The White Stone

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

The apostle Paul sets an example for believers in Jesus Christ to stand firm with conviction in regard to what the Bible has to say on sexuality. Yet, countless Christians are clueless concerning what it means to live a holy and righteous life. Many youth and young adults make their decisions about what is right and wrong based upon the relativity of circumstance rather than the absolute authority of God’s Word.

The message of the Gospel is compromised and weakened because of the sexual immorality among professing Christians. For example, a Muslim soccer coach confessed to me that he closed his ears to the Gospel message because of the rampant immorality that plagues the lives of many supposed Christians he has met.

If the church is unwilling to repent and continues to tolerate immoral behavior, its ability to be the “light of the world” will fade into extinction. Our Lord Jesus warned the church at Pergamum not to tolerate teachings that endorse sexually immoral behavior (Revelation 2:14-16).

Like the church at Pergamum in the first century, the church today needs to repent of its immorality. If we do, then just as Pergamum was promised a white stone for overcoming, we too will be given a white stone (Revelation 2:17). What is this white stone? An athlete at that time, after winning a competition, was awarded a white stone – an admission pass to the winner’s celebration. So too, believers who overcome will receive a white stone; their admission pass to Christ’s eternal Kingdom.

Walking in Obedience

by Bill Rudge

Photo by Bill Rudge

Throughout the Old and New Testaments we meet people who offered sacrifices and demonstrated the appearance of spirituality. However, God labels many of them as lukewarm, disobedient, stiff-necked, stubborn, rebellious or apostate. Why? Because God is more concerned with the attitudes of the heart than with outward displays. God desires a people who are obedient and faithful.

King Saul learned the hard way that “to obey is better than sacrifice.” Following Saul’s lame excuse for only partially obeying the Lord’s command, the prophet Samuel rebuked him with the following words:

Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice… (1 Samuel 15:22).

It is very important that we not only talk our Christianity, but that we walk it. Titus 1:16 states:

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him….

All through the Scriptures we meet those who were tempted, tested, and confronted by obstacles. Some disobeyed, rebelled, and turned from the Lord. Others remained faithful – no matter the cost. Those who disobeyed suffered the consequences; immediately or in the not-so-distant future. Those who obeyed received God’s blessing and ultimate victory.

On Talking Back

When I was in gymnastics and my instructor would say, “Billy, climb the rope to the gym’s ceiling. Do a round off and several backhand springs in a row on the mat. Get on the trampoline and do a double back flip.” I did not say, “I don’t feel like doing that today.” I did it!

When going out for football and the coach would say, “Hit the sled and keep hitting it until I tell you to stop. Run the ropes. Take five laps.” I did not say, “Well coach, I am not in the mood to do that today.” I did it!

When, in karate, my instructor said, “Do knuckle pushups.” I did knuckle pushups. When he said, “You, Rudge! Come here. I want to use you for an uke and beat on you for awhile.” I did not say, “Not today, Sensei. Maybe next time.” No, I stepped forward and let him demonstrate strikes and kicks on me. When I was told, “Lay down and put this potato on your chest so I can slice it in half with this sword.” I did not say, “That’s a bad idea.” I obeyed. When he said spar and fight, I sparred and fought!

Should I obey any less the King of kings and Lord of lords, the God who created me, the God who came and died for me, who bodily rose from the dead, and who is coming again to rule and reign for all eternity?

When His Word and Spirit tell me to do something, how much more should I obey without talking back or whining or complaining or making excuses? I do not say, “Well, if I feel like it, Lord,” or “Maybe I will think about it,” or “I don’t know if I want to do that.” I obey! That is what it means to be submitted to Christ’s Lordship.

But is this biblical? In Luke 6:46 Jesus asks:

Why do you call Me, “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say?

In John 14:15, 24 Jesus said:

If you love Me, you will obey what I command. He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching.

In Matthew 7:21 Jesus states:

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.

1 John 2:3, 6 says:

We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.

And the manner in which Jesus walked was in humility and obedience (Philippians 2:8).

Excerpted from Reaching Your Maximum Potential in Christ which is being expanded for its third edition.

I’MPOSSIBLE

I’MPOSSIBLE

School Assemblies a Big Hit

by Darlinda McDonald

I can be amazing: learn from my mistakes, change my bad habits, take responsibility for my actions, use good words intentionally, encourage others, and work as a team player to help solve problems. These are just a few of the lessons that school students at Artman, Case Avenue, Greenville, Ionta, and Sharpsville Elementary and Middle schools learned during six exciting multi-media assemblies in their school gymnasiums sponsored by Bill Rudge.

The media presentation, titled “I’MPOSSIBLE,” splashed visuals across three giant 14-foot screens. It used famous people, current music, and contemporary film clips to deliver messages about bullying, kindness, working hard toward your dreams and encouraging others. True-life examples of children with a dream, who experienced loss, or were physically challenged showed how they handled each of their situations with positive attitudes. The students laughed, clapped, and sang their way through the assembly as they recognized familiar movie scenes and popular songs, but you could hear a pin drop as they became silent during the narration and messages.

The assemblies also included an inspiring message by BJ Rudge and powerful demonstrations by Bill Rudge showing the meanness of bullying, the value of self-defense, the importance of resisting negative peer pressure and how to overcome the impossible. Bill’s helpers included local volunteers and assistants Chris Chrastina, Dick Hetrick, Shawn Hill, Bruce Lozier, Ken Ridgley, Brandon Santana, and Carson Smith as well as a few teachers Bill chose from the audience.

The multi-media presentation was created and produced by Motivational Media Assemblies and brought into the schools by Bill and BJ Rudge. These six assemblies were provided free of charge, courtesy of underwriting by New Virginia United Methodist Church, Jan Anderson, Mary Alice Mook, and Denny and Andrea Staul.

Tens of thousands of elementary, middle and high school students, as well as teachers and principals have been inspired, challenged and encouraged by the more than 100 assemblies Bill and BJ Rudge have sponsored and/or spoken at throughout the years on a variety of topics presenting powerful messages on anti-bullying, choices, consequences, courage, strength, self-control, discipline, self-defense, determination, love, kindness, helping others, respect, and other positive and inspirational topics. Bill Rudge has also spoken at assemblies across the nation and around the world for over 30 years.

The response from the principals, teachers and students was outstanding. A few of the many comments received from the principals were: “Truly remarkable! The students loved it! We have heard so many positive comments! The message was very timely and critical for our students! Everyone could feel the excitement in the gym! It was the best assembly ever! Fantastic show with a great message!”

A few weeks later Bill was in Sharpsville Middle School doing Street Survival Strategy Defense Clinics for all the eighth grade students. (In a future newsletter we will share exciting highlights and photos.) In May the Ultimate Challenge Obstacle Course opens at Bill Rudge Ministries.