The crux of it is this: God's people and God's church should be living triumphant, overcoming lives even in the midst of this fallen world. The reality is, however, that many Christians are struggling to stay afloat at all (relationally, financially, spiritually, etc.) much less living the abundant life that Christ died to give us. The saddening part about all this is that in Christ we have all we could ever need to live abundantly. He has promised to "supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Phil 4:19). All we could ever hope to need in this world, He has purchased for us with His blood. Why then do so many Christians turn to worldly means to try to meet the needs in their lives? Why do they not just turn to Christ in faith and know that He will provide for them?
I don't know the answer to those questions but I have some thoughts on the subject. It seems that the 2 main reasons that we do not avail ourselves to the riches of our Lord are:
1. We don't know that we can.
2. We know that we can but we don't know how.
It seems to me that the church was created in part to remedy these 2 problems. Yet it also seems that a very large number of church going Christians still struggle in this area. Why is this the case? I think partly because it is so easy for us as pastors and church leaders to fall back onto the gifts and abilities God has given us that we assume we know what He plans for our ministries. We rely on our gifts instead of relying on a word from Him. In doing this, we inadvertently rob our ministries of any power because we are the power(less) source and not the Holy Spirit. I know that the burden God has placed on my heart through the course of the last few weeks and months has led to a strong conviction that I cannot pray enough for my ministry, my family, and my church. I can assume nothing when it comes to what God's will is for my life, my family, and my ministry. To miss God means to miss any chance of a life impacting ministry.
If we are to help God's people live abundant, joyful, Spirit filled, Christ dependent lives, we must spend less time planning and budgeting and marketing and more time on our knees before the throne of our God begging that He will speak and begging that He will somehow use us to change hearts and save souls. I am tired of seeing people who attend church every week and still struggle mightily day to day. I want to see them have victory over the things of this world. I want God to do a might work in me and through me. I want my ministry and the ministry of my church to glorify Him be a place where people are healed, strengthened, and turned loose for the sake of the Kingdom. I want to see lives saved, marriages rescued, children raised under the precepts of God, and the Word of God made manifest in the lives of His children. Only He can do all that......I can just offer myself as a humble vessel and pray that He use me as He sees fit to magnify His name and His Glory.
Sheldon Clowdus 2/27/2009Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
My desire is to use this blog as a place to record the things that I am learning, both in my own studies of God's word and through the lives of the people around me. I am blessed to work at a church with Godly men and women who enjoy discussing the things of God and this will be a place to chronicle some of those discussions as well. I hope to be able to interact with you, the reader, as well, and hopefully we will sharpen one another as the Proverbs say. Any resources, websites, reading material, etc. that I stumble across and find worth sharing, I will share in this blog.
Mostly this will be about my life and how God is shaping, molding, and pruning it so that I may become a vessel that He can use to display His glory to the world.
Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you visit often and feel free to contact me if you would like.
Sheldon Clowdus 2/27/2009
Sheldon Clowdus 2/21/2009Have you ever read a passage of scripture that made you think "What if we are missing something here?"
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Paul makes a couple of points in these passages.
- The gospel can take care of itself. The gospel doesn't need our help to save people. It just needs to be preached. Paul says that the gospel itself is the power of God unto salvation.
- Not only does trying to make the gospel more eloquent not help any, Paul says that it empties the cross of its power.
Sometimes when I see what goes on in the church in America and all we do to either make the gospel message more "relevant" or user friendly, I can't help but think that we are hindering the work that God sent us here to do. Our calling is to preach the gospel to a lost and dying world...period. Not to worry about how many people respond or how full our churches are or anything like that. Just preach the infallible, perfect Word of God and watch God do what only He can do....change hearts and save souls.
I know that some churches do a great job of preaching the gospel and I don't mean to imply that all churches are at fault. It does seem that the trend, however, is away from simple preaching and more toward a user friendly approach to church.
What if we just preached the gospel to the lost and saved alike?
What if we just trusted God to use the gospel to save sinners?
What if we just trusted God to use the gospel to transform and sanctify his church (ourselves included)?
What if we stopped trying to help God do what only He can do and just did what He called us to do?
Sheldon Clowdus 2/21/2009Being a pastor has enabled me to be around a lot of Christians in the course of work and ministry. The one thing that has jumped out at me over my time in the ministry is how many of God's people are broken. I don't mean broken hearted or broken in spirit, I am talking about broken as in don't work properly.
Why is it that so many Christians do not walk in the freedom, joy, contentment, and abundance that Christ purchased for them on the Cross? Why do we choose to ignore the inheritance that is ours? Or do we just not know how to access it?
I know this, my heart breaks for those of God's children who, for whatever reason, are unable to experience the freedom that Christ freed them for. If only they knew that it doesn't have to be this way. All that is necessary is faith and obedience. Those are the keys that unlock the storehouses of heaven. The world has deceived and mislead so many into trying every method under the sun to find the things that Christ promised us if we just choose to trust Him and obey Him.
If you are struggling in your walk, if you are at the end of your rope spiritually, if you desperately desire to walk in the promises of God.....let me suggest something. Forget about Dr. Phil and Oprah...... forget about all the promises of psychology and its talk about self-esteem and self-fulfillment...... forget about the latest Christian best seller about how to live the Christian life. Get your Bible, get alone with God, ask Him one simple question: "Right where I am now, how can I bring You glory?" Jeremiah says that when you seek God with all your heart, you will find Him.
He desires to see obtain the things that are yours, the things that He has promised and secured for you through His Son. But you have to give everything else up for Him......He has to be your only option.
When you give everything else up for Him and choose to walk by faith and obedience.....you stop being broken and become broken in spirit. Then you are ready to experience all that is yours in Christ.
Sheldon Clowdus 2/21/2009Have you ever seen, heard, or been a part of something that made you think, "I really should be writing this down or something so I don't forget this"? That in a nutshell is what I hope to do here at All Blogs Lead to Rome.
I am blessed to work around some really smart, Godly people and I learn a great deal from them. Some of those lessons I will post here.
I will also post some of the things God is teaching me personally and ministerially. This may end up being the bulk of what I post here because I have a lot to learn in both of those areas.
There are a number of more intelligent people out there who write much better than I do (you can link to a few of them from my blog list) and from time to time I will share some of the great things posted there for your reading pleasure.
Chances are you will also find some post scattered around here about Alabama Crimson Tide athletics (especially during football season).
My main objective is, through the lessons I am learning and writing about, to give God the glory He deserves for the incredible things He is doing in my life and the life of my family.
I think that about covers it......thanks for coming by and enjoy your stay.
Sheldon Clowdus 2/21/2009Questions? Comments? Concerns? Kudos?
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Sheldon Clowdus 2/21/2009My story is nothing remarkable really. I was raised in church in the middle of the Bible belt. I became a Christian when I was 7 years old. I remember sitting on our dining room floor with my mom and praying for Christ to save me. We were members of a small country church in Weogufka, Alabama. (Although the center of town was literally one intersection with a yellow blinking caution light, we managed to have a Weogufka 1st and 2nd Baptist church. We were members of 2nd Baptist.) The church didn’t have a baptistery so I was baptized in a creek just outside of town.
For the next 20 years, through several moves (including 2 ½ years in New Orleans while my dad got his Masters of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary), high school, college, and getting married, I pretty much just coasted along. If following Christ is a journey from A to Z, by age 27 I had managed to get to about…….C.
When my wife and I moved into our first house here in Rome, GA a year after we got married, we became good friends with some neighbors across the street. It turned out that Russ enjoyed playing basketball and guitar as much as I did. It also turned out that he had a passion for discipling men. Through weekly meetings with Russ I learned the importance of and how to study my bible. The last 7 years have been incredibly fruitful for me both spiritually and personally.
Since then my wife Katherine and I have been blessed with 4 wonderful children (Emma Grace, Jace, Sophie, and Maddie Rose). God has grown me leaps and bounds through my time with Him, my marriage, my children, and my church. Two years ago I was humbled by God’s calling in my life to become the Family and Children’s pastor at our church.
Now I am learning to communicate the things God has taught me about Himself and this abundant life He has for me to the families at our church.
That is my story. Like I said, nothing remarkable other than the work God has done and is still doing in my life. Welcome to my blog and thanks for reading this.