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Loving Christian family greatest tool to bring people to Christ, Trent says

AUSTIN, Texas (BP)–The church’s most important evangelistic tool in this day is “a distinctively Christian home that loves Jesus Christ,” popular author and speaker John Trent said March 1 at the annual conference of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
Trent, coauthor with Gary Smalley of such award-winning books as “The Blessing” and “The Language of Love,” told how his mother and both brothers received salvation “because one family said, ‘I’m going to make a choice'” to bless others.
Doug Barram, a loving father with two small sons, befriended Trent when he was in high school. Trent, whose father left his mother when he was less than three months old, saw Barram hug and bless his boys as he visited in his home. After about 18 months of knowing Barram, Trent responded to an invitation after viewing a movie produced by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
“Because I’d seen a family that lived [out giving a blessing], all of a sudden I saw there was a heavenly Father that loved me,” said Trent, who said he never received that blessing from his father.
Three things are part of a biblical blessing, such as the account of Isaac’s blessing of Jacob, he said. They are:
— appropriate, meaningful touch.
— verbal affirmation.
— attaching high value to a person.
Trent introduced Tom and Shon Stewart, a father and son from California, as examples of choosing to bless.
Shon, 18, who has cerebral palsy, was born 10 weeks premature, his father said. Although they were not Christians, Shon’s parents “felt it was right to fight this thing out” when doctors told them they could allow him to die, Tom said.
God “used Shon in our lives as a little guy to bring us to Christ” two years after his birth, Tom said. At that acknowledgment, Shon gave a thumbs-up sign, and the audience cheered.
Shon “has been a true blessing in our lives, and we’ve tried to raise him like his sisters, treating him no differently than his sisters in a very special, loving relationship that we have,” Tom said.
From his wheelchair, Shon sang two songs, including “Higher Ways,” which talked about how God’s “higher ways teach me to trust you.”
Before singing “Gentle Healer” a capella, Shon shared something he heard in his church youth group the week before. “It’s that, ‘Jesus was concerned with the physical, but he was consumed with the spiritual,'” Shon said. “You know, he might not always heal in this lifetime, but he always is willing to heal” spiritually.

Reported by Tom Strode.