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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 ‘worship’

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

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

5 Things I Learned from an Arena Full of Women

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Church, Experience

This fall I was given the greatest privilege in the world — working with the Women of Faith conference. Each and every weekend I would travel to a different city and spend a few days with an arena full of women. I was probably only one of a couple dozen or so men present. But in-spite of the abundance of estrogen, let me tell you, those weekends were awesome!

And because I’ve worked with live entertainment and produced live events for over 15 years, I can say with pride, it truly was an honor to work alongside such tremendous speakers and entertainers. Some of them I now consider to be friends and allies.

5 Things I Learned From An Arena Full of Women

Photo by Carla Hinton, The Oklahoman

As an Experience Architect, one of the most important things I value is sacred space. In my opinion, there is nothing more crucial to impacting lives from any experience, whether that’s conversation in a coffee-house, or an event with an arena full of women, than curating trust, through sacred spaces.

I’ve learned throughout these years, that sacred space and trust can be built various ways, but most importantly, they will always be lead with vulnerability. And in the arena of vulnerability, boy do we men, have a lot to learn.

As a matter fact, vulnerability isn’t the only thing I learned about from these women.

Here are 5 more things I learned from arenas full of women.

1. When it comes to worship, you women have us men beat hands down. I dare say there is any sweeter sound than the sounds of women worshipping with all their hearts. As a worship leader myself, I know this to be true. This fall convinced me once again that the path to restoration and healing, presupposes our adoration of Christ. Our worship will always take us immediately to His lap, where we can be met as we are in His perfect love.

2. Women are stronger than any man realizes. There’s a couple reasons why I say this but mainly this: men, have you ever heard a woman cry tears of brokenness? True authentic, gut-wrenching tears of brokenness? That sound comes from a place of strength few men ever brave the conditions to reach. And boy is that a beautiful sound. It’s where The Father’s love and mercy swoops in, picks us up, and speaks to our hearts, saying, “Now let me carry you for a while.”

3. The issues women deal with make my stuff look small in comparison. Women of course, read that and nod their head, they know it’s true. Men, however, probably read that and start to give a yeah but. Yeah but this or yeah but that. So let me just put this to bed for us all. Aside from all the deep arrows of the heart, the ones that oppress and kill the beauty of true womanhood, there is one thing women have long suffered through that men will never fully comprehend, childbirth. Enough said, right?

4. Though this could technically just be continued from #2 above, men, we frankly have it easy. All we have to do is turn our heads and cough every once and a while. I’m not trying to be graphic here, or cross any imaginary boundary but seriously, as a man I can speak firsthand to the fact that we do not spend enough time thinking about or fully understanding all the various tests, procedures, and otherwise not so fun things that women go through on a routine basis. Trust me here men, throughout this fall, I have heard more than my fair share of stories of exams, certain unwanted relatives coming into town, and a whole host of other stories leading to lots and lots of laughter. All things that have made me say, I’m the lucky one.

5. Last but certainly not least, women you are capable of more than any man comprehends. It’s unfortunate that the debate of gender roles in and out of the church spark such vitriol and heated reaction. I tend to see it more as overreaction and largely due to fear, especially when led by men, but the beautiful lesson I was reminded of this fall is that the gospel is just as present in the lives, stories, and words of a woman than they ever will be in a man. Women have been just as uniquely created in the image of The Father as men have. They are our co-image bearers and the idea that they would be viewed any less is flat-out disgusting to me.

I was honored to work with Women of Faith this year and hope to do so again in the future. The voices and leaders that are a part of that movement are some of the absolute very best and are no doubt leading some awesome experiences in the lives of many women around the country!

If you attended any Women of Faith weekend this year, I’d love to hear your stories of what you experienced over the weekend. You can send them to stories [at] thejoshcollins [dot] com.

Question for you: Women, would you add anything to this list above? Is there something you think I’ve left out? Something that needs to be added? What about you, men?

Posted on: November 25, 2013

Worship Wednesday: And You Think Being A Worship Leader Matters

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Worship Wednesday

From Josh: I’m honored to have Jennifer Kaufman guest posting today! Jennifer is a musician, photographer, Disney aficionado, wannabe runner, sometimes-writer and – most importantly – wife of an amazing husband and mom of three incredible kids five and under.  Her heart is for helping people be real – with themselves, and with one another. You can follow her blog here and be sure to follow her on Twitter as well!

A few years ago at a leadership conference, the worship pastor at the hosting church shared something that has stuck with me ever since.  I think of it often, as it’s changed my walk beyond the stage.

And You Think Being A Worship Leader Matters

In a breakout session for worship leaders (and by the way, each and every one of us on stage or behind the scenes is working to help lead others to engage in worship – so this means you, too!) he said that we are “Children of God first, ministers to others second, and worship leaders third.”

This spoke to me not only about my role as a church volunteer, but also about other areas of my life as well.

As worship leaders, we are part of a team that, each week, does something very visible.

We’re also wives, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, students, employees, friends… the list goes on and on.  We’re each working hard to balance various roles, accomplish things we set out to do, etc. It’s easy to get caught up in task lists and goals and even details that truly are important, but are not our identity.

The truth is, if we just sit back in God’s presence, doing nothing for a moment, we experience that we are never loved more or less. (tweetable

Regardless of what we accomplish, or fail to accomplish; regardless of our role at our church, our promotions at work, our good days and bad – we are cherished by the God of the universe who created us exactly as he intended, and who has an incredible plan for each of us.

John 1:12 “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

Of course we are called to do more than just sit around.

Of course it’s ok, even necessary, to strive for excellence – both musically each week and in every area of our lives.

But it’s not because our excellence is what defines us.

Even in spite of our failure and imperfections, God uses us to bring glory to himself.

He loves us with an unmatched love, simply because we are His children.

In order to lead others in worship, we need to remember that our identity is not in our talents or abilities, but in who we are in Him.

Ephesians 2:10“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

We need to start with a lifestyle of worship – spending time with Him daily in our own lives.  And then we need to remember that he has called us to love and serve others next

After all of this, we can also play some instruments, sing a little, and make great music that helps others to enter into His presence.  But if any of that goes away – or if we have a day in which we fail to be the people we had hoped in any other area of our lives, His love for us and His calling on our lives doesn’t change.

What does it mean to you to start with a lifestyle of worship?

Share in the comments below!

Posted on: August 14, 2013

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