Beyond the Weekend

September 27 | First Things First

September 27, 2021


[In Ephesus] he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Acts 1:1b-2a

Read: Acts 19:1-7
Acts 19


Paul completes a nearly 700-mile journey on foot and fulfills his promise (Acts 18:21) to return to Ephesus. After entering the city, he doesn’t begin by implementing a strategy. Instead, he meets a group of “disciples” and asks them a question, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” These likely John the Baptist-followers admit they are unacquainted with the Holy Spirit and have only received John’s baptism. This opens the door for Paul to tell these disciples about Jesus, the One to whom John the Baptist pointed (John 1:29-31).

Paul arrives for an extended stay of three years but God has already prepared Ephesus for the Jesus-message. When Paul finally enters the city to talk about Jesus, God is already working. God wants to reveal something significant about his own heart. God wants something more for the city of Ephesus. He wants his domain to extend through those who will place their faith and trust in the Jesus Paul first proclaims to these disciples.

God wanted more for Ephesus. What if he wants more for Grand Rapids? As we consider what God might be pleased to do, we can trust he is already preparing the city. This shouldn’t surprise us. We should expect God to be working and preparing. God did it in Ephesus, and God can do it again.


Reflect on the people and situations God has used in your life to make you more like Jesus. These can be pastors, teachers, coaches, mentors or co-workers. The situations can be those of great joy or significant struggle. Make a list on page 24 in your journal and thank God for his work of preparation in your life.


Join us this year as we read through the New Testament.

Today’s reading is 1 Timothy 1.

Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.

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