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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At your wits end? Quick solutions for the Simple!

God-esteem

“The man declares, ‘I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and worn out. Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.’” (Proverbs 30:1–3)

Self-esteem pep-talks, books, and seminars aside – sensing and even declaring that one is stupid, lacking understanding, not wise, or less knowledgeable than God may not be a bad place to be.  It may be very realistic. It may be humbling and healthy.

The Bible says:

“Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and he will exalt you in due time.”  (1 Peter 5:6)

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:6–7)

“All that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:16)

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

Are you at your wits’ end?  The humiliating stuff that you are experiencing may be the gift that helps you humbly get back under God’s mighty hand.

When we feel like this: “They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end.”  Our good outcome can be this: “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress.” (Psalm 107:27-28)

“Jesus delights in simple humility as he prays, “I thank you, Father,…that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.” (Matthew 11:25–26)  Here, “little children,”  implies being “babes, unlearned, unenlightened, or simple.” That gives some of us hope.

Back in the 70’s, my pastor and boss was a 68 year old Alabaman, named, C. Allen Taff.  He called himself a plodder, preached slowly, and took his sweet country time as he did church repairs and chores in the blue and white striped overalls that he called his “Alabama tuxedo.”

Once in a while under tough circumstances I’d hear him say, “The Lord preserves the simple.” (Psalm 116:6) His unassuming humility impressed me. He didn’t mind claiming “simple” for himself.

Now, as I get closer to the age he was back then, his scripture has become a centerpiece of my journey. “The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” (Psalm 116:6–7)

So, if you, like me, perceive yourself to be stupid, ignorant, weary, overwhelmed, unenlightened, or simple these days — simply rejoice!  You are humbly positioned under God’s mighty hand for him to “preserve the simple,” and “exalt you in due time.”

“Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he will answer us from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.” (Psalm 20:6)

Please Email Me your thoughts, insights, questions, or responses!

First printed in: The Chowchilla News Pastor’s Commentary by John Parker for October 1, 2014

 

What better esteem can there be than that?

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Streaming Revelation Now. “Quench not the Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

We are not collecting knowledge and facts. Knowledge puffs us up and intellect is boring when it comes to the fresh work of God through us. (1 Corinthians 8:1-2) Love and life are what live and build up!

We are operating through fresh streaming revelation. Watching Youtube or and online movie you experience  something  in the unseen cloud streaming directly to your computer and onto your screen. What a great picture of our direct connection to the heavenlies.

That’s how the Lord is working.  The Holy Spirit is downloading through you if you are listening and believing and receiving.

We still test all things to see if they line up. (1 Thessalonians  5:19-22; John 10:10; 1 John 4:1-2; Hebrews 5:14) Keep this discerning of spirits simple. Don’t let religion make it too hard.  Are they (the words, powers, influences, events, spirits)  bringing you closer to the Lord Jesus Christ as the “abundant life” bringer and as “the man, the one mediator  between God and people” (1 Timothy 2:8)  or are they taking you further away?

They only do one or the other. He is the center. It’s that simple.

Once you have that you can listen and boldly let the streaming begin.

Holy Spirit flowing, streaming is a fully conscious work through us. We are not in a trance or doing some religious antics. We are conscious and in control of ourselves even as the Spirit flows – “The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.” – 1 Corinthians 14:32, TNIV)  Let us not put this fire out! Quench not the Spirit!

By the way, this streaming stuff is not new.  Ada R. Gibbs, wrote about it in the year 1900.  She called her song “Channels Only.” Here are the lyrics:

  1. How I praise Thee, precious Savior,
    That Thy love laid hold of me;
    Thou hast saved and cleansed and filled me
    That I might Thy channel be.

    • Refrain:
      Channels only, blessed Master,
      But with all Thy wondrous pow’r
      Flowing through us, Thou canst use us
      Every day and every hour.
  2. Just a channel full of blessing,
    To the thirsty hearts around;
    To tell out Thy full salvation
    All Thy loving message sound.
  3. Emptied that Thou shouldest fill me,
    A clean vessel in Thy hand;
    With no pow’r but as Thou givest
    Graciously with each command.
  4. Witnessing Thy pow’r to save me,
    Setting free from self and sin;
    Thou who boughtest to possess me,
    In Thy fullness, Lord, come in.
  5. Jesus, fill now with Thy Spirit
    Hearts that full surrender know;
    That the streams of living water
    From our inner self may flow.

