Birthday: March 2
Hometown: Clear Lake, MN
Favorite Bible Passage: Luke 10:25-37
Influential Music: Progressive rock
Favorite Movie: The Princess Bride
Favorite Book: The Silmarillion By J.R.R. Tolkien
Hobbies: Reading and listening to podcasts, with a particular bent towards the historical. Playing music, obviously, especially the bass. Running, swimming, and playing paintball are what I do if I can’t find something to read or listen to.
When we asked Brett to tell us something interesting about him, this is what he had to say:
“I like math.”
Brett’s Blog Posts
Hey all, we have been here, there, and everywhere and have pictures to boot! I thought it would be fun and exciting to share some of these photos with y’all, so I’ll cut the chit chat and get down to business.
We are having a fantastic time with this ministry, and are enjoying every opportunity we get to share the Gospel and enjoy the company. We are excited to be spending the rest of the week in Toronto with some CTI Alumni. See y’all on the flip side!
Winter tour is officially over. We played our final show of tour on Wednesday and are all preparing to leave for home to enjoy a week and a half spring break. I thought it would be neat to recall some of the lessons we learned from Fulton, Missouri where we played several shows for the Fulton state hospital. For us, a state hospital is a change of pace from the usual churches and youth groups we normally play at. In fact, it was even different from the regular prisons we play at, because even though the people incarcerated there had committed some sort of crime, they were interned at the state hospital for mental or physical disabilities.
We had difficulty at the state hospital because the audiences were very likely to not have a clue what we mean when we speak in “Christianese.” For example, terms we might use such as “sin” or “sanctification” can leave people who did not grow up in Christian and church culture confused, and these venues require careful wordsmithing in order to share the Gospel and still make sense. We have some experience with this from Hong Kong where “Christianese” doesn’t or is difficult to translate, but playing in churches has made us somewhat lazy in our word choices. The challenge of Fulton was realized when we were told to speak with simpler terms to help some of the audience understand what we were speaking from stage.
Our understanding of how we share the Gospel anywhere was challenged by Fulton, which was awesome. We greatly improved our delivery because of the new dimension Fulton represented, and we asked ourselves how we could possibly open up our verbals to be more inclusive to those who may never have heard the Gospel. Removing or defining terms such as “Gospel” or “Sin” goes a long way to making us more articulate in sharing the Gospel, and I think makes us more capable of sharing the Gospel in our every day lives as well. Removing exclusive vocabulary from our everyday speech is going to make it a lot easier to make the Gospel accessible to non-Christians, which is very exciting to me.
And besides all that we learned, we met a lot of great people who have been incarcerated and have such a heart for God. It is so cool to be a part of the ministry that is happening in prisons and state hospitals because we can usually bank on some of the guys we meet to have a better knowledge of the bible than we do. Seeing the Gospel being shared and uplifting the people in these hospitals and prisons is awesome and we are so blessed to be a part of what God is doing with them.
So I am not entirely sure how smart it is to be sharing this because I know my mother reads these and she doesn’t approve of me being “stupid”, But the story is a great picture of the gospel and is worth it in my eyes.
So we were Grand Junction, CO not too long ago and we had the chance to visit Independence Monument. The park has these wonderful rock formations, and a beautiful road up to the top of the mesa with these gorgeous views into the Valley. The sight just floors you, but there is this particular rocky outcropping that is relatively easy to access via some light climbing. We were able to climb up on top of this formation and were graced by a fantastic view of the entire valley floor and were able to see for miles.
Yet this wasn’t good enough for me. I like to climb around, and I like to get better views. It just so happened that there was this little rock outcrop that you could get to with a little bit of courage and a slight jump. Now, where I was standing was probably a good 30 to 40 feet up in the air, and, while it was a beautiful view, I hadn’t really thought about how difficult the return trip would be.
Long story short, in order to get back I climbed down into this little valley thing to find an easy pathway up, and ended up needing to shimmy my way along a smooth, curved rock face. There was a single crack running horizontally along the face, and it was just big enough for my feet to step on while shimmying. This was not an easy thing to do, because there was snow and the crack was barely large enough to be useful to me, and my shoes are pretty worn and had less than optimal traction. So, as I was shimmying, I slipped a little. Now the slip would definitely not have been fatal, but I would have fallen feet first about seven feet down had I not had a good grip with my hands. My heart definitely skipped a beat as I regained composure.
Now, My boy Kenny knew I was working my way towards him and he extended a hand towards me as I was shimmying. It is my honest opinion that I would have fallen had Kenny not been there to literally give me a hand. My shoes were too slippery, there was too much snow, and the crack was becoming less useful.
After I was safe and sound on solid ground, I got to thinking about the whole ordeal. I am not lying when I say my mind went straight to how similar the struggle was to how we need the Gospel. Without God being willing to extend a hand to help us, we would definitely fall. There is nothing we can do, no amount of dexterity we can show while climbing, to reach God without falling. In fact, God loves us so much that he effectively climbed down the cliff face that separates us, put us on his back, and carried us all the way back. Jesus’ death on the cross eliminated the need for us to climb to reach God, which means we can know true freedom through Christ.
Truly, there is no God like our God.
I am quite tired of our trailer’s incessant failings, but they make for great blog material so let me set the scene.
We have been driving for several hours to get to Redding, California when we finally reach our destination: Redding Christian Fellowship. We follow typical procedure where Matt gets out to greet the contact, then we are given instructions as to what needs to be taken where so we can set up for the night. However, in the midst of unpacking equipment I, the oh so observant vehicle manager, noticed several team members peering at one of our trailer tires.
“That’s odd” I observe, “I should probably take a look.”
As I walk over, the smell of burning lubricant overtakes my nose. By now, I would consider myself something of a veteran and have dealt with multiple vehicle issues before, but this one caught me off guard. The wheel was hot to the touch, and we were missing a particularly important part: the wheel bearing.
To spoil the rest of the story and to get to the point, the trailer was definitely not in any shape to be going anywhere. We brought it into a local trailer and RV shop the next day while we were recruiting at a college in the hopes that they would be able to squeeze it in. To our surprise, they put it in first in their schedule, did a total check on all of the bearings on the trailer, fixed the break well and bearing that was shot, and re-lubed everything else for us.
So the whole ordeal went as smoothly as possible, and I would argue went far smoother than it had any right to. There is No Way that we should have had all of that happen the way it did to let us get out of Redding in a day. If I didn’t know any better I would have bet money on being stuck there for a minimum of three days. but I have learned that if God wants our ministry to continue he will provide. Losing a wheel bearing is not what I would call completely safe, but it happened in a way where neither we nor our equipment was in danger. It definitely broke while we were in Redding, which is a blessing, and the trailer shop was not even a mile down the road from the church. I have not a doubt in my mind that God is providing for us and our ministry, because he has proven to guide us and save us time and time again without fail.
So Winter is in full swing and we have successfully and safely driven through the mountains to Washington. That said, it wasn’t a simple walk in the park to get here. We definitely had to fight through some obstacles and are still fighting through some in order to carry on with our ministry.
Currently, two of our members are dealing with the flu. Now, if you recall what your mother told you pertaining to the flu, you’ll probably remember you need to get lots of rest and water to heal quickly. This is because there is no quick fix for a virus. A virus just spreads through your body with impunity and all your body can do is destroy the infected cells. There isn’t anything that we can do to fight the flu besides a proactive shot or some serious rest, which can be pretty frustrating.
A lot of my blogs tend to focus on frustrations, I’ve noticed. Most prominently my frustration comes from the van or the trailer, but there are usually a myriad of issues that are ever present and nibbling at my patience. Some are small, but others may end up forcing two team members to remain at home and leave the rest of us to figure out how to finish a show without our lead guitarist or our sound tech.
These frustrations, as I have said before, are because I want to be in control. I so desperately want things to work the way I want them to work that I forget that I really shouldn’t be in control. My plans, even my best plans, are tainted by my imperfection. My sin. I cannot escape that fact.
But God has been telling me over the last few days to stop trying to take over for him. A good reminder for me is Philippians 4: 6-7 where Paul is reminding the people of Philippi that they should not worry about what will come next for them.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.