Payh Blog
Earth at night was holding in human hands. Earth day. Energy saving concept, Elements of this image furnished by NASA
Oct 31, 2013

Witches, Hobgoblins, and Soli Deo Gloria

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith. “ Romans 1:16,17

Walking through the lobby of my 96 year old father’s skilled nursing facility I noticed the information board which listed the weather of the day, other activities, and the next holiday: of course, Halloween! You can’t avoid knowing about it; the entire culture screams it out in the stores, on TV, at the movies. Not so for Reformation Day, which occurs every year at the Halloween season. Ignorant of the fact, the vast majority of the world’s population fails to realize the Reformation has far more impacted their lives for good than Halloween ever has or will. The impact of the Reformation, particularly on the Western World, has done more good for the whole world’s civilization than can even be imagined. Yet Reformation Day is barely acknowledged by comparatively few.
Soli Deo Gloria is the overarching theme of the Reformation: “Glory to God alone!  The corrupt Church of the day was giving all glory to itself and not to God when a courageous, rough-hewn German monk used a hammer, nail and words to begin a Reformation which has not become extinct to the present day and has spread to every corner of the globe. Martin Luther on October 31, 1517 (All Hallows Eve) nailed his 95 Theses speaking articulately against the heretical church practice of selling indulgences which corrupted the truthful understanding of one’s salvation and forgiveness for sins. He nailed them for all to see to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral, the “Facebook of Wittenberg in that day; thus began the Reformation.
“Glory to God alone sums up the thrust of the Reformation’s “trumpet calls: by faith alone, by grace alone, by Christ alone, and by Scripture alone. What united the various prominent Reformers separated by distance, modern communication, and even language at times was their commitment to “Scripture alone: they believed in the authority and inerrancy of God’s Word and thus through their personal, careful and devoted study of it came to very similar conclusions in reviving the truths of the gospel to the church; and, oh, how that has beneficially blessed the entire society in numerous manifestations, despite the activity of the Evil One and Enemy who would prefer Halloween to Reformation Day for universal celebration.
Soli Deo Gloria acknowledges the truth which so impacts our lives when we rejoice with grateful acceptance of this amazing Doxology in Romans 12: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. When faith receives and acknowledges and grasps this glorious truth with wonder and awe, the “Why God?, “Why me, “What are you doing God? “Why don’t you do it like this? “Let me give you a few pointers?, “I’m going to do it my way!, “Get off my back!, “Who are you, anyway? all fly out the window; they all go down in the ash heap, and we fall with wonder and love at the feet of the Creator and Savior of our souls. This is the Reformation! This is boasting in God’s sovereignty and not in our wretched selves!
You and your children may be joining the society in the activities of Halloween today, but do not forget to remember and be grateful for Reformation Day and what it means for you. What do you and your children know about it? What have you taught them? It can have a far greater impact on yours and their eternal future than Halloween. Soli Deo Gloria!

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apocalyptic sunset.
Oct 24, 2013

World Series' Passion

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26

The 109th World Series began last night, as if some of you had to be told. It is the highest level of what is known as “America’s Pastime, a sport born in America and possibly, along with our brand of football, its most popular athletic endeavor. It is a stage (“All the world’s a stage! Shakespeare wrote) where passions are on display by participants and spectators alike; but not the only stage where man exhibits his mannishness, or humans show they are creatures ruled by their passions in pursuits too numerous to mention. A quick study of the words “passion, passionate, or passions in modern translations of the Bible finds they are used primarily in negative connotations (interesting!), or in the KJV twice to define what it means to be human like all humans are human (e.g. James 5:17, KJV). It is not that “passion, a part of your nature, is evil in every situation, but separated from the fruit of the Spirit, especially self-control, passions all too frequently erupt into ungodly behavior.
Not to disparage being a fan of sports, but how often have we heard, seen and experienced the eruption of passions over a mere “game resulting in riotous, injurious, and even homicidal behavior. There is always, of course, the radical fan “fringe who allows their passions to go berserk. However, the passion of the average fan, like most of us, usually exceeds our passion for the pursuit or habit of godliness. The Bible is not off the mark when it uses the word “passion negatively to describe an avid proclivity for feeding the desires of the flesh more than the spirit. When you compare the fruit of the Spirit in each of its various manifestations (see verse 22 in today’s text), it is difficult to match these up with the passionate behavior we often see in ourselves or others in the following of our favorite teams, or, for another example, in the political discourse in our land, or in the pursuit of many avocations or desires which stir human passions. As my wife is well aware, I am not not watching the World Series. Having lived in St. Louis three different times, you can imagine for whom I am cheering; all the more reason for me to analyze my own behavior through a lifetime once playing and now watching many athletic competitions; not without bias, of course. And I am not the only competitive one in my family!
Competition isn’t wrong; it is a fact of life. But it is always a test of passion, and a test of a desire to bear the fruit of the Spirit, AND see it producing in your life. Self-awareness is a critical part of Christian character, and analyzing the displays of passion in your life in view of the fruit of the Spirit is a necessary activity of your sanctification. God does not desire for you to become passionless. God forbid! What He wants is for you to be passionate about those things which will last forever; not the things which quickly fade when the rubber meets the road; that is, when you come face to face with the truly weighty things of this life and the next.
Passion can be fodder for sin, or it can be boundless energy in the right direction.

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Oct 23, 2013

What is normal?

What is “normal behavior for our children?  When they are young we come up with cute expressions for their behavior like “the terrible twos or “the tantrum threes and “the fiendish fours.  We come to accept that all of us as parents go through this with our children.  Dr. Ari Brown, the author of Toddler 411 says that “Most toddlers begin testing limits shortly after their first birthday and continue until about age four.
So, if testing limits is a natural part of children forming their own identity, and if as parents, we all go through this, how do we label their behavior as they get older?  Will we still simply accept how they “act and behave as a normal part of growing up?
Labels we use
What are some other labels we use as they test our limits?

  • Is a child who tests limits when they are 6 or 9 simply spirited?  Strong-willed?  Independent?
  • Are a teenager’s actions just part of being a teenager?  Puberty?
  • What do expressions like “boys being boys mean?  What does that look like when they are in their late teens or early twenties and are becoming men?  How then are they to act?
  • When our children head off on their own towards college or wherever, does our new expression become; they are just acting like “college kids? Isn’t that just another way of saying everyone acts that way?

Those labels sound a lot like a list of ways we as parents continue to define the behavior as normal in order to rationalize how they are acting.  Rationalization, left unchecked, simply becomes self-justification.  By rationalizing, justifying, labeling, and identifying it as normal we as parents and a culture often are trying to free ourselves from any guilt we might have in how we behaved during those same periods of life.  But where has this sense of normal gotten us as a culture?
The New Normal
At the Paul Anderson Youth Home, normal now looks like this:

  • 92% have viewed pornography by age 13
  • 75% have had sex by age 15
    • On average, they have had close to 8 sexual partners
    • 62% have used drugs by age 14
      • On average they have used at least 8 different types of drugs

What we as an organization are seeing as “normal is that these trends are happening at earlier and earlier ages.  The avalanche of statistics available illustrate that the same behaviors at earlier ages are emerging nationally as well.  The bottom line is youth are being impacted by the “new normal at earlier and earlier ages.  Meanwhile, we as parents and a society continue to label the behavior of testing limits in the same way.  Normal.
So when more and more kids engage at earlier and earlier ages in high risk behaviors, have we merely moved the age down as what we accept to be normal?  Are we comfortable with the terms?

  • Kids being kids.
  • Boys being boys.
  • Girls being girls.
  • Students being students.

