Edhird's Blog

Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


Leave a comment

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 


2 Comments

The Power of Perseverance

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Winston_S_Churchill

Winston Churchill is famous for his advice during the Battle of Britain: “Never, ever, ever give up. Never give up. Never give up.”  It is so easy to let setbacks set us back, to let disappointments discourage us.  We can lose our first love, our original passion, our vision and focus.

Perseverance is the key to breakthrough in our lives, our marriages, our families and our work.  Without perseverance, we don’t finish well, we don’t fight the good fight, we don’t keep the faith.  The Good Shepherd once told a story in Luke 18:1-8 about a widow who was being exploited by a corrupt judge.  Widows have historically been some of the most powerless people, lacking protection and financial resources.  In some countries around the world, widows were even burned alive (Sati) on their husband’s funeral pyre.   This widow had no bribe to pay off the judge, so instead she wore him out with her pleading.

JesusThe Good Shepherd Jesus commended this persevering widow, and encouraged us to be persevering, especially in our prayer lives, never giving up.  Why are many people tempted to give up in their prayer lives? Sometimes the answers to our prayers often seem to take too long. Sometimes God says slow, or grow, or even no.   When there is great grief in our lives, our prayer lives can take a hit.  Our experience of tragedy can embitter us, and rob us of hope.  Jesus commended the persevering widow as a model for all of us.  God wants us to persevere.

Andrew Murray, a famous 19th Century South African write, once said “Of all the mysteries of the prayer world, the need for persevering prayer is one of the greatest.”  A Facebook friend of mine, Matthew Lee Smith, sent me this note: “This Sunday, preach like Jesus is coming Monday! I am praying for you right now my friend!”  I am so encouraged when I know that people are praying for me. People can gossip about you, or they can pray for you.  It is a radical choice.  It is so easy to get discouraged and cut back in our praying for certain people. We may not even want to think about them, let alone pray for them.  It’s too painful.  God wants us to persevere.

Praying Hands pictureJesus was a man of prayer. The closer Jesus came to the cross, the more he prayed. Jesus prayed like no one else did.  He ever got a prayer named after him: The Lord’s Prayer.   This is a challenging time to be a Christian, to attend Church, to be a worshiper. Without prayer, we will get taken out, distracted, knocked off course.  If you are discouraged, pray. If you have lost heart, pray. If you don’t know the way forward, pray.  Prayer is the way forward. God always makes a way when it seems that there is no way forward.

God loves to keep his promises.  He loves to answer prayer.  Prayer is about leaning on the everlasting arms.  It is about trusting that He’s got the whole world in his hands, his faithfulness is great, and all that I have needed his hand has provided.  Prayer is about practicing God’s presence.  Jesus will never leave us or forsake us. He loves us with an everlasting love.  My prayer for those reading this article  is that we will learn from the persevering widow to never give up, to always persist, and to always keep on praying.

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

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

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

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 


Leave a comment

“Timothy Leary: Tune In, Turn On…

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

There are few people who had as deep an impact on the Baby-Boomers than the late Dr. Timothy Leary. Born in 1920, if still living, he would be 98 this year!   Many people remember him for his hippie slogan ‘Turn on, tune in, drop out.’

 

I recently read a fascinating Timothy Leary biography by Robert Greenfield. It showed me how little I actually knew about Timothy Leary, and yet how deeply he impacted the lives of my fellow baby-boomers.  Just like his ‘great American hero’ the late Hugh Hefner (1926 to 2017), Timothy Leary was from the older ‘builder’ rather than ‘boomer’ generation. So why did we boomers trust someone over 30 when Leary advocated the LSD revolution?

 

Dr. Timothy Leary’s impact came from his Harvard & Berkeley university credentials, his oratory skills, and his claim that LSD would open you up spiritually and socially. Some people see him as the ‘Forrest Gump’ of the counter-culture; he was always there reinventing himself as culture shifted, even in the 1990s.  Timothy Leary was a tragic ‘pied piper’ figure who led many youth into addiction while destroying his own health and personal relationships.

Despite what my adult children may think, I was never a hippie.  Relative to the 70’s, I thought that my hair was relatively short, even if it was way over my collar. I remember when my parents warned me against drug usage at the local Oak Park that I hung around. I naively told my parents that there were no drugs at Oak Park. Later that night, I saw drugs everywhere. I noticed a pecking order in drug usage.  Glue-sniffers were definitely at the bottom of the heap, as everyone knew that this was bad for the brain. I can still remember the smell of young people doing glue-sniffing late at night.

My favorite band as a teenager was Led Zeppelin. Yet seeing them in person at the Pacific Coliseum, I wondered what was missing. Out of the blue, someone offered to sell me LSD.  I unsuccessfully bargained with the pusher for a reasonable price, as I felt that he was overcharging me. Later that year, a teenage girl at Oak Park opened my wallet, took out my money, and went off to buy LSD. Coming back later, she offered to share it with me. I thought: “Well, I paid for it. I shouldn’t let it go to waste”. But then I heard voices from my Winston Churchill High School Guidance Class, saying ‘don’t do it. It might hurt your brain.’  After a twenty-minute internal struggle, I again said no.

Shortly after this, I saw the Son Worshiper film.  This led to my having a spiritual encounter with Jesus Christ that took away any desire to do drugs.  Countless hippies and other young people turned from the hollowness of Timothy Leary’s promises and became part of the Jesus movement of the 1970s.

 

I remember going to the 1972 Easter Be-in at Stanley Park where a person would be offered drugs every twenty feet.  But instead of doing drugs, we sang spiritual songs, gave out free food, and were baptized in the ocean at 2nd beach.  Part of our generation’s attraction to Leary’s drug promotion was that we were spiritually empty, and needed to be filled up on the inside.

 

Even today in 2010, being filled up spiritually is one of the best antidotes to the emptiness of drugs.

 

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

– previously published in the 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 


Leave a comment

Honouring Our Young Leaders

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

We don’t hear enough about the wonderful accomplishments of upcoming young leaders. In our ‘man-bites-dog’ media-saturated world, it is the ‘bad news story’ about youth that seems to get our attention.

 The ‘Good Book’ is full of memorable stories about young people who made a difference when no one expected anything from them.  Think about the young prophet Samuel in the Temple.  Think about young David with his slingshot in front of an older and much larger Goliath.  Goliath despised young David, saying: “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks?”  And think about young Timothy, who was mentored by an older and wiser Apostle Paul.

 Timothy was in an impossible situation in Ephesus, a port city in Western Turkey.  The Apostle Paul had ‘parachuted’ Timothy into this troubled city to turn around a very confused and demoralized community.  The problem was that the older, more sophisticated Ephesian leaders didn’t want Timothy around.  They despised his inexperience, immaturity, and insecurity.  Paul had to say to Timothy: “Don’t let people look down on you because you are young, but rather be an example for them in speech, in conversation, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in purity.”

 As the historian Dr. JW Milne puts it, “Ancient culture generally admired age before youth.” Paul was saying to Timothy: “Don’t let anyone underestimate your worth and value.” As the well-known Dr. John Stott puts it, this “is a perennial problem.  Older people have always found it difficult to accept young people as responsible adults in their own right, let alone as leaders.   And young people are understandably irritated when their elders keep reminding them of their immaturity and inexperience, and treat them with contempt.”

 Now what age was Timothy anyways?  Scholars estimate that ‘young Timothy’ was probably around 35 years old.  Michael Griffiths commented that “Young in ancient culture meant anyone young enough for military service; ie under 40 years of age”.

 So how was young Timothy to get credibility with older people, as he attempted to exercise leadership?  The Apostle Paul was clear that Timothy’s authority was not to come by pushing his weight around, by bragging about his credentials, or by laying down the law.  Dr. John Stott wisely noted that “the great temptation, whenever our leadership is questioned, threatened, or resisted, is to assert it all the more strongly and to become autocratic, even tyrannical.”  The Good book defines healthy leadership as: “not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples.”  Rather young Timothy was to gain acceptance by setting an example in the way he not only ‘talked the talk’ but also ‘walked the walk’.

 One of the most powerful ways that young Timothy set an example was by not ‘throwing in the towel’ when he felt discouraged.  Sometimes Timothy was discouraged, disappointed and distressed, but like Winston Churchill, he never ever gave up.  Young Timothy had that essential leadership ingredient that some called ‘stickability.

 The Apostle Paul also encouraged Timothy by reminding him that he was very gifted.  “Don’t neglect the gift that God has given you”.  It is so easy to focus on our weaknesses and neglect our God-given gifts and abilities.

