Click here to see recent pictures of my family
I (Michael) was born and raised in Flint, MI and Houghton Lake, MI into
a Roman Catholic family. I attended a private Roman Catholic school
from 1st grade through 12th grade. A perfect child I was not. If there
was a way for a young man to find trouble, I usually found that way,
sad to say. After high school I attended the University of Michigan
for one semester, and then I joined the U.S. Air Force.
While in USAF Basic Training in April 1976 another
serviceman by the name
of Larry Head held Bible studies in the evenings. After I
attended several Bible studies, one evening Larry asked me,
"Michael, where will you go when you die?" My reply was,
"Purgatory." Larry said, "Purgatory isn't in the Bible."
Being quite sarcastic at the time I said, "The Bible is a big Book,
you must have just missed it." Larry wasn't shaken, he said,
"NO, I didn't miss it. I've read the Bible through from cover to cover
quite carefully and it's not in there. But don't take my word for it,
go ask the Catholic priest for yourself."
I could hardly wait to speak to the priest, and when I did ask him,
"Where is purgatory in the Bible?" the priest's reply was
startling to me. The priest said, "Purgatory is not in the Bible."
Frustrated I asked him, "Then why do we (Catholics) believe in
purgatory if it's not in the Bible?" The priest said, "The
Catholic church has believed in purgatory for several centuries. It's
a part of our church traditions."
Well I left that priest's office quite upset. I didn't know the
Bible much at all, but I did believe the Bible was the Word of God!
I thought ... if purgatory wasn't in the Bible and only Catholics
believed in purgatory and no one else believed in purgatory ... then
someone has to be right and the other is wrong. With this simple logic
I determined right there that I had been DECEIVED by the Roman
Catholic church to trust in a LIE called purgatory. Yet it was that
hope in purgatory that I thought I had my only chance at heaven. Now
as a "non" or "ex" Catholic I would only wish to learn the Bible.
Back into the Bible studies with Larry Head I went. The next Bible
study was on 1 Timothy 2:5 "For there is one God and one
mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." Another
large portion of what I had believed was shattered by God's Word in
that Bible study. All my life I had prayed to the Virgin Mary, Joseph,
St. Anthony for lost articles, St. Christopher for traveling, St.
Hubert for hunting or fishing, etc. But 1 Timothy 2:5 clearly said
that there was only ONE mediator for me ... and that was and is JESUS.
That night before "lights out," Larry came by my bunk and asked me,
"Michael, what did the Catholic priest tell you?" "Purgatory isn't
in the Bible," I replied. Larry continued, "Do you know now
where you would go?" I thought for a second and said, "No."
Larry compassionately "put the cards on the table" and said,
"Michael, you will go to Hell if you died right now." I was
shocked as I said, "Wait, I haven't killed anybody." Larry
said, "You don't have to kill someone to go to Hell, just sinning
against God sends people to Hell. You have sinned haven't you?" I
had done more than my share of sinning, so I said, "Yes, I've
sinned." Larry replied, "You can't take your sin into Heaven.
Sinners go to Hell. (Romans 3:23) That is unless
you don't want to go there, because there is one way out." I said,
"What's the 'way out'? I don't want to go to Hell." Larry said,
"Repent of your sin and trust in Jesus. Give your life to Jesus and
He will save you."
I said a sinner's prayer that night only because I did not want to
go to Hell. Unfortunately, I did not want Jesus to be Lord of my life,
and thus there was no commitment on my part of surrender to Jesus
Christ. I simply did not want to burn in Hell and I viewed my prayer
as a kind of "fire insurance policy" to stay out of Hell. What I
didn't know was that you can't pick and chose your own way to Jesus or
Heaven. You either trust only in the finished work of Jesus Christ's
death, burial, and resurrection, in true repentance from sin (a life
of trusting anything other than Jesus for salvation) or you will die
in your sins (John 8:24) and go to the lake of fire for
eternity (Rev. 20:14,15).
It would be two years later on military leave in
Michigan with a girlfriend from high school (Diane K.) who had been saved (born again)
during a brief visit in Florida, when she
told me, "Michael, you need to find a good Bible preaching church
to help you." That was great advice.
While the USAF sent me to Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs, Co I
visited a local Bible preaching church in a nearby town. I filled out
the visitor's card and the pastor's secretary called the house asking
for a time when the pastor could visit. We set a day and time, and I
typed up two whole pages of questions to ask the pastor when he showed
up. Most of the questions were either "trick" questions or intended to
"impress" him with what little I knew. But one question stuck out
among the rest. It was a sincere question of mine, and I hoped for a
The pastor came to my house. His name was Dallas Schaeffer.
