The Wages Of Sin …

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Today when I came to our church in downtown Orlando there was a woman outside the door. The woman was so skinny that you could see the bones in her face and she looked and smelled like a living dead. I would think that she had not showered for weeks. I can take a lot, but this was bad.  “Go away, go away”, she shouted. Honestly speaking, I got a little agitated over her behavior, but then I recognized her voice.

I called out her name and gave her a hug. “Is that really you?” I said,  asking her where she had been for so long. “Crack,” she said. She did not have to explain herself more, I already knew that crack had a lot of power over her and that she never got real free. It was obvious that she did not have a lot of time left to live on this earth.

This woman was one of the first people we met at our public feedings here in the USA She was a prostitute many years on OBT and one of the first ones from the street that we baptized on the beach. In the beginning, she came with us to church, but she always did it her way. She did not want to let go of her rebellion. Nobody could tell her anything, she knew the Bible, the law, the everything better than anybody else. It was hard to see when she floated back into her old lifestyle, and from that point, we would rarely see her.

I tried to reach out to her but she was partly there and partly not there. Most of the time she was talking to her self or sleeping on the bench. As I drove back home I sat with tears in my eyes begging God to intervene like I have done it hundreds of times. I have seen so many people die since I came to Orlando to start the church on the trail. Like life has no value. The people we work with here seem to have a death wish over their lives.

Let me give you an example. A few days ago a man came running, swearing and cursing. He was not drunk or high just so filled with rage and anger, he banged his fists into the wall and turned around looking at me with fiery eyes, screaming “Today I am going to kill somebody, I wanna leave this world and die, I swear today somebody is going to die”.  I was sitting outside but right there I saw Satan in his eyes, no doubt that it was a demon that was working hard to finish his life and the life of others as well.

Later on, I had another conversation with a man I have not met before. He was a widower and he told me that God had killed his wife with cancer. He was very bitter, and he believed that God would kill him as well.  I was really surprised by his beliefs and asked him where the devil was in his worldview. If God was to be blamed, at least the devil should have some as well, I suggested. Then I asked him if he had ever done anything wrong if he had no faults in the failures of his life, and slowly but surely the truth started shining and I was able to pray with him.

None of us can blame anybody for the outcome of our lives. You can’t live your whole life without God and then suddenly blame him for what you should have done a long time ago. We all have to live with the consequences of the choices we make. We are the ones who make decisions, and we all harvest what we sow.  The wages of sin is death, but Jesus paid the price for us so that we have the option to live in freedom from sin, surrendering our lives to Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Rom 3:23  For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;

Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Joh 14:6  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me”.

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!

Building the Kingdom

416689_10150518968422430_1410855161_oWhat does the Kingdom of God look like?

Jesus told us that the Kingdom of God is at Hand, so we know that it is within reach. It is not something that we will experience one day in Heaven, we can experience this in our everyday life as we pray Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.

God’s Kingdom is where the will of God is manifested, where God reigns. It is not a matter of eating or drinking, not a bunch of rituals or regulations, but the presence of the Holy Spirit,  righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17).

I was thinking about it this week as our church is planning a huge outreach on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando. We will go out in the street every day and hand out 10.000 flyers and invite people to a party in our parking lot. We want to show people what the Kingdom looks like, how King Jesus can bring righteousness to a street of unrighteousness, peace in a place where there is no place to rest and joy, where depression and anger are present all the time.

This free event will be an effort to create a culture and build community in the heart of our beloved City Beautiful. It will be an amazing opportunity to give and show love to those who are less fortunate. There will be live music, food, and entertainment for all ages, including activities for the youth and a live musical performance. There will be raffle prizes given away to low-income individuals and families, including gift cards, bill pay (debt elimination), and even a free car!

We are open every day during the week, giving out breakfast and lunch, but this coming week we will do a special effort to reach out to the lost and the least. Our goal is to show them the Kingdom, to introduce them to our King. To show them a better way than the OBT way, where females and males prostitute themselves and overdose in the streets. The past two months nine people have overdosed in a house across from our church. People are dying out there, but Jesus wants them to come alive!

The other day we talked to a police officer. He had worked on our streets for 26 years and was telling us, that feeding the homeless is just enabling them in their abuse and crime. He admitted, he had lost faith. He said that only one in a 100 wants to change. We have heard that before, but we will still be there for the one! So far we have seen one, two, three, four and more come alive, and we are believing for a supernatural breakthrough.

We are here for ones. Jesus left the 99 sheep to find that one that was lost. We are here for the families, for the kids, for the next generation. He has called us to take up the cross, to follow in his footsteps, to partner with Heaven in bringing the Kingdom of God to Earth through faith in Jesus Christ and the empowerment of His Holy Spirit.

Our vision is to see Orange Blossom Trail being transformed into a Highway of Holiness and Great Joy. (Isaiah 35:8)

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.

Our Church On OBT

Let me tell you about our church on 1025 S Orange Blossom Trail,  known to the locals as “The Trail” or simply as “OBT”. The church is called Powerhouse Church because this is what we believe in. And if you come and visit you will find out that there is Holy Spirit Power inside the house. We see people getting touched, saved, healed and delivered, we feed the poor, give clothes to the naked six days a week, and we give him all the honor and the praise, worshipping him from the depth of our heart.

We are not many people but we are still a mighty army. We don’t have much money but we are rich indeed. We have big hearts, big vision and we serve a big God!

When you come you will see a big building painted gray with an orange in the front. Here we have the Orange Blossom Market, a vintage/antique store with a lot of beautiful furniture and all kinds of cool pieces. The store opened this week and we believe it will be well known. We want to lift up the standard on OBT, also by selling nice stuff that will attract people from other areas in town.

From the front building, we go into the main sanctuary which is a work in progress. So far we have done a lot of work but we still need the roof and the floor to be fixed. When it rains, it pours into the building. So far we have received a lot of great offers to renovate the roof but we still need the money to do so. With the finances, we can do the roof and eventually we can do the floors.

So where do we meet for service? We worship in the back building, same place as where we have our community cafe for the homeless people. We have tables and benches and folding chairs and we are very flexible. On Sundays, we look like a regular church with chairs in regular rows, at our midweek meeting Wednesday we use the benches and place them in a circle and during the feeding, we use the tables so that we can enjoy the meals together.

The kids meet in the kids’ room next to the back building and we are all connected in the court yard where the kids can play after service. In the yard, we also have a separate building that eventually will turn into a shower and laundry room. This project will be a blessing to our community as well.

We love our church. This is our house, Powerhouse, in the middle of the street, this is where we live and breathe, this is where we dream and prosper, where we cry and laugh and surrender day after day to his plan and his will for our lives.

The vision is alive. We are here for the change. We know that God has planted his Powerhouse on Orange Blossom Trail, and we believe that we will see it blossom. This is The Trail, 7 miles of the US 441 which we believe will become a Highway of Holiness according to Isaiah 35.8-9.

A highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it. But it will be for him who walks that way.  And fools will not wander on it. No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast go up on it; These will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk there,…