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



Do you know what irks me? Today, the list is a rather terse one. There's really only one item on the list: the frustration of writing a rather lengthy blog post (1300 words or more), sending it in via email from work, and then having it not show up for reasons that only the cyberspace gods truly comprehend.

Yup. That's the only thing that irks me today. This is despite the fact that my car broke down again for the second time in four days (first battery, now the alternator), I'm running on short sleep again because I've been trying to get this car situation squared away, and I have oodles of studying and other work to get done. odd that out of all the things happening today, the lost post should be the one thing that gets on my nerves. Perhaps because it's the lack of control I have over that situation. I mean, I can have the car fixed, I can get my studying done (that's what coffee is for....mmm...good coffee, strong coffee...mmmm), and I can still make my ambassador calls today. Yet it's the possibility that my lengthy post is utterly, undeniably, unforgivingly lost that irks me. The finality of the situation is rather disconcerting to me. The fact that I'm still writing must say something about my state of mind; the fact that you're still reading this must say something about your state of mind ;)

posted by Bolo | 2:40 PM
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Exhausted. Spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally. That's how I describe myself right now to people. It's pretty harsh...why I'm even writing this post, I'm not exactly sure ;) I suppose it's because it's something that's in my nature. I sat at work today and journaled a good bit...almost a whole page, which is a LOT. Believe me. But still, there's a lot of thinking that needs to get out, a lot of thought process that needs to be processed. I don't think it'll be done tonight, though. I'm still supposed to write that post on satisfaction and seeking God's face.

Another post that can be added to The List of Future Posts concerns the tracking of Paul's view of himself in light of his own sinful nature, as seen chronologically through his letters. (Did that sentence make sense? I hope so. If not...oh well. Read it'll make you feel like you're reading Paul's letters!) What I mean by that is that Paul states he is first a "wretched man" in Romans, then the "least of all saints" in Philippians, then "foremost of all sinners" in 1 Timothy. The point in looking at this chronologically is that Paul sees himself in a less and less favorable light the more he gazes into the Light. Crazy stuff...more later...I promise. Once I get some sleep, I can actually think through this and write something with coherence.

I talked to Kev earlier today; he helped me get through the home stretch of my 12 hour shift. Too bad I can't remember what we talked about right now...I'm sure it was relatively deep :) For some reason, I don't think he would be able to remember, either ;) That's Kev for you!

Scott and I worked out together for the first time since...oh...last semester. He'll probably read this post sometime within the next 24 hours, so I won't write anything entirely horrible just yet. It was a good workout, though. My chest and arms are DEAD. Well, not quite as dead as my brain, but DEAD nevertheless. Ugh. How I managed to get through that workout and still feel like I was pushing a decent amount of weight, I simply don't know. It was grace, pure grace.

Oh, this one definitely gets marked down as one of those random "cool happenings." Last night I crossed over all boundaries between Boyce and Southern Seminary, and I was invited to a Seminary person's birthday party. Whoa! 99% of Boyce guys wouldn't even garner an invitation, but I got one, and became "best friends" with Jenna ("best friends" was her description) for about half an hour. It was Raleigh's birthday, by the way. The old man is 26, so he's got a year on me, but I was still older than most of the people at the party. Where's Kev and Andrew and Boss when you need 'em?

posted by Bolo | 8:37 PM
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He's like his daddy

*Sigh*...I miss the little dude. Kason was 2 the last time I saw him. He turns 4 in less than a month :/

posted by Bolo | 8:31 PM
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Six-ten again

The $610? Refundable. The fine print on the tickets said so. It dawned on Ray to check last night at around the sixth inning. The bummer thing is that they gotta send the tickets back in, so they don't get to frame them or anything. Kinko's man, Kinko's.

I was on my way back to school last night when my car decided it didn't want to work anymore. Bummer. It just needed a new battery, which wasn't too horrible a demand. Mon came and took me to Wal-Mart so I could fork over the cash for a new overweight black box to put under the hood, and we had "quality time" together. We've both been super busy this semester. We usually see each other in chapel, share a wave across the pews, and that's it. That's kind of sad, since she's one of the few people I can talk pidgin with that doesn't make me feel weird. It's a good thing she's makes things easier on both of us, I think. I think she'd say the same, despite the fact that she rolls her eyes at me every time I'm around :)

I'm in Blind Brandon's room right now, typing this entry on his 'puter. Scott's on his couch, laptop in lap, head leaned back, studying the inside of his eyelids. I'm tempted to do the same before my Howdy Group gathering in half an hour. You know what? I think I'll do just that. 'Night for now :)

posted by Bolo | 6:37 PM
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The Staredown

Ever seen Zoolander? This pic, taken by Miss Emily Cavanaugh after The Big Show on Saturday night, reminds me of it. Biggz and me caught in The Staredown...I love it :) Even better, though, was the fact that Biggz declared Saturday to be National John Letoto day. Why? 'Cause he was dressed in my honor. After all, he did look pretty pimpin' in the gray and pink :)

posted by Bolo | 1:19 AM
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$610. That's how much Ray and Nick each paid for their non-refundable ticket to a World Series game this year. One game. They're both from Boston fans, both going nuts during the ALCS against the Yankees, both ecstatic that the Bosox did the impossible against the Yanks. The one problem?

Their tickets were for Game 5, and the Bosox just won the Series in Game 4.

They won't be going to the World Series to see their beloved Red Sox play. Talk about bittersweet.

posted by Bolo | 11:59 PM
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I drove Jessica Bailey back to Mullins last night after Dorm Meeting. She still had that pumpkin pie she'd saved for me, and she more than came through on her end. The pie was excellent with some ice cream :) Prior to driving her back and obtaining the pumpkin pie, in the moments just after Dorm Meeting Cassie came up to me and handed me a box. Contained within the box? Doughnuts...about six or so leftover doughnuts from Founder's. They coat The Warm and Fuzzy Spot when heated enough to melt the glaze a little :) Earlier in the day, I'd gotten one of those little red cards in my mailbox indicating that I had a package waiting for me at the post office window. The contents of the package? Cookies from Jewel. Those cookies were...ahhh...heavenly...I even managed to share a little. Imagine that!

Wow. Talk about manna from heaven :) The Lord does ineed provide!

Scott wanted to roll out to McDonald's to get a cone tonight, about an hour before the midnight curfew. When someone else asked if they could come along, Scott said "sorry, this is Scott and Toto time." Well put :) Though he wasn't the first to call me Toto, he can claim credit for popularizing it. The ride out to McDonald's was good...simple, uncomplicated. Happy times for happy guys. It's another way the Lord provides :)

Earlier tonight I chilled at Java with Bailey. She has a few papers to write, and I needed to start working on a message for tomorrow night's youth group at church. She's good for that...we can sit and talk...she's one of the few girls here I can let my proverbial hair down in front of :) I was kind of bummed for her when we left Java, though. Just before we were going to leave, her laptop shut down on her, and she hadn't saved her work. DOH. Big, BIG, BIG DOH! She looked like she was ready to cry. I hate that look. Guys feel like jerks when that happens, even if we had absolutely nothing to do with it. Well, we should have absolutely nothing to do with it. When we do have something to do with it, and we don't feel like jerks, we should have other guys come and beat us down for a bit. Anyway, she looked like she wasn't in very good shape, and I hate it when that happens. Doh!

Here's what I've got brewing in my head. It's a little too late to expound on these, but I'll put them down here so as to keep myself accountable to writing another post with fully developed thoughts.

First, satisfaction in the Lord. At last night's Dorm Meeting, we sang often about "one thing" being thing. That one thing was the Lord Himself, or in other cases, being in His presence. Really though, they're the same desire, for when we speak of seeking "one thing," we speak of being satisfied only in the Lord. I told Scott tonight that I can hear John Piper's voice echoing in my head..."satisfy me, O God, satisfy me! Satisfy me! Satisfy me!"

Second, Psalm 27:8. Check out what David says:

When You said, "Seek My face," my heart said to You,

"Your face, O LORD, I shall seek."

When you look at that command from the Lord to David, it seems harmless enough. If anything, it seems something a good thing! Yet, remember what the Lord tells Moses in Exodus 33: "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!" Whoa. Almost a death command! If that's not enough, look again at 2 Corinthians 4 where Paul writes, "For God, who said, 'Light shall shine out of darkness,' is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." We see God's glory revealed in what? The face of Christ. When discussing this with Scott, he mentioned it might be worthwhile to also look at the various meanings and connotations the word "face" carried.

More on these tomorrow.

posted by Bolo | 11:56 PM
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Mento Boy

Oh, the confusing and complex and constipated Kevin Mikami :) He now has his own blog (you're supposed to click on that little link...feel free to do so at any time)...perhaps that means our conversations won't be quite so long. On the other hand, perhaps that means they'll be even longer. Oh my.

By the way. For those of the caucasian persuasion who have no idea what the phrase "mento boy" means, here's a quick translation: "mento" is equivalent to "mental" which is short for "mentally retarded," while "boy" is equivalent to "boy." Make sense? Good. In Hawai'i, this is not a term that's used to deride those who are mentally handicapped, but rather is used in a somewhat similar nature to saying to put someone has cooties. Wow. That was a far longer explanation than I had intended. Kind of like my conversations with Kev ;)

posted by Bolo | 6:57 AM
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Andrew and I now have a little bit of a tradition going. I call him Saturday, and he asks me if I'm working, and I affirm that I am. He then tells me he'll try to call back later, and then only ends up calling back one fourth of the time. I'll call again Sunday, and either leave him a message or manage to catch him in the midst of eating...that's my boy! (Sometimes, the meal is free...even better! He makes me so proud!) Anyway, he calls back late Sunday night/early Monday morning (really early Monday morning for him, sometimes), and we catch up while I finish up the dregs of my second twelve-hour shift in thirty-six hours. Life is good like that. The friends I'm closest to will always be the friends I'm closest to. He and Brian have both been in a different country, and we've managed to keep in close contact. I've come into what seems another country (Kentucky/Indiana), and we've managed to become closer than ever. When Andrew visited for three weeks in January, those weeks provided some of the most memorable moments of our not-as-young-as-we-used-to-be lives.

