Stepping Out in Faith

By BJ Rudge, Ph. D.

The greatest battles we often face will occur the moment we step out in faith. Consider Nehemiah who stepped out in faith when he asked the Persian King for permission to go and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. While being commissioned by the king to complete this task, we find that Nehemiah’s act of faith and trust in God came with its challenges. For example, opposition quickly arose to discourage and prevent him from doing what God had called him to do:

But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” (Nehemiah 2:19; see chapters 4-6 for further examples of challenges and opposition that Nehemiah had to endure).

In the case of Nehemiah, God moved forward through the challenges he faced and brought a great victory. Not only was the wall built, but also those Jewish exiles who returned to their land made an agreement to obey the commands of God as they once again occupied His holy city Jerusalem.

We can have the same confidence Nehemiah had that when we place our faith and trust in God, He will fulfill His plans through our lives. Just like Nehemiah, if we remain faithful to what God has called us to do we will see a great victory in the end.

So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God (Nehemiah 6:15, 16).

How I Started My Tract Ministry

By Jan Gunsley

Jan, at BRM, holds up one of the hundreds of God’s Promise tracts written by Bill and BJ Rudge that she has passed out over the years.

I was sitting with Ruth Carnino at the St. John XXIII Home in the fall of 2008 when Bill Rudge came to visit and left the “God’s Promise” tract which includes so much: Psalm 23, the Lord’s Prayer, Scriptures of Encouragement, Eternity, Knowing Him, and Words of Hope.

I thought it would really touch people’s lives so I started sending these tracts in sympathy, birthday, get well and other cards. I also gave tracts to my friends, at high school reunions and different get-togethers, and when visiting people. I gave them to the congregation at Orangeville Baptist Church and told them about the tract ministry since they contribute to Bill Rudge Ministries.

When I sold my home in August 2020, we had a sale and my nephew, Daniel Guzik, sat by the front porch and gave out tracts to all. He knows the Lord and was so happy to do it. When done, I told him we had another job to do and that was “to pray for all that received the tracts.” He said, “Oh, I will.”

May you consider a tract ministry! These tracts are free of charge at BRM but eternally rewarding.

What Child is This?

by Wendy Wippel

Wendy Wippel is a molecular biologist who specializes in genetics. The following are excerpts from an article in The Lamplighter magazine. Used with permission.

Fresco in the Shepherd’s Field Church in Bethlehem.
Photo by Bill Rudge.

It’s the Christmas season, and amid the baking and the bustling and the bows, it’s easy to lose sight of what the fuss is all about — a baby. As the old carol asks, “What child is this?” There’s a lot riding on your answer. Because that baby is the central figure of human history. Human history, in fact, is divided into two eras (BC and AD) by His existence. (Your birth date? Counted from His.)

• He never traveled more than 100 miles from home, but His followers permeated every country in the world with His story.

• He never wrote a book, but more have been written about Him than anyone else in history, by far.

• The first book about Him, the Bible, has been translated into more than 500 languages, and portions of it into more than 3000 languages.

• He had only 12 disciples, but billions of people discuss His teachings every day.

• He was homeless during His public life, but most of the world’s most beautiful buildings were built in His honor (Notre Dame, Westminster Abbey, Hagia Sophia, Chartres, St. John’s Cathedral, and so on.)

• He died as a criminal, but today thousands of names of cities and countries memorialize His life. (San Salvador, for example, which means Holy Savior.)

• He never married, but more wedding vows have asked His blessing than any other.

• He never had kids, but there’s a really good chance you’re named after one of his family or his friends.

• Untold numbers of people throughout history have willingly gone to their deaths rather than renounce His name.

Jesus is recognized by skeptic and saint alike as the turning point of history. What child IS this? We’ve had 2000 years to speculate: A really moral man? A great philosopher? A champion of social justice? A pacifist? A mythical figure? A revolutionary? An example for all of us to follow?

Those really aren’t the right questions, though. The real question is “Who does He think He is?” And Jesus, tellingly, said none of the above. Jesus said that He came to “seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Jesus said that He came to “give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). In fact, He said that He came specifically for one moment in time, His crucifixion (John 12:27).

What child is this? We all have to answer that question for ourselves. And eternity rides on our answer. Why? Because God created humans to be with Him. But you probably know what happened next – Adam and Eve disobeyed the one rule that God established, and humanity became tainted with sin. And as descendants of Adam and Eve, we inherited that condition. We’re all SIN positive.

The problem is that sin can’t survive in the presence of the holiness of God. But that same God still loves us and wants us to be with Him. So Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. We’re what was lost (John 1:12; 3:16).

Maybe you’re thinking, “That’s great for you, but it’s just not my thing.” Or, “I have my own faith.” Or, “We all worship the same God.” Then what child is this? One that made some pretty amazing statements:

I am the way, the truth, the life. No man comes to the Father but through Me (John 14:6). All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me (Matthew 28:18).

Nobody else said things like this. Not Mohammed. Not Confucius. Not Buddha. Nobody. People these days say that makes Christianity exclusive. Except that Jesus also said that whosoever believes in Him can have eternal life. Whosoever.

So what child is this? You can call Him a liar. You can call Him a lunatic. Or you can call Him Lord. “Undecided” isn’t really an option. He didn’t mean for it to be.

Jesus was crucified because He claimed to be the Messiah, a Messiah described in Isaiah as “wounded for our transgressions,” whose chastisement made peace for us with God. Jesus said that He came to give us life as a ransom for many. Nobody else said that. Nobody.

That’s what sets Jesus apart. Only He laid down His life for your sins and mine. And when He died on that cross (a fact documented in Roman records) it would have certainly seemed that was the last history would hear of Him.

But the cross that He died on is now the world’s most common symbol, engraved on tombstones, mounted in and on churches, scattered on hillsides and hung around a whole lot of necks.

So what child is this? That’s the question. And the answer … God, in the form of Jesus, left heaven to seek and save that which was lost, meaning you and me. When He died on the cross, God was saying that He loves you. He Himself came to earth to give His life as your ransom. It was the God of all the universe, whispering into your ears, “I do.” And that God, who still loves you, stands at the altar, waiting for your answer. He’ll wait. He has all eternity to do so. Do you?

Navy Recruits Meet the Challenge

by Darlinda McDonald

On a Saturday morning this Fall, Navy Chief Steve Ware brought 16 enthusiastic Navy recruits to the Ultimate Challenge Obstacle Course at Bill Rudge Ministries, for a grueling two and a half hour workout led by Chaplain Bill Rudge with assistance by three of his grandchildren, Moriah, Anneka, and Lucas. Overseeing the training with Chief Ware were Petty Officer First Class Ryan Perry and Petty Officer Second Class Lindsey Orosz.

During the physical training, each recruit was encouraged to put forth their best effort regardless of their ability. Equally important to the individual challenge was the emphasis on teamwork. Chaplain Rudge also reminded the recruits to be mindful of their emotional and spiritual health in order to keep their lives in balance and to reach their maximum potential. It was inspiring to observe all of the recruits tackle each obstacle with vigor and a positive spirit. After completing the course twice, each recruit had the privilege of ringing the victory bell in congratulations for their excellent efforts. We are blessed to be one of a very few ministries that has access to the schools and the opportunity to work with and train military personnel.

Meek and Powerful

By Bill Rudge

“Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding …” Psalm 32:9

Photo by Bill Rudge

Throughout the Scriptures we frequently see the word “meek.” Many wrongly equate the meaning of meek with its rhyming word, weak. But that could not be further from the truth. When the Lord said in Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth,” He was talking about those who will rule and reign with Him.

While in Bible college, I learned that the word meek referred, in the Greek, to a strong war horse prepared for battle. With just the slightest touch on the reins, the horse would go in the intended direction of the rider. It became submissive and sensitive to the rider on its back. The horse had not lost any of its drive or dynamic power as a strong stallion, but was completely under the mastery of the rider. If its spirit was broken, its strength compromised or its dynamic qualities changed, then it would have been useless for its purpose; but brought under control and submissive, it was said that the horse was now praus (translated meek or prautes, translated meekness throughout the New Testament).

Vine’s Expository Dictionary states:

It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His [God’s] dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting; and as such, we do not fight … struggle and contend with Him …. It must be clearly understood, therefore, that the meekness manifested by the Lord and commended to the believer is the fruit of power. The common assumption is that when a man is meek it is because he cannot help himself; but the Lord was “meek” because He had the infinite resources of God at His command.

Out Of Control

When horseback riding as a teen, the horse I was on was determined to knock me off. It tried to smash my legs by continually running about two inches from the trees. I had to keep pulling one of my feet out of the stirrups and lift my leg over to the other side of the saddle to avoid having it smashed against a tree. When that didn’t work, the horse tried to “clothesline” me a few times by going underneath low branches. I had to keep ducking down to avoid getting knocked off.

There I was on this out-of-control horse, pulling as hard as I could on the reins in an attempt to stop it or even slow it down – so hard that its mouth was bleeding. But it would not stop; it ran even faster trying all the harder to knock me off. Finally, so upset with my trying to slow it down, the horse impulsively ran off the trail and burst through a barbed-wire fence in racing back to the corral. Its chest had multiple gashes, blood mixed with sweat streaming down. My pants were ripped and my legs had several cuts.

That horse was rebellious! I could not control or lead it. God does not want you to be like that horse because you will bring destruction on yourself. He tells us to be meek, humble and yielded so He can work in us; so He can speak to our hearts and lead us where He wants, without having to hit us over the head to get our attention!

Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check (Psalm 32:9).

Dynamic Strength

The praus horse also had a bit and bridle, but to get it to obey one did not have to yank the reins and bit or bloody its mouth. Instead, one lightly pulled on the reins to guide and direct the horse: It willingly followed the master’s direction. God is not telling us either to be weak or a doormat. He is saying, “Have your dynamic strength, but do not resist and fight Me. Be submitted to Me.”

Instead of being stiff-necked, obstinate, hardhearted and rebellious, let’s be praus. Let’s be sensitive, submissive, surrendered, yielded and available so God will work in and through us to accomplish His purpose for our lives!

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

Cub Scouts Meet the Challenge of the Obstacle Course

By Darlinda McDonald

Last month, members of Cub Scout Pack 3 of Sharon were ready to face the challenge. They were very excited as they approached the “Ultimate Challenge Obstacle and Fitness Course” at Bill Rudge Ministries.

Before leading the scouts through the course, Bill Rudge began the evening with “Coronavirus Kickball, Soccer Style.” He invented the game to help maintain as much social distancing as possible for the scouts. Similar to baseball, the field used tires for bases. Each player who was up would kick the ball and run to the bases while the team in the field retrieved the large “soccer ball” with their feet and tried to kick the ball to touch any of the four tires before the person running was safe on one of the bases. The referees on both sides judged whether the scout was safe or out.

Next up was the obstacle course, which had been recently renovated. The scouts partnered with their parents as they navigated each obstacle after attentively listening to Rudge’s instructions. They climbed, they crawled, they jumped, and they strove to keep their balance as they met each challenge. Their determination, positive attitude and a willingness to try each obstacle, even if feeling a little hesitant, was inspiring. It was enjoyable to lead this group of young boys as they persevered through the course. As each scout completed the final obstacle, they raced to the course entrance with a big smile on their face to clang the large silver bell.

The obstacle course provides awesome opportunities to challenge children, teens, and adults. It is used to teach and train various youth and adult groups, scouts, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, sports teams, civic and church groups, and the military (Army, Navy, Marines) as well as those preparing for basic training, all at no charge.

America – The Glory is Departing

America, America you were so very blessed.

You loved the Lord; and His truth you once professed.

You honored His Word and blessed His name,

But now you put them both to shame.

Respected by allies and feared by foes,

A once-free country, you now face many woes.

Of all the nations, God made you the best,

But now your name, is oft’ said in jest.

So far removed from all once possessed,

Your people in every city, deeply distressed.

America! Turn to the Lord before it’s too late.

And pray you’ve not already sealed your fate!

Hear the Lord’s pleas,

And fall on your knees.

That He may restore,

And bless you once more from shore to shore!

Bill Rudge