Monday, April 30, 2007

Me Church

Alright, I am starting this church next week!

Me Worship

This is classic and sadly sometimes very true in our attitudes at least.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Good Ending

Hello All,

This last week has seen me having to deal with what I call "churchianity." These "churchianity" issues involve non-essential areas of Christian life and chosen pet doctrines which puff up rather than build up! It's a pervasive problem that must plague the church until Jesus Christ comes and sets up a Kingdom where every answer is definitive and every debate is rendered useless, wasted time. We won't be debating Calvinism or Arminianism when Jesus comes. We won't be spending time arguing over form of worship service issues, or whether God can create a rock so big... you get the point! Oh, that we would be so captivated with Christ, that form or dogma would take a back seat to the joyful service of dispensing His power among the World!

I say all this because "churchianity" has nothing on "Christianity." What a joy it is to be taken and captivated by Christ and His power to change a life, and move a soul for eternity. That's attractive; churchianity is not! With that in mind, I was blessed by what happened after service today.

I was on my way home when I received a phone call from a lady who has been trying to get in touch with me for a few days for counseling. She is in a bit of a bind, and her marriage has fallen apart. As I got on the 55 freeway, she asked me if I had time to talk. Seeing as I had not even gotten on the 91 yet, I was sure that I had at least an hour or more!

She began by complaining about the state of her marriage and how messed up things were. Much of the problem was due to her choices as well, though the early part of the conversation was
much more focused on the problems caused by her spouse.

I could tell that she was very frustrated, but I was convinced that the Lord wanted to do a work in her. I pressed the point with her several times that what she really needed to do was come before the Lord and confess her sin to Him, so that He might forgive and cleanse her. She was hesitant to own what she had done to contribute to this situation, but she did eventually get there.

I was turning onto my street and running out of time to press the point. I asked very simply, "Don't you want to get rid of the guilt and just be clean before the Lord?" There was silence and then, in a hushed whisper, she quietly said "yes." We prayed together and you could hear over the phone the Lord washing away the stains of guilt that she was walking around with. It has'nt been a long time, but when you are a believer who has walked in the mud, any length of time is too long! As she confessed her sin to the Lord in prayer, I could hear healing falling all over her.

She did'nt ask me if she was chosen to repent or if she should now submit to a sprinkling or full immersion baptism! In the privacy of my car, over the phone, and a physical distance of over an hour, the Lord did a wonderful work that rejuvenated her and refreshed me.

It made me think that I have the best job in the world. To facilitate the meeting between a woman in sin and Almighty God, calling the former into a welcome reconciliation with the Lord, is the greatest privilege on Earth and what I signed up for!

Please pray for this nameless lady. Pray that she would have the boldness to continue to walk in newness of life and that her repentance would be visibly attested to by a changed life.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Semana Santa Report

Hello All,

You might remember that I wanted to report on what Semana Santa was like when we were in Spain last year. Due to heavy rains, most of the fanfare was cancelled. Our friends, Brian and Andrea Jackson, who are in Madrid, send out a monthly newsletter, and included their experience of Semana Santa in the most recent edition.

"Semana Santa (the week preceding Easter) is a "big deal" here, with lots of traditions and ceremonies. We were able to witness some of the processionals, both on television and in our own street. On Good Friday, at 11:30 at night we started to hear drumbeats in the distance. It was especially creepy since we were in bed, reading an intense part of a mystery novel. We opened the door to our little balcony above the street and watched the people parade down. Many were wearing the traditional pointed hoods and robes of the Nazarenos which, to any American, instantly brings thoughts of the KKK (making it all the creepier). A small cross with the figure of Christ being crucified was carried first, followed by the hooded participants, and then came a very grand figure of the virgin Mary, adorned with gold and jewels, with rows of lit candles, under a canopy, and carried on the shoulders of those in the procession. All attention was on her and very few eyes, if any, were on the Christ. It was so strikingly out of proportion, and extremely sad, and left us feeling unsettled. (I'm sure the murder mystery didn't help.)

