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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Quietness is key. Old thinking says, Nothing doing!” God waits! Patiently.

“God, the Master, The Holy of Israel, has this solemn counsel: “Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me— The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do.

You’ve said, ‘Nothing doing! We’ll rush off on horseback!’ You’ll rush off, all right! Just not far enough! You’ve said, ‘We’ll ride off on fast horses!’ Do you think your pursuers ride old nags? Think again: A thousand of you will scatter before one attacker. Before a mere five you’ll all run off. There’ll be nothing left of you— a flagpole on a hill with no flag, a signpost on a roadside with the sign torn off.”

But God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. God takes the time to do everything right—everything.

Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.

Oh yes, people of Zion, citizens of Jerusalem, your time of tears is over. Cry for help and you’ll find it’s grace and more grace. The moment he hears, he’ll answer.

Just as the Master kept you alive during the hard times, he’ll keep your teacher alive and present among you. Your teacher will be right there, local and on the job, urging you on whenever you wander left or right: “This is the right road. Walk down this road.”

You’ll scrap your expensive and fashionable god-images. You’ll throw them in the trash as so much garbage, saying, “Good riddance!”” (Isaiah 30:15–22, The Message)

Again: Quietness is key. Old thinking says, Nothing doing!” God waits! Patiently.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Like the rest of us, the Lord likes a little appreciation and a simple thank you will do.

Sadly, it possible to bypass the whole god-thing even when we know better. The Bible says,  “They knew God but did not praise and thank him for being God. Instead, their thoughts were total nonsense, and their misguided minds were plunged into darkness.” (Romans 1:21, GW)

Appreciation and thanksgiving keeps our heads straight and our hearts tender.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Giv’m heaven,

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The Throne of Grace! Come on up for the fun of It!

The Throne of Grace

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
(Hebrews 4:16, ESV)

What a beautiful home!
(Psalm 84–adapted with my own comments from The Message Bible)

“What a beautiful home, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!

I’ve always longed to live in a place like this, even though I didn’t recognize it until recently. As a grammar school age child (and beyond), I think would have loved this Throne of Grace (TOG) filled home with my earthly family together: Dad, Mom, and my two brothers sitting around the living room, sharing, laughing, reading (Scripture and other things) and praying (happily, spontaneously and casually like we do here at the TOG).

I’ve always (consciously, in the last few years) dreamed of a room in your house
where I could hangout and listen and sing for joy to God-alive!

Birds find nooks and crannies in your house, sparrows and swallows make nests there.
They lay their eggs and raise their young, singing their songs in the place where we worship. God-of-the-Angel-Armies! King! God! How blessed they are to live and sing there!

Lord, your Throne of Grace is a fun-filled aviary!

Yesterday I saw that it opened from its grand pavilion and spilled into the out-of-doors, but I didn’t know it was a gathering place for sweet birds living and nesting there up in the nooks and crannies of the ceiling and roof. What fun! How free! And the weather is so perfect even when there are storms around us we are safe with you at the Throne of Grace.

The Throne of Grace!
What a great place!
Sin is erased!
We gain face
as we sit face-to-face with you,
seeing your face shining upon us and
enjoying your Jesus-peace within us.

He is our peace.
He has finished the journey.
He looks with us with confidence at the road ahead of us.
Holy Spirit will always go with us making the invisible visible and faith substantial—
clearly evident in its power to give us love, power and a sound mind!

And how blessed all those in whom you live, whose lives become roads you travel.
They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks,
discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain!

And as we live out our earthly journey in the dusty day-to-day,
we travel these Jesus-traveled roads that curve up the mountain, and at the last turn—
Zion! God in full view!

God-of-the-Angel-Armies, listen: O God of Jacob, open your ears—I’m praying!
Look at our shields, glistening in the sun, our faces, shining with your gracious anointing.
One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship,
beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches.

I’d rather scrub floors in the house of my God
than be honored as a guest in a God-less palace.
All sunshine and sovereign is God, generous in gifts and glory.
He doesn’t scrimp with his traveling companions.
It’s smooth sailing all the way with God-of-the-Angel-Armies.”

