Saturday, August 19, 2017

Before the Beginning

My semester begins on Monday.

This is my weekend to slow down and reflect on life; the things God has done and the things he will do.

It's an amazing thing to sit in the quiet, aside from all distractions, and to ponder all that God has done.

For me, this means many things: I have been blessed with awesome friends, a great family, a wonderful church, opportunities to travel, and an awesome education. More than that, God has extended his love and grace to me! He brought me from spiritual death to life.

This semester, I want to see God bring others from death to life: My classmates, my teachers, my friends. He desires that they would seek him. God's word says,

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” - Micah‬ ‭6:8‬

This school year, I want to do justice, love kindness, and walk humble with God. There will be mountains and there will be valleys, but it's all an adventure, and I'm never alone!


Monday, May 8, 2017

Interview with WWII Veteran Bob Knight

On February 12th of 2016, I had the privilege of meeting a hero. Yes, real heroes do exist. This is the inspiring story of Bob Knight, a member of the 84th Infantry Division during World War II. His bravery is inspiring, his words are very wise, and his sacrifice is deserving of high honor.



Here is my exclusive interview:

Me: How old were you when you entered World War II?

Knight: I must have been eighteen. Let me just review that: I graduated from high school in '42, and I don't know if I was sixteen or seventeen when I got out of high school. Probably sixteen; my birthday is in November. And I couldn't get drafted until I was 18, so I went to K-State for one year. I was at K-State and I got orders to report to the draft board. It was almost the end of the year and I thought in April if I applied for a deferment by the time the paperwork would be done I could be done with that semester. So I finished up one year and then I got in to the army at Fort Leavenworth. Then I went to basic training at Camp Fannin which was in Tyler, TX in the middle of the summer. It was hot; real hot...and dusty. It was miserable.
  Anyway, they take you through the training and you learn how to shoot the rifle and obstacle courses. The whole thing. Since I had a year in engineering school at K-State, I was eligible for a program that they called Army Specialized Training, or ASTP. So I applied for that, and I got accepted and they sent me to Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia to go to school to continue my engineering education. So I went to Drexel starting in September, and then October and November...and I was there for Christmas time; December. That would've been '43. Then they decided they needed infantrymen more than they needed specialized students. So they sent us all from my group to the 84th Infantry Division, which was stationed in Camp Clayborne, Louisiana and we began to train with the 84th Division and the 84th then went overseas as a unit.

Me: What branch is that?

Knight: The Infantry; the Army Infantry. We were foot soldiers.

Me: So you had said you arrived in Europe in September in 1944?

Knight: In England, yeah. I went to England in September and actually got into France in November and went into action November the 18th at the Siegfried Line near Aachen. A little town called Dillenburg.

Me: Do you remember how you felt when you saw action for the first time?

Knight: Yeah I couldn't believe it. Of course, you're all full of fear at that point and you realize that what you're into is not gonna be pleasant.

Me: So what was the name of your division?

Knight: The 84th Division. It's the patch you wear on your shoulder. We were called the Railsplitters. It was originally a division form Illinois and it was called Abe Lincoln because he was a wood splitter.

Me: What kind of combat did you see?

Knight: Well, we were in the Infantry with our rifles, and our shovel, and a little pack where we carried rations, and a canteen. We were on foot the whole time. We would advance as far as we could, and we dig a foxhole. We each had a shovel, but two guys would dig a hole and you shared a hole with the other guy usually. You were spaced out 100 yards between holes - or 50 sometimes - to make a line. Then the order would come that we are going to attack at 0630 tomorrow morning. At that point, you get out of your hole, and you start forward, and that's what I was doing when the guy next to me got shot right then. So you see, that's typical. That happened day after day. You'd get as far as you could and you'd dig another hole. Then the next day, you'd get out of that hole and try to go forward. The same thing would happen the next day. You'd go as far as you could.
  The casualties were many. I started out as a PFC - Private First Class - the tail end of the line, a rifleman. Well, after the first several days, I was an assistant Squad leader because the attrition was heavy. All of the sudden the company commander said "Now you're the assistant squad leader of the second platoon company." I was company for 334th Infantry Regiment. A few more days, and I was squad leader. That means you're in charge of twelve guys. There's three squads per platoon and three platoons per company and three companies per battalion and three battalions per regiment and three regiments per division. Of course, thrown in there is the heavy artillery - which is a separate little thing - the heavy weapons, they called them: The guys that had mortars and worked really closely with us. But they weren't heavy artillery, they were called Heavy Weapons and they were right with us the whole time. I digress.

Me: What big battles were you apart of?

Knight: Well, the first battle was the Siegfried Line. We were trying to break through the Siegfried Line. Sometimes I think they called it the Rhineland or something. Anyway, that was the main thing. Then after that came the Battle of the Bulge, and then came the drive to the Rhine. By the way, on the drive to the Rhine, after we passed the Rur River, and drove to the Rhine, out battalion got the Presidential Citation. We lead the way. We lead the way across the Rur River and lead that drive to the Rhine and we got the Presidential Unit Citation which is a rather rare thing.

Me: What kind of abilities and skills did you pick up well while you were in the war?

Knight: That's interesting. Well, above all you learn the value of each individual and how you depend on each other. I got to be a squad leader and I suppose you learn to be a leader of sorts.

Me: Did you also learn to know which shells were coming toward you?

Knight: Oh yes. Yeah, that just becomes second nature. You can tell by the sound.

Me: Did you know where they were going to land?

Knight: Pretty much, after a while. Especially the mortars. We would get replacements all the time - guys that came right from the States - and they're thrown right into battle and you gotta tell them what to watch out for and how to conduct themselves. One time that sticks out in my memory is we were in the Bulge at the time and we were in the woods. A shell hit in front of us; a mortar. Then one hit behind us. Then I just said "Guys, the next one is coming right here so we've got to move out of here." Sure enough, it did. They were just zeroing in. They knew where we were. They probably were looking at us through field glasses. So I says "We've got to move either forward or backwards." So we did. That's the kind of thing you learn.

Me: How and when were you wounded?

Knight: Well, like I showed you on that map, we were headed up to the Rhine, and the going had been pretty easy that day because we had tank support. They were kind of clearing the way. I was actually walking behind a tank in the middle of the night and I think somebody was shooting at the tank with a bazooka type of thing. Germans had those too. They missed the tank and it hit the platelet right behind me; sent me flying through the air. I landed in a ditch on the side of the road and my helmet was gone, my rifle was gone, and I started moving things to see if I could move everything, and I could. So I found a rifle and my helmet and I started to catch up with my guys. All of the sudden I felt my leg getting warm. Well, it turned out that I was bleeding, and that was warm blood going down my leg. One of my buddies said "You better stop here and wait for the medics" because I was bleeding pretty bad. But you're all full of adrenaline and you don't know what you're doing really.
  Anyway, I stopped. Sure enough, here came a Jeep which the medics had. They had stretchers across the hood, you know? I didn't need a stretcher, so I got in the back seat. They were picking up wounded people, like me, to take them back to the tent hospital. Liege, Belgium is where I ended up. You know, when you're in that situation, you don't have too many choices. You can either get lucky and not get hit at all, or you get hit and killed right quick, or you get badly wounded, or you get hit easy. I would call what I got hit easy, but it was enough to get me outta there. It ended up that was my last action, because the war ended before I got back. Well, it was still going but it was over in Europe.

Me: Where were you on V-E Day?

Knight: I was in Paris in the hospital. That was in May. V-E Day was in May. I don't remember the exact date, but I was well and I had gone through rehab, you know? I was able to function perfectly and I was ready to go back and join my outfit and before you do they give you a three day pass. I was in Paris when I was on my three day pass when V-E Day happened. Boy, you talk about a celebration. It was a celebration! The French people were just so joyous. Here they had been under the occupation of the Germans for four years. Of course, we liberated them right after D-Day. That was a happy time.

Me: What is the memory that has stuck with you the most from your days serving in World War II?

Knight: That's hard to answer. I don't know. Lots of memories. I've touched on some of them, like that first day. That's bound to stick with you. Crossing the Rur. This one sticks with me for sure. I hadn't gone into detail about crossing the Rur but it amounted to getting in a boat and rowing across a river under fire. That sticks with you. That day on Thanksgiving when I was pinned down and one of my good buddies got killed in that same field I was in. That sticks with you.

Me: Tell me about your trip back to Europe that you took in 2003.

Knight: Well, Marion and I, our kids wanted to take us to Europe for our 50th anniversary. Our son Gary did a lot of research. He asked me for places I would like to go. He wanted to go where I was in particular. He wanted to go to Paris. So our three kids and us went. We spent roughly a week in Paris and a week in the area where I fought - the area where the Siegfried Line is - and down in Belgium. I didn't realize how close they were together. During the war, I thought it was a long ways from Germany down to Belgium. I thought it was a long ways, but it really turns out it wasn't because when we went over, we stayed in a house in Belgium, which was central to where I fought. But from that same place, we were able to go up to Germany and back in one day and, in fact, we did it several days.
  We organized our time so we could see both places. Also in Belgium near the area where we retook the ground; the Bulge. That area where I fought. Then we spent roughly another week in Switzerland. That's where Marion wanted to go for sure. It turned out to be really well because on the way from Belgium down to Marsh in Switzerland and went to Mannheim and Lancy on the way to the little town of Everbach where I was when V-E Day happened. When we were in EverBach training for the war - that's where I jumped on the bed when I heard the war in Europe was over - and in that town there was a restaurant that we took over and it was our mess hall. That's where we ate our meals. It was an old restaurant and fairly good size. When we went over with the family, I found that restaurant. It still had the same name and I knew I was able to go in there. After we ate, I'd always go through a door back there and I'd walk down a street to our house where we were living. I walked right back there and there was the door just like I remembered all those years ago. That was really a great trip.

Me: Did you mention last time [we spoke] about how all the people, when they found out you were a veteran, they would follow you?

Knight: Oh yeah. When we went to Belgium in March, we went to this little town that we were defending. First of all, I wanted to see the little school where they dropped us off. We rode the truck down to Germany down to Marsh and they unloaded us at this school. Like I told you before, the whole company was in one classroom. I knew we weren't there for a rest but the whole company had a meeting and said the Germans had broken through and it was up to us to stop them. Well, I wanted to find that school. Our host there in Belgium; we rented their house. They were living in a trailer behind it while we rented their house. We had all these maps laid out of the area and we wanted to know what we were interested in seeing and I told him I'd like to find this one foxhole that I remembered that I was in when I saw German Tiger tanks coming out of the woods at us. That was another very memorable moment.
  Anyway, I wanted to find that hole. First of all, our host wanted to introduce us to a guy in Marsh who was an 18 year old in Marsh during the war. And, of course, by now he was 80 just like me. We went to his house, and on the side of his house, he had this emblem [Railsplitters emblem] painted on the whole side of his house. That's one indication of how thankful and appreciative they were and still are. Anyway, we got to his house at about 9 in the morning, and he brought out the wine. He says "Let's have some wine." His wife came out and she had some crackers and cheese and stuff. We sat there on his back patio talking and looking at maps. Our host was with us and his wife spoke English so it was easy to communicate.
  We started out after a while to try to find this foxhole. We went to this little town where I knew we were defending that town and I knew if I looked over my left shoulder I'd see the village so I knew approximately where it was. So we went there and people in that little town heard that we were there apparently, because they kept coming out of their houses saying "Come on in and have some wine." Oh, they'd go get their cameras and they'd follow us. They were helping me try to find it, and I never did. It's all covered over. It's all a field now. I'm shortcutting a lot of stuff but that answers that question I guess.

Me: Is there any advice that you would like to give my generation and future generations?


Knight: Well, what can I say? One thing about that time was that everybody was pulling together. There was no divisiveness. I mean, President Roosevelt was the president and you respected him and you did what he wanted done without question. When everybody pulls together, it makes things a lot easier. So if there's any way that could come about, that would be great. Whether you voted for him or not, he was the president and you respected him. There was no backbiting that I was aware of. In fact, when I was in the hospital in Paris, he died. The nurse came in in the morning and said that President Roosevelt had died. My first thought was "What are we gonna do now?" I mean, you looked up to the guy.

Me: Cool! Well thank you!

Click below to hear the interview:

Friday, January 27, 2017

Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year!! 恭喜恭喜新年快乐!

In Ancient China, there is a legend of a beast named Nian that would come to people's homes to cause death and destruction. An old man, speaking as the voice of God, told the people to hang red banners on their doors and the monster would not harm them. They did as they were instructed and Nian never returned to their homes. In Chinese, the word for New Years is 过年 (guo nian). This literally translates to "pass over Nian."

In the Bible, from Exodus 12, it records an event that occurred in ancient Egypt. God was to judge the Egyptians for not freeing his people, the Israelites. God spoke through a man named Moses, telling the Israelites that God would kill all of the firstborn in the land on that night. However, if anyone would take the red blood of a lamb and put it on the edges of their doors, God's angel would pass over them and they would not be harmed. In the Bible, this is called the Passover. It marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year.

These are both allegories to Jesus. Nian came to steal, kill, and destroy the villages of China. The people found a way of escape once they listened to and obeyed the voice of God. Jesus himself is recorded as saying “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John‬ ‭10:9-10‬) Additionally, Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God. (John 1:29) Just as the Israelites had to sacrifice a lamb and paint their doors in its blood, Jesus sacrificed himself. Just as the Israelites had the judgement pass over them, everyone who believes in Jesus will also have the judgement of sin pass over them.

Whether you are familiar with the Chinese New Year story or the history of Israel, one thing is certain: we all need protection to the doors of our hearts. Whether it's a demonic beast or our own sin, there will always be things that we need protection from. Jesus desires to cover our sins and to keep us from evil.
The Psalmist writes:
“You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin.” (Psalms‬ ‭85:2‬)

It is the beginning of a new year. What is protecting the door of your heart? What comes into your life to steal, kill and destroy? Jesus, the Son of God, wants to give you an abundant life in Him. Just as the ancient Chinese and the Israelites heard and listened to the voice of God, perhaps now is the time for you to do the same:

“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans‬ ‭10:9‬)








Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas is for Peace

Merry Christmas, everyone! 'Tis the season!

During this season, as I've contemplated the story of Jesus coming to earth and taking the form of a man, I've come to a conclusion:

Christmas is for peace.
Jesus came to earth to bridge the gap between God and man and to ultimately glorify the Father. Mankind can finally be at peace with God through Jesus.

A prophecy concerning Jesus says “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us PEACE, and with his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah‬ ‭53:5 emphasis added‬)

During Jesus' birth, the angels proclaimed “"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth PEACE among those with whom he is pleased!"” (Luke‬ ‭2:14‬ emphasis added)

After Jesus' ascension, it is written: “And the PEACE of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians‬ ‭4:7 emphasis added‬)

Before Jesus came to us, our only way of life was war due to our rebellion against God. Because of Jesus coming to earth, as well as his life, death and resurrection, we are now able to be at peace with God through faith in Jesus. This peace is the greatest peace that one can achieve.

Christmas is for peace.


“May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.” - Romans‬ ‭15:33

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Clouds of Faithfulness

“Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.” - Psalms 36:5




I took these photos. The photo on the top is the morning, and the photo on the bottom is the evening. As I look at both of these breath-taking views, I can't help but be reminded of the faithfulness of God.

He is always faithful.
My heavenly Father will always begin with faithfulness and end with faithfulness.

Sure, I may see fog, rain, or tornadoes (I'm in the Midwest 😉), but it is so encouraging to know that God was faithful from the beginning and He will be faithful to the end. He is with me through the storms and He is with me through the clear sunny days.

All of this begs the question: Do I love God to the point where I am being faithful to Him in every area of my life? I certainly hope so. After all, he has always been faithful to me.

Thomas Obadiah Chisholm once famously penned:

"Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me"

Reflecting on these photos, God's word, and my own past experiences, it seems that God's faithfulness is indeed great.

It extends to the heavens.
It extends to the clouds.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What I've Learned About God's Story

 Due to many circumstances in my life, God has been able to teach me about himself through the Bible, interactions with other Christians, hearing teachings by David Platt, reading about missionaries like Hudson Taylor, and ministries such as Engage Global and Perspectives. The following is a summary of what I have learned in the last few months and what I consider to be the most important priority in my life so far:

"And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come." - Matthew 24:14
 The Greek word for nations is "Ethnos" which translates "people groups." Did you know that there are 6,600+ unreached people groups around the world? The definition of unreached people group is: "a people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group without outside assistance."
 As Christians, it is our privilege and duty to preach the Good News of Jesus to all people groups, so that the end of HIS Story (aka history) can unravel and so that God may have worshipers from all nations:
"After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
'Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.' " - Revelation 7:9-10

As you can see, God is going to accomplish this no matter what. He is writing an epic story. Do you want to be apart of it? Please check out the website below to see how you can get involved!

Monday, April 4, 2016

God's Greatest Creation

When I was staying at Frontier Ranch in Colorado (in the mountains), I woke up early one morning to watch the sun rise over the mountains. What I saw was so inspiring and beautiful! I began thanking God for creating the snow, trees, mountains, and sky, because they are God's handiwork.

As I was praying with my friends, it was as if God replied, saying, "You are my best handiwork. Every single human being is more beautiful and valuable than what you see here."

Then it hit me: What if I viewed people as more precious than the creation that I saw that morning? I suppose that is God's challenge to me and my challenge to you! ;)