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  • JoLinda Russell

My journey to Christ

BROWNSTOWN – Whenever I meet a fellow Christian, I like to hear about their journey with Christ. It inspires me to hear how God leads each of us to Himself. I hope my walk can give you something to think about as you consider your own walk with Jesus.

I grew up going to a church system that emphasizes good works as a means of becoming right with God. The church taught to work hard, do good things, and if the scales balance in your favor then you will make it into heaven. By the time I was in junior high school, none of my immediate family (including myself) were attending church anymore. When I was 16 years old, a friend invited me to her church. I’m thankful that she was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ and was willing to share Jesus with me.

This reminds me of Romans 1:16. “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it’s the power of God to Salvation for everyone who believes…” This friend of mine attended a Baptist church in the area. I really liked it, and started attending regularly. While there I heard the Gospel and realized it was different from what I had been taught before. The main thing that impressed me was the concept of God’s grace being the way to Heaven.

The verse that the Holy Spirit used to draw me was Ephesians 2:8-9, which says “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourself, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Once that sunk in, I realized I was not really right with God, according to the teachings of the Bible. I was relying on my good works. So, one Sunday, after I had been going to church for a few weeks I prayed and asked Jesus to be my Savior. I was baptized and continued to attend the church.

After I accepted Christ, I was compelled to learn and grow in Him. II Peter 3:18. “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” I learned to pray, read God’s word, and fellowship with those in the church. The church leadership even invited me to serve in the church, in spite of my young age. I sang in the choir, sang solos in the services, and directed a children’s choir.

As the years went by, I attended a nearby college and turned to God’s leading for my future. I subsequently earned a degree in music education. I was able to use this education and experience to teach elementary music in schools for many years, while also serving alongside my husband, who is a pastor. I enjoyed a music ministry in each of the churches where he was the pastor.

I am thankful that God led me to Himself and has been guiding me ever since. I rejoice in the truth of Philippians 1:6. “…being confident of this very thing, that He Who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…”



JoLinda Russell lives in Brownstown, Michigan, with her husband, Dan Russell, who is one of the pastors at Calvary Church in Southgate. They have three grown children and nine grandchildren. JoLinda has a degree in Music Education and is a retired elementary music teacher from the Southgate Community Schools where she taught in several schools for 18 years. She has been involved in music ministry at all the local churches where she has also been a pastor's wife.


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