Grace Abounds!
Sermon writing and worship preparations are a holy art. I prayerfully engage the living word with imagination, curiosity, and an openness for the Spirit to dance!
My hope as your pastor through “Neeley’s Notions” is to offer stories and perspectives to ignite your own imagination, curiosity, and openness to the Spirit. - this will be a periodical email offering as the Spirit leads!
One word to describe the Bible?
My childhood minister says that if he had to pick one word that described the Bible he would say
Life is full of surprises and our faith journey is no different. Throughout the biblical story, God is showing up in places, faces and situations with an element of surprise that invites us to enter the story with curiosity, openness, and wonder. 
God to Moses at the Burning Bush:
"I will be with you; and this shall be a sign for you that it is I who sent you."
Gabriel to Mary:
 "Behold, you will conceive in your womb and you will bear a son and you shall name him Jesus."
The two glistening men to the women at the empty tomb:
 "He is not here! He is Risen!"
The Day of Pentecost:
"All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit..." 
More than enough food to feed the crowd, raising Lazarus from the dead, water into wine, drop your nets and follow me...Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! 
What other bible stories might you add?
How have you changed this past year?
This week in our study of Acts (Acts 9:1-20) we will experience surprise through people showing up in our lives for a reason, a season and changing us for the better.
We will encounter Ananias and Saul and their unlikely friendship in Damascus. This surprising event will change Saul by opening his eyes to proclaim the good news of Jesus. Thanks be to God for people who meet us on our journey, touch our hearts, and give us strength to change our ways. Who in your life has changed you for the better? Who is your Ananias?
Who has helped open your eyes to God's love and been influential
in your faith formation? 
I appreciate this image and the understanding of change as beautiful. I invite you to spend a moment reflecting on how you have changed this past year. How have you grown? What have you learned or unlearned? How is God removing the scales from your eyes and revealing God's self to you? 
Changed for good.
Our almost ten (she is really excited about double digits) daughter Kately has experienced lots of change in her 9 years. She has called three states home and moved to new schools. Each transition, we take time to give thanks for the ways she has been changed for the better because of the rich relationships she has experienced.
Kately feels deeply. She loves fiercely. Just recently Kately was able to give thanks for someone through the Arts Association who welcomed her with open arms when we moved to Covington. Following the fantastic performance of the musical Beauty and the Beast, the cast sang "For Good" from Wicked as they all said goodbye to their beloved friend. The compassion, the love, the gratitude, the beauty were ever so present. Robert and I were moved to tears. I invite you to take a moment before worship on Sunday to listen to this song. As you listen, who comes to mind for you? 
"For Good" from Wicked
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Performed by Kristin Chenoweth
and Idina Menzel
(This story is shared with permission from Kately!) 
I hope you'll join the conversation by replying to this email to tell me about the people who have changed you and how you have grown.

I am looking forward to sharing with you on Sunday someone who impacted my journey as I answered my first call to serve a church!
This is Mrs. Mary! 
Picture 2006
Neeley Rentz Lane