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 4/15/14 at 3:42 PM | Justin Buzzard

Sneaky Self-Righteousness

Photo: LadyDragonflyCC - >;< - CC

Self-righteousness is sneaky. It can show up almost anywhere.

You can be self-righteous about:

-Having kept all the rules, or having broken all the rules.

-Being poor, or being wealthy.

-Being a public school parent, or a private school parent, or a home school parent.

-Being Vegan, or eating meat.

-Living in the city, or living in the suburbs.

-Being older and wiser, or being young and ambitious.

-Being driven, or being lazy.

-Giving away a certain amount of money, or saving a certain amount of money.

To be self-righteousness is to think of yourself as commendable to God and better than others because of things you have done.

Instead of self-righteousness, the Bible invites us to enjoy Christ-righteousness—to find our worth, identity, and boast in Jesus Christ and what he has done for us, the undeserving. FULL POST

Posted 4/11/14 at 10:56 AM | Justin Buzzard

Love People, Not Their Idols

It’s easy to confuse loving a person with loving a person’s idols.

We typically make this mistake when someone loses something or wants something.

This happens all the time in Christian circles.

Your friend Joe loses his job and immediately everyone prays for Joe to get a new job. This is a good thing to pray for, ultimately Joe does need a job. But, Joe is a man who finds all of his identity from his work. Joe is a guy who has put his job at the center of his life instead of God. Joe’s ultimate need isn’t a new job to fill the void in his life, it’s for his life to begin to orbit around Jesus.

A better way to love Joe would be to address what he really needs, to see this job-less season as an opportunity for him to mature in Christ–to find his identity in the gospel, not in his work. A season for idolatry to shrink in his life and for true worship to grow.

I believe that you can’t love a person well unless you know their idolatry well. Pay attention to what people lose and what people want. Sometimes it’s healthy to immediately seek to replace one’s loss and fulfill one’s wants, but oftentimes when we support, pray for, and seek these things we’re not really loving someone, we’re simply feeding their idolatry. FULL POST

Posted 4/7/14 at 11:15 AM | Justin Buzzard |

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The Most Rebellious, Counter-Cultural Thing You Can Do in Our Culture

Photo: Flickr/Shelley Panzarella - Creative Commons

Culture changes.

Divorce used to be somewhat rare/taboo in America.

Then divorce became accepted America.

Then divorce became normal in America.

Now, divorce is being celebrated in America.

Divorce Parties are becoming more common:

(NewsCore) – Former White Stripes rocker Jack White and his wife Karen Elson announced their divorce and the pair is throwing a party Friday to celebrate the end of their six-year marriage, TMZ reported.

“In honor of that time shared, we are throwing a divorce party … to re-affirm our friendship and celebrate the past and future,” the couple said in a joint statement about the bash that will include “dancing, photos, memories and drinks with alcohol in them.” FULL POST

Posted 4/2/14 at 12:21 PM | Justin Buzzard

3 Things to do to Prepare for Marriage

Photo: Flickr/Andrew Malone - Creative Commons
Wedding rings next to the love chapter in the Bible

Lately I’ve been talking to my two older sons (4 and 2 years old) a lot about marriage. I have many years to teach them, but I’m starting now to catechize them on how to think about their future. My boys have memorized three things they need to do to prepare for marriage. If a stranger asked them about this, my two year-old could rattle off this list with enthusiasm. What I tell my two year-old is the same thing I tell men in their twenties and thirties.

1. Love Jesus

2. Have a Job

3. Pick a Girl Who Loves Jesus

Posted 3/28/14 at 11:27 AM | Justin Buzzard |

1 comment

How to Discover Your Calling

Photo: Patrick Hoesly - Creative Commons

1. Figure out what you’re passionate about.

2. Figure out what other people say you’re good at.

3. Figure out what’s wrong with the world.

4. Shake and stir.

That’s your calling.

Posted 3/27/14 at 3:09 PM | Justin Buzzard

Scars

There is no way to escape scars in this life.

Life on this planet involves plenty of scars–scars you receive when others hurt you, and scars you give when you hurt others.

Our world offers a million ways to try to numb and deal with the scars. They don’t work.

There is only one place to go to find deep healing for your scars: Jesus. He has a lot of scars. He was scarred in order to take away the shame and guilt of our scars.

Don’t pretend. Don’t numb. Don’t hide.

Take your scars to Jesus. Show him your scars and ask him to heal you.

His grace is bigger than your scars.

Posted 3/19/14 at 10:22 AM | Justin Buzzard

The Fire Triangle of Church

Photo: Flickr/Thomas's Pics - Creative Commons

A fire requires three ingredients, often called the “fire triangle”: oxygen, heat, and fuel. The fire triangle provides a helpful way to think about your church. Many years ago Leonard Ravenhill wrote:

“You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes running when there’s a fire. Likewise, if your church is on fire, you will not have to advertise it. The community will already know it.”

For the church, the fire triangle works like this:

OXYGEN = The living God. The living God loves to breathe on his people and blow fresh life into us.

HEAT = The love of God. The heat source of the church is the undeserved, unconditional love of God.

FUEL = Us. People increasingly alive and awake to the living, loving God are the fuel of this fire. FULL POST

Posted 3/17/14 at 10:51 AM | Justin Buzzard

The Most Important Thing in the World

Photo: NASA/NOAA GOES Project - Creative Commons

The second most important thing in the world is what you think about God. Do you have true thoughts and conclusions (theology) about who the livingGod is? Whatever you think about God will dramatically impact your life.

But there is one thing more important than this. The most important thing in the world is what God thinks about you.

What does God think about you? If you’ve run from God, if you’re building your life around a false god, if you’re resisting God’s pursuit of you, if you’ve refused the love of Jesus, then God regards you as a sinner deserving his eternal wrath. BUT, if you’ve simply taken responsibility for your sin and mess (if you’ve been honest), if you’ve open your heart to the grace (undeserved love) of God and how badly you need it, if you’ve experienced the most important event anyone could ever experience (an experience Jesus called “being born again”), then God delightfully, eternally, and unconditionally regards you as his beloved, forgiven, and perfectly righteous child. FULL POST

Posted 3/14/14 at 11:01 AM | Justin Buzzard

The More You Enjoy Your Work, the Better You Will do at It

Photo: Flickr/Grant Kwok - Creative Commons

Over one hundred years ago Phillips Brooks stated a truth that should be central to the process of considering and pursuing a vocation. Though Brooks addressed this to preachers, this correlation between enjoyment and effectiveness applies to all vocations:

I think, again, that it is essential to the preacher’s success that he should thoroughly enjoy his work. I mean in the actual doing of it, and not only in its idea. No man to whom the details of his task are repulsive can do his task well constantly, however full he may be of its spirit. He may make one bold dash at it and carry it over his disgusts, but he cannot work on at it year after year, day after day. Therefore, count it not merely a perfectly legitimate pleasure, count it an essential element of your power, if you can feel a simple delight in what you have to do as a minister, in the fervor of writing, in the glow of speaking, in standing before men and moving them, in contact with the young. The more thoroughly you enjoy it, the better you will do it all. FULL POST

Posted 3/12/14 at 10:25 AM | Justin Buzzard

Preaching That Hits the Spot

Photo: Flickr/Richard Matthews - Creative Commons

When I enjoy a great meal I say, “that hit the spot.” Good preaching should hit the spot.

Preaching isn’t only about preaching a biblical text or preaching the gospel from that text. When you preach you should always have a spot in mind–a target. As you study your text, also study your people and your culture. Pay attention to the tension points your text exposes in your own heart, in your church, and in your culture. A spot emerges. Focus your sermon, focus the gospel, on hitting that tension spot.

You want your hearers coming away from your sermon saying, “that hit the spot.” They don’t say this because you’ve told them exactly what they want to hear and now they’re full and satisfied. They say this because you’ve shown them how Scripture, how Jesus, is the only way to resolve the tension spots of pain, desire, guilt, fear, hope, etc. that mark our lives and culture.

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