September 19, 2020

How Can I Believe? (Proper 29A)

How can I believe is the cry of our hearts as we seek the truth about God in a world full of chaos, evil and divided opinion. The short answer is YOU can’t on your own - but with God’s help you can. Like Moses and the Pharisees we need to experience Gods power and presence personally. Personal relationship and experience of the divine is the gift of faith. The readings help us understand:

·     What belongs to God?

·     How do we know we can trust God?

·     How do we get this gift of faith?

 

1. What belongs to God?

September 7, 2020

Reconciling Conflicts With Love

(Available on Youtube "John Gishler")

Jesus is teaching us how to reconcile conflicts with love. Matthew 18 describes this section (v. 15-22) as “Dealing with sin in the church”. Paul explains that all sin is a failure to love God, our neighbour or ourselves. Conflict and unforgiveness pollutes our soul (sin) and separates us from God and other people. Today we are focussing on the work of the church to proclaim, teach and model orthodox faith with love. Jesus repeats Mt. 16.19 re-affirming the role of the church as holding the keys to the Kingdom with the authority of binding and loosing sin guilt. This three-step process of confidential reconciliation is the opposite of what normally happens. It protects reputations, determines the truth and facilitates forgiveness:

  1. Person goes first to the person to seek reconciliation
  2. Only if this fails, they take witnesses and go again to reconcile
  3. Only if  both attempts fail do they take it to the church leadership, again in confidence, to avoid spreading the conflict beyond three or four people 

Step #1: “Go and point out their fault just between the two of you” 

September 5, 2020

How To Be a Christian (Pr. 22)

Jesus is preparing His disciples for His departure. He warns them of His death and  Resurrection. He warns them of the danger of listening to Satan or our fear and then gives them the basics of how to be a follower and gain eternal-spiritual life:

  • Deny themselves
  • Take up their cross
  • Follow Him


We begin our spiritual life in Jesus by reading the Bible, getting to know about Jesus, growing in love for Him and coming to Him for forgiveness. These are the three things we must “do” to “be rewarded according to what we have done”.(Mt. 16.27). The Romans Reading (12.9-21) gives us clear guidance on what this means:


  1. Deny Self

August 22, 2020

Love Binds and Looses (Proper 21a)

(Teaching available on John Gishler Youtube channel Aug. 22) 

Binding and loosing are words that many people may not be familiar with. Jesus reveals His identity as The Christ - the long expected successor to Moses, who will free His people not from political and military oppression, but from the much more dangerous spiritual deception and oppression of Satan. Jesus is talking about the love of His sacrificial death that broke the power of Satan. This enables forgiveness of sin and frees people from their bondage. Jesus love  binds us in a love relationship as the body of Christ. This binding and loosing is the essential work of the Church. The story of Moses birth illustrates how the fear of loosing the love of God strengthened the Egyptian midwives in disobeying Pharo’s order to kill male babies. 

The Romans reading (12.1-8) explains how the love of the members of the body of Christ grows and binds them to Jesus and each other as they exercise their spiritual gifts.


  1. The midwives of Egypt were bound by “fear” of God

August 14, 2020

Deliver Us From Evil - Good News For Difficult Times

 

(Fr John is on vacation and will try to continue weekly Youtube services)

The readings are about faith. Faith is what holds us together in difficult times. Faith gives us the hope we need to carry on. It is very relevant to our present time. Joseph, the Cannanite woman and the apostle Paul all had faith that helped them get through difficult times. I found the Readings comforting after being reminded of the terrible corruption in American society watching a program on Hillary Clinton.

 

1. Joseph believed his hardship was God’s Plan

August 1, 2020

A Conscience Ruled By the Holy Spirit (Proper 18a)

(Watch on Youtube channel "John Gishler" Aug. 2)

 

The Readings are a profound message to all church leaders and anyone who would like to develop a serious Christian life. Jacob was wrestling with his conscience and afraid for his life. It was like wrestling with God Himself – and God let him win! Jesus is in grief over the death of John and overcomes it by focusing on what those around Him need – not want. Paul is also in spiritual grief over the Hebrew people who do not believe him about Jesus. We learn that listening to the Holy Spirit is why it is that some people “get it” and many do not.

1. Jacob’s conscience is bothering him for good reason

July 25, 2020

Holy Spirit Opens Our Eyes

Personal experiences of the Holy Spirit seem to be essential to becoming a serious believer in Jesus Christ. This is consistent with the message of the whole Bible and what Paul teaches in Romans 8.9. In the Gospel Reading Jesus is using the parables of the Mustard Seed, Hidden Treasure, pearl of Great Price and Net to teach us how difficult it is and how important it is that we come to Him and ensure we are justified or made right with God through faith in Him. The Good News as Paul explains to us is that we can all have a spiritual life in Christ if we really seek Him and cry out for the help of the Holy Spirit.

1. Getting Into the Kingdom is not Easy