Payh Blog
Jesus leaving empty tomb while light shines from the outside
Apr 24, 2019

The Visible Risen Christ

“As they were talking about these things, Jesus Himself stood among them, and said to them, ‘Peace be to you!’ But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ -Luke 24:36-39


Only Jesus knows the exact history of the forty days after His resurrection and before His ascension. Paul has the longest list of Jesus’ appearances, though not complete (1 Corinthians 15). Particularly, he makes no mention of the women who saw Jesus first, especially Mary Magdalene.
The Gospels each tell their own accounts. For example: John includes details about a breakfast Jesus and some of the disciples shared on the beach at the Sea of Tiberias (John 21), and Luke tells the story of Jesus’ encounter with two disciples on the road to Emmaus and the eye-opening instruction during the meal which followed.
Paul speaks of appearances which the others do not, like the “more than 500 occurrence and Jesus appearing to James. John concludes his Gospel succinctly with this caveat: “Now there are also many other things which Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written (John 21:25).
So, we draw an obvious conclusion: Only Jesus really knows completely what He did and everyone He saw during these forty days. What is recorded is not all that occurred, only what God determined we needed to know.
What is instructive to us about this short segment on Earth in Jesus’ resurrected life? First, He was substantiating the veracity of His promise “after three days [I] will rise (Matthew 17 and Mark 9). Perhaps, most tenderly seen in His frequent appearances to them during the forty days, Jesus displayed special concern for His disciples, the men He had personally chosen to be beside Him during His public ministry.
The disciples certainly showed doubt about Jesus after the shock of His crucifixion. Wouldn’t you? Despite His pre-cross promises of resurrection, they were still thrown into despair and confusion by His tortured death. But these post-resurrection appearances fixed in their hearts and minds what sustained and fueled their own powerfully effective ministries right up to their own martyrdoms.
It is a fact: Jesus’ resurrection energized the explosive and continuous growth of the church right up to the present day. His resurrection has been the primary cause of Christianity becoming the major world religion, covering the globe in every tribe, nation, language, and race which inhabits the Earth.
The resurrection established the Lordship of Jesus Christ at the right hand of God His Father. It certifies His work for your salvation, sealing your own resurrection. It is the cause of the ultimate defeat of Satan and his minions; it is the ruin of death and its sting. It cements Jesus’ authority as the Word of God. Finally, it confirms that indeed every knee will one day bow and confess that Jesus is Lord of all!
After coming out of the tomb, Jesus had no need to lord it over His enemies, all those who had mocked and crucified Him. So, we see nothing of this. He did not even attempt to eviscerate the lies spread everywhere about His rising from the dead. Why? Because trust in Jesus is a matter of sheer faith and intended to be so by God. Your faith grabs hold of the risen Christ. You know beyond a doubt that He lives!
On the other hand, it is a matter of persistent unbelief for those who hate and ignore Him. To ignore Him is really to hate Him. “Ignore is the Hebrew meaning of “hate. Essentially, for those who will not believe, only the Judgment will convince them they were fatally wrong.
Unfortunately, using unassailable proofs to try to persuade them still will not convince so many to believe, for their hearts are increasingly hardened. Even the risen Jesus standing right before their eyes while displaying the scars in His hands, feet, and side would not necessarily move them to belief. Jesus is well aware of this hardness of their hearts. This is something we ourselves continually wrestle with in this fallen world.
Yet, in these weeks immediately after Easter, meditating on the events of these forty days, considering the people who were the eyewitnesses, and seeing your living Lord interact with them will truly enrich your soul.
You can observe the miracle of a rapidly-growing church blossoming into a world-altering assembly of diverse peoples in every place on Earth, all springing from a profoundly despondent, small group of Jesus followers from a tiny place…that is, until He left the empty tomb behind!
You very possibly will be more energized in your own life, as the apostles and followers of the Lamb were, to serve the risen Christ with humility, steel, passion, and love. You will be enabled to reach even the most hardened for the risen Jesus. The intentional contemplation of these things can have the same result on you as it did them. For this is true: He lives!


