Bill Rudge

All through my younger years I was often told that what I planned to do was impossible. I was repeatedly told: “You can’t do it! You are too young, too small, too weak, too poor. You will never make it. You might as well give up!”

So, as one who never really had much potential and was often considered the least likely to succeed in high school and college, who would have thought that one day I would start a ministry that would grow into an international outreach which was to have an impact on tens of thousands of youth and adults?

My wife and I arrived at Bible college as new Christians, still in our teens, with little money and no jobs. Early on I was voted in one class to be the least likely to succeed in ministry. Nevertheless, I finished all four years with good grades, even though I had to work 40 – 60 hours a week on an assembly line at a window factory, along with classes and homework. By my senior year, I was running a growing youth group for a country church and teaching exercise and self-defense classes at the college and YMCA.

A few years later, the president of the college from which I had graduated called to book me at their new campus in Virginia. He asked me to address the student body on “Reaching Your Maximum Potential,” and how we had developed a successful, multifaceted ministry.

Since then I have been blessed to train hundreds of staff and volunteers—many of whom are serving in churches, ministries or missions—as well as training missionaries, pastors, chaplains, military personnel (enlisted men and women, and officers) and leaders of various ministries and organizations. The Lord has also opened doors for me to speak at several pastors’ and leadership conferences in the U.S. and other countries.

Bare Beginnings

In August of 1977, with virtually no money, staff or facilities—just a lot of God-given determination—Karen and I started this ministry in the upstairs apartment of my parents’ home. I used the kitchen table as a desk and Karen kept the ministry records in a file cabinet in our bedroom. Few people thought we would succeed. Many said, “Others have tried and failed; you will too!” Nevertheless, with God’s help we persevered and for over 45 years have witnessed Him do the impossible.

Recently, after speaking at a local church where I had mentioned in my sermon about being voted least likely to succeed at Bible college, an older man told me that he remembered when I started my ministry. He had said to his wife, “He’ll never make it.” He paused and said, “I am so glad you did make it!”

Philippians 4:13

There are many other stories I could share—examples of how God has enabled us to accomplish that which others thought impossible. In reality, people were right for thinking I did not have much potential. However, I have built my life and ministry on the belief that I can do all things because Christ strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). I think God chose me—the least of all—to display His transforming power and to vividly illustrate that if He can use me, He can use anyone!

One of the reasons we have such faithful volunteers and supporters is that they know I am going to do what I say I am going to do. If I believe God has led me to do something, then nothing or no one will stop me. I will persevere until it is accomplished. I will never give up until the Lord either fulfills what He led me to do, or gives definite, new direction.

I have always enjoyed a challenge. It seems the more obstacles I face and the more opposition I receive, the more determined I become. Countless times throughout my life and ministry, I have had to face the cold reality that circumstances say, “You cannot do it,” and people said, “You will never do it,” but God’s Word reminds us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Three-Legged Race

Speaking in the city of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, for a series of engagements, I designed a special outreach including relays and an obstacle course in a neighborhood that was nicknamed “Hell’s Half Acre.” It was like a time warp back to the 1960s and was similar to the neighborhood where I had been raised. Both the youth and the adults loved the competition.

Before the start of a three-legged race, Steven, a youth of about twelve years of age, hobbled over to me with a crutch. His leg was badly crippled, yet he asked if he could compete in the three-legged race. He said, “I don’t need a partner as I already have three legs.” I told him to go for it. He competed with fervent determination and nearly won the race. Before sharing my testimony following the competition, I acknowledged this youth for his courage, determination and attitude, then awarded him a Reaching Your Maximum Potential T-shirt which he appreciated and greatly deserved.

What Is Your Dream?

Proverbs 29:18 says:

Where there is no vision [revelation], the people are unrestrained [out of control], but happy [blessed] is one who keeps the Law.

To have determination that never gives up, you must have goals, dreams and vision. Believe that through Christ you can do it. Be willing to pay the price at all cost, and be motivated and empowered by His Spirit to persevere no matter what the challenge.

What goals and vision has the Lord given you through study of His Word and prayer? If you do not have any, then spend time in Scripture, prayer and fasting, and God will put His goals, His dreams, His vision and His desires in your heart. One of the reasons I am still in the ministry and still excited is due to my goals and vision for the future. When I achieve one goal, God gives me one or two more. That keeps me motivated. I often pray: “Lord, put Your goals, dreams and vision in my heart. Give me unwavering faith to believe You and the motivation and determination to persevere.” And remember, anything worth doing is worth doing with excellence. Strive to be the best you can be at whatever you do.

Determination of a Navy SWCC and SEAL

My oldest grandson, like his uncle BJ, excelled in soccer; playing for two national traveling teams. However, he gave up a college Division I soccer scholarship to enlist in the Navy and try out for Special Forces. His determination and never-quit attitude was already honed through the many difficulties and hard training he experienced in soccer. His self-imposed intense workout routines helped prepare him for the severe and extremely rigorous training at Special Forces—crawling through broken seashells and then, with open wounds, crawling through fresh sewage and repeatedly enduring freezing cold water.

My brother Ken gave an insightful quote: “If you want to be the best, you have to face the worst.” The additional challenges my grandson has faced for remaining faithful to Christ have been almost incomprehensible, but so far, with God’s help, he has overcome.

