North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

In 2002, three men in Germany stole $175,000 in cash and took a bank teller hostage. They jumped in the get-away car and sped away. The police went into “hot pursuit” and so began the longest police car chase in world history. Over twenty vehicles and helicopters chased the crooks as they raced across Europe. The authorities were very careful and patient not to jeopardize the life of the hostage. After 40 hours and more than 620 miles, the robbers finally gave up and released their hostage unharmed.
Whether you realize it or not God is pursuing you! God’s pursuit began in the Garden of Eden, After Adam and Eve ate of the one forbidden fruit; things were never the same. They both felt ashamed and they tried to hide from God. They heard Him walking in the garden and the Bible says, “They went and hid themselves from the presence of the Lord among the trees in the garden” (Genesis 3:8). God asked them, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). He knew where they were all along, but He asked anyway. He asked because He passionately pursues His fallen people. Like a sheep that’s gone astray, the Great Shepherd seeks us out. Even though people try to hide from God today, He continues to pursue them.
When Jesus was born, God went into “hot pursuit” of us. Jesus could have stayed in Heaven, but he came to earth in a humble way so that we might find life in him. As he was teaching one day he told a parable about a host who planned a party at his house and invited his friends. His friends made excuses and didn’t come. So, the host sent his servants to go out into the streets and gather all the homeless people they could find. After that, there was still room for more. The host said, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, so my house will be full” (Luke 14:23). This story illustrates how God relentlessly pursues His people.
Jesus Christ is for everybody. He crossed every racial, religious, moral, and tribal barrier. Unfortunately the culture he was born into narrowed the way to God. The Jews restricted salvation for themselves or to those who acted like Jews. Tribes felt superior to Gentiles who weren’t part of God’s chosen people. Jesus shattered all the culture prejudices of the day. The intended breakdown of prejudice and social class warfare was foreshadowed when Christ was born.
God included four kinds of people into the birth of the baby Jesus:
1) The Rich. The wise men represented the educated, connected, and wealthy.
2) The Poor. The shepherds represented the common working class.
3) The Resistant. People like King Herod who felt too powerful or self-sufficient.
4) The Receptive. People like Simeon, Anna who prayed for him, and of course Mary and Joseph who had open hearts ready to receive God’s grace.
Jesus opened his arms and purchased salvation for everyone who wants it. You can be assured; Heaven will be a diverse place. No one falls beyond the reach of God’s redeeming love. There’s no special qualification other than a surrendered heart and a complete trust in Christ. There’s no earning. It’s pure grace! Jesus said about himself, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
Because of God’s loving pursuit of us, we ought to exercise personal adoration for Him and His glory. Our actions should mirror the words of James 4:7-8, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands sinners and purify your hearts”.
As we talk with God we need to forsake self and run directly into His arms. We must love Him with all our heart, mind, and soul. If we give Him adoration, He gives us comfort, companionship, and control. Believe in the truth of salvation through Christ’s atoning death. Living for Christ, living in Christ, and living with Christ is a spiritual progression. God pursued you when you didn’t want Him, didn’t know Him, and didn’t love him. Now that you know, become a friend of Jesus and pursue your own progression in the faith.
• This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and is a Captain (CPT) in the U.S. Army Reserves Chaplain Corp. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at

Posted by on Dec 14 2014. Filed under Church News, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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