TUESDAY TALKS This week my reading has been wide and varied. In Scripture, I have been studying the Revelation of Jesus Christ to the Apostle, focusing on the first three Chapters. I unison to that I have read closely Chapters 4-9 on the book Answers For Chicken Little A No-Nonsense Look at the Book of Revelation. I spent a good deal of time in Acts Chapter 15, taking a expository look at the story of The Counsel At Jerusalem for the Bible Study on Acts I am writhing. Last evening I rounded out my day by reading chapter 5 (entitled The Law) in David Stark’s book Reaching Millennials. Through much thought and prayer the Holy Spirit has caused me whittle all the information I have taken in to one small but most important talking point. It is a point the Apostles wrestled with greatly as the young church was moving past Jerusalem and Judea and going out into all the world. At the Counsel At Jerusalem after much debate whether or not Gentile converts must become Jews before they can become Christians (Which meant they must follow the Law of Moses and be circumcised) James the brother of Jesus stood up and addressed the gathering with these words. “It is my judgement, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead, we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, the meat of strangled animals, and from blood. Notice how they gave them 4 simple suggestions, suggestions that would keep them in good health, in good standing with God and with the Jewish Brothers and sisters. I say all this because as a country we are becoming less and less a nation of Christ followers, and we have this bright inquisitive generation know as millennials who are dropping out of church, we must ask ourselves ARE WE MAKING IT DIFFICULT FOR THEM TO TURN TO GOD? In the effort to raise up perfect Christians are the 320,000 churches in the United States so focused of the ‘rules’ that we have ruled out love? The Church of the Nazarene has a code of Christian conduct that outlines the fact that we don’t smoke and we don’t chew and we don’t go with girls and boys that do! Do I as pastor stand up on Sunday mornings and preach a messaged of do’s and don’ts or do I communicate Love…you know, Love God and Love Others As I Love Myself? Am I making it hard for people to come to God? In Revelation 3 we read Jesus’ words to the church at Philadelphia: “These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” Rev 3:7 Jesus holds the keys to love and life…eternal life, but we share in the turning of the keys. 11 years ago during my last year at NBC, I had a ministry project of baptizing two young men into the family of Jesus Christ. I was given a list of all the things I had to do in preparation for the event, one of which was signing out the chapel and the baptismal fount. I did all that was required, I doubled and triple checked my duties, and on the morning before the baptism I went to the chapel to find the cover on the fount and no water in it. I went to see Joe Smith, the man responsible for getting things ready. I asked if everything would be ready and he said to me. “I hold the keys to this place and nothing gets done without me being asked and I agreeing…so no, there will be no baptismal service because you did not ask me! I was just blown away, I had followed the directions, had done everything correctly (or so I thought), and here was a Christian telling me that he held the keys… Telling me he could change the rules… That it was all about him… The event almost had me considering giving up… I could never live up to all the rules… It is true, Jesus holds the keys, but let’s not forget that we share in the turning of the keys! So friends, as we work together in the mission of making Christlike disciples, we must ask ourselves the question, are we making it difficult for people to come to God? I hope not, but if we are may God help us change our path, by following the command of Jesus to love God and others as we love ourselves.