Easter morning we were able to worship the Lord while watching the sun rise over the ridge that borders Camarma, and were reminded that Christ is no longer on the cross, and is no longer dead, but is alive and well, and for that we have reason to rejoice.

Please continue to pray that we would learn more Spanish, would be a light in a dark place, that God would grant us the time and energy to work diligently, and that we would make new acquaintances with those around us.

Thanks Brian and Andrea. You do have our prayers! Check out their blogspot, now available on the right hand side.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Miscellany II

Hello All,

Lela and I had the opportunity to watch our nephew Adam this weekend down in lovely Oceanside. Since that was the case, I thought it might be a good time for another miscellany post. So here it goes...

- We heard about this in Spain last year when we were there. It is now public here. Pope Benedict has reversed the Roman Catholic position on limbo. Check out the article here. If you have no idea what "limbo" is, check out this link. We heard in Spain, a very negative reaction to this, as several generations of good Catholics were forced to pay fees for baptisms that may, according to the Pope, not matter at all.

- We might know what limbo is very soon! This past Tuesday, we put our house on the market for sale. It is an important cog in the machinery with regard to our ministry at Calvary Laguna. We need to sell this house in order to buy in Orange County. It's a delicate time matter, so we ask for your prayers for as smooth a transition as possible.

- Speaking of Calvary Laguna, things are going very well. As I mentioned last week, I spoke for the first time in front of the Sunday Morning service. It was a blessing to do that and have been really thankful for the feedback I have received. I am continuing to teach the Men's Ministry Morning Fill Bible Study, which has been my favorite activity. It's also the easiest travel day, as I leave around 4 AM to get there by 5 for set-up! I might be hosting audio files from this study soon. If so, I'll let you know.

- I have really been enjoying the band 33 Miles lately. Check out their Myspace page here. If you can buy tunes from iTunes, our family suggestion is "Salvation Has A Name." Beautiful tune!

Well, that's it for now. Please do pray that our house will sell in an appropriate time and that we will be able to find something to buy in an equally appropriate time.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Perhaps I Spoke Too Soon!

Hello All,

In my last post, I wrote about the tension between manufacture and initiative, as they relate to the church. There was a bit of discouragement settling in as I pondered this issue and am thankful to say that I was lifted right out of it by a wonderful testimony on Wednesday.

I was sitting in my office on Wednesday afternoon when a woman came to my door and complimented me on my Sunday sermon. I turned and thanked her, recognizing her from the various activities I had seen her at over my month there. She and I started to talk about ministry and it turns out that she is a wonderful example of a person who, along with her husband, have taken some serious initiative in ministry.

A few years ago, they decided to enter into full time ministry. They run an extensive surf school and camp, that is available to the public, but is very open about their beliefs about Christianity. She told me about the various things that the school does and you could just see the excitement in her eyes as she described the ride that she and her family are on. It is a familiar look that I see people everywhere get when they are doing what God has intended them to do. It is a look of wonder and amazement. You can check out their website here.

I was so thankful that she shared with me, especially in light of what I have been thinking about lately. Her sharing reminded me of so many other people who are taking initiative and ministering where they are. I am reminded of a friend who runs an after school skate program that is evangelical. Another friend who has begun a Bible study for the ladies in her family. Yet another friend who has taken it upon herself to visit a terminal stranger in the hospital.

These people bless my heart and more so, the heart of their Lord and Savior. But that is not only the case, as they are blessed for jumping in, taking initiative and going for it. There is no greater life that to be the extension of the life of Christ in this World. There is no greater rush and greater satisfaction cannot be found.

Initiators: You bless me!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Initiative v. Manufacture

Hello All,

I have been tossing this question around in my mind over the last several days, but it has been a question that has plagued me for a few years. The problem is heightened by the books and the general anti-church attitude displayed by so many in the Christian community at large. There are the detractors (usually young people) who claim that there is nothing right with the traditional church. Then there are the old warriors (well...older "seasoned" believers!) who defend seemingly anything that the traditional church does!

