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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Hope Rising

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Our hearts were created to be filled with rising hope.  For each of us in this New Year, hope is a choice.  Will we be hopeful or hopeless, thankful or thankless, joyful or joyless?  The late Billy Graham said that people in the most affluent societies are feeling this sense of despair and hopelessness.

William Barclay memorably said that there are no hopeless situations, only people who have grown hopeless about them. After the fall of France to Nazi Germany, Britain stood alone. Winston Churchill said to his cabinet: “Gentlemen, I find it rather inspiring.” There is something in hope that not all the shadows can quench. Emily Dickinson wrote: “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.” Alexander Pope in his famous Essay on Man memorably stated “Hope springs eternal in the human breast, Man never is, but always to be blest”

For many people, hope has become equivalent to wishful thinking.  The term ‘I hope so’ often means ‘don’t count on it’.  Real Hope however doesn’t mean maybe, could be, or possibly. It is an assurance of what is to come.  Hope is rising expectation of good things right around the corner.

Dr McNair Wilson the famous cardiologist said in his autobiography Doctor’s Progress: “Hope is the medicine that I use more than any other – hope can cure nearly anything.”  Dr. Harold Wolff, Professor of Medicine at Cornell University, commented: “Hope, like faith and a purpose in life, is medicinal.  It is not exactly a statement of belief, but a conclusion proved by meticulous controlled scientific experiment.” You can take rising hope to the bank in terms of its practical impact on our lives.

In John Bunyan’s bestseller Pilgrim’s Progress, it was Hopeful who comforted Christian in Doubting Castle. We are called to be a people of Hope.  As one song puts it, hope is a candle, a light in the window, showing the heart how to come home.  With God, all things are possible.  Billy Graham, who recently turned 98, said: “I’ve become an old man now, and I’ve preached all around the world.  The older I get, the more I cling to that hope that I started with many years ago.”  Faith, he commented, points us beyond our problems to the hope we have in Christ.

Dr. George Johnson of Harvest City Church said  that 2017 will be the greatest year that we’ve ever experienced.  There are so many good things to look forward to, including Vancouver Missionsfest and the July 1st Canada Day Voices Together Celebration.  In just two months, there will be a Festival of Hope at Rogers Arena.  The Billy Graham team, including his son Franklin Graham, will be there, sharing a message of rising hope and encouragement over the three nights.  I was privileged two years ago to attend the well-attended Greater Toronto Festival of Hope.  The music was impressive with top bands and local musicians involved.  The spiritual hunger especially among the young people was significant.  I have served over the past two years to serve as a representative on the Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope Executive.  You are invited to come on March 3rd to 5th and experience a rising of hope in 2017.

Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

-an article published in the  Light Magazine

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Saying No to Judgmentalism

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Perhaps the best known and most misunderstood bible saying is ‘Judge not, lest you be judged’ from Matthew 7:1.  Most of us find it painful to be around people, including spouses, who are being very judgmental and negative.   Dr. John Gottman talks about the ‘four horsemen of the Apocalypse’ that can predict with 94% accuracy the likelihood of divorce: 1) criticism 2) contempt 3) defensiveness and 4) stonewalling.[1]  When Jesus famously tells us not to judge, he is not telling us to be undiscerning, but rather not to condemn and reject other people with whom we may disagree.  Yes, there is a place for constructive criticism with our spouses, family, coworkers and friends, but it needs to rooted in an environment of love, acceptance and encouragement.  This is why Dr John Gottman found that in healthy marriages and relationships, people make five positive comments for every negative comment.[2]

The late Billy Graham insightfully said this year that being judgmental and constantly criticizing others is wrong in the eyes of God.[3]  It is not one of the gifts of the Spirit, like the gift of encouragement.[4]  Dr. Graham, who has spoken in person to over 260 million people, observed that a judgmental attitude also blinds us to our own faults. (Have you ever noticed that judgmental people almost never criticize themselves?) Jesus said that such judgmentalism is like having a log in our eye while trying to doing eye surgery on someone else’s speck of sawdust.  Judgmental people are often very insecure, and are constantly seeking to build themselves up. One way they do this is by tearing other people down. But in reality, said Dr. Graham, they end up tearing themselves down also, because no one wants to be their friend.  Judgmental people are often the loneliest people on earth.

