Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One Man's Wisdon and Generosity

On one occasion in the Philippines, Franklin Graham visited our ministry for several days. He is the son of Billy Graham and the President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.

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


On my radio show today we discussed President Bush's recent statement that he did not believe the Bible to be literally true. He would not be considered a literalist he said, though he did believe God sent His Son. I asked my listening audience if they believed a person must believe the Bible to be the Word of God to be a true believer. While it caused an hour of fast paced lively discussion, I was impressed by all of the good questions that were brought up. Questions of original languages, of genre, of the process of the Bible being put together by men. Questions about how it is that God would have sinful men be the vessels He used to write His Word.

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 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,
Tom Crouse

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

ACTION Bible Institute

ACTION Bible Institute (ABI) in Zambia will commence on January 19, 2009, with ACTION missionaries Tracy Singleton and Steve Allen as the teachers. Tracy (former pastor from Illinois) will be teaching Module 2 of Veritas which is a Biblical Training Study Program covering Old Testament narratives. Steve will be teaching a class on the book of Ephesians.

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 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

Zambia Pastor's Graduation

A report from Tracy Singleton's blog -

This past Friday fifteen pastors received their certificate of completion for Module 1 of the Veritas class. After a short time of fellowship, refreshments, and singing, Tracy spoke to the men about keeping their souls happy in God. Amid all the duties pastors have, this one thing is the most crucial.

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


“Praying will make thee leave sinning or sinning will make leave praying.” This well-known saying may well have originated with Thomas Wilcox (1622-1687) and speaks into the life of every pastor. I rarely read a biography of any minister of the gospel where they do not look back on their lives and wish they had prayed more. Prayer is essential for the man of God, and yet it is most often neglected. Prayer is what keeps us mindful of our dependence upon God, and yet it is so often not on our mind. Prayer is worship, and yet for those charged to lead others in such worship, it is often lacking. Lets us not come to the end and wish we prayed more. Why not commit now to praying more? Why not use this gift and privilege we have been given to the utmost?

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,
Tom Crouse

Friday, December 5, 2008

"Really, I Can Have This Bible?"

He couldn’t believe it! It was as if he had just learned that he had won the lottery. “Really, are you sure?” He said. “You are giving me this Bible?” “It is mine to keep?” Pastor Me*h had come to a pastors’ conference from a remote area of Asia and cherishes God’s word. He had seen it work powerfully in his own life and in the lives of others.

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


When this time of year comes around, there is an expectation in many churches to hear sermons driven by the season. Christmas or Advent sermons. It was in my 5th or 6th year as a Pastor when I told my church that I was out of Christmas sermons. From that time on I would each year at Christmas time simply continue to preach verse by verse through the book I happened to be in, and an amazing thing happened, no one complained! It was a blessing to know that my church cared more about the Word of God being faithfully and accurately proclaimed than they did about it fitting the season.

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,
Tom Crouse

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Polycarp (c 69-155 A.D.) was a leader of the early church in Smyrna. "When commanded to [curse the name of Jesus Christ and] worship Caesar: 'Eighty-six years I have served Him [Christ] and He has done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King, who saved me?' To the end Polycarp...disdained to defend himself before the mob. He was threatened with the wild beasts and then with fire, but he did not flinch. Once again his statement was memorable, as well as moving: 'You threaten me with the fire that burns for an hour and in a little while is put out, for you do not know about the fire of the judgement to come, and the fire of eternal punishment reserved for the ungodly. But why are you waiting? Bring what you will.' And so they did. He was burned alive. The issues were clear to Polycarp and [other] Christians: 'It is better for you to enter into life maimed, than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out' (Mark 9:43). Immediately after Polycarp's martyrdom, the local church wrote a letter describing the events, so eager were they for a neighbouring church to know of their leader's joyful and glorious end. To them and to the [non-Christians] around them such faithfulness was the best possible testimony to the truth of the gospel." (The Footsteps of God by John Legg, Evangelical Press)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I have always been amazed at Daniel. He was a man that was known to be faithful in the Word and prayer. He was well known enough for his walk with God that it was easy to trap him using that as a weapon. His enemies knew that nothing would keep him from his time with the Lord, be it a law or a Kings decree. But what is most amazing to me is when Daniel prays to the Lord for the people of Israel in the past, and their past transgressions. He goes to God for them and in spite of his never having committed their sins, in spite of his not have fallen with them, in spite of it being none of Daniels accountability, he prays to God as if he had done all that they had. It is an impressive example of how a man of God, a minister of the gospel is to identify with the people God has entrusted to his care.

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,
Tom Crouse

The new Action Bible Institute in Zambia

We are really excited about the commencement of our new Bible institute for pastors in Zambia... Just so you can come along for the ride, here is a description of what we are doing...


Action Zambia is pleased to announce the formation of Action Bible Institute (ABI). ABI is a cherished dream of AZ missionaries to serve the pastors and church leaders of Lusaka with a formal program of theological and practical training.

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 Lusaka area with the needed knowledge, skills, and character development to shepherd and lead the church to spiritual health, maturity, and multiplication. We seek to promote the supremacy of God in all things, the sufficiency of the Bible for faith and life, and the way of salvation in Jesus Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone for the peoples of all the nations.

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

Student Requirements:

· 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

Financial Crisis and Retirement 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 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


A Pastor friend of mine died suddenly Saturday as he was raking leaves. It appears he went from raking to the presence of the Lord. Today we had the funeral and I was struck during the service to consider some things. First what is the legacy that I will leave behind? This brother was used of God and He bore much fruit through him. It was noteworthy to see how simply doing the little things, like picking up and putting away the trash at church, was used of God to make a difference in peoples lives. I pray that I can be that servant. To leave behind the legacy of a servant who is not above washing feet. Then it struck me of the privilege it is to preach and teach Gods Word. This brother was a preacher who was unashamed of the gospel and saw it a privilege to herald the good news. I want to be sure to never take the privilege God has given me of preaching and teaching His Word, for granted.

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,
Tom Crouse

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

BookShare PLD ministry

BookShare PLD ministry provides evangelical study books for needy pastors in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Would you and your church consider providing a few of your sermon study outlines for a church missions project to print in book form for pastors in the Philippines? You could put together about 20 detailed sermon outlines and we would print and distribute them in English to 700 needy pastors, Christian workers, and Bible school students in the Philippines. A detailed teaching sermon outline would probably take three pages, so a book of 20 sermon outlines would be around 60 pages. This book would cost about $1 to publish, so 700 copies would be $700. We would title it something like Sermon Study Outlines for Preaching & Teaching. We already have sermon study outlines on Colossians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and 1 & 2 Peter, but need them on the other 61 books of the Bible, plus special topics such as servanthood, faithfulness, integrity, Biblical family relationships, etc.

Monday, November 24, 2008

What a Bible will do...

Last year a college group in Abbotsford gave money to some pastors in pastors. What a joy it was to give them the Bibles... They loved it... See for yourself!

Friday, November 21, 2008

"It's all illegal" he said.

"It’s all illegal but we continue to do it by faith and as long as God gives us favor."

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

PLD Missionaries Available for Speaking Opportunities

One of ACTION’s ministries is Pastoral Leadership Development (PLD) to encourage, equip, and mentor the 3.2 million needy pastors in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The Philippines has 48,000 untrained pastors and Malawi, Uganda and Zambia have many thousands as well. Conferences are held throughout the year for these pastors, many of whom may have only one or two study books besides their Bible and make less than $20 monthly (in Africa and Cuba pastors earn only $5 to $12 monthly!). Pray with ACTION for an additional 50 PLD missionaries to serve with needy pastors.

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: and ACTION Canada email address:

Seattle area:
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

East Coast:
(Western Massachusetts)
Tom Crouse, a pastor in Massachusetts, ACTION missionary speaking at conferences in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America

(New York)
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

Living by Faith?

I will never forget the conversation I had with a pastor in Zambia about a year ago. We were talking about the church that he pastored as well as the Bible School that was currently the principal. I asked him how he got his money to live and he said, "I live by faith." I tried to clarify because we all live by faith, right? And upon further discussion I realized that he receives no salary from the church plant that he started and he receives no salary from the Bible School. "How do you get your money? I live by faith." This is a great reminder to me and challenge as well to trust the Lord daily for his provisions. Thank you Lord for teaching us through the pastors that we are aspiring to go and teach.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Motivation for Ministry

Recently I was overwhelmed with many ministry needs. I questioned how to prioritize these needs and what role I was to play in meeting them. My motivation was depleted. I asked myself, "Bruce, what is your motivation to do what needs to be done in the ministry for the Lord?" I appreciated Pastor Tom's recent blog about the necessity for the pastor to teach and preach God's word. I needed a word from the Lord for my own heart before I could be the Lord's servant for others.

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


When it comes to leading a church as a pastor, there is nothing more critical then being able to rightly divide the Word of God. We are called to do many things in service to the local body of believers that the Lord has called us to, but if we fail at preaching and teaching the Word of God, then all else is for nothing. While that might seem strong to some, lets consider the reality that is the ministry of the Pastor. Men are called by God to shepherd His Church. This is the call to lead people through the wilderness of life. To walk with them in and through life, that is filled with joy and tragedy, laughter and tears, good times and bad. It is a daunting task that can only be accomplished by one truly called by God.

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

Philippines PLD Conference

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

Manila, Philippines

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.