A central theme of Acts is the word of God spreading and the church growing. This is all in accordance with the sovereign will of God, under the direction of the Holy Spirit.
Some points on direction:
The Holy Spirit brings personal direction. His plans are always better than ours. Obedience is the key to understanding his will.
Start with things you know you ought to do. (Prayer, reading the Bible, worship.)
Do God’s will from the heart.
The Holy Spirit brings corporate direction into mission work, from local churches.
In Acts we see apostolic leadership taking, following and championing this direction of the Holy Spirit.
Note: Apostleship isn’t the top of a leadership hierarchy. It’s a foundation-laying function, a master builder, working with local church leadership, bringing objectively and helping discern direction.
This passage details a fairly gruesome end to King Herod. Some would reject this (or the entire bible) because of the parts that are not to their taste. But the whole bible is the word of God and contains truth. We pick and choose at our peril.
This King Herod was the same Herod who ordered the murder of all the children under the age of two when Jesus was born. He had friends in high places including the emperor Calligula. But his so-called power was no match for God’s. He stood against God, and God dealt with him.
Herod was ready to do whatever it would take to increase his popularity. He has had James (the brother of John) killed and his sights are set on Peter. But the church prayed earnestly. And God arranged a rescue.
Our natural, default response, in every situation, should be to pray. In good times, in bad. In sorrow, in joy. Things happen in response to prayer that will not happen otherwise. This is how God chooses to operate in this world.