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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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The Immeasurable Gift of a Mother

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

 

Image result for Lorna HirdEvery May, for the past 29 years, I have written an article about Mother’s Day, usually focusing on my own dear mom. For the first 18 years of my life, I basically took my mother for granted. I loved her, but I had no idea how hard she was working in taking care of us.

I am so grateful that my mom is still with us on planet earth.  Many of my friends don’t have that blessing of being able to pick up the phone and hear their mother’s voice, or go out to the White Spot with her for dinner.  The resilience of my mom when facing many challenges has been remarkable.

My mother, with her very strong faith, has preserved through thick and thin, for better or worse, in sickness and in health.  Mom, you are an example to the rest of your large family.

We love you very much.

As I wrote for the May 2003 Deep Cove Crier, “Where would we be without our mothers?  Mothers keep the world on track.  Mothers never stop caring.  Mothers never stop giving.”

Mom, you have modelled so much good through your caring for and serving others.  I became a Social Worker because of the anointing that I received from you to stand up for the oppressed and disadvantaged.  When I was going through teenage angst, you always deeply listened and stood with me, even though I was oblivious to your deep faith in Christ.

I know that there were times when I was a teenager when you stayed up late waiting for me to come in.  I probably helped deepen your prayer life during those times.

When our three boys were young, Mom, you were so willing to help us out, looking after them so that we could have a night off, or attend a conference.  The thousands of meals that you cooked for us over the years have always been delicious, a sign of your great love and care for your family.  Food indeed is love.

Whenever birthdays came along, Mom, you always invested so much of yourself in getting us just the right present.  Being an artist, you had that great sense of colour co-ordination when you gave us new Christmas sweaters.

You Mom, like your own mother, are a true worshipper.  Your faith has been a great inspiration to me.  Thank you, Mother, for inviting me to supper with Jesus, when I was wandering in the wilderness, lost and hungry.  I am a better person today because of that unfailing love you showed me in season and out of season.

Your worth as a Mother is beyond measure.  You are loved, appreciated and valued not only by your son, but also by Almighty God.  He loved you enough to give his only son for you.  Words cannot express what you mean to me and to your loving family.  Happy Mother’s Day.

Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-an article for the May 2017 Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback andebook form. 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, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, 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’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. 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 $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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The Flying Gaglardis of CLA

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Image result for Phil Gaglardi

On this 150th Celebration of Canada, we remember a remarkably dynamic couple, Phil and Jen (nee Sandin) Gaglardi.  Jen with her co-worker Laurene Schneider (Drury) started the 80-year old Christian Life Assembly (CLA) megachurch in 1937 with street meetings in front of Fullers Meat Market in Langley. Jen played guitar while Laurene led the singing with her accordion.  Jen’s favorite scripture which she quoted at every street meeting was ‘Seek ye the Lord while he may be found.  Call upon Him while he is near.’  They invited onlookers to evening meetings at a rented Sunday School hall.  Initially no one turned up.  Finally one or two would join them. Eventually many more would follow.  Eleanor Mark, their first convert, said “The Lord honours small beginnings that have been watered with tears, much hard work, and faithfulness.”  Claude Adams, who played his accordion at the street meetings, said that ‘you couldn’t say no to Jennie’.

Phil & Jeannie Gaglardi, 1971Someone else who couldn’t say no to the Swedish Jennie was Phil Gaglardi, who later became known as King of the Road as BC Highway minister under Premier WAC Bennett.  Of Italian Roman Catholic background, he came to personal faith in Christ through Jennie’s earlier ministry in Mission BC.  Phil had been a hard-drinking logger and construction worker who would fight at the drop of a hat.  Jen particularly appreciated Phil’s ability to both preach and fix their Model ‘A’ Ford.  She agreed to marry Phil on the condition that he became an ordained minister as well. “My mother was the drive behind my father,” son Bob Gaglardi remembers. “It’s hard to understand that considering how strong a personality my Dad was. She was the boss at the end of the day, but she allowed my father to be at the forefront.” Phil and Jen were both passionate about missions, prayer, and revival: “Are we calling for fasting and prayer? We know that we need a revival more than all others know. Come! Let us break up the fallow ground.  This is a clarion call to prayer and consecration.  Let us move forward on our knees.  Pray as you have never prayed before for revival! Revival! Revival!”

Image result for Christian Life Assembly LangleyA major breakthrough for CLA occurred in 1942 when the Gaglardis brought in Dr. Charles Price for a series of meetings, described by Dr. Price as ‘the most outstanding he had ever seen in all of his ministry throughout the world’.  Phil and Jennie Gaglardi went on in 1943 to pastor a booming congregation in Kamloops.  Jennie’s cofounder Laurene and her husband Bill Drury became the second-generation Pastoral Couple at CLA.  Phil Gaglardi was elected as a Kamloops MLA in 1962, serving for twenty years as the Minister of Highways. He miraculously spent five days a week at the Legislature while still leading a thriving congregation two days a week.  Phil established the BC Ferry Service, the Deas Island Tunnel, and the Rogers Pass. Gaglardi Way, a major thoroughfare in Burnaby, British Columbia connecting the Trans-Canada Highway to Simon Fraser University, is named for him.  In his rushing back between Victoria and Kamloops by car and plane, he became known as Flying Phil, perhaps because of a number of speeding tickets.  Jennie had an amazing gift of ministering to children, birthing burgeoning Sunday Schools in both Langley and Kamloops, with a fleet of eleven buses to pick up 9000 children, the largest in Canada at the time.  Phil, while pouring more blacktop than any other politician in the world, also managed to help plant new churches throughout the province.  He ironically said: “If there are two things I hate in life, it is a minister of the gospel and a politician, and I ended up being both.” Whatever Phil did in church life or politics, he did it fast and got tImage result for Phil Gaglardihe job done.  Phil and Jen never let the naysayers stop them.  Phil saw his duty to keep the highways “in such shape that motorists will avoid the language which would deny them access to the highway to heaven.” What an amazing team that Phil and Jen were!  May they inspire us to fly to the altar of revival.

Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-an article for the Light Magazine

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback andebook form. 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, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, 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’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. 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 $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide

 


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MEDIA ‘Case for Christ’ enters Easter in the top 10 Movies w/A+ CinemaScore

Michael F. Haverluck (OneNewsNow.com

"Case for Christ" film

Heading into Easter on last weekend’s box office top 10 list to secure an expanded release this weekend, the movie The Cast for Christ – which is based on the best-selling novel written by acclaimed Christian author Lee Strobel – received the highest reviews by moviegoers, who give it a rare “A+” CinemaScore rating … which is typically received by only two films per year.

After taking in nearly $4 million in receipts on its debut weekend, The Case for Christ will be viewed at hundreds of more theaters through Easter Sunday by audiences across the nation, according to the ex-atheist-turned-Christian author of the like-named book.

“Because of [a] strong opening weekend, Case for Christ movie now expanded to 500 more screens for Easter weekend!” Strobel tweeted last week. “Please spread the word.”

One of the nation’s leading movie sites announced last week that the Christian film held its own with Hollywood box office smashes – such as DreamWorks’ The Boss Baby ($26.3 million) in first, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast ($25 million) in second, Sony’s Smurfs: The Lost Village ($14 million) in third and New Line’s Going in Style ($12.5 million) in fourth – with The Case for Christ coming in 10th.

“Rounding out the top 10 is Pure Flix’s The Case for Christ, finishing with an estimated $3.9 million from 1,174 theaters and an ‘A+ CinemaScore,” Box Office Mojo reported last week.

As anticipated below, the adapted film got a boost after its opening week once Palm Sunday receipts were registered, as the movie recorded a nearly $7 million box office total on Thursday going into its second weekend – with receipts expected to jump again with moviegoers flocking to the big screen on Easter Sunday.

“[The] weekend … featured a satisfactory opening for Pure Flix’s The Case for Christ, which could see its estimates receive a bump … as a result of it being Palm Sunday,” Box Office Mojo’s Brad Brevit reported before to total of last Sunday’s receipts were tallied.

According to critics at Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a “fresh” score, indicative of a 75-percent favorability rating, with audiences scoring it higher by nearly double digits to give it an 84-percent favorability rating.

Word to the skeptic

The movie – intended for believers and skeptics alike – challenges audiences on both intellectual and spiritual levels and takes moviegoers on the same journey Strobel took decades ago when he was an atheist playing devil’s advocate.

