Queenstown, New Zealand, has been proclaimed the adventure capitol of the world! Where else can you mountain bike, bungy jump, paraglide, whitewater raft, jet boat, fly fish, and shop till you drop all in one day and in one incredible place? After riding some sweet singletrack mountain bike trails, climbing the mountain to the top of the gondola, hearing bag pipers on the lake harbor, buying my daughter a “Lord of the Rings One Ring” and conversing with so many interesting people… I really like this town!!!
This city is full of people from all over the world that are seeking to grab life by the horns and enjoy the ride. I have made new friends from New Zealand like Stephen and Pam; from Germany like Anja, Hans, and Iliaca; and from every corner of the earth; even a really cool family from Boston, Massachusetts, that made me wish that my entire family could be enjoying this journey with me. Meet Doug, Martha, Sean, Rosie, David “the rockstar with the great hair”, Andrew, and Johnny…
As I am memorizing Romans 8 on this trip, and meeting all of these new friends, I am vividly reminded that Jesus loves the people of the world! One of the most famous verses in all the Bible is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son [Jesus], that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life“. God loves us and desires that every person become His beloved child – His beloved sons and daughters. He desires that we be led by His Spirit. He wants us to be transformed by His grace. He wants us to love with His unselfish love.
I have been memorizing and meditating upon Romans 8:12-14 over the past couple of days, and this afternoon I had an insightful conversation with a jeweler and native Queenstown resident, by the name of Stephen, who put things into perspective. He mentioned the evil and death that ISIS is bringing to the people of Iraq and the surrounding region and world, and how it puts religion and the existence of that kind of god into question. Any god that would be so cruel, cannot be real. Frankly, I agree!
But the God of the Bible is not cruel… He is love! And He desires that we put cruelty, evil, and our sinful deeds to death. Romans 8:12-14 says, “So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” The God of the Bible desires that we love our neighbors as ourselves. He even desires that we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. He desires that we help the helpless. He desires that we be led by His Spirit in such a way that we radiantly reflect the love that He showed towards us by sending His Son to cover our sins, and in so doing, He gives us the power to put cruelty, evil, and the sinful deeds of the body to death through the power of His Spirit. For those who are truly sons and daughters of God are led by the Spirit of God. And those who are led by the Spirit of God are led by His love and grace.