December 23, 2023

Jesus is Our Light in the Darkness (Christmas Eve, Year B)

The Readings teach us how to cope with the spiritual darkness around us by following Jesus example if being a light in the darkness. We don’t see a lot of happy faces around us. The snowflake generation is in rebellion against God, confused and lost in materialism, drugs, alcohol and depression. The Good news is that we have hope and joy. Jesus has come to save us from this fallen world and guide us into an eternal life of joy that has already started and can only get better.

 

        1. Light Exposes the Darkness

December 9, 2023

Repentance Is the Doorway to Spiritual Life in Christ (Advent 2 Year B)

Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Jesus both at Christmas and in the End Time. We are certainly in an End Time scenario now with Gog and Magog involved in hot wars against Israel. Preparation begins with repentance so we will be found “spotless, blameless and at peace with Him” (2 Peter14). Repentance is the doorway to Spiritual Life in Christ.

 

1. John the Baptist Calls Us All to Repentance

November 22, 2023

‘We have lost our freedom of speech and religion’

 The National Post published a letter today I submitted last week after watching the Chaplin General of the Canadian Armed Forces "spiritual reflection" that, following Government Guidelines, avoided mentioning God, Jesus, eternal life, salvation - all the words that might 'offend' anyone - except of course Christians. I am trying to get a little name. recognition in the run-up to launching Recovering, Truth, Freedom and Democracy: Challenging Woke Chaos. Its a challenge to the silent majority that exposes the false truths of identity politics that are destroying the foundation of Christian spiritual truths our Western freedom and progressive democracy depends on. The alternative is more chaos and the emergence of a totalitarian leader (Trump?) who will completely end our freedom of speech, and democracy.


‘We have lost our freedom of speech and religion’

Re: Canadian Armed Forces to chaplains — praying is too traumatic for soldiers — Josh DeHaas, Nov. 10

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We know we have lost our freedom of speech and religion in Canada when the Chaplain General of the Canadian Armed Forces is so controlled by government guidelines that he directs military chaplains to not use religious words like God, Jesus, soul, eternal life and resurrection in Remembrance Day “remarks” because a real prayer might offend someone. Did he miss Jesus being crucified for offending those in authority?

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How offensive to say you are honouring those who gave their lives to defend our freedom of speech and religion, when the vast majority of those men were baptized Christians whose hope of eternal spiritual life in Jesus kept them going. They gave their lives for the right to offend and hopefully save non-believers — as did Jesus.

Freedom of speech is the right to say things some may find offensive; that’s how freedom and democracy work. This is woke totalitarianism.

Rev. John Gishler, Calgary


November 18, 2023

Good and Faithful Servants are Light in the Darkness (Proper A33)

     Jesus is continuing His teachings on who is included in the Kingdom on the Day of the Lord or the End Time Judgement. Many people have noticed a frightening new darkness:

·      Gog and Magog -- Russia and Iran (Hamas) were prophesied to attack Israel and are now both in shooting wars

·      China is on the march against Taiwan and killing 70,000 people a year in the U.S. with fentanyl from Mexico

1. Many in our time are like lazy and worthless servant

November 11, 2023

Our Hope Is in Jesus Christ

The Republican Debate last week was a reminder that many people in our time have lost their hope in Jesus, hope in government, hope of peace and hope of prosperity. This is an End Times scenario with Gog – Iran launching a war against Israel via Hamas,  Magog – Russia in a war with the West; and Russia’s ally China in an economic and  deadly fentanyl war with the US. The good news was two candidates advocating recovering the truth foundation of Christian faith our freedom and democracy were built on. ( my current book topic).

Our Readings remind us:

  • Joshua publicly put his hope in the God of his ancestors
  • Believers have the hope and security of eternal life
  • Relationship with Jesus is how to be included in the Heavenly Banquet or Kingdom

1.   Who or What you put your Hope in is important

October 14, 2023

Many Are Invited, Few Are Chosen (Proper 28A)

The Parable of the Wedding Guest is another teaching on the Kingdom of God. The message is familiar from the previous parable of the Tenants. People are given something - a vineyard or an invitation to a banquet, and there is a test, and a wrong response that leads to exclusion. 

  • The issue is how do we respond to God’s invitation. 
  • Test is who pays rent or comes and wears the wedding garment 
  • Putting on the wedding garment is getting onside, committed
  • Serious Christians put on Jesus, suffer, die and celebrate with Him
  • They are the ones chosen for the Kingdom 
  • Those who attend church but are not all-in, exclude themselves.

