Obedience

The Christian is not obedient unless he is doing all in his power to send the gospel to the heathen world.

A. B. Simpson

Are you an obedient Christian? We don’t often hear this question asked in our time. Questions of happiness or fulfillment are more common. Obedience is somehow not in vogue. Yet obedience is what Christ called for. In John 15:14 He even calls us friends if we obey his commands. He proclaims that love for him is proven in our obedience to his commands in John 14:15. 

Latter on in his life the Apostle John reflects on these truths and writes these words in Second John 1:6. “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” 

The common theme of each of the recorded commands of Christ found in the Scripture is love. Love for God and love for our neighbors. A love not held only in our hearts and minds but a love lived out in tangible ways. It is love that motivates us to live the commands of Christ. 

So, when you obey the command of Christ and preach the Gospel so that your neighbor can hear and believe then call upon the name of the Lord so that they are saved, you do so motivated by love. When you obey the command of Christ to reach the world by sending a missionary to a foreign land you do so out of love.

Allow me to ask the question again. Are you an obedient Christian? Do you love Christ? Do you love your neighbors? Do you live accordingly? 

May we do all we can to send the Gospel in the world. May we do so in Love. 

With much love,E485775C-AFF2-40F9-B51B-573DD3A6D020 The Downings

Have you listened to our Ministry Story “Cobblestone Less Traveled?” If not, click here!

Cultural Insight: Syncretism

What do the Inca, the Conquistadores, the cult of Pachamama and Mariolatry have in common? Find out by listening to today’s Cultural Insight podcast.

 

240CBF00-817A-48AC-A810-9FC0F54C3ED7

Rumicucho is one of the “high places” the Conquistadors destroyed.

with much love, 1CD38D2B-A6B2-4EFB-AFD7-7812C81D5BCEthe Downings

What is the church? Click here to find out!

Consumed

God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like You, Lord Jesus.

Jim Elliot

Would you prefer to live a long safe life or would you prefer to live on the vanguard of God’s consuming fire? For most of us this is not a true binary choice. It is not an either or proposition, we may indeed burn brightly for Him for many long years. But what if… what if we are among those whom God calls to burn quickly for Him? 

For followers of Christ who live with Eternity in mind our lives are not confined to this world. We are confident that we will follow Christ in this life, through death and into eternal life. From this perspective living life in God’s consuming fire is more important that living a lengthy life. 

May our lives be marked by God’s consuming fire. May we live with Eternity in mind. 

With much love, E485775C-AFF2-40F9-B51B-573DD3A6D020The Downings

Radio Silence

“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me—and I in him—bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing.

John 15:5
Click play to hear today’s word from Ecuador.

 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is known by its fruit. Offspring of vipers! How are you able to say anything good, since you are evil? For the mouth speaks from what fills the heart. The good person brings good things out of his good treasury, and the evil person brings evil things out of his evil treasury.

Matthew 12:33-35
Love, The Downing Family

Authority and Presence

His authority on earth allows us to dare to go to all the nations. His authority in heaven gives us our only hope of success. And His presence with us leaves us no other choice.

John R. Stott

We follow the One with authority and presence. For those of us who follow the One who has overcome death there are no un-crossable borders. There are no authorities above Christ! 

The fact that He has authority in heaven not only gives us hope, it ensures our success. Because of His athority no weapon formed against us will prosper, all who raise up against us will fall. By His authority He vindicates us. 

The fact that He is with us, His very presence compels us to join His mission. When we pick up our cross daily and follow Him, we follow Him in life, through death and into eternal life. All of which happens along the path of His mission. 

May we trust completely in His authority. May we follow closely in His presence. 

With much love,ff7ede2e-fa12-4cbb-9c20-5456d1070373 The Downings

Awake

Many do not recognize the fact as they ought, that Satan has got men fast asleep in sin and that it is his great device to keep them so. He does not care what we do if he can do that. We may sing songs about the sweet by and by, preach sermons and say prayers until doomsday, and he will never concern himself about us, if we don’t wake anybody up. But if we awake the sleeping sinner he will gnash on us with his teeth. This is our work – to wake people up.

Catherine Booth

To wake people up…but how? How is our work best done? How do we wake people up? Do we need to update our songs, add lights and a fog machine to our church buildings? Should we change our theology and soften our message? Shall we focus on social programs and building projects? Perhaps the church should concede the cultural war and stop offending sinners. Would it wake people up if we abandon our moral stances? Maybe if we break from our history our tradition then people will wake up. Surly if we build a separate building for the youth, offer separate services based on preferences people will wake up.

Of course all of that is misguided at best when done to wake people up. Isn’t it interesting that we often call upon the church to change instead of calling the sinner to change? The only way to awaken the sinner is to proclaim the Gospel. Everyone has sinned. The wages of sin are death, but the free gift of God is eternal life. Whomsoever will believe in the Lord Jesus will be saved. 

One of the best summaries of the Gospel is found in 1 John 3:23 “This is [God’s] command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another.” Believe in Christ, his death and resurrection and you will be saved. Then you will live a life marked by love, that is the effect of salvation.

May we be torchbearers of this truth. May we seek to wake people up! 

