Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Goodbye September!

Dear September,

It's likely that I won't miss you. For the most part, I am pretty happy you are gone, especially because of this wretched heat wave that you threw at us in these last couple of days. So September: I bid you adieu!

Hello All,

I thought I would just get that off of my chest. And then, while I was at it, I thought I might just wrap up September with a miscellany post, which is sort of a stop gap in my little blog mind. So here are some things that I have been thinking about lately.

- My daughter Renae really enjoyed her birthday party this last weekend. Lela mentioned to me that the days of big birthday celebrations are inevitably moving toward extinction. I admit that my first thought was one of utter celebration, but then I realized what a sad reality that would be. Probably the very best thing about these birthday parties is the family time. I have had so many great conversations and wonderful laughs at these parties. Of course, there are always the memories of every pinata that the kids have demolished, including the 15 foot Elmo that my Dad brought for one of the kids early birthdays. I believe that it was made of industrial strength steel. In any event, to lose that family time would truly be a sad loss. So with that, I'll be looking forward to Lizzy's birthday, which is the next one on the calendar for the Sanchez family.

- Some of you will remember the blog entry that I wrote about perspective. In that blog, I mentioned having to go to the mechanic's with the end result being that I shared the gospel with them. Yesterday, I went over to Garden Grove to get some tires for our car. This time, it was my turn to be ministered to. My friend Alex Gonzalez set me up with the tires and then spoke into my life. It was great to be there with a trusted brother, and to receive some honest wisdom. Alex, thank you for being such a great friend and a great encouragement to me.

- I am on session #3 of my new study in the life of Paul and have been really enjoying what the Lord has been speaking to me and the men from Kingsfield Church. You can check out the notes and discussion questions here. They are updated every Tuesday, usually by the afternoon. What has been most impressive has been the thought that there are Sauls all around us, diamonds in the rough, who are just about to be Pauls. Whoever your Saul is: Don't give up!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Renae!

Hello All,

It's hard to believe but Renae, card shark extraordinaire, is 7 years old today! I can hardly believe it! It seems like only yesterday that she

- cried/screamed all the way to Victorville, stopped and slept all the way back home, only to cry again as we got back into our drive way in Highland!

- sang Lela's song "Let me cling" with the following words: "Let me clean your robe and wash your feet."

- smiled for the first time on a boat to Catalina Island, at the same time doing "beautiful eyes."

- was sitting in my lap after Sunday evening services at the Packinghouse, catching me up on the evening that she had just had!

- that she was displaying her "expeditious" side by moving that checker piece into the King's row! If you haven't seen that movie, check out the side bar...

Renae was born just 13 days after 9/11. It was an insane time of life. Nobody knew what was going on, the television was fixated on the devastation that was ground zero and here we had this screaming little baby!

In my mind, and probably there alone, Renae's name has always had a tinge of irony. Renae is a derivative of the Greek word for "peace." It's likely more than a coincidence, though not intended, but her name looks like this:

Renae (Peace) NYCole

...I always thought that that was pretty amazing given the time and what we were all praying for New York City.

Renae has faced a lot of challenges, especially with our moves. Mentone to Spain back to Mentone, back to Spain and then to Orange County. That is enough, but when you factor in schools and friends, it adds up to a lot for a little girl. I pray that these next years will be more reflective of what her name means.

To my beautiful, intelligent, and insightful daughter: Happy Birthday! May the Lord of Your peace grant you years of blessing and satisfaction in Him alone! We love you very much!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, September 22, 2008


Hello All,

In the end, life is really about whose perspective you and I subscribe to. What is really important and valuable in the sight of God? What is it that God is aiming to accomplish in and through my life? Take for instance a recent series of mechanic visits. It started 3 Mondays ago with a simple oil change on my 97 Corolla. Simple $18 job. Normally I stick around and write sermons or read, but this day, I opted for a cup of coffee and some shopping with my wife and kids, Caleb and Lizzy. We were having a good day and received a call in trader joes that my car was ready for pick up. No problem.

Now, when we got there, I went in to pay for my car. The mechanic pulled me aside and wanted me to "see something." That is rarely a good thing. I find that I never want to hear these words escape my mechanic's lips. It's akin to hearing your doctor say, "Hmm, I've never seen anything like that before" when he's examining you or your dentist remarking that he's run out of anesthetic just as he's about to drill...that's never funny Rod!!

