Awesome Quotes

God seeks Himself in us, and the aridity and sorrow of our heart is the sorrow of God who is not known to us, who cannot yet find Himself in us because we do not dare to believe or trust the incredible truth that He could live in us, and live there out of choice, out of preference. But indeed, we exist solely for this, to be the place He has chosen for His presence, His manifestation in the world. His epiphany. — Thomas Merton

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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 ‘extravagant worship’

Worship Wednesday: I Need You

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Worship Wednesday

One of the things that I love to do with Worship Wednesday, in addition to featuring the awesome stories from others, is sharing something that points us toward the authentic expression of extravagant worship.

Recently I’ve had this song on repeat and every time it becomes my exhaling confession. The title is Lord, I need you by my friend Matt Maher and there can’t be any simpler message or exclamation in worship.

Matt talks a little about the power and beauty of this song in this first video and the second is the official lyric video.

Take a look, or just simply listen.

We have been created to worship. It’s a switch in us that is always on, as Matt Chandler writes, and regardless if we are paying attention or not, we will find something to worship.

Saint Irenaeus is known for having said “The glory of God is man fully alive.

John Piper adds that “we were made for the admiration of the excellence of Jesus, and the greater your admiration, the greater the revelation of Christ’s glorification.

He goes on, clarifying that “the reason admiration is the greatest pleasure of the human soul, is because God made the world and fashioned the human soul so that Jesus would be glorified and we would be satisfied at the same time in the same act of the soul, namely glad hearted admiration of the excellence of Jesus.

I have always been impressed by the extents to which my heart will go in order to “feel” full, to be “alive.”

These days that has seemed to become increasingly difficult.

Being alive, that is.

These past few weeks have been hard. There is a part of me that would love to represent myself as though I have it all together, like I’m some kind of picture of completeness, but that simply isn’t true. I’m a mess and I struggle and fail to make the intentions of my heart the realities of my words.

Last night, I was reminded admitting that makes me human and normal.

I was also reminded that I’m not the man I once was, nor am I the man I will soon become, but instead I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

Those are good words, loving words. I know they are true.

My worship these days comes, in part, from those words.

My worship also comes from a place of feeling empty and needing refreshment.

I know I’m not alone there either.

I tend to put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself and expect even more from myself.

Finding rest has been a theme I’ve wrestled with most of my life.

I think that’s where some of my tears come from when I sing this song.

I also think they come from a place of knowing I’m not enough.

But my worship is fueled by the truth that I’m loved by The One who is.

And if you’re ever in doubt or struggling to find a reason to extravagantly worship the only One who deserves your worship, that’s reason enough.

What are your reasons for singing this song and praying these words Lord, I need you?

Share your thoughts below!

If you’d like to share your story or share a song, video or something else that leads you to The Father and contribute to Worship Wednesday, I’d love to have you! Send me an email at josh [at] thejoshcollins [dot] com

Posted on: July 3, 2013

Worship Wednesday: God is Bigger Than __________

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Worship Wednesday

From Josh: I love being able to share in the stories of others, especially as they pertain to The Story. Worship Wednesday has developed into one of my most favorite things and today’s challenges me and hits far too close to home for me. Today’s Worship Wednesday post comes from Eileen Knowles. She is a self-confessed recovering perfectionist, who continues to learn the beauty of stepping out from behind the mask and admitting how much she is in need of God’s grace every single day of her life. You can find her writing on her blog and you should definitely follow her on Twitter. This song brings me to tears and if you have a story or are moved by a powerful video, song, or beauty, then I’d love to hear it! I’d love to share it with others here on Worship Wednesday. Email me at josh [at] thejoshcollins [dot] com.

There was a pivotal moment in my life, years ago, when I was encouraged to fill in the blank below with whatever struggle I was facing.

When I did, it completely transformed my life and my worship.

God is bigger than (__________________)

“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms” Ephesians 1:19-20

As much as I said I believed the verses in Ephesians to be true, I was far from living my day-to-day life as if they were true. Finishing the statement above helped me to put my weaknesses into perspective.

When I applied it to my struggle, I began to see the power of God work through me.

Folks, that right there is reason to worship Him with our lives.

When we witness God working through us, when we watch Him accomplish things beyond our ability and despite our tendency to fear, our hearts are filled with an outpouring of gratitude and we can’t help but want to worship the One who made it possible.

Tim Timmons recently shared some thoughts on this power that lives inside us through the song “Christ In Me.”

Take a look.

What if we lived our lives actually believing the same power that rose Jesus from the dead actually lives inside of us?

What if this truth we read about in Scripture became more than head knowledge?

What if it became heart knowledge that transformed the way we lived out each moment in our day?

How differently would you approach the trials in your life?

How would it impact your daily decisions?

What giants would you be willing to face with confidence, knowing that you had the power of the Almighty God fighting on your behalf?

How would choosing to believe this today change your approach to whatever circumstance you are going through?

Encourage us all by sharing your thoughts in the comments below!

Posted on: June 26, 2013

Worship Wednesday: We Won’t Be Shaken

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Worship Wednesday

Just about every communicator on the planet likes to create and use metaphor as a way to make a point. Often times they employ a technique of divide and conquer, meaning they divide people into 2 groups by saying something like there are really only 2 kinds of people in this world, people who like M&M’s and people who like Reese’s Pieces.

This is obviously just a silly example, but what I have learned over the years is that most of the time, there are 2 types of reactions from people when you engage them in a discussion about The Creative Order.

Most of the time, its confusion.

So what’s The Creative Order, you’re asking?

Well, watch the lyric video below and you’ll begin to understand.

Still wondering what The Creative Order is all about?

Proverbs 16:33 says this, “We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.”

Starting to get it now?

The Creative Order speaks to our identity, but more than that, it speaks to what we allow to form our identity, what we base our identity on.

It alludes to why, as Christians, we could ever sing such words as “We Won’t Be Shaken.”

Even in the face of hard providences, and the darkest nights of the soul, these words resonate, bringing peace and comfort to those in need.

When The Creative Order is in balance, reconciled, settled, or however you want to put it, our identity isn’t shaken when circumstances don’t go our way.

It’s precisely in those moments we believe and develop a deeper understanding when James 1:2 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when trouble comes your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”

Joy?

No, not just joy.

GREAT JOY!

If you’re following along with me, then you can imagine what comes next.

Extravagant Worship.

Yep. That’s right.

The Creative Order becomes the basis of how we can worship not in spite of our circumstances, but because of them. [love others by tweeting that!]

All throughout the bible you read story after story of men and women who talk about being chased, killed, attacked, hungry, having no home, abused, thrown in fires, tossed to lions, betrayed, and yet there is always a line somewhere that follows that says something like, yet I will praise The Lord, or I will worship The Lord.

They had it right and for a long time I always looked at them as being supernaturally different because of it. But I’ve since learned that they truly were just people, ordinary people, like you and I, who were invited into a larger story full of excitement and glory. Somehow they caught a glimpse of that glory, and it settled things once and for all for them!

The Creative Order is the reason why my world has been turned right-side up! It’s the reason why I wrote The Awesome Manifesto. (which I would love for you to have for FREE, see below!) And it’s the single greatest reason why I have more peace and joy in the midst of circumstances than ever before!

The awesome news is that you can too!

Here’s some questions for you today:

Is your ability to rest and find joy being stolen? Are you not able to worship because of the circumstances you’re in? What does The Creative Order speak to you?

For me, engaging with you is everything! None of this makes any sense without it, so share your thoughts in the comments below, or email directly at josh [at] thejoshcollins [dot] com!

Posted on: June 12, 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

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