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 7, 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 6, 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.