Ever wondered what an Easter Sunday “sermon” including a more vivid description of diarrhea than the purpose of the crucifixion of Christ might sound like?
Nah, me neither…
Yet that’s just what the folks at “Truth” Community Church in Springfield, Missouri, were treated to this past Resurrection Day (when they weren’t distracted by the big “Easter Egg” hunt, anyway).
For every big-timey Joel Osteen type out there doing their best to spin Christianity into something much more appealing/comforting to unrepentant men and women on a global level, there are a gajillion less-known/talented Scripture-shredding wannabes out there doing the same sort of damage on the local scene.
While the Osteens, Warrens, and Hinns of the world will get their due mention (and full “credit”) in the upcoming release of “Apathetic Christianity”, light will also be brought to bear on these lower level local “transformers of the faith”.
In order to get at least a taste of sort of local “church leadership” that will be addressed in “Apathetic Christianity”, here’s a transcript of “Pastor” Tyler Padgitt’s Easter Sunday sermon, entitled “God is not Mad at You”:
“My name is Tyler and I want to preach to you and I’m thankful that you’ve given me the chance to preach to you on this Easter Sunday morning. My sermon title will be “God is Not Mad at You”, and, uh, many people have that view of God – a view of God that I was taught about when I was a kid was that God was a fire-breathing menace who was looking for any excuse possible to punish you, and He would do so with much happiness and joy. And, uh, that’s not the idea of God that I find from the Scriptures. I find a gracious, loving God.
And so, uh, I think that a lotta people would struggle with the concept of a faithful, loving God in the face of all the losses that we’ve experienced as Americans. As a pastor, I know of many people that are working with less than they had three or four years ago. People whose hours have been cut. People whose contracts for work they depended on have been diminished greatly. People who’ve lost their jobs. People who are working jobs they never thought they’d work just because times have been so difficult for them. And so undoubtedly there may be many people, maybe a few – who knows? – that have experienced something like that, and I want to try to help you today from the Word of God…
You see, all of us have dreams, all of us have wishes, all of us have goals. All of us have things that we aspire to. I mean, nobody starts their life without an idealistic view of what can be, and that’s not a bad thing. But life sometimes deals us instances and situations that are way less than what we envision for ourselves.
Some of you had the dream of finishing your life with the person that you married as a starry-eyed twenty-two year old, and you found that as time went on you changed and now you’re facing life single and you never thought that would be your case. Some of you have wrestled with the fact that you want children. You’ve even gone so far as to decorate a nursery. You’ve thought about names. But you’ve found out recently that you can’t have children, and that’s less than what your dream was. Some of you are single and you desperately wanted to be married and it’s not happened yet and you’re frustrated with this. And to make matters worse, it seems like everybody else is experiencing the things that you wanted to be experiencing. Those end up being broken dreams; shattered dreams, and you find yourself living out a life that’s a different path than you intended.
As a pastor and somebody dealing with people I realize that no matter how much money you have or how little money you have or what your background is or how educated you are, everybody needs a healer. Everybody needs the help that comes from a savior.
Now, when you experience shattered dreams, when you experience less than what you envisioned, many people have various questions. One of them is “ Is there even a God?” because if there was a God, why is so much bad coming my way? Or, other people have the thought, “if there is a God, why is He mad at me? Why is He working against me?” And that’s uh, I’ve had Monday mornings like that where I’ll come to the office and I’ll be like – I’ll try to pray – and I’ll be like, “God, why do you hate me?” You know? And I’m joking of course, but I think if we’re all honest we’ve all had moments like that.
So the greater struggle, rather than “does God exist for me” is: If there is a God, and we know that there is, then why does so much hurt happen? Why is there so much pain and struggling? And we have to reconcile those two components: There is a God who loves us and yet there is pain and struggling in the world.
So what are you doing with shattered dreams?
What do you do when your life lived out now is less than the best that you envisioned for yourself?
The Scripture has all kinds of examples of those kinds of situations, and today I’m gonna tell you about David from 1 Samuel, chapter 21.
Now David was a unique guy. The Bible says he was a red head. Any red heads in the house? See? They’re always angry; you can hear them. No, I’m joking. The Bible says that he was a ruddy complected redhead. And some commentators even say that David was the illegitimate child of Jesse somehow; that he was not looked to like the others – that he was somehow less than the rest.
And so one day this prophet-priest Samuel came to their house and said, “The Lord has called me to anoint a king for Israel out of your house.” And so Jesse starts bringing out all his sons, and his sons are just incredible studs.
I mean, they’ve got like, they’re manicured, you know, they’ve got a lot of manscaping[?] done on their face. Some of them have blonde tips that have been dyed wonderfully and they come in with all of the spray tan on. They’re like, “Hey, what’s up?” and he’s like, “No, not you.”
The next guy comes along – he’s hot [hawt?], he’s handsome, he’s good lookin’, he’s smart, he can play three different instruments at the same time. He’s trying out for the priest, and he’s like, “No, not you.”
And so they go down this line of all these sons and none of them are chosen. And so Samuel goes to Jesse and is like, “Hey, is there anybody else?” And he’s like, “Pfffft! Yeah, there’s David, but pfffft, this kid, you don’t want him. He’s out in the back forty tending my sheep, and he’s singing with his harp love songs to this God of his, blowing kisses at Him. You don’t want him; he’s a weirdo.”
He’s like, “No. Bring him in.”
And so here’s David, the illegitimate child, unwanted, on the back forty, and he comes in, and the next thing ya know, the oil of the anointing is being poured on him, and he is destined by God to be the next king of Israel. This is [not sure what was said here]. That was ‘Nacho Libre’ in case you didn’t know, the greatest film ever made.
“I’m concerned about you. You’ve not been baptized. You need to be baptized.” If you don’t know ‘Nacho Libre’ that wouldn’t work for you, but if you do, that’s very powerful. Yes, I know.
So here’s David. He’s got this oil on him, ya know, and he goes back to the fields and he’s tending sheep.
He’s anointed for a purpose, but nothing changes. And that’s where frustration can happen in our lives.
We hear God leading us. We feel God calling us. Our heart becomes alive with a vision and a purpose and then nothing happens.
He’s back to the sheep.
So one day his brothers are out fighting, and dad calls him and says, “hey, take these cheese and crackers over to my sons over there.” And so he gets there and they start making fun of him immediately. They start, ya know, tearing him down, ya know. The brothers are pretty harsh on the younger brother David.
He gets there and he sees that these guys are terrified. They’re in their tents, ya know, terrified, painting their toenails, reading Vogue magazine, like a bunch of sissies. I said “sissies”, yes I did.
They’re not fighting this giant ‘cause they’re terrified.
There’s this giant named Goliath. You’ve heard of him maybe if you’ve read the Bible, but he’s a nine foot tall dude who’s massive, and he’d come out every day, and he’d say, “Fee fi fo fum”…he would just curse the children of Israel.
And so here’s David, this runt of a kid, unwanted by his own family. The only person that really wants him is God at this point. And he stands out there and he’s like, “You guys are in your tents painting each others’ toenails and reading Vogue magazine like a bunch of sissies, and this giant is out here” – he calls him an “uncircumcised Philistine”, which is like the worst way you could cut somebody in that day, ya know. He said, “He’s an uncircumcised Philistine, and you’re letting him – this dude over here – mock us?”
And so he like starts getting all anointed.
I mean he’s like, “I want you to know-ahhhh. I’m gonna go out there and fight tha devil-ah.” And he, this young, wet behind the ears, barely known kid, puts these rocks in his bag, then as the story goes, he goes up to Goliath. He takes his sling out. He throws a stone. He hits Goliath between the eyes, and the dude dies right there. And David runs up for good measure and grabs Goliath’s massive sword and cuts off his head and hits it like a golf ball after…
Oh, he didn’t do that, but that would make the story better if he did [lotta laughs from the crowd].
So here’s this, uh, this kid now, he’s like exalted immediately. The paparazzi are following him. He is now on the lips of every person in the kingdom of Israel.
Saul is impressed.
Saul is so impressed, he’s like, “Hey David, I’d like you to marry my daughter. And, uh, you’re not gonna pay taxes, and you’ll be eating at my table.”
David is like, ”Oh, [singing] I looooove you Lord! And I liiiift my voiiice!” He’s singing praise songs in the shower because everything’s coming together for him:
God anointed me.
It was all falling apart.
And now, here I am, finally God’s doing something with my life!
This must be the will of God-uh, ya know?
And so one day, the Bible says Saul would have these bouts with dark, dark places. And the Bible calls it an evil spirit would come on him. So an evil spirit would come on Saul, and to get that evil spirit to leave he would call David.
So David would come in with his harp, you know, the one that he sang out in the back forty with and he’d be there, and he’d be like, [begins to lay down a Lynyrd Skynyrd beat] “Sweet Home Jeeer-us-alem! Where the skies are so blue! Sweet Home Saul’s Jerusalem! [crowd cheers] ..I’m coming home to you!”
And Saul’d be like, “Yeah!”
So that would work great for Saul and he began to depend on David. But then one day Saul just all of a sudden goes, “AaahhhhhhHHHHH, FREAK OUT!” [crowd laughs] and he takes this javelin, while David’s in the corner singing “Sweet Home Jerusalem”, and just [inserts sound effect] hurls it at poor little David.
So David’s like, “What is going on here? I killed Goliath. I was anointed on the back forty. Uh, my family doesn’t want me but God has chosen me. And now you, Saul, are trying to kill me?! What is going on here?”
I mean, what in the world…
And so now David has to run. He has to get outta there because Saul is going to kill him. So this is where we pick up in 1 Samuel chapter 21, and verse one.
He comes to this place and he’s got to figure out what to do. How many of you have had moments like that where everything’s lining up, ya know?
I finally met the right person. They’re awesome. They make my liver quiver. They make my toe jam. They make my heart burn. I can see my whole life out before me.
You got the promotion. They brought you in and gave you a raise.
You got the pregnancy test back. It’s positive.
Everything’s working out, and then things…start…to change. And that’s what happened to David. Things started to change.
David doesn’t feel like God’s with him anymore. It was easy for David to feel like God was with him when everything was going right. And then when Saul freaks out, he’s like, “Ya know what? I’m not so sure that I can count on God anymore.”
This is the same kid who had nothing going for him and God pulled him out of obscurity and said, “You will be anointed. You will be used.” And now that he’s got a little bit of notoriety, and now that a few things have gone right in his life, he, as we’ll see here, is starting to get unwilling to trust in God.
You see, most of us treat our lives like we’re the puppet master, ya know?
Where ya got your little puppet on the string and you’re makin’ it dance and you’re controlling everything and I am the worst – I am a control freak.
I will not go on roller coasters, like [?] got me on Thunderation one time – you know, that death trap at Silver Dollar City. I hate roller coasters. And she’s like, “You can get on this roller coaster. They put car seats on this roller coaster. You’re gonna be okay.”
And so I’m feeling this immense sense of shame. And so I get on this roller coaster, and I literally start freaking out. My face is white. If you’ve been raised in the church, I go into deep intercessory prayer, calling out to God with fervency and tears. People who are behind us are looking like I’m a freak. I don’t like that. I don’t like to be out of control.
When we’re driving somewhere, we have been known, she’ll pull over and we’ll switch seats because I’m critiquing everything she’s doing when we drive.
Oh I’m the only one, okay…I guess I’m in a room full of single people, never been married in the house.
You ever try to canoe with your spouse?
We did that one time. That was a nightmare.
We had to invest in thousands of dollars in marriage counseling after that.
Never canoe with your spouse.
I like to be in control.
And David wanted to be in control, because he had this assurance that good things were coming his way, and so he wanted to make sure that good things kept coming his way.
And so here’s what happened, verse one of 1 Samuel 21:
David came to Nob to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David trembling and said to him, “Why are you alone? Why is there nobody with you?”
This is strange.
David’s the anointed-to-be-king guy. Can you imagine Obama showing up, ya know, if you worked at a gas station and was like, “Can I have a Slurpee?”
Like, “Dude, where’s the Secret Service? Where are your people?” Ya know?
Where’s the dude with the football and the nuclear codes?
That’s what David was like there. He shows up and Ahimelech’s afraid, and so here’s what happened…verse two:
[reading] David said to Ahimalech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” [end reading]
David is scared. David has the king who has an army coming after him. David has the most powerful dude he knows ready to kill him, and he starts taking control back over of his life.
