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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.

Posts Tagged ‘being’

My Greatest Challenge In Life So Far (And Yours Too!)

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Misc

We all face challenges. Each and everyday presents a new one. Sometimes they are small ones and sometimes they are giant-sized-man-eating-zombie-robot kind of challenges. Ok that might be a little far-fetched but it sure did roll off the tongue kind of nice, but you get the picture. Our response to those challenges gives us a starting point and a pretty good definition of the word character.

Phrases like “when the going gets tough, the tough get going,” and “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” are used to inspire us, but mostly come across as ridiculous platitudes from those who say them, because clearly they haven’t had to face the same kind of challenges that you and I have. (at least that’s what we judge anyway)

challenge of comparison

Photo Credit: William Hook via Compfight cc

And recently, I had a conversation with someone who blew me away. Within the first few sips of my warm tasty beverage, he admitted that his life has been relatively easy. He had always had a good job that paid well, his marriage and family never presented much conflict, and frankly never experienced any needs that weren’t met.

I nearly spit out my drink!

My first thought, was “man, how awesome is it that this person acknowledges this,” and then my second thought was “man, I wish I could say that!

That’s immediately when the trap door opened and I fell right in.

I have struggled more with comparing myself to other people and their stories of success and failure, than any other challenge in my life. In different seasons, it’s been completely debilitating.

Comparison will steal from you

As a kid in school, I used to get in a bit of trouble, especially early on. Everything came easy to me, and the teacher would never move fast enough. After being put in all the advanced classes they had, I still found myself pretty much bored.

Learning new things, and understanding how things worked, have always come easy to me so at 15, I was the youngest kid ever accepted into Compaq’s (now HP) internship program.

Even as an adult, if something needs to be fixed, I can fix it, or if something needs to be built or done, I’m your guy.

What’s awesome about that is, it’s created in me, an insatiable desire to learn and continue to grow. I’m a student of business, culture, life, technology, and just about anything else you can think of.

But the dark side of that has created in me a nasty comparison monster.

And the truth is the best way to lose your voice is to compare it to someone else’s [I’d love it if you would tweet that]

I’d love to sit here and tell a before and after story for you, but that would be dishonest. While I have experienced a tremendous amount of growth in this area, it is something that I have to constantly keep in check. The good news is that trap door has become easier to see, which allows for me to avoid it more frequently.

A trigger for my growth recently came from hearing Jon Acuff talk about not comparing my beginning to someone else’s middle or end.

That was tremendously powerful for me to allow to take root.

So how do we avoid it?

Avoiding the trap door of comparison is easier said than done, but here are a couple of the things I’ve done that have helped me.

  1. Stay connected to your community. Comparison loves isolation. They are distant cousins and love when you give them reason to get together and have a blast wrecking your thought life.
  2. Give a few people permission to remind you of who you are. This might be hard at first, but over time, when you allow people to speak into your being, it’s amazing what you’ll see happen.
  3. Believe that God has you right where you are. There is rest to be found in this place. I challenge you to experience it.

Creating the Awesome in life, church, business or whatever project you’re engaged in, will be sabotaged if you allow comparison to overtake you like it used to for me.

The most important thing to know is that we must learn from the experiences of others but not compare them with our own.

Do you struggle with comparison? What have done that has helped you and could help the rest of us as well?

Share your thoughts below!


Posted on: June 21, 2013

What Do You Need?

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Community, Leadership

Photo Credit: milos milosevic via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: milos milosevic via Compfight cc

It’s probably one of the most important questions you can ever be asked.

And your answer, honestly, communicates more about your state of being, than anything else.

The unfortunate reality is most of us don’t have the slightest clue as to the answer.

Most of the time, simply being asked this question throws us in to some kind of a unexpected tail spin, where we’re scrambling to get out of having to answer at all.

I mean it’s awkward, if you think about it, having someone intently look in your eyes and sincerely ask you what you need. That sort of thing just doesn’t happen much.

The other day I was told a Production Manager was needed to come help rescue an event that had suddenly ballooned into a much larger, more exquisite experience. Naturally I was overjoyed, because I love creating awesome experiences!

And that’s what Creating the Awesome is all about.

Asking you what you need, and helping you get it. And if you don’t happen to know the answer, then even better, I’d love to help you get there.

So as I sit here in beautiful Marrakech, Morocco, I’m asking you that same question.

What do you need?

Yeah, that, what was that? That thing that just popped in your head?

Jot it down, email it to me, write it in the comments below.

Nothing is too silly, or too outrageous an answer.

Besides, what do you have to lose?

Nothing gives me more joy than knowing your stories, and knowing how I can help!

The really cool thing, I mean the coolest thing ever, is I actually respond! Not some virtual executive assistant, or some back door automated response.



So give it a shot, let me know what you need. I bet you’ll be surprised at just how much I can help!


Posted on: May 27, 2013

Worship Wednesday: Resolving the Tension

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Worship Wednesday

From Josh: Worship Wednesday has become one of my most favorite things. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the guest posts that continue to be submitted! If you’re passionate about worship and would like to contribute a guest post, I’d love to hear from you! Email me at josh [at] thejoshcollins [dot] com!

Picture an orchestra. It’s a beautiful night and you’re dressed up in your fanciest of clothes. Your beautiful love is beside you and you’ve been anticipating this evening for quite some time. It was difficult getting the tickets, not to mention expensive. But now you’re finally here and the orchestra has loaded onto the stage. The lights have dimmed and out walks the conductor. He bows, receives the applause, and immediately after waves to introduce the first chair violinist. More applause. Now it’s time to begin. The conductor taps on the music stand with his baton. This is it. The majestic music is about to begin. For a brief moment you can almost feel the air get sucked out of the room. The baton starts to come down and then suddenly, it stops.

Photo Credit: ian boyd via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: ian boyd via Compfight cc

This is the world in which we live.

This is the world in which our worship happens.

This is the precipice. The tension of the already and the not yet.

And we’re absolutely powerless to change it.

It’s the tension worship leaders and pastors face all the time. Is it a performance or is it just worship? Is it a message, given from The Father, or is it a piece of marketing for the business?

One response might be to judge certain things as right or wrong. Another might be to just point out the “other,” chastise it, moving on, affirming our way is better. But I’m not convinced either one is a healthy and necessary response.

I love the conversations that Carlos Whitaker has been having recently. In his usual jovial style, he’s asking hard questions, provoking the tension.

My response is a belief that the focus shouldn’t be on resolving the tension at all. To me that strikes as man’s attempt to elevate one’s self and produce some form of finality in a temporal setting. But sadly, this just isn’t possible.

The tension is here to stay. (Until everything is made whole again, according to the provision of The Gospel.)

And as unpleasant as that is sometimes, it is precisely how we are all called to live. In the tension of the already and the not yet.

In the remake of the 1951 classic The Day the Earth Stood Still,Keanu Reeves (arguably both the greatest and the worst actor of all time {if you don’t believe me just watch Point Break again}) makes an incredible insight in response to the notion that it’s at the precipice we change. In the movie this is where he changes his mind and decides to save the Earth instead of continuing to allow it to be destroyed. Sorry to spoil it for you, if you haven’t already seen it.

The point though, and why I think that applies to you and I, is because continuing to live in the precipice, I believe, is where the greatest beauty in life comes from.

Our worship wasn’t meant to come from a place of having everything figured out, everything resolved. If it does, it’s not authentic, and certainly not awesome.

The Message puts it this way:

“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” John 4:24

This should provide comfort to you. No one, no matter their status, celebrity or claim to fame, has it all figured out when it comes to worship. For some being silhouetted and hidden, as Carlos points out, works for their local church. For others the absence of drums, or any instruments for that matter is what works. And for others still, the use rock star production works.

Whatever it is, as John 4 puts it, it’s who we are and the way we live that count. And as long as it comes from our being, our true selves, in the midst of the all the tension, then that’s extravagant worship.

What does worship look like and sound like for your local church? Would you change anything?

I want to hear from you. Communicating, to me doesn’t make much sense unless it’s applicable to you, so share your thoughts in the comments below.

Posted on: May 22, 2013

Is Your Heart Condition Keeping You From Engaging Your Audience?

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Experience

I’m excited today because I’ve been invited by Technologies for Worship Magazine, (TFWM), to write a monthly column for their digital magazine. TFWM is the leading educational technology resource for houses of worship. You can go here to find out more about them. Here is a link to my article.

But enough about me, I’ve been thinking about something for a while now and I believe it’s incredibly important if you are to Create the Awesome with your passions.

Let me begin by asking you this one question.

Is your heart condition keeping you from engaging your audience?

That may not make sense, so let me explain.

Courtesy of Hugo Campus

Courtesy of Hugo Campus

In my career of working with influencers who have huge audiences, I have witnessed many great successes. Last monday, I briefly described how I witnessed Stevie Wonder over and over again, capture and engage his audience, creating awesome experiences. This has obviously led to a very long and successful career. But more often than not, what I’ve witnessed are artists, entertainers, pastors, speakers, and leaders missing the mark on engaging their audience.

It is no longer enough to just simply connect with your audience. Having the most Facebook likes, or retweets on Twitter, or even comments on a blog post should never become the benchmark for your success. If you are going to truly make a difference, you must engage your audience. And before you think or make some kind of agreement with yourself, saying that you do not have an audience, let me be quick to point out that we ALL have an audience, whether we recognize them or not. We all have been given permission by someone to impact them.

[It is no longer enough to just simply connect with your audience, making a difference means you must engage them.] [tweet that if you like]

Because your audiences have extremely short attention spans, 8 seconds roughly, you must make it a point to be intentional with every single move you make, and word you speak. While that may sound intimidating and impossible, it really isn’t if you choose to put in the hard work necessary, dealing with your heart condition.

Have you ever heard the phrase, the heart of a man, or the heart of the issue, or something along those lines?

At the core of every single difficult season or event in life, rests an issue with the heart. How you choose to respond tells the secret, revealing the condition of your heart. There should be little doubt that there is a battle going on all around you, but a battle not just for your minds as the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10, but also for your heart. Your heart is where life emanates from and where your words overflow (Matthew 12:34).

Using some simple google economics, subtracting the references to the once great band, Heart, there are roughly 156 million sites discussing the heart. There are well over 64 million book references to the heart and 281 million articles referring to the heart. Obviously, you can see there is a trend here.

So it stands to reason that if you ignore the condition of your heart, you will continue to not only frustrate your efforts but also frustrate your audience, robbing them from the engagement they so desperately seek.

[If you ignore the condition of your heart, you will frustrate your efforts and your audience.] [tweet that as well]

So what then

Now there are numerous ways I’ve witnessed this play out over the years, but probably the biggest way is through the lack of being present.

I love the contrasting definition that Psychology Today offers for what it means to not be present.

“If we are not present, we are simultaneously living in the past and anticipating the future, working from a script that is a crucible for forging an expectation based on our past.”

As you can see from that definition, it would be virtually impossible to connect with any audience, never mind engage one.

All of us can relate to that definition at one time or another. Some of you consistently live there.

So here are 5 actionable items you can take, to begin the journey back to being present.

  1. Get alone, and close your eyes.
  2. Take several deep breaths.
  3. Concentrate on the what and where. What are you feeling? Where are you feeling it?
  4. Speak those emotions, naming them out loud.
  5. Take more deep breaths.

Like I said, these things merely begin the process. Many times, this journey toward living a life of being present takes some very hard work and involves the assistance of a community and a professional counselor or therapist. Have no fear though, speaking from experience, I can assure you, the peace that lies on the other side is worth every ounce of energy invested.

I decided to write The Awesome Manifesto partly because I’ve seen this play out year after year. You can get it for FREE by subscribing to my newsletter. You can either enter your email address in the box below or sidebar above, following the steps, or just click on the cover of The Awesome Manifesto and that will take you the landing page and tell you more about it as well. I’d love for you to join me in Creating the Awesome!

What stirs in you when you read the definition of what it means to not be present? What scripts are you letting deceive you?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Posted on: May 6, 2013

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Josh Collins
Franklin, TN
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