March 12, 2018

Why Your Town is so Hard

Across the nation, pastors and the members of their churches have convinced themselves that the

reason that they are not reaping a spiritual harvest that could be called “plenteous” is that their town is hard, and unusually unresponsive to evangelism.  It is as if we think that souls could be won and churches could be built some places, but not in our town.  It is true that for various reasons response to the Gospel differs from place to place.  We cannot expect that evangelism will produce the same exact results from house to house, individual to individual, and even from city to city.  Yet we are still looking at promises from our Lord that “the fields…are white already to harvest” (John 4:35), and that we can expect to “bear much fruit” (John 15:1-8), based not on any favorable circumstances in the world, but rather on the continuing realities of Christianity.  Paul expressed hope that he would indeed bear much fruit from evangelism in Rome, a city he had never visited before (read Romans 1:13-15).  “I am sure that, when I come unto you [he wrote to the Roman Christians], I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ” (Romans 15:29).  To the church at Colossae he said that “the truth of the gospel…is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it” (Colossians 1:5-7).  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is powerful, and brings results wherever it is spread, and to blame the fields for the failure of the harvest is not consistent with the Word of God (read again Matthew 9:37-38).  Actually there are other reasons why we are having trouble reaching people.  It is not that our town is too hard to reach.


In Jerusalem the Christians were accused of saturating the city with the Gospel.  The authorities complained to the apostles, “Ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine” (read Acts 5:17-32).  This should be the goal of people who were commanded by Jesus to “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).  The fact is that most cities that are labeled by the church as Gospel-hardened are really Gospel-ignorant.  In Ephesus (read the story in Acts 19 and 20), the Gospel was spread “publicly, and from house to house” so that “all that dwelt in [the province of] Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus” in two years’ time.  What about your town?  Has every home received an evangelistic visit?  Has the city been covered with Gospel literature?  How many evangelistic meetings were held in the last year to which believers were actively urging the attendance of unbelievers?  Is witnessing a part of the pastor’s life, and does his example, encouragement, and instruction help his members be soul winners?  The truth is that very little spreading of the Gospel is going on in your town, and there is something you can do about it.  It isn’t the town that’s so hard; the problem is that the church is not really evangelistic.

Our witness to Christ is supposed to be given in the power of the Spirit of God.  The Lord Jesus made this clear before He went back to Heaven.  Remember that on the Mount of Olives, His parting words were, 

“Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
(Acts 1:8)

In the book of Luke we are told that we must preach “repentance and remission of sins…among all nations,” but that in order to accomplish this mission, we must be “endued with power from on high,” referring to the power of the Spirit (read Luke 24:46-49).  Speaking of spreading the Gospel, Simon Peter testified, “We are witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him” (Acts 5:32).  The night before He died on the cross, the Lord introduced His disciples to the new ministry of the Holy Spirit which would begin on the day of Pentecost.  He would live within them, and would act as their “Comforter” (Helper), giving them the power to obey the commands of Christ (see John 14:15-17). He explained His role in our witnessing with these words:
“When the Comforter is come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with Me…It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you [believers]; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.  And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment…”
(John 15:26-27 and 16:7-8)

The Holy Spirit in believers will reprove the world and prepare lost men to receive the Savior.  With the Holy Spirit testifying to the truth as we witness for Jesus, sinners will see their need of Jesus.  In this way we can expect to bear fruit (read again John 15:1-8).
Now every Christian got the Spirit when He believed in Jesus (Ephesians 1:13), but every believer, thus sealed with the Holy Spirit, is commanded to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-21).  That happens when we surrender to obey the Lord Jesus, absolutely (see John 14:15-17 and 15:14).  Before fulfilling our horizontal duty to evangelize, we must address the vertical issues we have with God, just as the first Christians in the days before Pentecost.  When we line up with Jesus and are thus abiding in Him we are filled with the Spirit for evangelism and our witness is made effective.

Spirit-filled Christians have power in their witness, and men will saved (look at Acts 4:31-33).  God gave us all we need to meet the needs of our town (Luke 11:1-13), but the town seems hard when sins and rebellion keep us from being filled with the Spirit.  We need to get on our knees before we start blaming our town.  That’s what the first Christians did.


