If the resurrection had not occurred: ➔ The Christian faith is a lie. ➔ Jesus was just another person who claimed to be a messenger from God. ➔ There is no hope beyond the grave. ➔ We have no assurance we will see our loved ones again after death. ➔ The resurrection is a myth that has deluded millions with false hope.
If the resurrection really did happen: ➔ The Christian faith is true. ➔ Jesus is the Messiah, God incarnate and the only One who can give eternal life. ➔ Believers in Jesus Christ have a sure hope beyond the grave. ➔ We and our loved ones will rise from the dead and stand before our Creator to have our eternal destiny determined and receive our everlasting rewards. ➔ The truth of Jesus’ resurrection is the most significant event in history, inspiring millions with certain hope.
Christ’s death and resurrection are the means by which believers may cling to hope in spite of the trials and tragedies of life. May you be strengthened by the love of Jesus. Never give up. Always have HOPE:
H old on to the promises of God (Revelation 21:3-4) O pt to trust in God through the challenges you face (Isaiah 40:31) P lace all your cares and concerns upon Him (Psalm 46:1-3) E nter into the loving hands of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:35)
There was no other way for God to show the depth of His amazing love throughout eternity other than through the cross of Jesus Christ. Sure, He could just tell us how much He loves us or lavish every imaginable blessing on us. But that would not fully display the depth of His love: only His crucifixion ordeal manifests His abundant grace:
All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 4:15).
Jesus’ suffering and death serves as an everlasting reminder of God’s displeasure and intolerance for sin and rebellion. How can fallen humanity, who brought sin and death into God’s perfect creation, pay the price to satisfy God’s Holiness, Righteousness and Justice? Since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) we are without hope. Yet, the sinless Son of God shed His precious blood to appease God’s wrath due us and make the way for restored relationship with our Creator. And Jesus’ resurrection provides us confident assurance:
We know that the One who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in His presence (2 Corinthians 4:14).
You can only become a “new creation” through Jesus Christ. How could heaven be heaven, filled with “old creations” in a fallen state polluting heaven with the same sins which polluted earth: gossip, vulgarity, jealousy, envy, revenge, pride, arrogance, lies, thefts, sexual immorality and perversion? Those who refuse to accept God’s great mercy, forfeit all He has prepared for those who love Him! They have no other option but to be where God’s light and loving presence is not.
God’s personal invitation to spend eternity with Him was delivered by His own Son. A familiar, yet profound, Scripture gives us a glimpse of His amazing love for His creation:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).
Jesus told Martha at the funeral of her brother Lazarus that her brother would “rise again.” Martha, a devout Jew who understood the sacred scriptures, replied, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day” (John 11:23-24). She didn’t completely understand Jesus’ point so He became more specific:
I am the resurrection and the life and everyone who believes in Me shall never die (John 11:25, 26).
Jesus then follows His amazing declaration with a question, “Do you believe this?” Martha did. How about you? In case you may have some doubt about Jesus’ claim to being the resurrection, He proves it by resurrecting a dead body that is already in a state of physical decay (John 11:39). Standing near the tomb and over the noise of the crowd, Jesus cries out “Lazarus, come out” (John 11:43). Many of the Jewish friends of Mary who witnessed this amazing resurrection of Lazarus believed in Jesus (John 11:45).
So Jesus proved He could do it, didn’t He? If you believe this, tell someone about it. You may be the only voice to proclaim this truth to a lost soul in need of His resurrection power.
Throughout the Old and New Testaments we meet people who offered sacrifices and demonstrated the appearance of spirituality. However, God labels many of them as lukewarm, disobedient, stiff-necked, stubborn, rebellious or apostate. Why? Because God is more concerned with the attitudes of the heart than with outward displays. God desires a people who are obedient and faithful.
King Saul learned the hard way that “to obey is better than sacrifice.” Following Saul’s lame excuse for only partially obeying the Lord’s command, the prophet Samuel rebuked him with the following words:
Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice… (1 Samuel 15:22).
It is very important that we not only talk our Christianity, but that we walk it. Titus 1:16 states:
They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him….
All through the Scriptures we meet those who were tempted, tested, and confronted by obstacles. Some disobeyed, rebelled, and turned from the Lord. Others remained faithful – no matter the cost. Those who disobeyed suffered the consequences; immediately or in the not-so-distant future. Those who obeyed received God’s blessing and ultimate victory.
On Talking Back
When I was in gymnastics and my instructor would say, “Billy, climb the rope to the gym’s ceiling. Do a round off and several backhand springs in a row on the mat. Get on the trampoline and do a double back flip.” I did not say, “I don’t feel like doing that today.” I did it!
When going out for football and the coach would say, “Hit the sled and keep hitting it until I tell you to stop. Run the ropes. Take five laps.” I did not say, “Well coach, I am not in the mood to do that today.” I did it!
When, in karate, my instructor said, “Do knuckle pushups.” I did knuckle pushups. When he said, “You, Rudge! Come here. I want to use you for an uke and beat on you for awhile.” I did not say, “Not today, Sensei. Maybe next time.” No, I stepped forward and let him demonstrate strikes and kicks on me. When I was told, “Lay down and put this potato on your chest so I can slice it in half with this sword.” I did not say, “That’s a bad idea.” I obeyed. When he said spar and fight, I sparred and fought!
Should I obey any less the King of kings and Lord of lords, the God who created me, the God who came and died for me, who bodily rose from the dead, and who is coming again to rule and reign for all eternity?
When His Word and Spirit tell me to do something, how much more should I obey without talking back or whining or complaining or making excuses? I do not say, “Well, if I feel like it, Lord,” or “Maybe I will think about it,” or “I don’t know if I want to do that.” I obey! That is what it means to be submitted to Christ’s Lordship.
But is this biblical? In Luke 6:46 Jesus asks:
Why do you call Me, “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say?
In John 14:15, 24 Jesus said:
If you love Me, you will obey what I command. He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching.
In Matthew 7:21 Jesus states:
Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.
1 John 2:3, 6 says:
We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.
And the manner in which Jesus walked was in humility and obedience (Philippians 2:8).
Excerpted from Reaching Your Maximum Potential in Christ which is being expanded for its third edition.
I can be amazing: learn from my mistakes, change my bad habits, take responsibility for my actions, use good words intentionally, encourage others, and work as a team player to help solve problems. These are just a few of the lessons that school students at Artman, Case Avenue, Greenville, Ionta, and Sharpsville Elementary and Middle schools learned during six exciting multi-media assemblies in their school gymnasiums sponsored by Bill Rudge.
The media presentation, titled “I’MPOSSIBLE,” splashed visuals across three giant 14-foot screens. It used famous people, current music, and contemporary film clips to deliver messages about bullying, kindness, working hard toward your dreams and encouraging others. True-life examples of children with a dream, who experienced loss, or were physically challenged showed how they handled each of their situations with positive attitudes. The students laughed, clapped, and sang their way through the assembly as they recognized familiar movie scenes and popular songs, but you could hear a pin drop as they became silent during the narration and messages.
The assemblies also included an inspiring message by BJ Rudge and powerful demonstrations by Bill Rudge showing the meanness of bullying, the value of self-defense, the importance of resisting negative peer pressure and how to overcome the impossible. Bill’s helpers included local volunteers and assistants Chris Chrastina, Dick Hetrick, Shawn Hill, Bruce Lozier, Ken Ridgley, Brandon Santana, and Carson Smith as well as a few teachers Bill chose from the audience.
The multi-media presentation was created and produced by Motivational Media Assemblies and brought into the schools by Bill and BJ Rudge. These six assemblies were provided free of charge, courtesy of underwriting by New Virginia United Methodist Church, Jan Anderson, Mary Alice Mook, and Denny and Andrea Staul.
Tens of thousands of elementary, middle and high school students, as well as teachers and principals have been inspired, challenged and encouraged by the more than 100 assemblies Bill and BJ Rudge have sponsored and/or spoken at throughout the years on a variety of topics presenting powerful messages on anti-bullying, choices, consequences, courage, strength, self-control, discipline, self-defense, determination, love, kindness, helping others, respect, and other positive and inspirational topics. Bill Rudge has also spoken at assemblies across the nation and around the world for over 30 years.
The response from the principals, teachers and students was outstanding. A few of the many comments received from the principals were: “Truly remarkable! The students loved it! We have heard so many positive comments! The message was very timely and critical for our students! Everyone could feel the excitement in the gym! It was the best assembly ever! Fantastic show with a great message!”
A few weeks later Bill was in Sharpsville Middle School doing Street Survival Strategy Defense Clinics for all the eighth grade students. (In a future newsletter we will share exciting highlights and photos.) In May the Ultimate Challenge Obstacle Course opens at Bill Rudge Ministries.
In addition to national and global outreaches, Bill Rudge Ministries has many opportunities to touch the lives of area youth and adults.
Students’ lives are impacted as they see our Motivational Assemblies, attend the Self Defense and Street Survival Strategies classes and/or go through our Ultimate Challenge Obstacle Course. Some are able to hear Bill and BJ speak at their church or other event, or attend BJ’s soccer camp. We are one of very few ministries that has access to the schools and the opportunity to work with and train military.
Many individuals, businesses and churches have been a crucial part in God’s blessing on, and expansion of, this multi-faceted ministry. We freely offer our services and resources: books, tracts, posters, audio messages, speaking engagements, obstacle course, radio broadcasts, podcasts, blogs, web site, and more. We have sent over 1.5 million of our biblical resources to chaplains, missionaries, pastors, prisoners, military personnel, students and other youth and adults in every state in the U.S. and in over 140 countries. Our promise is to use all funds wisely and maximize resources to reach this world for Christ.
We thank the LORD for donors with vision and a missionary heart. May God bless you for your ongoing prayer and financial support of Bill Rudge Ministries which enables us to continue touching lives in this area, across the nation and around the world (Acts 1:8), as well as challenging believers to reach their maximum potential (Philippians 1:6).
One day, together, we will receive our eternal reward for faithfulness to Him. Then we can rejoice in His presence with all those whom we have reached with the Gospel.
Reviews of contemporary movies reveal many that are laced with vulgar, obscene and sexually explicit language, sensationalized occultism, sorcery, demonic entities and satanic powers. They display a plethora of suggestive and seductive sexual behavior and pornographic images, mock, pervert and profane sacred things, and seek to attract viewers with incessant violence – like a virtual-reality of the Scriptural description of the end times generation who refuse to repent. No wonder God calls to His people in Revelation 18:4:
Come out of her, My people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues.
The day rapidly approaches when God’s tolerance of the wickedness corrupting this earth finally comes to an end. God will intervene in the world scene to judge sin and rebellion by bringing people to their knees, either in repentance or in judgment. Scripture will be fulfilled:
At the name of Jesus every knee will bow … and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10, 11).