Archive for the ‘My Life’ Category

Ravi Zacharias, The Hound of Heaven, and Paying Taxes

January 8, 2013

Taxes. Taxes. Taxes. As a country, we’ve been talking about taxes a lot these days. I usually look forward to doing my tax return each year, because, in the past, I’ve had some nice tax returns and it’s kind of like getting a little bonus in the Springtime. This year, I’m not looking forward to doing my tax return because in 2012 I actually made a fair bit of money on the side flipping a variety of cars, woo stoves, snow blowers and other random items. This last flip was the highest risk I’ve ever taken. It also ended up being the most I’ve ever made on a flip.

I recently went to dinner with a friend and we were talking about that last flip. He made a comment about how much of my profit would go to taxes and I pretty much told him I was not planning on accounting for when I went to file my taxes. After all, I thought, I had a bunch of expenses that went along with making that money and by the time I account for those things it would all just be a wash anyway. After making that comment (and justifying my decision) the hound of heaven, as the poet Francis Thompson refers to the Holy Spirit, began convicting me of this decision. He gave me some Scripture this morning that convicted me of this decision. He also brought a speech across my vision today from Ravi Zacharias. Ravi is talking to a group at the Mayo Clinic on the subject of what it means to be human. Within that speech, laid this nugget (play the video below).

As hard as it will be to take a hit this year on my tax return, I know that the act of paying my taxes is really a matter of trust. It’s the same thing when I tithe. It’s easy to justify myself and say I need the money for this or for that. The fact is, every cent I make is God’s. Every thing I have is given and granted by my Heavenly Father. Every day we’re given opportunities to trust God with our stuff, our money, our relationships,…God WANTS us to walk in faith. When I go to do my taxes this year, it will be a spiritual exercise just as much as it will be a mathmatic and filing exercise. In the end when I hit the submit button on my tax return, I’ll be saying a short prayer that goes something like this, “God, I could have easily fudged some numbers and gotten a nice big check from the government this year. I could have taken that money and put it towards my kids college fund, my retirement fund, towards some needy family or charity. I could have…but I’m not. You once said, “render unto Caesar what is Caesars…” – well, I’m doing that today and it’s less about rendering to Caesar and more about submitting myself completely to you and trusting you with my finances, my family, my needs and my wants. I trust you God. My heart is yours.”

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Dear Grandma Stiglitz…

November 8, 2012

My Mom recently came across a letter that I wrote to her Mom back on February 10th, 1086. I was nine-years-old when I wrote this letter (embedded below)…

View this document on Scribd

Movie Review: Seven Pounds

February 19, 2010

My wife brought home a movie last night…not a new one by any stretch, but new to me (with two kids under the age of 6, going to the movies occurs about as frequently as a trip to Disney). We tucked the boys in bed, switched on the XBOX, popped the DVD in and took in the flick. From the beginning it was easy to see how the movie would unfold: Guy makes a mistake, people die, he feels guilty and decides his self-induced penance will be to give away as much of himself (literally) as possible in order to make up for his mistake.

As the movie progressed I have to say that I was delightfully surprised by the thin but pervasive line of tension the producers and writers created. You knew this guy was going to off himself, but the uniqueness of the characters stories that surrounded him and their situations made it extremely interesting.

The main point of the movie was this: I’m going to take my own life, but in doing so I will improve (or save) the lives of others.  Several times during the movie the protagonist (played by Will Smith) asks the people he will eventually be giving his body parts to whether or not they are good people. He even goes at length to test them in such a way in order to ensure that they are truly deserving of the gift they are about the be given.

The movie ended the way I thought it would, but one thought struck me at the conculsion. Jesus was like the protaganist – he gave his life for other people. The main difference with Jesus was that he gave his life for all people, not just the ones that did good stuff or lived  “good” lives. Jesus died for the guy in the movie who was a swindler and a cheat. He also gave his life for guys like Jeffrey Dahmer, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Joseph Stack. God – the creator of the universe – only has one criteria for coming to him to receive life: Faith in his son, Jesus. There is no test, no prereq’s, no good works required – just faith.

