From Death to Life Market Rollout

You can pre-order From Death to Life right now, and it is expected to ship from most suppliers by 4/3/12:, googlebooks, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound,

Also,, (UK), and

May it bless you and glorify the Father and the Son!


Fullness in a Time of Famine

I don’t often post sermon notes here because they are available on .pdf at “Sue’s and Jeff’s Sermons” on my Blogroll. But I believe the Lord wants me to share the 3/4/12 sermon notes here, too:

The Source of Fullness

Jesus Christ’s gracious words (Luke 4:18-19) — Fullness! Provision! Freedom! Healing!

The response of those with whom He grew up — No rejoicing, but unbelief AND they tried to kill Him.

They were in a spiritual famine. They had a form of religion but denied its power. It was outward religion, no heart change. They needed what He had.

But they rejected Him and thus did not receive His fullness, His provision, His freedom, His healing.
Who receives His fullness in a time of famine? It is plain in the account of Elijah and the widow, in 1 Kings 17. But this message will also be a word to those who have received His fullness.

1 Kings 17:1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”

Elijah announces from the Lord that there will be a famine in the land. He tells the king of Israel, “there shall be neither dew nor rain these years,” except by Elijah’s word, because he stands before the living Lord.

I stand today before the Lord, on your behalf.

— No food (famine) because of no rain because of the sin of Israel (worshiping the golden calves of Jeroboam’s reign)

— So they went after Baal, false god, fertility god, sensuality, man-made religion

— They thought Baal would make them prosperous like their neighbors, but the Lord would have prospered them if they had only turned, repented, and cried out to the LIVING Lord, the God of Israel.

They added sin to sin:

Isaiah 30:1   “Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the LORD,
“Who execute a plan, but not Mine,
And make an alliance, but not of My Spirit,
In order to add sin to sin;

— No food because of no rain because of the sin of Israel.

Jesus says it is the same in the church.

— Using worldly business techniques to try to gather in people to their buildings. Business is our Baal. It is a form of unbelief. Again, look at Isaiah 30:1.

— The church has married the world, just as Ahab married Jezebel and legitimized Baal worship in Israel.

No rain in the church

Not even dew! The Holy Spirit is absent, as unwelcome in many churches as Jesus was in His hometown.

Jesus stands at the door, knocking from the outside (Revelation 3:20).

The Holy Spirit is resisted, opposed (Acts 7:51).

No food in the church

What is the nature of the famine?
Amos 8:11   “Behold, days are coming,”declares the Lord GOD,
“When I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water,
But rather for hearing the words of the LORD.

— There is no spiritual food in much of the church. Not a famine for natural bread or natural water, but the bread of the Word, the washing of the water, its cleansing power., and the oil of the Holy Spirit.

— The Word is available but unheeded and disobeyed (not “heard”).

— The Word is not being proclaimed in many churches.

— Messages are based on “topics” but no scriptures except perhaps at the beginning, and often out of context (i.e., no need to repent from sin to receive the promises of God) . . . . OR

— Messages are based on the Word but without insight and light

— Sin “winked at”

— So sin in the church, no spiritual rain, no cleansing by the washing of the water of the Word, no spiritual food, no bread in the house, no Holy Spirit, and the church runs after business techniques to bring people in. Sin is added to sin.

2 The word of the LORD came to him, saying, 3 “Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith (SEErith}, which is east of the Jordan. 4 “It shall be that you will drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and lived by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he would drink from the brook. 7 It happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.

The Lord commanded Elijah not to stay with Ahab in Israel.

He was to hide himself at a brook by the Jordan (east), a place where the Lord would supply His spiritual needs.

The Lord provided fullness in a time of famine. At no time did Elijah lack. The Holy Spirit was upon him.

The Lord provides fullness in a time of famine to those who abide in Him, who eat His Word and obey Him out of the very love of God that has filled their hearts to overflowing, who are filled with His Holy Spirit.

Many true believers, those born from above and Spirit-filled, full in a time of famine, have left their famine-stricken churches at God’s command. I speak to them now.

You are set apart, waiting for a word from Him on what you are to do next. Meanwhile, you receive spiritual provision from Him as you abide in Him and pray and listen like Elijah.

But I believe the Lord will command you to move, so that you may bring word of His fullness in a time of famine to others, and so that you may intercede in prayer for the church as a whole.

1 Kings 17:8   Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”

The Lord said to Elijah, “Arise!” I believe He is saying that to you today!

Go to the place that He commands. It will be a place that is in famine, that looks like it has little life left, an unlikely place.

[Zarephath was on the coast, in Sidon, where Jezebel, the wife of Ahab king of Israel, came from. It was through that marriage that Baal worship was legitimized in Israel in Elijah’s day. What an unlikely place to send him!]

But the Lord has commanded a widow to provide for you. That’s even more unlikely than going to a place where Baal is worshiped, since widows were generally poor.

But you know He is faithful, and it will be done, even though it seems the most unlikely place for provision.

10 So he arose and went to Zarephath, and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Please get me a little water in a jar, that I may drink.” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.”

You obey and go.

You will come to the place He has called you to, and even before you enter, you find a humble one bent low to gather.

You know this unlikely one is the one. You will humble yourself before her and ask her for provision, even though she appears to be quite spiritually destitute.

12 But she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die.”

The first words from her mouth show that she sees that the LORD is your God. She senses His presence in you. She is able to see you have been with Jesus, Son of the living God, not the dead false gods of her land.

Fullness in a time of famine comes to those who recognize bearers of Jesus’ good news as having His character and presence.

But she has only a small measure of spiritual provision to sustain her and her son for a very brief time, and then she is sure they will die of spiritual famine.

She doesn’t know God’s plan for her yet. But the Lord will speak through you to her!!

13 Then Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. 14 “For thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain on the face of the earth.’”

You will tell her to go and prepare a spiritual meal for herself and her son, but FIRST to prepare and share with you the last of her provision.

Now you announce God’s plan, in the midst of spiritual famine: If she will believe and obey the word of the Lord given through you, the Lord will provide her with an inexhaustible source of bread and oil. She will have fullness in a time of famine!

He will fill her with His Word and His Holy Spirit so that she will never be hungry again!

Matthew 5:6   “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied [filled].

John 7:37   Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink . . .”

15 So she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke through Elijah.

She steps out in faith, obeys and prepares and shares her spiritual provision for you.

Those who receive fullness in a time of famine do the same.

In return, the Lord fills her with the Holy Spirit (the oil) and an unlimited supply of the Word of God (the flour).

There will be no lack, no exhaustion of spiritual resource, for it is the word of the LORD and He has done it.

John 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

And because you have obeyed also, He will faithfully provide for you just according to His Word to you. You have fullness in a time of famine. Yours will be fullness of BLESSING, since you are already filled with the Holy Spirit (see Romans 15:29)! He will bless your obedience, you will have showers (downpours) of blessing (See Ezekiel 34:26)!

As He has promised in Verse 9, you will receive your provision through her, the unlikely one who was so destitute. She has fullness in a time of famine.

You will have fellowship in the Spirit and will eat of His Word and share His life with each other.

You will remain with her and her son until the Lord calls you back to where you began, back to that which you came out of, to reveal that God is the only true God, and reveal the falseness of the god of business, just as Elijah did at Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18).

You will go back to the church the Lord commanded you to leave and tell them that the rain is coming (18:41).

And in obedience to the Lord, you will go and crouch down as a woman giving birth, put your face between your knees and remain in intercession until the rain of God’s Spirit comes to the whole church (18:42)!

I tell you, if you will intercede for the whole church with Jeff and me continually, there will come a cloud that is the size of a man’s hand (18:44), and life-giving rain, a great outpouring of the Spirit, will revive the church.

There will be water to cleanse and give life, the Bread of life, the Word of God and the oil of the Holy Spirit in the church once again!


1 Kings 17:1   Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”

Luke 4:25 “But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; 26 and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.

We are now in a time when God is not giving spiritual provision to those in the church who sin against Him. Remember, Jesus is on the outside, knocking.

Again, the sin of Israel in the days when Jesus walked the earth:
— Unbelief, simply not believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
— Reliance on a form of religion while denying its heart-transforming power (the Holy Spirit’s miracle-working dunamis)
— Outward obedience only, resulting in hearts so hardened they were not able to recognize God in the flesh.

Where are you?

Are you sinning as Israel did when Jesus walked the earth? When Elijah prophesied?

Then repent! It is the year of the Lord’s favor! He will give you His fullness if you turn to Him and ask Him to forgive you and change your heart.

Are you humble toward the Lord?

Do you abide in Him?

Do you eat His Word?

Do you recognize bearers of Jesus’ good news? Do you see His character and presence in them?

Do you step out in faith, obey and share what little you have with the Lord?

Do you obey Him?

Are you filled with the Holy Spirit?

Then God will give you fullness in this present time of famine.

Are you a Spirit-filled Christian who has gone out of a famine-stricken church? I believe God is calling you to arise and be the announcer of God’s fullness to those in famine.

I also believe He is calling you to crouch and pray, to intercede for the church as a whole, until you see that cloud as small as a man’s hand, until life-giving rain comes!


What happens when we love Jesus Christ? We obey Him. What does He say will happen then? When we ask of the Father, He will give us ANYTHING! Those are shouting words — they’re worth a shout of joy!!! Listen to Jesus’ words:

“In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you . . . In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father.” (John 16:24, 26 and 27.)

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15.)

What is it to keep Jesus’ commandments? It is to love God and your neighbor (Matthew 22:37-39) with God’s actual love poured out in your heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). That’s the only way you and I  can keep them. His love must be in our hearts — not our human love we were born with, but God’s actual love. You and I must ask Him to pour His love out in our hearts, filling them to overflowing. Then you and I are able to love as He commands, and we obey the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount without any struggle — all the Law and Prophets (God’s entire revealed will) hinge on having God’s actual love in our hearts (Matthew 22:40). Then we are able to ask the Father for anything and He will give it to us. Then we are asking in the same spirit as Christ, having God’s actual love in our hearts. That is what it is to ask “in My name.” And the Father will give us ANYTHING we ask for because if we love Him with His love, we want only what He wants!

If you do not obey Jesus, you reveal that you do not love Him with God’s actual love. If His love was in your heart, you would obey, says Jesus. Because you do not have His love in your heart, the Father will not give to you, because you are not asking in Jesus’ name, even if you say “in Jesus’ name” at the end of your prayer. You do not ask in the same spirit as Christ because you don’t have God’s actual love in you. YET!!! There’s still time to do an about-face. There’s still time to turn to God and ask Him to pour out His love in your heart. While it is still today, repent! Because you are my neighbor and I love you with God’s actual love, I speak these words to you — they are words of life!

The “Business” of the Church

I believe this is a word from the Lord to His church, and it is given in the Spirit of His love, as discipline. If your child is doing something that will harm him, you discipline him because you love him. So consider this to be a loving message of discipline from Him to His people.

To the grief of the Holy Spirit, much of the church has become a business. It uses demographics to determine where to set up shop for maximum income, defines success by corporate standards (numbers) rather than the Lord’s (Christlikeness), and delivers entertainment and a self-satisfying message to its audience in the pews. It is incorporated, assimilated, and will be humiliated. The church, swamped with sin, is relying on man’s methods to shore itself up, but there is no strength in it — not God’s strength.

The Lord spoke through Isaiah, warning Israel about the same thing. They did not want to hear about the Holy One of Israel, but wanted smooth things spoken to them (Isaiah 30:10-11). Tradition has it that Isaiah ultimately was sawn in two for speaking God’s hard but loving warnings to His people, warnings like this:

Is. 30:1-3   “Woe to the  rebellious children,” declares the LORD,
    Who execute a plan, but not Mine,
    And make an alliance, but not of My Spirit,
    In order to add sin to sin;
    Who proceed down to Egypt
    Without  consulting  Me,
     To take refuge in the safety of Pharaoh
    And to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
    Therefore the safety of Pharaoh will be  your shame
    And the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation.”  

Many in the church seem not to realize that in seeking man’s methods, they are rebelling against the Lord. Rebellion is sin. They believe corporate methods are good and can be used for the kingdom. But they execute a plan that is not the Lord’s plan. The Lord’s plan requires that we submit our entire selves to God as living sacrifices, so He can purify our hearts. That’s not a popular message. Most churchgoers want to be catered to, like in the business world. Many churches have fashioned themselves into a business image, and the patrons in the pews expect service. Worship services are fashioned to entertain, so patrons in the pews believe they can give “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” to what is offered.

But what is God’s plan? What is the true business of the church? That our gatherings be for Him and not us, to thank Him for His love and to work the works of Jesus Christ and greater (John 14:12). Our gatherings are to be times to be exhorted and encouraged to press on toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. We gather and then fan out in order to serve and glorify Him by going out in His power and not man’s — to serve rather than to be served. That’s not a popular message, either.

We make alliances with the corporate world rather than making an alliance that is of His Spirit. Many leaders read books written by businessmen on everything from leadership to marketing, rather than consulting the Lord. Some of my courses toward ordination were of this ailment-advancing ilk. I did what I had to in order to be ordained, but then said to the Lord, “That’s what man says, but what do You say, O Lord?” And the Lord said, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” In other words, “Make yourself soft and pliable, and then wrap yourself around Me like a glove over a hand. Then My desires will become your desires. When you are filled with My Spirit, I will make you so much like Me, your Teacher, that you will look like Me to this dark world and those in the darkness will be drawn to My light in you.” That’s the business of the church, dear brothers and sisters! God’s plan is for all mankind to be saved. How does Jesus Christ say that will happen? By waiting in the city until we are clothed from power on high, when we are filled with His Holy Spirit. Then we will make an alliance that is of His Spirit. That is the business of the church — her only business.

