The Blog: Pastor Parsley's Personal Blog

How to Act When You’re Not the Boss

1/23/2015 1:00:00 PM — We’re sometimes guilty of thinking of the prophet Daniel as a wise man in his 80s whose faith enabled him to spend a night in the lion’s den without so much as a scratch on him. But remember, he was kidnapped as a teenager and brought from Jerusalem to Babylon to serve King Nebuchadnezzar. And the biblical record shows that Daniel was every bit as faithful to God as a teenager as he was when he became a seasoned citizen.

Two stories from Daniel’s early life not only model that faithfulness, but also show how to demonstrate leadership skills when you’re not currently in a position of leadership. That’s important because, as my former Bible college instructor John Maxwell notes, there simply isn’t enough room at the top for everyone. But when opportunities for promotion arise, they’re far more likely to go to someone who acts like a leader than to someone who’s merely biding his or her time in a job. Read More

Leading With Passion

1/16/2015 12:00:00 PM — One of the most gratifying projects I’ve begun in the new year is a collaboration with Valor Christian College. It’s called Influential Leadership 120, and it’s a sequel of sorts to a lecture series I presented to our local congregation and our ministerial alliance last fall. I am speaking for eight Sunday nights on various leadership topics, and those lectures are being incorporated in an online Valor class this semester, as well as in a class presented on our campus.

The response I’ve received from both series has been gratifying, and I’m enjoying the presentations – and the entire process –immensely. This week I came across a news story featuring someone who, I’d like to think, could have benefitted from one or both of these lecture series – or any basic training in leadership. Read More

The Command to Rest

1/9/2015 2:00:00 PM — If you have heard some of my initial messages of 2015, you’re familiar with the phrase “From Release to Rest.” It’s a phrase that God deposited in my spirit late last year. It’s a shorthand of sorts for the notion that God provided an open door for us in 2014, and that the results of that action will manifest this year.

“Rest” in this context doesn’t necessarily mean that the Body of Christ is supposed to take it easy in 2014 – far from it. Instead, it means that we are to be free from worry, free from anxiety and confident that God has provided all that we need.

But I’ve become more and more aware that on God’s calendar, this is a shmittah year coming before a year of jubilee. At our recent New Year’s Eve service I declared, “He (God) has never been more serious about Sabbath than in 2015.” The question I have for you is, are you serious about Sabbath? Or don’t you prioritize obeying God? Read More

Staying in the House

11/6/2014 10:00:00 AM — There are many powerful lessons to be learned in what is perhaps the best-known parable of Jesus, the story of the prodigal son. At its core, of course, it shows the heart of God toward sinners who ask for redemption, in stark contrast to the way the religious people of Jesus’s day saw them.

But I am starting to see in this parable something I’ve never seen before: a cautionary tale for those in the Church who would leave its covering.Read More

What Happens When the Church is Silent

10/22/2014 11:00:00 AM — Like many of you, I’ve been amazed and appalled by the recent actions of Houston Mayor Annise Parker. Not content to use her powers to advocate for an ordinance giving special privileges to homosexuals and transgendered persons, she has taken unprecedented steps to punish people of faith, whose only crime has been disagreeing with her.

Mayor Parker is charged with serving the citizens of her city. Instead, she and her staff have blatantly violated the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression, in an unconstitutional assertion of authority. It’s difficult to imagine a judge with any credibility doing anything but shutting down these shenanigans, but the mayor has already made her mindset clear: she sees orthodox Christian doctrine as a threat to her administration, and she’ll trample the Constitution to stifle that threat.

The great shame of this story is that the Church could have stopped this from happening a long time ago, and did nothing.Read More

Leaders are Like Clay Pots

10/2/2014 3:00:00 PM — You might have a fitting metaphor for Christian leadership sitting on your back porch.

I’ve greatly enjoyed the time I’ve spent the past several Sunday nights sharing leadership insights with our ministry leaders at World Harvest Church. One of the best insights I’ve come across recently comes in John MacArthur’s seminal book on the subject, The Book on Leadership. It’s a study of the leadership characteristics of the apostle Paul, and one of MacArthur’s greatest gleanings from Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth is this: a leader is resilient. Like a clay pot. Read More

Filling God’s Vacuum

9/24/2014 3:00:00 PM — Today is Rosh Hashanah, one of the most important days of the year for men and women of the Jewish faith. It historically hasn't been very important to Christians, though it should be. It ushers in the holiest season of the year on God's calendar.

In 10 days – known as the 10 Days of Awe – Joni and I will lead a special Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur to the Jews) service on our campus. It will be streamed live on our website (7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4), and I hope you will choose to join us in person or online. Read More

God Makes All Types

9/4/2014 3:00:00 PM — Recently I began teaching principles of leadership on Sunday evenings at World Harvest Church, and I've enjoyed it immensely. Last week we spent the hour talking about personality types, and I could practically see the light bulbs turning on above people's heads as I shared principles from an important text on the subject, Wired That Way by Marita Littauer.

“So that's why I am the way I am!,” some people seemed to be saying. “So that's why my spouse is the way he/she is!,” was the implied response of others. It's clear this is a neglected subject in the context of ministry.

I'm convinced that if leaders in the Church understood that we fall within a range of personality types and that one size does not fit all when it comes to opportunities for ministry, it would revolutionize the way we did things. Read More

Mind Games

8/20/2014 2:00:00 PM — At World Harvest Church this year's we have been talking extensively about transformation. When it comes to developing as Christians, there's no neutral in the gearbox. We are either becoming something better than we were before, or we are moving further away from our divine purpose. There's a direct correlation between growing closer to God and getting better, just as there's a direct correlation between getting worse and drifting away from Him.

Two things I believe about being a pastor are that: 1) there's a better person in everyone God brings me to care for; and 2) if I can help those persons find a better self by challenging them, that's exactly what I should do! Read More

Praise in the Crosshairs

8/6/2014 2:00:00 PM — Perhaps you've felt like your adversaries invited you over for target practice – because they needed a target! The more I hang around God's people, the more I hear about the indignities they receive from neighbors, co-workers and family members specifically because of their relationship with God. It can be disheartening, to say the least. But it's also an occasion for praise.

The thing I am coming to see about the Christian life is that every believer feels like that from time to time, and should feel like that. The Gospel is foolishness to those who do not yet believe, and frequently those who carry the Gospel will be targets of unbelievers' foolishness. Read More