Monday, March 24, 2008


...And you thot we'd write something while we were on our Easter break!

yah right ! :)

We have about 2.5 days left before we start "work"...

Until then, we are still affectionately yours,

Team 14:21 : Brad, Renee, TIm, Jessie, Eliot, Shawn, and Michelle

Thursday, March 13, 2008

...and back to Willmar.

Wow! What an unbelievable end to an unbelievable tour. The grace and power of God have been evident in our concerts and interactions with contacts in these 10 weeks. A big thanks to all of our hosts and contacts!

I will try to sum up the last few items of our tour, and hopefully find some cool pictures. ;)

We traveled to Bethany Mennonite last Wednesday (March 5), and played a youth concert there. We had a great time hanging out and even got a DVD recording of our concert. After the concert, we played volleyball with their volleyball team (and got properly stomped). Thanks for a great night, Bethany Mennonite!

After housing a few places (thanks, Albrents!), we made it to St. Timothy's Lutheran in Menasha, WI. The past years, CTI has just played their Sunday services - but this year, there was a youth lock-in that corresponded with our coming. We played for the youth and had a blast - and then sent them off to stay up all night while we slept for the next day. We played a few services the next day, and got a chance to speak at their "Adult forum" (a sort of Sunday School class). They drilled us, asked us questions we had never been asked before (not an easy accomplishment!), and even made us eat a lemon slice - rind and all! What a blast - thanks for everything, St. Timothy's.

Next we stopped at Sheboygan for a concert at Sheboygan Christian High. We got to stay with the Hendrickses and were hosted by Chris and his family. It was so much fun to get to know them and be enveloped in God's love there. They even had a prayer room in their basement where they spent time worshiping at times throughout the day. What a blessed group of people. Our concert at the school went splendidly, and we just had a great time. Thanks for everything, Hendrikse family!

Our last two events were Coulee Region Christian School and Cornerstone church. At Coulee Christian, we met the new principal, Dan Odenbach, and spent some time ministering to the kids. Dan is a very neat, dynamic guy who has just been a blessing to the school. His passion for the kids is remarkable, and it was such an encouragement to see the ministry being done there. Our concerts were for an elementary group and a middle/high school group. The school has a great group of kids and we had a fabulous time. Thanks, Coulee!

At Cornerstone, we met Billy Reames and his family, and the youth at their church. They fed us tacos (awesome!) and we got to play in their new Gathering Place (youth room). It was a phenomenal last concert with a great turnout, and we enjoyed every minute we spent there. Special thanks to Billy, who is doing a great work there at the church.

Looking back, I definitely can see the ways that God has stretched and used us this tour. I'm proud of the team members for remaining faithful and staying intentional to the end. We have had some ups and downs, but I think that most of the places that we went we were able to connect with the people and hopefully serve them by encouraging them to give more of themselves to Jesus Christ (a vocation that all of us are given!). Our greatest desire is that we are used by God to speak his words and to call others to His service.

Thank you all so much for following our progress and for your prayers. We are really blessed to be a part of this awesome ministry and serve Jesus Christ with our music. Until later...

A picture of a cat and a rooster.

... it's the best I could do.

- Brad

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

we are really close to the end of our ten week tour... only three more days till we go home. so we could use prayer that we stay focused till the end. we really do appreciate all of the prayer from you guys.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

the war we're fighting...

"For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty power of darkness who rule this world and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms." - Ephesians 6:12 NLT

before we headed to the Children's Home that we were scheduled to play at. our contact informed us of how heavy her heart has been during the day (it was an evening concert). she led us into a time of scriptures and prayer. we prayed for courage. we prayed for strength. most importantly, we prayed for wisdom and a sensitive ear to the Lord's spirit. we didn't know a whole lot about the venue. we didn't know too much about the teenagers we were going to encounter except that they're either sexual abusers or they've been sexually abused. we didn't really know what to expect. we were asked to do an acoustic set (meaning, an acoustic guitar, a bass guitar and amp, two eons (main speakers), two mics, djembe/djimbe). for some strange reason, i always have the misconception that acoustic sets don't sound as good and they're not as effective. but that's just me.

we stepped into the room we're supposed to play in. we set up. we planned a set list. we just didn't know what to expect. but, i felt an incredible sense of peace and excitement (contradicting emotions? kind of). i was at peace because i wasn't scared of the venue nor was i scared to approach the kids. i was excited to see how God's going to blow these kids away. i was excited to see how God's going to blow Eliot away. i was excited to see how God's going to blow 14:21 away. i was excited to see how God's going to blow ALL OF YOU THAT ARE READING THIS AWAY!

there's peace in my heart. there's courage that allowed me to approach the kids. there's wisdom when i talked to the kids. there's God. there's God watching every move i make. there's God working in and through me.

we played. we shared. we acted. we gave them all that we had. we managed to get them clapping. we were all having so much fun that we had to change our set so we can have MORE upbeat songs. we managed to get them STANDING and GROOVING and CLAPPING. there was joy. there was celebration. perhaps a slight glimpse of... heaven... for the first time (or for the first time in awhile).

i had a strange urge to approach a young man that was sitting there at the end of the concert. i had a strange urge to start talking to him and ask him how he felt towards our performance. here we go. let the floodgates open. he basically poured out his heart to me. he asked me incredibly hard questions. but it don't matter. God spoke through me. i've never felt so wise before. that's probably because it wasn't me talking. here he is, a teenager who's gone through a lot of trouble in life, physically, mentally and even spiritually. he wanted something. he wants something more. in Erwin McManus' book "Soul Cravings", he essentially mention that we're created and made to long for more. we always want more. God created us to be with him. he IS more. we want more, that's because we subconsciously want to be with God. again, he IS more. that's one of the things that i told this young man. or should i say that's one of the thing that God told this young man during our "three way conference call" last night.

"how do you know that God exists?"

"how do YOU know that gravity exists?"

"well, you can see it, it's all around you isn't it?"

"so why wouldn't you believe that God exists?"

"i think i see what you're trying to get at"

"how do you know that someone didn't just make up the concept of gravity? just like what you said about God)

"you don't see gravity, but you believe it. i don't see God, but i see him working miracles day in and day out. that's why i believe he exists"

"the fact that our paths crossed, that to me, is a miracle already."

"i was legally dead for 2 minutes and was in a coma for 4 days..."

i think you get the idea. i wasn't the only person that had an incredible God story like this to tell. i wasn't the only on last night. we all had an incredible experience.

this is the war we're fighting. it's a spiritual war that requires spiritual strength and spiritual weapons. it reminded me to go back to the throne of Grace everyday. it reminded me that i can't "do ministry" on my own. "Salvation belongs to the Lord". we prayed. he answered. we humbled ourselves. he showed himself.

this is how the story continues...

i requested that we give him one of our CDs. he'd mention to me that music was a big part of his life. he almost couldn't come back out from the "cell" to ask me that incredibly hard question at the end. but i knew it wasn't over. i knew God wasn't going to let him go. i knew that God wanted to use me to encourage him one last time...

i didn't pray "the prayer" with him. i'm not saying that it's wrong to ask people to accept Christ on the spot with you. i think he was "ready". but i didn't want it to be an Eliot type of thing. i didn't want to know that i "converted" somebody. it really isn't about me. i told him to pray last night before he went to bed. i challenged him to challenge God to show up before him...

this is the war we fight...

i said we...

i invite you to fight this war with us...

pray for these three young adults that we came into contact with...

pray for those that we've inspired and challenged and we don't even know about...

pray for those we haven't even met yet...

this is the war i fight. this is the war we fight as a team...

will you fight with us?

"There are tears from the Saints for the lost and unsaved. We're crying for them... come back home!" - Tears of the Saints, Leeland

