Posts with the category “pastor-dan”

Can Christmas Bring Peace?
by Pastor Dan Erickson on December 1st, 2023
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14, KJV)Friends, these words, spoken by angels to the shepherds the night Jesus was born, have been the source of great encouragement and hope. However, the peace and goodwill they seem to promise have been somewhat elusive. War and violent conflict have plagued humanity since the birth of Christ, just as they did befo...  Read More
A Lesson from the Grasshopper and the Ant
by Pastor Dan Erickson on October 25th, 2023
A third-grade teacher was telling her class the story of the grasshopper and the ant. “The ant works hard all summer and stores up plenty of food,” she said. “The grasshopper, however, plays all summer and does no work. Then winter comes. The grasshopper begins to starve because he has no food. He desperately goes to the ant and begs him to share his food. Now boys and girls,” the teacher continue...  Read More
The Right to Say What You Believe
by Pastor Dan Erickson on September 28th, 2023
I recently found myself in full agreement with a tweet posted by Rep. Ilhan Omar. That has not happened very often, but this time I think the Democratic congresswoman spoke important truth. It all started with a post on X (formerly Twitter) by Lizzie Marbach, a Republican political activist from Ohio. Marbach wrote, “There’s no hope for any of us outside of having faith in Jesus Christ alone.”Her ...  Read More
Is Being Sincere Enough?
by Dan Erickson on August 29th, 2023
“It doesn’t matter what you believe, just as long as you’re sincere.” Those words, originally spoken by Linus in a Peanuts comic strip, have been taken very seriously by many. In fact, it has become almost an anthem of American culture. However, when people embrace this philosophy and try to live it out, it can be very destructive.In November, 1987, 700 men were gathered in the town of Soroti, Uga...  Read More
A Lesson We All Need to Learn
by Dan Erickson on July 26th, 2023
An episode from the old TV show, Fraiser, has an important lesson for us. Radio psychiatrist Fraiser Crane has had a long, rough day. Finally, when a man steals the seat he was waiting for at the local coffee shop, Fraiser has enough. Grabbing the man by the collar, he runs him out of the shop, shouting, “What you need is an etiquette lesson!”Fraiser later chastises himself for losing his temper a...  Read More
Help for Those Who Need It
by Dan Erickson on June 27th, 2023
When things are not going well for a sports team (football, baseball, basketball, hockey, etc.), a captain or other key player may call a “players-only meeting.” The players on the team get together, with no coaches or other staff members allowed in the room. They express their thoughts and feelings freely, and attempt to figure out how to improve the teams play and performance. The media often tr...  Read More
If God is Good...?
by Dan Erickson on May 31st, 2023
The most common question people say they would like to ask God is this: “Why is there so much suffering in the world?” Whether it is a typhoon that kills thousands or a serious illness in one’s life, it seems only natural to ask, “Why, God? If You are all-powerful and perfectly good, why do You allow these terrible things to occur?” The pain and suffering which pervades our planet causes some to q...  Read More
Are You a Fish Out of Water?
by Dan Erickson on April 28th, 2023
A scientist wanted to develop a fish that could live outside of water. He took some healthy red herring and put them through a long process of breeding, crossbreeding, and hormone treatments. Eventually, genetic engineering produced a fish that could exist on land.The scientist was not satisfied, however. He suspected that though the fish was capable of living on dry land, it still had a desire to...  Read More
Did Jesus Really Exist?
by Dan Erickson on March 31st, 2023
Even as Christians prepare to celebrate Easter, various folks insist the story of Jesus is nothing but a myth and maintain there is really no reason to believe He ever existed. This claim, however, flies in the face of the historical evidence. The four gospels contained in the New Testament provide a clear and compelling account. However, even if one insists on excluding these and all other Christ...  Read More
What Are Your Expectations?
by Dan Erickson on February 28th, 2023
USA Today once printed a list of demands made to prospective employers by people looking for jobs. Here are a few from the files of a professional employment counselor:A three week paid vacation before starting workA paid membership to the city zooElvis' Birthday offMedical benefits for faith healer visitsItalian and Chinese restaurants close to the officeExtra pay for time thinking about work on ...  Read More
Why Is Everyone Praying?
by Dan Erickson on February 3rd, 2023
On Monday evening, January 2, millions of Americans were shocked by what they saw happening on a football field in Cincinnati, Ohio. What appeared to be a routine play  turned into a scene many found unimaginable. Damar Hamlin of the of the Buffalo Bills made a tackle, stood up, and almost immediately collapsed. Medical personnel quickly began conducting CPR on Hamlin.Players, fans, the ESPN broad...  Read More
Don't Leave God Out
by Dan Erickson on December 30th, 2022
When the topic of abortion or a variety of issues comes up, I sometimes hear people say, “Let’s make sure we leave God and religion out of this discussion.” That may seem like a reasonable request, but we need to realize that if God does not exist and religion is irrelevant, there is no solid moral foundation for addressing any social issue. If God and religion would have been kept on the sideline...  Read More
Priorities That Should Not Change
by Dan Erickson on December 2nd, 2022
An elderly man was taking his evening walk when he heard a little voice calling, “Help me! Help me!” The man looked around, but saw no one, so he continued walking. Once again he heard the tiny cry for help, and this time he looked down and saw a small frog. He gently picked it up and then suddenly the frog spoke. “I am a beautiful, young princess,” the frog said. “An evil witch placed a spell on ...  Read More
Welcome as You Have Been Welcomed
by Dan Erickson on October 27th, 2022
David Wiggs tells this story: “I saw him in the church building for the first time on Wednesday. He was in his mid-70's with thinning silver hair and a neat brown suit. Many times in the past I had invited him to come. Several other Christian friends had talked to him about the Lord and had tried to share the good news with him. He was well respected and honest, a man of good character. He acted m...  Read More
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