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


Sweet Separation

When one reads the Scriptures, it quickly becomes apparent that God hates idolatry. When reading through Hosea, it is a sober realization to begin to understand that God's mercy toward those whom He would save takes the form of the hedging in, or, practically speaking, the removal of access to or pleasure derived from those idols.

I love this World...I do. I may not say it with my lips, but my heart constantly cries out for more, more, more! More of what? Why, pleasure, of course. It is a cheap, diseased pleasure, make no mistake, but it is pleasure nonetheless.

It is also idolatry.

It fights for the chief affection of my heart, that which belongs to God alone.

It is sinful.

God desires me to have pleasure. Just as He hedged in Israel, cutting His beloved off from those unsatisfying idols, so He cuts me off from the things my heart craves. In doing so my heart aches, becomes bruised, and yes, even begins to wonder if the LORD is still faithful. Yet, in the midst of such miserable mercy, there comes a point at which I am reminded of His promises, namely, those of pleasures forevermore. I am also reminded, as my head is raised and my eyes are drawn heavenward, that I do not deserve such pleasures, and that such pleasures come at the greatest of cost. I am reminded that the Father's promises come not without pain to Himself, without a cutting off of, a separation from a pleasure that I ought not to have: that of knowing the intimate, unashamed fellowship and love of Christ, of being known and loved by Him, being made one with Him.

posted by Bolo | 7:00 PM
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Shades of Gray

posted by Bolo | 8:33 AM
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"I Think I'm Going to Boston"

This is what I'm hearing over the phone at the moment: "Flight 639 to Boston is boarding..."

It's kind of odd feeling like I'm the one in LAX...

posted by Bolo | 12:35 AM
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Soaked & Singed

"God planned for His Son to be crucified and for hell to be terrible so that we would have the clearest witnesses possible to what is at stake when we preach. What gives preaching its seriousness is that the mantle of preaching is soaked in the blood of Jesus and singed with the fire of hell. Are you wearing that mantle?"

-John Piper, Together for the Gospel, April 2006

posted by Bolo | 9:41 PM
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What I saw while sitting on the bench yesterday afternoon...

posted by Bolo | 11:03 AM
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Broken Display

I've done much thinking this week, particularly in the past day or two. The thought that hit me over and over again today was simple: I desire for others to see Christ in my life, and so much so that when they think of me later on, their overwhelming impression is such that can only explain interacting with me by saying, "I saw Jesus in him." Today, however, that thought brought me no pleasure. In fact, it was downright sobering, daunting, and especially, lacking.

It was a realization that made the walls of pride around me come crumbling and tumbling down. Why? I think of the biblical characters I admire most: Peter, David, Moses, Paul, Jeremiah, Hosea, John, John, Jonah, Job...the list goes on, and I'm sure everyone would agree. The thing is, though, that when I stop and think about why I admire them, about why I identify with them, and yes, about why I see Jesus' glory shining forth from their lives, it's for one simple reason: they were real people, with real struggles, weighed down by real sins, who all struggled mightily to see and understand and embrace the real mercy of a holy God. They weren't merely doctrinal geniuses who got everything right, who did everything By the Book. Shame from sin? Check. Misunderstood by those closest to them? Check. Hated by others for the sake of their Lord? Check. Struggles with and falling in sin, even as those saved by grace? Check. Loss of everything? Check.

The point is this: their lives display the grace and mercy of God not in spite of their weaknesses, but because of them.

There's another list of biblical characters that I'll probably take some time to think over as I go to bed tonight, and that would be the list of people that God admires, that God delights in. You see, I'm a finite human, with a very limited understanding of God's character and dimension. I do not delight in the things that God delights in in quite the same manner, and therefore, I'm quite sure that while He does take delight in Peter, David, and all the rest, there are others that I would probably look at and glance over far too quickly for His tastes. Those are the ones of whom He may look at even now and say, "Look, behold my beloved, the one from whom My Son's glory bursts forth!" I like to think that such a list would include the widow who offered a mere two copper coins, the shepherds who first came to Jesus at His birth, the various children who went to Jesus, the woman caught in adultery that Jesus forgave, and, quite possibly, even Gomer.

That's not a list of glorious theologians, great evangelists, or pillars of church history. Indeed, we're not shown very much of those characters other than in the tiny patches where they are woven into the biblical narrative. In fact, especially in the case of Gomer, we don't really know what their salvific state is. In Hosea's story, we're told that she's the adulterous woman he is to marry. We see that the story of their marriage is to foreshadow Christ's love and faithfulness in His marriage to His bride, the church. For that reason, I include Gomer, because I often forget that I, too, am God's beloved, and that He delights in looking upon me and seeing the ways He has and is and shall work to cleanse me and cherish me and nourish me. I like to think of myself as being strong, as being able to uphold myself. Yet, that's a sad lie that I buy into as I learn more about God and fail to be awed by His grace.

Pray with me that I would truly learn, as these biblical characters did, of God's grace, and in doing so, show forth Christ. Pray with me that Christ would be displayed in my humble, broken, trusting weakness and dependence on Him.

posted by Bolo | 11:43 PM
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Night & Day

posted by Bolo | 10:04 AM
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Present or Poop?

This little dude was waiting for me when I went out to my car today. He didn't fly away, didn't take a nervous hop, didn't even flinch when I approached and got in. My theory on his courage? He was really happy to present to me the...uhhh..."present" he had made for me.

Thanks. Really. I think it matches all the stickers ;)

posted by Bolo | 10:40 PM
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Dude. Coffee is sooooo tasty.

posted by Bolo | 6:41 PM
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Plastic Pillar of Productivity

The ever-growing Pillar is now plastic. Soon, it'll be made of PVC piping, undoubtedly to be succeeded by concrete tubing. At that point, Shawn might have to be let in via trebuchet.

posted by Bolo | 3:46 PM
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"I was there once when you were roasting. I think of you and roasting coffee like a couple; you just can't separate the two, no matter what."


posted by Bolo | 2:49 AM
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B & W

posted by Bolo | 11:59 PM
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This tiny portion of Ryan's sermon blessed me a great deal today. I need to hear it, to be reminded of Christ's work in tasting the bitter, vile consequences of my sin, and that it is indeed to His glory.

"There is no death for the Christian, because when Jesus Christ was on the cross and He said, 'It is finished!' He wasn't playing games; He meant it! He meant that there is no longer death! He tasted it so that you won't have to! I can tell you about what a burger tastes like and send you to a restaurant to taste it yourself. He tasted this sting called Death and you will never taste it yourself! It is an experience He owns for Himself, and His glory, the glory of taking death, He will not give to another! You will not taste what He has done for you!"

-Ryan Fullerton, February '06

posted by Bolo | 1:31 PM
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It's Friday!

posted by Bolo | 7:56 AM
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Terra Firma

posted by Bolo | 9:54 PM
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Hawaiian Superman?

Peter: "What if you had the superhero power so you were Always Exactly on Time Man?"
Me: "I would cease to exist."
Peter: "You wouldn't just exist in paradox?"
Me: "Nope, I would cease to exist."
Peter: "Is that like the question, 'Can God make a rock too...' "
Me: "Yup, exactly."

posted by Bolo | 3:53 PM
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CAROTiD was a measly 22 points. The Irish picked up their 19th verbal commitment for next year's recruiting class...everyone say it with me, "Defense!" A big part of me is wondering what the redeeming value is in a Thursday...ugh. Two coffee snob observations: a glass-lined thermos is a must, and I think I need to find my press, as it requires less grounds. Despite what some have claimed, I'm not a machine. I have part numbers floating in my head. All. Day. Long. I'm not sure what's more disturbing, the fact that "fungal enzymes" are listed as an ingredient in my store-bought apple turnovers, or the fact that I don't find this at all disturbing. In a little over a week I make my way back to Maryland...too bad I won't be near the bay with the big...clams.

posted by Bolo | 9:54 AM
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Big & Little People

posted by Bolo | 10:05 AM
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Why They Labor

1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13a
But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work.

3 John 4
I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

Last night (or maybe Sunday night), I had a conversation about what has become a favorite pastime for Andrew and me: Pastor Brad hunting. When the two of us were home for Christmas, we had the pleasure of spending time with Gary and Brad, two men that have influenced both of us greatly over the years. In reflecting upon both the time 'Drew and I spent at home this past Christmas as well as the seasons of life that have receded into the distance with alarming quickness, I realized this: those passages of Scripture cited above have become very, very real to me.

I remember the look in Gary's eyes when we were able to sit down with him, reunited as the PBoD crew once more, even if for but a brief moment of time. He was genuinely happy. And who made him happy? We did.

I also remember the look in Brad's eyes when Andrew and I surprised him that morning in Faith Baptist; that was true joy. When we sat with him in Starbucks, I kept thinking that times like these are what the body of Christ longs for, what it labors for.

posted by Bolo | 2:04 AM
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Dreaming of Dreaming

This is what I told Rev a little while ago: "I just woke up from a nap, just before 9...but I think my phone was ringing sometime before then. I was dreaming that I was dreaming that it was ringing, so I didn't answer, then woke up and realized that I probably wasn't dreaming."


posted by Bolo | 9:34 PM
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Office Objectivity

Remember the aforementioned plastic pillar? You can see it on ascending from its base on Shawn's desk, pinnacled with a paper plate. I suppose it's somewhat obvious. I still think our consensus that the boss wouldn't see it was a pretty good one.

This is what happens when we leave Stephen in the office all by himself. Tsk, tsk!

posted by Bolo | 6:27 PM
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Liar, Liar

DW: Just kidding 'bout that radio show thing :)

posted by Bolo | 4:09 PM
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Profundity in Plastic Pillars

Quick bit of morning profundity: if the boss doesn't notice the big plastic pillar in the middle of the office, is it actually there? Well, the question is moot; he noticed it, therefore we'll never really know.

posted by Bolo | 8:30 AM
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There's a song by Shaded Red entitled Faker. Other than the fact that the flower in the picture is fake, neither the group nor the song have anything to do with this post or the picture; they're just the first thing that came to mind when I decided to write a little blurb about the flower :)

posted by Bolo | 9:35 PM
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My conversation with Andrew was crystal-clear, right up to the point where he finished informing me that he and Sandi were driving through the mountains, and therefore might be cutting in and out. That's right when he started to cut in and out. That Scrabble game from last night was pretty lengthy; it's a good thing Ashlea didn't realize that there were words played that weren't legitimate words, or else our game may have lasted even longer. Who else saw that look on Shuey's face when Morgan was throwing the ball yesterday? That look was the look of every dad out there who discovers that his kid might have a better arm than he does, the look that all but shouts, "Hey, that's my kid!" Speaking of looks, I saw that look you were sporting when I was talking to Fullerton, S. David. And I saw that whispering you had going on with Mrs. S. David, too. Yeah, I saw you. Boss, aren't you gonna be home soon? Mr. Calvinaugh, how goes the roasting? I think I like listening to Shaggy 'cause it takes me back to high school. Ok, maybe that's more like way back to high school. Whatever.

posted by Bolo | 6:41 PM
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Tiny Humans

posted by Bolo | 4:39 PM
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Today's Linkage is a nod to the sports geek in me. The pennant races are heating up (or cooling down, depending on your perspective) for the boys of summer, and all too soon, the quiet that is the world of college football will break out in a hopeful storm with the start of a new season. Aaahhh...what a time of year!

Really?. Wow.

When I was younger, and Joe was still a 'Niner, Dad would always remind me, "Don't get Joe Montana mad!" No kidding.

You want to know what can make a couple of lifelong Red Sox fans cheer against their team in one of the greatest games in franchise history? Want to know what will make a couple of Boston guys sit in front of the TV set, wearing St. Louis Cardinals "gear" over their replica BoSox jerseys? Want to know what can make a couple of decidedly heterosexual males jump up and down, hugging and almost kissing, in the middle of Game 4, the deciding game of the Series? Ask Nick and Ray, the two guys who had what they thought were non-refundable tickets to that Game 5.

I remember this game, and I seriously remember crying after that kick sailed through the uprights. He's right about that kick; it was ugly.

posted by Bolo | 8:30 AM
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posted by Bolo | 4:18 PM
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