Payh Blog
The Dark Hedges Co. Antrim Northern Ireland
May 29, 2014

Ancient Paths

“This is what the Lord says, ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’ But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Jeremiah 6:16

Out West, where I grew up in Colorado, the country is not overrun with population. As you hike in the primitive beauty of the wilderness in the spectacular Rocky Mountains you still come across ancient paths created by wild game as well as by ancient inhabitants, Native Americans. Even on the plains there remain in some places the visible ruts of wagon wheels from the numerous covered wagon trains once heading west across the frontier. These are ancient paths in the landscape of the earth like the more substantial paving rocks of the ancient Roman way; they could really tell a story if the rocks could speak. Jeremiah, however, is speaking of ancient paths of the soul in the labyrinth of the culture. The ancient land paths were ways to water, safety, home, provision. The paths of the soul are the spiritual routes of men traversing a life’s journey while breathing, thinking, choosing, acting, and responding to, ignoring, or hating their Creator. Asking for the ancient paths for the believer is remembering this, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
In a very real sense you and I stand at one crossroads or another most every day; we are faced with choices. Some days there are more important crossroads than others, and the choices are more dramatic and consequential than other days, but then you never really know in advance  what even “simple choices in this day will bring forth. Asking for “ancient paths doesn’t always sound very exciting or adventuresome; innovation or something “new seems more enticing to the appetite. After all, being bored is the worst sin, your nature whispers to your soul. Ancient paths are allegedly those dusty diatribes of patriarchs and prophets long “dead; young people disparage and ignore history as the buried relic of a past irrelevant to their lives today; even in the church many Christians ask openly or in their private thoughts how “dead white men of the Reformation have anything significant to say to the church in the modern age.
Attention today is captured by the spectacular, the creative, the imaginative, the NEW; though, Solomon said in the distant past there is nothing new under the sun; and, you know, Solomon hasn’t been proved wrong yet. Jesus addressed the myth of the innovative and new over against the everlasting good of the ancient paths: “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced [of the eternal value of the ancient paths] even if someone rises from the dead. (Luke 16:31) Ancient in this text also means everlasting. God is from everlasting and He does not change. What He revealed in the distant past remains true today. The ancient paths are the spiritual truths, the first principles, found in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and on to Peter, John and Paul.
The ancient paths of the Old Testament are one with the ancient paths of the New. Jesus did not say for nothing to the two disciples walking to Emmaus on that first resurrection day that they can find him in the pages of Moses, the Prophets, and throughout the Scriptures. The ancient paths are, “What does the Lord require of you, O man, but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8), together with “I (Jesus) am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me (John 14:5). The only way you are going to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God today, is to know with certainty Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and abiding in him is asking for and walking in the ancient paths.
I played football from 3rd grade through college. After a bad game, you could count on the coaches in the next week of practice taking you back with vigor to the fundamentals: blocking, tackling, catching, and running.  Yes, even in college football, after years and years of playing the game, you were still susceptible to forget the basics; they needed to be imbedded in your head and body once again. Israel had to learn this lesson in their head and hearts over and over. So do we!  Jeremiah told the people of God they were at a crossroads and they really were; ask for the ancient paths, he said by God’s Spirit, and walk in them, and find rest for your souls. In this instance they would not. Crossroads are inevitable in all our lives. The Bible promises, “Ask and you will receive. You will, if you ask for the ancient paths. That is where the rest for which you crave will always be found.

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Payh Blog
May 28, 2014

Keep It Simple. Keep It Fun.

It’s summer! We all have memories of childhood being a time when we were out of school and the summer was full of adventure. It wasn’t complicated, life was simply…simple. When we were kids, we were free to explore our imagination and create our own make believe world. Life seemed unrestrained, limitless and full of opportunity.
As adults, it is worth paying attention to the perspective of a child. We see that life is complicated, moves fast, and time is at a premium. There are however times in life when we need to slow down. The summer break is a time when we need to change our perspective a bit and remember what it was like to just have fun, unwind, and relax. Relationships can be built when they are free of a sense of obligation. So, here are some ideas on how to slow down and invest not only in yourself but your children. Regardless of whether you have small children, teenagers, or everyone is out of the home, have some summer fun. In doing so, your family will be all the better for it!

  • Take a walk…together! Or a bike ride. Just walk out the door and slow down by looking around.
  • Play with water! Water balloons are fun. So are sprinklers! Washing the car can even be fun if you make sure you get someone else wet!
  • Laugh…a lot.
  • Play tag or chase someone around. Young or old, sometimes being chased is just silly and fun.
  • Make your own popsicles, out of your own lemonade that you have made from scratch.
  • Share a coke float with someone.
  • Lie on the ground and look at the stars. Learn some constellations. Make some up if you only know a few!
  • Pick berries and then have a picnic!
  • Throw a ball or a Frisbee and make up a game. Be sure to keep score!
  • At the last minute, do something. See a movie or go somewhere but make it spontaneous.
  • Read a perfectly fun book.
  • Go outside in a rainstorm (avoid the lightning)!
  • Be together with the people you love!

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Payh Blog
May 22, 2014

Jesus Ascended Into Orbit?

“But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: ‘When he ASCENDED on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men [to you].’ Ephesians 4:7-8

Today is Ascension Day, 40 days after Easter. You probably did not know this when you awoke this morning, or you forgot what today is. Now that you have been reminded, share it. The Ascension of Jesus is not celebrated very much in the church today, like Christmas or Easter. Consequently, there is not much thought devoted to Jesus’ ascension in Christians’ lives or its relevance for all believers. What does the ascension say to you about how you live your life?
Materialist skeptics repeatedly say that if Jesus had ascended into the clouds off the surface of the earth, defying gravity, he had nowhere to go but into orbit. Russian astronaut Titov’s ridicule that he did not see God or heaven while in orbit is no surprise to the believer, as if Titov thought such an inane statement would be. Jesus clearly said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you. (Luke 17:20-21) Heaven is not a location in the visible universe, but a different dimension of reality. (Hence, “a great crowd of witnesses for you to ponder) For the materialist skeptics there is a boatload of evidence that the world and life is much, much more than material substance. Their denial of this evident truth is breathtaking.
Jesus ascended into the sky, and the clouds hid him from his disciples eyes, to say with a visual metaphor you will not see me again until I return in like manner (see Revelation 1:7). Jesus was fulfilling what he had surely promised, “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go I will send him to you. (John 16:7) The good for us is that Jesus, via the Holy Spirit, can personally lay his hand on us each one wherever you may be, in the hospital, in prison, on the battlefield, in your homes, on the street; which having a body, wedded to our flesh for eternity, he could not do in his incarnate being. He promised his presence, “I will not leave you nor forsake you. Lo, I am with you always, through the omnipresence of his Holy Spirit.
He also ascended that he might rule over and fill his entire universe, in a celebration of his victory over sin, Satan and death, and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, in a place not distant, not visible, but AMONG YOU. And this truth of the ascension you cannot miss; in his ascension he has apportioned grace to every believer, containing various and diverse gifts, that you and I might bring his presence and saving grace to every part of the globe, into every situation of suffering and sin, comforting the sick, feeding the hungry, freeing the prisoner, redeeming the lost. This is not just the Holy Spirit’s work, Jesus says it is yours! But always in the strength and power and encouragement of his Holy Spirit who is within you. The ascension’s doctrine teaches you that Jesus in his ascension gives gifts to you to engage this battle with your life; all the time knowing the ultimate result is victory! The question for you is: will you experience the joy of knowing you are a genuine participant in the battle?
Consequently, Ascension Day ought to be celebrated by you as your commissioning day in Jesus’ army; even though it took place in history over 2000 years ago. Just as V-Day (WWII), even though you may not have been born, signifies freedom which you live in and enjoy today, with a far more significant, sure and eternal freedom, Ascension Day put rank on your shoulders commissioning you in the Army of the Lord. This is why you will shout as a fellow victor with enthusiastic joy, and not as a mourning non-participating scorner, when he appears on the clouds…… just as he ascended.

