Monthly Archives: January 2014

Teen Business Owners- Part Two: Is Your Teen Prepared For Real Life?

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Looking back in history there is strong evidence that children had a lot more responsibility than today’s average teen. The Bible tells us that young David was about twelve when he killed a lion and a bear to protect his father’s sheep and about seventeen when he killed Goliath who stood nine feet, six inches tall.

Try getting today’s suburbuain child to go close to a lion, I dare you!

As impressive as the whole lion situation is, there is an even more important lesson here.

In order for David to be prepared to face the lion he had to be taught two things long before the king of the jungle came into the picture- responsibility and bavery.

Who do you think took on the job of teaching these much-needed character traits to this young man? The school system of the day, the elders of the Church or some brave soldier in the community? No! His parents did. While there is no mention of David’s mother in the Bible we do know that his father was Jesse, a direct descentent of Jacob- ya know, the guy who wrestled with God and consequently had his name changed by the Almighty?

Obviously this bloodline was NOT made of cowards. Wisdom, bravery and integrity are part of this family’s legacy. Such traits were taught, emphasized and passed down to future generations. Don’t get me wrong, these weren’t perfect people. Jacob, The Trickster, stole his brother’s inheritance then was tricked by his own uncle, Laban. Ten of Jacob’s sons agreed to sell son number eleven into slavery.

Yeah, they were liars, deceivers and thieves, definitely not perfect beings, but they were used by God anyway!!

See, even the most imperfect of us, myself included, can be used by God to do extraordinary things.

One book every adolecent/teen should read is “Do Hard Things” by Alex and Brett Harris. This book is authored by teen brothers who were sick and tired of the teen-ager status quo. They got fed up with how little society expects of their age group, so, they decided to do something about it. In this book you’re taken on a journey where the teen brothers achieve things that are considered “far beyond their years”. The important lesson in this book is that both adults and teens need to REQIURE and EXPECT more of our youth. They’ll learn, rise to the challenge, meet our expectations and even surpass them, IF we give them a chance.

So, look at what you’re teaching your children. Do you feel they can do more? If you were their age right now, do you feel YOU could accomplish more than today’s average teen? If your answer is Yes, and I suspect it is, then why sell your teen short? Let’s not prepare them for an average life, let’s prepare them for an extraordinary one!

Teach them to “Do Hard Things” like owning a business, tracking expenses, prepare for retirement, deal with tough economic times and sacrifice that PS3 game now for financial freedom later on.
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It’s up to us parents to get our children ready to bring down the real-life financial lions of the future.

The Christian Walk: Taz Bright interviewed by Hannah C. Mathiot

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This article is part of a series of interviews with ordinary Christians and their personal walks with God. Recently, I had the pleasure and privilege of talking to Eustace Bright, known to his friends as "Taz." Taz is the owner of Bright Balance Ministries, and was raised in Huston Texas.

"I'm nothing special," Says Taz Bright, "my story is not unique. I'm a flawed, messed up, vengeful, violent man without Christ. But, I serve One who IS special, unique, patient slow to anger, quick to forgive and Perfect. In a world where both political stances and personal beliefs shift with the change of public opinion, it's good to lean on something that hasn't budged since before the beginning of time-His Word."

Taz shares with us his story of finding Christ at a young age, his struggles as the victim of identity theft, and how God taught him through these struggles.

"I heard the gospel all my life, growing up in Church, listening to only Christian music in my Christian home, raised by Christian parents. I attended a private Christian school up until 7th grade. I first felt The Spirit tugging at me when I was 8 years old but I kept pushing Him away."

"I kept attending Church and Sunday school & learned a Bible verse for every letter in the alphabet. I even taught Bible study as I got into high school. But it wasn't until I was a junior in high school at 16 years old that I actually made the decision to give my entire life to Christ."

"Now I'm in financial ministry as the owner of Bright Balance Ministries. I've been blessed with a talent for managing money and the gift of teaching. I firmly believe that it's because of these blessings God has charged me with the responsibility to help Christians manage, spend, invest and spend widely."

1 Peter 4:10-11 confirms that Christians should use their gifts to encourage and teach other Christians. "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies-in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."(ESV)

Like all of us, Taz has his own personal battles with sin, but with the power of the Holy Spirit, he has learned to fight sin and live within God's will for his life in humility.

"I gave my life to Christ twenty-two years ago in the summer of 2011. While I haven't been perfect, by any means, I can say I've grown a lot. Attending Calvary Chapel in Idaho Falls (and now also in Baytown, TX) has exposed me to exegesis, deep Bible study & how important they both are. Growing closer to God has helped free me from a violent temper, helped me gain purpose and direction and also helped me appreciate His patience with me. He's used two back injuries to humble me and, despite the pain, I'm actually thankful for those injuries because of what I've learned because of them."

Taz Bright gives us a stunning testimony of how God has used various trials in his life to refine him and teach him patience and forgiveness.

"For six years, an identity thief (former employee) pretended to be me by getting two jobs in my name, selling my social security number to eight people among other things. As a result, I was evicted from my home, my business failed, my car was repossessed, I was arrested six times for crimes I never committed, I moved back into my parents' house (worst part by the way) & I had to start over financially. This all occurred while trying to be a good example to my son. Through this struggle I learned patience, forgiveness and saw a practical, daily example of God's provision- a valuable lesson for sure. Now, I'm a business owner and financial minister."

The bible does not promise that the Christian walk is going to be easy. In fact, it prepares us for exactly to opposite. The Christian life promises suffering (Hebrews 2:10, 1 Peter 1:6-7).

Taz Bright gives the following advice for new Christians. "Accept the fact that you're going to hit road blocks. Even Christ faced opposition, ridicule, and 'advice' from well-meaning friends & family. Follow The Spirit's lead -not theirs. There will be times when you have to go into a private room, lock the door & take a deep breath. Allow those moments to happen and remember those who have gone through it before: Martin Luther King Jr, Billy Graham, Christ! You're in good company."

Taz also encourages other Christians to get involved in their local churches and serve their brothers and sisters in Christ. "I serve as a greeter at my small Church in Baytown & considering joining the worship team also. Church involvement is very important. The Bible tells us to "…not forsake the assembling of yourselves together…"(Hebrews 10:25) We need encouragement, prayers, deep Bible study- a support system- in this troubled world."

The Bible indeed calls Christians to stay deeply rooted in the Church. Hebrews 10:24-25 says: "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near" (ESV).

"I'm currently reading through a Bible Reading plan using my olivetree.com study app. The reading plan is about Peace, which happens to be very important considering my present trials. I'm experiencing the deep, constant peace of God even while dealing with things that would have normally sent me into a Hulk-like rage (Actually Hulk may have beaten me in the self-control department)."

Taz has also found great encouragement in a book called Interpreting the New Testament Text: Introduction to the Art and Science of Exegesis. "It will introduce you to the skill of interpreting God's Word so that you get what HE meant you to understand, not some private interpretation. Knowing God's Word is essential to navigating life's rough seas."

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we can only live according to his will by the constant grace, mercy, and love that God our Father gives us through Jesus Christ his son. Please pray continually for Eustace Bright and his family, along with the other Christians in your life and in your local Church. We all need prayer and encouragement constantly.

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Teen Business Owners- Part One: While Growing Up

When I was younger I remember teachers asking me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It was a legitimate question. They were trying to get me to think ahead, get into the practice of thinking about my #Financial Future. This is an important aspect of growing into a well-rounded, contributing adult.

What bothered me is they never phrased the question in a way that impressed upon me that I didn’t have to “grow up” in order to be something. They could have asked, “What do you want to be right now?”, and used my answer to show me how I can create a career for myself right away.
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Many of us are familiar with Proverbs 22:6 which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”. Obviously we see this verse as telling us we need to train our child in the Way of the Bible, and that is 100% accurate. Reading the five verses before it shows that this passage is mainly concerned with being sure the child is trained in the ways of strong #spiritual character.

But, why didn’t my teachers and other adults in my life think to themselves to use lessons in business ownership as a way to mold me in both future career concerns as well as spiritual matters? If they had asked me, “What business would you start right now if you could?” I would have told them “a dance squad” or “running errands for people in the neighborhood”. This would have been their opportunity to explain to me:
1. How I’d go about finding other teens to join my business
2. How to attain clients
3. The importance of being honest in my business dealings
4. How to manage an income, etc.

Let’s say a young lady of ten years old wants to start a lemonade stand. Her parents can sit with her to decide a work schedule, price, location of the stand and also what to do with the money earned.
The average American ten year old is well-practiced at asking, “Mom can you buy me that toy?” In this parent’s mind, children of this age should also know intimately how long it takes to earn the money for said toy. If she owned a lemonade stand she’d look back at her many hours sitting on the sideaalk waiting for customers, the energy it took to make pitcher after pitcher of lemonade after mom and dad’s friends bought it all. She’d remember the thankful mailman who bought two cups, the draining effect of the weather on her energy and of course the thrill of counting her money at the end of the day. And, of course, she would appreciate her earnings more because she sacrificed her Saturday cartoons in order to work her business. Of course, let’s not forget, this young lady would learn how much of her profits should be put back into the business in order to cover the expenses for the next two weeks, next month, etc.

Our children should be educated in these things when they’re young so that “when they are old they will not depart from” them. Imagine how much better off the American #economy would be today if our citizens were better trained in #entrepreneurship (and all it entails) during their elementary, junior high and high school years.

If a fifth grader started a business and continued his entrepreneurship through his high school graduation he would have seven years of business experience which his peers lack. He would already have a resume whereas his college-bound peers would only be starting their real-life education at the local burger joint.

Imagine where you would be right now if you’d had seven years of business ownership experience right out the gate after your high school graduation! That is a BIG step up ahead of the competition.

Do you not want that for your children?

Adults, I think it is time to stop asking our precious young ones what they want to be WHEN they grow up.

Let’s ask them, “What do you want to be WHILE growing up?”

I’m STILL Not Using #Algebra

I graduated from high school in 1992 @ age 17.

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During my school years I remember thinking, as many students before and after me, “When am I ever going to use Algebra?” Math wasn’t the only subject of which I asked this question. History and Astronomy were scrutinized as well.

I’ll be 39 on January 24th, 2014 and have I used Algebra, …at all….ever?! Absolutely not!

I have no animosity towards my former teachers and I do realize some of my fellow students have entered professions where my least enjoyed subjects have benefited them greatly. Some have reason to use Algebra every day.

(I’ll weep and pray for them later)

However, I’ve noticed that most of us don’t have the slightest need to use so much of the knowledge we’ve accumulated from Jr. High forward, yet vital education we now need in our adult lives was overlooked.

Ask the average teenager if they know how to balance a checkbook and they’ll propably ask, “What’s a checkbook?” If the average adult was asked, “Are you happy with your last month’s Balance Sheet?” they’d probably respond by telling you they don’t own a business. They don’t understand how important a balance sheet is for the financial success of the average person, couple and family.

In our great America we have been taught-falsely- that school is where all of life’s important skills and knowledge are attained.

Really?

If this is true why are so many families buried under debt, close to losing their houses and still living paycheck to paycheck? The answer is: They were not properly educated in Money Management.

I learned recently that Jewish parents start teaching thier children about money when the child starts asking, “Daddy could you buy me a…..?” Jewish children as young as eight years old learn to use their allowance wisely. They give the first ten percent to Church, save the next ten percent and even learn to invest another ten percent. Yes, at such a young age they undersand and practice investing. Have you ever notices how financially secure Jewish folks are in America?

It was interesting to learn that jewish grade-schoolers who are asked by non-Jewish children to let them borrow a few dollars respond with, “I’ll let you borrow two dollars for the weekend but you have to give me three dollars on monday.” To the American-bred child this makes sense because he’s seen his parents borrow money all the time. It’s a way of life, totally normal.

Proverbs 22:6 & 7 comes to mind:
Train up a child in the way he should go;even when he is old he will not depart from it. The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

The proof of these verses is all around us. Remember the American kid who borrowed two dollars and repaid three? He grew up to be the average American worker; in debt and struggling to get by. The Jewish kid who loaned two and collected three grew up to be the average Jew with no debt owning three businesses and passing on that legacy to his children.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Proverbs 213:22
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.

The time has come for us to educate our children about how money works, what money really is and how to use it to attain real Financial Freedom!

Is Algerba useful? Yes, IF your profession requires its use. Is Money Management useful? Yes, BECAUSE your Financial Success demands it!