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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 8/29/14 at 11:39 AM | Justin Buzzard

Um's 3 Essential Qualities for Church Planters

Photo: Flickr/Lali Masriera - Creative Commons

Last week I spent an afternoon with my new friend, Stephen Um. Stephen is a fantastic and friendly guy who has more degrees than I have bedrooms in my house and who has planted a great church, CityLife Boston. One of the questions I asked Stephen was what qualities he/Redeemer City to City looks for in church planters. He shared 3 essential qualities:

1. Entrepreneurial. A church planter must be entrepreneurial, must have the ability to start and build.

2. Above average preaching. A church planter must have an above average preaching gift.

3. Evangelist. A church planter must have a heart and the competency to engage people, especially skeptics, with the gospel. FULL POST

Posted 8/26/14 at 9:43 AM | Justin Buzzard

Grace Creates Safety, Which Creates Change

We’ve all experienced (and contributed to) this dynamic: You are afraid to share what you’re really thinking and what’s really going on in your life with your spouse/friend/parent/church leader because you fear they will use this information against you. You’re afraid that sharing reality will result in being challenged, fixed, or judged, instead of being known, understood, and loved. This dynamic creates unhealthy cultures in marriages, friendships, churches, and workplaces–people never share what’s really going on because they’re afraid, and this stunts both intimacy and growth.

Fortunately, this unhealthy dynamic can be replaced with a healthy dynamic: grace. Grace is God’s undeserved love. When an individual embraces a grace-based identity (instead of a performance-based identity) and standing with God, he or she becomes capable of extending grace (undeserved love) to other people. This individual becomes secure, and safe. This individual now has the ability to truly listen to what another person is really thinking, to what is really going on, without attempting to immediately use that information against the person. FULL POST

Posted 8/22/14 at 11:21 AM | Justin Buzzard

The Secret Powers of Time

holding a watch
Photo: Pixabay/steinchen - Public Domain

This is a fascinating 10 minute video by professor Philip Zimbardo & RSA Animate articulating the 6 different approaches people have to time and what that means for our world. Pay special attention to what is said at the end about young men, video games, and porn.

The Secret Powers of Time

Posted 8/18/14 at 11:11 AM | Justin Buzzard

The Kingdom is Advancing

Photo: Pixabay - Public Domain

The Kingdom of God is advancing! I was thinking about that when I wrote this on twitter today:

The manger is worn.

The cross is bloody.

The tomb is empty.

The throne is occupied.

The kingdom is advancing.

You can follow me on twitter @JustinBuzzard

(Originally posted September 16, 2010)

Posted 8/15/14 at 10:22 AM | Justin Buzzard

3 Diagnostic Questions

Photo: Flickr/Lali Masriera - Creative Commons

God has given you a life and he wants you to steward it well. This involves choices. How will you best steward the gifting, personality, resources, and opportunities God has given you?

Most of us reading this know we need to make some changes in order to best invest (instead of bury) the “talents” God has given us. But we often don’t know how to discern what changes to make. I think we often make this process too complicated. Here’s one simple way of diagnosing how you’re stewarding the life God has given you. Ask yourself these 3 questions. And ask a few people who love you to give you their input on these questions.

  1. What is the one thing you are now doing that you think you should continue doing? (This should target towards your greatest strength)
  2. What is the one thing you are now doing that you think you should stop doing? (This should target towards your greatest liability/time waster/sin/way of harming others/etc.)
  3. What is one thing you are not now doing that you think you should start doing? (This should target toward your greatest opportunity/untapped potential/a big new risk)

Posted 8/11/14 at 4:03 PM | Justin Buzzard |

1 comment

Pastors, Go to Where Your Men Work

Pastors, go to where your men work.

Over the last few years as a pastor in the Bay Area I’ve discovered that one of the most important things for me to do is to hang out with men in my church at their workplace.

This helps the men. It shows them that I care about their callings, how they spend 50+ hours of their week, and the people they work with.

This helps me. It teaches me about the unique opportunities and challenges men are facing in their different workplaces, it opens my eyes to a world bigger than our church, and it helps set new trajectories for my preaching and discipling.

This is how I do it:

-Schedule a lunch-time visit with a man in your church. The best use of your time is to make most of these visits with men who are leader types. Schedule to meet the guy at his office, not at the lunch spot.

-Once you show up have the guy show you around his workspace. If you’re naturally curious like me, you’ll quickly have 20 questions about all that you’re seeing around you. Ask your questions. Learn the man’s world. FULL POST

Posted 8/8/14 at 9:55 AM | Justin Buzzard

Idolatry is Like a Pacifier

The idolatry in our lives is like a pacifier problem I recently observed.

My friend has a two year-old son who is always sucking on his pacifier. Always. He sucks on his pacifier all day long. He sucks on his pacifier all night long. Two years of all day and all night pacifier sucking has caused a big problem: this toddler’s teeth have hinged forward and up like an old fashioned garage door because of the constant shape and suck of the pacifier.

A pacifier is a good thing. But a pacifier becomes a dangerous and idolatrous thing when we give it our ultimate allegiance–when we suck on it all day long, all night long, for two years. This pacifier has changed the structure and appearance of this little boy’s mouth, and now significant corrective action is required.

Job security, relationships, success, reputation, money, planning, and comfort are also good things. But these become dangerous and idolatrous things when we give them our ultimate allegiance–when these things become the central fixation of our lives rather than our Triune God. Like the pacifier, our constant suck of idolatry slowly but surely changes the deep structure and appearance of our hearts, leaving us in need of significant intervention. FULL POST

Posted 8/6/14 at 2:56 PM | Justin Buzzard |


Living in Dead Churches

Many churches are declining and dying in America.

Two weeks ago I checked out a church building in downtown San Jose. The church secretary, who is in her 40s, was born at the church. She told me nostalgic stories of how full of people and full of life the church used to be. In the good old days, the church building swelled with 600 people on a Sunday. Today, a good Sunday is about 60 people. They’ve removed many of the pews so that the sanctuary feels less empty. There is another “church” that also meets at this church facility. A few weeks ago a Transgender Mormon male gave the morning sermon. This is not good.

When a church loses the gospel, its people, its mission, and its money, if that church owned a building, they will sell that building. The picture above is of St. Mark’s Methodist Church in Brookline, Massachusetts. Decades ago, the church closed its doors and sold its doors. The building is now a condo complex. Go here to see more pictures. People did a nice job remodeling the place, but it’s a depressing site to see people living in a dead church. FULL POST

Posted 8/1/14 at 10:49 AM | Justin Buzzard

When Plans Fail and Dreams Die

Photo: Pixabay/Public Domain Pictures - Public Domain

I stayed up late into the night talking to my brother on the phone last night. Last night we talked about when plans fail and dreams die.

I’m realizing that some days life feels like a lament Psalm, and that it’s healthy to give such days a voice:

Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord?
Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever!
Why do you hide your face?
Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
For our soul is bowed down to the dust;
our belly clings to the ground.
Rise up; come to our help!
(Psalm 44)

Some days the reality of busted plans and broken dreams hits you harder. Yesterday was one of those days for both of the Buzzard brothers.

The temptation on days like this is to think, as the Psalmist says above, that God is sleeping. Is he? FULL POST

Posted 7/30/14 at 9:54 AM | Justin Buzzard |

1 comment

God Changes us From the Outside In

Girl watches the sunset.
Photo: Pixabay/Unsplash - Creative Commons

We talk about God changing people “from the inside out.” This is an accurate, biblical way to speak.

God is not interested in external moral conformity. God goes after the human heart, the transformation of the total person. Deep sanctification, deep change, happens as the Holy Spirit transforms our heart (our inside), which then transforms our outside.

However, I think we should also talk about God changing people “from the outside in.” This is also an accurate, biblical way to speak.

The gospel, God’s sovereign grace, comes from outside of us, not inside of us. And, often, God’s greatest means of sculpting us is our circumstances. Circumstances stand outside of us. God sends circumstances into our lives, circumstances full of sharp edges, that prune us into the people God calls us to be. FULL POST

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