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Lifestyle

Finding Faith In Times Of COVID-19

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have all learned how behave as responsible human beings, keeping social distance, not gather in groups bigger than 10, wait for one another as we manuever through our favorite store, that has introduce one way aisles and limits on toilet paper, kitchen towel, paper plates and more.

In this season I have received countless of e-mails from different organisations and institutions of how they respond to COVID-19. Messages from my insurance company, my bank, paypal, the movie theater, different churches and charities, places I have visited or realtors I contacted years ago. I did not even realize they had my email address, so I responded with “unsubscribe”.

What Is Your Response?

As you can read in this blog, our first response has been “feed the poor”. Extravert instead of intravert. Reaching out and touching lives, even though we can’t touch them physically. When non essential business shot down, we can still open the door. Changes motivated by love and respect for our community and authority and not from a fear of COVID-19.

Now is an incredible opportunity for the Church to rise up in love and in service to communities around the world. The need for Jesus is more apparent than ever, and our potential to influence the world is great. What the enemy intends for evil, God can use for good. 

With Vision Comes Provision

In this season we have been feeding our community every night, giving out hot meals to go, close to a hundred meals a day. We started during lock down not knowing if there would be enough hands to help, but so many people have joined the vision.

Since we started feeding the poor, provision has been rolling in, as we have started to give it all out. It is like a constant flow, pallet after pallet, as we keep sharing, a supernatural multiplication is taking place!

Yesterday we received a huge load of t-shirts, and this morning it was distributed so that we could make more room for food. We were organizing and sorting things out for our foodbank. So many people were out there, waiting in line, just to get a few essentials. We gave out 62 boxes, and as we were packing down, we made a final drive for three single mums plus a daughter, her mother and her grandmother!

Where Is Your Faith?

This blog is about giving, but it is also about living. In this season everything we knew has been shaken. This has been a season of turmoil and change. There have been sickness and death, loss of jobs and financial stability, and many people don’t know what to hold on to anymore.

I made up my mind long time ago. Since we don’t know how many years we have in this world, we should live our lives more intentionally, finding purpose and faith before it is too late.

To trust in God is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. The Bible describes faith as the substance of things hoped for. This solid hope is unshakeable, like an anchor of stability that we can hold on to when the oceans roar and rise.

Life is fragile. We cannot take things for granted anymore. Suddenly we see things in another perspective. For some people it might be blurred by fear, but for others it is clear as faith. The world has changed. What is your vision? Is it fear, or is it faith? What is your response to COVID-19?

Categories
Homelessness

A Good Friday On The Trail

This morning as we arrived to the parking lot outside our church, we spotted this shopping cart loaded with shopping bags like ornaments on a Christmas tree. We have seen a lot over the years, but this caught my attention to an extend so I almost forgot to park in my usual spot.

Next thing I saw was a person laying next to the cart. My husband went over to see if it was somebody we knew. It was one of the elderly ladies, a very sweet woman, that I have had the pleasure of speaking with before. She was very confused and asked for a gentleman that used to come to our church for our brunch.

“Sorry Mam, we don’t have community cafe today because of Corona”, I said. “We are not serving brunch, but I can get you something else”.

I did not have any coffee, but found a cool bottle of mango juice, a small yoghurt and a pop tart. It was almost nine o clock. Some of the regular guys showed up outside the gate. But the lady didn’t want to stay. She took off with her shopping cart, heading back on the trail.

Coffee in The Courtyard

My husband invited some of the regular guys for coffee outside in the church courtyard. Just a few so we could keep the rules about social distancing. The coffee was brewing when another lady showed up. She was homeless as well. She had been living two years out of a van parked in her friends driveway.

“Sometimes they let me inside so I can watch tv. That’s nice and cool when it is hot outside. I have been living in the streets on and off. I have been arrested but now I have been out for almost a year”, she said. “I am ready to get my own place. Specially now with all this virus going around”.

The coffee was ready, so I gave her a cup, a yoghurt and a poptart. She closed her eyes and prayed, thankfully. Then she looked up and told me a little more about her life. She had worked as a prostitute, but not for the past year. I did not know what to think. This lady was at least 60 years old.

We talked for a while, and I promised to pray for her before she left. She was going to the doctor. She took up a bandana and coughed. I gave her one of our home made masks, and she gave me a big smile with no teeth. “I don’t like to go to the doctors office with all this corona”, she said.

I wish I could have given her a hug, but I have found a new way to greet people. Instead of saying see you later, we will say “Hug you later”. That made her smile. People need hugs, but most of all they need prayer.

Food Bank And Meals To Go

The rest of the day was super busy. First we arranged all the packages for the food bank and gave away a lot of frozen chicken and nice pastries for the Easter Holidays. We had a lot of nice stuff, drinks and chocolate, Starbucks coffee, creamer and chocolate milk powder.

At one point we got a phone call from one of our pastors. She had been contacted by a single mum with two kids that needed essentials. One hour later we received a pallet of diapers. Perfect timing, that is how we know that God is in control.

We gave out bags and boxes to 55 individuals and families in the community. And later today we served 50 free hot meals to go, like we have been doing it for the past two weeks during lock down.

I don’t know what other churches and ministries are doing for Easter but we are busy expanding in this season. Church is essential, and we are blessed to be a blessing. This Friday was special. It was Good Friday, and it was actually very GOOD!

Categories
Inspiration

Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

The other day I read an article from my home country Denmark speaking about “being skin hungry”. I guess it is a new word in this pandemic, and the definition of “Skin Hunger” is the need of a physical touch, a hug and a kiss. In other words, we need to be loved!

Truth is that we are all social creatures and in this time of global social distancing because of the pandemic, people are starving for physical contact. We can’t live without it, and some people are so under stimulated right now, that they go crazy.

The Fear of Death

Social distancing seems to be a necessary curse right now but I wonder if the consequence of separating people is worth the prize compared to the many broken families, suicides, depressions etc that inevitably will swipe through the world as a consequence of the lock downs and separation of people.

Right now fear is in the front seat. People are afraid of getting sick. People are afraid of being a carrier of the virus. People are afraid of dying. And in order to control the fear of death, people all over the world are trying to control the spread of the virus, instead of turning to God who conquered death and gave us a living hope!

A Jesus Touch

At Powerhouse Church we reach out to some of the weakest people in society and for them the church is an important daily salvage raft that gives them hope and joy and a Jesus touch when most needed.

For them surviving daily in the streets is a much bigger threat than the virus and they need the church now more than ever. We daily follow the news of the streets of Orlando, news of murder, rape, broken families, addictions, gang, aids etc. We see people with cancers, open operation wounds, stab wounds. For them the corona is just another thing on the list to fear.

What Are We Waiting For?

People are telling me to shut down the church and to wait. To take care of my self and not risk the life of our members. My question is; Wait for what? Jesus did not wait for nobody, he touched the lepers and hung around sick people on a daily basis as he was doing his Fathers business. Paul said in 2. Cor 6:2 “Today is the day of salvation, now is the appointed time”. This is the Bible. No government order can postpone God timing.

I do not fear the virus. I do not live by fear, I live by faith, and my faith is being expressed in love. Perfect love drives out all fear. In times of social distancing, it is our time to show our hearts. While Christians all over the world are praying in their homes, their neighbors are sick of isolation and fear. This is the real killer! Who will show them the way to salvation, who will teach them to cry out and pray in times of distress?

Rise And Shine

This is the time for the church to rise!

Romans 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

This week we have started a daily feeding program, so that people can come and get a hot meal, meet some people, still keeping social distancing, and experience the love of God in action.

Today we received pallets of food and drinks for our food bank, reaching out to homeless and low income individuals and families in our community. On Sunday we have drive in service in the parking, serving the gospel of Jesus Christ to a world that is lost.

We Need Your Help

We don’t know how long this is gonna last, but we will continue to do as much as we can. Right now we need pop up tents to protect the people from the Florida sun and money for food to continue giving out the daily meals.

We need your help. If your conviction is to stay home, I am okay with that, but you can still help us reaching out to the poor. If you can’t go yourself, your money can make a difference. If you want to partner with Powerhouse Church and our ministry in this season, please help and donate today!

We see people with cancers, open operation wounds, stab wounds. For them the corona is just another thing on the list to fear.

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Powerhouse Church

Church is Essential

In this season, my schedule as a traveling evangelist has been put on hold due to the pandemic. Two weeks ago I was ministering in Australia, and before this we were in Denmark and Ecuador. We came back to the USA on March 16th as our president introduced social distancing. We did not have to self quarantine, but I am thankful that I was able to return home before everything shut down.

The world has changed forever. Nothing is the same anymore, schools, entertainment, sports etc. are being shot down, while we are told to shelter in place in our community, staying at home as much as possible, only leaving the house when it’s needed. We keep hearing the word “essential”. Only essential businesses will be open, like grocery stores, doctors offices, fastfood restaurants and … the list is long!

The Gospel Must Be Preached

So now we are here in Orlando, waiting for the plaque to pass by, and in this season the church is essential. People are desperate, laying sleepless at night, turning to drugs and alcohol or even suicide because they are fearfull and hopeless. The world is still waiting for God’s children to be revealed and the good news to be preached. We cannot sit idle, we have a calling on our lives to be servants and witnesses of Christ. Our challenge is to find out what this looks like “in such a time as this”, not to act out of fear, but to keep the faith.

This we do as much as we can. Even though we don’t have our traditional church services, we had our first drive in service on March 29. We will not neglect the gathering of the saints, we can still meet up to 10 people to worship and pray and live stream our services, and we must still reach out to the community and feed the poor, which we do even more in this season.

What Are The Guidelines

Last week we called the Orlando Police Department to get guidelines in the current lock down. It provoked me that the churches are closed, while the store next door still can sell Coca Cola and snacks. Is church not more essential than Dollar General?, I asked.

The lady on the phone gave me a link to the Orange County website, stating that “this Order does not limit religious or funeral services at any location, but all persons leading, performing or attending religious or funeral services are urged to fully comply with all measures advised by the CDC, including limiting gatherings to not more than ten (10) people and practicing social distancing of at least six (6) feet between persons.”

Essential workers includes workers who support food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, such as those residing in shelters, which also includes the church!

Hot Meals Every Night

I don’t know what other churches are doing in this season, but this week Powerhouse Church in Orlando have started a “soup to go” kitchen for our community, so that nobody have to worry about the necessities of life as long as the county is under lock down. Last night was our first night. People came walking, riding on bicycles and driving in cars for a hot meal made with love. We didn’t do a lot of advertising, but still we served 55 meals the first night and many more to come.

This is how we fight our battles. We pray, we worship, we stand on the Word and we feed the poor. We are the church, and in this season we have church, every time two or three are gathered, when we feed the poor from our soup kitchen. We are there for the people, sharing the good news in a time of much sorrow and distress. Serving God and serving people, that is still what we do.

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Powerhouse Church

In Memory of “Come Clean”

“Come Clean” was the street name of this man who died a few days ago behind a garbage dumpster alone, just across the street from Powerhouse Church. This is the picture of his memorial. A photo, a few plastic flowers, some candles, two booklets, and a white teddy bear on the spot where he was found.

“Come Clean” was one of the homeless people in our community. He used to come to our church all the time, for Community Day or during the Wednesday Dinner. Now we won’t see him anymore. He is no longer around. It is really sad. I talked to him last month and now he is gone.

I went to see his memorial yesterday together with one of his friends, and as we were going down the street, we did a Facebook live recording to give you an impression of what kind of area we are in. We are in a dark place, and God has put us here to shine his light!

