Post image for Derek Klinkner, Head Coach, Wheel Chair Basketball, Southwest Minnesota State University

Derek Klinkner, Head Coach, Wheel Chair Basketball, Southwest Minnesota State University

by carmine on January 21, 2014


1 Corinthians 15:1-10

New Living Translation (NLT)

Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters,[a] of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place.[b]

I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter[c] and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers[d] at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles.Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church.

10 But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.

I would compare my life to Paul when he was transformed from Saul. I never killed anyone, but I did some pretty bad stuff that is covered by Jesus’ blood. I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior after 3 significance events in my life happened in the month of February 2010: my dad had a heart attack, a teammate/good friend, Ben Bundy, died from a brain aneurysm, and the head coach on the football team resigned. That afternoon the athletic director called a teammate and myself into his office. He asked us to hold the team together with our leadership. I knew leaving his office it was physically impossible for me to do that, but I knew of a God who was into the miracle business.

For nothing is impossible with God.

Luke 1:37

So for the rest of afternoon and evening I was on the fence, and seeking how to do this. The first step I knew was accepting Jesus Christ into my heart as my Lord and Savior. So that night while I lay in bed, I made the commitment to Jesus.

The next three months I would compare my life to Peter walking on Water, I would have my ups when I kept my eyes on Jesus. When I took my eyes off Jesus I would find myself sinking into my old sinful ways.

Ephesians 2:8-10

New Living Translation (NLT)

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Good thing for his never ending grace, but one day Friday, May 7th 2010. I lay in my bed struggling with this addiction to my one sin, and trying to figure out a way to break the habit. Then I rededicated my life to the Lord and asked him to break this addiction I had. The following Tuesday, May 11 2010 my life would change forever.

On my farm in South Dakota, I was helping my dad move a water tank from the old well to the new well we had just drilled. When we placed it where we wanted it, we lifted it up just high enough for me to crawl underneath to hook the plumbing up. That morning it rained 3 inches and the dirt we put on the one side to make the 3000lb tank level gave away and the tank slid out of the bucket onto me. I was left paralyzed from my waste down. After being rushed to the hospital and went into surgery to fix my spine, I found out my T12/L1 vertebrae dislocated and bruising my spinal cord from the tank falling onto me.  The doctors told me I was never going to walk again, get used to life in a wheelchair.

footballMy life was ruined, so I thought, until Keith Bundy the father of Ben Bundy came into my room and shared a little message based off of Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” That has become my life verse and understanding that Jesus has never changed and will never change. He is still the loving, caring, and most importantly forgiving savior.

John 10:10

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Realizing there is a devil and he wants to ruin God’s people, and God saved my life that day in May. His purpose for saving my life is that He wanted to show how much stronger Jesus Christ is than the devil. I was told I was never going to walk again, and 2 months after my accident I took my first steps. Six months I led my football team on the field with a walker before the last home game. 3 years after my accident I still walk with a cane. I am able to walk with no assistance for a little ways, but my legs get tired quickly.

Romans 8:28

And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

leading team onto fieldThat may seem like the good side of the recovery, but the next year would be one of the hardest years I would have to face. Watching football for the first time in my life, when I knew if I weren’t paralyzed I would be playing. In February 2011, I was struggling with depression and came to the conclusion that if I wasn’t able to play football, I was going to commit suicide. I had everything planned out, and that night before I went to bed I had a dream of me following through with my suicide plan. I realized that I needed to talk to someone about this, and the next day my friend John Kersbergen was the person I told the news to. That was the first, only, and last time I have seen John cry. Then I realized God has a plan for me.

Jeremiah 29:11

New Living Translation (NLT)

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

wheelchair basketballI started playing wheelchair basketball in November 2010, and quickly fell in love with it. I graduated in May 2012 with my undergrad degree in exercise science. I had the opportunity to become the assistant coach for the wheelchair basketball team and still play. The following February 2013, the head coach resigned and I was asked to become the Interim Head coach. So now I am the head coach, graduate student, and player on the Southwest Minnesota State University wheelchair basketball team.

Philippians 4:13

New Living Translation (NLT)

For I can do everything through Christ,[a] who gives me strength.

Some day I will run again, and I am waiting patiently. But, that doesn’t mean I just sit on the couch to wait. I live everyday to glorify Jesus by choosing to take up my cross, and denying myself.

Luke 9:23

New Living Translation (NLT)

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.

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