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?