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It’s what in the present…

July 12, 2007

Imagine your child on his or her birthday…..eagerly anticipating the gift.  (We’ll say its a he so I don’t have to keep writing he/she.) He wakes up at 5:45am….and knocks on your door to get you up.  You give him a beautifully wrapped present in a huge box.  Silver wrapping, perfectly done.  A blue bow just in the right spot.  A nice little card.  His eyes light up as he dreams of what is inside.

After ripping the wrapping to shreds….his eagerness turns to bewilderment as he finds an empty box.   Suddenly the present feels like a cruel joke.  The wrapping and the bow, while very nicely done….meant nothing when the present came up empty.

I heard this analogy about worship today at a conference…and it floored me.

So often churches divide over the wrapping paper of worship.   The people involved in worship put great effort into the style, and the look of a worship service.  The community that comes to the gathering on Sunday is eagerly looking for their particular style of wrapping paper, hoping for a certain sound and look and waiting to be disappointed if the present doesn’t look like they had hoped, as big or shiny on the outside as they expect or are used to.

What is most important…is what is inside the box…..and what is most important in our worship services is not the wrapping…BUT..the object of our worship…which is Christ.   It is only when this foundation is firmly in place that then we can properly address the wrapping, so that it becomes a tool to help people connect with the gift of Christ inside.  Starting with carrying about the wrapping paper, both from the community that comes to church and from those who participate in leading, will eventually leave everyone feeling bewildered and empty.

p.s.  I’m absolutely prepared for no comments on this post…but I welcome your thoughts!!

p.s.s. Its almost time to declare a winner for the 500th comment…which right now gets a $50 dollar gift certificate to Circuit City, two movie tickets, and a homemade dessert, thanks to our sponsors. 

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17 comments

  1. Are you lying about the gift???

    Inquiring minds would like to know who your sponsors are.


  2. You know, all of that wrapping stuff makes a lot of sense. I think the congregation in general should have to go to a worship conference so they could get an appreciation for what the people who plan worship services are trying so hard to accomplish. It’s not easy.

    p.s. was that #500?


  3. You know, all of that wrapping stuff makes a lot of sense. I think the congregation in general should have to go to a worship conference so they could get an appreciation for what the people who plan worship services are trying so hard to accomplish. It’s not easy.

    p.s. was that #500?


  4. I loved the giftwrap analogy! At my church one Sunday recently, the pastor got up fully prepared to deliver his sermon … and barely into it, he said he was being led by the Holy Spirit to address something completely different. He went on to say he was “done” with responding to the folks who had nothing better to do than complain that the worship leader had spiked hair, or a guitarist had a long ponytail, or that the worship team wore jeans, etc. He said that these people love Jesus and are serving Him, and if all the people are there for is to find fault in such petty matters, then … THERE’S THE DOOR!!
    Your analogy also reminded me that I am a wrapped package, and when people get to know me, as a Christian, I hope they will see something beautiful inside that they want! Thanks, Jay!
    P.S. The Circuit City gift card was mailed to you yesterday.


  5. Of course you’re going to get comments on this..it’s about worship! I was so surprised when I wrote my worship post at the number of people who were mad at me. (Which you never commented on, by the way.) Anyway, I think this is great. It does make sense and I totally agree. Although- there are types of wrapping paper that I’m more partial to. But I know that the outside doesn’t reflect the quality of the inside. And Aunt Carol..I like your pastor already. =)


  6. Great post, Jay. Also, anyone with children should be able to recall a time when the kids were far more interested in the box than its contents; the gift was tossed aside to play with the cool cardboard cube. Sometimes even us grownups care more about the packaging than what’s inside. Thanks for a good reminder this morning. -K-


  7. An unexpected gift was found inside the “box” for Christina and I, since being on the prayer team for the weekend services. As you know, we pray over the services in advance. We found that since we have been praying through the intent of the words of the songs, the content of the sermon message, and the aspects of the elements of the service, we are completely in harmony with what the Holy Spirit has in store for us, personally, come Sunday morning. He has prepared our minds and our hearts. The box is full.


  8. I guess this is just another example of jeans or no jeans shouldn’t change the meaning of the message!


  9. Jay,
    I visited your church with my parents last Sunday (July 8) and loved it – the worship, your comments, Ron’s message. Keep up the great work!
    PS. I want to win the prize.


  10. Jay,
    I visited your church with my parents last Sunday (July 8) and loved it – the worship, your comments, Ron’s message. Keep up the great work!
    PS. I want to win the prize.


  11. Loved the analogy as well..You’ve done an excellent job of keeping me & others focused on the the content in the box – Thank you!


  12. got the card in the mail…thanks Carol!!!
    And the 500th commenter will be thanking you too!!


  13. There’s a very interesting book that Ken Mulder has been reading called “Jim and Casper Go To Church” which may give some important clues on how unchurched people may view our worship services. Interesting reading.


  14. thanks Dave! I’ll check it out…


  15. Did I win!?


  16. How about now?


  17. Now?! ;o)



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