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Bryan Parish Teaches at CCA Hawaii Conference

Story by Jim Culhane
Photos by Tom Price

Follow Calvary Chapel Magazine as we publish summaries of pastors’ teachings at the CCA Pastors, Leaders, & Church Workers Conference held in August 2021 at Calvary Chapel Honolulu, HI. Click here to learn more about the conference.

In this installment, Bryan Parish, lead pastor of Mission Calvary in Mission Viejo, CA, teaches from Numbers Chapter 20. He urged pastors to be ministers of the grace of Jesus Christ, and not to misrepresent God’s heart for people in the way we reach and treat them.

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A man joyfully rises from the waters of baptism at the CCA Pastors, Leaders, & Church Workers Conference in August 2021. Calvary Chapel Honolulu, HI, Assistant Pastor Kerry Taylor (right) rejoices with him.

“I want to say something to help those in ministry, those who struggle through difficulties and challenges in ministry. I think that’s the path the Lord gave me,” disclosed Pastor Bryan Parish of Mission Calvary, Mission Viejo, CA (formerly of Calvary Chapel La Mirada, CA). “[I pray] for God to strengthen you in the midst of the battle, especially in this season we’re in.”

Years ago, Pastor Chuck Smith gave an illustration of being either servants of Moses or servants of Jesus Christ. The law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Chuck gave an example of an accident scene: The police are putting up yellow tape, trying to find out what went wrong, who’s guilty, who to hold accountable. Another group of people arrive, the ambulance workers. They don’t care who’s at fault; they just want to help people, to mend and restore people to health.


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Bryan elaborated, “As you teach the Bible, you’re going to be either a minister of Moses or a minister of Jesus Christ. Bringing the law and the heaviness, or the grace of God. That’s the name of my message: ‘Preaching Grace in Trying Times’. Sometimes during ministry, something in your heart becomes less gracious to people. Moses is an example of this, when he misrepresented the Lord and struck the rock in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 20.”

Moses sinned by striking the rock because God had told him to simply speak to the rock so that it would flow with water. Moses messed up pretty badly—God said that Moses would now not be able to bring Israel into the Promised Land.

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Bryan Parish, lead pastor of Mission Calvary in Mission Viejo, CA, teaches from Numbers Chapter 20. He urged pastors to be ministers of the grace of Jesus Christ, and not to misrepresent God’s heart for people in the way we reach and treat them. The conference was held at CC Honolulu.

What led to Moses’ fault? Let’s try to avoid that in our services to people. Israel had come to the border of the Promised Land and 12 men had been sent in to spy out the land. The report came back with 10 of the spies saying that they couldn’t conquer the giants in the land. The people believed the bad news and ended up wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. Moses sinned at the end of the 40 years, so that’s a warning in itself—we are never truly safe until we finish the course that God has given to us.

In Numbers 20:12, God told Aaron and Moses, “You did not believe Me,” as if to say, “You didn’t sanctify Me in the eyes of the people,” Bryan related. Moses’ anger got the best of him. As we deal with God’s people, we must not misrepresent God’s heart for them in the way we teach and treat them. Psalm 106:32-33 says the people angered Moses so that he spoke rashly. Moses may have felt frustration in his heart after those years of listening to the people rebel. Bryan warned, “Never get behind a pulpit if you’re frustrated. There’s a difference in feeling, I’ve got to get this Word out and being angry and frustrated.” Don’t strike the rock to get people back to church or motivated.

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The worship team leads attendees in vibrant worship of God.

During this time of COVID-19, church has been weird, sensed Bryan. “If you don’t speak to the rock, God’s Word, you’re going to put too much pressure on yourself. God’s going to supply that water out of that rock graciously. We can make people feel bad, but that will only change their actions for a while. When the Holy Spirit comes, the Water of Life touches them, and they’re changed forever.”

In 1 Corinthians 10:4b, Paul commented on this time in the wilderness: They drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.

God said in the Old Testament that Israel rebelled against Him 10 times. Once was when the people got tired of eating manna, the miraculous food that fell from the sky, and complained. Another time was after Moses was given the Ten Commandments by God. The people had rebelled while Moses was on the mountain, and when he saw their rebellion, he broke the tablets in anger. Moses asked God to kill him and asked to not see his own wretchedness, which Bryan considered to be our temptation to please people.

“It’s important to understand, in humility, your own weaknesses. Some weaknesses never go away, and we have to rely on the grace of God. Ministry doesn’t drive those weaknesses away—it actually exposes them,” noted Bryan.

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Backed by the CC Honolulu worship team, a woman offers praise to God through beautiful and traditional Hawaiian worship.

Bryan listed three temptations that could apply to us today. First, that when people say they are tired of the verse-by-verse teaching that Calvary Chapels teach, the temptation is to think that you need to change what you’re doing. The second temptation is to pull our heart back from ministry when problems come up and we get challenged. The third temptation is to lack care and concern in conflict with people. Bryan wants to have a joyous, compassionate, merciful heart.

Attacks come upon pastors and their families. The Israelites attacked Moses personally. Sometimes it’s through the spouse. “I can’t protect my wife from what people say about her, and it’s going to happen. The Lord has to be her defense,” Bryan counseled. Attacks can come through pastor’s kids, who are expected to be almost born without sin, related Bryan.

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Pastors answer questions during the Q & A session.

His church’s first response to the past year of COVID-19 was the expectation that “there’s going to be dead bodies all over the streets, so we’d better be careful.” But that didn’t happen. After a few weeks, they went to online services because they had no building. The Scripture says to gather together. Bryan stated, “I need to gather.” But when the government starts coming in and saying, “You can’t do that,” we have to stop and say, “No, you don’t have that right to tell us we can’t meet.” Bryan said that for him, it is more dangerous to not be fed spiritually, to not be interacting and fellowshipping. “We’ve got to love those people that are going to take those steps of faith in the midst of opposition. I do believe they will be few and far between. People will focus on the giants. Get them back on the Holy Spirit, the power of God. How do we do that? Gently, patiently, kindly as a minister of Jesus and not acting in frustration.”

Bryan admonished, “Let’s not just hover in our churches. We need to be going into the land, taking steps of faith, seeing what the Lord would do in this time of trouble, of difficulty, where there is opposition. It’s not just a matter of regathering and being happy with that; we should be taking ground in any season as God’s kingdom, moving forward and touching people’s lives. I pray you motivate your people with His Word and by the power of your spirit out of a gracious, patient, kind heart.”

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Praise and worship was an essential part of the conference.


Visit the website of Pastor Bryan Parish's church at Mission Calvary in Mission Viejo, CA

Watch Bryan Parish's teaching in its entirety at: Bryan Parish / CCA Hawaii Conference

Follow summaries of pastors' teachings at CCA Hawaii Conference:
Ron Hindt, senior pastor of Calvary Houston, TX
Bud Stonebraker, senior pastor of South Shore Christian Fellowship, Waimanalo, HI
Jeff Johnson, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Downey, CA
Jack Abeelen, senior pastor of Morningstar Christian Chapel, Whittier, CA
Tony Clark, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Newport News, VA
Lloyd Pulley, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Old Bridge, NJ

Stay tuned for more teaching summaries in upcoming days.

Mark your calendar for the 2022 CCA Hawaii Conference: August 19-21 at Calvary Chapel Honolulu


(To learn more about Calvary Chapel University, visit their website or read our past coverage on the school)

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All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2022 Calvary Chapel Magazine (CCM). All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.