It is a Sloppy Grace That Brings No Change

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We have lost our respect for God, our fear of Him, our understanding of His awesome power and majesty. We walk into our churches on Sunday morning, having no thought of God during the week. There is no pause of remorse for the sins we committed in the days prior, no consideration of how God must have felt to see His child rebel as we did. To be honest, most of us don’t even realize we have sinned let alone rebelled against God because we have no idea what sin is. Even if we do know what sin is, we think because of Grace we no longer have to consider our sin. It is a sloppy grace that leaves us bound to sin and God’s grace is not sloppy!

Oh no, holiness is not a requirement for the sloppy grace doctrine. Well, at least not holy actions. “You are holy because of Christ’s actions and that is all you need” is what they boast. While that is true, they are missing a very important fact; submitting to Christ’s holiness makes us holy in our actions! We can not be inhabited by Christ and not be changed. Jesus never touched a leper and left them a leper. The blind never found themselves in Jesus’ presence without being able to see when they walked away. The dead never heard “Come forth!” but did not find breath filling their lungs and suddenly having the rush of blood in their veins. A sinner never meets Grace without being empowered to overcome sin! Jesus would commonly say to people he healed or spoke to, “Go and sin no more.” He didn’t say, “Go in my holiness but live the way you always have.” Why? Because after meeting Jesus we have the power to “sin no more”.

The reason sloppy grace leaves us in the mess it found us in is because sloppy grace has a small, unimposing god who does not evoke a reverence from his followers. Not so with the God of true Grace. Meeting that God will leave you with a holy reverence and fear of His mighty power. You will be humbled and awe struck when you find yourself in the Presence of that God because this is the very one who could have exacted the payment for your sin by taking your life, but He did not! He instead chose to give His son’s life! By doing so you and I could have a new life, a life of holiness, a life of power to overcome sin, a life that will be lived in amazement at how awesome is our God of all gods, our Lord of lords, and King of kings.

It is impossible to experience God’s Grace without first reverencing Him and having a godly fear of His awesomeness. Without a powerful and unrelenting God of Holiness, grace is not needed. Sloppy grace says God is turning a blind eye while true Grace contends God is working in us to bring change!

Peace, Love, and Awakening!

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Sometimes Freedom Stinks!

surprise-face-300x264In case you haven’t noticed, I am a dude. I am dude of dudes and this dude enjoys being a dude. One of the few pleasures of being a divorced dude is that I can freely be said dude most of the time without concern for being found out to be a brutish dude. For those of you who do not understand what I mean by that, let me enlighten you.

WARNING: This post is very much a male-driven post. For females who might have weak stomachs when a man is, well – a man – consider yourselves warned. #smileyface #winkwink Continue reading

Where Are The Christians?

I am sitting here, scrolling through FB, which normally is information overload. However, today I am struck by what appears to be missing. Now, I understand FB’s algorithms keep us from seeing every post from our friends ( 😡😡😡) but I rarely ever see this type of post missing after a national trajedy.

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Where are the posts for support and prayers for those lost in Orlando? Continue reading

What Would Make a Man Pray For Trouble?

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The years of 2012, 2013, and most of 2014 were very difficult years for me. I dealt with a divorce after 14 years of marriage, abandonment by my pastoral staff at a church I had served for the previous four years, an eight and a half month unemployment, when I did find a job my finances were cut to a third of what I had previously been making (Less than I had made since 1999), I went into a deep depression, and found myself struggling to keep my head above the waters of despair. I can’t tell you how many times I would be five minutes from having to drive the hour long drive to drop my kids off with their mom when out of the blue I would have to quietly go upstairs and cry while I tried to compose myself from a panic attack. Then I would drive them to their mother and break down once again after I dropped them off.

Those were some of the hardest, most impossible times to traverse and yet, today I found myself wishing I was going through them again. What could make a man wish he was going through hell on earth again?
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A Lee By Any Other Name…

Okay, this may be my deepest, darkest, most solemn confession ever on this blog. I mean, from here on out, it’s just going to be a cakewalk. To be honest, I don’t really know how to bring this up. Should I just come out and say it or start out by saying something on the lighter side and then slowly reveal the moral of the story? Should I even reveal this publicly? I mean I just started this blog and am starting to gain some followers, do I really want to come out of the box with this kind of reveal? Sheesh, this blog thing is so difficult. I mean, so much weighs on what we say, and how we say it. If we say the wrong thing it could be disastrous and saying the right thing sometimes alienates us slaps a big fat stigma on us. Not to be confused with stigmata because I’m not Christ, and I am also not a statue…I do bleed from time to time though…so I am alive…just in case you were wondering.