“I gotta keep the dream. I gotta keep my ideal vision together. And so, because of that, I’ve gotta control it.”
Listen, I want to tell you something: If you’re blessed. If you’re a Christian I guess I’ll say this to you – if you’re blessed, and you know God did it, and hard things come your way, do not compromise your God-given values in the pursuit of your God-given dreams. You cannot compromise yourself into God’s blessings. And that goes true for anything.
If you’re here today and like, “I don’t even know if I’m a Christian”, fine, let me tell you something: Don’t sell out. Don’t say, “I’ll tellya what, well I’ll just live with him for a little while – I will live with him for a little while and I will let him see how good I cook and how nice I clean and what a good woman I am – you know what I mean. And then he’ll be so awestruck that he will marry me.”
[makes buzzer sound] That’s not how it works. He’ll be like, “Whoah, this is great! No commitment, too! Yeaaahhhh!”
Don’t sacrifice your values for your dreams!
You’re not gonna compromise your way into goodness. All right, we’re gonna calm down right now…
Then David said to Ahimalech, “Then don’t you have a spear or a sword at hand?”
This is David after he’s lied here. He needs a weapon. He said, “I didn’t bring my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.”
He’s lying. He’s saying, “What I was doing was so important that I didn’t stop to get weapons.” And really, the king’s business that required haste was to kill David. That’s why he had to run. He’s lying.
[reading] And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.” [end reading]
I mean, look what God is trying to get David to wake up to? Here he is, running from Saul, he is weaponless, he comes to this place, he’s hungry, he’s destitute, he’s alone, and the only weapon that they have to give him is the weapon that was symbolic of his greatest victory that was won by the hand of God.
How many times in our lives, when we take control back over our lives, and try to say, “I got this”, and we try to work things on our own, that God doesn’t put things like that in our pathway to remind us that I am still Lord, I am still in charge, and you can still trust me.
Some of you want ministry so bad that you’re willing to do whatever you have to do to get to it, and you’re causing yourself to be compromised along the way. And if you’d open your eyes and see that God has some symbolic things He’s put in your path to remind you of his faithfulness, you wouldn’t feel like you had to control everything.
That was free.
Alright; no charge for that…
Now, if God was faithful enough to give David the victory over Goliath when the odds were completely stacked against him, and the only answer to how it happened was that the supernatural, invisible God of the Israelites won that battle for him – if God was faithful then, then why in the world is David lying and taking matters into his own hands now?
You and I can sum up – it’s getting preachy in here – can sum up the Christian life like this, one word: Trust.
That’s the Christian life. The essence of faith is trusting in God. If we trust Him, He’s Lord.
Over the last three years, our church, and I’m the lead pastor, has gone through a major theological and cultural transition.
I became the pastor of this church at twenty-six years of age; didn’t know anything. I was, uh, pretty naïve. And I think that was God’s plan. I think that God had a work to do that superseded the box of religion that we were dwelling in, and He kept me blind long enough to place me here at this church to change it to a Gospel-centered church, not a religion-centered church – not a man’s-religion-centered church.
So during that time we lost over half our membership and, uh, more thousands of dollars than I want to admit to, but God sustained us. During that time, we’d have people come up to us and say, Pastor, I just wanted to give you this Applebee’s gift card. Use it whenever you want.” I’d be like, “I’m using it right now, ‘cause I’m hungry and the babies are hungry.” We’d go two or three months without getting paid.
Food would show up. Checks would come in the mail. God provided.
Now, the problem was, is that the system that we were a part of dwelt and focused more on the fear of man than the fear of God. And I remember as I began to study the Word of God and see the grave disconnect between the practices of our church and the Word of God, I saw that gap – and, my God, I don’t know how to get us from here to there. I don’t have a clue. I know that it’s not pleasing you, but I don’t know how to fix this. And so I just began to seek God and pray. For like three years before we started moving, I began to pray and ask God, “Help me. Help me.”
So we began to progress and we began to change. And we began to teach the Word of God. Imagine that. For the Word of God, and one of the things that I began to do was to teach the book of Romans, the book of Galatians, line by line, verse by verse, and not even really preach it, just read it and explain it, you know. And people’s minds that were with us started to change and the other ones started hitting the door; people were leaving so fast, I would say it was like rats going off a sinking ship, but that’s a bad analogy.
And a lot of good people left us.
So, uh, while we were still fighting the battle – there’s a purpose to this story – while we were still fighting the battle, we had a business meeting. Every year the church has a business meeting if you abide by IRS guidelines. We were having a business meeting, and you should abide by IRS guidelines no matter who you are, thank you.
We had a business meeting and I had heard through the grapevine that they were gonna – that they had organized the people that didn’t like me – they were gonna come and they were gonna create a public scene. They were going to – they were going to lynch me. They were gonna call me out. They were gonna call for a vote of confidence. They were gonna do something – I don’t know what they were gonna do.
So I heard this and then, you know, I started having violent diarrhea.
I’m talking violent diarrhea.
Like Dumb and Dumber when he kicks his legs out straight…that violent!
I’ll try to keep it PG-13 from here on out.
And so I just said, you know, “Lord, I was raised in the church, and if we have to have a good old fashioned church fight, I know how to do it. But I don’t think that’s what you want from me.”
And so in prayer, I said, “God, if you want to rescue this church, then you’re gonna have to rescue it, because I can’t rescue it.”
Here I am, 29, maybe 31, I don’t know – 29, 31, something like that – ya know, not, I don’t have the knowledge ability , depending on God here.
So that night, I was very dehydrated. Drinking [not sure what it was he said here]. And, uh, at four o’clock PM, on that day, the news castor came on, brother Brandon Beck, KY-3, said, “There’s an ice storm scheduled for this evening. This didn’t show up on our future cast, but there’s an ice storm coming this evening. We’ll see how bad it is.”
That night, I kid you not, an un-forecasted ice storm blew in and we had a very peaceful and calm business meeting, because everyone that hated me stayed home.
Now, that’s one of the few times in my life I got it right. I’m not saying that because, ‘Hey, look at me! I’m a supernatural Christian!’ No.
God help[ed?] me! If He calls you to do something, keep on trusting Him to do it! If He gave you a dream, and said, “I’m going to do this through you”, quit trying to be the puppet master and control it! Let God work it out! Because when He works it out, it’s absolutely better than when you get your fingerprints all over it.
I don’t do that ‘cause I’m angry; I do that ‘cause I’m fired up.
So what’s the pattern you fall into when things start going out of hand for you? What do you do when it seems like your dreams aren’t gonna come true? What happens on the inside of you when that – when you have that fear of, “Oh no! God’s not gonna show up!” and you start popping pills…you start hittin’ the bottle…
What do you do?
Do you start lying?
Do you start stealing?
You start manipulating?
How do you respond when it seems like your dreams are being crushed in front of you?
Listen: This is the mistake David made – he thought he knew what God should be doing. Look at your neighbor and say, “You’re not God!” Look at the neighbor and say, “You ain’t Jesus! You ain’t the Prince of Peace!”
“You ain’t Messiah!”
And we all try to be our own functional savior and we get ourselves in all kinds of trouble when we assume that God must think and feel just like I’m feelin’ right now! And that’s not the case at all. God is God and I’m not Him and you’re not Him.
So here’s what happened, because David manipulated and lied and got Ahimelech to give him that sword, in 1 Samuel chapter 22, one of Ahimelech’s kids comes to David and tells him that Saul found out – a guy named Doeg told Saul, and Saul went back to that little town and he killed Ahimelech, his family, and 85 priests all because you lied, David.
And David’s like, “Oh no.”
And this is a turning point for David. Because, in that moment of time, when he realized his manipulation was not fixing the issue, he understood, “my way isn’t working.” My way isn’t working.
I love Dr. Phil.
He gets somebody up there, and he’s like, he just listens, ya know…draws it out of ‘em…
“So, how do you feel about this? What is your opinion about that?”
And then he gets them in this impossible situation, where they just look like a total fool, and he looks at ‘em and he drops his eyes and he says, “How’s that workin’ for ya?”
