Wednesday, May 31, 2006


This past Sunday, I rolled down to Santa Cruz with Monica and some high school friends to hit up Rio Del Mar beach for our psuedo-annual beach trip. I got to break in the Weber BBQ grill I got for Christmas that I got from my amazing mom, and chow down on some dogs and burgers with friends.

I don't know what's so amazing/mezmerizing about fire, but I'm not too curious - I just can't imagine feel more at peace and content than staring up at the stars while sitting next to a warm fire. It was some good rest - good conversation, singing, laughing, and fun. Get some rest - it's good for you. See you soon.

1. A BBQ
2. Good friends
3. Jesus
4. Rio Del Mar beach
5. Marianne's Ice Cream
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:28-29)

Friday, May 26, 2006


I am a music major with an emphasis in performance, and last wednesday, I had my Junior Recital. It almost killed me. I had never invested so much in one thing before in my life - I think I spend something like 100 hours doing nothing but playing the same 26 minutes over and over again. The truth is that this isn't something that only I deal with - do just about anything well takes practice and time; there is absolutely no substitute, whether it's playing the saxophone or catching a football or talking about Organic Chemistry or knowing the word of GOD.

But I can't shake the feeling that I finished well, and it wouldn't have happened save for the spirit of GOD that lives in me. Staying focused for so long, continuing to practice and do well in the face of criticism and discouragement, those were things that could only come from being lifted up on eagle's wings by Jesus. Having all of my family and friends there helped too, and at the end I felt I could look back and say that it wasn't perfect, but I gave it my best.

My hope is that I'll be able to say the same about this school year. No worries - I got Jesus. See you soon.
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


In 23 days, I will be boarding a red eye flight to Albany, NY. I will be working as an assistant Teen Program Director for Camp-of-the-Woods, a Christian Family camp in Upstate New York. I cannot tell you how excited I am... well, I tried once. Summer is so close that I can taste it, and I can't wait to finish well here at Davis and follow Jesus to New York this Summer. But not yet - Time to get back to the grindstone. See you soon.


Saturday, May 20, 2006


A few nights ago, I was reading from the Ragamuffin Gospel before I went to bed. It dropped behind my desk after I fell asleep. (I sleep in a lofted bed above my desk - it dropped through the crack between my bed and the wall.) As I was cleaning today, I pulled it out from behind my desk and while flipping through the pages, I ran across a passage that described Brennan's thoughts on evangelism:
"The ministry of evangelization is an extraordinary opportunity of showing gratitude to Jesus by passing on His gospel of grace to others. However, the 'conversion by concussion' method with one sledgehammer blow of the Bible after another betrays a basic disrespect for the dignity of the other and is utterly alien to the gospel imperative to bear witness. To evangelize a person is to say to him or her: you, too, are loved by God in the Lord Jesus. And not only to say it but to really think it and relate it to the man or woman so they can sense it. This is what it means to announce the Good News. But that becomes possible only by offering the person your friendship; a friendship that is real, unselfish, without condescension, full of confidence, and profound esteem." (pg. 121, The Ragamuffin Gospel)
That's some winsome stuff - like a breath of fresh air. See you soon.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


The Da Vinci Code is coming to the silver screen tommorow. I'm a big reader, and I've read the book - it's a very thrilling page-turner, but a very poor theological treatise on the nature of Jesus and his supposed "secret life." It's stirred up some very old questions about things like the gnostic gospels the humanity/divinity of Jesus, and I think that that's a good thing. I read an article by a lady named Elizabeth Duffin who summed up a lot of my own sentiments regarding the book - read it here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


For those of you who aren't aware, it is really hot in Northern California right now. Two weeks ago, spring straight sprung, and it's been shorts and hawaiian shirt weather ever since. Some people say that they like the cold weather more than the hot because they can control their own personal temperature with jackets and stuff, but I don't buy into that school of thinking. I love warm weather.

This afternoon, I saw a kid who was out selling lemonade. He had a little collapsible table, a plastic chair, and a handwritten cardboard sign to attract passing motorists. The sign said this: "Freshly squeezed, organic Lemonade." Organic. Only in Davis (and other radically environmentally conscious communities) would you see an 11-year old kid selling lemonade made with organic lemons as part of his sales pitch. How about cold? Refreshing? Satisfying? When it's 95 degrees out, whether or not the lemons were grown in the absence of pesticides doesn't conern me - what I care about is if it is going to quench my thirst. The kid didn't seem too business saavy, but I bet he did a decent business anyway.