(Psalm 84, The Message)

Have a blessed day!

John Parker
from my desk and The TOG–with the birds!

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Party on, Believer-Dude. Living La Vida Cristo!

Last night I had a dream about being at a fun party! I write the dreams I remember down, along with my post-dream observations. Then I listen to the Lord for the interpretation.

My post-dream observations were about the fun and the people and about my concern that I walk with the Lord at such parties–including all people gatherings–with happy sobriety, vigilance and discernment.

They (The Lord: Papa, Lord Jesus, and Rua (*Ruach Kadesh, Holy Wind,Holy Spirit) ) reassured me, saying,

We are your party!

Me: Thank you for our blessed, most holy party! Help me discern and accept no substitutes!

Them: We love our party with you! We enjoy that you see and hear and know. It is fun when one of our kids (note: that’s all of us!) walks in us and receives mercy for all the non-walking and resists the non-walking.

And Rua* said:

“I love the party of physical creation and the party of your “in me” holy, human-Spirit–inspired creativity. I AM helping you (speaking now to all believers) as a believer/learner/servant/minister to be more engaging without being compromised by the evil around you. You are a light into dark, crooked, and perverse places.

“That’s where Jesus was assigned and walked—with the ones called “sinners.” Get over their lifestyle and focus on their spirit eyes, hearts, and souls–like Jesus did—like Paul did.

“Remember that he wrote of our work through him, by quoting our calling to him:

“‘ ‘I’m sending you off to open the eyes of the outsiders so they can see the difference between dark and light, and choose light, see the difference between Satan and God, and choose God. I’m sending you off to present my offer of sins forgiven, and a place in the family, inviting them into the company of those who begin real living by believing in me.’” (Acts 26:17–18, The Message)

Me: Party on, believer-dude!

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Pathos Power – Sorrow: a Jesus Soft Skill – (Power of God Series 7 of 7)

The power of sorrow!

Are you sad today?  That’s cause for happiness!

Sorrow is the soft skill! Jesus was so good at sorrow that he was given the nickname “Man of Sorrows,” and described as, “acquainted with grief!” (Isaiah 53)

Sorrow is not popular in our society. We believe we are on this planet to pursue happiness. Feeling sorrow sets up disappointment for some who think that happiness means the absence of grief.

But the most joyous people are often the ones who have been deeply acquainted with grief and sorrow and have learned to walk through it. My friend, the late Jack Petitt of Chowchilla, used to say, “When you’re going through hell don’t stop to take pictures.”

In other words, we can experience sorrow as it comes. We don’t have to make a shrine out of it, but we can let it be a helpful part of nurturing compassion within us.

Not many people who would opt to have a sad day. Most of us want to have a happy, fulfilling day. And there’s nothing wrong with that—unless it causes us to get angry and upset about emotions like sorrow, confusion, unhappiness or other down-side emotions and events.

The Bible never shames anyone for having sorrow. In fact, we are told to have compassion and learn to weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15)

Just today, my friend told me that his wife started crying. When he asked her about it, she responded, “I’m sad because I don’t want us to struggle with each other anymore.”

Instead of getting defensive, the husband slowed down and asked her it she’d like to talk about it. She did talk, and he listened.

In the end, without him doing anything more, or trying to fix things, she stopped, smiled, and said, “Thank you for listening. I feel better now.” The husband is learning.

The Bible says, If anyone is happy let them sing praises. If anyone is sad let them pray. (James 5:13) God is not angry when we are happy, and God is not angry when we are sad. He likes being with us either way.

We were told as kids: “Quit feeling sorry for yourself.” The message we heard on a deeper level was that sorrow is a bad, annoying, and, practically, sinful. As a result, many adults continue their “wrong” belief, and end up getting mad at themselves, and others, about sorrow.

Workaholics avoid sorrow by staying busy.  Drug addicts avoid sorrow by staying medicated. Why not simple let God like and love us in times of sorrow?  He is a ‘very present help in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1).

Paul, Jesus’ apostle, writes, “Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted…What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication!” (2 Corinthians 7:9–11, NKJV)

Are you sad? The Bible says that’s okay. In fact it may help you become a happier person in the long haul.

Giv’m Heaven! – John

John Parker, is a coaching pastor in the Simple Church of Chowchilla circle, which meets at 10 a.m., Sundays, Carty Center, 609 W. Robertson Boulevard. For information call: (209) 564-7201.

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Pod Power – The Tri-Pod of Love – (Power of God Series 6 of 7)

What do “Road Work Ahead” signs, photographers, and George Washington have in common?

Answer: The tripod — a three legged stand. Even our first president, George Washington, used one in his early career as a land surveyor.

Like a three legged-stool, tripods combine stability with agility. Four legged tables and chairs work fine when we have a flat stable floor. Three-legs are better for stability when things are uneven.

Perhaps that’s why Jesus gave us his “Tripod of Love.” Some call it the Great Commandment.

The skeptical religious scholar tried to stump Jesus by asking, “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”

Jesus gave a innovative answer. He didn’t answer “Commandment Three” or “Commandment Eight.” Instead, Jesus combined all Ten Commandments into one Great Commandment (elsewhere and later in the New Testament it became known as the “Law of Love,” or the “Law of Christ”).

The Great Commandment comes in two parts (legs) with the second part having a third part (leg) that provides the “Tripod of Love” upon which to stabilize and simplify love. Can you find all three parts in Jesus’ answer, which follows?

Jesus said to the religious scholar, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37–39)

Actually, the first leg has a smaller tripod in it, doesn’t it? Love God has three parts, with “heart, soul, and mind.”

But, did you find the bigger tripod? The second part has two parts: neighbor and self. Thus, the “Tripod of Love” includes loving God, self, and neighbor.

The second part has sort of a chicken and egg factor. Do we love ourselves first or our neighbor? Well, we are our own neighbor, right? Hence, we do well to love ourselves God’s way; then, we can love our neighbors God’s way too.

Self-love is not selfish, it flows out of God’s love for us. A person who believes they are loved by God will become more loving toward their own self. In turn, they will be able to love their neighbor. On the other hand, a person who doesn’t believe they are loved, especially by God, will have a difficult time loving others.

Love is delicate and Jesus’ “Tripod of Love” helps us humans find balance in love. Our love for God shows itself in love for our neighbor.

Thankfully, true love doesn’t begin with us. We are God’s conduit of love. Love flows through us from God.

The Bible says “God is love,” And, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son for our eternal life.” Best of all, it says, “We love because God first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother or sister, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother or sister.” (1 John 4:19–21)

Jesus’ “Tripod of Love” stands securely on all three legs of love. “The greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Giv’m Heaven! – John

John Parker, is a pastor and teacher at Chowchilla Simple Church 10 AM Sundays at Carty Center, 609 W. Robertson Boulevard. For information call: (209) 564-7201.

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Prophecy Power – Imagine Hearts Being Healed by Your Words! – (Power of God Series 5 of 7)

Prophecy Power – Imagine Hearts Being Healed by Encouraging, Edifying, and Comforting Words from you! Doesn’t that sound great?

Any regrets about words you have spoken? Unsure of what to say when helpful words are needed? Want to get better at speaking sincere words that truly encourage, build up and comfort yourself and others?

If your answer is yes to any of the above questions then the gift of prophecy is for you! Paul, the apostle, wants all of us to have it. He writes, “I wish you all…prophesied.” (1 Corinthians 14:5)

Paul wants us all to prophecy, that is, to let the Lord speak through us. Contrary to popular opinion, prophesying is not spooky or full of religious pomp, rather, it is helpful in our conversations and relationships with others.

Paul likes prophecy very much, wants us to learn about it, and encourages us to practice it. Read his three reasons why below. I have repeated the same passage, 1 Corinthians 14:3, four times in as many Bible versions to let this Holy Spirit-inspired relational diamond shine.

