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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Easter: He is Risen

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Matthew 28

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.


Good Friday

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Matthew 27:27-54

“Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”

In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”


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“Then Moses said to the people, “Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the Lord brought you out of it with a mighty hand.” Exodus 13:3

In our day-to-day lives, the word passover is broken up into two words that are typically associated with events like being “passed over” for a promotion, or “passing over” a certain stage in our lives. For many Jews and Christians, these words are cemented together to describe one of the most significant events in the Old Testament.

The Passover holiday commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage by God. Prior to being freed from their captivity, the Old Testament records that the Israelite people suffered horrible abuses from the Egyptian pharaoh’s, leading to an edict to throw all of the male Israelite babies in the river. The Old Testament Book of Genesis is the first time readers learn of  the Israelites enslavement by the Egyptians.

Genesis 15 records a covenant made by God with Abraham where He shares details of this future enslavement:

“Then the Lord said to him, ‘Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.” Genesis 15:13-14

In the Book of Exodus, God chooses Moses to be the vessel He uses to fulfill this covenant promise to Abraham. Moses (with the help of his brother Aaron) approaches Egypt’s pharaoh with God’s desire that he free the Israelite’s from slavery. God struck Egypt with a total of 10 plagues, the first 9 of which did nothing to convince the pharaoh to free the Israelite people from their captivity. God hardened pharaoh’s heart and for the tenth plague vowed to kill every firstborn child in Egypt. Enter the Passover.

To ensure that death would pass over their homes, the Israelite people were instructed to put the blood of a male, unblemished lamb on their doorposts. The death of Egypt’s firstborn children is what led the pharaoh to free the Israelite people, sending them off to the land of Canaan. A decision he’d later reverse, sending the Egyptian army out to stop the Israelite people from entering into Canaan, resulting in the Egyptian army being swallowed up by the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-28). After some hemming and hawing, and several twists and turns, the Israelite eventually enter into the land promised to them by God.

Today, the Passover Seder serves as a central ritual in the Passover celebration. This carefully ordered dinner is a time for those in attendance to relay the story of the Israelites exodus from Egypt, to drink 4 cups of wine recalling the 4 times the Israelites were described as being redeemed, to eat foods such as Matzah, and above all, to celebrate the freedom God promised and fulfilled through His covenant with Abraham. Passover is a time for believers to celebrate the power, strength, and faithfulness of a covenant-making, and covenant-keeping God.

Although some Christians participate in Passover Seder meals and activities, unlike the Jewish celebrant, Christians believe that the longed for Messiah, the unblemished Lamb of God, the only One that can reconcile man to God, God in the Flesh, is revealed in the New Testament.  For the Christian, the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary is the only sacrifice that will lead God to “pass over, forgive,” sins to all whom repent and place their trust and faith solely on the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

In spite of this MAJOR fork in the road between Jews and Christians, on some level, I think Passover can still serve as a time for these groups to celebrate and praise the covenant nature of God they seek for deliverance.

What is the most significant aspect of Passover for you?

Happy Passover!

Wordless Wednesday: Waiting for Spring

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Flowers in the lobby of my office building

Celebrating Resilience

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To A Child Dancing In The Wind
by William Butler Yeats

Dance there upon the shore;
What need have you to care
For wind or water’s roar?
And tumble out your hair
That the salt drops have wet;
Being young you have not known
The fool’s triumph, nor yet
Love lost as soon as won,
Nor the best labourer dead
And all the sheaves to bind.
What need have you to dread
The monstrous crying of wind!

Saint Patrick, the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland, was born in Roman Britain during the fourth century. Believed to have died on March 17 480 A.D., St. Patrick’s Day was created to commemorate the death of Saint Patrick in the fifth century, the saint’s religious feast day, as well as celebrate Irish heritage and culture.

Prior to reading Frank McCourt’s memoir “Angela’s Ashes,” Irish culture and heritage for me largely had to do with pubs, shamrocks, and curiously entertaining accents. McCourt’s masterful and beautiful use of words opened my eyes to a rich culture of resiliency that has carried generations of Irish people through the most tumultuous of personal and collective storms. The McCourt family struggles with abject poverty, illness, death, and alcoholism are crosses many Irish families had to wrestle with during the time period this memoir documents. But amid all of this unimaginable pain and suffering rests a resilient spirit that defined the unshakeable faith and determination these individuals and country had (have) to make it through another day.

Throughout the past few years, personal dissatisfaction and grief, coupled with  family illnesses and death, have tested my resiliency on a near constant basis. Loss, grief, and shattered dreams have a way of knocking me straight into a whirlwind of despair and hopelessness, something I fight against falling back nearly everyday. But what I’ve reluctantly come to learn and am slowly embracing, is that the opportunity to tap into our pockets of resilience rise prominently out of the ashes of our most darkest moments. This is the space where character and courage are developed and refined.  

For some, their pockets of resilience rise out of the memory of a loved one, unbreakable family ties and/or out of the fear of lessons unlearned and experiences untapped. While others rest on a hope in things unseen, on the eternal, similar in fashion to the letter written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth recorded in 2 Corinthians 4:18 of the bible. Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” is a principal promise many Christians rest upon in times when resilience is needed in abundant supply. For many, it is the combination of the experiential and the spiritual (Christian or otherwise) that activate the pockets of resilience that help them get through the darkest of days.

This St. Patrick’s Day, I invite you to not only celebrate the history of resilience nestled in the Irish culture, but also to take time to celebrate the history of resilience that permeates your life, acknowledging that even though:

“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” 

Steve Maraboli 

What do you draw upon in times when you believe resilience is most needed in your life?

Wordless Wednesday: Gym Truths

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Chalkboard at my gym 🙂

Dragging the bull through Silicon Valley

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Marissa Mayer is a bit of a marvel in the Tech/Business arena. At 37 years old, Mayer is the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 Company and is ranked number 14 on the 2012 Fortune Magazine list of America’s most powerful businesswoman. Appointing a then visibly pregnant Mayer’s to head Yahoo as its CEO and President was seen by many as a bold move on the part of the flailing tech company.  Mayer’s announcement that she would only be taking 2 weeks off post-childbirth was received with criticism and concern by some women. But nothing has drawn quite as much criticism and concern from both women and men than Mayer’s latest move to ban Yahoo employees from working from home.

Best known for its laid back work environment and near endless stream of free cafeteria food goodies,  Silicon Valley has been posited as the model for working from home. Skype, Google hangout, e-mail, text, etc.,  has heightened the accessibility and manageability of working from home. For years, many Yahoo employees have enjoyed the convenience and virtual freedom that comes from working from home, a benefit many in the tech arena see as par for the course. In issuing the edict to ban Yahoo employees from working from home, Mayer flipped what many in that industry feel is par for the course on its head. And make no bones about it,  this decision has not only left many hopping mad, but also hopping scared.

In making this decision, a thus far mum Mayer has been accused of turning back the feminist clock, of destroying an innovative work structure, and of failing to make managers take responsibility for the “missing in action”  work from home employees many feel this decision is specifically targeting. Best Buy’s recent announcement that it too would be banning work from home has further fanned the flame of concern that others would be tempted to institute a Mayer- like ban at their companies. Adding injury to what many consider an insulting decision to ban working from home is the revelation that Mayer is constructing a nursery next to her office. Yahoo’s “craftily” worded rationale for

While the ramifications of Mayer’s ban on working from home remain to be seen, what is apparent is how quickly many women jumped on Mayer’s back for this decision. Yes, many men have also criticized Mayer for this decision, most notably Sir Richard Branson, but what I’m most concerned with is the reaction of women. As women, I think we oftentimes tend to severely criticize women on the upper echelons of the business ladder whom we deem have abandoned the “movement” far more than men. We cast all of our hopes and dreams on women like Mayer and are crushed when they don’t act in the way we had envisioned. It is time to stop expecting that women act and think in one uniform way. This is not to say that I disagree with allowing employees to work from home. Depending on the position, I think working from home is something that should be explored on a broader basis.  I would hope that employers, regardless of their gender, would consider allowing more employees to work from home. However, I do not think it would be fair of me to hold Marissa Mayer to a higher standard for this hope because she is a woman.

At the end of the day, Mayer has to answer to her bosses, the Yahoo shareholders. It is this collection of bosses whom is looking to Mayer to turn around a tech company that has been failing for years. I think it is fair to assume that the decision to ban Yahoo employees from working at home was not one made in a bubble. Yahoo has been suffering from a bloated employee work pool that has failed to keep up with its competitors and it is in such an environment that these sort of  unpopular decisions typically creep up. The “craftily” worded memo from Yahoo’s HR department, I believe, only scratches the surface of what drove Mayer to institute this ban. 

In time, Mayer may reverse this ban and start allowing Yahoo employees to work from home. Maintaining an open and respectful dialogue about this issue, I believe, will go a long way in shaping how companies will receive the decision to work from home debate. In the meantime, Mayer’s decision presents women with the unique opportunity to take stock of what they expect and why from women in top business  positions.

What do you think of Marissa Mayer’s decision to ban working from home? Do you believe women in top business positions should be held to a higher/different standard than their male counterparts?