 

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A Family Visit

I sit with ones I call the Holy Family — God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, sometimes and we share with each other. These are some of my best family times ever.

After running and doing most of my life this is becoming wonderfully healing to me, in part because my dear childhood family of five didn’t sit around and visit. We were doers. Everyone had important things to do and to achieve. Calm and quiet conversations among all of us may have happened but not that I recall.  Nowadays, I know I longed for that as a kid but had no thoughts or words for it back then.  There is no blame or judgment in this.

So here is some of my conversation with the Holy Family that I wrote down as it was happening a few days ago. I’ll break into it with my thank you.

John:  Thank you Papa for thinking all of this up with your eternal family and then inviting me and all of us to join you. I know you are here with me now. Thank you.

Papa: Yes, I am glad too. We love redeeming our loved ones out of captivity and into love and life.  And I am so glad that Jesus, my beloved son, became human and bought you and everyone who believes back.

I love it that this is all about my son (Jesus) hearing and obeying me through his loving relationship with me. Thank you Jesus for staying connected with me all the way!

Jesus: My joy is that this works. On earth I acted by faith, not by logic or sight, other than by my sight of you, Papa. (John 5:19) I loved the joy that was before me regarding our greater family — the joy of seeing my offspring, having your pleasure prosper in my hand and being satisfied. (Isaiah 53:10-12).

And now I am so satisfied. I sit here at your right hand satisfied that I finished the work you gave me to do and that it’s fruit is increasing.(Hebrews 12:2)

Papa: I am so glad. You were the one seed. Just one. The only one. There were no others. (Galatians 3:16) Everything was dependent on you and you simply said, “I have come to do your will.” (Hebrews 9:10) and at the end, “the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” (John 12:23)

Jesus: And I love the next part, Papa, that you gave me to say: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:24)

And, John, we are truly, truly, gently, gently, lovingly, lovingly, helping you and “whosoever will” to be a useful grain of wheat as well. All the losses over all the years are part of this process and the joy is getting set before you. Fear not.

John: Brother Lord Jesus, I have lost nothing. I am gaining all the time. You have given me so much. “And whatever gain I had, I count as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing you.” (Philippians 3) And again, truly, I have lost nothing.

Holy Spirit: John, we will finish what we have started in you eons ago! (2 Timothy 1)

John: Thank you. Thank is exactly what we need…

Giv’m heaven! – John Parker

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Small is Big

The three of us at simple house church last night had a great time. Our listening question was around loneliness because that was what came up during our check-in time.

We asked: Lord, what to you want to say to us about loneliness? Then took five minutes to listen – which happily stretched to seven!

One of the words that was heard is: “Being alone doesn’t mean you are rejected or not wanted. I am wanting you to not be distracted by other voices. You are never alone…”

Be still…and know…that I AM…God.  Psalm 46:10

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Tongues, Prophecies, Interpretation, Edification, Decency, Order

Tongues, Prophecies, Interpretation, Edification, Decency, Order.

All of these topics are addressed in 1 Corinthians 14 making it one of the wildest and most orderly chapters in the Bible.

Some want to dump the wild. Others want to dump the order.  Balance includes both.

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Beware Perfectionism

Comedian Woody Allen, says, 80% of success is just showing up!  (Thanks for showing up at my blog today! You are a raging success!)

Marketing leader, Seth Godin, says something like, avoid spending 80%-90% of your time on the last 10-20% of making your product perfect.  Quit wasting time on perfection,  just ship it!  Ship your product.  (That’s how I, get this Simple Church blog out to you. I ship it mistakes and all -which I discover right after I ship it!)

Perfection has no place in our Jesus walk either.  The Greek word, teleios, is translated as “perfect” in most Bible translations of Matthew 5:48, and reads, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

That’s too bad. It is so misleading.

The “perfection” of God is simply about giving good things to everyone and especially to enemies and persecutors.

In fact, the definition of teleios in the Greek dictionaries rarely uses the word perfection.

Strong’s number 5046. teleios  is an adjective from télos (5056) which means: goal, purpose. Finished, that which has reached its end, term, limit; hence, complete, full, wanting in nothing.

