Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Call To Pray For The Laurie Family

Hello All,

Most of you are aware that Pastor Greg Laurie's oldest son Christopher passed away last Thursday in an automobile accident in South County. He was on his way into work (he worked at Harvest and was responsible for the graphic design for this years Harvest Crusade promotional campaign) and passed away near a very heavily congested area of the 91 freeway. Sadly, he leaves behind a young wife, a young 2 year old daughter and a child on the way. Last Sunday, Pastor Greg addressed his congregation, which was shared on YouTube. The message, which was not a message, was very touching and I thought that I might post it here, both to demonstrate the victory of faith, and the power of God's redemption of such a tragic loss. This will encourage you, and give you another reason to hug and kiss your children, even if they are older!

Pastor Greg has had a tremendous impact upon my life personally, as he led altar calls that I responded to years ago (mid-80's) at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside. I went down the aisle several times over several weeks, just to be sure that I was saved! Pastor Greg is truly an annointed evangelist. In addition, he is my parents' Pastor, so I know members of his church family who are grieving along with him.

While I do not know Pastor Greg personally, my heart broke for he and his family last Thursday when I was told, shortly after returning from lunch that his son had passed away. Our family grieves in our spirit and offer our most sincere condolences.

The private funeral is scheduled for Friday (tomorrow) morning. I ask that we pray for the entire Laurie family, and that the Lord would comfort and minister to them in the coming days and weeks, especially as Pastor Greg prepares for the Harvest Crusades, an event that he and his son Christopher worked together on.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cool In Every Way

Hello All,

Today was just great. First of all, it's July and every morning begins with an overcast sunrise. The sun burns it off and then it's warm for a while. Then in the evening, the cool air returns as the sun goes down. I was thinking about Summer in the I.E. or in Spain. In either place, a July day began with sun, heat and loads of sweat. In fact, what I "miss" is having to go out to the parking lot to my car, remove the towel from my steering wheel and waiting to move in until the air conditioning brings down the internal temperature to just below inhumane! Another favorite summertime constant was "forearm sweat." All this to say, I am so happy to enjoy this summer in typical O.C. style!

The second piece of cool is that Vacation Bible School is in full swing at Kingsfield Church. Today, I even got in on the action, playing the part of Pastor Pablo in the skit. Yes, playing Pastor Pablo was not much of a stretch. I did feel that I could have stretched out and played a Pastor from some other race, say a Swede for example, but as I heard "Holas" rain in the hallways from all of the kids, I knew I had done my part. Perhaps next year, I'll be allowed to play Pastor Sven from Sweden. I think that I have sufficient range, I just need some people to stop casting me in the Mexican Pastor role.

On a quick side note, I have been having a lot of fun trying to convince my kids that I and Pastor Pablo are two different people. "It just so happens that he looks a lot like me." "Really, do I own a sombrero?" By the end of the day, I think I might have convinced Caleb that Pastor Pablo is an entirely different person, which is also pretty cool!

Finally, the last and best "cool" thing that I am celebrating in this post, was the conversion of a person who came into my office at the final hour of the day. It was a wonderful experience that I have been privileged to have many times before. But this is always so amazing. Each time carries with it an exceptional blessing. And it always happens the same way: Someone comes in and I have this immediate openness to them. There is an instant compassion that goes beyond the norm.

I attribute this to the humility that accompanies people in this condition. They are not sure what to say or think. They are not hampered by Christianese or silly theological theorems, so they just shoot straight, which is utterly refreshing. They are so open to the Lord and so easy to win because God has already done all of the work in softening their hearts and drawing them to Himself. All I need to do is seal the deal. I don't need to convince them or fight through all of the usual "objections." With a person like the one who came into my office, all I have to do is point them in the right direction. As I led this person to Christ, I rejoiced in my spirit and thanked the Lord for the chance to participate in this person's redemption.

Now, please don't misunderstand me. I realize that there is a place for contending for the faith, and apologetics in this world. I appreciate men and women who minister in this way and I can do this. With a person like the one who came into my office today, I'll sit and answer honest objections until I am unable to do so. I enjoy that kind of discourse. But when a person is just disingenuously distracting from the issue of personal commitment to Christ, then I lose all interest.

To this brother, I write: Thank you for responding to Jesus Christ! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share His love and grace to you!

Alright, so the final cool thing for this evening...this is the 300th post that I have written! "Gee whiz, how much more can he write about?" We'll see.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Friday, July 25, 2008


For Full Story, See Post Below...

Renae Has Something To Show You

Hello All,

Some of you may be aware that Renae has had a lingering condition for quite some time: "Looses Toothes!" Yesterday, the blessed event occurred, as that pesky front tooth finally loosened, with significant help from Renae. Actually, I may have Alex Nogy, one of the best babysitters in America, to thank, as I seem to recall that she might have encouraged some special loosening movements that inspired Renae.

Of course, who needs inspiration when you still believe in the tooth fairy. As most of you are aware, the tooth fairy does not exist (sorry to disappoint you Mike and Rich!), but to Renae, the knowledge of a little profit from the tooth fairy brings great excitement. At this point, I want to say that I remember getting significantly less for my teeth and being very content. I know, I know: Inflation, bad economy, cost of living. But $1!? I'm sorry, but for that kind of cash, I might just start doing some sparring with Kimbo Slice!

Anyway, I am (please don't tell Renae...or my brother Mike or Richard!) the proverbial tooth fairy and because I was so tired yesterday evening when I got home, I forgot to put the dollar under Renae's pillow, after I had encouraged her to put her tooth under the pillow! I realized this after I got out of the shower this morning and realized that I was going to have to stealthily put the renumeration under her pillow. Unfortunately, it was now morning and it was bright.

I came in as quietly as I could and was able to fulfill my mission. In typical Hollywood fashion, I had the moment of terror when Renae sighed and moved when I got close to her bed, but thankfully "Frank The Cat" was able to get the job done.

Now, here is the great unveil:

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Thursday, July 24, 2008

All To Grace, How Great A Debtor...

Hello All,

It has been quite a couple of weeks around the old Sanchez home. We have come back from vacation to a torrid church schedule punctuated by Pastor Chris' vacation, which has meant a few extra duties for me. Last night, I had the opportunity to speak for our Wednesday Night service and have begun work on my message for Sunday morning. Tomorrow, I will read about 100 pages of material in preparation for Sunday. Hello iStrain, the latest product from Apple!

The occasion to teach and be taught over these last few weeks have struck a chord with me. I can't help but note the thread that is continually raising it's head over these last few weeks. Pastor Chris began it by talking about freedoms and grey areas from I Corinthians chapter 8. Then last week, Pastor Greg Opean came out to Kingsfield and delivered a masterful sermon on receiving grace. My two sermons that I have given this last week, have been about the greatness of the gospel and the grace that allows depraved humanity the honor of salvation, with the end being the magnified glory of God.

Grace, grace, grace! It seems so easy and natural to embrace the grace. People like Greg make it look so simple. (By the way, Greg Opean is by far, the most grace filled, grace committed person that I know.) But to me, it is difficult to be grace filled, and committed to grace, when things in me want to be ungracious, and unwelcoming. Sometimes, I question the limits and the scope of grace, not verbally, but mentally. I say, "God will save to the uttermost" and teach that with as much conviction as anyone else, but there are people in my life that make me question that statement and there are people in my life that I don't want that to extend to. Again, I say that I don't want to be legalistic, but I find that I want people to proverbially snap back to the grid of normalcy and Christian decency, defined by the perameters of my own experience.

Can this person say, do, play, watch, listen to, believe that? Barriers come to my mind and years of religious training flood my mind, the paradigms of true believers comfort me in my effort to define what I see. Does he/she fit that mold? If not, then not! I am a machine!

I admit freely that I mentally wrestle and have to fight back all of that junk. Being a grace filled believer is not a natural disposition for me. I feel that I have to grab a hold of it and intentionally make myself think correctly. It's hard, I think, probably for all of us.

