Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two Phone Calls Later...

Hello All,

This last week of the year, Kingsfield's staff is given the week off from their usual duties. It's a great week to recharge and ready oneself for the next calendar year. As a result, we have been enjoying some leisurely activity. But the world around us does not stop. Consider our return home from Sea World tonight. The phone rang out twice and I knew that both phone calls had to be answered.

The first call was from a young lady who got in touch with me through my Facebook account earlier this week, wanting to tell me some exciting news. I had a decent idea as to what she might want to talk with me about, but I always love to hear people tell me. Of course, she is getting married in 2010 and wisely was asking for pre-marital counseling. Being a champion of the importance of pre-marital counseling, I readily, humbly, but excitedly consented to meet with them.

I am truly honored to get this kind of call. This person is asking me to invest in their life, and in the second most important relationship in their life! That position is truly priceless to me and I cannot wait to begin the process with them, though they may seriously regret their decision. I tell my couples that I could care less about their wedding day. As a result, if I get the sense from the Lord that He is not doing a work of uniting their hearts, I will strongly recommend that they both reconsider getting married. "But we have a date, have put out money for..." I DO NOT CARE! All that matters to me is that they have a God honoring marriage that withstands the test of time and changing circumstances. I will do my best to biblically challenge their positions and beliefs about marriage, all in hopes of preparing them for the very real issues in front of them.

That being said, I have only needed to tell one couple that they should not wed. They got married anyway and were divorced just several months later. I'm not saying it's because I told them so. I'm saying it because it was clear from the very beginning that their marriage was based on a need to not be single any longer, in desperation, turning to the only available outlet. Not a good idea.

What the Lord brings together, will stay together, albeit through a lot of hard work and steady commitment. There is no easy marriage, unless it is a dishonest one! If God is not building, then they that labor to stay married, often do so in vain. My hope and prayer is that this couple will have the wisdom to analyze and criticize their own desires through the filter of biblically centered pre-marital counseling. For my part, I will come along side of them, and pray that the Lord fills me with His Word for application to their hearts.

No sooner had the first call finished, when the second one rang out. This one was quite different in nature. It came from a man, who has just received some disturbing news relating to his health. He had gone to the Doctor the other day, and the news left him stunned and burdened.

This was unexpected news. In fact, when last I talked with this man, there was tremendous optimism and eager anticipation for the best. Tonight, that was absent in his voice and demeanor. Being a friend of this brother, I found myself saddened, but knew that the time for such feelings would come later. Right now, we need to join together in prayer, and call on the faith in Christ that propels us both.

Again, I am so blessed to be on the receiving end of a call like this. Here is a man, crying out for help, asking for the Lord to impart wisdom, but more than that, needing someone who will listen. I am humbled that he called me, and grateful to be a conduit through which Christ might bring comfort and strength in this pressing time. I told him that an afternoon coffee was in order and that we would do this tomorrow.

The irony of these two calls could not speak more loudly to me. Here was a young woman, brimming with excitement, looking forward to this new year in anticipation of a new life. On the other hand, here is an older gentleman, staring down the barrel of treatments that may prolong his life, but at that point, only by a little. The young lady is riding the crest of joy; the man is riding the wave of disappointment. All of this in a matter of minutes of time in my evening! I went from great joy to great concern.

Such is the emotional palette that ministry calls us to endure. There are tremendous highs and difficult lows. Paul talked about these things, I believe, when he wrote "who is sufficient for these things?" Later, when compiling his list of burdens, he adds after writing about physical afflictions, the mental afflictions that ministry affords.

"besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches." II Corinthians 11:28

I don't write this to call attention to my emotional state or to pat myself on the back for the mental hardships that might come my way. I will be the first to say, and say loudly, that I have nothing to complain about! Usually, the things that I deal with when it comes to people, makes me grateful that I have the minor problems that I do in comparison to the major struggles that they face. I am not a martyr and my intention in writing this is not to take that position.

Rather, I am saying that this is par for the course. This is what ministry is all about. When Pastors get phone calls, most all know that the phone calls that they prepare for, that they want to receive, will tax them and force them to trust in God as much as the person they are trying to convince to trust in God! And I mean that in bad AND in good situations! For the young lady, she needs to trust that God is leading her into this relationship for the fulfillment of His purpose that cannot be attained apart from her marriage to this particular individual at this time in her life. For this man, he needs to trust that the Lord is good, in spite of what he presently believes to be bad news.

All the while, a Pastor like myself loves these moments. Not because they are easy or hard, per se. No, I love them because all other pretense is stripped away. This ministry that I will perform by the grace of the Lord, will not be glamorous, creative, or even noticed by any others not intimately involved. It will be done unto the Lord, in complete service to these individuals. All the fancy preaching and anecdotes will be done away with. What will be left will be authentic care and ministry that comes from Holy Spirit comforting and exhorting through His vessel.

To me, the rewarding part of the ministry, is the result of consistently done battle in the lives of individuals. If this young lady makes it to the altar, and I happen to preside over her wedding, I will stand so thankful to the Lord that I stand there unashamed to publically present a couple that I believe to be godly representatives of what biblical marriage is about. If this man is healed and made whole again, I will stand at the end of that process knowing that I prayed and partnered with the Lord in that work of healing. If this man is not healed, then I will stand by as he is ushered into the presence of his Savior, my work will have been to continue to focus his eyes in that direction. If these things are accomplished, then I will have done my duty unto the Lord and to these, His people.

The greatest feeling of fulfillment is to see these people that I get to engage with, win their respective battles and walk courageously, faithfully into whatever destiny the Lord has ordained for them.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Friday, December 26, 2008

Frank's Triumphant Christmas Story

Hello All,

My love affair with the Greek language began in the third office of the New Building at The Packinghouse, with my personal Professor, Pastor Dick Sanner. He told me that he would teach me enough Greek to be able to use the tools that were available to students and Pastors today. He introduced me to my first interlinear and then, my first lexicon. It was a whole new world for me.

Then, as he noted my enthusiasm, he told me of the mythical beast that would fulfill his promise to me and prove my sincerity and investment in what he had taught me. He told me of a set of books called the "Theological Dictionary Of The New Testament." I sat in rapt attention, eyes wide with unbridled passion to claim this, that hour if necessary! He explained that it was the most serious work of it's time, carefully explaining each significant biblical wo
rd, and then providing various ways in which this word was employed by secular Greeks. I drooled and may have let out a grunt...sort of like the Urukai of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy...I often picture myself as the one that Aragorn kills at the end of "Fellowship..."I digress...

Pastor Sanner continued giving precious details about this elusive collection. I asked where I might buy this and he told me of a bookshop in Pasadena called "The Archives." The name alone elicited shrieks of sheer joy, as if this were the Holy Grail of bookshops! He explained that many of the books that Fuller Seminary used as textbooks were available for purchase there. I have never since been so excited at the possibilities!

My first visit to the Archives bookshop coincided with my wife's first visit to the Jewelry district in Los Angeles several Christmases ago. She hyperventilated at the worthless diamond stones, unceremoniously draped upon gold necklaces and bracelets. I could not believe that you could put that many diamonds in that many buildings in Los Angeles. What a waste of space!

Ah, but that tiny little kingdom of books in Pasadena! The Archives was just that: A musty book shop filled with the great words of the greatest writers. No fluff. No "101 Ways To Be Happy With Your Christianity." It was the good stuff. It was my turn to hyperventilate.

