Yesterday, I introduced you to a place that is dear to my heart, The LA Dream Center. If you missed my post about the Dream Center and Skid Row yesterday, please click here.
The Dream Center is a beacon of hope for homeless families, addicts, abused women and children, victims of human trafficking, teen runaways, and many others who are filled with brokenness. Matthew Barnett discovered the cause he was made for when he relinquished his dreams of success and began listening for God’s dream for his life instead. When he sensed God was calling him to serve the poor and powerless, he co-founded (with his father, Tommy Barnett) the Dream Center in Los Angeles, CA.
I had the honor of going on a missions trip to the LA Dream Center with Lysa TerKeurst and the staff of Proverbs 31 Ministries in August, 2011. It was one of the most amazing weeks of my life. While there, I had the privilege to serve on Skid Row, Adopt a Block, sorting clothes for the homeless, and packing trucks full of food to be delivered throughout Los Angeles communities in need. I also had the life changing experience of witnessing the various programs throughout the Dream Center for those who reside there and in the community. Testimony after testimony credited God, Pastor Matthew, and the Dream Center for restoring their lives and giving them hope. This only scratches the surface of what all the Dream Center does.
Meeting Pastor Matthew was quite an experience. I’m not sure what I expected, but I knew he was a very important man. I guess I expected him to be in his office working, planning, meeting, researching, and probably just very busy. I’m sure he has his days where this may be the case, but I was extremely impressed by the fact that this man knew every name of every person at the Dream Center. Not only did he know their name, but he knew their story. He walked around and visited with the people. And he was so enthusiastic. You could tell that he was so excited for each person there. He loved them and they loved him too. It was pure and genuine. I have not seen anything like it before. He had a smile on his face, enthusiasm that was contagious, and a huge heart for all people and God.
There were no presentations set up for us to listen to testimonies or stories from the Dream Center. Instead, while serving or working in a certain area, Pastor Matthew would happen to walk in and just pull someone from the Discipleship program or another program aside and say, “Hey, Tom, tell these ladies your story. Tell them where you were one year ago.” And Tom would tell us. This happened all week long. We heard from folks who had been there just a few weeks, to those who had been in the program a year and then decided to stay and give back. Lives given hope. Lives where people found a place to belong. Lives changed forever because one man believed in the poor and powerless and took a bold leap of faith in founding the Dream Center. And once these people feel like they belong somewhere, they begin to believe…in themselves and God.
Matthew Barnett did not just found the Dream Center. He is also the senior pastor of the historic Angelus Temple. The Dream Center’s ministries reach 30,000 people each week through its multiple church services and more than 200 need-centered ministries.
The Dream Center’s record of success has led to the launch of over 100 independent Dream Centers nationally, as well as internationally.
In Pastor Matthew’s NY Times best selling book, The Cause Within You: Finding The One Great Thing You Were Created To Do In This World, you are shown how to recognize the unique gifts and opportunities God has placed in your life. When you discover and commit to your personal cause, you’ll find that God is right there beside you—ready and willing to partner with you in amazing ways. The cover of his book features real people from the Dream Center. I know this because I met many of them.
It is my privilege and honor to have Pastor Matthew Barnett as a part of our MTC Conference Call Series. If anyone knows about cravings, discipline, changing your life, and believing in dreams, it’s him. If you would still like to sign up for the calls you can do that here. You will be sent links to listen to the first 2 calls that have already taken place plus the number and code to be a part of our next 2 calls (Matthew Barnett and Lysa TerKeurst).
Jennifer Davidson won the give away of Matthew Barnett’s book yesterday. I’m giving another one away today. Leave a comment on my blog today about the cause within you. Do you have a cause? Are you searching for one? Please share your thoughts.
Hope each of you have an amazing Tuesday and are enjoying our last week of study.