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High Hopes

Matthew Barnett's secret is to inspire others to dream what God can do—and dream big.

Behind him is the Los Angeles skyline, before him the Hollywood Hills with its iconic sign, and beneath him 15 stories of opportunity set among 125 city blocks of despair. Matthew Barnett stands atop the old Queen of Angels Hospital building, now called the Dream Center, home to 214 outreach ministries—and counting. For this neighborhood, it's a city set on a hill, a sign of hope—and help.

Matthew Barnett says he loves this neighborhood, but it took a while. At age 20, the son of Phoenix pastor Tommy Barnett was called to pastor Bethel Temple, one of the last English-speaking Assemblies of God congregations in inner city L.A. From this fragment, the first church founded out of the Azusa Street Revival of 1906, Barnett had high hopes of a bustling megachurch like his dad's. Soon, however, even the remnant had left. He was alone.

That's when he began exploring the community. This suburban neophyte fell in love with his drug-and gang-infested neighborhood. He began dreaming up ways ...

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