Ever had a glitch in your New Year’s Eve plans? That is exactly what happened to Joy and me a few years back during one of our student ministries all-nighter events. For weeks our team had planned and prepared for a successful event. Over 100 students showed up New Year’s Eve for an 11:00 p.m worship service, then we boarded buses and were driven to a huge athletic complex that was secured from 1:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. Everyone was having a great time until the unthinkable happened, a power outage, which meant no lights. There we were in a massive complex with a host of things to entertain us without lights or power. Although, we attempted to make some adjustments to accommodate, the event fell far short of what it was intended to be.

We are living in a world that has had a “power outage.” The culture is falling short of what God designed and planned. The darkness and drabness of the culture is desperate for bright lights. This is a perfect opportunity for all of us Christ followers to “shine” brightly.

As we enter into this New Year I am compelled by the Holy Spirit to call the Oregon Ministry Network ministers and churches to be committed to SHINE with authentic love, courageous faith and encouraging hope. We must become bold in letting our light shine in these dark and dreary days.

Here are some practical ways to SHINE brightly in 2017.

BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR WORDS. The power of our words can bring life or death. The words we speak publically and privately can brighten a room or dim a room. Let’s pledge to speak words of light and life to our family and to those we lead. Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

BE CAUTIOUS IN YOUR USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA. People watch what we post and how we interact and express ourselves through social media. Using wisdom in what is communicated through articles, comments and photos can either brighten or dim your “shine.” Someone suggested, Aim to make informed, respectful posts that represent the One you claim as Lord.

BE CONSERVATIVE WITH YOUR ENTERTAINMENT. Where do you go for fun? Having diversions that contribute to one’s mental, physical and spiritual health is vital. Avoiding things that cause drifting or dim one’s testimony is a wise choice.

BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS. Having an encouraging manner rather than a criticizing spirit is one of the most powerful ways to “shine.” Being patient and giving the benefit of the doubt are practical ways of interacting with others in 2017. Luke 6:31, Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.

Join me in welcoming 2017 by being committed to SHINE for Jesus!