The Blog: Pastor Parsley's Personal Blog

Modern-Day Idol Worship

4/1/2014 10:00:00 AM — I'm convinced that the reason the Holy Ghost has taken over our worship services at World Harvest Church so often this year is because He knows He can. That's not to say that He can't do whatever He wants, or that He doesn't work different ways in different houses of worship, or that He isn't present in our preparations for worship. But lately it's unusual if our worship service resembles the outline our team prepares beforehand.

We have been focused on transformation this year – which for a non-Christian means salvation, and for the Christian means sanctification, what John Wesley called "moving on toward perfection." Last Sunday, the Holy Ghost transformed us with a reminder that God the Father is a jealous God. He won't tolerate our worship for anything or anyone else, including situations of our own making. Read More

When It's Time to Stop Mourning

3/24/2014 8:00:00 AM — I've experienced some profound losses in my life – certainly you have too. I miss my pastor and mentor, Dr. Lester Sumrall, on a daily basis. And in the past 10 years I have also lost my only sibling, Debbie, and my father, James. There are other losses I could tell you about, but I think I've made my point: to live is to endure loss and therefore to mourn loss.

Everyone mourns and grieves loss in a different way. But the Bible is clear that mourning is to be a temporary condition. We can either mourn or position ourselves for God's blessings. Read More

Love So Amazing, So Divine

3/4/2014 1:00:00 PM — There is a church-retreat song I learned more than a decade ago that I’m reminded of whenever God shows me how much He loves me. It sounds like a lullaby (and it works as one, too), with lyrics that often bring a tear to my eye:

You are loved/You are beautiful/You’re a gift of God, His own creation/You’re a gift to all mankind – His gift of love to us/You are loved/God danced the day you were born.

That song represents an essential view of God’s love – the doting Daddy who just wants to hang with His kids. But there’s another side of God’s love that, owing much to our culture’s degradation of Calvary’s cross, the Church has neglected for too long – a furious, sacrificial love far beyond mankind’s ability to comprehend. It’s a perspective the Church needs to reclaim. Read More

Instructions for Dreamers

2/25/2014 11:00:00 AM — As we’ve been talking about transformation in our individual lives at World Harvest Church, something interesting and amazing is happening – we’re becoming transformed as a body! Our altar calls have been especially fruitful, with dramatic stories of men, women and entire families coming to faith in Christ, either for the first time or as a rededication to a godly lifestyle. I think that’s a great reason to continue to talk about transformation.

Recently I have been exploring the connection between transformation and dreams. I believe God places dreams in our heart that, when fulfilled, serve to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ and make our witness irresistible to those in our circles of influence.

I don’t know what your dream is. But I do know this: the dream that God has placed in your heart is an eternal dream, carrying eternal consequences. And that’s why the adversary of your soul will do anything he can to get you to give up on that dream. And if you don’t know what fulfillment of your dream requires, he’ll succeed.Read More

‘Not Mine to Begin With’

2/11/2014 1:00:00 PM — At one point in my message last Sunday, I asked for someone in the congregation to bring me $100. One of our newest elders, Germaine Brunson, popped up from his seat on the front row and ran directly to me with the money. Later, I called him back up to ask him some questions about what he did, and the answers revealed the method to my madness.

You see, I had given Germaine the money before the service and let him know I’d be asking him for it back at some point. It wasn’t hard for him to give up $100, because it wasn’t his to begin with. My point: since God owns it all, why do we act like we own anything?Read More

How to Be Blessed

2/4/2014 8:00:00 AM — There is a segment of the American churchgoing public that recoils in horror when the subject of money emanates from the pulpit. I used to take that personally – until I realized that those people also would be uncomfortable with Jesus. His recorded words mention money more than any other subject except love. I figure I’m in pretty good company.

What God has shown me lately, however, isn’t the importance of giving for its own sake, but as a means for Him to bless His people the way He wants to. In much the same way His justice required the death of Jesus on the cross to reconcile a sinful people to His standards of righteousness, God wants to bless us. But He can’t do so unless we are “all in” with Him – and our giving is an important way, perhaps the most important way, we demonstrate that we desire covenant with Him.Read More

The Demands of a Life Under Grace

1/27/2014 6:00:00 PM — here are many positive aspects to social media and other forms of electronic communication. But they also have at least one clear downside: the relative anonymity that comes along with an online presence has allowed us to be startlingly and, at times, disgustingly uncivil with others.

To see what I mean you don’t have to go any farther than a topical discussion board or the comments page for any online news or opinion piece on the Web. There you’ll see what are probably pretty ordinary folks acting condescending, boorish and many other kinds of awful toward their fellow man.

[Click here to continue reading this post] Lately I’ve seen these people feverishly objecting to any suggestion that all life is worth defending, that marriage should remain the union of one man and one woman that it obviously is, and that the First Amendment provides absolute protection from government intrusion into the way one practices his or her faith. And they rely on the tired idea that “Jesus never talked about _______________________(fill in the blank).”

What they hope to achieve by this, of course, is to shut you up. Those of us who proclaim that abortion is wrong, that marriage is correctly defined only as the union of one man and one woman and that religious liberties are virtually absolute are just out of luck, you see, because Jesus never talked about abortion or homosexuality or contraception.

You can almost see these folks folding their arms across their chest and looking smug, as though they had played a trump card that has won them the argument. But they haven’t because Jesus did address these situations, by affirming God’s law as expressed in the Old Testament. So the “Jesus never said anything about that” argument only works on people who are wholly unfamiliar with Scripture. You don’t have to be a biblical scholar to see the fatal flaw in their argument.Read More

Faith in the Storm

1/20/2014 9:00:00 PM — I was just starting out in ministry when my home state of Ohio experienced one of the worst blizzards it’s ever had. Today, there are a lot of people who use the word ‘blizzard’ every time it snows more than a couple of inches or when the temperature dips below zero degrees Fahrenheit. And I chuckle, because I remember the actual blizzard.

It snowed. I mean, it really snowed – almost two feet of the stuff. But that wasn’t what made the storm dangerous. The snow was accompanied by bitterly cold temperatures and driving winds that blew the snow into drifts and sent wind-chill factors to threatening levels.

It was like that for two days. And then, it stopped snowing, the temperatures climbed back to normal and it wasn’t nearly as windy. Everyone had to deal with the aftermath of the storm. But the worst was over.Read More

Paul’s Transformative Journey

1/13/2014 12:00:00 PM — In our Sunday-morning services at World Harvest Church, I’ve been referencing Paul’s journey to Rome, which Luke records in the 27th and 28th chapters of Acts. Paul joined that voyage as a prisoner. After three trials in Caesarea on charges of defiling the temple of Jerusalem (each trial found Paul unworthy of death, but his release would have caused a riot), Paul asserted his right as a Roman citizen for a trial in Rome.

The voyage had reached a port called Fair Havens off the coast of Crete near the end of the sailing season. It was nearly time to put the ship in a port and spend the winter somewhere, but there was economic pressure to keep sailing rather than pay the crew for four months of idleness (and to leave the cargo unsold for that amount of time). So the captain, in a stunning lack of leadership, put the safety of his crew up to a vote. He ultimately sent the ship out again – for a nicer port, named Phoenix, about 40 miles down the coast. Apparently nobody wanted to spend the winter in Fair Havens.Read More

What We Owe Mary and Joseph

12/23/2013 6:00:00 PM — Were Ashton Parsley not my first-born child and only daughter, I’d still have great admiration for her. At an age when many of her contemporaries are still trying, but not too hard, to figure out what they want to do with their lives, Ashton has assumed major responsibilities at our ministry. And she has done very well, earning the respect of the students she shepherds at Valor Christian College as well as the senior members of our staff, who have come to see her as a peer. Yes, I’m biased. But she’s amazing!

And yet, not all that long ago, she was in her mid-teens, and I shuddered at the thought of letting her borrow the car. I believed she had incredible potential to be whatever she wanted to be in the future. It was the present, and her safety, I was concerned about.

Yet God placed His Son in the womb of a peasant girl who was the age of my daughter not so long ago, and assigned her and a boy not much older than that the task of raising Him to adulthood. I tell people all the time to have faith in God – but this was an example of God having faith in man, and two teenagers who proved themselves worthy of that faith.Read More