The Apostle Paul said to young Timothy that if he devoted himself to keep growing in his God-given gifts, then everyone would notice how much that he had matured and progressed.  One of the dangers with leadership is that we stop growing, and we lose that sense of teachability.  The word ‘progress’ in the Greek means to ‘cut in front’ and is used of armies advancing or ships cutting through water.  Progress contains the graphic picture of a pioneer cutting his way forward through obstacles by means of a strenuous effort, like a man blazing a trail through a tangled Canadian forest.

The late Bishop Chuck Murphy had us do an exercise to find out if we are more like pioneers or settlers.   Bishop Chuck concluded by saying that God is looking nowadays for innovative pioneers who are willing to be trail-blazers and ground-breakers.

My hope for those reading this article is that we may seek to honour the upcoming young leaders who will trail-blaze our future communities.

 

 

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

-previously published in the 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 


Leave a comment

My Father the Family Historian

By Rev Ed Hird

I share my father’s fascination with history.  My father loves to read, research, and learn. ‘Like Father, like Son’ is true in so many unexpected ways.  Like my father, I want to keep learning and growing until I leave this planet earth.  I believe that we either grow or shrink. You can’t remain static.

Like my dad, I have become involved in the area of writing and journalism.  My father was a writer and then the editor of the Telecom Advisor  for over 15 years.  From 1988 to 2018, I was privileged over the past 30 years to write over 360 articles for the Deep Cove Crier, and for ten years (2,000 to 2,010) co-ordinated the ‘Spiritually Speaking’ column for the North Shore News.

It is wonderful to have a father who has modelled helpful skills.  Whether it was helping my father to cut wood with his skillsaw or to cut the grass, my dad has always been a coach, a mentor, and an equipper who loves to help me discover new abilities.  If my dad is excited about a new book or a new movie, he eagerly shares his enthusiasm and invites our participation.  I also find myself being that way with my own three sons!

One of my father’s trademarks is that whenever the family gathered for holidays or birthdays, out came his video camera!  In the early days, video cameras required painfully bright backdrop lights.  We would all groan when the bright lights came out, but later be thrilled by the immortalized visual memories.

My family and my father are wonderful gifts that I appreciate more and more as I become older.  Family for me is inextricably connected with thousands of unforgettable and often hilarious memories.  It is also connected with times of great sorrow and loss, great joy and celebration.  Family is birthdays, weddings, funerals, baptisms, anniversaries, graduations, Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, and yes, Father’s Day.  My life would be much less rich without the gift of my family and my father.

One of my father’s most memorable projects has been his family memoirs.  The term ‘memoir’ comes from the French ‘memoire’ for memory.  We as Canadians are a nation that often suffers from cultural and spiritual amnesia.  We so quickly forget the wonderful stories of our pioneering ancestors who helped make Canada what it is today.  My dad often comments how he wished that he had listened more closely as a teenager when his now deceased aunts and uncles would talk about family history.

Just like the famous Afro-American ‘Roots’ Book & TV –mini-series, my father’s memoirs are helping me understand better who I am and where I have come from.  My Dad, as an electrical engineer, loves anything to do with computers and telecommunications.

Through the use of a scanner and PhotoShop, my Dad has incorporated in his memoirs over a hundred pictures that capture the essence of our family life.

So much family history functions as oral tradition that can easily be lost or muddled within one generation.  Much of Canada’s rich Christian heritage is being lost precisely that way.  Psalm 102 says: ‘Let this be written for a future generation…’.  By my father’s writing down his memoirs, I will be able to pass this gift of history onto my children and future grandchildren.  They too will be able to learn the exploits of their grandfather being raised in a coal-mining town outside of Edmonton, helping his blacksmith father shoe horses, serving as an Air Force WWII wireless radio mechanic in the Queen Charlotte Islands, becoming an electrical Engineer at UBC, becoming President of Lenkurt Electric, before becoming a hi-tech communications consultant.  The inspiring thing about my father is that he has always been able to ‘re-invent’ himself.  When one door closed in his life, he would always find another door that would open.  Like my hero Winston Churchill, my father never, never, ever gives up!  He also never gave up in writing his memoirs.

The Good Book says: ‘What we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us, we will not hide them from our children; we will tell the next generation…’ (Psalm 78).  My Father’s Day prayer for fathers reading this article is that each of us will have the courage to never give up, and the wisdom to transmit the cultural and spiritual gifts of our family history to the emerging generation.

