Hey guys! My name is Bryce Stamey (obviously) and I am the founder of Bryce Stamey Ministries. I began to truly pursue Jesus in July of 2016 after an encounter with Jesus at a youth beach retreat in Daytona Beach, Florida where i was a leader. The journey that has lead to this ministry coming to fruition has been a bumpy one to say the least. As you lean in and listen to my story of Jesus saving my life, my prayer is that it would challenge you, encourage you, and somehow you would find hope for your own redemption story.
I was born in Columbia, South Carolina and raised by my amazing parents, Barry and Donna. From the moment I entered the front door of my new home on Tyson Street, Jesus was surrounding me. Whether it was being surrounded by pictures of Bible verses that filled the walls or sitting in front of the t.v. with mamma watching Bible Man defeat the evildoers by declaring bible verses against their evil tricks and schemes. Although my parents were those people who wouldn't allow Harry Potter to glide across our eyes because it was witchcraft, they allowed us to see some of the good that was in the world. My younger days were filled with singing along with Barney on our local cable station, jumping in the pile of leaves that dad has just raked together in the front yard, and climbing my tree in our backyard to watch dad leave the house to work the night shift at the hospital. There was never a moment where my family missed a Sunday morning church service. With mom singing on the praise team, dad would lead my brother, Jared, and I to our Sunday school class (I was never a fan of Sunday school class). It was safe to say that if there was an event going on at the church, if we weren't somehow involved in it, we were there supporting it. Although it may seem that my family was very "religious", that wasn't necessarily the case (thank God). When I say we weren't "religious", I don't mean that we didn't love Jesus. In fact, because weren't so caught up in religion is the very reason why we did love Jesus so much. My parents understood that being involved in religious events and practices were not what He was after. Instead, we believed (and still do) that Jesus only wanted our hearts and desired to have a personal relationship with each one of us. At the age of five after attending a live Bible Man show (I was in heaven) in Charlotte, North Carolina, my mom pulled over our 1997 Toyota Sienna minivan on the side of the road and I asked Jesus into my heart. I believe that if I died that next day, I would be in the arms of Jesus right now. However, asking Jesus into my heart to be The Lord of my life was something that I didn't quite understand at the age of five. Because of this, the the years leading up to July of 2016 would be rough.
A Flesh-Filled Anger
Something that I've always struggled with from the beginning is my anger. Whether it was towards a specific person, an outcome that didn't fall in my favor, or simply just being my default reaction in response to something that happened to me. Looking back on it, my anger has never really been directed at random people but at the ones I cared the most about. When would be antagonize by my brother, I would lash out at him. When I would go tell mom what he did, I never presented it in a way that made me look innocent. I would ALWAYS burst out and yell at mom exclaiming how I was wrongly done and how he should be punished. When she didn't immediately react (like any good parent should do) in punishing him, I lost it and would become so angry not only with Jared, but with her too. To this day, I'm not exactly sure why my anger has always been so extreme. I wish I could say that I've conquered my anger and it's no longer a struggle for me, but that wouldn't be true. In fact, along with lust, it is one of the two main struggles that I have had to constantly take to The Lord for healing and ask to be forgiven for. By the grace of God, it is no where near where it used to be because as we set our hearts more and more on Christ, the struggles won't go away but the things of this world will become strangely dim in compassion to the freedom that we have in Jesus (Colossians 3).
The first time I was ever introduced to an adult movie was by someone in my family, I wont name them (not my immediate family), at eight years old. We were at their house and he went to get a VHS tape out of his dad's closet and brought it back to the room. At the moment, I had no idea what we were about to watch. I figured it would be the Power Rangers or maybe one of my favorite movies, Ken Hughes' Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (I'm sad for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about.)
Instead, I was sitting on the floor sitting crisscross apple sauce watching this pornographic movie while I absorbed every bit of it as it penetrated not only my eyes, but my heart. I wish I could sit here and tell you that I was repulsed by the sight of it and wanted nothing to do with it ever again. Instead, I was hooked. For the next fourteen years of my life, I was addicted to porn without even realizing what it was doing to me. I wasn't simply watching "actors perform", but with every click, I was feeding into an industry that thrives off of taking something that God designed and polluting it to make it poisonous to the soul of every person that watches it. Watching that first adult movie on that VHS tape was the beginning of a manifestation of a life consumed with lustful, desires, thoughts and actions. However, this is only a chapter of my story. Whether you have experienced something similar to this in your past or you're in it right now, know that freedom awaits you and Jesus is wanting to turn your pain into a redemption story.
Running from God
Like I mentioned earlier, I got saved when I was five years old in Charlotte, North Carolina. I think because I was so young, I didn't fully understand what it meant to make Jesus The Lord of my life, surrender everything to him and follow Him no matter what (Matthew 16:24). This part of my story is called "running from God" fo the obvious reason; I was running from God in my life. I had very rebellious seasons where I challenged everything my parents told me along with denying Jesus any of my attention. There were also seasons where I was "on fire for God" after I came home from a DNow weekend, church youth camp, or some other event where Jesus spoke to me. Some of the most purest moments between you and God are when you are away from, away from the world, and all you have is 1,000 other people your age worshipping God together. The problem that I faced wasn't that I wouldn't experience God while at camp, because I would, but it was getting back home and almost immediately going back to my vomit of porn, anger, lust and whatever else that pulled me away from Jesus. The problem wasn't about a conviction being there but choosing not do address the conviction. Instead, I would get deeper and deeper into my sin so that hopefully that voice in my head would go away. What I was actually doing without realizing it was denying the life preserver that God was throwing to me and voluntarily choosing to drown.
During my sophomore year of high school, my uncle introduced me to pot. What began as an innocent inhale of herbs soon turned into snorting lines of cocaine along with shooting up in our arms. I vividly remembering seeing one of my family members having a bad trip on mushrooms and actually having to hold himself down by the frame of his bed so he didn't get up and jam his head into the nails that were point down out of his ceiling. I attempted suicide twice: once with pills and another with attempting to hang myself by tying a belt to a ceiling fan. When the belt snapped, I broke down. As I was about to get up and try again, I heard a voice say "Bryce, I have more for you than this." I wanted everything to stop and to follow Jesus all out, but I continued living in sin.
In the midst of all my running, Jesus still pursued me. In the midst of your running, Jesus is still waiting for you to turn around and see that He has been with you the whole time.
Fast forward to college. In the Fall of 2014, I stepped onto the campus of Anderson University in the upstate of South Carolina. At this point in my life, I had no idea what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It had been drilled in me (like every other high school student in America) that once I graduated high school whether I knew what to do or not, I were to attend college. That was the problem for me: actually attending. Looking back now and talking to some of the people that were on my Lawton Hall, EVERYONE noticed that "Bryce never goes to class but he doesn't seemed concerned about it at all."
Long story short, it wasn't a good year. I was constantly driving over to Clemson University (God's Country - don't convince me otherwise) on weekends for parties, to get drunk and ultimately try and find a sort of satisfaction for emptiness that I had in my heart. This WHOLE TIME, I know that Jesus is the only one that can satisfy me (2 Corinthians 12:9) but I continue to choose my sin over Jesus. I end up transferring out to tech school, flunk out in a semester and move back home where I began working at a law firm in Columbia.
Looking back, despite all of my running I see the hand of God on my life. For if it weren't for Him, I most certainly wouldn't be writing this right now. But like I said before, a chapter in a book is not the whole book: Lets keep going
In June 2016, I began attended Newspring Church in Columbia, South Carolina. Newspring is a multisite megachurch that was founded in January of 2000 by Perry Noble in Anderson, South Carolina. While attending Newspring, I was approached by someone associated with FUSE, the student ministry, if I would be interested in leading a room of four high school guys at The Gauntlet in Daytona Beach, Florida. I immediately hopped on board and was excited to experience Gauntlet.
I also want to clarify something: At this point in my life I'm no longer suicidal or involved in drugs. The issue that I had wasn't with saying yes to Jesus, because I felt like I was, but it was simultaneously not addressing the sin in my life that was destroying me.
We load up the buses and we are on our way from Columbia to Daytona Beach. The week was unlike anything I've ever experienced. Imagine being surrounded by 7,000 other young people in an arena worshipping and praising God, being taught God's word by incredible teachers, and then hanging out and discussing what we heard at session with one another.
Wow, it was amazing
On a Wednesday night session, Pastor Brad Cooper was speaking on "breaking chains." He was explaining how once we are children of God it doesn't mean chains cannot be put back on us, but it means that with confessing your sins, those chains would fall off. It was so powerful that I ended up breaking down that night to over 20 guys about all of my convictions, brokenness and sins. I'll never forget when they all came over and laid hands on me to pray over me. When I stood up, I locked eyes with my brother and we just cried in each others arms. It was one of those moments in your life that you don't expect coming, but that you'll never forget. The entire experience was so moving that I'm actually crying as I type this up right now.
During our Thursday morning session while worshipping, a high school junior guy named Stone pulled me aside and said "I think I'm suppose to go into ministry, can you pray for me?" Gladly, I pray for him and when I finished, i heard the zLord speak very clear to me the same thing I had just prayed for Stone about, "Bryce, you're called into full time ministry." It was almost as if Jesus used Stone to nudge me and speak to me in that moment.
Despite all of my running Jesus found me, or rather I rediscovered Him. No matter what you've done, what people have said about you, or how far away you may feel right now, know this:
Jesus loves you, He cherishes you, and He died for you. Run to Him, He's waiting with arms wide open.
I Still Struggled
The more I learn about Jesus, his life, and his teachings, I feel like I actually know less. If you think about it though, it takes so much pressure off of us because we know we will never know everything about God. I say all of that to communicate this:
You don't ever graduate following Jesus. You don't ever master your sin or negate your struggle. Rather, you have a hope in Jesus that helps you fight your sin and teaches you through your struggles, even if you fall. Without Christ, we are slaves to our sin but with Christ, we are victors over our sin.
It wasn't until October of 2018 that my addiction to pornography was gone. But in reality, that was over two years removed from my Jesus experience at Gauntlet in 2016. I believe the reason for this was simple: I believed I could serve two masters. I was serving Jesus in "following" Him by reading Scripture, praying and volunteering at church. While in the same day after getting home from church, feeding my flesh and watching porn that night in my room with my Bible sitting on my nightstand beside me. God forgive me.
Yet, Jesus still wants me and still wants you. I hope you didn't just skim by that. Jesus over and over again is calling us to following Him even when we fall short again and again. I find hope in knowing that no matter how many times I fall, Jesus still calls me. It isn't about me and it isn't about you. God so graciously has invited us into a personal relationship with Him so that we can delight in Him and live a life of freedom. Not of health or wealth or prosperity but of hope, freedom, and love.
Bryce Stamey Ministries
When I was called into full time ministry, I always assumed that God wanted me to be pastor. I had believed that for over two years and really didn't have a peace about it but just assumed that it was Satan trying to intervene into God's plans for my life (I wrong, again).
In October of 2018 as I was on the way back home from spending fall break in Sea Island, Georgia with some incredible guys from Liberty University, The Lord spoke very clear to me saying "You're going to be an Evangelist." I had never even looked into what an Evangelist necessarily did. Not knowing what that looked like, I simply responded "okay Lord."
During the Fall of 2018, I was doing online school with Liberty University and in January of 2019, I moved up to Lynchburg, Virginia to be surrounded by the Liberty community (second to none). In February of 2019 after only being in Virginia for a little bit over a month, God placed a vision on my heart for a ministry that I would lead. Since then God has opened doors and placed opportunities right in front of me that I could have never dreamed of. My desire for Bryce Stamey Ministries is that you would feel the heart of us through what you read on these pages, what you hear me speak and the way The Holy Spirit speaks to your heart.
Jesus Only Writes Redemption Stories: Will You Let Him Write Yours?
My life before Jesus was broken and empty. I was constantly trying to fill the emptiness inside of me with anything I could other than Jesus himself. I was an alcoholic, drug addict, porn addict, and depressed from trying to do this life on my own. When I said yes to Jesus, not all of those things immediately went away. In fact, at some points they seemed to intensified even more, But what I got with Jesus was that I don't have to be a slave to those things anymore. Sure I'm going to be tempted by all of that stuff, we're human. But Jesus gives us the power to say "no" to those and to say "yes" to Him.
At the end of the day we cannot serve two masters.
Maybe you're reading this and you're where I was. You want to follow Jesus but you keep falling to your sin over and over. I want to encourage you that you are not alone and you are not too messed up for Jesus to not only heal you, but use you. I encourage you to say "no" to your flesh and "yes" to Jesus. So many times we say "no, no, no!" to our sin and temptation and then that't it.