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Coping when life falls apart - a millionaire businessman's story (P019)
Manage episode 296618966 series 2947044
Coping when life falls apart - Adolph Coors IV
[00:00:00] Hey, this is Beatty Carmichael, and I want to do something very special on this podcast and take a kind of divergence from my normal podcast. I want to share a recording from a. I call him a friend. I've met him by phone a number times, never in person. And it's a man whose name you'll probably recognize. You may not recognize his name, but you'll definitely recognize the same his name. And that is Adolph Coors, IV. And as we go through these very challenging times, everything is uncertain. Well, it seems like everything's caving in around us with the Coronavirus and businesses being shut and their livelihoods are being strangled. And we just don't know what's going on and what the next thing is. It brought to mind this recording that Adolf gave me permission to share and his history of going through this intense, dramatic struggles to the point of death. Thoughts of suicide, losing everything important in his life. Just trying to make sense of it all. And it's an amazing story that I think you'll find a lot of encouragement in and one that I think you will if you're like most people who've listened to, will find this to be one and the most touching and life changing stories that you've heard. So with no further ado, I introduce to you, Adolf Coors IV.
[00:01:36] Our speaker tonight, Mr. Adolph Coors. The fourth is certainly an outstanding example of a biographical speaker. Mr. Coors is the great grandson of Adolph Herman Joseph Coors, who was the founder of the Adolph Coors Brewing Company of Golden, Colorado. His father was Adolph cause the third and at the end was chairman of the board of the Family Business. When Mr. Coors the fourth was 14 years of age, his father was kidnapped and brutally murdered and being the oldest son of the family, his teenage years, as you might expect, were difficult at best as the family attempted to deal with their great loss. Mr. Coors spent three years in the United States Marine Corps. He was a cold weather survival training instructor. He developed a fervor for discipline that led him into extreme bodybuilding, the martial arts and a strict health food regimen. And I think when you see him, if you haven't seen him yet, when he stands up here, he still carries that frame rather nicely. He was really driven, though, to succeed at any price. After graduate from University of Denver School of Business, he spent two years with the New York firm of Sheraton, Hamilton and Company as a commodity specialist.
[00:03:02] And once he left the rigors of the commodity business, he spent about six years working with the Adolph Coors Company. And various departments, in his experience, ranges from marketing and strategic planning, sales, borrowing, quality control and financial planning. Mr. Coors left the family brewing business in 1979 and he became the investment advisor for his immediate family. In addition, he also founded the national marketing company called Atco Enterprises. He has served on the board of directors of the Prison Fellowship Ministries, which is an internal national prison ministry, was founded by Chuck Colson in Washington, D.C.. He serves on the board of directors of the Family Ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. And he also has a on the board advisors for kanika camp, which is a Christian camp in Branson, Missouri, which I know a lot of people who are here tonight have ties to that idea through children or through personal experience. Mr. Cooper's and his wife, B.J., have been married since 1967, and they live in Englewood, Colorado. He has two sons. Please join me in giving a warm Bermingham. Welcome to Adolph Cause the Fourth.
[00:04:32] Good evening, gentlemen.
[00:04:38] Dawn, thank you very much for that kind introduction.
[00:04:44] And I want to thank you, gentlemen, for taking time out of I know it's been a very busy day for all of you to be a part of this dinner tonight. And I particularly want to thank Phil Retik, young business leaders and all those who have worked very hard to make this evening a reality. Continue, gentlemen, eating your dinner if you have not finished. But while you're eating, I'm going to ask that you do lend me. And here, you know, I'll be very honest with you guys. I wish somebody had loved me enough about 30 years ago to invite me to a dinner like this. And I believe that we're all here together because of a divine appointment. I don't think believe anything happens by accident. So I'm going to ask that even though you're eating your dinner but or you are not finished with your dinner, just please let me in here, because I'm going to put up my family to you gentlemen. I'm going to be very vulnerable to you tonight. We're going to laugh together and we're going to maybe even cry a little bit together. I'm going to share with you the Adolph Coors family, as Don mentioned, a family that's recognized all over this world. It's been a very interesting family, gentlemen, to grow up in. Well, before I get into my personal story, I want to relay a story that I came across recently that really, really made an impact on me and saw before I get into my own personal story, I want to share with you the story that goes like this. Listen very carefully.
[00:06:31] One foggy night, a captain of a very large ship saw what appeared to be another ship's lights approaching in the distance. There's another ship was on a course that would mean a certain head on collision. And quickly, the captain signaled to the approaching ship, please change your course, 10 degrees west. And the reply came blinking back through the thick fog that evening. You change your course 10 degrees east insulted. The captain pulled rank and shot a message back to the other ship. The message said, I am a sea captain with 35 years of experience. Change your course. Ten degrees west. Without hesitation, the signal flashed back. I'm a seaman. Fourth class. You change your course 10 degrees east to pattern forming here. Enraged, the captain realized that they were rapidly approaching one another and would certainly crash within a few short minutes. And so he blazed. Gentlemen, he blazed his final warning. And the warning was this. I am a fifty thousand tonne freighter. Change your course. Ten degrees west now. A simple message came blinking back through the thick fog that night, and that simple message was this. I am a lighthouse. I'm a lighthouse, you change your course now. True story, guys. True story. And like that sea captain, we as human beings need to change course. Gentlemen, when we're confronted with the truth and over 20 years ago, I was confronted with a truth. One evening when I learned an incredible fact. I learned that the God of this universe that I didn't particularly have much time for, to be honest with you. When I learned that the God of this universe, who created me, who created each one of us in this room, I learned about the incredible love that he has for each one of us gentlemen. They each each one of us in this room. Now, grant me the privilege. It is a privilege for me to be able to stand before you tonight. Grant me the unique privilege of being able to share with you a journey that literally changed the course of my life. I'd like that sea captain, guys. I was headed for certain destruction.
[00:09:41] The name Adolph Cause, as Don mentioned, is a name recognized all over this world.
[00:09:47] Back in 1868, at the age of twenty eight years of age, my great grandfather, Adolph Herman Joseph Coors, twice orphaned at the age of 14 with a dream in his heart without a penny to his name, stowed one day aboard a steamer headed for America.
[00:10:11] He hid onboard that steamer, and several weeks later he landed in the city of Baltimore. And a year and a half later, he found himself in a small mining town called Denver, Colorado, in the spring of eighteen seventy two.
[00:10:32] A year later, he convinced a business partner, a friend of his, a very successful businessman in Denver. He convinced this gentleman to buy an old tannery building in a small town called Golden, Colorado. Golden has located 20 miles west of Denver, on the edge of the foothills. And those two enterprising young men bought an old tannery building in Golden and formed what was then known as the shooter, Coors Brewing Company.
[00:11:01] And it began to make beer and served that beer to the miners working in the mining camps above Golden. Seven years after that fledgling little brewery got started it all. Herman Joseph cause my great granddad bought his business partner out and formed what is now known worldwide as the Adolph Coors Company. Gentlemen, this is truly one of the great success stories in American industry. And 51 years ago, I was born into this unique family, gentlemen, a family much like yours. Tonight, a family that has aspiring hopes and grand dreams. And I know you had your hopes and your dreams tonight as well. And that's good. I was blessed with two wonderful parents. I had two older sisters and a younger brother. And as a family growing up, we did everything together. I have fond memories of the first 14 years of my life.
[00:12:10] But looking in the eyes of my father and looking in the eyes of my grand dad and hearing the stories of my great grandfather, I learned at a young age I learned that failure was not going to be tolerated in my family.
[00:12:26] I learned that there was a certain pecking order in my family and I was going to fit in with that pecking order based upon three things. I was going to either be accepted into this family or rejected this family based upon looks. Based upon how well I did in school and based upon how well I performed on the athletic fields growing up, that was the pecking order in our family. If you did well in school, if you looked well and you perform well as an athlete, you would be accepted in this family. You know, I remember looking in the eyes of my father, and I remember him telling me in so many eyes, so many, so many ways. He was saying, son, you better perform in this family if you're gonna be accepted. You better perform. In other words, gentlemen, I was raised in a family, what I would call conditional love. But I want you to file this back in your mind. You know, I wish somebody had loved me enough as a young boy. I wish somebody had sat me down. I wish they would have told me this. I wish they would have said it off course. What good is it going to be if you gain the whole world? Gentlemen, I was after the whole world. What good is it going to be if you gain the whole world, Adolph Coors. But in the process of gaining this world, you end up losing your soul. I never heard that guy's never heard. You know, I wish somebody loved me enough to tell me, Adolf, if you live for the next world, you're gonna gain this one in the deal.
[00:13:57] You'll gain it in the deal. But if you live strictly for this world, you're gonna end up losing them both. I never heard that. You know what I heard growing up in this wonderful family? About the same thing that many of you in this room are hearing right now. I heard that he who dies with the most toys wins this game called life. Is that your philosophy tonight, gentlemen? Have you bought into the lie that if you die with the most toys, you're gonna win this game called life? I hope you don't believe that tonight. If you do believe that tonight, I want to get very personal with you. I want to ask you two questions. The first question I want to ask you is, what do you win, gentlemen? What do you really win? And then more importantly, I want to ask you this. Where does that prize you're looking for? Where does that prize get delivered? Where is it going to be delivered? I want to take you three thousand years in the past. I want to take you. I want us to sit down and I want you to hear the words of one of the wisest men who has ever lived. His name was David the Psalmist, David, one of the wisest and one of the wealthiest men this world has ever seen. Listen to what David tells you and me as business.
[00:15:18] Today in 1996, he says, Gentlemen, our days are few and our days are very brief.
[00:15:28] Like the grass, like the flowers blown by the wind and gone forever. Think about those words, gentlemen. This life there we're living is nothing but a training ground. It's a training ground for where we are going to spend eternity because you see, gentlemen, you are used to making decisions. You're very successful businessman. I know who I'm talking to tonight. I know I'm in respect of you. I'm an all of you. I know who I'm talking to tonight. You're very successful, gentlemen. I know you. You are. But gentlemen, this is nothing but a training ground as one decision we have to make as human beings while we're on this Earth. One most important decision. I'm going to ask you to make that decision before I leave here tonight, because it's a decision it will determine where we spend eternity. Is that important? And I will get to that decision in just a few minutes. I want to take you tonight to a cemetery outside of the town of London, England. And I'm going to take you to two grave markers. The first grave marker reads, She died for want of things.
