I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home with loving parents and I remember praying to receive Jesus into my life when I was six years old on a Sunday evening in my room. I told my mom that I wanted Jesus to live with me forever!
I went to Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa through high school and started playing competitive table tennis (Ping-Pong) all over the country during that time. At 19 years old, I competed in the Junior Olympics for the sport and received a gold medal. Guitar was one of my passions as well, so I began leading worship at church every chance I could get. Being a musician always kept me involved at church, sometimes leading worship up to four times per week!
After graduating from Cal State Fullerton in communications, I moved to Hollywood to pursue my music career. I was spending long hours in the studio learning the complete process of recording a full-length album when God redirected my passions and changed my life completely. Up to this point, I had my own dreams and goals. I was not “seeking first the kingdom of God” because I was seeking fame and fortune; we all know about the “wide gate” that leads to destruction and I was headed for it!
After years of “chasing the dream” in Hollywood, God started to tug on my heart and call me back into ministry to use my gifts for His glory. Doors began to slam shut in Los Angeles and open wide in ministry, in the children’s department. I had never stepped foot in children’s ministry since I was in children’s ministry myself, so it was a huge leap of faith for me, but guess what? God blessed! Because of God’s call, “Mr. Mike” kids’ music was born and now I use my gifts and talents for the Lord as a pastor all these years later.
In February 2013, I married the love of my life, Crystal Cooper Amren. She was beautiful, had a voice like an angel, and a strong relationship with the Lord! I remember her telling me, “The closer we get to God, the closer we will get to each other.” Crystal had the blessing of leading worship for Pastor Chuck Smith for many years before his passing. He was the one that performed our wedding ceremony and it was actually the last ceremony he ever did. We often remember his teaching, “Soon all things will come to pass, and only things done for Christ will last.” Personally, this means a lot to me because we can try to use our gifts to our own glory and search for fame and fortune and our own hearts’ desires, or we can surrender all to our blessed Savior and just watch as He blesses “above all you could ask or think.”
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