New Living Translation: “One who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them.”

Today’s New International Version: “Those who prophesy speak to people for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.”

King James Version: “He that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.”

New American Bible: “One who prophesies does speak to human beings, for their building up, encouragement, and solace.”

Apart from Christ’s eternal salvation, what better gift could there be? And the great news? It’s one all of us can activate and use.

In fact, we’ve probably already done so without even knowing it. Like the time Dad and I were fishing off the jetty at the mouth of the Fort Bragg (California) harbor. We’d caught nothing and returned to the car where Mom relaxing and reading.

Discovering our plight, she simple said, “Cast your nets on the other side.” We went back and did just that. Within minutes we caught our limit! Unforgettable!

Back then, in the ‘60s, we didn’t call that a prophecy. Our church’s beliefs didn’t allow for it and we didn’t see it. Nevertheless, it had all the ingredients, for Dad and I definitely enjoyed great “strengthening, encouragement and comfort!” So did Mom! Amazing!

Just yesterday, I listened for prophetic words from the Lord for a friend. I “heard” (in my spirit) the Lord saying to my friend,  “You are very tender, I love your heart, you are a person after my own heart. I love your kindness, song, and your desire for me. I am with you and will hold you safe into the future.”

The affect was wonderful. My friends joyously experienced “strengthening, encouragement and comfort!” I did too!

New Testament prophecy best not be confused with Old Testament-style prophecy, which was often about needed judgement and warnings. Jesus high-lighted this shift when he called (Old Testament) prophet, John the Baptist, “the greatest born of women” but declared him “least in the (New Testament) Kingdom of God.”

God truth does not change. God’s methods sometimes do.

In these last days, the Holy Spirit is speaking words of “strengthening, encouragement and comfort” through you. As you believe this and listen for God in the relational moments of your day you will become increasing aware of the Lord’s encouragement coming through your words and ways. That will be heaven on earth!

Giv’m Heaven! — John

John Parker, is a pastor and teacher at Chowchilla Simple Church 10 AM Sundays at Carty Center, 609 W. Robertson Boulevard.

Click reply to connect with John

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The Power of Being Present – (Power of God Series 4 of 7)

Want to be more effective when working with people? Want to be a better listener?

In the following account, Jesus shows us how to hear, see, and live in the present in order to activate the love of God.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

Peter, a very practical man, thinking Jesus’ question is ridiculous, protests, “Master, we’ve got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens have touched you.”

Jesus, a very present man, is not deterred. “Someone touched me,” he insists. “I felt power discharging from me.”

Sure enough, Jesus was correct. After a few moments, the woman who had touched Jesus “realizing that she couldn’t remain hidden, came and knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story—why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed.

“Jesus said, ‘Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!’” (Luke 8:47–48)

Besides crowd pressures, Jesus had ministry pressures too.  At that moment, a little girl lay dying just down the street in her parents’ house and Jesus was going to help her. In spite of that emergency, Jesus stops to help this lady who touched him.

Imagine the anxious pressure for Jesus to ”get going” and heal the sick girl. Still, he stopped because of his inner awareness. And, thankfully, it all worked out. Both the lady and the girl were healed that day!

“God is a very present help in time of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) Jesus believed that and tells us the two ways he became a “very present” man.

First, Jesus did only what his Father showed him. Jesus explains, “I’m telling you this straight. The Son can’t independently do a thing, only what he sees the Father doing. What the Father does, the Son does.” Jesus always watched for his Father’s way. We can too.

Second, Jesus spoke only as his Father taught him. He tells us, “I’m not making this up, but speaking only what the Father taught me.” And again, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me. The words that I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act.” (John 5:19; John 8:28; John 14:10) Jesus always listened to his Father’s words. We can too.

We be like Jesus, “very present.” Our hurting world, more than ever, needs us to listen and be aware of needs and hurts¾just like Jesus was. Jesus says we can do what he did, and even more.

