Edhird's Blog

Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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A Compelling Blend… Restoring Health

Jean Paul Booyen, CPA, CA

Ed Hird’s analysis of the book of Titus from the Bible is a compelling blend of history, personal anecdotes, leadership training and Christian teaching that should hold great value for any reader who is mentally alert for any kind of guidance that may be from the Holy Spirit. From explaining why exercise should be an aspect of every Christian’s life to describing the sheer courage of people such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ed translates the teachings of the book of Titus from the language of theology into the language of meaningful application to everyday life.

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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Kimberley Payne, former Personal Trainer, endorses ‘Restoring Health’

As a former personal trainer and health enthusiast, I believe that prayer and Bible study are to the spirit what exercise and healthy eating are to the body. Rev. Ed Hird shows how we can embrace this holistically healthy life through the verse-by-verse commentary of the book of Titus. He opens up Paul’s letter and takes us on an interesting journey of discovery combined with history lessons. I recommend this book as an instruction manual for the next generation of healthy leaders.

 

Kimberley Payne

Author of Women of Strength and Fit for Faith – 7 weeks to improved spiritual and physical health

www.kimberleypayne.com

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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Restoring our health each January

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

person holding barbell

Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

Christmas Party food is always tasty, too tasty.  Millions sign up for the local gym to try to lose the post-Christmas bulge.  So many well-intended recruits are gone by January 31st.  My wife Janice really cares for me.  She shows her love by encouraging me to not give up going to the gym year round, eating healthy food, and taking vitamins.  Thank God for health-conscious wives.  Restoring health requires that I practice what I preach.  As a Spanish proverb puts it, a man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.

Going to the gym two to three times a week for the past fourteen years is part of my ‘walking the walk’ in personal fitness.  I feel healthier and younger now than a decade ago, having lost weight in the process.  The Good Book tells us that even the youth grow weary, but they that wait on the Lord shall renew and restore their strength, rising up with wings like eagles, running and not being weary, walking and not fainting.

Part of what changed my behaviour was being rear-ended by a taxi. Dr. Paul Wiggins, while treating my aching back, said to me: “You need a personal trainer”.  The next thing I knew, I was meeting with a personal trainer for six sessions, paid for by our auto insurance company.

Benjamin Franklin once said: “Health is man’s best wealth.”  People often spend their health to obtain wealth, only to spend their wealth to obtain health.   As Boomers are aging, we are sometimes understandably concerned that we may be going backwards in health rather than moving forward.  Many seem to have fatalistically lost hope.  But must aging always be a downward spiral?  God promises to renew our youth like an eagle.  What I am hearing from the Lord is “Don’t give up on yourself.  Don’t give up on your dreams of finishing well.  Why not choose to be fit? Why not choose to be healthier?”

Physical fitness is good, but by itself only goes so far.  The well-known Washington DC author Mark Batterson twittered: “In my experience, physical disciplines like exercise and spiritual disciplines like prayer feed off each other.” Health is elusive.  We are our own worst enemies.  We want to be healthy.  Yet we make choices such as too much food, too little exercise, and self-medication that cripple us and send us in the wrong direction.   As a local Recreation Centre poster put it, “The hardest thing about exercise is to start doing it.”

Edward Stanley said it well: “Those who think they will not have time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”  That is why Jesus asked: “Do you want to be well?”  Why do we resist getting well?  Why do we so often go backwards and not forwards?  Why are we so often tempted to just let nature take its course?  So many people die before their time.  They may keep going physically, but their dreams and hopes have died.  As Mark Twain put it, most men die at age 27.  We just bury them at 72.   My passion is to help a new generation of healthy leaders to discover and rediscover Jesus as the Great Physician who renews our youth like an eagle.

Healthy hearts and healthy minds lead to healthy lives, healthy choices and healthy families.  John said, “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all things may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” (3 John 2)  Health comes through the power of the Holy Spirit.  As Dr. E. Stanley Jones put it:

The Spirit of God is health… A health tendency takes possession of us. We think health. We breathe health; we are health & we give health.

