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.

Posted in Blog | Comments Off

Today? Yesterday? or Tomorrow?

“Then Saul outfitted David as a soldier in armor. He put his bronze helmet on his head and belted his sword on him over the armor. David tried to walk but he could hardly budge.

“David told Saul, “I can’t even move with all this stuff on me. I’m not used to this.” And he took it all off.

“Then David took his shepherd’s staff, selected five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s pack, and with his sling in his hand approached Goliath.” (1 Samuel 17:38–40, The Message)

Most of us know the rest of the story…David shot a stone from his sling and took Goliath out with laser point accuracy.

David lived in today not yesterday. The Bible says, “Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.”” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

King Saul’s armor was yesterday’s. Using it would have killed David.

But telling the king, “I can’t even move with all this stuff on me. I’m not used to this,” took both self-awareness and courage.

Self-awareness allowed him get real.  David knew himself well enough to say no and to get past how that might sound to important others.

David’s courage showed long before he faced Goliath.  Courage originally had to do with telling “what is in one’s mind or thoughts,” hence “bravery.” (Online Etymological Dictionary)

In his “today” style David traveled light. All he had was a sling. He stopped at the brook to pick up some stones on his way to defeat the giant. Then he shot right past Goliath’s old school armor and stoned him before he knew what hit him.

The Bible lets us know that “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too can walk in newness of life,” (Romans 6:4) and “that is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)

We are encouraged to live in today. “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 3:15)

Finally, regarding today, the Bible says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13)

Perhaps it’s time to dump yesterday’s baggage and armor. David did and won the day!

And regarding tomorrow, Jesus says, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” (Matthew 6:34)

It’s about today we sing, “This is the very day the Lord has made – let us rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24)

Giv’m heaven! – John Parker

Posted in Blog | Comments Off

Friend of God

Empty seed pods of the eucalyptus trees crunched pleasantly under my feet after I hopped the barbed wire fence next to my college dorm and walked across the small grove to sit under those tall fragrant trees.  Their fallen leaves formed a thick carpet where I sat to visit with God, as a friend, for the first time.

The first time at least where I was not praying a prayer of repentant desperation asking for help to pass a school exam for which I was unprepared.  This was different, gentle, open, relaxing and as refreshing as the trees.

I’d begun reading the Bible a few weeks before. I had to escape the alcohol, marijuana, nicotine saturated party-life that I jumped into that first year away from home as Cal Poly San Luis Obispo freshman.  I’d escaped the restrictions home and church with all of its negative, boring, rule-bound, hypocrisy.  But now my judgments were killing me and I wanted to live.

The eucalyptus field trip to the wild side with God was all new. I actually wanted to talk with him. I didn’t feel forced, shamed or trapped. It didn’t seem like a religious activity. Of my own accord I was tenderly going to visit with my new friend and, in some vague way, my long lost (heavenly) father.

We had some great talks out there in the spring of 1970. It was all new, fresh, happy, free, loving, even shocking in its pleasantness, ease, and comfort. Imagine me talking with God in a friendly, familiar way! Surprise, surprise, surprise!

I was 18 then. The next year I went to a Christian university and learned the ropes of how to be what they told me was an excellent Christian in the service of the Lord.

Thankfully, I did receive a lot of Bible knowledge, but confusingly, I also was trained in religious rules by admired school leaders. They, in turn, pointed to famous successful leaders who had done the really great things for God such as designing a nation-wide outreach program, building the world’s fastest growing Sunday School, or packing out an awesome mega church. These were to be our role-models.

I hopped on that band-wagon with Pinocchio-like innocence heading down the road of success. The cost to my relational life however was horrific. What I thought was serving Jesus did a lot of peripheral damage as I rushed forward.

Instead of letting Jesus build his church I unwittingly used Christian training to help him out and make his church more interesting, attractive, and, well, successful. I thought I was doing him a favor. The serpent that enters God’s garden is crafty indeed.

For the last 25 years, or so, I’ve been a recovering ministry-holic, wanting to sort things out about work, money, ministry, and relationships.  It’s a slow go and long haul. I suspect, most recovery journeys are like that.

Ironically, it’s an old hymn that I have avoided as too traditional and tired that is with me as I write today. The lyrics are: “I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses; And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses. And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own; and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”

“Learn of me,” Jesus always calls.

Giv’m heaven! – John Parker

Please let me know your thoughts.

 

Posted in Blog | Comments Off

Is your Life a Jigsaw Puzzle?

The following article is the one I first wrote for “The Chowchilla News Pastor’s Commentary by John Parker for January 13, 2015″   Plus, here is the link to my January 6, 2015 article.  When I first started blogging back around 2008 these articles were all I sent out.  Then I added articles about house and simple church around 2011. Today’s article includes both!

I write Sealegs for Success for my professional development clientele.  Many of you subscribe to it as well.

JIGSAW PUZZLES AND LIFE

Chowchilla Simple Church has an open forum format. Using 1 Corinthians 14:26 as our guide, we venture forth trusting that the Holy Spirit will guide and orchestrate the two hour gathering. Every week is exciting as the Lord prompts us in variety, helps us with orderliness, and reveals his theme.

Yesterday, Patrick surprised us with a beautiful, meaningful, and hilarious song he wrote last week about the problems created by alcohol abuse.  The line, “Don’t come home unless your three days sober,” got our attention!

Two weeks ago, Melody Nye, shared her story about jig-saw puzzles. We all loved it. Here it is for you.

“How Jigsaw Puzzles Are Like Life” by Melody Nye

“This is Jigsaw Puzzle Season for me.  I always receive jigsaw puzzles for Christmas, so January is pretty much all jigsaws all the time.    After years of doing these puzzles, I have put together a list of how Jigsaw Puzzles are like life itself.

*If the puzzle you are working on is minus a piece and you spend all of your time trying to fit something into that space, you will never get to the rest of the puzzle.

*If a you put a piece somewhere it does not belong because it looks “close enough” that piece will eventually have to be removed when the right piece comes along.  And every wrong piece is the right piece somewhere!

*A puzzle starts out a big jumbled mess that seems impossible, but one piece at a time it all falls into place.

*Sometimes you look at a piece and try to find a place for it, and sometimes you look at a place and try to find a piece for it.

*The puzzle usually starts with the frame, but the beauty is found in the inside.

*In preparation for solving, colors and shades are put in separate groups; however, until all the colors are connected, the puzzle is not complete.

*Before the puzzle ever gets to me, many people have put in a lot of work and talent to make it; and somebody went to a lot of trouble to jumble it up so I could have the chance to put it back together again.  (sometimes machines are the jumbler!)

*Sometimes you just need to step away from the puzzle and come back refreshed and with a new perspective.

*Many friends may enjoy helping you finish the puzzle; but a true friend will help when the puzzle is at it’s most difficult point.

*The more difficult the puzzle, the greater the feeling of accomplishment.”

Thank you, Melody!

For me, the Jigsaw Solving Scripture is: “The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will. We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:26–29)

Thank you, Lord, for putting us back together to be like Jesus!

Giv’m heaven! – John Parker

You are welcome to meet with John and the Connections Simple Church of Chowchilla at the Carty Center, 10 AM Sundays. Contact John at: john@simplechurchsuccess.net or (209) 564-7201.

Posted in Blog | Comments Off

PRODIGAL HOLY DAY! Read ASAP – Christmas Day Sensitive!

The Chowchilla News Pastor’s Commentary by John Parker for December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas! Read my article below right away, if you have time.  It will impact your sharing and caring this Christmas Day 2014!  -  John Parker

HOLY DAYS FOR PRODIGALS

“We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!” (Luke 15:32) These are Jesus’ final words explaining to the older, obedient son the reason for rejoicing over the return of his younger, wasteful brother whom we know as “The Prodigal Son.”

Prodigal is a term rarely used outside of that Bible story. Prodigus is its Latin root and it means “wasteful.”

May the following article (calltoeden.wordpress.com), from Karen, a Simple Church leader in Texas, soften your heart, as it did mine, for your holiday ministry.

“COME HOME”

“Dead leaves cling to my trees though December wind pulls and tugs.  Gray clouds hover close, hiding the cheering sun I’m so wanting to see.  Some of the neighbors have pierced the dreariness with colored lights and holly wreaths on doors ready for the Christmas season.

“How welcome the warmth and lights of home to draw us in out of the cold.  Hearts beat eager and step over the threshold into a place where we feel we belong.  Ah-hh, home!  We come home at Christmas.  We shake off the prodigal-proud independence, pierced with knowing that spending life on our own terms did not bring life to us as we thought it would.

“Father welcomes each of us home, to live again, beloved, just as before we strayed and went our own way.  Years I wandered, wasted on self-driven effort and wishes for life according to my will. But I have come home to You, my true Home.

“Tonight several of our adult children come for lasagna and fellowship with each other and God.  These prodigals too with a road of anguish and bitter heartbreak behind them come bravely ahead, come home.  O come, blessed Holy Spirit!

“It’s Eden essentials that we are really longing for—to find joy and meaning in our work and relationships, connect heart-true with ourselves, God and others, to enjoy our food and drink gratefully, to rest in knowing that God is here in this place and so, all is well, whatever troubles plague us.

“This Christmas season may we open our lives, hearts, homes to the prodigals making their way home, one step at a time, one moment at a time.  Let us receive unfailing love that we ourselves desperately need and then pour it out lavishly on others all around us.  Someone with a mask for their pains may soften and surrender any moment to Grace.  It may be your neighbor, your son’s co-worker,  your sister who seems to have no needs.  A prodigal heart may be firmly lodged behind the eyes of the person sitting across the table from you at supper time.  Love with all you are, and watch wonders unfurl.”  (calltoeden.wordpress.com)

Wonderful! Thank you, Karen!

In our LK10.com Simple Church leadership training network we talk about divine prevenience.  Prevenience implies that Our Father is keeping the home fire burning for us and drawing us home. Once home, warmed, and fed, our joy is to join him in watching for, and welcoming, the others just like us who are coming home too.

Holding these holidays up as holy-days we watch and listen for the Lord’s love opportunities toward prodigal hearts, including our own. Welcome home!

“Let’s go out and Giv’m heaven!” – John

Posted in Blog | Comments Off

Let it Shine!

Walt-Disney-Christmas 2014Let your light shine during these holidays.

Don’t let it get blown out.

Don’t hide it.

The darker the situation the more your light is needed.

Thankfully, we don’t have to go over board to make it shine.

That can lead to Anxiety, Annoyance, or even Anger…during the holidays. Yikes!

We can just be still and let it…Shine!

And that’ll be fine!

Companion Scriptures:

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14–16, The Message)

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2:14–15, TNIV)

“ Men and women who have lived wisely and well will shine brilliantly, like the cloudless, star-strewn night skies. And those who put others on the right path to life will glow like stars forever.” (Daniel 12:3, The Message)

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”” (Psalm 46:10, NLT)

Posted in Blog | Comments Off

Two are Always Praying for You

Two are Always Praying for You

Jesus and the Holy Spirit are always praying and interceding for us. This is great news for those of us who have prayer concerns.

First, Jesus is praying for us. Here are two passages that tell us about that.

1. “Because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:24–25)

A priest is to bring people to God and God to people. Jesus is so effective at this that “he is able to save completely those who come to God through him” because he “always lives to intercede” for us. Even when we aren’t sure anyone else is praying for us, we can know that Jesus is.

2. “Who then can condemn? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:34)

Condemnation comes primarily from the devil. Although we may hear it coming from the thoughts or words of others or from ourselves.

Jesus is always interceding against such condemnation and toward our knowing God’s love, acceptance, and forgiveness.  Great news!

Second, the Holy Spirit of God is praying for us. Here is the passage which teaches that.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know how to pray for what we need, but the Spirit itself intercedes for us through groanings too deep for words. And he (God) who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans 8:26–27)

Here are some  comforting thoughts about the Holy Spirit’s prayers for us.

  1. “The Spirit helps us in our weakness.” This means we can come to the Lord — feeling sad, confused, hurt, angry, upset, humiliated and weak — and we will receive help. It sounds like we may get less help when we feel strong, but even then, it looks like the Spirit helps us in those proud and self-delusional times.
  2. “We do not know how to pray for what we need.”  This blanket statement is for all of us – we don’t know how to pray. What a humbling relief. Now we can pray and know that the Spirit will translate our unknown-tongues-like prayers into language that God can go to work on and answer, as explained the next point.
  3. “The Spirit itself intercedes for us through groanings too deep for words.”  The explanation, of course, is “too deep for words,” but we get the idea that the Spirit is clarifying our confusing cries to God for us. Hallelujah!
  4. God “knows the mind of the Spirit.”  Translation complete. God and the Holy Spirit talk well together.
  5. “The Spirit intercedes…in accordance with the will of God.”  The final encouragement: the Spirit is aligning our prayers with God’s will and makes the following famous verse come true: “And 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)

Thank you, Lord Jesus, and Holy Spirit, for your prayers!

Giv’m heaven! – John Parker

 

 

Posted in Blog | Comments Off

25 years ago. What wall came down?

 

First watch Google’s Doodle movie the “25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall”

Then rejoice that we are in the same business with our Lord Jesus.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.” (Ephesians 2:14–17, TNIV)

Then sing “He is our peace who has broken down every wall!”

Blessed are the Peace Makers.

Shalom.

Posted in Blog | Comments Off

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?

Posted in Blog | Comments Off

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.

 

Posted in Blog | Comments Off

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

Posted in Blog | Comments Off