In the context of Matthew 5:48 it has to do with love being “carried out, or fulfilled.”  Perfection then is being self-aware enough about one’s own actions so that we may identify with those who are our enemies and exclaim “You and I have a lot in common: we are not perfect!”

The Greek noun τέλειος  and verb τελειόω are listed below for your further study:

    Analytical Greek New Testament   English Standard Version 
Matt 5:48  Ἔσεσθε οὖν ὑμεῖς τέλειοιὡς ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος τέλειόςἐστιν.  You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  
Matt 19:21  ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Εἰ θέλεις τέλειοςεἶναι, ὕπαγε πώλησόν σου τὰ ὑπάρχοντα καὶ δὸς [τοῖς] πτωχοῖς, καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανοῖς, καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι.   Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”  
Luke 2:43  καὶ τελειωσάντωντὰς ἡμέρας, ἐν τῷ ὑποστρέφειν αὐτοὺς ὑπέμεινεν Ἰησοῦς ὁ παῖς ἐν Ἰερουσαλήμ, καὶ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ.   And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it,  
Luke 13:32  καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Πορευθέντες εἴπατε τῇ ἀλώπεκι ταύτῃ, Ἰδοὺ ἐκβάλλω δαιμόνια καὶ ἰάσεις ἀποτελῶ σήμερον καὶ αὔριον καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ τελειοῦμαι.  And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course.  
John 4:34  λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Ἐμὸν βρῶμά ἐστιν ἵνα ποιήσω τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πέμψαντός με καὶ τελειώσωαὐτοῦ τὸ ἔργον.   Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.  
John 5:36  ἐγὼ δὲ ἔχω τὴν μαρτυρίαν μείζω τοῦ Ἰωάννου· τὰ γὰρ ἔργα ἃ δέδωκέν μοι ὁ πατὴρ ἵνα τελειώσωαὐτά, αὐτὰ τὰ ἔργα ἃ ποιῶ μαρτυρεῖ περὶ ἐμοῦ ὅτι ὁ πατήρ με ἀπέσταλκεν.   But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.  
John 17:4  ἐγώ σε ἐδόξασα ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς τὸ ἔργον τελειώσαςὃ δέδωκάς μοι ἵνα ποιήσω·   I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.  
John 17:23  ἐγὼ ἐν αὐτοῖς καὶ σὺ ἐν ἐμοί, ἵνα ὦσιν τετελειωμένοιεἰς ἕν, ἵνα γινώσκῃ ὁ κόσμος ὅτι σύ με ἀπέστειλας καὶ ἠγάπησας αὐτοὺς καθὼς ἐμὲ ἠγάπησας.   I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.  
John 19:28  Μετὰ τοῦτο εἰδὼς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι ἤδη πάντα τετέλεσται, ἵνα τελειωθῇἡ γραφή, λέγει, Διψῶ.   After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.”  
Acts 20:24  ἀλλʼ οὐδενὸς λόγου ποιοῦμαι τὴν ψυχὴν τιμίαν ἐμαυτῷ ὡς τελειῶσαιτὸν δρόμον μου καὶ τὴν διακονίαν ἣν ἔλαβον παρὰ τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ, διαμαρτύρασθαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς χάριτος τοῦ θεοῦ.  But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.  
Rom 12:2  καὶ μὴ συσχηματίζεσθε τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ, ἀλλὰ μεταμορφοῦσθε τῇ ἀνακαινώσει τοῦ νοὸς εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν ὑμᾶς τί τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ εὐάρεστον καὶ τέλειον.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  
