Pastor Mike Bucher
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 2
The first memory I have is of fire…
My name is Mike Bucher and I was born into the world of top-fuel drag racing. My dad was the Chevy top-fuel legend Jim Bucher and the first time I went to a race was when I was 3 days old.
My favorite smell is nitro and burning rubber. The only thing i wanted to do was drive a dragster like my dad.
In my childhood, I ate, slept, and breathed drag racing. I would hide under the kitchen table as my dad would talk to his friends about the sport, and I would sit for hours in my dad’s car whenever he would pull it in the garage. When I wasn’t sitting in my dad’s car, I was coming home from school with notes from my teachers complaining at my lack of attention and obsession with drag racing. I also would turn Estes Rockets into cars by attaching wheels to them, and watch as they disappeared down the street.
My dad was a super hero in my eyes. I did anything to please him and my dream was to be just like him. I counted down the days to my 16th birthday, the day I would be able to drive my dad’s car.
But that would all change one day.
Eve of Despair…
After my dad had won the 1975 Summer Nationals, he became sick. For two years he had slowly weakened until, on July 7th, 1977, two years to the day of his championship race, he died.
I was 15 years old when I woke to the sound of my aunt (my dad’s sister) crying. Fear pounded in my heart as I asked her, “He died?”. She nodded slowly, and in that moment my world shattered. I began running from one end of the house to the other, crying and screaming, “No!”.
The house felt empty, and a flood of lonliness overcame me. Everything I had wanted, everything I had hoped for had been taken away. Bitterness and anger filled me.
Three months later, a next door neighbor started showing kindness to me and my brothers. The neighbor would take us to McDonald’s, sneak us into a near-by swimming pool, and even let me drive his car on occassion. Then one day, the neighbor began inviting us to the Church outings like ski trips, skating parties, and a meeting where an evangelist shared The Gospel. Although I wasn’t looking for The Lord, and I didn’t think I “needed” Him, I know that when Jesus said, “You didn’t choose Me, but I chose you”, is true, because it happened to me.
And as I knelt on the altar, with tears streaming down my face, I felt God’s presence washing over me. My chains of bitterness and anger shattered and hope and peace filled my heart. I had been saved.
However, for the first years of my walk with The Lord, I looked at God like a perfectionist, someone I could never please no matter how hard I tried. I tried to earn God’s favor but found myself always falling short. But, as The Lord began to reveal His grace to me, I began to understand that I was loved because I was God’s child. That was the time when God’s kindness and goodness softened and broke me. God began changing me through His Spirit and His Word until I came to a place where I wanted to serve God out of love instead of fear.
Now I want to be like my Heavenly Father, just like I wanted to be like my earthly father.
From the time my dad got sick until he died, he would tell me that he had “been to the top and there was nothing there”,and as he held the trophy after winning the Summer Nationals, he said, “I thought I would be happier than this”.
I would later learn that two days before my dad had died, the same neighbor who had reached out to me had shared The Gospel with my dad.
Later my dad had told my mom that he was ready. When my mom asked, “For what?”, my dad had told her that he was ready to die.
I am convinced that the longing in my dad’s heart, the emptiness that trophies and fame could not fill, was filled by knowing Jesus Christ as His Savior.
When I was saved, I found what my dad had been looking for: a relationship with his Father in heaven through His Son Jesus. At that moment, I prayed that God would use me to tell His message to the entire world of drag racing. As awesome as drag racing is, it will never satify our souls. Deep within each one of us, there is a spiritual hunger and thirst that only Jesus can fill. No matter how fast you go, no matter how many times you win, it will not be enough until you bow your knee and yield your life to The King of Kings and The Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ.
The Bible says that Jesus stands at the door and knocks and if any man will hear His voice, He will come into Him, wash away his sins, give him a new heart and make him into a new creation.
The Bible says…that TODAY is the day of salvation. You might not have a chance tomorrow.