A Quick Interview

Friends, here is a quick interview with our family about our time in Ecuador during the Covid pandemic. Ecuador has been under various iterations of COVID-19 lockdown policy since March. In this post we answer three questions. The first: “What do you dislike about the lockdown? Second: What do you like about the lockdown? Finally: What do you want to do after the lockdown is over?

Things are looking up recently. We are now allowed to drive every other day and most stores and restaurants that survived the lockdowns are opened.

Churches are now allowed to be open but with heavy restrictions on the number of people allowed to attend, the age of attendees, and the time allowed for each service. As of this post, we are only aware of one Church that we work with that is currently meeting.

We are currently distributing food to those in need. We need your help! Please click here to see what we are doing and to help us along the way.

God Bless,

The Downings

Disciple! Going to the ends of the earth

We are sent with a purpose and mission far greater than we ever plan or imagine. Jesus sends us on a mission that echoes his own. But missionary work is not reserved for a few pioneering Christians, Jesus sends all of His followers on His mission. It is true that not all of us move to distant lands, learn new languages and enter into new cultures but all of us are sent. We are sent into the mission of Christ and with peace, we reach the world around us. 

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 

-John 20:21

Some question why many missionaries go to places from which they are unlikely to return. We go because we have peace: peace in life, peace in death, peace in eternity, peace in calling. We go because we are clearly called into the mission. This calling paired with the peace that Jesus gives overshadows danger, problems, roadblocks and everything else that might keep the missionary from the mission. Like a moth drawn to a flame, a missionary must work within their Divine calling. Calling matters more than finances, preparation, missionary organizations, safety, health and the like. It is by the grace of God that along with the mission, He also gives peace so that we may focus on our calling, not on anything else that seeks our attention. 

“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 uncrossable 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 authority, 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 happen along our mission path.

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

Go, Make Disciples, Baptize, and Teach!

The Downings

Disciple! Being a missionary

The Great Commission calls each believer into what we commonly call missionary service. 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 and discipleship over the implications of that message. 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. 

“Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.”

-Charles Spurgeon

If you warn someone of their sin, of Hell and, of the road to perdition they are on, you are speaking missionary words. 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 perish 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. 

Audio version of Disciple! Being A Missionary

But where should you proclaim your missionary message? Jesus 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. 

Video version of Disciple! Being A Missionary

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 to which Christ sent His disciples. 

Written version of the Disciple! series

The Downings

QUEDATE EN CASA

Family, friends, churches, Sunday school classes and small groups have been asking how we are doing as we have been quedate en casa (quarantined). Since March we have been lived under several different interactions of COVID-19 lockdown. Today’s podcast will give you an insight into how we are doing in this difficult time.

The Downings

Disciple! Presence

The Great Commission of Christ begins with the assurance of His authority and ends with the assurance of His presence. It should be noted that His presence is not simply a comforting thought. His presence carries with it His power and His authority. What is done through the Great Commission is done in the power and authority of Christ. 

“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Goye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Matthew 28:18-20
Here is the audio version of Disciple! Presence.

It is important to understand that this assurance belongs only to those who engage in the biblical pattern of the Great Commission. We cannot expect New Testament power if we do not hold to the New Testament pattern. How can we pray and ask for the Holy Spirit and His power without also adopting the call of Christ? If we, individually and corporately, are not honoring His Commission should we be surprised if He is not with us? 

Here is the video version of Disciple! Presence.

The Downing Family

Disciple! Educate

The idea of “Teaching” in the Great Commission is an ongoing, never ceasing education and edifying of those being discipled. In Greek, the word teaching is written as a present participle indicating it is a continual activity. The word teaching means both imparting ideas (articulating truth), and living the truth being taught (consistent modeling).

All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Matthew 28:18-20
Here is the audio version of Disciple! Educate.

Believers are always teaching, regardless of whether we intend to or not. We teach both through modeling and through structured time. Regardless if the follower of Christ has the Spiritual Gift of teaching or not, they are called to give what they know, what they have experienced to another. 

Here is the video version of Disciple! Educate.

Discipleship is inherently relational. It takes place naturally in the lives of believers. It is more likely to happen in a coffee shop, a company’s break room or around a kitchen table than in a pew. 

Discipleship takes time, relationship and effort. There is no biblical alternative. We must hold to the New Testament vision!

The episodes of this teaching series flow from this book. When you purchase this book you are supporting our ministry in Ecuador.

The Downing Family

Disciple! Newness of Life

Part of disciple-ing others is helping them connect with Christ’s death and resurrection. This is precisely what happened with Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8:26-40. As Philip was going, he met a man with questions about the Bible. He responded to those questions with Christ-centered answers, and then lead the man into the waters of baptism forthwith. Philip was “going” and he “discipled” by “baptizing.” He helped the man to comprehend Jesus and then baptized him as the affirming act of his new-found faith. 

“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Goye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Matthew 28:18-20

The waters of baptism are not magic but they are meaningful. Through baptism, a believer in Christ acknowledges death to their past sins, lifestyle, and motivations. They also acknowledge the newness of life through the resurrection of Christ. It is a testimony that the believer is focused on the glorious Person and all-consuming mission of Jesus Christ. 

Here is the audio version of Disciple! Newness of Life.

Baptizing in the “name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” signifies the disciple is encompassed in the total Person and total plan of God. Nothing in the believer’s life is kept for their own purposes, everything is given to God.

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

-Romans 6:3-4  

Here is the video version of Disciple! Newness of Life.

Friend, if you would like to have a copy of the Disciple! book you can purchase it here.

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The Downing Family

Disciple! Imperative

We may only disciple another for Christ on Christ’s terms and by His strategy. The “disciple” stipulation is not an addition to Jesus’ Commission it is the very command itself. The Great Commission does not call us to make converts but to be disciples who make disciples. Of course, evangelism is the starting point of discipleship but the Commission of Christ requires discipleship. This strategy produces world-changing disciples in every generation.

“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Goye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Matthew 28:18-20

Friends, here is the audio version of Disciple! Imperative.

And here is the video version of Disciple! Imperative.

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The Downing Family

Disciple! Where

“All nations” is the field of concern the Great Commission gives to Christians. Remember, the One who gave us this Commission had no budget, building, hymnal, or theology textbook. Simply, by His authority He sent out His original disciples, fully expecting them to conquer the world. He expects no less from us! 

If we do not hold a world-sized vision for our church and ourselves our vision is too small. 

“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Goye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Matthew 28:18-20

Here is the audio version of Disciple! Where

Dear reader, enlarge your vision! This is exactly what Christ’s original disciples did. They proclaimed the glorious Gospel of Christ in Jerusalem, where they lived, in Judea, where they were comfortable, in Samaria, where they were hesitant, and to the Ends of the earth, from which most did not return. 

How does the enemy of our soul rebel against the ever-expanding vision of the followers of Christ? He tempts us to focus on our own struggles on our own survival. Satan is constantly trying to turn our attention to smaller things. He seeks to shrink our vision into something institutional, traditional, political or personal.

Here is the video version of Disciple! Where

If you would like a copy of the book Disciple! you can find it here!

Friends one way to help support our ministry is to share this post with your friends. It is easy, just click on your social network icon below. Thank you for sharing our content!

Blessings,

The Downing Family

Disciple! Engage

“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Matthew 28:18-20

The word “Go” is an action-packed and aggressive word. It requires, (as we learned in the previous lesson), the universal movement of all believers everywhere. Each generation, each tribe, tongue, and nation is depending on believers to follow Christ into His mission. 

In what manner are believers to go? A quick examination of the Holy writ will instruct us to penetrate the world. Jesus spoke using symbols of salt, light, keys, water, and bread. 

Salt is useless if it remains in the salt shaker. It must penetrate that which it is to flavor or preserve. In the same way, a lamp hidden under a bowl is worthless, it must be positioned on a lamp stand so that the light may penetrate and dispel the darkness. Keys cannot function unless they enter into the lock. Water and bread need to enter a person to quench thirst and abate hunger. Likewise, Christians must penetrate the world.

Here is the audio version of today’s teaching.

How has the enemy fought against this natural pattern of Kingdom expansion? Satan has subtlety changed our mentality from “go and tell” to “come and hear.” The biblical expectation is for the church to knock down the very gates of Hell. This cannot be done with a meek invitation to attend our worship shows. It must be done outside of the four walls of the church building and beyond our church programs. 

“Come and hear” is not a substitute for “Go and tell.” Paul little once wrote: “The problem is not that the gospel has lost its power, the problem is that the church has lost its audience.” The audience for the church is always found outside of the church. 

Here is the video version of today’s teaching.

If you would like a copy of the book Disciple! you can find it here!

With much love,

The Downing Family

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