Archive for the Uncategorized Category

From Ohio to Michigan: Eric and Paula’s Next Step.

Posted in Uncategorized on May 6, 2012 by Eric Lapata

Over these past few months, God has been wrestling with my heart and getting ahold of my attention in a whole new way.  He’s placed desires deep within my soul that continue to surface.   One of those desires has always been to go to seminary. 

After months of praying and wrestling with God, my wife, Paula, and I believe the Lord is leading us to Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in Michigan, where I will pursue a Master’s of Divinity degree.  Our decision to go to seminary has been an extremely difficult one to make.  We are very sad to be moving away from our church, the students that we love, and our incredibly loving and supportive families.  We love our church.  We love our friends and family.  We love to be comfortable.  We love security.  Still, we have a strong sense that this is where God is leading and can’t seem to quench the insatiable desire to follow God’s will for our lives.  We don’t exactly know what the future holds, but we do believe this is our first step of faith into a brand new season.

The details have yet to be worked out in terms of our move to Grand Rapids.  We will most likely move within the next 3-6 months.  We have no jobs as of yet, no housing, a house to sell in Sandusky and a baby on the way!  Some would call this crazy.  And pretty much it is.  We’re calling it faith and clinging to Jesus as we venture out into the unknown. 

While we wait in anticipation for the future to unfold, we trust in the One and only Orchestrator, Ordainer and All-knowing God.    

Just as we place our future in His good hands, may you do the same. 

Blessed & Humbled,

Eric Lapata

My 4 Best Friends.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 20, 2012 by Eric Lapata

Proverbs 18:24 says, “There are ‘friends’ who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” I’m honored to say that I have four guy friends that actively live out this verse in my life. All four of them made such an impression on my life this past week that I had to tell about it. Though these stories may not seem important or a big deal to others, they impacted my life for eternity.

Friend #1: You know the people in your life that “act” like they care about you, but they really don’t? Sure, they say they are your friends, but deep down you know that they really don’t care about you. I’m thankful that this friend is the complete opposite of this. This friend puts me to shame by his love and humility for people, especially for me.

Let me give you a prime example of this. My wife and I went on vacation this past week and the day after we returned, we attended a wedding. My friend was there and when he saw me, he ran up to me, gave me a big hug, looked at me and said, “Man, I’ve missed you. It’s great to have you back.” He wasn’t saying that to make me feel good nor was he trying to impress me; he was genuine and heart-felt.

It’s hard to express what happens when one feels truly loved and cared for by a friend. It is almost as if it is Jesus loving me. Even though it wasn’t a big deal for my friend, he was Jesus in the flesh for me. For that, I’m eternally grateful for him.

Friend #2: Life is hard, isn’t it? There are crucial decisions that need to be made that can alter one’s life forever. When I’ve been in these places in my life, this friend has been right next to me in my journey. Through his wisdom and advice, he has encouraged me to always follow my God-given dreams. Though he doesn’t know it, he came through again for me this past week.

My friend and I were talking about our dreams in life-where we see ourselves in the future, who we want to become, etc. He spoke to me about where he sees me in the future and consistently gave me great advice, wrapped in honesty and love. After talking with him, I felt immediate relief. He helped remove the fear that’s paralyzed me and helped me see the truth. For that, I’m eternally grateful for him.

Friend #3 and #4 (both were involved in this story): There are times in your life when you’ve been knocked down and you need someone to pick you up. I’m thankful that these friends were the ones that peeled me off the ground.

I wrote both of these guys an email today expressing what’s been going on in my life and asked them to reply back to me when they had time. Within three minutes, both guys wrote back to me. They said that they loved me, believed in me, pointed me back to God’s grace and that they always have my back. They allowed me to experience God’s forgiveness all over again, which was something that I’d lost track of in my heart. Without them, I’d still be drowning in a sea of lies. For that, I’m eternally grateful for them.
There are people in your life that are closer to you than a brother (or sister). Often, it’s near impossible to have even one of these people grace your life. If you find one, don’t let go. I’m thankful that I have four of them-and I’m not letting go.

I love you guys.

Love That Never Fails.

Posted in Uncategorized on January 23, 2012 by Eric Lapata

I opened by Bible this morning to the Psalms and landed on Psalm 136. I noticed right away that there is a pattern to this psalm that makes it unique. The Psalmist, overwhelmed by the steady love and faithfulness of God, begins each sentence with what God has done and ends the sentence with, “…for his steadfast love endures forever.” Over and over again, the writer repeats himself, “…for his steadfast love endures forever.”

Often in my life, it’s easy to forget the faithfulness and steadfast love of God. I become too consumed with myself and the worries of life that I actually miss what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do.

I want to write out “my own” Psalm 136 to highlight God’s faithfulness and to give thanks for redeeming my life. My hope is that you will do the same-that you will take a long look at your life, praise God, and end every breath with, “…for his steadfast love endures forever.”

My Psalm 136 

I lived my life as if God didn’t exsist,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.
He rescued me from emptiness and dispair,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.
He doesn’t give up on me even when I give up on Him,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.
He gave my the wife of my dreams,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.
My family and friends are better than I could have imagined,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.
My church and it’s people are agents of love and change,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.
He’s there when I doubt, worry, struggle, fear, and am in the depths of the valley,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

 

And when I finally close my eyes and take my last breath, I’ll spend eternity with Him. Why?
   for his steadfast love endures forever.

  


 

From Atheist to Believer.

Posted in Uncategorized on January 16, 2012 by Eric Lapata

I am currently reading C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, which is one of the most profound and enlightening Christian books of all time. In this book, Lewis explains in detail both the evidence for God and the certainty of Christianity.

One of the most amazing facts about C.S. Lewis is that he was a former atheist. In the chapter titled “The Rival Conceptions of God”, Lewis explains how his argument for atheism was actually an argument against atheism:

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had i got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?…Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing put a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too-for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist-in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless- I was forced to assume that one part of reality-namely my idea of justice-was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it had no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it as dark. Dark would be a word without meaning. (p.38-39)

Incredible, isn’t it? Profound truth that God infused into a man to see the light. I hope this encourages you and leads you one step closer to the One who makes sense of it all!

I Don’t Remember Anything.

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2012 by Eric Lapata

About a week ago, I had to go to the hospital and have a little something done. What I had done was nothing big at all, but it did require me to have an IV so that I could be given sedation medicine. Everyone who knows me knows that when it comes to needles, I immediately freak out. In fact, I am so petrified of needles that I have trouble sleeping the night before I get one!

As I lay on the table ready to be given my sedation medicine, I began to panic. I was so scared that I was told that my heart rate shot up to 150-which is equivalent to a heart rate for a spinning workout! Because I was so scared, instead of receiving the normal 4-6 mg of sedation medicine, I was given 14 mg of sedation medication. 14 mg is a lot of medication to say the least.

After I was given the medication, the fun began. You see, for those of you that are unfamiliar with sedation medicine, the medicine allows you to stay awake, but you don’t remember anything you do or say. While I was in the recovery room, beecause of the medicine, I said a lot of things that I don’t remember saying!

After I got home my wife, Paula, began to tell me everything I said to her, to my mom, and to the nurses who were in my room. As she kept telling me things I said at the hospital, I became more and more embarrassed! And the most frustrating part of all of it is that I don’t remember saying anything! After Paula would tell me something that I said, I would say: “No way! I don’t remember ANY of this!”

As I sit and write this, I can honestly say that I don’t remember anything that I said over a week ago. I find it fascinating that every time my wife would tell me things, I would reply “I don’t remember ANYTHING!” But, what I find even more fascinating that in my relationship with Jesus, He says the same thing to me about my sin and my past. Often times I remind God about my past and my sin and believe that He holds all of it against me. I think that his love for me will run out or He will stop forgiving me. But, He doesn’t and never will. He says to me, “Eric, I don’t remember ANYTHING. Your past, your sin…NOTHING! My Son took your past and your sin on the cross and died for it. He rose three days later showing that death and sin can’t hold Him down. He did that to pay the price of sin and to free you from it. Therefore, I don’t hold anything against you because My Son took it on for you.”

“For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” -Hebrews 8:12

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” -Isaiah 43:25

If you struggle with your past or hold onto guilt, confess your shortcomings and trust in Jesus. He desires to have a relationship with all of us. Let God be the One that soothes your soul and allow Him to whisper to you: “I don’t remember ANYTHING…”

My New Year’s Resolution.

Posted in Uncategorized on December 28, 2011 by Eric Lapata

2012 is almost here. A new year. A fresh start. This can only mean one thing: It’s time to start making new years resolutions!

Most people come to the end of a year with their sight on making new goals for the next year. Whether it’s stopping smoking, losing weight, or finally getting organized, people look at January 1st as a launching point to better themselves. Typically, I fall into the category of making a resolution; usually, if I am honest, I end up breaking the resolution by the end of the week (sometimes by the end of the day!). With that being said, I AM going to make a resolution this year- this one may be my gutsiest, boldest resolution of all time. Ready for it? Here it is: My resolution for 2012 is to NOT make a New Year’s resolution.

Okay so maybe that doesn’t make complete sense so let me try to explain my “non-resolution” resolution. Too often, I trick myself into thinking that if I make a resolution (i.e. becoming a nicer person or cleaning off my desk at work) and stick to it, then my life will actually become better. And it is true: if I was a bit nicer to people or actually cleaned off my desk, my life would be a little less complicated. But, as life continues and my resolutions fade into the back of my mind, my resolution to be nice to people will fade and my once clean desk will be filled with  books,coffee cups, and papers. The once heart-driven “resolution to change my life for the long run” turns into something that comes and goes as quickly as a fog lifts in the early morning.

If you are one that is a New Year’s resolution maker, please know that I do not mean to offend you. Rather, instead of simply making a resolution that will probably be broken within a few days, go beyond yourself and think big. Resolve to getting real with God and surrendering yourself to His plan on a daily basis. Resolve to loving your family, your friends, and everyone else as much as you love yourself. Resolve to becoming obsessed with meeting others’ needs. Resolve to letting go of the past and not worrying about the future. And, above all, resolve to knowing that Jesus’ death and resurrection on our behalf proves that our life isn’t beyond God’s love for us.

Okay, so maybe I do have a few New Year’s resolutions in mind (Great! I already broke my “non-resolution” resolution and it isn’t even 2012 yet!)

Tim Tebow Mic’d Up

Posted in Uncategorized on December 20, 2011 by Eric Lapata

I understand the controversy that surrounds Tim Tebow. Not only is he an unconventional QB playing in the NFL, but he is an outspoken man of Christ.
Regardless of your view of him, take a few minutes and watch this video of  Tebow mic’d up during The Bears game. I believe that his selflessness, humility, and love for “the enemy” (in this case The Chicago Bears) will shed new light on your respect level for Tebow. Enjoy!