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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Are You Royal Like A Ball Python?

Are You Royal Like The Ball Python?

          If you have spent any time in your local pet store or flipped through a book about snakes, you have probably seen pictures of the Royal Ball Python; more commonly just called the Ball Python.  Did you know that the Latin name for this snake is Python regius?  The scientific names of animals often will give us a more descriptive name of the animal and it also eliminates the confusion with common names.  In the case of the Royal Ball Python, aka Python regius, we know that the genus name Python refers to a class of constricting snakes and the species name, regius, actually means “of the king or belonging to the king.”So let me ask you again, are you royal like the ball python?  If you are a believer in

          Jesus Christ the answer is YES!  Let me break it down for you.  John 1:12-13 says “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”  Galatians 3:26-27 says “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”  Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and if you are among those called children of God you too are heirs to royalty.  Romans 8:17 says Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” 

royalballpython

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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
camp grace swamp
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basilisk
slimy
slimy
red belly
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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Are You The Venom Or The Cure?

Are You The Venom Or The Cure?

One of the groups of animals I am most fascinated with are pit vipers and other venomous snakes.  They are perceived as something inherently evil and of no value to humankind but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  I genuinely believe that if God created it then it’s good and sometimes we just have to dig and find its goodness.  In the case of pit vipers and other not so favorable venomous snakes there is the potential for benefit to humans through the very thing people are afraid of, the venom.  Did you know that scientists are using snake venom to help find cures and treatments to things such as cancer, strokes, heart problems and etc?  Venom is all a matter of context.  To those on the receiving end of an angry bite venom produces death, but to those in the operating room being treated with a serum derived of snake venom, it brings life.

 The same thing is true with the words we speak as Christians to an unbelieving world.  Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this verse references the tongue and eating fruit.  If we rewind scripture a few chapters back we are reminded of an event that took place in Genesis chapter 3 where a snake deceived Adam and Eve and they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Once they tasted of that tree they were no longer allowed to eat from the tree of life.

When we use our tongue to bash fellow Christians or say things to offend those in the world then we are not eating from the tree of life.  We are speaking death and even though the words we may be saying may have the essence of life to them, the context in which they are received relegates them to death.  We must choose our words carefully and truly try to speak the truths of God in love so that they are received in the proper context.  Are you the venom or the cure?

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Spring Peepers Carry Their Cross, Do You?

Spring Peepers Carry Their Cross, Do You?

Every year around February I begin to get excited about the coming of spring.  The first indicator for me that winter is loosing its grip is when I begin to hear winter breeding frogs like chorus frogs and spring peepers.  The bird like call of spring peepers gets me the most excited because conditions have to be warmer for them to come out than their cousins the chorus frogs.  The spring peeper’s Latin name is Pseudacris crucifer.  They have a very prominent cross or X shape on their back, hence the species name “crucifer.”

They are a very visual representation of the crucifixion of Jesus and they even start their springtime reveling right before Easter.  I tend to think of them as a proclamation of good news that winter is over and spring is about to begin.  The death of winter is over and the new life of spring is just around the corner.  Their timing with the celebration of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is icing on the cake.

We as believers in Jesus Christ need to be more like these frogs, visibly carrying our crosses but joyfully calling out and proclaiming the glory of God to a cold world.  Matthew 16:24 says, Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  Even though spring peeper frogs are designed to withstand the cold of late winter and early spring, it still must be uncomfortable for them to emerge and dutifully announce the coming of spring.  We as believers in Jesus Christ need to deny ourselves and pick up our crosses, so that a dying world can see that just around the corner spring has sprung.  New life is on the way!  Spring peepers carry their crosses, do you?

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Have You Ever Been Stuck In A Rut?

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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.

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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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A Hognose Snake Plays Dead, Do You?

A Hognose Snake Plays Dead, Do You?

Have you ever had the opportunity to see a hognose snake?  They have quite the display when they are threatened.  When a hognose snake is startled it will hiss, spread its neck to appear larger and even venomous.  They will sway back and forth like a cobra and mock strike at their aggressor.  If all of that fails they simply play dead.  They roll over on their back, stick out their tongue and produce the foulest of musk.  They look dead, feel dead and even smell dead.  For most predators this display will convince them not to eat the hognose and move on their way.  Once the threat is gone the snake rights itself and crawls away.

How many times do we as Christians play dead in the sight of the predator of our souls, the devil?  We know the commands of Christ to love one another and make disciples but we sit idly by and play dead in the pews or in our homes knowing that there needs to be action with our faith. James 1:22 says, Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”  James goes on to say in chapter 2:14 “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” 

Thankfully our salvation is a free gift and we don’t have to earn it to be assured a place in heaven, but there are so many out there that are in desperate need of this saving faith that we have.  Jesus wants us to have faith and to back our faith up with good deeds. We need to be truly living out his teaching and commands.  If we just hear the word but do not do it are we living out this Christian life to the fullest or are we just playing dead?  A hognose snake plays dead, do you?

dead hognose

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Step In The River

Will God part the Red Sea for you or do you have to take the initiative and step into the Jordan River by faith?  Joshua chapter 3 deals with the people of Israel under new leadership getting ready to lay claim to the promises of God.

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Catching Creation Presentation: Dominion Church Fayetteville NC

Here is the full version of my Catching Creation Presentation from Dominion Church in Fayetteville NC Feb 17.2013

 

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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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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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Cape Fear Serpentarium Visit

This week I got the chance to visit the Cape Fear Serpentarium in Wilmington, NC.  It's an amazing facility in a downtown setting with tons of elaborate set ups and wonderful snakes and various other reptiles.

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To Check Out The Cape Fear Serpentarium visit their website: www.Capefearserpentarium.com They are located at 20 Orange Street Wilmington, NC 28401 (910) 762-1669

 

Merry Christmas From Catching Creation

Merry Christmas from Catching Creation!  Thank you to everyone that has subscribed to the youtube channel, watched a video, read a blog post, liked a facebook status and etc.  You guys rock!  Lets remember the real reason for the season as we celebrate Christmas!  Jesus gives us the only gift that truly lasts, our salvation!

Can You Adapt When Times Get Tough?

Can you adapt when times get tough?

 

          With the onset of the gloom and cold of winter I often find myself marveling at the adaptations some animals go through just to survive the tough times of the season.   Amphibians are exothermic, or cold blooded, and that means that when the temperatures drop so does their metabolism and activity.  If a frog is so tempted to stay above ground during this time of year it often signifies their certain demise.  There is one species of frog that seems to be the exception to this rule.  The Wood Frog, Rana sylvatica, has the ability to completely freeze and once temperatures are optimal again it can essentially thaw out and resume life as normal.  This is due to the production of glucose in the frog’s body that acts as biological antifreeze.

          We can make a scriptural parallel when we think about how our God has given us the tools we need to survive the harshest of times like it talks about in Ephesians 6:10-20 with the full armor of God as well as in other verses like 1 Corinthians 10:13.  If we look at the latter verse, 1 Corinthians 10:13, we see that God will not allow temptation to overtake us without a way of escape.  In the case of the frog the harshness of winter’s chill will not kill the frog because it can endure the frigid temperatures because God designed it with a biological way out, just like when we are faced with temptations God has given us a spiritual way out through prayer and the reading of His word.  Can you adapt when times get tough like the Wood Frog?

woodfrog

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

 

Catching Creation Presentation @ Gospel Baptist

Catching Creation Presentation @ Gospel Baptist Church in Greensboro NC from September 2012.  The theme of their sermon series was "Stepping out to do what's right."  Awesome group of kids and amazing staff!

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