• johned@aibi.ph

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Eternity 68 - Except They Be Sent

Romans 10:14-15 ASV How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (15) and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things!

Acts 13:1-3 ASV Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers, Barnabas, and Symeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen the foster-brother of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. (2) And as they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. (3) Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

"How shall they preach, except they be sent?" One of the great tragedies of mission today is the lack of "sending". By sending I mean really sending the missionary, taking care of their support and needs, being behind them all the way in prayer, pastoral care and logistical support. Here in the Philippines there are thousands of evangelicals with M.Div's wanting to be missionaries and no-one willing to send them. The West has prayed for the raising up of "national workers and missionaries". Ok they are raised up! But they are staying at home. I could easily send 100 people into Muslim evangelism for a total as little as $300,000 per annum - Filipino Christians are happy to live on $200 a month! But even that much money is not available. It is so frustrating. Please pray that sustainable ways of funding and supporting Filipino missionaries can be found. In the past few years thousands have committed their lives to Muslim evangelism but only a handful have made it to the field and the most promising are still stuck at the deputation stage unable to raise the needed support. Its a tragedy.

Sending is a passionate thing, involving a deep belief in the sacredness of human potential and of God's calling in the lives of His servants. Sending is much more than funding. Its praying, its pastoral care and in-service training and logistics and communication and so many other things. Sending should be a deep, spiritual thing, a shared sense of the Lord having spoken over a human life or over a team like Saul and Barnabas. Yes, there are a few flaky people wanting to be missionaries and we should not send those, but the good solid folk I meet here, the prepared and called - and frustrated. These must be mobilized, we owe it to them and to God and to the unsaved. The cost of Filipino missionaries is low and their cultural knowledge and sensitivity is high. They can easily enter most countries is S.E. Asia, and many of the world's most unreached people groups. They are a force waiting to be unleashed by God!

As you may have quickly guessed this is a deep passion of mine. I am continually editing this devotional as I do not want to come across too strongly or have you think I am asking you for funds. But I do want you to be aware of two things a) that missions in Asia can be done by the Asian church and Asian personnel. b) that those personnel are now trained, motivated, and informed. The challenge is now suitable Asian sending structures - and funds. Ideally the funds should come from Asian businessmen and churches, but I don't think it will be sufficient for another ten years or so, until the missionaries we have in the wings now have gone out, done a few terms, and come back successful. (Asian churches tend to be a bit conservative "wait and see", with a few exceptions). Meanwhile we are losing a huge window of opportunity. Somewhere out there is a solution - the answer to sending Asian missionaries into Asia.

What is the laternative? How will they go unless they are sent? As mavericks, as independent missionaries, or as impulsive "get on a plane for Jesus" types. Some "unsent ones" may work as tent-makers - which is an exhausting way to be a missionary. Without proper sending such people are unprayed for, and often uncared for. Burn out is common. We must start sending God's called one's out into their destiny. Its imperative. Less and less people are going from the West, the new missionaries must be from the East and from Africa. But how will they be sent? There must be a connection between those with the power to send and those who need to be sent. Something needs to be done, now - that's new. Because, the cost of leaving things as they are is just far too high for all concerned. I'll leave you with some words from Jesus:

Matthew 9:37-38 ASV Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest indeed is plenteous, but the laborers are few. (38) Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth laborers into his harvest.


John Edmiston


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