Awesome Quotes

You’re never going to be truly filled with joy unless you truly know yourself for who you are, and until you are a real sinner with a real savior, you will be a hypothetical and theoretical sinner with a hypothetical and theoretical savior. — Derek Webb

What Others Are Sayin…

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.

3 Key Takeaways From My 2014 Reader Survey

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Community

This past weekend I launched my 2014 Reader Survey. I had fully intended on doing this last year as well but never did get around to it. As a result this year’s results were extremely beneficial!

The best part about this process has not only been the incredible insights you guys have offered and blessed me with, but also the excitement of knowing that ultimately your feedback will help me make some tweaks and improvements that benefit you.

3 Key Takeaways From My 2014 Reader Survey

Photo Credit: hfabulous via Compfight cc

To all of those who responded, I can’t say “Thank You” enough!

I posted on Facebook the other day, that the weight I felt while reading your heartfelt responses were an incredible gift to me and I can assure you I will be referring back to them often.

I must admit that of all the insights that were made, I was a bit surprised by the suggestions to make marriage and parenting a greater priority on the site. I didn’t see that coming at all, but considering those are two things I’m very passionate about, I look forward to including more content on both of them.

In addition to announcing the winner of the $25 Amazon Gift Card, I told you I would present you guys with 3 of my key takeaways from your responses.

So here they are:

1. Intimacy with Christ. Almost every single person, when asked to identify their greatest need, spiritually speaking, communicated something along the lines of intimacy with Christ. There were a few variances here, but the overwhelming majority of responses all spoke to this need. Your answers give me great encouragement because they’ve confirmed some suspected beliefs I’ve had for quite some time. The awesome thing, that is, the key to unlocking a deeper, more intimate relationship with Christ is simply by experiencing the Gospel, and that just so happens to be something I find quite easy to talk and write about. In fact nothing breathes more life into me than that. For months now, I’ve been working through the early stages of a discipleship course that hinges on this idea of experiencing the gospel. I’m anxious to reveal it all to you guys!

2. Don’t be a people pleaser. Of course there’s a risk when asking and inviting honest feedback, but to not risk anything is to accept a death sentence, essentially killing our very own hearts. Knowing my tendencies to struggle with this area, people pleasing, I was blessed beyond measure by the feedback to follow more of my heart with the content I share. Naturally as a communicator, I fear not having anyone to communicate with, so gravity has a strong pull in directions to participate in trends or fads with no real kingdom value. You guys made it clear, that you trust me to speak to the things that need to be spoken.

3. Honesty is always the best policy. The experts are divided on this. I mean some of them suggest honesty, but rarely employ it themselves. Several of you actually specifically mentioned that. I can remember on more than one occasion where someone of influence told me that I was too honest. I didn’t quite know how to take that kind of feedback, especially considering it goes against every fiber of my being. So needless to say, receiving numerous comments about the format of this blog and the vulnerability with which I share, further convinces me that what’s needed is not more experts or those who pretend to be, but rather honest humility and kindness.

Of course there were lots of other important takeaways for me which I will continue to digest and use to make improvements. Overall this has been one of the best experiences for me both professionally and personally, so thanks again to all those who participated!

Now on with the good stuff.

A very special congratulations goes out to Gabe Garcia for winning the $25 Amazon Gift Card! Thanks Gabe for participating and lending your voice to making the.josh.collins [dot] com even better! You’ll be receiving the gift card later today via email.

If you didn’t win, have no fear, there are TONS of giveaways coming up! I was blessed with some incredible resources last year that I’m super excited to be sharing with you guys in the coming weeks.

If you weren’t able to complete the survey or perhaps didn’t even know about it, feel free to leave a comment below with any additional feedback! I’d love to hear it!

Posted on: January 8, 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

How You Can Help Me Help You! (Win A $25 Amazon Gift Card!)

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Misc

One thing that has always driven me is knowing that there are ALWAYS areas where I can grow and get better.

Without measured feedback, it’s impossible to grow or improve.

How You Can Help Me Help You! Tom Whitwell via Compfight

But sometimes learning to ask for that feedback is the hardest part.

Did you know that there is a difference between feedback and criticism?

I’ve learned to differentiate the two best by understanding that feedback should always have my best interest in mind while most criticism has a selfish bent to it.

I think for most of us, it’s much easier to just critique something rather than give honest feedback.

Giving honest feedback will always require an investment of some kind, where as criticism is cheap and easy. (tweet that)

But that’s what produces the best tasting fruit.

