This is John.
Welcome to the website someone helped me with.
I work with an organization called Church Army USA as a Street Pastor in Beaver Falls, PA. My work is made possible through the generous support of local churches, non profits, friends, and family.
I love the work I do.
In one sense, my job is fun and simple: I help people in the church meet people on the street, and people in the street to meet people in the church.
It is my honor and privilege to be a bridge, to eat in soup kitchens and sit on city benches and help the people I meet walk back into the body of Christ. And to help the body of Christ walk out to meet the people I meet.
In another sense, my job is heartbreaking and complicated.
The story of the Prodigal Son may help me explain it.
The Prodigal Son (who I'll call the Younger Brother) left the Father's house and went into the Far Country. There he served another Master.
The Far Country was the Land of Sin and Death.
The Master the Devil.
In the Far Country, Sin and Death are not just things we do, or things that happen. They are Powers that enslave God's people. And the Devil is the Prince of those Powers.
When the Younger Brother returns, the Older Brother, upset at the party being thrown, himself leaves the Father's House and stands outside. Where is the Older Brother?
He, too, is in the Far Country, the Land of Sin and Death. He, too, is enslaved to another Master.
The point? The Far Country isn't geographical.
It isn't the street.
It is the human heart.
If there's anything my work has taught me, it's that we are all in the Far Country. And making our way to the Father's House.
As long as there is the human heart, there is the Far Country.
For my work, it helps to see it this way: in the Far Country we become two types of people: gods and strangers.
gods want to control the world,
strangers don't think there is a world for them.
My job is to help gods and strangers meet at the Father's House as servants and guests. The only place they can meet is the Feast at the Father's House, the feast of lavish abundant Mercy, the Table where we find, and are offered, the Lamb Slain Before the Foundation of the World, Christ himself.
Are you a god? Mercy will make you a servant. Are you a stranger? Mercy makes you a guest.
My job, in that sense, is to serve the Table where the Feast is offered. And to gather people to it.
And the only thing that hauls back gods as servants and strangers as guests is the hearing of the Gospel. Above all, I serve peoples' hearing of the Gospel. And try to hear it myself.
For it is not good to be in the Far Country too long.
With this website, I try to be vulnerable enough to let people overhear my hearing of the Gospel. And to give people a window into my work, so they can join it, either with their time, their finances, or most importantly, their prayers.
As a part of Church Army USA, I am a sister ministry to Uncommon Grounds Cafe. Check them out at Uncommon Grounds Cafe.