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Shake It Off!

Shake off the words of others!

But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper crawled out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand.Then Paul [simply] shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. – Acts 28:3;5

By Jason Tanksley

You can find this short account of God’s supernatural protection in the first six verses of the last chapter of the book of Acts. Admittedly, it’s a cool story but due to its (short) length you may breeze through it without catching some of the time-tested examples of people you will still encounter in churches today. Continue reading and allow me to explain.

Acts 28:2 – And the natives showed us extraordinary kindness and hospitality…

This is an example of the people that repeatedly make it happen! They are faithful and operate in excellence! They will welcome you even though you look different and sound different. When you step inside, their goal is to pour out kindness and meet needs.

When the weather was cold and rainy, they prepared a fire for Paul and his team. In a church…our church, iHUB, this should be the heart of every greeter, usher and Connection Center volunteer. In fact, that goes without saying, howeve. I challenge you to own it as the mindset of every “native”! Represent the love of the Father through your intentional efforts to make others feel welcome!

Acts 28:4 – When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, “Undoubtedly this man is a murderer.

Unfortunately, you can find this mindset in every church. You will find it because every church is made up of imperfect people. People are still growing and sometimes you will encounter this type of babbling immaturity. They are quick to point and quick to blame but slow at offering assistance. They see someone attacked and instead of rendering aid they begin to gossip. Dark corner conversations occur in the name of good intentions, but in reality it shows a lack of spiritual maturity and the complete absence of teamwork. Sad? You bet! Don’t be like this person!

Acts 28:6 – But they stood watching and expecting him to swell up or suddenly drop dead.

Failure to act is one thing. Prophesying death is another altogether. These are the people you definitely DO NOT want around you and the type of person you do not want to be. Some people will see you get bitten and then begin prophesying your demise. They expect you to fail. The enemy attacks and instead of speaking faith and combating the attack in prayer they will align with a lie. The good news is, the venom of the viper and the venom of the doubters still lacks the power to take you down if you choose to shake it off and move forward!

Acts 28:6 –  But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began saying that he was a god.

Double minded and unstable thinking leads to poor choices and ignorant assumptions. People who lean on their flesh, void of scriptural understanding, will always arrive at flaky conclusions! They will totally miss the heart of God even while staring  at the manifestation of His purpose.

How can you guard yourself from behaving like this? You must submit yourself to the teaching of the Word of God. You must look past the external and allow the Lord to reveal Himself to you in the midst of the things you may not fully understand. Never finalize a conclusion based on partial or totally ignorant information. If you do so, you may miss God altogether while idolizing a thing of the flesh.

If you have experienced the issues that occur with the latter of these four types of people then you must shake it off! There is work to be done and if you dwell on the antics of the fruity and flaky you will not have the energy to minister to the truly hungry and faithful. Be intentional, avoid distractions, plan to succeed and surround yourself with people who will own the vision.

As for the rest, shake it off!

Jason Tanksley is senior pastor of iHub in Bristol, VA. Launching into ministry after training and serving under his spiritual father, Apostle Ryan LeStrange. Jason’s heart burns to awaken others to the simplicity and power of their identity in Christ.

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