Monday, January 27, 2014

Jesus' Recipe for Popcorn (Part 4)


Some of these ways were referred to by Jesus and others in the Bible, through the use of the names and qualities of common substances metaphorically, attempting to capture the essence of how and what He is doing for us by His outpoured Holy Spirit in each one of our lives. 

Zechariah 4:6 Then he said to me, This [addition of the bowl to the causing it to yield a ceaseless supply of oil from the olive trees]candlestick, is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit [of Whom the oil is a symbol], says the Lord of hosts.

The Bible is clear on the infinite reality of the divine Holy Spirit of God, the third Person of the Trinity, able to truly supply all of our needs in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus tells us in His Parable of the 10 Virgins that we are each alone responsible for the quantity of the oil of the Spirit that we contain within ourselves. By our own free choice we can be re-filled on a daily basis, or we can allow ourselves to disconnect from our divine spiritual Resource, only to run out and be empty when the Lord returns to take us with Him for eternity:

Matthew 25:1 Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish (thoughtless, without forethought) and five were wise (sensible, intelligent, and prudent). For when the foolish took their lamps, they did not take any [extra] oil with them; The wise took flasks of oil along with them with their lamps. While the bridegroom lingered and was slow in coming, they all began nodding their heads, and they fell asleep.  But at midnight there was a shout, Behold, the bridegroom! Go out to meet him! Then all those virgins got up and put their own lamps in order. And the foolish said to the wise, Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out. But the wise replied, There will not be enough for us and for you; go instead to the dealers and buy for yourselves. 10 But while they were going away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were prepared went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. 11 Later the other virgins also came and said, Lord, Lord, open [the door] to us! 12 But He replied, I solemnly declare to you, I do not know you [I am not acquainted with you]. 13 Watch therefore [give strict attention and be cautious and active], for you know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of Man will come.

The Scriptural symbolism of fire, in regard to the Holy Spirit’s Presence and work is mentioned in many places. This metaphor focuses us on the power dimension of His mighty Personage and His bold acts among humankind.

Once again, the Biblical revelation also reminds us that a significant factor in any individual’s life and faith journey, is their own willingness to receive God’s fiery Spirit and to re-kindle the flame as needed:

Luke 3: 16 John answered them all by saying, I baptize you with water; but He Who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of Whose sandals I am not fit to unfasten. (JESUS) He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Luke 12: 49 I have come to cast fire upon the earth, and how I wish that it were already kindled!

2 Timothy 1: That is why I would remind you to stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the [gracious] gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you by means of the laying on of my hands [with those of the elders at your ordination].

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power, of love and of calm well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.    

Jesus had a universal perspective from His divine vantage point, seeing and speaking of the fire of the Holy Spirit as one conflagration that would powerfully move across the earth over time.

Paul related this unified worldwide energy of God the Holy Spirit, to the individual relationship of any particular believer in Jesus. In this more pastoral context, we each must wrestle with our own neediness and how to keep receiving new anointings and infillings of the Holy Spirit.

In reminding Timothy of his own personal involvement in the younger man’s ordination, Paul alludes to a powerful initial reception of inner fire of God. The older apostle also stood as a witness to the promise of God that Timothy was called to fulfill, so that he would not allow any kind of fear to steal his destiny!

This very personal interchange between these servants of the Lord, has encouraged countless followers of Jesus to reach into themselves, and literally lay open their spiritual hearts before the living God, to receive anew the Holy Spirit’s fire, burning away everything false and solidifying all that is eternal and true within us!

Monday, January 20, 2014


I've been dong a lot of thinking about my Dad. I've written several times about my Mother; she actually passed away a little over a year ago, but I've never written about Dad. Just the other day my oldest sister and I met him for breakfast. It was actually the first anniversary of Mom's death, and we talked for a while about some of the details for Dad's memorial service and reflected on Mom's life and passing. Since that time I have been thinking I should write about the character qualities of my dad that I really admire.

First of all, I admire his dedication to the Lord. That has always been the first priority in his life. He built his life around serving Christ and His church. Dad was ordained to the ministry at age 21, before he was married to our mother. Dad's whole life was spent in church ministry, even during the years he was bi-vocational. I used to say that Dad's first love was the church, and he had other jobs to support his family so he could minister in the church (those were the days before the Mennonite Church in our area supported pastors full time). Dad had a way of sharing his faith with people of all walks of life. And I believe there will be many people in heaven because of the efforts of our dad.

Secondly, I admire his devotion to our mother. He loved her deeply and was always very tender and caring with her. She was the most important person in his life, no doubt about it. Dad and Mom raised seven children together and life was busy, but they still found time to do special things together. I learned a lot about how to be a husband and how to treat a woman from my dad. Dad would not tolerate any disrespect for our mother and we knew that as we watched and listened how he respected her. Even in the year since she's gone, Dad hasn't stopped talking about how much he loved Mom. They spent nearly 68 years of life together!

I also admire how our dad loved and loves us as his children. We always knew he loved us. Of course, one of the best things he did for us was to love Mom; this provided a secure and nurturing place for us to grow and develop as his children. We knew we were loved and significant to Dad and always knew we could come to him with our problems and struggles, as well as our joys and times of celebration, and he would listen to us and care about what was important to us. I learned a lot about what it means to be a father from my dad. Even now we can talk to Dad about the challenges we face in raising our children, and we know he cares and prays for us and for his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Thanks, Dad, for all you've sacrificed for us, your family, and for the family of God. You are a special man and we all love you!

Tom Horst, MA
Marriage and Family Therapist

Monday, January 13, 2014

Remembering What Is Important

It’s almost hard to believe that the holiday season has come and gone. As I reflect on the holiday season and its meaning, I think about what is most important about it. It can be so easy to become distracted in the society and culture in which we live. We are bombarded by so many advertisements about material things. Of course, that is not to say it is bad to give material gifts. I am thankful, though, that as a Christian I realize that Jesus Christ is the greatest gift.

I am also thankful for the gift of family and friends. I always look forward to the food and fellowship that we share. My nine-year-old granddaughter captured this truth very well when she wrote the following to me:

                        Thank you for the great Thanksgiving we had. I liked the amazing

food you made. I liked the corn pudding and the white chicken. It

was so good you should become a cook one day. But my fravroit [sic]

part was haveing [sic] my friends and family with me.


                                                                        Ariyanna Gantt          

Let us continue to remember that which is most important to us, not just when the holidays are here, but every day throughout the year.

“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.

“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,” ‘From the lips of

children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”

Matthew 21:16

Ann L. Gantt, Ph.D., LCSW
New Hope Counselor

Monday, January 6, 2014


With each New Year a lot of people make New Year Resolutions, but what does that really mean?  To be resolute means to be determined to make a change, and unwavering in our decision.  For some that is a firm decision to stick with a “new” plan.  What does a “new” plan consist of?  It should mean that I am determined to change my behavior and I will not change my mind.  So how do I become held accountable?

As a Christian I can ask a mature sister in Christ to become my accountability partner.  That partner needs to be someone that I trust and a reliable encourager to help me navigate life’s journey.  So does that take the pressure off of me?  Absolutely not!  I need to have a quiet spirit that is willing to listen to my partner as they offer me constructive criticism as well as being humble to hear what I am doing that is pleasing to God.

I also need to be held accountable to Christ as he has always been my accountability partner.  So many times as Christians we forget that important piece of our faith.  Our human nature comes into play and we need to have that “visual” accountability partner to help us stay focused on Christ!  Staying accountable for our New Year Resolutions is not an easy task when we try to strive for them alone; however, it is comforting to know that there are others who will walk beside us and hold us up with prayer!

Have a Happy & Healthy New Year!

Elaine Campbell, MA, MHC