He sat at the kitchen table and I began to tell him about the sinner's
prayer in basic training. He accepted me as a true believer and even I
myself thought that prayer I prayed in Basic Training was enough to
I began asking the questions from the list and each time, the
pastor would say, "Well, let's see what the Bible says about
that..." and he would turn in his Bible, read a verse or passage
and then explain it. Wow, it all made sense I started to seem foolish
for my list of "trick" and "impressive" questions ... so I got right
to my BIG question, "Pastor, now that I'm saved (as I thought I
was) and I was baptized as a baby, I don't have to be baptized again
do I?" Again the pastor said, "Let's see what the Bible says
about that. Let's look at Romans 6:3-5
- 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into
Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried
with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up
from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should
walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in
the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his
Pastor continued, "You see baptism is only a 'likeness' or a
picture of what Jesus ACTUALLY did to save you. Jesus loved you so
much that if you were the only person on the planet, He would have
became man, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for your sins, be
buried, and rise from the dead. Jesus loves you that much. He did it
to save you from sin and it's result which is Hell. Now baptism is a
public testimony with your body that tells everyone that you believe
Jesus died for you, was buried, and rose from the dead. Jesus
commanded us to be baptized after we are saved and not to be ashamed
There was no need to talk me into accepting Jesus that night. You
couldn't have kept me from trusting Jesus as my Savior. That night in
1978 I trusted Jesus Christ as my Lord and personal Savior. I was born
again into the family of God, eternally saved. Thank you Jesus.
Top of Page
In 1979 the USAF sent me to Ramstein AB, Germany. A lady
(Denise Schoonover) that I worked
with invited me to attend Rheinland Baptist Church. I accepted
and we attended. Would you believe she wanted to sit on the front row?
The message by Pastor Roy Grigsby was exactly what I needed to
hear. So much so, I really thought this lady had told the pastor all
about me before the service. At the invitation I was under such deep
conviction for not living for God, I knelt at the altar to rededicate
my life to Christ. Someone came to pray with me. His name was Gib
Wood. I prayed and he prayed for God to help me.
That became the beginning of my real growth in Christ as a child of
God. I purposed in my heart to attend all the services of church. Even
though that meant quitting the office bowling team and forfeiting my
part to the prize money. (Bowling was on Wednesday nights and the
church was meeting on Wednesday nights for Bible Study and Prayer. I
knew it would please God more for me to be in church than at the
Bowling lanes.) Being faithful to the church services helped me to
grow in Christ more than anything else that I did.
Top of Page
CALL TO MINISTRY
Although I had been introverted most all my life, in February 1981
I spoke to Pastor Grigsby and told him I thought the Lord was leading
me to preach. He prayed with me and shared John 7:17 with me:
- If any man will do his will, he shall know of the
doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
Pastor Grigsby said, "If God is calling you, only you will know.
God will give you a desire for it, and you will know if it's of God or
of your own desire. When God gives you an opportunity to preach or
serve Him, TAKE IT and don't turn it down. If God wants you into His
ministry God will confirm it for you." We prayed together and
later I asked Pastor Grigsby in a church service to tell the church of
God's leading me into the ministry and to pray for me.
I approached the pastor one day to preach or teach, thinking he
would make me Youth Pastor or something. Instead he said, "We need
you as an assistant teacher in the 4 - 5 year olds on Friday Youth
Nights." My spirit humbled, I accepted and I learned some
wonderful things about serving God in that class.
Later another serviceman had been witnessing to prisoners as they ate in
the dining hall. He had been told to stop talking to the prisoners
while they ate, and if he wanted to talk to the prisoners about the
Bible, he should visit them on Sunday mornings and hold a Bible study
While he felt comfortable witnessing, he did not wish to do a Bible
study. So he asked me to do it. Scared to death, I asked my good
friend Greg Dowell to join me. We began that jail ministry as a
team. We would see anywhere from 1 to 8 men each Sunday morning come
out for a Bible study at 9am. After our Bible study, we could still
make the morning worship service at our church. What a thrill to see
several of these me trust Christ as Savior and one man even get
special permission to obey the Lord in believer's baptism before he
was transferred to prison in Ft. Leavenworth, KS. The jailer said of
this man who got saved and baptized, "Something's changed in that
man's life -- he's different now!" What a testimony of the grace
I was asked to preach from time to time in our church and once for
another pastor of a military church in Mannheim, Germany.
Top of Page
TRAINING FOR THE MINISTRY
I was honorably discharged from the USAF in August 1981 and began
Bible College in Florida that
I transferred 10 college credits to start with. Still being a single
man, I took 20 credit hours every semester, while working a full-time
job for the next two years and nine months to finish in May 1984 with
a B.A. Degree in Church ministries. I majored in Bible with
proficiencies in Pastoral Duties and Associate Pastor Duties. Only by
the grace of God did I finish with highest honors as salutatorian.
Top of Page
After graduation I sold two cars and my house trailer to buy a truck and travel
trailer from another missionary, Dennis Deschene. Debt free,
$200 in my pocket, two meetings, and $60 per month supporting coming
in, I launched out into the deep of deputation ministry on our
journey to end up on the mission field of Germany working with the
After 21 months of deputation and over 60,000 miles of travel the Lord gave
me $1800 per month support to live on the
mission field. I arrived in Germany in February 1986 to establish the
Servicemen's Center as an extension ministry of my "home church," Rheinland Baptist Church.
I rented and renovated a landmark building on the main street
(B-40) of Landstuhl, Germany. What a thrill to see this ministry
birthed into existence. After 4 years of labor, I turned the ministry
back over to the local church. By the end of four years, the Rheinland Servicemen's Center was
95% self supported, and the church was committed to making up the
difference and taking it from there.
I returned to the USA for a furlough to report to our local church
supporters and raise the additional monthly supported needed to return
to Germany as a "church planter" in a new military community in
Germany. Just weeks before returning to the USA, the wall between East
and West Germany came down and the military presence in Germany became
Top of Page
While reporting to a supporting church in Michigan in Aug 1990,
they asked me to candidate as their pastor. Their previous pastor had
resigned four months earlier and the church had "split" upon his
leaving. In Germany my pastor told me it was just announced that most
of the military bases in Germany would be closing and there would be a
major reduction in US military forces there. Was this the hand of
the Lord closing one door while opening another?
That small country church in Northern Michigan extended a 100% call
for me to be their pastor and I accepted that night on Sept 16, 1990.
I had earnestly been praying for the Lord's Will for weeks
by that time. I had the joy of serving God as the pastor of that
church for 4 years and 3 months. I resigned as pastor in Dec. 1994
with no promise of another ministry.
Top of Page
A missionary friend asked for my resume to send to a church in
Alabama. I sent it and within 2 weeks of resigning as a pastor in
Michigan I was preaching as a pastoral candidate in Alabama. The next
month I was
extended a call to be their new pastor. I accepted on
January 22, 1995 and my family and I served Christ there until May
What a blessing to see 52 people added unto the church in 15
months. That was clearly one third of the church upon our leaving.
It is so EXCITING to be a position where you NEED GOD to work, to
bless, to lead, and to provide.
Top of Page
Aug 96 - June 97 - I served as a Bible
Teacher for the 8th and 9th grade with 137 students at a Private
School in Florida.
July 97 - Present - God has opened numerous
doors for me to preach for pastors who ask, teach, and often times
asked to counsel hurting people. As a servant of the Lord, I am willing to serve the Lord
in any way He provides for me.
I was an accountant before going into the ministry
and I love helping others with finances, computers and the internet.
Most people find me to be a very happy person that
enjoys life. My greatest thrill in life is witnessing and winning
people to Christ, and basically helping others any way that I can.
God has provided the income to meet all our earthly
needs via my home-business. This has made my dream come true,
of serving the Lord on a volunteer basis.
Top of Page
PLACES I HAVE PREACHED
Only by the amazing grace of God has He
allowed me to preach and teach the Word of God. For this I am
eternally thankful. If you are familiar with any of these
places, I would enjoy hearing from you via
In the USA (Alphabetical by state/city):
Alexander City, Alabama
Ft Payne, Alabama
Grand Bay, Alabama
Floral City, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Lake Butler, Florida
Lake City, Florida
Orange Park, Florida
Spring Hill, Florida
St Petersburg, Florida
Winter Park, Florida
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Silver Springs, Maryland
Grand Blanc, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Higgins Lake, Michigan
Houghton Lake, Michigan
Nashua, New Hampshire
New Londonderry, New Hampshire
Las Vegas, Nevada
Asheboro, North Carolina
New Concord, Ohio
San Antonio, Texas
Parkersburg, West Virginia
Happily the servant of Jesus,