Jesus gave us a difficult task: to judge or discern nonjudgmentally: “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?” (Luke 12:54) At the heart of judgmentalism is prejudice, which means to pre-judge, to judge too quickly before you have taken time to examine the facts. It is not a sin to have moral convictions about right and wrong, but we need to take the time to carefully listen to other people’s viewpoints and never condemn other people when we disagree with them.  I will always remember my sister advising me about a difficult situation: “Be kind.”  We can all  learn to be more kind like Jesus, gentle like Jesus, humble like Jesus, and nonjudgmental like Jesus.  Even when Jesus challenged people to repent and turn from sin and selfishness, he was always loving, tolerant, and kind.

You can’t reach people for Christ to whom you are being judgmental.  Judgmentalism just drives them away.  With the Festival of Hope, perhaps we could prepare for it by pulling the log of judgmentalism out of our eyes.  Is there anyone in your life that you need to stop judging?

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

-an article adapted for the Light Magazine and the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[1] Dr John Gottman,  Frequently Asked Questions, https://www.gottman.com/about/research/faq/ (accessed Oct 8th 2016)

[2] Ellie Lisitsa, “The Positive Perspective: Dr. Gottman’s Magic Ratio!”, December 5, 2012 https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-positive-perspective-dr-gottmans-magic-ratio/ (accessed Oct 8th 2016)

[3] Billy Graham, Answers, March 17th 2016, https://billygraham.org/answer/show-compassion-toward-those-who-are-critical-and-judgmental (accessed October 8th 2016)

[4] Billy Graham http://www.azquotes.com/quote/954248 (accessed October 8th 2016)


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Like Father, Like Son?

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

One of my favorite times of year is Father’s Day. I am so grateful that my father is still here on earth. When a person deeply admires their father, it is easy to feel that one can never fill their shoes.  When I lost my voice for eighteen months in December 1980, I remember feeling that I must be disappointing my father.  What I have discovered over the years is that my father has been one of my greatest supporters, and has never stopped cheering for me.

Recently I read the book Rebel with A Cause, which described the fascinating relationship between the late Billy Graham and his son Franklin.  Growing up is rarely easy, especially for those with highly successful, famous parents.  During his time of rebellion, Franklin learned that he could truly be himself rather than have to be another Billy Graham.  Franklin commented: “Almost every child who has a famous parent struggles with finding his own way and wondering if he is being viewed as an individual, not just an extension of his father or mother.”  Finding out whom we really are takes time, self-reflection, and willingness to grow.

Franklin’s deep love for his now ninety-seven year old father shines through every page of this book. You can also see how the family sacrificed because Billy Graham, being in such demand, was away for long stretches of time.  Successful parents are often forced to travel a lot, often at great cost to their families.  Franklin’s mom Ruth was a rock of stability and caring in the midst of the whirlwind of Billy Graham’s global travels.

A major part of Franklin working through his rebellious phase was through his participation in the early days of Samaritan’s Purse, a relief agency perhaps best known nowadays for Operation Christmas Child.  Franklin commented: “…I didn’t like seeing people getting hurt when they couldn’t do much to help themselves.”  The Graham family has a deep spirit of adventure which causes them to sometimes hang over the edge.  Out of compassion for workers at a Jordanian medical clinic, Franklin and a companion drove a much needed land rover from England to Jordan, travelling thousands of often precarious miles through nine countries, including Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon.  When international or North American tragedy strikes, Franklin through Samaritan’s Purse is often one of the first to be there helping.  The book tells gripping stories of risking life and limb as lives are helped in the tumultuous Middle East and in war-torn countries like Rwanda during the 1994 genocide.  Through Samaritan’s Purse, many doctors and nurses like Dr. Kent Brantley have served in places like Liberia during the Ebola epidemic, even sometimes contracting and surviving the virus themselves. Samaritan’s Purse reminds us that the love of God and love of neighbour go together.  Jesus not only shared good news with people.  He also practically fed the poor and healed the sick.  May we too on this Father’s Day be people who love both God and neighbour.

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

-an article expanded from the April 2016 Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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David Macfarlane’s endorsement of ‘Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit’

I highly recommend that you purchase Ed Hird’s latest book “Restoring Health: Body, Mind and Spirit” right away!  Ed’s insights come from his many fruitful years as a successful Pastor on the front lines of ministry in Canada. In addition Ed is highly respected for his visionary leadership on a national level.

David Arrol Macfarlane

Director of National Initiatives

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada

http://www.billygraham.ca

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Johnny Cash: Remix

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

 

selective focus photo of guitar

Photo by Agung Pandit Wiguna on Pexels.com

Johnny Cash’s mother Carrie said to Johnny at age 15:  “You’ve got a gift, JR. You’re going to sing. God’s got his hand on you. You’re going to carry the message of Jesus Christ.”(1)  Cash saw the song ‘I walk the Line’ as his first Gospel hit.  He sang it not just to his wife, but also to God. (2)  His mother Carrie always believed in her son even through the worst of his addictions.  Sadly Johnny’s alcoholic father did not know how to bless his son.  When his older brother died tragically, his father unfairly blamed Johnny, saying “Too bad it wasn’t you instead of Jack.” (3)

Johnny Cash was a seventeen-time Grammy winner who sold more than 90 million albums in his lifetime.(4)  But his life was full of tragedy and heartbreak.  Johnny Cash self-medicated for much of his musical career, saying: “You know, I’ve had my years in the wilderness, had my years when the demons crawled up my back. That was only when the drugs started, and they’ve gone away now…I had to finally accept it, you know, that God thought there was something worth saving, so who was I to say, ‘You’re wrong?.’ I had to accept it and go along with it, and that’s what I did.”(5)

Cash said that he used drugs to escape but it devastated him, making it impossible to communicate with God.  Amphetamines and alcohol were literally killing him.  Cash admitted: “you’re on the suicide track when you’re doing what I was doing.”(6)

Through his addictions, many family members and co-workers were deeply hurt.  As part of his recovery, Johnny Cash worked hard to rebuild many destroyed relationships.  His son John Carter Cash said: “When Dad returned from the Betty Ford Center, he had a new lease on life, a new direction. Like the Apostle Paul, the scales were pulled from his eyes.” (7)  As Cash sang about painful broken relationships, many identified with his struggles.  Bob Dylan said of him: “If we want to know what it means to be mortal, we need look no further than the Man in Black.”(8) Cash was described as the poet for the common person: the cotton picker, the gravedigger, the roughneck, the coal miner, the train engineer, the lumberjack, the spike driver.(9)

 Cash’s music spoke up for the voiceless, the rejected, the abandoned, and the prisoner.  Who can forget when he did a live album in Folsom Prison? Time Magazine said that “Cash and his songs are rooted in the basic of country life: the land, lost loves, wanderlust, the seasons, lonely trains hooting across the still prairie night, preachers, prison and Sweet Jesus and home sweet home.”(10)

A major part of his recovery was the relentless love of his wife June Carter Cash. Johnny Cash said of June: “She loves me in spite of everything, in spite of myself…She’s always been there with her love and it certainly made me forget the pain for a long time many times.”(11)  June often flushed his drugs down the toilet, and prayed for him when he was near death with an overdose.  She and Johnny’s mother were there waiting for him when he pulled out of a suicidal tailspin at Nickajack Cave near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Another key to Johnny Cash’s recovery was the loyal friendship of the late Billy Graham.  John Carter said: “When my father fell short, he could always reach out to Billy Graham.  Billy didn’t judge my father.  He was there as his friend unconditionally.  Billy would lift him up, support him and say, ‘You can do this. Stand back up. You know who you are.’”  He and June would eventually share and sing at nearly three dozen Billy Graham Crusades in front of nearly two million people. (12)

Many people don’t know that Cash wrote a novel about the apostle Paul, saying: “If God could embrace an avowed and bloodthirsty enemy of his son Jesus Christ, he’d make a place for Johnny Cash.”(13)  Few were aware that he was an ordained minister, even performing weddings, including  one for his daughter Kathy.(14)  Johnny Cash commented: “The Master of Life’s been good to me…He gives me strength to face past illnesses, and victory in the face of defeat.  He has given me life and joy where others saw oblivion.”(15)

In the last ten years of his life, Johnny Cash came back to his creative roots and was rediscovered by the younger generation of musicians.  Bono of U2 commented: “To me, Johnny Cash –with all his contradictions– was a quintessential character of the scriptures, or at least of the characters in the Bible that interested me. If God had time for these flawed characters, then God had time for me.” Bono said that he would rather spend a day with Johnny Cash than a week with most other pop artists. (16) Bob Dylan said: “Listen to (Cash) and he always brings you to your senses. He rises high above all, and he ‘ll never die or be forgotten, even by persons not born yet –especially those persons…”(17) As an artist, Johnny Cash wanted to make records that made a difference.

Johnny Cash finished well.  His last producer Rick Rubin drew out that which was best and truest about Johnny Cash, particularly in the video  Hurt.  Cash noted: “Rick saw something in me that I didn’t know was there anymore.”(18)  Johnny Cash rediscovered what made him tick musically. Rick Rubin commented: “When I asked artists what they admired about Cash, that’s what they often mentioned –that vulnerable, hurt aspect, that man who wouldn’t give up.”(19)  Bono said that Hurt was perhaps the best video ever made.(20)  It was raw and real.  Cash’s unshakable faith in Christ shone through this remarkable video.  His daughter Rosanne commented: “It’s so unflinching and brave and that’s what you are. I thought it was an enormously courageous . It was a work of art, excruciatingly truthful.”(21)

My prayer for those reading this article is that we like Johnny Cash may finish well, that we may be creative and faithful until the end of our lives.

 

 Hurt Video with Johnny Cash

 

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

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

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

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

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

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

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

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

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

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

(1) Robert Hilburn, Johnny Cash: the Life ( Little, Brown & Company, New York, NY, 2013), p. 23.

(2) Hilburn, p. 104.

(3) Hilburn, p. 20.

(4) Reinhard Kleist,Johnny Cash: I See the Darkness (Abrams ComiArts, New York, NY, 2009), p. inside Cover

(5) Johnny Cash: My Mother’s Hymn Book CD and notes, p. 15.

(6) Cash by the Editors of Rolling Stone, edited by Jason Fine (Crown Publishing, New York, NY, 2004 ), p. 162-163.

(7) John Carter Cash , House of Cash: The Legacies of My Father Johnny Cash. ( Insight Editions , San Rafael , CA, 2011), p. 73.

(8) Cash, edited by Jason Fine, p. 205.

(9) Michael Streissguth, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison: the making of a masterpiece (Da Capo Press, Cambridge, MA, 2004),  pp. 13, 27.

(10) Hilburn, p. 363.

(11) Hilburn, p. 606.

(12) Hilburn, p. 370, p. 375.

(13) Hilburn, p. 506.

(14) John Carter Cash, p. 59.

(15)  Johnny Cash: American III: Solitary Man, 2000, CD liner.

(16) Cash, edited by Jason Fine, p. 139.;Hilburn, p. 538.

(17) Hilburn, p. 628.

(18)  Cash, edited by Jason Fine, p. 149.

(19) Hilburn, p. 546.

(20) Hilburn, p. 629.

(21) Hilburn, p. 603.


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Looking Back at Billy Graham’s 1984 Vancouver Crusade

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Note: This is an article that I wrote as we participated in the 1984 Billy Graham Crusade. We are grateful for the faithfulness of the late Billy Graham, particularly for his leading my mother to Christ and his impact on Queen Elizabeth.

billy-graham

In 1984,  I was privileged to serve as the Publicity Co-ordinator in Abbotsford for the Billy Graham Crusade.  At the time, I was serving as a priest at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in Abbotsford, one of the faithful congregations that still stands for the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of scripture, even to the point of being ejected from their building.

We were privileged to be involved in celebrating Billy Graham’s 95th Birthday with My Hope,  his largest ever outreach, on TV, internet and in homes.  The following is the article that I wrote on May 2nd 1984 in the Abbotsford, Sumas and Matsqui News:

Checking Doubts about Billy Graham

When people initially think about Billy Graham and the Oct. 14-21 1984 Crusade at BC Place, some are enthusiastic; some are totally opposed; and some have certain reservations.

It seems that the three main reservations people may raise are in the areas of three ‘f’s: finances, follow-up and fundamentalism.

Some people have seen certain ‘TV’ Christians give very manipulative financial pitches.  It often seems as though they always have their hands in your wallets.  Some evangelists suffer from poor financial procedures, and sometimes from downright dishonesty.  Therefore the question is –Can Billy Graham be trusted financially?

billy_graham2The first thing that needs to be mentioned is that Billy Graham comes to this BC Crusade (and in fact to every crusade) at no salary expense whatsoever. His salary is paid totally by the Minneapolis office, and he receives no personal remuneration whatsoever from the local committee.  Billy Graham has not accepted as personal remuneration a love gift, an offering, or an honorarium since 1952 when he went on an annual salary.  This amount has been pegged at the salary received by an average high school principal.  You may ask, ‘Why has Billy Graham been so scrupulous?’ Basically he realizes that unless people trust a person financially, they won’t trust him spiritually.  Far too many evangelists in the past were ‘easy marks’ for being suspected as financial crooks and as incompetent people.

Billy Graham has set a high ethical standard for finances that governments and secular businesses could imitate.  Other financial areas worth mentioning involve budgeting, accounting, and fundraising.  First of all, the local committee sets the budget, as well as receiving, accounting for and disbursing all the funds.  Secondly, an independent audit will be done by a public accountant and then published in newspapers.  Thirdly most of the funds are raised before the crusade meetings so that there will be no undue emphasis on money during the eight crusade nights.

