The Mystery Of Popcorn & The Work of The Spirit.
We need to realize that telling others about Jesus arises naturally out of our own relationship with God, and ultimately our motivation is love – love for God and love for other people. - Toby Flint, Alpha Film Series
“Don’t give up—whenever you pass on the good news of Jesus, it has an effect. The gospel is the power of God.” - Mark 4:15–20
Who doesn’t like popcorn? Just the smell of fresh popcorn at a movie theatre creates a craving.
The transformation of a hard kernel of corn becoming popcorn is also a wonderful metaphor for the work of the Holy Spirit. You start with a tasteless, indigestible kernel of corn. When you apply heat, a transformation takes place. The hard outer shell bursts and gives way to fluffy delicious popcorn.
Now, anyone who has ever made popcorn will know that some kernels don’t respond to the heat. They just won’t pop. It’s a mystery why, as this is what kernels are created to do. But which kernels pop and when is out of our control.
The key to sharing the Gospel is trusting that the Holy Spirit is at work as we step out in faith by initiating a conversation. We also trust that God is already at work in our friends’ hearts, so that when we share the Gospel, they are already spiritually hungry and open to change.
Your craving for popcorn is like the desire to share the new life you have found in Jesus. Prayer is like preparing the popcorn: you measure out the kernels, get the butter and condiments ready and prepare.
Taking the initiative is putting the popcorn in the pan, or microwave. You apply some heat (or faith) and wait, then you hear that amazing popping sound, and the irresistible, contagious smell just erupts out. The aroma attracts everyone in the room. You rarely enjoy popcorn alone.
Have you ever eaten popcorn plain? It needs some salt and butter to create that wonderfully irresistible flavor. I like how Eugene Peterson puts it in his biblical paraphrase the Message:
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.”
Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on the hilltop, on a light stand —shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5: 13-16 The Message)
Praying and trusting God to use you to share the gospel is the simplest way to be salt and light. We are just messengers, but as we share the message and trust God with the results, we will see Him transform the hearts of those we love.
Enjoy your Popcorn!
Questions for Reflection: What does it mean to partner with God in sharing the good news about Jesus? Why might some hearts appear unresponsive to this good news? What does it mean to become more fully human? And how does the Holy Spirit want us to respond to seeming hard-heartedness in others? In ourselves? What might I learn in the process of waiting for a friend or family member to respond to the transformative warmth of God?
Popcorn 3 ways:
1. Vegan Stove Top Kettle Corn:
3 tables spoons of canola or coconut oil
1/3 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 or 2 teaspoons salt
Add the oil to a large, pot with a lid. Add in a few popcorn kernels, and turn the heat to medium high. As soon as the first kernels pop, you know the oil is hot enough.
Add in the popcorn kernels and sugar. Put the lid on the pot. Using oven mitts, hold the lid on the pot and shake the pot every 10 seconds for about 3 seconds, then return it to the heat for another 10 seconds. Repeat this over and over until the popping noises slow. Remove the pot from the heat and pour the popcorn on a tray with parchment paper. The whole cooking time is about 3 minutes.
Sprinkle the warm popcorn with salt and allow to cool for a few minutes.
2. Cinnamon Kettle Corn: Add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the pot with the sugar for sweet cinnamon kettle corn.
3. Mexican Street Corn:
8 cups of Popcorn
2 Tablespoons of salted butter
2 Tablespoons of Mayonnaise
1 Teaspoon of fresh squeezed Lime juice
1 Teaspoon of Chilli Powder
1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 Teaspoon Chipotle Powder
1 pinch of granulated sugar
1 Teaspoon of dried or finely chopped fresh Cilantro
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Pop your popcorn your preferred way. Pour your popped corn into on large bowl. Remove any unpopped kernels.
Melt the butter on medium low. Mix in the mayonnaise, lime juice, Chilli powder, smoked paprika, sugar and chipotle powder. remove from the heat once all the ingredients are combined.
Slowly pour the spiced butter over the popcorn. Season with Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Sprinkle with cilantro flakes and serve.
Illustration by Gary Stevenson & Karen Hiebert.
Recipes by Gary Stevenson