The Blog: Pastor Parsley's Personal Blog

Should Churches Be ‘Safe Spaces?’

3/27/2015 10:00:00 AM — Few articles I’ve read recently have been as revealing of the current state of our higher education culture than this one in The New York Times March 21.

The author, Judith Shulevitz, deserves credit for exploring a dynamic that even the nation’s unofficial journal of political correctness finds disturbing. Normally I read the Times strictly for comic relief or opposition research, but I’m glad they published this illuminating piece.

Shulevitz describes in great detail how many of today’s college students become easily traumatized by points of view that contradict their own. Increasingly, though, many students are making unusual demands on their institutions. They are calling upon their colleges to go to indulgent extremes to protect them from those points of view. That got me thinking about whether the Church does something similar – and, if it does, whether it should. Read More

The Urgent Need: A Sense of Urgency

7/15/2014 5:00:00 PM — At our recent Dominion Camp Meeting our senior elder, Bill Canfield, had a compelling conversation with a former Valor Christian College student and staff member who is now ministering in New Jersey. He and his wife are the parents of young children, and they wanted to go somewhere for spring break. They settled on our nation’s capital, and what this spiritual son of mine learned there and shared with Elder Canfield has stuck with me ever since.Read More

Supernatural Math

6/25/2014 1:00:00 PM — The Bible is the only place I know of where one plus one does not equal two! The promise of Jesus in Matthew 18, that He is present in the midst of two or three believers, actually is spoken in the context of an important process called church discipline that many congregations, unfortunately, don't even pretend to practice anymore. But is it far-fetched to believe that He enters small groups of believers in other situations as well? I don't think so.Read More

The Prayer You Know By Heart

6/17/2014 4:00:00 PM — If you have memorized any single passage of Scripture, it's likely either the 23rd Psalm or The Lord's Prayer. But an intimate knowledge of what the text is can work against us when we try to understand what it means.

Last Sunday morning at World Harvest Church we joined hands and repeated The Lord's Prayer together – something that's not common for us, as it is in many churches – and I asked the members of our congregations to pray it often this week. When it is prayed reflectively, it can be a powerful guide for how to pray and how to live the Christian life. When we pray it on autopilot, though, it's little more than 65 words that allow us to check “pray” off our to-do list. So what should we understand about this popular passage?Read More

Who Will You Believe?

6/10/2014 1:00:00 PM — Your parents may have made a mistake. But God did not! You were born on purpose, and with a purpose.

I don’t know what your purpose is, or how you will discover it. But I do know two things: 1) your purpose is designed to glorify God; and 2) your adversary the devil is determined to keep you from discovering, and ultimately fulfilling, your purpose.

Unless you’ve led an incredibly sheltered life, you know that the adversary will prevent you from fulfilling your purpose if he possibly can. And that’s a good sign, because if he’s bothering you it means that God has something important for you to do. Which means that the most important decision of your life is, who are you going to believe concerning your purpose – the God who created you, or the enemy of your soul?Read More

The Disciplined Life

6/4/2014 2:00:00 PM — As we approach Pentecost, the anniversary of the Holy Spirit’s coming-out party, it’s worth remembering that it coincides with one of the Jews’ three annual feasts. God established these feasts and commanded offerings for each one for a purpose. Because Pentecost comes roughly at the halfway point of the calendar year, it’s worth asking: are you still putting God first in your life? Or have the disciplines you sought to establish in January fallen by the wayside, where you wish you could forget about them?Read More

Starting Strong, to Finish Strong

5/20/2014 12:00:00 PM — We may not expect our small decisions to have a great impact. But they inevitably lead to significant results – which makes our “small” decisions pretty important.

The apostle James must have known this because he warned us: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7, ESV). We often focus on the last admonition in that verse, and rightly so. But we should also take seriously the instruction to submit to God, because that ultimately prepares us to resist the devil.

Submission isn't a popular topic in our be-all-you-can-be, make-a-name-for-yourself culture. But it's essential to staying on track in the Christian life. And failing to stay on track can have tragic consequences, both for you and your loved ones.Read More

No Shadow of Turning

5/13/2014 1:00:00 PM — One of the most indelible moments of my ministry came in 1999, when I was permitted to record editions of my television program, "Breakthrough," from the site of the mass murder at Columbine High School in Colorado.

Social scientists made a cottage industry of analyzing and proclaiming what happened at Columbine, variously laying the blame on the availability of guns, bullying and even the violence depicted in video games of the era. They all got it wrong. The Columbine massacre had at its roots a worldview called nihilism, which denies all existence and rejects any and all standards of moral or religious behavior.

Nihilism is the worldview of "whatever" taken to a horrifying extreme. It rejects the notion of hope – a condition that the Church of Jesus Christ should be expert in sharing, but often fails miserably to communicate. Read More

Receiving What You Expect

5/6/2014 12:00:00 PM — When you pray, I know without a doubt that you are expecting something.

You either expect that God will answer your prayer, or that He won't answer your prayer. But you expect an answer; otherwise, why pray? I've found over 30 years of public ministry that those who expect answers get them and those who don't expect answers get what they ask for as well.

In the last week of His life Jesus taught His disciples, and us, an important lesson about praying with faith. It really makes all the difference. Read More

The Challenge of Post-Easter Living

4/22/2014 11:00:00 AM — The theme of our local congregations’ Easter celebrations this year was “Welcome Home.” The idea was to invite people to a place that will accept you, no matter how badly you’ve messed up, because that’s (ideally) what family members do for each other.

For my Easter sermon I had my staff find a picture of Judy Garland as Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” to help show that at some point, we all want to go home – to a place of safety and acceptance. Even in the midst of the adventure of her life, Dorothy wanted nothing more than to go home. The irony, of course, is that before Dorothy left home she wasn’t all that excited about being there. She has a lot in common with the prodigal son that Jesus talked about in Luke 15, but that’s another train of thought for another day.

The Church can, and should, be home for any Christian. Some congregations may provide a better fit than others, but if we’re all children of the King, we should be able to see the family resemblance every time we enter a house of worship. Read More