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The Dream Center

July 17, 2004

The Dream Center is a church in Los Angeles that is intently focused on the reaching the impoverished of the city. They do some extremely gritty work with the homeless, the working poor and addicts of the streets. Every Saturday that run what they call the Adopt-a-Block program in which they bus volunteers to different blocks of the city to give food and clothing to those in need, to pray with them, and to play with children. A group of us went this weekend and it was quite an experience. I played in an ally with a bunch of kids, outside of a “hotel”. These “hotels” as they call them are partly governmentment funded and a step up from being homeless. They are filled mostly with people addicted to drugs, mostly single mothers and there multiple children who have different fathers. They are completely and utterly trapped in a cycle of poverty and drug use. The Dream Center is doing amazing things in an area that few people are willing to touch, but that we as Christian are called and expected to touch. To put it in more gritty terms, I spent my Saturday playing with kids in a crack house. This is not an overstatement. I spend some time “talking” to a teenage girl who was clearly a crack baby. Her motor skills were slow, her speech deeply impaired and her smile priceless. If you must live in the environment that was chosen for her, I would think it to your advantage to be mentally impaired. If you were in your right mind it seems to me that it would be unbearable. Yet that is why we carry with us Christ, to break such cycles. We are to meet the needs of the desolate, not to necessarly “win” them to Jesus, but more importantly to simply meet the need. To love deeply, because we were loved deeply. To care, because we have been cared for. To give, because we have been given much.

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

“Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 1:27 and 2:13b.

“The serving that we are called to requires direct contact. You cannot wash the feet of a dirty world if you refuse to touch it.”

-Erwin McManus (p. 23, An Unstoppable Force)

http://www.dreamcenter.org

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