With love,C7277E17-6D98-457E-AFCC-1E3289BD0CA8 The Downings

Seco De Pollo

Seco de pollo or chicken stew

Yield: For 8-10 people

Seco de pollo or seco de gallina is a South American chicken stew cooked slowly in a sauce of beer, onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, herbs and spices. Seven out of seven Downings recomend this dish. 

Ingredients

  • 6 lbs of assorted chicken pieces
  • 4 tbs oil
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • ½ red onion, minced for refrito
  • 10 whole garlic gloves plus 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp ground achiote or annatto
  • 4 cups of beer or apple cider 
  • 8 tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 bell peppers, quartered
  • 1 hot pepper (jalapeno or serrano)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, reserve some to add at the end
  • 1 bunch parsley, reserve some to add at the end
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Instructions

  1. Blend the beer, quartered onions, whole garlic cloves, tomatoes, bell peppers, hot pepper, cilantro, parsley, oregano and cumin to obtain a smooth puree.
  2. In a large saucepan or soup pot heat the oil over medium heat to prepare a refrito or sofrito, add the minced red onion, minced garlic and achiote, cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken and brown lightly on each side, add the blended puree mix
  4. Cook on low heat until the chicken is very tender and the sauce has thickened. Unless it’s a hen, the chicken should be tender in less than 1 hour. However it takes longer for the sauce to thicken, so if the chicken is very tender – meat falling of the bones – and the sauce isn’t thick yet, then remove the tender chicken pieces, turn up the heat and cook the sauce until it’s nice and thick, about 20-30 minutes.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add the remaining cilantro and parsley.
  7. Enjoy

Love, D4ECCD47-B129-414B-BF02-BA067946B94BThe Downing Family

Will you donate to our ministry today? Click here to find out how!

Presence

No one, I am convinced, will follow Jesus very long without tribulation. It is His way of demonstrating His presence.

K.P. Yohannan, Revolution in World Missions

We hear the words of Christ echo throughout the corridors of history:  “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

We follow the one who has all authority in heaven and Earth and who has promised that he is with us always! 

As we walk with Christ through the good and bad in life we walk with confidence that he is with us. In the good times we delight in his blessings, when tribulation defines our path we rest assured that his presence makes all things bearable. 

Although we constantly give thanks to him in the good times, we draw close to him during hardships of life. 

When we look forward in life we often see only confusion, a path not clear, full of terrifying obstacles. When we pause and look back we see exactly how Christ lead us through difficult situations in the past. Likewise, when we face tribulation, we can take courage that he has always made his presence known in the past and will certainly walk with us in every situation, even to the end of the age. 

May we be filled with a clear sense of His companionship today! May our tribulation be defined not by our suffering but by His presence. 

Have you heard our cultural insight about food? If not, click here!

with love,AE4CC7DA-43B8-4EB7-BAB4-3FE9CA162129 The Downings

Smelting

Have Asians rejected Christ? Not really. In most cases they have rejected only the trappings of Western culture that have fastened themselves onto the Gospel.

K.P. Yohannan, Revolution in World Missions

The work of missionaries is particularly essential to the Church. Not simply becuase every Christian is commanded into missions through the great commission in some way but becuase of the inheritant smelting of the Gospel message as it travels into new cultures. We who are missionaries can not afford to give a Gospel wrapped up in our home culture no matter how wonderful our home culture might be. We dare not give even aspects of our home culture in place of the Gospel or perhaps more commonly in addition to the Gospel. It is impartive that we separate the trappings of our culture and deliver only the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only His message contain the Words of Life!

The words of Christ reach people in every culture, they even fundamentally change cultures but only when we give the words of Christ unwrapped from the message of our culture.

Friend, if you are a believer in Christ you are a believer because you heard the words of Christ. Let us carefully read the Bible and consistently breathe the Words of life into our lost and dying world!

May we do the hard work of objectivity looking at the Gospel and then at our culture and follow the Gospel when the two diverge. May we give Jesus only!

With much love, AE4CC7DA-43B8-4EB7-BAB4-3FE9CA162129The Downings

Where

Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.

Charles Spurgeon

Missionary. What do you think of when you hear the word missionary? Missions, primarily, is not about men and women giving their lives away for a moral or humanitarian cause. Rather, missions are primarily about the proclamation of a specific message with a specific content. We see this message written large in every sermon recorded in the book of Acts. The redemption of the world through the death and resurrection of our incarnate God, Jesus Christ. 

If you tell someone of the love, salvation and redemption of Jesus Christ you are speaking missionary words. If you proclaim “God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son so that whosoever believes in Him shall not parish but Have everlasting life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him” you are proclaiming the missionary message. 

But where should you proclaim your missionary message? Jesus actually gives us clear instructions as to where we are to be missionaries. 

In Acts Chapter one Jesus tells his original disciples that they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. In other words where they lived, where they were comfortable, across cultural lines and to the furthest parts of the earth. 

We, His current disciples are called likewise. Although we tend to think of only the furthest parts of the earth as being the realm of missionaries, the truth is that all Christians are responsible for each area of witness. We must take care to witness in each of the realms that Christ sent His disciples. 

May we loudly proclaim the missionary message to all whom we meet. May we go in person, and where we cannot go in person may we go in purse!

With much love,09c1071c-468b-42a1-a9eb-8f1a3f66360a The Downings

%d bloggers like this: