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 …

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!

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/

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!

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.