[00:16:42] True story. Right next to that grave marker is another grave market. I'll bet you can't guess what that grave marker says was a grave marker of her husband. A grave marker reads He died trying to give these things to her general. That is a sad commentary, a sad commentary on how two lives were wasted, believing, buying into the lie that the things of this world could make them happy. I bought into that lie for 31 years of my life. Gentlemen, I want to share with you where that philosophy took me and the tragedy it brought to my family. It caused me a tremendous amount of pain and heartache. You see, gentlemen, life is wasted if we're basing our life on the things of this world. You see, tomorrow, some of us life is consists of a materialistic if only, if only I could get that new job. That job would make me happy. If only I could get that new car, I could buy that new toy, I could marry that pretty girl, I could get that raise.
[00:17:59] That would make me happy.
[00:18:02] But you see, gentlemen, I learned many years ago that life is wasted in the endless pursuit of these things, because even if we achieve them and you've achieved many of these things, those things really don't bring us what we're looking for.
[00:18:18] You see, chasing after pleasure is really a confession of an unsatisfied life. Now, I want to get very personal, every one of us in this room are created by a God who loves us with an immense love. Now, why do you believe that tonight makes no difference? He's there and he loves us. And he creates you and me with a unique blueprint. You have a blueprint for your life. Gentlemen. No other human being has ever had in the face of this earth. We're created different except for one way. There's one thing that knits you and I together tonight, guys. One thing that makes you and me the same. And that one thing that knits us together tonight is when we're born into this world, the God who created us creates us batteries, not included. In other words, there is something missing in our lives, a spiritual vacuum, if you will, an emptiness. And many of us go through this life and we try to fill that void in our hearts. We try to fill it with our careers. We try to fill it with our athletic achievements. We try to fill it with our own importance, with titles, with material possessions, even with our family members. General, let me tell you. For somebody who's done that for 31 years of my life, let me tell you, these things were never meant to fill that void in your heart and mine. They were never meant to do it.
[00:19:50] That's reserved for one very special relationship.
[00:19:54] That's why John D Rockefeller senior, when he just before he died, said the following. And let me quote this man. It was very successful. He said, I have made billions, but these billions have brought me no happiness. That's why Henry Ford senior, just before he died, turned to one of his best friends one day and he said, sir, he said, My friend, I was happier when I was a mechanic. Now, why could these guys, these successful businessmen, why could they say these things? For the same reason? I could say at 20 years ago when I realized the void, my heart wasn't getting filled. So I want us gentlemen tonight, I want you to slow down your life long enough tonight, I want you to get real. I want you to slow down. I want you to listen. And I want us to really focus in tonight on some important issues. In the first 14 years of my life, gentlemen, Norman Rockwell couldn't have painted a pretty or picture. I was blessed, as I mentioned earlier, with a great family and as a family, we did everything together. But as a young boy, I made a tragic mistake, a mistake. I'll bet some of you are making in this room tonight. You don't even recognize it's a mistake. You see, the mistake I made was I put my faith and trust in a human being. And really for the first 14 years of my life, my father, it of course, the third was, my God. I worshipped him. You want to talk about a successful man? Here was a successful man.
[00:21:34] Not only was my father chairman of the board of our brewing empire in Golden, Colorado.
[00:21:42] He was a semi-pro baseball player, a scratch golfer, a gifted musician, an architect, an engineer, a rancher flew his own airplane.
[00:21:55] One of the best tennis players ever seen in my life, one of these guys at everything he did, everything he did, David.
[00:22:01] He did it to perfection. He was a driven man.
[00:22:08] I idolized him, but gentlemen, for each one of us in this room, life brings many changes.
[00:22:18] Some of these changes are sudden. Some of these changes are gradual. Some of these changes bring us a lot of happiness. But then again, some of these changes can bring us a tremendous amount of pain. There is a God in heaven, gentlemen, who loves us with an immense love and what he needs to tell us. He screams out to us. He says, enjoy my gifts. He wants us to enjoy his gifts. But he also warns us, gentlemen, not to put our faith and trust in these gifts.
[00:22:50] Our faith and trust needs to be a very special relationship.
[00:22:57] As Don mentioned in 1960, something happened to my family that violently tore apart a family that I'd put my faith and trust in. Thirty six years ago, this past February, my father, on his way to work one morning, stopped three miles from our home to help what he thought was a stranded motorist snowing hard that February morning, my father walked over to this man's car. But in that car was not a man who was experiencing car problems in that car was a man who had been stalking my father for two years. A man who in 1958 escaped from prison in California, a maximum security prison. A two time murder. There was a violent struggle on that bridge that morning, my father was a tough guy. And as my father was running back to his automobile that morning, Joseph Corbett pulled out a gun and proceeded to put multiple bullets in my father's back. Alive or dead? I'll never know, but the body of my father was stuffed in the trunk of this man's car and at 7.30 that morning they sped south seven long months. My sisters, my brother, my mother, myself, we all hope, beyond hope that dad would return. But gentlemen, that was not going to be the case is the remains of my father were found 40 miles south of our home, seven months almost to the day that he was kidnapped. You know, gentlemen, I had 14 years with that guy. And you know what I learned most about that man, what he taught me the most successful is he was he was very successful.
[00:24:52] We had all the things. Gentlemen, this world says you have to have to be a success. We had a war. But, you know, my dad left me a legacy that I'll never, never forget. He taught me how to throw a curveball in our backyard. He taught me how to fly his airplane. He taught me how to hunt. He taught me how to fish. He taught me how to be a dad. You see, gentlemen, that's what I remember about my father, not how successful he was, Don. He was successful. But as a 14 year old boy, you don't care how much money your dad's making. You know what you care as a 14 year old boy. You know what you care the most about. When your dad comes home from work every afternoon, he spends time with you gentlemen at the other end of life. There won't be enough stocks, there won't be enough bonds, there won't be enough trophy's in your case at home, there won't be enough toys in your driveway to compensate for the loss of your wife and your kids. There simply will not be enough. And I'll bet there's at least one person in his room tonight whose career is number one in your life. I bet there's one, at least one. It's your career is running your life right now. Gentlemen, I beg you, if that's the case in your life and only you know who you are. If that's the case tonight, I beg you, go home, reprioritize your life.
[00:26:15] Will you do that, please? I don't know here about in Birmingham, Alabama, but in Denver, Colorado, I have yet to see a U-Haul trailer hooked to a hearse going to the graveyard. In other words, Jumaa, what I'm telling you tonight, we're not going to take any of this stuff with us. None of it's going with us. You know what's going with us when we die. Our families are going with us. The legacy we leave to our kids are going with us. That's about it, gentlemen. That's about it. I graduated from high school shortly after my father's murder. I want to become an attorney. I was accepted at 17 years of age. I was accepted to one of the best law schools in the state of Georgia. Mercer University. Perhaps I'll have you heard. Mercer. Macon, Georgia. 17 years of age. Driven to succeed. I walked onto that campus, began my freshman year of pre-law, but instead of majoring in pre-law my freshman year, I majored in sorority and minored in fraternity and failed academics and graduated my freshman year with a point six grade average. You can well imagine, gentlemen, that did not sit well with my grandfather and my mother and my family. Remember, failure was not going to be tolerated in my family. And I returned home at 18 years of age of failure in my family's eyes. And Don, I remember that summer when I returned home, I barely got my bags unpacked. That summer, I found myself on an airplane one Friday night.
[00:27:58] Just 18 years of age flying to California.
[00:28:02] That Friday evening, I landed in San Diego that evening. And I wasn't greeted by friends that evening. I wasn't greeted by relatives that evening. Walking off the airplane that evening, I was greeted by five loving drill instructors at the Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot.
[00:28:24] And I was literally thrown in the back of a pickup and I was driven to the recruit training depot to begin my nine months of boot camp. And gentlemen, you can well imagine the name Adolf Coors what the next six years of my life were like. David, I was driven to succeed. Any price. I was in boot camp about 30 seconds, and I realize that if I didn't get awful tough very quick, I was not going to survive. Nine months of boot camp. Was that simple? Over the next six years, my body weight went from one hundred ninety five pounds to two hundred and seventy five pounds. In that void in my heart that I've told you about, is that one of our hearts in that void. I put a tough, macho Marine frame, 20 inch arms, a fifty four inch, just twenty two inch neck karate and the martial arts. Akino became my gods. You know, it's amazing how we can mask our insecurities, isn't it, guys, we all have a way of masking our insecurities. And I hid behind 275 pounds, full of anger, full of bitterness. But, you know, it's amazing we wouldn't worry so much about what other people think of us if we don't, how seldom we they do.
[00:29:52] Back in those days, I was what you call a light eater. Every morning when it became light, I would start eating.
[00:30:02] There's a ugly five-letter word guys called pride. And pride goes before our destruction, gentleman, and a hearty spirit before a man's downfall. Well, obviously, I made it six years as a Marine, escaped death on countless occasions. And just before I returned home to my family. I learned from my mother one tragic morning that my oldest sister, just 27 years of age, living in the state of Illinois. The proud mother of a brand new baby son. That morning had been diagnosed with incurable cancer.
[00:30:43] Twenty seven years of age. Gentlemen, are you putting your faith and trust in your good health tonight? Are you?
[00:30:52] Your athletic ability, your good looks, your academic prowess, all these things we put our faith and trust in, is that what you're trustees tonight? You remember the psalmist, David warns us 3000 years ago, he said our days are few and they're very brief. Thirteen months after my sister was diagnosed with cancer, she stepped from this life, gentlemen, into the next. And we all face death in this room. Every one of us. And we need to be reminded that as a tree falls, so must that tree lie. And as a man lives, so must he die. And as a man dies, so must he be. All through the days of eternity. Gentlemen, is your passport for eternity in order tonight, is it? Is it an order? You may need that passport. I may need that passport sooner than we dare think.
[00:31:58] Somebody once said that marriages are made in heaven, but then again, so are thunder and lightning.
[00:32:06] And I returned home twenty nine years ago to marry my high school sweetheart. But you know, guys, many girls marry a man just like their fathers. And then people wonder why their mothers cry at weddings. Twenty nine years ago, LBJ, my beautiful bride, and I began our union together. Which, you know, I'll never forget the day that we were married, David, walking down the aisle with the girl of my dreams, a girl I dated all through high school, a girl of my dreams on my right arm, Don walking down the aisle of the largest church in Denver. Hundreds of people have come to see us get married that afternoon.
[00:32:53] On my right arm was the girl of my dreams.
[00:32:55] But as I looked at her at the ride out of the right side of my eyes, I looked at her from I looked as beautiful girl. And I knew I knew here she wasn't going to feel that boy. And gentlemen, I'll tell you tonight, that beautiful wife that's home waiting for you tonight. That wife of yours, God's gift to you. That girl was never meant to fill your void either. Not really. Not permanently reserved for one relationship. Don't put that burden on your wife to fill that void in your heart. Gentlemen, don't do that.
[00:33:27] That's unfair.
[00:33:31] You know, we're funny as human beings. We spend money, we don't have to buy things we don't need in order to try to impress people, we really can't stand.
[00:33:41] And that describes the first eight years of my marriage to B.J., my beautiful wife. I graduate from the University of Denver School of Business. One of the top of my class driven to succeed. Just a few days after I graduate from University Denver School of Business, I walked into a hospital one evening, the largest hospital in Denver, and that evening, Don, where my wife, her doctor and myself, there were three of us that night and then poof, there were four laid off cause the fifth my first son 25 years ago came into this world. Now, gentlemen, you can go back and tell your friends that cause does come in fits. But guys, as much as I love my son, in fact, I am blessed with two wonderful boys twenty five and twenty, I love them as I know you love your kids, those beautiful kids of ours. Gentlemen were not meant to fill that void. Nah, not permanently. It was just after he was born that driven to succeed. I began to invest millions of dollars into the real estate market of Colorado trying to impress my real estate friends. I began to invest millions of dollars into the stock and bond markets of this world. In fact, I was trained as a commodity specialist in New York. You're putting your faith and trust in your investments tonight, are you?
[00:35:19] I used to go home every Friday night. I used to get The Wall Street Journal out. I used to get a calculator out. I used to calculate my net worth every Friday night before I went home. And if my net worth had raised that didn't increase that week, I would go home and out. Have a great weekend. If my net worth had declined during that week, I would have a horrible weekend.
[00:35:42] Well, gentlemen, in a brief period of about two years, my investments went against me. I had the best minds in the business working with me, the best minds in the business. My investments went against me and I was facing personal bankruptcy about two years later. Don't put your faith and trust in your investments, guys. Don't make that mistake. Please don't do that. A fool and his money are soon parted. A fool and his money. 1972, I went to work for the largest single brewery in the world. Two thousand acres in Golden, Colorado, had my name on the outside of the building, the Adolph Cougars Company. Two thousand acres. I had to learn the business from the ground up. Which often meant many nights without sleep, many days without returning home to my wife and son. As I began to climb the corporate ladder of success, whatever that nebulous term means, one morning about a year later, I was getting into my sports car to travel home. I hadn't slept in three days. I had a 25 mile drive each day from our brewery to our home in Littleton, Colorado, that morning, I made twenty three of those twenty five miles, I was traveling at a high rate of speed. Two hundred seventy five pounds. Nobody was ever gonna hurt me again. Invincible.
[00:37:17] Well, gentlemen, it's amazing what a head on collision can do to a tough module Marine frame traveling at a high rate of speed. My body went through the windshield as my car hit another car at the crest of a hill hit on.
[00:37:32] Putting your faith and trust in your good health tonight. All right. Thank you, tough. Thank the world can't get to you. I would just like. I'm getting real, guys, I'm getting real some of your squirming.
[00:37:49] I told you I was going to get real, my two hundred seventy five pound body went through the windshield of my sports car in a millisecond, my goal of becoming a karate master evaporated as my knees shattered as they hit the dashboard.
[00:38:04] My brain was a mass of scrambled eggs. Six days and. Unconscious. Two years in recovery. Two years. Got my attention two years.
[00:38:22] It was during that two year period of time, gentlemen, that the God who loves us so much slowed me down long enough to put me on my back. You know what he was doing? He was saying, Adolf, I want to talk to you. Adolf, I love you. I want to say some things to you, Adolf course. And you know what he was telling me? He was saying, Adolf, get a good look at your life. You've got a marriage is headed for divorce, Adolf, cause you've got a four year old son at home and you don't even know you don't have time for friends. And gentlemen, I began to ask myself three questions. One, I want to pose to every one of you sitting here tonight over and over again. I would ask myself, Adolph Coors, who are you really?
[00:39:10] David, I would ask myself, Adolph Coors, why are you here really?