I was overwhelmed. I could have spent weeks, months in that wonderful place. Of course, Lela being underwhelmed, allowed approximately 15 minutes of time! But it was enough to ask the bookkeeper if he had the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. He snickered, as if to say, "Do you know where you are?" Of course they had it! He directed me to the reference section and I walked the hallowed aisle to the TDNT. There it was in all it's glory!

Ten volumes, thousands of pages, the key to greater understanding and knowledge was mine! I pulled the first volume from the shelf to assess the price, assuming that my piddly fortune would be enough. I was aghast to discover that I was looking at over a thousand dollars! "Pastor Sanner never told me it would be that much? Why?" Bitter with disappointment, I settled for the Abridged one volume version, but ever imagining that I would one day find this at a discounted price, somehow...

Every Christian Book Distributor catalog that I received, representing the best bargains in Christian books, had the great volumes of great price...at a great price! "Great" as in less than $1200, but still at $700! I'm A PASTOR PEOPLE!!! A few times over the last several years, I have seen it for $525, then $350. Last December, I was floored to see it drop to $250. Still I waited, biding my time, hoping and praying against all odds.

I checked Craigslist, Ebay, Half.com, and all other possible outlet
s. Nothing. Then it happened. I got the last "Preferred Customer Catalog" just about a month ago. I could hardly believe my eyes: $224! I about wet my pants, metaphorically you understand!!! This was within reach! I would save birthday money, Christmas money, wedding money, coffee money, etc. It would be mine!

Today was the day to make it happen. I cross checked all o
ther outlets just in case. Still, the best value was in my catalog. I was ready to take the proverbial plunge. Credit card in hand I reached for the phone. "I should check CBD's website, just once more...just in case..." I saw what I am about to show you right now:
Can you see those numbers!?!?! $129!?!?!?!?!? There had to be a mistake. A misprint? Perhaps a cruel joke or even worse, a disclaimer that said "$129 with the purchase of $1500 worth of books!" But no. The wonderful woman from CBD, with that Northeastern accent, took my order and promised that they would be here by Wednesday of next week!!!

I hope that you all had a great Christmas, but mine, with hope fulfilled, albeit a nerd's hope, made mine just wonderful!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas - In Three Passages

All right then, the Lord himself will choose the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel--`God is with us.'
(Isaiah 7:14)

Now this is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancé, being a just man, decided to break the engagement quietly, so as not to disgrace her publicly. As he considered this, he fell asleep, and an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. "Joseph, son of David," the angel said, "do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary. For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All of this happened to fulfill the Lord's message through his prophet: "Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and he will be called Immanuel (meaning, God is with us). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded. He brought Mary home to be his wife, but she remained a virgin until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.
(Matthew 1:18-25)

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn. That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David!
(Luke 2:7-11)

Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, given to men, as the only portal of salvation. He is THE Savior from the most pernicious enemy: Our sins. He did not come to make things better politically, or to change our status financially, but save us from our sins, spiritually. His death, the death of God in the flesh, and our belief, trust, in that work, secures that salvation as our own.

For those who have trusted, trust again.

For those who have not, I pray that you might trust Him for the first time.

And for all who have trusted, be like God and give Jesus away to someone else, for He is the one gift that must be received, but should never be kept!

Merry Christmas!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

It's A Video Fest!! Merry Christmas!

Hello All,

Several notable items have come to my attention over the last week or so, and a few of them have Youtube videos attached to them. Of course, the first among them is the video directly below this blog post, containing our latest video of our kids, which we believe to be the funniest video we have produced. If you haven't seen it, we invite you to enjoy at your leisure. Lazy and you need a link? Here it is!

But there are other videos. For example, a great video that our church administrator Carrie Allen participated in with her friends from Biola made me laugh incessantly. Carrie makes me laugh quite often in the office and at her blog. With post titles like this, it's hard not to! So the video: It's called "All Things Are Better In Koine." "Koine" being the common Greek that is used in biblical texts and spoken in popular language during New Testament times. Here's the video:

Then I caught this just this evening. Most of you who know me, know that I LOVE words. I credit my 11th grade history teacher, Steve Hickok with this love affair. I took "Communication" with him and he introduced me to a world of words that I just needed to master. I believe it's enriched my life, though at times, it has been a curse to others. To them, I say: Get a dictionary! Ah, but a dictionary is what this next video is about. The New Webster's Dictionary has chosen it's "Word Of The Year." I did not know that there was a "Word Of The Year" so I will follow this from now on. In explaining the word of the year pick, there is also some interesting social commentary that you might be interested in if you happen to be in the younger generation of readers. Here is that video:

And finally, on a most serious note, I found these videos last week. It is Pastor John MacArthur, being interviewed by Kirk Cameron on TBN. The subject? The Gospel. Take a look for yourself:

I know that MacArthur is responding to the type of theology that is espoused and celebrated on TBN. While I do not endorse THAT, I also would say that there might be a balance to what Pastor MacArthur said. The gospel does NOT promise riches or a "happier life" but it DOES produce a qualitatively better existence than living without Christ and the good news of His victory. I DO believe that we have something to celebrate, smile and enjoy.

THAT being said, I LOVE John MacArthur's take on the Corinthians passage. I have definitely used that illustration many times and am very grateful for that excellent bit of biblical work.

(Now, as I am increasingly sensitive to the discernment ministry hounds that have become as prevalent in Christian circles as the paparazzi have in the world. It makes me feel like writing a disclaimer, probably one that would look like this:

"Frank and Lela's use of the following quote/media does not represent endorsement of this person's ministry. We are unaware of their "ology" (enter "pneumat, eschat, bibliol, or bi") or any comment or teaching they have presented, which may or may not agree with our theology. Additionally, we are sorry if their actions have hurt or offended you in any way. We are unaware of that and do not intend to promote them or their ministry in a consistent manner on this blog. Our endorsement is solely related to that which has been quoted or presented on this blog, believing that the content of that quote or media alone is consistent with our feelings on that particular subject alone. Thank you.")

I join wholeheartedly with Pastor MacArthur and his passion for the purity of the message of the Gospel and it's indictment against that which is passed off as preaching the "Gospel" today. I'm thankful for men like him, for that stance specifically, that stand in stark contrast to so many "peddlers" that have gained so much attention for their addiction to "itching ears" theology.

Now, some non-"Tube" related things, but still of interest. As many of you know, President Elect Obama has invited Pastor Rick Warren to do the Inaugaural Invocation. Many in the homosexual community have taken offense at this. I read this and thought that it was interesting.

And FINALLY: Hopefully, this article KILLS all those drummer jokes that I have heard for years. I'm so happy for this vindication!

Merry Christmas all and GO LAKERS!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Friday, December 19, 2008

Because Nobody Believes Us!

Hello All,

Most people see our children in one light and most of those times, it is in church or some other public place. They come across as angelic, perfect little beings, who are shy when spoken to and quiet when answering a question. Here's how they really are!

The responses to this video will vary in the widest of ways. For example, some with children will be encouraged that a Pastor's kids act this way. At the same time, others with children will be DIScouraged that a Pastor's kids act this way. For singles or newly marrieds, this will be employed as birth control! If there is a psychologist in the house, I am sure that they will want to contact us for a "session" or two!

