Brokenness at ChristmasDecember 1, 2017
I believe that what I have to say in this letter will be a great help to you or someone you know this Christmas season. But before I get into the meat of this letter, I want to share something brand new with you that Denise and I and our team are so excited about!
Beginning in January, I will be broadcasting a new teaching program in the United States called simply, “Rick Renner” that will air on a new channel that is about to begin the U.S. I was recently invited to put a teaching program on this channel, and I wanted you to know about it as a partner so you can begin to pray with us for maximum impact on people’s lives. By the time you get this letter, I will be well on my way toward recording an entire year’s worth of high-quality teaching programs for 2018. As soon as we have more concrete details about this new assignment, we’ll be sure to let you know!
As a partner, you know that our ministry has blanketed and impacted the region of the former Soviet Union for the last 26 years with teaching from the Bible. Over all these years, the results have been incalculable — the Lord has enabled us to touch and strengthen millions of lives through this medium of communication. We are so thankful!
Particularly in the last year, my heart has been drawn to broadcasting a Bible teaching TV program to the English-speaking world. Please pray with us, as we are very quickly taking steps forward in this phase of the vision to bring my teaching ministry to hungry hearts among English-speakers.
Thank you for everything you’re doing to help us fulfill our heavenly assignment to “teach all nations” and make disciples for Jesus Christ! Denise and I are believing that this Christmas season and new year will be a remarkable time in the Lord for you and those closest to you.
That is actually what I want to talk to you about in my teaching letter this month. Many in our society think of Christmastime as a very exciting, happy season — and they associate this time of year with great wonder, merriment, and joy. Even lyrics to a modern, twentieth-century song proclaim Christmas as the most wonderful time of the year. Indeed, the coming of Christ to the earth to save lost humankind was a wonderful, momentous event that should be joyously commemorated and celebrated.
But not everyone experiences this sense of awe and merriment at Christmastime that I just described. Many are confronted with brokenness in their lives and the painful emotions that go along with it, especially at this time of year. Whether they’ve lost someone they love through death — or there has been a separation through divorce or some other situation — it is just a fact that holidays are not always easy to celebrate for people who have fragmented families.
Although Christmastime was a joyous time for my family of five as I was growing up, Christmas Day itself reminded me about the pain of broken families in a way that really hit home. For example, my own grandfather had been married four times; two of my grandmothers had been married twice; and a great-grandmother had been married five times! The list seemed to go on and on. I had six grandmothers and three grandfathers — some natural and others added by divorce and remarriage.
I always felt this brokenness at Christmastime because Dad and Mom faithfully took us to visit every single faction of our multiple family branches. We would spend a little time with one set of grandparents, then the next and the next — and then we’d start visiting our various grandmothers. In a certain way, Christmas Day felt a bit like ministry to seniors, as we would spend most of the afternoon trying to see and honor all the older people in our family, most of whom had been married various times. In spite of these things, my parents always made sure that Christmastime was a wonderful season in our family.
But perhaps this time of the year brings up painful memories and emotions for you. I have a scripture I want to share that I believe will encourage you, especially during the holidays. In Luke 4:18, Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted….”
I want to particularly look at the word “brokenhearted” in this verse. It is from the Greek word tethrasamenous, the perfect passive participle of thrauo, and it depicts a person who has been shattered or fractured by life. If you are from a divided family — or perhaps you’ve lost a family member due to death or some other circumstance — this word could describe you and the shattered emotions you may have dealt with, or may still be dealing with, in the aftermath of what you’ve experienced. But I want to encourage you that Jesus really did come to heal the brokenhearted!
The word “heal” in Luke 4:18 is the Greek word aphiesi, which means to set free or loosen from the detrimental effects of a shattered life. In the King James Version, it is translated to “heal,” but the Greek speaks of a release from the destructive effects of brokenness.
In other words, although there might be reasons to feel brokenness, the anointing that is on Jesus is more than enough to completely release and free you from its adverse effects. Even though you have felt broken by life, the anointing of the Holy Spirit has the power necessary to restore and release you from any captivity that has held you in pain and emotional bondage.
If the holiday season causes you to remember and experience the pain of loss of any kind, I want to tell you that the anointing of Jesus is sufficient to release you from that pain. It may not happen overnight, but with the grace of God working in you — and you cooperating with His grace — He can restore what the enemy meant for your brokenness and destruction.
Furthermore, this Christmas season is a time for you to reach out to those who may be struggling. Do you know of others who need an arm wrapped around them to encourage them? Who can you call to tell them they’re going to make it? Let the powerful anointing of Christ work through you this holiday season. This is your opportunity to be the voice and hands of Jesus to someone else!
Today I encourage you to throw open your arms and receive the grace from God that empowers and restores. If you are in a difficult family relationship or in the middle of a painful time in your life, you need this grace — and it is truly yours for the taking!
Can Denise and I and our team pray for you about any specific needs in your life this month? We pray for you every day, anyway. But when you communicate with us the things that are close to your heart, it helps us join our faith with yours for the specific answers you need. In fact, doing so is one of our highest honors in the ministry!
We love you and thank God for you!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus Christ,
Rick and Denise Renner
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel and their families