Yesterday, two men were out in the center of my college campus holding up signs. (I've written about these types of men before here and here, and the encounter made it into the school paper.) Their signs said things like "I trust Jesus" and "Turn or Burn." But these men aren't out there to sell lemonade - they're out there to tell people about Jesus. But just like the kid with the lemonade stand, I don't agree with the stuff on their signs. And they're presenting a lot more than just their signs - what's most important is them, and from some of the cutting, unloving things that they said, I wonder if they're quenching people's thirst or shoving sand down their throats. Does telling people that they're going to hell bring people to repentance? Does it reveal the full nature of GOD - the only Lawgiver, Judge, and holy incarnation of perfect love?

I heard this on a retreat: "When you have salty conversations with people, they get thirsty." My hope is that we as followers of Jesus would build relationships in such a way that we leave people thirsting for the Gospel - the beauty of it all is that Jesus is living water, and those who drink of him will never thirst again. That's a Jesus that doesn't need any flashy advertising or explicating - he sells himself. See you soon.
So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." "Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?" Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:5-13)

"Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?" (James 4:10-12)

Sunday, May 14, 2006


I went home this weekend for Mother's Day. Things I wanted to do:

1. Love on my mom
2. Spend time with my girlfriend
3. Wash my car
4. Go on a bike ride

Things that I did:

1. Loved on my mom
2. Spent time with my girfriend
3. Watched Memoirs of A Geisha
4. Slept

It was good. I'll post my thoughts on Memoirs of A Geisha later, because I found it to be a very powerful, mesmerizing movie. For Mom's day, we went to a chinese restaurant and then hit up my uncle's house for some cake.

As an aside, I'm not a huge fortune cookie fan - I think that if GOD wanted to, he could tell me whatever he wanted through whatever he wanted, burning bushes, donkeys of Balaam, and fortune cookies too, but I'm not waiting for a prophetic word to come out of a cleverly folded cookie. Getting fortunes like "You will meet someone special today" or "You have a magnetic personality" haven't done much to win me over.

So my first fortune today read something like, "You have an exceptionally attractive personality," or something like that. Flattering, but not really much in the way of encouraging my spiritual growth. So I was ready to throw in the towel, but my heart (and my sweet tooth... really just my sweet tooth) decided to give the fortune one more chance. So I grabbed one more (since there were 20 of us, they just gave us a whole bucket full and let us go at it) and this is what it said:
Nothing in the world is accomplished without passion.
That's a pretty far cry from the financial planning advice you find in most fortune cookies. I've found that GOD can be funny sometimes - in a humbling way. And he's good, too. See you soon.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


This afternoon, I was hanging out with a high school student when I remembered that I was out of fruit. Bananas are my current favorite fruit, and I had eaten my last one at the end of last week, so I decided to bike straight from my meeting over to the place where I buy my produce.

The place where I go is a place called Pedrick Produce, as awesome place for really good fruits, vegetables, and a bunch of other really bomb snacks. It's tucked away in this rundown, corrugated metal quonset hut next to a gas station off of highway 80 in Dixon - it doesn't look like much, but looks are definitely deceiving because the place is off the hinges.

Anyway, my desire to bike to the place sprung from a few factors: my passion for cycling, the nice weather, and the desire to make a difference for the Kingdom of GOD. See, I promised myself that if the price of gas went over $3.00, I would not drive anywhere that I could bike/walk/run to. Even though I'm blessed with a car that gets 30 miles to the gallon, I still felt that by not driving there, I'd be practicing some conservation, and being responible with my skrilla. The book that I'm reading right now, The Irresistible Revolution, is one of those "mess-up-your-life-for-Jesus" kind of books - once you read them you can't go back. One of the biggest ideas that I've chewed through in the book that has resonated with my own personal thought and experience is that following Christ is not just about what we believe (though our beliefs and worldview are absolutely critical and eternally significant), but it's also about how we live. I've known and heard for a long time that following Christ is about acting in response to GOD's amazing love for us, but the truth that that "acting" isn't just meant to be isolated acts of service or goodwill, but a lifestyle and culture of living out daily the care and love of Christ for all things. Hence the ride.

So I set off from Coldstone, a banana-and-heath-bar shake sitting heavy in my gut, and I proceeded to ride out to the stand. The first thing I realized was that the stand was a little further than I thought - those 6 miles seemed to pass a lot faster when I was going 4 times faster in my car. I also realized that it was 90 degrees, I was wearing sandals, I was not wearing a helmet or cycling gloves, and that I was carrying a backpack filled with bananas, oranges, apples, and baby carrots.

I began to question the wisdom of my decision, but as I sweated under the burden of a grip of organic produce I remembered something - following Christ isn't easy. Changing our patterns of behavior, transforming our attitudes and minds, being shaped and refined by the Holy Spirit isn't a process that doesn't come without sacrifice. If I want to manifest the work of GOD in me, I must surrender the comfort of the routines and privelidges of the life I now know for the excitment and joy in living out the call of Christ in all that I do. It's clear that it doesn't come without some sweat, perseverance, patience, and pain. As the patterns of this world that have been worn smoothly into my soul by the forces of this world are torn away and cast down, I've begun to see that beyond embracing and growing in our understanding of the Christian worldview, following Christ is a whole new way to live - the Kingdom of GOD, here and now.

It was a tough ride, but I'll tell you this - I'd never tasted sweeter fruit in my life. How about them apples?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I can't remember the last time I was in the movie theater - the sad part is that probably the last movie I saw was that weak-sauce movie I saw way back in January - just like the price of gas, the high price of seeing a movie has kept me from getting out unless I absolutely need to. I didn't even see the Chronicles of Narnia (and I still haven't.) But yesterday, after hanging with some students at lunch, me and another leader from Lighthouse, Scott, decided to hit up the movie theater and catch M:I-3. (I love being finished with class at noon everyday.)

Long story short - I liked it. I really like the director, JJ Abrams, who also did X-Men 2 and created Lost and Alias. From the interviews I've read, he's a dude with a Christian worldview, and that's really awesome because I feel that the overriding themes of joy, hope, and just life abundantly really come forth in the feel of his movies, not to mention that his movies (and shows) are awesome. Not to say that this movie is sappy or sentimental - it blows the socks off of M:I-2 in terms of plot, character development and blowing-up-cool-gadget coolness, as well as leaving you with a feeling that in the end, love wins. For a guy who doesn't go the movies unless I know it's going to be amazing, I feel like I got my $6:50's worth. See you soon.


No more excuses. Here's a snapshot of my life right now:

LAST WEEKEND: I went up to Richardson Springs with my college community, College Life, for a retreat. The place is absolutely gorgeous, and I had some good time to reflect, rest, and experience the Word of GOD with my peers, as well as cast some vision for next year. It was off the hinges.

READING: "The Irresistible Revolution," by Shane Claiborne. I have really appreciated this book - I find it to be very constructive and compelling, offering winsome and practical ways about how to live as the body of Christ by radically changing your lifestyle, attitude, and perspective. I like Shane, and whenever I refer to an author by his first name, that's a good thing. I'll post more thoughts about it when I finish it - I'm about halfway through now.

LISTENING: When I went on the Powerhouse Snow Ski Trip, I heard this song by Shane & Shane called "The Answer." I love it. I write about music on my blog a lot, and this is no exception - it's amazing.

That's a snapshot of me right now - I'll talk with you more soon. Peace in your hoods.
i've tried more of me
and i've come up dry
trading You for things
things that go away
my happiness is found in less
of me and more of You
my happiness is found in less
of me and more of You

i have found the answer is
to love You and be loved by You alone
alright! alright! alright!
You crucify me and the world to me
and i will only boast in You
alright! alright! alright!

i'm so satisfied
at the thought of You
growing up in me
covering everything
my happiness is found in less
of me and more of You
my happiness is found in less
of me and more of You

You are, You are (loved by me)
You are, You are (You're loved by me)
You are, You are (You're loved by me)
You are, You are, You are
The Answer, Shane Bernard