However, our responses will likely fall into these particular feelings, at least once: 1) These kids are ridiculously cute and 2) they are pretty hilarious. Lizzy admitted today to "fake crying" at least once, which was great to get on camera!

Hopefully, you will enjoy watching it as much as I did making it.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, December 08, 2008

You Can Always Change The Game...

Hello All,

This past weekend had Lela and I in Lake Arrowhead enjoying our staff Christmas party/retreat. As usual, it was a great time to get together for spiritual and non-spiritual activity, both types being in abundance. I'll get to that in a moment.

When I got to the cabin, the one question that was on my mind was how my drum student had done the night before. I admit that I was really nervous to hear what had gone down, mostly for how she had come into that previous night. It was a ball of confusion, as she had been preparing for a certain list of songs, only to find out on that day that the worship leader who was to play those songs was not going to be leading at all! During our lesson earlier that day, I told her that we would use the extra time to prepare, and not to feel bummed.

I felt sort of foolish, as I had worried so much and now there was nothing to worry about...until the worship leader that did show up, extended the invite for my student to play! However, this was different, because now there was no build-up, no expectation, so things would come out in a natural and good way. I was relieved, but still a little worried that she would not have the best first experience.

That brings me back to the mountain home and the first person to greet Lela and I. Jonathan, the high school Pastor greeted me and before he could finish saying "hello..." I said, "Well, how did she do?"

Not even a moment went by for thought and Jono lit up and reported that she had done amazing! I was so proud and thankful. He spoke volumes of the intricacies of her "performance" and I was beaming, at least in my spirit! I figured, what a wonderful way to begin this retreat.

And it continued just like that. The beautiful sonorous sounds of a good time: Laughter, loud talking and good food! That night, we did our gift exchange, which produced some wonderful white elephant gifts, some of which you will see shortly...not in this post, but soon!

Of course, the evening took a dramatic turn when the ladies beat the men in Guesstures. And thus the title and theme of this post. Change. You see, the women, noting their futile attempts to defeat us in Catch Phrase, have subtly, perhaps not so subtly, simply changed the game on the men. The move from Catch Phrase to Guesstures is on the surface subtle, but just under the surface, truly insidious.

I imagine their minds focusing power together, and agreeing silently, imperceptibly, to "forget" the game last time that we played. Then of course, when this next retreat came up, the men would only remember the last time that we played. Wanting to avenge themselves, they would almost insist on playing Guesstures, a game that men cannot be that good at.

Why you ask? Guesstures requires multi-tasking skills that women are simply better at. You have to read a word, act it out without saying anything and then push a button. That's three different functions! If you play the old Guesstures, you also have to delicately remove the falling cards, something men with large hands would have a difficult time doing.

So in almost ironic fashion, we pushed the ladies to the deciding 5th game. We were tied at 2. In a dramatic show of brilliance, Danny Larsh put us into position for a win, with us just shy by 1 point. We told him to "bank" it, even though he had about 10 seconds left. The girls would need 5 to win and nobody had gotten 5 all night. In fact, for most of the night, there were some very difficult words to act out. We were poised to win.

Unfortunately for us, Brenda Paternostro, that paradigm of sweetness, came up and incredibly got 5 points! It's shocking that she got 5 points, but when you hear the words she got, you will see that the men were robbed! Us guys had to act out things like "Blue Cheese," "Great Dane" and "Dyspeptic Aphorism." Brenda's words were not only simple, but they had been acted out by previous participants! It went like this:

(Brenda pointing to her right arm) Girls respond: "ARM!" Bank...

(Brenda lifts her pinky finger) Girls respond: "FINGER!" Bank...

The men in stunned silence can hardly believe the monosyllabic choices that the game is currently spewing...

(Brenda throws a long pole) Girls respond: "JAVELIN!" (Frank just about faints as he acted that one out personally 2 rounds ago!)

And so it went! The ladies had what they came for: A win, by one measely point! I'm sure that the ladies will take it, as a win is a win...however, if there was a staff retreat commission to investigate the fairness of the proceedings at any given retreat, the ladies may find themselves in prison for ROBBERY!!! ACT THAT ONE OUT TATUM!!!!

But, the greatest change for this post was the addition of Pastor Rod Collins to the mix. Rod graciously came up the next morning and spoke into the lives of our staff members. He spoke about leadership and really blessed us with his wisdom and breadth of experience. Rod encouraged us to do all things excellently, be wise in balancing our lives, and to be loyal team mates to one another. Rod's talks were candid, personal and filled with great wisdom for each of us. His presence was very welcome, his content much needed!

On a personal note, Pastor Rod and I have been friends for almost 20 years. I have always admired Pastor Rod and have always appreciated his zeal and passion for the Lord. Now, as Pastor of Sanctuary church in Beaumont, there is new depth of wisdom that refreshingly poured over us at the retreat. Rod, should you read this: Thank you so much for being willing to share your time and wisdom with us!

As usual, the Kingsfield staff enjoyed the time together. The fun together was one thing. The bonding and the instruction taken together was invaluable.

But next time, it's catch phrase or nothing!!!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Happy Birthday Zizzabiss!

Hello All,

That's right: Our littlest Sanchez, version 3.0, the precious surprise has turned the page on year three! Now at 4 years old, she is only one year away from being able to drink coke and have gum, though she has already experienced both on numerous occasions. Yes, she is quite sneaky...takes after her mother!

Elizabeth is the most energetic and naturally funny of the three. She's also likely the toughest! I have seen her take on her older sister and her older brother and win...easily!

We love our little girl and we look forward to all that she has in front of her. I know that the Lord is going to use her in special ways.

Happy Birthday Zizz. We love you!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Here Kitty Kitty!

The Music And The Story Are Just Amazing...Thanks to the Kneppers for this classic find!

Monday, December 01, 2008

A Unique Feeling

Hello All,

Before I get to the occasion of my post, I wanted to acknowledge that Frank The Whale Whisperer has won an overwhelming victory in the Facebook profile race. There was never really a serious challenge. It was Obama-esque in it's domination...don't read too much into that!

Yesterday, I had the unique experience of preparing my current drum student for her first live drumming experience. It was different on several fronts. First, she is the only student that I have had, that I am aware of, that has not concurrently been "working" in some capacity. All of her experience thus far has been clinical/theoretical in nature.

Second, she is the only female drum student to make it to her first live drum experience under my tutelage. I might be a bit sexist in that remark, and I do know that there are phenomenol female drummers out in the world. I personally admire Hillary Jones, Cindy Blackmon and Terri Lynne Carrington and the skills that they bring to the set.

Finally, the third unique feature about this current student is that she is not working out with me as the worship leader/band director. With previous students, they have played in a band that I was leading. Having developed a rapport, as well as a vocabulary, it's easier to communicate and lead to a successful first venture. For all of these reasons, this student is unique, but in a very common place, in terms of a first time musical experience.

There I was with her after church, her parents sitting in the sanctuary with us, and I was trying to download all the information about the songs that she will be playing in a succinct fashion. She was easily able to technically replicate all that I showed her, as she has a natural ear and a very good work ethic.

But again, we were in "the lab." We were sitting in the sanctuary, on my drums, simulating a musical experience, and only myself and her parents sitting nearby. At that moment, I began to realize that this experience would be more than a musical one. And it would take more than musical acumen to "survive!" She would have to face several things that she had never previously given thought to. What would happen when she made her first mistake, an inevitable occurrence sometime? What will she do when she feels all of those faces on her for the first time? What happens when she strikes the drum and no matter how lightly she plays, it might be too loud for someone? The sum of all fears were caving in on me as I grasped the true totality of the situation.

It made me flash back to when I was a 13 year old, sitting in the old sanctuary at the Packinghouse in Redlands. Usually, I would get to the church at around 6AM, accompanying my Mom, who opened the church and ran the daycare for the school. Shortly after arriving, I would go into the sanctuary and pound away on any given drum set. Before long, I was able to play anything, at least in my mind!

But then, the night came when Paul Brill was late for Youth group. I don't remember my age, probably 15, and my Dad, who was the worship leader at the time, told me that I was going to play for Paul. My first song was "I've Waited," which was a difficult (for me at that time) 16th note hand over hand pattern. I sweated it out, fairly certain that I was going to faint, when the first song came to an end. Then it was time for "Pharoah, Pharoah," one of my personal favorites at the time. We had just gotten into the tune when Paul shows up. Now, I was really nervous, as Paul was one of my earliest drum heroes. He sat there smiling, approving of what I was doing and then came up to relieve me. I think that he said something encouraging and then I got off the stage. (I mention that I think it was encouraging, because I would have definitely recalled discouragement! But that was never Paul's way.)

As terrifying as this was, it was also electrifying! I had successfully gone through my first public drum experience and it had gone surprisingly good. (By the way, this was not my first public MUSIC experience, as I played trumpet in elementary school. That experience did not go very well at all! That's a story for another time.)

As I went on from that moment, that Tuesday night, experience led to experience and confidence was added to technique and before I knew it, I was playing with some wonderfully skilled musicians. As I reflect upon Sunday morning (I had played just an hour before my student's lesson), I realize that I did not have one bit of tension or nerves. I am perhaps the most comfortable with a pair of sticks in my hand, but that was not always the way it was.

There were nights before Sunday morning services that I would wake up in fear of missing the alarm clock several times. Other times, I would dream that I was setting up my drums DURING worship, one drum at a time. Then there was the fear of not being good enough or having to do something completely foreign for the first time. These things haunt young players.

Then there is the actual embarrassment of missing an ending or hitting a cymbal during a sensitive moment of prayer. Dropping sticks? Hitting yourself? Poking an eye? All except for the last one (I've worn glasses since the 4th grade...otherwise I would have been 3 for 3!) I've experienced and learned to laugh about it.

All of this is also coupled with the musical excitement of emotionally leading an entire congregation into a place of worship. There is nothing like playing a fill to bring the band back into that amazing chorus and the rush of seeing an entire audience stand to their feet, raising their hands to God. It's almost on cue, but the drummer often signals that moment. There is no better feeling than a great groove and the camaraderie that comes, when everyone smiles and is enjoying a language that is not even understood on a conscious level among the majority of the congregation.

All these things, my drum student will begin to enjoy someday, but first, she must face the fears, the anxieties, the tension and the insecurities that are par for the course when you're a musician. She must learn to navigate through sub par drumsets, equipment malfunctions, discouraging moments of failure and fellow musician's egos. She must experience disillusionment, both at her playing and at the ideology that is prevalent among young Christian musicians that the Christian world is all fair and good. She'll learn to protect herself.

At the same time, she will have to be rescued from herself. She will have to continually check her ego at the door. She will have to prioritize her faith over her instrument, the people that she plays for, over the musical goals she would wish to accomplish. She will have to conduct herself in a manner befitting one in spiritual authority, an unfair disposition, but one that cannot be avoided in the church. She will have to watch her words, her behavior and her personal preferences and liberties, knowing that a good reputation is the hardest thing to establish and the easiest thing to lose. In all of these, the best have failed to take into account to their detriment, the author being no exception.

But mixed with all of these issues, will be the great adventure of learning to apply all that she has learned technically in such a way as to genuinely move from being a technician to a musician, which is to move from being aware to being an artist. Time, plus technique, plus experience, plus mind numbing hard work will bring this young lady to where she wants to be. Someday, she will look back and fondly remember the times of trepidation, and know that they were necessary stepping stones on the climb to artistic success.

In many ways, I see the same thing being true for people in ministry. They know "the book," they have taken in the "theory." Then, real life ministry hits, and the most successful men/women that I know learned how to navigate and adapt to what was authentic, true ministry. These are not the ones who offer the pithy cliche or the pad answer. They know that those words are technically true, but are lacking in any true power for the moment. The true minister takes what he/she learns, applies it sensitively and in a timely manner, and moves from being a technician, to being a minister, again the distinction between technique and artistry!

I wish my student the very best. May she be the godly young exception to every rule that might threaten otherwise. May all of her experience, good and bad, add strength to her convictions and wisdom in her way. While I am uncertain as to what this first real lesson will hold, I know that she will do well.

I hope and pray the same for those aspiring to ministry.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

A Word From Spurgeon

Hello All,

I read this on a neighboring blog a few days ago and thought that you might benefit from it as well. However, before you read, I do not believe that you should read an endorsement of "discernmnent" type ministries, either by Spurgeon or by myself. I am not in favor of Christians looking around at other people's ministries, and "warning" (gossiping) about their practices. Pastor Ed Rea once said to his congregation, that "criticism without personal involvement is judgment." Most of the time, discernment ministries live and thrive on what they have heard, not what they have experienced personally, and therein, I find the offense. However, as Christians, we ARE exhorted to "contend for the faith" by Jude and to "hold fast the form of sound words" by Paul in the New Testament. Let us contend and point our swords in the direction of our enemy, not our family!

Now, Mr. Spurgeon has the floor...

The Downgrade Controversy
by C.H. Spurgeon

"The case is mournful. Certain ministers are making infidels. Avowed atheists are not a tenth as dangerous as those preachers who scatter doubt and stab at faith. A plain man told us the other day that two ministers had derided him because he thought we should pray for rain. A gracious woman bemoaned in my presence that a precious promise in Isaiah which had comforted her had been declared by her minister to be uninspired. It is a common thing to hear working-men excuse their wickedness by the statement that there is no hell, "the parson says so." But we need not prolong our mention of painful facts. Germany was made unbelieving by her preachers, and England is following in her track. Attendance at places of worship is declining, and reverence for holy things is vanishing; and we solemnly believe this to be largely attributable to the scepticism which has flashed from the pulpit and spread among the people. Possibly the men who uttered the doubt never intended it to go so far; but none the less they have done the ill, and cannot undo it. Their own observation ought to teach them better. Have these advanced thinkers filled their own chapels? Have they, after all, prospered through discarding the old methods? Possibly, in a few cases genius and tact have carried these gentry over the destructive results of their ministry; but in many cases their pretty new theology has scattered their congregations. In meeting-houses holding a thousand, or twelve hundred, or fifteen hundred, places once packed to the ceiling with ardent hearers, how small are the numbers now! We would mention instances, but we forbear. The places which the gospel filled the new nonsense has emptied, and will keep empty.

This fact will have little influence with "the cultured"; for, as a rule, they have cultivated a fine development of conceit. "Yes," said one, whose pews held only here and there a worshipper, "it will always be found that in proportion as the preacher's mind enlarges, his congregation diminishes." These destroyers of our churches appear to be as content with their work as monkeys with their mischief. That which their fathers would have lamented they rejoice in: the alienation of the poor and simple-minded from their ministry they accept as a compliment, and the grief of the spiritually-minded they regard as an evidence of their power. Truly, unless the Lord had kept his own we should long before this have seen our Zion ploughed as a field.

The other day we were asked to mention the name of some person who might be a suitable pastor for a vacant church, and the deacon who wrote said, "Let him be a converted man, and let him be one who believes what he preaches; for there are those around us who give us the idea that they have neither part nor lot in the matter." This remark is more commonly made than we like to remember, and there is, alas! too much need for it. A student from a certain college preached to a congregation we sometimes visit such a sermon that the deacon said to him in the vestry, "Sir, do you believe in the Holy Ghost?" The youth replied, "I suppose I do." To which the deacon answered, "I suppose you do not, or you would not have insulted us with such false doctrine." A little plain-speaking would do a world of good just now. These gentlemen desire to be let alone. They want no noise raised. Of course thieves hate watch-dogs, and love darkness. It is time that somebody should spring his rattle, and call attention to the way in which God is being robbed of his glory, and man of his hope.

It now becomes a serious question how far those who abide by the faith once delivered to the saints should fraternize with those who have turned aside to another gospel. Christian love has its claims, and divisions are to be shunned as grievous evils; but how far are we justified in being in confederacy with those who are departing from the truth? It is a difficult question to answer so as to keep the balance of the duties. For the present it behooves believers to be cautious, lest they lend their support and countenance to the betrayers of the Lord. It is one thing to overleap all boundaries of denominational restriction for the truth's sake: this we hope all godly men will do more and more. It is quite another policy which would urge us to subordinate the maintenance of truth to denominational prosperity and unity. Numbers of easy-minded people wink at error so long as it is committed by a clever man and a good-natured brother, who has so many fine points about him. Let each believer judge for himself; but, for our part, we have put on a few fresh bolts to our door, and we have given orders to keep the chain up; for, under color of begging the friendship of the servant, there are those about who aim at robbing THE MASTER.

We fear it is hopeless ever to form a society which can keep out men base enough to profess one thing and believe another; but it might be possible to make an informal alliance among all who hold the Christianity of their fathers. Little as they might be able to do, they could at least protest, and as far as possible free themselves of that complicity which will be involved in a conspiracy of silence. If for a while the evangelicals are doomed to go down, let them die fighting, and in the full assurance that their gospel will have a resurrection when the inventions of "modern thought" shall be burned up with fire unquenchable."

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, November 24, 2008

You Pick My New Facebook Profile Pic


This may be the most trivial post I have ever posted, but I do not care! You are my friends and you should have a say in the "what picture should Frank use for his new facebook profile picture" sweepstakes. Sure, you have more important things to do. So do I! But the world will not stop if you take a moment to vote. However, when the pic shows up in facebook, if you are a friend of mine, remember that if you are dissatisfied, you have only yourself to blame!

You may vote your conscience in the comments section. I will vote for my favorite, so if nobody comments, then I will have won by default and you may not want that. Here you go:

Frank, The Serious Cyclops
Frank, The Happy Borg!Frank, The Whale Whisperer!
My vote, along with my reasoning will be in the comments section. Incidently, if my wife had a facebook (She does not...) I would choose one of these two pics:

Lela, The Pseudo Scared Adventurer

Lela, Such A Babe She Makes Whales Swoon!
Alright, enough levity! Now: VOTE!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Maybe The Blind Should Lead The Blind!

Hello All,

As many of you are aware, my 35th birthday just passed this last Monday. By Wednesday night, the night of my Home Fellowship, I was pretty sure that all the festivities were past. I was wrong, as my wife surprised me with a quick getaway to San Diego's Gaslamp District on Friday. My wife loves surprises and I have to admit that while I loathe being surprised, I love what happens when my wife does it, for it ends up just being us, doing what we love to do. That means eating, sleeping, hanging, talking and driving, without children! (We love our children of course!)

She picked me up after the Women's study on Friday (she leads worship there...I am in my office...I don't attend women's events!) and we went to one of my favorite places for lunch, the NYC Cafe. After an incredible Corned Beef sandwich, my favorite on the planet, we made a spur of the moment decision to go down to Sea World. Funny, but being without the kids seemed to open up a whole new world of discovery, as we slowly, leisurely explored the now very familiar Sea World ground, finding fish that we had never seen and enjoying the excellent day of weather. Among the more enjoyable exhibits, the stonefish provided us with prolonged delight, as their feeding was completely fascinating. I know: I'm a nerd!

After Sea World, it felt wrong, but I needed to eat at Red Lobster. I was just dying for some fish! All day at Sea World, every time, I ask the question, "What does it taste like?" Thankfully, most of the time, I am unable to act upon my craving for lack of duckets! We found a Red Lobster, (awfully close to Sea World by the way...hmm?) sat and ate, talked for a while and enjoyed a sweet cuisine. By the way, if you are good at saving, love seafood and want to splurge a little, I highly recommend the wood fired Tilapia. It was brilliant! Throw some crab legs on there and you've got a fine feast.

The next morning, Lela and I walked slowly over to Starbucks, taking in the giant buildings all around us, musing that we could never live in such a place. On the way, we saw a blind man walking on the other side of the street. As usual, my heart went out to him. I wondered what it was like to be blind and wished that I could be helpful, but he seemed to have everything in hand, so Lela and I continued walking a little bit until we entered the Green house of Caffeinated bliss.

Funny, but in the city, there are no seats inside or outside of the Starbucks. The barista with the dreadlocks told us that usually people would just walk in from work and walk back to their desks. It was a little bit of a bummer, but it set us up for what became quite a comical turn of events.

We came out of the coffee shop and saw the blind man across the street being instructed by a man in a nearby car. At first it seemed like the man was yelling something insulting, which really boiled my blood. I realized that he was just being loud and was trying to help the blind man, who now appeared really lost. I felt compelled to take the opportunity to help this man. I crossed the street in hopes of making a difference in this man's day and life.

I came up to the man, who was obviously homeless and also, almost necessarily eccentric. In a bit of irony, the man was wearing a toupee. Let that sink in. Think about that for a second!

Immediately, the man let's us know that he is going to be alright and that we should not worry about him. I had prefaced my approach with a supposed sensitivity to that very thought. I told him, "You probably don't need our help, but you can have it if you need it." I thought that that was pretty clever, but I think that I might have tipped him off to my own insecurity.

He sounded like Peter Sellers from the Pink Panther and was explaining that he just wanted to find the Bank Of America. He had that kind of Frenchman's accent and I would have sworn it sounded "Clouseau"esque. I wanted to know where his accent was from, and so I asked the obvious question pertaining to his origin. With every question, he answered with a question of his own that mirrored mine. "Where are YOU from?," "Where is YOUR family from?," etc. I am slow, but I finally understood that he did not want to divulge information to a stranger who now knew that he was going to a bank. Alright Frank, strike one.

So now, it's time to try to lead this man to the bank. I start walking and do not even notice that the man is not keeping pace with me. He has a cane and is trying not to trip! I am looking for where the bank is, but cannot really see it. Meanwhile, Lela is walking with the blind man, trying to talk him through the next movement.

I think that I see the bank in the distance and offer that information. I look back and Lela is trying to lead the man and I am trying to insist that he just look...oh, yeah, he's blind!

