Welcome To The Jungle

 

In 1992 I made an adventurous trip through the Amazon Jungle. I went together with a friend to Boa Vista, Venezuela, and hired a local with a “bongo” that could take us from the Orinoco River to the Rio Negro and onto the Great Amazon River. Through the rainforest to the Yanomami Indians which was the latest discovered tribe in the Amazon jungle. It took us several weeks on the rivers before we arrived, and when we finally got there I suffered from an ear infection, my head swallowed up from swimming in the river with the chief, and had to be transported by boat down the river to receive medical treatment in the nearest village

It was a wild trip, meeting the indigenous people, sleeping in hammocks, fishing piranha, monkey hunting, encountering wild animals and all kinds of poisonous snakes, fighting mosquitos and being stopped on the rivers in the night by the military. When I finally made it to Peru five weeks later I could not wait to go home to my wife!

Back then I was studying Spanish at the Business University in Copenhagen and every year I would go to South America to improve my language skills and to explore business opportunities that would pay for my trips. This was before God called me an evangelist. I used to be an adventurer, but after I surrendered my life fully to Jesus he became the ultimate adventure of my life. There is nothing like serving him, travelling with him, walking in the miraculous, experiencing this predestined Christian lifestyle.

When I went through the Amazon Jungle as a young man, I wanted to serve him. Little did I know that one day, 25 years later, he would take me back to the rainforest, not as an adventurer but preaching the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love people and I can’t wait to meet the people in Puya. I know it’s gonna be a wild experience. I expect God to do wild things as we travel around to churches, minister to leaders and families and preach Jesus to the people that are not yet saved.

One time I was travelling with my friend, we met this family that was living in the jungle. The mother was paralyzed in both legs and was sitting on the floor in the cabin where they lived. I told her about Jesus, and when she received him as her personal Lord and Savior, the woman was healed. We led the whole family to Christ that day and they got baptized in the Holy Spirit. When we left they were all smiling and the mother was walking around.

This time I will only be going for a week, together with my son Hector and some of my pastors’ friends from “Heart of Titus” which is an American mission organisation, and I am set up for a crusade in the Ecuadorian part of the Amazon Jungle in a smaller city called Puja. If you have ever heard about the movie “The End of The Spear”, this is the same area, where American missionaries died on a mission in the 1950’s and sparked the revival among the violent Waodani tribe.

I expect God to do great miracles during the crusade in Puya. Keep us in your prayers as we travel next week. God has called us to go, not only to the highways and byways but to the ends of the world. My prayer is always, “God, do something I have not seen before” and He keeps doing it. When I think I have seen it all, there is still more.

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Cor. 2.9.

 

Jesus is The New High

 

Last year I blogged about “The Good, The Bad and The Evil”. It was a story of how somebody stole the circular saw that belonged to our church on Orange Blossom Trail. I was chasing the guy on my motorcycle and ended up in a dead end with a bunch of people that was more dead than alive. Heroin addicts and dealers, prostitutes etc. I felt cornered, so my only escape was to invite the most tattooed guy for a ride. It was a wild story. That day the two of us made friends, and as I am writing this blog the man with the tattoos is sitting in my living room reading his bible.

As I look at him, I am watching a true miracle. This man has been addicted to heroin for 38 years but now Jesus has made him clean. Not only from heroin but also from sin. Jesus has become his new “high”. When my wife was in Denmark in May, he asked if he could use my parking lot to get cleaned up. I took him to my house, gave him a mattress on the floor and covered him with a blanket. He stayed there for 5 days, shaking, as the heroin was leaving his body. Every evening I would come and lay my hands on him and pray, and every day we would fill our house with worship. In this atmosphere, the man was healed.

When he finally stood up, he was a new man. One big smile, happy and forever grateful. The first thing he wanted to do was to work. We had some engines in boxes in our garage, and these engines are now being attached to used bicycles. We have been buying bicycles from pawn shops and thrift stores and these bikes are being transformed into “power bikes” with an 80 cc engine. This week we loaded the pickup truck and took the power bikes down to our church so this man can have his own little business in the back of the building, selling motorized bicycles to people on OBT. He has made a sign for his business and will be sitting at the curbside talking to people and hopefully selling some of his bikes.

I can’t tell you how much I love my new brother. The more we spend time together, the more I see the grace of God over his life. We have had some deep conversations about life over the past weeks. The other day we talked about his past, but most of the time we talk about his future. We are looking for a place where he can live his new life with Jesus. He cannot return to the streets. That would be like the dog that turns to its vomit and the pig that  returns to the mud.” (2 Peter 2.22). He is a new creation in Christ, he is a part of our church family and not to be compared to a dog or a pig!

How God has set him free from heroin addiction has become a powerful testimony for the people he used to be around. Slowly but surely we see how the gospel is changing the mindset of the people in the street. When I go with him to serve breakfast and lunch for the homeless people at the church, I can tell how other heroin addicts now are coming to see what freedom looks like. and I believe some of them will follow his example and change. The rumor is spreading. It cannot be stopped.

