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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 Jesus. — John Piper

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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 ‘love’

You’ll Be Known By Your Love

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Church, Community, Experience, Marriage

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Valentine’s day. Ok that’s not entirely correct, it’s more hate than love. I think most married men can relate to those feelings. Mostly because the one word that seems to be synonymous with Valentine’s day is the word expectations. In a relationship it’s hard enough to not have expectations and around holidays they certainly seem to get ratcheted up to another level.

But what I do love, not just about Valentine’s day, but any other day for that matter is loving people. I love communicating and giving someone an experience so they know they are valued, seen, and loved just as they are.

I’ve had many conversations with my single friends who tell me how hard this holiday is for them. They often feel left out, singled out, out-of-place, and without a home.

Without a home! Can you imagine feeling that?

They have told me how even their closest friends tend to gloss over their reality and often times don’t even reach out at all. It’s in these conversations I hear both a tremendous amount of pain and a beautiful amount of opportunity to experience the gospel.

Scripture is pretty clear here, for us who believe.

“I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.” John 13:34-45

So you know what would be awesome today?

Instead of withdrawing into a somewhat normal routine with all things familiar, how about you reach out to the person next to you who is feeling left out, singled out, out-of-place, and without a home.

Instead of buying the most expensive gift, or most expensive bouquet of flowers, how about you pick up the phone and call that person, take them to coffee or to a movie.

Even better, organize something with them and your family.

Show them the gospel.

Let them experience the gospel by your love for them.

Include them rather than being another reminder to them that they are different on this holiday.

That would create something truly awesome!

Posted on: February 14, 2014

I’ll Never Get Caught, Part 2 [Mistakes in Marriage: #9]

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Marriage

Note: Having recently celebrated 10 years of marriage, I began a series of stories, or rather mistakes I’ve made in those 10 years. I hope that through these deep, personal stories, you’ll come to see, as I have, the gloriously beautiful experience of the Gospel that is marriage. Make sure you’re signed up for email updates so you won’t miss any of them. In addition I’ll be doing a pretty cool giveaway at the end of this series to my awesome friends who have signed up so don’t be left out of that as well!

I'll Never Get Caught, Part 2

We don’t like pain. We do everything we possibly can to avoid it. We’ll ignore the elephant in the room and live in complete denial sometimes to avoid dealing with the dark pain in our lives.

We’re quite good at this self medicating, I certainly know it to be true in marriage as well.

As you’ve previously read in Part 1 and throughout the rest of this series, I’ve faced many demons in my life, least of which was the noose of pornography. Though these mistakes in this series are limited to 10, trust me when I say I could go on and on for months on end.

I don’t know why I’ve always had to learn the hard way. Perhaps it’s because I’ve grown up with trust issues, and have always found it difficult to trust where others have been and what others say. Or perhaps it’s been because I was abandoned by my father, and even after looking him up, meeting him one afternoon, he still refused to have anything to do with me. Whatever it is, I’ve always had to figure things out for myself.

Oh I can see the beautiful redemption in that now, but it hasn’t made the grief any easier to handle.

But then there’s that, knowing that God promises to never give us more than we can handle, or more appropriately communicated as He’ll always give us what causes us to rely solely on Him.

And for me that’s written some very painful chapters in my story.

So it’s hard to continue this story and tell you that getting caught wasn’t just about pornography. That what didn’t stop there ultimately led to affairs, and separations, and the near divorce of my marriage.

When Mary left that first time, as I said I was shocked. Naturally I reacted defensively and immediately tried to recover, attempting to make things sound not near as bad as they truly were. Of course then, I couldn’t see through the log in my eye, to see just how bad things were.

No unfortunately it took several more dark nights of the soul, several more separations, several more come to Jesus meetings for the veil to be lifted.

Because of all the hard work in counseling and therapy I’ve done, I now know, that for this issue, the enemy’s greatest weapon is in convincing men that there is this sliding scale with porn. That there are categories of wrongness. Divisions which require different responses.

That’s a lie. There is no justification for this sick sin.

Let me be perfectly clear for a moment. Pornography is a dangerous sin, and scriptures tell us one very clear thing about sin. It leads to death. Period. The End. So if you’re reading this and somehow sitting on the fence or struggling in any way, shape, or form, stop. Get help. Nothing, no nothing, will change in your marriage or in any relationship, while you’re secretly indulging in this depravity.

There is good news though! Luckily for all us, Romans chapter 3 doesn’t stop at verse 23. There is a verse 24. And that verse 24 gives us hope.

“Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.”

So how have Mary and I survived? How have I learned to walk in freedom?

Well I’ll let Mary speak for herself, but I can tell you firsthand, I boast in only two things with regards to my marriage — The Gospel and Grace.

Were it not for The Gospel, we would not be here. Our marriage would not have survived and our kids would have become just another statistic, just another product of a broken home.

Even still what has that looked like?

It’s looked like hours upon hours of counseling. Countless numbers of tears shed in rooms filled with those that love us dearly and those that have said hard things, spoken truth in love to us (me).

Specifically for me, it’s looked like being known by a small group of men, and allowing myself to be spoken to man to man. But most of all, it’s been the divine work of The Father in my heart and life.

For years I tried everything. I performed my way, and worked my way using every trick and tool available, unable to see that I was my own worst enemy. I was my own problem. Because at the core of all those attempts, all that trying, was me trying to accomplish something in me, of me, by me, and for me.

And you know what that was?

Me trying to be my own god. And the scriptures are pretty clear about that as well. That’s called idol worship.

Only Christ has the power to lift the veil that covers our eyes, that keeps us from seeing ourselves clearly. Oh we try real hard to do that ourselves, but it’s always in vain. It’s always a foolish attempt. Our lives would be better served to just simply get out-of-the-way and let The Spirit do his work.

I have learned that only when the adoration of Christ is at the center our life, do we experience freedom.

Experiencing the gospel means that whatever was our treasure, has been replaced by The Treasure of Christ. (you can tweet that if you like)

Now does all this mean that Mary and I’s marriage resembles the iconic facade that was the made famous in Leave it to Beaver? No, of course not. But I would say, now more than ever, it more closely resembles the metaphor that Christ intended it to be.

Marriage is His creation, and His ultimate vehicle for you and I to be made into more of who He created us to be — in His image.

I cry tears of joy when I speak about how what I know of God’s grace, I’ve been taught by my beautiful wife. There is no one on this planet who I’ve harmed more than her, and yet through it all, no one has shown me more grace, love and acceptance.

There is no one I’d rather be living this story with, than her.

My heart aches for those that currently struggle in hiding, and the marriages that are secretly hurting. Part of why I’m so passionate about speaking and teaching on authentic community is because I’ve experienced the gospel firsthand through them time and time again.

We have an enemy who tries to tell us that no one will understand, that we’ll be cast out and unloved because of our dark secrets, but the truth is you are not alone. And the only way you’re going to experience that for yourself is by taking the first steps towards authentic community.

Thank you to those who have shared their stories with me via email, in the comments below, on Twitter and Facebook! Continue to do so, you never know who is reading, and being encouraged to take the next step because of what you share!

Posted on: November 1, 2013

Worship Wednesday: Making Soup

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Worship Wednesday

From Josh: Its Worship Wednesday and if you’re new to the.josh.collins [dot] com then welcome and thanks for stopping by! Today’s post is a guest post from a dear friend of mine, David Hampton [@dbh4asong]. He is the Worship Pastor at Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tn. You can find his brilliance here.

I was part of an interesting discussion recently with staff members from various churches and denominational backgrounds on the subject of worship. Ultimately, we found ourselves discussing instrumental configurations, styles, song choices, form, and tradition all encapsulated by the topic, “what makes great worship?”

It soon occurred to me that what I was hearing sounded akin to a couple who when asked to describe true love responded with talking about their terrific sex life. Not much about chasing one another around the kitchen requires truly loving devotion and not much about our “great worship” makes us true worshippers.

Back to the discussion with my friends, after I challenged the conversation with my somewhat base analogy they asked me in what context I viewed true worship.

After taking a moment I said, “Until we view things like making soup as an act of worship then we will never have a proper view of what it means to truly give God his worth with the daily parts of our lives and we will always feel as if we have to abdicate to the experts on Sunday to do it for us. We will have a very codependent relationship with experience if we lose site of the ordinary miracles in the moment. What the church needs to know is that when we lead worship it is we, the ‘worship leaders’ making our soup. We just happen to make our soup in front of a lot of people. My soup happens to include art, story, and music. You’re soup may be literally making a meal for a friend who is on her second round of chemo. The Sunday Soup was never meant to be THE soup.”

If the main thing that comes up when we talk about worship is how we do it then we are very much like the people mistaking love for how often they swing from the chandeliers together. If our view of worship is one that understands sacrifice and living a life that matters we are less likely to be satisfied with simply slurping down the soup that someone else serves up to us once a week hoping they season it to suit our own persnickety taste buds. Trust me, my Sunday Soup will never be so good that it will quench our need to glorify God in the unseen moments of our daily lives.

I understand that when a bunch of consumers come together and decide to call themselves a church, expressions of art, music, and story in worship will be a matter of specific taste (and even propriety in the opinions of some). However, the more we can see ourselves as part of a body of past, present, and future soup makers we can begin to embrace their various expressions and place less focus on our need to brand the soup.

Maybe it would be a good thing for our perspectives of worship and intimate relationships alike to step back from the hooha and just make soup together.

From Josh: Be sure to click on over to David’s site and subscribe to his blog, I promise you won’t regret it!

What do you think it would look like for your worship to resemble this idea of making soup?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Posted on: April 3, 2013

Imagine A World Without Hate.

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Church, Community

If you’ve been around thejoshcollins [dot] com for any length of time you know I do not regularly post anything on Saturdays. That’s on purpose and by design.

But this is an exception and also on purpose.

This video is going around and needs to keep going around. It’s a moving portrayal of some possible headlines, were people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Anne Frank’s lives not snuffed out by hate.

Take a few seconds and watch it and then share it yourself!

Certainly there are spiritual implications from this video, but lets not distract ourselves from the fact that we are ultimately all called to love one another well!

Posted on: March 23, 2013

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