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The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better designs we will have. — Steve Jobs

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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 ‘God’

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

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.

Wow!

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

Worship Wednesday: I AM WITH YOU!

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Worship Wednesday

From Josh: I’m excited today not only because Worship Wednesday has a new permanent home but because today’s post is from someone who has meant a great deal to me over the years. Have you ever known someone who just seems to constantly and consistently point to the truth? No matter what sort of chaos seems to distract and disturb, Eric Hill, is one of those guys who you can rely on to show you what unconditional love looks like and sounds like. He doesn’t just write about it, or preach about it, he lives it! Eric lives outside of Atlanta with his wife Kristen and 3 daughters. You should follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

 

I AM WITH YOU!

In Exodus chapter three, God reveals Himself to Moses and speaks to him through a burning bush. He tells Moses that He has seen the misery of the Israelites and has chosen Moses to go before the Pharaoh and deliver them out of Egypt. Moses, feeling overwhelmingly inadequate and incompetent asks, “Who am I, that I should go?” We might think God would give Moses a pep talk here, reminding him of his innate wisdom or natural leadership, but God reassures Moses with a life-breathing, game-changing phrase.

“I will be with you.”

I don’t always ‘feel’ like God is with me.  If I’m really honest, I want signs and wonders.  I want physical proof of His presence.  I want a burning bush too!

The excerpt below (taken from the book ‘Real Church’ by Dr. Larry Crabb) challenges my ‘burning bush syndrome’ to the core.

After he had open-heart surgery that led to two long weeks of life threatening complications and kept him in the hospital, I was driving him home to recuperate.  From the backseat, my 79-year-old father, lying down as best he could, broke a sober silence by quietly saying, “You know, I had many visitors during my difficult hospital stay, and I appreciated every one.  But the one visitor I most wanted to come never showed up.”
Who? I asked with real curiosity.
“God,” he answered.  ”I prayed every day that I would feel His presence and I never did.  And I’m so grateful.”
Why?  I blurted out, this time with wild curiosity.
“God counted me worthy to trust what He said in His Word in the absence of His felt presence in my experience.  And His Spirit empowered me to do just that, not without struggle of course.  But I never turned away from Him.  I think that made Him really happy.”
I remember wondering, Who is this man that I’ve called Dad for half a century?  What planet does he live on?  I wanted to go there.  I still do.

“God counted me worthy to trust what He said in His Word in the absence of His felt presence in my experience…”

Wow!  Talk about nailing it.

I will be with you.”

God’s answer really wasn’t about Moses or how well Moses was expected to perform, produce, or even lead.

So it is with us as well.

His answer was then, is now, and always will be, “I will be with you.”

Itʼs first, and foremost, a matter of who you are, because He is with you. The “what, when, where, and how” will follow, if we embrace this truth.

What do you think? What does this mean to you to know that in-spite of your feelings and felt presence God, He emphatically says “I will be with you.” How does this change everything?

Share in the comments below.

Posted on: May 1, 2013

Change comes from being present.

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Misc

Have you ever noticed in the New Testament, especially the gospels, that whenever a story is being told about Jesus, it always begins with something like: “then Jesus crossed the lake, and people gathered, or Jesus came to a place and a crowd began to form?”

Why is that?

Why is it, that wherever Christ went, people followed and seemed to always gather?

There are TONS of obvious christian platitudes that would serve as very good answers here, but I’m trying to look deeper.  

I’m trying to connect with why that doesn’t still happen today.

It makes sense to me that God incarnate, God made flesh, would attract people to himself.

  1. First of all, He’s God.
  2. Second of all, there has never ever been anything like him before.  He speaks differently, he acts differently, and he reacts differently.
  3. Lastly, there are the stories spreading like wildfire, about all the amazing miracles he is performing.

Those things naturally make sense to me.  And since I know that we have been created to be in relationship with Him and wired to worship Him, I can see why in New Testament times, that happened.

But still, why doesn’t it seem to be happening anymore?

How come each and every statistic out there say that a large percentage of 18-35 year olds are leaving the church in droves?

Now I’m an expert at many many things, but this I would never come close to being an expert at but I wonder and believe that its probably because you are I aren’t really that different from anyone else.  

I mean we don’t really stand out that much.

  1. Our speech patterns aren’t that different.
  2. Our giving patterns aren’t that different.
  3. Our families aren’t that different.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that may sound harsh and crawl up on some people toes’ a bit, but can we just be honest with one another for a few more minutes?

Scripture tells us in James 2:22 that

“You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete.” (NLT)

So what else are we going to reasonably and logically conclude about our lives other than, our faith and our actions, quite simply don’t really attract all that much.

So what’s the response then, you may be asking?

Well, I’m so glad you asked!

I’m convinced, now more than ever, that the journey to living authentic lives, that result in actions of profound faith, attract our culture like bugs to our windshields, and dynamically effect, not just our families, but the world at large, is wrapped up in being present.

I plan on unpacking this further in my e-book that is coming out soon, so be looking for that, (shameless plug I know) but let me just briefly state, that being present is much bigger than simply “living in the moment.”  

Living in the moment is culture’s way of tempting us to do whatever we want whenever we want.

Thats not the Gospel! 

You see, I believe with all my heart that the Americanized version of church we have today, is on the verge of a massive renewal and revival.  I believe that as much as I believe what I’m breathing in right now, as I type this, is called oxygen.  

The question for us all today is:

What are you and I going to do?

How will we respond?

Posted on: February 27, 2013

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