Fully Equipped

Having what it takes to give your all

   Nearly 10 years ago, before our family moved across the world to begin foreign work as missionaries, I reflected on my life and the path God had led to where I was. I had seen how God had prepared my heart and provided Godly influences and opened doors of opportunity to equip me for the task of ministering abroad. 

   It is my desire to challenge and Inspire young people in particular and encourage them to have a passion for God and to be used for God’s glory. 

    I want to Inform of the present needs today in the area of foreign missions. Not only do I want to present specific areas that are unreached and people groups that need labourers, but I want to Instruct how to minister effectively through Biblical principles. 

   Instead of releasing this manuscript in a traditional book format, I am instead making one chapter available at a time on my blog and here on my website. In addition to the chapter, I will share a Bible challenge by way of video. 

                                                 - by Luke Knickerbocker, Author



Do You Have What it Takes to Give God Your All?

Do you have what it takes to give God your all? Are you fully-equipped?
Airborne over the world’s highest lake – Tilicho Lake in Manang, Nepal

The cry of my heart echoes the words of the Psalmist: “Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.” (Psalm 12:1) Do you have what it takes to give God your all?

Where are the MEN? There is no lack of athletes, muscle-builders, video gamers, and womanizers, but where are the Godly men who have a backbone for that which is right? It seems that men have become an “endangered species” rarely found even in our churches! One hope we still have is that a few good men, or boys, will get a healthy view of God. That they learn to dream big, and believe that God has a purpose for them to make a difference. Do you have what it takes to give God your all?

I want to say right here that this is in no way an intentional oversight of girls and ladies who also have a passion to serve God. I have a wonderful wife and two daughters who are dedicated servants of God. But the Bible emphasizes men to be the leaders and ladies have their important role to follow that leadership. 

Do you have what it takes?

Where would we men be without the aid and encouragement of Godly ladies! We all have our various responsibilities, and it seems that men have relinquished their God-given calling to be the leaders, protectors, and providers in the home and church. So if you are a lady who has a big heart for God, enjoy the read and feel welcome to say “Amen” as I try to rouse the men to take a stand for God without apology.

Do you have what it takes to give God your all? Are you fully-equipped?
Biking in the Foothills of the Himalayas – Kathmandu, Nepal

Take the challenge

I owe so much to the Godly men who have mentored, matured, and molded me into who I am today. My wish is to simply honor them by recording on paper some of the specific things God has taught me and used to lead me to becoming a servant and missionary. I want my three sons to have their dad live by faith, lead by example, and love God no matter the cost.

This blog and video series is a call to each young man who really wants to get in the fight of faith. To those who wish to make a difference with his life, even if he must die trying! I wish to encourage, challenge, and aid YOU in your quest for doing the unthinkable, obtaining the impossible, and overcoming the improbable for the Name of Jesus Christ. See if you have what it takes to be a Servant of God and give Him your all. 

Jeremiah 10:23 – O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Since I was a teenager, I knew deep in my heart that God had something great for my life. Over the years, I have seen how God has been preparing me to serve Him in various roles. These would include being a Christian school teacher, an American pastor, and a foreign missionary. So many people have encouraged and taught me how to know and serve the Lord. Through many experiences with other visionaries, I have been challenged to read, think, and prepare for my life’s calling. Regardless where I have been and what positions I have held, I have had to come back and answer this question: For what purpose did God create me? I know that it is to know Christ and to make him known to people who have no Bible, no church, and no preacher. 

Do you have what it takes to give God your all?

The Lord opens opportunities to minister.
Trekking with friends in Langtang, Nepal

Catch the vision

The journey of how God led my family and I to work with Tibetans in Nepal is both interesting and inspiring. Though there have been great challenges, I would not trade this walk of faith for anything else. I continually feel that I am just at the entry level and have so much more to learn. I cannot overlook the role that my family has had as we prepared for foreign service and even now as we serve stateside in our local church and Christian school.

In the following stories, I invite you to review with me the accounts of what the good hand of God has done in my life. You will read about some of the things God has taught me through His Word, Godly people, and life’s experiences. 

God’s work is always accomplished according to His perfect time. May this be a challenge to you to follow our Lord as He unveils His will for your life. My hope is that this will help accelerate the learning process for you. 

I do want to make clear that I have not yet attained, and consider myself simply as a servant who wishes only to please my Master from day to day. Perhaps, I am a visionary and only an aspiring pioneer; yet the mission remains the same. Christ’s mandate to go preach the Gospel and teach all nations has not changed, and the task still remains unfinished. 

Village ministry. Give God your all.
Making balloons and ministering to believers in a village of Nepal

Prepare with purpose

Whether I live to see the job completed or die trying to do my part, I go because Christ is worthy. I submit therefore, that He is worthy of your life as well. This means you must dedicate and prepare yourself to do whatever the Lord asks in order that all the earth might know Him. However the Lord leads and uses you, I trust that this series of articles and messages will be a part of the stretching and envisioning in your life. May it help you realize that dreams must be God-sized and your future is worth the preparation. My desire is that you understand the importance of being fully equipped for service. May you never be accused of having zeal without knowledge.

