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

Sumaj Diosta Cantana Himnario #144 Christ Will Come Again

Some of Church of God congregations sing out of a hymnal that is printed in both Quechua and Spanish. During today’s podcast we reflect on the wonderful words of the 144th Spanish song. Timothy translated the words for your edification.

“The angels sing with sweet voice,

The men sing with a loud voice,

Christ will come, our conquering King,

Christ will come again.  

He will come again, 

He will come again,  

In glory come to the world He will come again,

He will come again,

He will come again,

He is coming to reign soon,

See on earth the air and the sea,

Great signs already fulfilled,  

Everything indicats that the time is near,

Our glorious Lord,  

All the dead in Christ will rise, 

With joy the dead will rise, 

To find their King they will rise, 

Christ is coming again.  

Come in the clouds!  Oh beautiful Savior!  

Come to earth, I beg you Lord!  

Come, your church awaits you Jesus!  

Jesus Christ will come again.”

Love,

EDE2EA27-63A9-4BF4-88DE-EE1E608DBD44
Tim 2, Elias, Ezequiel, Timothy, Angelita, Esperanza, Adelena

The Downing Family

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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

Concentric Waves

The primacy of missions is written in large letters across the pages of the whole Bible. All the apostles gave themselves to missions, and only the sword could cut short their path to the uttermost part of the earth.

George W. Peters

Like concentric waves of water when a stone is thrown into a placid pond the Gospel of Jesus Christ travels from its origin to the uttermost parts of the earth! In the Church there is much discussion about evangelism and discipleship. Which should be our main focus, which should be primary? In reality we miss the mark when we argue about such things. Love is primary! When we love properly we Evangelize those who need it and we disciple those who need it. 

When we love like Christ loved we focus on the needs of those around us not on the false argument over the theological supremacy of missions or discipleship. 

In reality missions and discipleship walk hand in hand to the ends of the earth. They are two theologies that can not be separated. One can not be elevated over the other. After all Jesus said Go and make disciples! 

May we love like Christ loves, may we see with his eyes and may we meet the needs of those we encounter.

With much love, ff7ede2e-fa12-4cbb-9c20-5456d1070373the Downings

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Peace

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

John 20:21

We are sent with a purpose and mission far greater than we ever plan or imagine. Jesus sends us on a mission which 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 inter 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. 

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 a specific 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 firmly called missionary must work within their Divine calling. Calling matters more than finances, perpetration, missionary organizations, safety, health and the like. It is a grace of God that along with mission, He also give peace so that we may focus on our calling, not on anything else that demands our attention. 

May we go forward in the certitude of a clear calling and a profound sense of Divine peace. 

With much love,    The Downings

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The Chief End

Missions are the chief end of the Church… the chief end of the ministry ought to be to equip the Church for this. Each congregation is meant to be a training class.

Andrew Murray

Our missionary effort is simply a reflection of Christ’s incarceration. His incarnation is a reflection of the Father’s love for our sin-sick world. Just as Christ was sent as a wounded healer so are we. Not only is each ministry to equip the Church for this heavenly commission but each of us have the privilege of becoming the incarnation of our Father’s love right where we live or wherever we travel! 

The most natural thing for a Christian to do is to be on mission for Christ. The most natural think for a Congregation to do is the equip each believer to be on this mission. 

The Scripture instructs us to “Go” and that powerful command is not modified in any way. We are not to ‘go’ if… if we are happy, if we are sad, if we are passionate, if we are rich, or poor, or “called or equipped, we are to Go, and as we are going we are to give the good news of Jesus Christ!

May we go without self-imposed limits and, may we go fully equipped by our local Churches! 

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

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Urgency

It should be clear that all these theologians believe in the same gospel; that the first priority of the church is to take the gospel to all men everywhere; that man’s eternal destiny is involved; and that the task of the church is an urgent one.

David Hesselgrave

Urgency for the central truth and mission of the Church is the mark of a Christian who has adopted the same passions as our Lord. 

It seems that some are converted to Christ with this passion. The passion grows over time in others. Eventually all followers of Christ love what he loves and are passionate about that which He is passionate. It is simply the natural progression of the Christian. 

May we all feel the urgency for Christ’s truth and mission! May we urgently seek and save those who are lost! 

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

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Wound Transformed

I am ready to burn out for God. I am ready to endure any hardship, if by any means I might save some. The longing of my heart is to make known my glorious Redeemer to those who have never heard.

William Burns

There is a longing in the Christian’s heart that simply can not be fulfilled on this side of Heaven. It is born not of appetites, philosophies or theologies but of brokenness. The terrible sin-induced rift between God and Man has wounded us beyond comprehension. When we come to the Healer and begin our new lives as followers of Christ our wound begins to heal but a portion of it is transformed. Now instead of the sting of our own separation we become aware of the plight of those who have not yet found salvation. The ache of our hearts transforms from a selfish pain to a motivated desire to see as many as will respond to the love and grace of Jesus Christ. The longing of our hearts are to make known our glorious Redeemer to those who do not yet know.

May we never feel relieved of our holy longing to reach those who are lost and dying in their sin with the redemption and healing that can only be found in Christ Jesus!

Blessings, 98A2B3E1-F362-49C6-A0F3-68ED1665662ETimothy, Angelita, Tim, Esperanza, Ezequiel, Elias, and Adelena

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The Old Campground

We have met today on the old campground,
And our hearts, O God, o’erflow
With our songs of joy, and a stream of thanks
For the love Thou dost bestow.

Refrain:
We will sing, Hallelujah, praise the Lord!
Let the joyful music roll!
We will strike the happy key,
Hallelujah! I am free!
We will sing in sweet accord.

We have met today on the old campground,
And our shouts of glory ring;
There’s a mighty stir as the Lord comes down,
And the saints His praises sing. [Refrain]

We have met today on the old campground,
Oh, the fellowship so sweet,
As the pure in heart all together flow
In the bonds of love complete. [Refrain]

We have met today on the old campground,
And we come in Jesus’ name;
Here, O mighty God, let Thy thunder sound,
And Thy awesome Spirit flame. [Refrain]

We have met today on the old campground,
And we come to work and pray;
Here redeem, dear Lord, even multitudes
At Thy altar, day by day. [Refrain]

-D.S. Warner

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

The Work of Mark 16

The lesson is obvious. True missionaries concentrate on doing the work of Mark 16:15 rather than operating social-welfare programs. True missionaries serve the message of Christ, not the institutions of the church.

K.P. Yohannan, Come, Let’s Reach the World

There are two ways that I see the church’s influence fade in modern times. Both ways have shifted focus from our Savior and his mission of to lesser pursuits. Politicising and institutionalising the body of Christ are two dangers that always transform us from world changers to a collection of insignificante voices. People from all along the political spectrum try to usurp the mission of Christ as a weapon to be used in their own power struggles. Before we blindly condemn them let us remember the words of the Disciples as they were given the great commission in Acts 1:6. “Lord is it at this time you are going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” The best of us can fall into this trap.

Perhaps the more insidious trap is the institutionalising of the movement of God. We tend to forget that we are a people, a body with a Divine head. When we institutionalize what God has made we challenge the very nature of the church, we challenge the lordship of our creator. Is this not just a reenactment of the original sin? Does it come from a place of mistrust or of outright rebellion?

May we focus on the mission that Christ has given us, may we follow Him as our Lord!

Blessings, F8EAD028-6F13-41B2-9020-8D1078DDDFF3The Downings

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