From Planned Suicide to Salvation

The Bob Davis Story

by Darlinda McDonald

The seeds of faith that Bill Rudge planted in the 1970s bore fruit when one Sunday morning Bob Davis laid down his gun and decided to go to church. That very day he found salvation.

It has been 10 years this month since Bob Davis’ plan to end his life was foiled. Bob tells it this way:

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Bill Rudge and Bob Davis sparring at Mt. Vernon YMCA in 1975.

In the summer of 2007, my wife Sally had started going to a local church in Mount Vernon, Ohio (Grace Community) but I chose not to go. I had started planning my own demise early in 2007 as I was just fed up with life. About two miles outside of town in the semi-flat farmland is a beautiful road known as Green Valley Road.

There is a one-mile stretch that is straight and then does a very hard 90-degree right turn. At the end of the straight stretch was a very large old tree and I figured that 85 miles per hour into that tree would solve all my problems. I decided to do a test run and much to my dismay discovered the tree had been cut down.

Later that summer, September 16 to be exact, after my wife Sally had gone to church, I headed out of town with one 9mm round that I had hand-loaded into my gun and written my name on with a Sharpie pen. As I reached the edge of town I suddenly began to wonder, “What am I trying to prove?” I turned around and headed to Grace Community Church. Three times I stopped but got there just as the service began. After the service I met with the pastor and found salvation.

Later that day the church was having a dinner in the park, which happened to be across the street from our house. I approached the pastor and gave him my “personalized 9mm round” which he still has and uses its story to help others.

Bob says there were three important “seed planters” in his life – his grandmother, his friend Jerry, and Bill Rudge. Bob’s grandmother planted seeds of faith throughout his life and often told her grandson that she knew he would be saved. However, she died in the 1980s and, unfortunately, did not live to see his conversion.

In the 1960s, Bob’s best friend Jerry asked him to join him in starting a band. Bob played the drums and Jerry sang in what evolved into the very successful band, Nomads. Jerry was another Christian who was a seed planter in Bob’s life.

It was in the mid-1970s that Bob met Bill Rudge. Bob was seeking a karate instructor at the time. When a friend told him about Bill, he said, “Who’s Bill Rudge?” Bob’s friend replied that Bill was a student at Mt. Vernon Bible College so Bob drove out to Bill and Karen’s mobile home right away. He took lessons from Bill who tried to “turn him onto Christ” but Bob says he didn’t care to hear about God at that time. Bill and Bob practiced martial arts together for several months as Bill continued to plant seeds of faith. These seeds took some time to grow but they did grow.

Bill graduated from Bible college and moved to North Carolina and then Pennsylvania. Bill would visit Bob every so often and give him the latest books he had written. Bob continued his martial arts training and became a Black Belt instructor before quitting years later.

Bob has experienced much pain in his life. Four of his six stepchildren have died, two before Bob became a Christian. His son, Kerry, was involved in drugs and committed suicide soon after he had an argument with Bob. In 1997, his son Greg died from lung cancer, 13 years after he was cured of thymus gland cancer. Bob became a Christian before his son Ted died of a heart attack in 2008. Then, on January 13, 2015, his daughter Gretchen died suddenly at work. An autopsy revealed a previously undetected defective heart valve. Over 1300 people attended her calling hours.

Earlier this year Bob had been praying that God would give him a sign that He was still with him. The next morning Bill unexpectedly showed up at Bob and Sally’s house in Mount Vernon. Bill had “suddenly” changed travel plans because he felt led to see Bob. In hindsight, Bob realizes that God has always had His hand on him and is grateful for the part that Bill Rudge has played in his life. Bob commented that Bill and Karen are two of the most faithful he has ever met and he thanks these “farmers” – sowers of seeds.

But Bill is even more amazed by the way Jesus has transformed Bob’s life. God’s grace has kept Bob and Sally steadfast through all their trials and tribulations. In spite of the many heartaches, Bob and Sally Davis faithfully serve Jesus Christ as they excitedly await His soon return.

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.

How Could Jesus Speak to Large Audiences?

by Bill Rudge

Scripture indicates that Jesus spoke to large audiences (thousands of people) by the Sea of Galilee. Skeptics said it would be impossible for Him to speak to thousands of people without amplification equipment.

However, I was in Israel at the site of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The hill forms a natural amphitheater that slopes to the Sea of Galilee and amplifies the speaker’s voice. The air above the Sea of Galilee is very static so that sound waves travel easily. It’s possible Jesus stood at the bottom of the hill and spoke to the crowd who sat above Him.

