Last night at Ember we continued our series on Titus, called Further the Faith. I spoke out of Titus 1:10-16, and the message was called Black Hat. (I'll upload the message later today.) The basic idea of the sermon was that anyone who adds anything to the Gospel wears a black hat--is a bad guy. Paul charged Titus to "silence" the group of people who were disrupting the churches on Crete by preaching a false gospel. They were "Judaizers" who demanded that Gentiles convert fully into Judaism in order to be saved.
I asked some tough questions in the sermon like: "Can you be a Christian and believe in evolution? Can you be a Christian and not believe in hell? Can you be a Christian and be gay?" These are difficult questions because they challenge our understanding of the Gospel, and quite possibly reveal some of the things that we have added onto the Gospel, like certain doctrinal, religious, or behavioral tests.
Then I dropped a bomb on the church when I mentioned that I don't believe in the rapture. This can be hard to hear from your pastor, I know. I'll try to clarify and summarize my position on the rapture later, but for now, you can go here to see everything I've written on it. I apologize for any extra snark in those posts. I was a jerk before I became a pastor. ...Was...
The music team has been slowly but surely adding new voices and talents into the mix, and last night was the first time that Evan Staggs joined the team. Yay, Evan! It was also the first time that Garth was not on stage, so of course he was running the sound board. The response time was really powerful, for me anyway. Heather Noble did a fantastic job of leading us in a slow, but powerful, version of Jesus Paid It All. I know I say this a lot, but I really, really love the music at Ember.
I also love the ideas that people bring to the table. When the band was rehearsing, they mentioned that Charlie could play Taps in honor of Veteran's Day. I hadn't even thought about doing anything for Veteran's Day, but they convinced me it would not only be awesome, but appropriate. So Charlie went into the back hallway at the start of the service, we closed the sanctuary doors, and he played a moving rendition of Taps. I love my church. Sunday nights are my favorite time of the week. Come join us next Sunday at 5!