Jeff Derrenberger

by Jeff Derrenberger

My college experience… let’s see… well, I’ll start with how I applied to colleges based on several criteria: Is it sunnier than Indiana? Is it warmer than Indiana? Is it not located in Indiana? UCSD has matched all those criteria, and I’ve not been disappointed.

I came in as a biology major and ironically never went to a single biology class. Some of you who know me are probably thinking, “Yeah, that’s because you skipped all of them.” Haha, wrong! I didn’t sign up for a single biology class! Taking chem lab was enough to make me realize that I never wanted to set foot in a lab again, so I quickly bailed on bio and switched to physics. While that may seem illogical to some, I’ve always enjoyed math and thought it would be a good fit for me. But after a year of physics, I found that I didn’t have enough desire to press on through the increasingly complex and theoretical problems. So as I lied on the floor of my apartment contemplating my future one afternoon, I apparently lost track of time and was doing this in the dark. That’s when my roommates stumbled upon me and have made fun of me ever since. However, I had resolved my problem of “I’ve only done math and science my whole life, what do I do now?” I switched to linguistics, and I’ve enjoyed it ever since because it’s allowed me to use my mathematical, problem-solving side in an area that really interests me: languages.

While that’s the academic side, college has greatly been about all the Asians I’ve encountered. Um, I mean, all the people that I’ve encountered. Truly, I have countless memories of good times over these past four years, and I am so grateful for the relationships I have with friends, roommates, and the family here at this church.

And that’s what I’m most thankful for when I look back on my time at Lighthouse: the people here are actually my family. It’s a bit strange for me to reflect on my time at this church because I now realize that I wasn’t a Christian for nearly all of it. But for my friends to truly become my brothers and sisters is a blessing that I can’t even begin to describe. I will always remember the prayerful hearts of those who deeply cared for me as I struggled greatly with the entanglement of a false gospel. This is a church that prays, and as I’ve seen, prays fervently. And God is gracious to answer those prayers.

While I’ve learned many things over the years pertaining to God, Scripture, and the Christian life, the true Spiritual growth obviously didn’t begin in me until recently. And to save me, God had to show me the total sufficiency of His Son. It was only then that I was able to see that I had never truly trusted Christ in the past. I basically had believed that salvation came through faith in Christ plus one work (baptism). It took a lot for me to actually see (and believe) that and to then see the truth of what was accomplished on the Cross, but now I affirm that the Gospel is indeed Christ crucified and that it is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

As for the future, my current job that involves hanging out with international students (as well as my studies in linguistics) has made me greatly consider teaching English as a foreign language. So I’ll likely be in San Diego for at least a year taking classes related to that, and then I may hop over to a foreign country (most likely Japan or possibly Korea) and teach English. But wherever God may take me, I look forward to knowing Him more and more.

Favorite place in SD: The cliffs
Song that will define the era in 10 years: Rylynn by Andy McKee
Favorite Verse: Philippians 3:7-14
Memory that stands out the most: Too many to pick one. I’ll always remember the friends I’ve met.
Advice for collegians: Christ died on a Cross for you. That is not a small act. Seek and live to know Him and to love Him and to become more like Him.

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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