One Sunday morning Argentinian Pastor Juan Carlos Ortiz stood up to preach and looked out at his congregation of about a thousand people. He smiled, “Love one another… Love one another…” (John 13:34-35, 15:12)
The best-selling author of Disciple made eye contact with the people throughout his church. Then he went back to his seat and sat down.
It was quiet and uncomfortable — for five minutes!
Finally he walked back up to the pulpit. “Little children… love one another… Not just in words, but in deeds.” (1 John 3:18, paraphrased).
He sat down again. All eyes were fixed on Juan Carlos. He was praying.
A holy hush fell on the people.
After five more minutes Juan Carlos quietly turned to the person next to him and asked, “How can I pray for you?” They held hands and prayed for one another.
Soon everyone was sharing their concerns, listening, and praying together.
That was the sermon for the week: three words.
Three life-changing words of Jesus that were preached by the beloved disciple John and then by Juan Carlos Ortiz: “Love one another.” Everyone left church that morning with exuberant joy!
I’ve heard thousands of sermons but this is one of a very few that I’ve never forgotten!
Best of all, Jesus’ “new commandment” to love one another with his love is what heals and empowers us to carry out his Greatest Commandment that we love God and our neighbors with our total person.
Bill is a psychologist and ordained pastor, specializing in ministry to pastors. He was personally mentored for many years by Dallas Willard and Ray Ortlund Sr.
As a Spiritual Formation Pastor, he’s served in a mega-church and a church plant. He’s also trained over 1,000 lay counselors and taught courses in Christian psychology and spirituality at the graduate school level. He and Kristi train pastors and other men and women in ministry in their Soul Shepherding Institute and Spiritual Direction certificate program.
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