So I’m asking you for some honest feedback.

Help me make Creating the Awesome, and the.josh.collins (dot) com better.

None of this makes any sense if it’s not relevant to you guys.

And in reward for a few moments of your time, I’m giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

You can use that to get something from a book about knitting to perhaps some nail polish or whatever suits your fancy.

It’s the least I could do for you guys!

My hope and prayer (my declaration) is that 2014 will be the best year yet and all of you experience this great gospel I love so much all over again!

So just click here and fill out the survey and be sure to enter your best email address at the very end and you’ll be entered to win! But go ahead and do it now, because the contest is over Sunday night!

Posted on: January 3, 2014

Why We Struggle With Beginnings And Endings

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Experience

Why do we struggle so much with beginnings and endings?

Why do we have such a hard time when things come to an end or when faced with a new adventure calling our names?

What is it about how we’ve been created that makes these things cast such large shadows that more often than not, we run and hide, seeking the comfortable safety and shelter of the familiar?

These are just a few of the questions I’ve been asking over the last several weeks.

Like you, I’ve been bombarded with seasonal messages and topically themed blog posts about things like setting goals, making resolutions, and the true meaning of Christmas.

And can I continue to be honest with you? I’ve ignored most of them.

This year has been jammed packed with lots and lots of STUFF and these last few weeks has been an incredible time of unplugging a bit and finding some rest.

It’s not that I don’t care about the true meaning of Christmas or the importance of setting goals, etc. That’s not it at all. It’s just that I have come to understand that when I start to feel the pressure and pull of what everyone else is doing, I need to do the opposite.

Succumbing to that pressure is what fuels the false self and nothing will kill beauty, kill the heart, like the false self.

But back to the questions I raised earlier.

As 2014 begins, we’re all together in this same space of experiencing different degrees of highs and lows. And even as the Christmas season starts to fade and our senses become dull to the majesty of it, you’re faced with the inevitable new year that has arrived whether you like it or not.

Which leaves you with a choice to make; either you can attempt to escape, run and hide, or you can dive head first into the adventure that is waiting this new year.

Me? I want to say that I’m diving right in. That I’m not looking and jumping into the deep end head first, no looking back.

But that’s not completely honest.

To be completely honest, I’m a bit scared.

What if this year turns out to be another year of exactly the same? What if I continue to fail, mess-up and let those that count on me the most down, all over again?

That’s what is keeping me stopped in my tracks so far. Stalled out. Stuttering, puttering, and limping along.

Then I came across a couple verses the other day that have helped me understand at least a little bit of why this tension exists, why this struggle with beginnings and endings is experienced by so many.

I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.Rev. 1:8

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.Rev. 1:17-18

I’ve read those verses over and over the last few days and the thing that keeps coming back to me is the last question I asked above. What is it about how we’ve been created…

Let me nail it down.

We’ve been created not only BY God, but created in HIS exact image. Did you catch the nuance there? It’s a whole different issue altogether.

We’ve been created to reflect His glory and designed to experience abundance only when resting in that glory.

That’s precisely what John Piper means when he communicates the mission and purpose of Desiring God.

Understanding that we have been created in the image of the One who knows no time, knows no beginning, and no ending; a natural tension is established. After all, all that we experience in life, this side of heaven are those very things, beginnings and endings.

Loved ones die, jobs start and end, relationships and friendships dissolve, money gets earned and then spent, and nothing seems to truly last. In spite of all our very best efforts, absolutely everything we touch corrodes and falls to pieces, eventually.

So what if the secret, if there truly is a secret of any kind, is to accept that tension and cease our attempts at resolving it?

What if the intent is to invite The Father right smack dab into it?

A Better Approach

I’m convinced that what the gospel frees us to do is not simply live a life of trying harder or making more resolutions or creating more rules of discipline for ourselves, but rather unclenching our fists and letting go.

Instead of the strict legalistic attempts at behavior modification, make room for the unknown, create margin for the beauty around you and allow yourself to be surprised by what happens.

Should you set goals, and make resolutions this new year?

Absolutely, I think you should! You can never improve on anything when you don’t measure, and process where you come from and take stock of where you’re going.

I’m just choosing not to use the word resolutions anymore. Instead I’m making declarations. (I’ll be doing a series about this soon, so be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss out.)

Join me in letting this new year be the very best year ever!

What goals and/or resolutions have you decided to make for 2014?

Share your comments in the comments below!

Posted on: January 2, 2014

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Josh Collins
Franklin, TN
United States

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