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ODJ: little town of bethlehem

December can be filled with a lot of traveling. Some take vacations at exotic, faraway destinations. Adult children go home to see their parents. Relatives and friends come for a visit. But this Christmas, would you take a 90-mile road trip by foot down dangerous mountain roads? Would you travel to a place where all the 5-star hotels (and 1- to 4-stars, too) were fully booked? Would you still ma

ODB: Words of the Wise

My niece’s husband recently wrote these words on a social media site: “I would say a lot more online if it weren’t for this little voice that prompts me not to. As a follower of Jesus, you might think that little voice is the Holy Spirit. It isn’t. It’s my wife, Heidi.”With the smile comes a sobering thought. The cautions of a discerning friend can reflect the wisdom of God. Ecclesiast

ODB: Behind the Scenes

The outreach activities of our church culminated with a city-wide service. As the team that had organized and led the events—comprised of our youth music group, counselors, and church leaders—walked onto the stage, we all excitedly applauded and poured out our appreciation for their hard work.One man, however, was hardly noticeable, yet he was the leader of the team. When I saw him a f

ODJ: winning at life

Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” That quote from author Francis Chan points out the false view we can possess as we consider what success is all about. Is it found in what we own, what we’ve accomplished or in our status? Is that really how we know that we’re winning in life? What if we’re playi

ODJ: humbled

Andrew Leisewitz is a loving husband, father and elder in our church. He’s also an internationally respected veterinary professor. But even professors have to pay tolls on some roads in South Africa. One day Andrew left his wallet at home, so he had to go from car to car asking for money at the toll booth. The booth clerks and most of the drivers were unsympathetic to his dilemma. In th

ODJ: towards the small

Recently, after I had a blunt interaction with my oldest son, my wife brought me aside and said, “I think you were a little hard on him. You really swelled up and charged into the situation with a lot of force.” It wasn’t that my son didn’t need to be corrected (he did), but the way I dealt with him didn’t express the gentleness my son needed.Philippians 2 gives the m

ODJ: helping the stranded

After Nelson Mandela’s death at the end of 2013, many stories surfaced of his genuine concern for others. In 1950s Apartheid South Africa, Mandela once saw a white woman standing beside

ODB: Example That Encourages

The story is told that in the late 1800s a group of European pastors attended D. L. Moody’s Bible conference in Massachusetts. Following their custom, they put their shoes outside their room before they slept, expecting them to be cleaned by hotel workers. When Moody saw the shoes, he mentioned the need to others because he knew their custom. But he was met with silence. Moody collected all the

ODB: Grain On The Mountaintop

I’ve been on a number of mountaintops in the US in my time, and I can tell you that not much grows up there. The summits of mountains are bare rock and lichen. That’s not where you would normally find an abundance of grain.But Solomon, who wrote Psalm 72, asked God for “an abundance of grain . . . on the top of the mountains,” to characterize his reign as king. If grain on the mountain is