A Meeting Meant-to-Be
About the Guest
Join us for a love story, as pastor Justin Buzzard reminisces about the party--and the cute girl named Taylor--that changed his life forever. Now married for almost eight years to that cute girl of his dreams, Buzzard reminds men that just because the girl says yes doesn't mean the mission is over and they can relax. Rather, they need to continue loving and leading their wives.
Justin BuzzardJustin Buzzard is founder and lead pastor of Garden City Church, a new church plant in Silicon Valley. Buzzard has been dating his wife for nine years and is the father of three young sons. He speaks widely, writes at JustinBuzzard.net, earned an MDiv at Fuller Theological Seminary, and is the author of Consider Jesus.
Justin Buzzard reminisces about the party–and the cute girl named Taylor–that changed his life forever.
A Meeting Meant-to-Be
Bob: There are a lot of young men today who were never given a vision for marriage. As a result, they’re just not getting married. Justin Buzzard says moms and dads can do something about that.
Justin: My two oldest boys—if you walked up to them and asked them right now, “What do you have to do to get married?” they would tell you three things. They would say, “First, love Jesus; second, get a job; third, pick a girl who loves Jesus.”
They just know, in our home, that this is this grand, exciting thing that awaits them—following Christ; having a challenging job and being able to provide (having a calling that God’s put on their life—a vocation); and, you know, finding a girl who loves Jesus.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, June11th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Probably the best way you, as a parent, can give your sons or your daughters a vision for marriage is by having the kind of marriage that they would love to have. Stay tuned.
Bob: And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. Dennis—
Dennis: Bob, I hadn’t told you about this; but it was a couple of weekends ago that Barbara and I were home, and I looked out the window—we live in the woods. I looked out and there was this giant bird, perched on one of our pine trees.
Bob: What kind? Like a hawk?
Dennis: Well, I wasn’t sure. So, I got the binoculars; and I looked at it and I go, “What in the world is that thing?” Ultimately, it flew. It was a buzzard! It was a buzzard!
Bob: Was there something dead in the yard?
Dennis: I was wondering if he was thinking that I was; you know? [Laughter] I could never find anything, and I thought as I introduce today’s guest on the show—
Bob: Oh, you’re doing that? Oh, this is terrible!
Dennis: —we’ve got a Buzzard, perched across the table from me.
Bob: That was probably—I’m thinking of all of the introductions of guests that you’ve done in almost 20 years of radio—that’s one of the worst.
Dennis: He deserved it.
Bob: That is one of the worst introductions!
Dennis: He deserved it.
Bob: Why does he deserve it?
Dennis: You know, he’s already made a couple of cracks at me and at you, too, as far as that goes. [Laughter] So, I just thought, “How can I introduce Justin Buzzard?”
Bob: I just would like to apologize, on behalf of Dennis. [Laughter]
Justin: Yes, but you have a six-foot, two-inch buzzard here, across from you. I’m not a two-foot buzzard.
Bob: Six-foot, two—So, be careful!
Dennis: Welcome to the broadcast, Justin. He is the lead pastor of Garden City Church in San José, California; married for more than seven years; has three sons. He has written a book—to give you an idea about the guy—I think it’s the only book we’ve ever had here on FamilyLife Today where you’re just pointing at the guy—
Justin: It’s a good cover.
Dennis: It is a good cover. It says, “Date Your Wife”!
Justin: Yes, we’re giving him a job, right away, with the cover—telling him what to do.
Dennis: You had a phenomenal first date with your—I guess she was not your wife at that point—but first date with Taylor, who became your wife.
Dennis: Share with our listeners how that occurred.
Justin: Sure. Well, I guess that starts with first meeting Taylor. I was going to meet with my buddy, Dave, in Palo Alto, California. We were going to hang out one night; but first, I was stopping by a friend’s house—who was having a party. I was just going to stop by; say, “Hi,” to people for a few minutes; and then spend the evening with my buddy, Dave.
Well, I walked into this party. I walked into the kitchen there; and standing in front of me was this woman with gorgeous blue eyes, incredible blonde hair. She was hot! What I did is—and it was kind of like the world stopped. I walked up to her, and I started talking to her. I met her, introduced myself, and heard her stutter. Taylor grew up with this slight stutter. She had this slight stutter that I thought was just really, really cute.
What I did was I called up my buddy Dave, who I was supposed to meet with that night. I said, “Hey, Dave, I met a girl. We’re not hanging out tonight. I’m staying here.”
I continued that night to get to know Taylor. Then, at the end of the night, I talked to my friend, who threw this party. I said, “Hey, tell me all about this girl, Taylor. You’ve known her; I just met her. She seems incredible. She loves the Lord; she’s fun; she seems great. Is my read on her right?” He went on to tell me all about how he had feelings for her.
Justin: Yes. So, because of that, I didn’t pursue Taylor. I didn’t go after her for six weeks; but six weeks had passed, and I could not stop thinking about her.
Dennis: The friendship with that guy was only so deep; right?
Justin: Yes, yes—exactly. [Laughter] He’s a great guy.
I couldn’t stop thinking about her. This had never happened to me before with a girl. So, what happened was that guy was leading a Bible study at the church up the road; and Taylor was going to this Bible study. I asked him (I called him up)—I said, “Do you still lead this Bible study? Is Taylor still coming to this Bible study?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Hey, I want to come to the Bible study just once because I want to come to ask Taylor out. I’m not coming for the Bible study; I’m not coming for you; I’m coming for the girl. I want to come, see her again, and ask her out. I can’t get this girl out of my head.”
He said, “Yes;” so I came—went to the Bible study.
Bob: He had feelings for her; but he said, “Yes, come on”?
Justin: See, he had kind of moved on. Something had changed.
Bob: Oh, okay.
Justin: Something had changed.
Dennis: He had fumbled the ball.
Justin: Yes. He had fumbled the ball. It was my turn. So, I went to the Bible study and sat next to Taylor. She complimented me on my Bible, which was kind of weird. I got her phone number, and I called her up the next morning—it was a Friday morning. It was my day off. I called her up on a Friday morning at 9:15 a.m. and asked her out on a date. I asked her if she wanted to go with me for a hike in the rain. It was kind of a drizzly, light rainy day in the Bay Area. I asked her out; and she said, “Let me think about it,” and hung up. She called me ten minutes later and said, “Yes.”
Dennis: Now, wait, you didn’t comment on this in the book. Why the ten-minute delay? Was she trying to count the cost of going for a walk in the mist and the rain?
Justin: What she says now is that, at first, she thought that was really weird, “Who asks a girl out at 9:15 in the morning on a Friday for a hike in the rain?” I think she was making sure I wasn’t a serial killer and all of that. She was actually with her dad at the moment and ran it by her dad. Her dad said, “Go for it!”
She called me back and said, “Yes.” We met in front of the Stanford Theatre in downtown Palo Alto, and then I took her out for this hike in the rain. It was amazing. We went for this long walk and got to know each other. Kind of the turning point in the hike was when we came to this big, mossy log in the middle of this redwood forest. It was just really romantic—really great. Later—six months later—I proposed to her at that same spot.
Bob: Dude! From seeing her in the kitchen, to the hike in the rain, and six months later, you’re engaged and ready to go?
Justin: Yes, we were pretty fast.
Bob: You—how did you know?
Justin: I’d had a dating relationship—I didn’t have many girlfriends at all before. That was kind of intentional. I was kind of wired. Maybe we can tell the story here in a bit about how I grew up and my mom’s prayers, by my bedside, as a young boy. I grew up with a strong vision and passion for marriage. It was kind of something God gave me as a young boy. I wasn’t too into the girlfriend-thing. I was into finding a wife.
I had had a dating relationship toward the end of college, where I just kept having to think about it. I was really pretty serious about it. I had to kind of reason my way into it and why I ought to be into this relationship. Once that relationship ended, I prayed and said, “God, someday put a girl in my path where I just know. I don’t even have to think about it. I just want to be with her.” That’s what He did.
Dennis: Yes, and Taylor, on the other hand—you compared her to girls who grow up, and at the age of five, know what the color, and the taste, and flavor is of their wedding cake.
Dennis: Taylor wasn’t at all like that. She was planning on being single until—
Justin: Yes, she had no interest. Taylor grew up in a home with a lot of divorce. She saw a lot of hard, hard things happen to marriages. She had no desire for marriage. She thought that she might get married, maybe, in her late 30’s, maybe, her early 40’s. She did not have her mind set or her heart set on what has happened to her. She was 23 at our wedding. We now have three young boys at home. She’s a stay-at-home mom and loves it. She loves taking care of our kids. That was not in her plan—not in her cards at all.
Dennis: We have a lot of singles who listen to this broadcast, and I think you’ve just encouraged some of them.
Dennis: That “perhaps God still does have a person for me. I need to be faithful to walk with Him and be His man (be His woman)—not panic but expect God to be at work.” Perhaps the prayers of your mother, or your father, or your grandmother will be answered with that right person.
Dennis: Take us back to your mom, when she prayed by your bedside, as a boy.
Justin: Yes; well, I grew up in a home with an incredible Christian mom who discipled me. She’s the one who led me to the Lord. We went and saw the movie Star Wars together when I was five years old. We saw the movie and saw people die in the movie. That was the first time I had really ever thought about death. On the drive home from the movie with my mom, I asked my mom (and I remember clear as day), “Mom, what happens to people when they die?”
She pulled off the side of the really busy road and shared the Gospel with me. Now, I’m sure I had heard it many times before, but that’s when I would say God got ahold of my life. I saw my sin. I saw my need for a Savior, and I was saved that day. What my mom began to do with me is she began to pray with me every night (probably even before that). One of the things she would pray with me, about every night, was for my future wife. So my mom—I think, you know, that a lot of guys don’t have anything even close to that; but I thought that was normal.
She would pray by my bedside, and we would pray for my future wife. I would just sort of imagine some girl out there somewhere—some little girl that lived somewhere and we were praying for her. So, my mom gave me, very early on, a big vision for marriage and for manhood. I thought the most exciting thing to do, as a man, was to get married—to find an amazing woman and to love her, to marry her, to have kids, to raise a family, to make an impact in the world for Jesus. To me, that was what was exciting as a young kid.
Bob: And how did that vision get planted in your heart? I mean, how did it become more than the normal, “I guess I’ll get married someday?”
Justin: That’s a great question. I think I received these prayers—the prayers of my mom—and God started to do stuff in my heart. I can remember, as a little boy, sitting there in my bed, thinking, “That sounds really exciting to me! I want to be a husband! I want to be a dad! I want to do that.”
That grew through the years as I got to know other men—as I got to see other marriages and what worked well and what didn’t work well. I just thought, “Man, this is God’s calling on my life. This is what it means to be a man!”
Dennis: You grew up in California.
Dennis: You’re the fifth generation Californian; right?
Justin: Correct; right.
Dennis: So you’ve seen some divorce. I mean, in schoolmates, friends, etc.
Dennis: There are a lot of boys and girls growing up in homes who don’t have a healthy view of marriage and family. In fact, they’re terrified.
Dennis: They’re more like Taylor than they are like you.
Dennis: What can a mom or a dad do, just as your mom did, other than pray to instill that healthy view of marriage and family?
Justin: I think you teach what the Scriptures teach. You teach that marriage—the first relationship that God ever created, in the Garden, was a marriage relationship. God has created men and women to come together. Some people will have a calling on their life of singleness, but God has created many people to come together in marriage—a man and a woman to join their lives together. As they enter this exciting adventure and this crucible called marriage, lives are transformed. Lives are changed. We come to know Christ.
Talk about it as a normal thing in your home. What I do with my boys—I have three boys—a five-year-old, a three-year-old, and a one-year-old. My two oldest boys—if you walked up to them and asked them, right now, “What do you have to do to get married?” they would tell you three things. They would say, “First, love Jesus; second, get a job; third, pick a girl who loves Jesus.” They just know, in our home, that this is this grand, exciting thing that awaits them— following Christ; having a challenging job and being able to provide (having a calling that God’s put on their life—a vocation); and, you know, finding a girl who loves Jesus
Dennis: You talk in your book about how all first dates have something in common.
Justin: Yes, all first dates have in common this—that a man acts like a man; a man makes a move; a man initiates. All of us men are wired differently, and we have different personalities; but all first dates have in common that a man takes some sort of a risk to step out and to lead a woman—to ask a woman out, to take her in a certain direction, to take a relationship in a certain direction. I think most men are afraid of that.
Bob: I was terrified! In fact, I’m thinking back to when I asked a girl out in my junior year in high school. As far as I can remember, that’s the first time I had asked a girl out on a date. It was after my buddy came and said, “No! Her friend told me she will go out with you!” I mean, I had to have—
Justin: Oh yes, you need that reassurance to start.
Bob: Even then I wasn’t sure! I mean, I remember how terrifying it was to do that; but you’re saying a part of being a man is looking that fear in the face and going, “I’ll risk it!”
Justin: Yes, I think God has called men to do that. A lot of guys are just afraid to ask women out these days. We started at my college campus—I talk about this a little bit in my book. A buddy of mine and I started what we call “The Dating Revolution”. We were getting frustrated that, at our college, which was a Christian college, there were kind of two kinds of relationships that guys and gals had. Either they had a very, very serious boyfriend-girlfriend relationship that was pretty much headed toward marriage, or guys and gals could hang out as friends. There was no sense of a man asking a woman out on a date with the purpose of getting to know her, to see if it might lead to anything.
So, we were on a run—my buddy Andy and I. We went on a run in the hills of Santa Barbara. By mile two of the run, we had gotten so frustrated, talking about the condition of things at our campus, that we said, “Let’s start ‘The Dating Revolution’ on our campus. It starts with us! This is what we’re going to do: we’re going to start asking girls on dates, even when it’s scary or even when it’s risky. We’re not going to lead them on or pretend this is going to marriage tomorrow; but we’re going to be intentional about how we do this, and we’re going to take the risk and ask girls on dates.”
We came up with a motto and chose that we would believe this motto, whether it was true or not. Our motto was, “Women want to be with us.” We just said, “Hey—”
Dennis: That’s a real humble—
Justin: Yes! [Laughter] We needed it to help our self—
Bob: To help your confidence!
Justin: Even if it was not real confidence, we needed the fake confidence to get started. So, we would tell ourselves that and just believe it, whether it was true or not. That day we started asking. We went to the dining commons at our school and asked two ladies out—we did a double date. It kind of picked up at our campus; and there are people married today, as a result of that.
Bob: But Justin, you know that the culture is such that if a guy asks a girl out on a date, then the next thing everybody is asking is, “Do you like each other? Is it serious? Is it going to go somewhere?”
Bob: So, a lot of people are like, “I can’t even ask her out on a date unless I’m ready to go buy the ring.”
Justin: Right. Right; you’ve got to deal with it. Dating is hard. You have to work through the mess.
Dennis: You’ve got to man-up and know there are some risks in asking a girl out, whether you’re 21 and in college, or whether you are 28 or 30. Everybody’s trying to get you to tie the knot.
Dennis: Just choke it down and man-up and initiate.
I like this distinction you brought about in your book where you said that first dates have this common initiative—men step out, and they’re men. You carry it over from first dates, prior to marriage—
Dennis: —to later on, after you’ve won the prize, and the competition is over. You’re saying men still need to man-up and initiate, after marriage.
Justin: Yes. I would say, in a sense, that I wrote this book because I was ticked off. I wrote this book because I was looking around at men, and at marriages, and I was mad. I was not happy with the condition of men. I was not happy with the condition of marriages. I was looking at marriages, around me, that were struggling. I was looking at men, around me, who were struggling.
I think what most (American) guys do is they date their girlfriend. They get their girlfriend to say, “Yes,” to a proposal. They get married, and they think that the mission is accomplished. They think, “Hey, I dated my girlfriend. We’re married now, and I’ve got her;” then, men kind of move on to other missions.
Sure, they might be sort of a decent husband and love their wife some; but their main mission—their main objective—becomes their new career, or some new hobby, or initiative they take on. That’s where (kind of) all of their creative energy goes. That’s where they seem to experience the most challenge that kind of energizes them.
I think, you know, that single guys don’t really know how to date. They know how to sell themselves. They know how to say, “Hey, look! This is me! This is what would make me so great as a husband.” Then they secure that wife.
But it’s the married men who are the men that really know how to date because they’ve made a covenant with a woman and they’re deciding to keep pushing that covenant forward and to lead their marriage into new territory. I think marriage brings out the best in us and the worst in us. As a man in a marriage learns how to love and lead his wife—to date his wife—through all of the ups and downs that come with a marriage covenant, that’s when the real dating begins.
Bob: We’re going to talk about married dating this week, but I’ve got to come back to the single guy because we’re going to get his letter.
Bob: He’s going to say, “Okay, I hear it. Listen, I have gone up and asked all of these women out. Some have said, ‘No;’ others have said, “Yes;’ and it’s been miserable.
Bob: “I’m just sick of it! I’m just ready to check out. It’s not working for me. It sounds great. I’d like to think that women want to be with me; but they’re telling me, ‘No, I don’t’.” What do you say to them?
Justin: Well, a couple of things. First of all, it depends on the single guy. The church I lead is full of a lot of single guys. I talk to single guys a lot. First, I just look at the single guy—to see if he knows how to put himself together and dress. Is he in shape? Does he know how to be nice? Because this guy might be a total slob and that might be his problem. He might just need to work on that.
Secondly, I would talk to people about how God will do things that you would never expect. Like Taylor’s story. Taylor never thought marriage was coming. God is bigger than our plans. He’s bigger than our desires. He’s bigger than our failures. God did something that Taylor never, ever expected.
