Christmas Letter 2019

Dear family and friends,

The most important event for our family from this past year was the arrival of Evangeline on March 26th. Her name comes from the Latin word for “Gospel,” which refers to the good news about what Christ has done to save his people from their sins through his death on the cross. For her middle name, Alice, she is named after her now late maternal great-grandmother.

Evangeline is such a joyous addition to the family. We are especially thankful to God that we have her in our family. She’s a momma’s girl who loves to be held. She’s a bit more even-keeled than her old sister, Jubilee, whom she loves and finds quite entertaining. Lately, she’s started to crawl, and enjoys the increased mobility.

Jubilee loves being a big sister, although sharing can be hard, and being bossy comes easy. J Jubilee is incredibly fun, energetic, and passionate. She’s full throttle—whether happy, silly (or upset). She’s a strong daddy’s girl (which daddy admittedly enjoys), and loves doing anything and everything with her dad.

Jubilee and Evangeline started a new daycare this year, which was a little rocky at first; but they’ve gotten use to it, and Jubilee enjoys interacting with her friends and teachers. Jubilee’s favorite things to do include reading books, singing, dancing, and playing with dad. Jubilee has also started learning her catechism, and enjoys singing hymns from the hymnal and reading from her children’s Bible.

Annie is staying busy transitioning to being a mother of two. She also continues to enjoy her role as Accounts Payable Specialist at Uline. She will soon be starting her 6th year there. Annie is particularly looking forward to the holiday season, and enjoys trips back home to spend time with family.

Kirk is thoroughly enjoying his role pastoring CrossWay Community Church. He continues to volunteer weekly at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, teaching a doctrine class and preaching chapel there. Kirk also had the opportunity to publish a few articles online as well as in a magazine and journal this past year. He’s also excited about a short study guide book he authored that will be released for sale this December.

We trust you too have experienced God’s undeserved grace this past year. And we pray that during this time of year your souls find refreshment as we give attention to the marvel of God the Son becoming human—for the salvation of all those who put their trust in him!

With love,
Kirk, Annie, Jubilee, and Evangeline

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Church Theology (Podcast) – Preview

Announcing a new podcast, Church Theology: On the Church, For the Church. Join Kirk E. Miller and co-hosts as they dive into an array of topics, all the while asking, “How does this equip us for our mission as a church and as followers of Jesus?”

Access the episode here (available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more).

Evangeline

As I did for Jubilee, I wanted to write a brief explanation of the meaning of Evangeline’s name.

As with Jubilee, her name comes from the Bible (although — not intentional — neither name is used as a name in the Bible). Her middle name (like Jubilee’s middle name, Helen) is after one of her great-grandmothers. Alice (more commonly known as “Busia”) is Ann’s maternal grandmother.

Evangeline Alice is due March 24th, 2019.


Abstract: The name Evangeline comes from the Biblical word “gospel,” meaning “good news” or “good message.” The Christian gospel – the message at the very heart of Christianity, and the essence of our faith – is that God has accomplished our salvation and is restoring his reign (“the kingdom of God”) in and through Jesus Christ. At the center of this message – the gospel – is Christ’s death and resurrection. On the cross, Christ bore the full weight of sin for all those who trust in him for deliverance. And in his resurrection, Christ defeated death, achieving new life for his people. This is certainly good news! It is by faith in this message that one experiences salvation.


The name Evangeline derives from the Latin word evangel, which has its origin in the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον (euangelion), frequently translated into English as “gospel” or “good news.” As a verb (εὐαγγελίζω – euangelizo), the word form means “to herald, proclaim, or preach the gospel,” from which we derive our word “evangelism” or “to evangelize” (lit. “gospeling” or “to gospel”).

From what we can tell, the word has its origins in the realm of military victories. So we read of messengers (“evangelists”) being sent from battle to return and report (“evangelize”) the good news (“gospel”) of an army’s victory. Or, for instance, in the first-century b.c. Priene Inscription from Asia Minor, the empower Augustus is described as a “savior” for ending wars and on account of the peace he brought to the region. Consequently, his birth is lauded with great expectation and hope, heralded as “gospel” (“good news”) for the world.

In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint or LXX), Isaiah notably uses this word to describe the coming restoration that God has in store for his people. So, in Isaiah chapter 40, after twenty-seven nonstop chapters outlining God’s judgment of the nations (Isa 13-39), relief finally breaks through with God’s announcement, “Prepare the way of the LORD!” (Isa 40:3). God is coming, and he’s bringing salvation with him! Now go out and proclaim it (lit. “evangelize”; Isa 40:9).

When we come to the pages of the New Testament, we find that the New Testament authors appropriate this word to describe the mission of Jesus and what he’s come to do. So, for example, in the opening words of Mark’s gospel we read, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mk 1:1). And immediately following, Mark casts John the Baptist as the eschatological (end time) figure who, citing the words of Isaiah, is preparing the way for this LORD (Mk 1:2-3; cf. Isa 40:1-5).

In other words, Mark intends for us to understand the mission of Jesus as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies – the content of which is the “good news” (gospel) of which Isaiah spoke. Mark intends these Isaianic promises to set the “categories of expectation,” if you will, for who we understand Jesus to be and what he’s come to do. Jesus has come to reinstate God’s kingdom, to accomplish the good news (gospel) about the arrival of God’s kingdom through Jesus (Mk 1:14-15; see the expression “good news of the kingdom” – Mt 4:23; 9:35; Lk 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; Acts 8:12; 20:24-25). So too, in Luke 4, Jesus presents himself as the Servant of the LORD from Isaiah 61 who, anointed with God’s Spirit, has come to “bring good news (gospel)” to those in need (Lk 4:18; cf. Isa 61:1).

The “gospel,” in short, is the favorable report (“good message”) of the rescue and restoration wrought by Christ in accordance with his redemptive mission. It is God’s message, a message with its origin in God himself (“the gospel of God,” see Rom 1:1; 15:16; 2 Cor 11:7; 1 Thes 2:2, 8-9; cf. Gal 1:11-12), concerning Christ (“the gospel of Christ,” see Mk 1:1; Acts 8:35; Rom 1:1-4; 10:17; 15:20; 16:25; 1 Cor 9:12; 2 Cor 4:4-5; 9:13; 10:14; Gal 1:7; Eph 3:8; Phil 1:12-18; 1:27; 1 Thes 3:2; 2 Thes 1:8; 2 Tim 1:8; 2:8), anticipated in the Old Testament (Rom 1:2; 16:25-26; 1 Cor 15:3-4), and characterized by grace (Acts 20:24; Col 1:5-6). It is called “the word of truth” (Eph 1:13; Col 1:5) and a “message of peace” (Acts 10:36; Eph 6:15), and is the ground of our hope (Col 1:23). At its heart, it is a message of salvation (Eph 1:13)– that is, (1) its message details the accomplishment of our salvation in the life and ministry of Christ; and (2) it is a conduit of salvation – i.e., when believed it results in the salvation of its hearers. As Paul says in Romans 1:16, it is the “power of God resulting in the salvation of everyone who believes” (cf. 1 Cor 1:18; 15:1-2; 2 Thes 2:13-14).

As such, the early Christian tradition understandably came to call the church’s written records of Jesus’ life and ministry as “gospels” (i.e., “the gospel according to,” or as told by, “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John”). In other words, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are four complementary “tellings” of the one gospel (see e.g., Mk 1:1). They tell us the story of Jesus, which is the story of the gospel. They are the gospel in narrative form.

And as each of these gospel accounts centers on the last week of Christ’s life, and with it, his death and resurrection, it comes as no surprise then that, when we come to the New Testament’s epistles, the gospel message is summarized in the cross and resurrection. Christ’s sin-substituting death and death-defeating resurrection are at the heart – the center – of the gospel. In fact, we might describe them as the very essence of the gospel (Acts 17:18; 1 Cor 1:17). Paul summarizes the gospel for us in 1 Corinthians 15:

Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the gospel, which I preached to you, which you also received, in which you also stand, and by which you are also being saved…. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…. (1 Cor 15:1-4)

Goodreads Reviews of The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung

The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the GardenThe Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden by Kevin DeYoung

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is really good.

DeYoung tells scripture’s overarching storyline of creation lost and to creation regained. As such, he gives specific attention to the promises of new-creation, with specific emphasis on their realization through a new Adam, an Abrahamic offspring, and a king from David’s line. This book will help children understand the Old Testament in light of the covenant promises, and understand Christ as the fulfillment of theses OT promises — the one who resolved the disobedience of God’s people, and who bears their curse, reversing the curse brought on by Adam and recapitulated with Israel under the Law.

The illustrations are also superb.

View all my reviews