It seemed like once upon a time, we would conquer the world together. We were in Youth Ministry; what could be more grand? We were young, we had tans, and we were aspiring Bachelors to the Rapture! Now we' least he still has his tan ;) Now, life is still grand, but in a different way. We've realized some things along the way, things that are vastly different than what we saw in ourselves even in January. The Five Year Plan is still somewhat on track, but it's seen the light of some different possibilities and some precious lessons. The Talks at the Kitchen Table no longer seem to have had the import that they once did, but they still serve to make us realize how faithful the Lord has been in bestowing upon us a friendship that has transcended time and distance.

As we talked together just a few hours ago, I trying desperately to stay awake at work, he trying not so desperately to do the same while lying down in a dark room at home, I was amazed at how far our friendship has come. It's seen the light of many days bright and fair, and the clouds of storms warning us to take care. We've prayed together, eaten together, sat together, eaten together, surfed together, eaten together, laughed together, eaten together, talked about the Korean Woman Theory and the Time Theory together, and laughed about people like Amber Tu together. Did I mention we've eaten together? In doing all those things over the years, it's easy to forget some of the best memories. Hopefully, I can remember a few that I've forgotten.

There was the time we were coming back from Camp Malaekahana, where we'd had a youth retreat, and Andrew was driving Snuffy, his brown Toyota van. Snuffy was stuffed with all the sound equipment and more, and was weighed down unlike ever before. The road out from Hale'iwa was a long, windy road uphill, and I remember looking at the speedomoter and seeing that we were going just 30 mph on that single-lane road, despite the fact that he had the pedal to the metal. The funny thing is, I looked back and saw a whole line of cars behind us, forced to crawl at the same pace. We just looked at each other and laughed :)

Then there was that time at Camp Erdman...I forget how long ago...I wasn't even supposed to be there, really, but I had somehow gotten cajoled into staying for the weekend and helping. That's what happens when your oldest sister is administrator for the camp and you're her brother who used to be in youth ministry with everyone else. Anyway, I remember praying with Andrew one night in particular. Our hearts were both very heavy. We had observed a sort of tenseness in the overall spirit of the camp, one that we couldn't quite pinpoint. A lot of the kids didn't want to be there; those that did were holding back something, it seemed. We prayed for quite some time, then finally went to bed. I remember I wrote him a note before I left to pick up Rife that morning from the airport (that reminds me...I gotta track down Rife and catch up with that monkey...), and when I got back, it seemed like God had already been at work through the camp. That whole weekend was crazy; I wasn't supposed to be there, but as Andrew and I reflected on it, we realized that God had used me in so many ways I wasn't expecting. So much for not being in youth ministry...

I remember all the times his face would light up when he'd say, "hey, I wrote another song...would you like to hear it?" Those times are some of my favorite times with Andrew...listening to him sing a new song he wrote, or us singing one we both knew. I don't think times like those will change, but it's hard for him to play and sing over the phone...especially when he's lying down and about to fall asleep ;)

posted by Bolo | 7:47 AM
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Da 'Bucks

The one and only 'Bucks at Ward, my home away from home. Boss is holding down the fort while I'm away :) He took the pic...thanks, Boss!

posted by Bolo | 5:20 PM
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Thinking and Pumpkin Pie

Some of my friends claim that I think too much. Perhaps it's true. Sitting outside of Ward Starbucks, some acquaintances of mine would often ask Boss if I was "ok." He'd tell them, "oh yeah...he's just thinking. He'll talk again when he's ready." I miss Boss. He understood that. Sometimes, I just need friends who don't need to say anything. Well, not that Boss wouldn't say anything; quite the contrary ;) It's just that we could sit for hours on end and not feel the need to talk. That's a good thing, if you ask me. Same with Andrew. We could just sit and talk. *Sigh*...I miss those guys...I miss cruising out to Da Country with them. That's a good thing to do. Soon, hopefully, soon.

Andrew told me last night (actually, early this morning) some news that made me smile really, really large. Problem is, I can't share it here. Hehe. Life is like that, sometimes. Oh'll be something I pray about and think about and hope about for the next several months. I'll implore the Lord to remember how weak and frail the two of us are...hopefullly, the Lord will listen to my pathetic pleas ;)

I stopped in at Barnes & Noble on Hurstbourne the other night. Royce had called before I left Indy, and he had asked me to come down to meet with him and a couple of friends. So I go down there, and after a while of chillin' with him and Chriyus and Rachel, a few other folks from school walk in. One of them is Chris Bond. Bond gets a phone call from Jessica Bailey, and since Jessica Bailey had promised to save me some of the pumpkin pie she'd made the night before, I grab the phone from Bond and say, "where's my pumpkin pie?!?!?!?!" Nevermind that Josh had just proposed to Bailey, nevermind that Bailey was quite happy and that I fall into the rare category of being the one guy that she turns to for advice (like clothes and what to do with Josh) normally reserved for just her girlfriends, nevermind that I already knew they were engaged and should have offered congratulatory remarks; I still asked for the pumpkin pie ;)

posted by Bolo | 4:40 PM
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Bite your tongue!

Boots & Kimo's. It's a little hole in the wall in Kailua that serves only breakfast. They're known for their Macadamia Nut Pancake Sauce, a rich concoction that defines then defies all laws of how much butter and cream can be consumed by a single human in a single sitting. It's been nearly a year and a half since I've partaken of their prodigious meals in joyous fast-breaking, and it'll be a while longer since I partake of them again. Armed with that knowledge, my brother decided to inform me of something. He let me know that he was on his way to Boots & Kimo's.

Jerk. I love Leonard, but I hope he bit his tongue or something today ;)

On a note of lesser jealousy, Boyce will be putting on The Big Show in about an hour from now. I'll be working behind the stage, helping Mr. Scott O'Neal and Company by ensuring that all runs smoothly. It should be hot stuff...last year's was grand, and this year's promises to be even more grandiose. Now...if I can only decide which outfit to wear... ;)

posted by Bolo | 6:15 PM
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The word "sacrifice" will connote, more often than not, the idea of giving something up. Because of this, I had rather mechanically applied this usage to Psalm 51:17 where it reads, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise." If I look at the word "sacrifices" and apply that usage here, I can come up with the notion that a broken spirit and contrite heart are things that I give to God as gifts, things that I conjure up and present to Him as if to give Him something He were lacking.

How wrong I would be.

In order to gain a firm hold upon the term "sacrifices" as it is used here, we must look at the context we're working with. The immediate context takes us to the life of the Psalmist, David. It's Psalm 51, the infamous psalm he wrote after his horrible adulterous sin with Bathsheba and his confrontation with Nathan the prophet. David is penitent, crying out to the Lord for forgiveness. He realizes that His sin is, ultimately, only against the Lord. He acknowledges that this is due to God's holy and just and righteous nature, yet is asking for mercy according to God's compassionate and gracious nature. He asks for the Lord not to cast him away from His presence, and even more, for deliverance from his "bloodguiltiness." David goes on to say that God does "not delight in sacrifice," otherwise David would give it. Hmmm.

Look now at the larger context: the Old Testament. Some of the major events in Israel's history included the calling of and promises to Abraham, the Exodus from Egypt, the giving of the Law and the commandments, the crossing of the Jordan into the Promised Land, the period of the Judges, and then the beginning of the Monarchial period. Throughout these periods and events, the idea of sacrifice is one that hammers home a twofold truth. The first aspect of this is the atonement and mediation that the priests would need to make for Israel and for themselves through the sacrifices. The sin of the people was so heinous in the Lord's sight that He gave them the Law and the commandments to show them that they could never truly be right with Him. Futher still, the sacrifices they brought served as a means by which the people would be reminded that the Lord is holy, and as such there is a sacrifice required to appease Him in light of the offensive sinful creatures that we are. The second aspect is the idea that as creatures that are dependent upon the Lord for everything yet blinded to that stark reality by our sinful natures, we are ever so prone to forgetting that the Lord is the one to whom we look and depend upon for all our lives. Sacrifice, as defined by the Old Testament practices, was not intended to add to anything the Lord would do or already had. Indeed, the Lord tells Job, "Who has given to Me that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine."

The truth of the sacrifice the Lord desires comes from me comes into sweet fruition when I realize that the broken spirit and contrite hear that David spoke of is the state of spirit and heart that the Lord desired to get Israel to all along. The sacrifices were meant to show our utter inability to ever truly appease Him and to remind us of our frailty and desperate need for His provision. This is backed up by David's statement in verse 16: "For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering." Why would David claim that the Lord does not desire sacrifice, then in the following verse immediately speak of what the Lord's sacrifices truly are? He's making a point, one that we would be wise to heed. A broken spirit is one that has come to its end, and has no hope in anything that it alone can do or produce. A contrite spirit is one that is grieving over its sin, over the horrors it has rendered to the Lord. The sacrifices of blood are not enough! The only thing that would appease the Lord is our own blood, but He loves us and His compassion is aroused by His desire to glorify Himself as He pleases in our lives! So instead, He wraps up His own glory in our redemption by shedding the blood of Christ. Therefore, as David prays in verse 14, the Lord does indeed deliver him and us from our bloodguiltiness by the atoning work of Christ upon the cross.

David tells the Lord that He will not despise a broken spirit and a contrite heart. How great a God we have! How compassionate, that He will not beak a bruised reed, nor will He extinguish a dimly burning wick. How often have I felt bruised and battered, ever so close to the breaking point? How often have I felt to be that dimly burning wick, with no light of Christ shining forth from within me? How comforting to know that that is the sacrifice that the Lord desires! How sweet to know that I can relish that worn down frame, for the Lord does not despise such a sacrifice! No, that is precisely what He does desire :)

posted by Bolo | 10:55 AM
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It's been a while since I've supplied the world with some links of interest. Thus, at nearly 2 on a Saturday morning, I give all my gentle readers...Linkage.

