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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 ‘Telling Stories’

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

How Should We Respond To Awesome’s Ending?

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Experience

Photo Credit: Silence à gogo via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Silence à gogo via Compfight cc

“All good things got to come to an end

The thrills have to fade

Before they come ’round again

The bills will be paid

And the pleasure will mend

All good things got to come to an end”

At least that’s how Jackson Browne puts it. Quite beautifully, I might add.

And he’s right too. Life is short. One moment we’re here, the next moment we’re not. One moment we’re holding babies in our arms, in my case, the palms of my hands practically, the next we are sending them off to school and on and on. We say things like remember when, and collect and stare at old photos, wishing we could go back in time.

Regardless of the many differences we have, the one thing we all have in common, the one thing that unites us all is, we will, with certainty, all have to account for the brevity of life.

I feel as though I should apologize for the heaviness of this post, but unfortunately worlds seem to be colliding for me as of late. You see one of my dear friends has recently lost his wife after a very long battle with MS, and within a few days another dear friend suffered the passing of a father. As if that were not enough, the frailty of my own father has been once again brutally brought to the surface. His time of creating awesome experiences and impacting the world around him is coming to an end.

I’ve known it for a while. My whole family has actually. It’s no secret. Whether it’s the Dementia, Parkinson’s, Shingles, Arthritis, or any of the many broken and crushed bones having never fully healed through out his life, they all are contributing to the inevitable.

To say this is difficult would be the grossest of understatements.

Words just don’t do justice sometimes.

This is one of those times.

But it’s forcing me to ask yet another hard question of myself. How am I going to respond to Awesome’s Ending?

Have you ever thought of it that way?

That awesome does in fact have an ending. It’s both bitterly painful and abundantly joyful. All at the same time.

I’m reminded of Amy Grant’s words about the passing of her mother, and her father’s battle with dementia. She describes it as the last great lesson we’ll ever learn from our parents.


Those words bring me to tears, just writing them.

And those of you like Cliff and Norm of Cheers, who are regulars to Creating the Awesome, have heard me say this often, but to those who are not, one thing you’ll find is that I never claim to know all the answers. To do so would simply be arrogant and wrong. There are roughly 164 million other blogs out there, all proudly proclaiming that they single-handedly have the answers you seek and need. That their products and their services are the best because they are the best.

Well, sorry, but this isn’t one of those.

And while there are many things I can speak to as an expert, some which, undoubtedly, would help meet a need or solve a problem, I’ve found that I’d much rather participate in the journey with you.

I believe that’s where true beauty is found, where authentic healing is received and where awesome is really created.

Did you catch the power of that word, with?

So this is where you come in.

We’ve all dealt with loss somehow, whether that’s a parent, a child, a sibling, a friend, pet, or any other version of a loved one.

And with what I know to be certain of the future, I’d very much love to hear your stories of how you responded to awesome’s ending.

Were there things that you wish you would or could have done? Said?

What are the things you are grateful for that you were able to do and say?

I quote Frederick Buechner a lot, probably too much to be honest, but in this case, once again, he gives us a beautiful glimpse of glory. He writes in Telling Secrets, “My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours.”

That is why I ask the questions above.

Would you bless us all by sharing below?

Posted on: May 16, 2013

I Have A Confession, I Cry At The Movies

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Experience

I love a good story and most likely that is why I love going to the movies. I love the beauty and metaphor told through story and love the fact that, almost without fail, there is some sort of terrible climatic conflict just before redemption. I’m not like a couple of my friends, who make movies themselves, and base their opinions on the quality of a movie on things like scripts, camera angles, lighting, and special fx. I pretty much like just about every movie I go see, simply because of the stories they tell.

And there is one qualification I have that will surely determine whether or not I think a movie is good or not. That is whether or not it makes me cry.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. It’s not very manly to admit I cry at the movies, and definitely puts me outside the politically correct box of manhood, but seriously I can’t help it. I just love a good story.

And it doesn’t stop at the movies either!

Have you ever seen the television show, Parenthood?

Well, it’s a ridiculously good show, especially if you have kids like I do, but it never fails, my wife and I will be laying in bed watching an episode and I’ll have to sneakily roll over, trying to hide my face, because I’m just bawling and I’ll hear her over there laughing at me! I admit, sometimes it’s funny, but I just can’t help it!

I am a man who cries!

marvin cries

Marvin Artificial via Compfight

But thankfully, on the other hand, I am a man who cries.

It’s good that my kids have seen my tears, and that they can share the experiences of vulnerability with their kids, ultimately redeeming and redefining fatherhood in our broken family tree.

One of my favorite authors is Frederick Buechner. I love this excerpt about tears from Whistling in the Dark.

YOU NEVER KNOW what may cause them. The sight of the Atlantic Ocean can do it, or a piece of music, or a face you’ve never seen before. A pair of somebody’s old shoes can do it. Almost any movie made before the great sadness that came over the world after the Second World War, a horse cantering across a meadow, the high school basketball team running out onto the gym floor at the start of a game. You can never be sure. But of this you can be sure. Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention.

They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are, but more often than not God is speaking to you through them of the mystery of where you have come from and is summoning you to where, if your soul is to be saved, you should go to next.

I just love that, they are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are.

I’ll never forget hearing about the story of Garth Brooks, stopping midsong during a concert, in front of thousands, confessing his infidelities. Talk about authenticity and vulnerability. I’ve read since, what a powerful experience that was for those in attendance.

The beautiful thing that I love about stories like that is, that’s what Creating the Awesome is all about. That’s what engaging audiences is all about. That’s what leading with a limp is all about. That’s how we’re going to influence and impact the people around us.

Authenticity and vulnerability are the cornerstones of engaging your audience. [tweet that if you like]

Here’s a question for you to share about:

What is your favorite story or movie and why? Share in the comments below!

Posted on: May 2, 2013

Solving The Identity Crisis: The Creative Order

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Community

Yesterday, I wrote about The Importance Of Solving Our Identity Crisis, an issue that honestly is just too big and complex for a single post. So today I thought I would add another idea.

I love to tell stories, and more than that I love to hear other peoples’ stories. There is so much to learn and experience just from listening and asking great questions!


Photo Credit: pfv. via Compfight cc

In fact, if there is a shortcut in life, it will start with listening. [Tweet that and you’ll be awesome!]

Because I hear so many stories, I see this recurring theme of searching for identity in each and every one. We are all wrapped up in living a story and most often times, making agreements, telling ourselves that it doesn’t matter.

This is where I think John Eldredge is so incredibly helpful. In his book Epic, he describes it this way:

For most of us, life feels like a movie we’ve arrived at forty-five minutes late. Something important seems to be going on … maybe. I mean, good things do happen, sometimes beautiful things. You meet someone, fall in love. You find that work that is yours alone to fulfill. But tragic things happen too. You fall out of love, or perhaps the other person falls out of love with you. Work begins to feel like a punishment. Everything starts to feel like an endless routine. If there is meaning to this life, then why do our days seem so random? What is this drama we’ve been dropped into the middle of? If there is a God, what sort of story is he telling here? At some point we begin to wonder if Macbeth wasn’t right after all: Is life a tale “told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing? No wonder we keep losing heart. We find ourselves in the middle of a story that is sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful, often a confusing mixture of both, and we haven’t a clue how to make sense of it all. It’s like we’re holding in our hands some pages torn out of a book. These pages are the days of our lives. Fragments of a story. They seem important, or at least we long to know they are, but what does it all mean? If only we could find the book that contains the rest of the story.

Chesterton had it right when he said, “With every step of our lives we enter into the middle of some story which we are certain to misunderstand.”

Even as I re-read that over and over, I’m at a loss for words! This is what keeps me up most nights, as I endure the heartache of the stories I know.

There is healing though, and there is hope!

Its taken me a very long time to get where I’m at today, but I’ve learned that this healing and this hope rests in The Creative Order.

What I’m talking about here is identity. I’m talking the foundation, the well from which we draw and base our identity on.

That’s The Creative Order.

It’s the rhythm and dance of life, understanding that our being comes before any doing. Living from that place, operating according to that grid, we solve this identity crisis, and can step in to any doing with success.

When we get this right, settled once and for all, that’s when awesome happens.  That’s when awesome things are created!  And It just so happens I’ve recently written an eBook about this very thing and am very excited about releasing it soon.

What does understanding The Creative Order stir in your heart as you read this? How can you look at your story differently, thru the lens of The Creative Order?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Posted on: April 9, 2013

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Josh Collins
Franklin, TN
United States

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