Nicholas Black

 

 

CTI 14:22  2016-2017
Bass

 

Birthday: June 24

Hometown: Asheville, North Carolina

Favorite Bible Passage: Philippians 4:4-13

Musical Influences: The Beatles, Boston, Red Hot Chili Peppers

Favorite Movie: The Blues Brothers

Favorite Book: The Phantom Tollbooth

Hobbies: Playing music, hiking and backpacking, running, playing soccer, and being outside. He also enjoys reading books of all sorts, reading comic books, and watching superhero movies.

 

Before coming to CTI, Nick worked as a freelance writer/blogger and played in a polka band that toured the southeastern U.S.

 

Nick’s Blog Posts

The Joy of the Lord is My Strength

Hey y’all!

14:22 kicked off Spring Tour a few days ago with bookings in Duluth and Bemidji Minnesota, and now we are in Boissevain, Manitoba! I am really excited to be on the road again with my team, and excited for all that God has in store for us for our final tour.

As we kicked off this tour, Elisa challenged each of us on the team to think of one word to be our “theme word” for this tour. God put on my heart to make joy a point of emphasis for this tour.

Thinking back over this year and even over my life before CTI, I have realized that in times of hardship that I sometimes let misery overwhelm me instead of the joy of the Lord. Hardships, tribulations, and times of trouble are simply a fact of life in a broken world. But in the face of hardships, we know that the joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)

One of the pastors at my home church defined joy very simply as an inner optimism and excitement about the Gospel and about the great work that God is doing in our lives. He went on to say that joy is not at all about just trying to feel happy all the time, especially in times of hardship. That kind of false happiness is simply unrealistic and disingenuous. The Bible contains many passages of grief and mourning over loss and hardship, and even a whole book of Lamentations! Joy isn’t the opposite of sadness. But joy comes from knowing that God has the last word for our lives, and that he loves us so deeply that he died for us, and then conquered death with his glorious resurrection!

It isn’t wrong to feel sad or upset in the face of hard times. But it is dangerous to let misery and despair take the place of our joy in Christ.

My hope and prayer is that we would all come to deeper and deeper understanding of the Gospel, and that from that knowledge we would be fillled with uncontainable joy! And I pray that the joy of the Lord would be our strength for every part of our lives.

Lake Bemidji, Bemidji MN

Simple Actions

Hello from Marmora, Ontario! This week we have had the privilege of being a part of a YFC March Break youth camp, held at Marmora Pentecostal Church.  Joel, the director, has brought in middle to high school aged youth from the community to put on a day camp for elementary to middle school youth. We have been brought on to help lead the events and to lead worship and share the Gospel and our stories as a part of the morning and evening events for the older kids putting on the camp.

It’s been a blast! We have gotten to play all kinds of high-energy games with the kids from Squirt to Dutch Blitz to dodgeball to basketball and even Manhunt in the snow. And all the while we have had so many awesome opportunities to be examples of what it is like to follow Christ for the youth at the camp. Playing and serving alongside the kids has opened the door for us to share the love of Christ with them through our words and music and from Joel’s messages.

During one of the basketball games, I was cheering for one of my teammates after he scored a basket, and one of the younger kids ran up to me and gave me a huge hug. It made my day!

I can really tell that the kids are beginning to grasp more and more what it means to live in the light of the Gospel and the love of God through our time together in this camp. God can work through our simple actions to have an awesome impact for his kingdom.

 

Coming Home and Pressing Onward

This past weekend I got to go home to Asheville, NC with my team! It was really fun to get to show my team around my home town and to have the chance to play at my church. I was so overwhelmed by the amount of love and support that my family and church poured out on us, and it was really good to give my friends and family a taste of everything that CTI does. It was a little surreal too; a collision of my home community with the community I have become a part of with CTI.

We had the opportunity to play for the school that is a part of my church. The school’s theme verse this year is 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

We put together our set around this verse, encouraging the students to build one another up with the love of Christ. Christ is the ultimate example and source of all love, so we as believers should point one another to Christ as we love and serve one another.

During my time at home I was reminded of how great God’s love for me is through the love of my family. They have given so much to me and brought me up in faith and in the church community so that I could have opportunities to go and live out that faith in the unique ways God has called me to.

Over and over this year I have been shown so many ways that God loves me and has strengthened me through hard times.  And as I have been filled again and again with God’s love, my hope and prayer is that as believers in Christ and the life-changing Gospel message we would continue to follow God with all of our hearts and obey him and seek his will for every moment in our lives.  And we know that in our striving to continue in faith in God we will receive a great and glorious reward. Philippians 3:14:

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

 

 

Sharing Hope

Hello from Texas!

14:22 has made it down to the Houston, Texas area, away from the harsh Minnesota winter. It’s 76 degrees outside. In case you can’t tell, this North Carolina boy is glad to be back in the south.

This morning we played at Star of Hope rescue mission. We had to get up terribly early, and to be completely honest I was not quite ready to start the day when I awoke to my 5:30 alarm. But off we went. We fought through some heavy Houston traffic and arrived at the venue and were greeted very warmly by the staff there.

Then we did our thing. We played our songs, shared words from stage, and put on a drama. And I am so glad that we did.

We’ve been at this touring thing for long enough now that it has almost become second nature. But having the opportunity to share the love of Christ with people through the gift of music is something that I have not grown tired of, and I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have had this year with CTI. I love to see people in the audience light up as we play and as we speak the great news of God’s love and the hope and relationship that we have with him.

We’ve been so blessed everywhere we have gone by people thanking us profusely for coming out and spending time and sharing our talents with them. And it is really neat to when we get to hear stories and testimonies from the people we meet of how God is working in their lives.

One of the staff members at the rescue mission prayed many blessings over us and for continued faithfulness to God and to the mission that we are on this year. She reminded us to keep praying over everything, submitting all of our hopes and dreams and fears to Him. It was beautiful to hear her words about her relationship with God and the knowledge she has of him and his ways.

I think that this is a really important part of life with Christ and life with fellow believers: That we share and encourage one another with the stories of our hope and the great things that God is doing in our lives. And that we love one another with the love that has filled our hearts from God.

God has blessed each of us so much and fills our hearts with good things from him. My prayer is that we would take those abundant blessings that God has given us and share them with one another as a part of furthering his kingdom and strengthening ourselves and one another as believers.

Pursuing Excellence

Happy New Year from 14:22!

We are stoked to be starting our winter tour! It is really exciting to have several months ahead of us to go and share the love of Christ around the country. This is the longest continuous tour that we will be on this year, which means that we will likely be faced with a lot of opportunities and challenges throughout the coming months.

One of my goals for this year and this coming tour is to keep pursuing excellence in everything that I do. I’ve realized that sometimes I am tempted to settle for “good enough” instead of always giving my best efforts, especially when life gets hectic, or I am feeling tired or distracted. And in my experience traveling so far, I have faced a lot of hectic, tiring, and distracting situations.

So as we go this new year, I really want to take to heart and encourage you to take to heart the words of Colossians 3:23-24:

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Anything at all should be done as if we are working for the Lord! I need to remember that absolutely every aspect of my life is subject to God. Because God is sovereign over my life, and because he has shown me such incredible grace, love, and mercy, my desire is to serve him with excellence in everything that I do.

We’ve all been entrusted with gifts that God wants us to put to work in furthering his kingdom. This new year, let’s strive to be the best that we can be when it comes to serving God with our gifts, our time and circumstances.

Excelsior!

epic-iowa-van-picture
An epic picture of our van braving the harsh Iowa winter landscape.