Often we fail to fix spiritual problems because we fail to take into account activity in the invisible world.  We are told, 

“Stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day…”
(Ephesians 6:11-13)

Not every spiritual problem is caused by Satan, but there is a hierarchy of evil powers active in this world that must be confronted by anyone who wants to do any good for God.  We must “resist the devil” for him to “flee” from us (see James 4:7 and First Peter 5:8-11).  Sometimes the problem in our town is in the invisible world.  Perhaps we are opposed in our work of evangelism by satanic principalities and powers.  Thankfully, the Lord Jesus Christ defeated the devil and his angels (Ephesians 1:15-23), and we can stand against them successfully in the authority of our Lord.  And we must do it in order to reach a community blinded by the god of this world.  In prayer, let’s bind them, fight them, cast them out, and bring them to defeat.  It can be done, and generally must be done before the truth can advance.


Persistence is an essential element in winning spiritual victories.  Have you run across the scriptures that call on us to persist and not give up (such as Matthew 15:22-28, Luke 11:5-8, and Luke 18:1-7)?   In the New Testament, the work of evangelism is compared to the work of farming.  We plow and sow and water and reap, and it is God that gives the increase.  Farming requires patience and persistence (be sure to read Matthew 13:1-9, Mark 4:26-29, and First Corinthians 3:6-9).  We must stay at it if we are to reach our town: stay at evangelizing, stay at praying, stay at seeking the Lord, stay at letting God lead us, stay at living for Jesus, and stay at believing for results.  When our church persists in such things, it looks like the church in Acts! Often a town gets the reputation of hardness because nobody has stayed at it long enough to reap a harvest.  The city of Ephesus finally saw the triumph of the Gospel only after several years of sowing the seed in the power of the Spirit.  Read the story again in Acts 19:1-20.  Somebody will have to persist in the important work of getting the love of Jesus to everyone in your town, and sticking with people until they are made into His disciples!

It never helps to make excuses for the lack of results, especially when the Bible promises them.  Let every preacher and every witness for Christ focus scripturally on spreading the Gospel, learning to be filled with the Holy Ghost, standing against the powers of darkness, and persisting in the work until we see a powerful, soul-saving work done in our own town.

Dr. Rick Flanders
Revival Ministries

February 5, 2018

Ancient Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus, by Dr. Rick Flanders

Anyone with a Bible can verify the most amazing facts of human history, as well as the foundational truths of what we can know about God and eternity.  He can do this by examining the prophecies made in the Old Testament scriptures, indisputably written centuries before He was born, that were fulfilled in the coming and ministry of Jesus.  To see this astounding and unmistakable fulfillment of propheciesis to prove not only that He is the promised Savior, but also that the Bible is (what it claims to be) the very word of God, and that there really is a God.  Take a Bible and take a look at these predictions and see how Jesus fulfilled them.  There are many more such Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament the portion of the Bible written before Jesus came, but those listed here can be classified as outstanding examples of prophecies of Christ and were written and read long before Jesus lived.

Promises of a Savior begin to come all the way back in the garden of Eden, where Adam’s defiance of the Creator brought about the curse of sin that has plagued mankind ever since.  In the book of Genesis, written by Moses more than fourteen centuries before Christ, God tells the serpent that tempted the first man and woman, and precipitated their fall (the words are recorded in Genesis 3:15),

“I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
This prophecy says that the woman’s seed will bruise or crush (a fatal blow is implied) the serpent’s head, while the serpent himself will injure the heel of her seed.  First of all, it is strange, and perhaps unique to this passage, to refer to the offspring of a woman with the metaphor “seed.”  That term is nearly always a reference to the male part in human reproduction.  It is curious to refer to the seed of a woman.  Bible students infer that this is a reference to the virgin birth of Christ, and that the bruising of the Seed refers to the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary.  The Seed will eventually destroy the serpent and undo the damage he has done.

No matter how one decides to interpret the words of Genesis 3:15 (which does apply to the “enmity” between people and snakes, but also seems to have a deeper meaning), a reading of the rest of the Hebrew scriptures (the Old Testament) makes it clear that the sacred writings focus on a particular linking of seeds down through the years.  It is the family line that will produce the Savior.
Eve had many sons and daughters, but “in process of time,” she and Adam brought forth a son they named Seth (read Genesis 4 and 5).  His name means “appointed,” for “God, saith she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel” (the righteous son who had been murdered by his evil brother Cain).  Clearly, Eve took seriously the promise of her “seed” given in Genesis 3.
In Genesis 12, a descendent of Seth through Noah and Shem, named Abraham is given a promise that will bring blessing to “all families of the earth” (read it in verses 1 through 3).  This covenant with Abraham will be kept with his son Isaac “and with his seed after him” (follow Genesis 12:7, 17:19, 22:16-18).  Abraham had two sons, but the blessing was bestowed on Isaac (look at Genesis 17:19 again, and then chapter 21, verses 1 through 12).  Isaac ended up having two sons also, but God ordained that the blessing would be put upon Jacob and his seed (read Genesis 25:20-26, 27:28-29, 28:1-4, and 28:12-14), rather than on his brother Esau and his family line.  Jacob had twelve sons, and before his death the patriarch clearly designated his son Judah (not really one of his most upright sons) as the one who will inherit the blessing of the promised seed (see Genesis 49:8-10).  Up to this point in the scriptures, the focus is on one family, the family of the promised seed.  From Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, to Judah, the narrative finds its emphasis.  Other family lines related to the patriarchs are summed up and dismissed at a certain point (Ishmael in Genesis 25, and Esau in Genesis 36).  Then the story returns to the line of the Seed.  As Genesis closes, the narrative turns to the growth of Jacob’s family into a nation as they lived and suffered in bondage in Egypt.  The subject of the promised conquering Seed is obscured for a while until it is brought up again in the books of Ruth and First Samuel.  The scenes move to Bethlehem, and the family followed is that of Jesse and his son David.
In Second Samuel 7, we are told that the promised “seed” is to be that of David (verses 12, 16, and 25 through 29).  The Messiah is to be the son of Jesse and David, according to the prophets (Isaiah 11:1-5, for instance), and the New Testament verifies that Jesus was a descendent of that family.

The royal line of David (kings of Israel and Judah) is listed in the first chapter of the New Testament scriptures, Matthew 1.  Notice that this passage is called the “book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham,” referring back to similar designations in Genesis 2:4, 5:1, 10:1, 11:10, and 25:19.  Notice that the royal family line includes “Jechonias” (Jeconiah or Jehoiachin, verse, referring back to Second Kings 24:8, First Chronicles 3:16, and Second Chronicles 36:8) who is cursed in Jeremiah 22:28-30 with the words, “no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David.”  This means, among other things, that a man in the royal line of David cannot be the Messiah.  Joseph was in that royal line, and provided Jesus with his official, legal family, but of course he was not His biological father, cursed with this curse.  The family line of Mary is given in Luke 2 and also goes back to David, but not through his kingly son Solomon.  The biological line of Jesus through Mary came down through an otherwise unknown son of David, Nathan (see Luke 3:31 and compare Matthew 1:6), and was not cursed, so that He can one day rule from the throne of David as the Messiah (Luke 1:3-32).

When God delivered Israel out of bondage in Egypt, He gave the nation laws that they were to observe as they settled in the land He had promised them.  Many of these laws were rules of religious observance and ritual unique to the nation of Israel.  In the ceremonial law (given to us in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), we find a number of references to Jesus in type and symbol.

The animal sacrifices that were offered in the Tabernacle of Congregation and in the Temple at Jerusalem all carried the idea that atonement for sin can be made by the sacrifice of the innocent for the sins of the guilty.  Animals were sacrificed with their blood shed out to picture the atonement for sin provided in the sacrifice of the One Who would be “the Lamb of God , which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29-34).  Read the very interesting instructions concerning the offering of certain sacrifices which are found in Exodus 12:1-27, Leviticus 1:1-9, and Leviticus 16.  The animal to be sacrificed is to be a male in the prime of life, totally unblemished, and he shall bear the iniquities of the people, and die to make atonement for them, with his blood being shed and sprinkled.  Of course, all of these sacrifices speak of Jesus dying for our sins on the cross.
The collection of divinely-inspired songs for use in worship by the Israelites, make up the longest book in the Bible, the book of Psalms.  Many of them had David as their human author whose seed was to bring the Savior (see Second Samuel7:12-13, 18-29) and refer very clearly to the coming Savior.  Any objective reader of them can see that the references are to Jesus, Who came centuries after they were written.