Calling “it what “it is…concession
Let’s begin to truly call it what “it is; we as parents have conceded the ground and are allowing our parenting and our children to be far more defined by these terms than we have been willing to establish what we as parents call acceptable and normal.
As our children get older, our sons and daughters do not stop testing the limits, they simply have moved beyond tantrums and have become more sophisticated at how they push back.  Adapting your parenting as your child grows up is a constant challenge.  Moms and dads, you must be willing to change your style at times based on the needs of your children and how they are responding to you as well as how they are interacting with their peers as the culture around them changes.  Changing your style does not mean conceding the ground.  Your goal and objective is the same; it just means at times your tactic or approach is different based on the needs and circumstances of your child.  So, what will be normal in your home?

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Yoido full gospel church the World's Largest Megachurch on Yeouido island Seoul South Korea
Oct 17, 2013

A Community of Sinners

“To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ……[I want you to know]certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. Jude 1 and 4

This past May 20th I entered the hospital for a total knee replacement. My greatest concern was getting an infection after the surgery, which would have necessitated the basic undoing of the replacement, and, after defeating the infection, do the replacement all over again. Hospitals are marvelous places for such surgeries; in fact, in this day and age, the only place you want to have it done! Knee replacement surgery is something not too conducive to performing in your home; but hospitals are also known to be “germ centers, where you can pick up a serious staph infection. Hospitals are great, but not perfect in every situation; you can die there, as well as live.
The community of God, the church, is a community of sinners. The pews are full of sinners, and as a hospital for souls the church is established by God to minister to His called people, even in our tedious, enduring vices, even in our inconsistent repentance. The Bible describes the assembly (the ekklesia) of God’s people from Genesis to Revelation as a community that is desperately flawed. All its warts and diseases are exposed graphically on the pages of Scripture for any reader to fully see. There is nothing hidden or deceptive in describing the church in all its nakedness. This is why one who knows the Scriptures has to say “duh when hearing the critical world accuse the church community to be “a house full of hypocrites, a place to avoid at all cost. Of course, “hypocrites is one of the tamer descriptions used to denigrate those who are not ashamed to call the church “their community for healing, service, fellowship, and the corporate worship of God. After all, if these scorners, who are numerous, were not so dense as to mock without ever reading the “official and definitive guide of the church, the Bible, they would know their criticism is just so much inanity. It is ludicrous hot air exposing their own duplicitous character.
So, if this is the case, why would God love the church with infinite love, pouring out His own blood, in the person of Christ, for her purchase and redemption? Why would He persevere with such incredible patience the vacillation of His people in every age? Hypocrites? This is the least of it! Yet the skeptic is just as much the hypocrite, and more so, as he constantly violates his own conscience, principles of behavior written within his heart. He is every bit the sinner, even as he excoriates those in the church. The difference here is the redeemed sinner in the church community is doing something about his declared sin, becoming more whole as a person in turning to God’s grace and “clothing himself with the behavior of his Savior.
The important truth to never forget is the church contains among the genuinely redeemed false professors, those who are but deceptive pretenders, who Jude calls “blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. (Jude 12) No one can judge the church truly without taking this critical fact into account. Judging the church community requires the maturity to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5:14) and an acquaintance with the gospel at its center; all others are spitting into the wind, even while they solidify their place in eternity.
There are germs within the church community that can lead to spiritual sickness because it consists of sinners, just as there are germs in the hospital where you go for an operation or to be made well because there are ill people there. The next time you think of some caustic or critical remark about the church or even YOUR church remember this truth before framing your criticism. It is easy to forget before the words roll off your tongue. The church, containing both genuine wheat and noxious weeds, is still the community where God is and desires you to be for the healing and health of your soul. God does not intend for you to mature in the faith in isolation; He created the church, the Bride of His Son, for your sanctification. It is the necessary, life-exuding community in your pilgrimage to an eternal home. You neglect it to your peril!

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Families In Bowling Alley With Two Friends Cheering And Smiling
Oct 11, 2013

Am I A Good Parent?

The first question to ask is: are you a good parental steward?
Key verse: Luke 12:42   “Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time?  Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. 
The principle of stewardship begins in the mind.  It is a perspective of realizing that everything we have was given to us by God.  When we think of “stewardship,” we normally think about money.  There is nothing wrong with money, and in the Luke parable, the Lord commends us when we are good stewards of it.  Take the average investor, for example, and how diligently he applies himself to his task.  He faithfully studies the stock market, analyzes and re-analyzes his portfolio, sells the weaker investments and buys the promising ones. He keeps up with the latest journals and business articles that contain the experts’ recommendations.  He reads The Wall Street Journal, logs onto the Internet, and watches every market variation.  His mind is totally engaged in his task: the pursuit of wealth.
If God has given us money, then we should be diligent in how we manage and share it.   What about our stewardship of the children we are given?  They, too, are gifts, entrusted to us by God.  Yes, the Lord will ask us to give account of how we are caring for these precious ones:

  1. Are we as diligent in practicing consistent parenting skills as we are in earning more money or pursuing our hobbies?
  2. Do we study the Scriptures and daily ask God to make us better parents?
  3. Do we take time to pray and play with our child?
  4. Do we regularly take him to a worship service?
  5. Do we read books or listen to tapes that offer tips about becoming better parents?
  6. Are we involved in his schoolwork?
  7. Do we know and spend time with him and his friends?
  8. Do we encourage him to participate in extracurricular activities?
  9. Do we stop whatever we are doing, give him our eyes, and LISTEN to him?  If we do not, he/she will find someone who will, and that person will have more influence in his life than we.

Each of the above takes time, and self-sacrifice.  That is being a diligent parental steward.  There are no shortcuts.

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Oct 10, 2013

Safety in Numbers

“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8-9

Do not walk alone in dangerous places! How many times have you heard that, over and over again? Always stay in a group, we hear; there is safety in numbers. How often have individuals walked to their car alone in parking garages at night, or even broad daylight, to their own grave endangerment? Or been accosted as they walked down a lonely street in a “bad part of town? There is a clear analogy of physical safety with spiritual safety revealed in Scripture as it addresses the spiritual protection of believers in a fallen world; a world where Satan prowls with specific purpose in mind of devouring whichever believer he finds in a weak condition. We have all experienced being in “weak situations spiritually; and too often when we are the most vulnerable to attack we do not seek the assistance of fellow believers, but attempt to “go it alone to our own detriment.
The Psalmist tells us that God places the lonely or solitary person in a family, and that family may not always be his or her biological family. It may well be the family of God apart from biological family. God has designed and created the church as His family, the body of His Son, a fellowship of disciples and followers of the Lamb. The Bible expresses the benefits of this fellowship as a vital necessity to your encouragement, transparency, support, instruction, supply of need, a host of personal examples; your protection! The benefits spoken of in Scripture are numerous, beyond what immediately comes to mind. All of this God can provide by Himself to every believer separately, and you have experienced His comfort and care for you directly and alone. However, He lovingly designed the community of the people of God to be a limitless treasure for each and every believer. Remember, God saved a PEOPLE for Himself, not just you alone; He desires you to be an integral part of the body of Christ and to mature within that body.
The added incentive for you to be an active participant in the community of faith is that the prowling lion is less able to pounce on the straggling lamb that finds itself separated from the community. The danger is eminently real. It is not something to carelessly ignore, even as you think God is strong enough to protect ME; I do not need the body! He has purposed for you to live in the fellowship of the saints; and He has provided the community of faith, the church, as a refuge of protection in a dangerous world. Oh, it is still possible to be in danger, to even stumble and fall among your fellow believers, especially when your relationships within the body are superficial and do not exemplify the fruit of the Spirit. There are still wolves in sheep’s clothing; there are still weeds sown with the wheat. None of that precludes the necessity of you being a vibrant part of the community of faith for your own protection, and the protection of those you hold dear. As the book of Hebrews warns us even as we approach the Day coming upon the world, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.(Hebrews 10:23)
There is safety in numbers. Take full advantage of it by being fully enmeshed within the community of faith!

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Portrait of happy family on bicycles against blue sky
Oct 08, 2013

10 Ways To Build Your Family

  1. Take time this week to eat dinner together as a family.  Turn the television off and use that time to talk with each other.
  2. Build something together ~  Whether it’s a house of cards with your 4 year old, a bird house with your 12 year old, or a cake with your 15 year old, take that time to not only build an object but to build your relationship.
  3. Be Curious ~ Get to know your child’s likes and dislikes.  What kind of music do they enjoy?  What activities do they tend to spend the majority of their time doing?  Are there things that they are struggling with?  How are their friends doing?   Showing that you are genuinely interested in the things that are important to them will help build a bridge of openness between you.
  4. Create a list of “House Rules – simple, clear guidelines for living with respect and order in your household.  Consider posting these (perhaps on the refrigerator or in a common area).  Communicate those rules to your children from an early age or start now, even if your child is older.
  5. Let your yes be yes and your no be no ~ Children of all ages thrive when there are clear boundaries.  When your child “tests your resolve (and he/she will), don’t waver.  Your child needs to see that what you’ve decided is for their good, and that you will follow though on disciplining and training them.  In time, the testing will lessen in frequency and severity because of your consistency.
  6. Make proactive decisions ahead of time about what you do and don’t want your child to see on TV, in movies, and on the internet.  Determine how much time you will allow them to interact with media each day.  Keep all media consumption under your watchful eyes, and consider collecting their phones when they go to bed.
  7. Listen ~ Read between the lines and learn to pick up the signals in your child’s conversation about what’s influencing him or her: friends, friends’ homes, media, school, bullying, peer pressure, etc.
  8. Start an ongoing conversation with your child about the importance of establishing boundaries for protection: for their body, mind, and spirit.  See everyday life as the living laboratory in which you can ask key questions and teach your child about what they should and shouldn’t allow into their hearts and minds – and why.
  9. Take at least 15 minutes each day to connect with each of your children.  Let them know that you love them and that you are proud of them.  Point out all of their best attributes and encourage them in those areas.
  10. Check out our free resources that will help you address many of the issues facing the family today.

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adult hands key to child
Oct 03, 2013

Loving the Multi's

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth, and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:24-28

We are part of a gargantuan community. Do you realize that in the lifetime of some still living today the world community has exploded from a mere two and a half  billion to seven billion humans jostling together on tiny planet earth. The huge number of fellow men, women, and children living today is hard to grasp. And this has come about from the creation of one man by the God who made all things.  The diversity of nations, races, languages, religions of these seven billion souls is phenomenal, but the basic structure of human beings is the same: two eyes, one nose and mouth, two ears, legs and arms; you get it. This has been true from Adam and Eve to the present and continues as it has been from the beginning.
This populated earth is our community in which we live and move and have our being. Admittedly our actual community is much smaller in terms of who we know, work with, play with, and with whom we communicate day in and day out. Yet inextricably we are part of this world community and are under a commission by God through his Son to go into all of this world and make disciples from all of its nations. “All the world is a BIG task; and yet it has been happening unabated since the first century. No other religion on the face of the earth is spread in all the nations of the world like Christianity, which is still in the process of fulfilling this twenty-one century old marching order, the Great Commission.
The Living and Only God whom Paul describes above is set apart from all the gods that proliferate through the world today; some are made by the hands of men from created material, others “live in temples made by human hands, some are “fed by the hands of men; some have adherents who grow and sustain their following by force, oppression, and violence. The true God through his providence has guided the circumstances of men that they might “seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from [any of them]. Such description of its God is totally unique to Christianity among the religions of the world.
Because Christians worship the God who is, the Christian community is multi-lingual, multi-racial, multi-national, and spread across the face of the earth. Of such is the population of heaven. If you are not comfortable with this diverse consortium of humanity, possibly you will not be comfortable with dwelling in the new heavens and the new earth. We are as believers in the process of being “made fit for heaven; this very much includes loving the “brethren who make up the church on earth.  Loving and reaching out to the multi’s of our world community is the calling which God has given to each one who truly loves him and obeys his commandments. What part do you play in loving the multi’s into the kingdom?

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