Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lazarus is Raised from the Dead

Bethany was a small town on the eastern slopes of the Mount of Olives. It is only two miles from Bethany to the Temple Mount but it is a steep climb from Bethany to the top of the mount of Olives and then an even steeper drop down into the Kidron Valley and then another steep climb up to the Golden Gate leading into the temple complex. It took two days for Jesus to get to Bethany from Jericho so apparently he wasn't in too much of a hurry. Large crowds surrounded Jesus every where he went so it is almost certain that as he entered into the town of Bethany he was greeted by a lot of people. Like any small town, word traveled fast that Jesus was in town and when Martha heard this she came to meet him on the road into Bethany and was obviously very distraught. She pointed out that if he had been there then Lazarus would not have died. She still showed faith however when she mentioned that she knew that God would still grant Jesus anything that he asked. He told Martha that her brother would live again but Martha assumed he spoke of the resurrection. He then told her to go get Mary.

When Martha returned with Mary she ran to the Savior and fell to her knees and repeated the exact same words as her sister saying, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." Jesus saw her there sobbing and was filled with compassion and weeping himself  he asked her, "Where have you laid him?"

A crowd of several hundred people followed Mary and Martha to the tomb where Lazarus had been laid. The funeral preparations had all been completed four days earlier so Lazarus laid in the tomb completly wrapped in linen clothes much like an Egyptian mummy. 

The tomb was sealed with a large stone that could be rolled away and as they arrived at the tomb Jesus asked Martha to have them remove the stone. She was shocked and responded that he had been dead for four days. Jesus said nothing so she then added that by this time he would stink. He then went to the two women and said, "Did I not say unto you that if you would believe, you should see the glory of God?"

The stone was rolled away and Jesus went to the entrance of the tomb and lifting his face to Heaven and said, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me, I know that thou hearest me always . But I say this because of the people who stand by here. I say it that they may believe that thou has sent me."

He then said, "Lazarus! Come forth!"

I imagine it was a few moments before Lazarus, still wrapped tightly in the white linen burial cloths made it to the door of the tomb. Imagine the reaction that must have been made by the crowd gathered to witness this wonderful miracle. 

Jesus finally commanded those with him to "Loose him and let him go."

Saturday, March 24, 2012


It has now been twelve days since Lisa left me. Last week Sarah was home so that was no problem and all this week I have been so busy that I've hardly noticed she's gone but sitting here all day in an empty house is a bit strange. I can't wait for her to get home. She's coming home on Tuesday. In case I never mentioned it before, Lisa's has gone to watch Kira and Justin's boys while Kira and Justin went to Peru on a humanitarian service trip. Justin and a bunch of other dentists are doing free dental work on a bunch of Peruvians. Kira has been blogging about it and it sounds like they're having some wonderful experiences. You should check it out on her blog here. Kira actually pulled a guys tooth. I don't think she would get to do that in Calgary.

Today I kept myself busy just tidying up the house before Lisa comes home. I did go for a six mile run though. I'm getting ready for the Ragnar Relay coming up. Alan Bird is forcing me to push myself. Last year I ran about 14 miles. This year he has me running 19 miles. One of my legs is eight miles long. I'm a little nervous about that one but the six mile run today wasn't that big of a deal so eight should be fine. I've got a month left to get myself in shape. I'm looking forward to it. Ben is running it with me so that is even better. Nineteen miles is getting so close to a marathon that I think I should just keep training and do one. I love running. I don't like running on roads so much but on my six mile route I have laid out I'm only on the road for about half a mile. Check out my route.

Here is a shot from the trail I run on. Beautiful isn't it? I'll have to take another shot from the crossing across the creek. That's even better. I'm a little bummed with Martha though. I have this program on my phone (Martha is my phone) that tracks my runs. It has an option at the end where I can upload the run to Facebook. Last year it always up loaded a map but this year it says it's uploading a map but it doesn't. I wanted people to see where I run but I guess I'll quit boring all the facebook people. 

Scientist at MIT believe they have done what most of us thought was impossible. They've found a cure for the common cold (along with 14 other viruses). 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Off to Jerusalem

I can only imagine what was going through everyones minds as Jesus stayed in Jericho for another two days. Since Jesus had said that Lazarus' illness was "not unto death" they probably told themselves that he would be OK otherwise why wouldn't Jesus have headed out right away? Finally, on this day, Jesus suggested to his party that they go to Jerusalem. His disciples were at first alarmed that he was going to Jerusalem because the last time they were there the Sanhedrin had tried to kill him but Jesus calmly rebuked them and told them that his friend Lazarus slept and that he needed to go wake him. He then declared that Lazarus was dead. Can you imagine the shock of those who were with Jesus? They all knew how close he was to this family. Every time they went to Jerusalem they always stayed in this home and now Jesus had sat around Jericho for two whole days knowing the whole time that Lazarus was dying. Even though Jesus had declared that he went to "wake" his friend the concept of actually raising some one from the dead was so unbelievable that they couldn't have imagined that it was possible in spite of what he said.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A message from Bethany

On this day, just a couple of weeks before Passover Jesus received word from Bethany that his very good friend Lazarus was deathly ill. He was told that he'd been sick for some time and was getting worse. Lazarus's sisters, Mary and Martha were also very dear friends of the Lord and when they heard that Jesus was in Jericho seventeen miles away, they quickly sent word asking for Jesus to come to their aid.

