July 28, 2015

The Failed NIU to be Reconstituted as "Northland Baptist Ministry"

Update (8/6/15)

It is with great regret that we must announce that, for personal reasons, Jeff Kahl has resigned his position as Executive Director of Project 14 Global Missions. This is effective immediately. Please pray for Jeff and his family as he seeks the Lord’s will for his life. We want to thank Jeff for tirelessly working to promote world missions and the other endeavors of P14GM. 
Because of Jeff's departure from P14GM, this seriously impedes our ability to assume control and operation of the Northland campus. We are currently reviewing our options, and the Board of P14GM is working with the current Board of Northland to determine the best course of action. Further announcements will be forthcoming as soon as any decisions are made. 
Respectfully, P14GM Board

Dear Ministry Friends,

After weeks of prayerful consideration, in-depth research, and constituency testimonials, it became clear God would have us continue a walk of faith in reviving a fresh, dynamic, impacting Northland campus. Therefore, the board members and executive leadership team of Project 14 Global Missions voted on Saturday, July 25, 2015, to unanimously and cheerfully accept the stewardship responsibilities of the Northland campus, effective immediately.

I have already notified the founding family members of this decision, and they stand in full support of moving Northland forward in the tradition of its original core values and vision. With an aggressive youth and family camping program, along with a relevant and impacting training facility, Northland and P14GM will have an opportunity to impact churches, campers, and the world. Utilizing this beautiful Wisconsin campus, along with our national office in Charlotte, North Carolina, and our two Nicaragua campuses in Central America, the goal of getting more trained laborers into the harvest field is an exciting prospect.

Exceedingly generous funds were pledged and given on behalf of Saving Northland. The friends of Northland and P14GM made this achievement possible, because of their many kind and heart-felt gifts. Out of one love for God, love for Northland, and love for ministry, the future of Northland continues. We are still receiving gifts and donations to satisfy a bank note that is due soon, but not due immediately. We ask that friends of Northland will continue to help this worthwhile cause.

We are pursuing the name Northland Baptist Ministry, focusing on camps, education, missions, and ministry helps. Northland Camp and Conference Center will change to Northland Camp and Retreat Center. The Project 14 Global Missions board of directors will lead Northland Baptist Ministries in parallel philosophy and commitment to our other ministry and mission focuses around the world. We will merge our global mission efforts at Project 14 Global Mission agency, Global Bible University, OneLife Christian Camps, and BluePrint Church Planting program to Northland campus in strategic ways to be determined soon.

On behalf of our entire P14GM leadership team, we publicly thank the Lord for this opportunity and consider its stewardship a sobering responsibility. Praise God for His faithfulness.


Jeff  Kahl
Executive Director
Project 14 Global Missions & Northland Ministries

Related Reading:
Northland International University Closes

An Anecdotal Answer to the Demise of Fundamentalist Schools

July 15, 2015

The “Standards” Mess

“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

(Second Corinthians 3:5-6)

Dr. Rick Flanders
Many organizations have and maintain standards.  Of course, over the years churches in particular have preached and upheld certain standards of belief and behavior.  The concept of doctrinal standards, creeds, and statements of faith in religion is normal and expected.  The idea of standards of conduct for church leaders, church members, and the Christian way of life is also generally accepted.  The question is not whether churches should have standards.  All religious movements and organizations do.

There is a problem today, however, over the mess that has grown up over standards in conservative churches.  There is a whole movement against the standards fundamentalists have followed, and there is anotherone over whether they should have standards at all.  In all the fussing on “both sides” of the standards issue, some very basic facts are being lost.  When Christian thinkers come back to the basics, the truth about these matters becomes clear, and we can clear up the mess!  So let’s take a constructive approach, and consider four important and indisputable facts.


Somehow we have forgotten that the standards Bible-believing churches have maintained over the years were developed from the teachings of the Bible.  Before anybody debated standards, preachers and teachers in the churches were preaching that the Bible has things to say against certain things and for certain things.  They preached that scripture condemns drinking and intoxication, speaks against the lasciviousness of social dancing, advocates modest apparel, calls for personal restraint, mandates sanctifying the body, and exhorts believers to stay away from worldly amusements.  That’s where we started.  Christians were living by the Bible.  They studied God’s Word to learn how to live!