Each of the blog posts in this series Fully Equipped is accompanied by a short video with a Bible devotional. Enjoy the following video Prepared unto Every Good Work as I share Paul’s challenge to Timothy. You will appreciate the illustration of how a servant of the Lord should be like a crescent wrench!

Do you have what it takes to give God your all?



Chapter 1  

The Hardest Thing For a Man to Do

Hiking in the Himals of Nepal
Hiking in the Himals of Nepal

Growing up can be a hard thing

Believe it or not, the hardest thing I have ever done was not hiking the Himalayas or driving in the chaos of Kathmandu roads. The hardest thing in my life was not even growing up in a pastor’s home! Like any other pastor’s kid, I grew up around the church, interacting with many different people. I always counted it a privilege – even if I was in a fish bowl. For some, it seems like a hard thing to be in the limelight and have higher expectations, but my parents definitely made life in the ministry fun. Yes, there were some sacrifices to make. My close friends were always few, especially as I became a teenager. But my dad was always involved in my life and helped me enjoy the journey.

I was religious, but lost

Let me back up to my earlier years. As a four year-old, I made a profession of faith for salvation. I knew I didn’t want to go to hell, but I didn’t really comprehend what salvation meant. As I attended Christian school, I began to learn more about sin and my accountability before a holy God. I remember a question a preacher made that I would never forget: “Will you let your pride send you to hell?” 

My four sisters and I when I was around the age of 4 years.
My four sisters and I when I was around the age of 4 years.

Fighting the Holy Spirit’s conviction is a hard thing

As I grew older, I would go to bed in constant fear of dying. I would think of what would happen if the rapture happened, knowing I would be left behind. I finally could not resist the conviction of the Holy Spirit any longer. On March 6, 1996, following a Wednesday night service, I went into my dad’s room. 

I had been carrying a load of guilt and now was ready to come clean. I told my dad that I wanted to be sure of my salvation and knelt at his bed calling out for the Lord to forgive me and save me. That night, I turned from depending on my own works to looking unto Jesus Christ and his finished work at Calvary. It is by his grace alone that He saved me, and I rested assured by His Word that my Soul is secured in His hands. 

I could not do enough good to be right with God

The bottom line is this – each of us must realize that we cannot do one thing to please God. This is a very hard thing to admit. The arm of the flesh will always fail you, be sure of that. You must not have any confidence in the flesh. Our hope is in the Lord, and no other. In order for Christ to build you and use you, you must first be broken. 

You must come to the place where you recognize there is no good in you. There is absolutely nothing you can do to make yourself acceptable to a holy God. You can never do enough good to be made right with God: this is why we need Jesus. He lived the perfect life, and in doing so, fulfilled the law. He offers us the gift of eternal life, if we receive His righteousness by faith. But it is often hard for a person to accept the kindness and help of another person!

Pride is a stumbling block to salvation 

But who can receive this gift? God says He gives “grace to the humble.” Allow me to let you in on a little secret – so many “men” stop here and reject the Way of Salvation because they think they are good enough without Christ. Their stubborn pride refuses to allow them to admit they have a need. This was the Pharisees problem, as they were self-righteous. 

No wonder Christ said, “I will have mercy and not sacrifice.” Do you realize some of the hardest words to say are “I have a problem that I can’t fix.” “I was wrong, and I’m sorry.” Or how about this one: “I am hopelessly lost and I need help”. This is the type of person God can help, and only this kind of person will He save! God longs to show mercy on the penitent sinner, but the proud in heart – God will not tolerate, but rather judge.

My family when I was about age 14
My family when I was about age 14

Jesus must be enough: a hard thing to admit

Are you willing to let the true living God be your God? That means you will abandon and destroy anything else that would come between you and God. No more games. No more idols. Just Jesus…is that enough for you? Christ Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sin. He shed his blood to purchase your pardon. If this is enough to satisfy God the Father, why should it not be enough for you? 

In John 14:6, Jesus declared, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” If you are not willing to let Jesus be your Saviour and Lord, then it is simply impossible to become a man of God that He will use. Without Christ you will never have what it takes to be a servant of God. But with Christ all things are possible. It may be seem like a hard thing to submit to Christ, but it is much harder to live life without him!

My life verse

Philippians 3:8 – Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

This is my life verse. Having a background somewhat similar to the Apostle Paul, I can definitely understand the pitfalls of growing up in a religious home. Paul trusted in his heritage and ability to do enough good to impress others and himself. Sadly, he missed the mark. When he realized that he was actually acting in opposition to God, he had to repent and turn to Christ alone. Finding his rest in the finished work of Jesus at Calvary was enough! He came to understand that he had a righteous standing in Christ alone! 

Without faith, it is impossible to please God

I also realize that Christian instruction, Bible knowledge, and the ability to talk about God is insufficient to please God. Only faith in what Jesus has done will satisfy Him and make me in a right relationship with God. Now that Christ has saved me, I want to live every day for Him. May He be glorified in everything I do, each conversation I hold, all activities I participate in, and every goal I set. 

One of the immediate changes in my life after I received Christ as my Saviour, was the desire I had to share Christ with others. As I followed the example of my dad and Granddad, I would enthusiastically give Gospel tracts wherever I went. I particularly was burdened for the youth and would consider it a personal challenge to engage a group of older teens and give them tracts. 

I always enjoyed playing sports and would play basketball with the neighborhood guys. If they wanted to play rock music, I would leave if they refused to turn it off. I was learning to stand for what was right. Naturally, it is a hard thing to speak up about Christ in front of our peers. But when you stop and think about the fact that a person will spend eternity either in heaven or hell, it makes it worth it!

A transformed life is not a hard thing when Christ does the work

I began to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit who now indwelt me. If I knew I had wronged someone, I would be sure to make things right and ask their forgiveness. At times, it would be annoying to my sisters, as it appeared frivolous. If I said a hurtful word, it would bother me until I made it right with them. Indeed it is a very hard thing to confess wrongdoing and seek forgiveness from someone we have offended!

I longed to have God’s power and knew that if I was not right with my sister or “brother”, I wasn’t going to have the blessing of God upon my service. Truly, my life had transformed – from my heart and mind to my actions. Now I wanted to only please God and serve Him with all my life.

I had many opportunities for ministry. Our family sang, and made visits. I would ride on the church van, usher, preach in Junior Church and Outward Bound. Whenever there was an occasion to preach or teach, I was all in! Even if serving the Lord appears to be a hard thing and makes us uncomfortable, it is always exciting and joyous.

As a teenager, I took every opportunity given to preach God's Word
As a teenager, I took every opportunity given to preach God’s Word

Making some personal standards 

In my personal life, God dealt with me in some specific ways, especially in the area of separation. In tenth grade, I had a good friend named Zach Peterson who taught me some things about Godly music. I became convinced that some of my music, although Christian in name, appealed to the flesh rather than the Spirit. So I went through my cassette tapes and CD’s and threw out about $200 worth! That’s a lot of money for a fifteen year-old! I’ll never forget throwing that box into the dumpster near our house. Though it seemed like a hard thing at the time, it also brought me great joy because I was honoring the Lord.

Also, I listened to some good preaching by Jim Van Gelderon about holiness and the waste of time spent watching the television. Now I must confess that I do enjoy watching a good ball game. But for a period of time, I refused to watch television and movies because of the corrupt influences and worldly agendas taught. It was a weight that could easily beset me from the race. Perhaps, I was swinging like a pendulum from one extreme to the other, but at the time, it was definitely the right thing for me. Though it is a hard thing to turn off the television, it’s harder

Turning off distractions is a hard thing to do

Truly, much time is wasted and energy lost on something that may not be entirely wrong, but keeps from using our time doing better things. I have learned that my flesh is not strong enough to refuse temptation of the lust of the flesh. So for much of my life, I have refused to own a television myself. I have observed that when in a motel room alone, it seems that when I turn the remote on, I am turning off the Spiritual power in my life. It is a hard thing to control the temptation of looking at something I know I should not. 

Oh, that we may not grieve the Holy Spirit! It is imperative that we heed the following words from the Apostle Paul: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. – Romans 12:1, 2

A daily walk with God

Though I had strong Godly parents and grandparents, I needed to learn to walk with God myself. As a teenager, I would wake up at 5:30 am and listen to the Back to the Biblebroadcast on the radio with Dr. Woodrow Kroll. He would always finish his broadcast with the statement: “Have a good and Godly day: for of what lasting value is a good day, if it’s not also a Godly day?” I would then eat a bowl of cereal and read a portion of God’s Word. 

Getting up early is a hard thing for our flesh to do. But discipline is necessary if the Holy Spirit is going to be given the advantage to rule our life. This is the time when I really grew stronger in my personal walk with the Lord.

Personal devotions is the area in which you will have your greatest challenge. If there is any battlefield on which Satan will engage you the most, it is in this area of quiet time with Christ. For it is here that we receive our nurturing from the Lord. We must get in the Word of God and let God’s Word help us, change us, and build us. As we grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, we will be in position to bear spiritual fruit. 

Don’t be afraid of hard things

As we are filled with the Spirit of God by allowing the Word of Christ to dwell in us richly, we will manifest the fruit of the Spirit. Only when this fruit is born, may we multiply ourselves and reproduce more disciples. Remember, everything reproduces after its kind. Our public ministry of the Word should be a result of our private ministry in the Word. Let God’s Word daily renew your mind. Doing hard things is worth it as long as it is what honors God!

Watch the video “The Servant God Uses” that accompanies this chapter. You will enjoy the illustration of the pitcher of water and glass to illustrate how to be filled with the Holy Spirit. 

Chapter 2  

Valuable Lessons Every Generation Must Pass Down

Three Generations: My Grandpa David Knickerbocker, my Dad Tom Knickerbocker, and me Luke Knickerbocker
Three Generations: My Grandpa David Knickerbocker, my Dad Tom Knickerbocker, and me 

I am so grateful for my parents who trained me in the way that I should go. My dad has been a preacher all of my life. He not only has taught me God’s Word, but has exemplified it in his daily life. My mother consistently reads God’s Word and prays for me. The most valuable lessons I have learned in life have been taught to me from the Bible. The following verses that Paul wrote to Timothy describe my personal testimony.

