Shaking off Snakes and Other Helpful Hints for Those in Ministry

snake single

God is with you everywhere!

That’s been our preschoolers’ theme this month. If you who know me, you know I love a good theme snack–especially when it comes to preschoolers. So before we dig a littler deeper, I hope you get a kick out of these snakes snacks we made our “littles” had this week. So simple, just a bread stick wrapped around a skewer. I sprinkled them with a little cinnamon sugar and used raisins for eyes!) They were super fun and, well, and they were super delicious! Thank you, Pinterest and Pillsbury Dough Boy for another preschool snack win!

plate of snakes

Anyway. . .

Today’s lesson was about Paul when he landed on the island of Malta–hence the snake snacks! The Bible says that,

“Welcomed by the unusual kindness of the islanders, Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand.” (Acts 28:1-4)

Yikes! There are vipers on the island!!

The superstitious islanders wrongly conclude that Paul must have been a murderer. They reason that even though he escaped alive from the shipwreck at sea, for cryin’ out loud, someone’s pretty upset with him because he’s about to die from viper bite.

But, no, it was not to be, because then Scripture tells us,

“But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.” (Acts 28:5)

The islanders watched and waited.

The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.”

I can see that. In fact, I’d like to have seen that.

This leads those hospitable islanders to invite Paul and some others to the home of the chief official of the island. Here, Paul winds up healing the man’s father along with the rest of the sick on the island. When they were ready to sail again, the kind folks on Malta gave them everything they needed.

In other words, Paul after being bitten by a viper, just shook that snake off and kept doing ministry.

What??? That’s awesome!!! Completely and totally awesome!!

Now I’m just tellin’ ya, that’s not how I would have handled it. But isn’t his way so much better than mine?

Snakes alive, you bet it is!! So here’s the helpful hint for ministry:

Ministry can be tough. Using the term “ministry” for those who are in paid and non paid ministry, I have always believed we are all called to be ministers of the gospel. And when we follow Jesus, snakes bite. It would do us well to learn to use the viper response method of the infamous “Mr. Paul.” But paid or volunteer, I’m pretty sure that if a viper bit me, I would be running around screaming, and then sitting down waiting for the ill effects to take place hoping someone is praying and someone else is calling 911.

Oh, but not Paul. He just shakes it off, and goes on about his business. (I’m so sorry if a T-Swift song just started playing in your head.)

When spiritual snakes bite, I’m afraid that many of us, myself included, forget the simple, yet profound, message of our preschoolers’ lesson: “God is with us everywhere!” He is here. He knows the danger of the poison, but He’s got our back and we can go on walking in trust.

Because when people see us walking in faith and victory, although they may be a bit confused, they will be able to see firsthand the power of God at work.

So when the snakes bite, and they will, remember that God is with you everywhere, and He is more than enough to enable us to shake it off and continue serving in ways that bring Him honor in all we do.

“I will be with you always.” Matthew

Advertisements

Super Easy Sheep Snacks–Taste and See Sunday

one sheep

You’ve heard me say it before, I love a good theme snack–especially when teaching preschoolers. Since we are now in week three of the Christmas lessons, this shepherd week. There’s an unwritten pattern to the Christmas story in children churches around the world. It goes like this:

Week 1: The angel comes to Mary

Week 2: The angel comes to Joseph

Week 3: Jesus is born and the angels come to the shepherds

Week 4: Wise men come bringing gifts.

Week 5: Review the above weeks above or a story about Jesus growing up.

Last year our shepherds week craft was shepherds staff cut out cookies. So this year, we gave the shepherds a rest and focused on the sheep and let the kids be the shepherds.

Here’s all you need to make just one or even a whole flock.

Giant marshmallows–guaranteed fun anytime, but they make for great big fluffy sheep
Skinny pretzel sticks–legs
Small traditionally shaped pretzels–these will be the eyes and nose.
Small pair of scissors or knife

Cut a slit in one of the ends of the marshmallow large enough to put the head piece into.
Put the head piece in there.
Stick the legs in and . . . .

Ta-Da! Ewe got sheep!!!

flock of sheep

Our preschoolers loved them. Well, so did our leaders! So have a little Christmas fun this year with your own little flock, and

Taste and See. . . .the Lord is good!!