Do You Have Abilities God Can Use?

by Jim Weikal

“Select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom.  We will give them this responsibility.”  (Acts 6:3)

Do you have any abilities God can use? Too often believers shrink back from a “God-calling” because they feel less gifted than others. But think about these points:

1. Do you share our Lord’s interest in the kingdom of God? . . . Yes.

2. Do you have a sense of loyalty to Jesus Christ who paid the penalty for your sin? . . . Yes.

3. Do you desire to see God’s kingdom grow by adding repentant sinners? . . . Yes.

4. Do you trust God’s wisdom in selecting people to work in His kingdom? . . . Yes.

If God put these positive responses in your heart, wouldn’t He equip you with the ability to fulfill them? The church needs Timothies and Tituses. Not everyone needs to be a Paul or Peter. It needs unknowns like Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, and Claudia. Please put your abilities to work for Christ. You will be glad you did!

Apostasy

by Bill Rudge

Christianity is under a relentless assault from atheism, Islam and the media. Yet much of the Church is so focused on “pleasing people” that she has lost the power of God’s Spirit.

The Church must return to the biblical mandate of evangelism and missions, lest she be overcome by the apostasy (falling away) foretold by the Apostle Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition”) and fade into the pages of history as a compromised, lukewarm church (Revelation 3:16 “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”).

Grace in the Wilderness

by Darlinda McDonald

Pastor Joe Marzano was a youth pastor for eleven years when he and his wife made the decision to step away from their church because it had drifted from the Word of God. During some time in the wilderness, and after much prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit they decided to start a church. They knew, however, that they needed some Biblically sound direction. That is when Pastor Joe decided to call BRM (Bill Rudge Ministries).

“Bill was a great encouragement to me,” said Pastor Joe. “He supplied me with some materials that helped show me the error I had been taught as well as the new truth and freedoms in Christ. It was a definite breath of fresh Scripture.”

Pastor Joe now leads a church called Grace in the Wilderness Fellowship. He states,

“The church I pastor now, Grace in the Wilderness Fellowship, is based on the Word, Sola Scriptura. The Bible is more than sufficient, it is our lifeline. I have been blessed with people who have a hunger and thirst for God’s Word. Last November, we celebrated our 20th anniversary as a church. I want to thank Bill, Karen, and Dr. BJ, as well as the entire BRM ministry, as they were lovingly praying for us at a crucial time in our life. When others said we would fail, Bill and others encouraged us like Barnabas did with Paul. I am grateful for this ministry, and twenty years later we are constantly reminded that the Lord is faithful. Blessings to the Rudge family and ministry.”

Pastor Joe Marzano is on Bill Rudge Ministries Board of Reference, and Grace in the Wilderness Fellowship is a faithful supporter of BRM.

Three Types of Clergy – A Word from Jesus

by Bill Rudge

In light of the recent news about abuse by clergy in Pennsylvania, Bill has written the following article:

Most men and women get into ministry with a heart to serve the Lord and continue with that commitment throughout the duration of their ministry. Hopefully this is true for the majority of those who serve in Jesus’ name. They will one day hear Him say:

Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness! (Matthew 25:23).

Some people get into ministry because they also have a heart to serve the Lord and help others – but along the way they get lured into sexual immorality. While forgiveness is available for true repentance (1 John 1:9), they better carefully ponder the requirements and responsibilities set forth in Scripture to be a leader: 1 Timothy 3:1-12; Titus 1:6-9; James 3:1.

Some people go through the external motions of professing faith in Christ –

even praising the Lord and quoting Scripture –

but their lifestyles indicate their hearts are far from Him and His Word.

Others enter ministry as “opportunists” with a predetermined agenda to exploit and take advantage of vulnerable people. Jude and Peter warn about such predators:

For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. But the Lord is coming to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done (Jude 4, 13-15; 2 Peter 2:2).

Jesus’ Rebuke and Commendation

Reflecting upon the words of Jesus to the seven churches in Revelation, chapters two and three, provides tremendous insight which has both immediate and eternal implications.

Jesus’ four main rebukes were for: 1) false teaching – so contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints, 2) sexual immorality – so purify your life and relationships, 3) idolatry – so put nothing or no one before the Lord and 4) being lukewarm and leaving first love – so keep your passion for Jesus Christ and His Word burning.

Jesus’ four main commendations were for their: 1) love, faith, and service – so be active in evangelism and outreach, 2) endurance and perseverance – so be totally committed to Christ with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and remain faithful to the end, 3) sexual and spiritual purity – so keep yourself pure physically, mentally and
spiritually, and 4) faithfulness to His Word and Name – so stand for the truth of Scripture and your testimony of the Jesus of the Bible.

Count the Cost

by Bill Rudge

“No one can become My disciple without giving up everything for Me.” Luke 14:33

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Photo by Tom Lodge

Once you are convinced that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah, God uniquely manifest in the flesh, and the only way of salvation, you must count the cost before you give your life to Him. In Luke 14:28-33, Jesus shared the importance of counting the cost before following Him. He said, “One should not start building a tower without counting the cost, lest he run out of money and be ridiculed when unable to finish it. Should not a king about to go to war first consider whether he is able with 10,000 men to oppose a force of 20,000?” In the same way, Jesus said, anyone who wants to be His disciple must count the cost of giving up everything for Him.

Before I was a Christian, I thought I was god. Not God the Creator, but god in the sense that I was invincible. I did some crazy things because of that philosophy. Deceived by the same lie Satan used on Adam and Eve, I was walking in rebellion against the one true God.

But I came to the realization that I was not god — that Jesus Christ was God’s unique revelation of truth. He was the One I needed as my Savior and Lord.

I Made the Choice

Once I examined the evidence, and was convinced who Christ is, I had to make a choice. Do I reject Him and walk away in rebellion and self-deluded pride? Or do I humble myself, admit my rebellion, and trust in Him for my salvation?

By God’s grace, I chose to give Christ my life. Making a 180-degree turn, I began following Him as Savior and Lord. It’s called repentance. It’s dying to self and living for Christ. We must dethrone self, quit playing God, and place Christ in His rightful position as Lord of our lives. Then His goals become our goals. His desires become our desires. His will becomes our will.

To illustrate, let’s pretend you are on one trapeze and Jesus is on another. You have one hand holding onto your trapeze, and one hand holding onto Christ. You want to live for Christ, but you also want to live for self. You want to obey the Lord, but you also want to have your own way and do your own thing. You want Him to be your God, but you also want to be your own god. You want to run your own life, make your own decisions, have your own goals, and fulfill your own desires. But you can’t hold onto both. Eventually the two trapeze bars go in opposite directions. If you try to both live for self and for the Lord it will tear you apart.

That’s why there are so many neurotic Christians walking around confused, depressed, and discouraged, not knowing what they believe or what God’s will is. When Christians are only half-committed (trying to live for self and trying to live for the Lord) they are the most miserable of people. They go out to witness and say, “Don’t you want what I have?” The non-Christian says, “No thanks, I have enough problems already.” Instead of having an impact on their world for Christ, as the first century believers did, their compromised lives tend to turn people off. That’s why we will never influence our world for Christ unless we ourselves are first totally sold out to Him.

There is no middle road. You can’t straddle the fence. You must totally accept or reject Him. And to not totally accept Him is to reject Him. Don’t let Jesus’ words in Revelation 3:16 be true of you:

So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of My mouth.

You must count the cost and then make a wise choice – total commitment to Christ as Lord!

Excerpted from Reaching Your Maximum Potential in Christ (which is being updated and expanded for its third printed edition and E-book).