The whole covenant group from Amarillo came down to Midland this weekend to cheer on our own Evie Granado as she dominated at another regional gymnastics competition: three events, three gold medals. We’ve watched Evie, who remarkably turned ten-years-old last month, compete several times, and it’s always the same: three events, three gold medals. The next time we convene to support her at an event, we should all wear T-shirts that say “Three Events, Three Gold Medals.”

Evie is the one who brought us together this weekend, but our Lord is the one who originally put us together ten years ago. And I am so thankful to God. Those people in that picture up there are a rich, deep, eternal source of love and encouragement and support for Carrie-Anne and me and our family. We’ve been together through so much, mostly in each other’s homes, mostly on Sunday nights, but also for holidays, baseball trips, movies, kids’ and grandkids’ events, a couple of weddings, and a few dogs.

Those people up there? We’ve prayed the Psalms with those people. We’ve shared countless communion meals together. We’ve served breakfast and comforted strangers at the League House together. We have fasted together. We’ve done Maundy Thursday and Gifted to Go and Crocktoberfest and Bible class and Missions Month together. There are songs we sing in church that cause us to look at each other across the worship center. Yeah, these are those people for us. When our daughter Valerie got married two summers ago, she had these people escorted in like family, to sit right behind the parents and grandparents. Yeah. That’s who these people are.

We were so blessed by God to have them with us yesterday for worship at our new home at the Golf Course Road Church – two pews full of some of the greatest blessings in my life. I worshiped  God yesterday with Steve’s tenor in my ear and Dale’s resounding bass just to my left. When we dismissed the kids to children’s worship, Evie didn’t leave, but she did reach across three people to grab my hand and share our secret handshake we invented when she used to walk by our row on her way to kid’s worship at Central. They were all smiling as I began the sermon and I couldn’t make eye contact with any of them again until it was over. After church and during lunch, they affirmed how much they missed us at Central and, at the same time, how obvious it is that we belong now at GCR.

Oh, man, we miss this bunch. Those people up there are a huge part of our lives and a big reason our faith is so strong in the way our God works in and through his children.

We had decided to eat at Ray’s Italian Bistro after church. As I walked out of the building into a mostly empty church parking lot, I received a text from Carrie-Anne that they were already there and had ordered my iced tea. I got in my truck and started to pull away when I noticed  Steve and Becky just coming out of the church building. I thought for a second that maybe Steve was turning off the lights and locking the doors, something he would do if it looked like it needed to be done. No, Becky had met two visitors, talked with them for a while, made a couple of connections, and they told her they would be back next Sunday. That’s Steve and Becky. That’s these people we love so much.