Take this for example. Everything within me is yelling, "Quit that band...stop singing those lyrics...stop playing those tunes... get into a church...get clean...get like me" and there is the problem! I am playing the part of the Pharisee.

(If for any reason you are unable to view the hyperlink, the video documents a Pastor's journey to a Poison concert, where he meets with a newly saved guitar player and pledges to help him out spiritually. The guitar player in question seems freshly converted and is all enthusiasm.)

Even in consideration of how people can serve the Lord. Grace says let them be what God wants to make them. Legalism and my heart, want to say, "Here are the pre-fabricated models that you can choose from. Would you like this in baby blue or pink!?"

Where are the lines? Who is right? Who is wrong? What is holy and sacred? Where is piety polluted with hypocrisy? When are freedoms sinful? But the question that kills me sometimes is where is all of this coming from in my soul? Why is this a struggle for me?

Is it tradition? Is it that I have spent most of my Christian life with people who look a lot like me, think like me and act like me? Is it that I feel comfortable with lines, demarcations, schedules, boxes, anything with great definition?

Grace makes me feel like the definitions are all gone, or are at the very least, redefined and with every re-definition, with every exception, there are new lines and demarcations to accept. It's a tricky business and it forces my hand in a few major ways, like it does you.

First, it makes me see everyone in their own light. I can't see everyone in the same light, because their exposure to God and His Word will be different. Some will be older and some will be younger. Some will have situations that force their hands, others will have the freedom to choose any path. Either way, this requires relationship and great patience. I much prefer, in my heart of hearts, to see one pattern and force everyone to conform to it.

Second, it makes me feel the sting of humility over and over again. I am humbled when I don't embrace grace and I am humbled when I do. I am humbled at how arrogant I can be when I don't extend grace to others. I am humbled when I embrace grace because it shows me how unnatural a process it took to take place. Grace constantly confronts my opinions and thinking.

Argh! That's what God wants! He wants me not to think that I know it all. He wants me to lean on His grace not only for my relationship with Him, but my relationship with others and the world! If I don't lean hard on the grace, it will wrongly represent Him and His interests. I can't have that. I won't let that happen, even if I have to betray myself! Actually, it's more that I have to slay myself and my flesh!

It kills me that I am this way. I don't want to be this way. Perhaps this is unnerving to those who believe that Pastors have it all together. You might be inclined to think, "Perhaps all the years of teaching, learning and standing in front of people will help." It has because in all that time, I have learned one valuable and indeed, priceless item: I have no choice but to accept the doctrine of grace, because that is what God presents me with. There is no other option! God only shows Himself to be full of grace.

God be gracious to me a sinner! My hands are tied to the grace of my Savior, to save me from myself, to be bigger than my failings, both inward and outward. To grace I am a debtor.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, July 21, 2008

What Does God Like?

Hello All,

Back around Christmas time, the kids and I started to talk about the 10 Commandments. What you are about to see is a very loose interpretation of the 10 Commandments...sort of like biblical interpretation abstract jazz!

Hope you like it.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Hypocrisy Of Cyberspace

Hello All,

I have been musing for some time about this concept. Then I read Blythe's blog the other day where she posted something similar to what I am about to write. (She also wrote a blog article that has brought tremendous peace to our family in particular here. Thank you Blythe!!)

Hypocrisy. It is a concept as old as time itself. The thought that one person can act one way in front of certain people and another when assuming a role on the internet. It's interesting to me, especially as I see it effecting or exposing Christians. We expect duplicity from the world, but while it might be naivete to assume otherwise, we still don't expect to see it from the Christian.

Part of the problem is the continued belief in our mind that automatically separates the secular from the sacred. Christians go to Church and put on the face, which is exactly where the word "hypocrite" comes from, and then leave and return to their "other life," where a whole other set of much more loose regulations, apply.

The privacy of the internet (ironically, the death of privacy) exacerbates this problem. People can strike out at safe distances with their vitriolic bitterness and feel that they are justified for the sake of their self-expression. However, what does that self-expression betray?

The truth is that we have one life. And that one life is on display at all times, in all places. What does that one life communicate to all that are watching?

I kept thinking about this and then read a story this week about a young lady who was a representative of her state in the recent Miss Universe pageant. She was photographed in private with her friends, displaying some very poor behavior. The world responded typically with it's celebration of her poor behavior and loved the story of her self-exposure (nothing nude or pornographic, by the way.), noting that this was not the way a young woman, representing her state, should act in private. The story prompted a response from someone in authority from this girl's state. I read the letter in it's entirety, but this paragraph really stuck out to me.

"Title holders will be reminded that they are public figures and role models whose lives will be scrutinized, especially by those who take pleasure in exposing imperfections, however slight. (Girl in question) will not be the last young person whose clowning behaviors will give the wrong impression to people who do not know her. We can only work toward ensuring that the attention these pictures have generated will be a cautionary tale for all of the title holders in our organization."

I thought that this was a profound way to say that we represent something bigger than ourselves at all times. How much more...those who represent and hold the title "Christian?"

I feel like this drum has been beaten, and will likely need to be beaten again and again, but I am reaching out to a generation who are especially susceptible to that in this blog entry. If I only had your Blogger, Facebook, or Myspace account, what would it say about your relationship with Jesus Christ and His power and influence over the life that He is living through you?

This is not say that you will blog every entry about the Gospel per se! It's not a bad idea and if you are because the Lord has laid that on your heart, then by all means, go for it! But what I am saying is this: Is the Gospel so forefront in your mind, that it changes everything you write?

When you get confused and befuddled, will there be hope in Christ in your "cybervoice?"

When you are angry at the world, will you show how you surrender that emotion to Christ?

When you are tempted to lash out at another person, will you demonstrate how Christ's grace allows you to let love cover a multitude of sins?

I pray that you will. I pray that I will for the sake of Christ's reputation.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Frank Learned How To Swim This Week*

Hello All,

That's right! The above line is no joke: I did in fact learn how to swim just this past Monday evening. It is truly a random happening in my life, as I have always maintained that I had little or no interest in swimming. And as it happened, I actually learned to swim by a complete accident. I have been interested in the use of our pool for certain exercises that might be helpful to me. On Monday night, I was doing one of these exercises, when I tripped in the pool and unconsciously began, defensively, to swim.

I was taken aback, and actually a little embarrassed, even though I was completely alon
e. Somehow, watching my kids swim in this pool that only gets to 5 feet, has rubbed off on me. The motions were there and everything. So I decided to try to purposely repeat what I had just done. I did 5 feet, then 7 feet. I was very surprised that this was happening! It was almost too good to be true. So, tonight, I performed in front of my wife and kids, and they confirmed that I have entered into the world of people who can swim, though I will say that my swimming is confined to one pool in Ladera, and can only be exercised for about 7 to 10 feet. If I don't drown, I'll keep you "a breast stroke" on my progress!!! Swimming humor! I love it!

Some further randomness for this Friday, going into Saturday...actually, it's Saturday already as I write this.

First, I love the internet! Two sites that I have been enjoying this week especially are Hulu and Pandora. I was introduced to them by our staff, those young hipster
s, back at the staff retreat. Hulu is a collection of old and new T.V. shows that can be viewed for free. The kicker there is that they have a few seasons of one of my all time favorite shows from the 80's, Alf. So for those who would like to drop on by and check it out, head on over here. Pandora is the same thing, except that it's involving music that can be listened to for free. All you have to do is set up a free account, enter in the name of the musician you want to listen to and you have a free sampling of music. If you have never been exposed to the music of Paco De Lucia, please do yourself a favor and enjoy some authentic, virtuosic flamenco music, direct from the area of Spain that we lived in for some time.

These sites might especially be fun if you are living in Spain and are disconnected from the world. I hope that they work for our dear friends there.

Oh, and the last cool internet find that I discovered this week is a device called the "Wordle." Pretty fun collage making software. I took my latest sermon, delivered just this last Wednesday for Kingsfield's High School group, found here, and copied the text into Wordle. I hope this works, but this is what it looked like:

I know: I am a geek! But so are some of you! You can make your own "Wordle" here. Hey preachers: It's fun to see what becomes of your sermons when they are entered in. Carlos, it might be fun to see it in Spanish!

Finally, a big Happy Birthday to my brother Mike. We tease each other a lot, as brothers will do, but, in my humble estimation, there are few men that I know who have the character and the godliness that my brother possesses. He is a true man after the heart of God and he has all of my respect and love. Today, I wish him the very best, and that the Lord would bless his every venture.Well, that's all for now...I have no idea why blogger gets so buggy sometimes, but the blue underlined font is not my idea at all!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Dinner With Wyley

From the creative mind of my good friend and musical partner of many years. I'll just say that I am pretty sure that I inspired this video. Maybe you can see why as the video progresses.

Blessings...To Our Friends...Who USE MACS!,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, July 07, 2008

Still A Dull Hum (Vacation Report Pt. 2)

Hello All,

This blog entry sadly signals the end of the Sanchez Family Vacation 08'. I admit that I am still not firing on all cylinders, as I am pretty relaxed and thankfully, thoughtless. As I return to work though, I am going to have to get my hats on real quick, as there is a ton coming my way right away! For now though, I am blissfully at rest.

Our second week of vacation saw us at Sea World. We have Sea World family passes, which have been a great blessing to have. This particular visit included my parents and my sister who joined us for the day. It also included our first exposure to the new "Bay Of Play" which the kids thoroughly enjoyed for almost 3 hours over the course of that day. In those three hours, I must have ridden this ride 6 times! It was the Sea World version of the tea cups at Disneyland, only a faster version. The final unique aspect of this visit was that we stayed a record 9 hours at Sea World! I was shocked that our family was able to sustain for such a prolonged period of time without a single nap! I kept waiting for Lizzy to melt down, but she kept going stronger and stronger.

The next day, we drove up to Redlands in the late afternoon, to hang at the always hospitable Finfrock house. We decided to spend the night so we would not have to fight the ridiculous traffic that would inevitably flow on July 4th. We came up and enjoyed dinner with Mom and Dad and a surprisingly cool July evening in the I.E. The next day, we welcomed Lela's sister's
family, the Marquardts, and the kids got to hang out with cousin Adam and Isaiah. Chris and Corrie are great people to hang with, and enjoy a steak with! We ate to our hearts content and then went to the celebration at Ted Runner stadium.
As usual, the place was packed, with something like 12,000 people inside the stadium and a
whole horde of people outside. And also as usual, the flyovers and the parachutists, were early highlights to the evening. However, that's when things got a little funny.

After the Redlands 4th of July band played, it
was time to bring out some other musical guests for the evening. This spot had been reserved in the past for a 50's band that always performed, each and every year. I admit that I was glad that they had the year off, but that feeling was short-lived, as the announcer had us welcome to the stage "a man who has been imitating Rod Stewart for 20 years." Can anyone else see immediately what is wrong with that last sentence? Anyway, "Rod" got up and did a few numbers and let me say that I think I could have done a better impersonation!
Oh, but wait: There's more! After "Rod" was finished...and he might have been finished 19 years ago if the people in my section had anything to do with it...a second guest came out: Cher or a women who from 300 feet away resembled Cher. Of course, how does one imitate Cher, other than to wear a full body fishnet suit, ala the "If I Could Turn Back Time" video. Again, I might say that I could have done just as good an impersonation, except for the full body fishnet suit, at which point, I might say she had me beat! Please, for your sake: Don't Visualize!

Then, for the final insult. The announcer, still able to show his face, probably counting on a large
amount of alcohol consumption, said quite proudly, "Elvis has not left the building!" Sure enough, here comes on a golf cart, the "King." To be honest, this guy was pretty entertaining! I am not a fan of Elvis, but I liked this guy! He made me laugh and that was important at that time.

Of course, the fireworks were great and I enjoyed watching them, but the real fun was watching the kids watch the fireworks. To see their expressions of awe was the best fun for me. I got some video and perhaps I will find some time and get that out for you to see as well.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez