You’ve Got To Loose Sight To Find Your Vision.

You’ve got to loose sight to find your vision.

 Can I be candid with you?  I’m in tears right now.  I’m emotionally overwhelmed and I’m not sure how this one seemingly menial interaction with a kid in a pet store has me in tears.  I mean I can’t stop crying.  The reality is, for quite some time now; I’ve been just going through the motions of Christian ministry.  I’ve been showing up more to do a job and less to minister.  I’ve been like a vagrant with no home traveling from town to town doing my form of transient ministry so long that I’ve lost sight of why I even do what I do.  Tonight it smacked me in the face.

I’ve been so caught up in trying desperately (and often failing) to provide for my wife and I that more and more ministry has been treated less like something out of the overflow of joy and more of something that I begrudgingly HAVE to do because there aren’t any other open doors for me.  It seems like in some ways I’ve lost sight of why I entered the ministry in the first place.  I remember being in Bible College and devouring scripture, praying feverishly, relying so heavily on my faith in Jesus that despite my circumstance I had a peace that surpassed my understanding.  I assumed that once I graduated I would somehow feel fulfilled and validated and would truly “arrive.”

Well it’s now two years post graduation and I’ve managed to start my own ministry and still feel lost.  When did following God get so hard?  What have I allowed to get in the way of my relationship with my Father in heaven that has made me bitter, spiteful, entitled, and angry?  I know the Christian formula of reading my Bible, praying, fasting and serving.  Yet when I add all of that together it seems more of a chore and less of something life giving.  Why has my heart been so heavy in all the wrong ways?

Tonight in that pet store I was reminded like a punch in the face WHY I entered the ministry.  While my wife and I were talking and looking for a bird box for our pet squirrel a little boy with a big smile asked what kind of bird I had.  I honestly can’t tell you why that hit me so hard but it did.  I responded that I was looking for a house for my squirrel and asked him what kind of bird he was shopping for.  He gleefully said that he was getting a Quaker parrot and after a few more short concluding sentences, as I felt tears welling up, I walked down the aisle out of sight from my wife and the boy.  My eyes pooled with that warm saline some call tears, wow; it’s been a while. quaker parrot

There I was in the middle of a pet store on the reptile supply aisle crying like a baby and somehow pretending I could disguise it like I had allergies or some dust got in my eyes.  My voice was shaking, my eyes were watering and my heart was hurting.  I realized in that moment that I had lost sight of everything I wanted to be.  You see that boy, the one with the aspiration of getting the parrot, he reminded me that my heart for ministry, my sole reason for wanting to serve, is wrapped up in loving kids (of any age) that need to feel nurtured and loved.  Jesus calls us to love the least of these and real ministry is offering of your-self with no hope of reward in return.  I have missed this.  I could tell, in that way that you just know, that my new friend in the bird supply section came from a home that didn’t have much to offer in the way of finances.  Yet he was full of joy just at the anticipation of getting a new feathery friend.  He was preparing by getting his supplies and eager to tell me about it.  When was the last time I was truly excited about anything?  When was the last time I was truly content.  WOW.  God I’m sorry for my allowing my hurt and pain to get in the way of the vision you have given me.

Don’t get me wrong; I love doing what I do.  I love Catching Creation with my whole heart and know it’s what God has called me to do, but in this short moment tonight it seems that by loosing sight of it I found my vision.  Catching Creation isn’t Stan Lake traveling all over the country doing animal shows, although it’s a part of it.  Catching Creation isn’t just about my web show and DVD series or even my books, although they are pieces of the puzzle.  What God has called me to do is minister to kids, youth and families in an urban setting.  Loving those that may never get a chance to go to a zoo, or feel welcomed in a church.  My heart is to minister and love people that feel unworthy of being loved.  People that our society seems to scoff at but people that Jesus desperately wants us to love in His name.

I have no idea how, moving forward, I will be able to support my family with this ministry.  I put in an application at that pet store even though they aren’t hiring and who knows, maybe God will position me there as a light in the darkness to minister.  Maybe there’s some other job on the horizon that I haven’t even fathomed yet which will allow me to truly love people in the name of Jesus.  Catching Creation is who I am and what I was designed to do, but it’s so much bigger than what I’ve been doing lately.  My prayer is that God will open doors so that I can minister and do outreach again.  God continue to break me, continue to remind me of your love and Lord thank you for your grace.  Lord send me, allow me to seek first the kingdom because I know you will provide for my family as we serve you.  Lord please be with that little boy tonight and bless him, thank you for allowing him to minister to me and I pray we can be reminded of why we all serve you.

Red Salamander

I found a Red Salamander down in Blacksburg, SC. This is a clip from Catching Creation Volume 3 DVD from our episode about salamanders. 

The music was used with permission "Between The Now And Not Yet" by The Eager Seas ©2012 The Eager Seas http://theeagerseas.bandcamp.com/

 

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redsal
redsal

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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Dancing Like A Bird

The Catching Creation team took a trip to Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge the other day to test out our new Canon XF100 and we filmed this Killdeer bird guarding her nest.  We also decided to do a little dance at the end...check it out.

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Holy Turtle

I found a turtle with a hole in it's face, sad reminder of our own mortality and how simple things can lead to our demise but there is hope with Jesus Christ!

 

 

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IMG_0867

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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Spotted Salamanders and the Church

Check out this clip from our first Catching Creation shoot of the year down in Blacksburg SC.  We shot video with what we had and the cameras ranged from Iphones, Gopros and even a Sony DSLR, we strongly believe in using what you have and know that God honors our faithfulness in the little things and is preparing us for the better equipment to come.  I'm really excited about this new DVD coming up and the team God has given me to help shoot new episodes of Catching Creation.  We are 1/2 way funded for our new Canon XF100 pro camcorder package that we've been saving and raising money for!

 

Check out a recent devotional about Salamanders HERE

Are You Planted By The River?

As I walked by this HUGE sycamore tree next to the Yadkin River I was reminded of Psalm 1. 

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Camp Grace Snake Bite!

I got to visit Camp Grace this week to do a few presentations, take kids out to listen to frogs at night and teach about creation and the creator.  While there we caught several awesome reptiles and amphibians.  Here's a video of me getting bit by a red bellied water snake.  Enjoy! 

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camp grace swamp
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basilisk
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slimy
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red belly

This Is Why I Do What I Do!

Check out this awesome promo and testimony video from Channing Guest down in Macon Ga.  I will be speaking at his church, Christ Chapel in Macon, GA on May 19 and at Pine Forest Baptist that evening.  Invite your friends and come experience the wonder of God's creation!  It's such an encouragement to see that this ministry is impacting lives both young and old for the sake of the kingdom.  Isn't God great!  I am humbled and honored that he took the time to make this video and blessed that the Lord set it all up.  It's hard not to have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes when I think about what this ministry can accomplish for the sake of the Gospel.  YOU are special and YOU are loved and I want you to know that in Jesus name! 

Seeing lives changed for Jesus and being a positive influence in a world littered with filth is why I do what I Do.  My prayer is that the Lord will continue to use me as an effective minister of his Gospel.  I'm so thankful that of all people the Lord chose me, transformed me and can use me for his glory!

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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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Have You Ever Been Stuck In A Rut?

This is an example of what the Catching Creation weekly Email Newsletter looks like. If you haven't subscribed already you can do so HERE

Have YOU ever been stuck in a rut?

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

--  Galatians 6:9-10 (The Message Bible)
The excitement kept me up almost all night.  I tossed and turned in my bed until the alarm clock started blaring it's offensive siren breaking the silence of my fitful slumber.  I quickly got dressed, laced up my boots and drove sleepy eyed to Starbucks to meet the rest of my team to consolidate into one vehicle.  Everyone drove in from there respective cities and we converged in Winston to embark together on the first Sandhills adventure of the year.We found not one but two Eastern Hognose snakes right next to one another after a short hike at our first stop.  I almost stepped on one!  We were blessed and encouraged to see that they were a pair and most likely getting ready to breed.  They both hissed, striked, spread their necks like cobras and then when that didn't scare us away they rolled over, musked and played dead.  We got back to the car in route to our next stop and were excited to see what else the day would bring.Everything seemed to be going perfectly.  That is until we sunk my Nissan Altima up to the doors in sand on the sandy trail road we were on.  Isn't life like that, everything seems to be going smoothly and then BAM you get stuck in a rut.  As Galatians 6:9-10reminds us, we can't give up when times get tough because if we just hold on and stay the course we will eventually reap the rewards of our efforts.  God showed me this weekend that sometimes the best way to get out of a spiritual rut is to surround yourself with fellow believers and work together to edify and encourage one another when any member of the faith community is feeling down.Despite the day literally going from bad to worse after we dug the car out of the sand I have to say that I'm truly blessed to have such an amazing team for Catching Creation.

Click the pictures to check out my extremely talented team below.

Until next time ... Stan Lake Catching Creation

P. S. Please pray for Catching Creation.  We really need a primary camera to film with for our upcoming DVD.  Our intention is to try to either get a Canon XA10 or XF100 so that we can film Catching Creation at the highest quality possible and get amazing footage to showcase God's glory click here to help.

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Drip Drop Rainy Faith

Sometimes when it rains it pours and it’s hard to keep on being positive.  It’s easy to see our outward situations and lack the faith necessary to keep our heads up.  The good news is that faith, by the very definition, is holding on to what we can’t see.  Scripture says that we walk by faith, not by sight, so even though things may look dreary, cold and rainy we know that better days are coming and can have faith that our heavenly father wants the best for us.  Hebrews 11:1-2  "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for."  2 Corinthians 5:7  "For we walk by faith, not by sight." 

 

 

Would You Like To Help Catching Creation?

As the chill of winter begins to loosen it's grip I am getting more and more excited about this coming season of filming with Catching Creation.  God has some big things in store and I want to invite YOU to participate with Catching Creation.  As many of you know I operate as a traveling minister and get to preach God's word all over the Southeast with my animal buddies.  I love my "job" and am truly excited about seeing the lights come on in people's heads when I give a Gospel presentation in a way they may have never heard it.  I rely on the kindness of love offerings and honorariums to keep this ministry going.  I am in need of your prayers in this season of our ministry.  I believe Catching Creation is called to do BIG things and I am excited to announce that the Lord is beginning to build a really solid team of volunteers to help me film my new DVD this year.  As many of you know my DVDs encompass aspects of evangelism, ministry, wildlife conservation and all around fun for the whole family.  The DVDs (and Youtube show) are a way for me to minister long after I leave a community as well as a way to weekly teach those subscribers and other viewers on my site. I believe this is a valid form of ministry and lives are truly being changed through Catching Creation.  I have had people tell me that the Catching Creation videos helped restore their relationship with Jesus and others have said it has brought their family closer together.  That's exactly my heart for this ministry, to promote family and deeper relationships with Jesus.  There are several things we still need going into this new season of filming.  Catching Creation really needs a legitimate primary camera to film with.  If you feel inclined to help support Catching Creation in that regard I have attached a link to an Amazon wish list with a few items that we will need for this upcoming filming season.  There will also be opportunities to help us along the journey this season as well.  We would like to film in new locations that require us to travel outside of NC.  Our first scheduled film shoot is in the Blacksburg, SC area and we will be talking about salamanders and being good stewards of God's creation.  We also are praying and planning to visit South Florida to film invasive and exotic wildlife, there are  also opportunities to work with missionaries in Costa Rica, Cambodia, and the Philippines this year.  So with all of that said we need your prayers and support!  Thank you for being on this journey with us and I pray that people are brought into a real relationship with Jesus through this ministry.

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