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Christmas Concept. Theme Christmas Morning. Dreaming Boy In Anti
Dec 25, 2019

The Day After

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God…” -2 Peter 3:10-12


Christmas: A day anticipated, prepared for, thought over, and then it comes, takes place, and is gone. But what happens for you the day after? Do you call it anticlimactic? Perhaps you feel a bit of sadness. Depression? Emptiness?

Certainly this next day is perhaps reserved for the not-so-glorious task of returning presents for something which fits or replacing them with something you wanted a lot more. But then, back to the same-old, same-old. How does a day anxiously anticipated for over a month become so over and done with in a brief twenty-four hours?

Mary and Joseph’s “gift” on the first Christmas had to be fed, clothed, changed, and cared for 24/7. How do you actually parent and care for the Son of God? They must wonder, Who is this? Mary was inseminated by the Holy Spirit? This never happened before. Nevertheless, the responsibilities of a new baby were not lessened; they were very real despite the wonder and amazement of it all. Many think the work is mundane, but mothering is made for all mothers as a holy and blessed labor of love, the same done by the mother of Jesus.

A place to live, a job to provide sustenance, food to prepare, a baby to nurture – all of this captured the hours of each new day. A home in Bethlehem was procured in some fashion. Mary and Joseph were poor, yet by God’s hand they survived. They did not become beggars!

They were in a home in their new village of Bethlehem when Magi found them a year or so later. Shortly after this visit, though, they were fleeing for their very lives with soldiers searching for them to run a sword through their baby son. But with gifts from these foreign visitors, they now had money to make this hard journey and sustain them in an alien land.

The day after, indeed! What lessons do you learn from your “days after?” For Mary and Joseph, this special son was alive and living in their home. Isn’t the same true for you? Jesus is alive and living in your home, isn’t He? Oh, you do not have an extra mouth to feed, but is there any of your precious time reserved for Him in your day? You see, the nature of the days after are, or ought to be, always focused on Him, even in the midst of your same-old, same-old.

He provides you a positive outlook. He gives character to your hopes, dreams, anticipations. There is no anticlimactic with Him. This is not really just spiritual pie-in-the-sky; it is the reality of the Christian’s life. Or it should be. For you know, Jesus is returning!

According to Matthew 25 (read it again), there are things to be done, oil to be procured, talents to be invested, hungry to be fed, naked to be clothed, prisoners to be visited, and really, an understanding of the different characteristics of sheep compared to goats. There is so much to be done in a relatively short period of time.

Anticlimactic ought not be in your vocabulary. No time for doldrums. Christmas is over, but preparation continues because Jesus is coming back and He’s not here yet. So, there is work to be done, and midnight is coming when your work will end. Today is just one more privileged day to get ready for the really big event.

Wake up each new day with the thought, Jesus is coming! How do I live today keeping this thought in the front of my mind? How does my perspective of that truth radiate in my soul, my hopes, my dreams, my relationships? Such is yet before my eyes and is going to happen! Even so, come, Lord Jesus!


“Bring near Thy great salvation, Thou Lamb for sinners slain. Fill up the roll of Thine elect, then take Thy power and reign. Appear, Desire of nations, Thine exiles long for home; show in the heav’ns Thy promised sign. Thou Prince and Savior, come.”

(Fourth verse of Henry Alford’s hymn, “Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand,” 1867)


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Nightly landscape with snow and moon
Dec 18, 2019

The Beauty of Silence

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation…For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him.” -Psalm 62:1,5


I have always been drawn to the story of the Christmas carol “Silent Night.” This was further enhanced by my visit to Germany one snowy winter at Christmas time; I was in a quiet valley surrounded by rugged snow-covered peaks, much like the location where “Silent Night” was first sung in a Christmas Eve service in 1818.

I am told Joseph Mohr, a young priest and the author of the famous carol, would walk alone to his grandfather’s home in Mariapfarr, Austria when he served as an assistant priest in a church there for two years. The night walk took him over a snow-covered ridge with magnificent views, almost too much to take in. Shining its bright light upon the snow, the moon displayed the valley and majestic peaks in luxuriant radiance; a blanket of beauty and silence settled upon him, all the while overwhelming his senses with an awe of peace and calm. These walks midst the beauty of this silent scene, while contemplating the nativity story, partially inspired the writing of his poem in 1816.

