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ODJ: content with contention?


With its uncomfortable chairs and tiled floors, the restaurant reflected the chill of the winter air. Having recently made the decision to take in foster children, my family sat waiting to meet a 7 year old girl who needed a home. She was accustomed to transient relationships and began calling my parents “Mum” and “Dad” at that first trial meeting. Filled with great optimism, we believed w

ODB: Friendship

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Friendship is one of life’s greatest gifts. True friends seek a special kind of good for their friends: the highest good, which is that they might know God and love Him with all of their heart, soul, and mind. German pastor and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “The aim of friendship is exclusively determined by what God’s will is for the other person.”Jonathan, David’s friend, is a sterl

ODJ: affected


Rachel, the daughter of fellow ODJ author Jeff Olson, is a young woman I love as if she were my own. Recently she completed an 8 month missions trip. During that time I became concerned when she contracted malaria while serving in a rural part of Kenya. Fortunately her health was restored after taking some strong medication. Rachel’s ministry for Jesus definitely caused her to be affected physic

ODB: Refreshing Candor

Of the many things I love about my mom, chief among them may be her candor. Many times I have called to ask her opinion on a matter and she has consistently responded, “Don’t ask my opinion unless you want to hear it. I’m not going to try to figure out what you want to hear. I’ll tell you what I really think.”In a world where words are carefully parsed, her straightforwardness is refresh

ODJ: experiencing community


Respondents to a recent survey listed the following as key elements of their church life: connecting with God, experiencing transformation, gaining new insights and feeling cared for. All of those things happen as individual believers come together and use their gifts to bless and edify one another.
So often the idea of a ‘personal relationship with God’ is emphasised in our experience wit

ODJ: let go


I spent the summer of 1992 tumbling, somersaulting and crashing over the waters of a nearby lake. To avoid a grand impression, I was simply trying to learn how to water-ski. The painful endeavor revealed the deep level of determination I carry within me. One of my greatest errors lay in my refusal to let go of the rope and admit defeat when I had fallen. It was not a pretty sight.
 Twenty years

ODJ: freely given


At the end of a long day, I took a moment to get a head start on my work emails—striving to preempt any surprises I might face at 8 o’clock the next morning. Frustration ebbed throughout my tired mind as I read an email that contained complaints and feelings of entitlement from a student known to be immature in his responses to life’s challenges. I wanted to send back a veiled sting of repro

ODJ: toughest critic


Have you, like me, ever had a person in your life who in many ways is a friend, but is also your toughest critic? If so, do you wonder how to respond properly to this person? 
In my case I know my friend means well, but she often forcefully sends critical comments without seeking my consent to receive her insights. With that in mind I so appreciate how Paul pursued the consent of his friend Phi

ODJ: in a word


This past week I’ve been working on a labour of love. My wife, Lynn, is reaching a significant birthday milestone, so I’ve decided to throw her a party. One game I came up with is “Lynn in a word.” The idea is for party attendees to think of a word that describes Lynn best and write it down on a note card. On the other side of the card, they’ll write their name. At the party Lynn will dr