I Love Simple
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Image © Sally Weimer from GoodSalt.com

I love simple. Everything I own fits in the back of a small U-Haul truck with plenty of space left over. Still, about twice a year, I go through my apartment just looking for things to throw away to keep life simple and clutter free.

When I was a kid I loved Taco Bell. Back then they had 7 items on the menu board, and that was all I needed. I would choose the bean burrito. Today I walk into a Taco Bell, and their menu board is all cluttered, and confusing with so many new items offered. I still choose the bean burrito. I love simple.

I recently switched my homepage to Google. It is simple and not too busy like the other search engines. I love simple. Having a complicated life is not a status symbol to me and does not allure me.

Understanding how I love simple, you will understand how delighted I was when I discovered a concept I read in John 15:5. In the NIV I read, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit…” . Actually what delighted me is what I did not discover.  Jesus was not telling me that I needed a complicated, long planned out program and agenda in order to bear much fruit. It was really quite simple actually. I just need to live with Jesus and I will automatically bear fruit. Wow. What a concept!

It reminded me of when I came home from College in the Spring of 1985. One Friday evening a friend from church called, and told me a couple of other friends were meeting at one of their homes to study the Sabbath School lesson, and asked me to join them. One of them brought their sister, who was not a baptized Adventist. There was no agenda or schedule set in stone for our small study group. It was not even an “official” small study group. We just hung out together and studied the lesson, socialized, and even started hanging out on Saturday nights with a pizza, and/or movie or bowling. A few months later my friend’s sister was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist church. It wasn’t complicated. All we needed was to be living in Christ, in His word, and we bore fruit.

We don’t need a lot of complicated man-made programs when “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.”  (Ellen White, Gospel Workers, p. 363) How simple!

Simple does not mean there is no plan or method. It simply means the plan and method is simple.

“There is need of coming close to the people by personal effort. If less time were given to sermonizing, and more time were spent in personal ministry, greater results would be seen. The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the sorrowing and the bereaved comforted, the ignorant instructed, the inexperienced counseled. We are to weep with those that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice. Accompanied by the power of persuasion, the power of prayer, the power of the love of God, this work will not, cannot, be without fruit.” (Ellen White, Gospel Workers, p. 363)

Here I would like to add another word to “Simple.” Practical. Jesus’ method was simple and practical. When I go to Taco Bell, I don’t need a mumbo jumbo burrito with a million toppings on it. It just isn’t practical. A simple bean burrito is practical for me. Jesus spent most of His time, simply meeting the needs of the people. Most of His ministry was spent in simple one-on-one impromptu encounters like the woman at the well or the woman taken adultery. Whenever He did preach a sermon it was not a deep theological dissertation. It was simple and practical, and also brief.

I love the simplicity of Jesus in John 15:5, “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit.” One morning when I awoke, I picked up my Bible to read and spend time with Jesus. As soon as I started reading, I began to think to myself, “How can you just sit here and read when you need to see that church member in the hospital, and follow up on these leads for Bible studies, and plan that seminar that is coming up.” I could barely relax and read my Bible, thinking of all the things I needed to do, but I knew it was important to spend time with Jesus so I made myself do it. I wanted to abide in Him. Later when I got to the hospital, I prayed with the lady I had come to see, and as I left, the lady in the next bed, asked me to pray with her too. I prayed with her, and shared a verse and some comforting words God gave me to share with her. I gave her my number if she needed anything else and invited her to my church when she got out. Impromtu and simple, yet fruitful.

I love simple!

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I Love Simple — 28 Comments

  1. Amen William, I very much enjoy your weekly share as it is simple, straight to the point and you are 110% right, Jesus ministry was a pragmatic, direct, "too the point'’ ministry. Walking in Him daily, I pray for His strength and discipline to start with Him 1st thing and last thing each day, to seek His wisdom and strength to be 'pragmatic' like Him. And His motive is unconditional love, "simple"! God richly bless your ministry through this medium. It is very much appreciated!

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  2. Thank you very much. I needed to read these words of comfort and encouragement. I also love simple.

