THANK YOU FOR JOINING US!

WE ARE SO GLAD YOU JOINED US FOR A NIGHT IN BETHLEHEM. Our hope is that your journey through Bethlehem helped you have a better understanding of how Jesus entered into the world and the reason He came to this earth.  


While several of the characters you heard from on your journey are not mentioned in the Bible and we used some creative liberties with all of the characters, we believe the things they shared with you are consistent with what people knew and understood about Jesus at the time of His birth.  Our hope is that your journey through Bethlehem helped you experience the Christmas story in a new and meaningful way.  If you would like to read the Biblical account of Jesus' birth, click here.


Jesus' coming to this earth as a baby in a manager was clearly a miracle.  But the greatest miracle of Jesus' coming was what happened in the years that followed His birth.  Jesus became a man and around the age of 30 began to reveal Himself as the Son of God.  He taught people God's plan for life, did miracles that demonstrated His power, and helped equip a group of men who would carry on His work after His death and resurrection.  Ultimately, Jesus allowed himself to be crucified on a cross  and then on the third day he rose from the dead just like He said He would and proved He had power over all things including life and death.  


And here is the remarkable thing we don't want to miss.  When Jesus died and rose from the dead, He made it possible for every person who chooses to follow Jesus to to experience a new and different kind of life.  He also made it possible for us to live our eternal life in heaven.


Here is the story of Jesus' life in a nutshell: Jesus was born to die to make it possible for us to have life and a personal relationship with the God of the universe. 


If you have never chosen to become a follower of Jesus (some people call this "becoming a Christian" or being "born again"), we encourage you to take that step this Christmas.  You may wonder, what is involved in becoming a follower of Jesus.  Check out the BECOMING A FOLLOWER OF JESUS section below which explains it more.  We would also welcome the opportunity to answer any questions or connect you with one of our pastors for prayer or assistance with a spiritual need. If that is something you would like to do, please complete the form below or contact us at Otterbein Church at info@otterbeinchurch.org or 717.762.7147.


Lastly, we would invite you to join us at Otterbein Church for one of our worship services. We have two services on Sunday mornings in our church building at 9:00 & 10:45 a.m.  Both services can also be viewed live online at otterbeinchurch.org.  You can learn more Otterbein Church and our programs for children, youth and adults by clicking on the I'm New link at the top of this page.


We hope you have a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a BLESSED NEW YEAR!



becoming a follower of jesus

Step 1: God’s Purpose—Peace and Life

God loves you and wants you to experience peace and life — abundant and eternal.


The Bible Says…

  • Romans 5:1 (NLT) — "Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us."
  • John 3:16 (NLT) — “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."
  • John 10:10 (NLT) — "My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."

Why don’t most people have this peace and abundant life that God planned for us to have?


Step 2: The Problem—Our Separation

God created us in His own image to have an abundant life. He did not make us as robots to automatically love and obey Him. God gave us a will and a freedom of choice. We chose to disobey God and go our own willful way. We still make this choice today. This results in separation from God.


The Bible Says…

  • Romans 3:23 (NLT) — "For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard."
  • Romans 6:23 (NLT) — "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord."

Our Attempts to Reach God

People have tried in many ways to bridge this gap between themselves and God. The Bible says…

  • Proverbs 14:12 (NLT) — "There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death."
  • Isaiah 59:2 (NLT) — "It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore."

No bridge reaches God … except one.


Step 3: God’s Bridge—The Cross

Jesus Christ died on the Cross and rose from the grave. He paid the penalty for our sin and bridged the gap between God and people.


The Bible Says…

  • 1 Timothy 2:5 (NLT) — "For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus."
  • 1 Peter 3:18 (NLT) — "Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit."
  • Romans 5:8 (NLT) — "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners."


God has provided the only way. Each person must make a choice.


Step 4: Our Response—Believe and Accept Jesus

We must trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and receive Him by personal invitation into your life.


The Bible Says…

  • Revelation 3:20 (NLT) — “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends."
  • John 1:12 (NLT) — "But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God."
  • Romans 10:9–10 (NLT) — "If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved."

Will you choose to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ right now? Here is how you can do it: 

  • Admit your need (Tell Him you are a sinner).
  • Be willing to turn from your sins (repent).
  • Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross and rose from the grave.
  • Through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to come in and control your life through the Holy Spirit. (Receive Him as Lord and Savior.)

Step 5: Prayer

God wants us to communicate our desire to become a follower of Jesus through prayer.  God cares about the sincerity of our desire and what is really going on in our heart.  As you pray, you can use your own words or you can use the sample prayer if it communicates the desires of your heart.


Sample Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


God’s Assurance: His Word
If you prayed this prayer, the Bible says…

  • Romans 10:13 (NLT) — “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.”
  • Ephesians 2:8–9 (NLT) — "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it."
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) — "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!"
  • 1 John 5:13 (NLT) — "I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life."

Step 6: Tell Someone & Take Your Next Step

After you make your decision to become a follower of Jesus, it is important you tell someone and take your next step in growing and maturing in your relationship with Jesus.  We would love for you to share with us about your decision and we would welcome the opportunity to help you take your next steps.  Please take a moment and complete the form below and one of our pastors will follow up with you.

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the BIBLICAL ACCOUNT OF JESUS' BIRTH

Here is what we read in the Bible about Jesus' birth: 


Luke 1:26–38 (NLT) — 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” 29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” 34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” 35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.” 38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.


Matthew 1:18–25 (NLT) — 18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. 20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: 23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’ ” 24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.


Luke 2:1–20 (NLT) — 1 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. 8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” 15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.


Matthew 2:1–12 (NLT) — 1 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” 3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: 6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’ ” 7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!” 9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.