At the time that I met Taylor, I was a youth pastor at a small church of about 250 people, where the average age in the church was 70 years old. I was the only 20-something in the church, and I thought I had just ruined my life. I had moved from Santa Barbara to the San Francisco Bay area to be this youth pastor. I just left a college town, where there were all of these girls, my age. My only options were 70-year-old widows to date. [Laughter] I wasn’t going to do that! God brought Taylor into my life at a time I least expected it. I never expected that. So, I would say that to people, “God’s going to do something!”
Bob: So you’re saying, “Get yourself where there’s some desirability about you, if you’re not there.”
Justin: Put good bait on the hook—yes! If you’re going to go fishing, you want something on that hook to go fishing. A lot of men are just mad that women are turning them down, but they haven’t looked in the mirror for a while to see what’s there. So, guys have to work on that.
Dennis: They may need some relationship training.
Justin: Yes, that would help.
Dennis: I mean, truthfully, for a lot of men, playing video games is a whole lot safer than developing a relationship with the opposite sex. Guys need to go to school and perhaps double-back with a young lady who turned you down.
Dennis: I did that, by the way. I went back to a girl—
Dennis: I had the same clammy hands that Bob had—the shakes, the whole nervous bit—but it’s a fun story because I turned to a buddy, who was a great guy, and said, “If she doesn’t go out with me, here’s a dime. You can call her and she can go out with you.” I called her on the phone and she said, “No” when I asked her if she’d like to spend an evening together, going out to eat and to a movie.
She said, “No;” so I turned to my buddy and gave him a dime and said, “You can use my car” because he didn’t have one. She said, “Yes,” for the same night. It crushed me. It crushed me; but later on, I doubled-back with her. Although it hurt at the point she delivered the truth, it ended up helping because (to your very point) I recognized how I was coming across.
Dennis: She said, “You know, you really come across like you’re a smart aleck.”
Bob: A little cocky there; maybe?
Dennis: I think there might have been a little of that.
Bob: A little bit of that?
Dennis: And I think her statements helped reduce some of that; you know?
Justin: That’s good.
Dennis: But I listened, I heard, and I learned. I think, for young men who are listening to us today, “Yes, dating is risky. If you take no risk, nothing will come to you.”
Dennis: That’s what you get when you do nothing—nothing comes to you by taking no risks.
Bob: I know that Justin’s book is called Date Your Wife. So, guys are going, “Okay, I’ll get that after I get married.” It would not hurt a single guy to go ahead and read this book and start developing a vision for what your marriage is going to be—the kind of husband you’re going to be.
We’ve got copies of Justin’s book, Date Your Wife, in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. Go online at FamilyLifeToday.com for more information about the book, Date Your Wife, by Justin Buzzard. Again, our website is FamilyLifeToday.com; or call, toll-free, at 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY”. Order a copy of Justin’s book when you get in touch with us.
While we’re on the subject of husbands, dads, and men, let me also remind you that coming up, in August, we have an event that’s going to be taking place—Saturday, August 4th. It’s a National Men’s Simulcast—the Stepping Up National Men’s Simulcast—live from Chicago. It’s going to be hosted in churches, all across the country and around the world. If you are interested in your church being a host site for this national men’s event with James MacDonald, Dennis Rainey, Crawford Loritts, and Robert Lewis, all you have to do is get in touch with us. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link for the Stepping Up National Men’s Simulcast; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and say, “We’re interested. How can we sign our church up as a host site for this event?”
I should also let you know that we have a Stepping Up men’s video series that is coming out this fall. There’s more information about the video series when you go to our website, as well. Our goal here is to, obviously, help men step up and to be the men that God has called us to be. Again, more information is at FamilyLifeToday.com; or call, toll-free, 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY”.
I should also mention that if you don’t have a copy of Dennis’ book, Stepping Up, this month, we are making that book availableas a thank-you gift to those of you who help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today. We are listener-supported. What that means is that the cost for producing and syndicating this radio program is something that is covered by folks, like you, who, from time to time, will make a donation and let us know that you’re listening—that God’s using it in your life, that you want to see it stay on this station and on our network of stations, all across the country. If you make that donation this week, we are happy to send you a copy of Dennis’ book, Stepping Up, as a way of saying, “Thank you for your support.”
Make your donation, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the button you see there that says, “I CARE”. We’ll automatically send the book to you. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. You can make a donation over the phone. Just ask for a copy of the book when you get in touch with us. Once again, we are grateful for your partnership with us and for your support of the ministry.
We want to encourage you to join us again tomorrow when we’ll talk about how Justin Buzzard got a vision for dating his wife. We’ll hear about “The Dating Revolution” that he started back when he was in college. That comes up tomorrow. Hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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