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Beautiful burning candles and fairy lights at windowsill on rainy day
May 19, 2014

PAGC 2014 Thank You

Whether this was your first or twenty-first Paul Anderson Golf Classic (PAGC), we want to thank you for making this year’s event a huge success. With your help, we were able to raise over $168,000!
After a beautiful day on the links, we headed back to the Paul Anderson Youth Home (PAYH) to do what we do best, minister to our young men and their families. Each day we plant the seeds of the Gospel in their lives and provide them the opportunity for a second chance. It is this work that propels us forward. We need your help to continue offering hope and help to young men and families throughout the nation. Will you join us by continuing to invest in the lives of our young men?

A huge thank you to all of our sponsors!


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Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods Mr. & Mrs. Monte Thornton
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Payh Blog
May 15, 2014


“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast their cords away from us.’ He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, ‘As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.’… ‘Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled.’ Blessed are all who take refuge in him. Psalm 2:1-6, 12

You may often have wondered when you listen to the rage and filthy blasphemy which comes with vehemence from the mouths of those who despise God, Jesus, Christianity and the Bible, and any pretense imagined that their knee will one day bow to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, when will their mouths be silenced? This rage is nothing new in this generation. It has reigned in many a heart from Cain to this very day; and yet because of the global communications of this modern age, such as the internet and social media and world-wide television, as well as laws meant to silence any gospel proclamation, it appears to be even worse today. You see it and cannot escape observing or being persecuted by its fury.
Psalm 2 for many centuries has been a Psalm read in worship on Easter Sunday. I wonder if you heard it several weeks ago on Easter or even knew this Messianic Psalm was used as an Easter Psalm. Why would it be? Because our King has conquered the last enemy, death, with his resurrection; he lives and he reigns! Yet his enemies rage all the more as the Day draws near, stirred up to even greater fury by the “prince of the power of the air,  Satan, whose very existence is mocked by many, even while he directs their hearts, mouths, and actions to erupt with rage against the Anointed One.
One wonders about a reviewer recently in Christianity Today of the movie, “God is Not Dead who critiqued it as somewhat smug in its presentation of the truth. How would she read the 2nd Psalm? It was a good and useful movie for a witness to truth, except my knowledge of the university classroom today is that there would be a great many more students verbally and abusively joining with the professor, even shouting down the Christian student so as not to allow him a platform to be heard. This aspect of the film was certainly fictional; yet a necessity to provide the argument of truth to the movie audience.
There is little if any opportunity to do this on university campuses today. Christian speakers are regularly cancelled by the administrations, intimidated by the vehement protests of students and faculty. But smugness, no. Perhaps she wanted the Christian student to be more “kind to the irrationality and unreasonableness of anti-theist thought propounded by the liberal professor. Truth, even presented as he did with love, still makes the opposite argument foolishness. It is incoherent and contradictory in its very premises.
Psalm 2 is God’s response to the rage through the centuries against him and his Son. Though it may be anthropomorphic language so that we can understand God’s response, he holds them in derision, he laughs at their foolish vanity to rail against what is set in absolute truth. It is only God’s longsuffering which holds back his wrath and judgment today, evidenced in his remarkable patience, directed by amazing love for you, of the mocking scorn cast on Jesus as he hung on the cross, “If you are the Son of God, take yourself down from the cross!
Oh, what surprise and horror for all the unrepentant mockers when in an instant, not expecting it, Christ appears on the clouds with all his myriads of angels and all those who have fallen asleep in him through all the centuries of history; as Revelation describes that scene, “and all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see him, as they are startled by the truth they had fiercely mocked. The scene then will be, “Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! (Philippians 2) But for all those who have scorned and refused to “kiss the Son the unerring result recorded in Psalm 2 is “they will be destroyed in their way. “Every man would have been wiser, better, happier, more useful, if he had fled from the wrath to come.’ (W.S. Plumer)
Those who follow Christ can take hope in the truth from Psalm 2, yet at times you are tempted to gloat over the coming destruction of your persecutors and arrogant enemies. Instead you must pay attention to the appropriate response of a true disciple of Jesus Christ, “Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. (Verse 11) It says to those who obey the Word of the Lord, “Kiss the Son! To do this you must draw near, very near. You cannot kiss from a distance. This is an intimate relationship defined by this language and metaphor. This is the love and closeness for and to him of all those who follow willingly and perseveringly. “Fix your eyes on Jesus as you hear the reviling and scorn upon him and because of him upon you as the rage intensifies. His wrath is coming on them. But for you, your acknowledged King and Refuge is coming soon! Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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Multicolored Balloons and Confetti in the City Festival
May 08, 2014

After the Big Event

“Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep [and] you must follow me!’ John 21:17 and 22

We have all had multiple “big events in our life; some very happy, some heartbreaking, some life changing, some greatly anticipated, some a complete surprise. Often after these events you wonder, “What do I do now? In any case it often seems anti-climactic. Force of habit takes over. You see the need to get back to what you were doing before the big event; one foot in front of another until the pain or the excitement subsides, depending on what the big event was: wedding, funeral, birth, Christmas after Advent, Easter after Lent, a much anticipated vacation, a trip of a lifetime, a divorce, beginning a new job, graduation from your final school, and a host of other things. John 21 is about seven disciples of the Lord returning to their home in Galilee after three tumultuous, incredible years in the presence of Jesus of Nazareth; followed in quick succession by his horrific death, astounding resurrection, and a few unexpected appearances in his resurrected body. What next? What do they do now after all this has happened? What is their “normal life to consist of tomorrow, and next week, and beyond?
Peter said, “I’m going fishing! The “Big Fisherman returns to his trade. The other disciples said, “We’re coming with you; some of them also returning to their trade. You may wonder what Jesus did in the intervening time between his appearances during the forty days before his ascension. Where was he? Did he make more appearances of which we know nothing? Where did he stay? We simply do not know. If anyone imagines something, it is all conjecture. Some are sure he visited his mother. But the Bible does not tell us so. In any case it is quite clear that his appearances were deliberate and timely. They had a purpose. Jesus, the Son of God, had a righteous intent and perfect plan in everything he did. Therefore, his appearance to the seven disciples on the shore of Galilee after such shocking events was timely. He allowed for the right amount of time to pass in their own hearts and minds; then, he came to them with a calling and command for the rest of their lives.  The Lord of Life intends to do the same with you after “big events. He wants you to get back to your calling as his disciple after the “big event has had some impact upon you. Maybe there will be a change in your thinking, your motivation, your location, the circumstances of your life, but the calling of his brothers and sisters remains the same: feed my sheep, follow me!
You and I are called to be spiritual shepherds following his example. If the “big event in your life pulled you away from pursuing this call for a season, or if you are wondering what to do next after whatever took place, you are called to go back and feed the sheep and care for them as Jesus would. And you are not to worry about what someone one else is doing or not doing. He says to you as he did to Peter, “Don’t worry about him (or them), you follow me! “Big events can throw us off stride; they can produce a self-pity party, they can change your direction and desires, they can confuse you concerning your future, they can cause you to question everything, they can produce depression, they can make you lackadaisical. Whatever thinking and feeling dwelt in the disciples during a long night of fishing with no success, it was banished in the early dawn light as a “stranger told them to cast their net on the opposite side of the boat. The full net of large fish sparked John’s heart and memory, “It is the Lord!
The call was clear, the motivation was deeply set, the source of their strength was clarified, and the disciples continued to fish; only now they were fishers of men. We do not know if Peter ever fished as a trade again, for Paul at times went back to making tents, but the priority calling of these men was now to bear witness to their living Lord on every occasion, and seek as his servants the souls of men; which they did continuously until their deaths. Their call is your call too; follow me, feed my sheep! Put the “big event behind you and get on with Jesus’ will for you.

