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A c t s 1 3: Must be Proclamation + Holy Spirit

A c t s 1 3: Must be Proclamation + Holy Spirit

This week we are seeking to dive into Acts 13 as we follow Barnabas and Saul further on their journey proclaiming the Gospel.

Sunday morning we took some time to look at some key phrases in the scripture as this is another way to go about studying scripture. Rob took us through a few specific phrases which we will talk about in a bit, but it’s helpful to continue the study yourself looking into other key words and things that stood out to you in the passage.

Go on right now and read Acts 13 in its entirety, and jot down to yourself some key phrases, words and ideas that the scripture is talking about.

Some phrases you may have written down during your time in the word:

  • while they were worshipping
  • after fasting and praying
  • sent out by the Holy Spirit
  • proclaimed the Word of God
  • hear the Word of God
  • filled with the Holy Spirit
  • enemy of righteousness
  • hands of the Lord upon you
  • astonished at the teaching of the Lord
  • sent a message of salvation
  • served the purpose of God
  • by him everyone who believes is freed
  • you scoffers
  • gathered to hear the word
  • spoke out boldly
  • shook off the dust from their feet
  • filled with joy and the Holy Spirit

This is not an exhaustive list as there is so much even in this one chapter to dive deeper into. While looking at the key phrases in Acts 13, there are two main things that a lot of the ideas bring together:

(1) proclamation of the word and (2) power of the Holy Spirit.

Throughout the disciples’ ministry journey we get a glimpse into the lives of Barnabas and Saul. Here, we see how the two (proclamation and the Spirit) can and have to work together in order for the kingdom of the Lord to advance. You cannot have one without the other and the text in Acts 13 does a great job at pointing us to that fact as we dive in.

Read v. 1-3

“Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”

Even in these few verses we can learn SO much about the character of these men and their reliance on the leading of the Holy Spirit in their own lives as well as in their ministry.

  1. How do we know that the men here are dependent on God?
  2. What can we learn from the leaders of the church movement being unified in their fasting and worshiping? Is it helpful to see leadership together leaning into the Spirit to take steps forward?
  3. What do you think this time looked like for these men?
  4. How does vv.3 remind us that we are not alone in ministry? How does it show the body of the church?

A key phrase came up in our discussion on Sunday about these verses: See, Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen and Saul all were worshipping and fasting together– voluntarily!

Take some time here to meditate on worship and fasting. The posture. The meaning. The connection it brings between a Father and His children. The perspective change.

W o r s h i p : to prostrate oneself, (“to worship“) which means to bow down to God.

F a s t i n g : voluntary abstinence from food, a true dependence, showing a willing spirit to be filled by something greater than food.

Take a moment to go to the following references. Seek to understand how we must become like children, ones fully converted, offering ourselves as living sacrifice.

  • Romans 12:1-2
  • Matthew 18:3
  1. What does it look like to worship in both physical state and with ones life?
  2. Have you explored all that God has for you in your current lifestyle? Are there more things you could offer? More things to follow Him in? More things to fully change in your life?

Read vv. 4-12

“So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

Another key phrase we looked at here: “They proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews” (v.5)

P r o c l a i m i n g: announce officially or publicly, declare, make known

Here we see that Barnabas and Saul proclaiming the gospel, doing so in a place where they were welcome to share the word of the Lord, in jewish synagogues. They were proclaiming, making known, the new completion of the law, the bringing forth of a new covenant, a new way of life following the Lord.

  1. What are you proclaiming with your life? What are you declaring with your life? What are you making known about your Savior by the way you live your life?
  2. So, where can you share the word now? In what areas, what spaces, in what friend groups do you have permission to proclaim the word?

While we must be active in our obedience to proclaim the gospel….

we must not forget the power of God and His Spirit!

It’s always Proclamation + Holy Spirit

When we rely too heavily on one over the other, we can find ourselves dealing with one of the following sin issues:

(1) When we are active to proclaim the word of God but forget to rely on the Spirit? Pride enters

(2) Reliance on the Spirit without active proclamation? Laziness enters

Take a moment to pray for your continued dependance on the power of the Lord and for a confidence in stepping out to proclaim the truth of the gospel .

We must be people who notice God’s power. We must be people who are not hard to amaze. We must be people who are continually in awe of the presence of the Lord. We must be people not described as scoffers.

Read vv. 13-25

Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem, 14 but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, say it.” 16 So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said:

“Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen. 17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. 18 And for about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. 19 And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. 21 Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ 23 Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. 24 Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’

Here we see Paul walking through the story of the Old Testament in vv. 16-25. Take some time to walk through God’s faithfulness to his people and what the people of the Lord walked through up until the coming of the Israel’s Savior, Jesus. Go back and dig into the stories spoken on, taking time to sit with the character of the Lord we serve.

Go on and read vv. 26-41 now.

26 “Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. 27 For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. 28 And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. 

32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,

“‘You are my Son,
    today I have begotten you.’

34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way,

“‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’

35 Therefore he says also in another psalm,

“‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’

36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed[c] from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. 40 Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:

41 “‘Look, you scoffers,
    be astounded and perish;
for I am doing a work in your days,
    a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’”

What are some key phrases here in vv. 32-41 that stand out?

We took some time on Sunday to look into two phrases in this section

(1) “freed from everything” in v.39 and (2) “you scoffers” in v. 41.

Freed from everything

In vv. 39 we are reminded that by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. This freedom is new, something that when Jesus came it changed things. Before Jesus, the only freedom offered was that in which they found through living according to the law of Moses. Now, there’s a deeper freedom, a newness of life to be lived.

(1) What are some things that you have been freed from?

(2) How is the freedom that Jesus brings his people different than the freedom by the law of Moses?

(3) Ask the Lord to reveal what in your life would look different if you lived in the truth that you have been freed by a new type of freedom, letting the chains of sin and of this world actually fall off.

Scoffer: kataphronētēs; one who mocks, makes fun of, proclaims something as stupid, despiser

(1) What have you found yourself scoffing at over the last few weeks?

(2) What have you allowed yourself to mock, proclaim as stupid, to despise?

Maybe you have been stuck in a hard to please attitude during this time in quarantine. You look around at all the inconveniences, all the sickness, at the lack of “fun activities”. You have been unamused with this time and have found yourself grumbling more than you have been praising.


Maybe you have been able to seek the Lord in the small things, allowing even the smallest thing to produce a sense of awe. You look at the text from a friend, the sunshine, the time in constant prayer with your Father. You have been grounded once again in your relationship with God and have been reminded of the realness of the power of the Lord.

Either way…let us press on this week to stop the scoffing and seek the Lord instead.

Read vv. 42-52 to finish out the chapter

As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.

44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.45 But when the Jews[d] saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
    that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district.51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium.52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Some Questions to look at in these verses:

  1. What can we learn from Barnabas and Paul’s boldness in vv. 46?
  2. What actually makes us worthy of eternal life?
  3. How were the disciples able to be full of joy in the midst of persecution being stirred around them?

A prayer to pray over this scripture in your life:

Lord, oh how thankful we are of your power, of your spirit, of your fullness. You have sought your people, you have freed your people and you constantly love your people. Thank you for showing us that in you we have everything we need. Reveal areas in my life that I have allowed my pride to win, reveal times where I have allowed laziness to take hold. Remind me that I need you, each and every day. Continue to make me aware of the things in my life you are doing and those things you are doing in the life of those around me. Lord, your power is something I want to recognize more and more.  Let me not be so hard to amaze, let me, as a child would, see each day as beautiful and new. Amen.

Below are some videos of us diving into Acts 13 with one another. Hopefully these help to continue the conversations about what the Lord is teaching us each week in Acts!

The Life of P a u l : A c t 9

The Life of P a u l : A c t 9

Oh to be Obedient…

Acts 9 | The Life and Obedience of Paul and Ananias


While this week brought so many uncertainties, one thing that we knew wouldn’t change was having a space for our ministry to gather and talk about the Word of God. In the midst of social distancing, we have learned to be creative when it comes to studying God’s word tougher and so this past Sunday we tuned in via Skype to hear Rob bring us a good word as we continue in Acts this semester.

If you didn’t get the chance to join us, don’t worry! We will be writing recap posts like this one each Sunday so whether you were on the Skype call or not you can come back and have a resource to help study the scripture.

Take a minute to read through Acts 9 now.

Make your own notes, write your questions down, sit with the passage.

Now here’s some thoughts we had as we gathered this past Sunday Morning:

We started by looking to answer two simple questions: (1) So who is this Saul guy anyways? and (2) How is Saul persecuting Christ through his actions?

By looking at verses 1 and 2 we are met with the identity of someone who spent their life seeking ways to persecute followers of the Lord.

v. 1-2 "But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem." 

See, Saul wanted to present physical evidence of people’s disobedience to the high priest and sought to bring them back to be found guilty and worthy of murder. In verse 5 we see that Saul’s efforts to persecution the people of God was not just an account against believers, it was actually an offense against God.

v.4-5 "And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."

Saul was very much against the mission of the Lord. Instead, he was for the mission of stopping the work of the Lord.

