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