The Great Adventure: Week #4
“Which Way Did He Go?”
Luke 18:9-14
“To some who were confident of their won righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself. ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men - robbers, evil doers, adulterers - or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Well friends, this month has been one for new stories that highlight the personal dramas and failings of folks in the world of sports. I think it is safe to say that by now, most of us have tired of stories about Notre Dame football players to appear to have been duped and by now, the rest of us are exhausted by the press that Lance Armstrong has received. I did a little research this month into the Tour de France because I find this race, 100 years old this year, fascinating. Hyped up and exhausting, but still, fascinating. The first real drug scandal of the Tour de France came back in 1924 when three cyclists replayed to a French publication that they used of a combination of drugs that included cocaine and aspirin called, “dynamite” to compete. By the 1940’s, Italian cyclist Fausto Coppi admitted on television that the only way to stay competitive in the sport was to use amphetamines. If you look back at the decades of endurance cycling you will see dozens of injuries, illnesses an even deaths linked to performance enhancing drug use as well competitors accused of and admitting their use of substances to win. Since 1957, approximately 15 of the 25 men who hold Tour de France titles have confessed to or been tested positive for doping. Jacques Anquetil (5 time winner once told the French Prime Minister, “leave me in peace, everybody takes dope.” An oft repeated slogan on the race circuit is, “no dope, no hope.” And yet, while the escapades and indulgences of cyclists like Lance Armstrong may seem far removed from us, we all have something very deep rooted in common with Lance Armstrong. He Inherited a System (and chose to remain within it to win)
Lance Armstrong inherited a system that he chose to remain within to thrive in his We inherit a system
All of us inherit family and cultural systems. Of course ours does not include yellow jerseys and hoards of cheering fans throughout the Pyrenees, but we all are born into systems that inform our emotional and spiritual health. Some of us were born into families with tremendous pain and dysfunction like addiction, abuse or violence. Others among us grew up where patterns of anger, infidelity or narcissism were laid out before us. EVERY family has some sort of dysfunction and some impact us more than others. Each of us also inherits cultural values and expectations and the very air we breathe in this country is saturated to its fullest with the narrative of consumerism that pushes us to view one another as commodities. And while there are those among us who can point to much that is healthy in the families and places from which we come, all of us have a divine invitation to move beyond that which still limits us today into greater health with God and others. To live out what James Bryant Smith calls, “The Good and Beautiful Life”, which is to practice what Jesus preached, to live into a system that says we need to love God (vertical) and love others (horizontal) to embark upon God’s Great Adventure. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US, AT ONE POINT OR ANOTHER, MUST DECIDE WHETHER WE WANT TO LIVE IN THE SYSTEMS THAT LIMIT US OR LEAVE THEM! Systems in our text for today
In our text for today we see Jesus speaking about honesty and integrity in our lives. We find two different approaches to this world and to worship. Pharisee
First, a Pharisee, a religious leader, a man whose entire life was dedicated to the study of God’s law. He was in many ways, a professional at prayer and at getting spiritual things right. Jesus comments on Pharisees in Matthew 6:5 as well. They would pray in public, often using the traditional leather prayer boxes that contained verses from scripture and would be strapped to the forehead and to the left arm. There were other elaborate rituals that would be engaged in, prayer shawls with tassels etc. Often to catch the public eye in an attempt at showing off their righteousness. - Outside appearance over the heart - Performance over authenticity - Systems over personality Tax Collector
Jesus contrasts this with a man who chose to operate outside of his system. Tax collectors were among the most despised. These were Jewish men who extracted taxes from their own community to be paid to the Roman Government so they were viewed as sell outs. They made their living by what they skimmed off the top or added to the bill to keep for themselves. Their sin was considered particularly heinous in that they consistently broke the Law laid down in Leviticus 25:35-37 that read, “If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you. Do not take interest of any kind from him, but fear your God, so that our countryman may continue to life among you. You must not lend him money at interest or sell him food The contrast between the social standing and stature of these two men could not have been more sharp or distinct, and yet, Jesus chooses the tax collector as the one to emulate. Why? - Humility over posterity - Confession over denial - Belief and hope in God over the status quo This tax collector chose to break the system that kept him limited, or at the very least, to recognize the fractures in his system. He made the bold more of humbling himself before God and laid his shortcomings at the feet of Jesus. How can we do the same today? - “Grow Up”
So often we operate in familial or cultural systems where we either do not recognize or refuse to change the behaviors and patterns that keep our growth stunted. We intentionally skip over the practices and opportunities that we have to move toward the sort of emotional and spiritual health exhibited by the tax collector in this story. Basically, we flat out refuse to grow up. I know in my own life, over there years there have been opportunities God has afforded me to move past particular behaviors or feelings and to be honest, I just flat out refuse to do it. I refuse to grow up. I can be stubborn, self-righteous, angry and demanding. So much so that I miss the chance to grow up a bit. If you’ve ever shared a meal with a toddler you can identify with this, you suggest something basic and healthy like a carrot and the child throws him or herself to the ground in flat our refusal. We remain stunted, children who refuse to grow up and acknowledge all the work that is yet to be done to bring our lives more fully into God’s ways. Either we like the comfort and safety of it all or we are scared of the lengths we know we will need to go to for change. Half the battle of growing up is to over come fear. From the dinner table (what if the Asparagus is gross or tastes funny) into adolescence (what if I’m the only kid at this event or who wears these shoes). If we are honest, it takes more than chronological age to change us. As much as Jesus loved his disciples he often lamented their stunted growth. Paul felt the same about the people he taught. Matthew 15:16, “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asks them when trying to explain a parable. - The author of Hebrews, in 5:11-12 says, “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again.” He goes on to encourage in 6:3, “Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity.” Our default is to stay put. At first glance it is way easier. Uncomfortable as some of our situations can be, it seems safer than wandering out into the unknown world of change. “There is no growth without change, no change without fear or loss and no loss without I will tell you that while I love to take adventuresome risks, those risks I keep at a safe distance from my heart. They involve my arms and legs, my lungs and my body. They give me the chance to upload pictures to Facebook and tell wild stories. I will engage in adrenaline sports any chance I get, but woe to the person who suggests I dabble in an adventure of the heart or soul. Those I weigh more carefully and drag my feet into, I wait, sometimes for years, to even begin to engage the topic or issue. To change my life by breaking the patterns and systems that I choose to live within, now that may be a little too much adventure . . . . This is what makes faith “boring” or sluggish at times
And then we wonder why our lives stay the same, even when we have faith in God. Often our dissatisfaction with God is less about God and more about our unwillingness to engage in the adventures that God places before us. Safety eventually will bore you to a spiritual death. Author and psychologist Dr. John Townsend speaks about his own life early on where he ran into this issue. “Although God’s Word had given me much hope, security, and faith, I still had personal struggles and failures that were not being transformed deeply and completely. I found myself fighting the same battles, trying to manage things through recommitment, coping and trying harder.” He goes on to suggest that his willingness to finally engage in growth, in the invitation to emotional health was what moved him forward. I do wonder if the Pharisees found themselves bored. So bored. Bored of the routine yet scared. Scared of something new. Something that would stretch them or grow them up a bit. So scared that maybe they would crucify whatever threatened to break apart their little world. The Tax Collector, he gave himself to the adventure. Equipment and Direction
The prophet Jeremiah tells us that, “This is what the LORD says: Stand at the crossroads and look: ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, we will not walk in it. I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We Defiance plays a huge role in breaking the systems we live within and moving us on toward growth. God issues the invitation and then backs it up with what we need to move forward and we ignore it or shrug the whole thing off. We stand at the crossroads and we look and God says, “over here” and we say, “maybe later” and head off in the direction of our desires, of the systems we inherited and know well, of the paths we have followed, some of us for decades. Henry Cloud says, “We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.” This week, our adventure is about finding the right equipment we need and then actually doing something with it. So, what are those opportunities? What is that equipment?
