Posts

ODJ: truth in love

Have you said something to someone that you later regretted? Perhaps you needed to speak hard words and the person needed to hear them, but you feel bad because of the way you communicated your message. So you’re saddened that you failed to “speak the truth in love”. But what does that really mean? Is it about honesty? Is it about sweetening the cold, hard truth to make it more pala

ODJ: unwanted and unloved

A pastor and his congregation, serving in an area known for addicts, alcoholics and prostitutes, haveprayed an interesting prayer for many years: Lord, send us the people nobody else wants. That prayer has been answered, as more than 800 church attendees are now involved in recovery programmes designed to help them break free from destructive lifestyles. Recently the pastor added this phrase to th

ODJ: we are family

We often say in the church that we’re a family, and we address each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. But what does that really mean? What implications does the word family hold?

We read in Ephesians 2:19, “You Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.” Note that the word you r

ODJ: had to go there

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Author Elizabeth Berg once wrote, “You know thephrase ‘It’s always in the little things’? In writing,it is always the little things—it’s the details . . . that make a character and a story come alive.”

The gospel authors knew the importance of details. For example the apostle John wrote that Jesus “had to go through Samaria” as He was travelling from Judea to Galilee (

ODJ: not leaving

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I am just 3 months into my elected role as youth deaconess in the local church that I attend, and I’ve already received three requests from people who want to step down from serving. A few have simply gone MIA (missing in action). So I feel like a general who’s trying to rally his army to fight a battle even as he’s losing his soldiers.

I was discouraged until I studied Amos 7:10-

ODJ: friends in the fray

Tim Kreider wrote about modern day busyness in a newspaper column. His piece titled “The ‘Busy’ Trap” included a personal experience in which he contacted a friend about getting together. The friend replied that he was busy but might be persuaded to “ditch work for a few hours” if “something was going on”. Kreider didn’t press for a rendezvous. He described his friend’s busynes

ODJ: five words

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A 2012 survey of people aged 18 to 24 uncovered an interesting trend. The study, led by the PublicReligion Research Institute, revealed that one in four young adults chose “unaffiliated” for their religious commitment. But 55 percent of that group had “identified with a religious group” when they were younger. They had simply walked away from the faith they once embraced.

Sadly,

ODJ: not broken


As someone who has spent a lot of time in the coastal waters of Florida, America, I’ve always enjoyed seeing bottlenose dolphins up close in the wild. That’s one reason I was particularly drawn to the film Dolphin Tale.


Based on a true story, the film is about a fatherless and disheartened boy named Sawyer who finds great joy and meaning in the rehabilitation of an injured bottle

ODJ: good religion


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As a pastor, I get interesting responses from people when they discover my vocation. Some will immediately apologise for the language they’ve used. Some offer a forced smile and then come up with an excuse to change the subject. One line I hear often is: “Well, I like Jesus, but I don’t like religion.”


I understand the sentiment. People are suspicious of the church and religi