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  3. I agree William, simple is good and I believe we should always strive to keep it simple. But it doesn't always work out that way; there are times when things tend to get a bit sticky. Here are a couple of examples I can think of where simplicity gets more complicated:

    1. You set up a bible study with some non-Adventists, the first study goes well but for the second study one of the people decides to bring their pastor along. Question, doses the bible study change, if so how? Does it get more complicated?

    2. Some Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons set up a bible study with you because you felt it would be good to witness to them concerning your faith. Question, does the study change significantly from what you would normally do with un-churched people? How?

    In these kinds of scenarios we need to be flexible. In my opinion there is something to be said for Solomon's question in Proverbs, "How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?" (Prov 1:22 NKJV). And Peter admonishes us, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear" (1 Pet 3:15 NKJV). Of course the level and depth of the answers we give depends on the situation and our knowledge and understanding of the Bible. Besides, some people admittedly can't handle deep things but even they should be able to say something even if it is very simple and quite often their simple answer driven home by the Holy Spirit will do far more good than a complex one as Paul found out in Athens. So, I am not disagreeing with you and would certainly concur that in most cases the simpler the answer is the better but not always.

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    • An American little girl with her mom was in a Spanish speaking area where a person overheard the girl sharing Jesus in Spanish told her surprised mom who knew she never spoke Spanish.

      We need to join the prayer every 7am 7pm for the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit to perfect our character and equip us for the ministry.

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    • Thanks Tyler and William. We must remember the ministry is Jesus Christ as well as the community that is being built or designed within our hearts it all belongs to Christ. So nothing in him is complicated and if it gets cluttered then remember "He is a very Present help in trouble" (Ps 46:1). The Lord is always there. This is his ministry as he lives his life through us and we live our lives through him abiding in Christ. John 15:5 "For without me you can do nothing"... So I laugh and say don't hold a meeting without Jesus (Holy Spirit) presence to help. Lord Bless You and I pray your strength in Christ. Eph 3:16

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  4. Keep life simple a Great idea but when we recommend this great idea people think we are primitive and country. People wish to be complicated and sophisticated. But those who follow Jesus will be as simple as Jesus was on the earth. I wonder If Jesus were to have been born in a manger now, will they accept him? Let us continue to be simple.

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  5. Thank you everyone for your encouragement and prayers. Tyler I totally understand, we love simple, but life is not always that way. God designed it to be simple, but sin has made it complicated. I think Jesus loved the simplicity of the children after enduring the pharisees and rabbis.

    "Jesus was ever a lover of children. He accepted their childish sympathy and their open, unaffected love. The grateful praise from their pure lips was music in His ears, and refreshed His spirit when oppressed by contact with crafty and hypocritical men. Wherever the Saviour went, the benignity of His countenance, and His gentle, kindly manner won the love and confidence of children." (Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Page 511)

    Let me address your questions now. Number 1 is a good question! In all my years of giving Bible studies, while other pastors of different denominations have been invited, to date, only one has ever shown up. I was studying with a family near Fort Worth Texas. We stayed right on course with our regular studies. After all, we are studying the Bible, not me or any pastor. When we would read about the commandments in the New Testament, the other pastor would tell us it was not talking about the Ten Commandments. I then asked him to show us in the Bible which commandments the NT was talking about then. He responded, "I don't know, but its not the ten commandments." I was not defensive or argumentative, I just simply asked him to show me his opinion from the Bible and he could not. By the time the study was over, he had said "I don't know" so many times that I really felt sorry for him. Sadly, he never returned. I don't see any reason to change a topic if a pastor of another denomination shows up. Don't pastors and lay people of every denomination study the same Bible? Staying focused on the Bible keeps it simple. In one of my Bible evangelism classes I taught at our SDA church school last year, we had a student who was a Baptist. He enjoyed my class as we both agreed we weren't going by a "denomination." We both just want to go by the Bible.

    Your second question is a crucial and important question. Regardless if I am studying with churched or unchurched people, I start with the gospel presentation or plan of salvation. Church or unchurched, I don't assume people know the plan of salvation, and I want a Jesus and the cross to be the foundation of every study. Here is why I was explaining in one of my previous posts, why I do a study on the Gospel Presentation first, and then a study on the Scriptures second. When I do my presentation on the Scriptures, I want to get a decision from the participants that they want to go by the Scriptures and the Scriptures only. Once I have that commitment, if they bring up the Book of Mormon, or other manuscpripts, or traditions, I remind them they agreed we were going by the Bible. In all my years of giving Bible studies, only one time, did I finally have to tell a man we could no longer study togethher, becuase he kept breaking his promise to go by the Bible and kept intentionally and knowingly putting tradition over the Bible, and I had to tell him in a nice way that I am here to study the Bible and not tradition or man's teachings.It turns out to be simple really. Either we go by the Bible or we don't.

    yes, I hear you brother. I love simple, but life isn't always simple is it? Satan likes to complicate things, but the closer we get to simply going by the Bible the simplier it becomes.

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    • Would you consider the 2300 year prophecy to be simple? Or what about the seven trumpets in the Revelation of Jesus Christ?

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      • When it comes to presenting the Gospel I side with William but I also realize that much in our lives is not simple and I don't think all of it comes from sin. God's creation is enormously complex which is how God created it so I also agree with you Matthew.

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        • Life is so complicated, that we don't need to add to it. The more we complicate things, the greater the opportunity for satan to creep in. I love the "love simple" concept. I understand exactly what William is saying.

          I love to fellowship after church on Sabbath. I would spend many hours and $'s to prepare for my guest. It became a burden instead of fun. Today, I prepare a "simple" but delicious meal, keep cleaning to a minimum, and invite more than one guess so I don't have to do all the entertaining and it's much more delightful.

          Simple is best!!

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    • Thanks William,
      The Bible does bring unity and everyone together as we study the words of "Jesus Christ" together we learn from one another and get strength from each other as well as equip one another with encouragement to serve others for it's all about love. The Bible is God's love letter to us. He gave his only son to save us because he loves us so much. John 3:16 All he wants from us is to keep the love flowing to others. Acts 2:40-47 (Breaking Bread together) Simple.

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  6. Thanks for sharing your story. I love simple as well because it gives our Lord and Savior in our hearts an opportunity to work through us in reaching and ministering to the lives of others. I also like the verse "I Am the Vine - You are the Branches" John 15:5 Without Jesus Christ we can do nothing. So keeping it simple is best and take our time let him guide us into all truth as well as while on this journey take sometime to bless, give and serve others as we abide in Christ by reading his word, praying, fellowshiping with others as well as serving others. This is true love and just as you said fruit will come. (Bearing Good Fruit).

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  7. William, your post is so inspiring to me. We do tend to complicate things and use that as an excuse not to have a personal ministry going. It can be as simple as calling someone to pray for them and invite them to church. I for one will make it an intentional act from now on to share Jesus the simple way.
    Thanks and be blessed

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  8. The simplicity of the Bible Prophecy is the fact that God said it, and I believe it, and that's good enough for me. When I study it and find that the accuracy is so explicit that chart's can be drawn to illustrate it, I am awed at how easy it is to understand. I can even pull in my artist friend to help with illustrating the understanding that 7 days were at the Cross, not at the end of time. I look through Bible prophecy and see all through it the wisdom of GOD, solidifying the simplicity of the fact that when Christ comes in the air He will stay in the air and his toes will not touch this polluted earth for another thousand years, and ever. Because the spot where the Holy City comes in for a landing will be cleansed before it touches the earth. Bible prophecy makes it simple for me to understand that every eye shall Him when He comes because of the wounder of it all. As I have learned Bible Prophecy the amazing God we severe and His character is highlighted, giving me the fortitude to understand how God the Father will raise my father with Ellen Gould Harman White hours before Christ appears in a white cloud as our King of Kings and Lord of Lords, so he and she can be standing with the 144,000 when Christ calls His children from the grave to meet Him in the air. Why does he and she have the privilege of standing with the 144,000? Because they died while keeping the Seventh-day-Sabbath with the love of Jesus in their hearts, within the third angels message. Praise God Almighty, for He is Good, Awesome, and Wonderful. What is your desire today? Mine is to be standing when Christ comes in the air. Amen!
    Happy Sabbath, it is a good day for you to make that long awaited commitment to Christ, don't you think?

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  9. Dear William, my wife and I were blessed this weekend to attend a close friend of the family's (who are Chinese Singaporean), 34th wedding anniversary and sat next to a Norwegian gentleman. We exchanged pleasantry's during the course of the evening and I felt he was angling to share his love for Jesus. He is a Christian and we spent a fair portion of the evening sharing about Jesus. In essence, he told me that loving God is a straight-forward affair. At the end of the dinner, we exchanged contact details and we promised each other to re-connect and continue our sharing of Jesus love.
    Before we parted, he pulled out of his pocket a business card size card with the words of John 3:16 and Mathew 22:37-40 printed on it and his parting words were, our relationship with Jesus and our fellow man is really simply based on these 2 scripture readings. I immediately thought about this posting of yours; I LOVE SIMPLE. It was a heart-warming feeling.
    I am continually amazed at how the Holy Spirit leads us, to share and witness for Jesus. Amen!

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  10. William, your theme is true, I love simple too but I love the deep things equally. I've asked God many times why he had to make the Bible seemingly so complex, and why he inspired some of the holy men of God to write things that can take days, weeks, months, years to search out the intrinsic meaning. God tests and tries us upon the knowledge we possess, I praise him for his longsuffering toward me because I'm years behind where I should be in light of the knowledge he's given me, Im sure others can give the same testimony unfortunately.

    E.G. White says the Bible is inexhaustible, its not simple when looking at the whole, but I like the analogy of the puzzle to explain this. Have you ever put a 1000+ piece puzzle together before? In the beginning all the pieces are in a confused mess with no order, that's what my mind felt when I first looked at the Bible ten years ago, I was overwhelmed. But God in his patience showed me one piece here, another there, and which piece goes together with this one and the other. My truth puzzle is still in the process of being pieced together but now I can see the links of truth that make the entire picture, I think this can illustrate life's experiences as well as truths of the Bible. There are layers of truth that are being revealed now that makes the light of the midnight cry look dim, but only the wise will understand according to Daniel 12:10, to have the experience that will enable us to receive the full outpouring of the latter rain should be our sole purpose.

    I agree that the gospel is a simple message, I like the parable of the sower and the simplicity of the processes in nature that illustrate the themes of salvation and the great controversy, and then growing a garden and seeing those themes come to life.

    There is a danger in trying to make things simple though, if it's in reality not simple, like 1844, then we'll think we have it down and discontinue our search, when there are still veins to be discovered by earnest diligent searching. Proverbs 2:1-5. If it was so simple why did only fifty understand afterwards?

    Stand like the brave, with thy face to the foe.

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  11. Exactly Matthew. The gospel message and evangelism is simple but I also love a good mystery and we will be exploring the mystery of Godliness and His love for all eternity! I was mostly meaning our methods should be simple. Some people think simple and stupid are the same thing but they are not. We see this in a God who gives us simple as well as complex and even mysterious treasures in His Word.

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  12. William, I beleive that "simple" in methods, approach and message is the key when starting. How is it though, that many of our evangelism crusades and Bible studies take just the opposite approach? We often start with Daniel 2 prophecies as oposed to introducing people to Jesus and his love as shown through us. We recognize that not all Bible concepts (prophicies) are simple. However, when complicated Biblical concepts need to be presented (Daniel 2, 2300 days, etc), they can be presented in small simple steps so that they may be completely digested.

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  13. This is very inspiring. As i too love simple. May the Lord continue to bless your ministry. I believe we would be able to reach out more to others, if we demonstrate more what the love of God is about. Practical Christian living!

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  14. Vanessa,thank you for stressing the importance of practical Christian living. As a Bible Worker and Lay Pastor, my heros are not necessarily great preachers, but humble people who live like Jesus every day.

    Brother Hamp, I agree that some of the more complex prophecies need to be broken down into segments to be easily undestood. However I do believe the book of Daniel does that. Daniel 2 is a brief overview and a basically simple Bible prophecy which gets people's interests where they see where we are living in the days of the toes and that the next kingdom to come is God's kingdom. It is a simple way to let them see the Bible is true and Jesus is coming soon.

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