Of Mice and Men

Poet Robert Burns penned an observation which survives to the present: "The best laid plans of mice and men are oft laid aft."  The biblical version that preceded Robert Burns is: "Man makes plans, but God orders his steps."   Monday came. Strong agenda. Wanted to dress spiffy. Looked in my closet. Picked out a favorite shirt, new pair of blue slacks, and my best gray sport coat. Took my time and selected the right tie. Felt good going out the door.   Had my list of things to do on a Monday. Meetings. Preparations for next Sunday. Talking with staff. Phone calls. Studying. Nice package.   Carried my case inside the church office and decided to pick up my hardhat and take pictures of construction teams at work. Walked around in the construction area being careful to protect my shoes and keep clothes clean. Videoed and took photos of workmen and the progress of construction. Felt so good. My plan was right on que.   What happened in the next few minutes is what happens to every pastor in a building program.   "Good Morning, Lance," I said to the Project Manager.   "Good Morning, Pastor. We need help. The masons are moving so fast this AM they are ahead of schedule. We need those two air conditioners, that window and a water faucet removed out of the walls."   "How soon do the items need to be removed, Lance?" I asked.   "Now, and we do not know how to get inside the building to the areas of these items," he said.   Thus, "mice and men" laid aft my plans. No time to waste. Temperature climbing toward sixty degrees---December 4. Masons using powerful lights to lay block by night.   There is a price to having been present for 36 years. Only Danny, my elder son, and I know some of the history of the location of wires and pipes in the two existing complexes.   I stepped into the office. Pastor McCready and Team were busy following up the weekend meetings and planning for the rest of December. I hastened to find Lance. Off we went in the other building making our way to the location of the items that needed to be removed.   Minutes later masons were on one side of wall and passing their tools through an opening to me inside the building. Drilling, hammering, pushing, pulling---still in my nice outfit.   The masons are terrific. Always a good attitude. As soon as we had a hole through the wall one of them was inside and took over the project.   Then came the request for finding material to put inside the holes in the wall to protect the floors. A little later Pastor Lyndsey and I helped to re-route the water line in preparation for the cold nights ahead.   Make no mistake the concrete workers and masons are astounding. Lance is doing a super job. The surveyors and other workers are making a strong effort to speed their work before severe weather arrives.   My early morning Musings were not inclined to construction. But the path of ministry cannot always be penned in the morning with certainty if there is a dream in process. We are working on the dream of a congregation that has been prayerfully committed to this action for 20 years! Weather has been very kind. The pace is intense. In a few days work will be totally above ground.   While the building rises efforts to minister to people and plan for the future are dramatic. Wednesday evenings 6:30 in December there is a special focus on Family Devotions. Attendance last week was astounding! Pastor McCready and Nicole, his wife, have assumed teaching of Middle Schoolers on Sundays 9:45-10:35. Relationships formed at Christmas at the Bare's events are dramatic. People are feeling a part of the body. Sunday December 17 we will have a special Christmas presentation both services.   At the present time we have numerous persons who are challenged with specific medical or social issues. Our hearts are much burdened as we minister to these precious persons and walk with them through this challenging season of life.   Here in our community, national and world events have rattled the minds of persons. Those who live on the margins are the first to struggle when social and political issues are unsettling. The ministry of Covenant Church must be biblically based, prayerfully rendered and wrapped in the love of Our Lord Jesus.

We have bold plans. We want God to order our steps. We want to be empowered and driven by the Holy Spirit.   "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps," (Proverbs 16:9). Now off to the dry cleaners.   Much love--- Pastor Bare "Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain," (Proverbs 127:1).