Psalm 2 (written by David—look at Acts 4:24-26—about a thousand years before Jesus was born) says that God’s “anointed” (Hebrew, Messiah) will rule as King from Zion (Jerusalem), that He will be the Son of God, and that “they that put their trust in him” will be blessed.
Psalm 16 (also written by David) clearly indicates that Messiah will rise from the dead.  The one praying in the words of this song says that “my flesh also shall rest in hope” because God was not going to “suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (decay).  Peter used Psalm 16 on the Day of Pentecost to prove that Christ, the son of David, must rise from the dead.

Psalm 22 (again written by David) presents a detailed description of the crucifixion of Christ a millennium before it happened.  The opening line is “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” which, of course, is what Jesus was heard to say from the cross.  Verses 7 and 8 say, “All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him,” which is just how the religious leaders mocked Him while He was dying.  Verses 12 through 15 (read them) describe in detail what we know happens physically to a person suffering in a crucifixion (a means of execution not even invented until long after the psalm was written and began to be sung).  Verse 16 speaks of the hands and feet being pierced.  Verses 17 through 18 describe the famous casting of lots by the soldiers for the vesture of Jesus.  Verse 15 says that the Victim will be “brought…into the dust of death.”  In verses 19 through 21 He cries to God for deliverance, and God hears His prayer.  Beginning in verse 22, it is obvious that He has risen from the dead (read through verse 25).  Verses 26 through 30 say that the need of the meek will be met by what this One has done, and that those who will be saved will be “accounted to the Lord for a generation.”  The psalm ends with these words (verse 31):
“They shall come, and will declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.”
Here is a reference to the preaching of the cross by Christians throughout the world.  “They,” this “generation” of the saved, “will declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done THIS”: died by crucifixion and rose again to give us eternal life (verse 26—“your heart shall live for ever”).   Psalm 22 is one of the most remarkable examples of fulfilled prophecy the world has ever seen, and it focuses on Calvary!

The prophet Isaiah preached to the errant and hypocritical people of Judah during the reigns of four kings.  His inspired book was written seven centuries before Jesus, but he very clearly spoke of Him.  In chapter seven, he tells the royal house of David that a special child will be born in their family, and would be destined to rule the world and provide salvation to God’s people.

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Read chapter 7, verses 1 through 16)
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”  (Read chapter 9, verses 1 through 7)
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse [the father of David], and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD…” (Read chapters 11 and 12)
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, and he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” 

(Read chapters 52 and 53, and see that the Servant of the Lord, the Child grown up, would offer Himself a sacrifice for the sins of His people; the references to Jesus and to Calvary are evident)

In the book of Daniel (written more than 500 years before Christ) we meet a Jew that was taken captive when the Babylonians conquered Judah and destroyed the city of Jerusalem.  Daniel, and three of his companions, were trained and placed into a class of public servants that were called “the wise men.”  As a wise man, Daniel got to serve the ruler of the known world as a counsellor.  In that capacity he was given by God the prophetic gift and gave to the emperor some of history’s most amazing prophecies, several of which relate to Jesus.

In chapter 2, you can find where he predicting centuries ahead of time the rise and fall of each of the major world empires of ancient times: the Babylonian, the Persian, the Greek, and the Roman.  In that amazing prophecy, he refers to coming of the kingdom of heaven.  It will come some time after the first four have fallen, and when the fourth one (the Roman Empire) shall be divided.  The divided Roman Empire will end up as a collection of kingdoms, some strong and some weak, but never re-united until the Kingdom of God comes (look over verses 40-44).  Of course this prediction describes precisely what has happened in Europe over the centuries since the fall of Rome.
In chapters 7 through 9 we read again about the coming of Christ and His Kingdom, and even find an indication of the time when He will appear.  Find that in Daniel 9:24-26 (which refers to both the first and the second coming of Christ).  This prophecy and others were the basis of the visit of the “wise men” to find the Messiah in Matthew 2.  They realized that the time had come, based on their study of the writings of the great wise man, Daniel.

More details of the life of Jesus are given by the prophets as they spoke of Christ as the coming King of Israel and Ruler of the world, as well as the promised Savior.

He will be born in Bethlehem.  “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).
He will come into the city riding an ass’s colt.  “Behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon and ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” And He will be sold for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 9:9 and 11:12).

