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If you were to ask me, I’d say January is my favorite month of the year. I like cold weather, short days, long nights with stars like diamonds in heaven’s vault, a dark room with a fireplace cradling glowing Mesquite logs, howling wind in the live oak trees, sleet on the window panes. If I were a rich man, I’d own one of every winter coat in the L.L. Bean catalog and relish the chance to wear one.

January is the depth of winter, the calm after the harried holidays, the inception of the new year, and the catalyst that spawns thoughts of spring. January presents itself each year and insures that with its introduction, April will come. I like January’s style.

A couple of years ago I found myself waiting for a late-night train an inordinate amount of time in New York City. Without great fanfare, a homeward-bound member of the New York Philharmonic opened his violin case and began playing Vivaldi’s "Four Seasons." The tunnel reverberated acoustically with winter, spring, summer and fall, filling every crevice with music. That experience ranks as one of the cultural highlights of my life (even above hearing Willie Nelson sing "Yellow Rose of Texas").

If I were to pick a musical rendition of LGI’s year, "Shake, Rattle, and Roll" would have to be the contender. We’ve shook and we’ve rattled, but we aren’t broke—and the ministry is on a roll. There have been more challenging years…I just can’t remember them. 1994 was somewhat less than fun, but as the last stanza of the song reaches its final bars, I’m glad we sang along; and I couldn’t be more optimistic about January. We have "closed ranks’ here at LGI and taken stock of what January and 1995 hold. So, put on some tunes, refill your coffee cup, sit down on the hearth and read on.

I anticipate the holiday season and all that it brings, but I’m excited about the mantle of time passing to January. As you know, we’re not much into razzle-dazzle at LGI. This ministry is straightforward in its vision to teach a profound message: God placed Christ in us and gave us a new identity in Him. The goals of our ministry center clearly on helping Christians understand how to live effective, Christian lives that bring glory to the Lord and life to those around us.

More than in any of LGI’s previous twenty-year history this is occurring. I encourage you to read the testimonies that follow later on. They speak more candidly than I can about how God is using us (you and LGI) to accomplish what Christ had in mind when He said, "I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly" (Jn. 10:10). Earlier in the verse, He says that the thief (Satan) comes to steal and destroy, but that He comes to give life. You, and LGI with you, are exposing Satan’s schemes in the lives of Believers and disciplining them to walk in victory through the power of the indwelling Christ. Praise God! That’s effective ministry, and it brings great honor to the Lord.

In order to fulfill our mission more effectively in 1995, we are creating an additional radio program that will give our message significantly wider exposure than we are currently experiencing—and this without expensive start-up costs to the ministry. The principle goal will be to guide our listeners to new discipleship materials currently being developed, as well as to inform them of upcoming conferences and of the existing materials and resources available to help them begin growing in Christ.

Here’s a further preview of what I’m talking about: Late in the fall, we spent three days videotaping down in Houston. I’m here to tell you, some dynamite footage was recorded. So, hold on and look for a new video series mid-year. Two new books, and possible a third, will be published this year: He Said, She Said is a revised, updated, and stronger edition of our previous book Marriage Takes More Than Two. Anabel has written A Stillness in the Storm, offering a series of encouragement notes on practical Christian living. The third book, slated for late in the year, is a compilation of our ministry letters… so stay tuned.

We are also planning a revised and updated version of our tape series on overeating, which I’m sure you are thrilled about here at the mid-point of the holiday feeding frenzy. In addition, look for new audio series on prayer, parenting, and, of course, the latest insights we have on our life in Christ. All of this is in addition to our continuing effort to minister through the articles in our monthly ministry letter and newsletter.

As you can see, January and 1995 hold exciting days and rewarding ministry that all of us can be honored to be a part of.

What end-of-the-year report and January vision-setting meeting would be complete without a financial statement? We are predicting the same lean periods financially that we experienced last year. On our end, we are doing all that we can to budget and prepare for these. What does this mean for You? First of all, don’t be intimidated by the enemy. Give what God enables you to give and in response to the ministry you have received. You’ve heard me say it before, if God enables you to give $5, give $5. If He enables you to pray, then pray. No contribution is too small if it is the contribution God enables you to invest in His work.

Second, keep after it. You are doing a good job of consistency—better than ever before—and this means the ministry moves forward with financial confidence. I realize that insuring the transfer of the life-changing message of our exchanged life in Christ to others involves sacrifice. Thank you so very much. Please know that together we are reaching more people with this message than ever before.

Thirdly, if you able to increase the amount of your contributions or invest larger sums of money, the ministry will move forward with greater strides and effectiveness than it is able to do without your investment.

And fourth, if you aren’t yet contributing to the accomplishment of our ministry mission, jump on board. By being a part of the answer, you contribute to changed lives like the testimonies in this letter substantiate. Don’t wait for us to ask. Know that your contribution is vital and that we pledge to use it wisely. Together 1995 looks like a classical piece ready to be played!

There it is. A glimpse through the keyhole at January. And, just like January, it’s straightforward, unpretentious, and predictable. Last night I was out walking with Honey, our "new used" dog. I watched our breath crystallize and thought about spring: bluebonnets, daffodils, redbuds, and dogwoods. It won’t be long before January gives way to spring. And it won’t be long before the plans of January become evident in the lives of hundreds of dear people.

Preston Gillham

About the Author

As a co-founder, Preston Gillham led Lifetime for 30 years. Preston is a writer, speaker, and leadership guide. He has authored numerous articles and several books including No Mercy and Battle for the Round Tower. He blogs on “Life and Leadership”. More about Preston, his writings, speaking, and his consulting practice can be located at PrestonGillham.com.