Summary: Realize that you are a part of system of relationships every where you go


Just One of the Passengers

Acts 7:54-8:3


Airport, waiting in line, excitement, many moving parts, stewards, ground crew (who takes great care of your baggage), pilots, co-pilots, TSA agents who give you nice gentle love pats, desk staff, shuttle drivers, Starbucks barista, Cinnabon cookers,

If you pay attention you notice that you are more than just one of the passengers on a massive transportation system. You are a contributor to the system.

This past week I went to a business in another town. When I walked in the door as a customer I became part of a system of relationships that already existed. Relationships between co-workers, employers and employees, employees and customers, customers and customers – it’s a network of relationships.

While I was being waited on, behind a closed door, a meeting was taking place between supervisor and worker. The volume of the conversation increased, I could even make out the words being said. Anxiety among the other workers and customers became visible. There was a disturbance in the relationship system.


We are part of many systems of relationships, we are part of a family system made up of relationships called Mom, Dad, brother, sister, Aunt, Uncle, cousin, nephew, niece.

We are part of a system of relationships in the work place, employer, employee, boss, supervisor, staff.

We are part of a system of relationships in the church, in your Sunday school class, in the youth group.

We have titles and names in each of these systems of relationships that define our roles – teacher, student, server, customer.

And because each one of us is part of these relationship systems, how we act influences and impacts the system as a whole.


Taking a look at Paul – Chapter 7 of Acts Paul we see him acting in his relationship systems. Paul was Jewish & a Pharisee acting in a Roman controlled world that was being disrupted by a new system of Jesus followers.

The movement centered on Jesus was reaching alarming rates, according to those in the Synagogue. A man named Stephen is falsely accused of blaspheming God, people were stirred up. Stephen was arrested and at the trial false witnesses were produced.

When asked to account for his charges Stephen replied starting with Abraham and working his way through their own history. His commentary infuriated the leaders.

At Stephen’s stoning we are introduced to someone who would become a major player in the work of the Church, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

Saul is part of the system that executed Stephen, later as part of the system he intentionally persecutes followers of Jesus.

But something dramatic happens to Paul in Acts 9 – Saul meets Jesus. A dramatic transformation takes place and Saul now Paul is part of another system, the same system and people he was trying to destroy.

We are all part of numerous systems of relationships – they affect us and we affect them.

Paul had a huge impact on the system of Jesus followers – the church. He was a missionary, a church starter and wrote more than half of the New Testament. He had a great impact on the church during his life and even now as we read his letters.


Regardless if we want to or not we contribute to each system of relationships in negative or positive ways. We affect each system, the system affects us.

You can be a remedy or you can be a virus – the choice is up to you.

You can bring an overall sense of peace or you can bring anxiety.

Here’s a piece of reality: You can change any relationship system you are part of simply by behaving different.

Here’s a bumper sticker slogan: Be the Change You want to see

A small stimulus can move the system to radically different levels.

Parenting – it is the role of parents to raise our children to be productive members of society. Along the way we have to correct our children when bad behaviors surface.

We see a bad behavior that needs correcting – we administer corrective means. Often times when that bad behavior surfaces again we use the same corrective measure again. However time has gone by, the system has changed and the corrective measure may need to be changed. As children grow older they change the system and we must change our parenting techniques at each stage, just a small change on our part as parents will change the system.

Family Hug Story – I didn’t grow up in a family that were huggers. I was jealous of my Uncle’s family – who were huggers, well more like squeeze your head off, make your eyes bug out.

I had a choice – I could complain and gripe about my family not being huggers, blame my parents, be resentful, disdained, or offended.

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