 17... A couple of weeks ago, my good buddy Brian turned 27. Years. Old. A couple of days ago on the 1st of September, Andrew joined him at that rather...oh...stupendous mark :) As of yesterday, September 2, Scott turned 21. It's still rather strange to me that some of my closest friends should be so varied in age. The ages themselves don't sound odd; it's when Scott tells me that he was born in 1983 that I kinda sorta maybe get the heebee jeebees. Why? Malia was born in 1983, and the thought that one of my closest friends is less than a month older than my baby sister is a sign of my age. I'm getting to that point in life where age becomes less and less of a factor in how I relate to people.
Do you remember how, when you were younger, you always said, "One Day, when I get older..."? For me, I've begun to hear the gong that's telling me, "One Day has arrived, buddy."
Older age isn't so bad. People think I'm more sophisticated and cultured. I think I've just learned to cover my dorkiness with a little more skill. People think I've gained a dignified and gentlemanly carriage. I think it's my bad back and sore hamstrings that make me walk more slowly. People think I can articulate my thoughts with elegance and eloquence. I think I'm just becoming more and more like my dad...*sigh*...it's inevitable :)
All this to say a big Happy Birthday to Brian, Andrew, and Scott :) posted by Bolo | 12:17 AM