Three Types of Clergy – A Word from Jesus

by Bill Rudge

In light of the recent news about abuse by clergy in Pennsylvania, Bill has written the following article:

Most men and women get into ministry with a heart to serve the Lord and continue with that commitment throughout the duration of their ministry. Hopefully this is true for the majority of those who serve in Jesus’ name. They will one day hear Him say:

Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness! (Matthew 25:23).

Some people get into ministry because they also have a heart to serve the Lord and help others – but along the way they get lured into sexual immorality. While forgiveness is available for true repentance (1 John 1:9), they better carefully ponder the requirements and responsibilities set forth in Scripture to be a leader: 1 Timothy 3:1-12; Titus 1:6-9; James 3:1.

Some people go through the external motions of professing faith in Christ –

even praising the Lord and quoting Scripture –

but their lifestyles indicate their hearts are far from Him and His Word.

Others enter ministry as “opportunists” with a predetermined agenda to exploit and take advantage of vulnerable people. Jude and Peter warn about such predators:

For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. But the Lord is coming to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done (Jude 4, 13-15; 2 Peter 2:2).

Jesus’ Rebuke and Commendation

Reflecting upon the words of Jesus to the seven churches in Revelation, chapters two and three, provides tremendous insight which has both immediate and eternal implications.

Jesus’ four main rebukes were for: 1) false teaching – so contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints, 2) sexual immorality – so purify your life and relationships, 3) idolatry – so put nothing or no one before the Lord and 4) being lukewarm and leaving first love – so keep your passion for Jesus Christ and His Word burning.

Jesus’ four main commendations were for their: 1) love, faith, and service – so be active in evangelism and outreach, 2) endurance and perseverance – so be totally committed to Christ with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and remain faithful to the end, 3) sexual and spiritual purity – so keep yourself pure physically, mentally and
spiritually, and 4) faithfulness to His Word and Name – so stand for the truth of Scripture and your testimony of the Jesus of the Bible.

Reaching Your Maximum Potential

The following list is a compilation of biblical principles God used to transform Bill Rudge’s life. May this inspire and encourage you in your walk with the LORD.

Examine The Evidence for Faith in Jesus

Make a Total Commitment to Christ as Lord

Walk in Obedience to the Lord’s Will

Be Surrendered and Available So God Can Mold Your Life

Evaluate Your Motives – Pride Ends in Destruction; Humility in Honor

Live a Life of Integrity

Establish Balance by Being Physically, Mentally and Spiritually Fit 

Exercise Self-Control – the Essence of Strength

Dare to Be Different – Don’t Compromise or Conform 

Have the Courage to Stand Alone

Develop Determination to Never Give Up – Remain Faithful to the End

Root Out Hidden and Pet Sins

Desire the Lord More than Anyone or Anything Else

© 2018 by Bill Rudge http://www.billrudge.org

Commitment to Reach My Full Potential in Christ

I have examined the evidence and counted the cost. I choose to commit the rest of my life to Jesus Christ.

I accept You as my Savior and acknowledge You as Lord over every area and aspect of my life. 

Strengthen me to walk in obedience to Your Word and anoint me to fulfill Your purpose.

Cause me to be available, yielded, submissive, surrendered and sensitive so Your Spirit can speak to my heart. Lead, guide and empower me to accomplish Your goals, dreams and vision for my life.

Remind me to daily examine my motives and inspire me to maintain a pure heart and a genuine spirit of humility and meekness.

Enable me to live a life of integrity before You and the world.

Motivate me to develop a balanced life and glorify You with all of my being – physical, mental and spiritual.

Encourage me to live a life of discipline and self-control – which is the true essence of strength.

Keep me from compromising and conforming – inspire me to dare to be different and make my life count.

Grant me the courage to stand alone when necessary.

Instill within me the determination to never give up and to remain faithful until I go home to be with You.

Do not let me tolerate hidden or pet sins. Help me by the power of Your Spirit to overcome anything that would ensnare or enslave me.

I desire You, Lord Jesus, more than anyone or anything else on earth.

© 2018 by Bill Rudge http://www.billrudge.org

Miracle Child (Lillian Grace)

by Tabitha Rudge Smith (and Florence Biros)

My husband and I were living in California and always wanted a big family. When we learned a third child was going to join us, we were so thrilled. I called the doctor and was told, “We would like to see you around 10 to 12 weeks in the pregnancy unless you have complications.”

I made my appointment to see the doctor for the first time, when I knew I would be able to hear my baby’s heartbeat. Besides, my morning sickness was so bad with this pregnancy that I couldn’t wait to see the doctor to get something to help alleviate it.
At the appointment, I saw a female doctor who tried to hear the heartbeat, but couldn’t find it. “Sometimes this early – around 10 weeks – the heartbeat is hard to hear. Instead, we’re going to do an ultrasound.”

How exciting, I thought, I can see my baby as well as hear it! That didn’t happen. When they did the ultrasound, the woman looked very solemn and said, “I’m very sorry. There is a pregnancy sac but it is empty.” Then she added, “There are no signs of life.”

I answered, “Well it is early and I could be off a few days.”

She looked at me and declared, “Well you’d have to be off at least 3 weeks.”

In my heart I knew I was not 3 weeks off of my cycle. Her next words cut me to the core, “Why don’t you go home and think about what you want to do – miscarry on your own or have a D&C?”

That weekend I had planned on going on a woman’s retreat. I didn’t feel like going. My husband suggested, “Why don’t you go to help keep your mind off all this?”

I went. By the second night of the retreat, I was so miserable from throwing up and crying that I had to leave during the evening message and run to the restroom.
A sweet, elderly lady asked sympathetically, “Do you have the flu?”

Do I tell her? I contemplated for a minute, then decided I didn’t feel like discussing it. Instead I told her, “I’m pregnant and having a terrible time with morning sickness.”

Taking my hand, she asked “May I pray for you?”

I just need to tell her that there is no baby. Why pray? I agreed, though. She continued to hold my hand and pray, asking God to take away my nausea, bless my pregnancy and then she placed her hand on my womb and said, “Lord, if there is something that needs to be in the womb that is not there, we ask you to place it there.”

At that moment I burst into tears and told her the whole story. She simply smiled, gave me a hug, then walked away.

A few days later I went to see the doctor who said, “I’ll schedule one more ultrasound before scheduling your D&C.” When she placed the ultrasound wand on my stomach, she seemed amazed. She not only heard the heartbeat, but saw a picture of our 11 week old baby in my belly.

We knew that God had performed a miracle and gave us our precious baby. She is now a beautiful, healthy 14-year-old who loves to tell her friends about Jesus.

Kids’ Corner

Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Author Unknown

The following lighthearted humor was contributed by one of our supporters in California, Diana Trepesowsky.  Thank you, Diana.

• A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin 5, and Ryan 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.’” Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus!” Author Unknown

• A father was at the beach with his children when the four-year-old son ran up to him, grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore where a seagull lay dead in the sand. “Daddy, what happened to him?” the son asked. “He died and went to Heaven,” the Dad replied. The boy thought a moment and then said, “Did God throw him back down?” Author Unknown

• A wife invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said, “Would you like to say the blessing?” “I wouldn’t know what to say,” the girl replied. “Just say what you hear Mommy say, the wife answered. The daughter bowed her head and said, “Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?” Author Unknown

Reverence for His Name

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

The Lord’s Prayer opens with this concept of reverence: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9). Addressing God as our Father identifies us as His children. How do we become one of His children?

But as many as received Him [Jesus], to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name (John 1:12).

Besides having the privilege to address God as our Father, we are to hallow God’s name when we pray. This means we should approach God with reverence and respect. In ancient times a name expressed the individual’s essential being. Thus, by approaching God with reverence for His name, we are in reality expressing a respect for His very being. As David proclaims, “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:9).

Seeking His Will

The essence of Jesus’ life reflects His willingness to humble Himself and submit to the will of His Father (see Philippians 2:5-11). Jesus taught this in the Lord’s Prayer, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). The apostle John reiterates that we should pray according to God’s will.

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us (1 John 5:14).

He could not have stated it more clearly, if we want God to hear our prayers, then we must seek God’s will and not our own.

In my youth, I wanted to be a professional soccer player. Certainly, there was nothing wrong in aspiring to such a lofty goal. The problem was, I allowed my desire to play soccer to be more important than my desire to serve and honor God. Soccer had become my identity and I based my self-value upon it. Essentially, I was living a self-centered life, rather than a Christ-centered life and my prayers reflected it. The pursuit of my own dreams nearly destroyed me; it took three injuries, which required surgery on my left ankle and both knees, to bring me to the point in my life where I began to seek God’s will and not my own. After my third operation, I wrote the following in my prayer journal,

“God, I give my life and desires to you. Take this and build within me a desire to serve You; stronger than my desire to play soccer.”

As it says in Proverbs, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (19:21).

Our prayer lives will be ineffective if we approach God on our own terms and in accordance to our own will. It will not be until we are willing to humble ourselves, and submit to His will for our lives, that we will see our prayer lives becoming powerful and effective.

Jesus Is Our Example

Jesus’ life was defined by prayer. At the start of His ministry, as He was baptized, He prayed (Luke 3:21). Before He chose His disciples He spent time in prayer (Luke 6:12-16). Before He was betrayed, arrested, and condemned to death, He was on His knees in prayer (Matthew 26:36; Mark 14:32; Luke 22:41; John 17). This consistent pattern of prayer obviously left an impression on Jesus’ disciples. As one of my former students, Mike J. Sarkissian, asserts in his excellent book: Before God: The Biblical Doctrine of Prayer:

The disciples had been used to going to the synagogues and the temple and hearing the cold, impersonal, repetitious prayers of the Pharisees. But once they began following Jesus, they must have immediately noticed that His prayer life was different. It was passionate and powerful. It was much different than what they were used to. When Jesus prayed things happened. Jesus’ prayer life commanded the disciples’ attention enough for them to ask Him for instruction on how to pray.

Spending Time in Prayer

Jesus separated Himself from others to spend time in prayer with His Father (Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16). Challenges we all face include distractions and busy schedules. I understand this! I have six children, work full time in the ministry, travel for speaking engagements, author books, coach high school soccer, and teach as part-time professor at an area university.

None of us is busier than Jesus was, and if He could make time to separate Himself to pray, we can do the same. While we may not have a mountain or wilderness available for solitude, we can still find places and make ways to spend time alone with God.

Why Modesty?

by Rosemary Lozier, BRM Staff

Eve had it, Bathsheba had it, and Delilah certainly had it. I’m talking about the ability that women have to use, or misuse, our God-given trait of persuasion. As Christian women, we have a responsibility to set a godly example before others, especially younger women and girls.

Much has been said about teenage girls and how they dress. Who is instructing them on this subject? Who is influencing them? Is it the world, or are they learning it at home? Are they dressing appropriately or are they dressing according to their friends’ standards? These questions are not meant to bash parents or to lay blame. We all know that sometimes, even though children may come from a Godly home with wonderful Christian parents, a child (especially in the teen years) may decide that he or she would rather follow the influence of this world.

Perhaps, as mentors and parents we could ask ourselves if we are doing all we can to set a good example to the young people in our church. The Bible instructs “older women to be reverent in the way they live” so they can train the younger women to “be self controlled and pure” (Titus 2:3-5).

And it’s not just women and girls, the Bible also speaks to older men about setting an honorable example to the younger men and boys:

Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled (Titus 2:2, 6).

Young men, don’t allow yourself to be in a situation where you might give in to temptation and get caught up in something that you will regret – and that could change – the entire rest of your life. God speaks of this in His Holy Word as a warning in the book of Judges, chapters 16 to 18. Samson was a handsome man blessed by God with extraordinary strength. Yet he was completely overtaken by Delilah’s seductive beauty. Sadly, this cost Samson everything – his strength, his eyesight, his freedom and ultimately, his life.

This may sound extreme, but you – young women and young men –may think a thing like how you dress or how you speak isn’t that big of a deal. A small inconsequential thing. But seemingly small things – like lust – can have big consequences. Besides, everything we do as professing Christians is important because it sets the tone for our testimony. If we profess to follow Jesus, then what we do and even what we wear should honor God (Colossians 3:17).

So, to all young people (and adults), the next time you are getting ready for the day, whether going to church, shopping, or just hanging out with your friends, think about what message you will be sending in the way you dress or how you speak. Will others see Christ honored through you, or will they see you displaying and promoting yourself? I leave you with this:

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is. (Romans 12:2).

Powerful and Effective Prayer

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” James 5:16

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

PrayerBookCoverDraftRev_1Do you desire to be a man or woman of great faith? Do you want God to use your life so as to leave a lasting legacy? I recently read a book entitled 50 People Every Christian Should Know. This book presents the biographies of 50 men and women who have left a lasting impression upon the Christian faith. As I read about their lives, I discovered several common traits which defined how they lived. One of these traits was that they were people of prayer. They all understood that their effectiveness in serving God was directly connected to the time they spent on their knees. Just like these individuals of the past, God wants to take ordinary people today and raise up another generation of spiritual giants whose lives are marked by powerful and effective prayer.

After calling his readers to pray in times of trouble and sickness, and to confess their sins one to another, James asserts that, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16). To illustrate, James refers to the prophet Elijah as an example of a person who had an effective prayer life. James tells us that Elijah’s prayers both began and ended a three-and-a-half year drought on the nation of Israel (see 1 Kings 17 and 18). James also reminds us that Elijah was a man with a nature just like us (James 5:17). In other words, according to Donald W. Burdick, “He [Elijah] had no superhuman powers; he was by nature a human being and nothing more. However, when he prayed ‘that it would not rain … it did not rain’…so James assures his readers that such answers to prayer are within the reach of any believer.”

If it is true that we can have a powerful prayer life like the prophet Elijah, then the obvious question is, “How?” Many writers propose answers to this question by suggesting we do things such as recite a verse or a word repeatedly, sit in silence (an altered state of consciousness), or walk a prayer circle. Prayer, however, is not some magical incantation or manipulative tool we can use to control God. As Jesus Himself taught,

And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetitions as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words (Matthew 6:7).

Instead, prayer is communicating with God through means by which He has revealed in His word. Recognizing that we are dependent upon the Bible to understand prayer, in upcoming newsletters I will be sharing biblical principles that can enable any believer to have a powerful and effective prayer life just like Elijah.