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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 ‘grace’

A New Year = New Beautiful Things.

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Worship

Note: A word of quick thanks, I am so blown away by not only the sheer number of responses to this year’s Reader Survey but also to the responses themselves. Reading them, I found myself feeling extremely honored and blessed that you guys would share some of the things you did with regards to your hopes and dreams and needs for this year. Trust me when I say, I don’t take them lightly! I’ll announce the winner to the $25 Amazon Gift Card on Wednesday. While it’s too late to win, if you haven’t given me your feedback through my 2014 Reader Survey, then feel free to do so now. Just click here. Your feedback is needed and greatly appreciated!

Maybe you’ve seen this video below, maybe you haven’t. It doesn’t really matter.

Take a look, but pay special attention to the words.

I often write about the power of our words.

They matter and can be used to breathe life or become weaponized and used to rob life.

I love what my friend Jody Noland is doing with Leave Nothing Unsaid. She’s leading a tribe to see the unseen and speak to it, bringing light and life, where there is darkness. It’s an absolutely beautiful thing.

It’s already Monday the 6th day of 2014 and for some, the new words, the new resolutions, and the new dreams have already given way to failure and despair.

For some, the first 3 lines of this song perfectly depict a recurring theme.

All this pain,
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way,
I wonder if my life could really change at all

If that’s you, oh that you would know that there is more grace from where last year’s grace came from. It’s enough to completely and thoroughly provide for your every need.

I was struck by the chorus of this song this past weekend.

Perhaps it’s been a while since someone else spoke some powerful words to you, reminding you that you are a beautiful thing. That you are loved, cherished and treasured above all else. That no matter what shame may say, or failure may say, or even what the past might claim, God still makes beautiful things.

He is making all things new.

Experiencing the gospel starts with knowing that those words aren’t referring to only a future promise but rather a current reality.

He is taking what you see as a mess and is actively involved in the process of turning it into a beautiful message.

You might start to say something like “yeah, but…”

But I’ll just be blunt and cut you off because the end of that sentence is always a lie.

So regardless if you’re batting 1000 with the resolutions, or darn near perfect with your hustle this new year, may you find rest to know the word of The Lord.

“But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19

Question for you:

What are some of the resolutions you’ve made this year? How’s it going so far?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Posted on: January 6, 2014

I’ll Never Get Caught, Part 2 [Mistakes in Marriage: #9]

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Marriage

Note: Having recently celebrated 10 years of marriage, I began a series of stories, or rather mistakes I’ve made in those 10 years. I hope that through these deep, personal stories, you’ll come to see, as I have, the gloriously beautiful experience of the Gospel that is marriage. Make sure you’re signed up for email updates so you won’t miss any of them. In addition I’ll be doing a pretty cool giveaway at the end of this series to my awesome friends who have signed up so don’t be left out of that as well!

I'll Never Get Caught, Part 2

We don’t like pain. We do everything we possibly can to avoid it. We’ll ignore the elephant in the room and live in complete denial sometimes to avoid dealing with the dark pain in our lives.

We’re quite good at this self medicating, I certainly know it to be true in marriage as well.

As you’ve previously read in Part 1 and throughout the rest of this series, I’ve faced many demons in my life, least of which was the noose of pornography. Though these mistakes in this series are limited to 10, trust me when I say I could go on and on for months on end.

I don’t know why I’ve always had to learn the hard way. Perhaps it’s because I’ve grown up with trust issues, and have always found it difficult to trust where others have been and what others say. Or perhaps it’s been because I was abandoned by my father, and even after looking him up, meeting him one afternoon, he still refused to have anything to do with me. Whatever it is, I’ve always had to figure things out for myself.

Oh I can see the beautiful redemption in that now, but it hasn’t made the grief any easier to handle.

But then there’s that, knowing that God promises to never give us more than we can handle, or more appropriately communicated as He’ll always give us what causes us to rely solely on Him.

And for me that’s written some very painful chapters in my story.

So it’s hard to continue this story and tell you that getting caught wasn’t just about pornography. That what didn’t stop there ultimately led to affairs, and separations, and the near divorce of my marriage.

When Mary left that first time, as I said I was shocked. Naturally I reacted defensively and immediately tried to recover, attempting to make things sound not near as bad as they truly were. Of course then, I couldn’t see through the log in my eye, to see just how bad things were.

No unfortunately it took several more dark nights of the soul, several more separations, several more come to Jesus meetings for the veil to be lifted.

Because of all the hard work in counseling and therapy I’ve done, I now know, that for this issue, the enemy’s greatest weapon is in convincing men that there is this sliding scale with porn. That there are categories of wrongness. Divisions which require different responses.

That’s a lie. There is no justification for this sick sin.

Let me be perfectly clear for a moment. Pornography is a dangerous sin, and scriptures tell us one very clear thing about sin. It leads to death. Period. The End. So if you’re reading this and somehow sitting on the fence or struggling in any way, shape, or form, stop. Get help. Nothing, no nothing, will change in your marriage or in any relationship, while you’re secretly indulging in this depravity.

There is good news though! Luckily for all us, Romans chapter 3 doesn’t stop at verse 23. There is a verse 24. And that verse 24 gives us hope.

“Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.”

So how have Mary and I survived? How have I learned to walk in freedom?

Well I’ll let Mary speak for herself, but I can tell you firsthand, I boast in only two things with regards to my marriage — The Gospel and Grace.

Were it not for The Gospel, we would not be here. Our marriage would not have survived and our kids would have become just another statistic, just another product of a broken home.

Even still what has that looked like?

It’s looked like hours upon hours of counseling. Countless numbers of tears shed in rooms filled with those that love us dearly and those that have said hard things, spoken truth in love to us (me).

Specifically for me, it’s looked like being known by a small group of men, and allowing myself to be spoken to man to man. But most of all, it’s been the divine work of The Father in my heart and life.

For years I tried everything. I performed my way, and worked my way using every trick and tool available, unable to see that I was my own worst enemy. I was my own problem. Because at the core of all those attempts, all that trying, was me trying to accomplish something in me, of me, by me, and for me.

And you know what that was?

Me trying to be my own god. And the scriptures are pretty clear about that as well. That’s called idol worship.

Only Christ has the power to lift the veil that covers our eyes, that keeps us from seeing ourselves clearly. Oh we try real hard to do that ourselves, but it’s always in vain. It’s always a foolish attempt. Our lives would be better served to just simply get out-of-the-way and let The Spirit do his work.

I have learned that only when the adoration of Christ is at the center our life, do we experience freedom.

Experiencing the gospel means that whatever was our treasure, has been replaced by The Treasure of Christ. (you can tweet that if you like)

Now does all this mean that Mary and I’s marriage resembles the iconic facade that was the made famous in Leave it to Beaver? No, of course not. But I would say, now more than ever, it more closely resembles the metaphor that Christ intended it to be.

Marriage is His creation, and His ultimate vehicle for you and I to be made into more of who He created us to be — in His image.

I cry tears of joy when I speak about how what I know of God’s grace, I’ve been taught by my beautiful wife. There is no one on this planet who I’ve harmed more than her, and yet through it all, no one has shown me more grace, love and acceptance.

There is no one I’d rather be living this story with, than her.

My heart aches for those that currently struggle in hiding, and the marriages that are secretly hurting. Part of why I’m so passionate about speaking and teaching on authentic community is because I’ve experienced the gospel firsthand through them time and time again.

We have an enemy who tries to tell us that no one will understand, that we’ll be cast out and unloved because of our dark secrets, but the truth is you are not alone. And the only way you’re going to experience that for yourself is by taking the first steps towards authentic community.

Thank you to those who have shared their stories with me via email, in the comments below, on Twitter and Facebook! Continue to do so, you never know who is reading, and being encouraged to take the next step because of what you share!

Posted on: November 1, 2013

How I Remember Brennan Manning

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Church

I’ll never forget that day, walking through the hotel, stumbling across him. Here sat this great contemplative, sitting there on the couch almost as if he were waiting for me, expecting me to sit down next to him. He wasn’t like other famous writers or famous celebrities. He had the time, and he was glad to share a few moments with me.

His name was Brennan Manning.

The Ragamuffin Gospel was perhaps one of his greatest works, and one that I have read over and over again. It’s impossible to read and come away unscathed.

His last book, “All Is Grace,” is not just a beautiful picture of his tortured story, living in the tension of the already and the not yet, but somehow paints the picture for all us of what it means to live by grace.

“But if I’ve learned anything about the world of grace, it’s that failure is always a chance for a do-over.” -Manning in All Is Grace

Part of why I’ve always been attracted to Brennan Manning, and why meeting him had such a profound impact on my life is because I’ve met and worked with hundreds of so-called celebrities.

I’ve worked with Usher, Jay-Z, John Legend, Babyface, The Roots, and even Stevie Wonder to name a few. And although they could be considered great in the world’s eyes, not a one could compare to the beauty of Brennan Manning.

I have loved reading many fellow authors’ rememberings of Brennan. This notion that a man could be so torn and tattered, full of depravity and yet overflowing with the knowledge of grace, speaks to my soul. The dichotomy that in one minute, Brennan, could be warm and inviting, and the next a cold, embittered soul, comforts my own trite wanderings.

But of one thing I’m sure, he’s experiencing some glorious grace now! I imagine him hearing the words, “well done,” by our Great Father. What a truly glorious thought!

I am a fellow wrestler, as Brennan was, and I’m sure you probably are too.

May we all continue to wrestle in grace following Brennan’s example, to finally end up knowing “All Is Grace.”

If you have any fond memories of either reading a Brennan Manning book or hearing him speak, I’d love to hear about them!

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Posted on: April 16, 2013

After Easter: Thoughts From A Ragamuffin

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Church, Worship

I’ve grown up in Church.  I am one of those that can say any time the doors were open I could be found in the Church. And yet for some reason, year after year, Easter would come and go, with me getting new fancy clothes and baskets full of candy, but leaving me no different from before.

This year was different.


Photo Credit: Glen’s Pics via Compfight cc

This year, Easter took on a whole new meaning, and I’ll tell you why, but in order to do so, I have to back up a little bit.

You see I’ve been working on something big. Something I’ve been dreaming about for a very, very long time. And its been quite a journey just getting to where I am today. Part of that journey means I’ll be launching a new website soon, and recently just finished my first e-book.

And what’s come out of this particular chapter of my story, more than anything else, is the reality that I’m the one that deserves the Cross.

I’m the one, who’s life would be dramatically different where it not for the grace I’ve been shown time and time again, from those closest to me.

Its me, the chief of sinners.

So Sunday, as Passion Week began, sitting there thinking about what was coming up the following Friday, that truth just hit me and has stayed with me ever since.

And so, the Good News of Easter has a sweeter aroma than usual. There really is no turning back, no other way of being. Nothing carries as much weight, nothing provides as much peace, nothing produces life-like the Cross of Christ!

It is true, He is Risen indeed!

So as things are rapidly changing in my life, and opportunities surfacing out of nowhere, I’m brought back to the simple fact that I’m just a man, who continues to be a recipient of the undeserved favor of a King.

I’m just a Ragamuffin, doing his best to make sense of it all.

That has become my worship and is meant to be yours as well.

Here’s a question for you:

What did Easter mean to you this year? Did you experience it any differently?

Posted on: April 1, 2013

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