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Project Oikos – All Saints Community Church seeks New Home — The Anglican Mission in Canada

All Saints Community Church is hoping to purchase the Holy Cross Church in
Crescent Beach as their new home.
— Read on www.theamcanada.ca/stories/2020/10/17/project-oikos-all-saints-community-church-seeks-new-home


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The Oikos Project

Bishop Peter Klenner and I invite you to prayerfully consider our plans to purchase the Roman Catholic Church building in Crescent Beach. You are welcome to join us in giving to the Oikos Project.
We have included the links to the short video and website.

Blessings,
Rev Dr Ed Hird


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Dr JI Packer: Knowing God

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Have you ever read Dr JI Packer’s classic Knowing God? Click to check out the Light Magazine article on Dr. JI Packer: Firestarter in Knowing God.

Analyzing the Global Impact of Dr. J.I. Packer

By Rev. Dr. Ed and Janice Hird

-published in the April 2010 Light Magazine

Do you long for a reviving of your knowledge of God, not just intellectually but intimately? The late Dr. J.I. Packer wrote an unforgettable book Knowing God that has transformed and revived the hearts and minds of millions of readers, perhaps including yourself.[1]  Christianity Today readers named him one of the most influential theological writers of the last hundred years, second only to CS Lewis.[2] Dr. Alister McGrath called Packer a theological and spiritual giant[3]: “Packer is a rare example of an original thinker with a genuine gift for teaching…”[4] His legacy includes writing thirty books and over three hundred major articles.[5] Timothy George commented that “his writings are so voluminous that it is hard to imagine that they have come from the pen of one person.”[6]

Packer never let his fame and success get to his head.  Born on July 22nd 1926, he was raised in humble circumstances in the village of Twyning, near Gloucester, in southwest England. McGrath comments about Packer: “Even at an early age, he realized that he was something of a loner, a shy and awkward boy who found it difficult to relate to other children.”[7] While chased at age seven by a schoolyard bully, he was struck by a passing bread van, causing a serious head injury, requiring brain surgery.[8]  The medical diagnosis was…’a depressed compound fracture of the frontal bone on the right-hand side of his forehead.’[9]  This brain injury closed the door to his socializing through playing sports. Because of his fragile health, his parents wisely bought him a massive typewriter rather than a bicycle.  During his long recovery, the naturally shy Packer read widely, typing his earliest essays.  At age 17, Packer described himself as a Dostoevsky addict.[10]  When asked in his eighties about his strongest childhood memories, he replied, “Solitariness.”[11]  He was required to wear a black aluminum plate on his head, held in place by an elastic band. At age 15, he ‘went on strike’, refusing to wear the head plate any longer.[12]

Though raised Anglican, Packer did not know Christ personally.  While attending Crypt High School, he read C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity and Screwtape Letters.[13]   CS Lewis’ two books, said Packer, ‘brought me, not indeed to faith in the full sense, but to mainstream Christian beliefs about God, man, and Jesus Christ, so that I was halfway there.”[14] Because of his head injury, Packer was exempted from World War II military service. He became one of the very few who attended Oxford University during that time. On October 22nd 1944, while attending an Oxford Christian Union meeting (IVCF), Packer was soundly converted, singing Just as I Am: “I had given my life to Christ…When I went out of the church, I knew that I was a Christian.”[15] Over fifty years later, he said “I remember the experience as if it were yesterday.”

Over the next few weeks of being discipled, he stopped viewing the bible as just “a mixed bag of religious all-sorts, of which one could not accept more than the general outlines.”[16] Packer commented: “I can still remember the feeling of surprise -and gladness, as I left the meeting because I knew that I knew that the Bible is the Word of God.” Over the next sixty-six years, he took many courageous stands, drawing others back to the Lordship of Jesus and the authority of the Bible.  Packer valued tradition and history when seen through the lense of Holy Scripture: Scripture must have the last word on all human attempts to state its meaning, and tradition, viewed as a series of such human attempts, has a ministerial rather than a magisterial role.”[17]

Reacting against the ‘victorious living’ emphasis of the Keswick movement, Packer turned to the spiritual wisdom of the largely forgotten Calvinist Puritans.[18] McGrath observed that “while an older generation looked back on Keswick Conventions for their fellowship and teaching, an emerging generation looked instead to the Puritans.”[19] George Whitefield (1714-1770) and the earlier John Owen (1616-1683) became significant mentors in Packer’s spiritual maturing.[20]  He even did his Oxford doctorate on Richard Baxter, who symbolized the best of the Puritans.[21]  Baxter (1615-1691) showed how to be a puritan without being puritanical in the negative sense.[22] Packer’s Knowing God, published in 1973, is a popularization of his doctoral thesis on Baxter. 

Knowing God was originally written as a series of articles for the UK-based Evangelical Magazine. Packer said, “I wrote Knowing God over a period of years during which I was deeply concerned, as I still am, to help people realize God’s greatness.[23]  Intervarsity Press UK (IVP) passed up the chance to publish it, because they wanted Packer instead to write a book about charismatic renewal. Hodder and Stoughton UK initially published it instead.  It was in North America however that Knowing God would have its greatest impact, where IVP USA published it.[24] McGrath said that Packer’s personal opinion was that the book succeeded because it allowed its readers to find and experience the reality of God.[25]  Best-selling author Dr. John RW Stott reviewed Knowing God, saying “The truth he handles fires the heart.  At least it fired mine, and compelled me to turn aside to worship and to pray.”[26] Dr. Alister McGrath commented that reading Knowing God “is like going on a long walk along a forest trail, rich in flora and fauna, nestling under the shadow of the great Rocky mountains.”[27]