For those in the church who continue to pursue man’s ways, the Lord says through Isaiah to us, as clearly as He spoke to Israel:

Is. 31:1-3   Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
    And rely on horses,
    And trust in chariots because they are many
    And in horsemen because they are very strong,
    But they do not look to the  Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD!
    Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster
    And does not retract His words,
    But will arise against the house of evildoers
    And against the help of the workers of iniquity.
Now the Egyptians are men and not God,
    And their horses are flesh and not spirit;
    So the LORD will stretch out His hand,
    And  he who helps will stumble
    And he who is helped will fall,
    And all of them will come to an end together.  

Corporate ways look so good to many in the church! Look how strong they are, and how many people they are able to attract! Their ideas are so wise! But God is wiser, and He will bring disaster to those who trust in and rely on man’s methods rather than God’s. These corporate folks are men and not God, their strength is man’s and not the Spirit’s. As He did in Israel, so He will do now, not because He is a “mean” God, but because He will do whatever is necessary to make His people stop going their way and return to His. He loves His church THAT much! I pray we return to Him now, while the axe is laid at the root, before the Lord wields it to cut off that which is not of His Spirit.

Open Heart Surgery

Matt. 13:15  For this people’s heart has become calloused;  they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn, and I would heal them.’

Matt. 13:19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

Matt. 13:23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

This morning in my time with the Lord, the Holy Spirit put a speed bump on “understand with their hearts.” That means it’s time to slow down and meditate on that phrase, turning it over in my mind and asking the Spirit to show me what Jesus means when He quotes Isaiah 6:10 here.

To understand is to gain insight, to see beyond the literal words, to see the spirit behind what Jesus says and what all the scriptures say. The Jewish leaders of the day, to whom Jesus was referring, had calloused and closed hearts that kept them from gaining insight into: 1) the words He was speaking to them, and 2)  the Tenakh (the Old Testament). They pored over the scriptures, but could see only the surface. That’s why they focused on doing the letter of the law (outward religion, following the rules) and not the spirit of it (inward religion, religion of the heart, doing God’s will because His love has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit). They followed the outward rules, dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” but completely missing God’s intent — heart change — just as the Lord spoke to Isaiah.

I used to be like the Jewish leaders (and I think there are many in the church today who are like I was). My heart was dull. It had a thick, tough coating on it, so the words of Jesus and all of the scriptures in the Bible bounced off it like a ball bounces off a stone wall. My ears didn’t heed Jesus’ words; I heard the sound of them but didn’t do what He said. My eyes were shut so I couldn’t perceive and respond to the truth that He spoke. I was like the man who looks at his face in the mirror, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. I’d look at the Word, go away and immediately forget what it was trying to show me about myself. I wasn’t a doer of the Word, but merely a forgetful hearer (see James 1:24-25).

Because my heart and ears and eyes were in that terrible condition, the Enemy came and snatched away the seed of the word that was sown by my pastor. Because I heard the word of the kingdom but did not have a heart that understood and gained insight and saw beyond the literal words, I did as the Jewish leaders did. I focused on trying to follow the rules.

The rules (the Law) are a tutor to lead us to Christ (Galatians 3:24) The experience of  trying to follow the rules and failing, trying to follow the rules and failing, trying to follow the rules and failing, is meant to lead us to total desperation. The Holy Spirit convicts us that we are failing. He exposes our failure so we’ll stop our outward religion, do an about-face and seek an inward change that will give us hearts that have insight and yield to God’s will as naturally as breathing.

How does that inward change happen? Jesus said to me, and says to you, “If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:13.)

When you ask to be filled with the Spirit, Jesus will perform open heart surgery, just as He did in me, taking out your compacted beside-the-road heart and replacing it with a good and fertile heart that hears His word and understands it. He will take away your stony heart that balks and is offended at His words, and replace it with a heart of flesh that beats in time with His and that responds, Yes, Lord! to every word He says.

Then, as Jesus says in Matthew 13:23, you’ll bear and act and do and produce fruit many times over. What fruit? The fruit of His Spirit which will be a witness that He is at work in you — His love, His joy, His peace, His patience, His kindness, His goodness, His faithfulness, His gentleness, and His Spirit’s control (Galatians 5:22-23). The fruit you bear, the witness of His work in you, will draw many people to Him, they will be saved, they will seek that inward change of heart and His work in them will make them His witnesses, too.