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (II Timothy 3:14-17) 

Notice the progression “from a child” in verse 14 to becoming “the man of God” in verse 17. The necessary ingredient to coming to maturity and becoming equipped for the ministry is the Word of God. The Holy Bible must be the cistern from which we drink on a daily basis, if we are to grow spiritually. If we want to be obedient to the will of God, we first must hear and know His Word.

My parents and two younger sisters when I was 14 years old with lessons every young man should know
My parents Tom and Barb, and my two younger sisters with me when I was 14 years old
13 Valuable lessons every young man should learn

My dad and I are cut out of the same mold, and share many of the same interests. So it was natural for me to want to follow my dad’s footsteps as he has followed Christ. I have learned how to teach enthusiastically, listen compassionately, and witness boldly from mere observation of his life. I got my love for writing and music from him (he is an accomplished author, musician, and song writer). He taught me to play the guitar when I was twelve years old, and he helped me buy a banjo at age fourteen. This has been an invaluable asset in ministry. But it was my dad who allowed me to prove myself and “get my feet wet” giving me opportunities to publicly serve in the church. Below is a list of lessons that every young man should learn.

My dad on the guitar and me on the banjo a lesson everyone should know
My dad on the guitar and me on the banjo

Learning Hard Work

The 1st Lesson Every Young Man Should Know

An early lesson that I learned was the discipline of work. When I was ten years old, we moved from Vermont to Florida to help my Grandfather at the church he pastored. The church and school property had five acres, so there was a lot of mowing to be done. As a teenager, I had plenty of opportunities to “serve the Lord” out in the hot sun. At age thirteen, my dad encouraged me to start going around the neighborhood and offering my services to mow grass and do other yard work. 

An elderly widow next door agreed to pay me $4.25 an hour to mow her yard. Since I moved so fast, I would finish the big yard in less than two hours. I soon realized that it might be a little wiser to get paid by the job instead of by the hour. I talked it over with my dad who told me I needed to let her know how I felt and ask her to raise the price. Talking about money has never been my thing, and this was extremely hard. But it had to be done, so I went and shared my concerns. Thankfully, she understood, and we worked out a fair price for the job. I pulled weeds and spent hours working in her yard. 

It wasn’t long until I had several yards to mow and many other people paid me to rake leaves or any other odd jobs needing to be done. I learned many skills – especially a good work ethic – and developed character traits of honesty and integrity. Of course, I would witness to the people who employed me. One lady eventually got saved after I had gone to college. She told me that she even became quite involved in her local church! 

Learning to Listen

The 2nd Lesson Every Young Man Should Know

There were some successful businessmen that hired me for odd jobs. They had been around the block a time or two and had many things to teach me. Probably the hardest thing to do as a young person is to listen to instructions. It’s not always easy to have someone tell you how to do a task – especially when you think that you already know how to do it! But it is so important to have a submissive spirit and learn to listen to authority.

I’ll never forget the statement of Mr. Tison who was showing me a tip on efficient gardening. He showed me that after I dug the hole, I should fill it with water before planting the pot. I previously would have planted a flower, filled in the dirt, then stood with a water hose over the dirt. Most of the water would go in any other direction except downward! He told me “to work smarter, not harder”. I never forgot that, as sometimes there is a better way than what seems to be the quickest way. 

Learning to Budget

The 3rd Lesson Every Young Man Should Know

As I started to have an income, my dad was sure to teach me to budget my money. The first 10% obviously would be the tithe. 20% had to be saved for college. I began giving 10% to missions and would increase it thereafter. I was also saving up for a new guitar, so that didn’t leave a whole lot to be wasted. A vehicle was never on my priority list. In fact, I wouldn’t even get my first car until I was out of Bible College! I guess you could chalk it up to priorities. 

Eventually, the family mower would not suffice for my jobs, so I bought my own mower. Learning to budget and save is a lost art, but important if you want to serve God. Don’t fall in the trap of getting into debt! So many people are limited and restricted to their usefulness because they are in bondage to their creditors.

Learning to Lose

The 4th Lesson Every Young Man Should Know

I learned a hard lesson about loss, as my mower was stolen, then another time when my bike was stolen. It’s good to learn to earn things, but as a servant of God, I need to be prepared to have things taken away. Loss of money is not a fun lesson, but a good one. Be able to let go of things; after all, they are temporary!

Growing up, I always enjoyed playing sports. I was a little too competitive and remember crying after losing games in the Little League. As time went on, I learned that keeping a good testimony was more important than the outcome of a game. Be a good sport and learn to congratulate others when they win! Learn to lose graciously.

These are 13 valuable lessons every young man should know.

Learning to obey

The 5th Lesson Every Young Man Should Know

My dad always helped me keep the right priorities in life. We would always be in church Sunday mornings, evenings, and Wednesday night services. During the Little League season, I would have to leave after the 3rd inning on Wednesday nights. I would quickly bike home, change out of my uniform, and head to our mid-week service with our church. Although I would have loved to play the whole game, I was just happy that I could play for half the game on Wednesdays. I always knew that church was more important than sports!

