Smoky Jungle Frog in Costa Rica

While uploading the mountain of footage from Costa Rica I saw this footage of a smoky jungle frog we caught doing his release call.  I also decided to do another bad Arnold impression of yet another big frog doing push ups haha.  Do you see a theme?

This guy was found on a rainy night in Punta Leona Costa Rica on the Pacific Side.

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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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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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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Eastern King Snake in Macon Ga

I found an eastern king snake in Macon Ga, Lampropeltis getula, talked about the Holy Spirit breaking chains that bind us.  It was a great trip visiting with the Guest family and speaking at two amazing churches.  God is good and I love what I do!

 

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Snappy Snap Oh Snap I found A Snapping Turtle

While hiking around the Reynolda Road wetland near Bethabara Park in Winston Salem I saw this little snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) scurrying into the woods in the direction of the wetland and away from the busy road.  I love seeing these guys and they never really seem as happy to see me.  What a great find. If you will notice, I'm holding him by the back of his shell and NOT his tail, this is very important as if you hold them improperly by the tail it can cause spinal injury in extreme cases.  So always remember IF you are going to handle an animal make sure it's done in a way that won't cause injury to the animal!

Check out the Devotional "Do You Live Like A Snapping Turtle" HERE

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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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Are You Prepared For A Nocturnal Thief?

If you’ve known me longer than 5 minutes and I were to ask you to guess my favorite animal you would probably say a frog or a snake.  You would be very close to the truth but those guys are a close second and third place to my ultimate favorite animal, the Raccoon.  Ever since I was a kid I have had a strange fascination with these masked bandits in the night.  I love their mischievous behavior and sneaky antics and most of all their intelligence.  If you’ve ever been camping someplace wilder than a suburban backyard you know that if food is left out in your camp you may be awakened by devious nocturnal thieves.  Raccoons love to invade a campsite and ravage anything left out if things aren’t properly stored.  

When I think of scriptures that parallel an animal or the activities of an animal it’s not a far stretch to think about the nature of Raccoons and 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6.  This scripture says Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.   But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.  You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.  So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 

As believers in Jesus Christ we shouldn’t worry about when the end will come nor shall we worry about the false security preached by so many false prophets of the day.  We just need to be adequately prepared by accepting Jesus Christ as our savior and living true to his word.  We know our security is in our Lord Jesus Christ and if we continue to live in the light of day we will not be surprised by a thief in the night.  We are not nocturnal creatures like my favorite animal buddy the raccoon happens to be.  So the things we do are done in the light in full view of the world.  Are you prepared for a nocturnal thief?

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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?

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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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Cold Weather Camping @ Hanging Rock State Park

I decided to take a trip up to Hanging Rock State Park with some friends and camp and hike this past weekend. I did not plan on getting extremely sick halfway through the trip and coming home early.  It was quite the adventure.  Check it out.SUBSCRIBE @ youtube.com/Catchingcreation

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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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Are You The Honey Or The Sting?

Are you the honey or the sting?

 

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think of bees?  I’m betting that beestings and that infamous scene from Tommy Boy pop in your head and then in a distant third place you may think of honey.  Ok so what’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “Christian?”  If I were to ask someone outside of church culture that question I’m betting some adjectives would include judgmental, narrow minded, and then maybe in a distant third place people may say something about love, maybe.  All to often people relate Christians to the sting created by our lack of love in practice.  If honey is the “fruit” produced by a beehive that is functioning normally then love should be the fruit produced by a church functioning normally.

Honey has been used as an antiseptic, an energy booster, a preservative and a tasty treat among other things.  Just like the sweetness of honey, the work of Jesus on the Cross and the love Christ endured to take on that task is as sweet as honey.  The love of Christ is the job of the Church to reflect into the world.  John 13:34-35 says  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  Jesus isn’t suggesting or even politely asking us to love one another, he commands it.  So just as a beehive works in perfect unity, harmony and perhaps even love to produce honey, we as the church should do the same and love one another so that the world is drawn to our sweetness and not scared away by our sting.  Are you the honey or the sting?

 

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