I just wanna like, “I’ll tell you how it’s workin’ for me right now: I may not have a psychology degree, but I fists…”
When it becomes apparent that our dreams aren’t coming true, that’s not the time to take things into your own hands. That’s when you need to lean on God.
When things aren’t going like you want them to go, it doesn’t mean that your life is spinning out of control, it just means that you’re not the one in control.
God’s not mad at you. He may be working something out that you have no concept of.
And you’re not really a Christian if you don’t say, “I trust You.”
Think about Abraham, the father of faith. God came to Abraham and said, “Abraham, I’ve got a land I wanna show you. I’m not gonna tell you where it’s at. I’m not gonna tell you how we’re gonna get there. Will you trust me?” And Abraham’s like, “Yes.”
That’s the essence of the Christian walk.
I don’t know where we’re going. I don’t know how we’re gonna get there. But I trust You.
For some of you, you’ve taken your faith in Jesus Christ and you’ve wrapped it around this dream of what He’ll do with your life. And now your faith and your dream are so intertwined that if your dream doesn’t come true, you’ll deny your faith. And you now have an idol.
You can take good things and make them God things and then they become bad things.
He is Lord. We are Christians.
We are not Trumpians, as in Donald Trump, ya know, he’s our founder. We’re gonna be all billionaires and everything’s gonna be wonderful. No. Jesus was a homeless man who died a suffering death. ..and sometimes suffering will come to the lives of believers, but the Scripture says the trying of your faith works maturity in your life. You gotta trust in God with the details.
And here’s the deal: David forgot. He forgot about the victories when he saw that sword, he shoulda remembered that God was able. And then he, there’s something in that text that should awaken all of us, and that is this, and I’m almost done…
Five loaves. There were five loaves. The Scripture says “five loaves” in that moment, and now we are New Testament Christians going back and reading this story and we see the word “five loaves” – if you remember something about five loaves, it is this: Jesus took five loaves and three fishes and multiplied them supernaturally and fed a multitude. What does this mean?
It means that you don’t have to manipulate anything. If you trust in God, He has the ability not to manipulate but to multiply and to bring about blessings. Put your confidence in God today.
I remember as we were changing this church to be a place that would be hospitable for people to find Jesus, I remember standing over there, and I’m telling you, there were times on the early service when there’d be like thirteen people in here. I wouldn’t even open – people thought I was caught up in the spirit – no, I just didn’t want to look around…didn’t wanna know…literally thinking, “God, I hope – I hope you’re gonna rescue me. I hope you’re gonna rescue this church.”
And I’d say that out loud. A lot. We’d be worshipping and I’d be like, “Help us, God. Help us!” And Rene would say, “Stop it! Stop it! Pull yourself together! If God be for us, who can be against us?”
“I know, honey, I know…”
What God is doing here in this church – there is an expressing of the church that He’s raising up here. It’s not because of me. I’m just a slob doing my job.
Look at me. I sweat profusely.
It’s gotta be Jesus.
When I was dating, ya know, in high school and stuff, the girls would look at me and say, “That Tyler is hot…and sweaty.” And that was me.
Why are you here today?
Why are you here?
I know, yeah I know it’s not ‘cause of the postcard ‘cause my picture wasn’t on the postcard.
I mean, you’re here because God has a plan for your life. You may have not discovered it yet. You may not even know what it is, but I assure you that God has a plan for your life. And you may understand what that is or you may not even have a clue, but wherever you’re at in the journey, the Lord sent me here to tell you that, if the very same power that conquered the grave dwells in you, you have got to trust.
Jesus, in the suffering of His passion, prayed this prayer: “Not my will, but thine be done. If it’s possible, let this cup of suffering pass from me. But nevertheless, let your will be done.”
Because God’s plan with all of our lives is better than our manipulation of that plan.
God’s not mad at you.
You just need to trust Him.
God’s not mad at you.
You just need to trust him.
God’s not mad at you.
You just need to trust Him…and make Him Lord, and not just one of many things you’re serving.
Would you stand with me this morning.
Every head bowed, every eye closed, please…”
[More stories related to the coming release of Apathetic Christianity: The Zombie Religion of American Churchianity will be posted soon. Also feel free to check http://www.R3VOLUTIONPRESS.com for further details.]