Survivor: Sunrise Part 3
Strengthening Your Tribe
by Greg Hanson
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
May 11, 2003


Tonightís the night. Shera and I have watched every week since the competitors landed in the Amazon, and tonight we finally find out who survived. It started out with 16, one-by-one theyíve been voted out, and in about twelve hours the winner will be revealed.

If you watch Survivor, you know the routine. You know that when the contestants arrive they are divided into two tribes who compete against each other in a series of competitions. And you know that each time a tribe loses an immunity challenge, they have to vote out one member of their tribe. But at some point in the series, thereís a dramatic change: the two tribes merge with whoeverís left.

Iíve watched every run of Survivor, and Iíve discovered that the Tribe with the strongest bonds tends to be the Tribe that goes into the merger in a position of strength. Itís not necessarily the Tribe that has the youngest and the strongest members. Itís the tribe that gets along the best and knows each other the best.

This morning weíre continuing our Survivor: Sunrise series of messages, and today the title is Strengthening Your Tribe. Specifically, Iím talking about strengthening your family relationships and finding security in them.

Hereís a story that appeared in the NY Post a couple years agoÖ


Thatís Not A TV Ė Thatís My Wife
Thursday, February 15, 2001
Post Wire Service

A 42-year-old couch potato loves his television so much, he married it.

Mitch Hallen wed his 42-in. Sony set in a ceremony in his living room in Melbourne, Australia, presided over by a priest and attended by dozens of his friends, according to published reports.

After two divorces, Hallen said he decided to give up on women because ďmy TV gives me countless hours of pleasure without fussing, fighting or backchat,Ē he said.

ďSo I feel Iím better off marrying it rather than another **** woman. One day it just came to me in a thunderbolt Ė my tellyís the best companion Iíve ever had. This is one wife who wonít nag me.Ē

During the bizarre ceremony, Hallen promised to ďlove, honour and obeyĒ his widescreen TV. He then put a gold wedding ring on top of the set and placed a matching one on his finger.

Friends say Hallen has had a long running love affair with his television and watches it up to 10 hours each day.

One wedding guest said, ďIt was crazy but very emotional. Mitch loves that TV and will never be torn from it.Ē

It is not known how the blissful couple consummated the marriage.


What a bizarre story. This man actually built a relationship with his television and married it! I donít know that Iíd want to have a spouse who always had some kind of episode, was easily turned off and was that remote. Plus, Iíd be allergic to Chanel No. 5.

Youíve got to feel a little sorry for the guy, though. I mean, how disappointed do you think he was in the failures of his previous marriages? What could those relationships have been like to make him want to give up on a sentient relationship all together?

I donít know the answers to those questions. Apart from this article I know nothing about the man. But I would assume his previous relationships fell apart because there was nothing to hold them together.

And I donít think this problem is unique to him. I think a lot of families have fallen apart because there simply wasnít enough to hold them together. So what I want to do this morning is look at ways we can invest into our families and strengthen those bonds. Because I believe there are some universal principles that can help us fortify our relationships with our spouses, our children, our parents, and our brothers and sisters, regardless of age or living arrangements.

So weíre going to identify five of those principles, and it just so happens that if you take the first letter from each principle they spell the word ďTRIBE.Ē Go figure.


Principles for Strengthening Your TRIBE:


The first thing you need to do if you want to strengthen your tribe is Talk Regularly.


Talk Regularly

Itís pretty basis stuff. If you want to strengthen your family, you need to communicate, and in order to communicate you have to talk. Itís not rocket science. But Iím amazed at how little people do talk.

What are some things that may prevent family members from talking to each other?

(Computers, Schedule, KidsÖ)

In our society it seems to be becoming increasingly difficult for a family to find time to simply talk. And unless we make a conscious decision to make it a priority, we can lose touch with those we love the most. We need to talk to help keep our perspective on life, to make sure our whole family is headed in the same direction, to help our families understand us better, and to teach and learn from each other.

Proverbs 1:8 (NLT)
Listen, my child, to what your father teaches you. Don't neglect your mother's teaching.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NLT)
And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.

We need LUV Talk in our families.


LUV Talk Essentials:


  • Listen

Itís harder than it sounds, and itís essential to any real communication. Listen. Concentrate on what theyíre saying, not what youíre going to say next.


  • Understand

You may even try to rephrase what youíve heard and say it back to them just to make sure you understand. Because itís easy to assume they mean one thing and be completely wrong. Make sure that you get it right.


  • Value

Value what they say. Donít ignore it. If they say something you donít agree with, donít dismiss it. If they say something you think is unimportant, donít make them feel stupid. Value what they say not because of what is said but because of who says it.


Release Bitterness

Anger and bitterness can destroy a friendship. Think about what it can do to a family. How many times do you hear about someone who hasnít talked to their brother for years because of something neither one of them remembers. Or how many people have never been able to forgive their father for something he said or did, and it has affected every relationship they have had since.

Thereís something you need to realize about holding a grudge. If you are holding a grudge against someone, it doesnít bind them. It binds you. And it hinders any growth you hope to experience in your life.

We have talked before about how vital it is that, if there is some kind of anger or bitterness or unforgiveness in a relationship with someone else, we take care of it as soon as possible. Because of we donít, it limits our relationship with them with other people, and even with God.

Jesus himself gave us the example of forgiveness. Ephesians 4 saysÖ

Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)
Öbe kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

So if Jesus can forgive us for nailing Him to a tree, canít you forgive your mother, your father, your brother, your sister, your kids?


Invest Time

Sometimes it seems we have time for everything except our family. But our families both need and deserve our time. Serious time and fun time. Deep time and brainless time. Structured time and seat-of-the-pants time. We need to invest time in our families if we ever hope to strengthen our tribe.

Shera and I have both been extremely busy for the past several months, and we havenít spent a whole lot of time together. So a couple weeks ago, we made a decision. We made Monday evenings our ďDate Night.Ē (We figured if NBC can have Dateline, why canít we have Date Night?) So weíve reserved Monday Evenings as a time for us. Weíre going to protect that time and stick to it as much as possible. We may go out or we may stay home. It may be just the two of us or we may double date. But that time is reserved. There may be special circumstances that force us to cancel from time to time, but those times will be rare. We may even ignore the phone or unplug it. So if youíre on the other end, donít be insulted. Weíre giving you fair warning. Weíve decided that we simply need to invest time into our relationship.

I know of families that have done this same thing. Theyíve reserved a certain night of the week as Family Night and all the family members, the kids and the parents, are expected to make it top priority. They each take turns deciding what the family will do on a given week, and the only rule is that everyone needs to participate. No complaining.

Weíre talking about Investing Time into our Tribe (or into our family). Do you realize that it doesnít all have to be quality time for it to be worth it? There should be some ďquality timeĒ, but quantity is important, too.

You may choose to work on a project together. Thereís nothing like a shared experience to strengthen a bond. When I was growing up, my brother and I fought constantly. I donít know how our parents put up with us. (Sometimes they didnít.) But there was one thing we both enjoyed: hockey. We grew up across the street from an outdoor rink, so during the winter we would spend just about every night skating around and shooting the puck and having a good time. Those are some great memories. Thereís nothing like spending time together on a common interest to build family unity.


Build Trust

Proverbs 31:10-11 (NLT)
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.

Trust is important in any relationship. In fact, many people would say that trust is the foundation for a healthy relationship. If your family canít trust you, it all falls apart. So let me give you some keys for building trust:


How to Build Trust:


  • Be Loyal

Donít tear down your family in public. Be loyal. Donít betray a confidence. Be loyal. Donít go looking for greener pastures. Be loyal.


  • Be Dependable

If your family is expecting you home at a certain time, be there or call to let them know youíll be late. If you promised to help with a chore or a project, donít let them down. Be dependable. Be someone they can count on. Let your word be as good as your word.


  • Be Honest

Nothing destroys trust faster than being caught in a lie. So donít even put yourself in a situation where thatís a possibility.


  • Be Respectful

Respect their property, opinions and dreams. Donít laugh when someone tells you about their goals in life, and donít dismiss the things that are important to them.


  • Be Persistent

Trust is established over time. And it doesnít come easy. And especially if youíve betrayed a trust before, it will take a while to rebuild it.


Encourage Growth

You would be amazed to know how much power you have over your husband or wife, your kids, your brother or sister. Your belief in them or lack thereof greatly affects the course of their life. So believe in them. Add value to their lives. Encourage them to stretch and develop as a person. Encourage them to stretch and develop as a Christian.


Well, those are my suggestions for strengthening your tribe. Our family relationships are the most important ones we have, so let me encourage you to devote yourself to them and donít neglect them. Put whatever time and energy and effort thatís needed into making them strong and healthy. Itís well worth it.



Copyright © 2003