Grandpa’s Story

2359384477_0a2fcebe69_oI used to sit and listen to Grandpa talk. Talk and tell stories. Eventually I got smart enough to bring a tape recorder, and later wrote them down. Today, on his heavenly birthday, I would like to share one of them with you. He told me this one on June 26, 1998 just over a year before he died. It tells of how his father came to the United States and got settled in Minnesota.

I gotta keep on talking German so I don’t lose out on it. My Dad used to sing Polish, used to sing songs. Seven [languages]. He could get along with somebody, like Polish, Bohemian, German, not Norwegian or Swedish, that he didn’t-, but some of the others like… He could even understand Russian. It was in the same line. That’s where my Dad, when he went to school, where those boys are come together. And he was working, he was a shoemaker, working on shoes, in the service, when they went out for dinner, or recess, or so on they got all kinds of friends, other languages. Now they cut that out… That’s where Dad went, from Austria to Germany. Austria wouldn’t let him out, you know, because he had to serve one more year, but those two Jews they went, had the suitcases, and my Dad carried their suitcases and they went to the desk and got their passports, and my dad had ahold of those suitcase and stood behind them, and when they got their passports, they went, and Dad followed them. And those guys on the…, that were giving the passports, they thought he was just hired to carry the suitcases. That’s how he got to Germany. When he was in Germany he was all right. And when he got to the boat, the guy, or somebody there hollered, “Anybody wants to go to America and hasn’t got the passports, come here you can get it right here.” That sounded so good to my dad; he went there. He got the passport. He didn’t have enough money; he got to eat on the ship. But when he got off the ship, he didn’t have no money. He was hungry when he came here to Rich Valley. From New York to Rich Valley. There was someone he met on the way there, who gave him something to eat. But, that’s the only way he got something to eat. I don’t know how long it took from New York. I can’t remember at all. But [in] Rich Valley, he had a rope on the neck, see, and he didn’t have to; all they had to do was look at that. That just told the conductor of the train, or the depot, they just looked at that and told him what train to take. And he come to Rich Valley, right there, and his brother and his sister lived on the hill by Rich Valley. They could see that far. And when they seen him walking in the field with two suitcases, my aunt figured “that’s him”, and she took off and met him in the field. And then they were both crying in the field when they seen each other. He (my dad) was the youngest in the family. Jake was here already, and Andrew was here, and Peter was here, and Sophie, that’s the aunt. They were here already, for quite a while. Uncle Andrew had that farm rented, and then my Dad stayed there and helped him on the farm there. That’s how he got, and Uncle Andrew he was; got acquainted with the Franzmeiers. The they went to the church, Emanuel Lutheran Church in Inver Grove.  A lot of  Germans came and went to that church. So my Dad walked from Rich Valley to Inver Grove to church, and then he met my mother there. Well, Uncle Andrew knew the Schindeldeckers already. There was the Franzmeiers, there’s so many of them; I don’t remember all the names. In Rich Valley, and Missouri Church, Lone Oak. There were more Germans there. Grandmother, but he was Missouri [Synod]. He come by boat, in October, he married here by South St. Paul, and she prayed, you know, that he would get something else to do, instead of going on the boat, delivering groceries, and he listened to her. He bought a farm there by South St. Paul, and that’s where my mother was born. She went to school, the Missouri had a school there. That school, that church is still there, but that’s where my mother was born, and raised. She went to school there, and my grandfather was Missouri. She [grandmother] wasn’t a Lutheran girl until she married him. She was a waitress in St. Paul. That’s how he met her, when he went to St. Paul. I don’t know how. That was not a short time. He made the trip several times. She made the trips, well, after she moved, she made the trips with him three times, and she didn’t like the waiting. He had beer, too, on the boats, delivered beer and groceries, from Missouri, but he was born in Indiana. It’s close, right next to it. That’s how he—how he got to be on the boats to deliver groceries, I don’t know. That was a business that had to go at that time, to deliver groceries to St. Paul from Missouri, and the Missouri church was great in Missouri, they were strong in that area, even now. They’re still pretty strong, but I guess they had some trouble a few years back.

You know the devil’s always at work. He never quit. Trying to trouble me. But, that’s where the Schindeldeckers come from.

Christ’s Church

“We need to immerse ourselves daily in the world of the Word. We need to enter into biblical conceptions. We need to meditate on them, pray about them, attempting to personally absorb them as people seeking salvation. We need to do this without worrying about how these biblical realities may be accepted or not accepted by others in church and society. We need more devotedly to live in the Holy Communion of the Lord’s Supper. We need to be more sincerely aware of our baptism. We need courageously to fulfill the social consequences of the truth concerning the great fellowship between all the baptized in the body of Christ. To the extent that we live in the Church and of the Church, to the same extent the biblical concept of the Church will become clear to us in all its depth and overwhelming richness.”

—Bo Giertz, Christ’s Church

VDMA Stickers Continued

Due to popular demand, all of the first batch of stickers I had were spoken for within about 12 hours of publishing my post. I had basically gotten those for free, so I was glad to send them out.

But so that the rest of you would’t be left out, I have placed another order for stickers. Since I actually had to pay for these, they can be yours for $2, which will cover the cost of the sticker and a stamp to send it to you. You can pay me by mail or Paypal. Email me or fill out the form here, and I’ll send you my address and your stickers.

Also, I’d love to see how these look. Once you install it, snap a picture, send it to me, and I’ll post it in a gallery here.


Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever


“Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum is the motto of the Lutheran Reformation, a confident expression of the enduring power and authority of God’s Word. The motto is based on 1 Peter 1:24–25. It first appeared in the court of Frederick the Wise in 1522. He had it sewn onto the right sleeve of the court’s official clothing, which was worn by prince and servant alike. It was used by Frederick’s successors, his brother John the Steadfast, and his nephew John Frederick the Magnanimous. It became the official motto of the Smalcaldic League and was used on flags, banners, swords, and uniforms as a symbol of the unity of the Lutheran laity who struggled to defend their beliefs, communities, families, and lives against those who were intent on destroying them.”

This description of the Lutheran motto and its initials is found in Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions Readers Edition. In the photo below you will see a car window sticker with this image I just put on the back of my car. I had a bunch of them printed, so I would like to send one to any of you who read this and are interested. All I need you to do is send your mailing address to me by email (caauwejw-at-mac-dot-com). I’ll drop one in the mail for you, along with a sheet of installation instructions.

[Update: As of right now, all the stickers I have on hand are spoken for.  I’ll send out the ones I have, and perhaps I’d be able to order more in the future. Some had asked about the cost—I had a credit for this order. If I ordered more, I could send them out for the cost, which is around $2. Let me know if you’d be interested in that, either in the comments below or by email.]


Let the morning bring me word…

I used to plug in my phone overnight on the nightstand beside my bed.

This was a bad idea.

First of all, when my phone, which serves as my alarm clock, would sound early in the morning, it was too easy to quickly turn it off and go back to sleep. Charging my phone by my dresser on the other side of the room hasn’t entirely eliminated that problem, but it has made it more of a nuisance to get up and turn it off.

But there was a bigger problem. With my phone beside my bed, it was not unusual for me to just check a few things just before I went to sleep. And in the morning, when I was awake but too lazy to get out of bed, I could just reach over, and with one eye open, check my email, my Facebook or news feed. Worse yet, when on occasion I lay sleepless in the night, I could occupy my sleepless mind by staring at the world of information to be found on my phone.

In the past six months or so I have been spending a great deal of time in the Psalms. And I began to realize that my phone was functioning in the way that the Psalmist speaks of the Scriptures. Oops. Evening and morning I turned to my phone. Let the morning bring me news from the latest source. On my bed I remember my Facebook friends. No, that’s not how it’s supposed to go.

What if, instead of opening my eyes to see what my friends have posted, I did what generations upon generations of believers have done when they arose from slumber? What if my day was more punctuated by prayer than by my regular urge to check my phone? What if I did what Christians for centuries have done and prayed the daily offices of prayer that were basically a structure for prayer using the psalms?

So now my phone charges on my dresser. On my nightstand rests my Psalter. The nice thing is that there are many great options out there for someone who wishes to read, pray, and sing the psalms. Here are a few (beside the option of just reading them from your Bible):


ESV Psalms
It was our congregation’s transition to the ESV that prompted my venture into the Psalter. My lips have been praying the Psalms in NIV for many years, and this was the best place to start to re-memorize. I love this little volume—the size, format, page layout. The only thing I wish this had was marks for chanting. Right now I’m just writing them in as I need.

Reading the Psalms with Luther / Psalms: with Introductions by Martin Luther
This is basically the Psalm text with some introductions to the Psalms written by Martin Luther. Ironically, Luther asked that people not print them interspersed with the Psalter as they did here. The older version is NIV and not pointed for singing. The newer version (Reading the Psalms with Luther) is pointed for singing and also includes psalm prayers for each psalm.

Concordia Psalter
This one was just published at the beginning of this year. It also has a nice size, it is marked for chanting with simple psalm tones for each psalm and psalm prayers. It is essentially a revision of the above volume, but with the psalm tones in place of Luther’s introductions. The cover is beautiful and feels great to hold in the hand.

Treasury of Daily Prayer
This is a much larger volume, for a complete daily prayer solution. But in the back of the book is the entire psalter, marked for singing. Additionally, the content from this volume is also available in the iOS and Android app PrayNow. One great little feature of that is that when you pull up the psalm (also marked for singing) it displays your psalm tones and will even play the tone so that you can hear it before you sing. This is great for travelling.

Psalm Schedules
In many of these volumes there is some guidance on reading the psalms. I usually don’t advise people to attempt to read the Bible straight through. But that doesn’t hurt to do with the Psalms. Remember that the Psalms were collected and arranged in the order they are in. They are intended to be read in order. Still, perhaps you wish to follow a schedule. And there is good reason to read certain psalms at particular times of the day, or at specified times of the year. I wouldn’t just read the psalms you are already most familiar with, or just pick them at random. Here are a couple schedules you won’t find in the above books.

  • Through the Psalter in 60 days. There is a similar chart like this in TLH and the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary for reading the psalms in 30 days. I have found that 60 days is a more reasonable pace. The other advantage is that this schedule assigns the evening and morning psalms to the appropriate times of day.
  • Seasonal Schedule. This one appoints four psalms for every day—two in the morning and two in the evening. During most seasons of the year this weekly schedule repeats. This one is nice to become really familiar with certain psalms during parts of the year. I first saw this schedule in the little book The Minister’s Prayer Book and more recently it was included in the Lutheran Service Book hymnal.

The Lenten Fast

For this reason I approve of the Lenten fast, although in the early church it was observed in Christian freedom, so that by fasting people might prepare themselves for more ardent and attentive prayer and for giving thanks in the Supper of the Lord, both for the most precious death of Christ by which we are redeemed from all evils in eternity, and for his most victorious resurrection that is the source of our justification and resurrection.

The Homiletical Handbook of Urbanus Rhegius, 1535