Web Site Build Out – ProphetofPurpose.com

January 18, 2010

I recently built this site for author Jeffery Sheler, who recently penned the book Prophet of Purpose: The Life of Rick Warren

Recent trip to Poland & Germany

June 2, 2009

I recently had the privilege of traveling with the Athletes in Action Men’s Basketball team to Katowice, Poland and Berline Germany. I traveled with the team as the team photographer and blogger. It was an amazin 10 days getting to know some great guys. You can read about the tour on AIA’s Team Blog page here (there are around 55 posts with videos, pictures, and info from the tour…find the “view older posts” link on the bottom of the blog page to read all the posts).

Here’s the link:

http://www.athletesinaction.org/TeamBlogs/author/Basketball-Poland.aspx

When God Looks Like Popeye the Sailor

January 6, 2009

So I’ve been reading this book, Leaper by Geoffrey Wood. I’ve been kind of pecking my way through it much like a chicken grabs at bits of food here and there. As I sat at my desk today taking in another morsel of the book I came across a section that reminded me of an encounter I had many years ago when I was going to school at Colorado State.

I’m not sure why I bother writing these stories down. I’m not sure if anyone reads them or not, but I feel like God might be pulling me to share my “God” stories with you and with others. I’ve got lots of “God” stories—times where God has stepped into my life and done something. Sometimes it’s extraordinary. Other times it seems small. No matter what the intensity level of the exchange, God seems to remind me of these times in my life from time to time. Reading chapter 10 in Leaper reminded me of this time…

…Like I said, I was attending Colorado State. As was typical, I was at CSU’s Morgan Library working on some kind of journalism, philosophy or math homework. Now in order to set the stage for this story I have to tell you a little bit more about myself (duh, right?).

Aside from being a college student, at this stage of my life I was also a husband, employee at SolarGlass Window & Door, and involved in a leadership program at Summitview Community Church.  I had joined this program because I’ve always been drawn to do more than just go to church, say a couple prayers, and essentially “punch out.” Mitch Majeski (who used to be the church “secretary” and is now one of their pastors) encouraged me to participate in a weekly guys leadership Bible study type program. From what I can remember I was considering joining this group and that this commitment was kind of a big deal for me because only a couple years prior I had been neck deep in youth ministry at another church. The church had a nasty split which left my heart feeling a weighty combination of being burned and bruised at the same time.

Back to the library…I remember sitting or praying or maybe reading the Bible. Not sure if it was one or all of those. One way or another, I was hanging out with God and I felt compelled to call up Mitch and commit to this leadership program.

In the Morgan library there’s a “free” house phone to the right of a couple pay phones. I picked up the free phone and called Mitch to chat (this was before I owned a cell phone). About a minute into our conversation a guy stepped over to the pay phone and just stood there. I didn’t think much of it at that moment and continued talking to Mitch. I was excited to tell him about feeling God directing me back into some type of ministry.

The words I poured into the off-white glossy speaker of the phone must have sounded offensive to the guy waiting near me…or maybe I had gone over some “five minute” rule for the house phone that I knew nothing about. Either way—this guy looked about as mad as a rattle snake that had just had his tail stepped on.

I was really hoping to talk to Mitch for at least a couple more minutes, but the sense of anger and hostility I was feeling from the wanna-be-phone-call-maker really had me spooked. In all seriousness, I felt like if I didn’t get off the phone that minute that my life was in danger.

And there was something about the waiting man that just didn’t fit. Even right after this all concluded I couldn’t remember what this guy looked like or what he was wearing. Honestly, I felt like I was in the presence of evil.

Now, I’m not a super charismatic, raise my hands when I’m singing, speak in tongues kind of guy. I’m—quite honestly—a pretty boring Christian. My idea of fun on a Friday night is a couple Mountain Dews and five straight hours of undisturbed Halo 3 playtime on XBOX Live. All that to say—I’m not exaggerating when I tell you the waiting man really freaked me out. And the weird part was that I do remember him looking like an average 30-40 year old white guy (that’s about all I can remember of him).

“Uhh, Mitch…I think I better go. I think there’s someone who wants to use the phone,” I mutter through the plastic handset. I hang up the phone, and turn to the waiting man and say, “Sorry about the wait…it’s all yours.”

While I can’t recall the words that came from the waiting man I do remember they fell off his tongue like black gooey tar. My soul—literally—shuttered when he spoke. I remember reading This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti right after I gave my life to God and thinking about how cool it would be to see into the spiritual realm and view the battle between good and evil. After a couple quick comments from this guy I changed my mind. I’m quite happy with my current spiritual prescription (thank you very much).

My weird exchange got even weirder as I started heading for the library exit (as fast as possible!). Towards the end of my phone call I noticed another man observing what was happening between me and the waiting man. He was kind of in the corner of my eye the whole time, but I really didn’t pay him much attention because I was so focused on the demeanor and malcontent of the waiting man.

As I made my way toward the exit the observing man approached me. The  observing man also had an uncanny likeness. Unlike the waiting man, this guy was rememberable. He reminded me like a squatty Popeye. He wore a short sleeve shirt that was once size too small and showed off his plump biceps and broad chest. He was the antithesis of the waiting man. Even before he spoke I could sense light and goodness in this guy. If you could peer into this guys soul I’m sure you’d see the equivalent of a 1000 watt bulb wired and powered by his heart.

“That guy sure was grumpy, eh.” The squatty Popeye twin said. “Not to worry friend, I would have stepped in to protect you if he would have tried to come at you.”

Like that, he was gone.

It’s not like he up and vanished or anything. He just hustled off and that was it. I walked out of the library and immediately felt like I had just met that supposed angel that spends their entire life dedicated to your protection. I’m not sure if he was “mine” or not…but I can tell you I was convinced that he was sent by God.

And to be honest…I can’t tell you of anything deeper than that. I don’t know any more of the storyline than what I described to you just now. I didn’t go home and quit drinking soda, I didn’t start praying more or give more to charity or anything. And the leadership course I was talking to Mitch about…it never really went anywhere either. In fact, it kind of felt like a flop to me.

So why the heck have I just spent the last hour describing this story to you?

I’m not sure I know.

Maybe it’s because you wonder if there is such a thing as good vs. evil. Or maybe not. I have no clue why this happened in my life. I guess it doesn’t really matter why it happened so much that it did happen. God stepped into my life in the form of an awkward, fumbly, weight lifting, angelic, Popeye-looking  protector. In that brief moment in time I knew what darkness looked like and I saw its polar opposite.

I may not know what spiritual battle is or looks like. But I know it exists.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

Video: Volition

December 18, 2008

I was doing some research today on some of the authors I work with here at WaterBrook Press. As I was thumbing through blogs I came across a post from Randy Alcorn that talked about a video he recently watched called “Volition.”

I didn’t read far into the thread, just clicked on the link to load the video (it took about 30 minutes to load/buffer…it’s about 800 pixels wide and must be a huge file). I was immediately drawn into the video. The way it was shot and the music score (it sounded like something from an M. Night Shyamalan film) grabbed me and held my interest.

I don’t want to blow the plot or anything…just watch it. You can view it here:

http://www.thedoorpost.com/hope/film/?film=420351f1aefa2b42b1772fe9d5cc044a

When you’re done, come back and let me know what you think. I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

Colorado Springs Here We Come…Err, Are.

November 24, 2008
Life is full of surprises. An overused phrase—I know—but, in my family’s case surprises are something we’ve learned to get used to.
 
If you know any of my immediate family—my sisters, my parents, me or my wife Kelly—than you know we struggle with anything that looks like business as usual. You see, the Sigfrids clan and its members are not afraid of change (1/3rd of us are afraid of the the “Change We Need”…but that’s a story for another day). Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah – change. Change in the life of any Sigfrids is like…well…the setting sun—you can pretty much count on it every day.
 
Take me for example. I’ve had 22 cars in the past 12 years, I’m on my fourth address in the past eight years and I’ve had 19 jobs since I was 13 years old. What can I say—I like mixing it up. I like rearranging the furniture, painting and repainting rooms in my house, fixing something up only to tear it apart again a year later to try something new.
 
My parents and sisters are probably a little more stable. My older sister knew exactly what she wanted to do before she hit college and finished her degree like every other “normal” college student in four years. My younger sister took a little bit longer to get her degree, but still—she knew what she wanted to do and went after it.
 
Me – I got married two months after my 19th birthday, went to four different colleges and changed career courses more times than the New England Patriots have been to the post season. I don’t know why God wired me this way…but I’m not afraid to try something new.
 
But when it came to where I wanted to live the rest of my life…I was sure that Fort Collins was it. I love the community, our church, our friends and our home. Whether it be biking to Old Town Fort Collins for ice cream and live music in the summer or eating dinner out (I’m pretty sure Fort Collins has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the U.S.) — Kelly and I loved life in Fort Collins.
 
But when things at my job (Penton Media) started getting a little rocky and the economy started to sour I decided it would be best to start looking for “Plan B.”
 
I poked around for marketing jobs and ended up with three interviews in two weeks: One at WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers (out of Colorado Springs), one at Sierra Trading Post (out of Cheyenne, WY) and one back at Group Publishing (Loveland, Colo.). Each job had its unique flavor and in all honesty I thought the job at Group would pan out for sure. But as I began going through the interview process at each company I could tell that God was weeding two out and preparing the soil in the hearts of Kelly and I for the one He wanted for our family.
 
I’ve seen God do some pretty amazing things in my life: Fix blown head gasket problems by removing the head gasket altogether (if you want this story ask me about my $1 Chevy Corsica), bring people into the path of my life at two in the morning (ask me about the drunk driver that hit my house), and provide just what we need exactly when we needed it (if you want to hear this one, remind me of the time I tried taking down my garage door).
 
God’s done amazing things. He did it again with the new job I accepted in October. I saw the opening at WaterBrook on CareerBuilder.com. Now – given that I’ve applied for lots of jobs (remember, I’ve had 19 since the age of 13) I can tell you that CareerBuilder.com is not exactly a hot spot for great jobs. Nonetheless, I saw the position at WaterBrook and decided to go for it. I applied through RandomHouse.com and at the last minute decided that in addition to filling out the application online that I would fax a hard copy directly to the Colorado Springs office.
 
Act of God #1: As it turns out, the hiring manager would get that fax minutes before she left the office to fly out for a conference. My resume made it to the top of her list and caught her attention while she was away from the office.
 
A couple weeks after I had submitted my resume I got an email from the hiring manager at WaterBrook asking me if I would have time to chat about the open position. I called and we set up a time to chat about the position. I remember getting the email in our kitchen on my cell phone and laughing as I read it and told Kelly that a company in the Springs wanted to talk to me about a job.
 
Act of God #2: Now I kind of expected Kelly to raise a red flag after I alerted her to this potential opportunity. In all reality, I expected her to say something like, “Uh uh, no way, no how, don’t even think about it, we’re not moving and if you even think about thinking about it you might as well just start sleeping on the couch now.” Her response was the complete opposite, “Would we move to the Springs? I might be okay with that.”
 
The first phone interview with WaterBrook went really well. I learned more about the position and the more I learned the more intrigued I was. And then there were the benefits…holy cow, the benefits. I lined them up on a spreadsheet against the benefits I was currently enjoying. The benefits at WaterBrook made my benefits at Penton look like some third world Communist run program.
 
Act of God #3: After my phone interview a week went by, then another week. I hadn’t heard anything and quite honestly I was expecting a “thanks but no thanks” letter from WaterBrook. Driving home from work one day I received a call. As the “719” Colorado Springs area code flashed across my phone I knew it was Waterbrook calling. They wanted to bring me in for an in person interview.
 
Later that week, Kelly, Ransom, Lewis and I loaded into the family van and headed for the Springs. I met with several different managers and staff at WaterBrook. The interview went well. I learned more about the position and came to understand that I would basically be given full control over redesigning their web site and handling their online marketing efforts. For a guy like me that is driven by projects that seem overwhelming and given the autonomy and trust to pull off the impossible—this job just kept getting better and better.
 
Act of God #4:As Kelly and I started to pray more and more about the possibility of moving to the Springs, God made it more and more apparent that the job at WaterBrook was on His heart. The other interviews at Sierra Trading Post and Group had come and gone and I had pretty much decided against accepting or pursuing either based on the way the interviews went. On the way home from my second interview with Sierra Trading post I got a call from WaterBrook with an offer. Now, I had it in my mind what it would take for me to accept the position. From a salary perspective to helping with relocation—every single piece of their offer was at or beyond what I needed to make a decision.
 
As Kelly and I prayed over the next two days and talked about the transition timeline and details surrounding (what seemed like) an apparant “yes” decision we began batting around ideas. “Simple” things like renting vs. selling our house. And complex things like managing a hectic October schedule that included: Kelly and I vacationing in Florida for a week, me going to Green Bay for a Packer game, Kelly traveling to St. Louis for a wedding, and me staying in Colorado Springs Tuesdays through Thursdays for up to three months after accepting the position.
 
Act of God #5: Kelly and I decided that God was indeed opening the door for us in Colorado Springs. We decided to sell our house in Fort Collins (which we had just bought 14 months prior) and dive head first into life in Southern Colorado. As we neared the largest hurdle in this whole ordeal I prayed that God would prove to me that His hand was indeed in all of this. I prayed and asked God to sell our house before I started work at WaterBrook. That gave him about 11 days to sell our house. We placed our house on the market and left for vacation in Florida. It was a glorious week that included walks on the beach, driving around in a convertible and watching the stock market tumble amidst a 700 Billion dollar government bail out.  
On our way back to the airport to fly home we got a call from our realtor. We had an offer. We got home the next day, countered their offer and they accepted. God had gotten us a contract in just 10 days. The day after we signed the contract I started work at WaterBrook.
 
I spent the first three weeks at Waterbrook going back and forth from the Springs to Fort Collins. I’d stay in the Homewood Suites three days a week and then work from home Mondays and Fridays. It was a grueling schedule and I’m so thankful that we were able to sell our house and be down in Colorado Springs just four short weeks after starting my new job.
 
We’re renting a nice place in the Gleneagle area—just 5 miles from work (nice on the wallet compared to the 44 mile round trip I was taking each day to get to Penton and back). We’re “church shopping” which feels like scraping 60 grit across my heart due to the fact that we loved our church in Fort Collins so much.
 
Kelly, Ransom, Lewis and I have started new routines: Dinner almost every night, a fire in the wood burning fireplace and reading books before bedtime, and enjoying weekends together as a family. It’s been tough to be away from friends, but we’re trusting God each day and know that He has plans for us in the Springs.
 
Well – I better get going. Until next time…

The Ford Falcon Treasure Principle

November 12, 2008


It was the fall of 1997. My wife Kelly and I had been married three short months. Laying in bed one night I turned to Kelly and said, “I think I want to buy
a VW Bus.” Knowing we had about five bucks to our name and wondering with what money I was going to purchase said VW, Kelly responded (in so many words), “Dream on—with what money?”

Hopes dashed and completed irked with the way Kelly had pointed out the obvious, I put my dream of owning a van with plaid curtains and a mini fridge on hold.

Fast forward three months. I’ve been working as a landscaper for Bud Jones & Sons out of Mason, Ohio. I had shared with my boss (and any one else who had a pulse) about my desire to own a VW bus and during lunch that day he mentioned to me that someone that used to work for the company had a van he was looking to sell or trade for landscaping work. My boss said it wasn’t a VW, but that it had a lot of character. I decided to check it out.

I found my way to the guys house that owned the van and he gave me the keys and showed me around his 1961 Ford Falcon van. As we approached the 36 year old vehicle only two words came to mind: Mystery Machine. While it was white and the Mystery Machine was rather colorful (and lacking windows), I couldn’t help but be swept away by the beauty of this amazing piece of American machinery.

We walked around the van and the seller told me about how he had given it new brakes, rebuilt the engine, put new tires and rims on it and basically taken care of everything mechanical problem.

Like udders in the hands of a farmer or mud on the face of a pig—I felt completely in my element getting behind the wheel for a test drive.

For the first time ever I learned about things like “three on the tree” (which made for an interesting start!), lead additives in gasoline, the existence of foot powered washer fluid sprayers, and old school built in coffee warmers (the engine was right where one might rest their right arm).

This thing screamed, “Look out world—here comes Sig.”

1961 Ford Falcon Van

I finished up my test drive and asked the seller, “How much?” He replied, “$1,000.” Now a grand back then was like ten grand now. Not wanting to give up on the dream, I asked him if he’d be willing to trade anything for it and he said he’d take $500 cash and let me work 40 hours for his landscaping company to pay the other half off.

So what else is a wide-eyed, Falcon-crazed, 20-something supposed to do? I emptied my bank account, signed on the dotted line and worked 40 of the most mind-numbing hours of my life weed-eating miles upon miles of endless Ohio greenery.

But I had my van. The van. Oh, it was a piece of work.

Over the next few months I worked to restore the interior. Fixing the speedometer, painting the floor and installing carpet (it had a bare metal floor when I bought it). I loved driving around in it. Not only was it fun to drive—it could haul full sheets of plywood (which worked out great in those days when I was managing my skate park ministry).

That van and I were tied at the hip. I loved it and (I think) it loved me back. We weathered 12 inches of snow on 13″ rims, taught skate park kids how to drive in the church parking lot, hauled skate park tools and supplies around and every once and a while hauled everyone to Taco Bell for 69 cent tacos and endless Mountain Dew.

Then one day—completely out of the blue—I decided to buy a brand new, 1999 Nissan Frontier (King Cab). While I loved my van, the appeal of that new car smell and small things like…air conditioning (ever been to Ohio in August?)…fuel economy…safety (the van had no seat belts)…and the ability to defrost my windows without having to use Kelly’s hair dryer overcame my love for the Ford Falcon.

Now unfortunately, Kelly and I lived in a townhouse and there we were only given two parking spaces. I decided it would be best to sell my dream van—not only for the space I needed for the new truck, but because I could sure use some cash as I was now paying $400 per month for car payments as well as an increase of 300% on my car insurance.

I phoned up Auto Trader and placed my van for sale in the auto classifieds section. I was surprised when all of Cincinnati and the tri-state area wasn’t knocking down my door for a test drive. But finally, just before I was about to leave for a missions trip to Mexico, I had an interested party.

Young, naive, and wooed by it’s beauty, the 20-something kid came to test drive the van. We drove around and he asked questions about the Falcon. I showed him the foot powered windshield washer sprayer, the fact that you can open the hood inside the van and tune it as you’re driving down the road, and all the other little things that made the van so mesmerizing. As we drove I could see that glassy eyed, romantic look in his eyes. I thought for sure I had the van sold.

As we drove we talked and I got the impression that this kid was like most college kids out there: chasing after girls, excited about the next beer-pounding extravaganza, and looking to fill his heart with every other vice that will never satisfy and only leave him feeling like how I almost always kept the van’s fuel levels…empty.

We pulled into the parking space and he said he’d buy it in a heartbeat, but that he would need to come up with the money. He called me later to tell me that he wouldn’t have enough to purchase it. I told him I understood, hung up the phone and continued packing for my trip to Mexico the next day.

Fast forward to the end of the Mexico trip. I’m on the plane flying home and I’m having a quiet time on the plane. Inbetween reading and staring out the window as I contemplate Jesus words, I come across Matthew 6:19-21:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ”

I’ve read this verse before. As I’m reading I take note that I’ve already highlighted this passage and that other’s have brought it to my attention as well (I always put someone’s initials and a date next to a scripture passage that is given to me in a letter or some other note). Needless to say—this passage isn’t new to me. I know what it means and I’ve tried to live by it. But as I read it I feel God pulling on my heart speaking these words to me: Give the van away.

“Give it away?” i question.

“Yes. Give it away.” I hear God telling me.

Now let me use this opportunity to clarify something. God didn’t send down bolts of lighting, I didn’t hear these exact words in my head, and I’m pretty sure the guacamole I had for breakfast was fairly fresh…

All that to say – I didn’t need God to bring fire from heaven. I heard the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit confirming in me that I had an opportunity to serve him and secure a reward from him in heaven.

I prayed and resolved that I would call up that kid who wanted to buy the van and offer it to him at only one price: 30 minute of his time. In that 30 minutes I planned to share the Gospel with him and explain to him how God loved him and had a plan for his life. i would tell him what I told the kids at my skate park…that God thought he was the best thing since sliced bread and wanted to know him.

My heart swarmed like electrified red jello as I ran through the conversation in my mind and played out the transaction in my mind. The kid would be shocked to hear that I wanted to give him the van …I would tell him of God’s love, answer any questions he may have, give him the keys and the title and say good bye and pray that God would do an amazing work in his life.

It was a great plan. God’s plan. And I was excited to be his servant.

On the drive back to the church from the airport I shared my excitement with a close friend about my decision to give away my van. Surprised, he offered to me that it would be better to just sell it. After all – I need to provide for my family and think about them first. I believed that God speaks to us through the Bible, through sermons, through prayer and also through Christ-centered friends. As I listened to my friend speak I was persuaded to ditch what I felt God had called me to. Persuaded that my family came first, I pushed away any thought of giving away my van.

Oh how I wished I would have stayed the course. Maybe it was due it part to my friend’s convincing arguments. Maybe it was the fear to be so bold in my faith. Maybe both.

The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn

I was recently reading a book called The Treasure Principle by Randy
Alcorn
. As I flipped the small pages (it’s one of those small books that packs a big punch) I came across this excerpt:

“I know a single man who came to Christ in his twenties, read the
Scriptures, and got so excited that he decided to sell his house and give
the money to God. But when he shared this plan with older believers in his
Bible-study group, something tragic happened: They talked him out of it.

If you ever feel inclined to talk a young believer (including your own
child) out of giving; restrain yourself. Don’t quench the Spirit of God,
and don’t rob someone of the present joy and future rewards of giving. Instead,
watch and learn. Then lay God’s assets on the table, and ask him what He
wants you to give away.”

Randy’s story reminded me of my own story. What I call the Ford Falcon Treasure Principle. Alcorn’s words and Christ’s words mentioned in The Treasure Principle have stirred in me a passion to take a closer look at money and possessions. I want God to speak into my life and my finances like did when I was 21. The truth is…I’ve probably listened to other believers too much. I need to get back to listening for God’s voice and not letting any other voice drown his out.

Jesus – bring me back to that place of surrender and give me the courageto follow through on the plans you whisper to me. help me to not give into what I or others may think is the better idea. Help me to follow you and storeup treasure in heaven. After all, I came here with nothing and I leave with nothing. Call me God, I’m listening. – Chris.

 

Content is NOT king

August 14, 2008

 

Reduce - Reuse - Recycle ImageReduce, reuse, recycle.

This feels like an old adage for someone like me who grew up hearing this phrase used in elementary school. While the era of recycling has been around for ages some would say this is a “green” statement and others say it’s a sound business plan. I say they’re both right but at this point I’d like to take up a few minutes of your “flipping through the web” time to talk about what this phrase means from a business perspective.

When you think of “reduce, reuse, recycle” the first thing that probably pops into your brain is that symbol with the arrows rotating in a triangular fashion ( http://www.ex-mobile.com/news/phone_recycle.gif ). When I hear the term I immediately think of our paper recycling box next to the printer here in the Loveland office.

My point is this: most of us think recycling has to do with something physical.

Get past the obvious and find the granny gear in your brain–it’s time to step back and take a hard look at what matters most in this business: Content.

(For those of you who have never driven a real truck – a granny gear is the lowest gear out there…it’s lower than first gear…it’s the gear that goes the slowest, but gets you out of the muck fastest).

Content is NOT King

They say content is king. I say Content is queen and the Web is the doting, loving, infatuated king obsessed with showing off his beautiful, holy-crap-I-can’t believe-your-mine-because-you’re so-flippin-amazing wife. Content was made for the Web and Web was made for Content–they’re a match made in heaven.

You may be wondering where print falls in this analogy? These days I hate to say it, but Print is the jealous boyfriend that used to date Content. Sure – Print and Content still hang out as “friends,” – but let’s face it–he’s sitting on the sidelines at the dance watching Content and Web dance on center stage–madly in love and surrounded by onlookers curious to see what moves they make that will inspire the rest to join in. Content still remembers the good times she had with Print–but sadly, she’s forgetting less and less about those good times as she’s so infatuated with Web.

To Print I say this: It’s okay–it’s not like the Web put your head on the chopping block or sent you to the front lines of some far off war. You’re still here, but your ex-girlfriend is happy with her new husband and now you’re stuck waiting to find your true love.

You’re Not an Editor Anymore

ThinkerYou’re a content strategist.

In the past an editor would help pull together a story that would run in an upcoming issue. Now editors need to be thinking about how to re-purpose and repackage that article to be used on several playing fields. Here are some of the places some of you are repurposing those articles:

  • Adding it to your Web site
  • Sharing it with your e-newsletter readers
  • Blogging about it on some key sites outside your own (or on your own)
  • Creating a video or podcast based on or related to the same story

But what else can you do with that article? How else can you repackage your content in order to get more eyes on your content?

At this point if you work for Penton Media you’d be reading all about my latest initiatives I’ve helped create that address how to reuse your content in ways that increases web traffic, up your subscriptions, and help overcome the problems print publishers are facing. Alas – these are secrets I cannot reveal and I must stop here…sorry.

Chris Sigfrids
Online Product Development Manager
Penton Media
sigorama@aol.com
www.chrisssigfrids.com