Friday, September 28, 2007

Look At The Latest "Great Idea"

Hello All,

I am currently writing number 7 of my personal pillars of freedom in ministry. That will be out in a couple of days. You may have been wondering about the health of our computer. So have we! It has made a bit of a recovery, in that it's not making the noise it was making just a few weeks ago. Of course, we are babying it quite a bit, keeping it on for short times. But it is currently surviving.

Much has happened in the last few weeks. Here is a bullet point synopsis:

• I have finished three weeks of my current series, "Autonomy, Authority and The Man Of God." You can check out the notes over at

• Lela has jumped into the worship community! She is leading the worship for the Morning Women's study and singing on Sunday mornings every other week. As most of you know, she is a fabulous singer (why I married her, of course!) and is growing now as a keyboard leading worship leader.

• I have been super busy getting the Home Fellowships organized and ready to roll. They got started this week and I am happy to say that they seem to have gone off without a hitch.

• Renae is having a great time in school. She has been coming home with "Spirit Stars" every day. AND, Renae is now 6 years old! She grew another year this last weekend! Her big gift was a bicycle, which she is learning to ride really well.

Well, that's it for now...oh, except for this. Most of you know just how passionate I am about pre-marital counseling. Check out the world's latest answer to the problem of divorce. Thankfully the Lord has a much better plan!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Friday, September 21, 2007

#8 I Stopped Measuring Myself By Singular Activities

Hello All,

It began on a Saturday night during the early days of Saturday Night Life, a community service that used to be held at Calvary Chapel of Redlands. It was a great musical experience from the very beginning of the evening until the very end. The musicians were great players, assembled from all kinds of churches and had a real desire to play. It was an exciting place to play.

On this particular night, I just was not playing as well as I had become accustomed to. I was missing cues, dropping beats and playing ahead of the tempos. I felt the frustration of the leader and the rest of the band. It began to discourage me when I thought that I was letting the band down, most of whom looked forward to this evening together.

After the first set, I walked outside, wanting to quit the band and quit playing the drums! I thought that nobody would want to play with me again after I had blown it so badly.

Now, repeat this over and over again in every aspect of my life. Drumming was just one area. Later, the same scenario would happen when I delivered a sub-standard sermon. How about the nights when as a worship leader, the list did not turn out as cool as I had imagined! And then there were the days when counseling appointments went awry. Each of these instances caused me to question whether or not I should stay in ministry or in the calling and function that I was working in.

Then, I came to some epiphanies. First, God never requires perfection from His servants. He calls upon us to be skillful (Psalm 33:3), so I work hard on my various crafts. I practice before I play drums on Sundays, even if I have played the songs a thousand times. I spend hours working on sermons, poring over books and notes, restlessly re-writing until I feel that I have said something as clearly as possible. I will even practice responses to counseling scenarios, thinking through problems that I hear about, and thinking how I would respond to them. In all these ways, I work on my skill set. Additionally, God calls on us to be faithful (II Timothy 2:2). We are called to be reliable and "there" when we are called upon. But perfection is outside of the realm of possibility. (Yes, Jesus tells us to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect, but the context of that verse and the actual Greek word would necessitate an alternate interpretation. The idea there would be to be completed, full or mature, meaning that we become whole and one in heart and spirit just as God is whole and one in heart and spirit...but I digress!)

Second, I realized that I was looking forward to experiencing my gift and relishing that, over the the desire to please the Lord. My service, whether it be preaching, teaching, drumming or counseling, had taken a front seat in my heart. I don't think that I recognized it then, but I see it clearly now. I was never bummed in those days, if my heart was not right. But I would GRIEVE when I made mistakes behind the drums or gave less than perfect counsel. This reveals now a gravely misappropriated service unto the Lord.

More than anything, I was making church, ministry, performance to a certain extent, the marker for my worth. And it made me miserable!

