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!
You're Invited!!!
I remember as a child getting a birthday party invitation in the mail! I would sprint from the mailbox to the front door to show my mom she had to RSVP right then and there! 
I would count down the days on my Lisa Frank calendar. The anticipation would build the minute I saw “You are invited! “
Being invited means you belong, you are wanted, your presence is requested to help celebrate a birthday, a marriage, a baby, a graduation, a life-event, or milestone. 
And the same message is sent when you are the party planner sending an invitation. You invite someone because you want them to be a part of the joy. You want them to know they matter. 
I also have been on the end when I didn’t receive an invitation. When I was left out. Off the list. Excluded. We have all experienced this hurt in some way or another when we have felt rejection.
Do I belong? Do I fit in? Why wasn’t I invited? Am I not good enough? 
Thanks be to God we believe in Jesus who is the ultimate party host.
Jesus invites all to come.
No one is on the wait list.
Jesus’ invitation is for all of us!
Jesus invites us to come and follow.
Jesus invites us to come and eat.
Jesus invites us to come and rest.
Jesus invites us to come and stay. 
The Power of an Invitation
Every Sunday morning, I begin with these words:
You are loved. You are valued. You are welcome. 
Church, You are invited!
Covington, You are invited!
Online community, You are invited!
Come for Jesus’ ministry is one of radical invitation:
Jesus invites you to eat breakfast on the beach, to take care of his sheep and feed them. (John 21:4-19) Jesus says follow me! 
Jesus invites you to stay and break bread and dine on fish for there is more than enough. (Matthew 14:13-21) Jesus says come and eat around the table of abundance! 
Jesus invites you to come to him and lay down your burdens and he will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28-30) Jesus says come and take a nap and rest in the comfort of the divine. 
Jesus invites you to abide in him. (John 15:1-11) Jesus says I am the vine, and you are the branches. Stay awhile. 
God’s invitation is for you!
We receive invitations all the time. Will you accept this invitation to experience God’s love for you this season at FPC? 
I Invite you to join me in pondering the following questions and would love for you to email me!
Who invited you to church?
How did this invitation impact your faith journey?  
Who needs to know they belong?
Who in your neighborhood, family, workplace, friend group longs to know they are invited to come follow, eat, rest, and stay awhile at FPC Covington? 
Will you send them an invitation through a phone call, a text, an email, a note in the mail? 
As the Church we have work to do when it comes to personal invitation. The power of personal invitation is a gift we give one another as well as the church of Jesus Christ. When we cultivate an atmosphere of invitation, the contagious energy builds, and people want to join in.
Here's a fun video on the power of invitation and what it feels like to think "I'd go if he asked me to go."
RSVP: Stories of Invitation
I am looking forward to exploring this new sermon series with you!
I propose a sermon series practical challenge:
Invite a friend to church this month. 
Be intentional! Show up to meet them and walk with them as they come in the door. Share with them what to expect. Invite them to lunch following worship!
Or try inviting them to any of our non-worship events! There's a little something for everyone!
Anyone is invited to come to anything we hold! So please join me in inviting a community of loved ones to join us this August!
Faithfully,
Neeley Rentz Lane
P.S.
Our fall sermon series (starting September 4th) will be a "People's Potluck of Ideas!" Erin and I invite you to consider what YOU would like to hear US discuss in a sermon. We will only be able to cover a few in the three weeks of this series, but we'd love to hear all of your ideas! What is a faith topic you'd like to learn more about? What Bible story might you want highlighted? What do you want to hear us preach on? We invite you to send us your ideas and faith questions as we prepare for this upcoming sermon series!
Please email Neeley by August 10th at neeley@fpccov.org or by hitting reply on this email.