Friday, 11 October 2013


Just in case you didn't know I am a man. I very rarely leave the toilet seat up but I am a man. As a man, I am not the cause of all the world's problems but there is a time to stand up and say "this problem we are facing is a problem mainly caused by men for men". The problem I am talking about is the abhorrent global trade of human trafficking. Especially those being trafficked for the purpose of sex slavery.

The reason I am talking about this yet again is because a couple of the young woman from our church, NCLC, went to visit the A21 crisis house in Greece last week. A21 is an organisation we partner with in the fight against human trafficking across Europe. I also have just read the report from Hazel Thompson about her latest ebook "TAKEN". This is not the Hollywood glamourised version of events where Liam Neeson sweeps in using his set of special skills to rescue his daughter. That, unfortunately, does not happen. Most of the women and children do not have an ex-CIA operative to bring them home. Many are kept in locked rooms or cages until they are "broken" and never return home.

It can be easy to relegate that problem to another country. But this issue has been highlighted by our own Lindsay Bruce as also a North East problem. I challenge you to do an internet search on human trafficking in the UK. It is a problem here and now with us. Teesside's Ben Cooley felt so passionate about this subject that he has set up the charity HOPE FOR JUSTICE to help in the fight.

I can easily abdicate my responsibility as a man and say that I personally haven't caused it but maybe we, I, need to be part of the solution not just ignore the problem.

Get involved. Buy Hazel's ebook, go to the A21 or the Hope for Justice website and find out what you can do. We are VERY excited to have Ben Cooley, CEO of Hope for Justice join us for our IronMen Conference in November. He will challenge, inspire and get in your face. If you are a man, get to the conference, you can register here.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Breaking hearts

I have, in the past, asked God to break my heart for what breaks His.
This Sunday we had nearly 130 different children in the NCLC kids church.

There is a real cross section of socio-economic, racial and gender groups. I get to hear of the issues that some of these children face when they go back home.
I thought I would let you know of some of them. These are just from our kids church not the youth!!! Thats a whole other story.

These are some of the issues the children face:
-self harm of a 8 year old
-emotional & physical abuse
-parents mental health
-aunty's death the night before due to drug overdose.
-rat bites on ankles
-anniversary of dad's suicide
-dad sleeping with grandmother
-extreme poverty
-parents in prison
-lack of parental control or care
-the only carer for a disabled parent

I don't know about you but this is almost too much to bear at times. These are not little issues, some of them would crush many of us. Our children are trying to cope with this.
The church has to have an answer. The answer is Christ, but not just preached through clever sermons and intellectual theology or worshipped with great songs and production but worshipped with a towel wrapped round our waist and washing feet. Doing things for the least of these.
We are trying to build a church that places value on the young and old, on the rich and the poor, the broken and the captive.
A church that carries Christ into our world and brings hope.
A church that proclaims God's favour in a broken world.
We make mistakes, we lose focus and sometimes people get lost in the process but I guess, just like the early church we trying to be a faithful presence in our community.
Our answer is not JUST social programs but introducing people to Christ. Hope for this life and the next.

Our heart should be breaking because God's is.
Christ is the answer and the church is his vehicle.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 13 September 2013

Lessons from Tough Mudder

 I pray you are having a great start to the week. As most of you will know, on Saturday, a team from NCLC competed in the event aptly named "Tough Mudder." It was tough and there was a LOT of mud. We finished, having completed every obstacle.
It made us all confront the fear in our head whether that was of heights, ice baths, dark holes, long runs or electric shocks (you REALLY should have a fear of electric shocks). Between us we managed to raise about £1500 on behalf of the A21 campaign
against human trafficking.

One of the things that was most evident throughout the event was teamwork. We were in it to complete it. The only way that we wanted to complete it was together. We all needed encouragement at different points of the course. We contended FOR each other not WITH each other in the tough times.
We all made a decision that we start, run and complete the course together.

The Bible in Psalm 84 says:
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

We have committed to the journey together as a community. We go through the tough times together. I want as many of us to start, run and complete this journey together. We are encouraged in Hebrews not to step away from meeting together.
The amount of times I talk about leaning into community when times get tough, yet it still breaks my heart to see one or two people step away using weak excuses or some even great sounding reasons but it still comes down to a decision to step out of what God has placed you in.

There is strength in our community.
There is companionship in our community.
There is accountability in our community.
There is discipleship in our community.
There is growth in our community.
There is healing in our community.
There is value placed in our community.
God is found in our community.

Those that are planted in the house of The Lord will flourish (Psalm 92).

I am committed to building a church where lives will flourish.
I have no plan B.

Flourishing is not just about things going well. It is about staying the course when things get tough. It is about being able to withstand the harsher seasons yet still bear fruit.

Let's contend FOR each other in tough times, celebrate WITH each other when times are great and stand ALONGSIDE each other to complete the journey and win the prize. A prize which is much more than a cool T-shirt, a not so cool orange headband and a pint of cider.

Pastor Jon Cook

Monday, 9 September 2013

Tough Mudder videos and pictures

So the event is finally over and done with for this year. I did a video just before the event and an update today.
I have also included a video of the event and some pictures.
I am hopefully doing 2 next year.
We raised about £1500 for The A21 Campaign against human trafficking.

The Arctic Enema

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Tough Mudder No.9

A quick update on Tough Mudder. 2 days to go.

Though I would give you a quick update. The team has formed well. We have trained hard and really want to work this as a team.
I am resting from training for the last 2 days.
We have raised over £1000 so far for A21 campaign against human trafficking.
Please go to

Friday, 2 August 2013

Tough Mudder No.8

So this morning I am pleased to announce that I managed to run 10.5 miles in a respectable time. The hardest battle was not the hills, the tiredness or the chafing thighs; it was the battle inside my head. Give up or finish the race!
I think the next run maybe even harder as I now know the cost of completing it. This time I was ignorant of the pain and the battle in my head.
You can join me in paying the cost by going to our justgiving page and sponsoring us.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Tough Mudder No. 7

Post workout blog.

Ten 100s

100 runs (12 mters)
100 burpees
100 press ups
100 kettle bell swings
100 chair jumps
100 sit ups
100 leg raises
100 bicep curls
100 tricep ext
100 horizontal pullups

Monday, 20 May 2013

Tough Mudder No.5

Post workout video. Sorry about the abrupt ending, I ran out of storage on my phone.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Tough Mudder- The reason why!

People have asked me why on earth am I doing "Tough Mudder".
Here is the reason why.
I am doing it to raise awareness of human trafficking and also to raise funds in the fight against it, particularly through the work of the A21 Campaign.
It is mainly girls and children that are trafficked. the girls are often beaten, raped and drugged and then forced into prostitution.
People have questioned my sanity just because I will face a bit of cold water and a few electric shocks.
Most trafficking is done BY men FOR men. So we, as real men, (you cannot count yourself a real man if you treat women this way) need to be part of the solution.
Check out this video that will explain a bit more about it.
As you watch it, every time your hear the name Natalia, change it to the name of your sister, daughter, girlfriend, wife. Then see whether it becomes personal.
This is why I am doing Tough Mudder.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Tough Mudder TM No.3 Post training session.

Training Session 1
20 running circuits of the church hall (about 9 mins)
1 min press ups
2 mins church circuits
1 min body weight squats
2 mins 2 feet step hops
1 min spiderman floor walk

1 min rest

2 mins 2 feet step hops
1 min plank
2 min burpees
1 press ups
2 min burpees
1 min lying pullups

Yes I know its not a lot and I have a long way to go but at least I have started.

Tough Mudder Registration Day TM No2

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Our interwoven stories.

Last night was our Team Vision Night and we had the privilege of honouring the hard work and consistency of our good friends Andy and Helen Rose. Their life, with the ups and downs could be summed up by the words "They kept turning up".
Anyway as I was preparing for team vision night, I began to think of the stories that have woven through theirs and began to write down just some of the links within our church.
Here is a glimpse of the rich tapestry of a few lives that connect with the NCLC community.
Andy met Helen and married her. Helen is friends with Katie, who she brought to church. Katie brought Gary & Emma Smith to church. Katie also brought her mum & dad, they brought Susan & Katie and then Danielle.
Paul Etherton moved up to newcastle from London with Dee & I, he met Katie & they got married and are pregnant. They moved to Kibblesworth, met Michael who came to church. Michael lives next door to Dan who came to church with his mum & dad who knew Ken & Isobel Wood. Dan met Nichola and married her. Ken & Isobel began looking after some of the international students who are in Newcastle to study. Ken & Isobel now have spiritual kids all over Asia, particularly in Malaysia.
Meanwhile back at the Roses. They had a friend called Matt who contacted me in the early days and came to church when he was visiting the north. He eventually finished uni and came to live up here. He finally got his butt in gear and asked out the amazing Judith, who he later married in a venue they found through a pastor at Judith's gym. The pastor & his wife decided it was time to retire and, because they liked Judith so much they mentioned this to her because they knew she went to a church that was looking for a building. We eventually bought this building and it is now our home.
So anyway about 300 years ago the youth event that I helped run and play drums at had this keyboard player who was an exceptional young man called Gav. He went on to be a rock god in a band called Yfriday, but when the band ended he started coming along to our church and eventually brought a lovely young woman along with him called Ileana. She had met Gav at a Europe rock gig where she went with her brother & Gav had gone to with Jamie from this church.
At a youth camp called Harvest I had previously come to know the young guy called Jamie. He eventually came along to church and then brought his younger sister and mum along. His sister met and married another rock god called Pak. Jamie's mother met a man called Brian and they are about to be married.
Back to to Andy & Helen. They are friends with a guy who is in our Teesside community and he used to go out with a girl called Claire. Claire ended up living with Dee & I for a while when she & her boyfriend split up. She met a young South African guy, Miguel, who had come to the church after his older brother came along with his family. They ended up getting married and now have a baby girl called Mia.
Around about the same time that Miguel's older brother came to the church, another South African moved up from London and started coming along. He was a cracking singer and worship leader. He met a girl who had started coming to our church. Yep, thats right they got married and had a baby boy called Jacob. The girl had been so impacted and challenged by a visit organised by the church to visit our sponsored children in Compassion Tanzania that she left her teaching job and began to work for Compassion.
When she went on maternity leave her job was coverd by another young guy who looks too much like Will Smith for my liking. This young guy had gone along to our international students gathering, run by Ken & Isobel. He went mainly for food, but there met a lovely young girl from Indonesia who he later married. This guy has a sister who caught the attention of a drummer from a local band. The drummer eventually left the band and started working part time for the church.
So back to this guy called Miguel. Before he married Claire he invited his friend called Laura along to church. Laura came along and got stuck in and I think she is still around. Anyway she brought her mum along who worked at an opticians. She offered a part time job to the drummer guy who was looking for a job at that time because he could only work part time for the church. He had already married the sister of the Will Smith guy that I talked about earlier.
Yet again back to the Roses. Andy has a fantastic brother called Simon, who came along to church after walking away from God. He reconnected his life to God and met a lovely young women in our church called Emma, yes of course they got married.
Are you getting this interwoven picture of lives connected in community?
This is just a glimpse of the lives that has brought together and woven into community. There are so many more stores that connect. If you are part of NCLC, thank you for being part of the bigger picture. If you are not, why don't you connect yourself into this tapestry.
See you at Vision Sunday.
Finding our Voice, Telling our story.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad