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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.
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
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 good answer.
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 save me.
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 resurrection:
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 of Him."
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
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.
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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
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
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 with them.
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 of God.
I was asked to preach from
time to time in our church and once for
another pastor of a military church in
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I was honorably discharged
from the USAF in August 1981 and began Bible
College in Florida that month also.
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.
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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 U.S. military.
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 Rheinland
Servicemen's Center as an extension
ministry of my "home church," Rheinland
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
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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.
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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 5,
What a blessing to see 52
people added unto the church in 15 months.
That was clearly one third of the church upon
It is so EXCITING to be a
position where you NEED GOD to work, to bless,
to lead, and to provide.
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Aug 96 - June 97 - I
served as a Bible Teacher for the 8th and 9th
grade with 137 students at a Private School in
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
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.
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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 email.
In the USA (Alphabetical
Londonderry, New Hampshire
Happily the servant of Jesus,