I will never forget the night that Lee Grady, former Editor of Charisma Magazine, prophesied about our former congregation St. Simon’s NV being a well-spring of healing with healing teams being raised up for body, soul and spirit restoration.  Every worship service at St. Simon’s NV, whether traditional or contemporary, has a team ready to pray for healing.  There is no contradiction between prayer, medicine and keeping fit.  All can work together for our health.  My prayer for those reading this article is that we will all be passionate about health and healing at all stages of our lives.

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

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 


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The Birth of the Book

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

I love libraries. In our family, we have four favorite places for ‘down-time’ and restoration: beaches, parks, gyms, and libraries.  I see lifting weights and lifting up books as equally stimulating and healthy. One exercises the body; the other one the mind.

My parents love books. My father reads so extensively that he exhausts virtually every library he joins, and has to move on to another neighbouring library just to find new options.  Scholars have discovered that the best way to motivate one’s children to learn is by example. If your children never see you reading, it has a profound impact on their likelihood to pick up a book themselves.  There is no better way for your children to expand their minds than to turn off their video games, iPods, or TV, and actually crack open a thought-provoking book or e-book.

The latest library book that has fascinated me is Dr Andrew Pettegree’s “The Book in the Renaissance”.  Dr Pettegree is the Head of the School of History at the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland, and founding director of the St. Andrew’s Reformation Studies Institute. I have learned so much from reading this amazing book. I was shocked to discover that before the sixteenth century in Europe, educators did not teach history in school. One of my growing passions is history, which is why I included so much Canadian history in my last book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada.’  Dr Pettegree comments that “the teaching of history was in many respects the most original curricular innovation of the Renaissance period. History was not taught in the classrooms in classical times…”

I was also surprised to discover that in England, there was no formal provision for teaching writing in the grammar schools.  Few classrooms even had desks.  If one wanted to learn how to write, it had to be done during school vacations, perhaps employing a private writing master.

The existence of books can be traced back to before the 7th century BC.  Some of the earliest books in Mesopotamia were made of clay tablets. Others were made of silk, bone, bronze, pottery, shell, dried palm leaves, or wood.  The Greek word for ‘book’ biblos originally meant “fibre inside of a tree”. The Chinese character for book is an image of a bamboo tablet.

The ancient Egyptians developed a very sophisticated form of book-making, using papyrus made of stretched-out reeds, pasted together in scrolls, sometimes up to forty feet. Beginning in the 3rd century BC, parchment made out of animal skins gradually replaced papyrus as the dominant form of book-making. Parchment was both very durable and very expensive. Until the invention of the Gutenberg printing press in the fifteenth century, virtually all books were handwritten manuscripts, often painstakingly transcribed in monasteries.

We are all very aware of how the internet and social media has revolutionized our 21st century.  Gutenberg’s printing press was just as revolutionary.  Before Gutenberg, books were only for the wealthy elite.  After Gutenberg, books democratized Europe by making new ideas available for ordinary people. His revolution did not just birth printed books, but gave rise to newspapers, further educating ordinary people and infusing their minds with dreams of freedom and equality.

The first book that Gutenberg printed was the Bible.  The ready accessibility of the Bible in one’s own language was a radical innovation that many bureaucrats resisted with a passion.  Bibles were burnt openly in every part of Europe.  Tyrants knew that if ordinary people were given a chance to read the Bible for themselves, liberty would break out everywhere.  As the Great Physician put it, you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

I was fortunate to be number seven of the eight people to receive an IPhone 4 at a local phone store. My only problem was that I didn’t know how to make it work. So I went back to the phone store, asking about the user guide. None of the three employees had ever seen or read the user guide. All had IPhone 4s. “How did you learn to use it?” I asked. One of the young employees said to me “I just pressed buttons until something happened.”  Eventually I found the user guide, and actually read it. What an amazing difference it made.  As my math teacher said in Grade 10, “When all else fails, read the instructions”. We live in an amazing age when most of us are able to read, yet we still often fail to make the most of this gift.

Gutenberg gave us the gift of printed Bibles available for all to read. Isn’t it about time that we take a look once again at God’s user manual?