"It's just over here..." I say, as the words escape my lips, but the idea has obviously not run through any filter of thought. Strike two Frank!

Finally, we get to the bank, in what seemed like an hour long process and the blind man begins his descent down the stairs to the ATM. I think of remarking, "The ATM is right there. Do you see it?" but don't. Thankfully, I avoided strike three!

In the words of Kung Fu Panda, I probably sucked more at helping a blind guy than anyone in the history of sucking! I was truly terrible. I could not have been more confusing or insensitive than I was! Thankfully, it wasn't embarrassing to my wife, who mostly just wanted to laugh at me, but I left wondering just how much worse I made this guy's life! He was probably totally relieved that I left.

I wondered at the spiritual applications of this episode. How futile was it to try to lead a man who does not have a sense that I possess. I can see. I use my eyes all of the time to lead me. To a man without that sense, it's useless for me to attempt to lead him the way I myself might find anything. I wonder how often Christians do the same thing, with their Christianese or the superimposition of their law of morality. A non-Christian does not understand the vernacular and has no reason to follow the law of God. In fact, for a person outside of a covenant relationship to Christ, I would question their sanity for wanting to! To do so would make no sense at all.

I feel that while this is a bit of a stretch spiritually, I do feel that this episode reminds me of the fact that I cannot just want to help someone. I need to have the inclination and then have the wisdom to ask the Lord to quicken me to ways that might be effective in attaining that goal. Too often, men and women are stymied by a desire that is not backed by wisdom. The next time, I'll ask the Lord's help and listen to the blind man. I might just serve him better, instead of serving my own need to help, a subtle difference.

If I could just learn to ask the unbelievers in my life, "How can I address you with respect and listen to what you need to learn about God without assuming that I can just use my resource to guide you along?" What do they need, what do I want to give and what is the difference?

Maybe that's the lesson.

Maybe I just need to leave the blind guy alone.

Maybe we should have stayed in our room!

In any event, I do pray that somehow that man, in later evaluation, realized that somebody cared for him and at least attempted to help him.

Maybe God will redeem that situation.

Maybe you'll laugh.

Maybe that's all it happened for.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Session #1 From "The Practical Redemption Of Man"

Hello All,

This is an experiment. I have long wanted to share what it is that I teach, as that is a large part of what I do. A few people have asked if I would do this someday, and I may have found a way to do it using badongo. Now granted, these people are simply my Mother and Grandmother, but if I'm not blogging for them, then I'm not blogging for anyone! If this works, then I'll also share music from time to time of things that I have recorded on. For now, the file that is supposed to be available is the first teaching I did in a series entitled "The Providence Of God And The Practical Redemption Of Man" which is essentially the life of Joseph. I have definitely gone to the John Piper school of series naming! You can download the file here (http://www.badongo.com/file/12163376) for 50 days or I think, listen on the link provided below. You can also check the notes and discussion questions that I wrote here.

Photo Sharing and File Hosting at Badongo.com

Let's see if this works...

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Saturday, November 15, 2008

People Were Pretty Kind To Me This Week

Hello All,

The other day, the our staff was assembled together after the staff meeting, sitting around and joking as usual, when Carrie brought the offering box up to the room. She was bringing it to finish collecting the offering and had noticed that the lock mechanism had been tampered with. Of course, Jonathan Knepper, the world's most resourceful person, was able to simply put the mechanism back into place and a minor crisis was averted. We opened the box and pulled out the usual checks and connection cards, when at the bottom, a regular card was found with my name on it.

Being the suspicious type, I checked for ticking and then held the card up to the light to see if there was any powder emanating from said envelope. I was glad to see that it was "clean." I slowly opened it and saw a Black Angus gift card with a really sweet note from one of the members of Kingsfield Church. It really blessed my day.

I went into to tell my wife that I was going to take her to dinner on Friday night. We went last night and had an excellent night together.

I regret that I do not know who gave me that card, but if you happen to read here: Thank you very much! The timing was perfect and the food was delicious. Thank you for thinking of me and for your kindness.

And speaking of kindness, the very next day, I arrived to a bit of a surprise. You see, it's my birthday on Monday. I have never been real keen on birthday celebrations for myself. If it were up to me, I might just skip it. Of course, every year, I am reminded that it's certainly not up to me!

I had been as cryptic about my birthday as possible, but our crack staff, lead ably by the Celebration Committee (Carrie And Simone), ascertained the precise date of my birthday by using their powers of observation, their skills at arriving at a date by context clues and by simply asking my wife, who apparently gave up the information with little to no prodding!

So Thursday, I get to church, as I do every morning, at 8:49AM. There is immediately something askew, for there are other cars in the parking lot! I am always the first one there, by at least 5 minutes. Immediately, I suspect that I am about to be "surprised."

My fears are further exacerbated by the eerie silence that greets me atop the stairs. Another thing about our staff is our aversion to silence. If we are in the room together for more than 60 seconds, there is laughter and joking and usually, a Youtube video. This particular morning, it was deadly silent. "Where could they be? What exactly was I in for?"

I decided to step into my office to drop off my stuff and investigate. Coming around the corner, I hear a strange siren sound. Now I know something is seriously amiss. I come down the corridor to my office, put the key in the door and...


They are all in my office!! Balloons are everywhere, "Happy Birthday Frank" sign on my window and a grip of Cherry and Strawberry Starburst on my mouse pad, separated specially by Carrie Allen! Of course, the obligatory rendering of that classic tune "Happy Birthday" was attempted, with somewhat cacophonous results, but as they say, it was the thought that counted!

I laughed and was thankful for their effort and their love, which is always apparent. I was grateful, not so much for the celebration, but for the celebrants, who have become a rich part of my life. There was Chris Norman, a brother who I've know since 1991 and then when we were both in Attila's band together in the mid 90's. Chris Reinhardt, who I've known since he was 11 years old. Carrie, Jonathan and Simone, who have been great new friends and allies since my coming on staff almost two years ago now. I felt lucky to be there and to receive the love from them. Even though I am a grumpy, reluctant birthday celebrater, these friends drew me out and made my day!

I wish that that day would have ended right there or that I could just skip to the great Chipotle lunch that the staff treated me to. However, that's not what happened next! I had a blowout at the bank that I make a deposit for the church for! Right on my way in to the parking lot, minutes after the great celebration! Thankfully, the staff's joyous surprise carried over and I did not worry much about this. In fact, the occasion caused me to laugh even more when at the tire place, just seconds from the bank, I spotted this abnormality:

It made me laugh in that moment, though now, I think it's pretty silly to have laughed at a giant remote! I think it was a little of God's grace for that moment and the touch of kindness from my friends.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The State Of The New Union

Hello All,

In visiting a neighboring blog, I came across this cogent piece of material written by Dr. Al Mohler about our new President and the state of issues that continue to press in upon evangelicals. I felt that he wrote it better than I could have and felt that there were many who would benefit from what I feel is a very mature treatment of the subject at hand. I hope that you find it as insightful as I did.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

by Dr. Al Mohler
The election of Sen. Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States came as a bang, not a whimper. The tremors had been perceptible for days, maybe even weeks. On Tuesday, America experienced nothing less than a political and cultural earthquake.

The margin of victory for the Democratic ticket was clear. Americans voted in record numbers and with tangible enthusiasm. By the end of the day, it was clear that Barack Obama would be elected with a majority of the popular vote and a near landslide in the Electoral College. When President-Elect Obama greeted the throngs of his supporters in Chicago's Grant Park, he basked in the glory of electoral energy.

For many of us, the end of the night brought disappointment. In this case, the disappointment is compounded by the sense that the issues that did not allow us to support Sen. Obama are matters of life and death -- not just political issues of heated debate. Furthermore, the margin of victory and sense of a shift in the political landscape point to greater disappointments ahead. We all knew that so much was at stake.

For others, the night was magical and momentous. Young and old cried tears of amazement and victory as America elected its first African-American President -- and elected him overwhelmingly. Just forty years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, an African-American stood to claim victory as President-Elect of the nation. As Sen. Obama assured the crowd in Chicago and the watching nation, "We will get there. We will get there." No one hearing those words could fail to hear the refrain of plaintive words spoken in Memphis four decades ago. President-Elect Obama would stand upon the mountaintop that Dr. King had foreseen.

That victory is a hallmark moment in history for all Americans -- not just for those who voted for Sen. Obama. As a nation, we will never think of ourselves the same way again. Americans rich and poor, black and white, old and young, will look to an African-American man and know him as President of the United States. The President. The only President. The elected President. Our President.

Every American should be moved by the sight of young African-Americans who -- for the first time -- now believe that they have a purchase in American democracy. Old men and old women, grandsons and granddaughters of slaves and slaveholders, will look to an African-American as President.

Regardless of politics, could anyone remain unmoved by the sight of Jesse Jackson crying alone amidst the crowd in Chicago? This dimension of Election Day transcends politics and touches the heart of the American people.

Yet, the issues and the politics remain. Given the scale of the Democratic victory, the political landscape will be completely reshaped. The fight for the dignity and sanctity of unborn human beings has been set back by a great loss, and by the election of a President who has announced his intention to sign the Freedom of Choice Act into law. The struggle to protect marriage against its destruction by redefinition is now complicated by the election of a President who has declared his aim to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. On issue after issue, we face a longer, harder, and more protracted struggle than ever before.

Still, we must press on as advocates for the unborn, for the elderly, for the infirm, and for the vulnerable. We must redouble our efforts to defend marriage and the integrity of the family. We must be vigilant to protect religious liberty and the freedom of the pulpit. We face awesome battles ahead.

At the same time, we must be honest and recognize that the political maps are being redrawn before our eyes. Will the Republican Party decide that conservative Christians are just too troublesome for the party and see the pro-life movement as a liability? There is the real danger that the Republicans, stung by this defeat, will adopt a libertarian approach to divisive moral issues and show conservative Christians the door.

Others will declare these struggles over, arguing that the election of Sen. Obama means that Americans in general -- and many younger Evangelicals in particular -- are ready to "move on" to other issues. This is no time for surrender or the abandonment of our core principles. We face a much harder struggle ahead, but we have no right to abandon the struggle.

We should look for opportunities to work with the new President and his administration where we can. We must hope that he will lead and govern as the bridge-builder he claimed to be in his campaign. We must confront and oppose the Obama administration where conscience demands, but work together where conscience allows.

Evangelical Christians face another challenge with the election of Sen. Obama, and a failure to rise to this challenge will bring disrepute upon the Gospel, as well as upon ourselves. There must be absolutely no denial of the legitimacy of President-Elect Obama's election and no failure to accord this new President the respect and honor due to anyone elected to that high office. Failure in this responsibility is disobedience to a clear biblical command.

Beyond this, we must commit ourselves to pray for this new President, for his wife and family, for his administration, and for the nation. We are commanded to pray for rulers, and this new President faces challenges that are not only daunting but potentially disastrous. May God grant him wisdom. He and his family will face new challenges and the pressures of this office. May God protect them, give them joy in their family life, and hold them close together.

We must pray that God will protect this nation even as the new President settles into his role as Commander in Chief, and that God will grant peace as he leads the nation through times of trial and international conflict and tension.

We must pray that God would change President-Elect Obama's mind and heart on issues of our crucial concern. May God change his heart and open his eyes to see abortion as the murder of the innocent unborn, to see marriage as an institution to be defended, and to see a host of issues in a new light. We must pray this from this day until the day he leaves office. God is sovereign, after all.

Without doubt, we face hard days ahead. Realistically, we must expect to be frustrated and disappointed. We may find ourselves to be defeated and discouraged. We must keep ever in mind that it is God who raises up nations and pulls them down, and who judges both nations and rulers. We must not act or think as unbelievers, or as those who do not trust God.

America has chosen a President. President-Elect Barack Obama is that choice, and he faces a breathtaking array of challenges and choices in days ahead. This is the time for Christians to begin praying in earnest for our new President. There is no time to lose.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Night Before An Election

Hello All,

There is nothing left to say for the two candidates. Tonight, like the rest of the United States, they will sleep and wonder if their road continues or if it comes to an end. One man will emerge victorious, another man will face defeat. In the middle of it all, God sits on His throne, unmoved, unchanged, unchallenged. He calls to both men and calls them to surrender themselves to His will. Prayerfully, both will respond to His kindness and love.

Tomorrow, responsible, godly Christians will go to their voting places and put their convictions on the ballot. Christians on both sides of the aisle (Yes, you can be a Christian if you belong to THAT party and vote for THAT guy!) will be moved to represent what they believe God has led them to vote. Ballot initiatives and the people on the corners of virtually every street in your town have done their best to sway you. The rubber meets the road tomorrow when you vote your belief.

Tomorrow night, perhaps late into the evening, we will know what God already knows. We will hear of one candidate who will have a new address come January 09'. It might be hard to believe, and difficult to comprehend, but that man, whoever he will be, has been appointed by our God to rule! Our posture will be to pray for that man, as he will face incredible challenges that none of us could ever imagine.

May God give Him wisdom; May He give us mercy!

In the meantime, we wait, we pray and we rest in the God who can never change and whose rule and ultimate plan is never thwarted, whose will will always come to pass!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Blast! A Photo Retrospective

BLAST! The Day After

Hello All,

"Kingsfield Church knows what it means to have a Blast!" That's the cheesy line that I came up with in my head, that I imagined would make a great radio commercial, complete with heavy metal music in the background. Yeah, I know: I didn't miss my calling!

Yesterday was our version of a Halloween alternative party, which culminated in a fun free for all Friday evening. The staff has been planning this celebration for some time now, lead by the incredible Administrative tour de force, Carrie Allen, who masterfully put together one amazing night of fun. (For a look into some of the "before" activity, check out this post on Carr ie's blog.) Everything came off brilliantly, as she arranged and ordered up some incredibly fun equipment. Kudos Carrie. You did an amazing job!

And kudos belong to the staff and the Kingsfield volunteer force as well, who executed the vision! The Amazing Maze, constructed by Jono Knepper, again employing more cardboard than has ever been assembled in one place, has become a thing of legendary proportions. Chris Reinhardt, the ma
ster of crisis management, again triumphed over the problems of the unseen and unplanned for! Simone Knepper and yours truly, in separate vehicles of course, ventured out in all directions, purchasing last minute items from all corners of South County, braving the traffic, purchasing fish (Simone) and living with the dangers of packing a van to the limit with food for a projected 600 people (Frank)! Brenda Paternostro, with her calm and godly demeanor, quietly and effectively came alongside and made sure that important things were not left undone or uncovered. ("That candy in the sun can't be good!")

As for the volunteer force, well, they were just awesome. From blowing up a gazillion balloons to setting up tables and centerpieces, painting pumpkins to building booths, to cleaning up late into the evening, they performed with distinction
. I would name all that I can remember here, but I'm afraid I would leave someone out and I don't wish to offend. You know who you are: Thank you so much! We could not have done it without your awesome assistance!

Of course, today, every part of my old body is in pain! A 16 hour day, mostly on my feet, caused the skin to completely erode from my feet. The bones in my feet are now touching the floor! It's brutal! My back, my neck, my hands all scream to me: YOU ARE SO OLD!!!

And so I am! But as you can see from the pictures of my kids, they had a BLAST! Of course, they represent the bulk of the hundreds that were there. So long as that happened, it was worth every minute yesterday and every ache today!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, October 27, 2008

What Did I Do Before Al Gore Invented The Internet?

Hello All,

As many of you know, I am an Internet Ranger! I love surfing the web, finding everything and anything that I might want to know about. Over the last several months, I have been especially enjoying a few websites that many of you may or may not know about. I figured that I would include my top ten favorite sites that are admittedly more entertainment driven. (I would include favorite Christian sites, but am afraid of stumbling Christian people who feel certain people are too ___________ reformed/intellectual/charismatic/political, etc.). So I felt that maybe this would engender a more relaxed enjoyable vibe for all of who like to seek some entertainment in our lives that fits our particular filters. At the same time, if you would feel so inclined, I would love you to share some of your favorites with me in the comment section. These are the sites that I enjoy late into the night, well past my kids and wife's bedtime! Beware: In order to keep your life in balance, you might have to keep such hours to enjoy any or all of these!

These are in no particular order, as each one is my favorite depending on my mood.

#10 Facebook & Soup. I have a Facebook and my very own "soup." My "soup" is where all my blogs end up when they have been posted. But whenever I upload to flickr, the photos appear there as well. It's a great catch-all for the things that I write. With my soup page, I generally like to fool around with the layout. I like that there is one place for all my blogs and pics, to go. Facebook, my only social utility, has really been a lot of fun. I like the fact that I have caught up with so many friends that I have not seen or heard from in several years. On one particular night recently, I chatted with a friend who I have not seen since my days in the Saturday Night Life band. When he "friended me," I was shocked that he even remembered who I was. But one thing led to another and I chatted with him until 12:30 one evening. We caught up and it was good to see that he had remained faithful to the Lord, even participating in music ministry. If you are a Facebook user, feel free to friend me, or go over and have a little Frank Sanchez Soup!

#9 Pandora Radio. Imagine you are studying deep in the evening hours and you need a little mood music. Your iTunes library, well over 5,000 songs, does not have any Neil Diamond. You consider, "What sort of weird food did I consume to want to study to Neil Diamond?" Once you get over the fact that such random events occur to even the most ardent anti-Neil person, you reconcile that you must satiate this feeling, or lose the momentum that you have gained in your study. Where do you go for a little "Sweet Caroline?" Pandora.

Pandora takes requests and allows you to check out mixes of tunes according to genre. You simply type in Neil Diamond and it picks a list of tunes that fit that...ahem...genre! And the kicker: It's totally free! My favorite word!!

#8 Bloglines. Have a lot of friends with blogs? Back in the day, you had to go to each individual url to find out if they had updated their sites. If you have a lot of friends, this could cause you to have to deal with carpal tunnel syndrome, as you navigated to each and every blogspot that there is. And if you have friends who have a blog, but have never actually blogged twice, this could be a frustrating exercise. Bloglines feels your pain. Bloglines has come to the rescue.

With one click, you can check on all of your friends from one place. You subscribe to their blog and if they have updated it, the sidebar will show up with their names boldened, indicating that there is some juicy news that you can now consume about them. Bloglines rocks!

#7 Dark UFO. No, this does not have to do with Unidentified Flying Objects. This peculiar name represents the best of the LOST community sites that I check out during the LOST television series. Want to see some screencaps? How about the latest theory on why Locke is in the coffin? Want to vote on your favorite LOST icon, character or episode? It's all right here! There are several other lost sites, but for my time, I like to spend a few minutes here. It's a fun place for a LOST-O-HOLIC like myself.

#6 House Of Drumming. I discovered this gem of a website back in 1999 while doing a Google search for Vinnie Colaiuta, my favorite, and indeed the world's greatest living drummer! It's run by a drummer from Hollywood, who himself has some serious chops, Steve Holmes, and boasts an incredible array of drummers who gather weekly on the HOD forum. This is where I get all the info on current happenings within the Jazz fusion arena that I love the most. Where Vinnie or Dave or Steve will be playing or what happened when they played last, will undoubtedly appear here. Or, if I have a question about the drums, I am able to get a solid, professional answer here. Of course with any site, there are some threads that are useless, but the predominant feel of HOD is fantastic for any serious drummer. You might also want to check out drummerworld.com or...

#5 Drum Channel. Amazing drum stuff. Great new instructional material, live streaming drum concerts that are killer! It's just getting started up, but I already have learned quite a bit from this brilliant site. It's a by drummers, for drummers site. Nothing more needs to be said.

#4 E-How. Wanna know how? So do I! That's why I hang out at eHow. I can get a lot of helpful information there, and you might just be able to figure out anything you would want right there as well. The great thing is that it's all video instruction. No typing or reading. You can watch whatever you want to learn, done right before your eyes! Cool!

#3 Wizzard TV. Alright, so I love OLD stuff! The Twilight Zone, and old comedians like Abbot and Costello, Jack Benny and Steve Allen. And while Wizzard TV does not have all of these guys, they have a few. What's cool is hearing an old radio broadcast, complete with campiness, commericials and all. One of my favorites thus far is the Zero Hour, which was a suspense half hour drama, spread out over 5 installments. Rod Serling, the voice of the Twilight Zone, is the MC and is just plain creepy. It is a lot of fun for those who have a good imagination.

#2 YouTube. Now, you cannot go wrong here when you are looking for some great entertainment. For those who have read this blog, or my drum blog, you have seen some incredible stuff. The Korean Drummer, "Ken Lee" and of course, the Sanchez family videos, are all on this great site. In addition, there are also fantastic instructional vids, as well as really cool documentaries. I watched a Rod Serling documentary a month ago that was better than anything on T.V. that night, by far. And just a little trick for everyone, though I am pretty sure that I might be the last one at the dance on this one, but if you put in "&fmt=18" after any YouTube address, you can see it in superior quality if it was uploaded in high quality.

#1 Hulu. Now, I think that I might have misrepresented myself here. Either that or my subconscious has rooted out my favorite website. Hulu is the place where I almost literally watch all the T.V. that my schedule might have made me miss. I can watch new shows, like "Fringe" or I can get a blast to the past, like the Incredible Hulk from the 70's. This site is incredible! Anyone remember "Alf?" How about the "White Shadow?" It's all fun, all at my command! And what about movies? Well, you can take your pick, cause there are plenty to choose from. Hulu is definitely my favorite site this year.

Well, there it is. Remember: These sites are meant to be enjoyed AFTER all other things are put in order. Don't neglect your walk with the Lord, your family (something these sites tempt you to do) or your work. But when you have the time, there's nothing else to do, and you have some time to explore, take a look at some of these sites for some fun.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez