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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

The Single-Most Unavoidable Truth We’ll Ever Face

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Experience, Leadership

One minute he fit snugly in the palms of hands – at least that how I remember it, he was only just over 4 lbs after all. Then the next moment, his color began to change and suddenly I was no longer holding a thriving baby boy, I was holding a purple colored lifeless body. Panic ensued and by the looks on the faces of the nurses and the swiftness with which they pulled Riley from my arms, I could tell something was seriously wrong.

What we thought would be the end of one season of waiting only ushered us into another.

Weeks of our newborn baby boy spent in the NICU left us waiting.

Waiting to see when we could take him home, waiting to see when he could breathe on his own, waiting to see if he would gain any weight.

We were waiting.

Tom Petty certainly had it right 32 years ago. The waiting is the hardest part.

We all can relate to those words. More than that though, we can’t escape them. It’s a tension of life that is just unavoidable.

Now Riley is 6, and he’s cocking his hat slightly to the right, cause that’s what all the cool kids do, he says. He continues to surprise and impress me, constantly inviting me into the present, the now.

It’s a reminder that I often need, because father’s are always looking ahead. We are always planning, using fancy words like strategic, and while that’s part of what makes us great leaders, it’s also what can make us horrible fathers.

Life is meant to be lived in the now, not tomorrow, not next year, not next whatever, right here, right now.

Those are the moments that count.

Jeff Goins calls it “The In-Between.” His newest book actually is titled The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing. (watch the trailer here)

It comes out August 1st and having had the privilege of working with him on the launch and the book tour, in addition to reading an advanced copy, let me just say, this is a book you’re going to want to read over and over again. It’s that good. (He and I will be coming to a city near you this fall, more on that later though)

You can still pre-order it now, and get all kinds of bonuses for free. ($240 worth, to be exact!)

These are just a few awesome quotes from the book

  • “What if waiting was not some grand inconvenience, but rather the very tool God uses to shape & change us?”
  • “We don’t recognize the best moments are the ones happening right now.” 
  • “Maybe God is less concerned with what I’m doing and more concerned with who I’m becoming.”
  • “Every time we wait is an opportunity to slow down and be present in an increasingly noisy world.”
  • “In our anxiety toward not missing out, we are losing the most meaningful moments of life.”

I find myself waiting quite a bit these days, but I’m learning more and more to accept these times as the grace they truly are.

I’ve realized that in all the time I’ve wasted, spent looking ahead, ignoring the present, little did I know how much God actually cared more about who I was becoming than what I was doing.

Read those words again, because they’re true of you too!

There’s always going to be this tension, this in-between, and that’s ok because this isn’t my home.

It’s not yours either, and one day we’ll both know this and experience it firsthand.

What are you waiting for these days?

How could understanding that the in-between moments are the ones that are most powerful, change the way you live your life?

Share in the comments below!


Posted on: July 29, 2013

Why Saying No Is Sometimes Better Than Saying Yes

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Leadership

Recently, I was contacted by an artist, that were I to mention their name to you, you’d most certainly think I was awesome. I could play it all cool and name drop it like it’s hot and you’d probably look at me differently and would say something like, “oh man, do you think you could get me tickets or an autograph or…”

I know this because even a couple of my closest friends, who I love and respect did just that.

Why Saying No Is Sometimes Better Than Saying Yes

Photo Credit: Robb North via Compfight cc

Funny how that works!

Now I’ve been blessed to work alongside some truly gifted people. I’ve watched oceans of fans, scream and worship at the altar of adoration. And I’ve been a part of some of the awesomest experiences you could ever imagine!

It would have been a great joy and honor to work with this particular artist, and maybe one day I will.

But as of right now, who knows.

I’ve not been told yes, or no.

And that’s frustrating.

But it got me to thinking about how many other times in my life, I’ve sat waiting for a response of some kind.

So many times I’ve either mustered up the courage to ask for help, or cried out in agony seeking help, only to be on the receiving end of a giant abyss created by the absence of response.

“You’re actions speak so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

As a man and father, I’m teaching my kids, especially my boys, the power of their words. But even in that message rests an even greater truth – that the absence of our words says more than our spoken or written words ever could.

Something mystical happens when we speak words into existence or write them down. (that would be an awesome tweet)

I’m learning that as a leader, one of the greatest gifts I can give someone is the gift of a no.

And if you’re anything like me, that’s hard to do. I want to please everyone, make everyone happy. I exhaust tremendous amounts of energy trying to stay one step ahead, managing everyone’s expectations and trying to ensure their needs are met.

This is dangerous, not to mention, an incredibly unhealthy way to live.

But we don’t always choose to live healthy lives, do we?

Instead we do whatever it takes to meet our perceived need or unmet longing – many times at the risk of being healthy.

That’s why we refuse to respond sometimes, or resist to set a boundary, telling someone no. We’re afraid we’ll make a mistake, or even worse, hurt someone’s feelings.

“Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.” James 5:12 NLT

It’s one of the simplest definitions of character and integrity, letting our yes be our yes and our no be our no.

I can’t tell you how many times I would have loved to hear a simple no.

Whether it was from an employer, or from a friend, to have been told no would have been so much sweeter to hear, than the cavernous echo of nothing.

What would you rather hear?

Being told no can be a beautiful thing, because it sets a boundary, and boundaries are good things. (another awesome tweet)

Have you ever been on the receiving end of that cavernous echo?

Have you ever been in a situation where you were glad to hear a no?

Share your comments below!



Posted on: July 19, 2013

I’m Sorry Is No Longer Good Enough

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Community, Leadership

I often communicate about the power of our words. Words, both written and spoken, posses a raw innate power to dramatically alter the course of any outcome for good and bad. History provides us with some pretty clear pictures of such instances. Roosevelt’s speech after the Pearl Harbor attack, JFK’s inaugural address, the movie The King’s Speech, and Martin Luther King Jr’s I have a dream speech are just a few examples that continue to gift us with images and memories of times both triumphant and harrowing.

Additionally, it’s easy to weaponize our words, wounding others with them and even easier to weaponize the lack of our words, inflicting a whole different kind of injury.

I'm sorry

Consider these 2 exercises.

First, try to remember back to the first time someone you loved dearly told you they loved you back. Think about how that felt? Try to remember the details. Where were you? What were you wearing? What were the sights, sounds and smells? I bet you can remember every little thing about that experience.

Second, think back to a moment when you were wounded by someone’s words. Something may have happened and you just needed to be reminded of your worth. You just needed to be told you were loved or gently reminded that everything would be ok. Ask yourself the same questions above. What stands out to you from this memory?

Moments and experiences like these create markers in our lives. Those markers are what shape our stories and give us clues into our own hearts.

This is precisely why I no longer say the words “I’m sorry” when seeking forgiveness.

And lets face it, I’m a guy and have to do this often! Too often I’m afraid.

The words “I’m sorry” are far to easy to say. They carry almost no weight and frankly cost very little to say. We say we’re sorry when we bump into someone in a mall or when we accidentally get in someone’s way. We say we’re sorry when we forget to hold the door open for the person who sneaks in behind us, or when we laugh out loud in a library. We say we’re sorry to the trite and trivial but when we find ourselves needing to ask forgiveness, the words “I’m sorry” simply just aren’t enough.

Think about it this way.

You’ve been crushed. Your heart is in pain and someone has just wounded you dearly. What would you rather hear in that place; “I’m sorry” or “I need your forgiveness, would you forgive me?”

The words “Forgive Me” carry a whole different weight. They invoke a different context, a disarming context. They communicate an understanding of what was made wrong, and a need for it to be made right. Healing is made possible because of this.

And wouldn’t you rather be a part of the healing process instead of hindering it?

Tim Keller writes an awesome article on Forgiveness, Healing and Reconciliation here. I won’t try to summarize it because I could never come close to do that well, but I love how he says it comes at a cost and is at the very heart of what it means to be a christian.

We all make mistakes. We all cross boundaries. We all hurt and wound others with our words, but next time try being intentional and using the words “forgive me” instead of “I’m sorry” and see what happens.

What do you find yourself saying more often “I’m sorry” or “Forgive me?” What would you rather hear?

Share in the comments below!


Posted on: July 2, 2013

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