Go figure...8, that is.

I love Wired Magazine. That's no secret, really. But sometimes, they get it all wrong.

On a counterpoint of sorts, Southern Seminary has some cool news. Huge news, actually.

At the very least, this is amusing.

...very, very disturbing.

Google Destop search!!! WOOHOO! Check out the press release. Or, go straight to it. Now. Go!

posted by Bolo | 1:43 AM
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Cherish, Nourish, Listen

As I was driving back from Indianapolis today, a word popped into my head: listen. Listen. It seems like it's been a while since I've listened, I mean really listened, to the Lord. Sometimes my days go by so quickly, I don't really feel like I've stopped at all in the realization that I'm His child, a child who can listen to his Father. Listening is one of those things's hard. It requires being silent in my heart.

Easier said than done!

My head and my heart go at full speed all day long. Inside is turmoil, more often than not. My face may seem calm and detached, but inside is anything but! It seems like I'm constantly moving from one thing to the next, and when the Lord tells me that He needs to speak with me for a while, I tell Him I'm too busy serving Him to spend time with Him.

What a horrible sin! And yes, sin it is. *Sigh*...that's a tough thought to ponder, but I must do so. Hopefully, this next bit will counterbalance my melancholy mood :)

"For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body." Ephesians 5:29 and

Cherish. That word is so very powerful. Cherish! Christ cherishes me! Why? How? In order to understand this, we must go back several verses. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless." Christ gave Himself up for the church, He sanctifies her, He longs to present her in glory, spotsless and blameless. Yes, He cherishes me.

But do I truly understand this? Do I truly understand that Christ also nourishes me? Hardly...hardly. I rely upon myself, and I do not stop to listen to the Lord who knows my every weakness, every struggle, every failure. *Sigh*'s a good thing that He's the one who cherishes and nourishes me, because I know that my capacity to cherish Him is horribly weak. I think, though, that that's the whole point of Jesus' death; we cannot do that which He does for us!

On another note, Indy was great today. I got free coffee at Starbucks from Jewel :) She'll kill me for writing that and only that about my trip up there..."you wrote that you got FREE COFFEE!?!?!?!" Gotta have a little bit of an edge to me, you know? :)

posted by Bolo | 11:47 PM
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Tonight Rob told me, "my soul just wants to be free from this flesh!"

Amen, brother, amen.

I told him that it's sickening; we become so numb to the pleasures of the world, we don't even know what we're missing. I was reading in Deuteronomy 7 earlier today where God is telling the Israelites that they shall "utterly destroy" the enemies that God defeats for them. Furthermore, He tells them that they not to intermarry with those who are conquered, and that they are to destroy their pagan places of worship. Why is this? Isn't this rather unloving of God?

Hardly. If we stop there, we miss the point. Heed the words of the Lord in Deuteronomy 7.

"You shall make no covenant with them." We must remember a great degree of the Lord's relationship with Israel was His covenant with them. That's why we describe God's relationship with us as Hiscovenant relationship with His chosen people! The covenant He entered with them was one that required holy living and absolute dedication to and trust in the Lord; anything less simply would not do. The covenants with the other nations that are spoken of here would have brought the Israelites into a position where their covenant with the Lord would have been compromised, and the very nature of God's covenant does not allow for compromise. God demands all of our lives!

"You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you." The intermarriage relations that the Israelites could enter into would simply not be acceptable. The compromise here would be horrendous, and the Lord was making it abundantly clear that they were not to allow their own desires to override what the Lord had called them to be: a holy people, set apart for His purpose.

"But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire." The idolatry that those other nations practiced was an abomination to the Lord. In my mind, I want to question the validity of God's command to the Israelites, I want to find some way to justify the shock in my heart at the fact that God would cause the utter destruction of a nation. Yet, I must realize that if I view it from my own perspective, if I assume that I can come to the Lord and demand that He be kind to those who have infinitely offended Him, then I am making presumptions upon my rights as a created being. I am making demands upon the Creator, the One who has every right to do as He pleases. "My God is in the heavens, He does whatever He pleases." Yes, He does! But does the Lord stop there? Does the Lord stop at simply destorying those who make a mockery of His holy nature? Nope.

The Lord goes on to describe His actions toward Israel, saying, "for you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments; but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face. Therefore, you shall keep the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which I am commanding you today, to do them." *Sigh* easily we forget the Lord's actions toward us. How easily we forget that the Lord has absolutely no obligation to act in kindness toward us, and that we have absolutely no claim upon His kindness other than the fact that He has promised it. The very reasons the Lord commanded Israel to undertake those actions were that they might know the Lord better, that their hearts might see and taste and know that the Lord is good! If we, in our sinful state, allow any sort of compromise to enter our lives, we're done for. The Lord knows this very well; that was the reason He warned Israel time and time again. To ignore the warnings of the Lord in our lives is to deny the horrible essence of sin and turn away from the gracious work of Christ on the cross. I pray I do not; I pray that I, as the Lord commanded His holy nation so long ago, undertake to root out any compromise with the world, that I might live to know Him more.

posted by Bolo | 11:38 PM
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I first remember meeting Gary when I was...oh...barely thirteen? It was November of ' yeah, I was thirteen. My first impression of Gary is pretty fuzzy in my mind right now, probably because it's been so long since I've thought about Gary along the lines of that first impression. Chinese Geek. Nerd. Not just any nerd, but one of those nerds who watched Star Trek 'cause he thought it was cool. Yeah, one of those nerds.

As I got to know Gary over the years, I realized the Card-Carrying Geek/Nerd exterior was just that, an exterior. In a way, it wasn't so much me getting to know Gary as much as it was Gary getting to know me. In fact, it probably was more like Gary learned how to put up with me :) He was a solid presence on Sunday mornings, always doing whatever he could to serve, always prompt and reliable. Though he would (and still does) remember every single person who came through our church's doors for the first decade or so of our existence, that isn't what I think of when I think of Gary.

When I truly want to think of my defining Gary Lau memory, I have to go back to the Spring of 2000. Gary had taken a bunch of us under his wing and was taking us through Dr. Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology. Our group consisted of a bunch of young bucks...we were all in our early twenties back then, or close to, Andrew, Jeff, Carla, Jenn, Aya, Amber...was Renee in there, too? Perhaps, but I don't remember right now. Shame on me :) Anyway, on with the story. We would meet each week at the Lau household, furiously trying to study on the way over while realizing the futility and idiocy of our undisciplined lifestyles had led to our conundrums. Andrew and I now laugh at the perceived difficulty of our weekly reading and memorization assignments, wondering how in the world Gary ever put up with us :) We'd eat dinner together, then gather to go over the material for the week. We'd be randomly quizzed, boys versus girls, and since the girls had Carla, always the studious one in the group, we boys felt we had to concentrate the brunt of our prayer efforts against her memory.

I think God smiled at our prayers and said, "next!"

Our group was planning a retreat to the Big Island that May (I think it was May...pretty sure it was.) It was during the planning stages before the trip that we all got one of the most important lessons Gary would ever teach us. Our church had a prayer retreat at the local YMCA in Kane'ohe, and Pastor Mark gathered those of us there from the group during the free time that first night. He proceeded to tell us of Gary's decision, after seeking the Lord through counsel and prayer, to pull back from his ministerial duties for the next season of life in order to heal from some things that had gone on. I remember feeling crushed. Gary's teaching meant more to me than what Grudem's book offered. Gary would smile at us as we struggled through doctrine, wrestling in our own fledgling ways with what God was really saying about Himself in His Word. He would chide us and correct us when we needed it, yet in a heartbeat he would stop a lesson and have us pray together if he sense the Lord leading in that direction. Gary was great at seizing hold of teachable moments. Gary not teach us? I was crushed.

In so many ways, though, that was Gary's biggest and best lesson. He showed me what it truly meant to walk in godliness. When push came to shove, Gary made the choice to submit to the authority of the Church and the counsel of his pastor and honor the Lord rather than give in to his own desires. He embraced what he at first perhaps didn't want in order to walk in faithful obedience to the Lord. I remember thinking as Pastor Mark told us of Gary's decision that Gary was doing the right thing, that he was doing what he needed to do. I remember thinking that I needed to remember Gary's actions and learn from them; that was to be the most important lesson Gary would ever teach me.

One thing that lesson did was it gave me a lense through which I could look at the rest of Gary's life. All of his actions, from the time I had met him, were now brought into stark relief; I saw why he did what he did, why he did what he did in the manner he did it, and how he did what he did. I saw the Lord proclaiming His own name throughout Gary's life, from the very beginning of our friendship to the present. I see that Gary's pulling back from ministry was not something that foolish to him, for he saw the Lord in it the whole way. I see that his teaching of that fledgling group of young Christians was a joy and a privilege for him, because he saw past our inept study habits and into the young men and women of God that we were being molded into. I see that his battle with cancer over the past year has been one of tender submission to the Father despite the seemingly endless tears and pain. Through it all, Gary is still teaching me. I tell that to him whenever I can, but it's not enough. When I think of Gary Lau, I think of a teacher. Yet, the reason Gary's so effective in his teaching is that he himself is teachable. His heart cannot help but show that to his students, and if they're smart, they'll realize that his teachings hold water precisely because Gary cares so much about what he's learned and what he's teaching.

