Rusty experienced a defining moment the day he was no longer called by his name, but by a number. His cell number. 121. It was then that Rusty knew something had to change about the way he was living. During his second stint in jail, Rusty felt God working in his life, and made a new commitment to Christ. Not only did he make a commitment to change his life, but also to change the lives of people walking the streets, just as he had done, which led him down his destructive path.
While in jail cell 121, God put another number on his heart. 180. He decided to start a shelter called “The 180 Zone” that would reach out to men, women, and families in need of housing and assistance after jail. His goal was to keep people off the streets and minister to them by sharing the love of Christ. Today, that dream has become a reality. At only 24 years old, God is using Rusty in a mighty way. The 180 Zone has three locations in Illinois and Iowa, and his ministry has been recognized by the states as being an exemplary community outreach. Many lives are being restored because one young man chose to use his troubled past to bring others a promising future.
Matthew chose to capture Rusty’s story in a song called We Are the Broken. It is a song many of us can relate to, because all too often we try to offer up only our strengths to God. But, God calls us to be willing to give him our mistakes, our weakest moments, and the parts of our stories that are marred by imperfection. Only then, can we truly see how God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.