One common reservation frequently raised by people is ‘does it really stick?’  Isn’t this just momentary enthusiasm that will fade away and disappear?’  Many people are convinced that these so-called converts will never make it in the local church.  In response to this concern, R.O. Fern did a major research study among thousands of converts from Billy Graham crusades.  In 35 years of crusade evangelism, Billy Graham has preached the Gospel face-to-face to more than 100 million people in more than 100 countries around the world.  More than one million people have made commitments to Christ at the crusades.

billy_graham3Fern discovered that 85% of the people who became Christians at the Billy Graham crusades were actively involved in the life of the church , ten, fifteen  and even twenty years later — an astonishing success rate when it comes to followup on new Christians.  The case is clear.  With 85% of converts still in church twenty years later, there can be no doubt that this is more than a quickie hyped-up decision.  They are well-thought out, careful life choices.

Because Billy Graham is interested in making disciples for Christ, not just momentary decisions, 45% of the crusade emphasis is put on the followup process.  The key to follow-up in the local church.  Unless a new convert becomes an integral part of a local church, his chances of survival are minimal.

What is follow-up anyways?  Followup means giving continued attention to a new Christian while he or she is being integrated into the church, discovering his place of service, developing his or her full potential for Jesus Christ, and beginning to build Christ’s Church.  As Paul said to Barnabas in Acts 15:36, “Let’s go again and visit our brothers and sisters in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord and see how they do.”

Even Paul’s famous epistles were essentially written as followup material for new Christians.  Not every follow-up approach is right for every person.  Billy Graham has developed nine followup activities that can aid the new Christians. These include personal counselling, Bible study correspondence, local church followup, literature followup, Decision magazine, nurture groups, telephone followup, radio followup, and special followup.

Ultimately, of course, the great followup agent is the Holy Spirit himself.  As Psalm 127 puts it, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain.”  That’s why Billy Graham always says the three keys to reaping God’s harvest are (1) Prayer (2) Prayer and (3) Prayer.

billy_graham4A third concern raised by some people is “Isn’t Billy Graham just an extreme right-wing fundamentalist?”  Some people have even tried to link him with Ian Paisley of Northern Ireland and Bob Jones Jr.  The truth is that Bob Jones and his university blacklisted Billy Graham crusades.  During the New York Billy Graham Crusade, Bob Jones, along with other well-known fundamentalists, put a full page ad in the New York Times, calling for a boycott of the Billy Graham Crusade.  Billy Graham’s name is ‘mud’ among true fundamentalists.  Although he certainly believes in the biblical essentials,  he is more accurately described as a solid evangelical than as an extreme fundamentalist.

As a district chairperson for the Billy Graham Crusade, I have spoken to several pastors about the crusade.  It is really only the fundamentalists and extreme liberals who are opposed to this upcoming crusade.   A true fundamentalist believes in strict double and triple separation from other non-Christians, and Christians who are not as good or separated as they are.  The unintended consequence is that they build countless fences that block true friendship evangelism, that block our ability to be in the world but not of it.  Billy Graham and his team believe that ‘the best way to maintain the purity of the church is not through fences but through fire –the fire of the Holy Spirit.’

billy_graham5My challenge to you and your local church is to examine any reservations regarding the three ‘f’s of finances, followup, and fundamentalism.  You are invited to take the bold step of throwing your weight behind this exciting outreach with Billy Graham.

p.s. Click to check out the excellent online ‘My Hope with Billy Graham’ videos:

Defining Moments

Lose to Gain (Youth-oriented)

The Cross (Billy Graham at age 95)

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Greater Vancouver Renewal Mission photos

Rev David Macfarlane really makes you think. He knows Canada like few people do.

Listening to Rev David Macfarlane gives you fresh hope for sharing your faith with others

Deepened prayer is essential to deepened effectiveness in reaching people with the Gospel

Good fellowship is standard at every annual Renewal Mission.

Ian and Emmanuel Nsenga led us on the Saturday night in Rwandan HipHop Christian worship

The Nsenga brothers are amazing worshippers with a passion to reach lost people.

Our Bishop Silas Ng shared with us and received prayer for his Anglican Mission in Canada ministry

His Disciples Worship Band leading the opening GVRM worship session

Worshipping the Father in Spirit and Truth at the Greater Vancouver Renewal Mission

It doesn’t matter which mountain we worship on. It matters whom we worship

Worshipping the Lord in the beauty of holiness

The Friday night GVRM session had a particular emphasis on the younger generation

This is our 24th Annual Renewal Mission, our first being with Rev Charles Alexander in 1987

I have water for you to drink of which you will never thirst again. – Jesus

Rev David Macfarlane knows how to hold our attention.

The Harvest is ripe; are we ready, says Rev David Macfarlane

What would it take for a breakthrough in our city?

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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