 

The Reverend 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 


23 Comments

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

IMG_1498 IMG_1503 IMG_1505 IMG_1508

 

 

 

 

-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.

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 


9 Comments

Winston Churchill the British Bulldog

Battle of BritainBy the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

When England was facing an impossible future in 1941, Winston Churchill emerged as the dynamic visionary leader who gave the English people the courage to see their way through to victory.

Churchill has been described as the greatest statesman of the past 100 years. Others have called him the last truly great man of the western world. As Commentator Peter Graves notes, “His record of wartime heroism and peacetime leadership may never be equalled …” Churchill was born into the privileged world of British aristocracy. His father, Lord Randolph Churchill was the youngest son of the Duke of Malborough. His mother Jenny Jerome was the vivacious daughter of an American financier.

Winston Churchill 2 PictureChurchill was a rising star in the Conservative Party at just age 26. He landed in hot water however for supporting free trade, at a time when the Conservatives were in a protectionist mood. Churchill then switched to the Liberal Party, becoming one of the youngest cabinet ministers ever. As president of the Board of Trade, he introduced many social reforms. Notably he eliminated sweat labour, set up labour exchanges for the unemployed, and brought in a nationwide minum wage, along with compulsory meal breaks at work. Many people don’t realize that the British owe their traditional tea breaks to Churchill!

Churchill was blamed for a disastrous WWI military expedition to the Dardanelles in Turkey, which cost the British many lives and ships. Cold-shouldered by his colleagues, he decided to fight on the Western Front. His frontline heroism earned him a reputation as a real man’s man. Churchill was then brought back into the Liberal Cabinet, until in 1924 he changed parties a second time. He returned to the Conservatives, becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer.  But once again Churchill fell out of favour, and spent the next 10 years out of political office. Peter Graves commented that Churchill led a life of spectacular victories and spectacular failures.

 

Even in serious setbacks, however, Churchill winston churchill gravehad an amazing ability to find something encouraging. While lecturing in the States, he looked the wrong way and was run over by a New York taxicab. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, be made $5,000, while in hospital, by writing an article about what it is like to be run over by a car. A most prolific writer, Churchill once humorously commented: “I’ve written very many books. I think that by the time I was 25 years old, I’d written as many books as Moses.” His six-volume series on the 2nd World war earned him the Nobel Prize of Literature.

Written off as a has-been and a warmonger, Churchill was largely ignored as he warned England of Hitler’s aggressive military intentions. Yet as Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement policy collapsed, a nationwide campaign emerged to bring Churchill back.

On the day Chamberlain appointed him as the First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill said: “We are fighting to save the whole world from the pestilence of Nazi tyranny.” In six months with Churchill, there were five years worth of change. He cut through all the red tape and doubled the production of aircraft needed to defend Britain.

 

Battle of Britain1On becoming Prime Minister, Churchill uttered those immortal words: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat .You ask what is our policy. I will say: it is to wage war by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the darkened, lamentable catalogue of human crime …”

 

Churchill had an amazing gift of being able to reinspire and reinvigorate people who were close to giving up. The people of England trusted him because be didn’t hide the painful truth from them. He never gave them the impression that defeating Hitler would be quick and easy. Instead, Churchill said clearly that the English people had before them “many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.” For Churchill, the British people were a tough, robust people who would rather face an ugly truth than a beautiful deception.

 

His finest hour, said Martin Gilbert, was the leadership Churchill gave to Britain when it was most isolated, most threatened and most weak. Churchill’s strong dislike of bullying, unfairness and victimization helped to fuel his ironclad opposition to tyranny Peter Graves commented that if ever a man was matched to a moment, then such a man was Winston Churchill in 1940.

 

All around, Europe had been overrun by the Winston Churchill TimeNazi warmachine, and only England still resisted. Bombarded night after night in fierce air raid attacks, Churchill the Leader ignited his country with new hope that they really had a future.

 

As the late Phyllis Beck, former Seniors Columnist for the Deep Cove Crier, once put it, “Churchill swayed us tremendously into believing that we were doing the right thing … that every person was needed by his country.”

 

May the perseverance of Winston Churchill be an inspiration to each of us in our daily struggles to do the right thing.

 

 

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

-author of the award-winning 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