For three nights this past week, just before turning out the lights, I read God’s Dream for You: Finding Lasting Change in Jesus, a short book by Matthew Barnett, pastor of Angelus Temple and the Dream Center in Los Angeles, California; the first of 150 Dream Centers launched around the world.
Released in the Fall of 2013, I’m not exactly sure how this ended up in my current review stack, but the story of Dream Center, an urban ministry very similar to one which my wife co-founded a few years ago (albeit on a much smaller scale) really resonated. Matthew Barnett was probably expecting to fall in his father’s footsteps and be another megachurch pastor, but God had other plans.
Fifteen years ago, in another book, The Church That Never Sleeps, Barnett told the story of how, “a small group of believers stepped out in faith-against all odds-and claimed the Queen of Angels Hospital in downtown Los Angeles for the cause of Christ. Now 200 different ministries in the Los Angeles International Church reach out to thousands of residents. Innovative programs minister to AIDS victims, the homeless, battered women, drug and alcohol addicts, and abused children-offering hope and a chance for a better life.”
God’s Dream… is a more recent look at what staff and residents call “The D.C.” with stories of changed lives that will remind some of the testimonies in books by Jim Cymbala about what God is doing on the opposite coast of the U.S.; with a number of hope-filled scripture references and teaching included.
At 188 pages in a smaller, digest page size, God’s Dream… is published in hardcover and fits what is often called the “Gift Book” genre of motivational and inspirational titles that I’ve never tried to review before. The main message of the book is that when people hit bottom, it’s easy just to focus on subsistence, but Barnett reminds the people he serves to go after their dreams. This book would be a great encouragement to someone who finds themselves mired in tough circumstances; but also the Christian leader who feels ill-equipped to minister in an urban setting.
To learn more about The Dream Center, go to DreamCenter.org