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The Love Affair

  By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

On a New Year’s Eve, the well-known author Michael Harper was sailing solo on Lake Taupo in New Zealand. Suddenly his boat capsized in a particularly violent squall about a mile offshore. Clinging to the side of the boat and unable to right it, Michael was rescued after an hour in the chilly glacial waters. He nearly died of hypothermia.

When Michael recovered, he asked God why He had saved him and what God wanted him to do. The reply came something like this: “I want you to learn how to love people the same way as I do.” Michael learned that very day that life is meant to be a Love Affair, that life is meant to be dedicated to learning how to really love each other in a genuine way. The famous ethicist Joseph Fletcher wrote that the opposite of love is not “hate” but rather “indifference”. Fletcher writes, “… There is one thing worse than evil itself, and that is indifference to it.” The lowest point to which our society often seems to sink is when it says, I couldn’t care less.’

As Michael Harper struggled with learning how to really love people, he became aware that there are few words in the English language that are more open to abuse than the word “love”. “Love is swampy” is how Joseph Fletcher describes the problem. Much of what is called love today is little more than making sure that our needs are met. Need-centered love, however, is self-centered and narcissistic. True love, said Karl Barth, is when a person gives them self to another with no expectation of a return, in a pure venture, even at the risk of ingratitude, and of that other person’s refusal to make a response of love. That kind of love is very scary because it involves the possibility of being rejected and hurt. That is why we so often prefer self-centered love to other-centered love.

Harper comments that “the widespread identification of the word love with sex indicates that most people think that sex ought to be an experience of love … and that is where the frustration comes in. People feel cheated because sex has not delivered the goods.” A good marriage, says Harper, in which both husband and wife delight to give each others pleasure, and thereby reassure one another of the love that they have for each other, does more for the reestablishment of true love than almost anything else. The bible calls this kind of true love “AGAPE LOVE”. Most of us have been to weddings where a passage is read from the bible telling us about true love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud it is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13).” it would be helpful for all of us, whether churchgoers or not, to regularly measure our marriage relationships against that standard of Christian love.

I am more convinced than ever that love is what it is all about. That is why the bible even says that God is love … not self centered love, but rather other centered love. Harper reminds us that “Jesus did not come to present a new set of ideas to us. He came to show us the meaning of love. He revealed what love is. He manifested love. The secret of Jesus’ revolution was not the love of power but the power of love.” When Jesus, hung on the cross, he stretched out his arms and said, in effect, “this is how much I love you.” And most amazingly when the Roman soldiers were torturing him and humiliating him, Jesus cried out, “Father, forgive them for they ‘don’t know what they are doing.” Jesus has taught me that the finest quality of true love is its power to forgive. As the late Michael Harper puts it, love without forgiveness is meaningless.

My prayer for those reading this article is that true love may so invade our lives that costly forgiveness will become normal for us in our daily lives.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Prophetic Words from Bonnie Chatwin

by the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

 

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Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

On April 12, 2005, I was feeling rather fragile in the midst of helping others work through all the trauma and loss around our congregation’s pending eviction.

While I was working out at our local Parkgate Gym, Bonnie Chatwin a very gifted Pastoral Counsellor phoned me by cell phone. She cautioned me against falling into the ‘bait of Satan’ , that of taking offense, resulting in unforgiveness and bitterness. And she poured into me excerpts from Paul’s epistles to Timothy: words that were to become the skeleton of my award-winning book “Battle for the Soul of Canada”.

1 Timothy 1: Warning against false teachers

2 Timothy 1:8: Do not be ashamed

2 Timothy 1:12 I am not ashamed

2 Timothy 1:14 Guard the Deposit

2 Timothy 2:1 Be strong in the grace…endure hardship

2 Timothy 2:15 A Workman that does not need to be ashamed

2 Timothy 2:24 The Lord’s servant must not quarrel

2 Timothy 3:5 Have nothing to do with them.

2 Timothy 3:10 Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

2 Timothy 4:2 I give you this charge

2 Timothy 4:3 The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine

Bonnie Chatwin said to me:

“You are going through a prophetic commissioning. It’s a process, standing, enduring, getting through, not focusing on the visible results with the eye. Take on an attitude of humility, grace, but also of courage and strength. Do not take personal offense, or you will be taken out. There is no use arguing with your oppressors. You have been stripped of a crown of glory as an Anglican priest, now wearing a crown of thorns, one with Christ. You need to express an attitude of gratitude and embrace the counselor/the Holy Spirit, admitting your helplessness. You are not rebelling against authority, but rather just standing firm.”

 

Out of that prophetic encounter, I became convinced once again that Christian values lie at the very foundation of our nation, that the key to renewing the soul of Canada- the heart of my new book- is to be found in raising up Timothys, raising up the emerging generation of leaders.

 Who was Timothy? What do we know about him? Timothy was Paul’s irreplacable right-hand man sent into impossible circumstances to re-establish healthy foundations. To the troubled Corinthians, Paul said: “For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.”(1 Corinthians 4:17) Listen to what Paul said to the Phillipians: “For this reason I am sending Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like (Timothy), who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”(2:20-21)

How the local city church treated Timothy determined how healthy they would be in their future. Timothy, being naturally shy, could easily be put off by inhospitality. Paul, as his mentor and spiritual father, fought for his acceptance: “If Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am. No one, then, should refuse to accept him. Send him on his way in peace so that he may return to me. I am expecting him along with the brothers.” (1st Corinthians 16:10).

In many ways, Timothy has the personality profile of Canada: gentle, somewhat insecure, and easily rejected. Yet Paul saw that this unlikely individual had the potential to be a great leader, even to be the successor after Paul’s assassination by the Emperor Nero. Canada, and especially the Canadian Church, has the potential for great servant leadership throughout the nations. We can be God’s Timothys, if we will only humble ourselves before the Lord (2nd Chronicles 7:14 )

A genuine Timothy is someone who seeks first God’s Kingdom and his righteousness in this profoundly self-centered culture. A genuine Timothy is someone sold out for God, passionate, committed, and visionary. Paul knew that Timothys need to first be discovered and then raised up. Paul knew that Timothys are a rare breed (I have no one else like Timothy), but they can change a nation. Timothys need to first go through a time of testing and proving. Paul commented: “you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.” (2:22)

During our 31 years at  St. Simon’s North Vancouver (1987 to2018), we were privileged to mentor and raise up three Timothys for the Anglican priesthood (The Revs. Peter Falk, Ken Bell, and Josh Wilton). It takes time to raise up Timothys. Mushrooms grow overnight; Oak trees take longer.

 Sometimes the Canadian Church has looked to committees to rescue Canada from its malaise. The Rev Sam Shoemaker commented, “Committees do not beget spiritual movements, any more than they beget babies. Inspired men beget them.” As one wag put it, God so loved the world that He didn’t send a committee!

My vision in the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada is to raise up and send Timothys all across our nation, and ultimately around the world for the healing of the nations. Paul said that he hoped to send Timothy soon. That is our passion and calling. That is the hope of our nation, to raise up Timothys to turn our nation back to God.

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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Secrets to a Healthy Marriage

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Reflecting on what makes a marriage work, I was struck by how vital is the gift of forgiveness.  My wife, by the way, is very gifted at forgiving, probably because I have given her so much practice.  My wife is also very patient and persevering, as I have noticed that often in our marriage, it has taken me a while to really grow and change.  The fact that she never gives up on me, and that she keeps on believing the best for me, is a wonderful gift indeed.

I recently read a fascinating book entitled ‘Men & Women: Enjoying the Differences’ by the best-selling author Dr. Larry Crabb.  He commented that ‘self-centered living is the real culprit in marriages with problems.  Other-centered living is the answer.’  Many of us enter marriage thinking that our spouse will meet our deepest needs.  We then feel cheated when they don’t, and begin to close our hearts.  How many of us enter marriage with the view that we are there to serve our spouse?  How many of us see marriage as a way of serving God?  A marriage where both partners are committed to serving one another, to ‘washing one another’s feet’ is a marriage in which self-centeredness gets sidelined.  What will it take, says Dr. Crabb, to realize that our selfishness is without excuse and that our first job, in our friendships and marriages, is to recognize our selfishness and learn how we can change?

One thing that men and women have equally in common is that we are all equally self-centered and selfish.  Little growth in marriages take place, says Dr. Crabb, until we realize that the disease of self-centeredness is fatal to our souls and marriages.  Nothing exposes our self-centeredness more clearly than anger.  Because our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9), we have an amazing ability to justify our own anger and bitterness towards our spouse, while simultaneously excusing our own bad attitudes.  Being angry at our spouses can be very attractive, because it makes us feel both powerful and self-righteous.  Having counseled dozens of couples over the years, I am continually amazed at the self-deception of many who convince themselves that the problem is their spouse, and that their personal faults are far more minor and merely reactive.  Self-centeredness is a cancer that blinds us from seeing that the problem is not merely our spouse; the problem is ourselves.

Our culture is saturated with excuses for everything.  It is not my fault.  It’s my spouse’s, my parent’s, my government’s, or my boss’ fault.  A.A. calls that ‘stinking thinking’.   Few of us are willing to do a thorough moral inventory of our own personal faults.  The bible uses a short, unpopular word for self-centeredness.  It calls it ‘sin’.  Sin doesn’t mean that we are axe-murderers or child molesters.  The heart of the word ‘sin’ is the ‘I’ at the middle.  The heart of most marriage problems is self-centered sin.

Dr. E. Stanley Jones, founder of the Christian Ashram, once said that ‘there can be no love between a husband and wife unless there is mutual self-surrender.  Love simply cannot spring up without that self-surrender to each other.  If either withholds the self, love cannot exist.’  A man and his wife were having painful marriage difficulties. The wife went away to a Christian Ashram, and surrendered her marriage to the Lord.  When she returned home, her husband said to her: ‘Well, Miss High and Mighty, what did you learn at the Ashram?’  She replied: ‘I’ve learned that I’ve been the cause of all our troubles.’  She got up from her chair, came around beside him and knelt, folded her hands and said: ‘Please forgive me. I’m the cause of all our troubles.’  At that moment, her husband nearly upset the kitchen table, while getting down on his knees beside her.  He blurted out, ‘You’re not the cause of all our troubles — I am.’  There they met each other — and God.  Each surrendered to Jesus, then they surrendered to each other and were free.  Now this couple, instead of continually criticizing each other, are one in love and forgiveness.

My prayer for those reading this article is that many may find victory through surrender.

 

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

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

-previously published in 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. 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