This past week has been one of the most tiring, exhausting, busy, and hectic weeks that I have experienced in recent memory. Sleep has come at a premium. Recreational time has been nonexistent. Family time has been fleeting. This has also been one of the most invigorating, inspiring, fulfilling, and vision-confirming weeks of my life. You may ask, “How can the two extremes co-exist?” That is a great question.

I have had the opportunity since Saturday of last week to make a choice. My choices were two in number. One, I have been tempted on a constant basis this past week to say, “I am too busy. I can’t do this anymore. I’ve got to stop.” I have been tempted to stop what I was doing — recline, relax, and rest for the rest of the week. Secondly, in sensing that God was on the move and that He was giving me opportunities to follow along and watch what He was doing, I have had the opportunity to press on and watch Him work.

Let me clarify something for you at this point. The choice to press on, to seek to follow where God was leading, was not accomplished because Mike Hays is a strong, tough, or righteous person cut out of the Monk or martyr mold. The strength to continue, the ears to hear God’s voice, the eyes to see His hand at work, and the persistence to press on were present only because of God’s mighty grace.

Let me share with you what I would have missed if I would have opted out of His plan for me.

* I would have missed the “Leadership Conference” last Saturday morning. I would have missed 28 hungry hearts from Britton Christian Church getting together at the “Leadership Conference” and seeking the heart of God for our ministry together in the upcoming year.

* I would have missed meeting Theresa, the lady I wrote about in The Chimes this past week who I had the privilege of meeting on Saturday afternoon. I would have missed hearing Theresa say, “My life has been a wreck, but I’m thankful for the troubles I have gone through because without them I would have never come into contact with your ministry.” Theresa, as of last Saturday, was dreading the Wednesday to come because that would be the first day she and her son would be homeless. God had something other than homelessness planned for Theresa – He had a home. Theresa is now living in the House of Hope and learning more about the hope that is promised in Jesus our Savior!

* I would have missed praying with Geren Kessler to receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

* I would have missed Misty Barker finding a church to call home. I would have missed serving as the Chairman of the Welcoming Committee of Britton Christian Church and saying, “Welcome Home” to Misty.

* I would have missed eating lunch with 60-70 folks who have been visiting with us over the past several weeks and months. I would have missed their stories of how thankful they are that God has led them to Britton Christian Church. Does God really lead people to churches? You bet He does! I know it because I’ve heard their stories.

* I would have missed meeting with brothers and sisters at the Britton Road Church of Christ who are praying about getting involved in their neighborhood. I would have missed sharing your stories with them, stories that inspired them and removed some of the fear of ministering to people they are unfamiliar with in their everyday lives.

* I would have missed the opportunity to meet with a few friends who have never accepted Jesus as Lord of their life, but who are struggling to understand His love for them. I would have missed sitting and listening to them share with me how God has been working in their life in the past few weeks. Isn’t that amazing! Does God really work in the lives of people who don’t believe in Jesus? You bet He does!

* I would have missed the opportunity to see caring brothers and sisters stop their Bible study and minister to Margaret Angle who was struggling to catch a breath. I would have missed the opportunity to kneel with other brothers and lay hands on Margaret, praying for God to touch her life.

* I would have missed the opportunity to meet in St. Louis for three days with twenty other leaders, some of whom I had never met, who work with urban youth. I would have missed the opportunity to pour my heart out before the throne of God with these men and women for our young people. I would have missed hearing God move upon the heart of a man from Dallas so strongly that he said to us, “I get the feeling that we were born for just such a time as this. I believe that God has brought us together to be a part of something much bigger than any of us.”

* I would have missed the opportunity on Wednesday night, just two hours after I got home from St. Louis, to pray with a brother and sister who were going through difficult times and in desperate need of God’s strength.

* I would have missed meeting with nine other leaders of our church at Our Lord’s Community Church for “New Focus Training” on Thursday. I would have missed hearing many of them say, “I feel overwhelmed with this ministry, inadequate to do something, but I sense God at work.”

Boy would I have missed out if I would have only said, “I’m tired, I’ve got to stop, I’ve can’t do anymore.” I’m so thankful that God’s grace allowed me to see His hand at work. My faith is fortified! My strength is renewed! My commitment has been rekindled! My God reigns!

I share all of this with you, not to simply give you a report of what I have been doing all week, but to show you what God has been doing all week – I’ve only been tagging along. God is always working folks, but we need to learn how to recognize His mighty hand at work. A famous Polish proverb says, “God often visits us, but most of the time we are not at home.”

We have lost the ability to recognize God’s hand at work. We are the most educated generation to ever live, but so many of us have never learned how to recognize God’s work going on all around us.

We are not the first generation to fail to commit ourselves to this remarkable undertaking. This is the Sunday that Christians call Palm Sunday. It was a great day of celebration as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. As the people shouted and cheered the Pharisees were livid. They demanded that Jesus stop the people from carrying on, but Jesus spoke and said, “If they were to stop, I tell you the rocks would cry out.”

Jesus spoke to the Pharisees about their reluctance, hesitancy, and oftentimes arrogance in refusing to recognize the hand of God at work all around them. I don’t want any of us to leave here this morning without the opportunity to learn how to see and hear the many sights and sounds of God’s work going on in our world. Let’s take a look at our Scripture for this morning and use it as a springboard to lead us into a deeper understanding of recognizing God’s work that is going on all around us.

{37} When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: {38} “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” {39} Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” {40} “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” {41} As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it {42} and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes. {43} The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. {44} They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” (Luke 19:37-44 NIV)

Jesus said, “You did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” I do not want those words spoken of me, or of any of you who seek to walk with God. We must realize that seeking to walk with God, claiming to be a Christian, or characterizing ourselves as religious for that matter is not the same as having that acute awareness that God is at work.

Why should we desire to see God at work? That is a great question. I would dare say that most followers of Jesus in our country today can not give you an answer if you were to ask them, “What has God been doing in your life lately?” Most would say, “Uh, I don’t know. I went to church last Sunday.” To make matters even worse, most followers of Jesus see no real need to look for God’s work going on around them. They say they are too busy to bother with such esoteric endeavors. I say to you this morning that watching God at work is one of the most dynamic and faith deepening endeavors that you could give yourself to in life.

We should desire to see God’s hand at work because it will do two things to us: First, it will strength our faith. When I have the opportunity to see God at work my faith is strengthened. I don’t just say, “I know God can do anything” but then act like His hands are tied. I know that God works! Do you think Moses’ faith was deepened when he stood and watched the Red Sea part before his eyes? Do you think the faith of Paul was deepened when Annanias prayed for him and his vision returned? Do you think the faith of the Samaritan woman was strengthened when she went to get a bucket of water and returned with the Water of Life? Watching God at work strengthens our faith.

Secondly, watching God at work will cause us to watch more closely for signs of His handiwork. When you and I begin to notice God at work it causes us to look more closely, it enables us to see what the rest of the world might easily overlook.

What Do You See?
Luke 19:37-44
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