Sunday, March 02, 2008

listening to the radio

There was a young boy walking out of the woods with a cage that contained several wild birds. As he was walking back home, he happened to pass an older gentleman that was interested in what the boy was planning to do with the birds. The man ventured to ask the boy what his intentions were. The boy said that he was going to play with them. The man asked how he intended to play with the birds. The child continued on and explained that he would start by shaking the cage. Mostly because he thought it was funny to see the birds so very frighted. Then he would poke the birds with a stick and cause even more fear and panic in the them. He also told the man that some of them would probably die of anxiety. After the man heard this he asked the boy, then what? What are you going to do after you are done playing with them? The boy said I'll probably just feed them to my cat. He likes to eat wild birds. Then the man asked the boy if he would be interested in selling the birds to him. He replied pointing out that they weren't worth anything. Then the child asked why he would want to waist money on them, and laughed saying they would just fly away from him as soon as he let them out of the cage. The man agreed saying that he knew all of this to be true, but he is fond of the birds and he didn't want to see them suffer and go to through the fate he had planned for them. So the boy asked if five dollars was fair. the man pulled out his wallet. Then the boy responded saying that maybe ten dollars was a better price. The man pulled ten dollars from his wallet. then the boy, realizing that the man really did want the birds, said no twenty dollars, and not a penny less. The man gave the boy twenty dollars and was on his way with his new birds. When he got to the park, he released them because he hated to see them so scared and lifeless in the cage. But as soon as he opened the cage, they were all gone from his sight.

This is a great example of what Christ did for us. We were in Satan's cage when Christ asked what his plans were for us, he said that his plans included playing games with us. Making us think that wrong is right, and then playing with our emotions. Making us think that we are loved, and then taking it all away from us. After doing all of that, damning us to an eternity in hell with him.

Then Jesus reminded Himself that the Father was very fond of us. Jesus told Satan to let Him purchase us from him. Satan pointed out that as soon as we were released from his cage we would run from Him and His Father. Also that we wouldn't want anything to do with Him. Jesus said that he knew all of this, but that he loved us very much. Then Satan agreed to sell us to Him saying that the price on us was Jesus' blood. Jesus said ok. Satan paused and though for a moment. Then he decided that His tears would be a better price. fine, Jesus replied. Then Satan said the life of Christ was the least that he would take for our souls. Jesus paused and remembered how fond his father was of the humans. He bowed his head slowly and asked His heavenly Father to let his will be done. Looking back up he agreed with a soft broken tone to his voice.

Wow... if this analogy doesn't touch you then something is definitely wrong with you. please pass this along to everyone that you know. thanks.

Timothy Boettcher

this is a story that we herd on the radio during an obscenely long drive.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


I find myself thinking about snow a lot lately... probably because we're covered in it up here in the hills of Northern Pennsylvania. It was snowy when we got here and it's been snowing ever since. Friday night we left for a concert for a few hours and when we got back you couldn't even see our tracks from earlier in the day. I usually don't like snow, especially when I have to go out in it. But something about this place makes it enjoyable to go out in the snow and walk from building to building. I've even enjoyed driving around in it (which is something that usually terrifies me).

I should explain where we are... on Thursday we arrived at Penn-York Camp and Retreat Center in Potter's County, PA. We're staying in cabins for 5 nights (yay - we get to unpack!) and playing at different churches and schools in the area. (For those from home - it reminds me of Pinebrook, but a little bit nicer!) It really has been a blessing to be able to stay here for the week, and we're taking full advantage of the retreat atmosphere. Several have gone cross country skiing, there have been snowball fights, soccer games in the gym, devotions by the fire, and hours of pool and ping pong in the fellowship hall.

We've had 4 performances here so far - 3 youth concerts and a Sunday service. We've had very different responses at our three youth concerts - tonight's concert had the students on their feet dancing along, while Friday night it was all we could do to hold their attention... but it's our prayer that even when we don't see a response from the audience, God is still working through what we present. We have another concert tomorrow night at a home for troubled youth. Last year's team played here as well and the students really enjoyed it. Please pray that our ministry there would be effective in pointing the kids toward Christ.

Anyway, back to snow... all this thinking about snow reminded me of the different ways the Bible uses the image of snow, in particular - to demonstrate God's power and His forgiveness:

"God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,'and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.' So that all men he has made may know his work, he stops every man from his labor." Job 37:5-7

"He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast?" Psalm 147:15-17

"Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle?" Job 38:22-23

"Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." Psalm 51:7

"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." Isaiah 1:18

I've especially been impacted by this reminder of His forgiveness. Watching the snow this week - how bright and clean it is, and the way it covers everything that has been there before - has been an awesome reminder of our position in Christ. No matter what happened in the past, no matter how dry and dead the ground underneath may be, we have been covered completely by the purity and righteousness of Christ. Wow.

So, that's what's been on my mind this week. :) Thanks for reading and please keep praying!