Gospel Pumpkins, No {corn} in the Pasta Fajoli, and a few other thoughts…

A blessed October 31st to you!

Whether you and your family participate in Halloween activities or not, all who belong to Jesus have a chance to SHINE brightly on this day.  If you’ve never known the origin of this holiday, this is an informative and concise explanation.  Underneath the evil spirits, ghosts, witches, and goblins, there really are some God-honoring roots in this “All Hallows Eve” day.  If God has not called your family to ignore this day (as He has some Christian families, us in the past, as well) then make a conscious choice to let Jesus shine brightly through you on a night that will be filled with much darkness.

One way to SHINE tonight is through what you hand to trick-or-treaters.  This is one night in the year that the neighborhood children (and their parents)  will walk right up to your door with their hands out.  What an opportune time to place into those hands something that will lead them to a truth about Jesus, His love, and His redemption!  See this post for ideas.  This year, we are giving “Dum-Dum” suckerrs with a note attached saying, Jesus loves you so much.  You are no “Dum-Dum” to Him!  John 3:16

You could also talk about the Gospel Pumpkin with your family, and even print out a small version of this story to hand out to the neighborhood children.  It’s a condensed version of Liz Curtis Higgs’ wonderful book, The Pumpkin Patch Parable.  When our children were younger, we used this book and object lesson as we carved pumpkins with them.  It’s a simple and unforgettable illustration of exactly what God does with any life given to Him, and its now what I think of every time I see a carved and lighted pumpkin.

Today I want to tell you a story. It’s a special story called a ‘parable’. A parable is an earthly story that has a heavenly meaning. In the Bible there are many parables that Jesus told so we could understand His teachings better.

This is a story about a farmer and a pumpkin.

Pumpkins are really special. They start out as small oval seeds that grow into big, orange pumpkins. The farmer plants the seeds, waters, and cares for the pumpkin vines and patiently waits as they grow.

Finally by October there are big, orange pumpkins in his pumpkin patch! Some are tall and lean, some are short and round, and some have bumps and lumps. But they are all pumpkins and all were planted and cared for by the Farmer.

One day the Farmer chose a pumpkin for a special project. He brought it in from the field and washed it off. You have to be careful with pumpkins; they’re tough on the outside, but if you drop them, they break into pieces!

The Farmer took a large knife and cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin. Inside there was yucky, slimy pulp waiting for Him. That had to go! He cleaned it all out and threw it away – never to be seen again.

After that He gave the pumpkin a new face! He cut two triangles for eyes, a square for a nose, and a big, wide smile!

Then He did something really special. He puts a small white candle down inside the pumpkin and lit the wick.

Now that pumpkin glows! As people pass by, they see the smiling pumpkin and smile back. They know that once again the Farmer has taken a simple pumpkin and changed it into a glorious sight!

The Meaning of the Parable:

Just like us, all the pumpkins were different. But there was something the same about every one of them – that yucky, slimy pulp on the inside!

The yucky, slimy pulp is like the sin that’s in us. Romans 3:23 says: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That’s every single one of us.

God has made a way that all our sin can be forgiven and washed away. God even says He’ll cast them as far as the East is from the West. Romans 5:8 says: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

John 3:16 goes on to say: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

After cleaning out that pumpkin, the Farmer gave the pumpkin a new face! The Bible says God can make us a new creation too.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

Then came the really special part. The light was placed inside that pumpkin and it glowed for all to see!

2 Corinthians 4:6 says: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

And Matthew 5:16 says: “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

So we can become like that pumpkin – a glorious sight for others to see the love of Jesus!

Another good Christian object lesson with a pumpkin can be found here.

Whatever it is that you decide to do today – Let your light {Jesus’ Light within you} SHINE.     🙂

____________________________________________________________________________________________

On another note… There is NO corn in it! And I apologize profusely!!!

If you tried this recipe last week (as I know that at least two of you did), I owe you a huge apology!  I was having a mental mix up and was thinking about a different recipe when I suggested that if you don’t have the beans, you could substitute corn.  Please don’t.  I saw my mistake while on my iPad and immediately corrected it before the recipe was posted, but as I’ve noticed about other attempted-corrections, those made from the iPad don’t always stick.  My friend Peggy, who is the owner of this easy and delicious bread dough recipe  (which would be awesome with this soup, BTW) told me that she made the soup and substituted the corn and it was “ok”.  I don’t want you to eat “ok” soup!  So, please change your recipe and don’t substitute corn for the beans!

This is the “real” recipe~

20121010-141818.jpg


Pasta Fagoli Crockpot Soup

(Adapted from Olive Garden’s Copy-Cat recipe here)

  • 1 lb ground beef, cooked & drained
    1/2 or 1 med onion, chopped & cooked with the ground beef
    2-3 carrots, sliced
    2 cans of diced tomatoes, undrained
    1 can of res kidney beans, drained
    1 can of white kidney beans, drained
    1 box of beef broth or stock
    3 tsp oregano
    3 tsp pepper
    5 tsp parsley
    1 jar of spaghetti sauce
  • I box of pasta. (We used penne.)

Place all ingredients except pasta into the crockpot and mix well. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, or low for 7-8 hours. Add the UNCOOKED past the last 45 minutes. (That’s my favorite step… Don’t even need to boil the pasta & dirty up another pan!) I used a whole box this last time & it was on the verge of being too much. But since we like pasta, it was fine. Next time, I plan to cut back a bit.

That’s it! How easy! And even easier if you keep 1lb packages of cooked ground beef in your freezer. I always try to cook up a few extra pounds to freeze. If you don’t have the onions cooked with the meat, they will be just fine added straight into the crockpot. Y.U.M!

Serve with a salad & garlic bread & you’ll have a new family hit. 🙂

Whew!  I now feel much better about that!

____________________________________________________________________________________________

This past weekend, I had the privilege of serving the Lord and the ladies of Louisville, KY’s  Hurstbourne Baptist Church at a beautiful Christian retreat center in Indiana.  The fellowship was so sweet!  My friend, Melanie (of the blog Stepping Closer) drove with me and we had so much laughter and conversation that I returned with only half of a voice.  The autumn leaves were incredible, and The Lord worked beautifully, and I was so blessed to be a part of His plan for the weekend.

Heather Payne (from the original Point of Grace) led us in worship – she has an AMAZING voice… I could listen to her all day long… and we couldn’t leave the weekend without a few pics. Wish I had some with and of the HBC ladies!  If any of you are out there reading this, and have a few pics of the weekend, please send them to me. 😉  I’m praying for all of you girls!

And we couldn’t leave Louisville without going to Lynn’s Paradise Cafe!  It is the funnest, most eclectic place!

Melanie is a wonderful friend, a great “driver” and an even better sport!  She indulged my every desire to shop, take silly pictures, and patiently turned around often because of all of my navigational mistakes (of which there were plenty, I’m ashamed to say!!!)

____________________________________________________________________________________________

This week, our church has been hosting “Judgment House” – and it’s been phenomenal!  Seems like the whole body of Christ has been involved in some way, and we’ve seen many either come to know the Lord, rededicate themselves to Him, or be encouraged through renewed hope in Jesus Christ.  And those are just the ones who immediately responded.  Only God knows the number of lives affected through this offering.  We aren’t in it for the numbers.  We’re interested in the life-change!  A lot of seed-planting, plant-watering, soil-tending, and fruit-picking has been happening – all to the glory of God!

Our theme this year has been about the unpredictability of life and the fact that at a moment’s notice, it could all be over.  It’s a serious reminder that those who have given their lives to Jesus will blessedly meet Him face to face, while those who don’t will end up in eternal torment.  Nathan is playing the part of a demon and even though this is just a slight recreation of what we imagine  Hell will be like, it is deeply disturbing to think of anyone going there.  The tragedy in this drama is a deadly tornado, and Abigail’s character was one hurt in the storm.

The storm in this drama is kind of ironic, considering what is going on presently in the Northeast.  We are praying constantly for that area of our nation and for the millions of lives affected by the storm.  None of us knows what tomorrow brings.  May we all make sure that our hope and security rests in Jesus.  He is the only One who can bring Peace in the midst of life’s storm.  If you want to know more about Jesus, see this post.

Many blessings of the Lord upon each of you today and always, my friends.  May we shine with the Light of Jesus on this All Hallows Eve.

About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two teenagers, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at SmellingCoffee.com

Comments

  1. Oh my gosh you are adorable. I love all your great ideas for sharing on Halloween. I pinned them for others to share and use.

  2. I’m thinking that maybe next time you get to be the potato and I’ll be the peach or orange! These pictures make me laugh!

    Glad you made me take them!

    Hope you have a great day today!

  3. We made the Pasta Fagioli recipe last week (the no-corn style). The only pasta I had was spaghetti (nope, don’t even go there), elbow roni (only when we’re really desparate) or farfalle – which I used, and it was wonderful. Beloved Husband’s brother and wife were here and we all four voted it a keeper.

    We’ve been discussing the unpredictability of life, too. We are not promised any tomorrows, thus today truly is the day of salvation. Thanks for the ingredients not only for food but for life eternal.

    • Grammy Blick, SO glad you didn’t use the corn or the spaghetti noodles!!! 😉 haha. You are so right about the gift of today and the salvation only it contains. May the Lord bless YOU as you shine for and through Jesus.

      With love,
      Jennifer

  4. I’ve never heard that analogy about the pumpkin before. Very cool!

Any thoughts to share?