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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

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

What Is Worship?

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Church, Worship, Worship Wednesday

Note: I’m honored to have Joy Lenton guest posting for me today.  Joy is a wife, mother, grandma-in-waiting and M.E sufferer. A lot of her days are spent in PJs, penning poetry and prose. She loves connecting with people, reading, drinking coffee and eating dark chocolate. Before chronic illness scuppered her plans, Joy worked as a nurse. She still has a heart to support and encourage others by sharing her faith and life experiences. Joy blogs at Words of Joy and would love to connect with you on Facebook  or on Twitter

I wonder what springs to mind when you hear the word ‘worship‘? Maybe a time at church when you pause to sing, lift your hands and praise God, being at a Christian concert, a period of contemplation at a conference, listening to music, or just a quiet moment in prayer by yourself in the privacy of your own home.

 

What Is Worship?

Photo Credit: crowt59 via Compfight cc

It can be a hand-raising, eyes shut, silence and a shouting, face to the floor or looking heavenward, singing and stomping, fire and fury, peace and presence, seeking and finding kind of experience – and so much more besides.

Though worship isn’t really so much an activity as it is a heart attitude and a way of life.

I wrote this acronym to help me to remember the gist of worship:

Willing – to give our time and lives as a daily…

Offering – in obedience..

Reverence – and awe as we…

Surrender – in joyful submission of…

Heart – mind and will..

In – everything, giving…

Praise – and thanksgiving to His glory

We give ‘worth-ship’ to God because He is worthy, in and of Himself, to receive all honour, praise and glory. Our greatest question is not how, where or when we worship but who (or even what) we may be worshipping. It is all too easy to turn other people or things into idols, as well as our own ideas, dogma and ways of doing church.

I came to faith in a local Pentecostal church during a convention, so my early days as a believer were shaped by thoughts of worship being continual, noisy, muttering, singing, crying and no-holds-barred. Not easy for a naturally shy girl like me! Years passed. I became mainstream Baptist for a while, dipped my toes briefly into the waters of Anglicanism, then rooted myself in Free Church Evangelical.

Now, no denominational umbrella fully serves for the way I want to worship God. I lean further toward the reflective, Contemplative pathway, soaked in smatterings of Charismatic fervour and receptivity, with a vaguely Evangelical bias. God is too big for any mind-set, denomination, organisation or ‘this-is-the-way-we-do-things’ to be able to contain Him.

Church for me is both everywhere and nowhere specific as I am largely unable to get to services and rely greatly on books, TV and internet for input to my spiritual life. And the more my body is housebound and confined by M.E and other chronic health problems, the more my spirit longs to soar free. Let me loose on lingering in His Presence. Allow me space to hear His voice.

I wrote the poem below as an attempt to define aspects of worship. Though, how do you really define the indefinable? Express the inexpressible? Constrain that which is limitless? I’m not sure. But here is an expression, some of which (I hope) may resonate with you too:

Worship Is…

Bending of mind, will, heart and knee in supplication

to God in recognition of all we have and all we can be

Raising of voices, lifting of hands, heart and head to His call,

lowering of our own goals unless they’re in tune

with the will of the One who is sovereign over all

Making time to spend in His word, by His side,

learning to sit still, to listen, rest and abide

Seeking God’s face, not His hands, His Presence, not His presents,

His heart, will and voice, as we give thanks and rejoice

Wonder and awe at all He is, has done, created and made,

how much He loves, gives, restores and saves

Being aware of Who we approach in prayer, words and song

as we give due reverence to the Holy One

Going wherever He leads and calls with prompt obedience and speed,

relying on His supply, provision and help for our every need

Knowing He is Father, Comforter, Helper, and our greatest Friend,

spending these days on earth with Him unto eternity without end

Question: What does worship mean to you?

Share in the comments below!

Posted on: December 11, 2013

Worship Wednesday: Finding Rest

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Worship Wednesday

For just about all of us, schools have started. And with summer coming to a close, the seasons are about to change.

Can you feel it?

I’ve already began to notice more and more leaves on the ground and I’m sure you have too. I’m convinced there’s very few things more beautiful than a Tennessee fall. It’s one of those things that make you crave warm blankets, homemade chili, football, and laughter with friends.

Maybe it’s just me, but before I let the business of a new school year, and the fast approaching fall take over, I’m finding more and more of a desire for rest.

Finding Rest

Photo Credit: aluedt via Compfight cc

Rest.

Even saying the words out loud bring about an exhaling sort of emptying – a good kind of emptying.

And without that emptying you can’t create any margin to be filled.

Studies now show us that without rest, our bodies start to slowly shut down, creating all sorts of compounding health problems.

Slowing down and finding rest, is part of why I haven’t posted in a week.

And you know what, the most amazing thing has happened; I’ve been reminded of some things that really matter.

Rest does that. It’s meant to. It was purposed to.

Rest, disconnects us from the unimportant and reconnects us to the stuff that really matters. (Encourage someone and tweet that)

I’ve made a small list of things that matter and don’t matter to me. You should make your own.

What doesn’t matter

  1. How many subscribers I have
  2. How many twitter followers I have
  3. How many page visits, clicks, or any other version of metrics

What does matter

  1. Being a better father
  2. Being a better husband
  3. Loving and serving well, those already around me

Finding rest is to find and declare freedom.

Tim Keller says this beautifully:

Anyone who overworks is really a slave. Anyone who cannot rest from work is a slave—to a need for success, to a materialistic culture, to exploitative employers, to parental expectations, or to all of the above. These slave masters will abuse you if you are not disciplined in the practice of Sabbath rest. Sabbath is a declaration of freedom.

When you refuse to make time for rest, or when you fail to create space for any form of sabbath, effectively what you’re doing is replacing authentic worship for idol worship.

The story of your life is telling your audience, those whose attention you hold, like your family, what really matters to you.

You’re probably like me in that there is something you desire, something you dream of and pursuing those desires, chasing after those dreams can slowly take over everything else to the point where you forget why you’re doing any of those things at all.

That’s the beauty of slowing down, and finding rest.

Do you create space for rest?

Do you intentionally leave room for margin in your life?

Share in the comments below!

Posted on: August 28, 2013

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