Posts with the category “pastor-dan”

It's Not Easy To Be an Atheist
by Dan Erickson on September 29th, 2022
In his book, When God Goes to Starbucks, Paul Coppan notes that there is plenty of evidence we, as human beings, have a disposition to believe in some type of deity or spiritual reality. Thus, he says, if someone wants to overcome this predisposition to believe in God and be an atheist, it may be necessary to make some intentional choices in order to avoid being a “default theist.”First, the aspir...  Read More
A Remarkable Advertisement for Christianity
by Dan Erickson on August 31st, 2022
The late Christopher Hitchens, one of the world’s best known atheists, often gave this challenge to Christians and other theists: “Find one good or noble thing which cannot be accomplished without religion.” I believe that challenge was met in Charleston, South Carolina in the summer of 2015.On June 19 of that year, just two days after the horrific murders at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopa...  Read More
Remembering the Right Things
by Dan Erickson on August 3rd, 2022
Two friends, Joe and Sam, were walking through the desert. After a while, they got into a heated argument and, in anger, Joe slapped Sam across the face. At that point Sam felt very hurt, but did not say a word. He simply knelt down and wrote these words in the sand: “Today my best friend slapped me in the face.”The two men continued their journey and eventually came to an oasis. Hot, tired, and d...  Read More
More Than Just a "Good Man"
by Dan Erickson on June 29th, 2022
Jesus Christ is admired by many in our world today. People are often impressed with His compassion for others, His brilliant teaching, His commitment to peace and justice, and His deep “spirituality.” In the eyes of some folks, Jesus is kind of a Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Teresa all wrapped in one. Yet, many of the folks who admire Jesus, reject His claim to be the eternal Son of ...  Read More
Knowing and Doing What Is Right
by Dan Erickson on May 26th, 2022
A few years ago there was a story in USA Today about a woman in Texas who received a sizable check from the Veteran's Administration. The check was not made out to her, she did not know the person to whom the check was made out, nor had she ever been in the military.She put it back outside for the postman to pick up on his next round. Five days later she got it back in a different envelope. She te...  Read More
Dealing with Doubt
by Dan Erickson on April 28th, 2022
The summer of 1976 was a difficult time in my life. Even though our nation was marking its 200th anniversary, I was not in a mood to celebrate. My mind was struggling with some big questions. How do I know Christianity is true? Why should I believe what the Bible teaches? How do I know that God even exists? I had grown up in a Christian home and attended church almost every Sunday. I made a profes...  Read More
Does Easter Really Make a Difference?
by Dan Erickson on March 31st, 2022
Surveys reveal that most people in the U.S. believe that Jesus Christ really did rise from the dead. However, many of these same folks have a difficult time understanding how an event which occurred almost 2,000 years ago can still have significance today. As one man put it, “How does knowing Jesus rose from the dead help me pay my daughter’s college tuition?” True, there is no financial benefit i...  Read More
True Satisfaction
by Dan Erickson on February 24th, 2022
A couple weeks ago, the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals to win Super Bowl LVI. Winning the championship of America’s most popular and prosperous sport is an important athletic accomplishment, yet what is the actual significance of winning a championship football game? When the game ends and the Lombardi trophy is handed out, what’s next?A few months after leading the New England P...  Read More
Being a "Good Christian"
by Dan Erickson on January 26th, 2022
A few years ago, Will Willimon, then Dean of the Chapel at Duke University, got a call from a very upset parent. The father was furious because his graduate-school-bound daughter had just informed him that she was going to go do mission work with a Presbyterian Church in Haiti. "Isn't that absurd!" shouted the father. "She is throwing it all away. She has earned a bachelors degree in mechanical en...  Read More
Oz or God?
