On one day, the entire student body – elementary, middle and high school – of Sharpsville Area School District, over a period of four assemblies in the Middle School gymnasium, were able to enjoy powerful presentations by Motivational Media of California. After each program, Bill Rudge addressed the student body sharing some of his experiences as a youth and the importance of making wise choices.
Three giant 14-foot screens, contemporary music, real-life stories, sports footage, film clips and familiar animated characters brought strong messages to the students about bullying, kindness, working hard toward your dreams, never giving up, truth matters and encouraging others.
The elementary students could barely contain their enthusiasm as they laughed, clapped, cheered, and sang their way through the assembly when they recognized familiar movie scenes and popular songs. You could hear a pin drop, but, as they became silent during the narration and messages of the presentation titled, “Everyday Heroes.”
The Middle and High School students’ assembly was called “The Good Life” which struck a more serious note as the students witnessed the results of using drugs and alcohol, texting and driving, and bullying. A most poignant scene showed teens talking lightheartedly about texting and driving. The mood changed quickly, however, in viewing a partially-paralyzed woman sit in front of the teens and share her story of the accident that crippled her and killed her parents because of a drunk driver. Throughout the assemblies the students were well behaved, attentive and responded enthusiastically to the messages – some students and teachers cried.
We received thank you notes from the principals, guidance counselors and superintendent. Principal Jonathan Fry wrote, “Bill, Thank you for all of the hard work that you do for our students. The program that you shared with us today was fantastic! Our students and staff truly enjoyed it and learned from it….”
For over 40 years, Bill Rudge has brought educational and inspirational multi-media assemblies to area schools, as well as he and BJ speaking at assemblies across the U.S. and in many countries. Bill also does self-defense clinics in the schools and runs an Ultimate Challenge Obstacle Course at BRM for many athletic teams from several schools. BJ trains students in soccer.
Special thanks to New Virginia United Methodist Church Missions Committee, Jan Anderson, Andy Canady Concrete Construction and Mary Alice Mook for underwriting these assemblies. Also, thanks to Chris Chrastina, Dick Hetrick, Shawn Hill and Bruce Lozier for helping set up the equipment and Darlinda McDonald for taking photographs.
For more about Bill’s School Assemblies please click here.
The other day my daughter asked me about what it means to have childlike faith. I responded by telling her that just as children trust their parents we, too, need to trust God. In other words, we must learn to walk by faith and not by sight.
The very next day I was cleaning up after dinner thinking about all the decisions that my wife and I were facing and the challenges we had as a family.
After four ankle surgeries, my oldest daughter was still having significant pain. What should we do? Should we consult another doctor and face the possibility of a fifth surgery?
My second oldest daughter was still dealing with post-concussion issues, even though a year had passed. Would she ever experience relief from her headaches? Would we have to go through another round of vision therapy?
Then, the reality of all the medical bills with my daughters’ issues began to make me concerned. How would we pay for them?
The difficulties in my personal life seemed to only intensify with the proliferating coronavirus and how it might impact our lives and nation. What if our community was put under mandatory quarantine? Did we have enough food and supplies? What would we do if one of us gets sick?
While feeling completely overwhelmed with all these questions running through my mind, I looked out our kitchen window and saw my two youngest daughters on our trampoline playing with their Barbie dolls. In the midst of all that was going on in my life and the world, they were content and at peace. It was at that moment where God impressed on my heart what it means to have childlike faith. It did not mean I would go through life with no problems or challenges, but in the midst of them, like my children, I could still have peace and joy.
Just as my children’s peace and joy rested in the fact that they knew my wife and I would take care of their needs, so too, we can have peace and joy knowing that our heavenly Father will also take care of our needs.
As our world continues to face the fear of the uncertainty of the coronavirus, and as we all face difficulties and challenges, may we live with a childlike faith in a God who is truly our refuge in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).
A man nearing the age of 70 who had squandered his life, told me he had asked the Lord to forgive him many times over the years. But after repeated failures, he felt he could never be forgiven for all he had done and was doomed eternally.
The Lord instantly spoke to my heart the following words – “There is no sin the Lord cannot forgive, except the sin that is not asked to be forgiven.” This man who had fallen into hopeless despair for his wasted life, accepted, once again, the Lord’s offer of forgiveness (1 John 1:9). A few years later he died as a powerful witness for Jesus Christ.
Disappointments, struggles, difficulties, injuries and the everyday circumstances of life can take a toll on your physical, as well as your spiritual health.
Through many challenging times you may have to trust God in situations that are impossible to understand at the time. Your faith that God will work things out for His glory and your good may be all that encourages you.
In Luke 10:19 Jesus gave the “Seventy” authority to trample on snakes, scorpions and to overcome the power of the enemy. But verse 20 caught my eye:
Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
This encouraged me that no matter how overwhelming our circumstances are, this world is not our home. Life here is only temporary. The most important thing is having our names in the Book of Life.
God promised He would never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6) and during trying times, though occasionally rocky, we can be assured of His presence and know He is walking with us. Praising Him, relying on Him and trusting His Word – no matter what we face – provides peace in the midst of life’s storms.
Two distinguishing marks of committed believers are found in Acts 17:10–12:
An eagerness and willingness to hear God’s message from Paul and Silas and learn from it. (Go to church with an attitude of expectation that God speaks through His Word.)
A personal dependence on Scripture to evaluate the message Paul and Silas were preaching. (Examine everything by the Bible.)
Believers are encouraged to subject all teaching to the biblical standard. Consider the following passages: Romans 16:18; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Galatians 6:7; Ephesians 5:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; Titus 1:10; James 1:16; 1 John 2:26; 3:7; 2 John 7; Revelation 12:9; 13:14; 18:23; 19:20; 20:3, 8, 10.
Checking out all teaching from those who represent Christ is not being overly critical, but is – according to Luke – “more noble-minded” (Acts 17:11).
At the beginning of January, Karen and I fast for a week or more as we pray through our Personal, Family, and Ministry Prayer and Fasting lists. This is an intense; special time of prayer and Scripture study to seek the Lord’s direction and goals for the coming year.
Similar to the principle of lifting weights, I tear myself down physically, emotionally and spiritually through fasting – only to be rebuilt – stronger for the new year. Along with the tremendous spiritual benefits, there are some amazing physical and mental benefits.
At the age of 30 my health was eroding. The indulgent, injurious lifestyle of my younger years were catching up with me. So I prayed, “Lord, if You want me to continue in the ministry, I need Your help.” I am convinced that the Lord honored that earnest prayer by leading me into fasting and nutrition. As a result, I have seen tremendous benefits in obeying His biblical principles of health and fitness.
Many Christians and Christian leaders needlessly suffer from the consequences of being undisciplined, overindulgent and from violating God’s natural health laws. God is calling for a body of believers who will not only serve Him wholeheartedly but also walk in discipline and self-control. Remember, we are not to be mastered by anything or anyone but Him.
Throughout Scripture, the people of God have faced insurmountable circumstances and obstacles. When they humbled themselves and sought the Lord with all their hearts, through prayer and fasting, He intervened in miraculous ways.
I can testify that what was written in the Bible thousands of years ago is true because I have witnessed the God of the Bible do some awesome things in my life and ministry. I have documented in my personal records numerous accounts of supernatural intervention in the midst of impossible situations, and recorded many of the lessons the Lord has taught me. The Impossible (a record of my life and ministry) and Adventures In Missions (a record of my mission trips) are laced with miraculous accounts of what has occurred as a result of fasting, prayer, faith and obedience.
Bill’s e-book, Fasting for Sensitivity and Power is available free of charge at billrudge.org or for purchase at amazon.com.
Spending more time with family, getting into shape, quitting a bad habit and getting out of debt top the list of New Year’s resolutions. We make our resolutions with the best of intentions. Early in the new year we are like runners at the start of a race: excited to begin the quest toward the finish line. However, several months into the year, our enthusiasm wanes as motivation diminishes, distractions divert us, pressures and time constraints weigh us down, and apathy overtakes us. What started as a noble endeavor, often becomes just another New Year’s resolution that will have to wait until next year to be achieved.
So, too, in our Christian walk we start out with the best of intentions. We are enthusiastic in our faith and motivated to enhance our relationship with Jesus Christ. But if we do not nurture this desire and goal, in time motivation and enthusiasm begin to wane as trials and temptations take their toll. Many give up, beaten down by guilt, struggling to get back on track spiritually. As in other areas of our life, spirituality becomes just another resolution, indefinitely postponed.
Instead of waiting for another New Year, re-evaluate your priorities and goals right now. Rather than merely making a New Year’s resolution, make a New Life resolution – a lifetime commitment, through the power of God’s Spirit, to make Jesus Christ the center of your life. The following are some simple, but profound, principles to help you:
Live a life of prayer (Colossians 4:2).
Devote yourself to the study of God’s Word:
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (Joshua 1:8).
Be authentic in your walk with Christ (Ephesians 5:1, 2).
Commit to Him with your whole life:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37).
Take on this challenge of a New Life resolution – begin today, and keep the passion burning throughout the year. If you notice the flame burning low, rekindle it and keep on going – until the very end!