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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit

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Rising Life

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

As a teenager, I golfed and skied religiously on Sunday mornings.  But I would never skip Easter Sunday.  For some reason, I always had a soft spot towards Easter.  Perhaps it was all that delicious chocolate.  Maybe it was because my father would attend at Easter, giving up his golfing for one Sunday.  I will never forget when my then agnostic father switched from golfing every Sunday to golfing every other Sunday in order to attend church.  Since taking the Alpha Course four times, my dad has developed a strong personal faith.

My teenage memories of Easter Sunday are connected with a sense of joy.  Unlike my atheist best friend, I never doubted the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. But I was emotionally disconnected from its reality.  It was almost as if I did not believe in Easter.  As a teenager, I became convinced that there was no life after death, and that nothing awaited me but extinction and returning to dust.  I began to fear the power of death and the meaninglessness and emptiness of life.  I even began to secretly wonder if life itself was worth living.  When I came to personal faith at age 17, it was almost as if I had never heard of Jesus’ resurrection.  I remember being astounded over the realization that by faith in Christ, I would live forever.  I started wearing a button ‘Have a nice eternity’, something that would have made no sense to me just a few months earlier.

At the Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope, almost 2,000 people gave their lives to Christ after hearing a clear message of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Easter is at the very core of what it means to be a Christian, even more than Christmas, our other favorite festival.  Even in our very complicated Canadian culture, Easter and Christmas are still deeply rooted in our self-identity and history as Canadians.  I will never forget a Capilano University Philosophy professor who, though an atheist, invited me to speak in his class about evidence for Jesus’ resurrection.  While initially skeptical, he became appalled by the religious and historical ignorance of some of his students.  He commented that without reading the bible and literature like Paradise Lost, you could not really understand Canadian culture.  The Easter story is deeply woven into our 150 years of Canadian history, something that we will be celebrating with Voices Together at the Pacific Coliseum on Canada Day.

In the past almost 37 years of ordained ministry, I have been privileged to take many funerals, now often called celebrations of life.  Many people nowadays don’t have any services when they die.  I find that rather sad, as it leaves people with limited ways to grieve.  Others no longer use clergy as in the past.  At most funerals that I take, there are many people sharing their memories of the deceased.  No matter how well I know the deceased, I always learn much at the service and wish that I knew them better.  My main contribution at funerals is to remind people of how Jesus conquered death and offered us rising life that would go on forever.  I am totally convinced that life and love are stronger than death, and that Easter is more than just chocolate.  God has given us in Jesus rising faith, hope, love and Life.

Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

-an article previously published in the Light Magazine and the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.


-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

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Facebook Live clips from the Festival of Hope

What an amazing weekend at the Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope.

Over the three nights, 34,406 people attended in person, with 1929 people going forward to make a commitment to Christ.  On top of that, 65,429 people from seventy-six countries watched the Festival of Hope online, with 389 people making a commitment to Christ online.  We are rejoicing for lives that have been touched for eternity.  It was such a privilege to serve on the Festival of Hope Executive, led by Pastor Guilio Gabeli with the invaluable wisdom of the Festival Director David Ingram.  The Billy Graham family and the Billy Graham team are such quality people.  We are particularly grateful for Dion and Tammy Collins who served on the ground as Assistant Director and Office Manager.  An unexpected treat was to have the grandson of Billy Graham, Will Graham, join his Dad Franklin Graham for the Festival.  This was Will’s third time here, since he helped us kick off the Festival and then led 500 young people to Christ at Vancouver Missions Fest this January.

Here are some Facebook Live ( & other) Clips from the amazing weekend:

Favorite Moments from the Festival

Pastor Kevin Cavanaugh sharing about the weekend

The Afters singing at the Festival

Phil Wickham singing on Friday at the Festival

The Tommy Coombes Band and Franklin Graham on Friday Night on Belshazzar

Hillsong Young & Free singing on Friday at the Festival

Another Clip on Hillsong Young & Free at the Festival

For King & Country’s Musical Light Show

Franklin Graham speaking on Saturday Night on the Prodigal Son

The Official version of Franklin Graham’s Saturday Night message

For King & Country singing at the Festival

Ellie Holcomb singing on Sunday at the Festival

The amazing guitarist Dennis Agajanian at the Festival

Franklin Graham speaking on Sunday Night

The Official version of Franklin Graham speaking on Sunday Night on Zacchaeus

Michael W Smith singing at the Festival

Michael W Smith: Let It Rain, Open the Floodgates of Heaven

Michael W Smith closing with Worthy is the Lamb

Find out more about God’s love or ask questions here: http://bit.ly/FindForgiveness

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you. 



