Monday, October 20, 2014


My job has taken me to some mighty weird places. I am an architectural draftsman. That means I draw the construction drawings for our client's buildings. Sometimes, when one of our clients wants to add onto or remodel and existing building, I have to go out and "field verify" the existing building conditions.

Sometimes field verification can be enjoyable. For example, I have been in every room of The Hearthstone building in downtown Appleton. I measured the entire structure. The Hearthstone was Wisconsin's first hydro-electrically powered house. You can read more about it here if you want.

The architectural firm I worked for at the time was hired to conduct a study of the building to make recommendations for its rehabilitation. I measured the building, drew the plans, and even got to do some architectural forensic work.

It was fun analyzing the layers of paint on the exterior. I found seven layers of different colored paint on one of the porch's posts. The color you see today when you drive by is a match to the original color of the building. Cool!

Sometimes my job takes me places I would rather not go . . . like the Kettle Moraine Correctional Facility for example . . . a prison. Security screenings, locked doors, and stares from the prisoners as I walked amongst them, trying to go about my business without looking directly at anyone.

It's hard to describe the feeling one gets inside a prison. It's an extremely uncomfortable feeling for sure . . . if you allow yourself to think about it. If you allow your mind to wander, exploring all the possible things that go wrong. I have found that feelings like that are from the devil. I learned that this passed Saturday while volunteering at a local food pantry - Ruby's Pantry.

I was pre-registering people as they waited in line outside the building. I love that job. I have gotten to know and love many of the people who walk through the doors there. Hugs are freely given and received. Every once in a while though, I get a surprise . . . like Saturday, when I saw a young man, formerly a member of an area youth group.

We talked for a while, catching up a bit on each others lives. He was having trouble finding work, telling me that most employers tend to balk at his felony record. Umm, yeah. Bad decisions made years earlier in his life were majorly effecting this young mans life in the here and now.

I told him to talk to John, the man in charge at Ruby's, and told this young man that there might be some work for him. I didn't really know if there was any work or not but I knew that John was the kind of guy to make some work for someone if they really needed it. And he did.

I saw my young friend a few hours later. He was all smiles. I asked him if he had talked to John. He said that he had and thanked me as he shook my hand. John had found something for him to do. Someone had finally cared enough to look beyond this young man's felony record and talked directly into his heart.

Can you see how God is at work in this young man's life? This guy came to Ruby's Pantry that day to get some free food because he didn't have a job. He left, not only with food, but with some work to do. AND not only that, he now had two men in his life who will speak to him about Jesus, about repentance, and about forgiveness.

I think God really enjoys rescuing the lost and helping those who are hurting. And I think He enjoys doing so through others. It's like he is going up to bat in the World Series and with one swing he gets three hits! Our God is mighty to save and He likes using the weakest among us to accomplish His will, not to show the world what WE can do, but to show the world what HE can do, despite our shortcomings, and as a result, draw people to Himself.

He digs down through all the layers we have built up in ourselves over the years. He restores us to our original working condition. He removes all the stains, He re-builds us if we need it.

I am anxious to see what awaits this young man. God is clearly after him. I feel blessed today to have seen yet another example of God working in the lives of those around me. God is eager to forget our sins, if we would only come to Him in humility and ask for it, placing our faith in Jesus as we do so.

God is so incredibly, undeniably good.

"6 The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him."
- Psalm 103:6-13

East To West - Casting Crowns

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