Well, that's a quick two minute of a full week of activity and all, but that last, to me, was the most inspiring to me today, because we just want to be careful to let you know it wasn't all about fluff and fun and water slides and all like that. There was some substance and some prayer that went into this week. A lot of you were behind that. And 55 may be a little conservative because there were two three more after that count that we think came to know Christ too. So fantastic, we praised the Lord for that. So we trying as best we can to be the best tools that Christ can use to minister to families, because I don't have to tell you what families are up against today. It feels like there's somewhat of an assault from all from all angles. And I think who gets caught in the middle of that, so often too, is the father, the man of the home. And so guys, we especially want to lean into encouraging you, and at times actually challenge you.
VBS, even though there were children and they were affirmed in every way, there was a pretty significant challenge, to have the courage to become or to remain Christ followers. And that's our challenge as males. And I know next week is father's day, and we want to talk about that a little bit more on father's day. And by the way, we're having our first ever marriage retreat in October, the 21st through the 23rd of October. I think it may be on your little handout there. Guys, we'll just pretend your wives are not listening right now. If you really want to earn a few brownie points, just say, "You know what, honey, if you haven't gotten me anything for father's day yet, all I really want to do is take you on that retreat up in Lake Norman in October." Now, I know guys, because I've been there too, you don't really want to go on a marriage retreat.
That's really not what you have on your list typically, but I'll make you a promise, because I went to too many of those before ministry days that were either cheesy or put me in a position I thought was the most awkward in the world. We will not sit. We will not send you to your room and make little clay figurines of representing how you feel. We will not do that to you. Men, we'll let you be who you are, but we are going to spend some great time together learning what the wisdom of the scripture says about who we are as men and women in Christ and family. So I hope you'll sign up for that. We're taking the first 21 couples, and so you might need to register early for that. All right, picture with me for a second, it's first century Palestine, and you are a parent and you've got young children. There's six in the home. It's you and your spouse.
And it's been one of those days. It's been just activities and getting water and doing the chores and working hard, and everybody's tired. But for some reason, the kids are wired up and you can't get them to go to sleep.Now in first century Palestine, typically the house would be two rooms. There would be this back area for storage and possibly cooking, and then there would be this one big room where all of you slept on pallets. So all six of you have their place, and nobody goes to sleep until the kids go to sleep. And you've wrestled with them and you've gotten them finally all is quiet. They're all asleep. You finish up what you have to do. You lay down and you're exhausted, and you drift off into a good sleep. And it must be around midnight, you hear on the wooden door.
You're next to the door, because typically you sleep between your family and the door in case somebody tries to break in. And you're thinking who in the world is that. They continue to knock. Bang, bang, bang. And you kind of yell, trying not to yell through the door and say, "Go away. The kids are asleep." It's your friend from right down the street who's one of the most humble men you know, and he is a good friend, but why in the world? And he says, "I need three loves of bread. I've got friends in from out of town, and I need this for them." And you say, "The kids are asleep. Go away." You're thinking if I've got to get up and walk around through them all the way to the back to get the bread, I'm going to step on a body part somewhere, and then everybody will be awake. And you say again, "Go away. I can't get that for you." And he goes again.
And so what are you going to do? You end up tiptoeing around and through and you go get the bread, even though you don't want to, and you go and you give him what he needs. Now, I say that because Jesus told exactly that story in Luke chapter 11. So turn, in your Bibles, to Luke chapter 11, and we'll talk about what that has to do with us. I'm going to throw together two words and just see what you think about them. Those two words are humble audacity. The man who was begging for bread in this story was probably known in town by his friend to be a pretty humble guy. But what seemed to be out of character, suddenly he has the audacity to be knocking on his door and waking his family up at midnight because he has this need. We typically, many times, don't put these two words in a positive context. Even in the scripture, humility...
Aaron, the brother of Moses, was seemed to be pretty humble guy, but yet he got pushed around a lot. And in the end, although he's the priest, he gets talked into being the supervisor over making a golden calf and worse than the golden calf. Audacity, well, the prodigal son was pretty audacious, wasn't he? But we don't put him in a positive light. Give me all my stuff now, do we? Can we put these two together though? I think we certainly can, because I'll even go a step further, god honors humble audacity. That's our one point for today. In verse nine in Luke 11, he says, "So I say ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will be open to you." So we'll break this down a little bit more and see what is it about humble audacity that we can build into our lives, and furthermore, what the meaning of that is behind what you see here, which is obviously we're doing the Lord's supper today.
