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Lowell Brueckner

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What Our Hands Have Handled, Last chapter




Pastor Jim Jensen with one of the church veterans
From the beautiful sanctuary of the Faith Alliance Church in Chilton, Wisconsin, Pastor Jim Jensen  announced the first song on Sunday morning, September 19th, 2010. It was the always-appropriate hymn of praise, “To God Be the Glory, Great Things He Has Done”, including the soul-stirring words, “Great things He has taught us, great things He has done, and great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son”. The next hymn was “Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus Our Blessed Redeemer” and the song service ended with a more contemporary song, “Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart”.

It was the 75th anniversary and thanksgiving celebration of the Quinney Chapel/Faith Alliance Church. The pastor gave a brief account of the early history of the church and continued telling of the struggles and battles, when the congregation moved from the very small village of Quinney to the town of Chilton. He shared a little of his own calling to that congregation 37 years before, but insisted, “This is not my church! It has never been my church! Jesus is the Head of this church!” He gave the reason for its existence, “God wanted to reach out and draw people to Himself.” He told how lost souls were drawn to the church both in Quinney and Chilton, and then mentioned how the little congregation in its infancy, during the difficult economic years of the 1930’s, managed to give over $400 to foreign missions. Remember, also, that the dollar had much more value those days. That amount, of course, increased significantly in the years following.

The pastor’s wife affirmed that the congregation of this church had always known what it meant to move by faith. It was evident from its inception, continued through difficult times of trial, and she could tell personally of the faith involved, when her husband and she first came to take on the ministerial duties. Therefore, it was eventually and fitly named, Faith Alliance Church.

Someone read a letter from a former pastor, Paul Woods. He came to Quinney in 1955, although he had an opportunity to pastor a larger church. What turned his heart on the Sunday, when he first visited this place, were the prayers of the people – the Greinerts and Hubers, for example - pouring out their hearts to God. He knew that he had to stay with them. This church had a reputation in the community for answered prayer. The unchurched roundabout recognized that God turned His ear towards this people and when they were in need, they would bring their prayer requests to them. “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations,” said Jesus.

Another former pastor was present to give personal testimony. He said that these people, more than any other that he had pastored over the years, decided every issue with the question, “What does the Word of God say?” They always wanted a Biblical answer. They were a Bible-reading, Bible-studying, Bible-believing congregation.

That does not mean that they were always on top of every situation. They had just done some new construction and put a heating system into Quinney Chapel at considerable expense. However, the congregation dwindled and the people wondered whether or not their usefulness as a church had ended. The little congregation went to their knees for an answer; they put the question before the Head of the church. Far from an indication that they were to fold up and close the church’s door, the Lord’s response was that they were to take on a heavier commitment than ever.

An opportunity came to buy a much larger building in the town of Chilton, where there were no evangelical churches, and they sensed the Holy Spirit urging them on in faith. They stepped out to obey His challenge. Thirteen desperate people, in recognition of the delicateness of their new position, the difficulty, if not impossibility, of fulfilling their financial commitment, looked to God for a sign. They asked him to quickly double the congregation - to add thirteen people to their number. The very first Sunday, when they opened the doors of the newly-acquired building, a family of ten walked in. In time, the Lord brought in, not 13 people, but 13 families. Finally, two services were necessary on Sunday morning to attend to all the people and plans were made to build the present facility.

As the celebration continued on the morning, then in the afternoon, of September 19th, people gave testimony after testimony of transformed lives and victories won. One of those present told of living at the top of the hill above Quinney Chapel. As a six-year-old girl, her parents taught her that that building was enemy property and she should not go near it. In spite of the warning, something inside drew her little soul to the door. It was partly open and she peered inside. It was a simple, childish act, but as she stood there, a lady inside looked her way and their eyes met. That was all. However, years later in her first year of college, that girl received the Lord and accredited the little church, because of its prayers for the community, with the result of her finding Christ and her salvation.

My brother, Clarence, came from California with his wife, Mary, to the anniversary and gave the following report – at first, rather mundane, perhaps, but later, filled with highly spiritual connotations:

“I wanted to take this opportunity to bring back some of the memories involved in… the Quinney Church… in the very early years: Sitting in the pews, wishing my feet could touch the floor… watching the flies coming back to life after being frozen all week long in the cold building… sitting there, wishing I could get my dad to shorten the sermon, but if I got caught whispering, and heard a finger snap during the sermon, I knew that it would not be a fun afternoon. (He really ruined my personality, as you can tell, causing serious injury to my future self-image. Wow, I wish we could go back to that kind of discipline!!!) The principles instilled in me have paid great dividends on earth and I have eternity to look forward to. I firmly believe that God gave me a solid family foundation, learning to obey rules at home and therefore I have learned to enjoy keeping God’s commandments. 1 John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

“The teaching was anointed from God, as I would observe my dad spending endless hours in prayer and study. I would on occasion wake up at night and see him standing over us kids praying for his family. He was not a highly educated man, but a man full of the Holy Spirit, and the fruits of God’s ministry through him have reached throughout America and other parts of the world.”

Marvin Doxtator, son of the first converts in
Quinney, and Clarence, laymen who have been
faithful Christians their entire life
My brother-in-law, Marvin Doxtator, and his brother, Billy, were there to represent the family of the original converts, whose story is told in chapter four. My sister, Phyllis, also recounted the conversion of John Doxtator, which I related in the same chapter, and how his wife, Freda, surrendered to the Lord on her deathbed. Phyllis added that Mrs. Huber, who had been my Sunday School teacher when I was a little boy, was in the hospital at the same time as Freda, and would come into her room to read the Bible with her every day. (I owe a great debt to Mrs. Huber. She prayed for me every day, throughout our years on the mission field, until she died.)

When my dad was still pastor, the Hubers, who owned the local meat market, opened their lovely home for Bible studies on Tuesday evenings in the village of Potter. A conversion paved the way for those meetings and it took place on the highway, somewhere between our home and Chicago. Isabel Huber had a good friend, a prayer warrior, by the name of Mrs. Cooper, who attended A. W. Tozer’s church in the windy city. She and Calvin would drive to visit her from time-to-time and on this occasion an unsaved friend from Potter, a Mrs. Haltener, rode with them. My parents also were invited. As they chatted in the car and shared with the unconverted passenger, suddenly she burst into tears, expressing her need for the Savior. Mrs. Huber had few inhibitions and little care for protocol. While her husband continued driving, she climbed over the sofa-like seat of the “1950-ish” Buick to pray with her friend and lead her to the Lord in the back seat.

Later, her husband, a bee-keeper and honey manufacturer, found Christ and so did the Wenzel family, who owned a large dairy farm just outside of Potter. One of the Wenzel daughters at the anniversary said that it was in those meetings that she received the spiritual foundation for her life through the teaching of Erwin Brueckner. Families and individuals attended those gatherings, who did not attend the chapel at Quinney. A good number came to know Christ.

It was Bernice Greinert who gave name after name of people, who went from Quinney to enter the ministry as pastors, pastors’ wives and missionaries. Ed Burg was present, along with his wife, as representatives of a family with three sons in the Lord’s work – two pastors and one missionary to Africa. Ed’s brother, Roland, as well, was in mission work all his life. Ken Huber went to South America and later did translation work in Florida. His younger brother, Tim, who was my age and my friend, became a pastor. I listed others previously in this book.

We talked to our youngest son, Mike, as he returned to Minnesota from Wisconsin with his family. He had also attended the anniversary of the church that his grandfather founded and he seemed moved in his soul, as he recounted the events and testimonies to us. Soon afterwards, we talked to our oldest son, Dan, who had driven with his wife and two daughters all the way from Vermont to Wisconsin, just for the week-end. Both gave me much of the information, by personal conversation and DVDs, that I have used in this chapter.

From Quinney... Chilton
Great things He has taught us, great things He has done. He taught us “hands-on” in the school of the Spirit, those things that “our hands have handled”. They used to call that education, The School of Hard Knocks, and someone said it was The University of Adversity. It’s a school from which no one graduates this side of heaven, but everyone who attends it must major in prayer and Bible study. The “alumni” are characterized by solid Christian principle and Bible doctrine, with stability in their life and testimony. You can come review their lives a decade after their conversion, even twenty to thirty years later, or attend a 75-year anniversary and find them still faithful, continuing in the Word and prayer.
Some wonder why I talk about the “good-old days” (I don’t always; there are plenty of wonderful and recent moves of God that we are experiencing and relating today – perhaps even more). I think this book, and especially this last chapter, will explain the reason. This old story that I have been reporting has the mark of eternity on it. Will today’s success stories still be worth talking about 75 years from now? What will following generations say about the testimony given by the individual lives of the readers? That is totally dependent on whether they are established on the same principles of faith, the anointing of the Holy Spirit, Christ-exalting teaching, serious Bible study and earnest prayer, as we have found in the lives of the people in this book.


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