My mechanic pulls me aside and shows me an apparent leak from under my engine. Well, that's going to cost a little bit. In the meantime, I see my wife, who was supposed to have left by now, entrenched in the back seat. I don't think anything of it, assuming that she is just trying to get something that is stuck behind a seat. The mechanic is talking, but my attention has turned to my wife, who is still immersed in the back seat.

The curiosity was too much. I had to find out. I excused myself and went outside to find that Lela was very concerned because Caleb had tangled himself in the back seatbelt. There was no slack, so with every movement, the belt was getting more and more tight around his waist. With no other choice, we cut the belt and let Caleb loose.

To make a long story short, I spent the next two Mondays in the mechanic shop waiting for either my car or my wife's car to be done.

In all that time, I had begun several conversations with the people in the office. It wasn't until last Tuesday that I was able to get the opportunity to share the gospel with these men. I sort of wondered if the $1000.00 tally was all for this moment. Had God allowed these circumstances to occur, just for the sake of these men? Well, I'll keep you posted, as first, neither man gave their lives to the Lord and second, because yet ANOTHER check engine light appeared on my way home from Church on Sunday!
Then came today. In the above photo, Caleb is holding his "Fort." In the recesses of his 5 year old mind, there is an imagination that makes this old box that used to hold dryer sheets, a soldier fort. Caleb came to me and he was bummed that he couldn't make the roof, a piece of paper, stay in place. Leave it to Dad and a few pieces of scotch tape, and the previously depressed boy was now fully content with the more sturdily (I won't lie: I think I just made that word up!) constructed roof for his fort.

As that was taking place, I had been waiting for a call that I was very nervous about. I had been pacing back and forth the entire morning in my heart, praying for a good outcome from this phone call. Sitting with Caleb and getting myself involved in his little fort provided me again with perspective. What was important to God? Was it my anxiety over a phone call that I had no control over, or was it time spent easing the minor trial of my son? I believe that the latter makes sense, as my worries disappeared, my son was appeased and an email came that reassured my heart!

Finally, in a day when perspective filled my thinking, I sat outside our home watching the kids play, playing my guitar out in the little alleyway. All of a sudden I hear the blood curtling sound of my wife calling my name. Instinctively, I knew that this was not an inquisitive call. It was a call of panic, rarely heard from my wife. I rushed into the house where Lela and Lizzy had been preparing dinner together. (Lizzy has been watching the Food Network and has mentioned that she wants to help Mom cook. Apparently, she's not that bad in the kitchen.) The first thing that I see as I fly in to the door is a giant ball of flames coming from the range and settling itself on the built in microwave and the cabinet above the range.

I knew immediately that this was a grease fire. Believe it or not, having watched the Food Network religiously since returning from Spain really came in handy. I remember Emeril having an issue once on his live show with a grease fire. He just covered the flame. In that moment, I recalled that information and I quickly told Lela to cover the flame, which she did immediately. I heard Lizzy crying/screaming but could not see her. She had retreated to the stairs, but I was unsure about whether or not she had been burned.

Thankfully, she was fine, though she was a little shaken up. And aside from a minor scorching of our microwave and one of the cabinet doors, the damage was minimal compared to what could have happened. Again, perspective. I am thankful that while we will likely have to fork out some cash to replace the microwave and refinish or replace the cabinet door, I will at least not have to replace a wife or a child, neither of which is replaceable.

Today was a good day. It was a day that the Lord showed Himself faithful to our family, and faithful to me in moving my heart to accept these truths. Perhaps you will need some of Heaven's perspective tomorrow. Maybe this entry will help give you that!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Have You Ever Heard That Mariah Carey Song...

Hello All,

Props to Jono and Simone Knepper for giving this gift to me! It has enriched my life! It's almost as good as the Korean Drummer, which for my taste remains in the top spot for Youtube videos of all time. This though is definitely in the top 5.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Me & Matthew 17

Hello All,

Sunday, I had the opportunity to speak at Kingsfield Church for Pastor Chris Norman, who was in Honduras. Initially I had intended to continue the course that our church is currently on in First Corinthians but Pastor Chris wanted the opportunity to continue his study. He then gave me carte blanche to choose any topic under the sun and I eventually chose one of my favorite passages of all time, Matthew 17:1-8. That passage covers the transfiguration of Christ. I have taught this passage 7 times and each time provides me with a greater appreciation for what is said there. My latest "take" on this passage is available at my Bible notes blog, right here. I thought then, that I would take a blog entry and devote it to what makes Matthew 17:1-8 so special to me.

I first encountered and "taught" this passage to the Junior High group at Calvary Chapel of Redlands over 12 years ago. It was basic survey style, so it was a broad, broad brush approach. When it came time for me to teach this passage again a few years later, having kept "good notes," I figured that I could simply reproduce what I had spoken before and save myself the studying. I now know what "good notes" are and that no matter how thorough you are, there are still insights to be had at every pass through scripture.

It's important to mention that I was in the middle of a major decision in my life at that time. The ministry was wearing on me. I wanted to get out and go back to anything, but mainly drumming. As I look back, I realize what a bad choice that would have been, but at the time, it was a tantalizing proposition. I had typed up my resignation and was going to turn that in to Pastor Ed, leave the ministry and pursue a career in drumming.

Before I could do that, I had to fulfill my obligations, one of which included a Sunday morning service that I had committed to teach Matthew in. I normally finished my study on Friday after everyone else went home at noon. It was Friday at the Packinghouse and as such, it was quiet and my office was dark. I looked over my notes and realized upon a more intimate look that I had missed quite a bit of information. Actually, it was an embarrassment. I was surprised how bad it was, especially since I remember it being so "good."

Before I knew it, I was feverishly typing, hoping not to break the momentum and, at the same time, trying to finish before the weekend. I was unraveling a thread that I not previously seen and it was exciting to me. At the same time, the passage was speaking to me on an emotional/devotional level. I found myself saying, "I wish I could have been there on the mount! I want to see Jesus as He is." I kept saying this and sincerely desiring that. Somewhere in the middle of that afternoon, I sensed the Lord speaking to me in a direct way. "Do you really want to climb the mountain and see me?" I answered that I did. He said, "You can't climb with your drums."

Now, this is where so many have asked for clarification in the past. I did not understand this to mean that I could not play drums any longer, but that the drums would not be my pursuit. That would no longer be an "option" or an "out" from the ministry. I did continue to play and record, the latter being a passion of mine, but the thought never again occurred to me that drumming would be my life's work. Studying the Word and making Him known would take that place in my life. And God, in His goodness, has still allowed me to satisfy that desire in a good and healthy way. At the time of this writing, I have recorded on over a dozen albums and demos. As I surrendered to Him, He still in grace, met a desire with an appropriate channel that never competes with the ministry of the Word.

I had found a new love for studying and I could not wait to teach what I had learned. Teaching that Sunday to that Junior High group was so inspiring and exciting that I decided to stop teaching the book of Matthew and return to the beginning of Matthew so as to make sure that I did not miss anything else. This is where I earned the reputation for trying to hold a record for the longest time in any given book, as I was in Matthew for the next two years and I only got as far as Matthew 19! Those poor Junior High kids! They really suffered while I was learning my craft. They did not get many good answers about life, but they knew what R.C.H Lenski thought about the Greek word "Splangchidzomai!"

And even as thorough as I tried to be, I still felt that I did not get it all. Some of this is the dynamic nature of the Word of God, the other part is that with every return to the scripture, there is a greater awareness of Bible knowledge that helps to open the doors that were previously locked to you. Even this last Sunday...I know there is more, even after 7 times of teaching that same passage of scripture. Thankfully, should the Lord tarry, I will have another chance to climb the mountain.

Blessings...To Our Friends,

What, Us Worry!?

Hello All,

There is nothing to worry about...I'm sure that our money is safe... If these faces say anything, it's that we can all sleep very comfortably...
Then again, we might be toast!
The Lord help us all!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Whose Side Is He On Anyway!?

Hello All,

We are now almost finished with our second week of school for Renae and we are finding our way to and from much better in the morning. Getting it done entails a good 20 minute head start, but it's well worth the savings on nerves.

One method that I have employed to motivate Renae toward promptness is to offer to play cards with her. Over the Labor Day weekend, she and I both learned how to play "War." If you are not familiar with this game...well, at this point, I envy you...but suffice it to say, you divide the deck into the number of players and you simultaneously put down your top card. High card wins. The point is to get all of your opponent's cards. What happens when you draw the same card? An elaborate little "war" goes on where you put down three additional cards and then re-draw your next available card. Again, high card wins.

It's much easier than I just made it sound and that might account for why I am so bad at this game. "Bad at this game?" Yes, for as easy as it is, I just cannot seem to beat this little girl!

It was uncanny. From the first day she played, I noticed a certain glint in her eye at the prospect of competition. When she won a hand or two those first two days, I chalked it up to beginners luck. Then, she kept winning! It seemed that no matter the deal or the deck she had an abundance of aces to play with.

(It's ironic because in the 4th grade, I was in a play where I portrayed a cheated card player. My line was to say, "There ain't no 5 aces in a deck of cards..." (I did not write it and this was 4th grade!!!!) After I said this line, I was supposed to reach into my holster and discharge my cap gun. (We lived in the hood!) Unfortunately, the cap gun malfunctioned and I was the laughingstock of the 4th grade play!)

No matter what cards were given her, she seemed to have the upper hand the entire time. Believe it or not, I began to think that she was cheating! She's 6, but I wouldn't put it past her for a second! I started shuffling her cards for her with the same results. I even went and bought us a new deck, just in case there is some sophisticated card counting going on! But that proved ineffective as well.

I just can't explain it. That is, until this morning.

We drove to our usual spot and parked. I pulled out the deck and began to shuffle it as she moved to the front seat. She said, smiling with her two front teeth missing, "I'm going to win today."

Calmly, I retorted, "Don't be so confident. I think that this is Daddy's day." I said this with little confidence as I was pretty sure that I was going to lose. I know that I won't be getting an appearance on Oprah with that outlook, nor will the writer of "The Secret" be happy with me, but that is the truth.

Renae could almost smell blood. "I know I am going to win because I prayed about it."

"You prayed about it?"


Now, I felt like I had to lose. I was desperately thinking of how I could possibly throw the game so that her faith would not be crushed. Heck, who am I kidding: There was no way I was going to win!

I randomized the deck, passed out the cards and played, wondering what the best outcome would be. It did not matter as she yet again destroyed me! It felt like this:

Frank: King! Renae: ACE!

Frank: Jack! Renae: QUEEN!!

Frank: Two! Renae: THREE!

The WHOLE GAME WENT THAT WAY EXACTLY! I could not believe it.

We measured the cards, a way to measure victory when you are out of time, and she won handily. In typical Sanchez fashion, she won, did a dance, gave out a scream of delight and laughed in her victim's face...ah, I miss that feeling...I just dejectedly put the cards back in their place.

Noting my downcast countenance, Renae looked at me and said, in all seriousness, "Daddy, you need to pray. Pray the promises!" Alright, so now I am worried that Renae has embraced the "Name it and claim it" doctrine! Bad theology AND she keeps beating me!? This is inexcusable!

But it led me to wonder: WHOSE SIDE IS GOD ON ANYWAY!? I'm a Pastor after all! Don't I get a little kickback in these occasions? If I pray tomorrow, then who is going to win? Does a win indicate favoritism? How am I supposed to feel if I lose?

These are the questions that plague me as we rapidly approach Friday. I'll keep you posted.

For now, perhaps you will join me in praying that I will win the next war! Yeah, maybe you better not!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, September 08, 2008

A Word To Mothers

Hello All,

I was at the mechanic shop again this week, which provided me both with reading and conversation time. The conversation was with my very friendly and informative Persian mechanic. I really enjoy talking with and listening to him. In between conversation pieces, I generally read. Lately, I have been reading "The Story of Christianity" by Justo Gonzalez. In it, I came across this story that I have never heard before regarding the early church apologist, Origen. I'll let Justo do the talking:

"Clement's greatest disciple...was Origen. In contrast with Clement, Origen was the son of Christian parents. His father suffered martyrdom during the persecution of Septimus Severus-the same persecution that forced Clement to leave the city. Origen, who was still a young lad, wished to offer himself for martyrdom. But his mother hid his clothes and he was forced to remain at home, where he wrote a treatise on martyrdom addressed to his imprisoned father."
pg. 78

Can you imagine the conversation that morning?

Origen: Well, I'm on my way to give my life for the faith. Have you seen my clothes?

Origen's Mom: Why no honey. Where did you leave them?

O: No, Mom. ALL OF MY CLOTHES are gone!

O M: Well, imagine that! I wonder where they went to... (drifting off guiltily...)

O: Mom!?!? I wanted to be a martyr!

O M: Well dear, I'm sure when you find your clothes, they'll still be looking for willing candidates!

Well, that's one way to keep our kids from getting themselves into trouble!

Hope that helps you!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Thursday, September 04, 2008

"It Was The First Day Of The First Grade..."

Hello All,

A few days ago, I drove my daughter to school for her first day of first grade. This was not her first day of school, as she has successfully navigated through, count them, 4 different schools and 5 different teachers! One of the schools was in Spain and two of the teachers were on the same campus last year. In an effort to provide some stability, Lela and I decided to hold her in Kindergarten and prayerfully, we'll see that pay off this year.

Going back to the driving part, let me take a moment and complain just a tad. Driving in Ladera, a society based largely on "the round" philosophy of courteous driving, really stinks when you are all going to the same place at the same time! Very frustrating, but I'm going to heaven so that takes care of that!

Now, here's what I wanted to write about. I parked the car and got Renae out as always. We walked to her line on the playground, which is a departure from last year, when I drove her up and a kind old gentleman escorted her to her line. This year, no gentleman and no singular class. The entire school is on the blacktop! Also, it's roughly an hour and some earlier. Add to this that it's the first day, everything is new, and it may just explain what happened next.

You see, Renae just stood there and processed all that she was seeing and the reality of this situation. We had been talking about the first day of school for a good while, so this was no surprise. I just wish that I had some insight into what was happening at this moment. She looked around and around, not saying anything, but thinking a mile a minute.

I spoke a few things to her, but as a parent, you know when things are simply falling on deaf ears.

"Are you ok?"


"Do you want anything?"


"Can I borrow money from your allowance?"


She was in a total zombie state. I couldn't help but wonder if she was thinking about friendships, or assignments or how she would play on this new blacktop with all the "big kids." Maybe she was just overwhelmed, but I wanted to proverbially, yell in her face, across the chasm that separated me from her thoughts, and scream


These people, these grades, these moments are not what makes up a life. These people, with some exceptions, will not be aware of your existence in a few years. By High School, virtually none of these kids, statistically speaking, will have influence in your life. These grades, aside from dictating your entry into another grade, will have little impact upon your life, except for maybe traumatizing you temporarily at the thought of having to repeat a grade. And these moments, that seem so significant now, will be a vague memory of your past, that you will struggle to recall, and then only partially.

Some of you might be thinking that I am anti-education. You would be mistaken. I am pro-education, though I might define that a bit different than you think. I am all about learning what it is that you are passionate about. Let kids go straight to college after they have learned the rudimentary stuff, and let them pick. Are you a musician? These are classes for you. You want to make a life out of creative doylie making? Hey, great! Here's a great business class with a master doylie maker!

"But hey, she's in first grade! Lighten up!"

Yeah, I hear you. But I struggle with moments like these ("I sing out a song...") where my daughter, son, or daughter, might value something other than what Christ thinks about them. Any other institution that competes for that moment or that place of significance, I hope, I pray, will pale in comparison to their Lord and God's place.

Now, before you object, I realize that many of you, found through the vehicle of schooling, God's will and path for your life. Good. And that is the way I want them to appropriate not just school, but any other vehicle in life.

"In this school, I might just be exposed to what God wants me to do in my life."

"In youth group, I hope that God will speak to me through the various events, etc."

"In church, I pray that God will powerfully move me toward His mission for my life."

That is different than:

"This (insert pet institution) defines (success, popularity, wisdom, life) this way. I need to acheive that."

Then again, she was probably just thinking about playing "War" with Daddy, a game she has already beaten me 3 times at since learning it on Monday! Yeah, I'm probably overreacting, but I hope that her confidence, her view of life, her passion and love will all be found in the only place where it can really come from for anyone, in Jesus Christ.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Swimming Update...

Hello All,

For those who have been wondering, following the story: I swam the length and width of our pool in Ladera Ranch. I missed my goal by a day or so due to the Labor Day weekend, but I will rely on the technicality that I would have done it in August if it weren't for conflicting schedules.

So there: All of Lela's kids can now swim! No more pool jokes! No more "Aren't you afraid to baptize because you can't swim" jokes. HA!

My next target: Michael Phelps' Records...Yeah, I'll just continue to play the role of the shark while the kids play the part of the dolphins!

Just a few items of note and I'll close this blog...

- Renae started school today. I'll be blogging about that later this week, as I watched her get into school mode.

- I was "memed" by Aimee Walnofer some time ago. My response is on my Facebook, my telling you is an open invitation to friends here on this blog to seek my "friendship" on Facebook. I'll be interested if I can solicit my 100th friend from this blog.

- Last week, I started a blog dedicated to our kids.
It's called "Our Parent's Private Library." If you look at our profile, you'll notice it on the blog roll. If you attempt to access it, you will be disappointed, as it can only be read by our kids, but will not be read by them until they are much older. In it, we (Lela will actually be writing there!) write private notes and letters of encouragement to them, documenting our thoughts about them for the future. I don't tell you to make you envious; I tell you because I think that it's a great idea and as a Parent, I have loved writing there. Maybe you will feel the same.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez