The Miracle Continues

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Karen and Bill in the early days of the ministry.

Forty years ago God led Bill and Karen Rudge to begin an incredible journey of faith. In August of 1977, with no money or facilities – only a God-given vision and determination – they began a ministry that was destined to become an international outreach.

While most people thought the goals of this young couple could never be achieved, Bill and Karen believed God would fulfill what He led them to do. God used the very determination Bill had for lifting weights and karate before becoming a Christian and miraculously increased and redirected it for His purpose.

Many of you are witnesses to the miraculous ways the Lord has worked in and through Bill and Karen’s lives and ministry. You are aware of the numerous “giants” and impossible circumstances they have faced and how God intervened to overcome them.

The testimony of Bill and Karen is that the God who called them is faithful. He has protected, provided and fulfilled everything He has led them to do. Bill has documented these throughout the years in various newsletters and for an upcoming book entitled The Impossible.

First Samuel 2:30 says “…those who honor Me I will honor….” From the beginning of this ministry Bill and Karen’s heart desire has been to honor the Lord, obey His Word and be led by His Spirit – and His blessings have surpassed anything they could have ever imagined. Our God is truly amazing and awesome!

The Vision

At the inception of Bill Rudge Ministries (1977), the Lord clearly put on Bill’s heart the vision of a local, national and international ministry. It seemed preposterous in light of their circumstances, but they still shared this dream way back in the January 1979 letter. One excerpt follows:

Our goal for the first five years is to establish a strong foundation and a strong local program that is effectively reaching out to area youth and adults so that within the next five years this ministry will be reaching out on a national level – and within 10 years to reach out on a worldwide level. God will bring this vision and dream to fruition. Many will dream, but few are willing to go through what Bill has and will go through to make this dream a reality. This is our goal and our dream. With your prayers and financial support we will continue to attempt it.

Bill’s Reflections

Many of the people who began supporting us in the early days of the ministry continue to this day. Some have gone on to be with the Lord. Virtually all of our family (parents and siblings, as well as many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins), along with numerous ministry friends, have stood with us throughout the years and made our dream their own.

Karen has worked side by side with me and supported me each step of the way. Our daughter and son have been actively involved from their youth through the present (BJ, as my executive assistant and Tabitha, as a volunteer). Some of the grandchildren assist with the obstacle course and help out in various other capacities.

As we celebrate the ministry’s 40th anniversary in August, we rejoice at how God has done the impossible in fulfilling this miracle. There is no explanation except the Lord’s provision through the generosity of our supporters and their earnest prayers on our behalf. They have had a part in this incredible venture of faith. Karen and I will continue to work for the Lord until He returns or calls us home. We are very grateful for all of our ministry friends and partners.

The Nearest Battle

The following thoughts are by Richard C. Halverson, Former Chaplain of the U. S. Senate (Excerpted with permission from the June 2017 issue of First Assembly of God newsletter, Vol. 20, Issue 6).

Want to be a Winner?

Want to be a winner? Compete against yourself, not somebody else. Beating your partner at golf doesn’t necessarily mean you shot your best game. Outrunning your rival doesn’t mean you ran your best race. You can win over another and still not fulfill your potential.

It’s true in all of life. To be your best, you must compete with yourself. It’s life’s biggest contest.

A loser is a winner…however many his losses…if he conquers himself.

A winner is a loser…however many his victories…if he loses the battle with himself.

Alexander the Great conquered the world, and cursed his own lack of self-control.

Victory May Contribute to Failure

Victory over others may in fact be the very thing that contributes to the winner’s failure to conquer self. Winning makes him proud, arrogant, independent, thoughtless – and sometimes cruel. To put it another way, it isn’t what happens to you that makes the difference, but how you handle it. The one who stops maturing spiritually because he thinks he knows more Scripture than others or has had more success in ministry, is still far from being what Christ has planned for him. If you must compare yourself with another, compare yourself with Christ. Let Him mold and fashion your life into the full potential, the divine original He intends.

On the Upward Way

by Bill Rudge

DSC_0484Recently, our family and friends decided to “rough it” on a two week journey through the western United States. The trip was challenging and oftentimes extremely difficult. However, all the inconveniences were worth it because of the breathtaking landscapes, incredible experiences, and bountiful witnessing opportunities.

This is a reminder to me that although we may face many challenges and difficult times, our lives are also interspersed with unexpected beauty and many blessings. It is a picture of the hope that we will someday inherit all that God has prepared for us, making any suffering or difficulties in this life pale in comparison.

As it says in 2 Corinthians 4:16-17,

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

Change Your Future

John Wilkes Booth shocked the world by assassinating President Abraham Lincoln. At the time, Booth’s brother Edwin was considered one of the greatest actors in America. Believing the family name had been shamed forever, he retired from acting and went into seclusion. But his legacy turned out not to be one of death and disappointment, but of life and influence. A few years before Lincoln’s assassination, Edwin was at a train station in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was standing nearby when a young man lost his footing on the platform and almost fell into the path of a moving train. Without hesitation, Edwin rescued the young man by reaching down and pulling him up by his collar. There was a brief exchange of gratitude, but Edwin never dreamed how significant that moment would become. Some years later he received a letter from then President Ulysses Grant thanking him for his heroic deed. Why? Because the young man he had saved was Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of Abraham Lincoln. Edwin Booth took that letter to his grave; a reminder that we may not be able to change our past but we can certainly change our future. And by God’s grace you can change yours too!

Excerpted from Daily Devotionals, Bob Gass Ministries

 

Life Lessons

by Bill Rudge

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Photo by Bill Rudge

I had just turned 25 when I started this ministry in 1977. In those early days, I was told by ministers, older than myself, that the years would pass quickly. They were right. The ministry will turn 40 at the beginning of next month. Over the years I have learned many important lessons through experience, observation and reflection. The wisdom gained is far more valuable than the wealth of this world.

In length of years, I have been given the opportunity to see several generations and have lived what feels like multiple “lifetimes”:

From being a middle child with four brothers and one sister to being a fitness and martial arts instructor; from being a rebellious teenager to becoming a committed Christian; from marrying Karen (I was 18 and she was 17) to the blessings a few years later of two children, followed by 11 grandchildren; from hitchhiking across the country to graduating from Bible college; from working as a youth pastor and training with Youth for Christ to starting this multi-faceted ministry; from producing radio broadcasts and writing books to traveling the world on adventurous missions and speaking engagements…and so much more.

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Path at Bill Rudge Ministries

Life experience and lessons have been plentiful. Some of the insights and wisdom gained along the way:

  • We are not here by random chance – we are, rather, a unique creation designed for a special purpose.
  • We may think we are the masters of our fates, but God is the determiner of our destinies.
  • Sometimes the Lord seems to “hideHis face and be shrouded in silence. But those who seek Him with all their hearts will find Him and discover His reality.
  • The wisest and most courageous decision I ever made was to give my life to Jesus Christ.
  • In spite of dangers and even life threatening circumstances over the years, the Lord has fulfilled His promise that my life would not be taken until His purpose is fulfilled.
  • His path is rarely easy – many times it takes us through rugged terrain, dark woods, deep valleys, barren deserts and isolated wildernesses – but He is always faithful and the obstacles really do make us stronger.
  • In God’s time and way all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
  • The Lord has been faithful in the past, therefore I can trust Him with my future.
  • When there seems to be no hope, I turn to the only One who can give hope.
  • More important than trying to change our circumstances is changing our attitude by trusting the Lord in the midst of them.
  • Honor the Lord in the valley and through the wilderness – when your trial or test is over you will be glad you trusted Him. Doubting and complaining are dead ends.
  • With God-infused determination and discipline, we can choose to never give up whatever the challenge.
  • Half-committed people are most miserable; those committed to Jesus Christ with all their hearts, souls, minds and strength experience the abundant life (despite circumstances).
  • The four most important things in life are faith, family, friends and fitness.
  • Building my life and ministry on Scripture, with the leading of His Spirit, and desiring to honor the Lord in every aspect of my life, along with fasting and prayer when facing life’s impossibilities, have resulted in amazing victories.
  • Handing over our lives, time, money, families and dreams allows God to give them back many times over in unexpected ways.
  • Surrounding ourselves with those who are positive and encouraging inspires us to strive for excellence.
  • Spending time with children and grandchildren blesses them, but blesses us even more.
  • Live in such a way that when we depart this life we leave a legacy of love, faith and integrity.
  • We must rise above the waves of “garbage” (verbal assaults…) that come against us in our lives or they will drown us.
  • Sometimes you must stand up and defend your integrity; other times the best solution is to let the Lord fight your battle. Pray for discernment.
  • Be quick to forgive those who wrong you and love those who despise you – for Christ has forgiven you.
  • If we humble ourselves in the presence of the Lord, He will exalt us in due time; those who exalt themselves before others will eventually be humbled.
  • You can willingly choose to change your diet and lifestyle now, or one day you may be forced to with little or no choice.
  • The longer we walk the path of poor health principles the farther the road back to regain our health.
  • Fear (reverence) God, keep His commandments and live by biblical health principles – they will be life to your spirit and health to your body and mind.
  • At the beginning of every new decade I review my nutritional protocol and get even more disciplined to compensate for the aging process and to maintain my energy and vitality for the next 10 years.
  • The word retirement is not in my vocabulary.
  • So much of life is wasted on worry, fear, doubt, impatience, complaining, jealousy, envy, bitterness, revenge, lust and greed. How much better to develop the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
  • Be a wise steward of your family, funds, time and talents. All believers in Jesus Christ will one day give an account of how we used the resources entrusted to our care.
  • It is better to give than to horde. Never sell or merchandise the Gospel because it was freely given.
  • Courage is not the lack of fear, but standing our ground in spite of it.
  • Faith is not the absence of doubt, but rather trusting the Lord in spite of it.
  • It is not the “giants” that defeat us but our fear of them.
  • Failure is not when we fall, but when we lay there and give up in defeat. Christ’s grace is sufficient for all our failures.
  • Spending time on our knees before the Lord enables us to stand before anyone and in any situation.
  • Be slow to speak and quick to listen – keep your mouth shut when appropriate and you will stay out of trouble.
  • Look beyond what someone says or does and consider the motives of why they said what they said or did what they did.
  • Do not envy what someone else has or does – materialism and success never truly satisfy and soon fade like spring flowers.
  • We cannot be experts in everything. The wise surround themselves with trustworthy people who are skilled in areas of need and then delegate responsibility to them.
  • Remember those who have helped us along life’s journey. Remember to thank them.
  • The key to many of the successes experienced in my life and ministry can be directly traced to faithful prayer intercessors and ministry supporters behind the scenes.
  • An attitude of gratitude multiplies happiness; it changes our focus from fretting over what we do not have to appreciating all we do have.
  • Accepting Jesus Christ as Savior means never having to fear standing before Him as Judge.
  • Do not attempt to manipulate God into what you want or think He should be, but discover Who He is by His Word and Spirit and what He requires of you.
  • Instead of determining what we want God’s will to be for our lives (and seeking to coerce Him to fulfill it), let us desire His will, unwavering in our commitment to accomplish it. In the end, our lives will far exceed what we could ever think or imagine.
  • I have met many who, in the face of death, were remorseful for wasted years, but none at the end of their lives who regretted serving Jesus Christ.
  • Live every day as though it were your last day on this planet. One day it will be.
  • Always be prepared to meet your Maker. Many who plan to get right with God later die in unexpected ways and at unexpected times.
  • What we see is temporal but what we cannot see is eternal. The study of biblical prophecy provides hope for the future, creates anticipation of the Lord’s return and instills a desire for Christ’s eternal kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy.

There are many more wonderful truths the Lord has taught me by His Word and Spirit. It is an exciting lifetime quest to know Him and learn His ways.

 

Words of Wisdom

Contributed by Dave James of DJ’s Greenhouse, a faithful supporter of Bill Rudge Ministries for many years.

Dad is the head of the house, but Mom is the heart of the home.

Faults are thick when love is thin.

To improve or be a success in anything – you must keep one room empty in your house… “the room for improvement.”

The door to your heart can only be opened from inside.

We may give without loving, but we cannot love without giving.

The devil has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits all.

Not enough crutches in the world for all the lame excuses.

What you are is God’s gift to you. What you become is your gift to God.

Life is full of joys and sorrows – most of your own making.

Your reputation is what people say about you… your character is what God and your spouse know about you.

Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

Yesterday is history – tomorrow is a mystery – today is a gift – that is why it’s called the present.