The ‘Master Builder’

For a few years now, I have often thought that a potentially-awesome theme for a future Crossing Kids Club – assuming copyright hurdles didn’t exist – would be to build the curriculum around the theme of LEGO. Almost every American parent is immediately familiar with those interlocking, multi-colored plastic building blocks that seem to end up squirreled away under sofa cushions and dropped into heating and air-conditioning ducts. Founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Christiansen, The Lego Group had 2013 revenues of $4.7 billion.

It’s easy to see why. Most kids seem to have an irresistible draw to all things LEGO-themed, as the incredible success of The LEGO Movie – domestic revenues $257M as of this writing – clearly demonstrates. (To no one’s surprise, a sequel is already in the works.) My wife and I purchased the Blu-ray edition the very first day it became available. I’m not even embarrassed to admit that I had the release date noted on both our calendars

Yes, it really has gotten completely out of control at my home, and while my seven-year-old son is happily complicit in this, I also get a lot of the credit. (Don’t even get my wife started…please.)

Shelly was not always an enthusiastic supporter of the “builds” that my son and I would hold on her kitchen table, but she is slowly coming around. I think it was four or five weeks ago, roughly, when one of our build sessions yielded a futuristic starship that had rotating “shields” and gunnery comprised of pieces taken from a set that was intended for a completely different purpose. In my experience, boys (and their fathers) can fashion weapons out of just about anything. When the final result was displayed for her to inspect, something “clicked.” She finally saw that amazing things could be put together once the builders decided to toss aside the instruction booklets and go “free-form.”

What is most interesting to note about LEGO is that a potentially-dull, uninteresting piece of plastic – not much by itself, really – has the indwelling potential to play a key role in the development of something totally cool.

On a regular basis, through various ministry efforts at The Crossing, my wife and I meet people from all walks of life who find themselves feeling as if they are under a shroud of gloom; they feel “discarded,” “unimportant,” or (more often) “too screwed up for God.”

I know exactly how they feel.

In the summer of 2001, when I first began attending The Crossing, I too felt both “discarded” and “useless.” I did not fit into my long-since-discarded perception of “the church mold,” and yet my heart longed to draw closer to the God that I had spent most of my adult life denying. I instinctively knew that my life and my character had been “designed for something more” than all-night drinking sprees, and yet I had no way to “put the pieces together” in any meaningful way. It took years for my heart to soften such that I became a “willing piece of LEGO” in the Master Builder’s hands.

Time and considerable amounts of healing have opened my eyes such that I now am privileged to “see” how God draws disparate people together – people who almost certainly would never be friends outside of the church – and builds a unified whole, a masterpiece where normal math and human reasoning do not seem to apply. “One plus one” equals something far beyond “two,” and a cord of three strands is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

Again, what is most interesting about the manner in which Jesus “builds” is that He takes some of the most uninteresting and most-likely-to-be-discarded pieces and puts together something that the human eye would never have been able to conceive, absent His divine intervention. Unlikely friendships form. Previously-impervious hearts are changed. Rough-looking characters seek out opportunities to serve others. One brick interlocks with another. Shining out from the messiness of just about every human endeavor, God’s glory becomes readily apparent.

Is it weird for me to meditate on Ephesians 2:19-22 while stripping parts from The LEGO Ultrabuild Joker to piece together another free-form starship for my son? Yeah, probably. But these disparate activities are no more oddly connected than the love and concern for others that has grown in my once-hardened heart – and the hearts of numerous others who once considered themselves “discarded” and “unusable.” God has fashioned each and every “brick” for a specific purpose. Every child – and every adult – needs to understand how vital and important they are to God’s Kingdom.

1 Samuel 16:7b:

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Psalm 118:22

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

Isaiah 28:16

Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.'”

Matthew 21:42

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

Acts 4:11

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.

Ephesians 2:19-22

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

1 Peter 2:5-7

You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”

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