What is a church builder? Some people immediately have visions of folks laying bricks, pouring concrete, and spending a lot of time and money — but I don’t think so!
After attending church in a wheelchair for the past several years, and having to depend on the kindness of church members to provide me with transportation, as well as physically unable to do most of those things, I feel that I have still offered a contribution toward building churches, and think that I too have helped.
A church builder is someone who gets involved, has a loving heart, an open mind, a steady prayer life, a great love for God and fellow man, and a willingness to reach out to others less fortunate, as well as taking an active part in supporting the church by fulfilling those needs that one can — whether it is teaching a class, heading a committee, being active in decision making, fellowship, taking part of fund-raisers, or reaching out to others.
In these ways, I’m proud to say that I too have offered a contribution in building churches. Besides, who needs a hammer in hand when you have God’s love in your heart?
A Time To Mourn
There is a tragic line in the Christmas story. Matthew is the one who records it. “When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under.” (Mt. 2:16 Niv)
One thousand years earlier Solomon had written that “there is a time for everything.” Included in his list are the phrases, “A time to weep” and a “time to mourn.”
Just as “Rachel” wept for her children with “weeping and great mourning,” (Mt. 2:18) so we, the body of Christ at Lemon Grove Christian, have spent the past week of this normally happy season in mourning over the Arana tragedy. We have all been stunned by the news of Rebecca, a wonderful wife, sister in Christ, and mother of three, taking the life of little Emmanuel Luke, her youngest child. Every one of us wishes that, like a bad dream, we could wake up from this nightmare and have it simply go away. We wish that we lived in a world where children were never hurt, where mothers were never mentally ill — a world where families could live happily ever after in a world untouched by human tragedy.
But it is not so — and we mourn. We grieve for Emmanuel, Eddie, Brandon, Nicole, Gloria and other family members. But we also grieve for Rebecca. The Rebecca we know loves her children with all her heart, loves God with all her heart, and loves Eddie with all her heart–but the Rebecca we know is not mentally ill. The Rebecca who took the life of her son is mentally ill–desperately, schizophrenically, mentally ill! God loves and forgives her, and we must do the same. Let’s pray for her mental healing.
It was a beautiful thing to watch the body of Christ, 80-100 people strong, respond to this heartache by spontaneously gathering for prayer. It has also been wonderful to see the outpouring of love upon the family.
Two boys — both named Emmanuel. In both you saw the handiwork of God. Both died without sin. Both died a tragic death. One died as Savior. One died as saved. Emmanuel Luke, your life was short. You were beautiful. We miss you. We miss your very ill mother, and we know that in the knowledge, grace and joy of heaven you understand her illness, forgive her, and love her — and you want us to do the same.
The message that Hollywood portrays of Larry Flynt in the recently released movie, “The People vs. Larry Flynt” is a false one. Contrary to a number of critic’s glowing reviews of this movie, Flynt is hardly an advocate of free speech. When his two daughters recently revealed that they were molested by Flynt as small children, Flynt responded by threatening the life of one of them (Tonya Flynt-Vega) in order to keep her silent. This is not a typical response from a “free speech” advocate. A man that denigrates women and pushes his form of sick, violent porn on the public is not worthy of star treatment.
Unlike the electronic media, I find it fascinating that many print reporters were not interested in talking to Mrs. Flynt-Vega when she was here in San Diego recently for a press conference. If these reporters really are interested in discovering the truth regarding this story, they should objectively listen to Tonya’s revelations.
Let us not forget that Flynt’s publication, Hustler magazine, has featured cartoons by one Dwaine Tinsley. Tinsley’s cartoons focus on sex with children and other pedophile activity. (In 1990 Tinsley was convicted of molesting his own daughter.) These dirty little secrets and more are just a small part of the dirt Larry Flynt leaves as his legacy.
As Gloria Steinem writes in a recent N.Y. Times piece (01-07-97): “The truth is, if Larry Flynt had published the same cruel images of animals (instead of women) this movie would never have been made. Fortunately, each one of us have the First Amendment right to protest.” By avoiding this film you won’t be lining the pockets of people like Larry Flynt and Oliver Stone.
Help for 1997
I would just like to share a few thoughts that the Lord had put on my heart. I am sure that it is too late to reflect back now on 1996, but this is what I would like to share with your readers.
What did the Lord teach me in 1996? Maybe it can help others for 1997.
1. I am to die to my flesh daily. We must nail our sinful habits to the cross of Christ.
2. If He is my master and I am a slave, I must be willing to surrender my will and obey His call wherever that leads us, or whatever project He desires!
3. Self-sacrifice to help others less fortunate, poor, save souls.
4. We cannot impress God, we are all created equal in His eyes.
5. Patience: with irritable people who lacks God’s love.
6. Trust: Know that Our Heavenly Father will supply our needs, and not necessarily our wants.
7. Endurance: Like a long distance runner our spiritual journey to maturity is a life long process.
8. Love: and above all else we must love all, even our enemies.
Olga A. Logan