1 Cor 2:6  Σοφίαν δὲ λαλοῦμεν ἐν τοῖς τελείοις,σοφίαν δὲ οὐ τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου οὐδὲ τῶν ἀρχόντων τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου τῶν καταργουμένων·   Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.  
1 Cor 13:10  ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ τὸ τέλειον,τὸ ἐκ μέρους καταργηθήσεται.   but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.  
1 Cor 14:20  Ἀδελφοί, μὴ παιδία γίνεσθε ταῖς φρεσὶν ἀλλὰ τῇ κακίᾳ νηπιάζετε, ταῖς δὲ φρεσὶν τέλειοιγίνεσθε.   Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.  
Eph 4:13  μέχρι καταντήσωμεν οἱ πάντες εἰς τὴν ἑνότητα τῆς πίστεως καὶ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ, εἰς ἄνδρα τέλειον,εἰς μέτρον ἡλικίας τοῦ πληρώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ,   until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,  
Phil 3:12  Οὐχ ὅτι ἤδη ἔλαβον ἢ ἤδη τετελείωμαι,διώκω δὲ εἰ καὶ καταλάβω, ἐφʼ ᾧ καὶ κατελήμφθην ὑπὸ Χριστοῦ [Ἰησοῦ].   Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  
Phil 3:15  Ὅσοι οὖν τέλειοι,τοῦτο φρονῶμεν· καὶ εἴ τι ἑτέρως φρονεῖτε, καὶ τοῦτο ὁ θεὸς ὑμῖν ἀποκαλύψει·   Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.  
Col 1:28  ὃν ἡμεῖς καταγγέλλομεν νουθετοῦντες πάντα ἄνθρωπον καὶ διδάσκοντες πάντα ἄνθρωπον ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ, ἵνα παραστήσωμεν πάντα ἄνθρωπον τέλειονἐν Χριστῷ·   Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.  
Col 4:12  ἀσπάζεται ὑμᾶς Ἐπαφρᾶς ὁ ἐξ ὑμῶν, δοῦλος Χριστοῦ [Ἰησοῦ], πάντοτε ἀγωνιζόμενος ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἐν ταῖς προσευχαῖς, ἵνα σταθῆτε τέλειοικαὶ πεπληροφορημένοι ἐν παντὶ θελήματι τοῦ θεοῦ.   Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.  
Heb 2:10  Ἔπρεπεν γὰρ αὐτῷ, διʼ ὃν τὰ πάντα καὶ διʼ οὗ τὰ πάντα, πολλοὺς υἱοὺς εἰς δόξαν ἀγαγόντα τὸν ἀρχηγὸν τῆς σωτηρίας αὐτῶν διὰ παθημάτων τελειῶσαι.  For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.  
Heb 5:9  καὶ τελειωθεὶςἐγένετο πᾶσιν τοῖς ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ αἴτιος σωτηρίας αἰωνίου,   And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,  
Heb 5:14  τελείωνδέ ἐστιν ἡ στερεὰ τροφή, τῶν διὰ τὴν ἕξιν τὰ αἰσθητήρια γεγυμνασμένα ἐχόντων πρὸς διάκρισιν καλοῦ τε καὶ κακοῦ.  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.  
Heb 7:19  οὐδὲν γὰρ ἐτελείωσενὁ νόμος — ἐπεισαγωγὴ δὲ κρείττονος ἐλπίδος διʼ ἧς ἐγγίζομεν τῷ θεῷ.   (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.  
Heb 7:28  ὁ νόμος γὰρ ἀνθρώπους καθίστησιν ἀρχιερεῖς ἔχοντας ἀσθένειαν, ὁ λόγος δὲ τῆς ὁρκωμοσίας τῆς μετὰ τὸν νόμον υἱὸν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τετελειωμένον.  For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.  
Heb 9:9  ἥτις παραβολὴ εἰς τὸν καιρὸν τὸν ἐνεστηκότα, καθʼ ἣν δῶρά τε καὶ θυσίαι προσφέρονται μὴ δυνάμεναι κατὰ συνείδησιν τελειῶσαιτὸν λατρεύοντα,   (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper,  