Joseph Mohr would remember the poem with its theme two years later on the day prior to the Christmas Eve service in the mountain church he now served in Oberndorf, Austria. The organ of the church had apparently broken down and could not be used for this special service. So, in trying to think of something to enhance their worship, Mohr thought of his poem and took it to Franz Gruber, his organist. He asked him to compose a tune for the poem on guitar for the next evening; Gruber accomplished it in time.

Two hundred years later, my eyes surveyed this magnificent night in silence under a similar bright moon, from the vantage of a mountainside lodge overlooking the valley below. A number of quaint German villages with their church spires rising above set a scene much like Joseph Mohr must have enjoyed two centuries earlier. “Silent Night” came to mind, and I was mesmerized by the sight of what must have been Mohr’s own partial inspiration in composing the words of one of the most beloved carols ever sung.

We live in a world today which often eschews silence. Radio and television are totally fearful of any silent gap in their programming. Furthermore, some people must have a television on all the time to even feel at ease. The noises of a bustling city constantly fill the air all day and all night. Some people are used to always living with background noise or music; they obviously have a real fear of silence. Smartphones capture any and all time of silent reflection.

What does the total quiet, when such is possible, speak to you? What thoughts are engendered by silence? I dare say we all need periods of complete silence for our own good health. We need time to think, to meditate, to converse, to worship and fellowship with God by ourselves. To focus on Him, we must sometimes shut out the noises of the world around us but not necessarily the quiet noise of nature, like the song of a bird or the rustling of wind. There is necessary and regular corporate worship and fellowship with other believers, but we also must find our own time alone with God in silence, where our hearts and minds converse with the Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit and where we luxuriate in His personal presence. This necessitates non-distracting silence.

Mary was silently alone when Gabriel visited her to announce her coming pregnancy with Jesus. The night sky over the shepherds was silent before and after the angels’ choir magnificently announced the Savior’s birth. After that night’s events, the many silent nights of quietly watching their sheep again must have invoked contemplation in their minds of what had been experienced that night in Bethlehem. What did this speak to their individual hearts?

Make use of your times of silence for your growth, for the sanctification of your soul. Reflect, pray, confess, and enjoy the fellowship of your Savior and God. After all, He made you and He saved you. Seek silence as the fertile ground it really is for your spiritual renewal. Silence assists you in hearing the still, small voice of God.

Silence creates space for intimate thoughtfulness, which, accompanied and directed by His Word, guides your heart closer to God. These times of silence will truly become your treasured times, never easily forgotten. They will potentially create in your heart and mind a peace which passes all understanding.


“Silent night, holy night! All is calm, all is bright ‘round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant so tender and mild, sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.”

(First verse of Joseph Mohr’s hymn-carol, “Silent Night, Holy Night,” 1816)


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friendship, teamwork and people concept - group of international
Dec 11, 2019

Many Hands

“Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life…Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanas…Greet Stachys…Greet Apelles…” and on and on; in this passage of Romans 16:1-23, Paul speaks of thirty-three different fellow workers of his to greet.


Tonight, the fellow laborers of the Paul Anderson Youth Home have their annual Christmas dinner party. I imagine many of you attend parties such as ours annually. It takes much more than a few individuals to do all it requires to minister to our young men 24/7. To quote a well-known politician, “It takes a village!” A village of staff of all ages, backgrounds, and genders; men and women, their spouses and families, and many households. We make up a special community.

Many of you regularly receive communications from PAYH signed by Glenda Anderson or Ken Vaughn, but behind them there is a loving staff of hard workers striving together to present to God the work of their hands. Some are right beside the young men throughout the day – on the grounds, in the classroom, in the kitchen, in the cottages. Others are behind a computer, on the phone, in meetings. Some are teaching, fixing broken things, cooking, mentoring. Ears are at work listening to Bible memory work, voices calling to thank a donor, eyes observing behavior, and hearts praying for transformation, the whole body integrating skills and talents to get it all done.

Advent began this year a week or so ago on December 1st; it is an annual seasonal opportunity for you to intently and meditatively focus on Jesus’ coming (i.e. His Advent). This includes recognizing that this birth truly involved a lot of hands over ages past, filled with many personalities – prophets, priests, and kings, poor, rich, and common – all participating and contributing to the grand scheme of the Father sending His Son in the power of the Spirit to redeem His children.

Our text, actually the whole sixteenth chapter of Romans, shows us that the Apostle Paul was assisted by many brothers and sisters in Christ in performing his ministry. Such is the nature of this many hands, minds, and hearts fulfilling the Lord’s Great Commission.

There are times you may yourself feel alone, but then none of us are really completely alone. The only truly alone human lived as such for a relatively short span before God solved his loneliness with the creation of one like him: Eve. Similarly, Elijah also thought he was it, by himself, until God revealed to him 7,000 others in Israel who had not bowed their knees to Baal. God places the lonely in families. He does not intend for any to be recluses. The permanent truth is God Himself is always near you.

We here at the PAYH have been blessed by God with you faithful souls who join with us in this ministry. At this Advent time of year, all of us PAYH staff express gratefulness to you who come alongside us with your donations and prayers for this work. As you think of us this Christmas, also give thought to ages of prophetic Advent preparation for the incarnation of Jesus, and for this reason be watching and waiting for His coming again. Try to imitate Simeon and Anna as you wait for Jesus’ return.


“Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee, swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing always, only for my King. Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee, filled with messages from Thee.”

(Second and third verses of Frances Havergal’s hymn, “Take My Life, and Let It Be,” 1874)


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Chad-Cook-Family
Dec 10, 2019

This Month at PAYH: Monthly Newsletter, December 2019

I Can’t Be Ungrateful

Prior to coming to PAYH, it seems I was consistently finding myself in some type of trouble. My addictions led me to begin stealing to support my habits, which nearly cost my father his job when I stole from his employer. The drinking, running away, and anger of a rebellious teenager left my parents and the judicial system with few options; the judge wanted to put me “under the jail.” Thankfully, God softened his heart and I soon became a member of what I consider the elite group that is the Paul Anderson Family. This forever changed my course in life.

My time at PAYH was phenomenal. I cannot lie and say I was not angry when I first arrived, feeling like some sort of injustice had been done, but had it not been for Christ’s intervention through the Home I would most likely still be lost to this day. The discipline, the faith, and the integrity they teach have shaped my day-to-day work ethic as well as my role as a husband and father. I still get up at 5:00 AM, spend some time with Christ, and head to the gym before I begin my day. These are habits that have been a part of me since my early days at PAYH, and I believe they are a big part of why God has allowed me to excel. In the words of my employer; “It’s not the fact that he is aggressive – it’s his tenacity and persistence that wins every time.” These are the traits I attribute to Eddie, Glenda, Betty & Mrs. Truett and my friends at the home.

I enlisted in the USMC in 1988 after graduating the program. I was soon deployed to the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, where I served with 2nd Tank Battalion as a scout and naval gunfire spotter. Oddly enough, as I was torn between college and the Corps, the academics scared me way more than the demands of the Corps. I was literally scared of books more than bullets. Eventually I did get over this and pursued a degree in science.

After completing my degree, I began practicing as a transport respiratory therapist, caring for critically ill infants, and children and taking care of them and keeping them breathing in-route to or in-between hospitals. I eventually became a supervisor for the Women and Children’s Center in Albany, Georgia, which in turn opened another door as an account manager for a medical device company for which I manage the accounts in Georgia and North Florida. Along with His financial blessing, Christ has given me a beautiful wife (Kristen) and “loaned” me three beautiful Angels He allows us to call our daughters (Olivia, Kendall & Malia).

God has cared for me and blessed me beyond measure. People look at me as if I’m crazy when I say this, but I can’t be ungrateful for any event that has occurred in my life. Everything was necessary, the good, the bad… all of the trouble. All of the events that I have lived through were necessary for Christ to mold me into the man I am today. I will forever be thankful that God led me to PAYH!

Chad-Cook-Signature

Chad Cook

PAYH Alumnus, 1988

Stories from the Home

PAYH Alumnus Honored for His Service

Wallace

In 1984, Wallace Thompson found himself with a terminally ill father who could no longer care for him. His mother had always been absent from his life, and he found himself without a home and a life headed for trouble. Fortunately, PAYH was there to take him in, and Wallace finished the program having received the discipline and guidance he needed. In particular, Wallace remembered late PAYH staff member Bobby Dixon telling him “when you graduate, people will try to pull you down to their level; pull them up to your level instead.” After serving in the US Army from 1986-1989, Wallace became a deputy with the Toombs County Sheriff, where he was been employed ever since. This past month, the sheriff’s office honored Wallace with a plaque commemorating his 30 years of exemplary service to the citizens of Toombs County. He credits God and his time at the Paul Anderson Youth Home for making this possible, stating “There’s no way I would have achieved any of this without PAYH.”

Poachers’ Misfortune Becomes an Unexpected Blessing

Ducks

Several hunters ran afoul (or perhaps we should say “afowl”) of the law when they exceeded the limit of 3 ducks per hunter. After being caught and ticketed, the Georgia DNR made the decision to donate the birds to PAYH rather than let them go to waste. Bryce and Caden spent the better part of a morning cleaning and prepping more than 50 ducks, which will soon become dinner for the young men.

Canoochee EMC Partners with PAYH

The Canoochee Electric Membership Corporation Foundation Board met last month and made the decision to award the Paul Anderson Youth Home a $1,000 grant. CEMC’s Jeremy Halligan presented PAYH’s Victoria Shuman with the check. The funds come from local EMC members’ small donations through the “Operation Round Up” program.

Pecan Harvest Competition

Pecan-Contest-Winners

The PAYH young men spent a couple of days harvesting pecans from the many trees on our campus. As many of you know, they can be extremely competitive, and organized themselves into teams to see who could collect the most. In total, they gathered more than half a ton between them, with the winning team (Camden, Tommy, Lane, and Yovani) gathering 201 lbs. in a single day.


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Young Boy Lighting The First Candle On Advent Wreath On The Firs
Dec 04, 2019

Waiting and Watching

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.” -Psalm 130:5-6


Each year, the first week of Advent always includes the Paul Anderson Christmas Dinner Theater in Vidalia. Sold out for two consecutive nights, it is a highlight of the year. It presents an opportunity for our young men to do something they have never done before. The preparation and practice begins in September and culminates with an excellent presentation the first week of December. It is wonderfully entertaining for our large audience.

Always innovating, the play brings a Christmas message centered around an interesting story which introduces the audience to the life of the young men at the home as well as to the young men themselves. They work hard in preparation and are surprised they really can do this, producing a truly top-quality performance.

Why put so much work into this Advent/Christmas season presentation? Well, among many other things, it presents a teaching opportunity about the point of Advent, leading up to the celebration of the day of Christmas. Christmas involves so much prior preparation to this one-day celebration of Jesus’ birth. The birth of Jesus had millennia of intentional, purposeful, declarative preparation along with patient and perseverant waiting by believers for their promised Messiah to finally come.

Jesus was not born on Earth in a milieu of total silence and sudden surprise. Prophets predicted, suffered, and died. Forerunners lived, taught, and died. The Spirit was continuously at work, guiding and inspiring. The Word of God was being meticulously inscribed on scrolls. All of this was in preparation for the entrance of God in the flesh into the home of humanity.

The Redeemer was actually promised immediately after Adam and Eve’s fall (Genesis 3:15), but its fulfillment was many, many generations yet future. Those generations were provided many kinds of promises through prophets and human forerunners (those human figures who by their lives and teaching foreshadowed Jesus Christ) that the Redeemer would one day appear. Appear He did, in the fullness of time – the perfect time which God had determined by His own counsel, though, as the Apostle John wrote, “He came unto His own, but His own received Him not!”

This Advent Season presents no different primary theme than the last or the next. It basically invites you to better understand the anticipation of the Second Advent of Jesus Christ in light of the longevity of patiently waiting for the first. You cannot, in your own one-generation-constrained life, fully mimic the longevity of thousands of years and many generations of waiting for the Messiah to come, but you can envision it by faith with a biblically-infused mind and imagination.

The months of preparation by our young men for this play can provide an Advent lesson. The season itself intends to recreate the waiting experience of centuries in the space of four short weeks. Possible? Not really, but you can imagine it better if you use this time to meditate on the promises of the long past to aid in looking forward to the magnificent promises of the future: the history-ending, climactic return of Jesus.


“O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lowly exile here until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Dayspring from on high, and cheer us by Thy drawing nigh; disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”

(First and fourth verses of Latin antiphons, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” twelfth century)


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