Jesus promises, “The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing¾but even greater things.” (John 14:12)

This is exciting. Like Jesus, we can be “very present,” watching for the Father’s opportunities and listening for his words.

Believing, we will miss less, hear clearer, and see better. As we are walking along in a crowd of people—and everywhere else too—in our homes, at work, in our neighborhoods, and at our places of worship we will be empowered to help, heal and encourage effectively.

Very practical people may miss this. Very present people will see and do even greater things!

Giv’m Heaven!—John Parker

John Parker, is a pastor and teacher at Chowchilla Simple Church 10 AM Sundays at Carty Center, 609 W. Robertson Boulevard. For more call: (209) 564-7201 (Most Scripture passages adapted from The Message Bible).

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What do you want us to hear the about your kingdom?

Lord: What do you want us to hear the about your kingdom?

Seek first our kingdom and our righteousness. Our kingdom is ours. And yes, it is coming; thank you for asking for it to come.

Our kingdom is not of this world; if it were we would solve things a lot differently. The least, youngest, and last are keys in our kingdom. The natural man doesn’t understand that; but you all do, because, your inner person is totally delighting in us and in the mystery*.

Our kingdom is wind based and the wind is our Holy Spirit. Discerning of spirits and of every wind that blows is key to loosing and binding in our kingdom.

* Jesus told them, “You’ve been given insight  into (the mystery of – J.P.)  God’s kingdom—you know how it works. But to those who can’t see it yet, everything comes in stories, creating readiness, nudging them toward receptive insight.  (Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Mk 4:11). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.)
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Power in Your Place – (Power of God Series 3 of 7)


Ever wish you could find a different job, move to a new town, or even jump the fence to the greener pasture of a new relationship? If so, you are not alone.

It’s common to long for something new. It’s easy to become dissatisfied, disillusioned, and even disgruntled with current circumstances. Wondering how we got here, we may blame ourselves, others, fate, fortune, luck, or God—and want out!

Like us, Jesus’ disciples wondered about their current situation after Jesus’ resurrection. Now, they believed, he could really change things. Here’s the Bible conversation:

“When they were together for the last time they asked, ‘Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?’

“Jesus told them, ‘You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.’

“These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky.

“Suddenly two men appeared—in white robes! They said, ‘You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left.’” (Acts 1:6–11, The Message)

Jesus’ response disappointed the disciples. First, he didn’t know when the Kingdom would be restored. Second, he assigned them to stay and start in Jerusalem, the city that rejected Jesus a few weeks earlier. Third, Jesus left them for heaven¾not fun.

The men-in-white, puzzled by the disciples staring up into space, ask, “Why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky?” In essence saying, “Wake up boys! Snap out of it! It’s okay! He’ll be back!”

Unlike the dumb-founded disciples, we read the story with 2000 years “under our belts.” We know that Jesus’ commission to go “even to the ends of the world” is still working. Globally, Jesus is a household name. His popularity is on the fast-track in Africa, South America, and Asia. While we may miss this in our secularized, post-modern “Western” world, a bit of online research indicates such trending.

Soon after Jesus left, his disciples, now filled with the Holy Spirit, wrote books. Their writings—now the New Testament Bible—teach us much about the heaven into which Jesus ascended. They also make it clear that Jesus is coming back any day now “to restore the kingdom to Israel.”  They exhort us to believe and be ready!

The Holy Spirit is activating Jesus’s mission which calls us to share our love for, and faith in, Jesus with the folks in our own “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and globally.

The mission becomes clearer when we adapt it locally as follows: “What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Chowchilla, all Madera County, Merced County, even to the ends of the world.”

Accepting this mission you may not need to change jobs, relationships, or towns. With the old chorus, we can simply sing, “brighten up the corner where you are…”  Shine on!

Giv’m Heaven!—John

John Parker, is a pastor and teacher at Chowchilla Simple Church 10 AM Sundays at Carty Center, 609 W. Robertson Boulevard. For more call: (209) 726-0119.

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