The major point of contention is generally centered on how and why we converge to "do church." Who is involved and to what extent are part of the struggle. The younger people feel left out of the process. The older people view the younger people as uninterested and uninvolved of their own volition.

So the question becomes, to those of us caught in the middle and are VERY MUCH involved is: How much do you manufacture, ie. create positions and opportunity, and how much do you allow the body to take initiative to come and "take the Kingdom by force?"

Let me write out what I have seen happen. When you manufacture, 2 things occur: management and burden. You, the opportunity maker, have to manage the post and the person or group of persons you manage are burdened because they are not fresh blood, but volunteers pulled from other jobs.

When initiative takes place, another set of dynamics occur: Freedom and blessing! The body takes on a life of their own and take the ownership and management upon themselves. These find a place that suits the particular gifting and it's a blessing for that person, who is introduced and sensitized to other, perhaps more pressing needs.

I guess you can see that I am a fan of initiative, though I think I might also be pulling for manufacture. Really, I want to see them fused together.

The Apostles of the early church were confronted with a need for feeding widows. The Apostles replied classicly that they were not to leave the ministry of the Word to prepare tables. But not wanting to ignore the need, the Apostles appointed men who were filled with the Holy Spirit. The point is that there needs to be appointment, vision of the need cast toward the body. And then, the body in submission to the Lord, simultaneously responds to the Lord and meets the opportunity.

Unfortunately, we see less of that and more of the type of people that complain that there are no opportunities in the church and the old guard which sees this as another opportunity to complain that things were different in their day!

The Lord says that the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. He also says that the violent take the kingdom violently. Manufacture and initiative are not mutually exclusive. Instead they work together to bring about the reality of the kingdom to our church today.

If your young, listen and look for the opportunity to serve Jesus! If your old, make it known and don't give up on those young replacements!

Just my 2 cents...

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My Message For Today...

Hello All,

If I told you to come here and get the notes from this morning,
this is where you will find them. Thank you for all the kind words and encouragement. It was a blessing to give this message.

I left the above note for many of the people from Calvary Laguna, who asked where I host my notes for various studies. I kept trying to spell out "" but it seemed easier at the time to say "Check out and click the link to the right!"

Before I write a bit more about this, I wanted to mention the memorial service for Mike Petty that I had the honor to officiate. What an incredible testimony and time of reflection. Mike was well spoken of and I am sure that he jumped up and down when he saw that a person had given their life to the Lord at the end of the service! It turns out that this person was a fellow worker with Mike. One person at the memorial said that Mike, "loved him into the kingdom."

Aside from the honor of officiating, it was a wonderful added blessing to see so many people that I have known for years there. It was unintended, but it was like a mini-reunion. The people and faces brought back many wonderful memories, from many years past. It was especially good to see "Crawdad" Aaron Hale and Jeff and Gail Rey, people with whom I have spent years of time serving the Junior High Ministry.

And then today, I had the privilege of sharing this message that developed while I was in traffic! I am not sure how it came out, but I was ecstatic to give it out, as I felt that the Lord tailored it for our congregation. The whole morning was just incredible, as Chris Reinhardt and the worship team just lifted us to an entire new level. It was awesome and inspiring.

All in all, a fantastic weekend, punctuated today by a wedding of one of our Jr. High kids. (I am getting so old!)

Hope you all had as good of a weekend.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Friday, April 13, 2007

"I Say A Little Prayer For You..."

Hello All,

Like Hall & Oates, I have been "Out Of Touch" this week! Big weekend plans, as Lela and I get some great opportunities to serve, have kept us busy during this past week. That and the fact that Renae has been on her first Spring Break. After a Monday trip to the Long Beach Aquarium, we have been all business.

Tomorrow morning, I am speaking at the Packinghouse for Mike Petty's Memorial Service. I count it an incredible blessing to be able to address the family and friends that will be present Saturday morning. Please pray that I give the gospel in a succinct and clear fashion, as there will be many who have never trusted Jesus at this service. Then, I have the privilege to provide the teaching at Calvary Laguna on Sunday morning for our main service. It will be my first time in front of the congregation for this purpose. They have seemed to like me so far, but that may change after they hear my message! Again, I ask for prayer, that my mind might be clear and the message relevant to the Church. I am excited to give it and I will share it on my Bible Study page late Sunday afternoon.

While I am speaking, Lela will be singing at the Packinghouse with Brad Bischoff in place of Steve Nieves, who is out of town. It's always a blessing for her to sing with our old team mates, who have taken the worship group to entire new level of excellence over the last year and a half.

All this is so cool to be a part of. I say that like a kid, but it's really an honor to be doing what we get to do. We do not take it for granted and are so thankful to the Lord for putting us in these positions. I often wonder where I would be this Sunday without the Lord? What if I never gave my life to Jesus? What would I be doing? Thankfully, Lela and I get to participate in eternal, valuable activities that will bless the bodies of 2 great churches! What a blessing!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Good Word From Oswald

"Cast thy burden upon the Lord." Psalm 55:22

We must distinguish between the burden-bearing that is right and the burden-bearing that is wrong. We ought never to bear the burden of sin or of doubt, but there are burdens placed on us by God which He does not intend to lift off, He wants us to roll them back on Him. "Cast that He hath given thee upon the Lord." (R.V. marg.) If we undertake work for God and get out of touch with Him, the sense of responsibility will be overwhelmingly crushing; but if we roll back on God that which He has put upon us, He takes away the sense of responsibility by bringing in the realization of Himself.

Many workers have gone out with high courage and fine impulses, but with no intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ, and before long they are crushed. They do not know what to do with the burden, it produces weariness, and people say - "What an embittered end to such a beginning!"

"Roll thy burden upon the Lord" - you have been bearing it all; deliberately put one end on the shoulders of God. "The government shall be upon His shoulder." Commit to God "that He hath given thee"; not fling it off, but put it over on to Him and yourself with it, and the burden is lightened by the sense of companionship. Never disassociate yourself from the burden.

Blessings...To Our Friends,

Frank Sanchez

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Resurrection Day

Hello All,

I hope that each of you had a great day at your respective churches. Of course, I can testify that our services were really a blessing to be a part of this weekend. But I was just thinking about how many are doing the same thing everywhere on this day, reading mostly the same scriptures and being taught and reminded of the same glorious truth of Christ's Resurrection. And just like in our church, there were visitors and family members who were exposed again to the truth of God's power. Some gave their life to Christ, but statistically speaking, most did not.

Is this cause for discouragement? Not when you keep your eyes on what is important on this day, namely that Jesus Christ physically walked out of a tomb and bodily appeared to over 500 eyewitnesses and then ascended into heaven to take His rightful place at the right hand of the Father. His power over the grave is not diminished by man's present rejection of Him. Those that came and rejected afresh the risen Savior, are again convicted of the truth that the life of Christ is being manifest to them daily in our walks with Him. They are convinced, likely more than before, that Christ could be real because we have been changed from darkness to light. Oh sure, we still carry around big flaws and imperfections, but we are still very different from when we first were saved, and for some, that is a dramatic presentation of God's power.

Jesus Christ is risen, and lives evermore to intercede on behalf of His people and everyday, His life is lived out through the faithful adherence of His people to the leading of His Spirit, by the power of His Holy Word.

Jesus Christ is risen indeed!

Blessings To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

Hello All,

Just these thoughts on this wonderful day...

"And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:


Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, 'Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, 'I am the King of the Jews.'" Pilate answered, 'What I have written, I have written.'

John 19:17-22

"After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, 'I thirst!' Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, 'It is finished!' And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit."

John 19:28-30

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:8

"By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."

