When, in 1959, Cliff Richard (now Sir Cliff) sang one of his earliest hit records, Travelling Light, he wasn’t on the same page as Pastor Julian at COM Church, Dunstable, when Julian made this the title for his New Year message to the Church. Whereas Cliff was only taking “one comb, one toothbrush” to get to see his girlfriend as quickly as possible, Julian was thinking more about the commission Jesus gave His disciples, when He sent them out with the words from Mark 6 vs 7-13, take nothing for the journey, except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic.
That same commission has been passed down the years and is now landed at the feet of COM Church.
As we enter a new decade, Julian’s word for the Church was to ‘Travel Light’, by casting off some of the baggage of life from the past. Instead, it was time for us to pick up Jesus’ mantle. “You have seen My ministry, now it’s your turn,” the Lord was telling His disciples and so telling us.
“How you see God and how He sees you are the two most important things for us in the coming year,” Julian says. God is not a punisher; He does not condemn us, He corrects us, convicts us and we need to have clarity in our understanding of our relationship with Him.
As we find that, we will understand Him better and get to know things we do not fully understand now. Things like Repentance, which is not a trendy subject in the Church today. But the disciples were told to preach it, then they could heal the sick and cast out demons. We have lost so much of that Spiritual power, but Jesus is all we need to get it back.
We love to hear sermons which teach us about overcoming, five-fold ministries of Jesus etc, but we don’t like to hear about how we should change our lives.
The Oxford Dictionary for Children has removed the word Sin from its pages; “There is a whole generation out there which doesn’t know what sin is, or that we need to repent from it.”
Those words spoken to the disciples are what Church should be about. First to preach Repentance (verse 12); but because we are not doing that, we are not seeing the results set out in verse 13 — driving out demons and healing the sick.
That is the word for COM Church in 2020, Julian says. The challenge for us is to get that power back. And that means giving up our old way of life – getting rid of the baggage.
What are you carrying into 2020 and what are you prepared to let go of? God is asking us to do something new in 2020 and that means we will have to give something up – to make Sacrifices.
The disciples had already given up their families to follow Jesus, now the vision was to give up even more and take nothing with them. What did He mean when He said they didn’t need an extra tunic? What does that mean for us? Basically, Julian explains, it means be yourself in whatever situation you find yourself. Don’t adopt a new identity to fit the people you are with: “our identity in Christ is enough for the journey,” we don’t need a backup plan. Stick to the plan God has given us.
That has been the way forward for this Church from the very beginning. God gave the leaders a plan and they stuck to it, but there was never 100% of the vision revealed and you will never have that 100% vision from the start. You are saying you want to serve God, so ask yourself what am I willing to put down? It may be some of your relationships. The disciples were told things would not always work out for them; a relationship may be holding you back,
in which case you must shake off the dust from your feet and move on (Matthew 10 v 14).
Some people will be found hiding away in 2020. But this is the year when God is going to find you and He has greater things in store for you than you could ever plan for yourself. It is about to be the most exciting time of your life.
Just be sure to leave the baggage behind and Travel Light.
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