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


7.31.2005  

Role Reversal

"Jonathan Leeman, you are a horrible, horrible person!"

That's what I said to Leeman riiiiight before the battery on my phone died. Talk about the Leeman Principle in reverse :)

posted by Bolo | 11:50 AM
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7.30.2005  

Boss :(

Honolulu International Airport has always been one of those places that people remember. Whether it's the old couple who've saved their entire lives so that they could vacation in Hawai'i, or the lone sojourner making a pit stop in the middle of the Pacific, the airport just off of Nimitz Highway imprints itself upon the mind.

These days, however, that indelible quality takes on an entirely different tune. I noticed it in January, when I left home once again. I was sitting at my gate, waiting for the Delta Airlines employees to commence the boarding process. I was still very much in Honolulu, not yet exposed to the frigid temperatures of the mainland in the middle of winter. Nevertheless, I was about as far from home as I could have been.

To say it was torturous would be an understatement. I could see the lights of the city, and I could hear Keola and Kapono Beamer singing Honolulu City Lights to me in my head over and over and over again. I cried as I sat there, wondering why I had to leave. Again. Wondering when I'd get back, and if I'd get back only to leave. *Sigh*...a week and a half at home hardly constituted enough time. Come to think of it, whenever it's time to leave home, I've never had enough time.

That's what Boss and I talked about. He was at the gate, waiting for the boarding process to start. He'd been crying; I joked with him that I'd turn his bawling into a blog post :) We talked for roughly twenty melancholy minutes, commenting on how we never feel like we're ready to leave. We always feel like we want to be able to sneak in just one more Mini BBQ Chicken order from Gina's, one more session out at Marine Lands, one more Midnight Special from Sushi King...always just one more. I think I'm naming this disease the USS - Uchida Surf Syndrome. The shirts will read, "One more wave!"

He was about to get on a flight to Japan, to Fuji City in Shizuoka Prefecture. How long will he be there? Only the Lord knows. That's part of what makes this all so hard to bear. It's not as if he's going only a month, or even a definite year. Will he be back for the wedding? That's still up in the air, too. (We'll get a lifesize Gimli cardboard cutout if not...and we'll put him up on a box.) What's odd is that I'm over 4,000 miles away, and it still feels like I was right there with him, watching him walk past the security gate and into Jim Country.

After I'd left in January, he told me that as he drove away after dropping me off at the airport, he was thinking about the next time we'd see one another...whenever that is. It's strange, 'cause we both had that feeling all over again when we talked yesterday. When will I see Boss? We don't know. It kind of stinks...well, no, it really stinks. He asked me how I deal with the pain of getting on the flight and going. I told him that I had to remember that if I didn't go, the pain would be worse, because I'd be disobeying the Lord. I told him that I had to remember that I have the exact same hope as David Livingstone, who at the end of his life said, "I never made a sacrifice." I told him that it's the same reason he would get on that plane, 'cause if he didn't, I'd be mad at him and wouldn't talk to him.

Well, not really. But I would still be upset :)

posted by Bolo | 10:12 PM
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7.29.2005  

Turd Machine: Update

Ok. Hamster #2...it's...well...it still has a head (I think), and that head is still attached to its body. The problem? I'm not sure where that body (and head) is.

When I told him about the new "development," he laughed and laughed and laughed. That's good, 'cause I wasn't laughing at first...*sheepish grin*.

Yes, this means I lost the other hamster. It's somewhere in their apartment. I think.

posted by Bolo | 11:51 PM
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7.28.2005  

To Quote

Flip was talking about the vacancies in Mullins, the dormitories for the Boyce girls on campus. What actually came out of his mouth, however, could be misinterpreted quite creatively :)

"So for the girls, there are only the big singles left?"

I told him I'd quote him in Dorm Meeting...muahahahaha!

posted by Bolo | 11:49 PM
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7.27.2005  

Waffles High

Ryan Szrama and I decided that he's approximately 92 waffles high. Belgian waffles, that is. (Maybe this is one of those Metric vs. English System of Measurement things...who knows?) Of course, that depends entirely upon the expansion that takes place during cooking. Yep...entirely dependent upon factors that are indeterminate prior to actual measurement.

The nice thing about that 92 number, though, is that Ryan didn't even ask me why I was looking at him "like that." ;) He just smiled and said, "Hey there, good lookin'...come here often?"

posted by Bolo | 4:19 PM
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7.25.2005  

Java No More

Java closed today. No, not all Java's, just the original one. *Sob*...some people asked me how I'd get free food, or where I'd go to hang out. *Sigh*...the really bummer thing is that it was so sudden. No goodbye, no farewell, no party or anything...it's just closed. I'm saddened, and deeply so. I'm not sure if I'll ever recover.

Well, I'm sure I will. Maybe. Eventually. As soon as I get that first bag of free pastries and sandwiches, almost all will be forgiven :)

posted by Bolo | 11:57 PM
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7.24.2005  

Size Does Matter

I told Scott that Mon and Dave might give me their queen-sized bed. Scott told me that I don't need a bed that big. I said that he didn't, either. He retorted by saying that although he might not need it now, there may come a day in the future where he might a bed that big. I told him it would serve him right if I had that nice, big, sprawling mattress all to myself while he hunkered down on a tiny twin-size, lovingly holding on to his...uhhh...teddy bear...all through the night.

*Cough*.

He's sooooooo gonna wanna kill me for this. It's a good thing I'm Hawaiian :)

posted by Bolo | 8:58 PM
1 speakage
 

Love

The other day, I was talking to someone about love. I think. I have no idea who it was. Weeeelllll...hold on...maybe Stam...possibly Darren...it wasn't Scott...hmmm...no, wait, it wasn't any of those guys.

Anyway.

The conversation touched upon love, and what popped into my head was this: as Christians, we often will point to 1 Corinthians 13 for our definition of love. While the passage does speak on love, there was always a little niggling quality about using that passage as a definition that bothered me. What was it? Until recently, I was not sure.

Oh! It was Stam! He was talking about love being the highest virtue, but we were trying to reconcile how it is a higher virtue than joy. I'm still trying to twist my head around that one, because so much of what is loving is intrinsically bound up in seeking joy. But I digress. Back to the topic at hand.

So...my thoughts (or more accurately, conjecture) on love. Here's the deal: that passage in 1 Corinthians 13 is often spoken of in terms that merely describe love. As in, "love is like this," or, "here is what love looks like." While it is obvious that the passage is giving descriptors on what love is, such as patient, kind, not jealous, and so on and so forth, what is often left unsaid is that the context of the passage is conduct within the church. It is a very kingdom-focused teaching that Paul is setting forth, with Christ as the King and us as the community of people who inhabit that kingdom. I point this out because what happens with 1 Corinthians 13 is that love is portrayed as being about ourselves, not about Christ, nor about His kingdom. Or, in bigger words my bible college education gives me the right to wield (kidding!), love totters dangerously close on the edge of becoming anthropocentric, rather than Christocentric.

How so, you ask? Look at 1 John 4. Verse 10, in particular, is very piercing: "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." But in order to get a better grasp upon what John is saying, look at it within the context of verses 7 - 11:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Before thinking through this passage, I will say one more thing. I had to continually ask myself, "Why is love patient? Why is it kind? If being loving means not seeking my own selfish ends, how am I supposed to do that? Is not being selfish an end all its own? What about enduring all things? Why should I endure, or if part of being loving is being hopeful, what am I to hope in?" Do you see the problem I have with leaving 1 Corinthians 13 to stand on its own as a sort of end-all teaching on love? Those attributes are made out to be beautiful, and rightly so, but very quickly, they can become attributes of attrition. Why is that? It is because when we do not exalt Christ in our love, our love is not truly love at all. It is, as Paul warns against in Romans 12, hypocritical. (This passage, it might be noted, also speaks of conduct within the community of the church.) The light of Christ's love must shine forth in our love in order for love to truly be love, and that is where 1 John 4 helps us.

One of the things that John shows us is that we have no right to love. That's right: we have no right to love, either to give it or to recieve it. At least, not as God loves. Verse 7 says that love is from God, and verse 9 says that the love of God was manifested in us because Christ was sent that we might live. Did we have any right to think that God would send Christ? None at all; God is utterly free and just to punish sinners eternally in hell, yet utterly free and just and gracious to punish our sin in Christ on the cross. To what end does He freely choose to send Christ to die in our place? Ultimately, it is to glorify Himself through our eternal lives in Christ. An integral part of that, however, is love for one another.

In thinking again about verse 10, I'm convicted by how freely God chooses to love us. Note several things.

First, we are sinners. This means we are born without a right to be loved. We're wretches, unworthy of love and unable to truly love. (There's a mild ongoing debate about whether or not it is only believers who can truly love, but I won't address that here. For the sake of this post, it is sufficient to say that there definitely is a fundamental inability to love according to Christ's love when we do not believe in Christ.) There was nothing good within us to cause the Lord to want to love us, once sin set in to our natures. We often forget that sin renders us unlovely and unlovable in God's sight, outside of Christ; it would do us well to humble ourselves and remember this sobering truth, lest we see the Lord's love for us in Christ in a lesser light than we ought.

Second, the sending of His Son was a free act of grace and mercy that surpasses any other. The life and death of Christ was beyond any hope that sinners could grasp. It was, in a very real sense, nearly too good to be true. Perhaps that is one of the problems the Jews had with Christ; no one could believe that God would send His own Son to die a hideous death upon the cross. The intimacy and sacrifice was too humbling to handle. In a sense, the love of God was too great and wondrous to comprehend. Thus, they rejected it. I often think to the ways that I do not trust in the Father's unfailing love. Much of it comes from a paralyzing fear of rejection rooted in the thought that my sin is too much for God to handle. Foolishness! Christ's cry of, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" is a pride-shattering reminder that He was forsaken, in order that I might never be.

Third, the free love that God bestows upon us, His children, in turn frees us to love as He desires us to love. Think back to 1 Corinthians 13. Love is patient...kind...does not rejoice in unrighteousness...hopes all things...endures all things. Can it not be said that in Christ, we see these qualities portrayed most perfectly? Who was more kind, more enduring, more patient, more unselfish, than Christ Himself? And to what end did Christ's love work? Wasn't His anguished love a love that hoped in the satisfaction of seeing His beloved redeemed, as Isaiah 53 says?

If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. That's what John says in verse 11. That is our imperative to love, as we are clearly give the foundation for our ability to love. So many of the qualities of 1 Corinthians 13 are "negative." Who, after all, wants to endure in the face of unrighteousness? Who wants to endure the imbecile who manages to act more moronic with each passing day? Who wants to forgive the drunk driver who killed the young family, or the deadbeat dad who runs out on his wife and children? Why should we, for that matter? John gives us the reason: for Christ's sake. He loved us when we did not deserve love, and He died that we might be redeemed and become lovely and loving when we were unlovely and unloving. We love not to repay Him, but because the very purpose of our redemption is that we might love, that we might glorify Him by sharing the light of Christ with others.

posted by Bolo | 12:34 PM
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7.23.2005  

Trust

Early yesterday morning (for both of us, not just me), Andrew and I talked for a couple of hours. It was a good talk, and probably the best we've had in a long time. We both had a lot of things to share, and a handful of those things were pretty hefty. Nevertheless, the weight of our conversation did not pull us down and drown us; rather, it caused us to look to Christ, and to seek Him more.

As we talked, issues on our respective churches kept coming up. We both have decisions to make, convictions to hold to, and actions to take that will have deep and lasting repurcussions. The funny thing about this? When I take a step back and look over our lives, we seem to be at points that we've been striving to attain for so long...so much of our lives have been pointed toward these moments, moments where our preparation comes to fruition, where we are no longer merely thinking about "when I get bigger," because Bigger is already here.

Yeah, scary, isn't it?

Now, don't think I'm claiming to have "arrived." Far, far, far from it :) If anything, I find that even though I have more responsibility, I don't always have the wisdom and discernment to act with the grace and strength I'd like to. To be perfectly honest, it's very sobering to consider where the Lord has brought me. I keep thinking to myself, "do they really want me doing that?" or, "Lord, am I in over my head?" Half the time, I don't know the answer. The other half, I know the answer, but I'm usually too scared to like it.

The thing is, none of that matters. The other day, Szrama was talking about how in the Old Testament, the Lord would tell Israel to trust in Him. He rarely gave them the best weapons, the biggest armies, the strongest warriors, or the most lavish of living conditions, but the message was always the same: trust in the Lord, and it will go well with you. That's not a very elaborate plan, is it? Yet for some reason, sinful flesh finds a way to make trusting the Lord a rather difficult endeavor. Over and over and over again, Israel forsook the Lord. The Lord used Jeremiah to prophecy against this, saying, "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water."

Forsaking the Lord did not mean that they ran from tyranny into freedom. Quite the contrary; if anyone was in the wrong, it was Israel! Note how the Lord describes Himself: as a fountain of living waters. That very descriptor denotes several things.

First, that the Lord is a source of life. What human does not know the importance of water? Anyone who has gone a day in scorching heat without water knows the consequences can be fatal. That is why the Lord uses such terminology, for there was a need to remind His people that He was their source of refreshment, renewal, and life, and to forsake Him was to forsake all that is good.

Second, that they needed to stay near to Him. A fountain was something that was ever-flowing, but unmoving. The Lord was always there, yet He was not going to be used and moved as a tool for Israel's purpose. Rather, they needed to come to Him and stoop low to drink of His waters. In the same way, He requires that we trust Him and go to Him. To forsake Him is to indicate that we can think we can survive on our own. The sobering truth is that we cannot.

Third, that the Lord does not need us. Who can add to the fountain? Who can find its source? To us, all that matters is that we stay near and humbly stoop to drink of the Lord's living water. If we do not humble ourselves, we will go thirsty. If we forsake the fountain, our souls will become parched and dry. If we try to hew out cisterns for ourselves, they will be broken, and we will not be able to quench the thirst that the Lord has placed in our souls. Why is that? Because try as we might, only the Lord can truly satisfy. That is why the psalmist cries out, "O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water."

Fourth, and most importantly, that drinking deeply of the living waters glorifies the Lord. This is what we were created to do! How do we give glory to the Lord, other than to drink deeply of all that He lovingly lavishes upon us? It is impossible to add to the Lord; any glory He receives from us is merely an acknowledgement of all that He gloriously is. In other words, He created us to enjoy Him. Intrinsic and imperative to that enjoyment is a deep and abiding trust that He is who He is.

By the time we were off the phone, it was pretty early. It was close to 8 AM for me, 2 AM for Andrew. I think, however, it's safe to say that our souls were less weary when we ended than when we began. Part of it must be because we realized that no matter what our lives may look like, no matter what twists and turns the Lord may lead us on, it is ultimately the Lord that we trust in. So what if our youth or college groups aren't as prepared as we'd like them? So what if our respective pastoral staffs don't quite have the same philosophy of ministry (something we discussed at length) as we do? So what if those around us don't see how wrong they are, and how right we are? (That was a joke. If you don't get it and are offended, it's because you're not Andrew. Therefore, do not be offended, silly human.) "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God."

The nice thing is, the Lord has graciously allowed us to trust in Him together. Very, very nice :)

posted by Bolo | 11:40 AM
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7.22.2005  

Armed & Dangerous

This morning, Mon came armed. Tape measure, notepad, and most importantly, a head full of ideas. What for, you ask? Why, my dorm room :) She's been eagerly awaiting a new project to exert the interior-design powers her HGTV watching has given her, and my room has that exertion written all over it.

We talked task lighting, heating and cooling, logistics, measurements, queen-sized versus twin-sized, drapery, and the like. In a very faceteous fashion, I would call it a nicely symbiotic existence: I get the benefits of free interior design and furniture, she gets to flex some creative muscle :) (Shush. I said symbiotic, not parasitic.)

Anyhow, I'm excited. The new room should be up to snuff some time this week. Well, hopefully. I gotta somehow squeeze in the move-in along with work and Ambassador duties. Hrrmmm...if I could just get her to handle the whole process...

Kidding!

posted by Bolo | 4:09 PM
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7.21.2005  

Painful Process

A few themes keep coming to mind throughout the course of the summer. Over the next several days, I'll post thoughts concerning each of these themes. What's written should cover not only the objective, cerebral scope of things, but more importantly, how those objective thoughts are affecting my actions in a life full of subjective perceptions.

Confused yet? Me, too :)

Anyway, the topic of the day will be: Sanctification.

Tonight, I talked to Darren for a little bit. Our conversation was short, but ever so full of God's grace. The entirety of our dialogue was very convicting and encouraging, but it was something he said toward the end that has me thinking and pondering my little brain off. He said that being made into Christ's likeness is a painful process. Hmmm...it's painful...and it's a process. Such is the sanctification that is ours in Christ, is it not?

I got a voicemail from Scott earlier tonight, one of those accountability type of voicemails. In it, he said something to the effect of, "part of me doesn't want to have to make this call, but part of me still wants to make this call." In a sense, that is exactly what I've been thinking of when thinking about the painful process of sanctification. Our flesh does not want to be sanctified, because for our sinful flesh, sanctification equals death. For our souls, on the other hand, sanctification equals life, even if we do not see or understand that immediately. In Romans 12, Paul says that we are to be "transformed by the renewing of our minds." We must renew our minds by feeding upon the pure milk of the word of God, for as Peter tells us, it is by the truth of the Scriptures that we grow up and attain salvation. It is such nourishment that leads to the renewal and strengthening of our parched souls, and this facet becomes key in the process of pruning our lives of sin.

Is it any wonder then that even for Christ, the Word Incarnate, it was necessary to "make perfect" the Author of our salvation? Indeed, it is a great wonder! For Christ did not come to us to dwell among us as God did amongst His people Israel, either in the wilderness or in the temple. No, Christ came and experienced the fullness of the breadth and depth of life on earth, feeling every last tendril of temptation that the wiles of sin could possibly hurl at Him. He endured and was steadfast, yet was broken not by His own sin, but by the sins of those whom He came to save. Nevertheless, the breaking of His body upon the cross was no accident! Nor, for that matter, was the life He led in the flesh that led up to His redeeming death upon the cross. Why? Because that life of righteousness is the life that gave Him the right to victory over sin, and it is that life of righteousness which is bestowed upon the saints. Furthermore, the life of Christ assures us that there is no temptation of which He does not know, no temptation over which He does not have victory, and no temptation in which He does not grant us the same.

Now, having said that, I will acknowledge that those two short paragraphs are but a tiny portion of what could be said on sanctification, even by me, and I know very little of what there is to know on such an important topic. Yet, even that minimal knowledge of what the Lord does in the souls of the saints is enough to equip someone to seek Him through life.

At least, it should be enough.

It seems to me that my sanctification this summer has indeed been a process, and a painful one at that. I have been humbled, have learned what it is to want to and not want to do something all at once, have been shown the black depths of my soul, and have realized that the Lord's glory shines into those depths, revealing what lurks in the darkness.

Yeah, that's sanctification.

But He doesn't stop there. When the Lord reveals what lurks in our sinful hearts, He does so that we might feel horror at and grief over our sin, and that we might be driven to our knees to seek His gracious presence. It is no mistake that Peter tells us to "fix your hope completely upon the grace to be revealed at the coming of Christ." Even though we are already saved, we are still undergoing the process of sanctification, and though it is painful at times, we are strengthened through it with "joy inexpressible." Why? Because we have a hope that is sure, a Savior that is faithful, and a life in Christ that born of a seed imperishable.

Yeah, that's sanctification.

posted by Bolo | 11:14 PM
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7.20.2005  

Sweetness

I should've taken a picture of it, but I didn't. Oh well. The bag must've weighed somewhere near three or four pounds, and it was stuffed. What was in the bag? Pastries, muffins, scones...all the sweet carbs a poor college student needs, courtesy of the kind folks at Java.

Uch would be proud :)

posted by Bolo | 4:34 PM
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That's What I Like

This little post was inspired by a trip to McDonald's. I know, I know, kind of a random sort of inspiration, but you'll see why in just a bit :) It's a list of some of the things that I like. Like, right now. If I were to write this in half an hour, the list could change. I do, by the way, reserve the right to do so ;)

1. Good friends. I don't know why people stick around me, but they do. They refuse to let go, and they fight for me when I feel too tired to fight for myself.

2. Free food. 'Nuff said :)

3. McGriddles. The Sausage, Egg, & Cheese dealios, to be precise. These things...Oh. My. Goodness. I don't care if they're mass-produced or if they're horrible for me. They're so GOOOOOOD!

4. High quality clothes irons. Two things concerning this. First, an iron will only perform as well as the person employing it. Second, you can't tell the difference between an article of clothing ironed with a bargain-basement iron and an article of clothing ironed with a super-duper high quality iron. But you know what? I'd still take the high quality setup any day. It'd make my life sooooooo much easier. Well, not really. I would, however, feel like a real ironing stud ;)

5. Babies, at approximately 6 months old. You can knock 'em around a little, fool 'em a little, and run away from 'em if you need to :) Best of all, just return the little tikes to their parents when the diapers need changing.

6. My genes. I must confess, I like having my gene pool. It means I fit clothes properly, tan well, and eat voraciously. Not bad if you ask me :)

7. Charlie Weis. Notre Dame's new head football coach is doing things the right way in South Bend for the first time since Lou left. 45 days and counting 'til kickoff...

8. Mark Stam. How many guys would buy food for all the other guys at his own birthday celebration? Stam rocks :)

posted by Bolo | 5:02 AM
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7.19.2005  

Similar?

Nikki's blog is one of the better reads out there in the blogging world, at least amongst bloggers I know personally. This post, however, almost made me laugh and fart at the same time. Especially since I saw Dr. Nettles earlier today :)

posted by Bolo | 11:36 PM
2 speakage


7.18.2005  

What a Banana

Banana's turning into more than just a job. Well, it was always more than just a job; it was the job that would let me address the fashionable social butterfly within my soul :) Getting paid for it was just an added bonus.

Last week I was talking to Linda, a chronologically advanced coworker of mine, about the latest book she's been reading: Piper's When I Don't Desire God. She said that she'd been having some trouble understanding it. It was, as she put it, "out of her league." I laughed and agreed that Piper can be like that for those who've not been previously exposed to his writings. She went on to say that it made her uncomfortable, mainly it seemed to make God so much bigger than she could handle. I smiled when she said that; I told her that I often don't like God being bigger than I can handle, either. She continued to talk about how Piper's book made her think about the Lord in ways that astonished and frustrated her, all the while knowing it was for her good. It made her realize that God was challenging her. I kept smiling; what she shared reminded of all the ways the Lord has made known to me how uncomfortable His goodness can be.

But then she told me something interesting. Linda said that she'd been afraid of telling me and Bruce (who goes to Southern and also works at Banana) about struggling so much with Piper's book because she feared we might look down at her. I shook my head and laughed even harder when she said that. I told her that my sins were far too big for me to even consider looking down upon someone else, especially when it was so obvious that she was seeking the Lord. Of course, looking down upon someone else who isn't seeking the Lord is not excused, but I say that to point out the obvious (and delightful!) working of God's grace in her life. Besides, the Lord knows how often I still look down upon "sinners"...hypocrite that I am.

That little conversation was good for my soul. She reminded me to press on, and to soberly consider the many, many blessings the Lord has placed in my life. Such musing is necessary; I told Scott that it seems like I have a big target painted on me, and that Satan takes every shot, cheap or expensive, subtle or overt, that he can take at me. Whether or not they get through the defenses, they seem to wear me down. It's quite tempting to give up, all too easy to want to lay down and not fight the good fight of faith. *Sigh*...but that's not an option. Never was, never will be. All the wiles of the enemy only serve to magnify the glories of the Lord's grace all the more, and strange as that may seem to my shortsighted soul, it nevertheless is true.

Life is hard, and it won't get any easier. I feel beat down at times...most of the time, it seems...but I'm not out. Scripture reminds me of this over and over again. I can't give up; why should I, when Christ has already won? Over two and a half years ago, I remember thinking that coming here would be an incredibly sanctifying step of obedience. I knew I wouldn't be comfortable at first, and I knew that I didn't want to become comfortable. At least, not in the sense that Linda and I spoke of. If I look back over the time I've been here, I can see how I've become comfortably complacent, and how God graciously takes me out of that comfort and places me back where I need to be: begging and pleading for His grace. He created me to yearn for Him, to trust in Him, and to glorify Him. I won't pretend to understand all the ways and purposes He employs to these fit together, but I have a feeling that this lesson is part of it.

posted by Bolo | 11:42 PM
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7.16.2005  

Domestics

This is Scott and Emily. Scott and Emily were hitting each other while I took that picture. Scott would taunt her, and Emily would knock him upside the head. He would feign shock at her brutality, and she would laugh at his thinly veiled attempt to woo her back.

Don't worry, Mrs. Cavie, they were only playing Halo. Besides, if they were really fighting, I don't think Scott's shoulders would've stood up to Emily's right cross; I hear it's quite skull-rattling :) (That means I would have held her back!)

By the way...Scott's shirts, jeans, socks, and...uuuhhhh...shoes for the evening all came furnished by Yours Truly :)

posted by Bolo | 9:26 PM
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7.14.2005  

Toto Power

Some of the Peoples That Be at Boyce College have determined, for some unfathomable reason, that I closely resemble a Ninja Turtle. Wearing turtlenecks during the winter months did not quelch the spread of this belief; nor, for that matter, did springing over the back of one of the pews in Alumni Chapel...during one of our chapel services.

With that in mind, I figured this little pic would be appreciated. The Knisely Clan, Biggzy, Brooke, and Meg would find this most amusing, I'm sure.

posted by Bolo | 9:34 PM
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7.13.2005  

Word

Jeremiah 2:4 - 13
Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord, "What injustice did your fathers find in Me, that they went far from Me and walked after emptiness and became empty? They did not say, 'Where is the Lord who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought and of deep darkness, through a land that no one crossed and where no man dwelt?' I brought you into the fruitful land to eat its fruit and its good things. But you came and defiled My land, and My inheritance you made an abomination. The priests did not say, 'Where is the Lord?' And those who handle the Law did not know Me; the rulers also transgressed against Me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal and walked after things that did not profit. Therefore I will yet contend with you," declares the Lord, "and with your sons' sons I will contend. For cross to the coastlands of Kittim and see, and send to Kedar and observe closely and see if there has been such a thing as this! Has a nation changed gods when they were not gods? But My people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this, and shudder, be very desolate," declares the Lord. "For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves broken cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water."

Psalm 17:15
As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.

Psalm 63:1
O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Where lies my satisfaction? Toward what end does my every action lie? In what does my heart hope, for whom does my soul yearn? The words of the Lord call me before Him, searching and undoing the hidden things within me. The truths of the gospel remind me that the Lord satisfies...he surpasses every other pleasure, every other end to which I labor. And yet, do I live this? *Sigh*...the Lord is so much better, so much sweeter and more sustaining than all the other things of this world that I want or could ever want. Oh Lord, why does my heart flee from You? Why do I store up for myself treasures on earth? Do not let me be satisfied with my broken cisterns! Lead me back unto You, the infinite and ever-flowing fount of living waters, that I might bend the knee and drink deeply of Your waters.

posted by Bolo | 7:03 PM
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7.11.2005  

Word

Ephesians 4:31, 32
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

I had occasion to ponder these two verses yesterday. The tender-hearted, compassionate nature which is ours in Christ seems to elude me to a far greater degree than I'd care to admit. In thinking about how I'm going to minister to the other college students at our church, what comes to mind most urgently is the need to shepherd, care for, and genuinely love others. It'd be easy to want to fall back into Teacher Mode and simply lead a bible study or something of that nature, but what would that accomplish? Where would the shepherd's heart for the sheep be? Quite simply, genuine soul-care would not be there.

A little later in the day, I was thinking about bitterness. What is bitterness? What effect does it have upon the soul? What causes it, and what does it look like? I looked in my concordance, and found the verse in Ephesians 4 mentioned. When I turned there, I was surprised to see the same passage I'd already been meditating on. What struck me was not so much the admonition to put away bitterness, but the encouragement to be tender-hearted and forgiving. Why? It's that last phrase: "just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."

Whoa.

I still think about that message that Dr. Moore preached in Boyce Chapel this past Spring Semester. We, as those who are reconciled to God through the precious and atoning blood of Christ that was shed upon the cross, have absolutely no right to be bitter. This is quite silencing! If we choose to take vengeance upon ourselves, then we count Christ's sacrifice and God's eternal punishment in hell as insufficient retribution for any wrongdoing. This does not, however, discount the justice and consequences of earthly government. Rather, this bitterness that Paul speaks of is that which is in the heart, that which overlooks God's role as the righteous Judge who patiently grants grace to all for a time here on earth, and is ultimately offensive toward His glory.

Ok, fine. So I can't hold a grudge. Why be tender-hearted?

As much as my flesh would like to ignore it, I, too, deserve the wrath of God poured out on me for eternity. Yet, that wrath was poured out on Christ! That's the point that Paul is making: we have no right to point a finger and cry out indignantly when we perceive injustice done against us, precisely because we have done a far greater injustice toward God, and He has already forgiven us in Christ. Such a truth should drive us not to be blinded by bitterness, but rather, to see clearly through the lens of forgiveness. Bitterness blinds us to the grace of God in Christ, and the fires of bitterness that often rise up as a result of sin will only lead to further sin if they are not quenched by the waters of forgiveness. Therefore, we forgive lovingly and humbly, not with haughty hearts that are giving infinite graces, but with hearts that have themselves been forgiven for transgressions too heinous for our consciences to bear fully. This, then, is the tender-heartedness that overcomes the dark roots of bitterness that gnaw upon our souls: forgiveness for Christ's sake.

posted by Bolo | 3:03 PM
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Slacker!

It's tough being Kason, isn't it?

Not really :)

posted by Bolo | 2:22 PM
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7.10.2005  

Set Straight

Got this one sent to me from one of the Officers I worked with at TRICARE. Keep in mind, this comes from a Military Officer.

Three men were sitting together bragging about how they had set their new wives straight on their duties.

The first man had married a woman from Alabama, and bragged that he had told his wife she was going to do all the dishes and house cleaning that needed done at their house.

He said that it took a couple days but on the third day, he came home to a clean house and the dishes were all washed and put away.

The second man had married a woman from Missouri. He bragged that he had given his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes, and the cooking.

He told them that the first day he didn't see any results, but the next day it was better. By the third day, his house was clean, the dishes were done, and he had a huge dinner on the table.

The third man had married a Hawaiian girl. He boasted that he told her that her duties were to keep the house cleaned, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed and hot meals on the table for every meal.

He said the first day, he didn't see anything. The second day, he didn't see anything either. But by the third day, most of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye!


Very horrible outlook on the husband/wife relationship, but dangit...I couldn't resist when I read the punchline :) Thanks, Colonel E!

posted by Bolo | 10:05 PM
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Clash of the Titans

Dr. Fuller's knee had kept him knocked out of the racquetball courts for half a year. The ever-kind and sweet Dr. Waggoner, his arch rival, has kept the smack talk going throughout the rehab period. This picture shows the two of them in the ring/racquetball court this past week, going at it for the first time since Christmas Carols were en vogue. What's really funny about this is that Dr. W took it really easy for the one and only game they were supposedly going to play, which resulted in a 15-1 win for Dr. F (providentially, I have a sneaky feeling that I may not be the first person to use that moniker for Dr. Fuller, seeing that his Hebrew classes are usually met with the same degree of enthusiasm as, oh, a root canal...I think 'cause they both cause the same degree of pain). Naturally, the Peanut Gallery (which included me) would not let them stop at just one. Oh no. So the two gents rather jocularly agreed to a second match.

Big mistake.

Dr. F failed his second trial run, as Dr. W started playing in earnest. Dr. F's knee started to hurt during this match. Did he stop? Nope, not even at Dr. W's repeated inquiries as to the condition of the tender knee. Dr. W ended up winning this second match somewhat handily, and Dr. F immediately bemoaned his rather moronic, stubborn, testosterone-driven foolishness.

All of which served to make me laugh all the harder :)

posted by Bolo | 6:19 PM
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7.09.2005  

Double Trouble

Earlier today, I chatted with Jim Winn's brother, Jonathan. I told Jim that if I didn't know beforehand that I was talking to Jonathan, I would've sworn up and down and under and over the 1611 King James Bible that I was conversing with Jim. Yeah...I know...two people in this world that sound like Jim Winn...that's a mystery nearly equal to that which Paul speaks of in Ephesians 5!

Well, maybe.

posted by Bolo | 7:31 PM
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Top Ten

Here are the top ten things that Scott and I learned tonight:

1. Never, ever, ever walk down Bardstown Road at 10 PM on a Friday night. I told Scott that if I ever do that again, I'm going to bring my knife with me...Mildred, I believe. (Yes, for those of you who don't know, I name my knives.)

2. Scott is definitely not Simon. Of course, we have no idea of exactly who Simon is, but still...he's not Simon.

3. There's no way I'm Simon, either.

4. When a whole bunch of guys look you up and down like that, it's perfectly normal to get the heebee jeebee's. I did. Well, I was also prepared to turn around and thrust the base of my palm upward into someone's nose (which would shove their nose cartilage into their nasal cavity, thus causing blood to gush out of their eye sockets), but still...*shudder*. It is, after all, Bardstown Road.

5. You get checked out by more than just guys when you walk along Bardstown Road at 10 PM on a Friday night. It's not pleasant, either.

6. When Scott's finally married...whenever that happens...wait...come to think of it, I may need to work on finding him a girl...that'll be really hard work...anyway, whenever he's married, I'll still be mooching food off of him. He and the future Mrs. O'Neal will have a Toto Night :)

7. When they're born in the 90's, I can only shake my head and walk away.

8. My talk is cheaper than my actions are.

9. The medium Banana-something Blizzard at DQ is much too sweet to finish off in one sitting. Er, walking. Whatever. Yeah.

10. Despite the fact that he's graduated, Scott David O'Neal still gets a seat reserved for him at Dorm Meeting. Therefore, seating still goes something like this: Scott, Toto, Smythe. That way, O'Neal gets a good view of the keyboards. Sorry, Coffey, the answer's still the same as last year. And the year before that.

11. I lied. One more for good measure :) Even if we're walking on Bardstown Road at 10 PM on a Friday night, Scott and Toto are still Scott and Toto. These days, though, he's just a weeeeeeee bit giddy for some reason I can't quite fathom. Hmmm...maybe he's found a girl already...

posted by Bolo | 1:39 AM
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7.08.2005  

Done

Darren was telling me that our reaction to various circumstances and frames of mind should always be the same: we ought to desire more of the Lord. In one way or another, that's what our thoughts and actions really should be rooted in.

Easier said than done.

Thinking about this upcoming semester, which is approaching all too quickly, there seems to be a whole lot more on my plate than I originally bargained for. Yet, before I even begin to think about the semester, I feel as though I have to get a firm grip on the here and now. It's all too easy to slide into a comfortable pattern and just stumble through life.

How can I root my thoughts and actions in desiring the Lord? Part of that comes in asking myself some basic questions. Am I deliberately seeking the Lord at every moment? Am I trusting in Him for the wisdom to know what to do, the faith to act, and the strength to complete those actions? Am I loving others in such a way that they not only see Christ in me, but that they delight all the more in our Lord because of His grace in my life, and therefore cause others to hunger and thirst after His righteousness? Of course, such an effect is brought about because of my own hunger and thirst for Him; are those evident? How am I seeking to root out sin? Am I merely talking about doing it, or am I actively seeking to rejoice all the more in the Lord in such a way that sin loses its savor to my parched and weary soul? Such things are on my plate now, and they won't go away during the semester. Even though there's a lot of activity that will be added in the coming weeks, those things I just spoke of are at the core. They are the disciplines that will drive all else, for if they are not done and done well, nothing else will get done.

posted by Bolo | 3:04 PM
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7.06.2005  

Font Issues

Have you ever had a booger that you couldn't quite pick? A bit of gas that just wouldn't come out? A piece of food tucked away nicely in between a couple of teeth, juuuuuuust conveniently out of reach of your probing tongue?

That was my font situation. For some strange reason I still cannot fathom, my blog suddenly decided to post the text bodies in Times New Roman. Absolutely hideous font. Horrendous. Disgusting. The Scum of All Fonts. Some of you may think I'm out of my mind. Gone off the deep end. Well, for those of you who cannot relate to my frustration, I claim that my temporary insanity is a byproduct of my personality type, which dictates that I hold to a high degree of anal retentivity in certain matters, despite the fact that I am predominantly laid-back. Ask my sister. Ask Scott. The laid-back side drives 'em crazy at times :) But it's the highly anal-retentive side that keeps me dogmatic and precise, particularly concerning matters of Scripture, fashion, or computing. I know I know I know, it's a strange combination to be anal over, but hey...strange is my middle name :)

But back to the font. Over three hours of meticulous code editing and checking brought on nothing more (or so it seemed for the majority of those hours) than several repeats of one of my iTunes playlists. Yeah...it wasn't looking up. When I finally did find the fix, it turned out to be staring me in the face the whole time. I still don't understand what went wrong. For that matter, I still don't really grok the solution. Nevertheless, it's fixed, and my eyes no longer recoil in abject horror. In fact, I think I'm going to go and gaze lovingly upon my beautiful 12-point, #666666 colored, body-text-standard Tahoma font :)

Be quiet. I already know I need help.

posted by Bolo | 8:48 PM
1 speakage
 

Pretty Much the Best Monday Ever

In light of yesterday's post concerning my rather tumultuous friendship with a certain Scott David O'Neal, I must say that he did recently supply me with with Pretty Much the Best Monday Ever. I would not want to sound as if our friendship was on the rocks, for that most certainly is not the case. Quite the contrary! This past Monday was...wonderful. He unexpectedly called me at some point in the afternoon, while he was in the airport waiting to get on his flight back to Louisville. I told him how I'd had a great weekend...eating Breyer's ice cream...by myself...watching the corn in the cornfield grow in front of my sister's house...by myself...thinking of how I used to grow corn in high school, and how it went great with turkey (that's right, Turkey...not Burkey...Turkey)...yeah, we had a thrilling conversation :)

Well, kinda.

He could only stay on the line for a few minutes, and the majority of the time was taken up because he had to pay attention to the announcements. Still, he was kind enough to listen to me intermitently, which was more than enough to make me happy. After all, he was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to call me...me...oh, what joy his rather negligent-sounding voice brought to my heart! What thrills raced through my soul upon hearing that he may take some time to spend with me this upcoming semester! Maybe even by mid-terms!

So yes. Scott made this past Monday...well...Pretty Much the Best Monday Ever. *Sigh*...what joy! What hope! What a glow he has brought to my countenance!

;)

posted by Bolo | 4:46 PM
3 speakage


7.05.2005  

Forgetful

Once upon a time, on July 3, 1993, a rather significant thing happened. My niece, my one and only niece, the very first human who officially made me an Uncle, was born. She was named Kayla Kawailehua Emiko Ing.

Two days ago, she celebrated her 12th birthday. Two days ago, I forgot to call her to wish her a happy birthday.

Yeah, I know. BAD UNCLE JOHN. Bad, bad, BAD! She told me she wasn't surprised, because I'm "so forgetful." I didn't bother to argue with her; she was right.

posted by Bolo | 3:39 PM
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Call Log

9:41 AM. 10:45 AM. 11:49 AM. Those are the calls that I missed this morning from a certain Scott David O'Neal. He left two voicemails, the second of which went something like this: "John Letoto. I have been calling you aaaallll morning, and you have not answered at all. I am beginning to doubt whether or not you are my friend." Of course, what he neglected to consider was the fact that I was working at Banana Republic from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM. Of course, when I happened to call him back as soon as I ended my shift, he was talking to some girl named Emily. Of course, me being the incredibly important friend that I am, he doesn't even answer the first time around, and then he brushes me off and tells me he'll call me back later, waaaay later, 'cause he's talking to some hot chick.

I think he likes her or something. Hmmm...I don't think he even has time for a girlfriend. I wonder if she knows that...*shrug*.

posted by Bolo | 1:50 PM
1 speakage


7.03.2005  

Mental JPG's

Editor's Note: I apologize in advance to all those who read this who may feel the abrupt need to vomit.

I told Mike Hilliard that he is no longer allowed to speak to me in a voice that is the least bit effeminate. That ultimatum came on the...uhhh...heels of a rather hideous mental picture that thrust itself somewhat forcibly to the forefront of my brain's set of JPG files: Michael Dewayne Hilliard, in a mini-skirt and stiletto heels.

Yeah. Gross.

Do you see the need for the ultimatum? That voice even ruins a Christmas carol for me! "Don we now our gay apparel..."

posted by Bolo | 10:05 PM
0 speakage


7.02.2005  

Agreement, not Agreeance

Just talked to 'Drew a little while ago. Highlights from our conversation include: naming his Mac "Amber" because it's quite...uhhh...temperamental...just like another Amber we know...actually, I suggested the name "Meat Jhun," but that would've been not only obvious, but...well...really really really naughty; the fact that Aya looks white and red...like a candy cane; the pastoral search at FCF, and how that's going; and Andrew's search for a shirt. Supposedly, Julie Mats' wedding colors include a blue that's a little green, is darker than turquoise, and goes well with silver, the other color. I told him that if my wardrobe were at home, I'd just let him borrow something from it. Unfortunately for both of us, that's not an option.

Oh, we also spoke of food. I told him of my latest adventure in Sustenance Acquisition Management. This particarly tale has me stymied, for I have no reason for its success other than the Doctrine of Providence. Yesterday, in the school cafeteria, I met gentleman who I would say is in his 40's. He looked like he could've been Thai, Chinese, or something of that nature. It turns out he's Malaysian, and he's on campus to take a class from the Seminary. Anyway, within three minutes of meeting me, he insists that he needs to take me out to eat, and wants to know if I like Asian food.

He might as well have asked me if I like Hawai'i :)

When I told this to Andrew, he and I agreed that my food acquisitions are a great reason to rejoice, as it's no mean task for people like him and myself to furnish our Infamous Tapeworms (Ned, and Ned's cousin...Ted, was it?) with all the nourishment necessary. Yet, this particular tale has me stymied, as I did not invoke a single skill in getting Kit (that's the dude's name) to take me out for some scrumptious Asian food. In fact, his insistence took me utterly by surprise. I don't know how it happened, and quite frankly, I'm not sure I want to know, 'cause my pride my suffer somewhat for it ;) It's one of those things that might need to be explained by the Doctrine of Election, ya know? Yeah... I don't think I really have any choice in the matter.

But I'm not complaining!

posted by Bolo | 6:13 PM
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