Matthew 4:25-5:2 gives the following account:

Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed Him. Now when He saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them ….

While standing on the site of the Sermon on the Mount, I was talking in my normal voice to one of the pastors in our group who was almost 100 yards away, and he could hear me plainly. Then, while standing on the shore, we became very quiet and, although several hundred yards away, we could hear two fishermen talking to each other on a small boat.

Once again the Bible is authenticated and skeptics are silenced.

Victory Comes

A couple years ago Bill Rudge shared with Jim Weikal what often happens when the Lord leads him to do something. First is clear direction from the Lord. Secondly, obstacles arise and thirdly – after persevering in faith – victory comes. True to the pattern, the very day our Holy Land Adventure 9 brochures were mailed out, the conflict between Hamas and Israel began and rapidly escalated. In the midst of this, Bill’s wife, daughter, granddaughter, and mother-in-law all had surgeries. People started asking if the Holy Land Adventure and speaking engagements in Jerusalem might be canceled. We assured them that no matter the circumstances, Bill has never canceled a mission trip. It proved to be a blessed trip. The Lord will always be faithful to fulfill what He leads us to do.

Through the Tragedy of War Comes a Beautiful Love Story

Brittany and Joshua met, and eventually fell in love, while they were both on a military tour of duty in Iraq. Most young couples have challenges during their dating and engagement; imagine being in a war zone.

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BJ, Brittany and Joshua

Joshua’s Comments on the first time he saw Brittany: “She was sneaking into the back of the chapel on Sunday. I will never forget that image. She was both beautiful and peaceful.”

First Date: Joshua asked Brittany to go to the movies — he got down on his knees in front of her friends to ask her to go. Instead of going to a movie Joshua decided to walk around the post so they could talk. Thinking they were going to a movie, Brittany had her friends set up as spies to watch Joshua at the movie to make sure he was not a “player.”

Brittany’s Moment: On another occasion Joshua came to meet Brittany at work to take her to dinner. He took her to an abandoned cement building and surprised her with a candlelight dinner that consisted of a plastic table and chairs and Coke cans to hold the candles. Ten months later, Joshua proposed marriage.

Joshua’s Moment: On his birthday Brittany wanted to make Joshua a cake but she did not have the materials to make it. So she gave Joshua a Reese’s cup with a candle in it. Joshua loved it.

Brittany came to realize that they shared the same basic beliefs, values and goals, which are important in a marriage. She says, “Joshua is my best friend and I am really glad that I am best friends with the person I want to marry and spend the rest of my life with. He has brought me closer to God.”

Joshua’s Comments about Brittany: “When I met Brittany, it was a very confusing time in my life. Everything about my life that was normal and comfortable, everything that made sense, had been taken away suddenly. I found myself in a very strange environment. After I met Brittany I felt normal and comfortable and everything has made sense.”

The Engagement: On May 27, 2005 — Joshua proposed to Brittany on the first level of the Eiffel Tower. Joshua told Brittany that he wanted to show her something. Upon reaching the destination Joshua told Brittany that he loved her. She responded by saying that he only said that because he wanted a kiss on the Eiffel Tower. Joshua then got down on one knee and asked her to marry him, which after asking him if he was being serious, Brittany said, “YES!”

They had a beautiful June wedding in Fort Worth at which BJ and Bill Rudge had the privilege of officiating.

Challenge of the Obstacle Course

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Joshua and Brittany Lozier take the challenge of the Obstacle Course while visiting BRM this past summer. They did a great job on the One Leg Partner Squats which requires communication and cooperation. 

Joshua and Brittany Lozier were in Pennsylvania last summer visiting his parents before leaving for their new assignment in Germany where Brittany serves as a major in the U.S. Army. They spent part of a hot June afternoon at the Bill Rudge Ministries taking on the challenge of the Obstacle Course with Bill and BJ.

Also, congratulations to Major Brittany Lozier, for receiving her Doctor of Nursing Degree. Doctor (Major) Lozier was also recognized as one of six students who are in the National Registry of Who’s Who, for academic excellence and outstanding achievement. She and her husband, Joshua, also an Army veteran, are longtime supporters of BRM.

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BJ and Joshua

Comment about BRM by Joshua

Ten years ago my wife and I had the pleasure of having our wedding officiated in Fort Worth, Texas by Bill Rudge and the ceremony conducted by my friend, Dr. BJ Rudge, who also counseled us prior to our marriage. We are very happy to report that we are more in love and further in our walk with Christ than we have ever been. The counsel and prayers of this ministry have made a big difference in our lives. Thank you and we look forward to continuing our relationship with Bill Rudge Ministries until Christ returns or takes us home.

Brittany and Joshua – We salute you for serving your country.
Please keep them and all our military personnel in your prayers.

 

Incarcerated Minister Learning to Overcome Sexual Immorality

The following was written by A.L.P., Jr., Arkansas:

I am 31 years of age and currently incarcerated at Ouachita River Correctional Unit in Malvern, Arkansas. I was sentenced to nine years in prison for second degree Sexual Assault. I am taking advantage of this time to correct my problematic thinking and behavior patterns. For years, I have struggled with sexual immorality, and as a young minister of the gospel, I had every opportunity to rely on the Word of God as a guide for deliverance, strength, and healing. My failure to believe that as a “Warrior” I could conquer the war that raged in the battlefield of my mind, weakened my spirit and ultimately led to a crime and a nine year prison sentence. I make no excuses for my actions and take full responsibility for the hurt and harm that I have caused my victim and her family – as well as my family and those who were/are connected to me.

I have been blessed to write a book entitled Chronicles of a Warrior: A Journey to Complete Freedom that, not only tells of my struggle with sexual immortality and the spirit of heaviness, but also the internal freedom I am experiencing in Christ.

Bill Rudge’s book, Overcoming Sexual Immorality, has been a blessing to me. Thank you for hearing and obeying the voice of God. I was halfway in the completion of my book when my wife mailed Bill’s book to me. There are good nuggets in Overcoming Sexual Immorality that I would love to use in my book Chronicles of a Warrior. I have found the things Bill said to be true and effective. I would love the privilege and opportunity to share quotes from Bill’s book.

Thanks again, Bill, for your book. Because of your obedience and willingness to write this book, I have been able to use more effective tools in my journey to complete freedom. May God continue to use you and bless you for your obedience.

A Vision Only God Could Fulfill

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Karen and Bill with Gabriel Massey at their home in 1987.

In 1977, at the very beginning of the Bill Rudge Ministries, the Lord spoke to Bill’s heart and gave him goals and a vision that within five years the ministry would be reaching out nationally, and within ten years internationally.

Bill knew he could not fulfill this vision on his own – all he could do is be faithful to the Lord and let Him do it in His time and His way. Ten years later in 1987, through a series of traumatic experiences (described in the Strength Through Weakness booklet), Satan nearly stopped the fulfillment of that vision, but the Lord intervened and brought the victory.

Just as the Lord had provided ministry opportunities throughout the United States during the previous five years, He began to open doors internationally in 1987. Bill was able to go on his first radio station outside the U.S., the Caribbean Beacon, and soon thereafter on other overseas stations (long before streaming over the Internet was available). As a result, we began to receive letters from around the world requesting our books and audio messages.

Looking back, it is amazing how the Lord brought about the fulfillment of the goals and vision He gave Bill when the kitchen table was our desk and others questioned our survival. How awesome and amazing He is!

Gabriel – A Man from India

The Lord used a special man from India as a catalyst to help move this ministry beyond the United States to the world.

In 1986, Gabriel Massey, who was the General Secretary of the Federation of Evangelical Churches of India, was speaking in the U.S. We had never met or heard of each other. Gabriel happened to be in Youngstown, Ohio at a motel. He could not sleep this night because as he said, “The angels were disturbing my sleep.” So he scanned the radio dial for a Christian station until he came across Bill’s broadcast. The Holy Spirit spoke to him that “this man must come to India to minister.”

Gabriel went back to India and wrote requesting Bill to come and speak for their national convention in September 1987. Unable to go at that time because Karen had major surgery in June of 1987, Bill sent a representative. Then in December 1987, when Gabriel was again in the U.S. speaking, he looked Bill and Karen up, once again asking them to come and minister in India. The Lord strongly led them to go and did some phenomenal things in coordinating the plans to begin their world outreach.

Such was the beginning of Bill’s “Adventures in Missions” which would take him on many exciting, fruit bearing and oft-times dangerous ministry trips and missionary outreaches. In the past 30 years, we have been able to share the Gospel throughout India and the Himalayas, Haiti, the West Indies, South America, Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.