McGrath commented that Packer “greatly admired the preaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, particularly its expository thoroughness.”[28] Through the influence of Lloyd-Jones, Packer developed a passion for revival.  In 1949, Packer and Lloyd-Jones birthed the very influential Puritan Conferences, which continued at Westminster Chapel in London until 1970.[29] McGrath commented that the ‘Puritan Studies Conference’ “offered a powerful and persuasive vision of the Christian life, in which theology, biblical exposition, spirituality and preaching were shown to be mutually indispensable and interrelated.  It was a vision of the Christian life which possessed both intellectual rigour and pastoral relevance.  It was a powerful antidote to the anti-intellectualism which had been rampant within British evangelical circles in the immediate post-war period.”[30]

In the foreword to Lloyd-Jones’ Revival book, Packer said, “No concern was dearer to his heart nor to mine.”[31] Packer observed, “Dr Lloyd-Jones hoped for revival until he died. He is gone. The prophets are gone, but we should still be hoping for revival. Revival is a sovereign work of God. He fixes the time table. The schedule is his, not ours.” As Calvinist puritans, both Lloyd-Jones and Packer taught that revival is a sovereign act of God.[32] We cannot produce it through our organizational skills.[33]

Before moving to Vancouver’s Regent College in 1979, Packer taught in several English theological settings including Oak Hill College, St. John’s Birmingham, Latimer House, Tyndale Hall, and Trinity College Bristol.[34] The pull of North America became stronger after Packer began lecturing during the summers in USA and Canada.[35]  As McGrath put it, Packer liked Vancouver, and he liked Canada, which seemed to him to be halfway between Britain and the United States.[36]  Regent offered Packer a much greater opportunity to write and to speak at North American conferences.[37]  Leland Ryken noted that there has been no more famous teacher at Regent College through the years than Packer.[38] During Packer’s time at Regent, the student body has grown from 140 to over 800.[39]  

Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, stated that “…this will be known as the Packer Era because J.I. Packer has been the towering figure of this era – defending truth, defending orthodoxy, and defending great preaching.”[40]  In 1994, Packer was the chief architect of the Anglican Essentials movement in Canada which ultimately realigned many with the revival in the Global South.[41] The Montreal Essential Declaration is shaped by Richard Baxter’s maxim “In essentials, unity; In non-essentials, diversity, and in all things charity.”[42] In 2,000, he chaired the theological track at the World Conference on Evangelism convened by Billy Graham in Amsterdam.[43]  He served for many years as general editor in producing the 2001 English Standard Version Bible.[44] Packer had a passion for the revival of catechism, for teaching how to live out biblical truth.[45] Revival, said Packer, means “power, constant sustained power from God’s Holy Spirit for life and service.”[46] Revival means struggle for truth.[47]  Revival is about knowing God.[48]  What might it take for us, like J.I. Packer, to long for the fire of revival?

Rev. Dr. Ed and Janice Hird

Co-authors, Blue Sky novel


[1] Alistair McGrath, J.I. Packer: A Biography (Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, 1997), 179 “…one of the twentieth century’s most influential and admired Christian books –Knowing God.”; McGrath, 256 ”Packer’s bestseller Knowing God represented a classic statement and justification of the intimate relationship between knowing correct ideas about God and the relational activity of knowing God.”

[2]McGrath, xi  “James Innell Packer is one of the best-known names in modern Christianity.”

[3] McGrath,  xi   “….one such person who has made a major long-term contribution to the shaping of Christianity in the modern world.”; J.I. Packer and the Evangelical Future: The Impact of His Life and Thought, edited by Timothy George   (Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, MI, USA, 2009), back cover “J.I. Packer is one of the most significant evangelical theologians of the last one hundred years.” (Timothy George is the Executive Editor for Christianity Today.)

[4] George, 20.

[5] McGrath, 290.

[6] George, 10.

[7] McGrath, 3.; 45 “His parents were poor, and he had no private means.”; Ryken, 20. “…J.I. Packer came from humble roots.  …he has never lost his common touch.”

[8] McGrath, 1.

[9] Ryken, 23.

[10] Ryken, 24 In a Christianity Today polling of their contributors of the ten best religious books of the twentieth century, Packer chose the Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien, saying “a classic for children from 9 to 90. Bears constant rereading.”;   Ryken, 30 Packer said that at age 17, he became ‘a Dostoyevsky addict’, much impressed by how the Russian novelist ‘takes the skin off his characters and allows us to see what they are like.’

[11] McGrath, 11 “He was a solitary figure, who found greatest pleasure in reading and studying.”; Ryken, 21 “From his early years, Packer was a shy boy who did not mingle easily with his peers.”

[12] Ryken, 23.

[13] McGrath, 9.

[14] Ryken, 29.

[15] George, 10 “…It was in meetings of the Oxford Inter-Collegiate Christian Union, a British version of Inter Varsity, that Packer found a living relationship with Jesus Christ and committed his life to Christian service.”

[16] Ryken, 39.

[17] George, 25. JI Packer, “The Comfort of Conservatism”, in Power Religion, ed. M Horton (Chicago, Moody, 1992), 288.;  George, 20, McGrath commented: “Packer’s distinctive and, in my view, critically important insight that evangelical theology is both enriched and stabilized by attentiveness to the past.”; George, 26, McGrath commented, “Packer argues that attentiveness to the past liberates us from ‘chronological snobbery’ and alerts us to the riches of past readings of Scripture.”

[18] McGrath, 43 “Packer mentioned that he was a Puritan addict…”; McGrath, 55 Packer commented, “Without Owen, I might well have gone off my head or gotten boggled down in mystical fanaticism.”; McGrath, 77 “…the Keswick teaching had come to be seen as a distinctive article of evangelicalism.  To criticize Keswick was thus to attack evangelicalism.”