Hope is coming back to our part of town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Don’t Like Fundraisers but …

Right now our church is doing a fundraiser for the downpayment for our church building on 1025 S. OBT. We need a 100.000 dollars to secure our building before June 1st, if we do so, our landlord who is a Muslim will help us owner-finance the building. This is a God given opportunity that we don’t wanna miss!

100.000 dollars is a lot of money for us but not for God! All we need is people to participate and to support the vision. This is not about a building, it is about building the Kingdom of God, to let the light shine in the darkness, to let the people know that there is faith to be found in a place where fear is dominant. The Lord has told us to build his house on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, that we may see the street being transformed into a Highway of Holiness according to Isaiah 35.8.

The other day I got a phone call from a prophet. He said, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets so he may run who reads it” (Hab 2.2). I realized that I needed to do this, in order to let the herald run. So I took my tablet and began blogging to share the vision and the specific needs that we have as a church right now, being obedient to the word that was given to me by the prophet.

Honestly, I don’t like fundraisers. I don’t like talking to people about our needs, I will rather talk to God and let him talk to people. Do you understand what I am saying? I am a preacher, not a fundraiser!

So here I am, sharing this on Facebook. This is our heart, to reach out to the lost and the least, as we continue to serve and do what God has called us to do. When I said yes to the call, I left everything behind and came from Denmark with my wife and my sons and 200 dollars on the account. I did not feel qualified but I was obedient. When I asked God, “why me”, He said, “I asked 3 pastors before you but they didn’t want to go. I asked you because you don’t say “no”.

Please take time to watch the attached video, see the vision, share it and pray. We need the 100.000 dollars downpayment on June 1st. I know the people at Powerhouse Church are doing what they can in order to make this happen. We don’t have much but we have great faith. When we signed the contract on the building last year, people gave beyond and above, so that we were able to move in. We know, God gave us the building, and we will do what we can, to stay in the building!

The other day I talked to a police officer in our church parking lot. He had been an officer for 26 years and I told him about the vision. Obviously, he did not believe in change on Orange Blossom Trail. He had seen too much, he said. Over the years he had lost faith, but I told him that I had found it!

I don’t care if it is only one in a hundred that want to change. We will still be there for the one that wants to change. We will see them raise up one by one and we will send them out to reach all the other ones. We are here for the long haul. To build a culture and create a movement. We desire to see our community encounter Jesus Christ in a completely transformative way.

We have many plans for the building on Orange Blossom Trail. This is our Powerhouse, a place of empowerment, where people can come from near and far and experience the Power of God. If you want to know more about what we are doing, you can watch the video here on the blog. If you want to give, donate on this site or go to http://www.powerhouseflorida.com today. We need your prayers and support!

My Holy Spirit Comeback to Lima, Peru

Last week I was preaching in Lima, Peru, which was a very unique experience for me, not because of the traveling and the preaching, but merely because of the timing.  I have traveled to more than 60 nations preaching the gospel, but for me going to Peru this time was a vision coming through.

Let me give you some background. In 1988 Karen and I went on our one year honeymoon around the world, hitchhiking with a guitar and a fishing pole on top of our backpacks. At that time we fell in love with Peru. It was the country of all countries, full of ancient Inca history and adventures. We stayed in Lima for two months playing the guitar every night in the downtown area in order to pay for our hotel and there we met all the weird and dangerous people that only show up when other people go to bed. I played music with the Indians that taught me how to make artisan work, and for the next 10 years, Karen and I were convinced that we were called as missionaries to Peru.

I started to study Spanish in Copenhagen but, as the years went by, the calling got a little “rusty”. I would go back once a year to find artisan products to sell in Denmark and my little import business was growing. I kept talking about moving to Peru but eventually, Karen asked me not to mention it anymore. With a 3-year-old handicapped daughter in a wheelchair being a missionary in Peru seemed as impossible as going to the moon.

In 1992 I went on an expedition in the Amazon Jungle, fought my way down the Amazon River from Venezuela to Peru with a friend of mine. It was the wildest adventure. We traveled in a bongo (a boat made out of a carved tree) for five weeks until we finally made it to Iquitos which is the jungle capital of Peru.

At this time Peru was dominated by the terror movement called the Shining Path. People were being killed on the main roads so there was no way we could go from Iquitos over the Andes which is the biggest chain of mountains in South America. We had to go by plane so we bribed a military pilot to board his big military cargo jet. It was not a comfortable flight on top of canons and munitions. I was a young Danish man who had barely seen a weapon before so I was absolutely shocked when we landed at a military airport on high alert and ready for immediate action.

As we arrived Lima was in a standdown with the terrorists celebrating their 10th anniversary blowing up big car bombs and random killings.  Everybody was tense and scared and at night tanks were driving around with heavily armed and masked soldiers on top scouting the rooftops for potential attackers. As we came around the corner of the main street in the center of Lima, a crowd came running towards us screaming “coche bomba.” I had no idea what that meant but seeing the fear in their eyes made me turn around and soon I found myself running for my life in front of the whole crowd as a car bomb went off in the middle of the day. I remember walking down the street and shots going off over our heads and us seeking cover on the ground.  All in all, it was some very frightening experiences and I made a promise that I would never go back before it would be in the service of Jesus Christ.

In September 2017, 25 years later, I found myself in the same streets but where I used to run for my life, I was now preaching the gospel. Everything had changed, Lima is now double the size with 12 million citizens, and I was going to areas and cities that did not exist in 1992.  I met with my old friend Carlos who used to change money for me in the street. Today he owns three money changing bureaus. He took me around on the back of his motorcycle and I took him to church.

I have had several opportunities to go to Peru but I wanted to wait for God to open the doors. This time I knew the Holy Spirit told me to go, together with my pastor friend from Clermont who has been talking to me about his constant trips to Peru over the years. Traveling with him, I met many pastors from different churches and many wonderful Christians. I preached and worshipped in Spanish, still asking God “what do you want me to do for such a time as this?”

I believe in pre-destined lifestyle and for the past 20 years of full-time ministry, I have had incredible encounters with God and with people. This time was no exception. Before my last meeting in Lima, I found what I was looking for. I was preaching in a meeting and the Holy Spirit fell on the congregation. When we started worshipping, we couldn’t stop. The worship band consisted of four professional musicians, they were all brothers, very gifted and at the same time very anointed. The worship went on and on in waves till after midnight. It was such a unique experience.

Holy Spirit meeting in Lima.

Before I left Lima I met with the four brothers whom God had connected me to in such a special way. We talked about what happened that night and they said they had never experienced the presence of God this way before. I knew it was about destiny and so did they. This was no coincidence. God is looking throughout the earth to support those whose hearts are fully committed to him (2 Chronicles 16.9), so this is what I will be looking for as well. These young men had such hearts and, as we had ministered together in the meeting, we knew that we are going to minister together in the future. God will show us how and when but this is about destiny: The calling for Peru has been revived.

The Good, The Bad And The Evil

The other day I went with my wife Karen on the back of the motorcycle down to our church downtown Orlando and when we hit “OBT”, Orange Blossom Trail, I asked her “Why in the whole world she had chosen to follow me all the way to the US spending her best years serving the homeless people, some of them drunk and drugged, lazy, lying and stealing our stuff.

Since we have been married 29 years I already knew the answer. “Because God called us to do it”, she said as we pulled up in the parking lot to feed the poor which we have done consistently since we first came to Orlando in 2011.

I realize that many people my age have their 401Ks and are ready to retire. We have no pension, it was already spent in the visa process. We have no savings and we don’t own a house. But we have something much more powerful. We have a strong vision and we have a purpose which makes us feel rich every day.

A lot of men and women from the street had found their way to our Community Cafe. Most of them I recognized and some of them were new. One of them was a crack head, he was roaming around as if he was looking for something, and as I went into the main building to do some work together with the administrator, he followed me in, picked up a circular saw that belonged to the church and ran out!

Instinctively I and the administrator followed him through the traffic across the street. He was fast and I was not, so I turned around to get the motorcycle and came right after with a pistol in my pocket. The hunt ended less than 300 yards from our church, right in front of a house with a bunch of guys sitting outside. They did not look friendly. The oldest one with the most tattoos came and asked what I wanted so I explained to him that I was a pastor from the church on the other side of the street.

The man with the tattoos looked at me and made it perfectly clear that he was not familiar with our church or any kind of church. A lady next to him asked me if we were Methodists or Baptists. We are “Wild-ists” I explained. “I don’t know what that is!”, she said. “We are the ones that worship with their hands up and shout Hallelujah”, I said. Then she turned to her friend. “That is the kind of church you would like to go to, you get “high” there!”, she said.

Now the guy that stole our circular saw came running behind the fence into the house. “There he is!” I shouted and took out the phone from my pocket to call the police. I guess they knew where I was, they told me to wait and NOT go into the house!

The man with the tattoos was looking at my motorcycle. I asked if he would like a ride. Next thing, he jumped up behind and we raced down the street. When the police finally showed up, we a pulled up next to the police cars in front of our church, I the pastor, with an over tattooed man on the back.  This was his first introduction to the church so hopefully, he will be back!

When I came down the next day the guy that stole the circular saw was there again. He came out from 7-Eleven and I jumped right up on the side curb on my big bike so that he could not escape. As I looked him in the eyes, he started begging me for forgiveness with big tears in his eyes. Sorry pastor, I should not have stolen from the church but the drug dealer put a gun to my head and told me to get 60 dollars within an hour!”

I want Jesus to be the new “high” in the street. Life on OBT is different from where I come from. But I love every second of it. We have a great church, full of extraordinary people. I will say we are about 75 members including rats and roaches. Recently we have lost several members, including a younger fellow that fell into the sink. We are not afraid of losing members, the only thing we care about is doing the will of God – and the number of rats in our traps!

Matthew 22;8-10. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the crossroads and invite to the banquet as many as you can find’.  So the servants went out into the streets and gathered everyone they could find, both evil and good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.