[00:39:16] And where are you going with the rest of your life? Really? Gentlemen, I didn't have the foggiest idea I was going from promotion to promotion, from airplane to airplane, from boat to boat, from travel to travel. I could go anywhere. I wanted to go play park golf and a golf course in this world by anything I wanted. I'm not bragging, I'm just saying that's what it was like. But inside here, Gemma was avoid it was getting so big you could drive a truck through it. And then something happened. Gentlemen, I want you to listen to very carefully. Something happened one evening just out of common courtesy, Don. I invited one of our senior vice presidents home for dinner. My father had hired this man, I'd known him, I'd hunted with him as a little boy. He was a very successful man, one of our senior vice presidents. I invited him over for dinner. I was training under him to take his position. He was going to leave in a matter of a few months and I was going to step into a vice president's position. My goal was right on schedule.
[00:40:21] I was headed right straight to the top or so I thought into that dining room. That evening came this gentleman and his beautiful wife. The conversation at our dining room table, we talked about sports, we talked about politics, we talked about beer, lots of beer. But then suddenly the conversation became silent. And then just out of common courtesy, my wife turned to this man's beautiful wife. Her name was Vera. And b.j.'s as beer on it. An interesting question. P.J. Severo, what are your interests in life expecting that Vera would say, well, my home or my career or my children? That's not what she said that evening. Vera Sunde very quickly looked at my wife in her eyes. She said, B.J., one interest in life, that interest is serving Jesus Christ. Gentlemen, this was a Wednesday evening. I looked at my watch. It was 7:30, just about what time it is here tonight. I looked at my watch and I thought to myself, we're gonna invite these people to go home right now. I mean, that's exactly what I thought.
[00:41:31] You don't talk about religion on a Wednesday night.
[00:41:34] That's for Sunday. But you know, guys, this couple love my wife and I enough that over the next five hours, five hours in our dining room table, they open up their lives to me. That evening, I learned something that I needed to do here. I learned that 2000 years ago, a fact of history. God stepped out of eternity and into time. And the very person who his one and only unique son. A fact of history. I'd learned about his son, Jesus Christ, in Sunday school every Sunday. Growing up, I knew about him. But that evening I learned that I needed to put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ. And he loves us so much that he sent his only son to die for you and me. If we would put our faith in Jesus Christ, we will never perish. Gentlemen, we will have everlasting life with him. And then that evening I learned something. It really hurt. I knew it. But I heard it from this man. I learned that it causes a very, very sinful man, a very prideful man, a man broken off from his relationship with his creator.
[00:42:53] German. I learned that evening that because of my separation from the God who made me, I could not know his love and plan for my life. I also learned that until that barrier was separated, I would not know his plan and avoid my heart was never going to get filled. My life would really have no meaning and purpose. And then when I died, I would have eternity separated from him. You see, gentlemen, God has a unique plan for each one of us in this room, but because of our pride and our rebellion, that barrier that separates us from God separates us from knowing that plan for our lives. That evening, I learned that an order to bridge that barrier, I must put my ultimate faith and trust in God's provision for me. And I also learned that evening that I could not do this for my wife and she couldn't do it for me. We need to individually reach out and receive God's gift. Each one of us needs to reach out and receive that gift. And to those of us who reach out and receive that gift, he gives us the privilege and the right to become his children. You know, this couple was leaving our dining room 1:30 the next morning and this man stopped me dead in my tracks in our driveway. When he said the following, he said. He said, Adolph. You know what your trouble is? Adolph, you're putting your faith and trust in the things of this world.
[00:44:21] I'm putting my faith and trust in a $2 billion brewery, putting my faith and trust in a big six figure paycheck, putting my faith and trust in an airplane at the airport, a boat, a beautiful home in the mountains, putting my faith and trust in my marriage, my things. My wife stopped me dead in our tracks, getting to bed that evening. She said, you know, she said, honey, this couple's got something. We don't have it.
[00:44:52] It was three days later that my wife slowed down her life long enough to recognize the void in her heart was not getting filled. And my wife several days later said a very simple prayer. Prayer. We're going to pray together. And just a few short minutes and gentlemen, avoid it. I tried to feel for seven years of marriage, was instantly filled that morning, as she said yes to God's provision for her. My wife's never been the same since. I think it was Phyllis Diller who said, never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight. Our marriage wasn't working, gentlemen. It wasn't working. And still, several days after she made this decision, I walked out on my wife and my son of four years thinking divorce might feel. My board walked into one of the best hotels in downtown Denver. You know, while was separated from my beautiful wife of good friend of mine gave me a book that I recommend to every father and every husband in this room tonight. It's a book called Do Yourself a Favor Love Your Wife. Written by Pastor Paige Williams, a pastor from Florida. Gentlemen, I cried my way through that book several times. I cried my way through that.
[00:46:09] You know, I used to think that a macho man, a tough man, a neat man, you know, macho guy was a guy who could drink his buddies under the table, who could earn a lot of money, who could buy all the things you want to buy all these things.
[00:46:22] I thought that's what a real man was. But, you know, this book told me what a real man is, a real man as one who has his priorities in line with the God who made us. There are four of them, gentlemen. They're so simple. We missed. The most important priority we will ever have as human beings is to know the God who made us and know him in a personal way. It's the most important relationship you'll ever have. The second most important relationship, gentlemen, is the love that wife waiting for you at home tonight to love her. But, guys, we can't love our wife and our own strength. We simply can't do it. And love has to come from the God who made us. It's a very special love. The third most important relationship is the love. Those kids you're blessed with at home. You see, gentlemen, all children are the living messages we send to a time we're never going to see. And then the fourth most important relationship is to have true friends. I'm not talking about business associates. I'm not talking about golfing buddies or drinking buddies. I had plenty of those. I'm talking about a person who will attend your funeral someday and not look at his or her watch. And I had none of those, none of the above or even close making lots of money, had titles going to the top of the head, of course, company. I was going to do it. But it was about a week later that I went to hear a man speak at the request of a friend. I didn't want to go hear him. Just like some of you here tonight are here because somebody wanted you here. But you really don't want to come. But you're here at the request of a friend. And that afternoon, I walked into this auditorium surrounded by thousands of people.
[00:48:08] And I'll tell you what, I did not want to be there, but that afternoon. As this man began to talk, I learned something and I needed to hear. I learned that my salvation is found and no one else.
[00:48:28] There is no other name under heaven given whereby you and I gentlemen can be saved. No other name but Jesus Christ. You know, Marines don't cry cause men never cry. But that afternoon, as this man shared, tears began rolling out of my eyes. I began to cry uncontrollably.
[00:48:51] That afternoon, I learned that for 30 years the God of this universe had been knocking right here in my heart, but I've been running from him so hard.
[00:48:57] I was a driven man, driven. But that afternoon I slowed my life down long enough to hear the God of this universe knocking right here in my heart. And I just man closed in prayer. He asked me to make a decision. He asked. Every one of us to make a decision. And that afternoon, I recognized my voice wasn't getting filled. That afternoon, I said yes to God's provision for me. And I said yes in a very short prayer. Avoid I tried to fill for 30 years, was instantly filled.
[00:49:32] My life's never been the same since, gentlemen, I travel all over this world sharing with successful people just like you, my wife and I got back together again about a week later. You know, gentlemen, a good marriage is a union of two. Forgive us. A good marriage is not finding the right person. A good marriage is becoming the right person for your wife. And gentlemen, don't make the mistake of basing your marriage on feelings. Don't make that mistake. If you gentlemen feelings come and go in a ebony flow. Here's a triangle, gentlemen. Here's a triangle at the top of this triangle is the relationship with Jesus Christ. You are over here and your wife is over here. The closer you draw to the God who made you, the closer you become as husband and wife, the closer you become as husband and wife.
[00:50:34] Simple physics.
[00:50:37] It was not long after I got back together again with my wife that I was able to sit down one morning with my mother who was near death. My my mother was 44 years of age at the time. My father was murdered in 1960.
[00:50:50] Over the next 15 years, my mother cultivated a hatred for the man who killed her husband. My dad and I cannot describe you. Hatred, killers.
[00:51:00] Hate will kill you. It'll kill me. And the dead and the pain about hate. My mother tried to drown her songs and alcohol. Alcohol will kill us guys and kill us. If used excessively, alcohol will kill us.
[00:51:15] One morning I was able to share with my mother the greatest news in the universe as I share the love of Jesus Christ with my mom. 72 hours after I said goodbye to her on that Wednesday morning, she had a massive stroke in the home of friends, fell down a flight of stairs and never regained consciousness. But gentlemen, to those of us tonight who know Jesus Christ. Death is not a period. No, death is not a period. Death is a comma in the story of life. Gentlemen, we are really not ready to live until we're ready to die. That's why I asked you at the beginning of my time with you, I asked you, this is your passport for eternity in order. This is heavy stuff, guys. Heavy stuff.
[00:52:04] Is your passport for eternity in order?
[00:52:08] I shared this message with a successful business couple in North Carolina five years ago and an event just like this. That evening, as we closed in prayer, they made a decision for Jesus Christ. That evening, they got into their car to return home to their kids. Two blocks from the event. They were hit head on by another automobile.
[00:52:31] They never made it home, never made it home.
[00:52:37] This decision I want to ask you to make in about a minute cannot be made when God Gell-Mann has to be made. When we're here, we're alive.
[00:52:47] We'll never know who we are, gentlemen, until we know whose we are.
[00:52:52] And I'm going to ask you to do something for me tonight as you go home after a busy day. I want you to put your head down on your pillow tonight. I want you to think. I want you to get a real what you get very quiet. I want you to think about all these things you're putting in that void in your heart tonight, gentlemen. I don't know any of you, really. I want you to think about what you're stuffing in here. Your success at the office. Maybe your bank account. Maybe your athletic prowess stuffed in here, your drive. You succeed at any price stuffed in here, your toys in the driveway, stuffed in here. That promotion coming up, that trip this summer, stuffed in here at Cute Girl at the office. Well, if I could just get her between the sheets. Is she going to make me happy? I played those games. You know, I played those games, too. I know what I know. That's going to be stuffed in here. I want you to ask yourself this first question. So what somewhat.
[00:53:57] But before you doze off tonight, gentlemen, I want you to ask yourself an infinitely more important question.
[00:54:02] I want you to ask yourself now what? Because, gentlemen, in life, as in any other race, crossing the finish line first makes no difference. If upon crossing that finish line, you suddenly discover that the race you've been running all these years to the crowds while cheering just perhaps might be down the wrong track. I ran a race for 30 years. Down the wrong track nearly cost me my marriage at nearly cost me my life. It cost me several fortunes. Cost me a relationship with my first son for four years of his life. If you've never claimed your inheritance and haven't by professing Jesus Christ tonight, gentlemen, I'll promise you this. Everything that you do on this earth will be totally in vain. I promise you.
[00:54:58] And I know there's a couple of you in his room tonight are thinking, well, Adolf Cougar's I'll deal with God later. I've got my career to think about. I got my family to think about. I'll deal with God later. Yeah. Gentlemen, you should Will.
[00:55:10] But it won't be on your terms. I can promise you that.
[00:55:17] So what? Now what?
[00:55:25] Well, laid off, I got to go to church twice a year. I'm a good person. I'm going to heaven on our head off. I'm a good I'm a good guy. I'm going to heaven. If you believe that any religion is a vehicle of entry to heaven, if you believe what I'm sharing with you tonight is a religion, gentlemen. Think again. This is not a religion I'm talking about tonight. This is not a religion because religion won't do. You and me, I look good. There's a barrier that separates us from our God. It's called our pride and rebellion. And because of that barrier, Jesus Christ had to come to die. The most agonizing death called crucifixion of history. And three days after he died, he walked out of that tomb and ascended into heaven. Irrefutable proof that what I'm dealing with tonight is not a religion, but is God the God of this universe? We're dealing with God himself, and he wants to do business with you tonight. Eternal business. But I'm not going to promise you that if you make this decision is your life is going to become trouble free from here on out. Because the Christian life, gentlemen, is not a trouble free life. But there's a savior knocking on your heart right now who says, my peace, I give with you my peace I give to you tonight. My peace I leave with you. Are you tired of carrying the burdens of this life by yourself? You would never meant to carry those burdens by yourself.
[00:56:44] He wants to carry those burdens for you tonight for the rest of your life. And he promises us you'll never leave us. You'll never forsake us. But tragically, some of you are gonna get into your car in the next 10 minutes. You're gonna leave here and you're gonna go back to your offices tomorrow morning. You're gonna forget everything I said, and that's your choice. But if you believe that any way to heaven is okay, if you believe that your good looks, your talent, your money is gonna get you to heaven. I want to leave you with one last thought before I turn it back over to Don for the conclusion. Just hours before Jesus Christ went to Calvary's cross to die for you and me, gentlemen, one of his disciples one morning stopped him dead in his tracks. Man's name was Thomas, a Jew. Thomas had been following Jesus for three years. Thomas as Jesus Christ. A very important question that morning. Thomas said, Jesus. Are you the Messiah? Are you the way to heaven, Jesus? Are you the one we've been waiting for all these centuries? I couldn't ask a more important question. Who is Jesus to you gentlemen? Jesus turned to Thomas that morning and listened to what he said. If you believe truth is relative. If you believe your talents, you're going to get you where you want to go. Jesus turned to Thomas that morning.
[00:58:12] Is the Thomas. I'm the way I am. De-wei Thomas. I'm the life Thomas. I am the truth. No, man. Thomas comes to God the father. But through me no one goes to heaven, Thomas. But through me, not religion. Right out the window. Gentlemen, it knocks your talents and my talents right out the window. It's so simple. We miss it. It's faith in Christ. Guys, it's that simple. Doesn't take a rocket scientist. It's so simple. We miss it. Don't miss it tonight, guys. Don't miss it. Because none of us know how much time we have, none of us do. Your wife is not wired. Your life is not wired. Don't think it is. Not wired. So I won't ask you to make a decision now as I leave you. I couldn't give you a better gift than one about to give you an opportunity to say yes to this God. This knocking on your heart right now wants to come in. He wants to change you, and he wants you to have an impact on this city. He wants you to be a father and a husband. That you were created to be a successful business manager. You were created to be all along. He wants to change you from the inside out. If anything I have said to you tonight, gentlemen, if anything I have said to you makes any sense at all and you hear that knocking on your heart.
[00:59:31] Please don't leave here without making that decision. Please don't do that because this decision determines where you spend eternity says. It's the most important decision you will ever make. I'm gonna ask you to make it right now. Close your eyes.
[00:59:55] Get real quiet. This is between you and God, between you and your creator. Listen to that. Knocking on your heart. Listen to it. I pray this out loud. I want you to pray silently. And I want you to meet you with all your heart. Lord Jesus, I need you. And by an act of my will tonight, I open the door of my heart in my life and I receive you as savior. Lord, I understand for the first time tonight that I have run from you all these years. I have rebelled and sinned against you countless times. But tonight, I want to thank you for forgiving all of my son, my rebellion, my pride. I want to thank you for your death on that cross for me. Take control of my life tonight and make me into the kind of man, the kind of husband, the kind of father, the kind of human being. You created me to be. Thank you for coming into my heart in life right now and granting me eternity with you as you have. So promise to me. It's in Jesus Christ name. I do pray a man. And I want to thank all of you for listening. And I trust that my time has meant something to you. God bless all.