Thursday, August 26, 2010

"What A Difference The Lord Makes..."

Hello All,

Anyone remember that old advertising campaign for C&R clothing? For those who are too young to remember, I have taken the liberty of sharing this commercial with you. LADIES: I warn you: There is a muscular, near shirtless man at the beginning of the commercial. If such a thing stumbles you, then I advise you not to open your eyes for the first few seconds of the commercial!

Surprisingly, this song came rushing back into my head this week, only I considered it in terms of the Lord's presence in a person's life. This train of thought began with the verbal spat that I had on Facebook, a part of which is seen in the previous post. That conversation was interrupted and taken over by various other parties, which is just fine by me. I pray that they will be seed planters and maybe even one will see an increase!

But what intrigued me was that this woman was on one side of the spectrum, while I met with another lady with the same name, who was on the other side. This other woman was of similar age, even similar, to a degree in appearance. For the sake of the innocent, we'll just call them "Gina."

Gina #1 is an agnostic, who is openly and proudly lesbian. Gina #2 has been a Christian for over 20 years, faithfully married with children to a godly man. Gina #1 is loud and brash, unwilling to converse rationally about things of God. Gina #2 is so soft and sweet, just having her say "hello" blesses your soul!

This has nothing to do with anything other than Christ makes such a difference in your life. Sometimes it's so incredibly obvious. This week, God gave me a little glimpse again into that reality. Jesus makes a radical difference in our lives, taking our rough edges and rounding them off to conform to His image, which is gentle, loving and meek. In the case of Gina #2, that is what I see, but it's not just what I see in her. It's what I see in all of my friends who have loved the Lord for years! There is something so familiar about it.

In fact, I will dare you to go into a store and see if you can't recognize Him in a the faces of perfect strangers! I would venture to guess that many of you would see the same things that I saw this week.

All of this prompts us to remember: Whose image are we promoting? What do people see in us? When there is something contrary to Christ in our actions or attitudes, what is our response? For the sake of those watching, I pray that we'll consider that more carefully.

To the non-Christian, it is a witness like no other. To the Christian, it is an encouragement like no other.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Stop! Hammock Time!

Hello All,

I just thought that I'd say "hello." As you can see, I have not blogged in some time. Tonight, I am sitting here, the only Sanchez still conscious, thinking that I should at least explain why. While I do that, I'll intersperse recent pictures of our family, so as to insure that you scroll down the page.

The best way for me to concisely share my "why" comes from another blogger who has found blogging to be a failing medium for her. She shares her reasons and I wanted to highlight the ones that best represent my feelings on the subject.

#2 Right priorities! I am not sure what hers are, but I know what mine are. I have given all that I am to the church that I now serve in Colton.
TECHNICALLY, I blog twice a week over there, as all of my recent sermon notes are posted on my Bible site, where recent audio can also be accessed. Check the right side of the page and you'll see a link for that page. Those sermons represent most of my writing time, as I spend a good deal of time each week crafting what I feel the Lord is saying to me and in turn, our body.

By the way, our Church has really been a major blessing to me. I cannot convey my deep love and appreciation for each of the members that have been sharing their lives with us in this last year. I pray that I will have news of a legal incorporated name within a week or so. We are currently facing a little dilemma in that area, but I pray that it will be resolved this week.

My priorities remain as they have always been and will always be: I am a Christ's, I am Lela's husband, Renae, Caleb, Elizabeth and baby #4's Father, and I am the Pastor of...I'll share the name soon! :-) When it's legal!

Speaking of baby #4, here HE is...I AM WISHING! We do not know yet! Lela is not awake to give me the details, but here she is at ?? weeks. The baby is doing fine and Lela is now doing well as well. She had a bit of difficulty there around the 4th of July with a prolapsed bladder condition. She is now doing well, though, the summer months have made her quite a bit more tired than usual. The Baby is due to hit the ground running in late January.

Alright, next reason for not blogging: #8 Facebook! It has been a great medium for short transmissions, as well as instant interaction. It is a more satisfying medium for Lela and I to communicate through. It's also a great place to share the gospel, which I had the opportunity to do tonight. Here was the interaction: A friend of mine commented that he was reading a book which told the stories of other Jewish men, who had come to Christ by reading the Bible. I made the following comment:

Maybe those who might be skeptical should try the same thing! I suppose if He's not real and there is nothing to it, then what could possibly be the harm! :-)

Then came the reply:

"I've read it, lots and lots of crazy contradictions. Lots of misogyny, violence, incest, rape, murder & cruelty in the name of G-d. Jesus came along and tried to change all of that--"I am the Word become flesh", then humans decided to conti...nue all of that other evilness in His name. Twisted His teachings to suit their own needs. Twisted His Word and His message of love. I shudder when someone says they're a "Christian" Do they follow His actual message or interpret it to breed hate, intolerance & bigotry? I've experienced more of the bad."

To which I replied:

I do not know who you are, but I am genuinely sorry for those who have poorly reflected Christ's name. That is a constant bane and problem for each of us, as those who name the name of Christ, but do not reflect Him make it harder ...for those who are good reflections. On that point, I concede.

I also concede that the Bible is filled with men who have acted in contradiction to their faith. Each and every one, save Jesus, had failed and fallen in ways that defy imagination. There are chapters that are included in scripture that I have a hard time dealing with as well. No problem there.

I do however, take issue with your argument that frankly, no pun intended, leaves you in great peril. To throw out Christ, and ignore clear claims regarding His own person, simply because people have not represented Him well, will not shield you from having to respond to Him. Jesus never instructed anyone to follow His followers. Jesus says, "Come to ME and I will give you rest." For all the rape, incest, murder, etc, that you see in scripture, if you read the part where Jesus is tortured and maimed beyond recognition, in a cruel way that is not repeatable in history, then you will see that GOD HIMSELF paid for every wrong that has ever been committed. Justice was served when Christ died sacrificially on the Cross, not for any sin that HE committed, but for every sin that WE committed!

Jesus says, not me, not Christians, that He is the way, the truth and the life and nobody comes to God except through Him. If you believe in Him, trust in who He says He is, repenting from all known sin, then He will receive you, as He has me and every other member of the body of Christ who is doing their best not to stain His name.

If you reject Him, that is your choice. But to ignore or to claim that His call is not clear simply because His people are failures, is not a tenable position. If it were, I suppose that I could hate all Germans for what Hitler did, all Muslims for what Osama did. And that, as you know, just isn't a way to live!

I am currently awaiting her reply, genuinely hopeful that she will have thought well of my response to her, though I don't expect that to be the case. We'll see.

Facebook. That's the way that can be sometimes. Of course, there are many more instances of less constructive comments, which are usually just fun. But I pray that you'll pray for this woman, that she might consider Christ more carefully.

Finally, #9:
"not sure I can truly show Real life here…" I'm not sure what Charlene meant, but I feel the same way. Sometimes things are better left unsaid. Some stories will never be told. Somethings will tell themselves eventually. Until then, silence will be the best option for now. When there is something to say that is beneficial or newsworthy regarding our family, I promise to say it.

Of course, I really enjoyed doing this tonight. Hmmm...maybe I will leave this up for a while and think about it.

Until then, I'll be enjoying our hammock, thanking the Lord for each of you, our dear and wonderful friends.

Frank Sanchez