Popcorn helps us to understand pentecost

So, Jesus had ascended to heaven and his followers had returned to Jerusalem where they spent time praying together. Then, on the day of Pentecost there was a roaring wind and the disciples saw what looked like small flames appearing above each of their heads.

The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit: Gods presence entered into them and began to work through them. They were so excited that people thought they were drunk. They stopped looking inwards and began to rush outwards.

The Jewish festival of Pentecost involved thanking God for the harvest and remembering the giving of the 10 commandments (giving us a way to follow God). God chose this day for a new start. He gave the Holy Spirit, who is available always and not just seasonally, as something for us to really give thanks for. The Spirit being available for all believers shows the opportunity for a new way of knowing God, a way of knowing him rather than just following his commands.

I’m part of a facebook group for assembly ideas and yesterday someone suggested using popcorn as an illustration in a Pentecost themed assembly. The kernels represent the disciples, hidden away (in the popcorn maker) and then when you introduce heat and noise like the wind they puff up and burst into something wonderful! I think that this is genius and want to thank Jo Vinegarette for sharing it.

Good analogies help you to understand things, but great analogies transform the way you think about something. I would put this popcorn analogy in the great category. Here are four specific thoughts I have had as a result of it:

1. I do so often feel ordinary and not very effective, but when I am full of the Spirit then I can fulfil my purpose and do great things.

2. Heat is needed to transform the kernels and God’s spirit is at work amongst the most painful situations of my life transforming me.

3. As the kernels change they also pop and move. It makes me sad that so much emphasis and expectation that surrounds the work of the Holy spirit is confined to church meetings; that we should huddle together away from the world for longer to be with God more. In the book of Acts, I would say that the sign of being filled with the Spirit is that you immediately have the desire to go out and tell people about Jesus.

4. The kernels collectively are small compared to the large amount of popcorn that is produced. The Holy Spirit takes what we have and enhances and makes it so much greater. The next time you feel inadequate or that you don’t have enough to serve God, pause and realize that God has everything you need. Pray to be filled with the Spirit and rely on God.

What have I missed? What does the analogy remind you of about the work of the Spirit? I hope that you will take the time to comment below if you have any thoughts.

ephesians 5.18 - be filled with the spirit

About honestaboutmyfaith

Hi, my name is Graeme and I’m married to a very patient wife. We have 4 children, 2 rabbits, a terrapin (and not a lot of peace and quiet!). I’m a Regional Minister for the Eastern Baptist Association in the UK (the views expressed in this blog are my own) and I am especially interested in making Church accessible to people who have no church background and also in how we disciple people in order to equip them to live out their faith in the 21st Century.
This entry was posted in change, creative communication, Faith, God is with us, Holy Spirit, Overflowing, restoration and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Popcorn helps us to understand pentecost

  1. Bryan morrissey says:

    Excellent illustration. Don’t forget that you need oil too, another symbol of the Holy Spirit, and that a small amount of oil (or Annointing) can go a long way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The one where it all went wrong | Honesty about my faith

  3. Reblogged this on Honest about my faith and commented:

    If you are looking for a creative way to explain what the Holy Spirit and Pentecost is all about then this may help


  4. Jan Cross says:

    Different ‘gifts’ added – salt/sugar/honey/caramel/chocolate.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Explaining the Holy Spirit simply – an all age talk / Sermon for Pentecost | Honest about my faith

  6. Tim says:

    The ‘popped’ corn had all been cultivated from seed.
    Had spent time growing, maturing.
    Only mature, ripe corn was chosen to be ‘popped’.
    They had spent time with the ‘farmer’ in the field, growing.
    The corn were all one with one purpose and not a mixture of different ideas and visions.


  7. Mrs Sonia Robbins says:

    I’ve been thinking ahead to this Pentecost and preparing as Worship Leader in my local parish Church of Scotland. This analogy is perfect! Guessing a microwave oven is a good alternative to a popcorn maker 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jo Watson says:

    Thanks for the acknowledgement Graeme, I used my popcorn maker again this year – new congregation so they hadn’t seen it before – and it was well received again. And of course they like eating the end result. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.