Wednesday, December 17, 2008
While taking him to the airport after his very successful visit, he said “You know Doug, I have been all over the world and visited many countries and have ridden in every kind of vehicle imaginable, however, I must say, this car of yours is the worst vehicle I have ever been in! Where did you get this thing?” We laughed together as I told him of occasions when the steering wheel came off, the gear shift slipped out, tires fell off, and other horror stories.
As I was getting Mr. Graham’s bags out of the car at the airport, he said, “Doug, joking aside, I would like to mention something; I feel you are working your people too hard.” At that time, we had about 160 dedicated Filipino team members working alongside 30 ACTION missionaries. I responded, “Yes, they do work hard and are a very dedicated group.”
He then asked, “When was the last time you took your team on a break?” I answered, “A what?” He replied, “A break, a retreat, a time of fellowship and refreshment.” I answered, “We have never had one of those.” He then reached into his pocket and pulled out 20 - 100 dollar bills ($2000). (The purchasing power of that gift was five to seven times more than it is now.).
As he handed me the $2000 he said, “Take your team for a break as a gift from Samaritan’s Purse,” and we did. We took the whole team, including their families, for a three-day retreat. We had a wonderful time studying the Word of God, enjoying fellowship, praying, resting, and playing, to the glory of God!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
It occurs to me how difficult some of these questions are to deal with for me and others, and we have all of the helps we need as far as commentaries and resources. Yet with all of the resources at our disposal, this is still deep water and tough going for many. And I thought, if it is difficult for me and others, in a country that is blessed with so much, how much more difficult must it be for the brothers who are pastors in less fortunate countries. Consider the heartache of a man of God who receives the hard questions and does not have the resources we have to draw upon. These needy pastors who we are seeking to help at ACTION. This is why Pastoral Leadership Development exists. For us to be able to come along side these dear brothers who have much less than we do, but are no less godly, and no less passionate about the Lord and His flock.
This is why we feel it imperative when a publisher like Crossway allows us to print great commentaries at a fraction of the cost, that we ask you to help. This is why we need your money, yes money. Of course we covet your prayers, but quite frankly we need you to give to this great project. We are able to give unbelievable commentaries to needy pastors for only a few dollars per commentary. We can get it all done for thousands of pastors for only $189,000.00!
I am asking you to give to this worthwhile project that will bless and effect hundreds of thousands of believers around the world, as their pastors are exposed to good theology and can impart that to their churches. Would you give to this project? Some of you may be able to give it all in one check. That would be a great use of your money. Or maybe 189 of you can give 1000.00 and we can carry on with the project. Whatever you can do, please do.
Please mail your checks to
PO Box 398
Mountlake Terrace Wa. 98043-0398
please note Crossway Publishers BookShare Project
Or you can go online to www.actionintl.org and donate there. Tough questions and situations are not limited to this country. They come to pastors in every country, and you can have a part in helping them point others to the cross for the Glory of God, with your gift!
For His Glory,
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
We are challenged with the finances of the ACTION Bible Institute ministry. The vision for training these pastors embraces the need to help them financially. The commitment for training takes them away from necessary employment for few are fully supported by their churches. ACTION’s desire is to defray some of their costs to free them for training, including transportation to ABI, food for their families, and books. The total cost of ACTION’s support goal for each ABI student for a year is $658. If you would like to help one or more of these pastors go to www.actionzambia.org/give on the web and follow the directions to give to ACTION Zambia Pastoral Leadership Develop.
Let me encourage you with the following, They went out for the sake of His name . . . therefore, we ought to help such men, that we may be fellow workers with the truth (3 John 7-8, nasb).
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Afterwards Tracy awarded certificates to each of the pastors.
Especially gratifying was that fifteen pastors began the class and fifteen pastors completed the course. He also gave each of the pastors a book, Breaking The Bread of Life. In addition, Peter Zulu received the perfect attendance award, with Alfred Mwanza only missing one class. They each received reference books as awards. Mr. Joseph Zulu then spoke to commend Action Zambia for its good work with pastors and challenged it to continue its ministry.
Following the graduation, pastors were given the opportunity to sign up for the Action Bible Institute (ABI) which will begin in January. Thirteen of the graduates signed up to enroll in ABI. Please pray for Tracy and Steve Allen as they prepare to instruct the pastors. Please also pray for the pastors. By enrolling in ABI the pastors are making an investment and sacrifice. Rather than spending their time working a second job (and most of them need to do so), they resolve to faithfully attend classes instead. We look forward to what God is going to do in and through the lives of these shepherds.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Brothers let me encourage you to become men of prayer. Your flock believes it to be true of you, that you are a man of prayer. Your people believe that you pray for them, this is why they call you first with prayer requests. The question is, are you the man of prayer that the people you lead and shepherd believe you to be? If you are praise God, press on brother. If you are not, I would call you to repent now, not later, but right now, and get on your knees and beg God to give you those desires and affections for Him, that will make prayer a delight to your soul. The people that God has entrusted to your care, are counting on your prayers for them and the lives of their family. Pray pastor, pray!