So the context of Luke 11 is... If you look from chapter five through chapter 10, Jesus is on one of these healing, teaching, demon casting, rampages. It's one after another, and Luke is recording all these different events. It's an amazing, amazing run of probably several weeks. And the disciples are in the middle of all that. They're watching all of that, but it's so fascinating to me that as Luke 11 opens up, they go to him early one morning, and they have one ask. "Teach us how to do this." They don't say, "Teach us how to cast out demons." They don't say, "Teach us how to heal. Teach us how to feed thousands of people with one meal." They don't ask for any of that. They say, "Teach us how to pray," because they realize his power is really activated through his relationship with God, and that is a form of prayer.
And so I think that's the place for us to start out, is the power of the prayer relationship with God, which leads to the overall relationship with God. So let's pray real quick. Father, we're going to admit our dependence on you, our acknowledgement of your superiority and your power, but also your tremendous love and grace. And for some reason, you have called us into the arena that we call being a Christ follower. And that means not just here today. That means for the next six days too, and that means in every situation we find ourselves. So God, we need your help for that. And we give this time to you. So come, holy spirit. Amen. Now, if I forget, let me just say it now, at the end, we will do, after I talk, we'll kind of guide you through the Lord's supper, if you're new with us. And we're so grateful that you are.
And out there, I'm giving you a little bit of warning too. At home, go grab something that maybe you can partake of the Lord supper with us there at home, because that'll be more meaningful to you too. We'll guide you through that. But then after the Lord supper will be our usual time where we call you, invite you forward to make next step decisions, or for prayer. We're just inviting you to come do what God's told you to do at the end of that. So don't think it's over when we finish the Lord supper quite yet. Okay? So let's talk about elements of this relationship that is spelled out here. And I'll just kind of read the scripture as we go along. We're going to read five through 13 in Luke 11 and talk about this humble audacity.
The first element of this type of relationship is God provides for your need. God provides for your need. So look all the way back at verse three. In response to their, "Teach us how to pray," he bust out what we call the model prayer. And it's also recorded in Matthew. But the model prayer, a part of that is as, as you see in verse three, right? Give us this day, our daily bread. And that goes all the way back to the old Testament. When the man comes to the children, as they leave on the Exodus, and Moses instructs them, ask for each day enough. And don't store it up, don't hoard anything, because I'll give you tomorrow, enough for tomorrow. Give us this day, our daily bread. So God provides for your need, although, let's look at verse five through seven, it looks like it's not happening. So then he said to them, Jesus is speaking, suppose of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, "Friend, lend me three loaves of bread." This is, I think, significant, and it immediately follows the teaching on the model prayer.
So he teaches him this template to do a balanced prayer, but then he says, "Let's suppose for a minute," and then he goes into this. Now, some of y'all are critical thinkers, and I love that. You try to dissect the scripture and you ask questions of it. Some of you have already read that, and you're like, "Why does he wait until midnight to ask for... That's a little bit unprepared. Don't you think?" Well, he's going to answer it in verse six. "Because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him." Oh, it wasn't uncommon in those days for people to travel at night because it would get so hot during times. And the sun beat down, they could cover more ground. They'd go at night. So also, they didn't have hotels, really. You were somewhat looking for people you might know in different regions and you didn't have a way to call them, like on cell phone or something, or email them, so you just knock on their door when you get there, and you're trusting their hospitality.
If you were the homeowner, it was something that the culture expected of you. "Yes, we'll take you in. We'll share whatever we have with you." And if you did not have anything to offer them, oh man, that was a huge insult. So this guy's reputation's on the line. He's got to find something. Then verse seven, then the one inside answers, "Don't bother me. The door's already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything." So we have a very urgent request of need, but we also have an unworthiness because he's kind of at the mercy of the owner. He's not really been prepared well for this. He did not know. He's caught off guard. He comes and he's asking for something that he cannot really earn. And he also understands this is not the best time to visit.