 

1. The first guests who were invited refuse the invitation

October 6, 2023

Ten Tests of Our Spiritual Life in God's Kingdom (Proper 27 Year A)

Baptism, like tenancy has obligations. The Parable is a warning that we are sometimes tempted to rebel against God and refuse to ‘pay the rent’. What is this ‘rent’? In our Baptism we promise ‘to continue in the Apostles teaching, in the fellowship and in the breaking of bread’ – to love and honour God. Moses explains the Ten Commandments by telling the people “God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” (Ex. 20.20) The ten tests of our love of God are:

 

1. Have you recognized or given honour to other gods?

September 16, 2023

Forgiveness is the Gift of Mercy

The parable of the Unmerciful Servant is a reminder of who we are, whose we are and what is expected of us. The readings remind us that like the Hebrews we have been rescued by God, are part of His Kingdom and under divine judgement. We are servants and not ‘the boss of ourselves’. We will be judged by our love of Jesus and our neighbour. Forgiveness and mercy from the heart is a test of that love.

 

1.    We are challenged to remember who we are

September 9, 2023

ReconcilingConflicts With Holy Love (proper 23A)

Jesus is teaching us how to reconcile conflicts in the church with love. Conflicts can pollute our soul with the sin of unforgiveness if we fail to love the other. Love requires us to respect the privacy and dignity of the person who we think is sinning. We are to make two attempts to resolve the issue privately and discreetly before “taking it to the church’ and making it public. This is the opposite of the way most people handle disputes. We can fail to love our neighbour and tell all our friends in church about the terrible thing someone has done. This is a failure to love and creates a much more dangerous conflict. It makes the issue harder to resolve as reputations are on the line. The three-step process protects reputations, determines the truth and facilitates forgiveness:

1.     First go alone to the person to seekrĂ©conciliation

2.     If this fails, take one or two witnesses and go again 

3.     Only if  both attempts fail, 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” 

August 19, 2023

Mercy Is the Highest Form of Love (Proper 20)

 Jesus is teaching us how to do pastoral ministry. The readings teach us that God wants more than a formal relationship with us. God wants a passionate, powerful risk-taking love that is passionate, intimate and forgives. Mercy, when God or we forgive, and give the other another chance, is the highest form of love. The difficulties we face in life are teats of that love. This is how our love and spiritual life grows.

 1. Jesus shows us how God’s love and mercy never gives up

June 10, 2023

Forgiveness Gives Us New Life in-Christ (Proper 10A)

Abram is called to leave his family and old way of life, go on a long and dangerous journey and put his whole trust in God. In baptism we are asked “Do you put your whole trust in Jesus love and grace?”God desires an exclusive love relationship with us. In the Romans Reading (4.13-25) Paul reminds us that Abraham was given a new name and honoured for his faith in God. In Matthew (9.9-13, 18-26) challenges the Pharisees that “God desires mercy not sacrifice.”. He goes out to model this by healing and giving new life to woman suffering from bleeding and the Synagogue Ruler’s daughter. This is our mission as people who have put their faith and trust in Jesus.

 

1.   Abram trusted God to Leave His Family and Friends

May 20, 2023

Commissioned, Empowered & Guided by the Holy Spirit (Ascension, Year A)

 Ascension is the final direct teaching moment in Jesus ministry. He is comforting the disciples with the news they will be commissioned, guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit. This is good news for us as we too live in a hostile and dangerous place. Like the disciples we cannot continue Jesus ministry on our own. Like them we need both a community for emotional support and the Holy Spirit to commission us, guide us and empower us for ministry. We live in the spiritual wreckage of failed politicized churches that did not depend on the Holy Spirit to commission, guide and empower them.

 1.  “You will be baptized by the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1.5)

May 13, 2023

Holy Spirit is the continuing presence of Jesus (Easter 6A)

 Jesus is preparing His Disciples for His Death, Resurrection, Ascension and the Coming of Holy Spirit at Pentecost. They are frightened and are going to feel abandoned in a world that is very hostile and dangerous. He comforts them by saying He is going away to prepare a place for them where they can all be together. He will send “another advocate” to continue His work of guiding them and helping them prepare for their own death, resurrection into eternal spiritual life of joy. The advocate will be like a modern lawyer who prepares people for a trial and judgement. The advocate will come to those who love Jesus and keep His Command to love one another.

 

1.   Holy Spirit Comes to Those Who Love Jesus

Jesus, like Father God[ must respect human free will. He cannot force people to love Him. That would not be real love. 

·     Jesus defines this love of Jesus as those who Keep my Commandments.

·     This is a continuation of the Covenant of Moses where the 10 Commandments were tests of our love of God (1-5); and our love of neighbour (6-10)

·     Continuation of Moses telling the Hebrews that God would send another prophet like him.

·      Covenant of Jesus clarified the Command to love God and our neighbour with self-sacrificial love – as Jesus modelled on the Cross

·      Covenant of Jesus added the forgiveness of sins(that had been taken to the Cross by repentant believers)

·      Covenant of Jesus added eternal spiritual life for believers

·      Holy Spirit would help believers examine their lives, repent sins, become healed and holy enough to be in God’s presence

 

2.   Holy Spirit Will Live in Us

April 8, 2023

The Resurrection Validated the Covenant of Jesus (Easter)

Easter is the celebration of one of the most important events in human history. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ was God’s cosmic yes to all the teachings of Jesus. Jesus taught that God was making a new Covenant of forgiveness that fulfilled and expanded the Covenant of Moses to all believers. This Covenant offered believers forgiveness of sins through repentance and faith in Jesus sacrificial death. Believers connect themselves spiritually to Jesus and die with Him on the Cross before being raised to a new Holy-Spirit filed life of joy.

 

1.    How Can We Believe This?

April 1, 2023

Self-Sacrificial Love is Humble (Palm Sunday)

The scene of Jesus riding toward Jerusalem is a picture of how the world is supposed to be. It is a scene where Jesus is celebrated as Lord by people in a right relationship with Him. It is a scene of joy and harmony and peace. This is love in action. We can see that real love is humble.

1. Humility is an attitude people can choose

It is an attitude people often confuse with fearfulness, weakness and indecision. 

March 18, 2023

Called Out of Darkness into the Light (Lent 4)

The Readings continue the Lenten challenge to self-examination and being born again. We see the contrast between the Pharisees who were supposed to be understand spiritual things spiritual – but remained in spiritual darkness; and man born blind, a presumed sinner – who comes out of darkness into the light of Christ. The Pharisees were stuck in the darkness of the world and the blind man become the light of Christ and a sign of God’s Glory in the world.

1.    We are all born Spiritually Blind

February 18, 2023

Experiences of God's Glory Give Us Hope (Transfiguration)

 The supernatural worldview of the Bible has been lost to many in the Church. The power of God and the glory of God has been lost and forgotten. For many people Christianity has been reduced from a revealed religion to a philosophy of life. This has made us weak and ineffective. We all need experiences of the power and glory of God to give us hope in this dark time. The good news is that the Bible is full of examples and teachings that help us grow spiritually from knowing about Jesus to experiencing Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Our ministry is to share this good news and give those around us hope.

1.   The Hebrews Experienced God’s Glory

February 10, 2023

Holy Spirit of Truth Gives Light and Salt (Epiphany 5a)

 

      We live in a time of social and moral chaos where absolute truth, specifically the absolute truths of divine revelation in the Bible, have been historically deconstructed by extreme liberals and woke activists. We are losing our freedom of speech to the politically correct speech of minority political activists. I am working on a book that explains how this loss of real truth caused our social chaos by confusing men and women about their sexual identities and spiritual life. This social chaos is destroying social order and the nourishing families we need to raise thriving future citizens. Francis Schaeffer warned that social chaos historically leads to the rise of strong leaders (Napoleon and Hitler) and the end of freedom and democracy. The origin of the social chaos is the loss of the authority of the Judeo-Christian divine truth that defines and maintains trust, co-operation and social order.

 

1.     Light Illuminates and Helps People See

January 14, 2023

Jesus Delivers Us from Evil (Epiphany 2)

 This is how our Psalm (40) ended. It summarizes the three Epiphany moments of the Readings and also of course, the Lord’s Prayer. This is the great cry of our hearts when we are in trouble. The three Epiphany moments in the Readings are:

·     Isaiah: In Babylon the Hebrews realized they could not save themselves

·     John: realized Jesus was the Lamb of God who would deliver all people from the bondages of sin and spiritual blindness

·     Paul: The Corinthians, like us, needed to experience Jesus deliverance from both the bondage of sin and spiritual evil

·     We all need epiphany moments when our spiritual eyes are opened by Jesus, the light of the world 

 

1.    We cannot save ourselves

January 7, 2023

Baptisms of Repentance & Holy Spirit Fire Give Us Hope (Baptism of Jesus)

 John the Baptist teaches us how to become serious Christians with joy and hope. Hope frees people from fear of sin-guilt and death and enables us to love God, ourselves and others. The first step is the baptism of repentance which prepares us for the second Baptism of the Holy Spirit Fire. As the Holy Spirit comes into us and exposes our hidden sins, we experience the baptism of the holy fire of God’s love. The file of God’s love burns up our sins and brings us into an eternal spiritual life of joy in His Kingdom.

1. The First Baptism is Repentance