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A truly amazing weekend…

The Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope wrapped up Sunday with more than 600 decisions for Christ. Over the entire weekend, some 1,900 responded. Said one attendee: “Stuff like this just doesn’t happen in western Canada.”

It was the culmination of two years of planning, praying, mobilizing, inviting and more praying—specifically in the final few weeks facing opposition and protestors.

Everything pointed to this singular event, happening on the first three weekend nights in March.

And more poignantly on three moments in time, where eternal destiny would hang in the balance for so many.

Karen Assimes, sitting in the top of the arena where the Vancouver Canucks call home, had seen many Billy Graham Crusades before on TV. But this was different. She could hardly believe what she was seeing. Especially in her home country.

“Tears were flowing down my face,” she said after watching hundreds respond to Franklin Graham’s invitation at the Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope. “I needed a package of Kleenex.

“For us, this is a historical event. I’ve never seen a crowd of people flooding the floor. Stuff like this just doesn’t happen in western Canada.”

Karen and her husband, Dave, drove 350 kilometers from their home in Kelowna—Canada’s wine country—braving treacherous British Columbia roads that are often closed for avalanche warnings.

But they made the trek for one particular reason—to support Franklin Graham and the cause of evangelism in western Canada.

“Jesus is alive,” Franklin Graham told the crowd of 11,000-plus on Sunday. “He’s not still hanging on a cross. He’s not still in a grave.

“Will you come to Him tonight?”

And did they ever come. Night after night.

After a weekend that saw more than 34,000 people flock to downtown Rogers Arena and 1,900 make decisions for Christ, the message of the timeless message is clear—evangelism is still alive. Even in Canada. Or maybe especially in Canada.

And that doesn’t include an online audience of over 65,000, which reported another 400-plus commitments to Jesus.

“My husband was right there beside me crying as well, tears rolling down his cheeks,” Karen said. “It’s an overwhelming sight.”

Especially in a place like Vancouver, where a small group of protestors gathered on the first two Festival nights, and a group of pastors signed a letter to remove Franklin Graham as the event’s speaker.

Woman contemplating
“Maybe you feel small in the eyes of God,” Franklin Graham said. “[But] even if you were the only person on this earth, God would’ve still sent His son to die for you.”

“We wanted to let people know there are people out there that support Franklin Graham,” Karen said of the headlines leading up to the event. “It may not be censorship, but it’s on the road to censorship. It’s a slippery slope.”And it’s also why Karen and Dave are selling their house and family business to go into full-time ministry in their mid-50s. Not the most popular move, but they feel a calling and appreciate those who feel the same.

“You know, Franklin Graham and his father are straight shooters,” she continued. “We’re not ashamed of Franklin Graham. And we’re not ashamed of the Gospel.

“He doesn’t say things that tickle your ears. I like that someone still says the truth.”

Throughout the weekend, the truth was apparent, from the musical guests—who all spent time relating their own life experience into a Gospel presentation—to the Vancouver choirs and Franklin’s message. On Sunday, both Ellie Holcomb and Michael W. Smith shared from their heart what Christ has done.

“You are more loved that you know,” Ellie Holcomb said. “[Jesus] didn’t come to make bad people good people. He came to make dead people alive.”

Franklin Graham talked about Zacchaeus, who climbed up in a tree to get a better view of Jesus walking past. But when Jesus saw him, He asked him directly to come down to talk to Him.

“Zacchaeus came, and he came quickly,” Franklin Graham told the crowd. “And that’s what I’m going to ask you to do. That same Jesus is passing by tonight.”

Legacy of the Gospel

Many of the counselors at this weekend’s Festival were giving back after experiencing personal hope at a Billy Graham Crusade.

Some were at the 1984 Crusade in Vancouver; others saw him in Berlin, Germany.

Pastor Rick Burdett and his wife, Chris, were at the 1964 Phoenix Crusade well before moving to British Columbia, where Rick pastors a church in nearby Tsawwassen.

Both Chris and Rick counseled on Sunday night, helping a 42-year-old with chronic health issues, as well as leading an 18-year-old Russian exchange student to Christ.

“Can you tell me about Jesus?” said the exchange student, who came forward with her sponsoring family.

The experience of seeing people in his congregation step up as counselors and boldly share their faith warmed Rick’s heart as a pastor. He also felt the opposition helped galvanize the 400-plus churches who were committed to the Festival. And sent them to their knees.

“This is evidence of prayer. And the leading of the Holy Spirit,” Rick said. “[The Festival] was exactly what Canada needs.”

The same hope found in Vancouver this weekend can be yours today.

Ellie Holcomb, a self-described “recovering perfectionist,” spent time on Sunday encouraging people they don’t have to get their life together before coming to Christ.

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.