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

July 18, 2020

Spiritual Life In The weed Patch (Proper 16)

In the Parable of the Weeds Jesus is giving us a critical teaching on how to develop a spiritual life in the face of evil. Our natural tendency is to fight with the weeds. Jesus says:

·      Do not try to root out evil

·      Be led by the Holy Spirit

·      Endure suffering as an offering to God

 

1. Do not try to root out the evil

July 11, 2020

Regaining Our Birthright (Proper 15)

(Watch at https://youtu.be/Ww6PJwGmlkE)

Our hearts are restless. This is particularly acute in this time of pandemic, fear of death, social isolation and inactivity. Many of us are alone at home with too much time on our hands – or so we think. Now that we have run out of projects and distractions it may be time to do some serious reflection on our lives. One of the first questions we could ask is “Who are we?” Many people think of themselves as a teacher, lawyer, housewife, manager, librarian etc. But that is what we do – not who we are. The readings explain how easily we lose our birthright – our identity as beloved children of God; and how Jesus as the Word and the Holy Spirit help us regain our true identity and a life of joy.

 

1. How did we lose our birthright?

July 4, 2020

Holy Spirit – The Yoke of Jesus (Proper 14 2020)

(Available on John Gishler Youtube channel Sunday morning)

Jesus is teaching us that spiritual wisdom is very different from intellectual wisdom. Christians need to put on His “yoke”- the Holy Spirit, to guide them in overcoming the conflict between their bodily or worldly desires and their spiritual or heavenly desires. Abraham’s servant gives us an example of choosing to be guided by divine wisdom instead of his human wisdom in finding a wife for Isaac. This is in contrast to Paul who is so steeped in human wisdom he cannot understand the conflict in his soul.  

1. Spiritual wisdom is very different from human wisdom

June 27, 2020

Right Relationships For Spiritual Life (Proper 13a)

(Available on John Gishler Youtube June 28)

 Today’s Readings challenge us to develop right relationships in this life as we prepare for our resurrection life in Jesus Christ. Last week we were challenged to love God more than family. This week we are challenged to die emotionally and spiritually to anything that competes with our love of God and to love our neighbour as ourselves. This involves painful challenges to the development and healing of our spiritual lives.

 

1. Right relationship with God

June 20, 2020

He Knows My Name (Fathers Day)

(See on John Gishler Youtube Channel.4K9VWQ? June 21)

Fathers Day is a celebration and thanksgiving for Fathers – including both our earthly and heavenly fathers. In our post-Christendom time many men are confused about their identity. We are seeing the breakdown of the family as individualism, liberalism and feminism erode traditional Biblical family values. Like many people my own father was emotionally absent and critical. My life changed when I discovered that God was my Father and really heard Jesus’ answer to Philip – “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14.9) The song “He Knows My Name” by Tommy Walker always brings me to tears of healing. It reminds us we are valued, listened to and will never be abandoned by the powerful God who loves us.

1. Fathers give us a sense of value (Knows by name)

June 13, 2020

Forgiveness, Healing and Reconciliation (Proper 11 A)

(Available on Youtube June 14)
We are all like Sarah and tend to laugh at God when we are promised something that sounds impossible:
·      Having a child in old age
·      Raising from death
·      Forgiving our rebellion and sin to make us holy

But this is the business our God is in as he continues to reach out to us with the offer of forgiveness, healing and reconciliation into our eternal spiritual life with God. He knows we cannot work hard enough to overcome our natural rebellion and spiritual un-holiness. Sadly, many in the Church also laugh at God’s supernatural gifts and fail in their responsibility to bring in the full harvest of heaven. Paul challenges us to persevere in example of Father Abraham and have faith in God’s promises of forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. This is why Abraham was chosen by God as the father of our faith.

1. Un-forgiveness separates us from God, self and others

June 6, 2020

We Need The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit (Trinity

(Homily available on Youtube  May 7 https://youtu.be/LCJes_66FFQ)

Jesus disciples are like us in grief, confused and distraught at being separated from Him. The Good News is Jesus’ promise “I am with you always” (Mt.28.20) The Apostle Paul, in his prayer of departure from Corinth prays “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Cor.13.14) The “you” Paul refers to is the community of believers – and us. Christian churches are to be a community of believers led by and in fellowship with the Holy Spirit and with each other.

May 30, 2020

Holy Spirit Unites Us To God and Others (Pentecost)

(see John Gishler Youtube channel for the video service)

It is often a challenge for people living in a modern “science-based” culture to believe in and understand how things work in the supernatural dimension. This is why many people have trouble with the virgin birth, the Resurrection and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The readings for Pentecost describe that confusion – even for people who lived in a culture that believed in angels and the demonic. The point is we all need to personally experience the Holy Spirit before we can really understand and believe in the Holy Spirit. This is the great gift of Pentecost. An experience of the Holy Spirit was poured out on all people – as long prophesied. The readings help us understand:
·       Who the Holy Spirit is, and
·       The work of the Holy Spirit in developing our spiritual life by uniting us to God and other believers.

1. Who is the Holy Spirit?

May 23, 2020

"He Opened Their Minds" - Ascension

(see John Gishler Youtube channel for the video service)

We all have trouble understanding how things work in the supernatural dimension. We see this all through the Bible and in our own time:
·      Prophets are ridiculed, ignored, persecuted
·      Disciples do not understand what’s happening
·      Christian Church is divided and confused over doctrine

The Good News of Ascension is that Jesus / Holy Spirit will open our minds so we can understand the scriptures.

1. Jesus promised believers will be baptized by Holy Spirit

May 20, 2020

Home Church Prayer Resources


I am sharing the prayers Lucille and I use on Sundays in our participatory home communion service below. With churches closed now, many people are discovering that each household grouping can be a home church and be spiritually nourished by simple daily Bible readings, morning and evening prayers and remote participation in our Communion service. The services are streamed live on Youtube channel "John Gishler" soon after 10.00 am. on Sundays. You are invited to participate in the prayers, intercessions, confession and absolution and receive Holy Communion spiritually your heart. The weekly Readings and teachings are based on the Common Lectionary - this Sunday will be Ascension Sunday. If you have trouble with the resources email jgishler@gmail.com and I will send you the links / files.

Holy Communion Service
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1IPq_kDmDUC857fHaljo85XV4caalzF27

Common Lectionary Readings:
https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/lections.php?year=A&season=Easter

May 16, 2020

We Will Come To You (Easter 6a)

(Home Communion video will be available on John Gishler Youtube channel May 16 

https://youtu.be/zgLeSfv68S8https://youtu.be/zgLeSfv68S8)


Jesus is preparing His followers for the traumatic experiences of His death, Resurrection and Ascension (John 14.15-21). The death and Resurrection of Jesus shows us what believers go through at death. It authenticates the whole Covenant of Jesus and His teachings as of divine authority. The Good News is that we are not abandoned – God is with us always in the form of the Holy Spirit with all the power and authority of Jesus.


1. “Because I live you also will live” (v. 19)

Our greatest fear is death. We push it away with distractions but in this time of pandemic we are all more conscious of our mortality. The Good News Christians bring to this time is that death is a false ending.

May 9, 2020

Spiritual Relationships (Easter 5)

(Watch on John Gishler Youtube channel https://youtu.be/35cjkbOehRM)

In the Gospel Reading (John 14.1-14) Jesus is comforting His disciples with The Good News that they will not be left alone. He will continue to be with them in the form of the Holy Spirit until they join Him in heaven. This will be a new type of spiritual relationship. He is explaining that the way into this new relationship is belief in Him. Specifically by dying with Him to their old sinful past life and being raised or born again into a new spiritual life in Him. His death and resurrection is a sign of the truth of His promise. His sending of the Holy Spirit will give life to them through this new spiritual relationship.

1. How does this work?

May 2, 2020

Developing Relationship With Jesus (Easter 4)

(Homily will be on YouTube on Sunday May 3 with a home Holy Communion service

https://youtu.be/g-YK8ywGVec)

In John 10.1-10 Jesus challenges the Pharisees to give up their legalistic dependence on the Law of Moses and depend on Him as Messiah and Saviour.  Jesus is describing Himself as the new shepherd of Israel and the (not a) “gate” each person must pass through into eternal life in His Kingdom. The test is that they know His voice and He knows them personally. The big question is how do you have a relationship with someone who died over 2,000 years ago? The Good News of Easter is that we can have an intimate, personal relationship with the Risen Jesus. The other Readings (Acts 2.42-47 and 1 Peter 2.19-25) teach us how to do this:

·      Jesus left a community of Apostles and believers in a growing home church.
·      This is where we all are today.
·      Sharing a spiritual communion service and teaching how to develop a home relationship with Jesus through:
o   Reading and sharing the “Apostles teaching”
o   “Fellowship” or developing a caring community
o   Relevant “prayer” and worship that connects us
o   Outreach or sharing to serve the needs of others


1. Developing Relationship through “Apostolic teaching”

April 25, 2020

Easter 3 - Jesus Calls Us Into a Healing and Nourishing Spiritual Community

Jesus Calls Us Into a Spiritual Community

Easter 3a 2020 Fr. John Gishler (YouTube video available:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nk1vWTY2j-A&list=UUOT1BP_L_3RnOfGqE4K9VWQ&index=1 )

As people going through the upset and confusion of a pandemic we all know what it is like to have your life fall apart like the men on the way to Emmaus. Like them, we need Jesus to come gently alongside us and open our spiritual eyes so we can see the good news coming out of the bad news. The point of the story is that Jesus is not just a good man calling us to love on another. The Risen Jesus is calling us to die to our old way of life and be born again into a new holy spiritual community.

1. Emmaus story is my story and your story

April 10, 2020

Spiritual Communion Gives Us Hope and Comfort

(Notes for Holy Communion service and teaching available on 

YouTube Channel "John Gishler" Sunday April 19 at https://youtu.be/D_RSeMljU8s ) 


The Christian Church has always taught that Holy Communion is "an outward visible sign of an inner spiritual grace" and that God answers the prayer of our hearts. Like many Anglican priests I am celebrating at home with my wife Lucille in Calgary and invite you to join with us and participate as fully as you can intentionally in your heart. Many will know the responses and everyone can say "Amen" to the prayers. There will be silences for you to participate in the Confession and Prayers of the People at home. We will be honoured to "stand in the gap" for you in receiving the bread and wine. Like Thomas we all need a personal experience of the Risen Jesus and Holy Spirit to really believe in Jesus and find comfort and hope in this challenging time.

1. Easter Gives Us the Hope of Eternal Spiritual life

April 4, 2020

Good Relationships Focus On The Other (Palm Sunday 2020)

Introduction
In this special time of self-isolation as we adapt to the pandemic we are all learning new ways of communicating - my homily notes are below and a complete home Holy Communion service with the homily is available on my “John Gishler” YouTube channel:     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ir70Mgkt8WQ

·      Last week I spoke about “Relationship = Antidote To Self-isolation.”
·      This week the Palm Sunday readings remind us how Jesus developed relationships with both God and His followers which have lasted to this day and spread around the world.
·      Jesus developed relationships by humbling Himself and focussing on the needs of the other

1. Isaiah teaches us how to focus on God

March 29, 2020

Lent 5 - Spiritual Life Depends On Relationships

Introduction to Video: Spiritual Life Depends On Our Relationships (click to view) 

youtu.be/af558fF7Ao0

·      Teaching is normally near the beginning of a Holy Communion Service – after a prayer for purity and the prayer for a particular Sunday and three Bible readings
·      Since churches are closed and many people are self-isolating this video will include the Three Readings assigned for the Fifth Sunday in Lent followed by a teaching.
·      There is a 10 minute video of  a short home Eucharistic prayer on my blog page spirituallifeteaching.info.
·      Next Sunday we hope to post a complete “Palm Sunday” Eucharist with an invitation to people to “participate in their hearts” by saying Amen to the prayers.
·      A copy of the service may also be copied and pasted into a  word processor for the blog
·      The theme of the readings is our need for RELATIONSHIP – with God and our neighbour

March 21, 2020

We Are All Born Spiritually Blind (Lent 4 2013)

Note: As a contribution to the current Covid-19 virus social distancing emergency my 2013 teaching was found through the blog search feature to the left, copied to Word, saved as a file and reposted to demonstrate the ease of finding relevant teaching material in this library. I will be experimenting with posting a video of our home Holy Communion service with a shorter version on Facebook and possibly here tomorrow around noon (if it works out). 

It did work out! Click on F at top right to go to Facebook  - 2 posts - Gospel Reading and Teaching - Eucharistic Prayer:


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Original 2013 Teaching: We Are All Born Spiritually Blind 
We can see physically, most of us, but we cannot see spiritually when we are born. ‘Seeing’ is a metaphor for understanding. In our case it means we do not understand how the unseen spiritual world operates. Our understanding of the unseen spiritual world is about the same as a blind persons’ understanding of the physical world. With experience the blind person will develop understanding of the physical world just as with experience we can develop understanding of the spiritual world:

·      At birth we know nothing. We are, as the Apostle Paul says “darkness” and “disobedient” (Ephesians 6.8, 12). 
·       The readings challenge us all to be open to being healed by Jesus, like the man born blind so we can see spiritually, come out of this darkness and be transformed into “children of light”. (Eph. 6.8).
 1. Spiritual blindness is worse than physical blindness

February 14, 2020

Reconciliation Is The Way To Spiritual Life (Epiphany 6a)

The three readings remind us that God has called us into a covenant relationship of love and obedience. This requires us to make a serious choice between life and prosperity and death and destruction. There is nothing in the middle. You cannot be a sort-of Christian in the middle and expect to share in the joy of a rich eternal spiritual life in Jesus Christ. The readings explain why this is so.

1. Moses reminds the Hebrews they must choose.

January 20, 2020

God Reveals His Plan Of Salvation In Jesus (Epiphany 2 Year A)

I had a humbling epiphany moment early Sunday as I was hurriedly typing the Preface for Epiphany into the laptop I use in celebrating the Eucharist - the Readings for the season of Epiphany reveal who Jesus is and God’s plan of salvation. I added a phrase in the car, revised it in my head and as I taught: 

  • ·     We are living in a culture that is unhappy, confused, lost and seeking meaning and new life. 
  • ·     Readings describe three Epiphany moments when Gods plan of salvation was revealed
  • ·     Isaiah prophecies’ in Babylon that God will raise up a servant who will give Israel new life 
  • ·     John realizes that Jesus is the “lamb of God who will take away the sin of the world” and give us new life. (1.29) 
  • ·     Paul describes the new life of  “grace given to you in Jesus Christ”. (1 Cor. 1.4) 

1. Isaiah learned how God would gave the Israelites new life 

January 4, 2020

Right Way Forward For Conservatives (political comment by Fr. John Gishler)

What conservatives should have learned from seizing defeat from the jaws of electoral victory in the 2019 election is that they had the wrong leader chosen through a defective selection process defending the wrong platform with the wrong marketing strategy. It was not just the leader’s fault so just putting a new face in place quickly is not the right way forward. The National Council has appointed a committee to oversee the selection process so let us hope they get it right this time. The basic flaw was too many candidates for proper scrutiny and a lack of clear criteria by which to judge candidates. Let me propose the following candidate ability and experience criteria, based on a wide review of media comment. In addition to already being a fluently bilingual established leader, candidates must have ability and experience in:

  • ·      Defining and defending modern conservatism
  • ·      Defining and defending a modern conservative social platform
  • ·      Defining and defending a modern conservative fiscal platform

1. Defining and Defending Modern Conservatism