Wake Up!

Let’s be honest, no one likes to be awakened from their sleep. I am certainly no exception but I was, and very forcefully I might add. Divorce, death of a sister, career collapse, and mental breakdown were a few of the ways my sleep was disrupted. These were the malicious agents of awakening that stood over my bed of slumber shaking me and screaming “Wake up! Wake up!”. For a while I thought my life was over, but it didn’t take long for me to realize my life was only just beginning.Untitled-1

Spiritual slumber is a deadly thing. I once heard a story of a man drunk off his gourd who fell asleep on a train track one night. He was lying there, absolutely relaxed, not a single tense muscle or fear in his mind. He felt no need to change his current situation or to get up and find a safer place to sleep because he was asleep and had no idea that a train was careening down the tracks, certain to rip his body to shreds. That is where our world, and most of the church, is today. We are asleep and need to wake up! Continue reading

The Day Mrs. Rowland Was My God

I never had an imaginary friend as a kid. Well, I guess it could be that I did have one but my imagination was so strong I assumed him (or her) to be real. Come to think of it, there was that one kid. He would never let us take pictures of him.cartoon_vampire__vector_by_paulh18 I always assumed he was in the witness protection program or even better, a vampire, a nice vampire obviously because he never killed me but a vampire nonetheless…of course he did survive the daylight so…???

Anyway, I’ve never been one to have a lot a friends and I guess I was okay that and didn’t need to make up an imaginary friend. I am perfectly cool with being alone. It suits me well. Throughout my life I would generally only have two or three people I would hang out with. I would have other acquaintances, don’t get me wrong, but my friends were few and I was content with that. I am a very shy person by nature. I do not like to go to parties, even if the person being celebrated is my friend because there will most certainly be new, unknown people there and that means I may have to interact with them. I’m not a recluse, and I certainly don’t have some disorder that overcomes me with a paralyzing fear when I meet new people but I have just always preferred keeping to myself.

On a side note, who wouldn’t like hanging out in my head every day? I mean come on, you’ve read my posts, it’s like an eclectic mix of deep thinking and random ADD moments running a never ending relay race. Deep – random – deep – random…and let’s not forget the occasional dive off the deep end into the abyss of clueless banter. It’s entertaining as heck if I do say so myself! But I digress…

I guess that’s why I am always amazed when I see God use me in the way He does. What you may not know about me is I have been in public ministry since I was seventeen years old. There have been very few weeks since then that I did not stand on a stage and either speak or perform in front of people. I have toured the United States playing and singing in a professional status, I have been a worship pastor, a preacher, a teacher, and I’ve even done some emcee work. So to think of how content I am being a loner amazes me when I think of all that.

I remember in tenth grade (?) when we had to do a speech before our class. I was scared to death! Sweat was pouring down my face, the heavy wool suit my parents bought me from the local Salvation Army Thrift Store felt like it weighed a thousand pounds. I might have been more comfortable if I had given the speech while naked in a sauna with only a towel on me, at least then I would have been cooler. My hands were shaking so furiously that I could barely read my index cards. The good thing is the violent shaking of the cards, when held close to my face, gave me a little relief from the heat.

I don’t even remember what I spoke about hat morning but I do remember feeling like I was going to fail that assignment. I felt like I did a horrible job and dreaded the moment I had to go in early to sit down and go over my grade with my teacher, Mrs. Rowland. I was almost as nervous as I was standing before the class. I had rehearsed how I thought it would go, “Lee, you are a bright kid but your speech sucked! You did everything wrong. I mean I would have rather you stood at the chalkboard and scraped your nails down it for ten minutes than to hear you speak.” Thankfully, she didn’t read the response I scripted in my head, instead she absolutely floored me with, “Have you ever considered going into public speaking?”surprise-face-300x264

I have thought about that day many times since then. To be honest, I thought she was crazy. I mean, had she not paid attention to how shy and introverted I had been in her class. Come on lady, my voice quivers if I am called on to answer a simple question and you are saying I should go into public speaking?

However, those simple words, spoken to a shy, hide in the corner, young man who didn’t believe he had much to offer the world, were a shot in the arm to my life’s purpose. They gave me just the right amount of courage to believe in myself and now, at forty-three years old, I look back over my life and see that she was a very discerning soul. She saw greatness in me and that propelled me forward at a time when I probably would have sat back and coasted through life making very few ripples.

As I tell this story, I cannot help but think of the story of Moses. Moses was tending the flock when he saw a bush on fire, curiosity got to him so he went closer to find out that was no ordinary bush. That bush was God and He was speaking to him. God gave him his task and Moses immediately began informing God of his inabilities, “I can’t speak”, “I won’t know what to say.”, “Pharaoh won’t listen to me’, “I am a simple man”. Yet, with all those excuses God said “Go”…and let’s not forget, as scared as he was, Moses went!

Sometimes God has interrupt our lives with a burning bush, or a Mrs. Rowland, in order to let us know that today’s reality is not all there is. We are chosen for a purpose, not to simply walk through life awaiting a better day, but to plow through life, turning up the hardened soil of today’s harsh humanity in order to plant the better seeds of tomorrow’s God breathed reality. We tend to look at our present inabilities but God chose us to give us HIS abilities, and with those a shy boy can spend his life speaking publicly, a sheep herder can stand before pharaoh and deliver a nation, and you can do amazing things!

If you are submitted to God’s leading in your life, then there is a hero inside of you, just waiting for the moment you decide to quit looking at your inabilities and simply “Go”! If you do go, I can assure you, the view from the future looks great, just you wait!

Peace, Love, and Awakening!

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p.s. Mrs. Rowland, if by some providential means you are reading this, Thank you for being my teacher and giving me those words. Eternity will prove the effect you had on the world!

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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…

Continue reading

The Most Narcissistic Blog EVER!

is-he-a-narcissist-1Okay, so this is going to either be the world’s most narcissistic blog ever or it is going to be somewhat prophetic as history unfolds. Well, I guess there is the third option…it’s simply going to be pathetic. I have no idea how this will pan out, what I do know is I have been listening to a series of biographical sermons by John Piper about the hero’s of the faith (post awakening). I have learned of the lives of men like Charles Hadden Spurgeon, Andrew Fuller, J.C. Ryle, and others who have been mighty forces in the Kingdom of God. These were men of courage who stood against persecution, hoped through trial, and lead, collectively, millions of people to Christ against great resistance from the powers that be of their time. These biographies have stirred my heart once again to pray for God to use me as a spark for the next great awakening. This has been a desire of mine for the past five years. I remember the day I first prayed it, it totally caught me off guard. I almost felt guilty for praying such a seemingly presumptuous prayer. I mean, who am I to think I could stand in such a hallowed position? The only thing that kept me praying it was the feeling that something bigger than myself was leading me to pray it.

Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know” – Jeremiah 33:3

The truth is, I am just your run of the mill, screwed up, can’t do nothing right kind of guy. I work in home improvement as a painter and drywall man because my 15 year career in retail tanked when the economy went the way of the Devil in a Charlie Daniels’ song…cause you know, “The devil went DOWN to Georgia”. There is nothing special about me. I don’t have a higher education. I don’t have a lot of money. Bahaha! (Sorry, I couldn’t hold that back. I know. I know. “be content in all things” (Heb 13:5)…got it) I am a talented guy with music but I never can seem to get a solid grasp on that momentum thing it takes to be successful. I love a good debate, which at times can be a huge drawback as I don’t know when to stop. Well, actually I do, it’s when I have ANIALATED my opponent, which is not a good thing for a Christian. Smh! I led an epic’ly (I think I just made that up) apathetic Christian life for 25 plus years before losing everything in the “Great Fall of 2011”. (Oh, hey, don’t waste your time looking up the Great Fall of 2011 on Google. It was a sparsely covered, regional fall that only affected…ME!) I have been divorced for five years now, a divorce I did not want and fought desperately to stop, then promised to faithfully wait for restoration but like so many other things, I just didn’t have the fortitude to be victorious. I am forty-two years old and living in the upstairs of my parents house. (wait, I will be forty-three in three weeks! Sheesh! It just gets better!) As one woman I went out with said, “You’re situation is just not attractive”. Ouch…no really, that smarts!

So, why am I writing this blog? Because for the past few days I’ve had this thought running through my slightly dim-witted brain that goes like this; “if my prayer gets answered and I do become one of the sparks of the next great awakening, what will people study of my life to learn of God’s greatness?” Wow! When I see that in writing I realize this probably is the most narcissistic blog EVER!!! Really though, if I’m going to pray a prayer for God to use me greatly then should I not also prepare to allow my life to be studied by future generations? I was thinking about the stars this morning. Men much smarter than me will tell you10-20% of the stars we see each night actually burned out hundreds, maybe thousands of years ago. However, because of their brightness and the distance they are from us, the light they shown before they died is still traveling through time and space to be seen today.

When I am returned to the dust from which God made me, I want my “light” to continue shining. I want future generations to be able study my life, the good, the bad, the absolutely moronic, and see the overwhelming evidence of God’s sovereign work in my life. I want to leave something behind that shines in the darkness of someone’s life a hundred years from now and compels them to believe that God loves them! Is that so bad, really? Shouldn’t all Christians have that desire?

So why not, just journal privately, you might ask. Hello, didn’t we already discuss that I am narcissistic? I mean come on. *smile smile wink wink* Besides, my handwriting is HORRIBLE! I probably couldn’t read it myself, let alone someone else read it. (on a side note: I literally had someone tell me once that my handwriting looked like that of a serial killer. *gasp*). Seriously though, I just can’t help but think there might be others like me who long to be more than their right now says they are. Men and women who feel this stirring in their soul to greatly affect the Kingdom of God in their generation and those which will come after. Those hopelessly faith filled fools who see past their present inabilities to Christ’s eternal abilities. The Peter’s with a nasty case of Foot in Mouth disease. The James and John’s with a chronic Look at Me disorder. The Thomas’s whose only claim to fame is a crisis of faith. These are the men Christ chose because He doesn’t look at our physical reality but His spiritual reality.

So, if you are one of those men and women then I am writing this, painfully transparent, blog for you! I am writing this in hopes that you will rise like a phoenix out of the ashes of yesterday to soar over the darkness of tomorrow proclaiming the truths of God! (Wow! I like that. That should be on a Christian greeting card. Anybody know a greeting card editor? I could really use the money. lol)

This world is in a mess, much like it was in Jesus’ time and if He chose a group of ragtag misfits to change the world back then, then why can’t we change it today? The answer to that is, we can if we are not too afraid to look like a fool for Christ!

So, here we go. With God’s help, I will treat this as a daily journal chronicling the adventures of this slightly narcissistic, enormously passionate, Wannabe Hero of the Next Great Awakening. I hope you will join me for the journey. If not, at least come around once in a while for a good laugh at my expense.

So, now for the important stuff…what should I use as an exit salutation?

From zero to hero! Nah, been done before…

Be a hero so the world will know! Eh, kind of evangelical cheese if you ask me…

Wannabe is the life for me! A little too Green Acres…

How about Peace, love, and awakening! That’s it. I..LIKE…IT!

so…

Peace, love, and awakening!

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