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When we find Jesus

One of the great contemporary Christian writers is Juan Carlos Ortiz. He is a preacher with an interesting and rather bombastic style. Originally from Argentina he came to the US and became the pastor to the Latino congregation at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, and also a professor of preaching at Robert Schuler University. Although he was originally raised as a Roman Catholic, he was ordained in the Reformed Church in America after having been examined by the Presbyterian Church as well as the Reformed Church. He was also the main preacher on "Hora de Paler," the Spanish language version of Schuler's "Hour of Power." He is currently Pastor Emeritus of Robert Schuler University.

Probably his best known book is entitled simply "Disciple." It was originally published in 1975 and has been revised several times since. In it Ortiz's message is clear and straight-forward, and he pulls no punches. There is an old adage about the art of preaching that says the preacher's goal should be "to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable." Ortiz tends to specialize in the second part of the saying. So his preaching style tends to be a bit over-the-top for North American folks. Particularly striking is his dramatization of what it means to give our lives to Jesus Christ, and that is what I want to share with you.

He writes, "When we find Jesus, it costs us everything. He has happiness, joy, peace, healing, security, eternity, everything. So we say, 'I want this pearl. How much is it?'

'Well,' the seller says, 'it's very expensive.'

'Do you think I could buy it?'

'Of course. Everyone can buy it.'

'Well, how much is it?'

'Everything you have,' says the seller.

We make up our minds. 'All right, I'll buy it,' we say.

'Well, what do you have?' he wants to know. 'Let's write it down.'

'I have ten thousand dollars in the bank.'

'Good. Ten thousand dollars. What else?

'That's all. That's all I have.'

'Nothing more?'

'Well, I have a few dollars here in my pocket.'

'How much?'

We start digging. 'Let's see...thirty, forty, sixty a hundred ...a hundred twenty dollars.'

'That's fine. What else do you have?'

'That's all. That's all I have.'

'Where do you live?.'

'In my house. Yes, I have a house.'

'The house too.' He writes that down.

'You mean I have to live in my camper?'

'You have a camper? That too. What else?

'I'll have to sleep in my car'

'You have a car? That becomes mine. What else?'

'I have nothing left. Nothing.'

Suddenly the seller exclaims, 'Oh, I almost forgot. You yourself too. Everything becomes mine.'

Then he goes on. 'Now listen. I will allow you to use all those things for the time being. But don't forget that they are mine, just as you are also mine. And whenever I need any of them, you must give them up.'

That's how it is when you are under the Lordship of Jesus Christ."

Ortiz is quite right. When we are disciples of Jesus all that we have belongs to him. But the rewards in joy, peace, healing, and eternal life are well worth the cost of all that we have!

Pastor Nancy Becker

Parish Associate

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