 

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

– previously published in the  Cove Crier

-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 Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– 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 Ave, 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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Who was Captain Robert Dollar anyways?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

While visiting Dollarton, I met my good friend Keith Cameron who lives in the historic Dollar Mill Office built in 1918.  Keith pulled out the book ‘Echoes Across the Inlet’ published by the Deep Cove and Area Heritage Association, and said to me: “You need to write an article about Captain Robert Dollar. He was a sparkplug for this whole area”.

The more that I have learned about Robert Dollar, the more fascinating I find his life-story. Captain Robert Dollar (originally spelt Dolour) was the founder of Dollarton and its first major employer with hundreds of local residents working at the Dollar Mill.  He was a very visionary individual who could see North Vancouver’s potential in terms of international trade and commerce.

Coming to Canada penniless from Falkirk in Scotland, Robert Dollar became one of Scotland’s fifty wealthiest individuals, amassing a fortune of over forty million dollars.  Leaving school at age 12 to work in Canadian logging camps, he saved up enough cash to buy into the lumber trade itself.  As most loggers spoke French, Dollar taught himself French and took over the camp’s accounting.  At their peak, Dollar’s mills produced fifteen million board of lumber.

As mentioned in ‘Echoes Across the Inlet’, even in the lumber camps, Dollar ‘always made it a practice on Sunday to take out (his) Bible to a quiet place and read it, even in the coldest of weather.” Dollar “attributed much of his success to the teachings received from this daily reading.” Dollar advocated “clean habits, clean thoughts, plenty of exercise, fresh air and plenty of sunshine…and plenty of work….Last, but most important, fear God and keep his commandments.”

In 1895, Dollar purchased his first ship in order to move his lumber down to American markets. His first boat became a huge success because of the number of people making their way to the Alaska Gold Rush. Out of this, he began the 40-vessel Dollar Steamship Company (later becoming American President Lines).

Known as the Grand Old Man of the Pacific, Dollar started three head offices in North Vancouver, San Francisco and Shanghai. Dollar’s ships bore the famous “$” on their smokestacks. During his lifetime he made some 30 voyages to Asia, being the first to bring North American lumber to Asia. While in China, Dollar built a Y.M.C.A., an orphanage, a school for the blind and a village school.

In 1923 at age 80, Dollar purchased seven “president” ships from the U.S. government which enabled him to pioneer round-the-world passenger service, being the first to publish scheduled departure and arrival times. In 1925, Dollar Line acquired the Pacific Mail Steamship Company and its trans-Pacific routes. Dollar was on the cover of the March 19th, 1928 Time magazine, and written up in the Saturday Evening Post in 1929.

Dollar was a family man with a strong work ethic and solid faith. His granddaughter remembers visiting her grandpa, saying: “We all arose at 6 a.m. and went to bed at 9 p.m.  Grandfather read a passage from the bible each morning and we joined in…Grandfather sat at the end of the table and said grace before each meal. At festive occasions he would tell us a story about his life in the Canadian north woods and have us all spellbound and laughing.”

Dollar’s mom died when he was nine; his grief-stricken father became an alcoholic.  Out of his family pain, Dollar developed four principles to which he clung to: 1. Do not cheat. 2. Do not be lazy. 3. Do not abuse. 4. Do not drink.

In Dollar’s 1920 diary, he wrote: ‘Thank God, from whom all blessings flow …we start the year with supreme confidence in the future, knowing that God is with us and hoping prosperity will enable us to aid humanity with our money, and that we will be permitted to leave the world a little better than we found it.”

Dollar never retired, saying: “It would have been nothing short of a crime for me to have retired when I reached the age of sixty, because I have accomplished far more the last twenty years of my life than I did before I reached my sixtieth birthday … I was put in this world for a purpose and that was not to loaf and spend my time in so-called pleasure … I was eighty years old when I thought out the practicability of starting a passenger steamship line of eight steamers to run around the world in one direction … I hope to continue working to my last day on earth and wake up the next morning in the other world.”

Robert Dollar died of bronchial pneumonia in 1932, at the age of 88.  Some of his final words were: “In this world all we leave behind us that is worth anything is that we can be well regarded and spoken of after we are gone, and that we can say that we left the world just a little better than we found it. If we can’t accomplish these two things then life, according to my view, has been a failure. Many people erroneously speak of a man when he is gone as having left so much money. That, according to my view, amounts to very little.”

May the example of Dollarton’s Robert Dollar inspire all those reading this article to make a difference in our lives.

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

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 Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– 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 Ave, 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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Getting back to the Gym

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Researchers have found that 115 million North Americans made health resolutions on  January 1 – promising themselves to quit smoking, eat better, lose weight, or start a serious exercise program. But within 2 months, only about 63% were still keeping their number one New Year’s resolution.  When one checks a year later, health resolution ‘survivors’ are a greatly diminished remnant.

What is it that gives us the motivation to hang in there when we are seeking to become healthy?   I will now have ‘survived’ two decades of consistently going to the gym, at least two times a week.  I have often been tempted to give up and crawl back on my couch.

One of my best motivators has been my dear wife to whom I have been married for 41 years.  She went to the gym many years before I went and often gently encouraged me to come along with her.  My initial impression was that I felt sorry for people who went to weight rooms.  They seemed rather masochistic to me.  Why would they inflict so much pain upon themselves?  I also felt intimidated by the endless variety of equipment with different levers ‘going in a thousand different directions’.  My fear was that if I pressed the wrong lever in the wrong direction, I might end up at the physiotherapist for the next year!

One of my most fun activities now is to work out at the weight room with my wife.  Every time I see her there, I am filled with admiration that she is taking such good care of herself.  I am looking forward to enjoying with my dear wife a healthy, active future fostered by the very weight training that we are both doing right now.

A second motivation for lasting at the gym has been the ‘personal trainer called pain.  Since my being ‘rear-ended’ in a November ’99 car accident, my neck and shoulder muscles have become very fine-tuned to reminding me when I need to work out.  As long as I exercise at least two times a week, my neck is relatively pain-free, my headaches are down by 90%, and my hips and back are remarkably stable.  As a result, my medical costs for physiotherapy and massage therapy are down by more than 80%!

But if I slack off and get too busy, I can feel the area of my former injury tightening up again.  The resulting pain and spasms once again will interfere with my work life, family life, and prayer life.  Chastened and reminded, I trundle back off to the gym, to my new friends who have been wondering what has happened to me.  My personal trainer ‘Pain’ can be a remarkable motivator if I will only listen to it and not just medicate it away.

A third motivator for going for two decadese to the gym has been the spiritual benefits.  Modern day life has all kinds of stresses built right into it.  I have found that the consistent discipline of weight training has deepened my sense of inner peace.  Not only has my pain level dropped; my worry level has dropped as well.  Working out actually helps me ‘let go and let God’.

The YMCA and YWCA were birthed out of the realization that all three parts of us need exercising body, mind, and spirit.  There is anonymity at the gym that lets one silently pray without any one else really noticing.  I have found that there is no better equipment than the stationary bike for truly integrating the merits of physical and spiritual fitness.  Over the last two years, the stationary bike and the Book of Common Prayer have become inseparable for me.

The term ‘exercise’ comes from the Greek word ‘gumnazo’ from which we derive the terms ‘gymnastics’ and ‘gym(nasium)’.  Exercise is helping me become more disciplined, a better disciple of my Lord Jesus Christ.  My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us may become more disciplined in our desires to be healthier in body, mind, and spirit.

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

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, Canada V4A 0A5.

– 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, Canada 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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Dr. James Naismith: Father of Basketball

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Almost every North American has played basketball, even if only shooting a few baskets at the local park.  At my high school ‘Winston Churchill’, we had a passion for basketball. In Grade Eight, my dream was to become a basketball star.  My only limitations were getting the ball in the hoop and the fact that I was only five foot two.  Back then, I had no idea that basketball was invented by James Naismith, a Canadian on loan to the United States.  I was also unaware that basketball had deeply spiritual roots.

Dr. Naismith had a rough life growing up. When he was only eight, his parents died from typhoid fever.  Earlier the family sawmill in Almonte, Ontario, had burned down. Having visited the Naismith museum in Almonte, it gave me a deeper appreciation of the many challenges that James had to overcome.  After leaving school at age fifteen, James worked for five years as a lumberjack.  During his lumberjack phase, he had a powerful encounter with Jesus Christ which led him to attend McGill University in order to become an ordained minister.   Naismith commented: “Finally I decided that the only real satisfaction that I would ever derive from life was to help my fellow beings….”

Naismith studied so hard at McGill that he neglected regular physical exercise. His friends convinced him that involvement in sports would make him a better student.  He grew to love football, rugby, baseball, field hockey, and lacrosse.  Naismith discovered that his passion for sports helped him connect with young people when he shared the gospel with them.  His sister however was deeply disappointed that James chose sports ministry instead of looking after a local congregation. Sadly she never attended any of his later basketball games.

To pursue his sports ministry, James Naismith moved to the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. The YMCA was a pioneer in the ‘muscular Christianity’ movement, being among the first to integrate prayer and bible study with athletics.  By 1905, almost 50,000 men took part in YMCA college Bible studies, including 1,000 at Yale University.  Naismith greatly admired Coach Stagg who made a point in the dressing room of saying “Let’s ask God’s blessing on our game.”  Naismith noted that Coach Stagg “did not pray for victory but he prayed that each man should do his best and show the true Christian spirit.”

James was asked by another coach Dr Guilick to create an indoor winter game for bored students. Calesthenics, involving sit-ups and marching, was not exciting enough for them.  Alluding to Ecclesiastes, Dr. Guilick had made the statement: “There is nothing new under the sun. All so-called new things are simply recombinations of the factors of things that are now in existence.”  James responded by saying: “All that we have to do is to take the factors of our known games and then recombine them, and we will have the new game we are looking for.” Two weeks later on December 21st 1891, basketball was invented.  The thirteen rules of basketball which James drew up have remained as the foundation of the game.  Drawing on another game called ‘duck on the rock’, Naismith had the students throw soccer balls into baskets.  Initially they used real peach baskets and there were no backboards to bounce off.  James intentionally invented a game that would encourage less violence and more sportsmanship.  By placing the goal way up in a basket, the participants were less likely to harm each other near the goal as in hockey. By not allowing players to run with the ball, he also eliminated the violent tackling found in rugby and football.  Even today basketball has far less group violence than other active sports.

William Baker said that basketball was first spread around the world by believers using the YMCA gospel of godliness and good games.  Canada was the first country outside of the United States to start playing basketball. Ironically because British women were the first to start playing basketball, British men saw it as a women’s game and initially refused to play it.  Basketball did not enjoy instant success at first. But now over 300 million play basketball around the world.

Both Canada and the United States claim James Naismith, with both nations dedicating special postage stamps to his memory. Though Naismith is honoured in eight Canadian and American Halls of Fame, he never profited from his invention of basketball, even losing two houses to foreclosure. Unlike basketball players today, Naismith did not endorse sports equipment, or sell products in ads. In contrast to the twenty-three million dollar top-NBA salaries today, Naismith saw basketball as being for fun, not for profit. James’ stated vision was “to win men for the Master through the gym.”

Naismith was not just the inventor of basketball.  After his brother Robbie died unexpectedly from infection, James decided to also become a medical doctor. As a minister, coach and medical doctor, he was able to minister to the body, mind and spirit.  The Journal of Health and Physical Education eulogized Naismith as “a physician who encouraged healthful living through participation through vigorous activities” and a builder of “character in the hearts of young men.” As one of his students mentioned, “With him, questions of physical development inevitably led to questions of moral development, and vice versa.” Naismith challenged the National Collegiate Athletic Association to “use every means to put basketball (as) a factor in the moulding of character…”

 With good coaching, said Naismith, basketball could produce the following results: “initiative, agility, accuracy, alertness, co-operation, skill, reflex judgement, speed, self-confidence, self-sacrifice, self-control, and sportsmanship.”  James saw self-sacrifice as “a willingness to place the good of the team above one’s personal ambitions”, saying ‘There is no place in basketball for the egotist.’  Sportmanship was described by Naismith as ‘playing the game vigorously, observing the rules definitely, accepting defeat gracefully, and winning courteously.’  In short, James wanted athletes to play by the Golden Rule and to love their neighbour.  May Naismith’s vision continue to inspire our young athletes to greatness and godliness.

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

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

-award-winning author of 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.

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

– 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, Canada 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