by Dan Erickson on January 5th, 2022
“The Wizard of Oz” is one of the favorite stories and films of all time. Someone once suggested the reason for this is that most of us can relate well to Dorothy, because “we, too, find ourselves surrounded by brainless, heartless, and spineless people.”Actually, there are many important lessons found in the story that touch both our hearts and minds. However, we can be led astray if we take the t...  Read More
The Ten Commandments
by Dan Erickson on November 26th, 2021
This sign was posted on the wall at the City Hall in Pikeville, Kentucky. It is entitled “The Hillbilly's Ten Commandments” and reads as follows:(1) Just one God(2) Put nothin' before God(3) Watch yer mouth(4) Git yourself to Sunday meetin'(5) Honor yer Ma & Pa(6) No killin'(7) No foolin' around with another fellow's gal(8) Don't take what ain't yers(9) No tellin' tales or gossipin'(10) Don't be h...  Read More
Are We More Than Protoplasm?
by Dan Erickson on October 28th, 2021
Author Becky Manley was in a college biology class where the professor repeatedly insisted that human beings are nothing more than “fortuitous construct of meaningless protoplasm.” Becky tried to object to that perspective, but her statements were ridiculed as reflecting a “naïve, Christian viewpoint.” One day the professor came to the classroom obviously upset. He began his biology lecture, but a...  Read More
What Matters Is What Is True
by Dan Erickson on September 28th, 2021
Dr. William Willimon is a former Methodist Bishop who is now a Professor at Duke Divinity School. He was once voted one of the ten best preachers in the world. Early in his ministry, while he was serving as the pastor of a small congregation in rural Georgia, a relative of one of his members died. Willimon and his wife attended the funeral held in an old-fashioned, rural, Baptist church. Willimon ...  Read More
Coloring within the Lines
by Dan Erickson on August 25th, 2021
Many people today long for “autonomous freedom” where they are accountable to only themselves. That is reflected in statements such as “I have to do what I feel is right,” or “No one has a right to tell me what I should believe or how I should live.” When that “no one” includes God, our thinking is leading us down a very dangerous road.Suppose your four-year-old son (or grandson) likes to color an...  Read More
Are You On the Right Path?
by Dan Erickson on July 30th, 2021
Many folks like to describe spiritual reality with this analogy: God resides on top of a steep mountain. At the base of the mountain are individuals trying to get up to Him by taking different paths. Some paths may be more direct than others, but they eventually all converge at the same location–God. From this perspective, it is a big mistake for travelers to become overly attached to a particular...  Read More
Responding to an Angry Atheist
by Dan Erickson on June 30th, 2021
Mark Spence is a pastor who works with Living Waters Ministry in Bellflower, CA. A few years ago he received the following email from an angry atheist.“You're a real [expletive], you degenerate scum, so don't you ever tell me anything. You're probably a child molester you worthless coward. Don't give me your lies about best intentions you guys are just too self-centered to do anything and that is ...  Read More
Protect Your Body and Soul
by Dan Erickson on May 27th, 2021
Pastor Jones decided that a visual demonstration would enhance his Sunday sermon. He placed four worms in four separate jars. The first worm was put into a container of alcohol. The second worm was put into a container of cigarette smoke. The third worm was put into a container of chocolate syrup. The fourth worm was put into a container of good, clean, soil. At the conclusion of the sermon, Pasto...  Read More
Be Guided by the Right Light
by Dan Erickson on April 21st, 2021
A small seacoast village in England frequently became covered by dense fog. There was a harbor on the north end of the town which was navigable and free from the huge rocks that dotted the rest of the coast. A lighthouse located at the edge of the harbor guided ships safely to shore.One foggy night, however, the villagers gathered on the south end of town to celebrate a local holiday. As part of t...  Read More
Be Guided by the Right Light
by Dan Erickson on April 21st, 2021
A small seacoast village in England frequently became covered by dense fog. There was a harbor on the north end of the town which was navigable and free from the huge rocks that dotted the rest of the coast. A lighthouse located at the edge of the harbor guided ships safely to shore.One foggy night, however, the villagers gathered on the south end of town to celebrate a local holiday. As part of t...  Read More
A Death Unlike Any Other
by Dan Erickson on March 26th, 2021
Jesus’ crucifixion was not significant because this “was a method of punishment suffered by countless others in those days.” That is a claim made in a letter to a local newspaper. I agree there is nothing very unique about how Jesus died. Thousands of individuals in the first century were executed by this cruel method. There are two reasons, however, why Jesus’ death is extremely unique.The first ...  Read More
The Danger of Diversion
by Dan Erickson on February 25th, 2021
Americans seem to have an insatiable hunger for entertainment. Modern technology now allows us to have almost unlimited entertainment options. If nothing arouses our interest on the 200+ television channels the cable company offers, we can always connect to one of the many streaming services that provides a wide variety of entertainment on-demand. When entertainment provides an occasion for family...  Read More
The Folly of Revenge
by Dan Erickson on January 27th, 2021
There was once a tenant farmer who had worked hard for many years to improve the production of the farmland which he leased. One day the owner came to the farmer’s door. He said, “I’m sorry, but you and your family are going to have to move. I cannot renew the lease for next year. My son is getting married next month, and I promised him that once he had a family, I would give him this farm.”The fa...  Read More
A Gift That Doesn't Need to Be Earned
by Dan Erickson on December 31st, 2020
In the movie Saving Private Ryan, the government has decided that because three of his brothers have already been killed in action, Private James Ryan (Matt Damon) needs to be discharged from active duty and brought back safely to the United States. Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) leads the team which has been assigned to find and rescue Private Ryan. In the end, Captain Miller sacrifices his own ...  Read More
It's a God!
by Dan Erickson on November 27th, 2020
A group of fourth graders got together and decided to write their own version of the Christmas story. It ended up being a bit more “modern” than the traditional Christmas drama. The cast included most of the familiar members. There was a Joseph, shepherds, three wise men, an angel, and the star propped up in the background. There seemed to be one important character missing, however. Mary was nowh...  Read More
You Can't Take It with You
by Dan Erickson on October 29th, 2020
Bill, a very rich man, learned that he would die within a few days. He called his three best friends: a doctor, a preacher, and a lawyer to his bedside. He said, "My preacher friend has told me that you can't take it with you, but I believe I have worked out a way so that I can. Doc tells me that I won't live long, so I have prepared three sealed envelopes, each containing $50,000. When I die, I w...  Read More
Who Is the Real Thief?
by Dan Erickson on September 24th, 2020
A woman waiting to catch her flight bought herself a bag of mini cookies, settled in a chair in the airport lounge, and began to read her book. Suddenly she noticed the man beside her helping himself to a cookie. Not wanting to make a scene, she read on, ate a couple of cookies, and watched the clock. As the daring "cookie thief" ate two more cookies she got more irritated and said to herself, "If...  Read More
God Helps Those Who Realize They Can't Help Themselves
by Dan Erickson on August 25th, 2020
A man was taking a trip on an old wooden sailing ship. He was out on the deck one day and saw one of the crew members climbing the ropes, going up to the crow’s nest. When the fellow was about half-way up, the ship pitched to one side and he was thrown overboard. As the sailor hit the water, he began to scream for help and flail his arms wildly, struggling to stay afloat. The traveler watched as a...  Read More
Missing Meeting Together
by Dan Erickson on August 25th, 2020
As we enter the sixth month of dealing with COVID-19 restrictions, several things have changed at Chisholm Baptist Church. The most significant difference is that numerous people who are part of our congregation have not been attending the worship services at the church. Our Sunday morning attendance has been about two thirds of what it was before the pandemic. Some folks are staying home because ...  Read More
Smoke Signals of Grace
by Dan Erickson on July 23rd, 2020
The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements and to store his few possessions.  Read More
Too Busy To Love
by Dan Erickson on July 2nd, 2020
An ethics professor at Princeton Seminary asked for volunteers for an extra assignment. Fifteen students showed up, and he divided the group into three groups of five each. He instructed the first group of five to proceed immediately across the campus to the student union. If they didn't get there in fifteen minutes their grade for this assignment would be negatively affected. A minute or two late...  Read More
Happy with What You Have