Heb 9:11  Χριστὸς δὲ παραγενόμενος ἀρχιερεὺς τῶν γενομένων ἀγαθῶν διὰ τῆς μείζονος καὶ τελειοτέραςσκηνῆς οὐ χειροποιήτου, τοῦτʼ ἔστιν οὐ ταύτης τῆς κτίσεως,   But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation)  
Heb 10:1  Σκιὰν γὰρ ἔχων ὁ νόμος τῶν μελλόντων ἀγαθῶν, οὐκ αὐτὴν τὴν εἰκόνα τῶν πραγμάτων, κατʼ ἐνιαυτὸν ταῖς αὐταῖς θυσίαις ἃς προσφέρουσιν εἰς τὸ διηνεκὲς οὐδέποτε δύναται τοὺς προσερχομένους τελειῶσαι·  For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.  
Heb 10:14  μιᾷ γὰρ προσφορᾷ τετελείωκενεἰς τὸ διηνεκὲς τοὺς ἁγιαζομένους.   For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.  
Heb 11:40  τοῦ θεοῦ περὶ ἡμῶν κρεῖττόν τι προβλεψαμένου, ἵνα μὴ χωρὶς ἡμῶν τελειωθῶσιν.  since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.  
Heb 12:23  καὶ ἐκκλησίᾳ πρωτοτόκων ἀπογεγραμμένων ἐν οὐρανοῖς καὶ κριτῇ θεῷ πάντων καὶ πνεύμασι δικαίων τετελειωμένων  and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,  
James 1:4  ἡ δὲ ὑπομονὴ ἔργον τέλειονἐχέτω, ἵνα ἦτε τέλειοικαὶ ὁλόκληροι ἐν μηδενὶ λειπόμενοι.   And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  
James 1:17  πᾶσα δόσις ἀγαθὴ καὶ πᾶν δώρημα τέλειονἄνωθέν ἐστιν καταβαῖνον ἀπὸ τοῦ πατρὸς τῶν φώτων, παρʼ ᾧ οὐκ ἔνι παραλλαγὴ ἢ τροπῆς ἀποσκίασμα.   Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  
James 1:25  ὁ δὲ παρακύψας εἰς νόμον τέλειοντὸν τῆς ἐλευθερίας καὶ παραμείνας, οὐκ ἀκροατὴς ἐπιλησμονῆς γενόμενος ἀλλὰ ποιητὴς ἔργου, οὗτος μακάριος ἐν τῇ ποιήσει αὐτοῦ ἔσται.   But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.  
James 2:22  βλέπεις ὅτι ἡ πίστις συνήργει τοῖς ἔργοις αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐκ τῶν ἔργων ἡ πίστις ἐτελειώθη,  You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;  
James 3:2  πολλὰ γὰρ πταίομεν ἅπαντες. εἴ τις ἐν λόγῳ οὐ πταίει, οὗτος τέλειοςἀνὴρ δυνατὸς χαλιναγωγῆσαι καὶ ὅλον τὸ σῶμα.   For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.  
1 John 2:5  ὃς δʼ ἂν τηρῇ αὐτοῦ τὸν λόγον, ἀληθῶς ἐν τούτῳ ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ τετελείωται,ἐν τούτῳ γινώσκομεν ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ ἐσμεν.   but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:  
1 John 4:12  θεὸν οὐδεὶς πώποτε τεθέαται. ἐὰν ἀγαπῶμεν ἀλλήλους, ὁ θεὸς ἐν ἡμῖν μένει καὶ ἡ ἀγάπη αὐτοῦ ἐν ἡμῖν τετελειωμένηἐστιν.  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.  
1 John 4:17  ἐν τούτῳ τετελείωταιἡ ἀγάπη μεθʼ ἡμῶν, ἵνα παρρησίαν ἔχωμεν ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῆς κρίσεως, ὅτι καθὼς ἐκεῖνός ἐστιν καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐσμεν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ τούτῳ.   By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.  
1 John 4:18  φόβος οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ ἀλλʼτελείαἀγάπη ἔξω βάλλει τὸν φόβον, ὅτι ὁ φόβος κόλασιν ἔχει, ὁ δὲ φοβούμενος οὐ τετελείωταιἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ.   There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.  

