December 24, 2018

We Need Jesus Presence Not Presents at Christmas

Tonight we can just relax, chill out and rest from the stress of shopping for presents. We can all rest in the presence of Jesus. Christmas is the hinge of human history because God intervened by coming to us in the form of His son Jesus born of the woman Mary. The Good News is that Jesus life, sacrificial death and resurrection brought us out of error into truth, out of sin into a right relationship with God and out of death into eternal spiritual life. God gave a dramatic sign of His love for us, in trusting His son’s life to a poor unwed mother living in an occupied country.
  1. Jesus presence brought people out of error into truth

December 15, 2018

John Warns Us To Produce the Fruit of Repentance (Advent 3)

John the Baptist is an exciting figure. He is the last of the Prophets. The Prophets have a long history - two thousand years of warning the Hebrew People that God would come to them again and that they must be ready. There would be a time of divine judgement and justice. The poor and the oppressed would be able to celebrate. John the Baptist calls the religious teachers and clergy of his time “snakes”.  He calls on them to show the fruit of repentance if they really want to be saved from the coming judgement. As we prepare for the coming of Jesus at Christmas it is a good time to examine our lives and be sure we have produced the ‘fruit of repentance? 

1. We are called to repent our failure to love God more
Of course we think we love God. We know that is what we are supposed to be doing. The problem is, like the Pharisees, we often make up our own version of what loving God means:

December 6, 2018

Developing a Spiritual Life: Rev. Gishler’s Talk Notes

(Notes from a book talk on “Going Spiritual: Discovering, Developing and Healing a Spiritual Life” 
at Better Books and Bibles, Calgary on Nov. 24, 2018)

  1. What is Spiritual Life?
Watchman Nee explains the current confusion between “spiritual Life and soul life”. Many people are really living soulish lives - out of their soul (mind, will, emotions). They do not understand the functional differences between mind, body and soul.:
  • Spend considerable time developing a diagram that would illustrate these relationships
  • Found answer in Genesis 2.7 where God made man out of the earth and breathed on him to give him life - a living soul illustrates this overlap (purple)
  • Function of body is biological life, the physical senses of touch, smell hearing
  • Body makes demands on soul (mind and will) for food, heat, rest, security, sex and pleasure
  • Function of our personal spirit is intuitive communication - God consciousness, love relationships, joy, conscience
  • Personal spirit is where Holy Spirit lives as long as it is not polluted by sin - un-forgiveness, anger, lust, jealousy etc.
  • Personal spirit grows and develops as we grow and develop our love relationship with Jesus and other people - and shrinks and dies if we do not (like solitary confinement)
  • Function of the soul is self-consciousness - determining our identity, priorities, survival - our mind and will
  • Soul (mind and will) arbitrates between the demands of our worldly body and the spiritual demands of our spirit
  • Soul is carried to heaven when the body dies
  • Spiritual life is the balance we maintain between these competing demands - the spiritual battle

2. How do we develop a spiritual life?

November 17, 2018

“Will you persevere in resisting evil…? (Proper 33B)

This is the fifth question we were asked in our baptism. We are asked if “whenever you fall into sin” - not if we fall into sin; we will “repent and return to the Lord”. The Readings include the example of Hannah persevering in resisting the insults of her rival; Paul calling us to persevere in our faith in Jesus and Jesus warning to watch out for false messiahs coming in the End Time. Welcome to life in the End Time. We are at the end of the churches year. Next Sunday we celebrate the Reign of Christ, the last Sunday in year B before we begin year C.

1. Have any false messiahs appeared?

October 20, 2018

Faith is Measured in Sacrifice and service (Proper 29. Year B)

We are living in an unhappy narcissistic culture best described as the me generation. We do not value excellence or goodness in products or other people. It’s my store, my dentist and my bank. This is the opposite of the Biblical call to show our faith in Jesus Christ by following His example of obedience, self-sacrifice and service to others. The Gospel (Mark 10.35-45) reminds us of the paradox of Jesus the fully human, who was God with us, modeling obedience, suffering and self-sacrificial love. As His followers we are all expected to live lives that demonstrate our obedience and faith not just as knowledge; but as personal sacrifice and service that is life-giving to others - and to us.