Luke at 10 years old in my Little League baseball uniform the start to a lesson every young man should know
Luke at 10 years old in my Little League baseball uniform

As a teenager, I had to forfeit some privileges for the sake of attending our Christian school and honoring my dad. You see, I really longed to play for our local county high school football team. In fact, another pastor’s son in our town who home-schooled was allowed to play. But my dad emphatically refused to let me pursue any possibilities of trying out for the team. 

His biggest concerns were my health and purity. Although, it was a tough thing to accept at the time, I believe God spared me from some things that I would either regret morally or physical injuries that may have hindered my ministry – especially in the mountains. 

Interestingly enough, I learned that my Christian friend who played football on the high school team also became a foreign missionary. Sadly, he has had bad headaches which have affected him ever since his football playing days. I am glad I learned to listen and now I appreciate my father’s decision not to let me play tackle football.

Learning to lead

The 6th Lesson Every Young Man Should Know

During my high school years, I had the opportunity to attend a small Christian school at Maranatha Baptist Church where my grandfather pastored.  For a while, some of us would meet on Wednesdays at lunch time where I would lead a short devotional and prayer. This was a good experience learning to lead a small group. 

Living near my Grandparents came with the privilege of spending nights at their house. They didn’t have much in a worldly sense, but they had God! My Grandpa Knickerbocker would sit and read Scripture with me before getting on our knees to pray. He would always ask me to list ten things I was thankful for. (This didn’t always make me thankful!) But wherever we went, he faithfully witnessed to the banker, the neighbor, the waitress – everyone! He always had a song on his heart and a Gospel tract in his pocket! 

Grandpa David and Grandma Lois Knickerbocker lesson every young man should know
Grandpa David and Grandma Lois Knickerbocker
Leading a church service

I’ll never forget the opportunities my Grandfather gave me. I especially enjoyed leading the singing for our teen activities that he hosted at the church he pastored. When I was age fourteen, my Grandfather was sick one Wednesday, and asked me to lead the whole service! This included leading music and preaching the Bible message. 

My grandmother died in a car accident when I was fifteen, and my grandfather had sustained some severe injuries including broken ribs. I got to spend a lot of time helping him and bonding with him. I remember counseling with him as he was quite bitter about the judge who had blamed him for the auto accident and made him take classes to restore his license. We read Matthew 5:44 which tells us to love our enemies and pray for them which despitefully use us. I think it helped. 

Learning from Godly Heroes

The 7th Lesson Every Young Man Should Know

My grandfather had made his five sons learn a large portion of the famous sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards. So in 10th grade, I too had the job of memorizing it for our closing program. I also got to be familiar with sermons by Charles Spurgeon and books by R.A. Torrey and D.L. Moody on the topic of being filled with the Spirit. My grandfather always raved about the book Power of Pentecost by John R. Rice. Someone said, “You are what you eat”. This is true about books, “You become what you read”. 

Luke in 10th grade reciting an excerpt from "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" lesson every young man should know
Luke in 10th grade reciting an excerpt from “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

Learning to give Gospel tracts 

The 8th Lesson Every Young Man Should Know

I enjoyed speaking to others of Christ. I remember going with our Assistant Pastor, Dr. David Bedell to our local high school when they let out one day. We walked on the property and started giving out gospel tracts (no doubt illegally). We left before getting kicked out. Certainly I had more zeal than knowledge! We had many wonderful times visiting the bus route and sharing the Gospel with people through Gospel tracts.

The Power of a Personal Testimony

One time while I was in sixth grade, our church was out soul winning on Saturday. This was normal as we would make bus visits and knock doors. I’ll never forget meeting a Jehovah Witness family and debating a girl who was a senior in high school. I felt like I held my ground, but wasn’t being very convincing. When her dad came out, I had no chance. He was saying things I had no answer for and even denied that the Book of Hebrews belonged in the Bible! Finally my mom came to my rescue when she drove up. She calmly shared how God had saved her and changed her life. After my mom finished we left without dispute. I learned a very valuable lesson that day. The power of a personal testimony cannot be discredited! At least my mom planted a seed that day of the power of the Gospel. 

There were some good things that happened. I remember handing a Gospel tract to a young man named Frank. He took it home to his dad. Frank’s dad and mom visited our church and joined, soon becoming the church treasurer. Then Frank’s Brother in law got saved and eventually drove our church van picking up children for Sunday School! Recently I heard from Frank that he now has a camp ministry for the vulnerable in need of restoration. You just never know who you may impact as you faithfully serve God and give out Gospel tracts! 

Dr. David Bedell and Luke with a lesson every young man should know
Dr. David Bedell and Luke

Learning to serve

The 9th Lesson Every Young Man Should Know

Now I believe in having fun and enjoying life. We must follow the Bible principle of service if we would like to be happy. Christ gave us the example of a servant’s heart when he washed the disciple’s feet. He then said, “Happy are ye if ye know these things and do them.” The key to happiness for any believer is service. I have learned the joy that comes with serving others. Anyone wanting to be used by God must realize that every job is important in God’s eyes. We must not think ourselves too important to perform the most menial tasks. 

Learning a foreign language

The 10th Lesson Every Young Man Should Know

God blessed me with the opportunity to be around missionaries a lot. Specifically, Joe and Michelle Parrock, former missionaries to Costa Rica came and taught at our Christian school. I got to learn a lot of Spanish during my sixth grade year, where we learned many Bible verses! Our final test was to give our personal testimony in Spanish, quoting verses from the Romans Road from memory! Our classes were similar to the old “one room schoolhouse”, Joe Parrock taught most of our classes when I was in seventh grade. He would tell us many stories of the mission field, creating a hunger that I would never be able to abandon. What an influence his family had on my life!

Luke with Joe Parrock learning a lesson every young man should know
Luke with Joe Parrock

Many years after high school, I was on furlough visiting a supporting church in Georgia. I did not realize another missionary family was there the same day reporting on their work in Costa Rica. What a surprise when I found out that my former teachers were once again serving on the foreign field! That day we got to both minister to a church as fellow visiting missionaries!

Learning other cultures 

The 11th Lesson Every Young Man Should Know

At age fifteen, I was visiting the Spanish community with Brother Gibby Trevino, who currently was leading a Spanish ministry at my Grandfather’s church. He was starting services on Thursday evenings where my dad pastored nearby, and I played the guitar for the meetings. Shortly after he began these services, he was fatally shot in his home. At his funeral, I was given the honor to share a testimony about his life. I’ll never forget the excitement of visiting the homes of many migrant workers. I would hear them converse in a different language, and smell the tortillas cooking. I just grew to love the  people and thought, “Maybe I’ll be a missionary to these people.” 

After Brother Trevino passed away, Brother Abel Ramos began to hold services. What a wonderful friendship we formed. Years later, when I pastored in a nearby town, Brother Ramos would attend our church and again we were able make visits to the Spanish speaking community!

Brother Abel Ramos remained faithful to the end of his life
Brother Abel Ramos remained faithful to the end of his life

Learning to speak out

The 12th Lesson Every Young Man Should Know

When I was 16, our town had a big clash over the selling of alcohol on Sundays. My dad and several other pastors in town, along with some folks from our church went to make our stand against the evils and effects of alcohol on our community. I was given a few minutes to share from a teenager’s perspective of why I thought it was a wrong example to my generation. The local newspaper even included a quote from my remarks! It is a very healthy exercise to learn to defend your beliefs and articulate them to others.

Learning to Write

The 13th Lesson Every Young Man Should Know

Ever since I was in grade school, I found that Spelling was a subject that I enjoyed. In high school, I had Anna Irwin as my literature teacher who was proficient in grammar. She challenged us students to be good writers. We would take articles from the newspaper and have to write opposing viewpoints. 

Teacher Anna Irwin teaching a lesson every young man should know
Teacher Anna Irwin

I remember writing about what was wrong with the sensuality in WWF wrestling, why the local high school boys shouldn’t have a fashion show modeling in women’s attire, and what was wrong with the sodomite groups having their own clubs in school.  I doubt the newspaper ever printed those, but I sure enjoyed the assignment! A good lesson here is to realize what you are good at and enjoy…for therein you may be discovering your spiritual gift!

As I reminisce on many of these experiences in my teen years, I see how God has used these to make me and prepare me as His servant in later ministry. I have written articles for the local newspaper, Gospel tracts for unbelievers, and books to help strengthen the faith of believers. Go here to see some of these projects.

Concluding thoughts

A final lesson for every young man to chew on

If you are going to be fully equipped, you simply must have a teachable spirit. There are some things you must learn that the Lord will use to qualify you for whatever tasks he calls you to do. As it is necessary that the Bible be your instruction manual, it is just as significant that those who teach and mentor you be Godly and Biblically sound. Don’t underestimate the opportunities to learn skills, whether it’s a musical instrument, speaking, writing, or budgeting. 

Be sure to watch the video that accompanies this chapter titled “A Vessel Unto Honor”.

About the author:

Luke graduated from Crown College of the Bible in 2003. He married Jamie in July of 2006. God has blessed them with five children. Together they had the privilege of serving in the pastorate of a Baptist Church in Florida from 2007-2011.

In August of 2011, our family began our journey to serve the Lord as labourers among Unreached People Groups in Asia. We prepared ourselves at Baptist Bible Translator’s Institute in Bowie, Texas. During that time, God directed our path to work among the Tibetan people in the country of Nepal.

In February of 2014, we moved to Kathmandu, Nepal and experienced God’s work of grace and protection upon our family. We were given the privilege to serve at the Crown Nepal Bible College. Teaching classes and preaching at youth conferences was a great opportunity for our family. We also were able to assist in outreaches to villages of the Tamang and Gurung people.

In 2021, we moved to Tampa, Florida. We currently are serving in our home church Southside Baptist Church and teach in the Christian Academy. Luke continues his writing ministry (www.pilgrimoftruth.com) and video messages on his YouTube channel (Pilgrim of Truth). His goal is to aid believers in making Christ known to the world. He continues to seek to assist churches in America. His heart’s desire is to help meet the needs of the unreached people groups in the world.

Chapter 3

My First Taste of the Mission field

Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” – John 4:35

My first mission trip

Few events mark and mold a person for a life time. One of those experiences in my life was the opportunity to visit the foreign mission field on a mission trip. At age twelve, my family drove from Florida to Texas where we visited with a missionary couple who worked on the border of Mexico. I don’t remember much about that trip, but I do remember the phrase in Spanish we learned when giving out Gospel tracts during their church-wide outreach. We would say “Esto es para used” meaning “This is for you.” I would use this phrase often back home when meeting Hispanics and offering a tract. While on that first mission trip, I began to learn about Indians who lived in the mountains who still remained unreached. A seed was born in my heart during that trip.

At age sixteen, my older sister Lori and I went to Ecuador for almost three weeks. We went to visit the Leroy Pifer family. When our plane approached the capital city of Quito during the night, I noticed the lights throughout the mountainside. How excited I was for the adventure that lay ahead. I was not disappointed. 

My sister Lori and I on a mission trip in Ecuador
My sister Lori and I on a mission trip in Ecuador

After breakfast the next morning, we headed out over the Andes Mountains. There were four of us packed in the truck. As we rounded the twists and turns, we beheld the breathtaking beauty. Then it happened – we had blown a tire. The Lord was gracious, as the hair pin turns were many and sharp. Most of the roads had no shoulder, but we were able to stop before the next bend in the road and had enough room on the right side of the road to park. We were high into the mountains and realized we had another problem…we had no spare tire! An 8 hour trip would turn into a 12 hour trip, as we had to wait for Brother Pifer to get a ride down the mountain, get a tire, and come back up. 

Luke in Ecuador up in the Andes Mountains
Luke in Ecuador up in the Andes Mountains

Meanwhile, we waited as the sun lowered. While overlooking the layers of mountains, we watched the fog slowly roll its way through the valleys! A wonderful chance for pictures! When Brother Leroy arrived with the tire, we had some extra help appear out of the mountains….which was a delightful surprise for me!

For some reason, since I was young I had an infatuation with Native American Indians. Whether it was watching a Western, or learning about missions, I always had a soft spot in my heart for them. The people who appeared to help us with our flat tire were natives who lived below had seen our plight. A few days later, I was able to see my first Colorado Indian. You can’t miss them, because they take a red berry and use it to dye their hair! As I look back, I realize God was preparing me to have a heart for those in the regions beyond still needing to hear the Gospel. 

Mission trips teach valuable lessons

On that mission trip, I learned some valuable things. One is that missionaries are just normal people who have whole-heartedly devoted themselves to advance the message of the Gospel of Christ. It’s not that they are more talented or qualified, but rather willing and available to let God use them.

Also, I learned that it takes a long time to do ordinary tasks in third-world countries compared to the United States. Just to get the truck fixed could take up an entire day, as life is much slower in the culture of the third world. The schedule was different too. We might not eat breakfast until 10 am, lunch at 2 pm and supper at 10 pm! It’s just a different mindset! This mission trip really opened my eyes to different culture.

Missionary Leroy Pifer
Missionary Leroy Pifer

Before we left the country on our mission trip, the Pifers took us out to eat at Pizza Hut. There we met an exchange student from America. He asked Brother Pifer why he would bring his wife and children so far away from home to live in third-world conditions. The missionary explained that we believe there is a God who loves all men and gave His Son to die so lost sinners could be saved from eternal punishment in Hell. The young man’s response was, “If I believed what you believe, I wouldn’t have time to sit around here. I would be out warning everybody possible!”

There is no substitute for going and seeing firsthand what missionary life is like on foreign soil. 

In fact, it was around that time in my life when I surrendered to be a missionary during Teen Camp in Haines City, Florida. 

As a teenager, I thought I would be a missionary to the Indians in the mountains of Mexico. I had experienced time in Mexico and Ecuador, learned some Spanish, played the guitar in the Spanish ministry, and loved Mexican food! 

Purposeful Preparation

At my high school graduation, I had my sight on being a missionary and went to further prepare myself at Bible college. I had learned about a few schools, but one college in particular captured my attention because of their focus and heart for missions. In one word, I could summarize the Crown College of the Bible in Powell, Tennessee…”Vision“. (Of course, this just happened to be located in the Smoky Mountains!) 

Dr. Clarence Sexton is a man passionate about getting out the Gospel and evangelizing the world during our generation. “Going a little further with no place to stop” was his directive which he repeated often.

Pastor Sexton and Luke at Crown College of the Bible
Pastor Sexton and Luke at Crown College of the Bible

Unconscious Preparation 

Because I had saved enough money to pay for my first semester, I was able to play on the soccer team. I had never played organized soccer before, so I had a lot to learn. But it was a good experience. As an athlete, I knew that the experience could only be an asset in foreign missions, as soccer is a global sport! As Pastor Sexton would say, many of our life’s experiences were God’s “unconscious preparation”.

Many of the guys who played on our soccer team became missionaries in other lands, especially Latin American countries. Being athletic is not a requirement to serve the Lord, but can be a tremendous asset. It is an easy way to meet new people and connect with others. 

Unreached People Groups

The idea of Unreached People Groups was introduced to me during my first mission classes in 1999. A people group has its own ethnic and social identity. They are considered unreached when less than 2% of its population is evangelical Christian. They generally have no local church to preach the Gospel to them. Many of these groups are unengaged, with no one actively trying to evangelize and disciple them! Most of these Unreached People Groups live in the 10×40 Window. This is who Christ referred to when He said go and teach “all nations”.


In my freshman year, I learned about the people in Bangladesh being the largest unreached group! I was just so eager to go where God wanted me, and I just knew it had to be where the most needy people were. During a church service, I went forward and surrendered to go as a missionary to Bangladesh, if that was what God wanted. I went to the library and started to gather information about these impoverished Muslim people. What would it take to take a mission trip there?

The top 10 largest UPGs in the world are as follows:

  1. Shaikh in Bangladesh….population of 132,950,000
  2. Japanese in Japan……………………………………….….121,950,000
  3. Shaikh in India……..………………………………………..….73,079,000
  4. Brahman in India………………………………………..…..54,955,000
  5. Yadava in India………………………………………………..54,272,000
  6. Turk in Turkey…………………………………………………….52,739,000
  7. Chamar in India………………………………………..…….48,011,000
  8. Rajput in India…………………………………………………39,839,000
  9. Han Chinese, Xiang in China…………………36,031,000
  10. Sunda in Indonesia……………………………………….35,105,000

During my sophomore year, I began to learn about the Muslim peoples in Central Asia. In the countries of Uzbekistan, and its neighboring countries, there is very little Gospel witness. I thought, perhaps this is where God wanted me to go. Should I take a mission trip there? Uzbekistan is surrounded by many other “Stan” countries, and there is a saying that “As Uzbekistan goes, so goes Central Asia”. 

Take the opportunities God gives you

Because I was a Mission’s Major, I needed to take a foreign language. I wanted to take Arabic, as that might be helpful with working with Muslims. But there was not enough interest for the college to offer that class. So I took Russian, knowing that many of the former Soviet states spoke Russian, at least as a second language. I ended up taking three semesters of Russian. One semester was during a semester of Greek simultaneously! That was fun. Actually, many of the letters are the same in both languages.

Our college evangelistic team assisting a local church.
Luke with some friends on a Crown College evangelistic team (New Testament Church Pioneers) in 2002

As my time in college continued, I had opportunities to travel with evangelistic teams taking mission trips to churches that were beginning or struggling. This was a real joy to be able to get a taste of pioneer works. A highlight during my junior year was being chosen to join a group of about 20 men from the church and college to go to New York City after the terrorist strikes on September 11th, 2001. 

Look for opportunities to minister

When we arrived in Manhattan, you could still see the smoke ascending from the spot where the twin towers were leveled. We rode the subways, roamed the streets and ministered to people everywhere. There we were given permission to use various church buildings. We set up tables and gave out cookies and water along with Gospel literature. We had the opportunity to lead a number of folks to the Lord on that trip! You may read more about this outreach on my blog about the week of September 11th here.

ministering in NYC just days after 9-11
Ministering in New York City just days after 9-11-01

In Bible College, I was continually challenged outside of the classroom by good reading material that friends gave me. One book that really impacted me was Shadow of the Almighty by Elizabeth Elliot. As I read about the life of Jim Elliot, I noted many parallels of his experiences with my own. His personal discipline physically and mentally became a personal challenge. He was an intentional student or servant in training because he understood what it would take to be engaged with a pioneering mission. Jim Elliot gave himself whole-heartedly to being fully equipped for the task – what an example! He competed on the wrestling team and studied Biblical languages. Even while standing in line for meals, he redeemed the time by memorizing Scripture from index cards he had written them on.

Seek to make friendships with missionaries

Being at Bible College, I had the privilege of meeting many missionaries who came through and would encourage us young zealous men. One representative from the Gospel Furthering Fellowship asked me to go on a trip with him to Indonesia. Although I never went, I began to learn specifically of the need of people groups within the borders of countries. In fact, there are over 300 Unreached people groups in Indonesia alone! There were three groups specifically that this missionary was targeting and strategizing to reach. One of these was the Madurese with 14 million people and no church present! You will learn later how this information would affect me and how God would further direct my steps.

Dr. Ed and Margaret Reese
Spending time with Dr. Ed and Margaret Reese while I was at Crown College.

Another great blessing in college was spending time with Dr. Ed Reese, who is a wealth of knowledge on great heroes of the past and the compiler of the Chronological Bible. He would tell us of his past experiences with Youth for Christ crusades he participated in. Dr. Reese always thought big and planned big! He had an idea to systematically evangelize the world. He made a list of all 3,000+ counties in America. Then he made a list of all the countries in the world divided by their provinces with their populations. We would divide the provinces or countries of the world into groups of approximately 2 million. 

Ideally, Bible preaching churches in each county of America would be responsible for one of these areas of the world. 

They would sponsor a church planting evangelist to reach the two million people in the designated region of the world.  I enjoyed spending hours looking at maps and working on this project. I felt like I was having a part in making a world-wide difference. 

If you have never been on a foreign field, I challenge you to take a mission trip with your family or church. Prepare now by learning about missionaries your church supports. Start saving up money for a plane ticket and get your passport!

Please check out the video below that accompanies this chapter titled “Committed to His Cause” about the life of David and his faith, vision, and sacrifice.

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