 

 

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Counting The Cost, By C.S. Lewis:

Counting The Cost, By C.S. Lewis:

“The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self–all your wishes and precautions–to Christ.

“Christ says ‘Give me All.  I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You.  I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it.  No half measures are any good.  I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down.  I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out.  Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked–the whole outfit.  I will give you a new self instead.  In fact, I will give you Myself:  My own will shall become yours.’…

“When I was a child I often had toothache, and I knew that if I went to my mother she would give me something which would deaden the pain for that night and let me get to sleep.  But I did not go to my mother–at least not till the pain became very bad.  And the reason I did not go was this.  I did not doubt she would give me the aspirin; but I knew she would also do something else.  I could not get what I wanted out of her without getting something more, which I did not want.  I wanted immediate relief from pain, but I could not get it without having my teeth set permanently right.  And I knew those dentists;  I knew they started fiddling about with all sorts of other teeth which had not yet begun to ache.  They would not let sleeping dogs lie.  If you gave them an inch they would take a mile.

“Now, if I may put it that way, our Lord is like the dentists.  If you give Him an inch, He will take a mile.  Dozens of people go to Him to be cured of some one particular sin which they are ashamed of… or which is obviously spoiling daily life (like bad temper or drunkenness).  Well, He will cure it alright: but He will not stop there.  That may be all you ask; but if once you call Him in, He will give you the full treatment.  That is why He warned people to ‘count the cost’ before becoming Christians.  ‘Make no mistake,’ He says, ‘If you let me, I will make you perfect.  The moment you put yourself in My hands, that is what you are in for.  Nothing less or other than that.’

“‘Whatever suffering it may cost you in your earthly life… whatever it cost Me, I will never rest, nor let you rest, until you are literally perfect–until my Father can say without reservation that He is well pleased with you, as He said He was well pleased with me.  This I can do and will do.  But I will not do anything less.’

“The goal toward which He is beginning to guide you is absolute perfection; and no power in the whole universe, except you yourself, can prevent Him from taking you to that goal.  That is what you are in for.  And it is very important to realize that.  If we do not, then we are very likely to start pulling back and resisting Him after a certain point.  I think that many of us, when Christ has enabled us to overcome one or two sins that were an obvious nuisance, are inclined to feel (though we do not put it into words) that we are now good enough.  He has done all we wanted Him to do.  And we should be obliged if He would now leave us alone.

“But this is the fatal mistake… The question is not what we intended ourselves to be, but what He intended us to be when He made us….

“Imagine yourself as a living house.  God comes in to rebuild that house.  At first, perhaps you can understand what He is doing.  He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you know that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised.  But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense.  What on earth is He up to?  The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of–throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.  You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace.  He intends to come and live in it Himself!”

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Interpreting Tongues

Believers are entrusted with conveying the mysteries of God to a world that wonders who he is or denies that he exists altogether. As translators, interpreters, intercessors, connectors, representatives and mediators we are becoming quicker to listen, slower to judge, and more thoughtful with our words.  

We are becoming more comfortable with the wonderfully mysterious newness of life into which we have been immersed.  We are getting better at seeing beyond the visible and into the invisible, to the things that are not seen instead of the things that are seen. 

We judge not by the appearance of things but are with spiritual understanding discerning between good and evil.  We are interpreting the unknown tongues and confusing mysteries in life toward the truth, love, peace and friendship of God.

When we don’t understand the mysterious babblings of struggling relationships, confusing politics, financial chaos, or challenged health, we listen.  We rejoice, even though we are weak and know not how to pray as we ought, because we are confident that the Holy Spirit itself makes petitions on our behalf with groanings too deep for words.  We know that these Holy Spirit intercessions are working all things together for our good and God’s glory.  The Spirit’s prayers move us out of the groaning dissonance of this world into heavenly resonance with Jesus and God’s perfect love.

We are becoming increasingly aware of our real life in the heavenlies and of our  spiritual riches in those heavenlies.  We know that in Christ Jesus we are made alive together with all other believers and are raised together with him and that we are seated together with Jesus in the heavenlies right here and right now.

We are increasingly seeking the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. We are setting our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, looking unto Jesus the founder and finisher of our faith.

We are increasing enamored with living in the love of our heavenly Father. We are becoming quite weary of being seduced away from God’s love by the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life. 

We are recognizing that fear causes torment, stress, and anxiety and that the love of God casts out those fears.  We believe that a life free of debilitating fear and anxiety is not only a possibility but part of the normal life of the believer.

In all of this we long to be useful to God’s kingdom.  We are champions of forgiveness and hate having our hearts spotted with bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment, retaliation, wrath and anger. We exercise ourselves to have a conscience void of offense before God and people. We run like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter to escape the trap of holding onto a any offense.  We seek peace with all.

We know our  mission is to proclaim good news to the poor, liberty to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, and to set at liberty those who are oppressed. We are going out and giving ‘em heaven!

In Jesus’ Name, Amen! – John Parker

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How can our group LISTEN better?

 

Here are some tips about how to listen to God better as a group. 

When we gather as a group to worship and encourage each other sometimes people have questions they would like us to answer.  Rather than having it quickly answered by the most educated, informed, spiritual, or bold we deliberately slow down and take some steps to listen to God together.   

Step One:  We agree on the question we want to ask God.

Step Two:  We pause for a few minutes to quietly listen for words, sentences, impressions or pictures the Lord may give us. Some write down what they hear, which can help with accuracy and the freedom to hear more.

Step Three:  We ask, after the quiet time is over, for individuals to share what they heard.  We weigh the messages with scripture, love, and respect being careful not to quench the Spirit (see 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22; 1 Corinthians 14:29).

Step Four:  We often share a second round about what the Holy Spirit is bringing to us from all the messages.  A main theme usually starts surfacing and we are amazed at the powerful group “sermon” that comes forth.

Here are a few of the things we shared with each other (Step Three) in answer to the question “Lord, what do we need to be useful for you and others?”  Each of these responses is from a different individual in our group. 

  1. I heard Jesus say: I like it when you give me space to be a part of your life and when you treat me as a friend. Then I can let you know more about how I want you to  be useful. (see John 15:15)
  2. I heard: Keep on.
  3. I heard: Family, and sense that it is about me communicating and asking and listening better with them
  4. I heard: We are all family and that with the Bible we are to be loving and respectful with each other.
  5. I heard three words: Selflessness (willing to give), Joy (that spills over to others), and Perseverance.
  6. I heard: “Follow God.”
  7. I saw a flower that followed the sun like a sunflower does and I heard three words:  Openness (to God’s light), Flexibility (to follow the Lord), and Vulnerability (to let God in).
  8. I heard: Diligence, and sense that we are useful by diligently focusing on the Lord.

Then in our “Step Four” second time of listening, we heard a lot about being useful by giving space to the Lord and to each other to listen, learn, and lovingly respond. 

You may wish to try this in a group.  It has worked well for us in groups of two up to as many as 30.  The benefits are:

  1. Many are engaged in the learning process instead on one person doing the talking.
  2. The sharing is interesting and a powerful encouraging theme often results.
  3. Group members become more comfortable with God, ourselves and each other.
  4. All of this helps us be more tuned in loving communication and service at home, work, and in community life.
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West Coast House Church Conference – Note for Investors

Luke10 logoAs you read last week our first West Coast LK10 House Church Conference starts this Friday.  See flyer below.   If you’d like to help defray our conference expenses and/or are looking for a great cause to invest in this is it!  Invest here.

Please pray for the conference, attend if you can, and keep givin’em heaven wherever the Lord sends you! – John Parker

Luke 10 Simple House Church Conference
West Coast – April 11-13, 2014

Come join us and Luke 10 founder John White for interactive discussions about house church style ministry. We’ll explore how our simple house-style churches can be even more Encouraging, Effective, and Welcoming.

We long for genuine community that reaches into our hearts, our homes, and the people all around us who long for something true and loving. We will  enjoy a time of rich, engaging fellowship as we exchange ideas and thoughts with one another and join the Holy Spirit in what He is doing in California and around the world.

Mark your calendars:

 Mountains by Day *
Friday, April 11, 2014 — 11am-3pm
Fasting Prayer Mountain of the World, Scotts Valley, CA
996 Lockhart Gulch Rd, Scotts Valley, CA 95066  | (831) 335-5635
(Bring your own snacks & water bottle) 

Fire by Night *
Friday Night April 11, 2014 — 7pm
Backyard Bonfire and Dessert
119 Calle Marguerita, Los Gatos CA 95032
(Bring a Chair! And, if possible, dessert or veggies)

LK10 Family Gathering *
Saturday April 12, 2014 — 10am-3pm
A supportive gathering those who are friends with the Luke 10 Community
Gilroy, CA  (call or email for details)

* RSVP to Mina Millen at minamillen@aol.com
and/or Phone or Text  John Parker at 209.564.7201 for more Info.  

PLUS!  Sunday Bonus!

Connections Simple Church Sunday Gathering
Sunday April 13 – 10am-12 Noon
609 W. Robertson, Chowchilla, CA
John White will be with us!

Love Offerings for covering the event and travel costs will be received at all meetings.

John_White_captionJohn White, is director the International LK10.com of Denver, CO, a community which trains and equips emerging House Church leaders from around the world. Our vision is to see a vibrant family for Jesus within easy access of every person on the planet in every region and people group.

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