A Great Story at Any Time of the Year


June 2, 2015

“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” -Romans 3:23, NIV


“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:8, NIV


I have no idea why I am writing about this when we are finally experiencing Spring like it is supposed to be in the Rockies….warm days and cool nights… occasional pop up storms instead of consistent downpours.   And I have this niggling feeling that I have used this before. But it feels right.


“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is probably my favorite children’s Christmas program from my childhood… you know… the one with Burl Ives. No, it’s not because of Rudolph and as an adult, definitely not because of the ear-worm of a song that it features to the delight of those in their pre-parenting years. It is one of the little side stories that it contains… The Isle of the Lost Toys.

You remember that part of the story, don’t you? You remember that Isle, full of broken toys—misfits—that is happened upon by Hermey (the elf who wanted to be a dentist) and Rudolph. This story is the Gospel.   It is about broken and hurt people (toys) being found in their brokenness and being made useful. Of course, as an adult, the irony is that one of the first things that will happen is the toy will be broken again when it is used and loved by the children, but even that rings true to the gospel story. And it reminds us of a couple of key things about the Gospel story, our brokenness and our usefulness to Christ!

Now, after 30 plus years of ministry, I have come to the point that I don’t spend a lot of time preaching about our brokenness anymore. Oh there are some people who need to hear this, but most people know they are indeed broken and most are hurting somewhere. Instead, I like to focus on God’s ability and desire to heal us. Even more, I like to focus on God’s desire to use us to help others find the life and joy that only God can give.


It seems to me, that most of us have these same hopes— to be fully healed and to be used by God to bless others. It seems to me that all of us are broken in different ways and that God intends to use us in different ways because there are so many different needs. But like a toys greatest purpose is to be loved by a child, our greatest purpose is to be used by God to bless another.

So the questions this story calls out to me are: Where is your brokenness? How is God already tinkering with it to make your life meaningful and full once again? What more do you need to allow Him to do? And who is it that Christ is working in you to bless?


Prayer: Lord, only You know my brokenness more than me. Please be at work in me to make me if not whole, useful for your Kingdom. Use me to bless another in your name today and everyday that your Love might be known by all. Amen.


Dr. Reverend Steve Van Ostran
Executive Minister

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