So I stopped! I stopped measuring myself on one sermon or one session or one worship set. I realized that more often than not, my purpose was bigger than I thought and at the same time, not as big as I thought! What I mean is that I am never just a drummer on any given Sunday. I am a drummer who is a friend and counselor to the other musicians. I might also be an inspiration to someone else who is aspiring to play the drums and an encouragement to others that might want to be involved. My purpose is always bigger than my job!

My purpose is always to glorify the Lord and to lift His name above my own. That purpose might be served in an unplanned comment or moment of prayer and ministry. It might be accomplished more in my countenance when I play, than my count off for the band! His purpose through me might be accomplished before or after the service and have nothing to do with the fingerpainting that I just presented the Lord with!

The result of all this thought really surprised me: I enjoy everything so much more! I enjoy drumming, speaking, and counseling a million times more than I used to. I can go home after a "bad" day, still wanting to do better the next time, but not crippled mentally that I didn't! I take it all in the context that I have a life that is to be lived out before the Lord, and each day I have the opportunity to be consistently His. Everything else is icing on the cake.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Sunday, September 16, 2007

#9 I Stopped Worrying About Who Is Absent

Hello All,

No matter what any Pastor tells you, numbers are crucial to how we gauge our own success, especially when you are a younger Pastor. To some extent, that is not a bad focus. It reveals a level of responsibility. However, the obsession with numbers can be crippling to the effectiveness of any minister.

I remember the night when I came face to face with this lesson. I was the Junior High Pastor at Calvary Chapel of Redlands, fairly new on the job. I had a really large group of Junior Highers, upwards of 80+ kids on any given Tuesday night. This Tuesday followed a great preceding evening and I felt positive about the results that I was seeing. Then the bottom dropped out from underneath me when only 10 kids showed up on the next Tuesday. I did not realize that I had a huge 8th grade class who were graduating into the High School group that met on the same night!

It was a huge test for me and I found myself really bummed out. The next week, I had a very difficult time getting excited about my responsibilities on Tuesday night. I thought about all the kids that I was looking forward to getting to know and the plans that I had made around their attendance. Now, I had 10 kids. I felt like quitting.

Then, I realized that many of those same kids did not share the same enthusiasm that the previous group had. They rolled their eyes, refused to talk about spiritual things and were generally closed off to any attempt at fellowship. The situation truly made me want to quit. I even got so far as to draft a resignation letter, one of many I would write over the years.

Then I got a ray of hope. There were a few young people who were not only enthused about the Lord, but were genuinely looking to take a big step in their understanding of the Bible. There were 2 girls and 1 guy that I began noticing taking notes during the study and raising their hands during worship. They responded to me reaching out to them! Over time, they started to bring friends and neighbors, because they were excited about what was going on.

All of a sudden, I found myself concentrating on them. They wanted to be there, and they were there every week without fail. Before long, I stopped thinking about who was not there physically, nor who was not there mentally. I realized that God had given me a certain group every week that He wanted me to pour myself into. I would be responsible and loving towards those that were there, and not allow myself to worry about who was not there and why they were not.

What did I see happen? God, through these few enthusiastic teens, added to the number that I would be responsible to. That group grew steadily, at some points reaching upwards of 50 Junior High kids. I had passed the Lord's stewardship test, the principle being that we do our best with what God gives us and He adds more when that responsibility is answered.

Before I knew it, I became less consumed with numbers and more interested in people who I loved to see and spend life with. Today, I have embraced the same philosophy. When there is a low day at church, I find myself taking some extra time to enjoy conversations and get updated on situations that I have been asked to pray for or have some information about.

In the end, I pray that the Lord adds to our numbers. I want that just as much as any Pastor. But if not, then I will be thankful and attentive to every person that does come.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Thursday, September 13, 2007

#10 I Stopped Comparing Myself To Others

Editors Note: We are on computer death watch at our home! It seems that the S.M.A.R.T. status is telling us that our hard drive is failing. It may not be long now, so for the time being our blog entries will be infrequent at best. Those of you who are keeping up with my teaching blog, is back to being active over at I am covering the Life Of David with our Men's Group. Now, back to our regularly scheduled program...