[19] McGrath, 54.

[20] McGrath, 22, 24, 25, 26 “The discovery of Owens must be regarded as marking a turning point in Packer’s Christian life…”; McGrath, 43 “Packer explained that John Owen’s sixty pages on mortifying sin had helped him cope with ‘popular brand of holiness teaching, which was driving [him] around the bend’.”; McGrath, 56  “What do the Puritans have to offer modern evangelicalism?  The answer for Packer can be summed up in a single word -maturity.”

[21] McGrath, 46 “Packer’s growing interest in the theology of the Puritans had led him to explore the writings of Richard Baxter (1615-91).”; McGrath, 47 “Packer’s thesis The Redemption and Restoration of Man in the Thought of Richard Baxter was long; its 499 pages extend to nearly 150,000 words. (Oxford would later insist that doctoral theses should not exceed 100,000 words.)  The work shows Packer as a scholar with a gift for rigorous analysis and clarity of expression.”

[22] Neil Bramble, “J.I. Packer”, Convivium, May 12, 2017, “The essence of Puritanism is not the public caricature often imposed upon them, but a lively, sincere, and devoted spirituality based on the Bible’s teachings translated into one’s personal life.” “https://www.convivium.ca/voices/124_j_i_packer/ (accessed Feb 28th 2020)

[23] .  J.I. Packer, Knowing God Study Guide (Intervarsity Press, Madison, Wisconsin, USA, 1975), 7 “Packer…wrote Knowing God from the conviction that ignorance of God lies at the root of the contemporary church’s weakness.”

[24] David Virtue, “The (Knowing God) book, first published in 1973 and now translated into at least seven languages, has sold more than 2 million copies, an astounding number for what is essentially a textbook in basic theology. “It was a surprise,” he told me: “I wrote the first draft as a series of articles. It was essentially intended as a catechesis-a teaching book. At first I just hoped that it would go into a second printing.” https://virtueonline.org/patriarch-dr-j-i-packer http://www.worldmag.com/articles/16150  (accessed March 2nd 2020)

[25] McGrath, 191.; McGrath commented that …this was the right book for the right moment.

[26] McGrath, 191.; Ryken, 114 “Indeed, Stott and Packer were the two most prominent evangelical leaders in the Church of England during the 1960s and 1970s.”

[27] McGrath, 195.

[28] McGrath, 62, 161 “Packer had been one of the relatively few evangelicals of influence within the Church of England who had championed links with Lloyd-Jones.”

[29] McGrath, 157 “Lloyd-Jones…wrote to Packer to terminate the Puritan Conferences.”  (in the context of the 1970 publication of the Growing into Union book by two evangelicals and two Anglo-Catholics.) (it became renamed the Westminster Conferences.)

[30] McGrath, 53.

[31] Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Revival (Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, USA, 1987), foreword.

[32] Marks of Revival by J.I. Packer By GOL Revival (Grace Online Library) Awareness of God’s presence. The first and fundamental feature in revival is the sense that God has drawn awesomely near in his holiness, mercy, and might.

https://graceonlinelibrary.org/church-ministry/revival/marks-of-revival-by-j-i-packer/ (accessed 3/6/2020)

[33] Justin Taylor What Is Revival? |  February 17, 2010 Here is how J. I. Packer answers that question in his essay, “The Glory of God and the Reviving of Religion” in A God-Entranced Vision of All Things (pp. 100-104): “Revival is God touching minds and hearts in an arresting, devastating, exalting way, to draw them to himself through working from the inside out rather than from the outside in. It is God accelerating, intensifying, and extending the work of grace that goes on in every Christian’s life, but is sometimes overshadowed and somewhat smothered by the impact of other forces. It is the near presence of God giving new power to the gospel of sin and grace. It is the Holy Spirit sensitizing souls to divine realities and so generating deep-level responses to God in the form of faith and repentance, praise and prayer, love and joy, works of benevolence and service and initiatives of outreach and sharing. What is the pattern of genuine revival? Packer suggests the following ten elements:

God comes down.

God’s Word pierces.

Man’s sin is seen.

Christ’s cross is valued.

Change goes deep.

Love breaks out.

Joy fills hearts.

Each church becomes itself—becomes, that is, the people of the divine presence in an experiential, as distinct from merely notional, sense.

The lost are found.

Satan keeps pace.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/what-is-revival/ (accessed 3/6/2020)”

[34] McGrath, 180 “In the eyes of many young evangelicals, Packer and Moyter together (at Trinity College, Bristol) represented a form of evangelicalism which possessed both intellectual rigour and spiritual integrity.”; McGrath, 237.

[35] McGrath, 181 “As Trinity settled down, Packer again found he had time and space for thinking, speaking, and writing.  … Packer was able to negotiate an arrangement with the college Council, by which he would spend the autumn and spring terms teaching in Bristol, leaving the summer term free of commitments in order to allow him to spend time in North America…Increasingly, Packer became a well-known figure in North America – not simply through his books, but through his personal presence at seminaries as a teacher and lecturer.”

[36] McGrath, 233.; Bramble, “Packer could have had a number of other teaching positions in high profile seminaries in the United States, but he chose the fledgling Regent College, where 37 years later (2016) he is still involved—in his ninety-first year.”

[37] McGrath, 217 “Packer was by now regarded in North America as the best-known and most highly respected British evangelical theologian. …His book Knowing God had firmly established him as one of the most important writers in the area of spirituality…In short, Packer was being lionized in North America. In England, however, he was being marginalized.”; Ryken, 165 “…Mark Noll notes that the British posts (temporary teaching assignments)   were Anglican; the North American posts have been Reformed and evangelical.”

[38] Ryken, 164.

[39] McGrath, 239. “By the end of the 1980s’, Regent was the largest graduate institution of theological education in the region with a new purpose-built home on a high-profile site on the university campus.”

[40] George, Charles Colson, 139.

[41] McGrath, 160 “Two major events of the 1990s – the Anglican Church of Canada’s Essentials ’94 congress…can be seen to rest on precisely the theological foundations developed by Packer in England during the 1970s…it represented the application of a coherent and historically and theologically justified approach, which had been set in place twenty years earlier.”; McGrath, 283 “Packer…was the chief architect of ‘Essentials 94.’”

[42] George, 11 “Packer has been ever mindful of the maxim of Richard Baxter, on whom he wrote his Oxford doctoral dissertation.  In necessariis Unitas, in non-necessariis Libertas, in utrisque Caritas.”   http://www.anglicancommunionalliance.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Montreal-Declaration-for-ACA-Website-PDF-FINAL.pdf (accessed March 8th 2020); Leland Ryken, J.I. Packer: an Evangelical Life (Crossway, Wheaton, Illinois, 2015), 12 “Packer is by nature a peacemaker and a gentle man, yet he has had a career of controversy…his stand on religious issues has often made him an object of criticism.”

[43] George, 10.

[44] Bramble, “The term collaborator may well describe Packer’s most telling leadership quality. He loved working as a member of a team, and he did so on numerous occasions. Perhaps the best example was his role as general editor in producing the English Standard Version of the Bible. Interestingly, Packer himself sees this as his most significant contribution.”

[45] Trinity School for Ministry talk “JI Packer: On Personal Holiness”:  When I was eighteen years ago, I spoke to a conference “For the rest of my working life, I should be conducting a crusade for catechesis, that is, the revival of catechism type instruction in all evangelical churches.  What is the essence of catechetical instruction?  It is two things together, teaching the doctrines of the bible, teaching the truths that we are to live by, and teaching in direct connect with that, how to live by those truths, how to practice in fact what we called holiness.” “I want to campaign for a renewal of personal holiness…” “…culturally the West is coming apart…” “we don’t make as much of repentance as we should…” (accessed 2/23/2020)

[46] Marks of Revival, Revival Commentary, v. 1, n. 1.  JI Packer: “Revival is the visitation of God which brings to life Christians who have been sleeping and restores a deep sense of God’s near presence and holiness. Thence springs a vivid sense of sin and a profound exercise of heart in repentance, praise, and love, with an evangelistic outflow.”

Source: Your Father Loves You, Shaw Publishing, 1986, Page for May 30.

http://christian-quotes.ochristian.com/christian-quotes_ochristian.cgi?find=Christian-quotes-by-J.I.+Packer-on-Revival (accessed 1/6/2020)

[47]McGrath, ix “…my Christian calling thus far has felt so much like me ‘and a few other blokes’ trying to stop  specific falsehoods, nail specific sins, and further the new life that Satan tries to quench in his ongoing war with the God of creation, providence, and grace.”

[48] J.I. Packer, Revival #2, 02/18/24  A Southern Baptist conference at Grenville Seminary, South Carolina, USA  3:33 “In revival, God comes close, and thus sin is seen, and because sin is seen, the gospel is loved, as never before, and repentance goes deep, and godliness grows fast, and the church becomes itself, and the world feels the impact as an evangelistic overflow, and Satan keeps pace trying to spoil and corrupt what is going on.” 24:50 “Dr Lloyd-Jones hoped for revival until he died. He is gone. The prophets are gone, but we should still be hoping for revival. Revival is a sovereign work of God. He fixes the time table. The schedule is his, not ours. 49:43 “Revival means the overcoming of hostile spiritual forces, forces against which the people of God have thus far been impotent, forces which have run all over them, forces of secularity, forces of worldliness.  There is always opposition when revival begins, and regularly there is opposition to the gospel before revival begins.”  “And have you studied the East African revival of our own time?  It broke in the 1930s. It’s still going on.  It dies down and flairs up again like a forest fire…It prepared the people of God…for the appalling convulsions that they had to go through politically and in terms of persecution…The revival folks stood firm under persecution when the Mau-mau folk were trying to get them back to the tribal darkness of ethnic, witch doctor-type polytheism. They wouldn’t go.  Many of them lost their lives at the time…If God hadn’t quickened his people by revival blessing in the 1930s and thereafter, where would the Church be in East Africa?  1:04:35 paraphrase: Revival is a rediscovery of the blessing (the central revival doctrine) of justification (by faith). 1:0513 revival is…the people of God pictured as a candle stick sustained and enabled to burn and burn and keep on burning through oil from heaven… revival means power, constant sustained power from God’s Holy Spirit for life and service.  1:09:29 Revival means the purging out of sin from the lives of saint through bringing them to repentance.  (sins vomited up)  1:18:38 Revival shows God to be still on his throne, victorious…a demonstration of his sovereign Lordship and sovereign grace.

J.I. Packer, Revival: #3, 16:11, A Southern Baptist conference at Grenville Seminary, South Carolina,

USA : “The alternatives are always revival or judgement, and that is as true for us in North America today as it was in the bible times.” 19:43 “God is sovereign in revival. You cannot predict it, but also you cannot preclude it.  There is no situation so grave and so grievous that God cannot move in it and restore it.” 20:15 “Spiritual revival is something to be sought, to be sought for one’s own soul, to be sought for one’s own church, to be sought for one’s own community.  It is not for us to say all we can do is wait and twiddle our thumbs until God is pleased to act.” “We are to seek spiritual renewal, spiritual revival, and we are to seek it by petition…linked with self-examination.” 24:20 “Spiritual revival is something to be sought for and looked for.  God does not play cat and mouse with us.”  25:00 “Pessimism about the possibility of revival is a form of unbelief of the Bible.” https://www.sermonaudio.com/saplayer/playpopup.asp?SID=2190484748 (accessed March 2nd 2020)

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our 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.

-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 

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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John Adams: Peace-Maker

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

John Adams (1)

Everyone wants  ‘Peace on Earth’. Is it really possible? President John Adams was a genuine peace-maker, even to his own detriment.

One of my most popular Deep Cove Crier articles, with almost 17,000 online readers, has been my article on John Adams’ good friend Benjamin Franklin. Both were founding fathers of our neighbour to the south.  My American relatives have told me that Adams is the greater man.

Adams’ greatest strength and weakness was that he was a passionate peace-maker, even at the cost of sabotaging his own re-election as the second American President.  Napoleon in 1797 captured 300 American ships, six percent of the American fleet. (1)  The ‘hawks’ in Adams’ own Federalist party desperately wanted to go to war with France, but Adams negotiated a peace treaty that allowed him to disband Alexander Hamilton’s unnecessary and costly army.  Hamilton, the commander of this army, took this as a personal insult, and dedicated himself to splitting Adams’ own Federalist Party.  John Adams wrote his wife Abigail saying that he knew “Hamilton to be a proud-spirited, conceited, aspiring mortal, always pretending to morality…as great a hypocrite as any in the US…” (2)

thomasjeffersonWith two Federalist presidential candidates, the Republican presidential candidate, Thomas Jefferson, won the election on the 36th ballot after a deadlocked Congressional tie vote. (3) Jefferson, who had foolishly endorsed the blood-thirsty French Revolution, was wisely mentored by Adams.  At his final State of Union address, President Adams stated: “Here and throughout our country, may simple measures, pure morals, and true religion, flourish forever!” (4)  His final prayer as he left the House was: “I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof.” (5) Despite strong political differences, Adams and Jefferson ended as good pen pal friends, both dying in 1826 on the significant American July 4th holiday. (6)   Jefferson acknowledged Adams as ‘the colossus of independence.’ (7)

John Adams was both passionate about liberty and yet cautious about our human tendency to selfishness.  James Grant commended Adams for “his unqualified love of liberty, and his unsentimental perception of the human condition.” (8)  As such, Adams produced constitutional boundaries that guarded people’s essential freedoms of life and liberty of speech, assembly, and religion.  The US Congress praised Adams for his “patriotism, perseverance, integrity and diligence.” (9)   Adams insightfully commented: “our Constitution was made only for a moral & religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (10) The root of equality, said Adams, was the Golden Rule – Love your neighbour as yourself.  (11)

John Adams 2Adams has been described as one of North America’s greatest bibliophiles.  He loved to learn, reading voraciously in wide-ranging areas of interest, including the Bible.  Equality for Adams was grounded in equal access to education for all: “knowledge monopolized, or in the Possession of a few, is a Curse to Mankind. We should dispense it among all Ranks.  We should educate our children.  Equality should be preserved in knowledge.” (12)  His prayer for his children was: ““Let them revere nothing but religion, morality, and liberty.”  (13)

One of Adams’ strengths was that he was deeply honest, even to his own political detriment. Unlike the worldly-wise Benjamin Franklin, he would say exactly what was on his mind. Adams urged Franklin to get more exercise, saying that “the sixth Commandment forbids a man to kill himself as it does to kill his neighbour. A sedentary life is tantamount to suicide.” (14)  James Grant commented that “like the mythical George Washington, he seemed incapable of telling a lie; he was naturally and organically honest.” (15)  Adams once commented: “The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount contain my religion.”(16)  Adams was indeed an unusual politician. He found the endless political bickering to be painful and pointless, commenting that “a resolution that two plus two makes five would require fully two days of debate.” (17)  Adams was known as a foul-weather politician, only drawn to serve his country because of the intense crisis.  He would have much rather been anywhere else: “The longer I live and the more I see of public men, the more I wish to be a private one.” (18)  Adams was a latecomer to American Independence, preferring to work for reconciliation with the British.  While Benjamin Franklin had favour and therefore initial funding from France , John Adams eventually obtained key loans to the United States from the cautious Dutch.  Because of his endless negotiations in France, Holland and England, Adams only saw his dear wife Abigail for a grand total of three months over six years. (19)   He wrote to Josiah Quincy: “Happy is the man who has nothing to do with politics and strife.” (20)

 king-george-iiiOne of Adams’ first assignments in Congress was to draft a resolution  appointing a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer throughout the thirteen colonies: “that we may, with united hearts and voices, unfeignedly confess and deplore our many sins, and offer up our joint supplications to the all-wise Omnipotent, and merciful Disposer of all events; humbling beseeching him to forgive our iniquities, to remove our present calamities, to avert those desolating judgments with which we are threatened, and to bless our rightful sovereign, King George the third.” (21)   Sadly King George dismissed Adams and his colleagues as ‘wicked and desperate persons.’ (22)

King George’s thirty-three thousand British troops resulted in thirty-five thousand American deaths by sword, sickness, or captivity. (23) Adams knew that without heart-forgiveness, American independence would quickly become as barbaric as the French Revolution:  “In a time of war, one may see the necessity and utility of the divine prohibitions of revenge and the Injunctions of forgiveness of Injuries and love of Enemies, which we find in Christian Religion. Unrestrained, in some degree by these benevolent Laws, Men would be Devils, at such a Time as such.”  (24)

John Adams3In 1815 he wrote his own gravestone epitaph: “Here lies John Adams, who took upon himself the responsibility of the peace with France in the year 1800.” (25)  My prayer is that we too may be passionate peace-makers like President John Adams.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

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

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

Footnotes

(1) James Grant, John Adams: Party of One , (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY, 2005), p. 392.

(2) Gore Vidal, Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, (Yale University Press, New Haven, 2003), p. 133.

(3)  David McCullough, John Adams , (Simon and Schuster, New York, NY, 2001), p. 572.

(4)  John Adams, State Of The Union Address 11/11/1800,

  http://readbookonline.net/readOnLine/50063/

(5) McCullough, John Adams, p. 560, picture 57.

(6) McCullough, p. 646.

(7) http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Colossus+of+Independence.-a079789133

(8) Grant, p. 61.

(9)  Grant, p. 336.

(10) http://www.john-adams-heritage.com/quotes/

(11) McCullough, p. 543.

(12) Fragmentary Notes for ‘A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law’,  http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/06-01-02-0052-0002

(13) Grant, p. 165.

(14) Grant, p. 287.

(15) Grant, p. 100.

(16) Grant, p. 442.

(17) Grant, p. 142.

(18) Grant, p. 146; McCullough, p. 207.

(19) McCullough, p. 271 “At last, on June 11th 1782, Adams negotiated with a syndicate of three Amsterdam banking houses — Willink, Van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje — a loan of five million guilders, or two million dollars at five percent interest.  It was not the ten million dollars Congress had expected…”;  Grant, p. 196.

(20) Grant, p. 157.

(21) Grant, p. 153.

(22) Grant, p. 152.

(23) Grant, p. 256.

(24) Grant, p. 184.

(25) Grant, p. 383.

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our 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.

-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 

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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Back to the Gym

By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdImage

When the weather is warm and sunny, I love to swim outdoors.   As a teenager, I was involved three days a week with the YMCA Flying Sharks, a junior life-saving team.  My late uncle Don Allen was a career Navy deep sea diver, sometimes finding lost Caribbean treasure.  When I first tried learning to swim at the UBC outdoor pool, it was so cold that I felt frozen stiff.  It was only when I went to the warm Okanagan Lake that my swimming breakthrough came.  I know that summer is coming to a close when outdoor swimming comes to an end.

During the summer, most gyms and weight rooms are missing many regular participants.  September is the ‘Back to the Gym’ time,  ‘Back to School’ time, ‘Back to Church’ time.  September is the time when our life rhythms reconnect.  We all need times away, times of refreshing, time of letting go.  We also need times of reconnecting, of gathering, of pressing in.  Sometimes in the summer, we can relax and feast too much.  Back to the Gym helps us refocus, restart and recalibrate our lives.

My wife Janice encouraged me to start going to the gym in 1999 after I was a passenger in a rear-end car accident.  I naively thought that I would become physically fit and healthy almost overnight.  Instead restoring my health has been a gradual process.  When I have striven and pushed too hard, the result has been injury and setback.  God has been teaching me that I need to be more patient with myself and my weight room renewal.  There is no quick fix.  My exercise plans often suffer from good intentions.  So many weight room friends start with the best intentions, but give in to frustration and disappointment.  It takes too long to become healthy! Before you know it, they disappear and slip back into their old patterns of inactivity.

Image

      My encouragement this September for those reading this article is to not give up when you go back to the gym.  Your health is worth it.  Your life is worth it.  You are worth it.  By your regularly working out, you will see gradual benefits that initially elude you.  Anything worth doing is worth fighting for.  Your health matters, not only to yourself, but to your spouse, your children, and your friends.  When you invest in your health, you open doors to your future.  When you invest in your health, your knees will thank you, your back will thank you, your neck will thank you.  Excessive sitting is one of the greatest curses of our post-modern culture.  What will it take this September to get back to the gym? What is holding us back in doing the right thing? Why are we often our own worst enemies when it comes to our health?  Overeating, oversitting, and overdrinking are too often eating us alive.

 God wants us to be healthy in body, mind and spirit.  He wants us to be physically fit, emotionally fit and spiritually fit.  Worship is meant to be a stretching experience where we encounter God with our whole person, all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  Why am I passionate about both worship and calisthenics?  Because both are about being healthy, both are about making a difference, both are about investing in one’s future.  I invite you to go back to the gym, for physical, emotional and spiritual renewal.  Make an investment that will pay lasting dividends.  Your body, mind and spirit will thank you.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our 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.

-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 

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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Renewing the Mind, Strengthening the Brain

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird  DrPeterEppinga book

Dr. Peter Eppinga, author of Your Brain, fell in love with the brain during his medical training.  We were privileged to have him speak on the impact of prayer on the human brain.  Stuart Spani our resident film producer made an amazing DVD with Dr Eppinga entitled “Your Brain and Prayer.”

The brain has not always been seen as that significant.  Aristotle thought that it was merely a radiator to cool the blood.  The Egyptians carefully embalmed the heart while discarding the brain in their mummies.  The brain, says Dr. Eppinga, is the new frontier, making 400 million actions per second.  This three pounds of fat has four million pain sensors, 500,000 touch detectors, and 200,000 temperature gages that keep us from freezing or boiling.  Our brain has no moving parts: “It isn’t hardware or software. It’s wet ware and very messy.”  Our brain feeds on glucose for its fuel source.  Though the brain is only 2% of our body’s weight, it takes up a staggering 20% of our body’s glucose supplies.

Dr Peter EppingaDr. Eppinga says that due to neuroplasticity, you can sculpt your own brain by what you put inside of it. Research indicates that Braille readers and taxi drivers both have measurable growth in their motor cortex and hippocampi, related to their sensory and memory activities. Through exercising twenty minutes a day by walking or going to the gym, you can decrease your chances by 60 percent of getting Alzheimer’s disease or by 57 percent  of having a stroke.  Bible reading and prayer both renew our minds and strengthen our brains.  Prayer activates our frontal lobes and anterior cingulate gyrus, resulting in increased compassion, memory function, and stress reduction.  Dr. Newberg, through the use of a SPECT scanner, found that focused prayer increased activity in our frontal cortex, which is connected with creative thinking and decision making.  Prayer also reduces chronically elevated levels of cortisol, which are linked with increased bone loss, reduced muscle mass, impaired immune function, and reduction in glucose utilization.  Through the calming benefits of prayer, our body and mind become more resistant to disease.  Prayer, said Dr. Eppinga, is the most powerful force in the universe: “God can do more through one prayer than you can do in a lifetime.”

Dr Peter Eppinga2Dr. Eppinga, from a very young age in his home town of Old Masset, Haida Gwaii, wanted to become a medical doctor, but his mother and father were unable to help him academically.  As a teenager, he became a drug dealer.  While intoxicated with alcohol in the back seat of a racing car, he ended upside down, drowning in a swamp.  Choking on water, he prayed: “If you ever let me out of this car tonight, God, I promise I will live for you.”  As Dr. Eppinga put it, “I put down the beer bottle and picked up a text book and God gave me strength to make it through.”  Looking back, he believes that his parents’ persistent prayers made all the difference.  He and his father now have a ministry, called Christ for First Nations, bringing healing to other aboriginal people.  Dr Eppinga is living proof that prayer and medicine work well together in renewing the mind and strengthening the brain.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our 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.

-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 

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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Bella: Lightning a Candle

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

Many of us are unaware that BC was once a Spanish Territory.  Our famous Captain Vancouver, after which our city is named, was sent to the West Coast by the British Government to receive this land from the Spanish.  I took one year of Spanish in Grade 10 after finishing Grade 12 French in Grade 9.  Languages have always fascinated me, perhaps because I spent two years in Montreal learning French during the time of Expo 67.

Our St. Simon’s NV community has been on many mission trips over the years, especially to Mexico and Rwanda.  Our first St. Simon’s NV mission trip was to the Hispanic Anglicans in Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the world.  It was a wonderful opportunity to refresh my Spanish, preaching, teaching and even singing on the radio in Spanish.  Our Latino Honduran friends were very kind to me as I sought to improve my Spanish diction.  I think that they appreciated my making the effort to speak in their heart language.

The largest ethnic minority in North America is the Hispanic-speaking people with over 52 million in the United States, 14 million in California, and almost 5 million in Greater Los Angeles.  Fifty percent of all those recently added to the USA population were Hispanic.  Many commentators  predicted that the very close American Presidential election  would be won on November 6th by whichever way the Hispanic voters lean. (Hindsight comment: It was.)

One of the most delightful movies that crosses the Hispanic/Anglo divide is Bella.  My wife and I recently borrowed Bella from the local library, after a good friend recommended we check it out.  We were not disappointed with our ‘date night’ movie.  This stunning ‘once in a lifetime’ movie left us both in tears.  It left me with the conviction that Bella has the potential to do something beautiful in the world. Bella lights a candle in people’s heart.

Bella struggled for visibility until winning the prestigious People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival as well as a Heartland Film Festival award.  Then our North Shore-based LionsGate Films and Roadside Attractions became the distributors.  LionsGate Films is part of the reason why with so much film activity, the North Shore is often called Hollywood North.

As the top-rated movie on the New York Times Reader’s Poll, the Wall Street Journal called Bella ‘the fall’s biggest surprise’.  With more than $10 million in domestic box office, it became one of that year’s top-ten-grossing independent films, breaking the record for a Latino-themed film in total box office earnings.

Alejandro Monteverde, Bella’s Producer with Metanoia Films, wanted to produce a movie that showed the real face of Latinos.  So often Hispanic people are portrayed in movies in less than flattering ways.  We need more culturally sensitive movies like Bella.  For Latino people, the kitchen is at the heart of the family.

Everything in Bella was food-related, whether speaking of the key actors who worked in restaurants or the intimate family times where Nina a pregnant non-hispanic waitress is welcomed into their Latino hospitality. Bella reminded me that the Hispanic people have a rich family heritage and deep spirituality that is an important contribution to our North American multicultural mix.  In an age where marriages and families are often collapsing, the Latino people have much to teach us about human dignity and making room for everyone.

The gist of the story is that Jose, a famous soccer star, becomes involved in a tragic car accident that ends his career.  He lost his passion for life and for soccer.  Meeting Nina changes everything for him and for her in a most unexpected way.  More than romance, Bella reveals the beauty of sacrificial love.  I thank God for Bella’s celebration of family, food, music and life-affirming Judeo-Christian values.  You could check this movie out of your local library or view it online.  My prayer for those reading this article is that we will daily rediscover the importance of family, kindness and compassion for others in need.

Bella Movie Trailer  (click to watch online)

Bella Movie Trailer (en Espanol/Spanish)

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

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

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our 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.

-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 

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 


2 Comments

The Summer Pause that Refreshes

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird

As summer rolls into August, we know that we are entering the home stretch of the holiday season.  Most of us really enjoy our summer holidays, particularly when the weather co-operates.  Earlier this summer it seemed like summer was never going to start.  Then suddenly it felt too hot but people didn’t want to complain because we were so grateful to see the sunshine.  There is something about a sunny day that can help with a sunny personality.  That is why so many people move to California.  But good weather alone does not guarantee the summer pause that refreshes.

                I remember when I first went to Hawaii.  The weather, surfing, swimming, and sights were great.  The only problem with Hawaii was that I was there.  I

low angle photography of coconut trees
Photo by Michelle Clement on Pexels.com

brought with myself that same sense of emptiness, that something was missing from my life.  Last year, when I once again visited Hawaii, I happened to stumble upon a bagpipe ceremony for a person who had died tragically young.  Just a few feet from a beautiful Hawaiian beach, I was reminded that all the beauty of creation doesn’t ultimately satisfy our inner longings.  I love the beauty of creation particularly on a beautiful summer day, but the beauty of creation is meant to point beyond itself to the beauty of its Creator.

                I come from a long line of overfunctioners and hard workers.  Sometimes people in my family of origin have neglected the summer pause that refreshes.  Sometimes they have attempted to keep going in their own strength.  Sooner or later the body gets its revenge.   Either we enter into the pause that refreshes or our body will force us to stop, sometimes in a rather shocking way.  The Creator of this amazing world designed our bodies so that they worked best if we took pauses that refresh.  That is why healthy people take regular days off.  That is why summer holidays are so vital to our health.  The Good Book calls the pause that refreshes the Sabbath.  Similarly academics call their pause that refreshes a sabbatical.  No one can function at their best on a 24/7 basis.

                Because of our workaholic culture, some people do summer holidays with the same frenetic intensity, leaving them more exhausted than they started.  They never pause to reflect, to enjoy, to observe, and to renew.  No wonder that so many people half-jokingly say that they need a holiday just to recover from their holiday.  What if in the final portion of the summer holidays, we actually rested?  The heart of the Hebrew word ‘sabbath’ is ‘rest’.  The Great Physician once said ‘Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’  So often our souls are weary, burdened, and restless.  What if this summer we embraced the pause that refreshes?  What if during this holiday season we actually rested?  What if this summer we allowed the beauty of creation to point us back to the author of creation?  My  prayer for those reading this article is that we would each become deeply refreshed and renewed in our body, soul, and spirit.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our 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.

-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 

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 


3 Comments

‘I stand’ song by Mark Hird

Mark Hird

By Mark Hird

I stand

Mark Hird

G

I stand before you Lord and here I stand

                                       D

To be all I am to praise you

G

I stand before you Lord before you I stand

                                          D (G) (last time x2)

To be all I am to praise you

Am

Though trouble come

Bm                           Em

Your kingdom come

Am                              G

Because you came for me

Am

The king of days

Bm                     Em

Know all my ways

Em               G           D

Yet you still love me

Comment from Mark Hird: A song I wrote. Feel free to pass it on

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our 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.

-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 

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 


2 Comments

Hark The Herald Angels Sing!

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

There is something about the Christmas season that starts you singing.  Many people hardly ever sing in public.  Yet Christmas can turn them into instant musicians, belting out Jingle Bells, Away in a Manger, or I wish you a Merry Christmas.  My best friend as a teenager was a self-professed atheist, but he loved to sing Christmas Carols.  I will always remember going door-to-door with my atheist friend singing Silent Night, Holy Night and raising money for the local Christmas Stocking Fund.

One of the best loved carols of all time is Hark the Herald Angels Sing.  Charles Wesley, the brother of the famous John Wesley, wrote this carol in 1739.  Charles wrote over 6,500 hymns, making him the most prolific hymn-writer of all time.  Charles was born on December 18th, 1707, the 18th of 18 children.  His father, Samuel Wesley, an Anglican priest in Epworth, had a very profound impact on his life.  Both Charles and his brother John had a first class education at Oxford, where Charles worked on his MA  On May 21st, 1738, Charles underwent a life-changing conversion which significantly released within him his gift of song-writing.  Almost every day Charles would be writing another brand-new hymn.  Both Charles and his brother John were ordained Anglican priests.  In those days, Anglicans never sung hymns in church.  They only sang the psalms.  Hymn-singing and carol-singing was seen as a very radical thing to do.

At times, Charles and John Wesley would encounter great opposition as they went around singing and preaching the gospel.  In February 1747 at Devizes, the two brothers were attacked by a mob which surrounded their house, broke the windows, tore off the shutters, and flooded the house with water pumped from a fire engine.  In response, Charles wrote a hymn which they sang as they left town.  Sometimes the beautiful songs themselves would tame the unruly mob, and turn them away from violence.

Hundreds of thousands of lives were affected by these two musical brothers.  Some historians credit the Wesleys with having prevented the French Revolution from reoccurring in 18th century England.  Instead England went through a spiritual revolution that greatly improved the lot of the working class.  At that time, adults and even children could be legally hanged for 160 different offenses –from picking a pocket to stealing a rabbit.  In London, 75% of all children died before age 5.  Among the poor, the death rate was even higher.  In one orphanage, only one of 500 orphans survived more than a year.  Alcohol abuse was rampant, even among children, with over 11 million gallons of Gin consumed in 1750.  Charles and John Wesley believed that changed hearts could lead to a changed society.  Their impact on 18th century society was phenomenal in the areas of health, politics, prisons, economics, education, music, and literature.

Few people realize that the carol Hark the Herald Angels Sing took over 120 years to finish.  The tune that we now use to sing this carol was actually composed by Felix Mendelssohn in 1840.  Fifteen years later, an English musician W.H. Cummings applied Mendelssohn’s music to Wesley’s carol.  Felix Mendelssohn was a Jewish believer in Jesus who is famous for reintroducing Johann Sebastian Bach to the musical world, as well as for his oratios Elijah and St. Paul.

As we sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing each Christmas, let us do so with a new thanksgiving for the sacrifices and dedication of those who have given us the heritage of Christmas Caroling.  My Christmas prayer is that the words ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Glory to the Newborn King’ may touch the hearts of many men, women, and children during the Holidays.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our 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.

-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 

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