Special Victims Unit

After a few heavier posts, I wanted to change it up a bit for tonight:

Ever since dropping cable, Val and I have used Netflix and Amazon Streaming for our television.  Our current binge watching show is Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.  Law & Order is a classic television show franchise and we are loving this version.  Producer Dick Wolf has led some of the best work on television over the past few decades and this is no different.

My favorite character is ADA Rafael Barba, played by actor Raul Esparza. Barba is quick, dramatic, and to the point.  He’s the lawyer I’d imagine myself as if I’d gone to law school back in the day.

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We read, in Scripture, references to an advocate.  We read of an accuser, the battle of good and evil played out in the cosmic courtroom that stretches across Heaven. Jesus tells us to ask and seek and know that you will find.

So are you asking God?

I don’t mean our spit ball prayers that we ask at the drop of a hat.  I mean, are you on your knees lifting up a need and, on the other side, letting it go? How often do we hold on? How often do we ask and grasp and say “yeah we trust just let it happen our way?”

Last night I met with my friend Gwen Didden, head of Family Promise in Berks County and founder of the Palace Project.  We had this exact conversation and it led to some powerful revelations. There are good things in the works personally, spiritually, and professionally that I will share more details about as they unfold.

For tonight, think about your petitions, your desires, about what could change  your life forever. Picture it now and know it is possible.  Whatever it may be.  We are all Special Victims. We’ve suffered and struggled. We’ve felt the sting of pain and discomfort, the weight of fear on many fronts. If you are in that dark place, know that the story isn’t over.

We are at the start, in the first days, and I can’t wait to see what will happen.

Until then, keep the faith.  Take it a step at a time.  The end is worth it, I promise.

~Matt

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Systems Change: Family Promise

I passed the office twice before I could find it, finally pulling over and firing up the GPS on my phone. It took circling the block past Hope Rescue Mission and down the historic section of 5th street.  I parked between a pile of black trash bags waiting for pickup and a section of road construction, jogged across the street, and entered the lobby for Family Promise of Berks County.

Family Promise started almost thirty years ago in New York in an effort to help a growing crowd of elderly homeless individuals. It spread to other states and territories, offering services for the elderly, families, and individuals.  The office in Reading handles around two hundred applications a year for their intensive 90 day program.

I followed a family through the entrance and up the winding staircase, meeting Gwendolyn Didden, director of the Reading office.  Didden has worked in the non-profit world for twenty-five years.  She brings a unique mix of social science, experience, and faith into the mix.

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We spoke for almost two hours about poverty, homelessness, healing, and spiritual sickness.  Many of Didden’s statements stuck with me. She said:

“World systems are flawed, but God’s systems are flawless.”

We often view those that suffer as outliers. The homeless, addicted, mentally ill, and poor fall outside the lines. Suffering equals personal failure. If you are going through something bad, it reflects your faults.  What if our systems are flawed? What if we can only survive through the selfless love and support of others? What if we put our faith in a government that can’t get it right?

The more you think about it, the more it makes sense.

What if the problem is one of the soul?

I believe in change.  Cities can change. Families can change. Marriages can change. Souls can change. There is hope. The shackles of poverty, homelessness, conflict, and strife can end. The process isn’t easy or quick.  It isn’t immediate.

It is real, when we believe.

~Matt

As a reminder, you can get my e-book: Your First Step for FREE at the following link:

Just Click Here

Check it out and share with anyone needing some hope in their life.