–> Think about times in which you have been actively against the mission of the Lord. Times you have felt an urge to reach out to a new believer to invite them in and decided not to. Times you had hours to spend doing anything you please and sat your bible to the side in order to fill your mind with trash TV. Times you have been a part of a conversation that led to gossip and hateful words and decided to add to the convo more jokes and hurt instead of diffusing the conversation back to something edifying.


It’s important to note who Saul was before Christ in an effort to see the full beauty in his part in God’s handiwork moving forward, much like it’s important for us to remain in awe that the Lord chooses to use each one of us for His work.

–> Take some time to think about who you were before Christ. What were you living for? What was the aim of your life? What was your mission? BUT GOD, being merciful chose to call you out of that identity into a new life, a new creation.


We continued to dive into the scripture reading v. 6

v. 6 "But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."

Here we sat with the following idea:

God not only called Saul to stop doing certain things, but he called him into new action.

The following questions were asked during our conversation:

–> Why is it easier at times to simply stop doing bad things and forget that the Lord has called you to be an active member in carrying out His work here on Earth? Why do we get lazy and think we aren’t to be his workman, looking for ways to advance His Kingdom? Why do we stop short with just removing sin and forgetting that we have been called into a life on mission as instruments in our Redeemer’s Hands?


Saul was given an action to follow and a way to move forward with the Lord instead of against Him.


Sit with the idea that Saul was blinded for 3 days (v. 9). What do you think was going through his mind? What do you think the conversation between him and the Lord looked like?


While we studied Saul’s obedience in this passage, something we leaned heavy into was Ananias’ role in the story.


v. 10-12 " Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”


We see God meeting Ananias with a command, and a confusing one at that. See Ananias then responds with admitting he doesn’t quite get it. Lord, you want me to go lay my hands on someone who has done so much evil? Really?

Let us find comfort in the fact that Ananias was able to voice his confusion, his doubts to His father and then choose to be obedient. The Lord was faithful to ease Ananias’s mind and remind him that He’s got in under control and is the one who decides who is to be used for the Kingdom of God, not man.


In our conversation on Skype we talked about why we like to be the judge of who get’s to bee “chosen instruments” for the Lord.

Why do we like to choose who is worthy to be used for the Lord? Worthy of our time? Worthy to be shown compassion?


Ananias could have not been obedient. He could have said, “Nah, God. I think I’m going to pass on that one. It sounds a bit far fetched”

And you know who would have missed out on something beautiful? Yes, Saul wouldn’t have been shown the light of the Lord and regained his eye sight right away. BUT, Ananias would have also missed out on being a first hand witness of the redemption of one of his brothers in Christ (v.17)


We must remember that our obedience to the Father is good not only for His Kingdom plan, but it is good for us!

Take a second to think about all of the acts of obedience that were present just in Acts 9 alone. There are so many little steps of faithfulness we must take in our daily lives as we follow God. Steps that add to our lives of obedience. Steps that keep us close to the hands of the Redeemer, the hands of the Creator of all things good.


We stopped our discussion in v.18-19 where we see Saul’s vision restored.

v. 18-19 "And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened."

In what ways did Saul have corrected vision? (both spiritually and physically)

There was clarity in Saul’s life, in the true way of life. Let us continue to be a people willing to be corrected, willing to be shown the way forward.



There is SO much good stuff from this passage that we could share but this is just a start to get your mind turning. Rob encouraged us as we were meeting to not simply be satisfied with reading scripture and answering the easy questions. Rather, let us continue to sit with it. Meditate on it. Let the truths lead us to prayer, to action. We must be willing to let the scripture penetrate our hearts and affect us.


Let’s continue the convo on Acts 9 with those we are speaking to this week!


Here is a list of the questions we discussed. Use the comments section of this post to write your own thoughts on each of the questions.

(1) Why is it important to know who Saul was before Christ?

(2) Why do we get lazy and simply remove the sin without adding the action of the Lord into our lives?

(3) In what ways do we let our past self negate the work the Lord can do through us?

(4) What can we learn about God’s character from this passage?

(5) What can we learn about our place in His story from this scripture? 

(6) How is Ananias’ obedience something we can learn from?


Thanks for reading! Keep getting in the Word this week, it will provide such comfort and clarity in an uncertain time.

The Blunt Truth

The Blunt Truth

Medical Marijuana. What is it? How does it work? How does it impact YOU?

It’s time to learn the TRUTH about Medical Marijuana. Get the facts straight and get your questions answered.

Come learn everything involved with Medical Marijuana and the impact legalization will have in our state. Major Frank O’ Neal will be giving the presentation and he will open up a time for questions at the end.
Continue reading →

Sing! National City Tour – with the Gettys

Sing! National City Tour – with the Gettys

On October 18th, Keith & Kristyn Getty, along with their troupe of talented instrumentalists, will be coming to Columbia for a fun filled day of events all leading up to their evening concert taking place @ 7:00pm in the Sanctuary of First Baptist Columbia. It’s a free concert, and no ticket is required to attend, but a love offering will be taken up during the performance.

The other events of the day start in the morning and extend to early afternoon focusing on teaching and workshops designed to help worship leaders, pastors, and church musicians lead their congregations in deeper and more personal worship.

The concert is free but if you want to attend all of the workshop events then please click here to go to their website and purchase tickets, as well as find out more information about the entire days events.

We look forward to seeing you on October 18th!

Our Response of Sacrifice

Our Response of Sacrifice

Lesson on Romans 12:1-3 originally delivered on 4/22.


Here are some takeaways from the lesson:

  • Romans has three movements
    1. Our condition without Christ
    2. God’s act of salvation
    3. Our response
  • Because of Romans 1-11, we should respond (Romans 12)
    1. Plea to lay down ourselves (V. 1)
      • The only thing we can really give is ourselves
        • Christ bids man to come and die
        • The condition of the life we offer matters
          • Leviticus 22:19-22
          • Ephesians 1:4, 5:27, Colossians 1:22
    2. Why we should respond this way (V. 2)
      • Conformity to the world happens without intentionality in the other direction
        • 2 Corinthians 4:18
          • We are called to the eternal
        • Hebrews 11:10
          • What can I do to turn my gaze to heaven?
      • The process is not the result
      • We know the will of God by laying ourselves down (Submitting to Him)
    3. How do I live God’s way?
      1. Think about ourselves correctly by immersing ourselves daily in the reality of who we are in Christ and who He is to us
      2. John 4:34 – Like Jesus, we must desire the will of the Father.
  • How is the Holy Spirit asking me to respond?

Continue reading →

The Content of the Gospel – Part 2

The Content of the Gospel – Part 2

Lesson originally delivered on 1/28

Here are some takeaways from the lesson:

  • Romans 2:1-16
    • God’s judgment is right
      • Ezekiel 18
    • God’s impartial judgment is based on what we do
      • Free grace is not a license to freely sin
      • V. 4-11- God’s grace is given to us so we can do good
  • Romans 2:17-29
    • Paul is not condemning the church here, but rather asking them questions. Condemnation comes only if we don’t line up our actions with our beliefs.
    • God judges both Jews and Gentiles by their actions
    • All people who live by faith in Jesus are saved
  • Romans 3:1-4
    • Even though all are judged equally, it is of advantage to have grown up in the Covenant
      • Growing up in the church is an advantage, but we should take better advantage
    • Wherever we are with our walk with God, He only desires us to grow closer to him

Additional Resources to consider

Becca Vandekemp | What We Get Wrong About “Giving Our Testimony”

Carolyn Mahaney | The Cure for Most of Your Unhappiness

Russell  Moore | Have Bible Quoters Replaced Bible Readers?

Glen Stanton | New Harvard Research Says U.S. Christianity Is Not Shrinking, But Gro

The Content of the Gospel – Part 1

The Content of the Gospel – Part 1

Lesson originally delivered on 1/21

Here are some takeaways from the lesson:

  • The point of studying Romans is not to argue over theological jargon, but to focus on what Paul is seeking for us to understand about the gospel and its implications for our lives.
  • Four parts
    • The Content of the Gospel (Romans 1:1-6)
    • The Power of the Gospel (Romans 1:15-17)
      • 1 Thessalonians 1:5, 1:9; 2:13
        • Gospel Proclamation has effect through the power of the Holy Spirit and its ability to change lives
      • Paul lived as if the Kingdom of God was at hand
      • Righteousness = A fulfillment of expectations
    • Why the Gospel is Necessary (Romans 1:21, 28-32)
      • The Gospel changes our lives. How we live changes the lives of others.
    • We are both special and not special at the same time (Romans 2:1-16)
      • God shows no partiality
      • This should both scare us and comfort us

Additional Resources to consider

The Bible Project | The Gospel of the Kingdom

Tim Keller | The Meaning of the Gospel

David Nicholas, Ed Stetzer | What is the Gospel?

Rob Nicholes | Gospel Proclamation Handout


Christmas Prisoner Packets

Christmas Prisoner Packets


Many men, women and youth have no one who cares for them. They have no visitors, nor do they receive gifts at Christmas. You make Christmas special for them through this ministry. You provide hope and love. As a result, some have received the true Christmas gift. They have come to know Christ because you care.

Consider a gift this year to the Christmas Prisoner Packet Ministry. Click Here for more details

Thank you.

For more information please contact Harriet Johnson at 803.318.3853