ST. PETERSBURG –Nine years ago was a pivotal moment in Michael Shorter’s life as he sat in the back of a police car reflecting on the decisions that landed him there. In that place of exile, the seeds of life deposited in him by his family were beginning to take root and produce.
Shorter’s faith and belief in his higher power was being tested for his own truth, not just about a God that he had heard about. By his own account, God said to him, ‘I know what I am doing.’ Shorter simply called out for Jesus.
Last Sunday morning, the evidence was clear that God indeed knows what he is doing when Shorter stood in the pulpit at Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church and delivered his first sermon as a minister, and he indeed delivered.
“I don’t know why God chose me for such a time as this. I asked him myself, ‘God are you crazy and do you know what you are doing up there?’”
Shorter had been in preparation for that day for a while. He is a calm, spirited young man who has keen focus to details. His demeanor suggests business and his attitude respect. His mother, Jewel Shorter, refers to him as the child every mother would want.
“Prosper where you have been placed, build houses, plant gardens and multiply,” exclaimed Shorter, before a thunderous ovation from the audience. “It’s already in you.”
As the days leading up to this big moment in his life, he became nervously unrested – a side of him rarely seen. He went from raking the yard to cleaning the car to rearranging the garage. He went from one thing to the other. He was preparing to deliver.
He credits his pastor and uncle, Rev. Louis Murphy, Sr., with keeping him focused on the matter at hand. He stated that Pastor Murphy was instrumental in helping him to see life from a different perspective.
Shorter reminded the supportive congregation to pray for their peace because the promise is still in place.
“Minister Shorter delivered a powerful word from God this morning from Jeremiah 29:11, I Know What I’m Doing,” stated Bertha Young, a long time senior member of Mt. Zion Progressive. “The message was well spoken. I’m so very proud how God is using him.”
Shorter, a native of St. Petersburg and graduate of Gibbs High School’s BETA (Business, Economic and Technology Academy) program, is a licensed funeral director with Anderson McQueen. In 2005, he became the first Eagle Scout from Troop 223, based at Mt. Zion Progressive.
His involvement in community and civic service includes St. Petersburg Young Professionals committee member, co-chair of community outreach committee for EMERGE Tampa Bay Young Professionals and was one of 40 Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Up & Comers in 2013, just to name a few.
He has current membership with the Rotary Club of St. Petersburg (board member) and is the executive director of 1st Downs 4 Life, a program founded by NFL player Louis Murphy Jr.
Minister Shorter is married to Ashley, his wife of seven years. They have two children- Michael III, 2, and Sarai, 6.
Last Sunday had a far different outlook for Minister Shorter than his experience nine years ago. However, that pivotal moment led to the understanding that God knows what He is doing.