I Couldn’t Outrun God’s Love

A testimony by Bill Rudge

At the age of 18, I decided that whatever I was looking for, it had to be somewhere other than in Pennsylvania. I thought I would find what was missing in my life out West. Or maybe I was running from the God my girlfriend, Karen, kept telling me about. All I knew for sure was I had to get away. So in May of 1971, my weight-lifting buddy and I hitchhiked west.

Albuquerque

A few months earlier, my brother and I had spoken by phone. I said I might come out to see him sometime; he said he could get me a “hot” motorcycle to ride from there on out to California. He didn’t really believe I would ever come out, so when (after two adventurous days and nights on the road) we reached Albuquerque and called the hippie compound where my brother was living, I was told he had left the previous day to go swimming in some mountain springs 100 miles away. No one knew when he’d be back.

Deciding then to hitchhike on to Santa Fe (about 50 miles north), we walked three miles before finally getting a ride that took us straight in. On the way, the radio reported night temperatures would drop to 25 degrees – a record low for this time of year. We had anticipated warmer weather out West and were wearing only short-sleeved shirts and a plastic poncho.

Santa Fe 

With darkness setting in, we wandered the cobblestone streets seeking a place to spend the night; it seemed the whole town had closed down. We eventually found an open bar but were not allowed inside because we were under-aged. “Could we just go in long enough to find someone to put us up for the night?” we asked. The manager, however, didn’t really care about our problems and again refused us entry. We saw a girl cycling by so we yelled at her to stop. She pedaled all the faster, and disappeared down a side street. Now even the bar was closing, no one was willing to help, and our hope of finding shelter plunged right along with the temperature.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, down that narrow street came a small, yellow foreign car with four longhaired hippies, a German shepherd hanging out the window. We began to wave and yell, and suddenly one of them yelled back, “That’s my brother! That’s my brother!” The car screeched to a halt. My brother Larry, who was supposed to be swimming in the mountains 100 miles away, did not know I was even in New Mexico. Yet there, in the small town of Santa Fe, on a narrow street, The God who knew I would one day give my life to Him, intervened at our hour of desperate need.

Back to Pennsylvania 

Somehow managing to scrunch into the little car, we drove on to where my brother and his friends were staying. We smoked some marijuana and talked. My brother explained they came down from the mountains to return a borrowed car. But he also explained he couldn’t get us that “hot” bike, after all. The following day, greatly disappointed, my buddy and I headed back to Pennsylvania.

The first thing I did upon my return was to see Karen. She asked, “Bill, why don’t you go with me tonight? There’s going to be a fantastic evangelist speaking in Youngstown, Ohio.” I wanted nothing to do with her Jesus, but she looked so beautiful that I finally agreed to go. I expected to hear the usual pitch, and resigned myself to sit there and watch those stupid Christians walk down the aisle and pray.

But this night was different; the speaker talked on Bible prophecy – on how we can know a real and personal God. The Holy Spirit dealt with me as never before. I’d been searching for meaning and purpose all my life but knew already the futility of looking to alcohol, drugs, sex, weight lifting, karate – or anything else – for lasting peace and happiness. I saw that no self-improvement plan, no patterning my life after anyone else’s could truly change or fulfill me.

A New Man 

In a moment, the truth of Jesus Christ became reality to me. The spoken words seemed to pierce my very heart and reveal what I’d always longed for: to be restored to my Creator, through His only Son, Jesus Christ. Though in the past, others had tried to prod or persuade me to a decision, this time I willingly stood to make that long walk to the altar. On the way I said, “God, if you prove Yourself real to me today, I will live my life for You.” Down on my knees, I was totally sincere for the first time in my life. “Lord, I am sorry for all my sins! I want to give my life to You. Please, forgive me.” On the following evening, the evangelist said to me, “Young man, last night there was a battle between heaven and hell. Hell wanted to keep you, but God won.”

My whole life was changed. Now that I had accepted Christ I had to grow in this new relationship with God. I was baptized and began changing from someone who only cared about himself and used people, to someone who really cared for others.

I am a new person in Christ. When I sincerely asked Him, Jesus did what no one or anything else ever did or could have done. Through Him, I found meaning and purpose. Only through Christ could I begin to conquer all the problems I had throughout my life. He truly is the Ultimate and Only Truth. Those who knew me before cannot believe that I am now a minister, and those who meet me now, who do not know my past, cannot believe what I once was like.

From Atheist to Creationist

Jerry Bergman, Ph.D.

As I studied evolution (the doorway to atheism), it eventually became apparent that the theory has some major problems. The first example I researched in detail was the “vestigial organ” claim. There are over 100 claimed vestigial organs. These are supposedly non-functional evolutionary “leftovers,” yet I found uses for all of them. I went on to study the fossil record, and then I examined the natural selection claim, concluding that natural selection only explains the survival of the fittest, but the essential problem in Darwin’s day, and today, is the arrival of the fittest.

After exploring all of the major arguments for evolution, I eventually concluded that Darwinism has been falsified on the basis of science and realized that the evidence demands an intelligent creator.

The evidence against Darwinism was a critical factor in my acceptance of creationism, which opened the door to my acceptance of Christianity… Like many scientists who came before me, I discovered that the evidence supports the truth of the Bible.

Acts & Facts, February 2015

Sole Survivor

Bus bombing in Tel Aviv.

Bus bombing in Tel Aviv.

Here is an amazing story that George, the tour guide from the Bill Rudge Ministries’ 8th Holy Land Adventure, shared about how his daughter survived a bus bombing:

(At the end of the summer in 2004 George took his 12 year old daughter, Sivan, to a concert to hear Israeli singer, David Broza, who is their very good friend.) He told us, “….so at the end of the summer, I took her to one of his concerts. Following the concert, when it was time to go home, she wanted to stay back stage with David but naturally we wanted her home as soon as possible since she is only 12 years old and school was to start the next day. To make her go home, David took off a necklace he was wearing with Hamsa on it. (Hamsa is shaped like a human hand and was blessed by a priest.) Sivan liked it and went home to sleep.

“On October 19, 2004, Sivan as usual went to school in Tel Aviv by bus (not a school bus but a public bus). At 8:46 in the morning her necklace fell to the floor and she ducked down to pick it up. At this very second a Muslim terrorist blew up the bus. But since Sivan was bending down to the floor, she was the only passenger to survive the blast!”

Everyone was killed except one person: George’s 12 year old daughter. She survived without a scratch.

And the Rain Stopped

by Bill Rudge Ministries

One day a week for several months prior to the World War I and Sergeant York 90th Anniversary Commemoration, the Bill Rudge Ministries staff prayed and fasted for this special event and for good weather on the day of it. Many other people were also praying.

But on October 3, 2008, one day before the big event in the Argonne Forest of France, the weather was cold and rainy –– often torrential downpours. It appeared the extensive ceremonies would be marred by heavy rain that was forecast to continue for several more days.

So on the evening of October 3, in the American Cemetery in the apartment used by General Pershing, Bill Rudge gathered everyone present for special prayer. Colonel Mastriano and his wife and son, Chaplain Robinson and his wife and son, and BJ, joined Bill to pray for a miracle. Bill earnestly asked the Lord to intervene in this impossible situation and provide good weather for the next day’s ceremonies.

By morning on October 4, shortly before the ceremonies and dedication were to begin, the rain stopped and the sun came out. It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day. The very next day, it began raining again.

A reporter for a German magazine wrote in his article about the amazing phenomenon of how the sky seemed to open and the sun came out on the day of the York Commemoration.

Our God is an awesome God!

Saved By A Song

It was Christmas Eve, 1875. Ira Sankey was traveling by steamboat up the Delaware River. Mr. Sankey had been asked to sing. He wanted to sing a Christmas song but was driven almost against his will to sing Saviour Like A Shepherd Lead Us. All were moved by the rendition.

After the song ended a man with a rough, weather-beaten face came up and asked Mr. Sankey, “Did you ever serve in the Union army?” “Yes,” answered Mr. Sankey, “in the spring of 1862.” “Can you remember if you were ever doing picket duty on a bright, moonlit night in 1862?” “Yes,” answered Mr. Sankey, very much surprised.

“So do I,” answered the stranger, “but I was serving in the Confederate army. When I saw you standing at your post I said to myself, ‘That fellow will never get away from here alive.’ I raised my musket and took aim. At that instant, just as a moment ago, you raised your eyes to Heaven and began to sing. I took my finger off the trigger.

‘Let him sing his song to the end,’ I said to myself, ‘I can shoot him afterwards.’ But the song you sang then was the song you sang just now. When you had finished your song it was impossible for me to take aim at you again. I thought, the Lord, who is able to save that man from certain death, must surely be great and mighty, and my arm, of its own accord, dropped limp at my side.

Since that time I have wandered about far and wide, but when I just now saw you standing there singing as on that other occasion, I recognized you. Then my heart was wounded by your song. Now I ask that you help me find a cure for my sick soul.”

Deeply moved, Mr. Sankey threw his arms about the man who in days of the war had been his enemy. And that night the stranger found the Good Shepherd as his Savior.

The Christian Banner -
A Civil War magazine

From Shinto to Christian Pastor

Pastor Nobuji Horikoshi

Pastor Nobuji Horikoshi

Pastor Nobuji Horikoshi pastors one of the largest churches in Japan, the growing Souai Church in Mie Prefecture.

He grew up as the eldest son of a Shinto priest who was in charge of a Shinto temple. Nobuji was expected to take over the priestly position and duties of his father. But as he grew, the big questions of life began to plague him. Where did we come from? What happens after we die? How can we please God? There are so many gods, how can we know which one is the true God? There are no answers, even from his priest father. This drove him deep into the search for the truth, and in the early post-war years the questions led him to Christianity.

One of the most important steps in his journey was the discovery of a book on creation titled That You Might Believe written by the late Dr. Henry Morris. It presented convincing evidence for creation science and biblical accuracy, leading to a clear gospel message. It transformed Nobuji, and soon he was the pastor of a small church.

Armed with new information, including the case for creation, he went to tell his father. When he found out that his son was now a Christian, Nobuji’s father refused to see him.

Eventually the father agreed to see him as the pastor of a church in town, but not as his son, and for years they met together for an hour each day, discussing deep issues such as those that drove Nobuji to Christ. Eventually his father accepted Christ’s free gift of salvation. He renounced his position as a Shinto priest, tore down the temple, and donated the land to the church. The church building, school and museum now sit on [this] land.

– excerpts from Acts & Facts, October 2014