I do miss Gary. I miss eating with him...I miss talking to him. It's hard for him to talk right now, but I understand. I miss hearing his laugh, always hearty and genuine. I miss hearing him call me on Sunday mornings and leaving a voicemail, just to tell me that I was late for service yet again, and that he looked forward to seeing me. I miss having him sit both Andrew and me down, both of us with issues on our minds. I think it blesses him to look at our lives now...that's what makes missing him bearable. He knows I'm where I need to be, and he loves that I'm where he'd love to be. *Sigh*...yes, Gary's the teacher, one I listen to. But do you know why I listen to Gary? I listen to Gary because he listens to the Lord.

posted by Bolo | 10:13 PM
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In Touch

Julie recently asked me this question: "Why do you still keep in touch with me?" It's a legitamate question, but one that caught me somewhat off-guard. Yet, it's Julie, so...well...not entirely out of character. She may even feel uncomfortable that I'm writing about her question on my blog...then again, maybe not...but she may wonder who else is reading this and now has a little bit of insight into her friendship with me. Oh well. Such is the price of being my friend: you get written about ;)

To answer Julie's question, I think I have to go back quite a ways. Oh my goodness, this pineapple is good! Sorry, I'm eating as I write, and WOOHOO this pineapple hits the spot! No, wait, it doesn't hit the spot; it coats it. No, wait, it saturates it. Mmmmmm! Reminds me of home :) Sorry, back to Julie. I've known Julie for years? Yeah, almost four years. Wow. Has it been that long? Yeah, I think so. WOW.

My first impression of Julie was this: "Can something that small really be a Sophomore in High School?" My second impression: "Whoa, little girl's got an attitude!"

Fortunately, Julie would show me a lot of her true attitude in the years to come, and I would always come away impressed. She wouldn't think I had any reason to be, but I didn't care then, and I don't care now. She struck me as a person who cared deeply, yet had a difficult time coming to terms with how she could best show her care. She was refreshingly real in an environment that was difficult to be real in. I remember asking her how she was doing, and she'd sometimes ask me if I really wanted to know or if I was just asking. *Sigh*...all those kids in that youth group did that, it seemed. They didn't think I really wanted to know what was going on in their lives. Only Garcia really caught on that I meant it when I asked it. Speaking of Garcia, I gotta call that guy...or he needs to call me...(hint hint). Anyway, I was always grateful for what Julie shared with me. She meant what she said, and she didn't hold anything back when she said it. It was often difficult for her to find the right words, but she always gave me the opportunity to listen. For that, I'm grateful.

She may or may not realize it, but she was at least somewhat instrumental in my moving here to go to school. I realized that the Lord had made me to do certain things in this world, and a large part of that realization process was my interaction with not only Julie, but also the rest of the youth group at FCF. Still, Julie was an integral piece of the FCF youth group picture, and the snapshots in my head will always include her. The January '01 camp at Malaekahana would not have been the same without her; I still remember raising my eyebrows at her comments while she served KP duty :) The reading of her own story at the Christmas service two years ago brought me to tears. I can still hear Andrew trying to convince her that she needed to eat more. I didn't really mind if she didn't eat, so long as she gave me her leftovers ;)

I once told Julie that she replied to my emails slower than Andrew did. That got her on the ball a little more :) I now find that I'm the one who's tardy on a reply, however; hopefully this posting will purchase me a little reprieve from Julie's wrath. *Sigh*...that's one thing that I'm a little puzzled by, frankly. She asked me why I still keep in touch with her; I could ask her the same of me, you know?

posted by Bolo | 11:57 PM
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"For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should be attracted to Him."

In light of my post from yesterday, I found that verse very thought-provoking. The thought that Christ, in His infinite splendor and majesty, should not only become a mere man without "stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him" is one that I cannot properly fathom. His appearance alone ought to be enough to cause us to fall to our knees, either in worshipful awe or terrified horror. Part of the very essence He had as God was the fact that He emanated glory and majesty; His very form was stately! Yet, in donning the sinful flesh of man, He walked upon the earth without His stately form and majesty.

Quite honestly, I sit here dumbfounded.

Jesus Christ was God from all eternity, the Word who created all things for Himself, who did nothing without glory. Yet here Isaiah clearly says that His appearance was such that we should not be attracted to Him. The glory and splendor of Christ is not something one can be impartial to! Yet here we are in Isaiah 53, and Christ is said to be without majesty. The God of all the universe, the Creator, the Word, without majesty. Why?

That's an answer that's often far too easily found upon my lips. I know in my head the answer to that question, along with several others this verse raises. But to what end? Am I shocked at the infinite beauty of Christ that was temporarily dimmed? Am I horrified at the weight of my sin upon His sinless shoulders? Do I consider just how deep a sacrifice it was for the Father, to put His own Son in sinful flesh, knowing and intending full well the unimaginable pain such an act would lead to? The beauty of Christ is not as sweet to my scarred soul unless I first drink deeply of the tear-filled cup my sin has prepared for me, namely, the realization that my sin led to the loss of Christ's stately form and majesty. Forget for a moment that Christ even died upon the cross; the fact that He became in appearance as a man, visible and tangible to us, with a presence that did not strike us dead, is a beautiful mystery in and of itself. It is a mystery that I pass over far too quickly on my way to the cross, forgetting that that truth is an intrinsic part of the beauty of the cross.

So yeah...before I answer that question, I'd like to meditate on it...I think I need to. Perhaps I'll realize that my original answer wasn't really good enough to begin with :)

posted by Bolo | 11:40 PM
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Knobby-knob has a name!

You heard it here first, folks! This is definitely Third-Post-of-the-Day worthy: Little Ben Saigusa has entered the world at approximately 4:15 pm Hawai'i Standard Time and is reportedly almost as tall as his father :) Congratulations to Goose and Michelle...I know they're already doing an excellent job of telling little Ben all about his favorite uncle, Little Brown John.

posted by Bolo | 11:59 PM
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Cherishing Beauty

"The Word of God is only as hard to obey as the beauty of God is hard to cherish."

-John Piper

I find that there are things in life that are hard to let go of...friends, family, familiar places. When viewed in light of the beauty of God's goodness to us, they become the sweetest of memories rather than bitter ones that gnaw at us. I was telling Jewel today about how I deal with the reality that I may never see my home again. She knows how much I miss it; I glowingly talk about it all the time. Brian and Andrew are always very respectful of how much I miss home and are careful not to speak of the latest surf news with too much regularity or fervor, lest it come across as gloating. Yet, they know how much I really do enjoy hearing them talk about it, if only because it reaffirms that my boys are doing what my boys were created to do: enjoying the creation Jesus made for us and watching it over for me until the day I get to enjoy it with them once more.

But that only illustrates the fruit of God's goodness in revealing His beauty to a wretch like me. *Sigh*...if I could only find the words to speak of how beautiful Christ is...if I could only lose all my words, that I might see all the more how beautiful Christ is! Today as I lay in bed, I wept at how amazingly good the Lord has been to me. Though I find within me all the reasons for the wrath God's Word speaks of, I find within Christ and the breathtaking beauty of His cross all the truths that quell my writhing guilt. I lay there and wept from the knowledge that though the Lord blesses me so very abundantly, His blessings are only there to propound to the glory of His name in my life, and if such blessings do not stir me to trust in Him all the more, they become idols that must be destroyed. I lay there and wept, realizing once more that the Lord truly is the Sovereign Maker, Creator, and Lover of my soul. How can I deny Him His desire? How can I not delight in His desire?

To not obey the Lord is to close my eyes to the beauty of my Lord. How can I do such? When I look into His word, I see a sovereign Lord who knows my every pain, my every lonely tear; it is He who yearned over Israel as a husband for His wayward bride, He who stayed Abraham's killing blow to the child of promise only to sacrifice His own Child of Promise, He who wept and bled and begged the Father to take away His cup before even suffering the torture of the cross. On the cross, the Father poured out His terrible wrath upon His own son that I might come to delight in Him. On the cross, Christ was torn from the eternal intimacy with the Father and was made to be sin. On the cross, Christ knew a loneliness and a pain that I will never know. He is not a Lord who is far off, nor is He one that ought to be near. Through the mysterious cross the beauty of God's nature is brought near and made precious to me, who was once an enemy; how can I not cherish His beauty? How can I not be changed by His love? How can I not desire to delight in all things for the sake of seeing and savoring His beauty all the more? As Isaac Watts so rightly put it, "love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all."

I told Jewel that as hard as it was to deal with the possibility of not seeing home ever again, it was the love of God that got me through. Should I truly not ever see it again, it is His love that will get me through. When she asked why He'd do that, I said I didn't know, but that God is God, and I'm not. When dealing with things I love and cherish so desperately, I have to be careful that I love and cherish them for the sake of Christ, lest I love them not at all. It's a beautiful thing that the we can see the Lord's glory in the salty ocean swells; should I not see it in the cold and strange autumn morning as well? Indeed I should, and I should always see it so! If I do not, it is because I'm forgetting the beauty of the cross of Christ :)

posted by Bolo | 11:31 PM
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Analyzing Dorkiness

Random quote of the day: "Well at least you ain't stahvin'."

-What Mr. Mikami, Kevin Mikami's dad, said after he saw Kev when Kev got back from his first semester at Fuller Seminary's Seattle campus. The implication is pretty obvious :)

Have you ever felt like an absolute dork? Relationships can be like that. I explained it to Kevin like this: when we talk about our sins, even in speaking of the ways we fall short and whatnot, we can still feel a little bit like we're spiritually macho and cool, because we realize what's going wrong, and we're attacking it appropriately. We're reading John Owen and mortifying sin, we're memorizing Romans 6 and 7, we're "hitting each other in the throat with accountability" as Scott puts it. It's like lifting weights; if we can't get the weight up and we're asking for a spot, there's no shame in that, right? We've "failed" in a cool and acceptable way! BUT. It's totally different when we're dealing with a girl. Oh my goodness. When we're spiritual dorks with a girl, it's like having a dream about getting caught putting on your mom's makeup. Although there's just no denying that in the dream you were a total loser and now all your friends are laughing at you, it's still just that: a dream. Forget about it. No harm, right? Riiiiiiight. Kev told me I'll get used to it. I hope so.

