Archive for April, 2011

That’s Not Fair!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 19, 2011 by Eric Lapata

When I was a senior at Cedarville University, I was in a youth ministry class that I really liked. Not only did I enjoy going to this class, I also liked doing all of the reading and homework that came with taking the class (crazy, I know). I remember working hard on all of the assignments and ended up getting A’s on everything I did. Needless to say, I earned an “A” at the end of the semester.

On the last day of class, our professor came in and did something that no other professor had ever done in my 4 years of college. He passed out a piece of paper that read the following: “Write down the grade that you think you deserve for this class.” Our entire class thought he was playing a practical joke on us, but as he stood there explaining what he wanted us to do, we could tell that he was not kidding around.

As I looked at my piece of paper and reflected on what I did in the class, I was confident that I deserved an “A” and wrote that down on the piece of paper. Yet as I looked around, I saw others that I knew did not work as hard as I did. They missed papers, didn’t do all their reading, failed to show up to class all the time, etc. I knew they did not deserve an “A” or even a “B” for that matter! So, when the professor delivered the following statement to the class, I was furious to say the least.

He said to us, “Some of you have done all of the work and deserve an “A”. Others of you have not finished your work and have not shown up for class, which means you do not deserve an “A”. However, even though the entire class has not earned an “A”, I am giving everyone in the class an “A” regardless if you deserve one or not.” No jokes. No kidding around. Our professor just announced that the guy who deserved a “D” in the class is getting the same grade as me, even though I did all the work and earned an “A”!

I was fuming. I couldn’t believe it. People in the class were as upset as I was. I remember thinking, “That’s not fair! We earned an “A” and they didn’t! What are you doing?” However, to this day, I remember the words that came out of my professor’s mouth that changed my entire perspective of life and God forever. This is what he said: “The definition of grace is getting what you do not deserve. Through Christ, regardless of one’s performance, everyone gets an “A”. Don’t you see? Grace says that even though you don’t deserve a relationship with God, you still receive one through Jesus! Just like those in here who do not deserve an ‘A’, they get one. Not because of their grade or what they haven’t done, but because what God has done- eliminating the grading scale through Christ. This is grace.” Everyone left the class humbled that day, realizing the true meaning of grace.

You see, God’s grace, which is unearned and undeserved, destroys a grading scale. Just like we can’t earn God’s love for doing good things, we also can’t lose God’s love because of what we have done wrong. It’s not about our performance -it is about His! And Jesus’ performance on the Cross is perfect-taking our sins and dying for them so we can have a relationship with God-now and for Eternity. Even though we don’t deserve it, He gives it. Freely. Unconditional. Through Jesus.

Therefore, if someone were to say, “that’s not fair” in regards to Grace, they would be right. It’s not fair. Be thankful for that today.

Advertisements

My Top 5.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 4, 2011 by Eric Lapata

I want to share my current top 5 quotes and Bible verses that provide hope and refreshment for the heart and soul. Take the next few minutes to be encouraged, inspired, challenged, and renewed.

(In bold you will find the Bible verse or quote that I reference, followed by my own thoughts.)

10. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” -Matthew 11:28. In the midst of chaos, struggles, pain, and discouragement, everyone of us needs rest. Rest that isn’t just physical (though that is needed), but rest for the heart and spirit. The only rest that I find in this world is in the promise of rest in Jesus.

9. “God doesn’t want something for us. He simply wants us.” -C.S. Lewis. If you are like me, performance drives you. In work, relationships, sports, etc., our performance is the measure of success. This carries over into our relationship with God, too. If we give God our best performance, He will be pleased. Yet, this is not the case. God simply wants you and I- no performance required.

8. “For,’All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever. And this is the word that was preached to you.'” 1 Peter 1:24-25. These two verses give me hope that even though people and their glory may pass away, God and His Word are eternal.

7. “The gospel is that Jesus Christ came to earth, lived the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died.” -Tim Keller. What a simple, yet profound view of what Jesus did for man. He lived a sinless life in perfect harmony with God that we were intended to live and in that life, died the death that was meant for us. This is a picture of unfathomable, undeserved grace.

6. “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” -Philippians 2:3. I would be a liar if I said that this verse makes me feel all warm and cozy on the inside. When I read this verse, it makes me evaluate my own life and realize that I fall short of this picture of humility. At the same time, it doesn’t mean I “try harder” at perfecting this verse. Rather, I follow in the steps of my Savior and lean on His strength in order to make this once impossible verse become a way of life. (Side note: Aren’t we glad that God doesn’t give up on us…?)

5. “If you are in Christ you are no longer defined by what you have done wrong. You are defined by what Christ did right. -Mark Batterson Possibly one of my favorite quotes as of late. Too often, we focus on what we do wrong and miss the amazing picture of the Cross: we no longer need to dwell in our sin, but rather, dwell in the freedom of Christ!