The following is what Matt Bennett sent me:
I just finished rereading Bishop B.E. Underwood's book Sixteen New Testament Principles for World Evangelization. I first read the book in 1993 while Janese and I were serving at The Centre for International Christian Ministries (CICM) in London, England. It immediately had a profound impact on how I viewed missions. Since that time I've reread it numerous times and each read inspires me to focus on the simple truths of the New Testament that quickly "turned the disciples' world upside down."
Over the next few weeks, I want to share those 16 Principles with you to inspire you to take personal ownership of the Great Commission, to challenge you that our world can be reached, and to get your thoughts how we can implement these 16 Principles in our churches. I pray that is will be more than a personal exercise but a journey to live a more significant life in God's Kingdom!
Principle One: The motivation for and the perseverance in world evangelization are maintained only by PREVAILING PRAYER.
Bishop Underwood writes, "World evangelization.......was born and maintained in an atmosphere of prevailing prayer. Nothing is more central in launching the task, but prayer is also essential for its completion. When the church stops praying world evangelization will cease."
Underwood goes on to state, that "Every major world evangelization thrust from Pentecost until now seems to have been triggered by a fresh commitment by Christian believers to a ministry of prayer."
If we believe this to be true, the first priority of igniting a fresh move of God in our personal lives, our churches and the unengaged areas of our world is for us to commit ourselves to PREVAILING PRAYER. So today, let us pray like we have never prayed before! Let us cry out to the heavens that God would visit us, empower us, and embolden us to finish Christ's directive of world evangelization!
Principle Two: The HOLY SPIRIT is the Director of World Evangelization. He must call, enable, and direct the workers, and he must be in total command of all strategies.
B.E. Underwood states, "Just as Jesus entered both human history and His earthly ministry through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, so the church is to operate from start to finish in the power of the same Holy Spirit."
Throughout the book of Acts, the work of the Holy Spirit is powerfully portrayed as the one who baptizes, empowers, guides, confirms, directs miraculously, corrects, and administers the church. "Without the Holy Spirit and His ministry the work of world of evangelization is doomed to fail. He is the director of world missions. He is the superintendent of world evangelization, and unless he is recognized, as such, the job will never be finished."
While strategies and programs are good and often times necessary, they cannot become a substitute for being sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We must once again become a church empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit to overcome the challenges of reaching our communities so blinded by the philosophies of this age, and to break ground in the unengaged areas of our world oftentimes hostile to the gospel message.
So today, let us cry out to God that we may once again be sensitized anew to the dynamic ministry of the Holy Spirit! May we be filled with His power, embolden to be His witnesses, guided in our daily activities, and empowered to stretch out His hand to do signs and wonders.
Today, let us submit to the Holy Spirit's authority to direct His church in world evangelization.
[Editor's comment: Let us join Matt Bennett in reading again the timeless truths that Bishop B. E. Underwood discovered as he studied Holy Scriptures. I had the privilege of knowing B. E. Underwood, serving on the World Missions Board with him, having him and Queen Esther in our home and in our churches for Missionary Conventions. When he came to Tarkenton for a convention, I took him and some of our missionaries who wanted to see Georgia play Duke at Sanford Stadium in Athens. I got tickets and B. E. told me that it was the very first collegiate football game he had ever seen in person except on television. He was a dynamic leader, a great preacher, a gifted writer and a friend. He is responsible for me purchasing my first laptop computer. I stand to attention to honor Bishop B. E. Underwood.]