“On the first day of the week, Mary came, the grave to seek; Jesus met her by the way on that first resurrection day, rising like the morning sun, bringing hope to everyone. Praise the Lord, His work was done! Jesus is my morning sun!
(First verse of James Ward’s hymn, “Jesus Is My Morning Sun, 1975)
 

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Crucifixion And Sunset
Apr 17, 2019

The Helper in Burying Jesus

“Jesus answered Nicodemus, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ -John 3:3


The torturous crucifixion of Jesus accomplished its purpose. He truly died; He did not “swoon on the cross to later be revived in a cold tomb. Ridiculous myths like this have been the subject of books seeking to prove that Jesus’ resurrection was a lie. The Jewish leaders themselves, as recorded in Scripture, paid the Roman soldiers to spread lies of the disciples stealing Jesus’ body from the tomb – a tomb they themselves were tightly guarding, no less. Thus, no resurrection according to their lie.
Friday evening after the crucifixion, Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate to request Jesus’ body, which was still hanging on the cross. Pilate agreed. Joseph, a disciple of Jesus, had his own tomb nearby which he determined to donate for Jesus’ burial. Nicodemus volunteered to help Joseph move the body from the cross to the tomb and provided 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes to dress the body of Jesus for His interment in the rock tomb.
Nicodemus was a member of the Pharisees but had become a Christian, very likely at the time he came to Jesus by night to talk about salvation and eternal life (John 3). This conversation thoroughly covers how and why to become a Christian and includes the most loved verse in the Bible – John 3:16.
Nicodemus had come to understand what it means to be “born again. We first know what “born again means because of this encounter Jesus had with Nicodemus. This is a conversation which has traveled throughout the world in every age to the present day. It is why we still confess that believers in Jesus, those who genuinely trust in Him for their salvation, have been born again.
Two of these born again men care for the dead body of Jesus on this post-crucifixion Friday night. One more night, Saturday, and on the third day of Sunday morning this same Jesus walked out of His tomb. Death had met its defeat.
Jesus is called the “first fruits of your resurrection. He burst the bonds that would have held you and me in the grave forever. He opened the locked door to eternal life through this miracle of physical, bodily resurrection. The whole person and body of Jesus emerged from that tomb! This was no mere spiritualized event; Jesus truly rose, body and spirit, from evidential death!
It is our supreme desire that all the young men who darken the door of the Youth Home will come to be born again, sooner rather than later. This event in their life, however, is entirely in God’s hands. The Spirit of God must unite them to the Savior, though PAYH staff lead them right to His door.
This Spirit is the wind of which Jesus speaks in His conversation with Nicodemus in John 3. The Spirit blows where He wills. You do not see His coming or see where He goes after, just like the wind. It is this Spirit of God who enacts your rebirth from death to life.
The young men at PAYH may pray the “sinner’s prayer, inviting Jesus into their hearts, but observation of them thereafter proves whether the prayer was a sincere desire to trust in Jesus as personal Savior and Lord or if this was just going through some ritual motions.
If you do not sense or know a dramatic change in your life then or in a little while, you do not just walk away and forget it; you pursue the Lord until your rebirth becomes a reality. This is not a game. It is the most critical thing you will ever do. If you do not hunger for it, if you do not pursue it with everything in you, nothing happens.
Becoming born again necessitates the work of the Holy Spirit, and it requires faith, which is itself a gift. That faith confesses, “I must have Him, or I will die. Faith is not passive; sincere faith is aggressive. Faith fiercely grabs hold of salvation and never gives up.
There is no more important historical event in the universe than Jesus’ resurrection. Everything depends on it! Especially your rebirth into eternal life. This Sunday is the celebration of new life – your new life because Jesus lives! Else, nothing matters anymore.


“Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature’s night. Thine eye diffused a quickening ray; I woke, the dungeon flamed with light. My chains fell off, my heart was free. I rose, went forth, and followed Thee. Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
(Fourth verse of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “And Can It Be That I Should Gain, 1738)
 

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Apr 16, 2019

Jackson

A Changed Life is Priceless!

At PAYH, Jackson learned that his anger and addiction issues were symptoms of a much greater problem – the fact that he lacked a relationship with God. While he had previously been a “deliberate non-believer,” that came to an end in November when the Holy Spirit moved upon his heart and Jackson came face to face with the reality of his sin and his need for Christ.
You can help more young men like Jackson have a second chance and find hope in Christ through your investment in Paul Anderson Youth Home. You can help to change a life for eternity!
A changed life is priceless!


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Girl Turns Aside, Stretching Her Hands Forward
Apr 10, 2019

Hyperbole?

“Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire. -Matthew 18:7-9


Year after year, Easter is a thrilling, joyful day of celebration at the beginning of spring. The coming of the season introduces warm weather, budding trees, brilliant colors in blooming flowers, baby chicks and bunnies, egg painting and hunts, and delight in new life! All this is the result of who and what Easter is all about: the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the empty tomb, breakfast with close friends beside the lake in Galilee, an afternoon walk to Emmaus accompanied by an eye-opening meal.
All this celebration is immediately preceded by the preparatory season of Lent – a time to focus on the fact of sin and the necessity of the cross. We can’t have one without the other to remedy sin’s disaster.
The cross comes before resurrection. Dealing with sin and its consequences precedes the joy of pardon. Matthew 18 is primarily about temptation and sin; it features Jesus’ own words concerning the seriousness of evil and the necessity of punishing it out of existence. Jesus talks to His disciples and through them to you about the ravages of sin and its purpose of destroying everything good.
The question must be asked: Does Jesus use hyperbole to convey the utter depravity of sin? What else can explain this horrifying encouragement to self-mutilation? Amputating a hand or foot, gouging out an eye? Is this really Jesus’ prescribed remedy of combating temptation and sin in your life? Jesus is communicating how thoroughly serious this matter of sin is. You ignore His dire warning to your own peril.
Matthew does not alone capture Jesus’ words. Mark uses the same warning of Jesus in taking these drastic steps to the preserving of your soul for eternal life, rather than eternal fire. But Mark links it in his passage to the sin of following mental lusts into actual adultery and the like. It all has to do with resisting the temptation to sin, for temptation is the constant battlefield promised in this life – temptation fueled by Satan and your appetites. It is fierce, cunning, persistent.
Why do we have to live our entire lives with constant temptations? Couldn’t God have chosen an easier path for all those created in His image? Possibly this deepens your appreciation for the truly monstrous sin of our first parents, thrusting all of us into a sea of sin by rejecting their Creator.
This is the world and its conflict with sin in which God, by His wisdom and plan, has placed us. Job answered this question by saying, “But He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. God places us in this crucible so He might clothe us with the character of His Son.
It is expected that if you swim in sin, you will swallow some of it. We do sin because we are sinners with a proclivity to it. Sin is in our nature, that is, until we are reborn by the grace of God and the faith energized in us. Reborn people still sin, but now righteousness becomes their greater desire, and sanctification is growing in them.
When you are tempted to sin, the explicit warning of Jesus needs to flash before the eyes of your heart. In Jesus’ view, giving in to temptation warrants taking the terrible step of removing your eye, cutting off your hand, or amputating your foot to stop it. Of course, Jesus does not expect you to literally resort to such measures, but the utter seriousness of this real possibility needs to be impressed on mind and emotions.
It is actually better to do such to yourself if it prevents your caving to the temptation that is ravaging your own body, mind, and appetite. Jesus could just as well have mentioned the sexual organs along with eye, hand, or foot. But He gets His point across very well without it.
In any case, if such violence keeps you from condemnation, think more wisely and fiercely of what you do or do not do. “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force (Matthew 11:12).
This is not a life for patsies, it is a commitment of faith to do serious combat to win the kingdom of heaven. Jesus does not mince words, and neither should we minimize them. Take it to heart! For “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.


“When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie, My grace, all sufficient, shall be your supply. The flame shall not hurt you; I only design your dross to consume and your gold to refine.
(Rippon’s Selection of Hymns, “How Firm a Foundation, 1787)
 

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Prayer Believe In God Hands Pray
Apr 03, 2019

Seeing Lazarus

“When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of Him but also to see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. -John 12:9-11


They were seeing the evidence right before their own eyes – talking, touching, even hugging. He who was dead for four days now lived…again. The Chief Priests and Pharisees were beside themselves. They were livid, shaking with anger and spewing hatred. Not only did they plot to take the life of Jesus, but they also sought to murder this newly resurrected Lazarus.
This is possibly what kept the authors of Matthew, Mark, and Luke from recording this most public miracle of death to life. Only John, who wrote his gospel after Lazarus had died his second death, recorded this astounding sign of Jesus’ power.
We too easily forget that Jesus raised two others from death to life: the Nain widow’s son and Jairus’ daughter. This should have prefigured in the eyes of all – enemies and friends alike – that Jesus had the power to raise the dead if He so chose.
This third resurrection was quite public and was leading many to believe in and follow Jesus. This was too much for His sworn enemies, so the gospel authors chose to take a cautious approach and not stir up the threats on Lazarus’ life again. They remained silent. Apart from John, who wrote many years later after Lazarus died, we would not have known about Jesus calling Lazarus out of a dark tomb.
Lent can be considered a gloomy season. Sin is paramount, central to wrenching meditation, but then conviction of sin needs sufficient time to do its work in producing genuine repentance. If sin is contemplated only for a moment and then forgotten, the penetrating work of repentance finds too little depth to affect lasting transformation.
Sin is noxious and persistent. It is “whack a mole. It is like the fog that creeps in on little cat feet. Sin is, in all reality, hard to kill. This is what we all experience. Paul expresses it well with his cry, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? The contemplation of Lent, indeed all the time, throughout the year, requires the hope that the battle will one day be over!
Sin kills, but as Jesus said outside Lazarus’ dark and gloomy tomb, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live. Yes, “the sting of death is sin, and sin is hard to kill, “the power of sin is the law, and the law endures forever, but “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. If it were not for the “Resurrection and the Life standing outside Lazarus’ tomb, he would still be in it, not only then, but always.
Jesus does not remove the law, but He does fulfill it. He takes the law’s just punishment, which meted out death. He died, but because of His perfect obedience, death could not hold Him in the grave.
His perfect righteousness had in it the just power to remove the sting of sin which results in death. Consequently, all those who wear His righteousness as their own, through virtue of His death while He was their personal substitute, overcome death in their own future. They will rise again!
You see, the resurrection of Lazarus by Jesus says emphatically who Jesus is: “the resurrection and the life. In the midst of Lent, He is hope that sin will not win. Sin will not keep you in the grave. Thanks be to God through the Lord Jesus Christ, you will rise. Sin and death do not get the win.
See Lazarus! Continue the present fight with hope in your heart. See “the resurrection and the life in your eyes of faith. Keep your eyes on Him, and you will one day see Him, just as Job promised, with your own physical eyes, face-to-face, as He is (Psalm 17:15). Then, you too will be found in His likeness.


“Jesus lives and so shall I. Death, thy sting is gone forever! He who deigned for me to die lives, the bands of death to sever. He shall raise me from the dust. Jesus is my hope and trust.
(First verse of Christian Gellert’s hymn, “Jesus Lives, and So Shall I, 1757)
 

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Group Shot
Apr 02, 2019

This Month at PAYH: Monthly Newsletter, April 2019

Showers of Blessings

As the old hymn goes, PAYH has seen “showers of blessings” this past month. The Lord has blessed us with faithful friends both old and new, opportunities to expand our reach in His Kingdom, and the financial resources to fulfill the calling He has placed upon us. 

God's Kingdom Has No Age Limit

Stearne-with-Ms

We had the incredible honor this year of visiting with Ms. Lois, our oldest living supporter. At 105 she’s still youthful and active, walking a mile every day even as the “younger residents of her assisted living facility decline her offers for them to join her. Stearne spent quite some time visiting with her as she told stories of her days as a schoolteacher in Tift County before World War 2, the difference between cow’s milk and goat’s milk (which she learned working on her family farm), and her experiences as a high-school librarian. At one point she commented that it was “good to remember these things… I haven’t remembered some of these things in years. Lord willing, we plan to make the trip to see her again soon.

Stories from the Home

Stearne’s Graduation

Stearne_Graduation

Stearne, one of our young men, graduated the program April 1st. While we will certainly miss him, we are excited about what the future holds for him. During his time in the program, Stearne learned the value of hard work, honesty, and integrity, and was able to participate in a wide variety of activities, including the Vidalia Teen Maze, visiting with donors, and riding on the PAYH Bike Ride. Now that he’s finished the program, Stearne plans to pursue a career as a welder and eventually start his own business. Hear his heartfelt testimony at payh.org/stearne.

 

Ogeechee Steel Visit

Ogeechee-Steel-Group-Shot

Our young men had an opportunity to learn a bit about the steel fabrication and construction industry this month when they toured Ogeechee Steel in Swainsboro, GA. President Janet Johnson and Secretary / Treasurer Brandi Perossa provided breakfast and fellowshipped with the young men before manager Rick Evans gave a tour of the plant and discussed the process of fabricating and constructing a steel building, services which they provide nationwide.

 

SEPC Southern Exposure

outhern-Exposure

For several years, the Southeast Produce Council has been a wonderful blessing to PAYH as well as a faithful partner with us in ministry. This past month, at their annual Southern Exposure event, the SEPC presented PAYH with a check in the amount of $25,000, which Advancement Officer Victoria Shuman was delighted to accept. In addition to its sponsorship of our bike ride, golf tournament, and Christmas play, the SEPC sponsors the PAYH “Goodness Garden, which they will come to help plant for the 2019 season on April 5th.

 

Fire Science

Fire-Science

One of the objectives of our educational program is to expose our young men to a variety of educational opportunities and educate them on numerous career options. One of the more interesting courses available to our young men is Fire Science. Taught by Vidalia Fire Department Captain Robert Tillman, our young men get the opportunity to learn many of the skills and techniques employed in containing and extinguishing fires, as well as rescue techniques and proficiency with a wide variety of firefighting equipment.

Upcoming Event

PAGC

This year we are hosting the 26th annual Paul Anderson Golf Classic at the River Club in North Augusta, SC. Over the past 26 years this tournament has provided several million dollars in revenue and has been a major part of our operating budget. To learn more, or to register a team, visit payh.org/golf.


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Parenting Troubled Teenagers Is Not a Hopeless Fight
Apr 02, 2019

Parenting Troubled Teenagers Is Not a Hopeless Fight

Parenting troubled teenagers can be challenging or even overwhelming. One may experience significant stress in the parental journey if his or her teen is abusing drugs, experiencing depression, or committing acts of violence. Additionally, open defiance and failed attempts to communicate can add to one’s despair.
Don’t worry, though; most of these issues do not last forever. Parents can tackle the problems by learning how to identify red flag behaviors and seeking professional help. By doing so, parents can help teens overcome the challenges of adolescence and transition into well-balanced and happier young adults.

Understanding the Behavior of Teenagers

Why do teenagers display reckless conduct, act impulsively, experience intense emotions, or throw tantrums? Well, everyone is wired differently, and their teenage brains are still actively developing. That’s why they do not process information in the same way a mature adult’s brain does. For example, teenagers tend to rely on the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that triggers emotional reactions. Adults, on the other hand, use the prefrontal cortex for reading emotional cues.
Now that you know why teens act differently, it’s also important to note that teenagers are individuals with unique personalities. No matter how troubled your teen becomes or how emotionally distant they are, teenagers still need their parents’ attention and love.

Identifying Red Flag Behaviors in Teenagers

Parents can start by learning when to step in and assist their troubled teens. Below are some of the most common red flag behaviors to watch for:

  • Peer influence: It is normal for friends to have a great influence on a teen’s choices. Parents should take note when there is a sudden change in peer groups, especially one that encourages negative behaviors.
  • Experimenting with drugs or alcohol: Many teenagers smoke a cigarette (or even marijuana) and/or try alcohol at some point. Problems start arising when his or her drug or alcohol use becomes habitual, affecting school-related performance and life at home.
  • Mood swings: Hormones and developmental changes can cause irritable behavior and mood swings. Your teen may be struggling to manage these emotions if they talk about suicide, have difficulty sleeping, ignore falling grades, and/or experience persistent sadness.
  • Rebellious behavior: When teens start to seek independence, they may become opinionated and confrontational every so often. Parents should be concerned if they start to frequently get into fights or even have run-ins with the law.

How Can Parents Help Troubled Teenagers?

If a troubled teen displays one or more of the mentioned red flag behaviors, parents can consider seeking professional help, such as therapists, counselors, doctors, or other mental health professionals. After finding the appropriate treatment for your teen, it does not mean that your job is done. There are various actions you should take at home to improve the relationship between you and your teen. Here’s what you can do:

  • Help your teen make healthy lifestyle changes: Create a schedule that your teen can follow with regular mealtimes, fixed bedtimes (at least 8.5 to 10 hours of sleep), etc. Consider reducing screen time as it is known to impact brain development as well. Next, ensure that your teen eats right and exercises regularly, which can improve his or her mood.
  • Learn how to cope with teen anger and violence: Parents should establish boundaries, rules, and consequences but also give their teens enough space to retreat and relieve anger in a healthy manner, such as venting through art or dancing to music.
  • Create opportunities to strengthen the parent-teen bond: Parents can open the lines of communication by being there for their teens, finding common ground, offering a listening ear without being judgmental, and providing sound advice.
  • Remember to practice self-care: The stress of dealing with a troubled teen can take a toll on parents, which is why it is important to find support. You can seek help from a religious leader, sports coach, friend, or other family members. Ultimately, parents should remember to relax daily and de-stress when they start to feel overwhelmed.

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