This is a great definition of humility. But let me go a step further, because biblical humility basically is, as CS Lewis says, you don't think of yourself less than other people. You just don't think of yourself, period. And that forces us to always think about other people. And Jesus was the greatest model of that. By the way, if you're in leadership that also made him the great leader that he was. He always made it about the other people in the room, right up to the point he's even hanging on the cross. He's concerned about forgiveness, and he's concerned about his mother. And so he plays this significant role, which is full of humility. Humility was not seen as a positive in first century Palestine. It was seen as weak. It was seen as something to be angry toward. It was seen as, "Oh, you're an inferior, a servant level person, and you're not worthy of all that much respect."
So Jesus is counter-cultural with this modeling of humility. And I think that's why he's backing up the teaching on prayer with. As you come to God, understand, remember who you are, and remember who he is too. The word... And there's a book that came out in 2011. I meant to bring it in here with me. It's a great book. I recommend it. You probably can still get... The name of the book is Humilitas, which is one of the original words for what we get humility. He researched the Greek and the Latin and the Hebrew, and came to sort of a combination. They all somewhat mean to lower yourself. That does not mean you lower yourself esteem wise or status or not being equal to. It just means you're doing it for the good of serving somebody else. And our prayer life, our time with God is best bearing fruit when we do that. So when it comes to what we're going to do in a few minutes here, what a great model of that.
Because if there's anything that instructs us, how unworthy we are and how dependent we are for the basics, as well as our physical life, as well as our spiritual life, it's what Jesus did on the cross, right? The atonement, the body and the blood of Christ, as we come to that, to me, it's always a humbling thing, but he does honor that in the right way. He honors humble audacity, because there are other times that we shift into another gear, and that's our second point. He rewards persistence. He rewards persistence. Look at verses eight through 10. "I tell you though, he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness or persistence, he will get up and give him as much as he needs." Can I stop here and say, this is not teaching that somehow, if you pray hard enough and long enough and often enough that God will bend his will and just acquiesce to you and give it to you because you've worn him out. That's not what happens. God is God, right?
God is sovereign. God actually eagerly wants us to come repetitively sometimes. He wants us, and I'll talk about that in a minute. He wants to give us what's best for us. Sometimes that answer is no, but it's not because he's some greedy ogre who doesn't take joy in giving his children anything. And we'll see that in a minute also. There's called in Greek, this Kairos moment. And the Kairos moment means that it's God's time. And some of you've noticed what I have. Typically, I am way ahead of God in my urgency of thinking this needs to happen. And God's not all that interested in my timetable. Is he on base with y'all sometimes? He could care less about my deadlines or my calendar, right? Because he has his own time. It's God's time. But what that means is when it's time, it is time, ready are not. And many times when we have to persist and we keep praying...
And I know some of your stories well enough to know you've been praying for certain people or things for maybe two decades. And it just probably means it is God's will, or you wouldn't have that urgency in that persistence, but it's not quite time. Circumstances have not lined up. This resignation over here has to happen before you move into the position he has for you. This needs to fall into place before your son finds the person who he's going to marry one day. All of those situations, usually it's a matter of circumstances, lining up. But what he really wants from us is a deeper relationship with him that changes us whether or not this situation is changed. Some of you unfortunately have had that gut wrenching experience where you've prayed for people and they didn't get better, and they ended up passing away, and they were very, very important to you. But you realize in hindsight, through the grief, after the grief, "It changed me in a good way. I still miss her. I still miss him, but I am closer to Christ."
And that is another reason for the persistence. But that's where I say we need a little bit of audacity. Jim Collins, long time wrote this landmark book, not Christian at all, but it wasn't anti-Christian, called Good To Great. And if you read that, boy, that was a Bible for those in the marketplace for so many times. Jim Collins did all this research of great companies and how they went from good to great, fortune 500. And his final summary somewhat surprised me. He said all the guys and ladies who lead those companies have two characteristics in common. They all were people of personal humility. That really surprised me. But the other thing was, they had this iron will of determination. That's audacity. Now y'all, when the holy spirit puts those two things together, you've got dynamite.
And that's when you see not only churches and families change. That's when you see regions change, and that's when the fresh wind of God's power just starts to move through people's lives in significant ways, and that's when people do things that other people sit back, who are not in the arena, and criticize until they see the outcome. And that's the audacity of being a Christ follower. You choose to believe that with him, all things are possible, right? Research shows most regrets come from an overcautious person than someone who took some chances and they blew up. William Screven is one of those guys. Can put that... Ken, can put his picture up there. William Screven was this guy who was English. He came over with some of the Puritans not too long after the Mayflower. He was a deeply devoted Christ follower. He's leaving religious persecution to come here. He goes into what is now the Boston area. He moves north into Maine, which is still wilderness and a wild country. Indians and else still up there.