Do church people today know that holiness in the Bible is separation from evil and to God?  Do they know that Christians are called upon to live holy lives (check First Peter 1:13-16)?  Scripture requires both ecclesiastical and personal separation (see Second Corinthians 7:1 and Second Timothy 2:16-22).  The children of light, according to Ephesians 5, must not do what the children of darkness are doing (verse 7), nor endorse what they do (verse 11), nor even unnecessarily talk about what they do (verse 12).  That’s what the Bible teaches!  It’s separation, a concept that is controversial today among critics of the standards. The Bible makes an issue of clothing and the covering of the body from the beginning to the end (you can see this first in Genesis 2:24-25 and 3:6-11 and 21, and follow it throughout scripture).  Scriptural promises (such as Matthew 5:18 and 24:35) are the basis of believers insisting on the traditional text behind the King James Version and rejecting the revised text followed by so many of the new Bibles.  Keeping the law will not save anybody’s soul; but grace doesn’t mean that there aren’t any rules, that the Lord has no opinions, or that saved people have no obligations about how they behave.  The “rules” or standards that spiritual Christians followed and taught for years were not arbitrary or based on tradition.  They came from Bible teaching.

The real issues in the “standards” debates are questions like “Does the Bible have anything to say about gender roles and distinction?”, “Is there Bible doctrine that would motivate a Christian to abstain from using tobacco?”, “According to the scriptures, does it matter what Bible a church uses?”, or, “What teaching of the Bible would affect whether or not we go to the movies?”  Many have believed that scripture does teach things that apply directly to questions such as these.  The real and legitimate discussions regarding the standards are discussions about Biblical interpretation. They are not arguments over whether or not certain old “standards” are still appropriate for our day.  They ask whether our spiritual fathers were right or wrong about what they understood that the Bible said.  Many of us think they were right!  For example, reasonable people see that Christians who dress modestly and appropriately for their gender are following scriptural principles.  These are not petty squabbles over personal tastes.  They are serious issues about the revealed will of God.  No kidding!


As conservative churches grew and added to their ministries and staff, it was necessary for them to set standards of life and belief for those who led and represented them.  These standards were actually applications of the Bible teaching that had led those churches for years.  In other words, although it normally takes time for new church-members to arrive at the same conclusions about Christian living which are followed by their teachers, when they joined the ministry team, they had to follow standards that reflect the corporate viewpoint of the ministry.  When people takepositions of responsibility in the ministry of the church, they are expected to uphold and live by these standards even before they have come into total agreement with all of them.Leaders are responsible to some degree for the behavior of those who have joined the team! This is why the conclusions of the Bible teaching were “standardized.”

What the New Testament says about polluting oneself with idols (Acts 15:20 and 29, First Corinthians 8 through 10, and Revelation 2:14 and 20) by eating the meat sold at the pagan temple was applied to modern issues by setting the standard not to attend movie theaters or night clubs or other places associated with sin.  What the Bible teaches about gender distinction (in places such as Genesis 1:27, Leviticus 18:22, Deuteronomy 22:5, First Corinthians 11:1-16, First Timothy 2, and Revelation 9:8) led leaders to call on co-workers and followers to dress with their gender in mind.  Teaching and interpretation led to the specific standards, when behavior necessarily had to be “standardized.”

Some standards were also sometimes recommended to everyone up front, before they had a chance to be supported with reason and scripture by the pastors and teachers.  Bible teaching always leads to behavior adjustment.  Sometimes the conclusions or “bottom line” of the teaching had to be stated at the beginning and came to be regarded as a set of standards.  Ordinarily believers who are being instructed “to observe all things” that Jesus taught (Matthew 28:20) will grow in knowledge over a period of time, and come to correct conclusions only after a while.  But when the conclusions are “standardized” for workers up front, the period of instruction and growth is not in the mix, and there can be problems.  Certainly church workers can follow the rules without really buying into them, and often this set-up has helped people grow.  Many adopted the standards from their hearts, based on what they saw in the Bible, only after following them for other reasons as they grew in grace.  This isn’t really a bad idea.  The man who smokes may save his own life by giving up tobacco because the preacher told him to do it (Hebrews 13:17) well before he really understands why.  However, standards must eventually be backed by persuasion from scripture if they are to do the good they were supposed to do.  And before they are, there can be misunderstanding and problems.

Such standardizing necessarily took place in Christian schools.  Students, as well as faculty and staff, were required to follow Bible-based standards from the first day.  In many cases, these rules were not adequately defended or justified with scripture during the school year, provoking some to wrath.  The connection between certain standards and God’s will and ways was not always made.  But the standard-setting in the form of rule-keeping was justified.

