Last year Russ, JaLynn, and their four wonderful children moved to Bellingham from Louisville, Kentucky where Russ earned a Master of Divinity in Biblical Studies from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Now, as members of Immanuel, Russ and JaLynn are excited about this new season of ministry. To help you get to know Russ and his family a bit more (and to entice you to attend his class on Sunday mornings), I invited Russ to participate in an email “interview.” Below you will find his answers to important questions related to his family, teaching the Bible, and the Seahawks. I hope you enjoy reading his words as much as I did and consider coming to his class on Sunday mornings. I know it will be a feast for your soul!
Mike: What do you most enjoy about teaching?
Russ: The entire process and effort is enjoyable to me, but what I love the most is witnessing how God uses his Word to influence, change, and otherwise impact his children. It’s a truly remarkable experience for the believer, and quite unlike anything the world can offer.
Of course, I greatly enjoy both the preparation and teaching time, but as means to an end, and not the end itself.
Mike: Do you have a favorite book of the Bible? What is it about this book that you particularly appreciate?
Russ: Isaiah is my favorite book, followed closely by John and Ecclesiastes. I particularly appreciate the authority with which Isaiah speaks: power, beauty, and sovereignty extending from the throne of God, infusing human history, realized in salvation, and anticipating the re-creation of the world. God is revealed to us as holy, yet with us, just, yet providing a way of salvation, righteous, yet merciful.
I believe the proper theological term for this is “mind-blowing,” and I return to this masterpiece time after time.
Mike: Tell us a bit about your family and work at Logos. How has your transition to Bellingham gone?
Russ: JaLynn and I were late high-school sweethearts, and on February 26th, will have been married for 20 years. Although we can be quite different in personality, we are practically indistinguishable in thought, practice, and expectations – we’ve grown up together.
Our four children are Brooke (who loves art), Gabe (who loves animals), Nate (who is clever), and Chase (who resembles his name).
I work as a software developer for Logos, where I happily (and still with some amazement) get the opportunity to write code in the service of a company that produces unique and truly impactful products.
All things considered, the transition has gone very well. This region is one of the most beautiful in which we have had the privilege to live, and the number of things to see and do within a short drive continually surprises us. We very much enjoy living in a smaller community and enjoying what the Northwest has to offer.
Mike: Rumor has it you’re a big Broncos fan. Some are seeing a Seahawks v. Broncos Super Bowl. Any prediction?
Russ: Denver 45, Seattle 21.
Seriously though, I have vivid and painful memories of when Denver lost to the Giants, were crushed by the Redskins, and humiliated by the 49ers. So, Seahawks fans, feel free to call me in February if you need a (blue and orange) shoulder to cry on. I’ve felt your pain.
Mike: What are some of the things you’ve particularly come to appreciate over the years about the local church? What are your hopes for us in the New Year?
Russ: With every passing year, I understand better, and appreciate more, how the local church is our family and home; the center of activity, relationships, and responsibility. Though homes change, jobs change, and nearly every other human reality experiences change, the truth of God’s people connected as the body and joined to Christ does not.
My hope for the New Year is that true and abiding fellowship would continue to increase at Immanuel, that service, prayer, and sacrifice are practiced by all, while love, care, and the sharing of burdens are felt by all. Can we really be anything else and yet still called a church?