Recent Posts
Lowell Brueckner

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

What Our Hands Have Handled, chapter two


“Use your abilities for Christ!” That’s a popular challenge, especially to new Christians, in our times. As I mull over it, it leaves the distinct flavor of humanism in my soul. The spirit of this age glorifies man and his abilities and the same spirit has entered the church full-force.

The New Testament truth is that God neither needs you or your abilities. In fact, God doesn’t need anything; He is totally self-sufficient, but because He is also generous, He gives us the privilege of participating in His purposes. However, in order to do this, we must receive His ability… and His “power is perfected in weakness”. That was Paul’s theology and he was willing to sacrifice his strength, “so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Co.12:9). Brothers and sisters, could we please get back to New Testament thinking and faith? What follows is the story of a simple man, clothed with God’s strength…


Witnessing with the Holy Ghost from Heaven

Alice & Erwin Brueckner
     With some people, salvation is a radical experience. Christ invades their life with such power and reality that returning to their former life is unthinkable. He banishes the darkness and thrills their souls. Erwin Brueckner had such an experience. He came into the kingdom of God with his whole heart and all the energy he possessed.

     The new life was fresh and alive. He carried a running conversation with the Lord. He talked and God answered. At times, he thought he heard angels singing and would join the song. The location did not seem to matter. God was as real on the sidewalk of the downtown district of North Milwaukee, as He was in the private prayer room.

     Erwin gave all that he had and wanted all that God had. Two weeks after his conversion, a visiting minister in his church, L. H. Ziemer, a Lutheran pastor from Pennsylvania, preached a stirring sermon on the necessity of being filled with the Holy Spirit. He invited the spiritually hungry and thirsty to come for prayer to a side room off the main auditorium. Erwin was holding his oldest son, Erv Jr., but that did not detain him. He set the boy on the seat next to him and told him to await his return. He was the first to his feet and, for a moment, no one else moved. Then as he walked down the aisle, he raised his arm to heaven and those who watched later declared that his hand turned in a rather peculiar manner, as if he were beckoning the congregation to come. Many then responded. Erwin took it as a sign that he had a call to invite others to experience the presence of the Lord.
     As Erwin entered the prayer room, suddenly a light shone from heaven. In 1928, seven years before his conversion, a light had shone as he lay in bed. He was a raw pagan at the time, the son of a bartender, and the light totally befuddled him. Now, he saw it was a manifestation of the Spirit of God. He dropped to his knees and began to weep. When he finally opened his eyes and arose, he noticed his tears had actually formed a puddle of water on the floor. From that day, my father, Erwin Brueckner, became a powerful witness for Jesus Christ.

     To say those around him noticed the difference would be an understatement.  They were bombarded by the difference.  None of his family or acquaintances were true Christians. Erwin made a round, accosting all his family and relatives, and when he finished the first round, he started another. He insisted. He persisted. They must find the same supernatural Person he had found! One by one, brothers and sisters found Christ. So did his parents and many of his in-laws.

     The Holy Spirit moved him. One night, he was awakened from sleep and the word of the Lord came to him, “Go and speak to Emma Lauterbach.” Grandma Lauterbach was a moral and religious person. He had tried to witness to her before, but she always answered, “I have my church.”

     The next morning, he determined to see Grandma Lauterbach that very day. She only spoke German and his German was rather limited, so he thought he might take the Swiss neighbor lady to help him converse. However, as they sat together in the old lady’s living room, the anointing of God came upon Erwin and German flowed fluently from his lips. His would-be helper sat silently and witnessed the Holy Spirit’s work. After a few minutes, Grandma Lauterbach said, “Ich geh’ in mein Kammerlein zum beten (I’m going into my closet to pray.)”. When she came out of her closet, she had a new heart and mind.

     Grandma’s daughter, Emma, had been resisting the message her own daughter, Alice, and her son-in-law had been trying to impart to her. She, like her mother, was staunchly religious. Shortly after Erwin’s visit to the Lauterbach home, he and Alice invited Emma to a home Bible study. He commented to Alice, “Of course, she won’t come.” They had invited her many times before without success.
Now Erv Jr. and Kenny, Alice and Erwin’s little boys, had been watching this wonderful work of the Lord in their parents and relatives. They had seen God do miracles and answer prayer in astounding ways. While their mother and dad were talking about Grandma Pollnow, the two boys happened into the room. Soon, they slipped unnoticed into their bedroom and began to pray. Erwin and Alice heard the strains of a song coming from their room: “Only believe, only believe, all things are possible, only believe.” Alice offered, “They have the faith we lack.” Emma Pollnow did come to the Bible study that night and was gloriously converted. She came because Grandma Lauterbach had just told her, “You listen to what Erwin has to say! He knows the way. We have religion, all right, but he has Christ!”
 As Grandma Lauterbach lay dying, she exclaimed to her loved ones around the bed. “Oh, that cool breeze is so pleasant.” The door and all windows were shut, but heavenly wings fanned the room, comforting a new saint just before she was taken to glory.

     One night in a dream, Erwin saw an aunt sitting in a casket. She instructed him, “Clean my walls!” There was a huge pile of rags on the floor. She handed him the rags one at a time, he went to work and the pile of rags diminished, as one by one they were dirtied. Yet, the walls remained as dingy as when he had begun. Then he heard a voice proclaim, “Their righteousness is as filthy rags!” He was unaware that his aunt was sick, but arriving at her house, he found her in bed with a bad heart. She was ready to trust Christ as her only righteousness.

     Before her death, she was no longer able to recognize even her closest loved ones. She did not know her own husband. When Erwin came to visit her again, his uncle answered the knock. He learned from him that his aunt was in the agonies of death. When my father entered her bedroom, she opened her eyes and said, “Erwin, you can pray!” Together, they prayed before she crossed the river into glory.

     My Uncle Gilbert was one, who came to know the Lord through Dad. His life, as Erwin’s, was dramatically transformed. He, along with his brothers and sisters, had worked in the bar, which their father owned, and had learned to mix and serve drinks. At thirteen, he began to play drums and, on one occasion, traveled with an orchestra on a tour to Puerto Rico.

     In the atmosphere in which Gilbert found Christ, there was much emphasis on ‘winning souls’. It became a dilemma for him, because he had always been rather shy and reserved. To go up to a stranger to initiate a conversation, particularly about something so intimate as a man’s soul, was a thing he could not imagine doing. He took the matter to the Lord in prayer.

     The idea occurred to him to take a walk in the park to see if an opportunity to witness would arise. He noticed two men conversing on a park bench, one with a white cane, obviously blind. My uncle sat down on the other end of the bench. Soon, one of the men rose and walked away and the blind man, somehow conscious of my uncle’s presence, asked, “And you, what do you think of the world situation?” Gilbert saw it was a wide-open door to share the need for the world, and each individual in it, to come to salvation in Christ. The man interrupted,  “I’m really not interested in such matters, but my wife is. Why don’t you come to our house and talk to my wife about this?” He gave Gilbert his address and they agreed upon a date.

     My uncle prepared long and hard for the upcoming interview, but when he arrived at the blind man’s address, it was obvious that the wife was not at all expecting his visit.
“Are you selling insurance,” she asked, probably noting Uncle Gilbert’s rather large Bible case.
“No,” he answered, “I agreed with your husband to come share the gospel with you.”
“Well, it so happens, I have two visitors – one lady from California,” she responded, “Why don’t you come in and tell all of us, what you have to say?”
Gilbert entered and opened his Bible. As he talked, tears formed in the eyes of the Californian. He asked, “Would you like to receive Christ?” She nodded her head affirmatively and Gilbert knelt with her to pray. Arising from their knees, he noticed the other visitor crying and prayed with her. How wonderfully God moved in green disciples, who simply made themselves available for His use!

     My oldest sister, Ruth, was a grade school student in those days and came to Christ, while listening to a Christian radio broadcast. She wanted her classmates and other school friends to hear about Jesus. She asked her aunt, who lived nearby, if she could invite her friends for children’s meetings. Of course, she was encouraged to do so, and it was agreed that the meetings would be held after school with Aunt Edna and Mrs. Cristin, a neighbor, helping. Children came in droves and God began to work among them.

     There was little special education in the 1930’s and one of the children, who attended, was deaf and dumb. It came to my dad’s attention and he immediately addressed the problem. He went directly to the girl, laid his hands on her head and began to ask the Lord to heal her. After his prayer, he told her to repeat what he was going to say and then turned her around, so she could not see his lips. He said, “Say Erwin.” Her little lips moved and from them came the first understandable word she had ever uttered, “Erwin”. Dad moved into the next room and shouted another word and the little girl repeated it, then another and another. It wasn’t too many years ago that Aunt Edna chanced to meet and talk with this person, now a woman in her seventies.  She still gave testimony to the great miracle that God had done in her life, when she attended children’s classes in 1936.

     My dad never missed an opportunity to pray with someone. An old man came to his door with a slip of paper upon which, he said, was an address. Erwin took the paper from him and discovered the writing was all but illegible. “I can’t make it out,” he finally admitted, “but let’s pray about it. God will show us.” He and the old man dropped to their knees and entered into prayer. When they got to their feet, Erwin led the man to the front door. “I’m sorry,” he said, “I can’t help you with the address.” “No,” the man answered, “this was the address!” Dad shut the door and went to the window to watch him walk away—but there was no one to be seen on the porch, walkway or sidewalk! A verse of scripture invaded his mind, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

     It was on the night before Thanksgiving, 1935, that my dad came to know the Lord. One year later to the day, he was walking down Willard Avenue in North Milwaukee. He stopped to chat with some little boys, gazing at toys in a window display. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a woman walking down the opposite side of the street. She crossed the street at the corner and began to walk in his direction. Dad turned towards her, as she strode up to him and looked him squarely in the face. His first reaction was, this lady’s crazy, but he felt an immediate inner rebuke. She said, “Mister, I just came from a church a few blocks away. I wanted to get saved and they couldn’t help me. But you can help me.” Right there on Willard Avenue, the two bowed their heads and Dad led Sandy Jacobs to Christ. She graduated from St. Paul Bible Institute in 1944 and married a graduate of Moody Bible Institute. They became missionaries. My dad thought, as he walked down the street, “This is my birthday present.” Dad had just completed his first year in the Lord.


Post a Comment