Note that the setting of standards for God’s people to help them in their lives was done in both the Old and the New Testaments.  Deuteronomy 4:5-8 teaches us that following standards can help us live with more wisdom than we really have.  Adopting the rules will give us a head start on living wisely while we are growing in grace and knowledge.  Acts 15 records the setting of standards for the benefit of the Gentile Christians, at the same time that Legalism was rejected (notice especially verses 1, 5, 10-11, 19-29).  Standard-setting is not necessarily Legalism.  Legalism requires rule-keeping for salvation or spirituality.  Standards followed under the truth of God’s grace can really help growing believers, as we can see in Acts 16:4-5.  So standards are good, not bad, although they cannot stand alone.  They must be backed by the Bible.


Critics of the standards complain that the kind of Christianity they knew growing up was “all about the rules.”  They identify it with Legalism, and sometimes make fun of having to keep a bunch of rules.  Supporters of the standards zealously defend the “old-time” expectations and taboos while sometimes neglecting to defend them from the Bible.  Both are wrong.

Christianity is not just about rules.  Rules and guidelines have always been part of church and Christian living, but they have served only as helps and props.  The Christian life is really about love!

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God: and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”

(First John 4:7-11; read also verse 12 through 5:3)

Christianity is God’s love coming to us through Christ, and coming through us to others.  See this also in John 15:9-12.  The real thing is often lost by both pro- and anti-standards people, and the rules become the big thing.  They aren’t the big thing.  According to Galatians 5:22-23,walking in the Spirit keeps us within the boundaries of the rules (“against such there is no law”).  Those who are absolutely surrendered to Christ observe higher ideals than those who just live by rules.  They live the way they do because they love Jesus with all their hearts.  Carnal people who hate the rules can only see the rules, and resent them.   Prideful and unspiritual people who keep the rules also only see the rules, and miss seeing Jesus.Both kinds of Christians are carnal.

Some folks who complain the loudest about the old standards as they were enforced in their families or churches are really hurting from the hypocrisy of their parents and leaders, and not the effect of the rules.  Proud and harsh attitudes are not spiritual.  Efforts to cover up inconsistencies in the homes we grew up in were not the result of following the Bible.  They were products of making the standards the big thing and not making love for God the heart of the home.  Making mean and harsh statements against others isn’t spiritual either.  Jesus taught us not to judge others (remember Matthew 7:1-5).  Yet the Bible does say that spiritual people, while not judging people, should judge things.

“But he that is spiritual judgeth all things…”

(First Corinthians 3:15)

We are to discern from scripture what things are right and what things are wrong, from God’s perspective.  There is nothing wrong with saying, “That’s wrong.”  But we are taught to love the erring brother and meekly hope to pull out the mote from his eye, instead of scorning him and proudly holding up ourselves as better (see Galatians 6:1-2).  Much of the heat in the arguing over standards is generated by carnal people engaged in combat with other carnal people.  Take a look at Galatians 5:13-16.


The Bible has very many good things to say about keeping rules, while also warning us against giving rule-keeping a role it should never have in the Christian life.  We find this help in Second Corinthians 3:5-6:

“Our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

The Law of God expresses the opinions of God, and therefore is “holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12).  However a set of rules in itself does not enable me to keep the rules.  “The law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin” (see Romans 7:13-24).  In other words, the Law is good, but not good enough to help me.  Just knowing what is right does not give me righteousness.  But Jesus Christ came to give me His righteousness.  It is His righteousness that saves me, and it is His righteousness that provides me with the Christian life.

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

(Read Romans 7:22-8:4)

Those who are in Christ have the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit is the key to living the Christian life!  We learn that our sufficiency is in God alone, that Christian living only happens when we are living by faith, relying on the Holy Spirit to provide the life of Christ!  The rules set the standard for how we ought to live, but they can’t get us to that standard.  The standards describe for me what a spiritual man looks like, but they do not make me spiritual.  It is the Holy Spirit that does this.  The letter of the law only can condemn us when we fail, and the Bible says that it kills people.  Standards without the Spirit are deadly.  A revival that acquaints believers with the ministry of the Spirit will liberate the unhappy believer and give him the victory he wants and needs.

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

(Second Corinthians 3:17-18)

The devil got us into this mess of looking at standards apart from the bigger picture.  The rule for the Christian is, “What does the Bible say?”  And the Bible calls upon us to conform to the will of a holy God.  Doing so will require self-denial and sacrifice, as Jesus told us.  But the Bible tells us that the Christian life is Christ’s life in us.  Loving Him and yielding to the influence and power of His Spirit within us is what causes us to experience the abundant life He came for us to live.  When we come back to these simple truths, we will get out of the mess we are in, and get back to reaching our dark and lost world for God!  Revival will deliver us from the standards mess!  Those who rebel against good standards must humble themselves and learn the reason for the standards, which is love for Jesus Christ.  Others who have been killing those under them with the letter of the law must go deeper than the rules, and learn to be filled with the Spirit!

Dr. Rick Flanders
Revival Ministries

July 2, 2015

A Day of Prayer & Mourning

Several voices are calling for a day of mourning and prayer for our nation. It has been suggested that we choose July 4th of this year for that purpose. It would be a good contrast to what we normally see as a fun day with the family. One would have to note that security forces are saying that there are credible threats against us on that day.

A precedent for this is found in Proverbs 29:2 - When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. In my nearly eighty years of life, this world has moved further into moral self-destruction than in all the rest of history. Those who misunderstand the holiness of God ask …where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation. One question will solve this: when, in the history of this world, has there been a worldwide push to support sodomy? This may not include every nation, but who would ever have expected the news to be filled with photos of crowds in the streets of so many countries calling for the spread of this wickedness? This has never happened before.


Some years ago I wrote an article with this title. Now in our nation, when you add the murder of thousands of unborn children to the exceedingly wicked spread of sexual perversion, it spells judgment. The wicked laugh at such an idea, saying “We don’t even know if there is a God.” Some in our circles tell us it isn’t so bad. Others ridicule God’s justice and push their own "sloppy agape" to silence the voices of truth.

Have it your way. The fact is that God has to judge this nation because He is holy and all other things flow from His holiness. God will judge this nation. We don’t know just when or how, but we do know why. We do know the times and the seasons (I Thessalonians 5:1), and we do know how God has done this in the past. He has used wicked rulers, enemies, and even the weather. We do know that this world is cursed by sin, and …we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Romans 8:22) We do …know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (II Timothy 3:1) A list of crimes against God is outlined in that text, and they continue to increase at breakneck speed.


The pessimist cries, “Woe is me, there is no help or hope! It’s all over; nothing we can do. Face it - we have lost.” The optimist cries, “It’s not that bad. We will recover. Focus on the positive, and ignore the negative.” The realist cries, “This is a critical hour. We are set for the judgment of God. God is still on the throne. In the end, we will win; and we have a responsibility in this hour. There is no time for a pity party. We are overcomers, and the battle is not done."

Actually, both the pessimist and the optimist have their heads in the sand. They both fail to engage the opportunity God has given us in this hour of trouble. As true believers, we were born for this hour. It is a great time to share the love of God and the gospel of Christ. The contrast is so great that, if we respond as God has directed, God will bless in many ways. This is a great hour for truth. The pessimist ignores it, and the optimist denies it. The realist steps up to take the challenge God has put before us. A holy God has called us to speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15)

It is not loving to soft-pedal sin. It is not loving to cover or ignore wickedness. It is loving to tell the truth and make it plain and simple. We are not supposed to surrender or be silent. We need to see things as they are. This is not time for the silence or cowardice.


The truth is that our nation has crossed the line. Except for the grace of God and the possibility of a national revival, there is no coming back. The destruction of this country is sure, and the judgment of God has been sealed. This may be why mention of America is nowhere to be found in the scriptures. We should mourn because that judgment is near. In recent years our country has come close to civil war several times, and in the last year any one of these “flash points” could have set off fighting in the streets. We had a warning of outside destruction on 9/11; now the destruction is from within. Racism is on the rise, the elite in our capital violate our founding documents, the economy is set for collapse, and our military power has been neutered. One might add to this the current open hatred for biblical Christianity.

Of course there are small rays of light, such as the spirit of forgiveness in Charleston and some in leadership who speak out for righteousness. The entertainment church in general, however, has become virtually useless and doesn’t have enough power to blow the nose of flea. We should mourn because no nation that chose to kill its young and its old, embrace sodomy, or to turn its hand against God’s chosen people has ever continued.

If I had a flagpole, I would lower it to half-mast on the fourth of July in remembrance of the “death of a nation;” but I refuse to surrender, to soft pedal sin, to run and hide, to be silent. My only task is to speak as God speaks, love what God loves, and hate what God hates. The reason for this is that true believers are winners, not whiners. Read the Book: He wins, we win, they lose. PERIOD.

Shepherd's Staff is prepared by Clay Nuttall, D. Min


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, shepherdstaff2@juno.com