About Michael

I am Lead Pastor at North River Church in Parrish, FL.

Charles Spurgeon & Family Worship

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I remember the day, the hour, and the chair I was sitting in at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s library when I first read Charles Spurgeon’s sermon, A Pastoral Visit. My wife was pregnant, and I was training to become a pastor.

I was excited and terrified at the same time. Children are an amazing blessing from God and an incredible responsibility.

Spurgeon’s sermon was a great encouragement to me as I prepared to be a father. It was also a great challenge.

Even though I grew up in a Christian home, I had never experienced what Spurgeon called “family prayer.” To my recollection, we did not have a specific time set aside to worship together as a family. My parents loved Jesus and took us to church, but they were unfamiliar with the concept of family worship (“family prayer” as referenced by Spurgeon).

Family worship is a daily gathering of the family, which consists of spending time worshipping God through His Word, prayer, and singing. Noting its importance, Spurgeon proclaimed, “If we want to bring up a godly family, who shall be a seed to serve God when our heads are under the clods of the valley, let us seek to train them up in the fear of God by meeting together as a family for worship.”

Charles Spurgeon emphasized the importance of family worship in his writing, his public preaching, and his private practice. A visitor to Spurgeon’s home once said that Spurgeon was a grandeur man while leading his family in worship than while preaching to thousands.

This should not surprise us at all because it was Spurgeon himself who declared, “Just as I, as a preacher, would never miss an opportunity of saying anything here which I met with in the week, and which I thought you ought to hear, so let the Christian father be studying each day how he may instruct the church in his house in the fear of the Lord more perfectly!”

Charles Spurgeon practiced what he preached. Even though he had a packed ministry schedule, he recognized his primary ministry was at home. Spurgeon faithfully led his family in worship, and when he was out of town, his wife stepped in to fulfill this important role.

Spurgeon’s passion for family worship is contagious. Take a few minutes to read through his sermon, A Pastoral Visit. My prayer is that God would use this message in your life as he did in mine.

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Monday Musings (2-5-18)

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  • Did you have the January blues?
  • For some reason I struggled through the month of January.
  • Usually, I hit the ground running during the first month of the year but this year was different.
  • We have walked through quite a bit, as a family, since early November.
  • Life has not been normal.
  • We have felt a bit off-kilter over the past 3 months.
  • I’m ready for a bit of normalcy to take hold.
  • It is a joy to know God uses us in spite of being out of sorts.
  • He is good.
  • His grace is sufficient.
  • He is the calm in the storm.
  • Just this past week I took some time to get back to woodworking.
  • Since much of what I do, as a pastor, is to work with my head I find a lot of joy working with my hands.
  • I call it “channeling my inner Jesus.”
  • He was a carpenter after all!
  • I recently purchased a Delta thickness planer off Craigslist.
  • I ran quite a bit of 100+ year old heart pine through it Saturday afternoon.
  • My plan is to use it to build a desk for our home office.
  • I have been wanting to do this for quite a while so I’m pumped to get started.
  • Be sure to check my Instagram feed for pics of the build.
  • At North River Church, we have been working through the book of Philippians.
  • It is one of my favorite books of the Bible and I have loved preaching through this letter.
  • I’m challenged by Paul’s pastoral heart for that group of believers in Philippi.
  • As I read, I have often prayed, “God, help me love the people at NRC like that!”
  • I started a podcast with 2 other pastor friends.
  • If you are up for listening you can follow this link.
  • Well, I need to get back after it…
  • Happy Monday friends!

Monday Musings (12-11-17)

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  • It has been almost 3 months since I updated this blog. There are good reasons…but you don’t want to hear my excuses!!
  • We have been walking through a difficult time as a family recently.
  • My mother-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer while my wife’s entire extended family gathered in Charleston for Thanksgiving.
  • The weeks since then have been chaotic as Janie, her brother, and her sister have been trying to care for her mom in her last days.
  • We were reminded how quickly life can change.
  • One phone call…one diagnosis…that is all it takes to turn your world upside down.
  • The last several weeks have given me a greater appreciation for what single parents have to do day in and day out.
  • It is not easy!
  • Our church family has wrapped their arms around us and they have taken good care of us during this time.
  • I’m so proud to be the pastor at North River Church!
  • They are a blessing.
  • A couple of weeks ago I started reading Meg Meeker’s book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know.
  • As a dad of two girls, I have been greatly challenged!
  • If you have a daughter you need to read this book!
  • My eyes have been open time and time again to new realities I didn’t even know existed.
  • It is impossible to overestimate the impact fathers have in their daughter’s lives!
  • As I worked through my Bible reading plan this morning, I read these words in Psalm 131:2, “I have calmed and quieted my soul.”
  • Wow!
  • I needed this.
  • Too often I allow the “noise” of life to bombard my soul.
  • I need to be still and know that he is God.
  • Maybe you do too!
  • It’s going to be a great Monday!
  • Time to get back at it.

Monday Musings (9-25-17)

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  • I’m sitting in my study at home enjoying the quiet of the morning, a strong cup of coffee, and a Bourbon Maple candle from Bath & Body Works.
  • It is the simple things in life!
  • I have spent time recently in the book of Judges in my morning devotions.
  • What a sad book.
  • The preface to most chapters begins, “The people of Israel turned away from the Lord…”
  • Yet, even in their disobedience, God heard their cries for deliverance.
  • What an encouragement to know we have a God that hears our cries.
  • Yesterday, we were able to gather back together as a church family at our normal location & our normal time for the first time in 3 weeks.
  • It was such a joy to gather back together again.
  • I love my church.
  • I love worshipping King Jesus together.
  • We also had the chance to celebrate Pastor Scott Kerlin’s 1 year anniversary at North River Church.
  • I’m grateful for the incredible pastoral staff I have the privilege of serving with each day.
  • I cheered on my Bulldogs to victory Saturday night.
  • I’m excited about this team and the way Kirby Smart has prepared them.
  • We have a big game this week against Tennessee.
  • In the past, we have struggled to put back to back wins together against good teams.
  • Let’s hope that streak is broken this year.
  • I’m working on an article for spurgeon.org right now about Charles Spurgeon’s emphasis on family worship and discipleship in the home.
  • I have loved studying Spurgeon’s life and ministry.
  • Every pastor should have a dead pastor who serves as a mentor and guide.
  • That is the role Spurgeon serves in my life.
  • Though he is dead…he still speaks.
  • The sun is peaking over the horizon now so I better get going!

Advice I Needed To Hear As A Young Pastor

I have been in full-time vocational ministry for almost 10 years. Though I am still young (34) I don’t necessarily see myself as a young pastor anymore. I wish I had read Zack Eswine’s words when I started and I’m thankful to have read them today! If you are a young pastor just starting out in ministry, please take a few moments to read his advice and let it soak in:

“As you enter ministry, you will be tempted to orient your desires toward doing large things in famous ways as fast and as efficiently as you can. But take note. A crossroads waits for you. Jesus is that crossroads. Because almost anything in life that truly matters will require you to do small, mostly overlooked things, over a long period of time with him. The pastoral vocation, because it focuses on helping people cultivate what truly matters, is therefore no exception.” (Zack Eswine in The Imperfect Pastor)

Monday Musings (8-21-17)

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  • Yesterday’s message was a difficult one as we discussed the sin of partiality from James 2:1-13.
  • If you missed it you can listen to it here.
  • I was deeply convicted by the message in my study time.
  • Our world is built on the sin of partiality.
  • We oftentimes don’t even realize it is present but it is there.
  • It is sin.
  • We must confess it and we must kill it.
  • There is nothing more antithetical to the gospel than partiality.
  • The ground at the foot of the cross is level.
  • Paul is crystal clear in Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
  • Showing partiality or favoritism is an assault on the gospel.
  • Every single person is created in God’s image and in desperate need of a relationship with him made possible through Jesus.
  • I enjoyed all the eclipse festivities today.
  • Our family took time to look at the eclipse…through approved glasses of course!
  • We also ate moon pies and drank Sunkist in celebration.
  • Well it’s time to get back after it!