It was a lot nicer when my big worry was that I couldn't get the 65 lb. weights up, you know?

posted by Bolo | 9:23 PM
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Stewing Stuff

Lately I've been thinking about some things quite a bit, things that have seemed to stew in my head for a while, but I haven't actually remembered to type them out during the moments I've had in front of a computer. They've been things I've been trying to work through and grow in, so a lot of my thoughts and feelings on these things are still pretty raw and immature as of yet. Then again, isn't that always the case? :)

Holiness. Particularly, holiness being a source of joy for us. It's so strange to me that God's holy, holy, holy nature should be that which would bring us joy, yet it is! Why is that? First, a definition of holiness is in order. "Completely other than; utterly unique and infinitely worthy of infinite glory; set apart." Those words fall short, but they'll give us something to work with, some frame of reference that will hopefully not limit the sights which we see of God's holiness, but rather give a sense of the grander vistas yet unseeable to our crippled, sin-burned, ever so limited capacities to see and savor Jesus, through whom we have been brought to know our Lord.

That being said, the Lord's holiness was a cause for deep reverence. If such reverence were broken, death followed. We see this in 2 Samuel 6 when Uzzah reached out and touched the Ark of the Covenant, that which represented the presence of the Holy One of Israel. He forgot that this was the presence of the Lord, and that to touch it without the right to was a heinous crime that brought down God's immediate vengeance and wrath. A little extreme, right? Hardly. We who take the Lord's holiness so lightly would be wise to pay more attention to the fact that this Holy One is the same who commands us to "be holy, for I am holy." What was Isaiah's immediate response to the mere presence of the Almighty? "Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." Isaiah said he was ruined. Ruined! This was a man who became utterly undone, utterly desperate and hopeless, for he saw the glory of the Lord and realized that he could never live in such a way as to honor that glory.

That brings us to the next point. God's command to his people to be holy is not one that is given in vain. The hopelessness which Isaiah displays would do us well in our daily dying to ourselves, in our daily taking up of our crosses and our daily boasting only in the cross of Christ. Why? Because it is precisely this terrible failure to honor Him who is worthy of all glory with lives reverent and righteous according to that glory that makes such a command so sweet to bear in Christ. For in Christ, such a thing is possible! In Christ, we who were unworthy to glorify Him who is worthy of all glory are now made worthy to not only glorify Him in our lives (for we will glorify Him one way or another; He cannot give His glory to another), but that worthiness is found in the form of enjoying Him! That is the undeniable breathtaking beauty of the gospel, that we who fall so short of God's glory are now made sons and daughters of God, heirs together with Christ, who shall forevermore behold the glorious face of the Son shining more brilliant than any sun ever could, with an ever-growing capacity to enjoy that which was once horrific to us, and is now far too bright to gaze at for very long. Indeed, the very command to "be holy, for I am holy" is one that the Lord Himself undertakes to complete, as in Christ we are presented before Him "holy and blameless and beyond reproach." Christ did this work upon the cross "for the joy set before Him." Is it not a joy to Him that His bride should be pure, spotless and without blemish? Should it not be a joy to us as well? I would think that the very things that bring the Lord pleasure should bring us pleasure :)

Empty hands. This is the other major thought that's been on my mind for the past several...oh, I don't know...whiles. Days, perhaps. I must come before the Lord with nothing, with hands empty. Why empty? It seems that so often, I come bringing an offering does not signify that the Lord Himself is the glorious spring from which flows the water I drink deeply of. No, it seems that in my pride, I forget who the Lord is: Creator, Maker, Lord, the One who upholds all things with His mighty hand. What does He need of me? Certainly, I should bring something to the Lord that will help him in His work, right?

What foolishness. The Lord does not need me. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appoibnted times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His children.' " No, the Lord does not need me. He is not any lesser for not having me help Him! He is not any less glorious for not having me share His gospel! He is not! But He does desire me, and He does delight in using me as His instrument to spread the good news of His Kingdom.

Therefore, I must come with empty hands, knowing that it is Christ's work that I bring, Christ's work that I rest in, Christ's work that I look to. It is Christ's blood who pleads for me, Christ's intercession that is at work for me, Christ's cross that I sit beneath. The Lord owes me nothing, and under His cross, all who are called are counted righteous in Christ. Why, then, would I desire to bring anything to the Lord, as if I could add to His work upon the cross? What foolishness!

posted by Bolo | 9:14 AM
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Yesterday I had lunch with Chriyus Davis. Like Mon always asks, "Alabama Chris?" Yes, Alabama Chris. Anyway, lunch was great. He asked how I was doing, and I told him that it seems there's a whole bunch of things that aren't necessarily overwhelming in and of themselves, but altogether they make for a season of life that seems to be just a few notches short or long of crazy. I explained it to him like this. Say I make a smoothie for Chriyus, but instead of just one or two fruits, I use a slew of them. Bananas, pears, strawberries, pineapples, cherimoya, kiwis, and more. When he's drinking it, suppose I ask him to name which fruits I have in there. He probably wouldn't be able to discern each individual fruit flavor very easily; yet, were I to tell him to see if he could taste the banana in there, or perhaps the strawberry, he might smack his lips together a few times and then go, "oh yeah, I think I taste it!" It's kind of like that for me right now. It's hard to discern the individual issues on my own, but in speaking with the Lord and with friends, things begin to become clearer in my mind and heart.

After lunch, Chriyus and I went up into one of the prayer rooms in Honeycutt to talk some more and pray. Wow. It's amazing...the Lord's been so faithful to both of very faithful. I told Chriyus that were we to come back in twenty years and expect our experience here to be the same, we'd be sorely disappointed. What makes Boyce and Southern so very special for us isn't the campus, the classes, nor the perks of being a part of the largest seminary in the world. What makes it special for us is, to be blunt, us. The fact that Christopher Seth Davis is here and that the Lord brought him together into a friendship with the Little Brown Guy from Hawai'i is more than amazing, it is sweetly gracious and good of the Lord. Friendships like ours don't come along very often, yet on this campus, we seem to be blessed by many of them. It's like we can't escape them, because the Lord just wants us to enjoy Him through one another. Yeah, it was a great lunch hour :)

posted by Bolo | 1:58 PM
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Road Trip: Memphis

Approximately 12 hours ago, Scott and Biggz were waiting to meet up with me so they could follow me to the airport. I was on my way back from Memphis for yet another Boyce recruiting trip, and they were helping me to return the rental car. Six hours of driving...ouch.

The pavement was at first quite persistent, and wore me out. Not even a good dose of Caedmon's Call's My Calm/Your Storm, some of the best road trip music ever, could rouse me from my driving doldrums. Bleh.

I thought of calling Boss, but it was kind of early for him to be up. Well, not really, but you know how it is to talk to people in the morning. So instead, I called Mr. Mikami. It kind of stinks for him to have to be up in Seattle and away from the surf, but at least he gets to see The Girl, and at least he knows that that's where God wants him. The benefit for me is that when it's somewhere around 1 pm-ish my time, it's Kevin Mikami Is Awake In Seattle Time (no Sleepless joke there...I somehow managed to refrain...whoa). I told Kev I had a bunch of thoughts I just needed to get out, so I would talk, and he would interject every so often. He acquiesced, of course, and we proceeded from there.

I don't remember exactly how the conversation went, but I do remember that we talked about the boys from back home, and how each of them offers to me something slightly different in regards to the dynamics of my relationship with them. Kevin, for instance, gives much philosophical ponderance without snobbery. I like that...very much Kev conversation :) Andrew is the friend that I can chill with for hours without saying anything, then one of us will say one word, and we'll start rolling on the floor in laughter. We've also done enough ministry together over the years to be able to think on the same wavelength. Heck, we've also surfed and eaten enough together over the years to be able to think the same things when doing those things, as well :) Boss is my Ward Starbucks companion, constant and consistent, always listening to my mad ranting and raving. He's cool like that...he helps me to unwind. Goose is the dude that keeps it real. I can tell him things I can tell other people, but I can tell it to him differently, and he won't get upset :) Jon is...well...Jon. I think I put it this way the other night: Jon speaks into me. In some strange ways, I miss Jon more than anyone of the other boys. I don't know when I'll see him again, just because he's in Oregon with Amy and the girls, going through Western Seminary. Bummer. Gary Lau is The Teacher. Always teaching, teaching, teaching. When he's around, I listen. Heck, when he's not around, I listen, 'cause I know he's still teaching me if I just shutup and think and try to remember what he once told me. "No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher" was his tried and true statement. Gary was most definitely not a bad teacher :)

My conversation with Kev also touched upon my relationship with the Lord. *Sigh*...I told him that I felt as though I'd been treating Him horribly, in that in my heart, I saw him as less transcendent and less condescending than He truly is. Translation into layman's terms? I was not remembering how holy, holy, holy the Lord is, and how amazingly intimate His interaction with me is. I think I said that I was perceiving the Lord as being less high and less close than He really is. Does that make sense? I hope so, 'cause I can't really fathom how to give it more clarity than that. Here's the thing about it. When I treat Him like that in my heart, my relationship with Him becomes dull and rote. Is that any way to treat the Lord? Dull and rote are two words that do not apply to God, no matter how you interpret the Scriptures...unless you interpret them wrongly ;) Anyway, I realized this: I needed to spend some time with the Lord today, to be with Him, to sit at His feet and listen, to beg and plead with Him for His grace to change my hardened heart, to open wide my heart to his healing touch. It's one thing to know my bible and to be able to spit things out about the Lord that I ought to be able to spit out. It's another thing entirely to be in love with Him, to spend the day yearning for His presence, and to speak of Him in ways that are affectionate and passionate.

Speaking of speaking, this thought occurred to me the other day. If the Lord were to take away all of my ability and skill in regards to communication, yet were to grace me with a far deeper intimacy with Him and understanding of Him than ever before, I would be a very happy man. *Sigh*...sometimes, I run into the wall. The wall is the point at which words fail to convey the lengths to which I am enjoying a savoring the Lord in my life. Unfortunately, that's not as often as it should be, and that's sad. I don't seek the Lord the way I ought to, and my thirst is easily slaked and satisfied in my desiring of Him. Because of that, I feel as though my ability to convey my thoughts of Him would be far better if they were simply taken away if such a thing would lead to my seeing and savoring Him more. To be utterly blunt, if God were to strike me and make me into a human vegetable, yet a human vegetable that loved Him far more than this blogging buffoon, I would be happy.

posted by Bolo | 4:53 AM
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My Father,

How keenly I feel my need for You. My sin is ever before me, and it is against You and You alone that I have sinned. Though my soul thirsts for You and my flesh yearns for You, it is because You have created me to desire You. Whom have I in heaven but You? Besides You, I desire nothing on earth. I say that together with the psalmist, but its ringing in my ears seems but hollow and cheap compared with the passion and heart-wrenching depserate delight that Asaph spoke it with. Still, I know that though my flesh and my heart may fail (and indeed they do!), You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Father, how can I not cry out to You? What else do I have? I have nothing, nothing at all, if I have not You. You have told me to take up my cross and follow You, to die to myself that I might live to You. You have made Yourself known, You have given promises and hope beyond measure, You have done all to ensure that I will not be separated from Your love! Your mercies are new every morning! You cause Your face to shine upon me, upon this wretch who You would destroy in but a moment were I to enter Your holy presence without the righteous blood of Christ, Your Lamb, Your Chosen Servant, the Lion of Judah, the Victorious One, covering me and imputing upon me His righteousness. You have crucified me to the world and the world to me, that I might boast only in the cross of Christ. Who am I, that You should look upon me? You are the One who set the stars in their place, who commands the morning and upholds all with Your mighty hand. Yet you are pleased to have knit me in my mother's womb, to know intimately my frame, and You remember that I am but dust. Indeed, the same mighty hand that is strong enough to set the stars in the sky is tender enough to wipe away my every tear!

But it is not for my sake that You have done this, my Lord! It is for the sake of Your own word, and for the sake of Your own heart that you act in greatness! You made a covenant with Your people Israel, and You have bound up Your glory in the redemption of our wretched souls. Why would you do such a thing, Lord? Freely do You give this grace, this mysterious grace that is beyond the end of all praise! It is not for my sake that You have redeemed me, but for Your name's sake. And it is Your name, Your memory, that is the desire of my soul. You have torn me, my Lord, yet You have and will continue to heal me, that I might return to You with my whole heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning, rending my heart and not simply my garments. Indeed, Lord, You rend me still! Such discipline is the discipline of a father with his son; yet Your discipline, my Father, far surpasses that of any other. How can I not endure for the sake of such righteous discpline, which is for our good that we might share in Your holiness?

I am a sinner, my Lord. Though I was the one who ran away, You were the One who ran to embrace me when I returned. Though I ran from You, You bought me back at a great price, despising the shame, bearing my guilt and pain. You did this that I might freely know Your love, that I might be washed white and presented before You as holy and glorious, without blemish or any such thing. Though my heart was hardened as stone and my spirit was dead, You caused a tender heart of flesh and Your own Spirit to be placed within me, that I might live once more. Though I profaned the greatness of Your holy name, You have caused Your name to be vindicated in my heart and in my spirit! Why, Lord, why? Only You know, for Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts, and Your ways are higher than my ways!

Oh Daddy, I do believe; help my unbelief!

posted by Bolo | 9:40 PM
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Losing It

"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it."

I thought about this at Dorm Meeting tonight. Being led in such a way as to take up our crosses daily is not something that I can truly grasp. When Jesus says to do so daily, He really implies to do so at all times. My life is not my own; how can I take it back? When am I not under the crushing weight of God's glory, when am I not compelled to kneel down before the cross of Christ and ask the Lord to lead me as He led Christ? I thought about Jesus praying the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked the Father to take from Him the cup that He was about to drink, yet He said, "not My will, but Your will be done." Do I say that to the Lord? Am I burning with the desire, as Christ was, to glorify the Father? Am I filled with the hope of the joy set before me, as Christ was? Who can measure such joy? Who can fill the heights and depths of the infinite glory that the Father shines through the cross of Christ? Who could have imagined that the Father would deign to reveal Himself not only through the cross of Christ, but also in us, who are to take up the joyful burden of our own crosses and become broken vessels of His love to the world.

If I desire to save my life, I must lose it. Though I become as Christ, broken in body, I will still be with Christ, whole in spirit. If I am in Him and He is in me, whom shall I fear? What can man do to me? Nothing. Yet, I must confess, I do fear. The future holds so much that I do not see, so much I cannot even calculate. That's a constant consideration, but one that provides a constant reason to take up my cross for the sake of Christ. What is my life to me? It is nothing if it is not the Lord's!

posted by Bolo | 1:37 AM
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The Misses

Every so often, I write about what I miss from back at home. I miss a lot of things, and I feel the loss of such things very keenly. Friends and family are foremost on my mind, yet my memory banks are also filled with the random and the obscure.

I miss my house on Lime Street. I went through a lot while I was at that house; I'll never forget it. I think I used to drive Jeff crazy, but oh well...I still drive people crazy :) Sometimes I listen to certain songs I listened to a lot that summer, and I smile in wistful bliss. It was then that I was first exposed to Indelible Grace and David Crowder, and was moved to tears by Bebo Norman's "Big Blue Sky" album. The house on Lime Street was good to me, despite how messed up I'd made my life at that point. Garcia and Khang probably still grimace at the thought of Ray dancing (I won't even mention the band he listened causes too much pain) out on my porch during the sleepovers, and they probably grimace even more at the thought of losing to me at Monopoly and Risk so much ;) *Sigh*...I miss that place, I was close to Starbucks, close to Kewalo's. Yeah, I do miss it.

Of course, I can't speak of one house without speaking of the other. The house on Judd Street was even more filled with memories. The upstairs bathroom in and of itself is bigger than some dorm rooms, and the closet space in my room was incredibly accommodating to my wardrobe. I can still see Goose's face when I came into his room after my shower, and he thought I didn't have anything on underneath the towel I took off in front of him :) I can still hear Andy's girly scream when I dutifully poured the icy water over him while he was still in the shower (hey, he was the dufus who left the bathroom door open, not me). The big picture window in my room wasn't bad, either; the sunset viewings consistently left me pondering how God could make purple and pink and blue and orange look good together by painting them onto an afternoon sky.

What else do I miss? So much.

I miss random talks with Jon late at night when he'd call me and go, "whatcha doin'?" And he'd get me to come down to his place so I could help him move a couch or something. There was always the promise of good conversation, no matter if that promise was voiced or not. We knew how it worked...that's how our friendship was...we understood that things were a certain way for certain reasons, and we didn't question them, we just rolled with the punches. That's why when he and Amy were getting ready to leave, he would call, and I would come without question. Nevermind the fact that I had just gotten home and needed to be in bed; Jon was worth it. Once the twins were born and he and Amy and the girls were gone, I wouldn't have those times back. I had to take them when I got them :)

The smell of the ocean. The only ocean worth speaking of to my snobby little Local Boy mind, to be perfectly honest, is the Pacific...the World's Largest Bathroom. I miss driving off of Nimitz onto Ala Moana Boulevard when I'd be on my way to Kewalo's to meet up with Brian and Andrew, smelling the sweet smell of salt water. Aaaahhh, there's nothing like it! Even better is the feel of the first duck dive of a session as the cool brine washes over my face on a hot summer day. I could die happily in the ocean, really I could. Yeah, I miss the ocean.

One must not forget Boots & Kimo's. The Macadamia Nut Pancake Sauce...*sigh*...*groan*...*grumble*. When, God, when will I taste such sweet delights once more? That sauce...I dream of it sometimes. Ooohhh, I better stop thinking about it, 'cause I'm getting hungry. It's heavenly. Delightful. Enlightening. Fattening, yes, but still enlightening.

I miss being called Jack. Im, Kim, and Joyce started that one. They decided that because they had too many friends named "John" that they would rename me. I protested at first, because I thought it ludicrous that the one they've known the longest (Im has known me since I was born, even) was the one they renamed. Pfft! But it's grown on me, and now I miss it. I even had a little bit of a Jack Fan Club going there for a while...ok, maybe not, but it was cool to think so, you know? Now, it's sort of strange to think of the Jack Trio. Im is still back home, but Joyce is in Japan, and Kim's in New York. She's been Dr. Kim for a while now, but's funny to think that she's in the same time zone as me. So yeah, I miss the whole Jack thing. Life goes on, though, and I refuse to be left behind :)

posted by Bolo | 8:39 AM
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Preview Postview

Boyce College's Fall '04 Preview Weekend is over and done with, which is both good and bad. I've got a ton on my mind right now, which isn't a bad thing, but it does mean that my brain and my heart are both under a lot of weight. Before I get into any of that, though, if at all, back to Preview.

Scott's mom and sister Allie came in for Preview, which was great in and of itself, but I also got to spend a ton of time with them both as Scott's friend and as an Ambassador, which was even better. The times with them were rich, filled with good conversation and encouragement. Seeing Scott with his family reminded me of my own, whom I actually owe a lot of phone calls to. They all called me Wednesday, and I totally ignored any and all calls that day because I was dreadfully exhausted from my Nashville trip. Gah! (Of course, I have not yet had the time to call them back, so I'll be making some calls tonight. They'll scold me for not answering the phone, but too bad...hehe.) Scott's mom reminds me of my mom. She loves him, she cares for him, and she sees both the little boy she's raised and the man he's become. I think my mom sees the same in me. I don't give her nearly enough credit for who she is to me, which is a shame. I ought to know better. *Sigh*...she's an amazing woman of God, and one that I hope to one day replicate infaith and perseverance. She knows a strength I can only marvel at, a humility I can only guess at, a faith I have yet to see the end of, and a love for her loved ones that is exceeded only by her love for Christ. Thanks, mom.

