What did the Bible change about my life?
I grew up in a small town. My first exposure to crowds was a trip to Indianapolis 500 Qualifying with my friend and his family. At midday, in the middle of a cloud-bursting rain, we became separated. I was lost in a storm.
Suddenly, a Scripture verse popped into my head. It was Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I looked up into the mouth of the storm and prayed hard: Lord, if you would only help me find a way out of this mess, I’ll give my life to you. (I paused; there was no sign of help.) I’ll go wherever you want me to go. (I shot nervous glances in every direction.) Why, Lord, if you want, I’ll even go to Bible college!
Up rolled my friend and his family in their station wagon, back door wide open. I gulped—not because of the crowds, the drunkards, the lightning, or the puddles. I gulped because I wondered, Whoa, what just happened?
Fast-forward five years. I followed through with my promise and headed to Bible college, quite uncertain of where it would take me. The first few weeks were rough. I came face-to-face with the fact that I really had never honestly studied the origins of our Bible. Learning about its history rattled my assumptions. One day, I remember walking out of chapel, climbing the hill behind the college, and speaking into the air, “Lord, if you’re there, please help me find you. And if I find you, I promise to serve you ever more.”
For the next three weeks, I devoured books like Evidence that Demands a Verdict, More than a Carpenter, and Basic Christianity. I wrote the equivalent of a term paper, and even typed and bound it in one of those blue slipcovers; I entitled it, “Why I Believe the Bible.”
At the exact moment I pushed my chair away from the desk, that same verse popped into my head again: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” I had my answer. I was “all in.”
Fast-forward one more year. Despite my best efforts to escape the required missions class, the college president just wouldn’t give in, though he did agree to let me take an elective missions class that sounded as if it had some practical value. “Principles and Methods of Missions.” Surely there will be something I can use in the USA, I remember thinking.
The first nine weeks was solid Bible study. We began with Genesis 3 and worked our way through Revelation. Whoa. I was amazed at the trail of redemption in the Holy Scriptures. After a while, I began to realize God’s Word is full of an expectation that all mankind, not just Americans, are supposed to hear the good news of Jesus Christ—and we are supposed to deliver it! We ended the Bible study portion just in time for midterm tests.
To others, it might have been a test, but honestly, to me it was epic. In just nine weeks, the course of my life had changed! I knew I needed to dedicate my life to missions. One month later, at the National Missionary Convention, I walked forward. Tagging along with me was the girl who still walks arm-in-arm with me today, partly because every day after class, I’d stream out of the room overflowing with what we had covered that day. The Bible had spoken to her too. She was my first “recruit”—or rather, God’s first recruit, through me, using his Word.
That was just over 30 years ago. I still remember that thunderstorm in Indy. I’ve never forgotten that hilltop promise, nor the class I almost didn’t take, that ended up taking me to places I never would have imagined.
Here are the 50 or so mission-related Bible passages I learned about in my college missions class. If you study them, beware. They might change your life too:
Genesis 12:1-3; 49:10.
1 Kings 8:43
Psalm 18:49; 24:1; 67; 68:32
Isaiah 52:10, 13-15; 54:3; 60:3; 62:2
Ezekiel 18:4; 33:6
Micah 4:1, 2
Zechariah 2:10, 11
Matthew 8:11; 9:35-38; 24:14; 28:19, 20
Luke 2:10; 19:10; 24:47, 48
John 3:16; 10:16; 12:32; 20:21; 20:31
Acts 1:8; 4:12
Romans 1:16; 3:9-12, 23; 10:9, 10, 14
1 Corinthians 8:4
2 Corinthians 5:20
Ephesians 2:12; 2:15
Colossians 1:21, 22
2 Thessalonians 1:6-9
1 Timothy 2:3-6
Revelation 5:9, 10; 7:9, 10
Ever since finishing grad school, Doug Lucas has worked the same job—leading Team Expansion, an organization that today includes more than 300 full-time missionaries serving in well over 40 countries, with a goal of transforming communities among unreached peoples by planting churches. Through their combined efforts, God has raised up more than 12,000 new believers. Doug is married to Penny, the girl who waited outside his classroom. They have two grown sons, both of whom serve overseas in lands where traditional missionaries would not be permitted. Doug can’t find the report in that blue slipcover, but today he is still “all in.” And just as the Bible promised, God has never forsaken him. E-mail him at DLucas@TeamExpansion.org.