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Josh has an incredible heart for God and is passionate about helping create environments that lead people to experience God.  He has tremendous gifts that enable him to help churches advance the Kingdom of God.

6 Things I learned From Passion 2014

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Church, Community, Experience, Leadership, Worship

Being an Experience Architect I’ve followed and watched numerous so-called movements come and go over the past 20 years. I love to sit with my inquisitive look and watch closely as they emerge, grow, spread, and take root with different audiences.

I dare say no movement has had any greater impact on me personally than the Passion movement.

6 Things I Learned From Passion 2014

photo via Louie’s instagram feed

This past weekend over 17,000 students ages 18-25 gathered in Houston, Tx for the second weekend of Passion 2014. My sadness, for not being able to attend was quickly turned to joy upon hearing late Friday evening that the whole event would be streamed live for FREE! (They’ll be replaying all 6 sessions today, so in case you missed it, go here to watch.)

Passion’s Conferences have always been a leader in terms of producing awesome experiences, and Houston’s was no different. With dynamic speakers like Louie Giglio, Francis Chan, Beth Moore, Judah Smith, and lead worshippers like Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Kristian Stanfill, and Christy Nockels, Passion 2014 was an experience that challenged and impacted thousands of lives.

While I have pages of notes, here are some of initial takeaways that I think you’ll be challenged by as well. (I’ve personalized these, but I think you’ll get the idea and in turn personalize them for yourself as well.)

1. Similar to Isaiah, when I see the Father, see the cross, and ultimately experience the gospel, I come to understand that it was MY cross that Christ died on for ME. It was MY death that He died. It was MY shame, MY guilt that He chose to endure to give me the hope of heaven.

Experiencing this gospel takes me to my knees. It’s a point of no return, and gives me the only lens by which everything else makes sense.

2. I often pick the wrong fights. This area is honestly something I’m going to really have to seek the Father in over the coming months. So many times I allow the “shiny objects,” whatever those may be at any given moment to distract me, robbing and stealing my margin, joy, and ultimately my strength.

From a place of peace and rest, I can pierce the darkness carrying the message that I’ve been uniquely created to carry.

3. My position determines the direction of my steps. Too often I say that I know that I am in Christ, but live as though it’s my will and move out into the world in my power. This is backward and ineffective. It’s what contributes to the maddening cycles I experience over and over again.

The simple truth is that I am in Christ. I am a new creation. No longer do I need to waste the emotional and mental bandwidth fretting over things that steal my peace. This again is connected to peace and rest.

4. I am standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before me. Often times I carry the unnecessary weight of believing that I have to figure it all out. This can’t be farther from the truth. The holy discontent that burns in my soul is a means of grace. It’s a vehicle by which I can know the Father in all His glory even more.

My rest here is found in knowing what the Father has called me to, He is the one who is faithful to complete. It’s HIS reputation at stake, not mine. I am not my own. That’s the path to abiding in His perfect peace.

5. I live in a world with a constant barrage of messaging seeking to inform a pervasive sense of entitlement. The brutal reality here is that the only thing I’ve been entitled to is death. And I’m absolutely entitled to that. This isn’t the sort of news we like to discuss much but it should be what leads us to worship. My defensiveness to the reminder of my own brokenness is an indicator of exactly where I still need healing.

No entitlements, no earthly achievements deserve my boasting. The only thing that truly deserves my boasting is the complete and finished work of Christ on the cross for me.

6. Experiencing the gospel does 3 things to me. It stuns me, sears me, and sends me out. I can barely talk about my story of grace without breaking down, not because it’s any better than anyone else’s but because I know the before and after. I know where I’ve come from. I know what life used to look like.

This stunning experience of grace has seared me, marked me, and forever changed me. I am no longer my own. Having been bought with a price, it is now my purest pleasure to be sent out retelling His story.

While these 6 takeaways are just a start to the many notes I made, I could realistically go on and on about Passion and Louie and Shelley Giglio, and the team they’ve assembled to lead the Passion Movement. I’ve been fortunate enough to know many of them for years now and without a doubt they continue to show me what authentic worship and leadership truly looks like.

If you watched the live stream, or were able to attend in person what were your takeaways? I’d love hear them!

If you didn’t but would like to catch the replay, click here and you can watch all 6 sessions for FREE! You don’t want miss it!

NOTE: If this is the first time you’ve visited thejoshcollins [dot] com, then welcome! I’m glad you’re here! It would give me no greater joy than to give you a FREE copy of The Awesome Manifesto just because, well, I want to! You can either click subscribe or enter your best email address below and in a few short moments, you’ll have in your hands (via your screen that is) the most important truth you’ll ever come to know!

Posted on: February 17, 2014

You’ll Be Known By Your Love

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Church, Community, Experience, Marriage

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Valentine’s day. Ok that’s not entirely correct, it’s more hate than love. I think most married men can relate to those feelings. Mostly because the one word that seems to be synonymous with Valentine’s day is the word expectations. In a relationship it’s hard enough to not have expectations and around holidays they certainly seem to get ratcheted up to another level.

But what I do love, not just about Valentine’s day, but any other day for that matter is loving people. I love communicating and giving someone an experience so they know they are valued, seen, and loved just as they are.

I’ve had many conversations with my single friends who tell me how hard this holiday is for them. They often feel left out, singled out, out-of-place, and without a home.

Without a home! Can you imagine feeling that?

They have told me how even their closest friends tend to gloss over their reality and often times don’t even reach out at all. It’s in these conversations I hear both a tremendous amount of pain and a beautiful amount of opportunity to experience the gospel.

Scripture is pretty clear here, for us who believe.

“I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.” John 13:34-45

So you know what would be awesome today?

Instead of withdrawing into a somewhat normal routine with all things familiar, how about you reach out to the person next to you who is feeling left out, singled out, out-of-place, and without a home.

Instead of buying the most expensive gift, or most expensive bouquet of flowers, how about you pick up the phone and call that person, take them to coffee or to a movie.

Even better, organize something with them and your family.

Show them the gospel.

Let them experience the gospel by your love for them.

Include them rather than being another reminder to them that they are different on this holiday.

That would create something truly awesome!

Posted on: February 14, 2014

The One Thing No One Escapes

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Community

Note: I am extremely honored and proud to share a piece of beautiful prose from one of my closest friends, Glenn Taylor. I could write hundreds of words on who Glenn is and why he is the very best man among men, but they would never come close. Instead I’ll let him him do it — I was created to reflect a glory of purely connecting with others, helping them while living completely transparent — without fear — and that is who my Father sees when he looks at me and that is who he says that I am.
The Fear

Photo Credit: raffacama via Compfight cc

The Fear

I feel the tingling down in my feet.

A sick feeling deep in my gut that shakes me to my core.

My head tells me I’ve been here before and will be again… and again.

My head tells me I have to figure it all out… and that I am alone.

My head droops… I walk without purpose… shuffling along without direction, wanting to hide.

I hear myself saying I am alone…

The small voice tells me he was always with me — I was never alone.

I want to get sick and throw out the poison from somewhere deep.

In my chest my heart beats loudly and I am suddenly aware of it.

I breathe deeply and look at the parts which add up to something bad.

And though the parts don’t add up — I will not fear.

Though everything swirls around me like a tornado whipping about — I will not fear.

Catastrophe surrounds me at every angle — I cannot fear — it is not courage I am drawing up but something different — it is different.

The sickening poison of fear must come out from my gut… from deep in my soul — from the dreaded past.

The sum whole should not equal peace and yet somehow the promise is for peace.

Even retelling my very story should raise the fear and invite it all back into that space shaped just for it.

Yet retelling my story points to unexplainable joys and treasures in the middle of the pain, snapshot gifts of life.

And as I quiet my soul again I think I hear the small voice speak a word — or a name I need to hear….FEARLESS.

How I question what I think I’ve heard

I refute and reject it entirely and try to move on…

Scenes flash before my eyes… scenes from the past but this time viewed through a different paradigm.

With the new perspective what I saw were not cowardly scenes but knowing the internal fears those actions looked brave — is that how you see me?

Standing strong in the face of many fears, crippling fear…

My old mate — not a friend but an occupant of my soul that knows me too well — the enemy that drains my heart.

You know me all too well and yet you demand everything, all of my space, all of my energy… it is never enough for you… you want everything.

I go back to the Well to draw more strength… when I bring up the bucket there is only that word again…FEARLESS.

Really Father?  Is that what you think?

Again he shows me evidence of men who are afraid who become bold, men who lie who become a rock of virtue, men who steal from others who become the biggest generous givers. The economy of what is seen does not equal what they became, a new name was given and a trajectory of an incredible destiny.

What I was told all of my life… all of the stories — they push back — they try to ground me… but they will not overcome this new foothold of hope.

The wave of dread will not envelope me into darkness this time… it roars at me with all of its might — anger and roaring… but deep inside in my soul is an untouchable foothold that feels some type of unexplainable peace.

Although outwardly I shake I continue to press forward… one step, then another…. My father sends a message through brothers —”take the next step”— and by only focusing on the next step — and that step only — I have less space for the fear to try to rush back in.

Do you know the fear Glenn speaks of here? Where do you go with that fear? What do you do with it?

Share in the comments below.

Posted on: January 31, 2014

This Is Where Life Is Found

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Experience

A couple friends of mine, Jeff Goins and Shaun Groves, are currently in Uganda with a great organization called Compassion International. They are part of a group of bloggers working with Compassion to celebrate and tell the story of all that God has done in 5 years of working in that country. (You should follow the whole team on Twitter)

I’ve worked alongside Compassion for years now and sponsor a child myself. If you’re currently not sponsoring one of these awesome kids through Compassion, then now is the perfect opportunity. With this trip, their team has set a goal of sponsoring 400 kids, and you can be a part of making that goal a reality.

Where Life is Found

Photo Credit: reurinkjan via Compfight cc

Thinking about these guys and the experience they are embarking on, led me to remember a trip I made to Tibet many years ago.

I’ll spare you the details, but one of my fondest memories from Tibet was the experience of sitting there atop the highest peak in the village where I was staying. The Tibetan Plateau is often referred to as “The Roof of the World,” so you can imagine the view I had in those sacred moments.

I’ve never forgotten the vision I had atop that mountain. The sky was so clear I could see for miles and miles. There appeared to be tiny villages one after another, scattered all throughout the valley below.

What a truly awesome perspective to behold.

I still refer back to those memories from time to time, and to this day they still teach me a great a lesson.

We were not created to live atop the mountain.

It was obvious to me, sitting there on that peak, where life could be found. On that ledge, I was alone, I was isolated. But I could see all across the valley, one village after another, full of life.

The air was so thin, yet so pure, I easily found myself struggling to catch my breath after the climb. Listening to the team leaders’ wisdom, I made sure to bring some water and a few snacks with me that day. “It’s too dangerous, attempting to climb without the right provisions,” they said. And of course they were right.

Do you know what I found up on that mountain? Nothing. Nothing apart from what I brought up of course.

Aside from the well-worn path other travelers had made, there was nothing but me, the view, and the glory of God. Were I to get thirsty or hungry up there, I would have been in trouble had it not been for the little things I brought with me.

I may have traveled up that mountain with just a few supplies, but I sure did come down with a whole lot more.

My journey has led me to experience numerous valleys since those weeks spent in Tibet. I’ve agonized as I’ve trekked through them, wanting to relive that mountain top experience again. In the silence and in the hard providence of those valleys, I’ve looked back, wanting to once again behold that majestic view.

In some ways, life was simpler there. My vision was cut and dry. Things were segmented and fit in their little pockets better from that angle. On top of that mountain, it was easy to see what’s ahead, down below, and around the bend.

I imagine that’s a bit of what Moses felt, after spending 40 days atop that mountain. I hear him thinking how much he longed to return to that glorious beauty, that marvelous wonder.

But the fact is we were not created to live on the mountain.

In the valley there is life, and in the valley is where your invitation stands before you. (tweet and share)

That invitation doesn’t sit idle though, it’s calling your name. It’s passionately pursuing you. Eldredge speaks of this in The Sacred Romance.

Similar to how my friends left the country and are pursuing those in Uganda, the Father came down in pursuit of you.

How will you answer? How will you respond?

What happens next, sets the course of your life.

Have you had an experience like mine in Tibet? What lessons did it teach you?

Share in the comments below!

Posted on: January 29, 2014

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Josh Collins
Franklin, TN
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