It’s pretty crazy to think about, but CTI 14:21 and 14:22 are finished with their touring years! Yes, we have a few local bookings left over the next few weekends, but for the most part, we’re no longer playing concerts together as our primary form of ministry. It’s a time of transition into other seasons of ministry for us, so here’s a quick look at what we’ll be doing for the last few months of our CTI year.
We’re currently in the middle of our Partnership Drive! This is a 6-day calling drive in which we contact past ministry supporters, road hosts, and alumni, thank them for their past support, and ask if they’re able to continue partnering with us and responding to the Great Commission by giving of their resources in order to support our ministry. It’s been a fruitful couple of days so far, and God has been doing amazing things, even through something as seemingly innocent as phone calls. Please pray for us as we seek to faithfully minister over the phones throughout the next week!
After the Partnership Drive has ended, our two teams will move into Fulltime Closure, a time set aside for looking back and reflecting on the entire year, and doing a ton of debriefing. Following this, we’ll jump straight into Leadership Training, as we prepare to take on our new roles as summer leaders and training staff. After an intensive week of training, our summer teams will arrive, and we’ll spend the next couple of months working with these teams in various capacities – team leading, music training, cooking, teaching, logistics-ing, and more – before sending them off to Colombia, Honduras, and Hong Kong!
Please pray for us, the staff, and the incoming summer teamers as we prepare for this transition into a new season of ministry. And if you’d like a tangible sense of what our fulltime teams have been up to and what God has been teaching us, come check out the live stream for our final concert on June 11th!
In my 24 years of existence, I have always dreaded one thing. No matter where I am or what I am doing, one thing that I have always hated is saying goodbye. The grief that comes with saying goodbye is a result of moving around all the time as a kid. I know this for a fact. Throughout all of my teenage years, moving every year and a half and going back and forth between America and China became normal to me. As a result, I was always moving from one friend group to another. I always tried to have good closure, but by my senior year of high school, I started blocking old memories out. I found that every time I left a friend group, I would immediately cut myself off from them. I would force myself to start fresh and forget what was behind. I developed some very unhealthy habits from this. However, at the time, I though it was the only way to deal with the grief that came with goodbyes.
I only have three days left of tour now, and the reality of saying goodbye is setting in. I must now ask myself this question: how am I going to deal with this next goodbye? Well, although it is going to be hard, one thing is for sure: I am not going to forget this year, not ever!
My team is always going to be a part of me. We may go our separate ways and even lose contact at the end of this tour, but what I have learned from each one of them will always be near and dear to my heart. We will always be brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter where we are. Therefore, there is no place for completely detaching myself from this chapter of my life. The relationships that I have developed and the lessons that I have learned along the way have become so much a part of me that it will be impossible to separate myself from them.
Things are going to change as soon as I am done with my full time year. I am aware of that. However, that does not mean that I should start detaching myself from my team, not now and not ever! Instead, I should cherish these moments and invest in the relationships with my team that I have right now. The same goes with contacts and hosts. There is nothing good about detaching myself once this is over. These last few days, I will remember that the emotional investments I make in relationships will be worth it all!
This past week our team has spent time in Michigan and Ontario. We got to spend some time with a few alumni while we were up in Ontario. The more I time I spend as part of CTI, the more I appreciate the community of the organization. Not only with current team members, but with past team members as well. The support that many alumni have for this ministry is very encouraging.
Just as a bond develops between CTI members whether we know each other or not, we have a bond with all believers as children adopted into God’s family. It is a beautiful thing that the Great Commission is not for just for myself or other individuals, but as a community we can more fully glorify God and use all of our gifts together to make Christ know to the world. We have been shown grace to be able to be brought back to the fold of God. I pray that this grace unites our attitudes to pursue the will of the Father on this Earth. Wherever you may be at in your life, I hope that you will seek a community that can positively work together to grow in the name of Christ Jesus.
For every past CTI Team member who we have met in the past week and throughout all of my time with CTI, thank you for continuing to be a blessing to this community. Thank you for showing me examples of the unity we have in Jesus Christ!
Hey everyone! We’re currently feeling the Zeel in beautiful Zeeland, Michigan! With just a scant few weeks left in our touring year, it consistently amazes me how faithful our God is. He’s given us places to stay, food to eat, and Good News to proclaim everywhere we’ve gone! We’ve received salvation from sin through the blood of Jesus Christ, which purifies us from all unrighteousness, and this is the Gospel that we yearn to preach!
I’ll be honest, though; it’s tough to always make the Gospel the number one priority. When you’re on the road for a year, you start fighting for different causes. Maybe after a week of zero concerts, your sole desire is to finally jam out again. If you’re at a teammate’s home church, all you might want to do is impress their family and congregation. Sometimes, you’re really excited to visit a new state and you’re completely focused on traveling and anticipating a new locale to visit. And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to play music, connect with team members’ communities, and visit new places, we’re not travelling around the continent for any of those reasons. We’re traveling as messengers of the greatest news in the world, the Gospel!
Matthew 16:24-28 reads:
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
What does it mean to follow Jesus to the cross? In reading Luke 22 and 23, I realized that as the ruling authorities sought a reason to have Jesus put to death, they were finally able to accuse Him of claiming to be the Son of God, the King of the Jews, the Messiah. They accused Him of blasphemy and as a result, Jesus was nailed to a cross. When we follow after Jesus, we are proclaiming these same things – Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, the only way to be saved from our sin and the fate of eternal separation from God! As messengers of the Gospel, we are devoting ourselves to the very cause that had Jesus killed. That is a far greater cause than we could ever imagine!
In light of this, I wanted to share with you a song that I’ve been listening to over the last week or so that’s been really impactful for me, called For the Cause by Keith and Kristyn Getty. Through the song, there is a declaration that we offer our lives to Christ sacrificially for the sake of the Gospel, that the glory of Christ might be proclaimed! As our team seeks to make this our cause during the short amount of touring time we have left, I challenge you to take up the cause of Christ the King as well.
Let it be my life’s refrain:
To live is Christ, to die is gain;
Deny myself, take up my cross
And follow the Son
Greetings from the mitten, y’all!
So the book of Matthew is popping up all over the place for me. I read it on my own over break, it’s in our team Bible reading plan right now, and we just heard a sermon on it this morning! I couldn’t help but share some of my reflections.
The gospels are very unique books, there’s a lot going on, from fulfilled prophecies, to teaching, to our salvation being won on the cross. But recently, Jesus’ sermon on the mount has been sticking out to me the most.
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus talks about anger, lust, and loving our enemies–to name a few, and through all of it, I can’t help but feel called out. Even still, the further I got into the passage, the more I thought: This is a lot. The standard to enter into the kingdom of God is PERFECTION.
And that’s true. Our ability to enter the kingdom was not purchased with our ability to follow the law perfectly (because we can’t), but with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus who fulfilled the law.
He makes us righteous, holy, and blameless before Him. This new identity empowers us to be better than we could ever be on our own.
So we do not have to look at Jesus’ teachings and be intimidated, but rejoice that we have a God who is making us more like Him, from one degree of glory to another, so that we may walk in His ways. What a Savior!
As we continue in our tour, I pray that you may be encouraged by the things we share and what God has revealed to us during our time here.
It’s not over yet, though, so I’ll be seeing you on the road,