Allie is looking to come to Boyce next Fall. We're all stoked about that, no doubt. A big thing for her before she came was meeting people and making sure that they would be as welcoming as Scott said they would be. Mission accomplished :) Everyone she met was exceedingly friendly and genuinely loving, and she communicated that to us several times. I'm'll give Scott an extra measure of sanity next year, and will bless him in ways yet unlooked-for. I told her if any guys had any ideas of giving her trouble (translation: asking her out), and being Scott O'Neal's sister was not enough of a deterrent, and if Scott was not able to do a little regulating, then whoever was stupid enough to have done such would have a very angry Little Brown Hawaiian to deal with :)

The many students and family members who came in for Preview were blessed, no doubt. I had a blast getting to know prospective students, despite the fact that my brain is now deader than the deadest road kill I see on the road. Ok, maybe not, but I sure as heck felt like it last night! I was blessed to have taken part in it, and I don't think I fully comprehend the magnitude of what went on this weekend. One thing I did notice is how our Ambassador team, which is comprised of five students and Mr. Ed Stucky, has managed to become very close in a short time. Jan, Jaimeson, Katie, and Eric are a great team to work with, and although we bonded very well prior to Preview, we really showed our true colors over the past two days. Ed told us that the feedback on us was excellent, and that he really thinks this team is one of the best Boyce has had. Cool :) The term we come back to over and over again to describe ourselves is "family," and for good reason. We do work like a family...we all have our personalities, strengths and weaknesses, but we know them and appreciate what each one brings to the table. We all desire to see Jesus glorified in the lives of the Boyce student body, and we're grateful for our opportunity to take whatever small part we may in that glorification.

posted by Bolo | 8:57 PM
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Yesterday, I was hit pretty heavily with dependence. What I mean by that is that I have a natural affinity for reliance upon myself, and that reliance leads me into sin against the Lord, plain and simple. It's a subtle type of sin, one that is sometimes hard to catch, yet one that those older and wiser than I will be quick to identify and deal with. So yesterday God showed me my sin, and it's been sobering.

As I went through the day I was struck by how little I "slowed down" to be with the Lord. That "slowing down" doesn't mean I don't do as much, or that I become any less busy, but it's the idea that as I go through my day, I must not only be constantly communing with the Lord in a posture of prayer, but that I must also be relying upon Him for an overflowing supply of grace. Really, there's no separating the two; the knowledge that we have of God should be ever increasing, and such knowledge ought to lead to a reverence and a deeply rooted desire to tap into His gracious providence all the more. Thus, the posture of our hearts should reflect our dependence upon His grace.

Oh, how easily said, but how difficult to live!

I read this morning from Psalm 50. Twice we are given the mandate to "offer up a sacrifice of thanksgiving." As I thought upon this command from the Lord, I thought of the culture the Israelites were in. They relied upon a God that was Holy, one that required sacrifices (e.g., animal sacrifices) to atone for their sin, lest His holiness overwhelm and consume their sinful presence. They knew sacrifices well, much as we today would know the ebb and flow of our church services. Yet, what did God say in the Psalm? Offer up a sacrifice of thanksgiving. He also says to "call upon Me in the day of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will honor Me." At first glance, the sacrifice of thanksgiving may not seem to be related to the command to call upon the Lord. Yet, I think they're directly related. How so? The Lord explains that He owns all; nothing we "sacrifice" to Him is something we offer to Him so much as it is an acknowledgement of His Creatorship, Lordship, providence, and sovereignty over all of creation, including Man. To offer up thanksgiving, is a way of expressing the heart's acknowledgement of those rights of God. In much the same way, when we call upon the Lord, we acknowledge not only His Creatorship and Lordship over us, we also acknowledge that He is the one who provides and who works sovereignly in our lives. Thus, when we cry out to the Lord in thanksgiving or in pleas for help, we do so not in a way that degrades Him, but in a way that magnifies His glorious, never-ending, all-sufficient supply of grace into and upon our lives!

Aaahhhh, and is not the magnification (making that which is big and huge but far away to our crippled spiritual eyes) of God's glory the very purpose for which we live? Yes! How can we not, then, cry out in thanksgiving? How can we not plead with the Lord for His will to be done? How? *Sigh*'s a question I'm constantly asking myself, for I find that sin is subtle, crafty, and ever oblivious to the fact that it is defeated. It cares not that I have victory in Christ, for it will try with all the wiles and cruelty at its immense disposal to bring upon me a despair and blindness from which I will not recover. Nor, for that matter, does sin stop at a simple victory in battle. No, sin wants a total and complete victory in the war, and therefore any reprieve it gives is but a stratagem to lull me into a false sense of security in order to set itself up for the killing blow. Such is the nature of sin. Yet, why should I fear? Can anything separate me from the love of Christ? No! "Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Nothing, for sin is defeated in Christ.

It is well with my soul when I see this; indeed, it is well with my soul when I do not, for the Lord still knows who He is, and He is mindful that I am forgetful of that (be quiet, Jewel).

posted by Bolo | 10:01 AM
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Jared Lake is a dufus

So. Jared tells me that he and Maggie have set their wedding date for January 15th. All well and good, save that I'm going to be out of town that day, with no possibility of getting back for it. Doh! Then he tells me that other than his twin brother, who'd be his best man, I would be the only other guy in his wedding party. Double doh!

So yeah. Jared Lake is a dufus. But I love him anyway :)

posted by Bolo | 2:15 AM
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How I'm still awake, I'm not sure. I pulled up in front of the house somewhere around 3:30 am this morning after driving for nearly three hours from Nashville. Jewel helped keep me awake during the drive after I'd already spent over two hours catching up with Matt Maynard, first in Fido, then in some other restaurant & bar place a few doors down. Talking with Matt was great. The recruiting aspect of the trip was so-so, especially compared with the Mansifield and Canton fairs, but hooking up with him made the late arrival at home well worth my time. Just before we left, a homeless guy came up to us and asked us for money for food. Matt told him about a ministry that sets up shop out of an old Frito-Lay truck and feeds breakfast to the homeless for free. These guys do it out of their own pockets; amazing! They also feed the souls of these people, which is even better. Matt's got a great heart, and I'm glad to see how he's been removed from the Boyce Bubble and is in the world living like Jesus. That time was a huge blessing :)

posted by Bolo | 3:11 PM
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Road Trip...again

Headed down to Nashville in a little while. I've been quite the traveling man in recent weeks :) Mansfield and Canton, Ohio, Indianapolis, and now Nashville. Not bad for a guy who hadn't even been out of state until a crazy cold day in the middle of January a little over a year and a half ago. Anyway, I'm outta here...more later after the pavement pounding ends.

posted by Bolo | 2:43 PM
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Colossians 1:9 Part Two

As I thought about it, I realized that my post from earlier today did not completely capture the thoughts that I'd had from reading through Colossians 1 and 2, and then journaling my thoughts on chapter 1 verse 9. Therefore, here's the second post for today. If you're reading this but have not yet read the first post below, read that one first, then come back and read this. Cool? Cool.

"We have not ceased to pray for you..." Christ's prayers for us are unceasing; He lives to intercede for us before the Father, as He can do that righteously in view of His sacrificial atonement upon the cross once and for all. How is it, then, that we cease so easily from praying for our brethren? I know that my prayers are weak and frail, for they are constantly needing the fuel of God's word to be lit by the flame of His Holy Spirit in order to make them as incense rising before the Lord. It's a convicting statement that Paul makes concerning His prayer life for the church at Colossae, mainly because it springs forth from a deeply rooted conviction in Paul's heart. What is that conviction? The Gospel. If there were no gospel, Paul would not pray, for Christ would not have died and rose again to atone for our sin, nor would He live to intercede, nor would we be justified with Christ's righteousness imputed to us before the Father, nor would the Spirit work to make Christ dwell within our hearts. The gospel, the very truth that Christ is who He is and does what He does in our lives because He died and rose again, is the rock-bottom foundation of Paul's conviction to have "not ceased to pray." What a foundation, indeed :)

"Filled with the knowledge of His will..." Yes, the knowledge of the glory of God revealed in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6) is tied in directly with knowing the good and perfect will of God. How can it not be? "Be holy, for I am holy." God's commands are all directly connected with proclaiming who He is! The Ten Commandments? They are given in view of who God is. The rest of the Law? Given that we might honor God in view of His eternal, glorious nature. Yet, is not the Law one that condemns? Yes, it is. The Law shows us not the way to life, but the inevitable and unalterable truth that our sin corrupts us in such a way that we will never properly honor the Lord. Sin is death to us. Where then is our saving knowledge of God to be found? In the ultimate revelation of God: the Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ. It is in Christ that we see the glory of God revealed in such a way that we are cleansed from our sin and death and drawn near to Him. It is in Christ that we taste and see that He is good, and we know the joy of being called heirs and children of God together with Christ. It is in Christ that we are given a more complete knowledge of God, which leads to true knowledge of His will.

"In all spiritual wisdom and understanding..." Last night, I had another great conversation with Andrew. When I think of wisdom, I think of Andrew. He has, for as long as I can remember knowing him (and that's been a long time), always sought out wisdom. I can safely say that he's grown in his wisdom, for his wisdom is rooted in the proper place: the fear of God. As we conversed, we reminisced on our rather lengthy friendship, speaking of how we've had our ups and downs (ugh...we've had a big time downer, believe me), yet wholeheartedly agreeing that it's all added up to a greater pouring forth of God's glory in our friendship. Perhaps a large part of that has come from spiritual wisdom and understanding. We've seen the good and bad sides of one another, and God's been gracious in allowing us to see beyond the heart of our brother and into the heart of Christ that dwells within. We fear the Lord together, we savor Christ together, and we continue to seek counsel from men far more Godly than ourselves. Will either one of us ever be considered wise? I don't know, but I do know this: the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. If we are to be wise, we must always start there.

posted by Bolo | 5:35 PM
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Colossians 1:9

From a journal entry today...

Colossians 1:9 "For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding..."