by Dan Erickson on May 19th, 2020
A friend of mine once sent me the following:"I have absolutely the best marriage of anyone whom I know. How do I know that? I don't, it's just what I feel. I am happy with my wife, my house, my car, my body, my kids, my job, my church, and my country. Sure, all of them have snags, all of them have faults, but overall I wouldn't trade them; I am happy.‘Happiness is not having what you want, but wan...  Read More
Only God Knows For Sure
by Dan Erickson on April 22nd, 2020
An old man who lived in a little village, though he was poor, was envied by almost everyone because of a beautiful white horse he owned. Though numerous folks offered great sums of money to purchase the majestic steed, the man refused because he viewed the animal as hisfriend.One morning the man went to the stable and found his horse was gone. The people of the village told him, "Old man, you are ...  Read More
Something More Important Than A Pandemic
by Dan Erickson on April 7th, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our way of life in unprecedented ways. Even during World War 2, people in our country went to church, school, and baseball games. We don’t know what the ultimate cost of this pandemic will be, either economically or in terms of lives lost. Nor do we know when life will return to normal, and we cannot even be sure what the new normal will be. The phrases “before ...  Read More
Encouraging Truth for a Discouraging Time
by Dan Erickson on March 17th, 2020
COVID-19 means a significant disruption of life for most folks in our country, including on the Iron Range. Though I have read numerous articles about the virus and efforts to contain it, much still seems uncertain. There are five things, however, which I know to be true.1) God is sovereign over all that is currently happening in our world. A recent Babylon Bee headline read: “Latest Numbers On Co...  Read More
Are Christians "Good" People?
by Dan Erickson on March 1st, 2020
There seems to be a growing number of people who advocate for people to reject Christianity because it is a negative influence in our culture. However, that charge seems to be contradicted by empirical evidence. A few years ago, Professor Arthur C. Brooks wrote a book entitled Who Really Cares? His research reveals some interesting facts about the “religious” and “secular” communities in our own c...  Read More
A Test of Character
by Dan Erickson on February 3rd, 2020
At 6:00am, one cold morning, a missionary candidate walked into the office for a scheduled interview with the director of a mission board. He sat in the waiting room until 10:00am when the director finally showed up. Without a word of explanation about the four hour delay, the director said, “Let’s get to the test. First, spell ‘cat.’” The surprised applicant replied, “C-A-T.” The director then as...  Read More
The Folly of Revenge
by Dan Erickson on January 6th, 2020
A tenant farmer had worked hard for many years to improve the production of the farmland that he leased.  One day the owner came to the farmer’s door. He said, “I’m sorry, but you and your family are going to have to move. I cannot renew the lease for next year. My son is getting married next month, and I promised him that, once he had a family, I would give him this farm.” The farmer was very ups...  Read More
You, Be Like Jesus
by Dan Erickson on January 1st, 2020
Two brothers, Kevin and Ryan, were waiting for breakfast one Saturday morning. As their mother was preparing some pancakes, the boys began to argue loudly over who would get the first one from the griddle. Their mom thought she saw an opportunity for a moral lesson and said, “Boys, if Jesus were sitting here, he would say: “Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait.” Seven year-old Kevin i...  Read More
What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?
by Dan Erickson on December 16th, 2019
In “It’s A Wonderful Life,” the angel Clarence helps George Bailey to recognize the good things that would not have happened if George had not been born.  During this Christmas season, I think it is helpful to ponder what the world would be like if Jesus had never been born. Besides the fact there would be no “Christmas” without Jesus, the obvious difference would be in our calendar.  This is  201...  Read More
From Where Does Human Dignity Come?
by Dan Erickson on November 5th, 2019
Modern society seems to take ideas such as freedom and human dignity for granted, without realizing where those ideas come from in the first place.  That is illustrated in the experience Dr. David Mackereth.  For 26 years, Mackereth worked for Britain’s National Health Service, primarily in Emergency rooms where he received much praise for his work. Last year, Dr. Mackereth was assigned the job of...  Read More

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