Thursday, March 14, 2013


Were you a MASH fan? I was. Moreover, with the way reruns work now a days I suppose I still am. I loved the 4077th. We are talking about some of the greatest TV characters of all time…all at the same time. It was great. The comedic quickness of Hawkeye and Hunnicutt, the innocence of Radar, and the nuttiness of Klinger…it was a nonstop joy ride.  The staff of that Korean War field hospital relied on humor and hijinks to keep their sanity in the face of the horror of war.

Most of us know that M*A*S*H officially stands for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. Well, I want to turn things around a little bit and approach a few subjects from a different slant. So, for the next few minutes M*A*S*H is going to unofficially stand for Medically Analyzed Spiritual Hurdles.

Doctor Hawkeye Pierce spent his time in the trenches, analyzing potentially lethal trauma and disease in the bodies of soldiers. For the next few minutes, I would like us to spend some time in the Word, analyzing potentially lethal problems in the body of Christ…the church.

I have found that the top 5 causes of death in America today are as follows…





(1) Diseases of the heart
heart attack (mainly)
(2) Malignant neoplasms
(3) Cerebrovascular disease
(4) Chronic lower respiratory disease
emphysema, chronic bronchitis
(5) Diabetes mellitus

Not much of a surprise really, most of us have friends and family that have these health problems…or perhaps even died because of one of them. However, what if I were to ask you to give me a list of the top 5 spiritual health problems in the church. Now, lets get something straight, we are not talking about non-Christians, just the saved folks…you know, the ones who should know better! I’ll tell you what; take a few moments to jot down your thoughts. The top 5 spiritual health problems in the church…got it...go ahead…I’ll wait on you.

Okay, now that you have taken some time to consider it, let me give you my list. Here is my top 5 along with some supporting scripture…enjoy.

  1. Cirrhosis of the Giver
Money, time, talents, gifts, prayer, assistance, comfort, etc, etc, etc. Christians today are a people who have everything to give and for the most part, we offer very little. God has blessed us beyond all understanding. We deserve nothing more that punishment, yet He gave us everything instead. We know what its like to be handed the world and yet we harbor those gifts, those blessings, and our knowledge like some selfish Ebenezer Scrooge. Why? Why don’t we share what we have and what we know? Why does 20% percent of the average congregation give 80% of the tithes and do 80% of the work? Why do today’s Christians have such a hard time with giving?

Jesus told a parable in the 25th chapter of Matthew that sums it up nicely.
…for when I was hungry you gave me something to eat, when I was thirsty you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

…then the righteous answered him, “Lord when did we see you?” And the master answered, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did to the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

You see, we are EXPECTED to be channels of blessing…not stagnant pools of greed! The measure by which the Lord has blessed you should be the measure by which you bless your neighbor. A greedy church is a waist of time and space. Yes, it will cost your hard earned money. Yes, it will take your precious little time. Yes, at times you may feel almost used up. But let us not forget that Jesus gave everything He had, down to His last drop of blood and last gasp of air. Shouldn’t we be willing to do the same?

  1. Diaperbetes
Let me ask you a question: What is your spiritual age? Do you understand the question? If you consider the day of your salvation as your spiritual birthday and Christ likeness to be spiritual maturity…then what is your spiritual age? Where do you stack up at this point in your spiritual walk?

Now let me ask a more pointed question: How old should you be? Therein lies a huge set back for the Church as a whole…for the most part our “soldiers in Christ” have stunted growth. Most folks stopped growing right about the newborn baby stage. Go read the book of Acts and you get the impression that the vast majority of the members then were spiritual giants. They knew the Lord and the power He offered. They used it in their everyday life and, as a result, their world was turned upside down. Now fast forward to the church of today…we have a hard time just getting Christians to show up for services on a regular basis. Today you can find a church on every street corner and, for the most part, they are completely insignificant in there communities. Why? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that our Pastors spend most of their time baby sitting immature Christians, instead of leading a march of warriors.

In I Corinthians 13:11, Paul writes… When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the childish ways behind me.

It’s very difficult to get the world to take the Church seriously when most of our members are still wearing diapers and drinking from the bottle. Perhaps its time for some of us to grow up in the spirit, get up off our blessed assurance and go to work for the Kingdom.

  1. Receding Care-line
Here’s an unfortunate truth. Most Christians care too much about the wrong things. Oh we have passion, don’t misunderstand me, we do care. However, we care amiss. Most of our passion and care is centered on one thing…ourselves. The problem is, when we begin focusing our fervor on “number one”, it causes us to pull it off God, our brothers and sisters, and the lost.

You know what I’m talking about. How many of us can tell the story about the Christian family that walked away from the Church because their feelings got hurt over some completely irrelevant, blown out of proportion circumstances. You see, they turned their care away from God, away from Ministry, and placed on themselves. I’ve come to believe that if you wear your feelings on your sleeve, you set yourself up to become a Devil Sandwich. Satan has you just where he wants you…and he eats you for lunch.

Paul had a very interesting thing to say about the “Feelings Factor” for us saved folks.
…I have died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.         Galatians 2:20

Dead men tell no tales, and dead mean have no feelings. Besides that, did you see what he said…”Christ lives in me.” Keep in mind that this is the same Christ that, while enduring the act of crucifixion, asked the Father to forgive his torturers. It’s a good thing that Jesus was the one crucified and not the average Christian of today…they would have probably gotten their feelings hurt and went home.

In the letter that John the Beloved dictated, Jesus had very high praise for the church of Ephesus. All accept for one glaring, blaring, declaring statement...Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love (Rev 2:4). In all the good service that the Ephesian church was performing, they had lost their focus. It's so very easy for our vision to become entangled in busy work, good work, church work....and miss the best work. Misplaced care, even with the best of intensions, is contrary to God's plan. So whether our care is just receding in general, or if it's our affection for our first love that's receding, we stand in error before our King.

  1. AIDS
First, a little clarification; I’m not talking about Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS as we know it). No, I’m referring to Acquired Integrity Deficiency Syndrome.

Ah, integrity…that’s a word you don’t hear much about these days. How bout we take it a step further; how often do you hear Preachers drilling on Christian integrity? Let’s get down to the brass tax on this one. The Bible calls us a “peculiar people”. In short, we are an oddity to the viewing world. On top of that, just look around you today. Take a strong look at how the good old USofA scrutinizes the followers of Christ. For the most part secular America is waiting, hoping that one of our finest will mess up…just once…so they can pounce on ‘em. We are under a microscope like never before. Moreover, like never before keeping our Christian integrity intact is crucial. Here’s the bottom line Christian man, Christian woman; you have one, I repeat, just one chance to get it right.

Sure, within the Church we forgive and allow our own to start over…or at least we are suppose to do it that way. However, if you blow your integrity in the eyes of the world, you will lose your chance to be effective…you will lose your chance to make a difference. Take for example some of the big time Christian leaders that have fallen in the eyes of the world, many in the world will never give them another chance. Forgiveness is impossible for the lost; it is only available through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, in many ways, the Church operates much like the world in this case. So often, we eat our own, instead of circling the wagon and doing as Paul instructed in Galatians 6:1 – Brothers and sisters, if a man be overtaken a fault, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness.

 Whether it comes from the world, or the carnal church, the sad truth is this when we lose our integrity and we lose our opportunity to be taken seriously, we lose our occasion to minister the Gospel.

Listen to Peter's warning to the Church… Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of the foolish men.
                                                                                                                            1 Peter 2: 12 and 15

 There are some things in life we can slip by with…but integrity deficiency will never be one of them!

  1. Cancer of the Commitment
Use your imagination for a moment. What do you think Jesus felt when He told His disciples…”I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me”? What do you think Jesus face looked like when he caught eyes with Peter in the courtyard as the cock crowed? I wonder if you could have heard His heart break when all those He had healed, taught, and loved screamed for His crucifixion.

From the very beginning of time, God has battled one major, heart crushing struggle with His creation...unfulfilled commitment. From Adam to you and me the story remains the same; God gives all, man takes all, and then man turns his back on God. You want to know the number one disease in the church today…the broken promise of lost commitment. You can see it from the Pastors to the pew sitters. Teachers, elders, moms, dads, long time Christians, and brand new baby Christians…it’s like a broken record in the ears of the Father. In fact, you go back and look at the four previous subjects we have discussed thus far…you can really boil it all down to this very thing, lack of loyalty.

I know what you are thinking, because I feel the same way…“I love God, I really do, I don’t mean to hurt Him, I don’t want to break my promise, I don’t want to disappoint Him.” As a matter of fact, broken commitment is the very crux of all sin. Every time we sin against God, we turn our backs on Him, we walk away, and we betray Him.

Kinda brings you down pretty low doesn’t it. Kinda sticks you right where it hurts. Well, don’t beat yourself up to bad. Let me tell you why, God knows, and somehow He loves us enough to make up the difference…its called MERCY and GRACE. It flows from Mt. Calvary. It’s the reason He came, the reason He lived and died. You see…

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not parish but have ever lasting life.              John 3:16

Notice it does not say, “that whosoever does not break their commitment with Him shall not parish.” Jesus knows that we will struggle with that one from now till heaven, so He made up the difference for us and said…”all you have to do is believe, and I’ll take care of the rest.”

I love you Jesus, thank you so much; you’re the best, the absolute best.