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Organic Rice Field With Dew Drops
May 01, 2014

Jesus Lives and So Shall I

“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when He comes, those who belong to Him….But someone may ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?’ 1 Corinthians 15:22-23,35

Planting a few flowers in the garden last week wore me out. At a younger age this was nothing; I certainly used to do a whole lot more difficult work all day, all week, and all year. But age has a way of catching up to us; my parts are being replaced as they wear out, and the replacement parts are not as good as the original ones! The Second Law of Thermodynamics is proving true in our bodies; everything is breaking down. You might ask what the Easter celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ has done for your body today and will do into your future. We all still die and our bodies are put in the grave and over time they return to dust. What then is there to raise when Jesus comes? St. Paul addresses the question I would think interests you in his answering this, “With what kind of body will they [we] come, when we are resurrected?
In the forty days after the resurrection of Jesus there was opportunity for some men and women to see what an immortal and incorruptible body looks like; of what does a spiritual body consist? He was seen according to the Scriptures by Mary Magdalen, two disciples on the road to Emmaus, the disciples and whoever was with the apostles on two different occasions in a locked room, to Peter, to seven of the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee, to five hundred of his brethren in one place, and to those who witnessed His ascension. Because Jesus suddenly appeared in the midst of his disciples behind locked doors on two occasions, there was obviously no need for the stone to be rolled away from the tomb for the resurrected Jesus to leave it. The stone was only rolled away by angels from the entrance of the tomb for our benefit and the benefit of His enemies. Apparently, His body had a different quality anatomically than flesh and blood have now. Jesus could be touched; he still bore his resurrection scars which could be seen and felt; he ate with them; he was not at first recognized on the road to Emmaus, but at some point in his interaction with them their eyes were opened and they recognized the Lord. It was a transformed body from what was placed in the tomb, but there also was no dead body that remained separate from His resurrected one. There is some manifestation of continuity in eternity.
St. Paul sought in 1 Corinthians 15 to reveal to us the difference between our body now, the bodies of those who have preceded us in death, and the body with which we will all be raised. It is something about which we ought to be curious, and to which we should give thought, and, yes, action in the present. According to Paul’s answer the seed of your spiritual body is being now formed in you. (1 Corinthians 15:36-38) The seed being formed must die to produce a new body from that seed. Sound confusing? It is, partially because you have yet to experience it. But according to many texts in the Bible, dying to self and living to Christ is an ongoing work in you right now of sanctification that leads to glorification in your new eternal body, when you are raised from the dead. Therefore, presently, if you as a follower of Christ are striving by the Holy Spirit to become like Christ in your inner being, which cannot help but be seen outwardly, then you are in the process of forming the seed of your new spiritual body. It consists of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5), of the Beatitudes of Matthew 5, character traits that can only be attained by dying to self and living to Christ. Out of that seed, apparently still uniquely you, God brings a body “as He has determined (1 Corinthians 15:38) that will be yours for eternity. You will be known as you are known the Scriptures tell us. You will know others and they will know you. Yet the seed you are forming now will have an effect on the body that will be yours forever.
St. Paul concludes this explanation of the difference between the natural body and the spiritual body, which comes from the seed now being formed in you, with this encouragement: “Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58) So the body is wearing out, manifested in my aching body and exerted breathing, but the seed of your new body is being formed. It is your developing character that is forming that seed, not your aging flesh and blood, and it will pass through death and the grave and result in your new body at the last resurrection.

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