He enlisted in the Navy at age 18 with a goal and a dream to become a SWCC (SpecialWarfare Combatant Crewman). During Navy SWCC Selection, after many were either sent home or quit, a SWCC instructor asked him, “Are you going to quit?” “They will have to kill me” he replied. What he endured was horrific but he refused to give up and by age 19 he achieved his goal of Naval Special Operations Forces.

During the prestigious graduation ceremony in Coronado, the commander mentioned that my grandson gave up a college scholarship to play soccer. He then enthusiastically said to him, “Welcome to the pros!”

I have had the opportunity to speak several times at an Arab Center in California to people who have known suffering and persecution firsthand. The group consists of men, women and young people from various countries throughout the Middle East (some are Arabic instructors at the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio of Monterey in California) and U.S. military personnel. It is an incredible place to speak because there is also a meeting of Jewish believers going on at the same time in the same building. People from both groups ask, “Where else can Arabs and Jews get along so lovingly?”

However, the point I want to emphasize concerns a Navy SEAL. Following my message, many waited to talk to me, to ask questions or obtain free copies of my books. One young man was halfway through his training to become a Navy SEAL (that along with SWCC is probably the most difficult and rigorous military training available). He asked me to pray for him. After doing so I looked him in the eyes and asked, “Are you going to complete the training to become a SEAL?” He responded without hesitation as he looked me in the eyes with confidence, “Sir, they will have to break every bone in my body before I will quit!”

The attitudes of determination and resolve modeled by both these young men are needed by all believers in our commitment and service to Jesus Christ!

Never Quit; Never Give Up

One of the most important exhortations regarding the end times—repeated several times in Revelation and elsewhere—is to persevere: be faithful even to the point of death, hold on till the end, have patient endurance, be victorious, overcome, stand firm, endure to the end and do not shrink back.

After speaking at Petra Cafe in Fort Stewart, a young soldier said to me: “I want to go home, sir.” It was understandable for him to be homesick and want to quit the Army, but giving up should not be an option for a believer, nor even be in a Christian’s vocabulary.

My desire is to turn the hearts of the people back to the Lord and to inspire them to walk in faithfulness until He returns. As believers in Christ, we must have the attitude that no opposition or obstacle will cause us to give up in defeat. Instead, we must endure to the end in our commitment to Him. We must persevere, remain faithful and never give up until the Lord fulfills what He leads us to do or He gives us clear, new direction.

The Apostle Paul was in prison at Rome, knowing that his time on earth was about to end. Yet with faith and determination he wrote these powerful words in 2 Timothy 4:6-8:

…The time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.

Paul’s commitment to Christ resulted in unwavering faith and determination—even to his death. Ask God to instill in you the kind of determination Paul had: to never give up and to remain faithful to the very end.

God has taken that little bit of determination in my youth; has redirected and increased it, and enabled me by His power to do what was seemingly not doable. In upcoming books on The Impossible and Adventures in Missions, I document some of the many difficult situations the Lord has enabled me to overcome through unwavering faith in Him, obedient determination and persistent perseverance.

Determination means refusing to give up no matter how daunting the obstacle, how intense the opposition, how rough the road, or how difficult the battle, but to persevere until the very end and victory is achieved. Never forget, if you consistently, persistently, incessantly and unrelentingly believe and never give up, you will accomplish what others thought to be impossible!

Courage to Stand Alone

by Bill Rudge

Throughout Scripture, we discover that living for God requires believers to occasionally stand alone.

Joseph was thrown into a pit by his brothers. He was all alone, rejected and sold as a slave into Egypt. In Egypt, because he honored God and spurned the affection of Potiphar’s wife, he was thrown into prison. Nevertheless, Joseph continued to honor the Lord and eventually God exalted him to the second highest position in Egypt and used him to save his family from starvation.

David went out alone to meet the giant Goliath. He desired to honor the God of the Bible and shut the mouth of Goliath who was mocking the Lord and intimidating the whole army of Israel. David’s attitude was one of confidence and faith in the Lord.

Elijah, a prophet of God, had an encounter on Mount Carmel against hundreds of prophets of Baal.

Daniel was taken captive to Babylon as a youth. He was ripped from his homeland and separated from his family and friends. In that difficult situation Daniel determined that he would honor the God of the Bible. Daniel was delivered from the power of the lions and prospered during the reigns of Darius and of Cyrus the Persian.

Queen Esther displayed tremendous courage in revealing to the king of Persia, her husband, that she was Jewish. Her bravery, as recounted in the book of Esther, was instrumental in saving the Jewish people of the Persian Empire from being killed. To this day the Jews celebrate Purim, a joyous Jewish festival which commemorates the day Esther saved the Jewish people from a threat of national genocide.

Hebrews 11, the famous chapter on heroes of the faith, frequently uses the words “by faith” which could also easily include “with courage.” Let’s consider a few of them: By faith [and with courage] Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By faith [and with courage] Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith [and with courage] Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward (Hebrews 11:24-26).

Consider the courage of Stephen as he boldly spoke in the power of God’s Spirit to the Jewish Sanhedrin even though it would cost him his life. The Apostle Paul was forsaken by everyone (except the Lord) and had to endure persecution alone. Nevertheless, he bravely stood for Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

All the New Testament writers, except for John, were martyred for their faith. John, the head of the church in Ephesus at the time, was exiled to the Isle of Patmos.

During early church history many Christians were tortured, burned at the stake, thrown to wild animals or beheaded. Some were made to serve as objects of amusement. Others were clad in the hides of beasts and torn to death by dogs. Some were crucified. Others were set on fire to illuminate the night: it is said that Emperor Nero had Christians set afire as human torches to light his gardens.

Being persecuted for faith in Jesus Christ and God’s Word has continued throughout church history. Multitudes of believers have been stoned, drowned, had their brains beat out with clubs, tongues cut out, were stretched on racks or wheels until their joints were dislocated or bones broken, had boiling tar poured over them, were roasted alive like a pig on a spit, dragged through streets by horses, had their stomachs cut open and grain put inside and then pigs let loose to feed on the grain and their intestines, noses or hands cut off and many other horrific tortures.

Christians throughout the world today suffer a wide variety of increasing hostilities and oppression such as loss of freedoms, jobs and income; confiscated property and imprisonment; intensifying persecutions such as being forced into servitude; forced to watch as spouses or children are executed, raped or taken as sex slaves; their houses and churches burned to the ground—sometimes with entire congregations inside; having toes, fingers, hands, noses or heads cut off; and other atrocities—only because they believe the Bible and are committed to Jesus Christ.

During our tenth Holy Land Adventure, we had a meeting with a pastor in Bethlehem who shared his amazing testimony with our group: He had been shot multiple times; his church had been set on fire and the windows broken on several occasions; his brother was martyred in Bethlehem by three men with machetes. Yet still he courageously proclaims the Gospel in this extremely dangerous environment.

I can tell about Josef whom I met while speaking at an Arab Center in California. He had been Saddam Hussein’s English interpreter during the first Iraqi war (Desert Storm). Being a Christian and falsely accused as a traitor, he was tortured for several months. Instead of denying Jesus Christ he chose to believe Jesus’ words: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.”

There are many others in the U.S. and across the world I have either met or have heard about from eye witnesses who have suffered much for the cause of Christ. By God’s grace alone can we endure such atrocities. These courageous Christians are part of God’s elite “heroes of the faith” whom God will one day richly reward! He has prepared a city for them; the splendor of the New Jerusalem is only partially unveiled in Revelation chapters 21 and 22.

Ultimate Peer Pressure

In Revelation 13:8 we are told, “All who dwell on the earth will worship him [antichrist], everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.” This will be the ultimate in peer pressure, conformity and compromise. Deny or die! For all who refuse to worship the image of the beast will be killed.

If you cannot resist peer pressure now, then you had better let God infuse you with His power because there is coming a day in the near future when all of society will be in total rebellion against the Lord and hostile toward His people; the cost will be high to stand for Jesus Christ both before and during the Tribulation period.

A case in point: After several conversations with a retired Marine, he admitted the evidence for Christ was overwhelming and said, “You have convinced me, but I have a problem. I don’t like to be laughed at.” I replied, “You can either stand alone for Christ now or one day stand alone before Him.”

Becoming a Christian was not an easy choice for me as a teenager because of the stigma of being considered weak. It was a perception I did not want my peers to have of me. Wanting to be considered tough, I hung around with the toughest of guys which meant rebellious and wild behavior. Looking back I realize how foolish and weak that really was. Besides, the “toughest of the tough” is Jesus Christ who will defeat all His foes with the brightness of His coming and the words of His mouth! That is whose side I want to be on—the One that wins in the end and for all eternity!

Let us get a proper perspective of courage: Goliath was rough and tough. David was smaller and weaker; he tended sheep while his older brothers went off to war. David wrote psalms and sang songs of praise to the Lord, while Goliath was a crude, boastful, mighty warrior who intimidated both the Philistines as well as the Israelites. Yet who do we remember as the brave and powerful one? Not Goliath but David. It took far more courage for David to face Goliath than for Goliath to combat David.

I have seen tough people cry like babies when sentenced to prison; been there when supposedly brave men and women were terrified in the face of impending death; heard arrogant boasts dwindle to fearful cries; witnessed extremely strong people become exceedingly weak.

Choose real courage and true strength—not the distorted perceptions of people who are influenced by foolish and boastful words or wild and unrestrained behavior. These may impress for a brief time those who are easily astonished by such verbosity and physical displays, but in the end they will look just like Goliath—a defeated fool.

That Great Multitude

Throughout the ages there has always been a remnant of God’s people who have had the God-given courage and strength to remain standing, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

You may be facing strong peer pressure today; feeling like you are in the shrinking minority because almost everyone at school, college or work rejects the Bible as God’s unique revelation of truth. However, one day you will be with the billions of people since Creation—heroes of the faith, prophets, kings, warriors, disciples, martyrs from every generation throughout history, men and women, children and teens from across the globe—who resisted the pressures of their day and became part of that great multitude who will inherit all that the Lord has prepared for those who love and honor Him; believers from throughout the ages will live with God forever. Those already in Heaven will one day be joined by a vast host.

On that Day when Jesus Christ establishes His eternal Kingdom, those whose names are written in the Book of Life will receive all He has prepared for those who love Him and obey His Word. We will have endless time to enjoy and explore the wonders of a restored paradise on Earth and share in the countless adventures that await us throughout the expanse of the entire universe. We will never cease to be amazed by the glory of our God and overjoyed with the blessings He will lavish on His children.

By contrast, those who reject God’s offer of salvation in this life, to enjoy the convenience of compromise, pleasure, popularity or prestige will be named among the “cowardly” mentioned in Revelation 21:8. They will forfeit God’s blessed Kingdom, quarantined from His glorious presence.

Don’t succumb to the seductive spirit of this age. Don’t compromise your faith and fashion your lifestyle to the current cultural trends and popular morality standards. Be encouraged, rather, by the throngs of people who have gone before you and whose testimonies spur you on.

Be a part of the millions of people alive on this planet today who faithfully serve and honor Jesus Christ in spite of ridicule, oppression, hostility, persecution and someday, possible martyrdom. I promise that you will never regret serving Jesus Christ. And I assure everyone who rejects or refuses to accept Him that they will eternally regret that decision.

Believers throughout the history of the Church have fought in the “arena of life” to proclaim the Gospel. Now it is our time to stand strong in the “arena” for Christ. We must not shrink back or cower in fear. That great cloud of witnesses, in fact, all of Heaven, is watching and cheering us on!

The world does not need more wasted lives, burnouts, conformers, compromisers or those who cave to all the peer pressure. What we do need are those with God-given courage to stand up and make their lives count. Instead of being influenced by the world, let’s influence our world for Jesus Christ!

It has been said that a strong person stands up for him or herself and a stronger person stands up for others. But I say that the strongest of people stand up for their testimony of Jesus Christ and God’s Word.

As a teenager, my idea of a man of God was that of a weak, foolish, boring, cowardly person—a real loser! After many years of living for Christ, I now know better: The wisest, strongest and most courageous decision of my life was in receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and living for Him. My idea today of a true man or woman of God is of a person strong, wise, adventurous, courageous—a true Champion!

What Is A Christian? – How You Can Know Christ

Photo by Bruce Adams

by Bill Rudge

Believers in Jesus were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26). The testimony of Jesus as the Christ (Messiah) was so strong in Antioch (the largest city of the Roman province of Syria and a center for missionary activity) that His followers and disciples were identified as Christians (a term of derision in the earliest days of the church meaning “of the family of Christ” but eventually, followers of Christ came to love and adopt this name).

Today, Christian has a much broader and often entirely different meaning than its initial use. Many believe a Christian is someone who merely goes to church, believes in God, lives a good life, or tries to keep the commandments. While it is true that such things as attending church, water baptism, living a godly lifestyle, and a loving attitude should definitely be marks of a believer, these should never be misconstrued as the criteria for someone becoming a Christian. We must examine Scripture and, based upon its authority, determine what it really means to come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Not by Works

According to Scripture, doing good works or keeping God’s Law does not make someone a Christian. The apostle Paul explains that one of the purposes of the Law in the Tanakh (Old Testament), which is based upon the Ten Commandments, was to show us that we all are sinners and can never achieve the standards required by God. Because of our sinful nature, we continually fall short of the mark. This dilemma reveals our need for a Savior:

By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).

Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24).

Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6:28-29).

Paul makes it clear that God’s righteousness can only be obtained through faith, and that Israel did not attain it because they sought it not by faith, but by works:

What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it.

Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone.”

As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame” (Romans 9:33 NIV).

Click here to read more.

God’s Promise

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and loving kindness
will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house
of the LORD forever.

The Lord’s Prayer

    Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.  Matthew 6:9-13

Riches Untold

    1 Peter 1:6-7  …now for a little while you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

    Romans 8:18  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Scriptures of Encouragement

     Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
    Deuteronomy 31:6  Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble, for the LORD your God goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.
    Isaiah 41:10  Do not fear, for I am with you; I will strengthen you, surely I will help you….
    Philippians 4:6-7  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
    Jeremiah 29:13  You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
    Isaiah 40:31  Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
    Psalm 118:24  This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

     Psalm 121:1-2  I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
     1 Corinthians 15:57  Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Romans 8:28  God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
    2 Timothy 4:7-8  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.
    Romans 8:37-39  …we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come … nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


    Revelation 21 and 22  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, or crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God. On either side of the river was the tree of life. Blessed are those who have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city. The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without cost. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Knowing Him

    John 3:16  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 17:3  This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
    Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
    1 John 5:11-12  And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
    Romans 10:9-10, 13  If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.

May you be strengthened by the love of Jesus. Never give up. Always have HOPE:

Hold on to the promises of God (Revelation 21:3-4)

Opt to trust in God through all the challenges you face (Isaiah 40:31)

Place all your cares and concerns upon Him (Psalm 46:1-3)

Enter into the loving hands of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:35)

God will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on Him, because they trust in Him.  Isaiah 26:3

© 2023 by Bill and BJ Rudge

The Last of the Last Days

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
by David Miles. Used with permission.

After leaving the Temple complex and crossing the Kidron Valley, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives, giving His disciples (and us) an astonishing panorama of the end times (Matthew 24). He forewarns that the time just before His return would be the most difficult and distressing in all of human history. Leading up to those desperate days will be what Jesus refers to as the “beginning of birth pains”: great deception; wars and rumors of wars; earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places (Matthew 24:6-8; Mark 13:5-8; Luke 21:8-11; see also Revelation 6:1-8 concerning the four horses with riders).

These “beginning of birth pains” are followed shortly by: unprecedented natural disasters across the planet; escalating activity of evil spirits, wickedness, immorality, violence and persecution; an increase in lawlessness which “will cause the love of many to grow cold”; widespread apostasy (falling away from the faith); a totalitarian government led by a world leader (Antichrist) and a deceptive religious leader (False Prophet); along with terrors and great signs from heaven. This may not be the scenario we want, but it is what Scripture reveals and is a sad commentary on this generation.

The good news is that in spite of the hatred, betrayal and persecution of Christians, the Gospel will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations. The greatest revival in history will occur at this time of tribulation.

Heading To Judgment

While the term “last days” refers to the entire church age since Pentecost, the apostle Paul gives indicators that will proliferate as we near the end of the church age: But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness [religion] although they have denied its power. Keep away from such people as these (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

The depths of depravity to which our nation and this world are descending is disheartening to those who love Christ and His Word and cherish truth and righteousness. As our decadent society free-falls into the chaos of unrestrained, out-in-the-open, uninhibited, gratuitous immorality, brutality, sorcery, thefts, lies and profanity—the masses will ignore these prophecies foretold in the book of Revelation and throughout the Old and New Testaments.

As Jesus’ promised return draws near, God’s Spirit is bringing as many to salvation as will heed His beckoning call. God is loving, merciful and long- suffering and has already delayed the unleashing of His wrath. In His desire for people to come to repentance, He is orchestrating increasing and intensifying signs of impending judgments spoken of in Revelation and other prophetic Scripture, intended to bring those who will to repentance while cleansing the earth of the evil that has defiled it.

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless (2 Peter 3:9-14).

Open your eyes and you will see clear indications that cataclysmic events are on the horizon, to be meted out to a world that denies its Creator, blasphemes His name, distorts His truth, perverts His ways, disobeys His commandments, rebels against His standards, opposes His Word and persecutes His followers! Unless there is widespread, genuine repentance, this generation is rapidly heading to judgment.

The Rapture

Scripture indicates that Jesus will return for His Bride (true believers) before the Great Tribulation commences, rescuing us from “the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10). The Rapture could occur anytime (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53) so be ready!

Dr. Ed Hindson, former professor at Liberty University eloquently stated: “‘Nobody knows the time of My coming.’…The point is that nobody knows the time, so don’t waste your time trying to guess the time, be ready all the time because Jesus can come anytime.”

Philippians 3:20-21 encourages us with words of promise as we await the rapture and the transformation of our mortal bodies into immortality: Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

Will Christ Find Faith On the Earth?

In His parable of the Woman and the Judge, Jesus asks a relevant question for today’s generation, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). The sad reality is that in the case of many supposed Christians the answer will be, “No.” Yet for believers in Christ who love Him, study His Word, look for His coming and are empowered by His Spirit to walk in faithfulness, the answer will be an emphatic, “Yes!”

The question put to you today is: When Jesus Christ returns, will He find faith in you? Are you crying out to God for help and deliverance in the midst of these difficult times or are you looking to someone or something else such as science, technology or New Age techniques to rescue, protect and guide you?

Are You Distressed?

Although Lot was living in corrupt Sodom, God rescued him from its devastating judgment because Lot “was a righteous man who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)” (2 Peter 2:7-8).

The LORD commanded Ezekiel, “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst”(Ezekiel. 9:4).

Is your soul tormented? Do you sigh and groan over what is going on in America and the world? Are you sorrowful and remorseful by what you see?

May our hearts cry out: “Come Lord Jesus! No longer let Your name be blasphemed. No longer allow Your truth to be perverted and twisted. No longer allow violence and murders to devastate this nation. No longer let lies and corruption prevail. No longer stand by as sexual immorality and sorcery seduce this generation. May truth and justice triumph! May Your name be exalted in all nations and Your will done on earth as it is in heaven. Come Lord Jesus and establish your kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy!”

The inhabitants of this earth will either fall on their knees in repentance or be brought to their knees in judgment. My continual prayer is: Lord, use me and this ministry to turn the hearts of the people back to You. Help me to prepare them for what is coming and to inspire them to walk in faithfulness until You return!

Lift Up Your Heads

The prophetic book of Daniel states concerning the time of the end: “Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand” (Daniel 12:10). While many people waste their time viewing images on the Internet and watching movies laced with violence, immorality and sorcery, others study Scripture and end time prophecy. Who will have discernment as prophetic events continue to unfold?

Jesus said, “Now when these things [signs of His coming] begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28). In the day and age we live it is of utmost importance to get our hearts and lives right with the Lord and study His Word— then, no matter what happens, we will have discernment, wisdom, peace, courage and strength in the midst of it.

Be assured, Jesus Christ will come again and reign as King of kings and Lord of lords over the entire earth and all creation. Those who have put their faith in Him as the promised Messiah, Savior and Lord, will experience indescribable peace and joy throughout the millennium and eternity!

May all God’s people, with eager anticipation, be “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)!

Salvation: Easy as A-B-C and D

by Bill Rudge

I have experienced hundreds of exciting witness encounters using insight through creative ideas and illustrations. Every encounter has its own approach and conversational style, but the final message is as simple as A-B-C and D:

A – Admit you are a sinner in need of God’s forgiveness. There is nothing you can do to pay the penalty of sin or earn your salvation (Romans 3:23). The penalty for sin is death, and only God’s righteous, sinless Son could pay that penalty. So, the only solution to your dilemma is to come to Jesus Christ in repentance, receive His free gift of salvation, and accept Him as your Savior and Lord. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

B – Believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead. Just believing in something doesn’t make it true, no matter how sincere you are. Nor is it the intensity of belief that makes something true. It is who and what you believe in that really matters. Jesus said, “…unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). To “believe in” is more than merely acknowledging the reality of Jesus Christ; it means “to trust in and rely on” – a belief that results in committing your life to Him.

C – Confess with your mouth that Jesus died and rose again. Tell others that you have accepted Him as your Savior and Lord. “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).

When you sincerely act on A, B, and C, something amazing happens. God’s Spirit indwells you and begins to mold you into a new creation. Your name is written in the Book of Life! And when you depart this life, you will be welcomed into God’s eternal kingdom and receive all He has prepared for those who love Him.

D – Demonstrate your faith by growing in your personal relationship with Jesus Christ through regular Bible study and prayer, fellowshipping with other believers, and being a witness to those who do not yet know Him. Demonstrate a changed life as His Spirit and Word transform you, molding you into the person you were created to be.

No Greater Love

Knowing and living for Jesus Christ is a wonderful spiritual journey with life-changing experiences and eternal blessings. Your acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord will prove to be the wisest, most courageous, and most eternally significant decision you will ever make.

Are the Gospels Reliable?

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

Is there credible evidence that the Bible is a reliable source of divine revelation? Does the Bible speak accurately on all subject matters or is it only authoritative in regard to spiritual issues? How can you trust the Bible when it was written two thousand years ago? How do you know that the Bible is not full of myths and fabrications? Are the canonical Gospels historically reliable documents on the life of Jesus?

It seems anytime I talk to others about the Christian faith I end up hearing one of these questions. For example, I was able to speak with an airline pilot about the evidence for the Christian faith. Although he claimed to be a Christian, he was uncertain about the accuracy of events recorded in the Gospels since they were written years after they actually occurred. He felt the Gospels were probably the result of men and women bringing together different legends and myths about Jesus of Nazareth.

There are numerous reasons we can appeal to in establishing the historical trustworthiness of the canonical (sacred books officially accepted as genuine) Gospels, including:

• The canonical Gospels are grounded in eyewitness testimony (Luke 1:1-4; John 19:35). The authors claim
to have had actual contact with the events themselves (Matthew and John) or they had firsthand knowledge of the events through the testimonies of those who did (Mark and Luke).

• The Gospels were written too close to actual events surrounding the life of Jesus to be legend. The fact that they were in existence during the lifetime of both hostile and non-hostile eyewitnesses would have prevented fabrications or falsifications on the part of the Gospel writers.

External evidence, such as archeology, has verified the accuracy of the New Testament Gospels in regard to what they say about historical people, places, and events.

Consider just the following two examples: First, all of
the canonical Gospels record that Jesus was put on trial before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate (Matthew
27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 18-19). Since there was no mention of Pontius Pilate outside the Gospel accounts, many scholars questioned whether Pilate was a historical person. Two Italian archeologists answered this question when they unearthed an inscription in Latin at the port city of Caesarea which stated, “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea, has presented the Tiberium to the Caesareans.”

Second, three of the canonical Gospels mention Nazareth as the city where Jesus was raised (Matthew 2:23; Luke 4:16;
John 1:45). Since the Old Testament, Josephus, and the Talmud do not list Nazareth among the villages and cities of Galilee, Nazareth was considered by many scholars to be a fictitious city. However, in an excavation at Caesarea in 1962, a Hebrew inscription was found, “which mentions it (Nazareth) as one of the places in Galilee to which members of the twenty-four priestly courses emigrated after the foundation of Aelia Capitolina in A.D. 135.”

Adding to this discovery, first-century tombs were uncovered around the vicinity of Nazareth, which has led archeologists to conclude that, “… Nazareth was a strongly Jewish settlement in the Roman period.” So archeology continues to demonstrate the canonical Gospels are consistent with what we know about first-century Israel.

A true examination of the evidence has proven that the canonical Gospels on the life of Jesus are historically reliable and allegations to the contrary are false. The canonical Gospels provide us with four different accounts on the life of Jesus. In these accounts, while the authors may stress different aspects of Jesus’ life and have different purposes for writing, they each present harmonious historical information about Jesus of Nazareth.

Memories of Aunt Lucy

Mary Green, a longtime supporter of BRM and the mother of Ann Ore who is on staff at the ministry, went home to be with the Lord recently. A few months ago, Mary had sent us the following note and the poem, Faith (following note):

Dear Bill and Karen,

Just a note to let you know how much I enjoy your newsletters, and how much I learn from them. This has been a very difficult time for many people, but it is during the stressful times that we grow in our understanding of God’s Word and in growing closer to Him, so I can be thankful for them.

Enclosed is a poem entitled Faith, written by my dearly loved Aunt Lucy. She had a difficult life. She lived in a log cabin with no electricity or running water. I have so many happy memories of times spent on that farm. Aunt Lucy always sang hymns as she worked in her garden or worked around the house. Her book of poetry is called “Dream Petals” and many were written during World War II. May God be with you both. I continue to pray for you, your family, and your ministry.

Mary Green, New Jersey


by Lucy Morgan Johnson

If oft affliction I must bear,
I do not mind, for God is there
To strengthen me with faith anew,
To bear my cross, and weakness too.

Should darkness hide me from His sight,
My faith will be a guiding light;
To feel, and know that He is near,
To lead me when life’s way seems drear.

When pain and shadow ’round me loom
That faith will help me pierce the gloom
And it will be a beacon light,
To guide me safely through the night.

And should my path be rough and steep,
I pray that faith will help me keep
Life’s weary way without a sigh
To feel that God is ever nigh.

My future though I cannot see,
Faith makes it seem so real to me;
With hope, my bright and shining star,
Enriched by love, that gleams afar.

May my affliction be for me
Stepping-stones, to eternity;
And may I ever understand,
That faith is but my Savior’s hand.

And when life’s sun is sinking low,
That faith will light my way to go;
And when the veil of death is drawn,
My soul will rise to greet the dawn.

If dark the way, I will go on,
With faith to meet the coming morn,
And know that when night’s shades have flown,
I’ll see the sun rise o’er God’s throne.

Do You Have a Vision?

Through Scripture and prayer, God’s goals and vision you will conceive…

With all of your heart trust the Lord and believe…

Persevere in faith till fulfillment of His promise you receive…

Through the witness of your life those fallen away you will retrieve…

Then keep serving the Lord till this world you leave.

Bill Rudge

Regrets and No Regrets

There are three things for which I have no regrets. Ironically, they are the same three things for which I have some regrets.

First, for my faith in Christ and relationship with Him. I have no regrets for the many years I have been a committed follower of Jesus Christ. But I do have regrets for the years before I accepted Him and the choices I made, which although they did not destroy me – left their marks.

Second, for the time and relationships I have with my close and extended families. I have no regrets for the wonderful times I have had with my children, grandchildren, other family members and friends. They have blessed me in countless ways. But I do regret not having more time to spend with them. I guess I will have to wait until the Millennium and Eternity, when there will be no time restraints or hindrances for these amazing relationships.

Third, concerning my health. I have no regrets for living a life of discipline concerning nutrition and exercise. But I do regret the many years I was a junk food junkie and abused my body and health in so many ways. I am blessed to have regained my health in my 30s and hope to maintain it until I go to be with the Lord.

~ Bill Rudge

The Miracle Continues – God’s Amazing Provision and Protection

While most people thought the goals and vision of Bill and Karen Rudge could never be achieved, Bill and Karen believed God would fulfill what He led them to do. In August of 1977, while in their mid twenties, God led them to start a unique ministry that was destined to become an international outreach. With no money or facilities, they began an incredible journey of faith.

Many of you are witnesses of the miraculous ways the Lord has worked in and through their lives and ministry. You know about the “giants”– the impossible circumstances and obstacles the Lord has enabled them to overcome.

Some of you were there when God literally stopped the rain and thunderstorms from preventing ministry events and outreaches. Others of you observed God’s mighty hand of protection as you traveled with Bill to mission fields or on other dangerous ventures.

Most of you are aware of the numerous times, over the years, Bill and Karen were in need of a financial miracle or when they stepped out in faith to begin building projects. Some of you were eyewitnesses to the astonishing ways the Lord provided the land and enabled the building of two ministry centers primarily with the help of volunteers and without paying any interest. Most of you have read about; some of you can verify and attest to, miraculous interventions the Lord did in seemingly impossible situations (see Bill’s book, Overcoming Giants).

Many of you remember that in spite of the previous ministry building being unsold, Bill and Karen stepped out in faith and constructed a new facility. Then, on the very day they began moving items into the completed new facility, the former ministry center was sold.

As a crucial part in God’s provision for the needs of this ministry during its 42 years of existence, you have enabled this dream of taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth to become a reality. But it is one thing to dream, and quite another to live by faith day after day and year after year – often confronting overwhelming obstacles. Yet, Bill and Karen have dared to trust the Lord, walk in obedience to His Word, be led by His Spirit, and persevere in faith and determination until His purposes were fulfilled.

Divine Protection

Throughout their lives, Bill and Karen have witnessed the Lord’s protection in some incredible ways:

• Bill nearly froze to death in New Mexico less than a week before his conversion – but God dramatically rescued him.

• As a brand new Christian, a car battery exploded in his face – a miracle he was not blinded. (Years later, Bill’s youngest brother was told by a woman who witnessed the explosion, “Your brother should be blind!”)

• Shortly after start of Bill Rudge Ministries, Karen’s life-threatening liver disease suddenly disappeared.

• A shattered left ankle in the early days could have wiped out various aspects of the ministry such as Bill’s fitness and defense classes, school demos, soccer training and the obstacle course.

• Bill and Karen’s then two young children and three of their friends became separated from a group and wandered the streets of New York City by themselves for hours.

• An attempted abduction of their preteen daughter was thwarted by a friend who pulled her free from a man trying to drag her into a van.

• Armed guards in Jordan threatened to abduct their 13-year-old daughter from a bus.

• Bill has been in several near-tragic accidents, including a violent four-vehicle collision with his family while traveling through Oregon following a speaking engagement in British Columbia.

• Bill clearly heard a voice say “Stop!” as he began to pull into an intersection in Jackson Center seconds before a semi-truck whizzed by within a few feet of his vehicle.

• Placing his hand on the door handle of his vehicle in the middle of the night, leaving to meet with a former prisoner who called for help, Bill distinctly heard the word “Ambush.” He fell on his knees and prayed, then continued alone to what proved to be a set up from which only God could have delivered him.

• In Nigeria, Bill and his assistant were surrounded by 15 agitated and aggressive street people.

• In Haiti, Bill, his son, and two other team members were surrounded by approximately 40 hostile Haitians leaving a voodoo ceremony late at night.

• Over the years, Bill has traveled in several Middle East countries during threatened attacks against U.S. citizens.

• The first female suicide bomber detonated herself at the exact site Bill and his associates had stood just 23 hours earlier after speaking to a Messianic congregation in Jerusalem.

• Bill and his 13-year-old son were nearly struck by a speeding bus in the mountains of northern India: It slid to a stop just two feet in front of them.

• Bill was nearly shot during a conflict at a cult complex in West Virginia where later remains of murdered bodies were found.

• While leading a feared voodoo witch doctor to the Lord, Bill, the interpreter, and the witch doctor were supernaturally protected from being attacked by three angry men armed with machetes and a lead pipe.

• The vehicle in which Bill, his son-in-law, nephew, and Indian host were traveling came within inches of going over the edge of the Himalayan mountains.

• Bill and two others were smuggled in and out of a country where it was forbidden to share the Gospel under penalty of prison or death.

• Karen and Bill faced great peril when trapped in the California wildfires.

• Karen was diagnosed with cancer fifteen years ago and told she only had five years to live.

• Bill was bitten by a brown recluse spider – one of the most poisonous in the United States. Trapper John said, “Everyone I know who has been bitten by a brown recluse spider lost all or part of a limb or has a hole in their leg or arm. Bill does not have even a mark on his finger. It is truly a miracle.”

• Greg Callahan sent Bill a letter concerning an incident that happened when they were youths at B Street Playground in Sharon. He wrote:

Tonight as I was reading your book it came back to me about when you had a card game where you would flip cards and bet you knew which card was mine. Well, you got me. But what truly puts a tear in my eye is that we used to stack those picnic tables three high and play cards on top of the third one. They were large and heavy picnic tables which took several guys to move. One day you and I were sitting on one side of the picnic table stacked three high and somehow it went tumbling over. Those tables had to weigh at least a couple hundred pounds and we fell quite a ways. We were both sitting with our feet under the table so that when it fell there was no way out! When we hit the cement floor the seat hit first so that we didn’t get crushed. It just amazes me that we could have been killed or crippled all those years ago, but by the grace of God nothing happened and here we are today.

The Lord’s Assurance

Early in his ministry the Lord assured Bill that his life would not be taken until God’s purpose was fulfilled. Bill has faced life threatening situations throughout his ministry and during many of his adventurous mission trips to dangerous countries throughout the world. He has often been in potentially explosive situations: Threatened, surrounded, attacked; had spells put on him – even “prophecies” for his destruction. But the God of the Bible has either given him the wisdom for how to deal with them, or has intervened to protect him.

He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones. Proverbs 2:7, 8

This does not mean we will never be injured, attacked, or even lose our lives, but the Lord will be with us and bring ultimate victory out of every adverse circumstance.

What More Shall We Say?

Time and space does not permit us to tell of all the miraculous events initiating our radio ministry and military outreaches; or the amazing way God used Gabriel (General Secretary of the Federation of Evangelical Churches of India) to open doors to begin our international outreach (precisely 10 years from the start of the ministry) fulfilling exactly Bill’s initial goals and vision for the ministry.

Nor does it permit us to tell (in this issue) of how the Lord enabled Bill – at no financial cost to the ministry – to fulfill the goal of blitzing the world with the Gospel in 2000. Or of many other astonishing feats and exploits the Lord has done through this ministry.

Those who honor Me I will honor. 1 Samuel 2:30

From the very beginning of this ministry, Bill and Karen’s desire has been to honor the Lord. As a result, God’s blessings (along with the difficulties) have far surpassed anything they might have imagined.

This journey is testimony to God’s grace and faithfulness. The Lord has protected, provided and fulfilled everything He has led them to do. These, and other miraculous events are recorded in a history of the ministry notebook entitled The Impossible. A future book will share in more detail these amazing accounts of what the Lord has accomplished in making the impossible possible.

In sharing these highlights we want to encourage you, to build your faith and to testify of the faithfulness of our God. As the apostle Paul said in Romans 15:17, 18:

Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God. For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me….

Don’t compare yourself to others or attempt to imitate them. Just follow the path the Lord has for you.

God desires you to…

accept Him as your Savior,

be committed to Him as LORD,

dare to step out in faith,

trust Him when facing impossible circumstances,

have hope in Him in the midst of tragedy,

honor His name in the face of adversity,

obey His Word in spite of ridicule,

stand as a bold witness for Jesus Christ and the Bible,

be sensitive to the leading of His Spirit,

persevere in faith and determination until His purpose is fulfilled, and

remain faithful until He returns.

– Bill Rudge