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.