Building the Kingdom, Brick by Brick

When Alex’s brother got Lego sets for Christmas, he’d always end up asking his big sister for help. ‘It would take me like months to build a little truck!’ she admitted. But on Nine’s Lego Masters, you had less than twelve hours to build some of the most elaborate creations ever assembled.

You might think that pressure could get a bit stressful, but not for Josh Taylor. Talking to Alex on 180, he told her his biggest regret about his time on the show was not always seeming to enjoy himself. ‘I just probably would tell my past self to smile a little more,’ he said. ‘On camera I was so serious all the time.’

He and teammate Trent made it all the way to third place, so you might be surprised to know they only met four days before filming started. ‘The first time we ever built together was episode 1. So we were kind of on the back foot in that sense,’ Josh said.

‘We didn’t really know what we were good at, what our strengths and weaknesses were as a team, how we could work together. It took us a few episodes to find our rhythm, and once we did, we started winning quite a few, and we were like: “Wow, we’re actually contenders for this thing.”’

GOD REALLY USES EVERY OPPORTUNITY FOR HIS GLORY

Between episodes, they hung out at the hotel, practicing new techniques and ideas. But Josh says they all supported one another and would often share tips and tricks. ‘We just help each other out so much, because we all wanted everyone’s models to be the best, and we all want to be competing with the best.’

Josh and the other contestants also got time to share their faith journeys, and you might be surprised by how many Lego Masters are also Christians. One of the competitors was the daughter of Andrew McDonough, creator of the popular Lost Sheep children’s books.

When he’s not building incredible creations, Josh works as a school Chaplain. He says his time on Lego Masters has been a great conversation starter. A lot of people get inspired by what you build, and they want to build more and stuff. Other people just want to chat to you, and that gives you the opportunity to have conversations with people that you probably wouldn’t have before.’

And of course his time on the show also gave him a chance to share his story on places like Eternity News, and on 180. ‘I’d just say that God really uses every opportunity for His glory. I kind of went into this going this looks like a really fun experience, and I just thank God so often for allowing me to go on this journey.’

Money: 4

‘Money is the answer for everything.’ Ecclesiastes 10:19 NIV

The Bible teaches that God wants you to have enough money to:

(1) Provide for your needs and those of your family. ‘But if anyone does not provide for… those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.’ (1 Timothy 5:8 NKJV)

(2) Finance His work. ‘Honour the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all your produce.’ (Proverbs 3:9 NASB)

(3) Pay your taxes and your obligations. In answer to the question, ‘Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?’ Jesus replied, ‘Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.’ (Matthew 22:17; 22 NLT)

(4) Send His Word to the four corners of the world. ‘How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?’ (Romans 10:14–15 NKJV)

(5) Help the poor and needy. ‘Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments… Wealth and riches will be in his house… he has dispersed abroad, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’ (Psalm 112:1,3,9 NKJV)

When your reason for wanting money is to fulfil God’s will and bless others, God will honour you.

SoulFood: 2 Chr 12–15, John 12:20–36, Ps 102:12–17, Pro 27:10–12

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2020

Today’s Readings

2 Chronicles 12–15 ()

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12:1 When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him. In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, because they had been unfaithful to the LORD, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem with 1,200 chariots and 60,000 horsemen. And the people were without number who came with him from Egypt—Libyans, Sukkiim, and Ethiopians. And he took the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem. Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and to the princes of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the LORD, ‘You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.’” Then the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The LORD is righteous.” When the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah: “They have humbled themselves. I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. Nevertheless, they shall be servants to him, that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.”

So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. He took away the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king’s house. He took away everything. He also took away the shields of gold that Solomon had made, 10 and King Rehoboam made in their place shields of bronze and committed them to the hands of the officers of the guard, who kept the door of the king’s house. 11 And as often as the king went into the house of the LORD, the guard came and carried them and brought them back to the guardroom. 12 And when he humbled himself the wrath of the LORD turned from him, so as not to make a complete destruction. Moreover, conditions were good in Judah.

13 So King Rehoboam grew strong in Jerusalem and reigned. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city that the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel to put his name there. His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. 14 And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the LORD.

15 Now the acts of Rehoboam, from first to last, are they not written in the chronicles of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer? There were continual wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 16 And Rehoboam slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David, and Abijah his son reigned in his place.

13:1 In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, Abijah began to reign over Judah. He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Micaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah.