For His Glory,
Friday, December 5, 2008
I asked him how he had planted the churches he pastors. He simply said that when he had accepted Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior he shared Christ with his family and they all accepted Christ. Then he shared Christ with his village and they all accepted Christ. Then he went to another village and they all accepted Christ. He mentioned the all night prayer meetings at his church as they prepare to reach out into areas hostile to Christians.
Pastors like Me*h often live on $20 a month with no reference books and Bibles. In contrast how many resources we have as pastors in the United States. Our personal libraries are full. Often we run out of room for our resources. Where would I put another bookshelf anyway? And with the advent of libraries on computer, a few clicks, a credit card number, and we are all set for that sermon series coming up.
Would you be able to help an under trained and resourced pastor by weeding out s few of your evangelical reference books, study Bibles and commentaries—perhaps books you have duplicates of, or you don’t use that often, or you have now on the computer as well as on the bookshelf?
ACTION has a 20-foot shipping container being prepared for shipment in the next few months. If the Lord led you to send a few books, it would be a tremendous blessing. Your help can extend your spiritual influence beyond your congregation and community, to the nations!
The address to send the books and study Bibles is as follows:
ACTION (Philippines Container Project)
Chapel Library (Mt Zion Publishers)
2603 West Wright Street, Pensacola, Florida 32505
IMPORTANT: Please do not send William Barclay commentaries or Scofield Reference Bibles.
If You hve any questions, please contact Candi Arveson, Founder's Office Coordinator, at 425-775-4800 ext. 18.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
There is nothing wrong and many things right about preaching to the season. There are many great opportunities, one for me being a Christmas eve service to preach the gospel to unbelievers. But we also do not want to feel tied to the calendar. As there becomes more and more holidays, if a preacher is not careful, they will be continualy preaching about some holiday. So brothers, preach the Christmas sermons with all of your might, but please be more concerned with getting the text right and becoming faithful expositors of the Word. Your church will thank you for it, regardless of the time of the year!
For His Glory,
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
For those of us in ACTION, that means we must see these needy pastors as we do ourselves. We must see their needs, as our needs, their joys as our own, and their tears as ours as well. The only way we can effectively minister to these dear brothers is to join them in heart soul and spirit. Would you join us as we join them? Would you partner with us as we partner with them? Would you do all that you can in prayer and practically to see that the needy pastors of the world are encouraged and provided for? It is a call worth answering. Daniel did not see himself as above those who went before him and failed. In fact he put himself in the thick of it, identifying with them. Would you do the same for the needy pastors of the world?
For His Glory,
ACTION BIBLE INSTITUTE
General Description: ABI is a three year course of theological education and pastoral training consisting of eighteen courses. Students attend class five days a week for two hours a day. They also participate with fellow students in small groups led by AZ missionaries. Upon completion of their studies they receive a Certificate of Pastoral Training from Action Zambia.
Purpose: ABI has been established to train and equip Christian pastors and leaders in the
Philosophy: Our training is geared to develop leaders in the context of their life responsibilities. We seek to accommodate them with the development of a curriculum and schedule that allows them to learn as they serve their churches and families. We have developed a curriculum plan that focuses on imparting the essential knowledge and skills for ministry with an emphasis upon learning how to exegete the Bible and develop a theology that is Biblically sound and culturally relevant. Our program also includes a commitment to build personal relationships with our students for support and encouragement in fulfilling God’s call upon their lives.
Cost & Expenses: Tuition is free. We do require students to make an investment in the purchase of their class books but we also seek to financially support our students by subsidizing some of their costs of food, transportation, and additional books for their personal libraries. We are a faith organization that depends entirely on the offerings of people who support this ministry and make no commitments beyond helping students as funds are available.
Schedule: Monday through Friday; 15:00-17:00 hours
· Fill out an AZ application for ABI.
· Upon acceptance into the program, attend 90% of class room instruction and fulfill all assignments. Excused absences beyond the 90% attendance will be allowed at the discretion of the teacher.
· Tests will be administered at the discretion of the teacher.
· Students will receive a pass or fail based on their participation in the class and small group, and satisfactory fulfillment of all other class requirements.
Friday, November 28, 2008
It is being called the worst financial crisis in decades. The US government designated 700 billion dollars of assistance to ailing financial institutions caught in a cycle of self-destruction, starting with money market funds (with billions more on the way). What are we to think of all these developments when just a couple of years ago the “sky was the limit” in the mortgage and housing markets.
This especially hits hard retired people whose monthly income may largely depend upon the security of their investments. For many “the good life” that they have worked so hard to achieve may be flying away like a bird let loose from a cage.
These economic developments bring up some important questions. Not too long ago I heard the testimony of a “retired” pastor in his early 70s. He had retired from many years of fruitful church ministry. Then the dot.com bust at the turn of the century washed away most all of his savings. Now he is joyfully in the most productive ministry of his life, training and mentoring intentional interim and renewal pastors for several denominations. Here is the question. What if the Lord was to ask this man, “What could have been done for My kingdom if you had not retired, given the money to My work (instead of losing it in the stock market) and kept pressing on for Me and in ministry?” We can be grateful for the way Christ in His loving providence kept this man’s heart and life and ours as well for Himself and eternity.
Perhaps you are middle-aged facing retirement or in retirement after fruitful service in the church. As you continue to press on for the Lord and the ministry He has for you, would you prayerfully consider a ministry to help train and encourage some of the 3.2 million untrained and under-trained pastors worldwide?
The words of encouragement and warning of Jesus our Lord are just as relevant today as when He first spoke them. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon” (Matthew 6:19-21, 24). “But seek first His (God’s) kingdom, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Then of course I considered my family, as his grieved well today. I want to live in such a way that my children will one day be able to share that in some way their dad showed them Christ. I want to have a loving wife and three great children who love the Lord pressing on for the glory of God, even in my absence. Today was a great day to remember some things that can easily be overlooked in the busyness of leading His Church. Brothers, take some time to step back and consider the legacy you will leave behind. Take a fresh look at the blessing it is that He would call you to bring His Word to His people. And love your family, as they are a gift from God to you. Live well men, press forward for the Kingdom, as you do not know which day will be the one that He calls you home!
For His Glory,
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
We sat in the Yang*n, Myan*ar hotel. I had asked him how he was able to help, "wasn’t it illegal?" “Buddhists are fearful and hopeless,” he said. The cyclone had left 125,000 people dead and over 2 million homeless. “They have persecuted us in the past but now we go to their villages and offer to help them in practical ways with the love of Christ. They are accepting the good news!”
We all have hopes. But we also suffer and experience disappointments in this world. Through faith in Jesus Christ we have eternal life, God’s love in our hearts and a hope which is not dependent on our circumstances. My brother in Myan*ar was a living inspiration of this reality for me in my circumstances.
AND HOPE DOES NOT DISAPPOINT US. “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us” (Romans 5:2b-5).
Perhaps God is leading you to serve and learn from these brothers in Myan*ar. Would you consider hosting and teaching a pastors conference for them?
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Speakers Available. ACTION has speakers available to come to your local pastors’ fellowship. Please feel free to contact the following in your area. No honorarium is expected; it gives us an opportunity to share about the ministry and challenge pastors concerning serving among the 3.2 million needy pastors around the world and to others about additional missionaries needed to serve with Children in Crisis with the Gospel and compassionate care.
These men can be reached through the ACTION USA email address: firstname.lastname@example.org and ACTION Canada email address: email@example.com.
Doug Nichols, served with ACTION 38 years in the Philippines; presently Facilitator of ACTION Pastoral Leadership Development and Children in Crisis
Bruce Ingram, long time pastor, ACTION missionary serving in coordination and speaking at conferences in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America
Rod Pence, retired pastor and a missionary to Korea, ACTION missionary speaking at conferences in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America
Tom Crouse, a pastor in Massachusetts, ACTION missionary speaking at conferences in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America
Mark Roof, long time ACTION missionary in Colombia
Mike Watters, 15 years serving as a missionary in the Philippines with ACTION
Keith Kaynor, long time missionary with ACTION and pastor in various churches
Carl Loewen, 12 years as an ACTION missionary in the Philippines
Monday, November 17, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Like many of you during the recent elections (and afterwards) I was praying according to 1 Timothy 2:1-8. "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" (vv. 1,2 NIV). Next there is a powerful motivation and vision of God and His desire and activity in our lives and world. God is transcendent and sovereign over all things to whom we must give an account (1 Timothy 6:15,16). But God is also personal and caring. What unfathomable cost God was willing to pay to fulfill His glorious desires for unworthy people like us. "(God) desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all" (2 Timothy 2: 4-6 NAS). God Himself is our vision and source of motivation for ministry. God gives me and each of us an appointed part in making the glory of Christ and His saving work known to all people.
Christ warned and confronted the Pharisees of His day. They were motivated primarily by self justification, self glory, financial security, prominent positions and to look good to others. But apart from the cross of Christ I am no different. Christ and His glorious and eternal purposes is our motivation at home and to the ends of the earth: to pray, to give, to go, until His return.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The question becomes, how is it that we can best lead the people of God? How is it that we can best serve them as their Pastor? The answer is by faithfully preaching and teaching them Gods Word. It is the Word of God hidden in the heart that keeps a man from sin, the Psalmist writes. The Word is compared to food that sustains life. It is compared to love and joy as the apple of a mans eye. The Word of God is our work as ministers. We must get it right, in order for our people to be able to live with the greatest joy on this side of eternity. We must get it right, in order for our people to have the greatest passion and zeal for Christ and His gospel. Getting it right, means teaching and preaching right theology.
Many in our day like to down play and even mock theology. It is fashionable in some circles to degrade Seminary, calling it cemetery and other such words. Understand, that people will not live right for God without believing right about God, and that is theology. It is what we believe about God, and fortunately the Lord has given us a great theological treatise in the Bible. We can do nothing better or more powerful in our ministry to needy pastors around the world than teach them right theology and then teach them how to teach and preach it to their congregations.
If you believe that there is something more important than this, or that theology does not really matter, consider the heresies and heretics throughout the history of the church, and the damage they have done. How many families have been left in the wake as the carnage of being taught bad theology? It is where legalism is born, where cults begin, and where sincere followers of Christ are led astray. Let me encourage you pastors to immerse yourself in the Word of God, as well as good books. We have some great resourced available online right here at our website. Dive into some great books written about a great God. See for yourself if a flame is not lit in your soul.
Pastors have many responsibilities, this is true, but none more critical then developing, preaching, teaching, and imparting great theology. First to their own soul and then to the dear ones that God has in His providential wisdom has put in their care. Brothers seek to be theologians, and please allow us the pleasure and honor to serve you in this quest.
For His Glory,
Pastor Tom Crouse
Pastoral Leadership Development
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Report on Two-day Conference
Theme: “Men Who Finished Well”
Pastor David Stevenson (and John Richard)
August 19 to 20, 2008
New Tribes Mission Conference Hall
On Aug 19 and 20, CGM/ACTION conducted a pastor/worker conference for the Christian Brethren pastors, workers and lay leaders, and Aug. 20 from the Baptist denomination came.
Dr. Richard started the days with a devotional message, related to the topic of men who finished well. Quoting the words of Jesus “It is finished”, Dr. Richard said Jesus is the primary example of men who accomplished his mission and finished well. By His statements on the cross, he accomplished all the necessary requirements to pluck us out of the evil one. Of the apostle Paul, another example of men who finished well, Dr. Richard quoted Paul’s declarations, “I have fought a good fight . . . I have finished the race.”
After showing the examples of the Lord Jesus and the apostle Paul, he shared some suggestions in order to finish well. “If we want to finish well,” Dr. Richard said, “we should aim to follow Christ.” “Also, aim a becoming smaller and smaller in our own sight,” he continued. Going back to the Scriptures, he again pointed the example of Paul who said he was the chief of the apostle, then later on he said he was lesser than the least of all saints, and when he was at the peak of his intimacy with the Lord and nearing the end of his life he declared “I am the chief of sinners.”
Dr. Richard concluded his devotional message by saying “My will is to do the will of the One who sent me. So that what I want written on my epitaph will be HE ENDED WELL.”
Pastor Stevenson’s four sessions center on Hebrews 12: 1-3, emphasizing firstly, men who finish well learn by the experience of others, secondly, men who finish well know they are called to be racers, thirdly, men who finish well center their attention on Jesus and lastly, men who finish well endure to the end. He also urged the delegates to be reliable, available, faithful and teachable. He said positions do not matter in the eyes of God. He stressed the importance of humility (servant attitude) and integrity, not being boastful, willing to experience agony and living to please God, not people. He concluded his messages by saying “All of what we have talked about finishing well, it is impossible to achieve without our dependence on God. When we all have finished well, it will be all for the glory of God.”
Later, when the delegates learned of the ages of Pastor Stevenson and Dr. Richard, they were impressed by their faithful service to the Lord in spite of their age. After the conference, project CLAIM Special set, “Light on Finances” by David Venable and “A Sure Foundation” by Tim Strickland were given to each delegate with the book “Men Who Finished Well” by Pastor Stevenson.