Chris Russo's Blog

Our baby’s name is…


SAMUEL AARON RUSSO!! I’m excited to announce that our new baby boy’s name is Samuel Aaron Russo. The name Samuel, means “God has heard.” For this reason, the name holds special significance for Abbi and I. Some of you know why this pregnancy is more weighty for us in some ways than the other two. When our youngest, Jonathan was born, Abbi had some complications. We found out that Abbi had what’s called a uterine window. This means her uterus was extremely thin in a certain spot. Probably because both of our kids were almost 10 pound babies! This in and of itself was concerning, but Abbi then had some bleeding issues. She actually had to have a blood transfusion and they eventually found a rather large clot right outside her uterus. Things got a little scary.

Abbi and I walked out of that experience not certain if we should have any more children. We got some different opinions from other Doctors and were told that another pregnancy would definitely be higher risk. We weren’t told to absolutely not have another child, but just that it would be more risky. We didn’t know what to do. We didn’t want to react out of fear and just decide to cut bate, but we also didn’t want to throw caution to the wind and be reckless. We decided that we needed to hear from God.

Have you ever been in a situation like that? There are plenty of times when I am fine going forward simply based on logic and trusting that it lines up with what I believe is right. There are times though, when the stakes are too high and I resolve that God is going to have to speak specifically on the matter. This was one of those times. Some people made it seem like our only risk was moving forward and risking Abbi and the baby’s health. We didn’t see it that way. To us, it was also a risk that we would be overly cautious and miss the chance to usher another precious life into the world. We needed God to weigh in because he is the only one with perfect perspective. That’s important for all of us to remember. There is someone that we have access to 24/7 who doesn’t need to read a book or ask a question. He is willing to speak to us, but the question is, are we willing to listen?

Well, earlier this year we had the opportunity to go to Israel. It was an incredible trip! Abbi started to have some suspicions that she might be pregnant on the trip, but she didn’t want to let me know until she was certain. On the plane ride back, I was listening to an audio book called Fathered by God by John Eldredge. As I was listening, I felt something in my heart and stopped the book. Even though I had been riding the fence for over 3 years at this point, something switched within me and I told Abbi that I thought we should move forward and have another kid. Mind you, I had no idea that Abbi might be pregnant or anything. Once we got back to our house in Columbia, I was shaving my head and Abbi came into the bathroom and set a pregnancy test on the counter. She was pregnant! That prompting I had gotten the day or 2 before helped me to trust that God had our back on this one.

As Abbi and I were trying to come up with names, we were stumped for a while. She tends to like the more eccentric ones and I guess I’m a little boring. I threw out the name Samuel, but Abbi wasn’t sold right away. What really clinched it for her was when she heard the meaning of the name….”God has heard.” That did it. For Abbi, it means that God has heard her desire for another child. It’s a prayer she had and anytime we talked about being done after 2, she couldn’t help but feel that she genuinely wanted another one. For me, “God has heard” means that God has heard my fear that something could go wrong with another pregnancy. I believe God has heard my prayer and is going to take care of us through this process. Some of you may be wondering about the middle name. Isaac and Jonathan both have middle names that start with A, so that was definitely a part of the consideration. On top of that, we like the way Aaron sounds with Samuel. We also love Aaron’s significance in the Old Testament narrative and the fact that his name means, “light bringer.”

So that’s it…Samuel Aaron Russo. I can’t fully describe it, but it has been a long and emotional road that has gotten us to this point. We are excited that we are going to have 3 boys…pray for Abbi!! (-; Please also join us in prayer for a smooth pregnancy, a great delivery and a healthy baby boy. Thanks for your prayers and support!

Pray without ceasing

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Seeking his face or his hand?

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23 years ago today


23 years ago today was one of the most difficult and defining days of my life. My mom had been battling gall bladder cancer for over a year and on that particular day, the cancer took her physical body. I was 9 years old at the time and unbeknownst to me, my life would never be the same.

It would take a book to fully chronicle my journey since then, but here are a few things I know. Because of that awful tragedy….

  1. I was catapulted into a search for truth and significance

As I processed my mom’s death over the years, more and more questions came to mind. Is she ok? Is she looking down on me? Is there a heaven? Will I go there someday? Is there a God? Is there more to life than what meets the eye? These are questions that every human being must grapple with and because of what happened to my mom, I had no choice but to face them.

2. I was forced to look at the reality of my own mortality

Even though we all know death is certain, so few people actually internalize this important truth. When you run a race, only a fool would start to run without knowing how far he had to go and what it would take to get to the finish line. Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” I don’t know that the author of this psalm was asking that he might learn how to number his days, but rather to learn that his days are numbered. This truth received in the heart instructs us as to how to navigate the difficult waters of this life.

3. I was challenged to look at eternity

I would describe myself as having been an agnostic for a large portion of my upbringing. I was comfortable with the notion that there was more to life than what meets the eye, but I was not comfortable with anyone claiming to know what was out there. We live in a day and age where doubt is seen as a virtue. Where it is seen as humble to always be searching, but to never actually have answers. Call me naive or arrogant, but I’m not content with that. I do not see the search for metaphysical truth and reality to be a never-ending rat race that ultimately amounts in a multitude of fuzzy ideas without any conclusive answers. I believe the building blocks for a strong philosophy, religion and worldview are readily available to those who are bold enough to diligently and persistently seek after them. I believe that not only are we created, but that we were created by a God who wants to be found. I challenge you to find your own answers and to not settle for anything less.

The reality and circumstances surrounding my mom’s death are almost too painful to revisit. I was a 9 year old kid whose world was smashed into a million pieces. There are still days when I wonder if those pieces can ever fully be put back together. I miss her. She was a phenomenal woman and from what I remember and have been told, she loved me fiercely. I could easily wallow in sadness and anger towards God for allowing her to die…I just believe there is a better way.

Perhaps you have experienced tragedy in your life…most of us have. I challenge you to do the difficult work of reflection and discovery believing what the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:28. It says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.” This does not mean that all things are good, but rather that all things can be used for good. My life is a testimony to this truth.

Here’s my mom and I around 1984. I was 2 at this point.

mom and me

The simple gospel

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Who or what defines you?

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Searching For Buried Treasure


All of us have areas of our lives where we’d like to see victory, but we can’t seem to get it. It feels like we’ve tried everything. We’ve read all the books, talked to counselors and still we continue to struggle. Whether we want to see it this way or not, there is an invitation embedded in the frustration.

The answer is deeper than what we’ve found. Believe me, my natural tendency is not to get excited about this. There are times when I rejoice in the struggle and enjoy the search for answers, but there are other times when I just want low-hanging fruit. I want solutions to be simple and straightforward and I definitely don’t want to go digging.

We need to change our mentality. The quest for holiness and spiritual freedom is an adventure and needs to be seen as such. It is a search for buried treasure. In the very pits where you find the most struggle, the most difficulty and the most frustration, therein lies the potential for the greatest breakthrough.

The only way however, that we will obtain and experience that breakthrough is if we change our perspective. We must begin to roll up our sleeves and take our shovels out. Have you ever seen any of the National Treasure movies with Nicholas Cage? I think they’re awesome! Cage is constantly on the search for the next clue and just when he thinks all hope is lost and the treasure is gone forever, a new breakthrough is right around the corner.

So, if you’re going to embark on the treasure hunt and continue to seek breakthrough in your areas of great frustration and difficulty, you’re going to need a couple of things for the journey.

  1. You need a team

It’s never wise to go on treasure hunts alone. You need a team of companions that are searching with you and who bring different talents to the equation. These people will catch things you miss and it is vital that you lean on them throughout the process.

2. You need motivation

If you’re going to find breakthrough in difficult areas, the road will most likely be a difficult one. You’re going to have to find a motivation that transcends the difficulties. That motivation can be found in Christ. He wants breakthrough in your life more than you do. In John 10:10 Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus wants you to have abundant life and is the only one who can lead you to it…it only makes sense to have him as an intimate ally. In fact, your deepest desires for breakthrough ultimately come from him anyways.

3. You need a map

If you’re going to embark on a search for buried treasure, a good map is a necessity. This is what we find in the Bible. The Bible is far more than an instruction manual with a few solid moral principles on how to live your life. It is the divinely inspired word of God and as we begin to see it as such, it quickly becomes a daily light and guide to empower us throughout our quest.

I’m certain the list could go on, but these are certainly a few of the essentials. Finding breakthrough in areas of breakdown is a difficult process. It probably will not happen overnight and there will be times when you think it’s not worth trying anymore. I offer to you one of my favorite passages of scripture as an encouragement for the road ahead. Notice how down and out Paul was and where he ultimately placed his hope even when all hope seemed to be lost. Happy hunting!

2 Corinthians 1:8-10 says,

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us”

Spoken word performance from this weekend!

Seacoast original song led by Nate Davis!

Declaring war on worry! (1 minute message)

“If you can’t get out of it, get into it.”

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