I've had a lot of interesting guests this week. I've visited with Dr. Mark Rutland, the incoming president of Oral Roberts University, along with Mart Green, the chairman of the board. Later, I received a visit from Bill Anderson, the president of CBA, our industry's trade association, and we had a great meeting. And I had a wonderful time with my friend and mentor Dr. Jack Hayford, who was in town attending a meeting of the National Association of Evangelicals.
But by far the highlight of the week was an opportunity to participate in The Forum at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. This is an annual event that brings in top leaders. This year the speakers included Jack Welch of GE, Dave Ramsey, Craig Groeschel, Megyn Kelly of Fox News, as well as author and consultant Patrick Lencioni, and my longtime friend Bishop T.D. Jakes.
In the current economic slowdown, it's good to know God is still answering prayer and prospering His children. I'm encouraged by stories of financial miracles such as the one I recently heard when I traveled to New York.
The economy, it seems, affects everyone—even if it means only belt tightening, watching our 401(k)s drop or discovering credit is hard to come by. But as believers, we know God has promised to meet our needs and prosper us regardless of the current credit policy, the stock market or who is in the White House. read more
Imagine going bankrupt, having your house burned down and discovering your family has been kidnapped by terrorists—all in one day. Wouldn't that be the worst day of your life? That's what happened to David around 1012 B.C., when he lived in the village of Ziklag (see 1 Sam. 30).
The biblical account says that while David and his men were away in Aphek, their enemies, the Amalekites, ransacked their village, stole all their goods and kidnapped all the women and children. To make matters worse, David's men blamed him and threatened to stone him. read more
This week I'm presenting an eyewitness account of the devastation in Southern Israel that is the result of the violence perpetrated against Israel by Hamas. The account is written by my good friend, Rabbi Aaron Rubinger.
When the air-raid sirens go off in cities such as Sderot, the people have 20 seconds to get to safety. Often there is nowhere to run to, so a ministry named Operation Lifeshield has made two different kinds of bomb shelters, one of which doubles as a bus stop in the cities. Thanks to the readers of Charisma magazine, along with the people who have attended Nights to Honor Israel in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, a total of four bomb shelters have been donated so far. read more
Technology is amazing, and I sometimes marvel at the way I can Google a subject and in seconds have thousands of possibilities. Initiating a Google search often takes less time than it does for me to open a Word document on my own computer.
One of the most interesting aspects of technology is viral marketing. This phrase refers to the spreading of information through the Internet almost as a virus spreads, passing from person to person without any seeming pattern.
In the old days we would have called this "word of mouth." Anyone who is in marketing knows that it is the best form of advertising. For example, most of the books I personally read are those that are recommended to me by someone whose opinion I trust.
We've seen an example of viral marketing up-close-and-personal this week with the phenomenal response to a video called "David after Dentist." It was shot by David's dad, David DeVore, the husband of Tessie DeVore, who is the executive vice president of our Book Group and who has worked with me for 16 years. I've known Tessie and her husband, David, since before they were married, and of course I've known their son David and his younger brother Will since they were each born.
Last May little David had to have a tooth surgically removed at the dentist. He was afraid of the experience, so his dad suggested that he videotape the entire day's events with his new Flip video camera. After the procedure, when little David was seated in the car for the ride home, he was still woozy from the anesthesia.
The clip of his reactions to the medication is very funny. David, his dad, showed it to me and my wife as well as a few other friends, and we thought it was humorous. But I'll admit it never occurred to me that the video might become an Internet phenomenon.
As time passed David, the father, put it on his Facebook page and tried to send it to a few friends. Not all of his friends and family are on Facebook, so he decided to put it on YouTube to make it easier to share the link. He posted it on Friday, January 30, with no idea that it would take off. He did no promotion or e-mail blast to let anyone know the video was there; all he did was put it on the site.
Within three days after it was posted on YouTube the number of hits on the video had risen to a quarter of a million. Within a day or two after that the number was up to a million. As I write this, it's nearing nine million.
In addition to the YouTube hits, the video has received a write-up in the Wall Street Journal,Timemagazine and the Gainesville Sun. It has also been aired on TV on The O'Reilly Factor, VH1, Fox News, CNN, E! and a number of local shows as well as on the radio. Tonight it will be on Inside Edition.
I've included links for anyone who is interested in this phenomenon.
In light of the example of David's video, I'm wondering how I can get some viral marketing going on the Strang Report. Currently I have 15,280 subscribers, and I would like to double that number in the next 90 days. Will you help me create a buzz and expand my list by e-mailing it to people you know? Also, give me your feedback about things you'd like me to cover and let me know whether you like the blog or not.
Please leave your comments, and thank you for helping me invite new people to read my report.
Steve Strangis founder and publisher of Charisma. read more
Colin Powell is a great American hero who has served his country for more than 50 years as a soldier, as a four-star general in the United States Army, as Secretary of State, and in other ways. I had the privilege of hearing him speak at a grand gala banquet in New York City put on by Aid for the World that was held at The American Museum of Natural History.
Colin Powell wowed the audience with his mix of humor and patriotic fervor. He reminded us what a great country America is and how much we must work together--especially with our new president--to keep it a great country. read more
Everyone, it seems, wants to make a difference. But Rep. Scott Plakon, who was elected recently to the Florida Legislature, has had an opportunity to affect the lives of thousands of unborn children. It's a story we were able to “break" in our Charisma News Online e-newsletter. You can read Steve Ghiringhelli's report below.
I knew about this as it was happening because Scott is my good friend and we communicate regularly. I worked to help him get elected because he not only is a good leader with strong business skills but also was committed to standing for the right values when issues would come up in the Florida Legislature. read more
This is a historic week in the life of our nation: We inaugurated the first African-American president. In doing so, we took a huge step forward in improving race relations and reaffirmed that the American dream is possible for all Americans.
But we need to remember that although we're rejoicing in better race relations, that is not the only issue facing our nation. Sadly, I fear that the installation of Barack Obama as president may be a step backward for the right-to-life and traditional marriage issues.. read more
Next Tuesday, January 20, America will inaugurate Barack Obama, the first African-American president. That will be a historic day—one I’ll be glad I lived long enough to witness. But many who believe in biblical values are concerned that an Obama presidency will turn the nation sharply left. Some of my conservative Christian friends are so depressed over the prospect of the next four years they refuse to watch the news because it only makes them upset. read more
On Wednesday, January 7, I heard Dr. Don Colbert give a motivating speech about eating right to a group of booksellers at The Gathering 2009, a conference sponsored by Strang Communications' trade publication, Christian Retailing. He was promoting his newly released book titled Eat This and Live!, a beautiful four-color book that teaches readers what the Bible has to say about food and gives recommendations on which foods to eat heartily, eat in moderation or avoid. read more