Why I Follow Jesus

31 12 2011

BY LINDA BOOTH, Council of Twelve Apostles

I follow the Living Jesus Christ because…

Growing up in Independence, Missouri, I was shown by my parents and grandparents unconditional love that came from their deep commitment to God and the church. They sacrificially gave their lives in service to others. When the church doors were open, our family was there.

I tried to pattern my life after their example. I taught a Stone Church children’s school class when I was 16. I was active in Zion’s League and stake activities.

When I entered university I discovered new ideas from philosophers and writers who discounted God’s existence and denied Jesus lived. I declared to my family that there was no God, and if Jesus lived, he was simply a man—certainly not divine. My family was distraught. Nothing they said persuaded me to believe differently. They fervently prayed my disbelief would change to faithful acceptance of God and Jesus Christ.

At university I met my husband, Doug, who was raised an atheist. He became my best friend. We married and had three sons. Life was good. We were happy. I never thought about Jesus. Instead, Doug and I would comment on the fairy-tale nature of Christian thought.

My parents and grandparents continued to pray the Spirit would renew my belief in Jesus.

After nearly 10 years of disbelief, Doug and I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit in a monastery in Kansas City, Kansas. It was unexpected and transforming. For the first time, Jesus was real! He wasn’t just a story. He was flesh and blood, and he was calling us to follow him.

I immersed myself in the Bible, reading about Jesus’ life, teachings, death, and resurrection. In the gospels I began to glimpse Jesus’ passionate ministry. One evening over the dinner table, Doug and I decided to check out the closest RLDS congregation. We hired a babysitter for our three sons and attended a Sunday service in Olathe, Kansas.

Following the preaching service, several people gathered around us, asking about our lives. We began to attend with our sons and were loved into the fellowship. Our discipleship was developed and empowered.

I often wonder what would have happened to our family if the Olathe Congregation had not enveloped us. Without its love and acceptance, would God’s calling for me have been expressed in Community of Christ?

Nearly 14 years ago I was called and ordained to serve as an apostle. In my leadership and ministry I feel compelled to proclaim Jesus every day. Jesus is the focus of my life. My daily encounter with Jesus continues to transform me from the inside out.

The Jesus I follow is not the domesticated man I learned about in Sunday school when I was a child. Instead Jesus is the radical-loving incarnation of God, showing me how much God loves ALL people.

I follow Jesus not for myself but for the many children, youth, and adults who yearn to know of God’s love and call to them. I follow Jesus to share with them the transforming story of Jesus and his call to them. Follow me!


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2 responses

31 12 2011
terryflowersblog

Thank you for sharing your testimony Linda. “Following Jesus” will mean something different to each of us depending on our personal life experiences. To me “following Jesus” is to love as Jesus (God) has first loved me. Once enough people make the choice to “love as God loves us” then we will want for others everything that we want for ourselves…both monitarily and spiritually. The God’s will can be “done on earth as it is in heaven”. Blessings ~

31 12 2011
RAISER William

“After nearly 10 years of disbelief, Doug and I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit in a monastery in Kansas City, Kansas. It was unexpected and transforming. For the first time, Jesus was real! He wasn’t just a story. He was flesh and blood, and he was calling us to follow him.”

I would appreciate knowing more of this experience and what you mean by Jesus being “real”. What does “following Jesus” mean to you?




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