When He comes to set up His Kingdom, His family will regret their rejection of Him at His first coming, and repent for crucifying Him.  “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierce, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.  In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddon.  And the lad shall mourn, every family apart: the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart: the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.  In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness” (Zechariah 12:10-13:1).  The names listed as heads of branches of the Messianic family are from the obscure line of David descended from his son Nathan, and can be found in the list of the ancestors of Mary and Jesus in Luke 3.  It is said that when the house of David turns to Jesus that a fountain of cleansing and salvation will be opened to them, just as the fountain of salvation is open to penitent sinners today.  Anybody who studies the evidence of fulfilled prophecy can see that Jesus is the Christ and the promised Savior.  You can come to the fountain and drink of the water of life today.  Hear the voice of God calling you in Isaiah 55 and in Revelation 22, and come to Jesus for your salvation.  He will receive you when you receive Him.
Dr. Rick Flanders

January 24, 2018

Archival Series: Things held in Common by Islam and Liberalism

If you have not read the November, 2016 Shepherd’s Staff, What If You Are Wrong About Islam? please do that before trying to read the following.  If you need a copy of the November issue, ask for one by email.
The use of the term “Islam” in this article is meant to include the majority of those people in that movement who are obligated to obey the letter of the law in the Quran on the penalty of death. The use of the term “liberalism” is meant to include all those who hold a mindset that is based on lies and error.  That way of thinking pretends to be intellectual and factual, but in practice it invents answers and protects them with vicious attacks on anyone who disagrees.
One way to tell if a movement has no intellectual or spiritual power is to observe what they do with those who disagree with them.  In Islam, if you do not agree with them, you die.  In liberalism, if you disagree you are said to be anti-intellectual, ignorant, stupid, and lacking any credibility.  Liberalism allows dissenters no place in society, government, education, or discussion in the public arena.
These two movements share methods.  They operate and defend by use of hate, intimidation, threats, and violence.  They assign negative qualities to those who don’t agree with them by using the very things they are guilty of.  Islam identifies anyone who does not agree with them as infidels who are to be killed.  It complains that it is being persecuted when the facts demonstrate that this movement is responsible for the most brutal acts of persecution worldwide.  Liberalism does the same thing.  Those who disagree with them are subjected to vulgar language and are called racists, xenophobes, homophobic, Islamophobic, and facists. Liberalism turns truth into lies and lies into truth.
Both movements have a callous attitude toward human life.  The murder, mayhem, beheading, burning, drowning, torture, and genocide by Islam is without debate.  This destruction of human life is justified by simply changing the category of some humans to “infidels.”  Liberalism has done the same thing with the murder of unborn children.  The abortion holocaust stands as the worst destruction of humans in the history of mankind.  They did this by simply changing the category of the unborn, saying that they really are not humans.  This is extremely similar to the tragic page in American history when black people were made slaves by simply changing their category.  In Islam, there is no safety in age or place in society.  Babies, children, women, the elderly - all are irrelevant; kill them all with no mercy.  One can only wonder where the wicked mentality of liberalism will go.  Anyone who would cruelly dismember a baby will have no trouble destroying old folks and anyone who disagrees with them.
The duality of both movements is also found in the matter of morality.  From day to day, it is hard anymore to tell what is moral.  The rules are changed at will, normally to benefit the elite or, in Islam, the male gender.  Sexual slavery, rape, genital mutilation, multiple wives, and the animalization of women stand as unquestionable evidence.  Driven by a preoccupation of sex in this world and the next, morality is adjustable.  Liberalism capitalizes on the same thing, driven by what they call “freedom” when in fact it makes people slaves, not free.  The celebration of sodomy and the invention of same-sex marriage are only examples of the moral freefall.  The creation of things that do not exist and that are lies includes the transgender movement. Suddenly perversion has become popular in this “anything goes” society that benefits some elite, but enslaves many.  In both movements, any protest of this growing degradation is met with a violent response.
Liberalism cannot tolerate the true record of history.  It must be adjusted to fit their propensity to have all things their way, and this is why liberalism has worked to destroy the Constitution.  In its original form, it opposes everything liberalism stands for; therefore, it has been rewritten by them, deliberately and systematically.  A true and honest record of history has been changed in print and in the classroom because liberalism cannot abide the truth.  The same is true of Islam. World history and that of this movement has been changed to alter the respectability of a movement that is much more than a religion.
Every day there is a new report of how Islam is invading education with its precepts and goals. In true form, it is demanding new “rights” in every area, but at the same time is denying the same freedoms to others.  The issue of clothing is only one way to soften up the opposition.  The demand for Sharia law is much more egregious.  This new legal system stands in direct contradiction to the US Constitution.  To use it is actually treason.  Education, however, is the major victory for liberalism.  It deliberately moved from one-room schools to community schools to regional schools to state schools to federal schools.  With each step, liberalism moved to ownership and created its own factory to press the liberal mindset on the populous.  The lie of “public education” allowed them to drain the finances of the people, leaving them with no power to stop the moral and mental train wreck.  All one has to do is to watch the news every day to see the kind of degraded society it has produced.  Pseudo-science has produced a plethora of cruel lies - the Big Bang, evolution, global warming, etc., - and all the mind-numbed robots simply repeat what they have been told to believe.
One would think that people who call themselves Christians would know enough about God and the Word of God not to be caught up in these lies.  Liberalism, however, has badgered and controlled even Christian education so that it follows like a lap dog, letting the enemies of God set the false standard like the people of God did when they chose Saul as king because they wanted to be like the rest of the nations.
Almost everyone you know has been influenced by the liberal mindset so that they now think like liberals.  We are all victims of the liberal success in education.  I live in the world of theology.  Not one day goes by that I don’t read or hear of people who handle the Bible like liberals do.  Knowing my days are numbered, I press on to finish two books that deal with this problem.  From theological articles to Facebook, I see the same thing.  There is a mad rush to make the Bible say what people want it to say.  The theological error of the month simply proves that our crowd has been taught to think like liberals.  I know this is bold and pointed, but then these articles have one purpose - to make people think.

