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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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

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
basilisk
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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Do Conditions Have To Be Perfect For You To Come Out?

Do Conditions Have To Be Perfect For You To Come Out?

Several years ago I had the amazing opportunity to see spotted salamanders breeding.  I know what you’re thinking, but I promise it’s not gross. The salamanders look as if they are all dancing underwater and you see flashes of bluish black with speckles of yellow and white spots glimmering in the moonlight. The conditions required to get spotted salamanders out en mass to breed need to be almost perfect.  The vernal (or temporary) pools that they lay their eggs in have to be the correct depth and PH, the humidity and temperature have to be just right and it typically follows a heavy rain.  Once their annual “dance” is complete they go back to their subterranean burrows and are rarely seen again until the next breeding season.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  The writer of Hebrews is encouraging us to not only love one another and do good works but to also not forget the purpose for meeting.  We don’t just go to church to keep up appearances, at least I hope not!

The real reason we assemble together is to mutually encourage one another so that we can do the work of the ministry that we ALL are called to do.  The Lord has given us all specific gifts in which we are to use to help edify the body and grow the kingdom of God.  We meet together so as to help one another from falling by the wayside or getting discouraged and giving up.  Do conditions have to be perfect for you to come out?

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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.

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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Do You Sing Like A Bird

Do You Sing Like A Bird?

 Birds truly inspire me to worship God and focus on proclaiming how awesome He is.  Birds sing all day long, I’ve even heard them sing in the rain!  They are such a great example of how we are to live as believers and followers of Jesus Christ. Psalm 145:21 says, “My mouth will speak in praise to the LORD.  Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.” 

The Psalmist proclaims that his mouth will speak in praise to the Lord.  Every time I hear birds singing I think about them singing praises to our God.  Psalm 96:11-13 says “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.  Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.  Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth.  He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.”  Since our God is the creator of all things, it is only fitting that His creation worship Him in thankfulness.  Have you ever thought about birds singing praises to God or the trees joyfully singing in worship to their creator?  Do you sing like a bird?

PineWarbler

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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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Frogs & Faith

I went looking for Chorus Frogs again and found myself in the middle of a patch of thorns and then I had this thought...

 Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

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scripture frog
scripture frog

Are You Devoted To Destruction?

This morning while I was reading Joshua chapter 7 something leaped off the page and started to really make me think.  Joshua 7:12 in the second half of the verse says "...I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction."  I realize through previous scriptures in Deuteronomy and again repeated in the New Testament that the Lord will never leave me nor forsake me but this verse posed an interesting thought.  Do my actions really have consequences? The context of the verse involves the people of Israel coming out of the wilderness and claiming the promised land the Lord has given to them.  They have obeyed the commands and instructions of God and had victory in the land up to this point.  They go into battle and something goes wrong, they are forced to retreat and around 36 men are killed.  This is the result of one man's disobedience.  Achor disobeyed God by keeping some of the plunder of the land for himself and hiding it in his tent.  This caused the favor of God to leave the Israelites in battle and forced their retreat as well as the casualties.

How many times do we disobey God and create our own destruction by doing our own thing?  The sin of Ahcor affected his whole family as well as his community.  36 men died and he and his family were stoned and burned because of his disobedience.  This is obviously an extreme case but it makes the point that although we have grace thankfully now because of God sending his one and only son, Jesus Christ, into the world; we still need to be aware of our sins and disobedience because they have consequences.  We need to rid ourselves of the sins in our lives that lead to destruction.  Lord I pray we humble ourselves and admit when we are wrong and that by the blood of Jesus you forgive us of the many sins we commit against you.  Are you devoted to destruction?

book-of-joshua

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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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Chorus Frogs Yall!!

Hey it's time for Chorus Frogs yall!!  I heard several breeding colonies this evening at my dad’s house so I decided to go see if I could catch one.  I used an old favorite analogy of mine with the frog and 2 Corinthians 5:17.  Enjoy, share, like, follow and subscribe! SUBCRIBE on Youtube

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Are You Lashing Out Like A Cornered Animal?

Are You Lashing Out Like A Cornered Animal?

One of my favorite activities is to study an animal and its ecosystem and try to locate and eventually capture said animal.  Often I will back an animal, like a snake or a rat, into a corner and if I don’t act quickly while trying to capture it I can find myself on the receiving end of angry teeth.  Biologically animals (and humans) are designed with a mechanism that enables them to react with either fight or flight.

When animals are put into a stressful situation that fight or flight mechanism takes over and they either flee or stay and address the aggressor.  I find myself being stressed out all too often and reacting out of a fight or flight mindset more than I would like to admit.  Psalm 55:22 says “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”  Next time you feel that surging of adrenaline that signifies the oncoming reaction to stress and you feel like fighting or fleeing from the situation remember that Jesus overcame the world and as you accept him you take on his righteousness (Romans 3:22).  So tell God about your problem and he won’t let you be shaken.  Are you lashing out like a cornered animal?

CorneredRat

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!

Are You Wandering Around Like A Mangy Mutt?

Are you wandering around like a mangy mutt?

 

Today I got the opportunity to visit my grandmother in my hometown of Trinity, North Carolina.  After my visit was over I dropped off some mail in the small post office in town and as I was about to get out of my car to enter the tiny building something shaggy and reddish brown caught my eye.  I looked for a second and what appeared to be Chewbacca’s 2nd cousin was creeping towards me.  It was a mangy matted and dreadlocked stray dog.  I kept my eye on him trying to gauge whether he would be a friendly dog or some rabid beast that I should prepare to defend myself against.

I went into the post office and dropped off the letters I brought and when I came back to the parking lot the dog was still there.  As I got closer to the dog and knelt down I reached my hand out  prepared myself for a diseased bite but instead found myself petting an incredibly sweet and shy dog that just seemed to have lost it’s way.  I genuinely felt sad for this abandoned animal and I wish I could say that this story ended with me taking him home and rescuing him from the cold but I’m afraid my apartment zoo is at max capacity for animal life.

I stayed and nurtured the poor miserable dog for a few minutes and as I drove away I prayed that someone would come along and save the poor dog.  As I was driving I was reminded of Romans 7:24 where Paul says “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”  This related perfectly to this stray dog.  On first appearances this animal simply looked wretched to put it in a word and if no one shows up to redeem him, sadly, I fear this animal may end up dying.

This relates to us in that before we accepted Christ we were looked on by God as wretched human beings, stray and malnourished wandering helplessly on earth with no hope for redemption but the good news is that Christ died for just that reason and he has offered us redemption in the form of his sacrifice on the cross.   Has Jesus Christ rescued you from your hapless wandering as a stray?  Are you wandering around like a mangy mutt?

dog stray

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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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