It is the faith in Christ that these "saints and faithful brethren" have that Paul gives as the reason for his prayer for them. I look at Paul's reaction to their life in Christ, and I am astounded. His love and his passiobn for them shines through so deeply in his words and prayers for the flocks he oversees. In talking to these believers, he lets them know the depth of his love for them by saying he has (with others) "not ceased to pray" for them. Wow! How often do I pray for those whom I supposedly deeply love? Paul did not even meet these people, he simply "heard of" their faith. The love that he displayed probably came out of a depth of regard and love and intimacy for and with the Father that I can only guess at. Paul did not cease to pray. Why should I?

The knowledge of His will. Here, as in Philippians, "real knowledge" serves as a precursor to the fruit that comes from being filled with such knowledge. In Philippians 1:9, it is Paul's prayer that their love would abound in real knowledge and all discernment. Here, the purpoose is so that the brethren would walk in a manner pleasing to the Lord. Are these different? I don't think so. Real knowledge of God ought to be powered/backed by love, and love ought to be given the backbone of real knowledge that it might be directed properly. Paul is, I think, speaking of real knowledge of God in two different ways, yet they ultimately look the same. I think. For the knowledge of His will must be combined with a knowledge of Him; how else would we truly be comprehend His will? It seems to me very plain that the Lord desires us to know him, and therefor by knowing Him are we then able to discern His will. He reveals Himself and His will to us in such a relational manner! "I will be your God, and you will be My people." "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." So much (all, really) of what Paul is saying centers upon the reality of who Christ is. Dare we miss this? Real knowledge of God comes only by knowledge of Christ!

Spiritual wisdom and understanding. We apply the knowledge of His will with all spiritual wisdom and understanding. There's not really a case where you can take away knowledge of God (fear of God is the beginning of wisdom) and have true spiritual wisdom and understanding. The spiritual wisdom and understanding He grants us comes directly from knowledge of God. Ephesians 1:17 also backs this up. The wisdom and understnading we gain from the Lord has at its root the revelation of God to us of Himself! Only then, in Christ, can we act according to His nature and will in these lives He gives us. The book of Colossians centers on who Christ is, and Paul's prayer is no different.

posted by Bolo | 3:09 PM
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But Dust

At least this time I didn't pray that God would humble me.

Sometimes I'll pray a prayer like that. God always seems to answer it, much to my temporary chagrin. I already went over God's faithfulness to answering prayer yesterday, so I won't rehash that more than I need to, but it seems to be particularly true when I ask God to humble me. My it ever. Yet, there are many times when He'll use circumstance to humble me juuuuust enough to bring me to my knees once more, and I haven't even prayed for it. It's in those times that I realize with a sweet clarity that God truly is my Father, because I feel much like a tiny child in His arms, gently weeping from His admonishment. He knows what is best for me, and gives it to me despite my silly protests. It's comforting to know that He sees me and knows my frame, that it is "but dust." Christ knows my weaknesses, how deeply I am beset by them, and can sympathize because He, too, was beset by the very same, yet withstood and overcame beyond all doubt or comprehension.

Last night, I had a good conversation with Boss about our futures. One thing I've begun to grasp more and more is the idea that everything I do now affects everything that happens later. In essence, it's the Deuteronomic Principle (sorry...Bible College money phrase) in action. We talked about what'll happen for us down the eventually graduating...eventually being the operative term...him possibly going to Japan next Summer and all the implications of that. In light of all God's bringing our way, how are we to live? It's a sobering consideration. Am I doing all I can to honor the Lord? Or, as John Piper puts it, am I wasting my life? Gary reminded me last week of the importance of my studies. I'm grateful for that reminder, because it's one that can get lost in the hubbub of everyday life. Dr. Orrick told us about much the same thing over a week ago at Men's Night (Scott wrote an excellent tidbit on it, by the way), recanting to us that he viewed his college days as a time to "gather ingredients" for the "recipe" that he'd be cooking for the rest of his life. He pointed out that a cook wouldn't start preparing a meal without first gathering all the appropriate ingredients first, lest he have to stop in the middle of the cooking and get something. A dish may be ruined, causing him to have to start all over, or perhaps he'd have to skip it entirely.

In a very real sense, I feel the weight of all I do. The implications are staggering! Yet, I take comfort in one thing: the Lord is mindful of my frame, that I am "but dust." Jesus will not break a bruised reed, nor will He snuff out a dying flame. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. And, should I be crushed by the weight of His glory, it is because I view the passing pain of the suffering of this world as nothing compared to the joy set before me in Christ.

posted by Bolo | 3:56 PM
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Road Trip

Scott and Rob and I rolled in to the 'Ville somewhere around midnight last night, juuuuuust catching the end of Five for Fighting's Superman as we pulled up to the door outside of Carver Hall. I love that portrays exactly how I feel nine days out of ten.

Yesterday was great. Excellent. Stupendous. Outstanding. Catch my drift? No? Better than ice-cold, fresh-squeezed lemonade on a day so hot the heatwaves can be seen coming off the grass, better than a long ride in a thick barrel with your friends raising their hands and cheering, better than a fat steak, rare to medium-rare, dripping, succulent, and still practically mooing at me. Yes, that good :)

What made it so good? *Sigh*...Dr. Orrick would say, "specific details!" Unfortunately, I can't go into too much detail other than to say that Scott and Rob and I met up with Jewel and spent the day enjoying Jesus together. We (the guys) were pretty silly...being in a different city did something to us, methinks. But you know what? It's ok. Once we settled down, we showed our good sides, which was great for Jewel, because she saw what the Men of Boyce are all about. I've recounted to her countless times how blessed I am not only to have friends I'm close to from back home, but to have guys come into my life that I've met at Boyce that I'll be calling upon for the rest of my life for prayer and counsel and fellowship. Sharing that, more than almost anything else, truly brought joy to my heart.

I suppose that, in a sense, that's how God designed the church to operate. We ought to do that with everyone we meet: show them the Light that is within us. When I was talking to Jim this morning, we spoke of how amazing it is that God is so gracious to us. Sometimes, people will tell us that since we're in love with Jesus and steeping ourselves in the Word, we deserve the blessings that God brings our way. *Sigh* not true! In one sense, yes, because of Christ, we can expect the Lord to bestow upon us all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3). Yet, is it not still grace which brings this about? Is not God's grace to us, whether in the past, present, or future, still grace? And is not that grace so overflowingly and saturatingly infinite and intimate and wonderful and beautiful, that we should be constantly praising the glory of it in Christ, and not ever think that we deserve it? Yes, grace is that way. Jim and I agreed that we are simply undeserving vessels through which Christ shines His light, for He is Light, and we have Him in our hearts.

Good stuff, indeed :)

Several weeks ago, I wrote a little tidbit on Peter's denial as depicted in Luke 22, and spoke of the Howdy Group meeting that I used that passage in. I also mentioned that I had read through Deuteronomy for those guys out loud, and as I confirmed through the "find" command in Internet Explorer, I said you (meaning whoever's reading this) should go read Deuteronomy 8 for yourself. Well...I think I've since written a little bit on a portion of it for someone in an email, and since I like the thoughts and convictions that have come from it, I'll post it here. Cool? Cool :)

Here's the passage from Deuteronomy 8, along with some thoughts on it...

2 "You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

3 "He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.

4 "Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years.

5 "Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.

6 "Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.

The wandering in the wilderness was a journey that could have been completed within a matter of days. What purpose did such a wandering serve?

It humbled them. God knew the rebellious ways of His chosen people, but He wanted to show them the contents of their heart. He showed them that they were frail, prone to failure, and that they needed to rely upon the Lord daily. In giving them manna, He showed them that He was their provision, He was their sustenance. The Lord instructed the Israelites that they were not to save the manna from one day to the next; rather, they were to eat only what they needed each day, and were to wait upon Him to provide for the next day. Muchlike His mercies that are new every morning (Lam 3:22, 23), so was the manna which He provided.

In doing so, He also gave the Israelites knowledge and understanding of Himself. They were a people who were given every opportunity to apprehend and comprehend the knowledge and understanding of God, yet they were, much like we are, very slow to learn. God's prescence dwelt amongst them in a tabernacle until the time of Solomon, when God gave to him the privilege of building the temple. John 1:14 says that the Word (Jesus) "dwelt" amongst us. The word that John uses literally means "tabernacled," much like God had tabernacled amongst the Israelites for those forty years and beyond. God gave to them knowledge and understanding of Himself as He dwelt amongst them, yet they did not learn very well. The difference now? Jesus not only dwelt amongst us, He now dwells *in* us, for we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). God did not leave them alone in the wilderness, and neither has He left us alone in our wanderings. Rather than simply dwelling amongst us, He dwells in us. Much like the manna and His mercies, He gives to us from Himself each day that we might walk in faithful obedience!

The Lord disciplined the Israelites in their wanderings, and He did it for their own good. In His perfect discipline (Heb 12:4 - 11), He disciplines us as a father disciplines his son, yet He does so in a far better way than any earthly father could.

The Lord led them in this way that they might keep His commandments and revere Him. Did they do this? Hardly! Over and over and over again, Moses must make intercession for them. Yet, as much as Moses' intercession is seen as that which stalls the hand of God's wrath, we see in the New Testament that Moses's intercession is but a foreshadowing of Christ's perfect intercession. As Moses was given the Law, Christ was the fulfillment of the Mosaic Law. As Moses was often left to plead for the pardon of God's chosen people, so was Christ the perfect propitiation and appeasement of God's wrath upon us. As Moses gave to the Israelites the revelation that God led them that they might be humbled, hungry, living by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord, disciplined as by a father, in order to keep His commandments and to fear Him, so did Christ Himself know that humbling, hunger, dependence upon the Father, the discipline of the Father, all in order that Christ might demonstrate not only the perfect example of how to keep His Father's commands and revere Him, but also to provide us the means to do the same (Heb 8).

Our wanderings are often the vehicle of God's gracious discipline. Wanderings are not something that God bestows upon a people whom He has forsaken. Wanderings are an opportunity for us to consider Him who has died for us, and to realize that He has not only gone before us and wandered much as we do, but He also has gone before us into the veil and ensured that we, too, may enter, that we may walk in His commandments and revere Him.

posted by Bolo | 2:05 PM
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