Hello All,

One of the greatest pitfalls that a young minister can fall into is that of comparison. There are always other ministers, with great ideas and innovations, that you have not thought of or even begun to comprehend. Additionally, it seems from the outside, that everything that they do turns to gold. Everything from numbers to events, and on and on.

This used to really depress me as a young minister. I saw other ministers getting attention, being asked to speak or given platforms to promote their latest thing. In the meantime, I felt that I was barely able to keep my head above water!
Comparing myself with others stretched out into every area of my life. Speaking, leading, worship leading, and drumming. I was constantly looking at other people's performances and seeking to measure myself against them. This made me miserable when I did not measure up, and proud when I felt that I did. Either way, it did nothing for my Christianity, for either response robbed God of the glory that He should receive from every life, and through every life.

God has uniquely gifted each one of us, and His creative work cannot be compared with another of His equally magnificent created works. I think a lot about Ephesians 2:10 which tells us that we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works. It's been well documented that the Greek word for "workmanship" is "poema." We are God's creative expression! But notice also that we, the expression of God, are also set apart for specific good works that we are to do! I will accomplish, through God's grace, all that He has set up to do! And those works are valuable to Him, though I myself might wonder at their validity in the light of what I might consider to be "great works."

Eventually, I made a decision that I would refuse to look at another minister and compare my ministry with his. It also helped that I realized that I can't be like other guys, even if I wanted to! Some guys don't need as much sleep, are willing to go miles beyond my break point, and are generally tempered in a much different way than I am. God has not designed me that way. Other burdens are on my heart, other opportunities fill my day planner, and I must be satisfied with those.

More than anything, I would encourage you, our friends, to consider yourself the Lord's Special Expression. You are a work of His art that is seen and appreciated by perhaps, a select few. But consider this: God loves them enough to express Himself through you, in order that He might be glorified in you!

For that purpose, there is no comparison!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Sunday, September 09, 2007

My Pillars Of Personal Freedom

Hello All,

When one does a blog entry like this, there is a danger of sounding condescending, as if I have stumbled upon some great mystery that makes me superior to anyone else! This is not at all my intent. It's simply that while I have been in ministry, these 10 principles, my personal top ten, have enabled me to enjoy being in ministry.

Now, my lack of including the gospel message or specific Bible verses, does not indicate that I am moving toward some mystical mindset, that is anti-biblical or an attempt at being relevant for relevant sake. These are simple statements that helped me along the years that I have endeavored to be useful to the Lord in full time ministry.

As I present them, I do not infer any particular greatness by any particular order. In fact, many of these statements came out of the same events or seasons of time and were almost simultaneously arrived at!

And, one final disclaimer: There are more lessons to synthesize for the future. Like the Apostle Paul, I have not attained, but am pressing on toward the goal. Along the way, I am sure to learn more lessons that will increase my enjoyment factor to even greater levels.

I will list them here and then subsequent posts will explain each one.

Without further adieu...

#10 I Stopped Comparing Myself With Others

#9 I Stopped Worrying About Who Is Absent

#8 I Stopped Measuring Myself By Singular Activities

#7 I Stopped Waiting For Something To Happen To Me

#6 I Stopped Thinking That I Could Mine Every Truth From Every Scripture, Every Time

#5 I Stopped Putting Presentation & Program Over People

#4 I Stopped Promoting Myself & My Virtues

#3 I Stopped Letting Others Dictate My Load

#2 I Stopped Listening To Exclusive Groups

#1 I Stopped Promising Things I Wasn't Sure I Could Deliver.

In the next few weeks, I plan to explain each one of these, and hopefully, one or two will be helpful to someone, and free them to enjoy whatever stage of ministry that they are in.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Family News Update

Hello All,

Before I get into my 10 Philosophical pillars (I am struggling to figure out a name...), I wanted to quickly update you on what's happening with our family. We are just now experiencing the relief that comes with working in close proximity to the church on one hand, and the blessing of great weather on the other! We are roughly 15 minutes or so from the church and the weather has just turned autumnal, leaving the brutality of the 100 degree days behind.

Let me start with Lela. She is enjoying the amenities of Ladera Ranch with the children most days. There are pools, water parks, play parks and friends with kids close by. As far as ministry responsibilities go, Lela is about to join the Sunday morning worship team. She has been working with the team throughout the summer, during our Wednesday night service, but will now focus on the vocals for the Sunday mornings that she participates in. Additionally, Lela has taken on the responsibility of leading worship for the Women's Ministry. She has been practicing her piano and getting herself ready for this task.

Renae has begun school. This has been her first week back and she seems to be enjoying her teacher and fellow students. Lela and I decided to hold her back to give her a full year of normal Kindergarten (Kin-DER-garten) experience. As you might remember, Renae was in 3 different classes last year, one being in Jerez! She is right on academically, but we wanted her to have a good opportunity to bond with kids and learn to be a good friend. I am told that most people benefit from being held back, especially at such a young age. My parents held me back when I was in 12th grade! That made my Senior Year the best 5 years of my life!!!

Caleb is a happy 4 year old, doing what 4 year olds do! He is just learning to love The Incredibles, so I catch him playing superhero quite a bit. Aside from that, he has really taken to his nickname and song, written about his nickname that we wrote last summer. It's called the "Bwudda Bwudda" song. He smiles really big when he hears it. The kid has got joy mastered...when he's not tired that is!

Elizabeth somehow has been super-injected with caffeine or some other stimulant lately! She has taken on a whole new meaning of hyper! She is classic! When she gets around her Auntie Woods (My sister Leah...don't ask about the "woods" part!), somehow, it gets even more acute! She is cracking everyone up with her antics and running her mother all over the place trying to keep up!

As for me, I continue to enjoy my placement here at the Church. I am looking forward to beginning our Men's Study next week. I am teaching on the Life Of David in a series entitled "Autonomy, Authority and The Man of God." I have been dying to get this going, and in some regards, the summer has been too long, so I am really good to go for this next Tuesday morning! Otherwise, the rest of my responsibilities have been centered on getting the Home Fellowships in order as our church moves into that time of year when the Home Fellowships dominate the scene. I'll be co-leading one this year, which I am very excited about.

That's pretty much it for us. We are so thankful to be where we are in life, being in key positions in a growing church, with a Pastor and staff that is on the same page. We are truly blessed!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Gift Of Prayer

Hello All,

As I reported some time ago, our church did a week of prayer and fasting. It was a very revealing time for me, causing me to think through some things that I had come to believe about prayer. It sort of began with a commute that was prolonged by a significant SIG alert. I had been on the road for an hour, but it was about to become two. I had run through my shopping list of prayer items and was now out of things to bring before the Lord for that day. When I had nothing to say, I sort of wondered what my purpose was for being there any longer and that's how this began.

As a Christian, I have attended thousands and thousands of prayer meetings. Because I am a Pastor as well, I can add a few thousand more, having even come from one just last night at our church! What I am about to say is not an indictment upon any person or group of persons who have been at these events. However, there is a general set of truths that seem to universally cover each one I have attended.

Most times, there is an attitude that bespeaks an American view, that we are there to get business done. We've got a list, an agenda and we are going to roll through it! I have nothing against bringing requests or petitions, nor do I believe that we should not have something in our hearts corporately, that we want to see accomplished or partnered in. The problem for me has been that I have taken this attitude into my own prayer life!

Does this mean that I am against requests or petitions? Not in the slightest! I make them frequently and it would be an unbiblical statement to condemn that practice. What I am saying though is this: The purpose of prayer is an alignment of our hearts to the heart of God and the enjoyment of His presence with us and not so much about seeing an ageeable result!

What makes me say this? I was thinking about the teaching of the "Lord's Prayer," which in reality is the "Disciples' Prayer." Jesus told the disciples that when they pray, the first thing that they should say was "Our Father who art in heaven..." This would have been a radical departure from most of the Rabbinic and Levitical priest teaching of that day. The Old Testament is built on the radical separation between Man and God, called Holiness! Jesus is here telling His disciples, the first thing you recognize when you are praying is that you are praying to "Your Father."

I believe now more than ever, that our coming to prayer should be tied up in this reality of relationship. It should be a celebration of that reality! "God, the Creator, the Redeemer, the King, IS MY FATHER!!" When I come into His presence, I want to come first and honor who He is and recognize who I am in the process. I am His Son! In a very real way, I want my prayer times to have the same organic comfortability that I would have with my Father.

There are some who would argue at this point that we can never have such a feeling on Earth! That would be completely unbiblical in light of the teaching of the Word in Ephesians, that says that we now have ACCESS to the Father, and again in Hebrews, where we are beckoned to come BOLDLY into His presence!

What do I feel normally? What have I engendered in my prayer life? An attitude that lowers God from His Fatherly position, to a Secretary's position, by just going through my shopping list of prayer items! "Did you get that? Oh, and I want this changed immediately!"

Instead, I want my prayer life to reflect my relationship with my Father, where I sit and listen and let Him bring my heart into alignment with His Heart toward my circumstances and towards the things in life that I would like to see changed. Then, in a very real sense, I am bringing HIS requests out, versus the ones that I would give from my own heart, loaded with my own agenda and desires. And when I am praying God's requests, the answers will inevitably "YES AND AMEN!"

Do I have a verse for that? Take a look at John 15:7,8.

"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples."

What I have been describing is what I feel the secret of abiding is! How will this come to pass? How will my prayer life look in a year? I am not quite sure. Before any good change can happen in one's life, one has to see a problem, get rid of the accumulation of poor habits that have contributed to the problem and THEN, move into growing some good habits. I am considering these options:

* Actively listening first, asking for a clear direction for my prayer.

* Renouncing any suggestion in my mind that I know what is best or presuming that I would know what is best!

* Letting God bring to mind any requests that would be on His heart for me.

Now, granted, I am not suggesting that I will no longer be praying the following types of prayers: "Lord Help Me!" or "Lord, don't let that Cop see me!" Remember, I am not speaking about prayer in the moments of crisis. There will be times when my prayers will be the most simple, direct shouts to the heavens! But that's not what I am talking about here! I am talking about intentional times of prayer, when I am fostering, enjoying and spending time exploring the heart of God.

In the end, what the practice of prayer will produce, will be less about results and more about the enjoyment of God, and the desire to be in His presence.

Does any of that make sense? I suppose that what I have presented is more theory than experience. Maybe in a year, I will have a report of something phenomenal. Then again, it might be much sooner!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Saturday, September 01, 2007

We Can All Sleep A Little Better Tonight!

Hello All,

I promise: The Next Post will be back to normal, but I feel it's my responsibility to let you know that you can take one fearful thing off your lists!! Check out the story here! Who knows: Maybe the Abominable Snowman will be next!

Here's a link to some drum work that I did in the early 80's. I did not know that the cameras were rolling at the time, so it's a bit embarrassing, but good work nonetheless!

Speaking of embarrassing and the 80's, many of you may have noticed the comment section a week or so ago, with a picture labeled "For Frank's Eyes Only." It seems that the temptation was too much for Jason Dean!! Cool thing is that you can listen to the song that goes with the picture at the same place!! AND, it's his lovely wife, Kris that sings the tune. Enjoy here.

Alright, I think that I got it out of my system now! See you soon!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez