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The Morning Five

Jesse Carey is the Interactive Media Producer for . With a background in entertainment and pop-culture writing, he offers his insight on music, movies, TV, trends and current events from a unique perspective that examines what implications the latest news has on Christians.

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Read recent articles from Jesse Carey:

Johnny Cash's Last Words

When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned

Review: Invictus

The Business of Redeeming

Fame's Fleeting Promise

Part of a Bigger Plan

The God of Second Chances

The Soloist: Love Conquers All

Angels and Demons: A Sublime Detective Story

Kings: Can NBC Do the Bible?

The Twitter Manifestation

No Country for 'Slumdog Millionaire'

Michael Phelps and Ted Haggard: The Connection

Kurt Warner: Beyond the Field

24: Jack Bauer's Moral Dilemma

Godless Advertising Rolls On

The "Mean" Side of Jesus

John Lennon: One of Jesus' "Biggest Fans"

Vigilance Through the Fire

John Lasseter: Stories that Live Forever

Confessions of a Swing Voter

When Hollywood Attacks

A Non-Religulous Response

Unshaken Faith in Shaky Times

The Hope of the Olympics

Church Conflict: Can We Agree to Disagree

Back to School: You've Been Left Behind

Saved by a Basic Instinct

Don't Be Religulous!

Bolt's Retreat to Simple Truths

WALL*E-Mart: What Are We Teaching Kids?

House: Hollywood's R-Rated Faith

5 Favorite Inspirational Films

Movie Review: Disney's Bolt

Kirk Cameron Talks Fireproof

The War on Christmas: Sound Off!

The Secret of the Magi

Batman: This Present Darkness

The Tipping Point of Faith 2.0

The Emerging Church Explained

The Evangelical Identity Crisis

Grace for This American Life

Hollywood Heroics and Blockbuster Faith

Grand Theft Auto: Choose Your Battles

Brian Williams' Unintentional Theology

Five Books of Great Spiritual Journeys

A New Kind of American Idol

The Enlightenment of Ted Turner

The Unlikely Success of Tyler Perry

So this is what Church can look like ...

Sorry for the delay in blog posts. I just returned from a trip to LA to attend the press a junket for the new Disney film Bolt, which releases on Friday (my review will be up Friday morning). And even though getting a tour of the Disney Animation Studios was amazing and getting to interview animation guru John Lasseter is every fanboys’ dream, the highlight of the trip came after the junket had ended.

My flight out of Los Angeles wasn’t until 10:30 that evening, so I had most of the afternoon to kill. I ended up connecting with a friend from college is now working for the Los Angeles Dream Center, a massive community outreach project that seeks to meet the needs of local urban neighborhoods. I had previously heard about the Dream Center, and had even heard Matthew Barnett (the local pastor who founded the Dream Center) speak when I was in college. But visiting the campus and touring the facility was deeply impacting—and even after spending a few hours there, I realized I was only just getting a glimpse at the difference they are making.

As I walked from the gym (which charges just $5 a month for people in the community), through dormitory areas for recovering addicts to the Internet café, I passed people whose lives were being radically changed. Nestled in a rough area of downtown Los Angeles, the Dream Center is a place where people go and experience the love of Christ.

My friend walked me around the facility, which is an old converted hospital, and explained to me the food drives, outreach projects, Bible studies and community initiatives (like giving basic groceries to young, at-need mothers). We eventually made it to the roof of a wing of the building that is still being renovated. It was a large, open air space that overlooked the city of Los Angeles. In the safety glass that extends around the railing there were three bullet holes.

They were sobering reminders of what this community was facing. Since the Dream Center moved in, violence had dropped 70% in the neighborhood and people that once faced the realities of gang life, prostitution and drug culture alone, now have a place to turn and get their life on track.

Like many Christians, I often struggle with the how we in the Church can actually make difference and help those that are suffering. Visiting the Dream Center wasn’t only encouraging; it was inspiring. It showed me that with God’s help and His vision, we can make a real difference in our communities and His kingdom.

Print      Email to a Friend    posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 12:16 PM

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