Now there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. Abijah went out to battle, having an army of valiant men of war, 400,000 chosen men. And Jeroboam drew up his line of battle against him with 800,000 chosen mighty warriors. Then Abijah stood up on Mount Zemaraim that is in the hill country of Ephraim and said, “Hear me, O Jeroboam and all Israel! Ought you not to know that the LORD God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt? Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up and rebelled against his lord, and certain worthless scoundrels gathered about him and defied Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and irresolute and could not withstand them.

“And now you think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hand of the sons of David, because you are a great multitude and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made you for gods. Have you not driven out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made priests for yourselves like the peoples of other lands? Whoever comes for ordination with a young bull or seven rams becomes a priest of what are not gods. 10 But as for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken him. We have priests ministering to the LORD who are sons of Aaron, and Levites for their service. 11 They offer to the LORD every morning and every evening burnt offerings and incense of sweet spices, set out the showbread on the table of pure gold, and care for the golden lampstand that its lamps may burn every evening. For we keep the charge of the LORD our God, but you have forsaken him. 12 Behold, God is with us at our head, and his priests with their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you. O sons of Israel, do not fight against the LORD, the God of your fathers, for you cannot succeed.”

13 Jeroboam had sent an ambush around to come upon them from behind. Thus his troops were in front of Judah, and the ambush was behind them. 14 And when Judah looked, behold, the battle was in front of and behind them. And they cried to the LORD, and the priests blew the trumpets. 15 Then the men of Judah raised the battle shout. And when the men of Judah shouted, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. 16 The men of Israel fled before Judah, and God gave them into their hand. 17 Abijah and his people struck them with great force, so there fell slain of Israel 500,000 chosen men. 18 Thus the men of Israel were subdued at that time, and the men of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the LORD, the God of their fathers. 19 And Abijah pursued Jeroboam and took cities from him, Bethel with its villages and Jeshanah with its villages and Ephron with its villages. 20 Jeroboam did not recover his power in the days of Abijah. And the LORD struck him down, and he died. 21 But Abijah grew mighty. And he took fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. 22 The rest of the acts of Abijah, his ways and his sayings, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo.

14:1 Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David. And Asa his son reigned in his place. In his days the land had rest for ten years. And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God. He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherim and commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment. He also took out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him. He built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the LORD gave him peace. And he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the LORD our God. We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered. And Asa had an army of 300,000 from Judah, armed with large shields and spears, and 280,000 men from Benjamin that carried shields and drew bows. All these were mighty men of valor.

Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. 10 And Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11 And Asa cried to the LORD his God, “O LORD, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O LORD, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.” 12 So the LORD defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 13 Asa and the people who were with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians fell until none remained alive, for they were broken before the LORD and his army. The men of Judah carried away very much spoil. 14 And they attacked all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the LORD was upon them. They plundered all the cities, for there was much plunder in them. 15 And they struck down the tents of those who had livestock and carried away sheep in abundance and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.

15:1 The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded, and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The LORD is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law, but when in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. They were broken in pieces. Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress. But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”

As soon as Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded, he took courage and put away the detestable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities that he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim, and he repaired the altar of the LORD that was in front of the vestibule of the house of the LORD. And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who were residing with them, for great numbers had deserted to him from Israel when they saw that the LORD his God was with him. 10 They were gathered at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. 11 They sacrificed to the LORD on that day from the spoil that they had brought 700 oxen and 7,000 sheep. 12 And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, 13 but that whoever would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman. 14 They swore an oath to the LORD with a loud voice and with shouting and with trumpets and with horns. 15 And all Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and had sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the LORD gave them rest all around.

16 Even Maacah, his mother, King Asa removed from being queen mother because she had made a detestable image for Asherah. Asa cut down her image, crushed it, and burned it at the brook Kidron. 17 But the high places were not taken out of Israel. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly true all his days. 18 And he brought into the house of God the sacred gifts of his father and his own sacred gifts, silver, and gold, and vessels. 19 And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa.

John 12:20–36 ()

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20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. 34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.

Psalm 102:12–17 ()

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12   But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever;
    you are remembered throughout all generations.
13   You will arise and have pity on Zion;
    it is the time to favor her;
    the appointed time has come.
14   For your servants hold her stones dear
    and have pity on her dust.
15   Nations will fear the name of the LORD,
    and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory.
16   For the LORD builds up Zion;
    he appears in his glory;
17   he regards the prayer of the destitute
    and does not despise their prayer.

Proverbs 27:10–12 ()

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10   Do not forsake your friend and your father’s friend,
    and do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity.
  Better is a neighbor who is near
    than a brother who is far away.
11   Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad,
    that I may answer him who reproaches me.
12   The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
    but the simple go on and suffer for it.

Sat 21 November, 2020


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