Mission and Vision

Simple Church Success exists to equip, inspire, and support those who want to know Jesus better and are hungry for simple participatory gatherings of two or more people.

We partner with Luke 10 International Ministries toward being a engaged network of visionaries, trail-blazers, church-planters, supporters, and inquirers who are learning to BE the church in simple Holy Spirit led, Christ-centered, Biblical ways.

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Interrupting? Jesus didn’t…verbally.

interrupting“We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a special bulletin!”

“Stop interrupting me! You always do that! Let me finish my thought!”

“Well, get to the point! We don’t have all day! I know what you’re going to say anyway.”

“I don’t mean to interrupt, but…”

Sound familiar?

Interruptions! They happen all the time. Some are helpful and some are not.

Interrupting seems common in close relationships. Sometimes it’s even endearing that we can finish each other’s sentences—while the other person is trying to finish it too.

A mother and her adult daughter asked for a pastoral meeting with me regarding some financial and health challenges they were having. At some point I asked the daughter to share her thoughts.  She was cheerful and articulate, but if she slowed down during her responses her equally cheerful, yet anxious, mother would interrupt and answer for her.

This happened repeatedly. The daughter wouldn’t stop her mother nor was she irritated with her mother for taking over.  Also, the daughter never interrupted the mother.

They declared themselves best friends.  But I left wondering if their closeness and tolerance of the interruptions was contributing to their life challenges.

Why did the mother feel the need to interrupt? And, why do we interrupt?

Some possibilities are: anxiety, arrogance, helpfulness, time, training, culture, and necessity.

Anxiety says, “If I don’t interrupt, this conversation may wander, ramble, or get boring and we’ll never get out of here.”

Arrogance says, “I know what you are trying to say. Plus, I can say it faster and better.”

Helpfulness says, “I can save you from the pain and struggle of finishing your own thoughts so I’ll speak over you and for you.”

Time shouts, “If we don’t interrupt we’ll be here all day. We got a lot to do! Let’s get them to the point.”

Training teaches, “It’s my job as a parent, teacher, or leader to direct this conversation and bring it under control.”

Culture claims, “We’ve always interrupted. That’s just how our family, friends, people are. We know what we’re saying and we are doing just fine. Stop interrupting our familiar, time-honored ways.”

Necessity asserts, “Interrupting saves lives. When someone is being hostile or harsh sometimes it is important to stop them by interrupting. Interrupt by saying their name (Frank! Frank! Frank!…) or title (Sir! Sir! Sir!) over and over until they say “What!?” That will give you a few seconds to make your next life-saving move.”

Finally, Jesus wasn’t a verbal interrupter. I can’t think of a time when he did so. On the other hand he is very effective at interrupting our lives to call us to a better healthier ways.

C.S. Lewis writes, “The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life — the life God is sending one day by day.” ― The Collected Works of C.S. Lewis.

We interrupt lives full of interruptions to bring you, Jesus! “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17)

“Giv’m heaven!”—John Parker

P.S. I found this online, “Oh, I’m sorry. Did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of yours!”  LOL!


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Are you groaning today? That’s a great sign! Happy Labor Day!

groaning chicks in nestWe Groan because We’ve Grown!

“We groan!” Paul says we do. It is living proof of our growing new life!

Since we are no longer living in illusions and delusions, we are groaning over where we are and longing for a better state. We groan because of what is growing inside of us—new life, adoption as sons and daughters, and eager longing for the setting free of our bodies. (see the Three Groanings of Romans 8:19-26ff)

So we do groan but we groan in hope, knowing that the suffering of now is nothing compared to the glory that shall follow. “In this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling” (2 Corinthians 5:2-5).

So, this unhappiness, this misery, this travail, this discomfort, these labor pains are normal! We are not failures because of them. We part of something much bigger that is coming soon, and the “Holy Something” growing in us can hardly wait!

Meanwhile, Paul declares that we are on assignment and the our “groaning” lives are important down here on earth.  He writes,

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.

“Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

“Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.” (Philippians 1:20–26)

So our assignment down here is not for our comfort, or self-esteem, or sense of success—that is so old school—it is to be useful to and through The Holy Heavenly Family, The Holy Church of Three (The Holy CO3), by living with them now and listening and watching for our ministry to others which they preveniently arrange in advance. (Ephesians 2:10)

I teach this to older adults in “rest homes” who feel forsaken and useless. I talk with them about their assignment and that their usefulness is not always or easily understood or measurable (it never is of course!)

In Jesus Name, I break off the evil spirit of death off of them and call upon them the Holy Spirit’s life that powerfully says, “I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.” (Psalm 118:17) And it works! They get their hope back…at least for a while…then we do it again!

Let’s deny the lying spirits the pleasure of darkening our day!

Let’s go wild and proclaim—“Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses (false spirits—not flesh and blood, ours or others. Eph. 6:10-12) rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations. I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:12–14, TNIV)

Let’s proclaim: “Today is the day! Now is the time! We will not die, but live!”

A useful bonus:

“Mary has chosen the more useful* thing”

“My God will supply all of your usefulness*.”

“My yoke is useful*…”

*Useful =  Stroings5532. χρεία chreía

 Just hit Reply and Share your thoughts with me. Thanks, John Parker

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Love ListThe “Love List” is often read at weddings (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). It provides a hopeful tone. But it’s often been painful for me since I don’t do the list very well. Never have.

Some people may also read the Ten Commandments for fun and pleasure! But not me. Again, too close for comfort.

Even Moses, who went up and got the Ten Commandments had anger management issues to the end of his life and wasn’t allowed to enter The Promised Land. Laws and “Lists” are best for showing us what we should do but not much help for getting it done! That takes something else.

Thankfully, Jesus brought it. By obeying his father he fulfilled the Law thus merged the Law and Love lists into one grand reality. An expert in religious law asks Jesus, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replies,  “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36–40)

Later Jesus boils it down even more saying, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)

So the Lord and I read through the Corinthian “Love List” slowly the other day. I was resistant but desperate.

He helped me quiet down enough to see four main ideas: 1. What love is. 2. What love isn’t. 3. What love always does. And, 4. What love never does.

So, I wrote out 1 Corinthians 13:4–8 this way:

  1. Love is patient and kind.
  2. Love is not envious, boastful, proud, dishonoring of others, self-seeking, easily angered, recording wrongs, or delighting in evil (but rejoicing with the truth).
  3. Love always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres.
  4. Love never fails.

For living out this list we rest in God’s love not our own. It’s a relief that love doesn’t start with us. We don’t have to work it up.  And,  the love list now flows out of our relationship with Jesus who fulfilled the Law and Love lists for us.

Love is God’s gift.  It begins out of God’s very nature, pours into us, and flows out through us—if we’ll only we’ll slow down and let it.

Here are some love verses to help:

“God is love.” (1 John 4:8)

“We love because God first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still doing our own thing, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8,my paraphrase)

“God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance…love will last forever!” — The Love List,  New Living Translation

Giv’m heaven! – John Parker

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What Calvin and Luther didn’t know! Neither did Calvin and Hobbes!

calvin-hobbesCalvin and Hobbs, the cartoon boy and tiger, knew a lot, but not about this!

Calvin and Luther, leaders of the Protestant Reformation, didn’t about know this either.

This is what they didn’t know!  John White’s teaching on the early church! It will take you about 20 minutes to read and watch but it’s well worth it. (click here)

The world is changing fast.  The church is changing fast too. It’s going back to the basics.

John’s teaching will help you grasp the forgotten  basics that Jesus understood and practiced!

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Am I needy? I need to know!

“I’m not talking because of any need for I’ve learned to be content in whatever situation I’m in.” – Philippians 4:11

“I’m not talking because of any need…”  Imagine a person talking with you, not because they want or need something from you, but, because they want to impart a gift to you. How refreshing! No angle, pitch, con, hype or whining—just gracious generosity.

“Needy!” That’s what we sometimes call it, as in, “They are so needy!”

I searched “needy” on the internet and found this lively conversation on Yahoo Answers which I have adapted. P1 below is Person One who asks the initial question. Person Two is P2, and so on.

P1: What is being needy? I need to know.

P2: Well, the statement after your question sounds needy, for example.

P1: I wasn’t told I was needy I just was curious because I don’t want to get, or seem, that way. Thanks.

P3:  My definition: A needy person is be very dependent on others and needs them to help them with about almost everything.

P4: Being needy means always wanting to be with someone, know what they are up to, and do everything with them. And when they are not with that person they want to be on the phone with them, or talk online. They always want to be with the other person.

P5: If you have to ask people things over and over to get their take on something, you are needy.

P6: Needy means that you constantly rely on someone else rather than on yourself for your happiness and other needs. Most of us can enjoy some time alone and can handle daily life and basic problems on our own. Those of us who need constant reassurance and intervention from others to get through normal daily activities are considered to be needy, and this characteristic can be very irritating.

The above (P1-P6) interchange is about romance. But could also apply to neediness about money, work, health, and retirement, as well as about religious, family, social and educational cravings for approval.

In the second half of the verse, Paul explains why he no longer has to be needy. He confidently claims, “I’ve learned to be content in whatever situation I’m in.”

The original Greek word used by Paul for “content” is “autarkes” a compound of “auto” meaning, self, and “arkeo”: meaning, sufficient.  Paul had learned to be self-contained in the Lord.

I saw a gorgeous Mercedes-Benz Airstream van yesterday. It was self-contained and self-sufficient for living on the road. It reminds me of how Paul lived his life in Jesus – self-contained and self-sufficient without being selfish but, instead, for serving others.

Paul believes he has everything he needs as he continues writing, “I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter what the situation, I’ve learned the secret of how to live when I’m full or when I’m hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.”

Then he gives us the same promise to believe, writing. “My God will richly fill your every need in a glorious way through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

Giv’m heaven! – John Parker

First Published: The Chowchilla News Pastor’s Commentary by John Parker for August 18, 2015

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Good News! Suffering Can Lead to Happiness!


by John Parker, first published as The Pastor’s Commentary in the Chowchilla News August 4, 2015

The headline about him reads: “This Man Faced Unimaginable Suffering, And Then Wrote The Definitive Book About Happiness.” (Huffington Post, February 4, 2014)

The man, Viktor Frankl, M.D., Ph.D., (1905-1997) was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist. Suffering provided his greatest credential for he survived three torturous, grueling years in Auschwitz, the most infamous of the Nazi death camps of World War II.

His “definitive book,” Man’s Search for Meaning, published in 1959, is about the power of meaning for overcoming life’s pressures, setbacks, and sufferings.

In the book he relates this story. “Once, an elderly general practitioner (family doctor) consulted me because of his severe depression. He could not overcome the loss of his wife who had died two years before and whom he had loved above all else.

“Now, how could I help him? What should I tell him? Well, I refrained from telling him anything but instead confronted him with the question, “What would have happened, Doctor, if you had died first, and your wife would have had to survive you?”

“Oh,” he said, “for her this would have been terrible; how she would have suffered!”

“Whereupon I replied, “You see, Doctor, such a suffering has been spared her, and it was you who have spared her this suffering-to be sure, at the price that now you have to survive and mourn her.”

“He said no word but shook my hand and calmly left my office. In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.” (Man’s Search for Meaning, Kindle, p.113)

Frankl quotes philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

This supports Frankl’s observation, “In the Nazi concentration camps, one could have witnessed that those who knew that there was a task waiting for them to fulfill were most apt to survive.”

Frankl continues, “Man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life. That is why man is even ready to suffer, on the condition, to be sure, that his suffering has a meaning.

“But let me make it perfectly clear that in no way is suffering necessary to find meaning. I only insist that meaning is possible even in spite of suffering-provided, certainly, that the suffering is unavoidable.

“If it were avoidable, however, the meaningful thing to do would be to remove its cause, be it psychological, biological or political. To suffer unnecessarily is masochistic rather than heroic.” (Meaning p. 114)

It’s great to have a genuine sufferer, like Dr. Frankl, to advise us to turn unavoidable suffering into significant meaning.  The following Bible verses also help us translate painful suffering into important meaning.

“God…comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” (2 Corinthians 1:3–5)

“When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy…when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” (James 1:2–3)

“If we suffer, we shall also reign.” (2 Timothy 2:12)

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“Crazy” Søren Kierkegaard and Christian Existentialism

170px-KierkegaardSøren Kierkegaard: a Crazy, Wild Christian!

Just like you!

Since you, too, are interested in:

1. Listening directly to God, and

2. Connecting directly with people, in what you call —

simple church, house church, organic church, micro-church,  small group church. or just DONE-going-to-church-but-don’t-know-why, or…

some other radical, “Hey, we’re-not-sitting-in-rows-anymore!!” church.

(Shakespearian aside whispering — “Watch: The Dones!”)

Maybe Crazy Kierkegaard will inspire you like he does me.

Just check out Wikipedia 0n: “Christian Existentialism” and see who’s  behind such crazy “simple church” notions, clear  back in the 1700′s.

Or for safety’s sake read here my cleaned up (for religious Christians with lots of pre-conceived (that means a couple more preconceptions than I have) religious stuff) version:

“Christian existentialism relies on Kierkegaard’s understanding of Christianity. Kierkegaard argued that the universe is fundamentally paradoxical, and that its greatest paradox is the transcendent union of God and humans in the person of Jesus Christ.

“He also posited that having a personal relationship with God that supersedes all prescribed moralities, social structures and communal norms.[2] He asserted that following social conventions is essentially a personal aesthetic choice made by individuals.

“Kierkegaard proposed that each person must make independent choices, which then constitute his existence. Each person suffers from the anguish of indecision (whether knowingly or unknowingly) until he commits to a particular choice about the way to live.

“Kierkegaard also proposed three rubrics with which to understand the conditions that issue from distinct life choices: the aesthetic, the ethical, and the religious.”

Major premises of Christian Existentialism

“One of the major premises of Christian existentialism entails calling the masses back to a more genuine form of Christianity. This form is often identified with some notion of Early Christianity, which mostly existed during the first three centuries after Christ’s crucifixion.

“Beginning with the Edict of Milan, which was issued by Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 313, Christianity enjoyed a level of popularity among Romans and later among other Europeans.

“And yet Kierkegaard asserted that by the 19th century, the ultimate meaning of New Testament Christianity (love, cf. agape, mercy and loving-kindness) had become perverted, and Christianity had deviated considerably from its original threefold message of grace, humility, and love.”

Is this Resonating with You?

Please Get Crazy, like Søren, and Get Violent like a true follower of Jesus and Write Me!

I need to know you are interested.  Click Here and Write Me
your diatribe, polemic, or vote “Yes” or “No”!  This is way bigger than “Yes” or “No” on “Do you like,  Hillary or Donald?”  Come on! God is way past that.

“He’s got plans of his own to set up his throne when he returns!” — Bob Dylan

Tell me what you are thinking! Complacency is the killer! Hop in and Write Back!

E-mail Me!

Arrested for WUI! - John!   (W = writing! But you knew that! LOL!)



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Feeling Unstable? – Use it for Success!

Walking uses both Stability and Instablity.

The Stability of having just one of your feet planted.


The Instability of launching your other foot out and falling until you land.

Use both and you get somewhere even if you trip, stumble or fall. You’re going places!

Beware of “Stable Person” who has both feet firm planted.

Yes…Be Standing:  “…having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore…”   (Ephesians 6:13–14)

Yes…Be Spiriting:  “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)

Yes…Be walking:  “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 4)


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Sorry for putting this off! Urgent!

RE: LK10 Church 101 Sessions Starts This Wednesday!


Hi Simple Church fans!


Please join me for the next Luke 10  Church101 event on  Google Hangout.

Read about it here: C101

We always have a wonderful time together with the Lord during these Hangouts!


Can you join us Wednesdays 7:30-9:00 PM – July 29, (skip a week) then August 12, 19, and 26?  Let us know what works. We are flexible on the schedule.


Not on Google Plus?  No problem. I will help you connect. Just email me.


Here is the link for the first week of C101 -  Lesson 1


Write coachingparker@comcast.net or text or call 209.564.7201 immediately if you want to join us. 

You’ll be glad you did!  I guarantee it!  J


Thank you!



John Parker




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Is God Good? All the time? And then some!

When Bad Things Happen to Good People, is a 1978 book by Harold Kushner. It sought to address the riddle of why, if the universe was created and is governed by a God who is of a good and loving nature, there is nonetheless so much suffering and pain in it. (Wikipedia)

God’s goodness is what the serpent got Eve to question in the Garden, by implying, if God is good why can’t you eat of the Tree of Knowledge? She bit because she agreed that God was not good, in that, he was holding out on her.

The Bible patriarch, Joseph (see Genesis 37-50) had numerous reasons to question God’s goodness.  First, his older brothers sold him into slavery after God had given him two dreams that he would be their leader. Next, he was falsely accused, convicted and imprisoned for the rape of his master’s wife.  Finally, even after enjoying Joseph’s prophesy of freedom, Pharaoh’s cupbearer’s abandoned Joseph, leaving him in prison.

Nevertheless, when Joseph indeed becomes a ruler with the power to punish his brothers, he refuses, explaining, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:19–21)

Joseph is clear. He lives above the intentions to harm and confesses God’s intentions “for good” and for “saving many lives.”

We have a familiar promise that helps us with our own puzzling and painful riddles. The promise declares, “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)  Let’s look at four key words in this verse: know, love, good, and purpose.

  1. We Know (Greek: oida): This knowledge is not based on how much we know but upon who we know. It comes instinctively and intuitively to believers through God’s Holy Spirit.
  2. Love God (Greek: agape): Greater than the three other Greek words for love, this one was popularized by Christianity. It lives above and beyond the fickleness of earthly love’s affections, emotions, circumstances and benefits. Its source is the unrelenting committed love God gave to us when he “so loved the world.” (John 3:16)  We don’t create it or work it up. It is a fact. It is God’s gift. “We love (the agape way) because God first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
  3. Good (Greek: agathos): Unlike the orderly and beautiful good of the Greek word “kalos” from which we derive the word calligraphy, agathos is more about a pure and virtuous good that is at work even when things are terrible and ugly. This is the good we confess from the core of our being about God, even in our darkest hour.
  4. Purpose (Greek: prothesis) This word focuses on living in God’s presence for his purpose, not ours.  The Bible claims, “You have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3) and “You are not your own, you have been bought with a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) As we embrace the truth of living out God’s purpose in God’s presence our strife and arguments cease.

God’s peace rules as we hear, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)


Email me your thoughts if you’d like. I’ll enjoy reading them – John Parker.

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