The Hausvater Project

Hausvater: /HAUS-fah-ter/
noun (German)
1. Housefather.
2. Spiritually responsible head of household, including the housefather as assisted by the housemother.
>> Example: "As the Hausvater should teach it [Christian doctrine] to the entire family ..."
(Martin Luther, Small Catechism, 1529)

  • How to Design a Family Altar Board

    Here are some practical tips for engaging your family in a discussion of the Sunday Gospel lesson, the weekly catechism section, Bible memory work, and hymnody. Read More
  • Luther’s Morning Prayer

    Learn to chant Luther’s Morning Prayer—an excellent way for your family begin each day in Jesus’ name! Read More
  • A Guide to Our Order of Worship

    As we now walk through the liturgy, note how it presents the life of Christ: His birth, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, etc. All true Christian worship is centered in Him and performed through Him. Read More
  • Jesus Sinners Doth Receive

    Download a free study guide for this Gospel-centered hymn, including questions, an answer key, and traceable handwriting practice sheets to aid memorization! Read More
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God Is No Captive Deity: Comfort When a Child Dies before Baptism

1. God is no captive Deity,
But all things’ Source and Measure:
The Lord of life and death is He,
Who takes us at His pleasure.
When, where, and how He will ordain,
And we His subjects e’er remain
In all that we endeavor.

2. The course of life is His decree,
He knows the path most fitting;
He bids us yield His tribute fee,
Our lives to His committing;
But if He wills His way to turn,
Then let not Reason raise concern,
But simply follow forward.

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The Story of Baby Shalom

Editorial Note: Following is a true record of a woman pouring her heart out in the presence of God as she experienced the death of a child in her womb in March 2017. We publish it here with the hope of bringing comfort and encouragement to others who may find themselves struggling in similar circumstances (2 Corinthians 1:3–4). Shalom means “peace” and, despite the emotional challenges portrayed below, this story ends with the mother of Baby Shalom resting in God’s peace. May it be so also for you, dear reader, no matter what tragedies befall you.

Upon first rising, on my oldest daughter’s eleventh birthday, I took a pregnancy test. It was positive, and I was thrilled! And filled with trepidation. Does anyone ever feel truly prepared for the awesome responsibility of raising (another) precious child of God?

We shared our news with the children while taking their pictures to capture their reaction. (“Smile! We’re having a new baby!”) We let a few close family members and friends know. In the meantime, we’ve been trying to decide between various baby announcement ideas: an Easter basket with six eggs? A Pumpkin Pie that we’re grateful to receive? (We’re due at Thanksgiving.) A family of matryoshka dolls with a tiny one in the Mama? Something with kilts or bagpipes to celebrate our Scottish ancestry?

Things were going well. I didn’t feel sick and had a lot of energy. Maybe too much? The pregnancy was very similar to the pregnancy I experienced in 2011, which ended sooner than expected with our miscarriage of Baby Selah. But … I tried to stay positive and pray for the best.

“Cast all your anxiety on [the Lord] because He cares for you.” 2 Peter 5:7

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Comforting a Child after the Death of a Sibling

My Brother Lives with Jesus, by Anna and Samuel Gullixson, illustrated by Chandra Dale (According to Your Word, 2017)


Trying to explain death to a child is by itself a difficult task, but it becomes even more challenging when the child who dies is an infant.

my brother lives with jesus 1

My Brother Lives with Jesus is a new publication from According to Your Word, written by Anna and Samuel Gullixson. Having gone through the loss of Simeon, their infant son, Anna and the Rev. Samuel Gullixson have authored a wonderful little book to explain this to other siblings. Beautifully illustrated by Chandra Dale, the story is seen through the eyes of an older brother.

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What Is That? The Genius of Luther’s Small Catechism

Most Lutherans who went through junior high confirmation class at one time in their lives are familiar with Luther’s famous question from his Small Catechism, “What does this mean?” Sadly, this is all many remember. But at the same time, this proves Luther’s genius. He devised a simple, childlike question which all people can relate to as they are learning the basics of the faith. Whatever failure the church has had in retaining its children after confirmation is its own fault, not that of the Small Catechism.

In the original German, Luther’s question was framed a bit differently than what we’ve come to know in English translation. “Was ist das?,” the Small Catechism reads. Literally we would translate this as “What is it?” or “What is that?” As you can see, this is an even more basic question than “What does this mean?” It is simpler. It is more childlike. We can picture a small child pointing to a colorful flower or a strange-looking insect and asking the same question: What is it? What is that?

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Lord, Help Us Ever to Retain

Lord, help us ever to retain
The Catechism's doctrine plain
As Luther taught the Word of truth
In simple style to tender youth.

This hymn points us to the Catechism and reminds us that the Six Chief Parts of Christian doctrine remain important all of life. The presence of all six parts is very clear in the text and invites discussion and instruction:

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The Reformation and Education: Emphases, Influence, and Lasting Impact

Martin Luther may be best known for his theological reformation of the medieval church, which had strayed from the pure teaching of God’s Word. Luther did not, however, pursue his theological aims in isolation from other concerns; his writings touch upon politics, social life, and the arts. He also recognized the importance of education, both for the church and for the civil realm.

luther 10809c

From Luther’s writings on education, we may derive answers to the following questions:

  • What Should Be Taught?
  • How Should It Be Taught?
  • To Whom Should It Be Taught?
  • By Whom Should It Be Taught?
  • How Shall We Honor Luther’s Legacy Today?

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