I John 3:16

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

John 3:16-18

We believe In Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin, led a blameless life fulfilling the law of God, died a substitutionary death on behalf of all who would believe upon Him...and rose again in demonstration of power and acceptance by God the Father three days later! We exist to beckon all men to believe the same thing and thus receive the promise of eternal life in Christ, by the power of His Holy Spirit.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A Tribute To Mike Petty

Hello All,

Many months ago, I asked the community that reads here to be in prayer for Mike Petty. The doctors had discovered a tumor on his brain and were going to operate. We were in Spain when I found out that his cancer had come back aggresively. It is with great sadness, mingled with joy that I report that Mike passed into eternity with his loyal and loving wife Michelle right by his side early Thursday morning.

I had seen Mike just a few nights ago, Monday, and you could tell that his body was unable to sustain the fight. It's not exactly how I want to remember Mike, who was a gentle, wonderful soul with a great smile and a faithfulness to his family that I always admired.

I actually first met Mike while his daughter Marlene was a Junior Higher. Mike was picking up Marlene from the first of a million trips, and I simply remember that soft spoken demeanor and that gentle humor that easily erupted into big fits of laughter. After that, we had many times of laughter and joy together, as we both watched Marlene grow up before our eyes.

When I first heard about his tumor, I was upset at how unfair it was. Mike was a hard working man, who put his family first, and exemplified a faithfulness to Christ that was easy to see. I went to see Mike prior to leaving for Spain and his prayer was for Michelle and the kids. In Spain, I called and his prayers were the same, even though his condition had been deemed terminal. I am sad that I only got a chance to talk with him once more after that, but I will oft remember the earlier years and I will choose to thank Jesus for healing Mike in His glorious presence right this moment! I am sure that Mike has not stopped staring into the eyes of his Saviour.

I ask that you would pray for Michelle, Marlene, her husband James and Matthew, who will bear the brunt of the grief. All have been reasonably strong considering the circumstances, but these days will be so difficult. Lela and I have loved this family for many years and we hope that you might remember them in your prayers especially over the next week and a half, as services are being planned.

It reminds us all that this life is so temporary and Jesus Christ and His tangible presence in our lives is the only hope of Salvation. I am confident that I will see Mike again. He won't be cancer-ridden, as He will have a glorified body like that of the body of Christ. I know that Mike is pain free, and living the dream that we can only hope to see in this life.

We will miss you Mike.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, April 02, 2007

I Survived!

Hello All,

Some of you had heard that Lela was heading up to Sacramento to go to a friend's baby shower. When I first heard of it, I knew that it meant just one thing: 3 on 1! The ultimate scary moment: total responsibility for the children! She left Friday morning and the race to Sunday was on. Thankfully, I came out alright and more importantly, the kids also came out unscathed.

I will say that I was not with them the entire weekend. I dropped them off at Mom's on Saturday around 3 so that I could go out to Irvine. (By the way, THANKS MOM!!!) Our staff had planned an outing to another Orange Country church and then to have dinner together after the service. I sincerely appreciate our staff and their penchant to gather together for "what did you think" sessions! It's really a fun and creative group that God has gathered!

It was an encouragement to see how another church operates. Normally, one might be discouraged, but I found myself excited about the road that Calvary Laguna is on, as in my mind, we are not that far "behind" what this other church was doing. The things that are in our control are absolutely within our reach to do. The increase is the job of the Lord!

If anything, I was again reminded how important it is to remember that every church fits a specific niche (knee-sh!) for specific members of the body of Christ. God has gifted this other church for the people that are attending there. He has gifted them with creative and original people to fill the positions of ministry. But He has done the same for Calvary Laguna and our body will be able to have the same impact as we put our hands to the plow and buy into the worth of God's gifting in our midst. I cannot speak for the rest of the staff, but I left not only encouraged about the road that our church is on, but also really excited to be with our body the next morning! Maybe we should take more trips like this! I say that and then remember that I got home at midnight and had a 5' O Clock wake up call! Again, THANKS MOM!

So now that I think about it, I wasn't with the kids that long at all! Perhaps "survived" might be overstating it a bit! I guess that the real title of this post should be that Mom survived, Lela had a good time, Frank was encouraged, and the kids were loved!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez