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Pure Evangelism

June 3, 2008

I was struck by several stories I saw in the media this week, noting the different methods we as Christians use to try and bring people to a relationship with Jesus Christ. One was a story of a Marine passing out coins with Christian messages on them to Muslims in Iraq, and the other a photo of a sign pleading with sinners to turn to God. I thought of how ineffective these methods must be. How many people come to Christ because they walk past a sign calling them a sinner and they are going to burn in hell if they don’t repent. Or someone born in the Middle East, raised in a Muslim family, knowing nothing but that culture, receives a coin with a message about Christianity and suddenly wants to abandon everything he has known to be true and follow Jesus.

Contrast those methods with what the Shell family has done…show others the love of Christ. In June of 2007 the Shell family of Edmond, OK lost a wife and mother. Shirley Ann Shell was murdered in her home when a burglary went wrong. The Shell family has chosen to forgive the man who murdered their loved one. Here is what one of her sons said.

“We … firmly believe that no sinner is too far gone to receive the forgiveness that Jesus died to offer,” Brian Shell said.

“True freedom and peace can only be found when we seek forgiveness through Jesus for our sins and in return offer forgiveness to those who have sinned against us.

“We offer our forgiveness to Mr. Gary and, more importantly, pray that he will seek true forgiveness from Jesus.” (Read the full story here.)

What they have done is much more effective than handing someone a coin or telling someone they are going to hell. They are allowing their walk with Christ to be an example of His love to everyone, especially the killer.

In a letter to the editor of the Edmond Sun, the family writes:

Lastly, we send our thoughts and prayers out to Mr. Gary’s family and Mr. Gary himself. We pray that the Gary family will find the same mercy, peace and strength in Jesus that we found. It is there for any who will seek it. 

We also firmly believe that no sinner is too far gone to receive the forgiveness that Jesus died to offer. True freedom and peace only can be found when we seek forgiveness through Jesus for our sins and in return offer forgiveness to those who have sinned against us. We offer our forgiveness to Mr. Gary and more importantly pray that he will seek true forgiveness from Jesus. (Read the full letter here.)

Wow, what a testimony of faith in God, forgiveness, and His love for all people!

Pure evangelism.

Matt 5:16 – In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (NIV)


9 Comments leave one →
  1. Tim L. permalink
    June 5, 2008 12:07 am

    Talk about Calvary love! That’s awesome.

  2. Tim L. permalink
    June 7, 2008 9:22 am

    14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. . . .
    17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
    “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
    In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

  3. Mike High permalink*
    June 7, 2008 11:23 pm

    Tim, that is a really good passage. I looked up several commentaries tonight on vs. 20. At first glance, there may appear to show a vengeful motive with the terminology of “heaping coals of fire on the head” of your enemies. Which, of course, is in direct opposition to the rest of the passage.

    The consensus was that the phrase symbolizes overcoming evil with good. “The words of Paul (Romans 12:20) are equivalent to saying, “By charity and kindness thou shalt soften down his enmity as surely as heaping coals on the fire fuses the metal in the crucible.”” (Nelson’s Bible Dictionary)

    It appears that this was exactly the case. By doing good to their enemy it appears to have had a profound effect on him. One of the articles said he was sobbing in the courtroom asking forgiveness of the family.

  4. kathy permalink
    June 12, 2008 12:16 pm

    How is passing out coins any different from churches doing Sunday morning concerts instead of worship and even having this timed to coordinate a “movie” of the pastor acting like the world in order to get a point across. When did the Word of God in its simplicity become so meaningless or weak that we feel like we have to have a gimmick to make it exciting enough to catch anyone’s attention. When we concentrate on living a holy life before God, it gets noticed.

  5. Amy High permalink
    June 12, 2008 1:48 pm

    i personally like the idea of the soldier passing out the coins (if they are in fact real money). Maybe i am naive, but i can see how it could in fact cause someone who has been raised in a radical or non-radical muslim environment to wonder what kind of person would give out money for nothing to the needy. i am sure that the average democratic pessimist will say that we (the evil america) are just trying to push our “radical religion” on them. But i think the contrast (giving life instead of taking life) will be noticed in the end.
    As for the concerts in church instead of worship, at one time i am sure some people (my baptist grandma) felt like our churches 20-30 years ago were like a concert as well, but i am sure that it drew people in that wouldn’t have come otherwise. I personally would love to see our church offer a worship service that is not catered to the lost (in one of their many service slots), but I have to keep reminding myself that true worship is from my heart to HIS, it is not about singing the “right” song the “right” way.
    Please no anti-Bush replies 🙂 (MH & BS)

  6. Brent (BS) permalink
    June 12, 2008 5:57 pm


    What is an “average pessimist democrat” Any example here? Are you saying most democrats are pessimistic? So in turn is the average republican optimistic? If so, would you say Rush Limbaugh is optimistic? He seems to bitch a lot.

    Maybe I am just confused. Also why no anti-bush replies? I like them and have been giving them for over four or five years now.

    As for a way to reach non-Christians, just do good! Love all and keep our nose where it belongs. The right time will present it’s self. It did to my cousin when I was lost. It did to the Shell family and they are utilizing it. It is very sad that it had to be with tragedy but that is how it works sometimes.

    As far as the military personal doing the above, QUIT! It is not right. Just like it is not right that we are over there in the first place. I am glad Sadam is no longer. He was a bad man. But is it our duty to invade their country and tell them what to do, how to live? Now that we have destroyed their country, we should give those who need it protection and stay out of how they live their life!

    Brent (BS).
    Oh yea and still registered a repulican but think having only two major parties in government is the worst thing in america. Also before I get labled something I am not, I support our troops just not war. Protect us not those who do not want it.

  7. Tim L. permalink
    June 12, 2008 10:13 pm

    Romans 12 is pretty challenging – “do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to know what God’s will is … Do not take revenge my friends . . . if your enemy is hungry, etc….”

    A book I’ve been reading recently illustrated the idea of God transforming our enemies through our love by questioning what impact Jesus had on the soldier whose ear he healed after Peter cut it off.

    I don’t think the issue is democrat/republican or conservative/liberal. Thinking and pre-judging based upon those man-made labels is, in my opinion, a “pattern of this world” we have to move past as our minds are (hopefully) transformed and we begin to know and do God’s will – like feeding our enemies instead of shooting them.

  8. Amy High permalink
    June 13, 2008 12:22 pm

    see… i knew my comment would provoke some sort of political remark. I was only giving you and Michael a hard time (name calling democratic pessimist). It was definitely not my intention to stir your (or anyone else’s) political pot. Sorry if you took it any other way.
    I did not read the soldiers story to know what he exactly was passing out, but it would have been cool (in my opinion) if he had in fact been passing out real money. I have a hard time “judging” this guy, maybe there is a story there that hasn’t been told. Oh wait a minute, i am sure that we got the whole story, because it was from MSMBC:)

  9. Brent (BS) permalink
    June 14, 2008 9:15 pm

    I like stirring the political pot you know that 🙂 I took it in no offense. Always love a good poltial conversation.


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