josh longanecker life groups pastor at james river church
By: Josh Longanecker10/04/16

How to Recognize What God is Doing

The whole city was in an uproar. The crowd screamed and shouted. They flooded into the streets waiting for a glimpse of the coming King. Finally, He was there. The King had come to Jerusalem! Jesus began His descent from the Mt. of Olives, and as He did, the crowd took off their cloaks, cut down palm branches, and laid them on the ground in front of Him.

They cried out, “Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the LORD!” as Jesus rode into town (Luke 19:38 NLT).

And yet, Jesus didn’t wave. He didn’t blow kisses to the crowd. He didn’t call out with a grand speech. Instead: He cried…

“As he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. ‘How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes…because you did not recognize it when God visited you’” (Luke 19:41-42, 44 NLT).

In the midst of the party, Jesus was driven to tears. Not because of the injustice He was about to face, not because the shadow of the Cross loomed darkly in the distance, but because the people didn’t recognize God was among them. Of all the physical and spiritual torment Jesus would suffer in his last visit to Jerusalem, the only thing that made him weep was the crowd’s inability to understand what God was doing. The greatest tragedy of anyone’s life is that God could be standing in their midst and they not recognize it.

The greatest tragedy of anyone’s life is that God could be standing in their midst and they not recognize it.

Although the people were with Jesus, they did not understand what He was doing. Instead of recognizing who Jesus really was, the people saw Jesus through their preconceived ideas of how their King should look. As a result, when things didn’t turn out the way they thought, the same crowd which shouted, “Blessings on the King!” would later cry, “Crucify him!”

When people don’t understand what God is doing, they end up not only out of His will but opposing Him. Being able to recognize the working of God in our lives, our families, and in our church is critical.

Four ways we can recognize what God is doing:

1. Pray on a regular basis

If we are going to recognize when God is moving in our families and our church, we have to take time on a consistent basis to get to know Him. Spending time in the Word of God and prayer must become a daily habit. This will help develop an understanding of what His voice sounds like and what His character is like. We have to know what breaks God’s heart, what makes Him weep. Once we understand the heart of God, we will gain an understanding of His purpose and will in our lives.

2. Get involved

To see what God is doing, we have to be where God is and value what He values! The best way to do that is to get involved in the church! God loves his church, and He values His people! Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve others (Matt. 20:28)! God did not call us to sit on the sidelines, but to build His kingdom! Jump in with both feet; you will not regret it!

When people don’t understand what God is doing, they end up not only out of His will but opposing Him.

3. Protect unity

There are very few things, which move us out of the presence and working of God like disunity will. We have to make every effort to protect the unity of our families and the church. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:3, “Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” As followers of Christ, it is our job to stand up for the unity of the body of Christ and humbly and gently extinguish any dissension that arises.

4. Celebrate what God is doing

When we see what God is doing, we need to tell people about it! We need to celebrate the things God has done for us and those in the church! “God is enthroned on the praises of his people” (Ps. 22:3)! If we want God’s presence, we have to praise Him. Tell everyone what God is doing and watch the presence of God come into your life, your home, and your workplace!

With the Designed For Life Conference, the Stronger Men’s Conference, the launch of the James River North Campus, and Preschool Academy, God has uniquely positioned us to reach our city like never before. Through open doors like God TV and many others, we are now positioned to advance the Kingdom of God around the world in an extraordinary way! God is visiting us, and our response during this season is of vital importance. You have a role to play in this uniquely blessed season. The time of God’s visitation is now, and He is calling you to be a part of it!