The Song of the Cicadas

Hearing God’s Promises in the Song of the Cicadas

The seventeen-year cicadas (known as Brood X) are emerging in our area now. For some reason, people seem more weirded out by them this year than any year before. In Georgia, people are calling 911, thinking the sounds they make are alarms going off. Meanwhile, my news feed is inundated with people posting recipes for the critters! And then there’s me. I’m sitting here thinking about how much fun we used to have hanging the shells on our shirts and chasing each other around the playground.

No, not recently. This was about 3 broods ago.

The Song of the Cicadas

Proverbs 30 tells us there are lessons to be learned from small things. Cicadas are no exception. During the last big brood we had, I was walking home and noticed several small round holes in the ground under the tree in our front yard. It took me a moment to realize that they were cicada holes. Those tiny insects had emerged from their long slumber, leaving holes in the ground, dried shells in the tree, and filling the sky with their music.

We’re a lot like that!

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Does Postive Come at a Price?
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Does Positive Come at a Price?

In the online world, negativity produces clicks. Is bucking that trend worth the cost? Does positive come at a price?

I was checking my email Sunday morning when I found a message from a popular Christian blogger. His very influential blog and podcast feature some of the leading thinkers in church growth and the business world. I’ve read all his books, taken his leadership courses, and recommended his material to friends. All this to say, I sincerely appreciate what this man does for the church and leaders.

The email began with the subject line, “Practical tips to creating an amazing first-time-guest experience.” The title drew me in immediately. We’re going to be focusing on hospitality at our church this summer, and his article sounded like something I’d want to share with our team to get them jazzed about welcoming new guests. So, I gave it a click, fully intending to share it with others.

Then I read the title of the post on his blog:

 “How to Lose A First Time Guest in 10 Minutes or Less”

Debbie Downer - Does Positive Come at a Price?
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Revitalizing the Declining Church

From Life Support to Life-Sustaining, There is Hope for the Declining Church

Revitalizing the Declining Church: From Death’s Door to Community Growth, by Desmond Barrett, offers hope for declining churches that are willing to imagine new possibilities, dig their heels in, and let go of the past.

If you’re a church leader, I don’t need to share the statistics with you. You’ve either read them, felt them, or become them. According to Barna’s research, church attendance has dropped in every age category below levels seen in the last 20 years. Thousands of churches are closing every year. And, of course, most of the statistics we read are pre-COVID. The decline has only accelerated in the past year. Is the answer to simply give in, give up, and lock the doors?

Not So Fast

Revitalizing the Declining Church by Desmond Barrett

Desmond Barrett has assembled a short and encouraging book based on his experience and research of case studies of churches that have put in the work of revitalization to see new life and new hope in their communities. Revitalizing the Declining Church offers hope and a new vision to churches feeling the slide into those painful statistics.

Kyle Bueermann reminds us, “As the head, (Christ) alone has the power to bring back to life a church that’s on the brink of death. The good news is, of course, that He loves to bring things that were once dead, back to life.”

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That’s Not How This Works

Reveal Yourself to Me

Should we randomly open our Bible and ask God, “reveal yourself to me?” If we truly esteem God’s word, shouldn’t it be seen in our Bible study?

When I was 16 years old, I gave my life to Christ and was baptized. My new church family gave me a Bible as a gift for my commitment. I remember the morning one of the deacons handed it to me. My youth group friends, sitting together as we always did, feigned “oohs” and “aahs” over my gift and I played it up, displaying the crisp white pages.

Trust me, they were impressed.

Then, purely out of goofiness, I slipped my finger between a couple of pages and declared, “I’d like to read something that has meant a lot to me.” Turning to the random passage and placing my finger at the top of the page, I read from Proverbs 30:2-3 (in the 1984 NIV, of course. That was my generation’s KJV), “I am the most ignorant of men; I do not have a man’s understanding. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.”

Completely random! We all got a great laugh out of it, and I learned the dangers of playing “pin the tail on the donkey” Bible study. It made me look like the donkey!

You know what I mean.

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The Devil Inside: How My Minister Father Molested Kids In Our Home And Church For Decades And How I Finally Stopped Him

The Devil Inside, by Jimmy Hinton, a Review

The Devil Inside: How My Minister Father Molested Kids In Our Home And Church For Decades And How I Finally Stopped Him, by Jimmy Hinton is a book you cannot afford to miss.

The Devil Inside: How My Minister Father Molested Kids In Our Home And Church For Decades And How I Finally Stopped Him

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve described a book as “a difficult but necessary read.” The Devil inside, by Jimmy Hinton, redefines how I think of books that fit those categories.

In 2011, Jimmy’s sister, Alex, confided in him that their father had sexually abused her as a child. Jimmy was serving as pastor of the church he had grown up in—the same church his father had served before him. After turning his father over to the police, others began coming to him with similar stories of his father’s abuse. His father had always been his hero and role model. Jimmy’s world was rocked and would never be the same again.

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