Roger Severino

What Bette Midler, Joan Osborn (and maybe Tom Petty) teach us about God

“From a distance, the world looks blue and green, and the snow-capped mountains white. From a distance, the ocean meets the stream and the eagle takes to flight. From a distance, there is harmony, and it echoes through the land. It’s the voice of hope, it’s the voice of peace, it’s the voice of every man. God is watching us, God is watching us, God is watching us, from a distance.” These lyrics, made famous by Bette Midler, attempt to reassure us that behind the apparent chaos and craziness we see all around, there is a Deity watching from a...more

What Are We Passing Down to Our Children? Reflections on Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy is the last book of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. Four of these books – Exodus through Deuteronomy – tell the story of the fledgling nation of Israel as she escapes slavery in Egypt and ends up on the brink of the Promised Land. Deuteronomy is a set of sermons given by Moses to the nation, encouraging Israel toward faithful obedience and not to...more

Why is Love the Fulfillment of the Law? Reflections on Romans 13:8-10

My good friend Robbi Fischer would often jump in to pick up the tab on a milkshake or a cup of coffee. He somehow created a certain competition of trying to out-serve one another. We would often accuse the other of trying to steal all the heavenly crowns, and to be really acting out of selfishness and greed for these eternal rewards. At times, when I tried to pay...more

WHY STUDY THEOLOGY?

Why do we need to study the theological foundations of the Christian faith? I can imagine protests coming from different camps. One group might claim that this is unnecessary because people in our churches already know and embrace these truths. Others will complain that theology is for professionals, not for everyday Christians. This perspective might say, “Don’t bother people with theology. Just tell them what to do and how...more

He Spoke in Parables: What? Why? How?

Jesus often taught using parables. Three questions follow. What are parables? Why did Jesus use them as a way to teach? How do they relate to Jesus’ central message? What are parables? Early on, I heard the definition as “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.”  OK.  Not a bad place to start, especially if we limit the definition to how parables are used by Jesus. Jesus takes very...more

Christianity is not Conduct, Creed, or Cult. It’s a New Birth: Reflections on John 3

The Old Testament had promised that one day God would pour out His Spirit on His people. The Book of Ezekiel, for example, references God putting His Spirit in His people in chapters 11, 36, 37, and 39.When the Spirit’s outpouring is realized at Pentecost, Peter references a prophecy from the Book of Joel. But prior to Pentecost, the Spirit is prominent in the life, ministry, and teachings of...more

Birth of Christ: The Silence is Broken after a 400 Year Intermission

“When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son” (Galatians 4:4). The Old Testament closes around 400 B.C., with the Persians dominating the Middle East. Books like Ezra and Nehemiah, and prophets like Haggai and Malachi, are at the end of Old Testament history. Yes, there are significant books (the Apocrypha) written in the intertestamental period (the period between the Old and New Testaments), but neither...more

NEHEMIAH: THE OLD TESTAMENT CONCLUDES STILL AWAITING THE PROMISE

In 539 BC, the Persian king Cyrus defeated Babylon and allowed the Israelites to return to their land. Many did return, but not all. God had sent His people into exile for their rebellion and idolatry. Now, as part of their restoration, God raised up leaders like Ezra and Nehemiah to lead the post-exilic community back to the land, to worship at the rebuilt temple, to rebuild the city...more

Ezekiel: A Severe Mercy and Promise of the Spirit

This series of blogs is following our curriculum God’s Unfolding Story, Venture In, which attempts to tell the Old Testament story in 13 lessons, and to tell it in light of the entire Bible’s storyline continued in the New Testament. It may surprise you that Ezekiel is one of the books chosen among these top 13. Let’s be honest, if you have ever tried to read through the whole...more

Isaiah’s Prophecies: Cradle, Cross, and Crown

Last week’s blog focused on Elijah and his confrontation with the prophets of Baal and the rulers in the northern kingdom, specifically Ahab and Jezebel. Meanwhile, God also had His prophets doing their work in the southern kingdom of Judah. The divided kingdom, as we learned, occurred after Solomon, when 10 of the tribes broke to form the northern kingdom, and David’s lineage continued in the south. By the...more
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