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Outlook 2000

I’m reminded of the Old Testament book written by Nehemiah. If you will recall, Nehemiah was a prisoner in exile and his hometown, Jerusalem, lay in ruins. To make a long story short, Nehemiah is commissioned to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city’s walls. There are several characters who despise Nehemiah’s efforts and eventually threaten to attack—and kill—him and his workmen if they do not cease their reconstruction campaign. Nehemiah takes time to evaluate the circumstances before him, but is not deterred from his mission. He prays diligently and eventually posts guards on the wall. In addition, he commands that every workman carry his sword with him at all times, even during breaks and to the bathroom. The wall is completed, and through Nehemiah’s obedience and determination, our Heavenly Father is glorified.

By God’s grace, not only is Lifetime Guarantee ready for the new millennium, the goals set for 1999 have been accomplished. In addition, the opportunities afforded us throughout the year that we could not foresee during our 1998 planning meetings, were seized and integrated into the ministry flow. They too have all been completed.

In a nutshell, this means Lifetime Guarantee ministered to more people more effectively in 1999 than any previous year. We must assess trends, create and live according to our budgets and income, keep computers running—and speaking of computers, prepare ourselves for the Y2K bug—but first and foremost, we minister to people.

We make every effort to reach out with a message of hope, confidence, and security that is essential to life. It is our belief that if we minister effectively, the financial well-being of our staff and ministry will result. Galatians says, “Let him who is taught, share all good things with him who teaches.” In that verse, our assignment is clear: We are to minister, and that has been our determination, in spite of the doubts with which 1999 was introduced.

And now, it greets us. The door of the new millennium is opening. You may feel like one of the three little pigs, or you might have your dancing shoes shined for the stroke of midnight. Regardless, 2000 approaches. This is the only millennial change you will ever experience. What will your attitude be as you step across its threshold?

If you think about it, the Y2K offers no surprises, doubts, uncertainties, or fears to your Heavenly Father. Ask Him about it. He will tell you He has been there and done that. But that is just the good news. The best news is that He lives in you. In Him, you have the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to step forward in His confidence and security. After all, you are just as secure and confident as He is strong and capable.

And that leads me to our vision for 2000 at Lifetime Guarantee. Over the last several months, thoughts and discussions that have spanned years in some instances have converged to challenge our thinking about the message and mission of LGI. We have always known God entrusted us with a profound and incredibly important message, but we have often thought of it as a message with a specific target and narrow focus. That is no longer the case.

Call it what you will—the exchanged life, the deeper life, the spirit-filled life, our life in Christ—at its core, the message we share is about what transpired when we were saved. Our old life of spiritual death in Adam was exchanged for spiritual life in Christ. Our old identity was redefined by being placed in Christ. Our ticketed destination of hell was rerouted to heaven. We no longer sit on the throne of our lives but are seated next to our Heavenly Father in Christ. We are no longer strangers and aliens to God, but we are considered residents of the heavenly realm, citizens of God’s household, heirs and joint-heirs with Christ.

Salvation is a simple transaction. Even a small child can grasp it. In fact, we are told that we must become like little children if we are to find the kingdom of God and take advantage of it.

Yet, salvation is incredibly complex. We recognize that it takes the power of God to instigate and execute the salvation transaction. We construct such theological paradigms as justification, sanctification, and glorification in an effort to grasp salvation’s reaches. We describe it in terms of repentance, forgiveness, and fellowship in order to grapple with God’s dream of relationship with us. We ponder on page after page and sermon after sermon how eternal creatures living in a finite environment can truly relate to an infinite Creator who insists on describing Himself in finite metaphors. It boggles our minds how the King of kings and Lord of lords has loving designs on struggling, sinning, sliding saints—and how He insists on being called “Dad” instead of something more in keeping with His position and power. It’s almost more than we can fathom that He would rather die than live without us.

Salvation is as basic as a child’s understanding and as complex as the genius and ingenuity of God. We can understand it in a moment through faith and spend the remainder of our lives trying to comprehend what happened to us.

In other words, the exchanged life is salvation, and vice versa. It is what Jesus had in mind when He told Nicodemus he had to be born again. It is what He meant when He told the rich, young ruler to sell everything and follow Him. It is the great commandment Jesus spoke about. It is the pearl of great price in Matthew and the invitation to dinner Luke discussed. It is what Christ had in mind when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Thus, the exchanged life is not a spiritual truth that is apprehended, like a scalp on a wampum belt, a college course on a list of prerequisites, or a scientific theorem. It is the foundation upon which all of life rests. It is the demonstration of God reaching out to us and saying, “Hey, I am thinking about you…all the time.”

This being the case, the foundation underwriting life in Christ is as deep as His strength, as broad as His love, and as wide as His compassion. The challenge is to not only believe, but to apply, to think strategically rather than in contingencies.

The year 2000 does not have a pall cast upon it at Lifetime Guarantee. In fact, it never did. On the contrary! We are anticipating Y2K’s prospects. Given the foundation that underpins our mission as a ministry, we are envisioning new realms of ministry yet untapped. What’s equally exciting is that God has placed a cadre of staff within the sphere of LGI who are gifted in seizing new opportunity. They are already contemplating the broadening specter of 2000 that will carry the mission toward completion. New radio programs, written materials, audio albums, strategic alliances, conferences, and burgeoning areas of effective ministry will be the elements we look back upon when we assess 2000 a year from now. But we will not say of 2000 what we are saying of 1999. The new millennium opens at Lifetime Guarantee with us stepping into arenas of ministry that will stage some of the great venues of outreach years from now. We do not intend to step lightly into the future.

We garnered a great deal of experience and perspective navigating our way through the swampy waters of early 1999 and have wrestled with the alligators and other creatures of the muck and dark. I’m sure Y2K will have its challenges, but our determination is to step expectantly across the threshold of the new millennium. After all, it is the only one we will ever experience. We can think of no greater honor than to step forward with you at our side.

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.