I'm sure everyone in the party expected that they would immediately be breaking camp and heading for Bethany but when Jesus responded that Lazarus' sickness was, "not unto death" and then carried on with business as usual they couldn't believe it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Jesus and those with him passed through Jericho on their way to Jerusalem. Living in Jericho was a man named Zacchaeus who was the chief publican in that city. Publicans were the tax collectors for the Romans and so were despised by all Jews. They viewed publicans as traitors. Since Zacchaeus was "chief among the publicans" we can assume that he was very wealthy. Zacchaeus had obviously heard about Jesus and really wanted to see him. It had only been a few months earlier when Jesus healed a crippled woman in Jericho and Zacchaeus would have certainly heard about that and maybe even witnessed it himself. Zacchaeus went to meet Jesus as he and those with him entered the city but the crowd was large and Zacchaeus was just a short man so he had no hope of getting close. Zacchaeus then noticed a large Sycamore tree along side the road and he decided to climb the tree in hopes of getting a better view of the Lord. As Jesus neared the tree he looked up at Zacchaeus and asked him to come down because he and his disciples would be dining with him that night. Zacchaeus was thrilled and gladly welcomed Jesus into his home. The crowd was angry that Jesus would choose to eat with a sinner such as Zacchaeus and when Zacchaeus heard this he quickly responded that he would give half of his wealth to the poor. This was in stark contrast to the rich young man who was unable to make a similar commitment so shortly before. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Rich Young Man

It probably took Mary and her friends most of a week to meet up with Jesus and his disciples in the Jordan River valley just north of Jericho. This would have been about a hundred mile journey. On this day about three weeks before Easter a rich young man came to see Jesus asking him what he could do to obtain eternal life. This wasn't the first time Jesus had been asked this question, several months earlier a Pharisee asked this same question trying to trick him and Jesus answered with the story of the good Samaritan. The rich young man was sincere in his question and Christ told him he needed to keep the commandments. The young man wanted to know which commandment he had to keep. The disciples who were with Jesus must have thought this was odd since it seemed obvious that we should keep all of the commandments but Christ was patient and listed off the ten commandments. The young man must have sounded quite arrogant when he responded that he had kept those commandments his entire life. Christ then told the young man that if he sold all that he owned and gave it to the poor then he would have riches in Heaven. This was too much for the young man who then quietly left. Christ then told his disciples that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into heaven. 

It was also about this time when Jesus said to his friends and disciples the following:

"Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:

And they shall scourge him, and put him to death..."

This announcement must have been a major shock to many of the people travelling with Jesus but to his close friends it was not anything new. Jesus had been hinting for some time that he would be killed. Still, this was perhaps the most blunt statement that he had made yet that he would be killed.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sarah's Spring Break

If the timing of Sarah's spring break was good for Mackenzies wedding it was bad for Lisa. Several months ago Kira and Justin asked Lisa if she would watch their boys while Justin made a humanitarian dentist trip to Peru to fix the teeth of those who could never otherwise get the help they need. Of course Lisa was more than happy to do this but how could she have known that she would have to leave just two days after Sarah came home for spring break? So with a heavy heart Sarah and I put Mom on an airplane Tuesday morning and then it has been just the two of us this week.

Before she left however we had to celebrate Alex's birthday on Monday. Our boy turned 21. That is almost unbelievable to me. Since Alex is Chile we used our missionaries as proxy. They both have birthdays in April anyway so it was good timing.

I think Sarah had a very relaxing time and she is quite happy to be going back to Utah with a nice sun burn on her back. We had planned all week that Friday night we would go camping. The plan was to camp on the beach at San Elijo State Park. I checked out the availability of camping spots and since there were quite a few openings I decided not to make a reservation. That was lucky for me. As it turned out we had the worst storm in nearly a year.  I took Friday afternoon off from work and went with Sarah to run a few errands for her. Since her mother wasn't home I had to be mother as well as father. On our way back from shopping we looked out towards the ocean and the sky was as black as night and it was still the middle of the afternoon. Up until then I had still held out hope that we could go shopping but when I realized that the weather man was right we went to plan B. We camped in our family room.I don't know if you can tell what Sarah is doing in the picture but she is roasting a marshmallow in the fireplace. I have to admit that it was quite cozy sitting by the fire, watching a movie and listening to rain just pour down.
I did miss my air mattress however and somewhere during the night I had to cave in and move onto the couch. That floor is way too hard and my hips were killing me. There is something about a storm outside that makes a warm bed feel so much more comfortable. It was a good sleep.
Saturday morning Sarah and I decided to use our final few hours together to go for a walk on the beach. The rain had stopped at our house but when we got out of the car at the beach it was still coming down pretty hard. You may notice that in the picture we had the entire beach to ourselves. It was a really fun walk but we didn't go very far.
Finally it was time to take my baby to the airport. This has been the longest I have gone without seeing Sarah in her entire life and her next stint away may be even longer. It was tough saying goodbye to her. I think Lisa and I may have to make a trip to Utah in the next few months.
After I got home I decided that I had to get a long run in. I run during the week but I can't normally go more than three or four miles before it gets dark so I try and do a long run on the weekend. The problem is that last Saturday was Mackenzies wedding so it didn't happen then and the week before I had business meetings and so this would have been the third Saturday in a row that I would miss out on my long run. The rain had pretty much stopped so I decided I just had to go for it. Yes, you can guess what happened, I didn't get a half mile out and the skies opened up on me. I mean the rain was coming down so hard that it was bouncing off the pavement. As you can imagine I aborted the run. Tomorrow I HAVE to get at least five miles in.

I miss my wife.

Haiti and Lichtenstein by complete coincidence ended up having identical flags. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mackenzie Got Married

Well this has been a busy few weeks. I don't think I'll post everything is one entry since that would probably bore most of you to the point that you won't read it all anyway. I will just touch on the highlights. Last weekend Mackenzie got married. Many of you may remember Mackenzie as one of Alex's girlfriends back in high school. While they were going out we became very close friends with Mackenzie and her mother so even after Alex and Mackenzie parted ways we stayed in touch and have been a part of her life as she has grown and headed off to college.
Lisa had been offering to help Mackenzie out with her wedding plans but I think she felt bad asking for help until about a week before her wedding. Within a very short time several of Mackenzie's plans fell through. I don't know just what happened but I do know that her flower person cancelled, the cake cancelled and some other people too. Lisa, being the kind hearted woman that she is jumped in to help her out and after having four kids get married she does know a thing or two about putting on a wedding. The wedding was beautiful and everything went off flawlessly
Mackenzies timing was perfect for Sarah. Sarah was one of Mackenzie's bridesmaids and she just happened to be home for spring break this week.
In many parts of Europe it was traditional to supply a newly married couple with enough mead for a month, ensuring happiness and fertility. From this practice we get honeymoon or, as the French say, lune de miel.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Christ is Preaching in Perea

With Easter approaching I thought it would be interesting to chronicle the last few weeks of Christ's life. I did this last year and while I have no idea if you enjoyed it I know that I certainly did. For that reason, and also because I think it is good for all of us to remember the importance of Christ in our lives I'm going to repeat this series of blogs again this year. 

As the life of Christ is told in the gospels we sometimes find contradictions in the stories by the different writers. I believe this can happen for a number of reasons. Each person telling the story see's it from a different angle. Some things may be more important to one person than to another and so he will describe it with more detail. We all know that if there are several witnesses to an event you will get slightly different stories from each of them. As I tell the story of Jesus I will do my best to make it consistent with the scriptures but please forgive any inconsistencies. Hopefully you will accept my account in the spirit in which it is given.

Today, March 11, is twenty eight days before Easter Sunday. On this day, nearly two thousand years ago Christ was in the land of Perea around Jericho. He had been in Jerusalem during the feast of the Tabernacles (in October) and rather than head back to Galilee where he lived he had decided to preach in Perea instead. His mother, of course, lived in Nazareth and since we know that she went to Jerusalem with her son it was probably around this time that she went to meet up with her son in Perea. It is likely that at this point Jesus mother Mary was a widow and we can assume that she traveled with a group of close friends who most likely included friends and family of the apostles who were with Jesus and hadn't been home for some time. 

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Happy Birthday Oreo

One hundred years ago today in a factory in New York City, the Nabisco Company started making the Oreo Biscuit. Since then nearly 500 billion of those little "biscuits" have been sold. Personally I've never been a big fan of Oreo's or for that matter anything chocolate. There are a few things "chocolate" that I like such as chocolate milk for example but not many. Just a few weeks ago Ben was here visiting and Mom and I decided to forgo her health food kick for the evening and we all went and bought one item each of our favorite junk food. Anyone who knows Ben will know that he loves Oreo's and has probably tried every variation (of which there are hundreds) of Oreo's made. On that night Ben taught me how to eat an Oreo properly. I think Oreo's may have now become one of my more favorite junk food items. Let me share with you how it is done.

1) Hold the Oreo in a glass of milk immersing the cookie half way into a glass of milk for about five seconds.
2) Let go of the Oreo and watch it float sideways in the milk
3) Just as the cookie is about to sink below the surface of the milk quickly grab it and shove the whole thing in your mouth.

I've uploaded a video for you just in case the instructions weren't clear enough.


"Oreo” is the seventh most popular cat name in the United States, just behind “Shadow,” “Tigger,” and “Baby.”