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