Consider Jesus
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Justin Buzzard

Justin Buzzard is founder and lead pastor of Garden City Church, a new church plant in Silicon Valley.

Posted 7/22/14 at 11:35 AM | Justin Buzzard |

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God is Not A Highway Patrol Officer

Photo: Flickr/Dave Conner - Creative Commons

Every time I pass near a Highway Patrol car I instantly assume the officer is staring directly at me and that he’s staring at me because I’m in trouble. This leads me to do a rapid self-assessment in hopes of assuaging the guilt: Am I speeding? Do I have updated registration stickers on my license plate? Did I come to a complete stop at that stop sign? Did I cut somebody off?

Unfortunately, many Christians relate to God the way they relate to the Highway Patrol. They think God is constantly staring at them for all the wrong reasons. They think God is on duty in his patrol car, following close behind, in search of infractions, imperfections, and violations of the law. And so we quickly do the self-assessment, making sure we’re meeting all the standards so that God doesn’t pull us over and give us a ticket. FULL POST

Posted 7/18/14 at 9:43 AM | Justin Buzzard |

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Say it in a Sentence

When I was 21 I started preaching once a month at The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission. I didn’t know how to preach and I wanted to learn (I preached my first sermon at age 16 without a clue of what I was doing).

Thursday nights 100 or more homeless people filled the pews to listen to me preach my mediocre sermons. After the sermon we ate dinner together.

I had just graduated from college. I worked as a waiter, served as a home group leader and youth leader in my church (where I preached regularly to the youth), and lived in an apartment with two of my college buddies and my younger brother.

I used spare time to work on my sermons for the Rescue Mission. I didn’t have a method. I generally picked a text or two, studied the text, then wrote down a bunch of stuff to say.

One Thursday afternoon I went for a walk with my pastor. He asked me what my sermon was about for later that night. Four minutes into trying to explain what my sermon was about, my pastor interrupted me and said: FULL POST

Posted 7/15/14 at 12:04 PM | Justin Buzzard |


4 Things Every Man Needs

Photo: Openclipart - Public Domain

Men aren’t that complicated. I believe there are 4 things every man needs. I believe God created men this way and that these 4 needs of a man are grounded in the first two chapters of the Bible.

1. A Mission

A man needs a mission. Men need a clear calling, a lifework—a work they are called and gifted to do that makes an impact, that leaves a dent in this world. A man needs to know that his life counts, that he’s pursuing a mission that means something. A man on a mission is a happy man.

Immediately after God created Adam, he gave him a mission. God put Adam in the garden of Eden “to work it and keep it,” to cultivate the resources of the garden and to guard the garden. God gave the first man on the planet a mission for his life.

2. A Father

A man needs a Father. A man needs a father on earth, but many men won’t get that. What a man supremely needs is a Father in Heaven. In order for a man to be a man, he must first know what it means to be a son. Manhood requires sonhood. FULL POST

Posted 7/10/14 at 11:02 AM | Justin Buzzard

How God Answers Prayers for Growth

John Newton, 1779:

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.

’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith. FULL POST

Posted 7/7/14 at 5:23 PM | Justin Buzzard

Start a Revolt at the Idol Factory

Photo: Public Domain

“The human heart is a factory of idols…Everyone of us is, from his mother’s womb, expert in inventing idols.” -John Calvin

You have a factory in your heart.

Early this morning, just like every morning, operations began at the factory. Idol production started. The conveyor belt started moving. You and I started piecing products together on the assembly line that we worship, that we put in the place of God.

Many of these products are good products (succeeding at work, making plans for the future, earning money, etc.), but we build and bow down to these products as though they can give us ultimate security, freedom, and rest. The ironic reality is that the very things we think will give us freedom become our slave masters. The idol of work success doesn’t make you happier, it makes you miserable. It takes over your life.

What’s on your conveyor belt this morning? FULL POST

Posted 7/4/14 at 1:02 PM | Justin Buzzard |

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This is What Repentance Looks Like

Photo: I took this in Boston on the 4th of July.

Posted 7/2/14 at 4:01 PM | Justin Buzzard

Grace Has Teeth, it Leaves a Permanent Mark

grace has teeth
Photo: Flickr/Andy Wright - Creative Commons

Some people are afraid of grace. They fear preaching grace will lead to loose living.

There is a better reason to be afraid of grace: grace has teeth. Grace has sharp teeth, teeth that leave a permanent mark on a man or a woman.

Grace will change you. You will still be you, but you will be a different you. The sharp teeth of grace will sink into you and rip away at cancerous flab you currently carry.

You shouldn’t be afraid of grace because it will lead to loose living. Toothless grace isn’t real grace. You should be afraid of grace because you’ll have toothmarks all over you, because you’ll never be the same. Grace leaves a permanent mark. Grace has teeth.

Posted 6/20/14 at 2:28 PM | Justin Buzzard

Thirsty for God

glass of water
Photo: Flickr/ Michael Hamann - Creative Commons

You have to be hungry first. You have to be thirsty first.

You won’t truly appreciate a feast unless you’re really hungry. You won’t enjoy a cool drink of water unless you’ve been thirsty for a long time.

It’s the same with God.

The people who flocked to Jesus where the hungry and thirsty people. The fat, full, and bloated don’t come to God, the thirsty do.

You must be thirsty before you can really drink.

Jesus: Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

The woman: Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty… FULL POST

Posted 6/16/14 at 2:25 PM | Justin Buzzard

Two Life Systems

number two
Photo: Patrick Hoesly - Creative Commons

There are two systems for living life. You have to decide which system you will operate within.

The Grace System


The Merit System

The Grace System operates according to grace: grace defines how you view yourself and how you engage others, do your work, and navigate the world.

The Merit System operates according to merit: merit determines how you view yourself and how you treat others, do your work, and navigate the world.

The most beautiful moments in life occur when The Grace System collides with The Merit System. At first there’s a shock, a confusion, of two very different operating systems. But, if things go well, a person living under the Merit System has their eyes opened up to a whole new way of living–a world where grace is the oxygen, not merit.

Posted 6/12/14 at 1:47 PM | Justin Buzzard

Wherever You Are, Be All There!

 Wherever you are be all there
Photo: Flickr/Desiree Kane - Creative Commons

My life is like yours: busy.

The Problem

As a husband, dad to three wild boys, and pastor of a growing church in fast-paced Silicon Valley, I deal with the ever present temptation to not be fully present in the moment. The demands, stress, and surprises of each day tempt me to withhold my full presence and attention, to abandon focus.

This temptation is a lie. Abandoning focus and presence does not equate to a greater ability to handle everything that comes at you. Instead, failure to be fully present results in ineffective leadership, people not feeling cared for, and a loss of personal joy.

Many of us feel ever-present low grade stress and lack joy in large part because we’re rarely fully present. We try to be three places at once and do four things at once. This is dumb. I don’t want to live this way. We are not designed to live this way. FULL POST

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