1. Jesus modeled obedient, sacrificial love

September 28, 2018

Free Download of Chapter 8: Developing a Spiritual Life

We are excited to announce that a free sample chapter of Going Spiritual: Discovering, Developing and Healing a Spiritual Life is now available for download as an EPUB3. This is the format required by Ingram Spark for distribution through Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook and most other formats. Please let us know if you have trouble downloading and we will send you another format. I am working hard to get the whole book out through Ingram in the next few weeks.

"Developing a Spiritual Life" is Chapter 8 and explains the four pillars or characteristics of thriving churches that help people develop a healthy and balanced spiritual life:

  • Community
  • Orthodoxy
  • Relevance and
  • Outreach
These four characteristics of thriving churches are based on the Canadian research of Don Posterski and Irwin Barker, published in Where's a Good Church (Winfield BC: Wood Lake Books 1993). I attended a workshop by Posterski in Toronto at the beginning of my ordained ministry that year and share what I learned about how achieving the right balance and emphasis is critical to spiritual growth and church growth:
To read or download the sample chapter copy and paste the link below into your address bar, click on address bar then open the file in an ebook reader. Leave a comment if you have trouble or contact the publisher - Gishler Group @goingspiritual.

September 19, 2018

Exciting Book Review of Going Spiritual: Discovering, Developing and Healing a Spiritual Life

Neil Campbell, the Canadian Co-ordinator of Family Foundations International, has just written an exciting review of my Going Spiritual: Discovering, Developing and Healing a Spiritual Life. It is so much better than I could have written myself that I am sharing it exactly as submitted. Neil is the Family Foundations International workshop leader mentioned in the book, has an international reputation as a leading teacher of inner healing and deliverance ministry and has been my teacher.

Book Review by Neil Campbell: 
Going Spiritual is written in layman’s language and is designed to help the reader in their journey to spiritual growth and inner healing.   Rev. Gishler is an ordained Anglican priest who has managed to balance the rich tradition of Anglican liturgy with a sound biblical view of inner healing and authentic Christian community.  Rev. Gishler breaks the myth of extreme liberalism and mental strongholds that have deeply weakened the mainline churches as they have abandoned   orthodox Christian teaching and beliefs.   John’s transparent revelation of his own spiritual journey from self deception to wholeness and healing puts a personal touch on what is often a difficult subject to explain.   He does a masterful job of  explaining the weakness of focusing on the gospel of Salvation without incorporating the life long work of sanctification which includes  nurturing the wounded soul (inner healing) and nurturing a deep spiritual life lived in the context  of authentic community.

September 14, 2018

Cross Reminds Believers of the Cost of Our Forgiveness (Holy Cross)

Cross Reminds Believers of the Cost of Our Forgiveness
(Holy Cross 2015, revised 2018 by Fr. John Gishler)
We are living in a post-Christendom time of “Cross-less Christianity”. Over the years since the Third Century Christian leaders in many places have compromised with political and military leaders to avoid persecution and conflict with popular culture. We have developed a mushy, inoffensive and vague liberal theology of love that denies the whole point of the Gospel. False prophets have convinced us that as long as we don’t offend anyone and are a ‘good person’ we are a Christian and assured of eternal spiritual life. The Readings for Holy Cross Sunday remind us that in spite of our good intentions we are all guilty of rebellion against God in some way – and need a Saviour.

1. Hebrew story reminds us of the consequences of rebellion
 Their grumbling was a rebellion against God and God’s servant Moses. Rebellion separates people from their covenant relationship with God. The Ten Commandments define and are ways of testing personal love of God. In the story God allows snakes to bite and kill those who rebelled. The consequence of rebellion in both a death of the relationship and physical death of the rebels.
  • The lesson is not that God is harsh and judgemental
  • Lesson is that God still loves those who rebel and will create a way for them to come back into Covenant relationship and live
  • Jesus used this story to explain who He was and His mission
  • Snakes that took away life were transformed into a new way back to right-relationship through repentance and obedience
  • Rebels had to repent and believe in God that He would heal them if they obeyed and gazed at the snake on a pole
  • Jesus used this to explain His mission on the Cross
  • Thing that kills is transformed by God into the thing that saves
  • Human disobedience is forgiven because of Jesus obedience
  • Forgiveness is conditional on repentance and human obedience in the form of “belief in” what Jesus accomplished
 2. How could Jesus die for the sins of the whole world?
Death on a cross was a ‘stumbling block for the Jews’ who remembered their teaching that people hanged on a tree were “cursed” – and could not even begin to understand the Cross. The idea that one man could die for the sins of the whole world was – and still is completely illogical – to everyone, including believers.
  • Key is that Jesus is not just a man – God is His biological father – people do not understand Jesus was divine as well
  • Just as in the snake story, God added to His Covenant a new provision, a new way for rebels to be restored to Covenant
  • Penalty for rebellion against God was death – a life had to be sacrificed to God
  • God Himself provided a perfect sacrifice – He came to Earth Himself and fathered Jesus through a human mother
  • He gave up His only son by asking Jesus to give up His Human and divine life on the Cross for the sins of the world
  • Jesus perfect obedience could pay for all human disobedience
  • God made a New Covenant that all “those who believe in Him (Jesus) shall not perish but have eternal spiritual life"
  • Just as the Hebrews had to obey God and gaze on the snake on the pole to live physically; Christians have to obey God and believe in what Jesus accomplished on the Cross to have eternal life

3. We need to understand what “believe in Him” means
There is a huge difference between ‘cultural Christians’ and believers. Cultural Christians may know a lot about Jesus, go to church and try to lead a good life loving God and neighbour – but often they have not quite ‘got it’. Close only counts in horse shoes.
  • People know about - but may not really BELIEVE IN Jesus.
  • “Believe” in the Bible is more like “trust in” or “depend on
  • Story of monk who held boys head underwater – desperate
  • “In” – Dative case in Greek = physically inside, connected
  • Believe in = depend on Jesus for physical and spiritual life
  • Believe in = motivates us to self-sacrificial / agape love
  • Example of people at St. Edmunds who are old and tired but still drive to the Food Bank and Clothing Bank to serve others

 4. Cross reminds us of the cost of our salvation
  • ·         God the Father asked His only son to give up His life to pay for all human sin guilt
  • ·         Jesus loved His Father and us enough to do this

·         Believers understand the cost of the Cross to both the Father and Son, and are overwhelmed by God’s love for us personally  

August 20, 2018

Thy Will Be Done (Proper 20, Year B)

If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom as all the readings suggest, we need to take the prayer “Thy will be done” very seriously. This phrase is at the heart of the Lord’s Prayer which in turn is at the heart of Christianity. Those who fear the Lord (and obey) are by definition included in the Kingdom. 
  • People have trouble with both fear of God and obedience
  • Fear in this case means respect, acknowledgement as a sign of love
  • Fear of not being included in the Kingdom, loved by God
  • Fear gets attention but like Billy Graham we have to quickly move on to proclaim the good news of love, healing, forgiveness and a life of joy in right relationship to Jesus.
  • Readings teach us the importance of discerning God’d will - spiritual wisdom in nourishing our spiritual lives  

1. Soloman prayed for a discerning heart (1 Kings 3.9)

June 16, 2018

Holy Spirit Needs To Direct and Rule Our Hearts (Proper 11)

 The Collect for this Sunday reminds us to pray that the Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts. This is a huge challenge for us all as we have been given complete freedom by God. We can choose to ignore and disobey God at any point in our lives. This is the price God was willing to pay, in order to have a genuine love relationship with us. This freedom is what gets us into trouble in choosing between what those around us in the world expect and what God hopes for. The readings teach us the difference between what we can call worldly values and the spiritual values of being directed by the Holy Spirit.

1.     David is chosen because his heart was humble
This teaches us the contrast between human worldly values and God’s spiritual values.

May 19, 2018

I Believe In the Holy Spirit (Pentecost 2018)

Belief in the Holy Spirit is something we all affirm in our Baptism and every time we say the Apostles Creed. But what does this “belief in” mean? Do we (like Satan) believe in Jesus and the Holy Spirit in only acknowledging their existence? Do we know them personally and understand them? Do we really put our trust in them? For the rest of the church year the readings are supposed to help us get to know the Holy Spirit personally so we can really believe in the Holy Spirit.