In a few days “Come Clean” will be forgotten and another memorial will be raised for somebody else on the trail. Orange Blossom Trail, OBT, devours people and destroys families, only Jesus Christ is the answer.

Do you realize that all these people dying for nothing were kids once? Think about it, they were playing around, going to school, and they all had dreams – until some adult stole it away from them, they were abused before they started using, and as they grew up they suffered the consequences of iniquity and sin.

His Last Message on Video

One of the young guys from our church made a video with “Come Clean” recently. At this point, he thought he still had plenty of time left on this earth. He was free of cocaine, but not free of alcohol. This is what he said, not knowing that this would be his last message to us on OBT https://www.facebook.com/C.Hedegaard/videos/10217329688412424/

Are you ready to meet your Maker? Only one thing is sure in life and that is that we all will be leaving at one point. I wish we all be ready. I know where I am going. I have dedicated my life to give and to live a life worth dying for. I want to live life to the fullest, with Christ, in obedience to Him, as if each day was the last.

This is the live video that I made from the memorial of “Come Clean” https://www.facebook.com/C.Hedegaard/videos/10217326384969840/

“Come Clean” was a beautiful man, and I hope that one day I will see him again. In Powerhouse Church he is not forgotten. “Come clean, or don’t come at all”, that is what he used to say. God knows his heart, He knows every outspoken prayer, He even knows his last words and how he died …

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Powerhouse Church

Don’t You Ever Give Up Hope

This Christmas it has been seven years since we first came to America and started feeding the homeless people on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, Florida. Every Wednesday and Sunday after church, but also a lot in between. Even before the church was established, our family has served tens of thousands of people, and if somebody asks me if it has been worth it, I will always say “yes”.

Honestly, I don’t think about it, I just do it. If I start to think too deeply about what we are doing I might start to lose courage. Orange Blossom Trail needs a lot of change, and we all know that it’s not the food, that will change the community. It is Jesus Christ. My focus is so strong on Jesus Christ and the vision that I refuse to look back and faith in him keeps me alive and strong in all the daily problems.

I have many pastor friends now in America and sometimes I have to pinch myself in the arm when I hear about their problems, how I wish I sometimes could swab problems with them. Just last week alone, two of the people that come to our church regularly have died out in the street, but still, I am convinced that I am graced to do this job.

There is a Reason, Pastor!

Let me give you three fresh testimonies that kept me going this past week:

In our church we have this homeless man that I have fed for seven years, he always sticks to himself, he has a long beard and white wild hair, and not so long ago he told me why. “There is a reason, pastor. I want people to think that I am crazy so that they will stay away from me”, he explained. “I am not crazy, but I am so hurt by people, I just want to sit on an island alone and die”, he said. This man has been expelled many times because he has been drunk and aggressive, but last year he detoxed himself off one bottle of vodka a day and has been sober for a long time. Now he has decided to follow Jesus, and Sunday he was in our service for the first time ever and got baptized in front of everybody. Even I was astonished to see him take that turn. For many years it seemed like nothing was happening but now, all of a sudden, he is changing big time.

My Other Sheep

One of my other “sheep” have been coming to our Community Cafe for a long time. They are always around, and they are always high and drunk. They live in a different world of substance abuse and we have had many problems with one of them in particular. No matter what I say, they will never listen, so I must admit that I kind of wrote them off, still knowing that “nothing is impossible with God”.

This week I saw the impossible. I was outside the Community Cafe talking to one of the guys, and when I came into the building everybody was real quiet. I had to look twice when I saw my “case impossible” speak in front of everybody. “So many people have died out here, but this church has saved my life”, he said. “This is our street, and we must stand together to change our community. We can do it. If they could change me, you can change as well. But it takes faith in God and faith in the church”, he said.

I was stunned. This man has threatened me and my family and my volunteers over and over again. Recently we gave him the “last chance”, he has been asked to leave the facility several times, but now I am happy that we had faith, patience, and longsuffering enough to love him through. Now he is pulling people into the church.

We Saved his Life …

My last “case impossible” is a young man that I don’t remember “not high”. A few months ago he told me that he was starting in school, A young man that I do not remember “not high” on drugs told me a few months ago that he was starting to go to school. I took the time to talk to him but it looked like the word was just going in through one ear and out of the other. I also prayed with him, and next time I saw him around he was sitting down, talking to another young drug addict about Jesus Christ. “You know me from the streets”, he said, “but I have changed, ever since pastor prayed for me and I started listening to him, my life has changed. I am going back to school. This pastor saved my life!” he said.

I almost fell off my chair, I had not seen that one coming and I realized right there that our word is like a living seed. We must preach whether people like it or not. We must not stop speaking about Jesus Christ. The word is alive and has mighty power to save.

When I came home Friday I was still in awe. Two of the most impossible cases were testifying in front of other people that I had saved their lives and I did not even know it. The third “impossible” guy was baptized on his first Sunday in church. Wauv, I never get tired of serving Jesus Christ.

Happy New Years from all of us here in Orlando. We walk by faith, not by sight. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. Don’t ever give up hope!

Categories
Powerhouse Church

10 Years Blind and Homeless

A few days ago I was contacted by a Danish man on Facebook. He said that he had been in my meetings in Denmark many years ago and that he wanted to help me help people. He said “Christian Hedegaard, you are a man of God, we need you in our country. Why have you moved to America?”

I told him, that God had given me a call to help the poor people in Orlando and to build Him a church where his presence reigns and from where people will go to the whole world with the gospel.

I don’t care where I live, seriously Karen and I could live among the Eskimos in Greenland or among tribes in the Amazon jungle and be fulfilled in Gods calling, but I know that I know that I know we are in the right place right now, and there is no amount of money or position that can persuade me to leave. We are in Gods plan for our lives in this season, and it is very satisfactory. We are so hungry to see Gods plan for Powerhouse Church being fulfilled.

For the second time, the man wrote to me and asked how he could help me with the work. My answer was simple. “Money and prayers are much needed since we are feeding homeless people. We are in a very dangerous area and the needs here are endless”, I said.

I honestly thought that this man wanted to help us since he was the one contacting me, so I was very surprised when I got his reply. “ Why should I  give you anything, who do you think you are to ask me for money?”, he said, suggesting that I should go back to Denmark and help people there instead of being here in Orlando, Florida, where God has called me to be.

I  really don’t need “friends” like that, so I deleted him on Facebook, even though I couldn’t help thinking about his response.

Earlier this year a 59-year-old blind man came to our church. He had been blind and homeless for 10 years, and over the next few months, we got to know him very well. We found out that he had a severe cataract and that a simple surgery could give him his eyesight back.

Over the next months, I encouraged him to believe God for a miracle surgery. I taught him about Jesus Christ who gives blind their sight back and set captives free. One day a businessman visited our church and told Thomas that he would sponsor the surgery.  This was good news!

Not only did he get his physical eyesight restored to him, but God has also opened his spiritual eyes. He has seen Jesus as his Lord and Savior, like the one that cares for him and loves him so much, that he send a man he never met before to donate money for the surgery.

Now  Thomas can truly see. He stayed with us during the time of surgery, and my youngest son Noah followed him all the way, as he made this documentary. Thomas had no insurance, but somebody else paid the price. Jesus paid the price for all of us, and our job is to give what we have. It’s more blessed to give than to receive, Jesus says. With your little, you can help us do much. https://evangelistministries.international/contact/donations/

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Powerhouse Church

Our Vision For The Community

In this blog post, I want to share a video about Powerhouse Church and our vision for our OBT community in Orlando. In the video, I will explain to you how it all began, how we as a family started to feed the poor and needy, and how people came to support the vision. You will see our street, our building and you will meet some of the amazing people in our community.

Click on the link and enjoy.

I hope this will inspire you to do something in your community as well!

Categories
Powerhouse Church

The Wages Of Sin …

taiwan

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”.

Categories
Powerhouse Church

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!