The Case for Christ retells the story of how Strobel – a former investigative journalist – sets out to prove that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a sham, but after a journey of examining the evidence and wrestling with his inner self, comes to faith,” The Christian Post (CP) reports. “The plot follows Strobel, who is played by actor Mike Vogel, as he struggles to deal with his wife’s conversion to Christianity.”

It was tangible evidence that ignited Strobel’s skepticism in his own atheistic religious beliefs – an entrenched worldview that began taking its toll on his family.

“His wife, played by actress Erika Christensen, encourages her nonbelieving husband to turn to Christ – something he initially rejects – but is persuaded following his examination of the evidence, including the world-famous Shroud of Turin,” CP’s Stoyan Zaimov informed. “The movie presents a number of different struggles, including one between a father and a son, but focuses heavily on the stain on Strobel’s marriage.”

Soon, Strobel could no longer ignore the facts and buy into the lies that he was led to believe his entire life.

“Some of the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus helped convince me – as an atheist journalist – that there is really truth behind the Christian claims,” Strobel told CP earlier this month. “We are living in a post truth era, where people are searching for solid ground – they’re looking for something to say, ‘This is true … I can rely on this.’”

He maintained that believing in Jesus Christ is not leap of faith at all – but an embracing of the facts – of trusting in tried and tested Truths that can only come from the one and only God of the universe.

“Christianity claims to be true – it says it’s not wishful thinking or make-believe or legends or mythology, but it’s based on actual historical evidence,” Strobel continued in the interview. “And I think these days young people especially are looking for something solid like that to put their trust in.”

Cure for the blind

Strobel shared the message of his book and the newly released movie in a piece he wrote this month titled “Why I am bullish on Christianity.”

“When atheists claim there is no evidence for Christianity, I disagree,” Strobel wrote on FoxNews.com on April 7. “When liberal theologians assert there are many paths to heaven, I object. When young people say God isn’t relevant in the 21st century, I beg to differ. When analysts predict the decline of the evangelical church, I roll my eyes.”

He recognizes today’s heavy opposition to his faith and biblical worldview, and invites the very skepticism he one dished out.

“Are my positions popular?” the former atheist posed. “Maybe not, but they flow out of convictions that have only grown stronger in the midst of the evolving religious landscape in America. I’ve seen the surveys. I’m aware of the rise of the so-called ‘nones,’ who profess no religious affiliation. And frankly, that doesn’t trouble me very much. Rather than claiming to be Christians, as many have done in years past, now these people are now willing to be more honest. Today it’s socially acceptable – in many places even desirable – to be a skeptic. ‘Atheist’ is no longer considered such a derogatory term.”

Strobel is actually glad that more people today are candid about their disbelief than they were in the past.

“The truth is that America was never as much of a ‘Christian nation’ as some historians wish it were,” he added. “There was a veneer of faith over the land. ‘Respectable’ people went to church. Now they don’t pretend anymore. That’s okay.”

He then visited the days of unbelief that once shrouded his life – and his wife’s.

“I was a scoffer once myself, before spiritual skepticism became trendy,” the Christian apologist recounted.  “As a law-trained journalist at the Chicago Tribune, I didn’t have any patience for mythology, superstition or make-believe. ‘Just give me the facts’ was my motto. My wife was agnostic. Then one day, through the influence of a friend and a church, she met Jesus. The first word to come into my mind: divorce. As portrayed in The Case for Christ, the forthcoming movie based on our story, I set out to disprove her beliefs and rescue her from the cult of Christianity.”

The mounting evidence for Christ and his resurrection soon turned Strobel’s life upside-down.

“After nearly two years, the scales tipped,” he explained. “Having encountered the persuasive evidence for Christianity, I concluded it would have required more faith to maintain my atheism than to become a believer. I ended up taking a 60-percent pay cut to leave my journalism career and become a pastor. For 30 years now, I’ve watched the world from the vantage point of a pulpit…”

He says the days are becoming more desperate as humanity, which is finding that the pursuit and attainment of worldly ambitions and idols are empty and futile – and unable to find pure joy and fulfillment that only comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

“More and more people [are] growing weary of our materialistic and celebrity-saturated culture – and instead finding exhilaration in Jesus,” Strobel pointed out. “The proliferation of ministries that help the hurting, feed the hungry, and replace despair with hope. Addicts rescued. Broken families put back together. Racial reconciliation. Selflessness displacing self-interest. While some churches are closing, many of those with a relevant and biblically faithful message aren’t just growing – they’re burgeoning.”

He ended by predicting that the denial of right and wrong – good and evil – promoted by America’s schools, media and entertainment industry will soon lose its war against God, His Church and the Bible.

“Let me share a little secret – in our increasingly chaotic world, the Christian message of truth and grace continues to resonate among people who are tired of the shifting sands of post-modern relativism,” Strobel concluded. “No doubt about it: count me among those who are optimistic about the future of the Church in America.”


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Rising Life in 2017

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 recent 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, Rector

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-an article for the April 2017 Light Magazine and the April 2017 Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback andebook form. 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, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, 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’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. 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 $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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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
#bgfest


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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.


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Rising Faith: Just As I Am

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

My grandmother and mother knew that I would become an Anglican priest.  I dismissed this expectation, being convinced that I would become an electrical engineer like my father.  In my family system, there were no adult males that attended church.  In 1965, my mother had a spiritual encounter at a Billy Graham event at the Pacific National Exhibition.  Fifty-two years later, my mother’s family faithfulness has had a huge impact on my life.  I am a more loving, forgiving person today, because of my mother’s faithful example and prayers.

Similarly, Billy Graham’s family faithfulness at age 98 has had a huge impact on countless people.  President Eisenhower memorably said: “Billy Graham is one of the best ambassadors our country has but he told me, ‘I am an ambassador of heaven.’”  How has Billy Graham continued for the past sixty years of Gallup polling as one of the ten most admired people in the world?  My hunch is that it has to do with humility and not taking himself too seriously. Henry Kissinger commented: “To my surprise, I found myself not only impressed but deeply moved by how he touched some profound spiritual yearning…I have an immense regard for Billy Graham. He is a strong but humble man, with a generous and compassionate heart that is open to every human being of every religious faith and to those who profess to have none.”[1]  It is not easy to finish well as a high-profile public figure.  Everything that they say and do is constantly scrutinized.  They and their families are living in a public goldfish bowl.

Family faithfulness does not mean that a person never makes mistakes.  Faithfulness means being willing to humbly admit one’s mistakes and being willing to grow and change.  During a Newsweek interview in 2006, Graham commented: “Much of my life has been a pilgrimage—constantly learning, changing, growing and maturing.” Part of the way that Billy Graham has coped with unceasing public attention has been through his self-effacing humour.  In his autobiography Just as I am, Billy was always transparently telling hilarious stories about his foibles and mistakes.  He is famous for having personal access to every American president since Harry Truman in 1950.  The opening sentence of Billy’s autobiography is “It was July 14th 1950, and I was about to make a fool of myself.”[2]  Unschooled in presidential protocol, the 31-year old Billy Graham innocently told the reporters the content of his conversation with the President.  Truman was so offended that he dismissed Billy Graham as a counterfeit.[3]  Later Billy Graham visited President Truman, apologizing profusely for his ignorance and naivete.  “Don’t worry about it”, replied Truman, “I realize that you hadn’t been properly briefed.”[4]  Billy Graham vowed that such a mistake would never happen again if he was ever given access to a person of rank or influence.

I have been privileged to serve on the Executive of the Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope.  During this time, I have met both the Billy Graham family and the Billy Graham team.  Are they perfect? No.  Do they make mistakes? Yes.  I do sense a family faithfulness, a willingness to humbly admit where they need to grow and learn.  My thankful prayer regarding the March 3rd to 5th Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope is in thanksgiving for the tens of thousands who came to hear the Good News and the thousands who experienced rising faith for themselves.

 

Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector,

St. Simon’s North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada #BGFEST

Executive Member, Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope 

-an article published in the March 2017 Light Magazine and the March 2017 Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback andebook form. 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, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, 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’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. 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 $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide

[1] Chicken Soup for the Soul: Billy Graham and Me (CSS, 2013), 203

[2] Billy Graham, Just As I Am (Harper & Collins Publishers, Toronto, Ontario, 1997), xix.

[3] Stephen Rankin, “Confessor-in-Chief”, Christian History Institute, Issue 111, https://www.christianhistoryinstitute.org/magazine/article/confessor-in-chief/ (Accessed February 15th 2017)

[4] Graham, Just As I Am, xxiv.