April showers bring May flowers. Spring is a time when many romances begin, including my romance with my wife Janice. I am so grateful to have been married to Janice for almost thirty-six years. She is the love of my life and the joy of my heart.
When I was a teenager, I held the unoriginal view that marriage was just a piece of paper, a merely human sociological invention. Since coming to faith in 1972, I have been fascinated by the meaning of marriage. Reading Matthew 19: 6 (What God has joined together…), I was shocked to discover that God invented marriage. I remember sharing with my future wife on our first date in 1975 about my fascination with the theology of marriage. She found me somewhat overwhelming, and told me that she wasn’t ready to commit as she had just broken up with her fiancée.
While completing my Masters, I wrote an essay on the meaning of marriage, with a strong emphasis on the ‘one flesh’ covenant. I concluded the essay by writing our own marriage ceremony and inviting my professor Bill Adams to our wedding. Fortunately he liked the wedding and gave me a good mark. Thirty-six years later, Janice and I are co-leading Strengthening Marriage workshops and Strengthening Relationship groups. God-willing, I will be graduating on May 26th this year with a Doctor of Ministry, focusing on ‘Strengthening Marriages.’
Part of my North Shore ministry involves visiting extended care facilities where often one spouse has Alzheimer‘s disease and the other doesn’t. I have been so impressed by the love of one North Shore wife for her Alzheimer-afflicted husband who was a former university professor. Her covenantal love and honour for her husband is deeply rooted in his unshakable humanity, being made in God’s image.
A wedding is a celebration of a couple coming to the point where they are truly willing to become one flesh in body, mind and spirit. Marriage is far more than just a contract or a prenuptial agreement. Marriage is a covenant of faith and trust between a man and woman, a covenant grounded for Christians in their shared commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord. At the heart of the concept of covenant is unconditional commitment. The hyper-individualism of our consumer culture is the acid rain of covenant love. The busyness and stress of our culture tends to swallow our best intentions even in marriage.
James Olthius, author of I Pledge You My Troth, teaches that marriage is troth, as in ‘I pledge you my troth’. This term, troth, as in betrothal, is an Old English term for truth, faithfulness, loyalty and honesty. At the heart of marriage troth is our pledge ‘to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer , for poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part…”
At the heart of spring romance for me is that assurance that my wife will stand with me through thick and thin, through good times and bad. Janice has my back and I have hers. My prayer for marriages in the Seymour/Deep Cove area is that God may give us back our first love for each other. May our covenant commitment be like precious gold.
p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.
- a complimentary workshop spread over four sessions with married couples who have been separated, divorced or widowed, and either live or have lived on the North Shore.
-This Strengthening Marriage Workshop is part of a Doctor of Ministry Thesis Project, supervised by Dr. Paddy Ducklow of Carey Theological College. The workshop will be held on Wednesday evenings 7pm to 9:30pm (May 16th, 23rd, May 30th & June 6th). The location of the workshop is Cedarbook Village Clubhouse (555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, just north off the #1 Westview exit) . To register, contact Rev Ed and Janice Hird at 604-929-5350 or email@example.com
Course Overview for the four sessions
Session 1: Strengthening Your Marriage through rediscovering your mutual strengths
Session 2: Strengthening Your Marriage through Celebrating Your Differences
Session 3: Strengthening Your Marriage through working on your conflicts
Session 4: Strengthening Your Marriage through balancing closeness and personal space
Last night we had so much fun at House of James Abbotsford. If you have never been there, you will want to drop in. In an age when many Christian and mainstream bookstores are closing, House of James has morphed into a fresh entity, involving a coffeehouse, extensive music department, excellent food, and friendly relaxed atmosphere where you can just hang out while picking up a new book.
Some of people’s most favorite coffee shops would be Starbucks, Tim Hortons, and Bean around the World. The coffee is only half of the appeal. The other half is the atmosphere, the relaxed welcoming place to just be, the sense of community and connectedness that people are longing for. House of James Abbotsford is tapping into the holistic model. It is more than a bookstore, more than a coffeehouse, more than a music store. It is a place to be, to be yourself, to meet God.
Lando Klassen birthed House of James as a coffeehouse in 1973 during the Jesus Movement. All the essential DNA were there when it got off the ground: coffee, music, books, fellowship. Over the years, House of James has morphed into a cutting-edge expression of the future of Christian bookstores. Last night we did not just do a classic booksigning; we did a music concert with food and conversation and laughter. Each of the 2nd Cup of Hot Apple Cider author had an opportunity to share from their portion of the book and from their life story. Dr Paul Beckingham and Bill Bonikowsky were hilarious and very insightful. Fittingly I even drank a delicious 2nd cup of Hot Apple Cider before the evening was over. My wife Janice and I shared from our chapter in 2nd Cup of Hot Apple Cider about our thirty-four years of marriage, and the principles that we have learned about life and love.
Dr Paul Beckingham is a military chaplain and former theological professor at
Carey Theological College. He has been featured in both the first and second Cup of Hot Apple Cider books. Paul’s award-winning book Walking Towards Hope tells the story of how he recovered from brain injury while serving as a missionary in Kenya. Dr JI Packer comments: “My guess is that you have never read anything like this narrative before. My amazement is that it exists at all. My plea is: Don’t miss it! I covet for you what it gave to me.” Dr Eugene Peterson, author of ‘The Message’ translation says that “Paul Beckingham’s Walking Towards Hope is a compelling and rigorously honest account of unimaginable suffering forged detail-by-excruciating-detail in Kenya and Vancouver into a whole and holy life. The magnificence of the story itself is matched by the magnificen ce of the writing, language, unblemished by cliches, luminous as an icon.”
Bill Bonikowsky, a long-term Alpha Canada staff member and former YFC leader, told an unforgettable story of a neighbour’s cat that became trapped in his floorboards during a bathroom renovation. Bill is such a gracious, humble, and encouraging person. It is a privilege to be featured in a book with him, especially one with an initial print run of 45,000 copies.
We were very pleased to have, at the booksigning, Steve Almond, the publisher of the new Christian ‘Light’ magazine, which has filled a huge hole left by the closing of BC Christian news. Steve is passionate about doing a new thing, something that will help impact the local Christian community in Greater Vancouver/Vancouver Island.
I would recommend that you contact House of James online to purchase ‘A 2nd Cup of Hot Apple Cider’ by clicking on ’2nd Cup’.
Alternately you can dial into Amazon either in the USA or Canada and order a copy. It is a remarkably well-produced books with many stories that will inspire you and often leave you in grateful tears.
Dr Paul Beckingham speaking at the 2nd Cup of Hot Apple Cider book-signing
Bill Bonikowsky, author, speaking at the 2nd Cup of Hot Apple Cider book-signing
Lando Klassen, House of James bookstore owner, speaks at the 2nd Cup of Hot Apple Cider book-signing evening
Ed and Janice Hird speaking about their marriage chapter in 2nd Cup of Hot Apple Cider
Tim Bonikowsky playing at the 2nd Cup of Hot Apple Cider booksigning
Dr Paul Beckingham is well worth listening to, a remarkable survivor and thriver.
-In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99CDN/USD.