1. Personal experience is essential to believing in the Holy Spirit

May 16, 2018

Going Spiritual: Discovering, Developing and Healing a Spiritual Life Now Available

Going spiritual is the lifelong process of becoming the beloved child that God intended you to be. Fr. John shares the story of how three crisis led him to read the Bible, discover the Holy Spirit, the supernatural world and how Jesus can free people from: 
  • Guilt and Shame
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Identity Confusion
  • Addictions
  • Depression and
  • Demonic oppression and the mental strongholds of extreme liberalism, homosexuality and abortion that are destroying individuals, churches and cultures
Available From: Gishler Group and Better Books and Bibles (Calgary), St. Joseph's Christian Books (Kamloops), Pilgrim Christian Books and Music (Vancouver), Christian Books and Music (Victoria) $ 19.99 CDN and from and Chapters ($15.99 and $ 9.95 USD for EPUB) 

Contact: or 403-282-5165 (Calgary)

April 14, 2018

A Christian Life of Grace Requires Commitment (Easter 3)

A Christian Life of Grace Requires Commitment
(Easter 3 Year B, 2018  teaching by Fr. John Gishler)

The Easter Readings remind us of the betrayal, confusion and lack of faith of Jesus Disciples. When they personally encounter Him after the Resurrection He opens their eyes and they are transformed into faithful believers. This is my story and it is your story. We all begin this lifelong transformation process as we develop a personal relationship with the risen Jesus. This does not happen unless we develop and make a real commitment or a Rule of Life that will give us the discipline to overcome obstacles to our Life of Grace. The song Ancient Words remind us of how to do this.

1. "We have come with open hearts"

March 31, 2018

He Is Risen! Validates The New Covenant (Easter)

Easter is a celebration of the Good News of the possibility of eternal spiritual life for believers. It was an epiphany moment for Mary and it is a personal epiphany moment for each of us. After Easter human life became incredibly richer. Easter Sunday was like a hinge in history. Before the Resurrection there was only uncertain hope of having a right relationship with God through the Covenant of Moses. After the Resurrection there was certainty that God was doing a new thing and that believers who died spiritually with Jesus would also be raised to a new form of life with Him after their physical death. He is risen was a cry of joy, love and amazement that still makes our hair stand on end over 2,000 years later. The Resurrection validates the new Covenant of Jesus.

1. Jesus Resurrection was  God's approval of the Covenant of Jesus

March 17, 2018

How Can You Have Life Through Death? (Lent 5)

Life through death is the paradox of Christianity. Jesus gives us the example of a grain of wheat. If you plant it in the ground it dies -- then grows into a plant with more seeds. He is explaining the great mystery of Faith. If you just focus on your own life you will lose that life. If you love God and your neighbor more than your own life you will gain a richer and eternal life. The Readings, beginning with the prophecy of a new covenant relationship by Jeremiah, explain how this happens.

1. Jesus teaches that by holding on to our life we will lose it (John 12.20-33)

February 17, 2018

Why Do We Have To Have Faith and Repent? (Lent 1)

Jesus calls on us to have faith and repent. He explains that the Kingdom of God is near. The Kingdom is here in the form of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Holy Spirit is seen descending from Heaven to land on the earthly Jesus at His Baptism, so we all receive the gift of the Holy Spirit at our Baptism. God through the Holy Spirit, wants to guide our lives and be in a relationship of holy love. Since the Holy Spirit cannot bear to be around the un-holy, we must repent and seek forgiveness to be in a relationship of holy love with the divine.

1. The challenge of a holy love relationship
God had a challenge when He created us. Love is a choice. In order for us to be able to chose to love God, God had to give us free will and the possibility of not choosing to love Him. The point is that God loves us so much, and wants a holy love relationship with each of us so much that He decided to take a huge risk.

January 23, 2018

We Are Called To Be A Community of Followers of Jesus (Epiphany 3, Proper 3)

In the Readings (Jonah 3.1-5, 10) the prophet is called to go to the ancient city of Nineveh and warn them of God's plan to destroy them. They have an epiphany moment, realize they are in trouble, repent and God spares them. In the Epistle Paul is instructing the Christian community of Corinth on how to prepare for the End Times by focusing on God to the exclusion of worldly issues and relationships. This is how to respond to the Epiphany moment in the Gospel of Mark (1.14-15) when Jesus announces "The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the Good News." The Good News is that God is intervening in history and making a new Covenant in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus is calling individuals into a community of followers who are developing a spiritual life of love in Jesus Christ through: