Chris Russo's Blog

Channeling your inner teenager

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Comeback Story

1 minute message by Caleb Scott

Washing away discontent by Tori Foote

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Your best interest at heart

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Embracing the future

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“Why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:26)

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The power of solitude (Luke 5:16)

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There is no formula…I promise!

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When the music fades…


I remember a worship song I used to sing and it starts off with, “When the music fades, all is stripped away, and I simply come, longing just to bring, something that’s of worth, that will bless your heart.” It’s a beautiful song and it’s written by Matt Redman. The song is about getting back to the “heart of worship.” It’s about stripping away what’s not important and investing deeply in your relationship with God.

At the end of the day, God longs to be intimate with us. He wants us to draw close to him. It’s the primary purpose for which we were created. Behind all the theology, all the Bible study, all the prayer and religious activity, the bottom line is relationship. That’s why Jesus summed up all the Law and Prophets with two commands…(Matthew 22:37-39)

  1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.
  2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Love. That’s what it’s about. Such a relational call. God didn’t say that first and foremost he wanted servants and dutiful children. He wants love. He wants our hearts. In Matthew 15:8-9, Jesus quoted the prophet Isaiah and pointed out the major problem with many of the religious leaders of his day. He said, “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’[c]”

Let’s not miss this. In the midst of all of our great religious activity and rule keeping, let’s not miss the main point. When the music fades and all is stripped away, what are we left with? A genuine relationship and connection with God, or a hollow and distant connection to a set of rules and traditions? God wants our hearts desperately. He paid the ultimate price to win them. How are you responding to him?

What I’ve learned from Abbi…


So the reality is I’ve learned more from my wife than I could ever put into words. That being said, today’s her birthday and I wanted to share a few of the principles I’ve learned from her….

  1. Keep it real

For those of you who know Abbi, you know she is a truth-teller. I love this about her. I find it next to impossible to hide anything from her. If I’m in a bad mood or feeling something that I’m afraid to communicate, she can tell just by looking at me. Abbi hates pretense. Even if it’s uncomfortable, Abbi is going to communicate her perspective and call it like she sees it. This quality in her has been so ridiculously valuable to me over the years. When I start to lose my way and forget what’s important, Abbi’s ability to identify and speak truth has acted as a true north for our family. Her advice is always spot on and she helps ground me in so many ways.

 2.  Friendships matter

Abbi is one of the most devoted friends on the planet. Abbi would admit about herself that she is not a social butterfly. She isn’t a huge fan of having a million conversations in a large crowd of people. She has learned to do it over the years because of what I do for a living, but it’s not her preference. Abbi’s specialty is concentrating on a few close relationships and giving her all to them. She is a fiercely loyal person and values quality over quantity. For those who fall on that list of her closest friends, you understand what I’m talking about. She will stick with you forever and ever…she doesn’t quit.

3. Details are important

I’m one of the least detailed people on the planet. I’m not good at multitasking and I’m not terribly observant. Abbi is the exact opposite. If you’re communicating a story to Abbi, you better know your facts because the questions are coming. I’ll come back from performing a wedding and one of the first questions I get from her is, “What did her wedding dress look like?” I know I’m in trouble….”It was white.” That’s all I got. I don’t remember what the back looked like or how the material looked….no clue at all. Abbi’s attention to detail really shines in all kinds of situations. One of those situations is when she’s planning a party….oh my goodness. You are going to feel appreciated! She plans a party like it’s her job. Our kids have been and will be richly blessed. She thinks through everything. When I turned 30, I felt like a celebrity. The celebration she planned for me was one for the record books. Abbi has taught me that details matter…I just can’t remember what they are (-;

4.  Don’t sweat the small stuff

Those of you who know me know that I tend to be a worrier. You know, the important stuff….like how the sky is going to fall down, gravity might stop working…I tend to be very realistic. Abbi is really good at focusing on what matters. I hate admitting this most of the time, but she is way smarter than me. I have my areas of expertise, but when it comes down to just raw intelligence…I can’t touch her. I can just know that if we’re watching a movie and there are certain twists in the plot, she knows what’s going on way before I do. It’s like we’re watching two different movies. She’s oohing and ahhing and I’m just resenting her because I have no idea what she’s responding to. All I know is that the popcorn tastes great!! Abbi is really good at thinking things through. She has that kind of well-rounded intelligence that I’m pretty sure you’re just born with. I’ve wished many times that I could just have it, but I’m learning to lean on hers and focus on the strengths I do have. Abbi is really good at sorting through superfluous details and focusing on what’s truly important. I’m so thankful for this strength in her.

 5. Emotions matter

One of the things I love about Abbi is she always emotionally invested in what she does. It’s not that I’m an unemotional person, I just have a tendency to emotionally distance myself at times. Case in point, we were watching a show the other night and I was drifting in and out of sleep while Abbi cried through the entire thing. I still don’t really know what she was crying about. Another example was the first time we walked into an IKEA. I thought it was pretty cool, but Abbi actually got choked up because she was so happy. Who gets that excited about furniture?! I’m still not the best at emotionally investing, but Abbi has helped me to get so much better. Abbi is going to be really happy, really sad or angry…but she is going to be something!! She leans into experiences and not away from them.

Abbi is an amazing person. She is strong, wise and fiercely loyal. I’ve learned and continue to learn so much from her. Her devotion to Christ, to her family and to her friends is consistent and unwavering. There is so much more that I could share, but with today being her birthday, I wanted to honor her by sharing a few of the qualities that I admire in her. Happy birthday Abbi!

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