Sacred Holidays

MY SISTER IS A PUBLISHED AUTHOR!!!

I can’t believe this day is finally here! I can’t believe the words I’m about to type! I can’t be more proud to say:

MY SISTER IS A PUBLISHED AUTHOR!!!!!!!!

To say that my sister, Becky, and I are close might be the understatement of the year. It’s hard to begin to describe the depth of our sibling relationship. The reality of the depth comes from the valleys that we’ve been through together. We endured broken relationships, painful losses, school challenges, and constant change. We navigated some hilarious phases like Jinco jeans (her) and Nike earrings (me). We journeyed through her countless surgeries that seemed to never end and both helped each other move more times than we could count. We even got arrested together (another story for another time)!

We had some great times along the way as well! Coolio, Montell Jordan and Garth Brooks on full blast in my high school 85 Blazer. Graduating college (eventually) and finding spouses better than we deserve! We are both blessed to have incredible happy and healthy daughters. We have sure been through it all!

Throughout my life, my sister has always had my back and I’ve had hers.

I will never forget that first year of following Jesus and praying so hard for her. I wasn’t always the best model of Jesus to her, but I wanted more than anything for her to find the same joy that I had. And she found Him and hasn’t stopped running hard and fast after Jesus ever since!

It has been such a blessing to watch her grow in her faith throughout the years. To watch her impact so many lives through her ministry whether through Phi Lamb, youth ministry, women’s retreats, prison ministry and probably most significantly, through her writing. God has given her a passion for the written word and gifted her so uniquely to ministry through those words.

Since she first became a Christian in high school she has consistently communicated her desire to write Bible studies like Beth Moore. I believe much of this came out of how impacted she was by these studies and had a deep desire to have a similar impact on so many others like her that needed these words spoken over them. She has been persistent in this desire/calling/passion even to the point of praying specifically for the opportunity to publish a book with Lifeway/B&H.

To be totally honest, I wasn’t always the biggest encourager here. You see, Becky has a gene that runs strong in our family to hustle. She didn’t wait for a publishing contract to begin writing Bible studies and publishing resources to minister to women. She published a youth Bible study years ago that I shared with teenage girls in my youth group and over the past few years has been self publishing advent and lent Bible studies that thousands of people from all over the country (including hundreds of women in prisons) have been reading and being ministered to through the writing. I didn’t believe that she needed a publisher, but I believed that her heart’s desire was for greater impact. I agreed that this partnership would produce even greater fruit than she could have ever done on her own. And greater impact has been Becky’s heart desire from day 1. I along with many joined her in that prayer and believed God would answer it.

And He did!

It must have been a year ago that Becky was meeting with agents and going through the process of book proposals and meeting with various publishers still praying that Lifeway/B&H would sign her. I remember when she called to tell me that they (B&H) were interested and she just wanted to guard her heart still. I will always remember when she signed that first contract and having the privilege of a late night writing session together in the corner booth of the Black Walnut in The Woodlands.

Becky has prayed diligently and worked incredibly hard for this day to finally be here! Today is the day that she officially becomes a published Lifeway author!

And now you get to enjoy the fruits of her labor! As her brother I got an advanced copy and I might be a bit biased, but this book is awesome!

So, what you are waiting for? Buy a copy now or 3 or 30!

And… after you get your copy, make sure you go back to Amazon and leave a review! I have no doubt it will be 5 stars!

Becky, I’m so proud of you! Enjoy this day! You deserve it! I believe this is just the beginning and the best is yet to come!

Why I Choose Squarespace for 90% of Websites I Build

If you take a look at several of the websites that I manage, you will see that I choose Squarespace the majority of the time.  Here are some of those sites:

NilsSmith.com
AmplifySocial.Media
TVApp.Church
SacredHolidays.com

You might notice that in many ways these sites look quite similar.  The truth is, Squarespace is much harder to customize than Wordpress, but if you are looking for a simple, clean, and functional website Squarespace is a great option.  My favorite part is how well all of their sites adapt to mobile platforms.  I’ve noticed that 60% of the traffic on all of the sites I manage comes from mobile devices, so it’s important that I look for these sites to function effectively on mobile first and then desktop. Our nature is to do just the opposite.  

Here are some of the features I have loved about Squarespace:

  • All in one management - of hosting, domain and email
  • Metrics mobile app - lets me constantly check the site analytics on the go
  • Simple management tools - it’s so easy to update and so hard to break!
  • Beautiful templates - I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a bad looking Squarespace site
  • eCommerce integrations - the platform has seamless eCommerce integrations that makes selling things online so easy to manage
  • Forms - Squarespace forms look and function so great on all platforms
  • Affordable - a Squarespace site can be as inexpensive as $8/month which includes hosting.  it’s hard to beat that price point!

Have you tried Squarespace? If so, what do you like? If not, why not? Do you see any downsides to Squarespace?

 

2016 Men's Lent Devotion

As Christians, if we're called to be like Jesus and are serious about the duty, what is standing in the way of that call? What would it look like for Jesus's life to change the way you lived yours?  

I'm honored to be included as a contributor in the Sacred Holiday Lent Study for Men, which includes the voices of 30 men from across the country who are answering the above question daily. Some days in the study will be highly personal, while others will dig deep into theology or tell simple stories. Each will challenge you to see Jesus's story as it relates to your own and commit to following Him because of it.

 We will explore six topics in-depth:

  • Celebration- Jesus’s riding into Jerusalem
  • Temptation/Betrayal- Judas’s role/mind-set in betraying the Son of God and the disciples’ denial of Jesus
  • Calling- Jesus’s prayer in Gethsemane and mind-set while being put on trial
  • Sacrifice- Jesus’s beatings and Him carrying the cross and dying for you
  • Resurrection- Jesus’s journey from death to life
  • New Life- Defining new life and our response

20 percent of profits from the women's Lent study will go directly to the Orphan Care Network—a nonprofit that is partnering with families to serve the marginalized by showing the Redeemer still changes stories. 

Click HERE below to visit the Sacred Holidays store where you can purchase the study either in print or digital download.  Can you guess which one I'll be going through? Also, I'm excited to share with you a 10% discount code to use when checking out: TEAMFRIEND10

Sacred Holidays Advent Calendar: Discount

I know it’s only October but Advent, preparing our hearts for Christmas, kicks off next month!

Pre-order your copy of the Advent study written by my sister, Becky Kiser, with Sacred Holidays. Sacred Holidays also has Extras for Families, Individuals and Small Groups plus prints! There is even an Advent devotional for teens this year along with a leader’s guide for moms and youth leaders. You can preview & purchase the products at www.sacredholidays.com/shop.

Be sure to enter in my promo code when you check out to get 10% off your entire order: NILS10

Sacred Christmas is Here!

Sacred Christmas 2014 Ad
Sacred Christmas 2014 Ad

I'm excited to share with you a new ministry that my sister is launching: Sacred Holidays.  You can learn more about the ministry on their about page here.

The biggest announcement though is the release of their first resource: Sacred Christmas, a 2014 Advent Devotional.  This is a 27 day Advent study to help you connect with Jesus more during the holidays.  They are also offering a special bundle with Fun Extras for the Creative (and the Creative Wannabe)!  These extras include Group Discussion Questions, Christmas Traditions, Christmas playlists, recipes, giving tips & more!

One of the best parts of this whole ministry is that 20% of all proceeds will go directly to His Voice Global, a ministry that ministers directly to orphans in South Sudan and throughout Africa.

Becky Kiser was generous enough to offer a FREE copy to one of my readers, so I hope you will take a minute and click  below to enter this contest to win.  At the end of the day 1 winner will be randomly selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway