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I had the opportunity last week to visit our new Chilean YMCA partner, the Valparaiso Y. I was invited to present a session of their Second Annual National Seminar for Trainers, or future Y leaders.  \YMCA’s from around the country of Chile sent university age students, who are the next generation of Y leaders, to the Valparaiso Y to learn valuable leadership skills and realign themselves with the Christian mission of the Y.  \I have to say that it was a top-ten highlight of my ministry years to date.

But not unlike any other international experience I have had, the language barrier was greater than I remember. I had hoped that most university students had some level of understanding of the English language. And I had prepared my presentation with that in mind. Shame on me for traveling to an international destination, hoping they knew “my” language. So I presented my material via a translator. Not a terrible thing, but it did limit my ability to convey completely the thoughts I had prepared. Timing and trains of thought are generally lost in translation. 

Barriers are everywhere in life. Some we create on our own. And others are created through culture, laws, false expectations we place on others (and ourselves), and the list could go on and on.

I am reminded of so many instances where Jesus sought to tear down the barriers that mankind had built. Even his own people had created many barriers between themselves and God. So many hoops to jump through to “please” God. And Jesus sought to eliminate those hindrances. He made it easy to come to God. And it was simply through Himself. He was to be the way for all mankind to come to God. No hoops. No barriers. The way was simple. And it still is just that simple.

Jesus himself said, in John’s gospel, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). So why do we, even today, create so many barriers to confuse and trip us up? Why do we place so many hoops between us and God that we feel we must jump through on our journey of faith? We cannot earn, or buy, or work our way to God.  It will never happen. It is only by grace, through faith that we are accepted as a child of God. 

What barriers have you created that keep you from God? What “treadmill” are you on that is taking you nowhere? Step off, and step into the grace (the free gift) of Jesus.

Like language barriers, we may never understand completely the fullness of our Messenger. But we accept His gift of grace by faith. And one day, because of our faith, and because of His grace, we’ll fully understand all of His goodness when we see Him face to face.

No más aros, no más barreras.

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About the Author

Bruce has served in full-time ministry for over 25 years and has served as chaplain at the YMCA at Pabst Farms since August, 2006. Prior to moving to Wisconsin, he served as Associate Pastor of Missions and Evangelism at Alpha Baptist Church in Morristown, Tennessee as well as Minister of Activities and Recreation. .. Read More »

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