(Disclaimer: No computers were used in the creation of this blog article…well, okay, maybe one BUT a human told it what to put in it)

Where was I? Oh yeah, so guess I’m just gonna have to come out and say it…

here it comes…

wait for it…

wait for it…

okay, a little bit longer…

tic toc tic toc…

and…

okay, here goes nothing… Continue reading

Do I Really Have to Brush My Teeth?

Brush Your Teeth

Have you ever woke up and just not wanted to brush your teeth? Oh, come on, I can’t be the only one who feels that way! Really? I am? Well, that’s awkward. Momma always said I was stranger than a three legged cat wearing a turtle shell and smoking a cigar.

So, anyway, as I am getting…umm…slightly more mature these days, I am finding that my body is rebelling. I’m serious you guys, I hurt in places I didn’t know I had…or could it be I forgot I had? Hmm, so I wake up in the morning and my knees are hurting, my back is usually feeling like I have been imitating a contortionist all night long, and even my eyes hurt. I put my work clothes on, go down stairs scratching my beard, and…err…other parts unknown. As I walk in the bathroom I see my toothbrush and I think to myself, “I work with a bunch of guys who chew dip, does it really matter if I brush my teeth? I could just gargle some Listerine and I would still be ahead of the game”. Yes, that really happens to me.

Think about it, life would be so much easier if we just didn’t have to brush our teeth. I mean the strength it takes to pick up the brush, squeeze the tube, raise it up to our mouth, and push the “on” button, not to mention keeping that buzzing projectile of doom under control…sheesh, that thing is dangerous! Think of what could be done with all that energy; fossil fuels would no longer be needed, the nations would find peace, men would enjoy talking to their wives more than watching football, kids would go outside and play and never touch an electronic device again (except to read my blog. Way to go kids!), and we would have more time to weave baskets…because that’s what the world needs, more straw baskets!

So, do I really have to brush my teeth?

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Drowning Is Not The End

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Photo courtesy: Patheos.com

So if you’ve read my first entry on this blog, The Most Narcissistic Blog Ever, then you know that my heart desires to be one of the sparks that ignites the next great awakening in this country. I long for that like my body longs for water on mid July summer day in the Georgia humidity. I cannot successfully put together the sufficient words to explain how desperate my heart is to see this happen. God forbid it be to make my name famous, I assure you, that is not the case, but I have such a desire to be more than I am presently able to be, to be such a force for the kingdom of God that my legacy will not be a string of accomplishments, save the singular accomplishment of making Jesus famous!

The question is, do I have the faith it takes to be that kind of force in the Kingdom of God? Continue reading

I want to be That Man, but…

 

 

Super Man Boy

I was writing an article tonight and remember this post I did on another blog a little over two years ago which fits in with the theme of Wannabe Hero. I thought I would repost it on here. By way of explanation, I was in the middle of about a year and a half long depression and this was my first post of 2014.

Since this is my first post of 2014, I thought that I would go with the expected and talk about my new year’s resolution. I know, very original huh? Anyway, there is something about beginning a new year that makes us evaluate ourselves. We tend to take a look at where we are at and make decisions on where we want to be this time next year. My new years resolution, however, isn’t your typical goal. I don’t care about losing weight. I’m not resolving to make more money this year, although I pray I do because this has been the worst year for me economically since I first began working 22 years ago. My goal is not even something that will be able to be quantified in the next 365 days but it is a burning passion in my heart that I have to work toward.
I don’t think I have ever consciously made a new years resolution. At least, if I did, I must not have been too serious about it because I don’t even remember failing to achieve it. Since I am a person who constantly beats himself up over failure I believe it’s safe to assume my inability to remember a failed resolution means that I never made one. However, I have been reading Craig Groeschel’s book Fight and a few nights ago I read something that slapped me upside the head and screamed, “That’s it! That’s your new years resolution!” I actually cried when I read it because it mirrored the cry of my heart for the last two years.

In the book Craig tells a story of the young D.L. Moody having lunch with Henry Varley. At some point during the meet, Varley looked at Moody and said, “Moody, the world has yet to see what God will do with a man who is totally consecrated to Him”. It is said that these words pierced Moody’s soul and he could not get them out of his mind. He thought about them for weeks and then finally proclaimed, “I will be that man! If God is looking for a man of integrity, a man of honor and courage and faithfulness, with God’s help, I will be such a man!” Groeschel went on to say, “You can do this. Our twenty-first-century has yet to see what God will do through a man whose heart is surrendered to him. You could be that man.”
As I read this account, tears came to my eyes because that has been my prayer for two years. I have petitioned God to let me be the spark that starts the last great awakening before He returns. I have asked God to turn me into such a man of God that the world is different when I’m gone. I want to be my generation’s D.L. Moody, A.W. Tozer, Charles Spurgeon, Charles Wesley, John Wesley, Billy Graham or the many other men who made a positive mark on this world for the Kingdom of God.
I want to be that man, but…

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The Missing Ingredient (in my grace cake)

Before I dive into the scrumptious goodness of this article (sorry I couldn’t resist), I feel I must tell you what it is not about. The title may bring a lot of preconceived ideas to your mind. Well, let me clear some things up. This is not an article about the woes of mega-Church preachers. I will not be bashing the guy wCake2ho smiles big and squints his eyes or the wiry little fellow who speaks with an Asian accent. I am not here to talk about the perceived heresy of those who preach grace and decry their failure (according to my standards) to preach on the subject of sin. If you were excited when you saw this article thinking that is what it is about then go ahead and click off of this page. You will find no sympathy for your cause here.

You see, this article is not about “them”, it’s about “me” and, though oddly narcissistic, that is the way it should be. Galatians 6:4-5 says, “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load” (emphasis mine). That is the problem we have these days, it is popular to point out the supposed sins of others, especially the mega churches. The problem with this is if we focus solely on “their” sins then the only sins we are actually responsible for, OURS, will slip into the background and mercilessly destroy us, one day at a time! Are we supposed to confront sin in others? You dang skippy! But that can only be done once we have dealt with our issues (Matthew 7:3-5) So, why all the hub bub about Dangerous Grace?
Because a few years back, I found myself slipping into a very dangerous place. Back in 2012 I began a new journey in my life. Reeling from the pain of losing my sister to death, my marriage to divorce, my financial security to all out meltdown, and my identity to confusion and idolatry, I was at the place God loves to bring us; complete and total brokenness. He loves to get us to this point, not because He is a maniacal deity looking to wreak havoc in our lives, but because this is where our futile strength and defenses are wiped out and we are now open to receive the truth that He wants to give us and dish out a healthy dose of truth is exactly what He did.
Over the next months and years I began, through an insatiable hunger for Bible study, to see the truth of God’s Grace unfold before me. I began making a shift from the extremely legalistic ideas I had grown up believing to that of a Grace that frees me to realize ALL my sins are covered under the singular act of Christ’s death on the cross, the “It is finished!” of the cross.
As truth unfolded I began realizing:
– I am completely secure in His hands and, as John 10:28 says, “neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand” (“anyone” includes me and my choices)
– I am righteous, not because of my actions but His (Hebrews 10:14).
– I no longer have to ask His forgiveness for my sins in order to “continue being
saved” because He doesn’t even remember them (Hebrews 10:17).
– It is God who changes my actions and my heart because I am powerless to do
so (Philippians 2:13).
– I am not a “sinner saved by grace”. I WAS a sinner but Grace saved me and now
I am a saint, despite what my occasional failures seem to declare (1 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 6:6)
– My biggest problem is not sin but “reckon[ing] myself dead to sin” (Romans 6:11)
– I am righteous and it is not because of my actions but Christ’s (Romans 5:19)
In my previous blogs I regularly posted articles that proclaim the burden for righteousness doesn’t lie on our shoulders because Christ has already died to make us righteous, we simply need to focus on loving Him and learning about Him. The more we love Him, the easier it becomes to live a life of righteousness (1 John 5:3). So, this article is not a confession of me repenting of my posts over the last few years. Those articles are true and are very heavily based in a in depth study of God’s word. My focus on this blog will not change. Lee Lumley Ministries motto has been and always will be “Proclaiming the simplicity of Righteousness”.
With that said, I began noticing some things creeping back into my life that I knew were not pleasing to God. I found myself saying things, thinking things and doing things I thought I had long overcome. When sin raised it’s ugly head, I have recited my beliefs stated above, reminded myself I am secure, righteous, forgiven and that God is the one who makes it possible for me to change. Yet, there I was seeing little sins turn into a slightly bigger sins, then into much bigger sins and so on. Each time, I would feel sorry for them and desire to not do them again. I knew they were wrong and wanted to live a Godly life but I was slowly slipping back into the land of slavery to sin.
One day I asked God what had changed, why was I beginning to fall back into old habits and He decided to answer through an article titled We Should Be Weeping  by Jared Mulvihill on desiringgod.org. As I read it, I felt Holy Spirit saying, “This is your problem”.
The Missing Ingredient in my Grace Cake
I remember, when I was kid, begging my mom to make me a cake but she told me she was out of baking powder. Well, I didn’t care if she used baby powder, I wanted cake and since I could be very, eh hem, “persuasive” at that age, she gave in and made a baking-powder-less cake. You can imagine how that turned out. In case you’re not familiar with baking, baking powder is what makes the cake rise so my incorrectly prepared cake was flat and hard. That is much like what had been happening in my life recently. You see, in order for Grace to be effective, you must to have all the ingredients and my Grace Cake was missing a very important ingredient. As a result my righteousness was not rising
As I read that article I realized the ingredient I was missing that was keeping my righteousness from rising was repentance and the reason I was not repentant was because I had lost my sorrow for sin. Don’t get me wrong, I felt bad about it and knew it was wrong. I even wanted to overcome it and took steps toward victory but my Dangerous Grace was keeping me from the power needed to “rise toward righteousness. I had become so focused on “It’s by His power and not mine” that I had lost that deep, Godly sorrow for my sins. With a blinding fixation on God’s unfailing love and mercy I failed to remember the pain I caused the Lover of my Soul each time I sinned. My Grace was flat and hard and quite honestly, not very appetizing.
Let me stop here and say there is a difference between our spirit’s righteousness, which is complete the moment we surrender to Christ,  and our flesh’s righteousness which is a slow progression toward righteousness where we, little by little, crush our sin habits under our feet. A.W. Tozer says, “The Red Sea took Israel out of Egypt but the Wilderness took Egypt out of Israel”. It took Israel 40 years to get their lust for the ways of Egypt out of their system and our fleshly righteousness will not be a quick fix either.
I once posted on my Facebook timeline, I posted, “Grace is the key that frees us from the chains that have bound us. Repentance opens the door to a new life of living in righteousness. Holy Spirit enables us with the power needed to cross over the threshold and walk in that new life”. You see I knew Grace had freed me and I knew Holy Spirit empowered me to live righteously but I forgot that without repentance I would keep walking into a closed door. The new life I so longed for was just a matter of inches away but I couldn’t reach because of that closed door.
The rest of the day all I could do is think about this and I began asking God to break my heart anew for my sinfulness. Throughout the afternoon as I thought about it, I asked him to renew that Godly sorrow I had experienced three years ago. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “For it is godly sorrow that worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of; but the sorrow of the world worketh to death”. You see, I had the sorrow of the world. A sorrow based in head knowledge of the law. I knew what I was doing was wrong but my heart is desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) and still desired to live sinfully and it was killing me. Not that my salvation was in jeopardy but my ability to work for the kingdom, and more importantly my intimacy with God, was being strangled as sin gripped tighter and tighter around my spiritual neck. What I needed was the law that is written on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33) and that only comes through repentance.
I am proud to say, that God answered my prayer that day through a pretty awesome and providential turn of events. Later that night I was driving in my car to meet a friend and a song came on that stabbed my wicked heart and let the sorrow come gushing out. It was a beautiful moment of Grace that reminded me how amazing God is to orchestrate multiple events to lead up to the day I realize I was missing something. Now, with all the ingredients I need, I can enjoy a nice big slice of Grace!
Peace, Love, and Awakening!
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Am I Worthy?

photoshop-question-mark-logo-icon-professional21One of my biggest fears is that my life not reflect the words that I speak. Don’t get me wrong, I know that none of us are perfect and have studied enough of the “greats” in our Christian faith to know even the greatest of Christian men are flawed. I am also aware of how God’s grace shows brightest on the backdrop of our weaknesses. But I find myself wondering if my biggest hurdle to becoming a world changing man of God is me, myself, and I.

I read these words this morning, “Let your conduct be worthy of the Gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). We live in such a sloppy grace world today that we all to often do not feel the weight of these words. But, despite what many will tell you, they are very difficult words. I mean, “be worthy of the Gospel”? Really? How can I, a man prone to anger, lust, jealousy, apathy, and a multitude of other flaws be “worthy” of the Gospel? What does it mean to be worthy anyway? Is it even possible? Continue reading