Shepherd's Staff was prepared by the lateC lay Nuttall, D. Min.

SHEPHERD'S STAFF – December, 2016


A communication service of Shepherd's Basic Care, for those committed to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible.  Shepherd's Basic Care is a ministry of information and encouragement to pastors, missionaries, and churches.  Write for information using the e-mail address or Shepherd's Staff.

January 14, 2018

Archival Series: What if You Are Wrong About Islam?

If you think all Muslims are terrorists, you are wrong.  There are some Muslims who would like to live in peace, who do not hate people, who are not part of Islam, and who would like some distance between themselves and the majority of Islam.  The problem is that the percentage of these peaceful people is very small compared to the whole.  We have been lied to, brain-washed, and fooled into believing that it is a religion of peace.  We are told that the percentage of violent Muslims is very small, but the truth is that their number is very large. 

Some of those who spread the lies about a peaceful Islam do it because of politics.  It isn’t popular in our culture to tell the truth.  Others are just ignorant and far too lazy to do their own research.  The violent Muslim crowd is thrilled with people who are so gullible.  The liberal crowd is happy to give them a pass because it is one more way for them to buy votes.  The saddest thing of all is that popular evangelicals and pseudo-intellectuals actually support the tragic idea that Islam is just another religion.  

The one goal of this article is to get every reader working to do his own study and to challenge the false ideas being passed around like ice cream at a church picnic. 


The first group is the active terrorists, including ISIS.  They are violent, inhumane, and eager to kill anyone who does not believe as they believe.  Compared to the whole, this category is not very large.  They represent the military aspect of Islam.  The second group would be those terrorist groups like Hezbollah and the Brotherhood.  They are not as active as the others, but are hateful and violent.  They hide under the radar and pretend to be peaceful.  Their violence, however, is practiced in the midst of peaceful people.  This category is not very large either. 

The majority of Islam would fall in the next level.  These are active Muslims who believe and practice hate, violence, and inhumane acts against anyone who is not a Muslim.  They refer to them as infidels.  It makes no difference whether they are Jews, Christians, or secular; they are infidels.  Active Muslims are free to create mayhem against infidels, depending on how much power they have.  In countries where Islam is in control, violence is a daily practice.  It is the law.  No one can name one country where Islam is a majority and where there is freedom or peace for infidels.  Their brutality rises as they gain power and control.  This can be seen clearly in some European countries at this very moment. 

In our nation, this majority group continues to claim respectability, while at the same time there are indications of the role they will play in the future.  The early signs of violence and radicalism are here, and we can see their true motive.  Note their “demands” that their ideas must be followed, including Sharia Law.  Anything that offends them must be removed from public view. The cry for Sharia law becomes louder by the day.  Even now they demand privileges that are not extended to others in this country. 

This group, with their potential for violence as required by their belief, has entered the halls of Congress and even the White House!  This category is far more dangerous than ISIS.  Lying is a practice that is expected, particularly if it is to an infidel.  In this huge part of Islam, women are viewed as property and animals, less than human.  Little girls are brutalized and treated as toys. 
Let me remind you that we will be told by ignorant peoples, and by those who lie, that these cruel things are far and few between, even when the opposite is true.  It is a way of life.   Those Muslims who desire a peaceful life and who might want to be good neighbors, or even to be honest with us, are few and far between.


I have before me a copy of the Quran.  I am not an expert in this subject but have learned in an extensive study of hermeneutics to be able to recognize true meaning in all languages by the normal use of language rules. 

This book clearly says that any Muslim who is friendly with a Jew, Christian, or other infidel is to be killed.  They might pretend to be friendly, but those people are obligated to kill the infidels when the time comes, or else they themselves are to be killed.  The lie about a peaceful religion will not stand, even if you are referring to those who are peaceful at the moment.  The Quran clearly identifies Islam as a religion of terror.  Do your own study, read it for yourself.  (3:151; 8:12; 8:60; 33:26; 59:2; 59:13) [Editor's note: See comment #1 in thread below for citation of these verses.]

Read what happens to someone who converts to another religion or someone who will not convert to Islam.  Converts are won, and they are kept - by fear, hate, violence and intimidation. Read about cruelty and torture.  Read about the abuse of women, dismemberment, beheading, and horrible treatment of infidels.  This is the majority of Islam, because that is the law.  If you can read this and still think it is a religion of peace, you deserve what is coming to this country.


If I witness to you about your need for salvation in Christ and you refuse it, you go on your way to face God alone in judgment.  You need have no fear of me because of your rejection.  If, however, you are offered the choice of conversion to Islam and you refuse, no matter who you are, you are an infidel, and that person is commanded to kill you.  In Islam, the sons are sent out to commit suicide and kill as many people as they can.  In Biblical Christianity, God sent His Son to die on the cross so that many sons could live.

Those who claim peace for the majority of Islam must know very little about the history of this religion.  They must know very little about what Muslims are commanded to do.  They must not be reading about the brutal killing of Christians every day in this world by the Muslim majority.  I was told yesterday that hundreds of believers are killed every week by majority Muslims.  They must not know about the burning, beheading, drowning, beating, and death published in the news on a daily basis. 

To blaspheme, mock, or speak ill of the Quran will get you the death penalty.  On the other hand, Islam can reject and make fun of Christianity, and that is fine.  What if you are wrong about Islam?  I can tell you that you are wrong if you haven’t taken time to study why the majority of this religion is not peaceful.

Shepherds Staff was prepared by the late Clay Nuttall, D. Min.

A communication service of Shepherds Basic Care, for those committed to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible. Shepherds Basic care is a ministry of information and encouragement to pastors, missionaries and churches. Write for information using the email address or Shepherd'sStaff

January 2, 2018

Archival Series: "Our Children Learn Not Only What We Teach Them, but by What We Tolerate."

In its history Northland International University (NIU), the former Northland Baptist Bible College, has not been in a situation requiring a strong call to separate. In the early days Northland was a refreshing voice because of it’s good conservative stands, refreshing Northwood’s feel, friendly campus, servant’s heart, with a love for revival and the Lord Jesus Christ. Students were being discipled with a demerits system in place and properly emphasized for correction and growth. There are many fine pastors and Christian workers serving the Lord today because of Northland’s ministry to them.

Our children learn not only what we teach them, but by what we tolerate.”

According to NIU alumni Dr. Les Ollila (former NIU Chancellor) said that over and over to the student body. With decisions made in recent weeks at Northland a new kind of teaching and tolerance has come to the campus.

In 2005, because of Rick Holland’s inclusion as a speaker, Dr. Ollila pulled out of the God-Focused conference. It is believed that NIU president Matt Olson insisted Ollila withdraw. Just five years later Dr. Ollila along with Matt Olson, Sam Horn and Doug McLachlan reach out to and travel across the country to meet with John MacArthur, Rick Holland and Phil Johnson. Then Ollila/Olson/NIU have this same man (Rick Holland) speak in chapel to impressionable young people.

What changed between 2005 and 2010? It wasn’t Rick Holland. He is today what he was in 2005: an advocate for Lordship Salvation1 and the founder of the Resolved Conference, which merges preaching with the world’s CCM/rock culture and extreme Charismatic style worship.2 NIU embracing MacArthur, Johnson and putting Rick Holland in its chapel pulpit confirms they are willing to teach Lordship Salvation, teach/tolerate a neutered form of biblical separatism, tolerate and allow for the worldly culture of events such as the Resolved Conference.

Regrettably, in just five years, Les Ollila has changed. NIU is being transformed by its president, Matt Olson, and administration decisions. With and because of their change the historical trajectory of NIU has been radically altered.

With the changes at NIU many share concerns over ministry, direction and leanings of NIU. There is a declining interest in maintaining fellowship by many former alums, good Christian leaders and lay workers. Many who have some relationship with NIU are contacting the administration to express their concerns. Others will quietly pull away and encourage their young people to look elsewhere for a Christian college. Now unfortunately, because NIU’s administration wants it both ways their friendship base will have to change just to maintain status quo not to mention growth.

Many alumni view what Northland is doing today as completely contrary to what was taught not very long ago. Students were told that they will become in the future based on two things: the friends you have and the books you read. Is it any wonder they have done what they have? If you live long enough, you will have to change your friends or change your doctrine. NIU is changing its friends for new ones in the so-call  “conservative” evangelicalism. Certain doctrines, separatism in particular, is not far from being compromised for the sake of their new friends.

Why do men who claim a heritage and commitment to separatist Fundamentalism take the initiative to reach out to evangelicals who openly repudiate biblical separation in principle and in application? Is it possible that these alleged fundamental separatists want to retain the label they are comfortable with, but have lost the will to contend, to wage the battle for fidelity to the God-given mandates? Is it possible they will redefine the principles and application of separation to accommodate the need to tolerate, allow for and excuse aberrant doctrine and ecumenism for the sake of fellowship with evangelicals?

Have self-described fundamental separatists decided to move toward a safe, non-confrontational middle ground at the expense of fidelity to the Word of God on separation to be accepted and respected by evangelicals?

The “conservative” evangelicals have not and show no inclination of moving toward a Fundamentalist’s commitment to authentic biblical separation. Someone is moving, someone is changing, and it isn’t the evangelicals.

With recent revelations we are learning a great deal about Northland’s new trajectory. NIU will try to placate alumni and donors while it moves further away from its historic stand. Matt Olson’s recent open letter to Friends in Ministry was just such an attempt that, in the opinion of many, was an abject failure. If Northland maintains this new direction and discussions among concerned persons are any indication of a national response, I fear Northland’s best days are behind it and the worst is yet to come.

Northland’s new trajectory has a historic parallel. The devastating effects of introducing Evangelicalism’s philosophy and practices into a biblical Fundamentalist setting are no more stark than the demise of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College.3

First Published Nov. 29, 2010.

Publisher's Addendum: On April 30, 2015 NIU announced its closure.  See,
NIU Closes: A Continuation of the Pattern of Demise

For previous articles in this series see-

NIU’s Convergence With Evangelicalism: What Does It Mean for Impressionable Students?

NIU Presents Executive Pastor of Grace Community Church to It’s Student Body

1) An Example of Lordship Salvation’s Man-Centered Message

2) The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness, by Dr. Peter Masters

3) Discussion Over the Closing of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College
Although Pillsbury struggled for a number of years to recover itself from the devastating effects of hob-nobbing with Evangelicalism, it never really dealt with (in any real tangible way) its ruined reputation. Although it was repeatedly brought before them by many friends of the college, they never really did what was necessary to regain the trust of the pastors and parents who send students.”

December 29, 2017

And When Eight Days Were Accomplished...

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the LORD, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Luke 2:21-40

December 26, 2017

John 3:16 for Christmas

Vocals - Adam Boone
Production & Arrangement - Steve Serkosky 
Musical & Engineering Assistant - Adam Boone
Engineer (Trod Nossel Studios) - Justin Watson
Music Video Design & Production - John Zeller
Producer - DJP I.F.

December 24, 2017

The Advent of Jesus Christ

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Luke 2:1-20

December 20, 2017

The Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:26-38

Mary Visits Elizabeth
And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord….

And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.
Luke 1:39-46, 56