When Joel and I lived out West he picked up the sport of fly-fishing. A graceful, beautiful sport that requires a tremendous amount of poise and grace as well as a lot of gear. I remember the first few times he headed to the rivers he would wear vests with hooks and scissors, leaders and tweezers, boots and reels. I would giggle at him
while he pointed out that it was best to take it all because you never knew what you
might need. After time, he perfected the art of the sport, he knew (as much as one can
know in fishing) what he might need and he began to trust that gear. To return to his well-worn rain gear when the skies opened up. He learned how to study the seasons and read up on recent hatches so he knew which flies to tie and eventually, to begin tying them on his own. He had the resources he needed to forge ahead, to grow in his skill and he did just that. He found the equipment he needed for success. Friends, this is life with Christ. Our Evangelical landscape is filled, almost to the point of polluted, with resources and ideas, people and conversations to help us grow. All you need to do sort through it all, find the right equipment and head down to the river. [ Jesus gives us the equipment we need. And he promises not to overburden or weigh us down. He promises that he will never lay anything ill-fitting upon us. That when we lean into his rhythms and ways we may even find a little rest for our souls. This is not to say that life will suddenly be peppy and giddy, but it is to say that choosing the path of growth will always end in an easier, more gentle place than choosing to do nothing. What is that equipment?
“I will never lay anything heavy of ill-fitting upon you.” What are the conversations, meetings or prayers you need to offer to live fully into the “yoke” of Jesus? What are the books or classes you might need? The therapists and counselors that are gifted with the skills to journey with you? Let us surrender, grow up a bit, allow ourselves to be equipped with what we need to make the changes in our lives. You might begin by identifying just one of the following to focus upon. Trust what works best, all of these principles are found in Scripture and in the lives of great luminaries of the faith across the ages. - People - can you list the people you need to meet with or travel with to help you find
your way? Are there counselors, pastors, therapists or friends who can help you take
- Practices - are there lifestyle adjustments you need to make? Habits and addictions
that are ravaging your body and your soul? Do you skip sleep or work too much? Drink too much or eat too much? What practices do you need to put into place to triumph over the places you struggle?
- Prayers - what conversations do you need to have with God? How is prayer a part of
your daily routine? Do you bring your joys and sorrows to God? Do you regularly ask God what he might want for your life? Part of growing up is learning to consult with others about what life brings our way. Why not consult with the God of the universe who made you and crafted you from the very dust of the earth?
- Disciplines - what have the wise saints and sages of history found to be helpful
practices to lead us toward God and which might work for you? Would keeping a regular Sabbath help you live a saner life-rhythm? Would spending time with a journal at the end of your day bring you to greater health? Would adding a little solitude and silence to your routine bring you to a place where you might hear God’s voice? Look, I don’t know what it is for you but I can tell you that each of these has been a significant step for me at some point or another in my life. I don’t know what it is for you but what I do know for sure is that YOU MUST DO SOMETHING. There is a saying that indicates that everyone, absolutely everyone engages in some form of spiritual formation. To do nothing is to still be formed. It will be a very flat, lifeless form but to do nothing is still a choice. YOU CAN DO THIS! The God of the universe is cheering you on toward this end. “We praise God not to celebrate our own faith but to give thanks for the faith God has in us.” (Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace p. 151) Author Lauren Winner talks about the difference between heroes and saints. She points out that heroes cannot fail, they are the center of their own story. By contrast, she points out, “a saint can fail in a way that the hero can’t, because the failure of the saint reveals the forgiveness and the new possibilities made in God, and the saint is just a small character in a story that is always fundamentally about God.” (Still, p. 194) Childlike Faith vs. Being Childish Cloud/Townsend recount the story of a woman they worked with who came to them with a family pattern that left her struggling and yet, once this was pointed out to her, she became a joy to work with because she so desperately wanted to change. “She cared more about growing up than looking good or self-righteous. And God always honors that attitude, as in the story of the tax-collector and the Pharisee.” (p. 251) This is the Christian life, to live into the full maturity that Jesus calls us to. Do we really believe that his “yoke” is not ill-fitting? That he would never ask us to do anything that does not ultimately end in goodness and grace?


Nigerian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Applied Science Research, 2012, 1(2): 91-97 QUALITY ASSESSMENT OF SOME BRANDS OF PIROXICAM CAPSULES Igboasoiyi A.C.*, Eseyin O.A., Oladimeji H.O., and Akpan R.J. Department of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Uyo . *Author for correspondence; E-mail: Phone: +23480332


Economics rnational February 26, 2003 Frankfurt Voice e Int national t Demography Special Pharmaceutical market: Run on lifestyle Special edition f eaders of drugs boosted by demographic trend Frankfur International pharmaceutical companies have been pushing the lucrativelifestyle drugs segment since the late 1990s. Both younger and older customersare prepared to

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