And he had some people with him, and they founded a little church up there, which today would have been called the first Baptist church in this country, because he believed there's baptism and things like that, to the point that when others started settling, and they were remnants of the state church in Europe, and they sought to set up the same thing here in this country, he not only disagreed with them, but he became such a contentious person to them that they threw him in jail one time. They were arguing about baptism. And he said, "I don't believe in infant baptism." And he said it so much that they said, "Get rid of this guy." Now, I do not want to insult you if you've were infant baptized. That's not my point at all. I'm just saying there were some doctoral differences there. So when he gets out of jail, guess what he does? He says, "I'm not taking this anymore. That's why I left England. I'm getting out of here." "Where you going?" "I'm going south. Who's going with me?"
And at 67 years old, William Screven gets about 20 people on a ship and they go back and they go a thousand miles to Charlestown, the new town called Charlestown. And what does he do? He starts a church. And it became the first Baptist church in the south. It was on a little piece of property, right down there on the peninsula. There's a church that is still there to this day. It is the first Baptist church of Charleston. We are a granddaughter church of that church. So there's even a connection between us and... But William Screven is one of the best examples from history I can think of a man of deep, personal humility. But how audacious to say at 67, "I'm leaving. I want freedom of worship. And I'm taking some people with me." Because a thousand miles by ship to a place you've never been before, and it's hardly even settled, that's not exactly a sure bet, but I love reading stories like that. So let's wrap up the second point. When you pray, are you more interested in the results? Are you more interested in God changing your heart?
I think if we're a result oriented only, and there's nothing wrong with that, but if that's our only agenda for prayer, we're going to miss out. If we're saying, "God, do what you need to do in me." It's the Psalm 139, right? Search me, know me, try me, see if there's anything wrong in me, simple in me that you may remove it. Search me, know me, try me. And then by the way, you really need to come down here and take care of this and just see what he does to you, whether or that changes. I think that's it. So let's go to verse 11 through 13 as we wrap this up. Cause the third, third element is he endorses all gifts with the holy spirit. Verse 11, "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead, or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?"
I think Jesus had a pretty good sense of humor, and he loved telling these exaggerated stories. I think he's telling this with a smile on his face. How many of you got... Child comes, ask for an egg, you give him a scorpion. It's like, it'd be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to go. But verse 11 is the critical one. I mean 13. "If you then though know you are evil, but you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give the holy spirit to those who ask him?" When he says those of you who you know you're evil, he's saying it's an inventory thing. Not only do you know and I know that you are an evil person, you've been storing it up your whole life. That's the humility part, but yet you still know how to give good gifts to your kids. You know what's best for your children. How much more do you think my father and your father knows that you need?
It's not about the eloquence of your prayer and your brilliant mind to ask for the right thing. It is about your connection to your father, which allows you to ask for what he already wants you to have, because your heart has been changed. And then if you need to be audacious and swing for the fences, you do that. But that's under the direction of the holy spirit too. Holy spirit is our key thing. There are gifts of the spirit. Some of you know that. If you are a Christ follower, you have at least one, probably several spiritual gifts. They're taught in Romans 12, first Corinthians 12, and Ephesians four. But gifts are nothing really without being surrendered and die to Christ. Roman six is all about that. That'd be a great devotional read one morning for you, by the way, Romans chapter six, because he says, basically if you don't die to yourself and die with Jesus, you can't live with Jesus.
So we die to ourselves and our sins first, and then we're going to live with him here, but also forever. And so the point is, if you've not done that, if you're trying to still dance in and out of both camps spiritually and please the world, as well as pleasing your father, and then it comes time to give gifts and to matter in the kingdom of God, forget it. It's not going to happen.You've got to be dead to yourself, that's the humility part, to be audacious enough to have spiritual gifts that bear fruit. Speaking of fruit, that's taught too, in Galatians chapter five. Some of you are familiar with that passage. But let me do a little correction there of our attitudes, because first Corinthians two says that there are certain thoughts that only the holy spirit knows of God. Only the holy spirit knows God's thoughts, and the deeper things belong to the spirit. Well, guess what? If we're not being dominated and being under the influence and filled with the holy spirit, we have no way of accessing the deeper things of God.
And that's what bears fruit. That's when people react counter culturally, especially leaders, when they're up against it and they're surrounded by the sharks, and they take an attitude and a posture that surprises everybody. That's called fruit of the holy spirit because the deeper things of God are more important to them than whatever else is going on. And so can I give you the little hint here? You can't be selfish and bear fruits with God. You can't have the fruit of the spirit and be selfish, because selfishness points to the fact I haven't died to myself, huh? Because if we're selfish, it's about us, right? If we're selfish, it's about us. That means we haven't died yet. And so forget the discussion about fruits of the spirit. But prayer becomes a powerful force with the holy spirit, especially when you're praying for other people. And I think this week might have been one of the greatest examples of the year about that, and the weeks leading up to this, interceding for kids and families that come to VBS.
Nothing inspired me by y'all's leadership, a hundred and something of you around the 400 kids that were here, and others who could not lead, but you were praying. A leader's job in the end is to value her people, inspire them, and then empower them. And prayer is a great way to do that. Monday morning, I saw little groups of people all over this place just praying. Sunday, the Sunday night before, Rhonda staged a prayer walk. And every part, including the outside, every part of these seven acres just about was prayed over. On my way up here to start greeting people out front on Monday morning, I was following a lady who was just walking very slowly and stopping at every room on her own, on her own initiative, and she's praying for everybody who would be going through those doors. And I wish... I know that it was impossible, but I wish that everybody could have seen what we saw on Wednesday morning when the challenge was given to those children, and they just start streaming to come to Christ. I think maybe Mr. Fred [inaudible 00:33:15], who's another one of my heroes who...
He and Janet... I've been here five years. He's led VBS for five years. And he retired from a high executive level in the marketplace. So it's not like he doesn't have capabilities, but he sees one of his role is, "I'm going to serve children because they're served in Christ." And I think it was Fred, after all that was over and all the tears are dried up, I said, "That never gets old. That never gets old." And I think there's a direct relationship between the humble, audacious prayers of the people of God. So pray with expectations, pray with expectations, because that combines the humility we need with the audacity of a Christ follower. And so with that, I'm going to ask our deacons to start coming forward and our folks to get into place for that. So while they're coming, let me kind of tell you how this works. If you've not been around here for a while, our leaders, our deacons will come to you. And the first thing you'll get is a tray of little squares of bread. And just take one of those, pass them on down, and just hang onto it.
And we'll all do that together, and I'll tell you what that represents if you're not really sure about that too. And then after that, they will come with little cups of... It's non-alcoholic, in case that matters to you. It's non-alcoholic juice that represents the blood of Christ, and we'll explain that. We'll all do that together too. If you are a Christ follower, you have a relationship with him, you're welcome. We don't really care what church you're part of or no church. You're brother or sister, so you should, you should have that chance to take it. If not, that'd be fantastic if you just keep passing it, and then just allow us to pray for you as we go through. That's still a blessing to you, and it might open the door that we could chat about maybe acquiring a relationship with Christ after this. And we'll give you, right after this, an opportunity to respond anyway to that.
So let me pray real quick. Father, just thank you for what you did on cross and the empty tomb, and for what that means to all of us. It's a humbling, humbling thing, but it's also a tremendously inspiring thing to know that we are that valued in your eyes, and we are that cared for. Amen. The night before the crucifixion, Jesus took the bread, he broke it, he blessed it, and he said, "Tomorrow, this represents my body, which will be broken for you. Whenever you do this, remember me."
So much of Jesus ministry happened around the table, and is around that table on that Thursday night that Jesus model to us what we do today. But I was thinking earlier, I'm not clean enough, I'm not worthy enough. And more than likely, you're not either. And Jesus knew those 11 men were certainly not any worthier, they were not any cleaner. They came to the dinner dirty, but he said, "This represents my blood, which will be shed for the forgiveness of your sins. So after tomorrow, you'll be clean. And when Sunday comes, you'll be worthy. Not because of you, but because of me. So when you do this, remember me."
So we have the unbelievable opportunity to follow Christ. And whatever that next step looks for you, I would invite you to take that step in just a moment as Eddie leads us in one more song. So why don't you stand? If you need prayer, you need to capitalize on a decision that was made this week in VBS, or you need a church home, you need to come back to the Lord, whatever is on your heart today, just as your act of love, just come let us share that with you.