Remembering Steve Irwin

Today marks the 7 year anniversary of the death of a man that I truly admired both as a conservationist and as a passionate lover of wildlife.  Steve Irwin, commonly called "the Crocodile Hunter," died after his heart was pierced by a stingray's barb on September 4, 2006.  I remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard the horrible news.  I had just returned home from an Iraq deployment some 2 weeks earlier and on that fateful day I was doing what I loved, hunting frogs and snakes with my good friend Zach Orr in the eastern part of North Carolina.  Zach was looking for eastern diamondback rattlesnakes and I was looking for tiny grass frogs.  We had a good day searching for wildlife, although we didn't find the diamondbacks Zach hoped to see.

Steve Irwin came on the scene when I was in middle school and it gave me validation for the passions I already had.  I remember watching his show in awe because for the first time I saw someone, an adult, doing the things I loved and it was okay.  His passion was infectious, his enthusiasm was contagious, and his self-taught knowledge of all things wild was refreshing.  He learned from the classroom of nature and clearly knew his subject well.  When I heard the devastating news about his passing when I returned from my snake hunt it was met with disbelief.  How many times had we heard this before, it seemed every couple of weeks some rumor would surface about Steve being eaten by a Croc or bitten by a tiger snake; but a stingray?  No way!  Sadly, the rumors were true and after the initial shock of it I remember feeling this huge void inside of me.  Like I had truly lost a friend, a mentor, and teacher.  I remember sobbing like a family member had died.  I still feel sad when I watch his shows online to this day.

 

Steve's love of both people and wildlife was translated through TV screens all over the world.  Whether he was catching snakes in Australia, building zoos in Southeast Asia or mingling with villagers in India, Steve was happy.  His smile lit up our living room as we watched his show, his laugh warmed our hearts and his love for what he did challenged us to find something to be passionate about.  Although I'm sad to see Steve gone, I am encouraged to hopefully one day have some similar level of influence in the world.

My heart has always been to take the passions God has given me to reach a world searching for that light.  Steve's influence on my life is hopefully evident in the Catching Creation episodes that we make.  If it wasn't for that influence, the format and style of not only my show, but many many other wildlife shows wouldn't exist today.  His up close and personal documentary method has been a formula that many have imitated over the years but none have duplicated.  Although I realize Catching Creation pales in comparison to the Crocodile Hunter, I pray that one day we will be on par with the example set by Steve Irwin.  What are you passionate about?  What are you doing with that passion?

Check out this OLD episode from the early days of Catching Creation:

 

 

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Snakes In The Church!!!!

If I had a dollar for every weird look, awkward pause on the phone and email that went unanswered regarding my particular brand of ministry I think I would at least be able to buy a new snake...  I absolutely love what I do.  Somehow God has allowed me to combine my two passions into a job that really doesn't seem like a job at all.  I get to do what I love, how many people can honestly say that?  God is growing this ministry exponentially all of the time and I get to experience more and more things that I otherwise wouldn't get to experience.  The draw back is that most people don't share my love for ALL of God's creation.  I get asked to leave on occasion due to my scaly ministry partners, people often gasp or run out of the building when I pull out Rosie the rather large red tailed boa constrictor.

  I see the faces of parents grimace when I talk about the hognose snake's toxic saliva and cane toad's poison glands (both of which are harmless to us!) but the best part of what I do involves the joy on the faces of children when fear is replaced with wonder.  And in the end even the most squeamish of spectators is at least intrigued.

You see I firmly believe that God created everything inherently good in the beginning.  Sometimes it may take a moment for us to realize the goodness of say venomous snakes (which I do NOT use in presentations!), but God is good and so is his creation.

The curse of sin obviously changed the nature of everything that God created BUT the hope is that we can still see the good in everything and give God the glory for it.  My job is one part evangelist and one part conservationist. God has entrusted us with some pretty awesome natural resources and I think he takes pleasure in our responsible stewardship of said resources.  At a very basic level if I can illustrate the unconditional love of our heavenly Father and explain the effects of sin, separation caused by the curse and redemption in Jesus Christ and that snakes (and other creepy creations) aren't evil; then I have done my job.  My heart is to teach you, your child and anyone else that God not only loves you but he has a plan for your life and wants you to be made into a new creation.

 Jesus desires a relationship with you and it all started in that garden both before and after the temptation that came in the serpentine form.  After saying all of that I sincerely hope you will consider having me at your church, public or private school, vbs, summer camp, youth group, family service or really anywhere that has a captive audience and wouldn't mind my animal ambassadors.  Thanks for your prayers and support from the bottom of my heart!

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Corn Snake Hatching Time Lapse

Check out my first corn snake hatchling of the year.  I set up the Gopro Hero 3 camera and let it go for a couple hours and then sped up the footage.  First corn of the year is an A melanistic, not too shabby. 

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Prairie Dog Preacher

Prairie dogs often remind me of how we are supposed to function as a church.  The church isn't just a building, it's a community of believers working together for the common good and to glorify Christ. Acts 2:42-47 says  42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

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Attack Of The Honey Bees!

The Lord really does work in mysterious ways.  A few days ago I got an email from someone about Catching Creation saying they read one of the newspaper articles that I recently had published.  They encouraged me so much in their email and invited me over to come check out their honey bees and that was an offer I just couldn't refuse.  Through a few email exchanges we set up a time for me to come meet them and check out their bees.  It never ceases to amaze me at how awesome our God is about connecting people for the sake of ministry.  Larry and Diane Martin were two of the nicest people I think I have ever met and we talked about Jesus and creation for at least two hours with the culmination being with me getting to check out their honey bees.  As you will see in the video I learned a valuable lesson about bees.  Apparently if you wear black, like bears and skunks, then perhaps the bees will see you as a threat and react as such.  All in all I think I got stung 3 times and my Iphone sustained 3-4 stings, but we're both ok.  God is so good!

Click HERE to read my Honey Bee Devotional "Are You The Honey Or The Sting"

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Catching Creation Highlight Reel

SUBSCRIBE-Like-Share This is a video compilation of Catching Creation from the Volume 1 and Volume 2 DVD for use as promotional material in churches as well as a recap of some old and new footage from years past. Enjoy

 

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Is Your Life A Mess?

Did you know that outside of Jesus your life is a mess?  The good news is that Jesus died to save us from sin and death.  How cool is that?  This illustration with my dog shows that grace, which really means unmerited favor, is something we didn’t earn by being good but something Jesus gives us freely as we accept him! SUBSCRIBE!

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Adventure Archive -- Bats In Coggin's Gold Mine

  This Adventure Archive takes us back to 2006 to the Coggin’s Mines near El Dorado NC.  Many of these mines are now closed off and it is encouraged that you don’t attempt to handle bats.  I worked in a research lab that studied bats when I was an undergraduate at UNCG and gained experience in proper handling and identification.  Many species of Bats in the US are now suffering from a condition called White Nose Syndrome and it has been suggested that human traffic in mines and caves could potentially spread this fungal infection to yet unreached areas.  Never handle bats unless you are properly trained.  These animals are very valuable to ecosystems and fit a specific niche.  They are truly wonderful animals!

 

 

 

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Catching Creation @ Fort Caswell

I got the opportunity to speak at Southport Christian Academy, Shoreline Baptist Church and Southport Baptist Church in the Oak Island/Southport NC area on the coast. It was an awesome trip and lots of fun! Great school and churches! We got to visit Fort Caswell and several beaches, not a bad way to spend the weekend!

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Adventure Archive Kuwaiti Uromastyx Lizard

This Adventure Archive takes us back to May of 2006 at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. I was stationed here while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. I captured a Uromastyx microlepis lizard on base after many many failed attempts. This is still one of my favorite lizards! 

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Busy and Blessed!

I just wanted to give everyone an update on everything that has been going on lately.  God has been doing great things!  Its been a little over a month in this faith free fall and I can honestly say that God is really providing for us more than ever.  I was able to film a DVD for a great Christian comedian named Renea Henderson at Crossroads Baptist Church and that was a huge blessing for everyone involved.  Be sure to look for her DVD and more information about the Church here:  http://www.crossroadbaptist.org It seems like since I left my job as a video editor that I have been filming and editing videos more than ever now.  I made another simple music video for Christian hip hop artist "Kid Prince" and we got to play around with the green screen and it turned out quite nicely and it is sure to bless and encourage those who watch it.  You can check it out here:  Kid Prince "Amen"  

You can also download the new MixTape from Kid Prince here:  http://noisetrade.com/kidprincetr

I was privileged to visit the Creation Museum a few weeks back and got to film Rick Teepen from "Snakes Alive" and make a DVD to help support his ministry.  You should be able to find them on his website very soon.  If you are in the Cincinnati, Ohio area I definitely recommend you check out the Creation Museum as well as Rick Teepen's ministry.  You can find out more information about Rick here:  http://snakesalive.vpweb.com  

The Lord has been opening quite a few doors and it is exciting to see what has been going on lately.  I have been blessed with quite a few opportunities to speak in schools, full congregations, youth groups and children's church programs lately and I am thanking God for every opportunity to speak His word.  Just last night I was blessed to be able to speak at Gospel Baptist Church in Greensboro NC and will be speaking in Martinsville, VA and Elkin, NC this Sunday and from there I will spend almost an entire week in Sweetwater, TN (near Knoxville) speaking in public schools and churches.  Please be in prayer for me and my family as we continue to walk in faith and obedience.

We are praying for favor and equipment for the video side of Catching Creation as we personally do not own any equipment of our own.  The Lord has allowed me to borrow people and gear over the last few years but we feel that if Catching Creation's video side of the ministry is to move forward in the direction we pray it will then we will need support both financially as well as people willing to donate time to help us in the field.  I have laid all of this before the Lord and have decided not to film any more videos in the field for Catching Creation until we hear clearly from the Lord about what we are to do next.  We do believe that once we raise enough money or are provided with a professional camera/cameras (ie Canon DSLR, Canon XhA1, XF100, Sony EX 1, etc) then we will know it is time to resume production.  I have been striving and working really hard for years on this with no gear of my own and I am truly blessed to have had friends that supported us along the way with their gear but I feel like in order to grab and go and film more often we will need our own equipment.  Please pray with us as we seek the Lord on this.

Thank you so much for your prayers and please continue to share our videos from the youtube channel: http:www.youtube.com/CatchingCreation and feel free to visit the store http://catchingcreation.wordpress.com/support-catching-creation/ if you would like to get a copy of our books or DVDs and if you would like to donate in any way you can send a payment to CatchingCreation@yahoo.com on Paypal.

I am available to come speak at your church, school, youth group and etc so please feel free to shoot me an email at CatchingCreation@yahoo.com and I will get back to you promptly and can tailor fit a live animal presentation to your needs.  I'm very excited about all the Lord is doing and I hope you are as well!

Catching Creation On The Road Episode...Creation Museum

We decided to take Catching Creation on the road and check out some of our friends at the Creation Museum near Cincinnati, Ohio. We talked with our friend Rick Teepen of the snakes alive program, toured the museum, checked out Rick's animals, sat in on a show with Buddy Davis and Dan "the Animal Man" Breeding and we even got to hear some cool didgeridoo from Chance. Great trip. Please forgive the quality on some of the clips as we couldn't exactly set things up polished, I hope you forgive us and let the content speak over the quality.