Saturday, September 22, 2012


3 years ago, I came across a book with a life changing message.  "Identity Theft" covered the alternative and dysfunctional ways we relate to our Father when we fail to grasp the reality of sonship.   That book was written by Wes Boldt and Kevin Avram.  

In the past week I was intrigued to receive a new work by Kevin.  The title is "Limitations", The Prism Through Which We See and Understand Church.   

This is probably the most effective publication I've read that helps us understand the distinction between "ekklesia", church and corporation.   

Though I have been walking with the Lord for 33 years, it wasn't until 3 years ago that I started to realize how I was caught in the bondage of "corporate" religion and, for too long, was unable to distinguish between His Church and a religious enterprise controlled by men.   "Limitations" further sharpens that understanding.

After providing some critical definitions, Kevin Avram goes on to discuss the implications of viewing church through a prism of corporation.  He says the consequence is " Commitment, Passion and Purpose Take the Stage".   In fact Avram argues that these are the only ways to have a relationship with a corporation.   In contrast to a relationship with God or others, which "is characterized by two-way communication and, depending on the depth of the relationship, humility, and self-disclosure (transparency).  

The case is made that a relationship with a corporation, even a church corporation is actually imaginary rather than real.   Avram gives an example of Walmart. There is no such person: 

"Likewise, no man or woman can have a personal relationship with  an actual church, for in the same way that there is no real  person named Walmart, neither is there a real person called Beacon Hills Community Church , Second Street Church, or Pine City Christian Center."  

Kevin Avram's footnote to this section is even more revealing. I'll bet many of you can relate:

"In many instances when a person ceases to work for a particular business corporation, any "relationship" he or she may have had with other individuals within the corporation will also cease.  This happens because the "glue" that holds the "relationships" together tends to be the functions of the corporation.  Once these are removed, the relationships no longer have any basis for continuing.  In essence, the perceived relationships one might have had with others were dependent on corporate functions rather than humility, communication and relational transparency.  The same thing holds true in churches that maintain a corporation-like culture.  When the functions (programs) of the church corporation are removed, the relationships implode, and in most instances, cease to exist.  This is the reason a Christian can attend a church for such a long period of time, and then seemingly see so many perceived relationships abruptly end, if that "church" ceases to exist, of if he or she moves to a different "church".  

And in another insightful section, Avram calls us to "Imagine the Response of the Pharisees If Jesus' Teaching Had Focused on Commitment":

To put the concept of commitment into a clearer context, and thereby understand why it is not a measure of spiritual virtue, imagine what would have happened if Jesus had gone about the Judean countryside telling people they needed to make a "commitment" to God, a "commitment" to attend temple, or a "commitment" to to the "principles" of Scripture.  If He had, the Pharisees would have been among his most ardent supporters.    Instead they saw Jesus as a threat.  Why? Because He ignored commitment-based religion and spoke to them about the issues of the heart - something the Pharisees couldn't even begin to understand.  Their constant attention to the self-sufficiency bred by commitment-based religion meant they couldn't even hear what Jesus was saying.  (John 9:40,41) 

This book is well worth the read.  

You can order "Limitations" at this link:

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Holding On Loosely

I'm always intrigued when the Lord brings an international friend across my path with a timely message.  This time, my friend Kenny Russell in Israel wrote to let me know a brother in the Lord is visiting Charlotte soon and I would probably want to talk with him on the show.

A few days later I received a copy of his friend's book.   "Holding On Loosely", Finding Life in the Beautiful Tension is written by Pablo Giacopelli. 

Pablo is a tennis coach.   And he shares his personal and professional journey about coming to a place of simply letting God be God.

In the preface Pablo describes the "search of a tennis dream programmed by my father into my mind and into the very core of my being. The mission was simply to make it.  "Making it" became an idol in my life. The closer I got to making it, the more the people who mattered to me smiled and loved me.  The further I got from making it, the less of their approval I received. As life progressed, I learned very quickly that receiving love and approval was inextricably linked with being successful.

"The years came and went, and I found myself the victim of the very things I had tried to control in my life.  Yes, I achieved some success, but it was not the success I was told I had to achieve. Or so I assumed, as I never quite received the approval that confirmed I had reached the goal."

Pablo goes on to describe a path where his relationship with God became one of "entitlement and fictional codependency" .  Ultimately, he says "In my desperation I inevitably became a control freak and perfectionist. Outside , I portrayed the image of someone who had it all together, someone who knew God and His grace and love for people. Yet inside I continued to get further and further away from the very thing I claimed to know. My legalistic approach to God and life alienated me from the very love and life I was looking for. I fell into the trap of religion and all it supposedly offered if i could just somehow make the grade.  Religion cost me my life, my first marriage and many other close and valuable relationships; it led me to do the very things I condemned others for doing."

But Pablo's story has a happy ending.  The trap he fell into of "good intentions and self-help formulas" was interrupted by a loving Father who revealed that "God lives on the road of grace, where behavior and performance take a second seat to life, love and relationship. On this road, we are free to be ourselves. No more manipulations and false pretenses. No more bargaining or forcing. No more religion and rules. Just Life"

You can order "Holding on Loosely" at this link:

Pablo Giacopelli will join us for a OneBody connection event on Sunday September 23rd. You can learn more and RSVP at this Facebook link