Saturday, December 29, 2007
Over at the Riddleblog, Dr. Kim Riddlebarger from "The White Horse Inn" and writer of books such as "A Case for Amillennialism" posts a great response to how these candidates in this year's election are using Bhutto's death to show they are good presidential credentials. I think ALL candidates blew it on this one, and here is what Dr. Riddlebarger says, and I agree:
"Is anyone else as as disgusted as I am at all the presidential campaigns for using the tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto as a way to shamelessly tout their own supposed foreign policy credentials?Props: The Riddleblog
These guys (and a gal) have spent the last two days knocking each other over to get before a camera or a mic to pontificate about something they obviously know very little about. Unless you are already in the White House and privy to hard intelligence, you probably don't know squat about what really happened and who did the dastardly deed
The most egregious examples so far are ambulance-chaser turned senator, John Edwards telling a rally that he just got off the phone with President Musharraf in Islamabad. Can't you just see that conversation from Musharraf's end? He's in a high-level meeting with his nation exploding all around him and an aide walks in and says, "Mr. President . . . There's a John Edwards on the phone for you. He says its important . . ." Can't you just imagine Musharraf's reaction. "Who?"
Then there is John McCain. "I knew Benazir Bhutto. I've known Musharraf for years. I've talked with general so and so . . . I talked with Moses and Abraham." And then McCain has the nerve to tell American voters what Musharraf should do, as if McCain was a candidate for Pakistani generalissimo. McCain's an America hero, but recounting the names in his address book on camera to jump-start his campaign is pretty cynical.
Huckabee didn't even know marshal law in Pakistan had been suspended. Hillary tells us she knew Bhutto well, but only because Hillary had contact with her as first-lady, not in any meaningful political/policy sense. Now Hillary wants an "international investigation." Like the UN is competent to investigate this . . .
Yes, I know American voters benefit by seeing their presidential candidates react under pressure and respond to world events. But so far I'm not impressed with any of them.
The only candidate who has made any sense to me on this is Ron Paul. "Why should we be telling the Pakistanis what to do? Pakistan is a sovereign nation." And Ron Paul is not exactly what you'd call "presidential" nor is he remotely electable.And we wonder why less than 50% of Americans vote? The cynicism shown by the lot of them is disgusting to me. And just why is it that we are going through this eleven months before the election?"
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
This Christmas was probably the most stressful and fun Christmas ever! Let me start with the stressful part, it was stressful for me probably because this is the first Christmas that I have been off for in a long long time. Not just Christmas day, but all the days leading up to that faithful day. Our Christmas began on Sunday with a trip to Lauren's parents.
Lauren's aunt and family came up from Socorro (a town 90 miles south of Abq) and we had an early Christmas dinner and present opening. The best part though aside from the "Guitar Hero" was seeing the 2 cousins pictured above playing together and enjoying the festivities for their first time, a year ago they both were too little to really be pumped about Christmas. There was also the fine art of sharing that is to be learned by each cousin, more of which will be learned in the years to come.
Christmas Eve was anything but quiet, as our day was low key but our afternoon and evening were not. We had 2 services at Desert Springs, both of which Lauren was singing in the choir. The first service was packed there were probably close to 900-1000 people in attendance. That is always cool, not because we had that many people at our church, but because that many people heard the gospel!! Lauren singing in the choir meant that we would be late to my grandmother's, going to my grandma Ruth's house is a family tradition going on for as long as I can remember. There were lots of my cousins and of course great, yummy grandma food, such as posole, menudo, homemade cookies and fudge, yep pretty stinking tasty! We got there late and in my own selfishness I was not happy about that, I do now look back and see that the time we did have there was special and fun. My in-laws did come over to my grandma's house too, that is always fun because our families are so different. I imagine it can be overwhelming for them, but hopefully they feel welcome and part of the Griego clan!
Christmas Eve came and went and then was the big day, Christmas! Yesterday was fun, we started the day off with some time with my folks eating some good breakfast food and opening presents. It had been a interesting year for my family, in May my mother's cancer had returned and had spread. In Feb my boss was fired although I got along well with the new guy, Steve Alford, I took a job at Desert Springs as the Young Adult Minister and have seen "The Well" grow from 7 kids to 60 over the semester, all to God's glory. Through it all the highlight of the year was not the cancer, but my parents response to the cancer. My mother and father were not crushed by it, but leaned on Christ as their hope and treasure, not to say there were no tears in this, but their hope and anchor was in someone else, Jesus Christ! That was the highlight for 2007 for me, that God had worked in their hearts in such a way that they had a peace and joy that cancer could not touch. My mother's cancer is 94% gone and Lord willing 2008 will bring in 100% clean tests, but either way, I hope that my family leans not on tests or health, but on Christ!
After leaving my parents house we all headed over to Montebello retirement community to visit my Nana who lives there. It was the first time I saw her new home and was very happy she was in such a nice and comfortable place. My cousin Ryan and his new family were all there and it was great to be there with them, even if it was a short visit. I hope to visit and talk to my Nana much more than I did this past year, I hope to learn to focus on my family and those around me more so, this has been a huge failure of mine that I hope to improve on this coming year.
We then headed off to my Auntie's house to see some cousins I usually only get to see at Christmas. That was fun and refreshing, being around family usually is.
After that Lauren and I went on an afternoon date to see "Alvin and the Chipmunks", it was a cute an fun movie, I recommend it!
The day concluded at my in-laws as we has stew and hung out with Lauren's brothers and sister-in-law. We also played a fun game called "Curses".
All in all it was a busy holiday, a stressful at times lesson about 2 becoming 1, and a great time to reflect on the true meaning and hope of Christmas, Jesus Christ.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Acts 2:45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
This past week Lauren, our daughter Jordyn and I (pictured) have been humbled in how someone in our body at Desert Springs Church lived out this verse in front of us. Ron one of our elders called me into his office on Wednesday to tell me that there is a certain couple at DSC that "adopts" a young married couple each year and gives them a Christmas gift. This couple went to Ron and asked if he knew of any couple that could use a monetary gift and Ron thought of Lauren and I, knowing that my salary as a DSC Intern was not quite Kobe Bryant status. This couple wanting to stay anonymous gave Ron a check for a very, very generous amount and asked Ron to give us the gift, which he did.
Needless to say Lauren cried, I was speechless and felt very humbled. I would not consider us poor or "in need" per se, Lauren and I have more than a few pairs of shoes, we are not worried that we will not be able to eat this week, we drive cars, we have lots of clothes and we live in a house. Above that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in heaven through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have been given the gift of God, by God to be with Him forever!!
This does not mean that we do not love and appreciate this gift, we are so thankful for this gift and it does provide for us in ways that we can not. What we do not want to do though is let this idea of Acts 2:45 stop with us getting this gift. We are not going to spend this money all on ourselves, what we have decieded to do with some of it is sponsor a Compassion International Kid, that through the blessing of this couple, we can bless a child with means to food, schooling, medicine and the basics that we in America take for granted.
I believe this is what the body is supposed to look like, where we are all providing for each other with what we can. This older couple could provide Lauren and I a gift that blesses us in ways we could not. We in turn hope to bless a child in the same fashion. This is not to pat ourselves on the back, the reality is one of my first reactions was to be selfish and to go get something for myself, but to say that in Christ what we have is so abundant, how can we hold on to things like money and possesions so tightly when others are in need in the world?
There is a great, great, great ministry that New Attitude has been talking about called Covenant Mercies. Here is a note explaining the heart, and hope of the ministry.
"Covenant Mercies is a gospel-centered nonprofit organization established for the purpose of serving the poor, the orphan, the widow, and others facing severe adversity in its own Pennsylvania community and beyond. Please click the links to the left to learn more about the initiatives being undertaken through Covenant Mercies.
In His grace, God has been exceedingly merciful to us. Our Savior did not sit idly by while the world agonized in the ravages of sin, but in compassion He came and suffered with us. As His visible expression in the earth today, it is our joy to minister the compassion of our Lord Jesus to those around us who are in need. We invite your prayers for Covenant Mercies as we seek to walk in the good works He has prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10), to the praise of His glorious grace."
In light of John 1 that Ryan Kelly our teaching elder at my church spoke of last week it makes sense to seek the welfare and care of the orphan.
"1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 6 There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came for a witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light.
John 1:9 There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. " (John 1: 1-14)
Thursday, December 20, 2007
UNM beat up on the small junior college looking kids from down south known as the New Mexico State Aggies last night. It was great from seeing Coach Alford simply outclass and outcoach Marvin Menzies to Roman Martinez scoring a career high 24pts. it was a great night to be a Lobo!! The Pit was loud and sounded at times like the old days of rowdiness!
What a Christmas gift, I mean beating up on the Aggies is a gift that just keeps giving and giving all year long!
Click here for article from the Albuquerque Tribune about last night's game.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
"Without the love of the Son for the Father, which impelled him to make the sacrifice in the first place, without the corresponding love of the Father for the Son, by which he accepted the Son's work and pronounced the world of forgiveness for us, our salvation could not have occurred. Furthermore, without the love of the Holy Spirit for both the Father and the Son, by which he brings this message to us and sounds the very depths of our hearts, Christ's work of love would have no practical meaning in our lives. The inner lover of the persons of the Trinity is the very ground of our redemption, and at the heart of this love we meet both the wrath and the mercy of God." (Bray 223)
A great quote by Gerald Bray from his book "The Doctrine of God", on the primacy of the Trinity and also God's wrath from a book I am reading for class.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Bryan Lopez pointed me to a great article over at Pure Church. Thabiti Anyabwile discussed how he and his wife do not celebrate jolly ole' St. Nick and his annual appearance down the chimney. A few days ago I mentioned another article that discussed the same issue that young parents face this time of year. I am a young parent of an almost 2 year old girl, and a boy on the way and this question is now being raised in our home. So here are my 2 cents on this whole Santa Claus issue.
1. I believe that Santa is not the great enemy of Christmas, yes I do realize that if you move the letters around you get Satan. I do not think that if a family that loves the Lord does the whole Santa thing they are heretics and are worse than Democrats (joke). I believe that the consumer mindset of our culture that my daughter is growing up in that tells her that if she wants to go to "heaven" whether that be social status heaven, or beautiful and skinny heaven, or successful and independent heaven she needs to own this or that as her savior. I think that materialism and idolatry (often what we sinful people have made Santa come to represent) are what I must learn to fight against in my heart and mind as well as in my children's, not some plump dude in a red suit that likes cookies.
2. I think there is a danger in raising up children that have been lied to about a mythical figure that brings joy and blessings from "above". A figure that can see everything, I mean he knows if you are naughty or nice. A dude that seems to be everywhere at once, the dude goes to every house in the world in one night! A make believe figure that will bless you if you are good and obedient. Then one day the kid finds out they have been lied to and deceived about this loving, joyful, supernatural man. "If Santa is fake and a lie, what about Jesus?" Seems like a logical question to ask, after all we had been propagating this lie about someone that seems to resemble our Lord in his attributes pretty closely to a 10 year old.
3. Let me quote Thabiti Anyabwile here on this point:
"Christmas is the time we celebrate the Infinite Creator God, sending His Eternal Son down from eternity into space and time. God entered His creation, indeed, took nine months residence in the womb of a virgin. One fully God and fully man was born, clothed in the likeness of sinful man, lived a perfect life in obedience to the Father, died a scandalous death in love for sinners, and rose from the grave in glory! Imagine that. This is what our children's minds should be fired with. And it's all true! In the end, there is nothing as inspiring as the truth about Jesus!"
I think Christ seems to be able to captivate and provide joy and awe without a old, jolly fat dude in a red suit.
Needless to say our family will not be doing the whole "Santa" thing. However one question still remains, how do we tell our daughter and son that some people do believe that Santa is real, and that it is not their job or duty to pop that bubble?? Any suggestions for that one???
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Our state's Governor Bill Richardson basically showed why he is not qualified to be President last night at the Democratic Debate. Apparentley Gov. Richardson embellished on quite a few things. For instance, our state's education progress which has actually gone backwards, our state's teachers' salaries which is not as good as he has claimed, or a few other things as well. I have lost a lot of respect for Gov. Richardson over this campaign because he has basically left his state high and dry while going after this dream of President, which that is all it is. Was he a good Governor before that, yeah I guess although I think we the people of New Mexico have been used by a greedy, selfish man for self interest and that sucks! Overall Richardson needs to step out of the campaign and back into his state that needs a good, strong leader to do all the things he said he would do and then it would not be embellishing!!!
To see the other embellishments check out Newsweek's Fact Checker.
I do not know a lot of these songs but 2 that I really enjoy are, Embracing Accusations and Remedy, both are great and I think we listen to the first and then go do the 2nd!!!
In no particular order:Devastation Hands - Emerson Hart
The Pretender - Foo Fighters
Champion - Kanye West - Graduation
Happy Apple Poison - Lovedrug
Slow Dancing in a Burning Room - John Mayer - The Village Sessions
Love Song - Sara Bareilles - Little Voice
White Mystery - Minus the Bear - Planet of Ice
Love is Waiting - Brooke Fraser - Albertine
Lesson Learned - Alicia Keys (featuring John Mayer) - As I Am
Everybody Wants To Rule The World - The Bad Plus - Prog
Something In Your Eyes - David Martin - Something In Your Eyes
If I Never See Your Face Again - Maroon 5 - It Won't Be Soon Before Long
Movin' On - Elliot Yamim
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi - Radiohead - In Rainbows
Clinging to the Cross - Tim Hughes - Holding Nothing Back
Remedy - David Crowder Band - Remedy
Embracing Accusations - Shane and Shane
Thursday, December 13, 2007
The Picture above hangs in my cubicle at my office at Desert Springs. I have been thinking a lot about this "war-time" mentality that Dr. Piper discusses here. This idea that we are to not be Christ Followers that hope in the American Dream. Instead we are to fight and pray that we show to the world that Jesus is our treasure, that Jesus is our riches, not money, not Mercedes and not big houses, but JESUS!!
My heart is so wicked because I can type this and listen to Dr. Piper and say AMEN, but as I venture out I catch myself saying, if I just had this.. or that.. oh wretched man that I am, who will save me? Praise God for the Jesus Christ and the saving, restoring, American Dream destroying power of the Gospel. The fight in my heart is not over, but it has begun!
I have already linked it twice, but here it is a third time, "Ask John Piper", listen to it, listen again and again!!!
Here are 5 “Ds” that I have made part of my daily prayers:
Whatever it takes, Lord, give me...
- Delight in you as the greatest treasure of my heart.
Delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
- Desire to know you, be with you, and seek your kingdom above all else.
Delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
- Discernment that comes from a renewed mind that I might know your will.
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:14)
- Discipline to plan for what I discern as your will.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)
- Diligence to do your will with all my heart.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might
Man what great things to pray for!! I am always convicted and encouraged when I go to Desiring God it is an interesting paradox for sure! Maybe it is because John Piper feels the joy and fear, the awe and comfort from a Great, Glorious, Awesome, Joyful, Loving God!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
"To be quite frank with our readers here, I really do not find Santa Clause to be the biggest threat to us as Christians to having a Christ-centered Christmas. I think that the materialism, gluttony, impulsive spending, and a lack of focus on the Incarnation and virgin birth should be enough to keep all of us spiritually concerned in the month of December."
I totally agree with this and fear that while we are boycotting movies and arguing whether we buy our khakis from this store or that store because they do not use the word "Christmas" this season. All of this when we have not seen the true enemy that has been there the whole time allowing for distraction and for false security of "safety", we then go and worship at the alter of consumerism and materialism, the true enemy this Christmas is our hearts.
Praise God who has come to break us of the bonds of the American Christmas Dream of toys, trinkets and etc... Praise the God who has freed us from the slavery of self-kingdom building with stuff and status...Praise the God who has brought us into His Kingdom, who has sent us on His mission and did all this not with material objects, but with the oh so precious blood of His Son!!!!
This changes everything...
Monday, December 10, 2007
Most of us would say that rich people piss Jesus off. They live in big houses, drive expensive cars, and take lavish vacations, whatever. And even if they do give to the poor, it’s for tax breaks more than compassion or obedience. These are the guilty parties. If I, middle class guy, had that kind of money, I’d do the right thing with it. Furthermore, I’d give my time because I wouldn’t have to work so much just to get by.
This feels pretty good until you realize that middle class guy is really rich. And not just compared to people in Africa or the slums of India, but to people in their own cities. This is a shot in the arm for lower class guy, who now has two classes of people to judge. But lower class guy is still working out of earthly wisdom. Driving a beater car and drinking lowly Dr. Perky instead of regal Dr. Pepper isn’t a note from Jesus excusing you from looking after the poor.
What does this mean for my life? Maybe it is again being the remedy instead of the symptom teller. Instead of looking at the dude with the Caddy I look at my Honda and my clothes and my lifestyle and ask how can it be used for the Kingdom, for giving to those that are poor. The question starts to become what can I use for the Kingdom with what I already have?
That was a bumper sticker that I saw a couple days ago. It at first may seem like a humorous statement, but there is sadly a lot of true to life ideology behind that.
Michael Vick the former quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons has been sentenced to 23 months in prison for the abuse and killings of fighting dogs and the dog fights he was a part of. Now I am not one to sit back and think it is ok to do those things to dogs, the Lord has given us creation, a creation He has called "good" and has told us to be stewards over such creation. However what I find interesting is what lengths we go to love on our pets, to love on animals and the planet, yet millions of children die each year, no let me restate that millions of children are KILLED each year. Why are they killed? Disease? War? Yes, but the majority of children are killed in the name of convenience, abortion is killing kids by the hundreds daily because people are "not ready" to be a parent.
What a sick world we live in where dogs and cats are loved on and it is ok and even applauded to stick up for these innocent four pawed creatures. Yet it is "intolerant" and wrong to tell someone that killing a baby in the womb is NOT ok? To take a living image of God and destroy it, is now seen as a "choice" ,a right even, if that person chooses to.
What is the church doing?? I am not talking about the pastors, but the body of Christ the people of God. I am not talking about Protesting the abortion clinics, I am talking about providing a safe place for these mom to be's to have their child in a clean hospital, and a way to raise them. I am talking about the church that is to raise up men that will raise and love families sacrificially. Where is the church in valuing life from conception to the grave?? Where is the church that gives and loves our neighbors and provides the means to make the choice for life?
Sadly the Church is a lot of the times with the world in the pet shop buying little fluffy a new diamond collar! This needs to change, we need by God's grace to change and not wait or protest for the remedy but be the remedy.
I was talking to Zach Nielsen today and the home group we belong to may be looking at how we can help a ministry called CareNet that is being the remedy, maybe for me it starts there.
Where is your starting point??
Friday, December 07, 2007
"We need the church that truly exists for the sake of others. We need a Church that gives up luxury so that other may have necessity. We need a Church that rejects the lone ranger mentality and lives in sacrificial and compassionate community. We need a Church that views money as a resource of God's Kingdom and not an object to be consumed. We need a Church that trusts the Spirit and takes risks for the sake of the Gospel. We need a Church that comes together to care for the poor in their backyards as well as those in the city."
A quote from a great article from Todd Hiestand called "The Gospel and the God-Forsaken: The Challenge of the Missional Church in Suburbia"
I work and minister in the suburbs, I am not a fan of the suburbs, I consider myself at times to be in my Samaria (John 4). God has been devastating me with my lack of love for suburbanites and for young adults that only care about their consumer satisfaction. These people are in need of the Gospel just like the drunken college student or homeless man downtown. In someways it is harder because the American Dream is telling them they are fine, therefore realizing they are in a fallen world is sometimes harder to do. I pray that as we head into the spring semester and come January when we start up our college gathering again God will use me to preach the Gospel, to live the gospel and to challenge these suburbanites with the holistic truths of the Gospel!!
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Here are some interesting notes about the company Starbucks that many of you are either sitting in, just left or heading off to, come on you can admit it...
These were taken from Starbucked: A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce, and Culture
- Starbucks's closest competitor in the coffeehouse market, Caribou Coffee, is just one-twenty-fifth its size. Every 10 weeks, Starbucks opens as many stores as the total number of Caribou outlets.
- Starbucks has had 14 straight years with at least 5% same-store sales growth.
- Contrary to popular opinion, Starbucks increases sales at rival nearby coffeehouses. For example, when it blitzed Omaha with six stores, coffee sales at local joints went up as much as 25%, and more new ones opened shop.
- According to Starbucks, the company pays more for insurance for its employees ($200 million) than it does for coffee beans, yet only 42% of its 125,000-plus workforce has company health insurance--a lower percentage than Wal-Mart (46%).
- The average customer spends $4.05 per visit for coffee; the average fast-food-restaurant visitor spends $4.34 for an entire meal.
- For a cup that costs $3.40, at least 40 cents is profit. When Starbucks bumped the 8-ounce cup off the menu, the 10-ounce "tall" (the new small) increased profits by 25 cents per cup for only 2 cents of added product.
- More people would give up sex before they'd give up coffee.
Originally posted by Al Hsu
What if we did not buy Timmy that Wii and instead got him a basketball and took him to the local park and taught him to shoot a jump shot and run and get some fresh air. What if instead of getting little Susie that cell phone she wants (eventhough she is 7 years old) what if you bought her some books about cooking, or shooting jump shots and interacted with her by baking a cake or teaching her how to shoot a 3pt basket??? And what if instead of forking out $900 bucks on this years Xmas presents we actually gave money to helping countries get clean drinking water?? What if we denied ourselves that XBOX 360 in order to give someone a clean, non lethal glass of water, WATER!!!
That is what the Advent Conspiracy is talking about, and I am starting to listen and really be convicted by our American Dream of a White and Plastic laden Xma$
"Both Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney made derogatory comments about the Confederate flag, and we don't think people should come to the South and try to get our votes and then wipe their feet on the Confederate flag to kiss up to voters in other parts of the country," he said.
This past week in South Carolina during some speeches Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney made some anti-confederate flag comments. Needless to say this made some people a little upset. Here is the weird thing, this flag by it's very purpose is divisive in nature as this was the symbol of certain states leaving the USA Union. This flag represents to the majority of the population in the USA and the world, slavery and a very embarrassing time for our "Christian" nation. What frustrates me is that this flag is still allowed to fly in certain public squares and we all seem ok with it. What humors and saddens me is that people still find this flag as something to be proud of, proud of what?? Proud of slavery?? Proud of racism?? Proud of internal terrorism where one group tries to tear apart the country literally?? I am actually glad someone stood up for the reality that these flags and this symbol does not serve the public good and does not serve the country in any positive ways.
Click here for whole article.
When man fell in the garden, sin corrupted everything, and not one thing has not been tainted by it, College Football not excluded. I am so tired of the BCS and especially this year where I believe the 2 best teams will not be playing for a national championship. I realize the money that rolls in from the bowls, but that is tainting one of the best sports there is, March Madness is special because of the excitement and the true outcome that there will be a undisputed national champion. I like what CNN is doing with this mock tourney, maybe just maybe the BCS people will see this is the way to go and in the longrun will be more profitable...check out the tourney here.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Christians seem to once again in some circles be circling the wagons regarding the upcoming movie "The Golden Compass". It is written by and atheist, they kill God in the movie, it is a book that is a reaction against the Narnia Books of C.S. Lewis. Well it always seems like a smart move to take time to listen to the man behind the novels that are inspiring the movie. FilmChat has a great interview that answers a lot of questions we all have regarding this movie.
My opinion is that a movie is not something that seems to be able to shake the Kingdom of God, even though it seems to shake us up a lot! I think this movie is a great chance to go watch and purposely pursue conversation with people about the truth in the film, about the truth in the gospel. I probably would not let my 12 year old daughter (she is 2 right now but...) go see the movie alone without making sure to invest time in discussing the themes of the movie after. I do think there needs to be a level of discernment upon entering in ANY movie, even ones with "Passion" in their title.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
So yes we here at UNM are excited for the hire of Coach Steve Alford a man I consider a friend. We are 6-0 right now with wins over not the best of teams, but still all you can do is play who is in front of you right? Well it seems Coach Alford's old school is not doing so well either in basketball or football.... Although I am not sure if God is a Hawkeye fan or not, relating their trials to Job's is a little extreme, living in Iowa must truly truly suck, maybe I will ask former Iowa resident Vitamin Z his opinion...
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I have the extreme pleasure and privilege to be this year's UNM Men's Basketball Team Chaplin. I had previously been the video coordinator before leaving to work full time at my church Desert Springs to lead the college/young adult gathering. As Chaplin my job is not super complicated, I give a 10-15 minute message to the players who wish to stay for it as well as for Coach Steve Alford and his staff. I am leading the team through a fly over of the bible and hoping to connect the reality that all stories in the O.T. all point and are shadows if Jesus Christ.
Today though for their chapel time before their game against Hawaii I read Psalm 100, a Psalm of thanksgiving. I also read these statistics to them:
1. More than 1.5 billion people around the world live on less than a $1 a day.
2. More than one billion people do not have access to clean water.
3. Every year six million children die from malnutrition before their fifth birthday.
4. More than 50 percent of Africans suffer from water-related diseases such as cholera and infant diarrhea.
5. More than 800 million people go to bed hungry every day, 300 million are children.
6. Of these 300 million children, only eight percent are victims of famine or other emergency situations. More than 90 percent are suffering long-term malnourishment and micronutrient deficiency.
7. Declining soil fertility, land degradation, and the AIDS pandemic have led to a 23 percent decrease in food production per capita in the last 25 years even though population has increased dramatically.
8. A woman living in sub-Saharan Africa has a 1 in 16 chance of dying in pregnancy. This compares with a 1 in 3,700 risk for a woman from North America.
These stats were taken from a sermon from Pastor John Piper, here is the manuscript. The reason I wanted to read these was for these players to and myself for that matter to realize that we are blessed, blessed beyond blessed. Most of these players dream of playing for the NBA and probably most will never achieve this, so my hope was that they realize in the larger scheme of things on this planet having a pair of shoes is a blessing, having clean drinking water and food 3 times a day, heck having food 1 time a day is a tremendous blessing given from our Lord.
I hope as the season goes on that they will see that being sponsored by Nike and playing one of the greatest arenas in sports, "The Pit" are great joys, but nothing compared to the blessing that is offered in Christ. The joy of being redeemed and brought into an unbreakable family, given eternal nourishing bread of life, and being able to drink from the fountain of life, that those things found ONLY in Christ would being their and my motivation to get out of bed in the morning!!!
Well I am off to the game, in my SUV with my beautiful wife and daughter to cheer with 15000 fans for the team, and all I can say is......blessed!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
"The only thing of transcendent importance of human beings is the knowledge of God. This knowledge does not belong to those who endlessly focus on themselves. Those who truly come to know God delight to just know him. He becomes their center. They think of him, delight in him, boast of him. They want to know more and more what kind of God he is. As they learn that he is the God "who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth," naturally they want those same values to prevail- not because their egos are bound up with certain arbitrary notions of, say, "justice," but because their center is God and they take their cues from him and his character. They boast in him."
D.A. Carson "The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians"
Sunday, November 11, 2007
We need to get off our butts ( would say another word but don't want others to miss the point of the blog cause something off hand was there) get our nose out of theology books for like 5 min and be in the world. We (Calvinists) suck at this, I am not talking about mission trips to China, I am talking about Mission trips to Starbucks tonight!!! We suck at loving those around us, we suck at proclaiming the gospel in a loving way, basically we suck at loving our neighbors.
This is some real frustrations I have, I think they are legit, I do not know the answer, but I think throwing grenades at someone who is confessing is not the best start.
Here are my fav. living preachers, all of which I have heard people critisize for one reason or another, John Piper- he is too friendly to charasmatics, he said ass in a sermon. Matt Chandler-Charasmatic...enough said, Mark Driscoll-Do I even have to go there...
Thursday, November 08, 2007
I do not like mass emails that warn me to boycott this or this because of anti-Christian messages, or avoid so and so because he has this political agenda, and I down right loathe the email messages that tell me if I am not ashamed of Jesus I will forward it on to 10 of my best friends. The truth is that, that email has got me wanting to see this movie, whereas before I probably could have cared less. Why? Why should we not boycott it. Because were are called to be in the world, we are called to understand different worldviews, we are called to love people outside our bubble. Crazy, I know, but we are called to be lights in darkness, which means we need to go to the dark places.
Internet Monk shares a great response to such boycott and warnings and I think he is right on... Check it out here
Here is a thought, go see this movie, use discernment, realize it is a movie enjoy it for what it is. And then maybe engage people who want to discuss the underlying themes that are in it. Remember God's Kingdom is a Kingdom that cannot be shaken!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Anthony Bradley a professor at Covenant Seminary and a pretty chill dude has a great article on this, stuff to think about as we approach the question: WWJD tonight??
Also one more rant it is funny to me that we Christians sometimes get so distraught when people call Christmas parties, Winter celebrations, or use another term than Christian, but when we have a party on Halloween that looks like a Halloween party, smells like a Halloween party and feels like a Halloween party we call it a Harvest Festival, that is just funny to me...
Friday, October 26, 2007
Are we not representing Him as a legalistic, anti-cuture, anti-neighbor moralist?? I understand that dressing your 7 year old up like Harry Potter can be an invitation to Witchery and the like and that could lead him down a path of debauchery or whatever, but seriously how about we actually look at our King! How about we represent Him by having a light on, maybe even, dare I say it, giving out good candy and loving the people coming to our homes. Maybe start living with others, actually living life with them, getting to know them, their names, their dreams, their faiths, this seems to be what our King did. Maybe start loving people in such a way that when we do share the glorious hope of the gospel it will be genuine love coming across, maybe this Oct. 31 instead of holy huddling it, or doing trick or track (as in bible track) evangelism, we start to know those the Lord has put in our neighborhoods, and just maybe we will see something happen in our hearts and theirs too!!
Friday, August 03, 2007
Tonight I type this as my wife is up in Glorieta NM at a women's retreat with our church and place I work Desert Springs Church. My 18 month old daughter is asleep in the other room, and oh yeah did I forget to mention that Lauren my wife is pregnant with kiddo number 2?!? I am paying a mortgage, leading my own family as well as The Well College Gathering at DSC. SO needless to say my life did not end, I did recover from that crisis, but not on my own, only from the work of an outside source.
Between then and now, about 4 years ago I came to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as my savior, as my hope for reconciliation between God and myself. I came to realize by God's grace alone, that I am a sinner, an enemy to the eternal, perfect Judge of the Universe and my trespasses against Him merited a eternal punishment!! I was facing Hell, I was facing what I deserved, But God saved me, by putting my punishment, the punishment I deserve on His only Son Jesus Christ!! and the perfect, holy life that His Son Jesus, who came down and was man and God at the same time, the life He merited was now credited to me, as if I had lived that life, as if I live that life now.
How does all this mesh together, well it is my life for starters, but now, through new eyes through a heart changed and focused on the cross of Christ I see a DWI, a family to lead, a house to pay for, a wife and daughter and baby to love as all things that have shaped me, and are shaping me in a lot of ways. But NONE of these define me, only what Christ has done is what defines me!!! Only His work on the Cross defines me. I am a slave to Christ, not a perfect one, far from that, I suck and still have a lot of crap in my life that does not reflect my new position in Christ, BUT again that is not what defines me, cause my definition of who I am relies on the work of another, it relies on the work of Jesus Christ!!!!
Life is going downhill??? It's just starting in light of eternity!!!!!
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Monday, June 04, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
"Why tell this story now? From an objective point of view, David Brainerd was an utter failure: he never achieved stardom; he never made a fat wad of cash; he didn’t possess any special talents or skills; he wasn’t especially successful in his occupation, and the decisions he made in his life ultimately led to his death before he hit 30. If he were around today, there’s a good chance he would be in a medical hospital or a mental hospital, and yet, I find myself relating to him. "
Thinking about missions, maybe going to Guatemala or Algeria? Think you are not "qualified" or spiritual enough to go? Think again, cause the amazing thing about God, is that He uses us, the jacked up to accomplish His purposes of proclaiming His name to every tribe, tounge and nation... David Brainerd is an example of this,read this article then go to Amazon and buy his biography..It will be worth it.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Let me tell you about my Thursday this past week. It started off with a very good men's bible study at my church at 6am (only God's grace has me up that early), it followed with some good talks to people on staff at the church. I had a great talk with our youth pastor about getting our college group together with the youth and serving the community together. I also got to talk to our Worship Leader (Vitamin Z) and we talked about everything from the Lobo Basketball team (where I work) to the emerging church and theology. I then went to the University of NM student union building for a time of reading and coffee, I there met up with a friend and we had a good talk about soccer, ministry and life. My day seemed to be working out just great as I pulled up to the UNM basketball practice complex where my office is located. I started my day off the usual checking emails, working on some video stuff as well as going to some blogs and seeing what people were writing about. One of our assistant coaches came in as I was doing these things and said we needed to do a scouting report film for our upcoming game at Utah (where I currently am), the next thing he said changed everything about the day and my life in some ways.
Coach D told me at 1:45 that day there was going to be a press conference to announce that Coach McKay, my boss and friend was going to be fired at the end of the season. At that moment if felt like a punch had just been landed to my gut, the air was taken away, the room got super small and it was just this surreal feeling. The men that God had used to bring me to Christ were not going to be here next year. The rest of the day was filled with press conferences, meetings and just trying to figure out what the heck was going on. While this outcome was not totally shocking, we were not performing as well as people expected. There was drama this year off the court, and people really never did accept Coach McKay. So the writing was on the wall, but when it actually happened it was still shocking, the timing of it was not expected either.
My mind was filled with thoughts of who will replace him, what will happen to the other coaches, and what will happen to me. While I am not a coach, it is possible still that the new coach will bring in his own person to do video for the team and that means adios for me. At that moment I felt naked, vulnerable and helpless before God, my future was unknown in so many ways now, in short my life was rocked. I sat there filled with anxiety and worry for the rest of the day. The time came finally to leave and return to my church to get ready for The Well, our young adult gathering, in which I am one of the leaders. My mind was such a tornado that I did not feel like doing much, but then our worship leader came and we talked about the night, and soon I was starting to focus more on other things.
Soon people started to arrive and again my mind became filled with worry and anxiety. With my mind racing I decided to step outside and pray and greet people as they came in. As I stood out there I looked up in the sky, there were some clouds and patches of sky and stars. Then the Spirit hit me, and hit me hard. I was convicted of my sin of worry and anxiety. God had me where He tells us He likes us, where we have nothing but Him and Him alone to rely on. A specific scripture was put on my heart:
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer's;
he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3: 17-19)
This verse just kept pounding in my heart and mind. All I could think was yeah I know it says that, but it is not as easy to do. And it was right then that I realized that, that was the point. It cannot be done on my strength, on my own I cannot rejoice in God, I cannot find joy in God. I am a selfish sinful man that wants to control everything, and I am only concerned in finding joy in stuff, in things, in what revolves around me. As I stood there I realized it is a fight, but a fight that can be won, cause it is not a fight I fight alone, God is my strength, God is my fight for joy. As I stood outside pondering everything the thought of God sovereignty came to mind, that Jesus is the same today and yesterday and tomorrow. God revealed in my heart that it is His strength that brings joy because His strength and His name and His Glory never change. This job is not my hope, a paycheck is not where I find joy, but in God through the work of Christ on the cross is where I am brought by the Spirit to enjoy God and find my treasure. In those 45 minutes I stood outside God had crushed me, convicted me, and then encouraged me and strengthened me.
I would be lying if I said that now I am totally worry-free and I do not at times doubt. What has changed though is the knowledge that, yes it is a fight for this joy, and yes it is His strength that will be my victory in the fight. And the hope that now I see dimly, but then in heaven I will see my treasure face to face.. I will see God, our creator, our sustainer, our judge and redeemer!!
So yes life comes at us fast, whether it be a loss of a job, or it be a report from the doctor that we have cancer and 6 months left, but life never comes at God fast. God is sovereign over all and His hand is what guides bosses hearts, is what allows cancer to grow in us. It is His mercy, love and justice that sent His Son to the cross to atone for our sins and that never changes no matter what in life comes at us.. Amen!!!
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Then something amazing happened, not of my own accord, but the gospel was presented to me, and God took my heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh. He opened my eyes to who He is and who I am and my desperate need of a saviour, Jesus was that, the only one who could bridge that gap between me and God that I created with my sin. After that it was no longer a Carlos Griego worldview, I did not have that "liberty" anymore! I was God's and could only see through His eyes, although I often wanted to see things in my own sinful way. This included many things, one being abortion. God used John Piper in my life in so many ways, to spark a love of reformed thinking, to think about God's passion for His own glory, to want to read old dead guys like Edwards, Owen and others. What Dr. Piper did for me in the issue of abortion was through the Holy Spirit illuminate my eyes to the truths that we are created in God's Image (Gen 1:26) , we are God's workmanship (Eph 2:10) and we are to help the helpless or needy (James 1:27). And this means more than simply praying for the unborn babies, this means taking action, maybe writing our political leaders, or helping spread information about the darkness of abortion. Dr. Piper sparked a passion to understand more what it meant to be a God Image Bearer and how abortion is not just about the woman's health, choice or convience. It is a controversial subject and one that I think we a Christians sometimes want to skoot around for the sake of peace. We as Christians do not have the freedom to be apathitic or unclear on subjets the bible is clear and passionate about! Remember it is no longer our own sinful, postmodern worldview that we use, but God's Biblical worldview that we must see life through. I think writing to a senator or handing out info. are great to do, I do think that we need to be more biblically founded on our view on this important subject and for more info, go to the Desiring God website here.
Finally here is a picture of the horror and disgust of the murder of a baby from a legal abortion. This is a image bearer of God, who was disgarded like a piece of trash, how tragic...This must make your heart hurt, your soul grieve and your eyes water....It must be stopped, the stakes are too high, millions die a year like this...
Here is a picture of an amazing creation made after God's image, not more than 1 year from being as small as that pic above. This is a image bearer of the King, Sustainer and Creator of the World...How beautiful.
This is my daughter Jordyn Piper Griego, not a planned daughter, at least in my eyes, but a child I love and one God has used to open me and my wife's eyes to the beauty of our Creator!!!
Here is another Great website about fighting abortion, remember as a Christian fighting abortion is not just something we should do, but something we must and are commanded to do!!!!
Monday, January 22, 2007
Monday, January 15, 2007
Friday, January 12, 2007
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Rev. Tim Keller
Currently the team is 11-7 and we are on a 4 game losing streak. This past week we went to Colorado Springs to play the Air Force Academy Falcons. The Falcons are currently ranked in the top 15 in the nation and their 1 lose came to Duke.
We started the game off good, we were up by as much as 21 points and went into the half up 15, well in the locker room we were all celebrating and feeling like we could beat any team in the nation at that point. But that is why they play 2 halves. In the 2nd Half we lost our lead and in fact they went on something like a 28-1 run, so needless to say it was a feeling of shock and defeat in the locker room after the game.
This game for me reflects how a lot of people live their life, how a lot of Christians sadly view their life. We praise God and feel like "If He is for us who can be against us?" when we get the promotion or find that special someone. We listen to preachers (I use that word loosely) Joel Osteen, who tells us that the champion is inside us and we have the power to get rich, stay healthy and all we need to do is be positive. And when everything in life seems to be falling in place we lift our hands and in a way our chins to say see this is "Victorious Christian Living". This is the gospel for many, follow Christ and life will be good, God wants you to have the best now, Victory is only in Jesus for that new H3 Hummer.
And then the 2nd Half comes, and we lose our job due to downsizing, the test results say we have cancer, and our marriage is on rocky ground. What is the answer then for us? Many try to bargain with God; "Maybe if I tithe more then the blessings will come!" and the Pastor driving the new Avalanche seems to think so, after all the 'church' needs a flat screen TV. Or maybe it is some 'hidden' sin in your life that you have to seek out that way you can get back on track! We just need to surrender more to God, give it all to Him!! Those are the shallow answers for shallow driven lives.
The reality is, is we were not promised good lives and nowhere in the Bible is a new car promised or a job promotion handed out for following Christ. What are we promised, hmm lets see, Matt. 10, Jesus promises persecution, the book of James starts off by talking about suffering. If I remember right, Jesus Christ did not tell his followers that while he has nowhere to lay his head they need to think positive for that nice suite at the Hilton. So, no riches, no health, no Hummers..... What do we get.... GOD!!!!
Christ gives us the most amazing promise, He says that we can have a relationship with Him, and walk with God, like Adam did in the garden!! We who so often chase after the gift rather than the giver and for that deserve Hell, torment, pain, death-receive Heaven, joy, bliss, life. Paul in the book of Romans tells us that the suffering that we WILL have here on Earth will be nothing compared with Heaven and seeing God face to face. But Jesus our Master suffered and was hated, so what makes us His followers think we will have it any easier??
So when cancer comes or a 28-1 run by the opponent, do we sit and despair cause we are hurting, no we seek joy in God through Christ. Basketball becomes just a game, and cancer becomes just a moment of suffering before an eternity of joy before our King on His throne.