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?

If our spiritual life is an intuitive (not intellectual) love relationship with Jesus, developing a spiritual life is about developing a personal love relationship with Jesus. Scripture, tradition and  reason (the Protestant model) is only the starting point. Relationship is built on daily personal experience of Jesus and the Holy Spirit acting in our lives.
  • Relationship begins with knowing about in our heads
  • Always begins with daily time of Bible reading and prayer
  • As we begin to know about God, Jesus and the Holy spirit through Bible reading and study we begin to form a love relationship
  • Second step is making a decision / come to Jesus time, when we invite Jesus and the Holy Spirit into our lives (My HELP! story in Book)
  • God has given us free will and will not impose himself
  • When we have given permission / asked, Jesus will come to us through the Holy Spirit in tangible experiences
  • Our daily prayers will gradually change from always asking, to always thanking - we believe and we have a spiritual life
  • Finding and joining a life-giving church community is critical to developing a spiritual life - need 4 things:
    • Community - in touch with our emotional needs
    • Orthodoxy - in touch with the truth (Bible)
    • Relevance - in touch with the times
    • Outreach - Holy Spirit can flow through us to others
  • We all need inner healing, confession and absolution to clean out the spiritual pollution in our spirit and soul:
    • Inherited sin-guilt / generational sin
    • Wounds from physical / emotional trauma
    • Our own sin-guilt - to free us from spiritual oppression

(Ten people showed up and we had a great conversation. I would be interested in giving this talk in other bookstores and to church and social-services groups.)

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