Ministry Journal: P.R.A.Y.

Pray. Listen. Act. Now.

(PLAN ... for Life)

Dr. David Dyson minces no words when it comes to hailing the value of planning our lives -- and he is sharing that message in a new ministry. He says, "Our theme is God's Callings; My Choices. God has a plan for our lives. We are called to be good stewards of our lives and to discover and develop the best plan for us."

The Plan for Life Ministry

The "Plan for Life" ministry has been helping participants identify the foundations of their faith -- scripture for the purpose of life and their values -- so they can call on God's Word better in those "moments of choice."

Participants identify and write their life mission, beliefs, values, desired legacy. They also discover their callings, gifts, and talents--and then develop plans for their fulfillment, even with weekly plans that help balance time for spiritual, social, professional, personal and other areas of life.

How this Ministry Serves

Following a sermon he heard about the importance of "heart," David added, "One of the purposes of a plan for life is to connect our hearts to our habits. Pastors often teach wonderful principles in their sermons. Life Discovery and Development seminars and small groups help us go further with understanding and application. Our ministry seeks to complement and assist organizations and ministries by helping people apply better lessons already learned, plus go further to discover deeper needs, even barriers, and develop answers and applications.

Already he has witnessed changes in members taking part in the sessions.

Individuals identify better the purpose of their lives. A couple learns more about what is important to each other and starts choosing the mission and values for their marriage. It's not the first time he's seen God--and prayerful planning--at work.

David recently told about a former seminar participant who lacked inspiration and direction. "When he prayed about and wrote his desired legacy in life, he got more focused on what is important, felt his courage grow though the Spirit, and started living at a higher level of thinking and behaving. That day, he made a choice to live with greater inspiration, to look beyond ordinary fears and above ordinary expectations. He became a better husband and father. His colleagues noticed a change in his commitment and the next month was the best of his (work) career." This person was "transformed by the renewing of your mind" which is much more powerful than mere improvement.

David has observed that professional organizations are far more likely to encourage and assist their members in planning and developing themselves than are most spiritual, educational or social organizations. Most studies reveal that fewer than 5% of us develop a plan for life, even at the length of an average high school paper. He asserts that our life plan is one of the most important writing projects and wants more churches, schools, and families to encourage people with this effort. Jesus taught in the Parable of the Talents that we are to do our best with the talents given to us. The Bible teaches in many places about the importance of vision. Principle-based books advocate "design before construction" and identifying our mission, values, beliefs, and desired legacy, as well as other significant life questions as a way to live meaningfully. He is encouraged that more churches are doing more to help people. In partnership with families and social agencies, spiritual organizations should lead and let educational and professional organizations continue the journey by helping the people apply the principles in their roles there.

"We can ask God to direct us in developing at least a few pages of mission, values, beliefs, legacy, goals, priorities, plans and ideas to guide and inspire our lives." Then, we can respond with "active faith," he explained.

Some people hesitate to plan because they wonder, "If God plans my life, why should I?"

David knows that many barriers exist based on perception or questions or worry, though they usually are not based on scripture or even common sense, but rather social conditioning. Some hesitate to plan because they fear they may change their minds. Or, they fear that they will be wrong in their discernment of what Gods wants and will feel bad if they commit then have to change. David assures, "this does not mean that once a plan or a goal is written it cannot change. As our discernment of what God wants from us improves, we can adjust our plans. It is normal to feel a little uncomfortable about writing goals because we wonder if circumstances will change. Our comfort and confidence in our plans will improve over time. As good stewards, we do our best based on our understanding of our callings at this point in time. It is far better to have a plan and to change it as often as needed than to not have one. As our spiritual maturity grows, along with our attitude and abilities related to planning and achieving, we will feel better about casting a vision and having faith to "let go" and try.

Rarely do we have perfect wisdom and action. We just do our best and enjoy the feeling that comes with courage to try, remembering, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Do you have dreams that you'd like to turn into plans?

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