CTI 14:21 2016-2017
Birthday: March 5
Hometown: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Favorite Bible Passage: Matthew 28:18-20
Influential Music: The Civil Wars, The Paper Kites, Rend Collective, Imagine Dragons
Favorite Movie: The Goonies
Favorite Book: Calvin and Hobbes
Hobbies: Reading, writing, acting, songwriting, photography, videography, watching funny YouTube videos, hiking, biking, and much more.
Bradley can ride a unicycle and he can juggle–just not at the same time! He lived in San Diego, CA for the first 8 years of his life. He has been acting in community theatre since age 12 and plans to pursue a degree in theatre after CTI.
Bradley’s Blog Posts
It’s a natural question. It comes up in almost every conversation on the road, especially as we get towards the end of our touring year.
“So, what are you doing afterward? Like, what’s after CTI?”
We’re always happy to answer it, because most of us usually have a detailed answer. We know where we’re going, what we’re doing, when we’re doing it, etc. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with having a plan for our future, but it got me thinking: Are we more focused on our future (or post-CTI), than we are on our present ministry? Are we so convinced that our future is more important than our present?
It seems to be a common thread of thought that success or fulfillment are synonymous with ‘the future’. We live in a culture that is somewhat obsessed with preparing ourselves for a successful future, but hardly ever focuses on what we can accomplish in the present. For example, it’s almost a given that, post high school, you are to go to college, and doing anything opposite of that would be considered odd.
Knowing this, it makes sense some of us are so focused on our school plans, and working out the logistics of all that ahead of time, even while on tour. This, in my opinion, is a problem. God has placed us in our current situation for a reason, and it’s probably not to work on college (something I could be doing from literally anywhere).
I recently gave myself a new goal. because we have such a short time left to be entirely focused on our mission of sharing the Gospel, to be present at all times. It can be difficult at times, because I have a million and one things running through my head most days. but I remind myself that what’s happening right now is most important. What am I able to do right now? And where can I exemplify Jesus in my current situation? I ask myself these questions regularly.
There’s a pretty popular quote by the cartoonist Bil Keane (Although, based on a much older quote) that says this, “Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.” And it’s true! Every day is a gift, which we can use to its fullest extent if we so desire. Our best course of action at the beginning of every day is to place our focus on the Lord, and his desire for us. In this culture so obsessed with success, we can succeed daily, by seizing the day and giving it to God.
We will have done more to say yes to Jesus, and serve the Lord if we start now, rather than start when we feel prepared to. So, should we be focusing more on our future service to him, or our present service to him? I’d imagine we both agree: It’s the latter.
Focus. What does it mean to be focused? Merriam-Webster defines focus as ‘directed attention’. An apt description, if I do say so myself.
Being a part of full-time ministry, you hear about the concept of focus very regularly. Your focus is to be on God, and his will, at all times. I often have a problem with this, due to the many hobbies and interests that I have. I too often want to spend a majority of my time working on personal projects, and less of my time focusing on what God wills for my life. I find myself in a constant feedback loop of my own desires. I get caught up in them, and my desire to serve God gets drowned out by my desire to please myself.
Herein lies the problem.
Humans are creatures of habit. As we fill up our free time with things that are less than edifying, whether it be movies, video games, or even videos online, we begin to want to seek that out more. The more focus we put on those things, the less we think about doing what is in God’s will, but instead what is in ours. A great analogy is, funnily enough, the focus on a camera. Because, just like how a camera focusing on something in the background of a shot obscures the foreground, so directing our attention towards our own desires obscures the desires God has for us.
As I said in the first paragraph, I find myself caught in a feedback loop of my own desires. If I keep filling myself up with things that don’t glorify God, at a certain point, that’s all that I will be able to pour out onto others, and it’s all I will seek out. However, if I’m filling myself up with the word, and directing my attention towards God, I will overflow things from the Lord, and be able to pour that out onto those I’m ministering to.
Therefore, the simple solution is to direct our focus towards God. That may seem redundant, but the more we seek the Lord, the more we will desire to seek the Lord, and we won’t have to worry about where we are placing our focus. It will automatically gravitate towards the Lord, as that is where our focus is already being placed. Cut out the things in your life that are in opposition to God’s glory, and force your focus away from those things and towards the Lord, and at a certain point, you won’t have to force it any longer. It will become the new norm.
I leave you with this popular verse, which is applicable in this situation:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
A little late, the Carpenter’s Vlog #3 is live! Please enjoy this slightly silly look into our lives, and reminisce on last year with us!
Thanks for watching,
For those reading this that are thinking about joining a CTI team (and really, anyone who is interested), I’ve decided to detail a little bit of how I decided to pursue full time ministry, and by extension, join CTI.
It started all the way back in 2012, when my youth group offered an overseas ministry opportunity through CRU. It was a three-week trip to Estonia for both high school and college aged students. Naturally, I was pumped about going overseas, so I began begging my mom to let me go on the trip. She wasn’t super keen on letting me go, since on fourteen years old at the time, but she decided that, since my youth pastor would be there along with us, she would allow me to go.
Fast forward several months, to the actual trip. I’ll be honest, I shouldn’t have been there. I was far too young and immature to do any good on this mission. However, while I didn’t do much good, God was doing a lot inside of me. At the close of our trip, I had learned more about my relationship with God than I had told others about it. From that point forward, I really took a hold of my faith, and had a newfound passion for ministry. I began volunteering at my church, and started taking an interest in my youth band.
I played synth keys with that band for a few years, occasionally offering backup vocals as well. I fell in love with worship music, and telling the gospel through song. In my junior year of high school, CTI came through my hometown, which is just a few hours outside of Willmar. My mom suggested I go to the concert, but I had other plans at the time. She then informed me that CTI held auditions, and that I could go on a summer team with them. She encouraged me to look into it, but being an angsty teen at the time, I shot down the idea. Naturally, about a month later, I looked the ministry up on my own and thought it sounded awesome! My mom was stoked that I was interested in a team. I sent the recruiter at the time an email about applying, and… forgot about CTI entirely. My summer got busy, and thoughts of joining a team left my mind.
Fast forward again to late fall of my senior year. It was nearing Christmas break, and I had no idea what I wanted to do after completing high school. I considered applying for college, but it just didn’t feel right at the time. I had a job at the time, so I entertained the idea of taking a year off to work and save money, but that didn’t feel right either.
It was then that my mom reminded me of CTI, and I considered it seriously this time. Rather than applying for a summer team however, I was interested in a full time team. I had no idea what that fully entailed, but I prayed about it for a good while, and felt God leading me in that direction. I eventually concluded that I would apply, and I sent in my audition. A few weeks later, I received a call inviting me into the full time program. A wave of overwhelming fear came over me. What was I getting myself into? Could I really handle this? I’m only seventeen right now! I’m not even out of high school! I cast these thoughts aside, however, and listened to what God wanted me to do, and a few moments later, I accepted.
I’ll be honest, I was still terrified even after accepting. I had just committed myself to a whole year of ministry. An entire year of my life, dedicated solely to furthering God’s kingdom. And you know what? I am so glad I chose to do it. I have grown so much in these few months I’ve been with CTI. My attitude towards servant hood, towards the people around me, and ultimately, towards my relationship with God, has been changed exponentially for the better. I have a deeper understanding of my relationship with my Creator, King, and Savior. One that I wouldn’t give up for the world.
Truly, if you are considering CTI, and are willing to be challenged to grow in Christ, I urge you to take part in this ministry. Or even if not, always find more ways to say no to yourself, and yes to Jesus. Use the gifts he has given you for the glory of God, not your own. Whether that’s with CTI or not, I pray you would give yourself wholly to God and his Kingdom.
The second installment of the C-Log (Carpenter’s Vlog) is live on Youtube! Enjoy this look into some of our day off activities while on tour, and find out about our second favorite kitchen utensils!