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How to make great Mexican food.

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It is not too uncommon for us to be in North Carolina or some place (read: far far from Mexico) and our host will tell us, "Oh, we have to take you to this Mexican food place. It is great." Then they throw in this line: "It is really authentic." Often, they will get about half way through the word authentic when they remember that we are from New Mexico. Fifty miles south of us is Mexico. In my opinion, we have the best Mexican food in the world. (And, if you are wondering, there is an application here for Sunday school.)

To make great Mexican food you have to start with better ingredients. (To quote a phrase from Papa John's). Most places start with chili powder and tomato sauce. Something like this:

McCormick Chili Powder, 4.5-Ounce Unit (Pack of 12)

The result is something that looks like Wolf Brand Chili. They wrap this is a tortilla, put some more Wolf Brand on top, sprinkle a little cheese on it and call this an enchilada. With all due respect to Wolf Brand, that is not what we call Mexican Food out here.

Here in New Mexico, we start with an actual plant called a Chile. (Note: that is how they spell it although the pronunciation is the same.) It looks like this:

This picture shows Chiles on a grill, because that is how they are prepared--roasted. To see what the roaster looks like, check out this YouTube video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnjzcBOj7KQ&feature=related

Of course, there is also the Red Chile, which looks like this:

New Mexico trivia question: which is hotter, the red or the green?

Answer: it is actually a trick question, A Chile is like a tomatoes in that it starts green and when it gets really ripe it turns red. When it turns from green to red, it doesn't get any more or less hot. There are many varieties of Chile that vary in how hot they are. It is the variety of the Chile, not the color that determines its hotness. A red Chile is not necessarily hotter or less hot than a Green Chile.

By the way, if you would like to buy some Chile, this is the perfect time of the year, in that they are just coming out of the fields at this time. One of the farmers in my church sells them online at http://hatchnmgreenchile.com/hatch-green-chile-1/ If you buy them here you will get a product that would have just been picked in the last week.

If you would like to see examples of recipes using Hatch Chiles, see http://www.nmchili.com/recipes.htm#Stacked

If you want to make great Mexican food, you can't start with powder; you have to start with a plant. Better ingredients make better Mexican food.

How does this relate to Bible Study?

The same is true with teaching Bible study. If you want a great Bible Study, you have to have great ingredients. That is one of the reasons why I have been a fan of Lifeway's Masterwork Series--better ingredients. It is written by world-class writers-- people like Beth Moore, John Piper, Gary Chapman and Tony Evans.

This is why I spend so much time on Good Questions Have Groups Talking. I want to provide you better ingredients--great stories, illustrations, and quotes from some of the commentary writers ever.

This is why the best teachers read--a lot. By reading a lot you just come across better ingredients for your lessons. If you read a lot you will naturally find the stuff you read will make its way into your lessons. Better ingredients make better lessons.

What do I mean by better ingredients? I ran across this story again recently. I love this story:

Imagine a family of mice who lived all their lives in a large piano. To them in their piano-world came the music of the instrument, filling all the dark spaces with sound and harmony. At first the mice were impressed by it. They drew comfort and wonder from the thought that there was Someone who made the music—though invisible to them—above, yet close to them. They loved to think of the Great Player whom they could not see.

Then one day a daring mouse climbed up part of the piano and returned very thoughtful. He had found out how music was made. Wires were the secret; tightly stretched wires of graduated lengths that trembled and vibrated. They must revise all their old beliefs: none but the most conservative could any longer believe in the Unseen Player.

Later, another explorer carried the explanation further. Hammers were now the secret, numbers of hammers dancing and leaping on the wires. This was a more complicated theory, but it all went to show that they lived in a purely mechanical and mathematical world. The Unseen Player came to be thought of as a myth.

But the pianist continued to play.750 Engaging Illustrations.

Include stories like this when you teach, your students will love you for it.

This is how Jesus taught:

Matthew 13:34 Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables.

If you would teach like Jesus taught, use lots of stories--great stories. Better ingredients make better lessons.

 

 

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