Ride or Die
Pursue • Sermon • Submitted
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Welcome to Celebration Church. We are so glad that you are here. Thank you for worshipping with us today. If there is anything we can do for you and your family, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We are a family and we are with you. If you are joining us online, welcome. We are so glad that you are here. If you are in the area, we would love to invite you to join us for our in person gatherings where we have a safe, clean and socially distanced environment for you and your family.
Today we are continuing in our series, Pursue. Pursue means to seek to attain or accomplish. Synonyms include chase down. Go after. Fully engage. Seek. The heart of who we are and what we do is connected to our pursuit. Our mission statement is we are God’s Family, Pursuing God’s Kingdom. What that means is we are not called to passively sit back and wait to experience what God has for us. We have to pursue it. Our pursuit determines our experience.
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you.
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me and rescued me from all my fears.
14 Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it.
Our pursuit determines our experience. Last week we talked about the importance of pursuing our purpose through serving. Today, I want to continue our journey by talking about relationships.
Relationships are so crucial. I am convinced God has given us the gift of relationships because we are not called to be isolated.
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper corresponding to him.”
The context is marriage, but it gives us a glimpse of an age old truth, God desires for us to be connected to others. There are all types of relationships and each relationship requires something different. We have our relationship with God, which is our most important relationship. Spouse, parent, sibling, friend, co-worker…the list goes on. Each has a different requirement and intensity, and our ability to effectively steward these relationships; to pursue these relationships. Get your notes out, I have entitled today’s message: Ride or Die!
Urban dictionary says the term ride or die means when you are willing to do anything for someone you love or someone you really appreciate in your life. The person who you stand by in any problem and vice versa. The term "ride till the end or die trying". The phrase was famously said by Will Smith and Martin Lawrence…we ride together, we die together, bad boys for life. I suspect that there have been people that this has rung true for at some point in our lives. People that truly had our back. People who’s back we have. Through thick and thin; highs and lows; mountain tops and valleys.
I recall getting a distressed call from my then girlfriend, Maegan. She told me that someone stole her purse as she was walking down the street. I remember feeling helpless. I called my friend and he picked me up and drove around the city looking for her bag for hours. We had no idea where it would take us but he was committed to helping me all night, if it would have taken that long. I distinctly remember knowing what it meant to have a ride or die. I remember going through a difficult season financially and wrestling with how my wife saw me. She said she was with me, her actions showed me more. I had another revelation of what it means to have a Ride or Die. Someone who is with you to the very end. I have countless other stories of how people have shown up in my life. People I have shown up for. I got you. Bernard Brown my first real boss that taught me how to be a professional. Troy Matthews who taught me how to dress for success. Bishop Reynolds taught me the power of God’s Word and prayer.
God has given us relationships to give us balance, strength, support. Enjoyment. Whether it is a marriage, family, or friendship. They require something from us and give something to us. I believe our relationships determine our direction and our direction determines our destination. The people in our lives will either move us forward or backwards but they can’t do both.
The key is to make sure we pursue the right relationships and avoid the wrong ones. The lines get blurred and we often can’t recognize what’s good for us. Who is good for us. When it is time to move on. Some relationships are seasonal and that is ok. There’s no greater energy leak then holding on to something that doesn’t need to be held.
1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long are you going to mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem because I have selected for myself a king from his sons.”
Many times God is moving us forward but we are focused on the rear view mirror. I think it is because we misappropriate our relationships. We invest in people that don’t invest in us. Categorically, there are three types of people:
People that are for what you’re for
People that are against what you’re against
People that are for you
Everyone is not meant to be with you in every season. Invest in the people that invest in you. Invest in people that are for you. While the goal isn’t to reduce people to nice little categories, it is important to know how to navigate relationships and the people around us.
When need to move on:
When need to move on:
Brings you harm
Brings you harm
10 and Saul tried to pin David to the wall with the spear. As the spear struck the wall, David eluded Saul, ran away, and escaped that night.
Pulls you out of character
Pulls you out of character
33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
It isn’t fruitful
It isn’t fruitful
14 Do not be yoked together with those who do not believe. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?
Relationships are work, but they are worth it. Healthy relationships don’t just happen, we have to pursue them. Here are four components of healthy relationships.
1 Summoning the Twelve, he gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. 2 Then he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 “Take nothing for the road,” he told them, “no staff, no traveling bag, no bread, no money; and don’t take an extra shirt. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. 5 If they do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 So they went out and traveled from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing everywhere.
Jesus was incredibly intentional with the people He chose to be around. He knew the team He selected would eventually be a reflection of Him. They would represent Him. He was intentional with what He said to them. Time He spent with them. What He taught them. We have to be intentional in our relationships if we want them to have longevity. I was very intentional with Maegan. I pursued her. I wrote her letters. Played her favorite music when we were in the car. Whenever there were moments where we weren’t on the same page, I can trace it back to us not being intentional. When we are intentional in our relationships our relationships will be healthy.
10 Joshua did as Moses had told him, and fought against Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 While Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, but whenever he put his hand down, Amalek prevailed. 12 When Moses’s hands grew heavy, they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat down on it. Then Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other so that his hands remained steady until the sun went down.
The children of Israel were in route to the promised land, they get attacked. The strategy was simple, Moses was to be on the mountain and keep his arms lifted up. As long as his arms were up, they were winning. Aaron and Hur were by his side and when he got tired, they were there to keep his arms up. That’s what it means to be an encourager. It means to be a lift. Build up, not tare down.
11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.
The world is anxious to tare people down. God instructs us to be unified and to build each other up.
Being gracious means recognizing you aren’t perfect and extending the same grace, generosity that you want to receive. Peter asks Jesus how many times should he forgive someone. Jesus says 70x’s 7. (Matthew 18) This was an ode to the Jewish context of Jubilee where all debt was forgiven every 50 years. Atonement was once a year. Built into their belief was this idea of unmerited favor. Grace. Jesus goes on to tell a parable about a man who was forgiven but he didn’t extend it to someone else. We can often want grace to flow to us but are reluctant to let it flow from us. Being gracious doesn’t mean no accountability. Jesus was full of grace and truth. We speak the truth in love. We just have to be gracious.
Be curious, not critical
Be careful, not crushing
Ask, don’t assume
Connect, before you correct
The golden rule says, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Treat people the way you want to be treated.
Loyalty is a big deal. Giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance. A crucial part of a wedding is the vows where the couple agrees to be loyal, committed. David and Jonathan had a loyal friendship. They had each others back, no matter what.
1 When David had finished speaking with Saul, Jonathan was bound to David in close friendship, and loved him as much as he loved himself. 2 Saul kept David with him from that day on and did not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as much as himself.
Ruth and Naomi had a bonded relationship. Paul and Barnabas. Paul and Timothy. These scriptures highlight what it looks like to have someones back even when they aren’t in front of you. This is why gossip and drama are such issues to God. It demonstrates a lack of integrity, character, and loyalty. Having someones back means not putting a knife in it. Being loyal means defending them. It doesn’t mean excusing abhorrent behavior, but it does mean having a conversation with them, not about them.
Meaningful relationships don’t just happen; we have to pursue them. Invest our time and energy with people that invest in you.
Our most important relationship is the one with God. From it, flows the rest. Jesus modeled his very principles when it came to us. He intentionally chose us. He encourages us. He is gracious and has been loyal to us before we could be loyal to Him. We have to steward it.