Twenty-five years ago I was trying to figure out what God wanted me to do with my life.  I was finishing my second year of seminary and thinking that whatever it was it would have something to do with church.  An area pastor took me on as an intern, and welcomed me into his church and his family.

David and Carolyn Dean.  I would need several posts to come even close to describing them and their impact in my life – in our lives.  Libby and our three little boys were on this ride, too.  We would spend all day Sunday in Sudbury, Mass., a Rockwell-like New England town where First Baptist was.  The Deans, with their three older boys would usually have us over for an incredible Sunday lunch and some basketball before evening services and the youth program I led.

The Deans, and the kind folks of First Baptist loved us into the pastoral ministry.  They also sent a bunch of their people to help us start a church in the neighboring town. 

I just called David and Carolyn, to catch up.   Officially, David is retired, although when I called he was out visiting someone with ALS.  He and Carolyn live on the Dean family farm, where David grew up, north of Nashville, not too far from the Kentucky border.

What a dose of grace, good will and encouragement come from these two.  They ask all the right questions and supply all the right responses to help you see and celebrate the good things that God is doing in your life.  And, if you want someone to care about your challenges and trials – they’re perfect at that, too.

I have to pause and thank God for people like David and Carolyn.  Maybe in some post I will spell out how they made the difference in some decisions.

But, I also find myself inspired by them, remembering that right now, today, this week, there are people in my life who could use a good deposit of grace, perspective, hope, encouragement.  People in range whom I can celebrate and cheer on.  It may just be a short conversation, an email, a phone call, a response – something that says, “You really, really matter!  And, I’m so glad to know you.”

Think for a second.  Who are you cheering on?  Who might have a reason to write about you one day?