The Edgewater Beach Hotel


“In 1923 a very important meeting was held at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago.  Attending this meeting were nine of the world’s most successful financiers. Those present were: the president of the largest independent steel company, the president of the largest utility company; the president of the largest gas company; the greatest wheat speculator; the president of the N.Y. stock exchange, the president of the Bank of International Settlements and a member of the President’s Cabinet. Certainly we must admit that here were gathered a group of the world’s most successful men; at least men who had found the secret of “making money’.

Let us see what happened to these men twenty-five years later. The president of the largest independent steel company, Charles Schwab, died in bankruptcy and lived on borrowed money for five years before his death. The president of the largest gas company, Howard Hopson, went insane; the greatest wheat speculator, Arthur Cotton died abroad insolvent. The president of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard Whitney, was recently released from Sing Sing Penitentiary. The member of the President’s cabinet, ‘Albert Fall, was pardoned so he could die at home. The greatest “bear” on Wall Street, a Jesse Livermore, died a suicide. The head of he greatest monopoly, Ivar Kruegar, died a suicide. The president of the Bank of International Settlements, Leon Fraser, died a suicide. All of the men learned well the art of making a living, but none of them learned how to live.”


What are your goals for success? I mean specifically. “If you aim at nothing you get nothing.” There is a saying that if you let a big ship just zoom wherever it wants that it will never get out of the harbor.


Is it money? .. How much? Is it to be top in your profession? .. How high? Is it to be a ruler of people? .. How much power? Is it grades in school? Many have money as a goal and lie, cheat, wreck homes and happiness to get it. Many want power, to rise in an organization. In every profession people want to get to the top and they will gossip, cheat, fight and crawl over one another to get there.

 

Competition is keen; the majority will end in discouragement, give up and fail. 5 out of 100 will be successful in one of the areas statistics show; but statistics do not show or note the happiness of the 5 that did achieve this success. I would like to recommend a goal to you. If you learn and achieve this goal, I promise you success - success in your field, success with people. I guarantee people will want to be around you. I promise that your friends will double - triple. I promise you happiness.

This sounds unreal doesn’t it? But what I am talking about is so important to people that people actually go insane to get it. Babies die from lack of it (marasmas). Suicide and sickness is caused from lack of the goal I want you to seek after. The thing I am talking about is the very essence of life.


Psychologists say it is essential to life. It has been proven scientifically. The famed anthropologist Ashley Montagu says it is one of life’s greatest needs. The Bible has been hammering away at this theme for centuries. And yet you know something, you will have no competition in achieving this goal. If you seek after this goal you will be practically alone. Have you figured out what I am talking about. The goal I am speaking of is LOVE defined as genuinely appreciating people and making them feel important. Suicide, mental illness to name a couple.. All they needed was a little love from someone. They didn’t get it.

Since love is such a necessary ingredient of life, everyone is out to get it and few are out to give it. Why is it that people act like they do. Bragging, loud mouths, attention seeking, grabby, give me, busy in everything, arguing, sarcasm. All that shows is “We Want Love”. We want someone to appreciate us, someone to give us a feeling of importance. We seek honors, athletics, grades, prestige, hoping to be loved as a result.


It seems that everyone is a receiver of love. I want to challenge you to be a giver of love. If you do this, you will be in demand because you are giving what everyone needs. We all need this, it is essential! You will have competition if you want to be a banker, athlete, business person, high achiever in academics but will you be in competition to love?... NO!!

But listen, make no mistake, love is not easy. There is a cost, yet the rewards are great! “I’ll come over if it doesn’t rain.” This is the reason there is not much competition. People are afraid to give other people honest appreciation because they are afraid they themselves will go down in appreciation. So instead of giving love, making the other person feel important, making the other person feel appreciated, we cut the other person down. I know a guy in high school that I hated to see coming. “Hi ugly!” He was cutting me down, hoping to build himself up. A cutter and a mocker are just shouting loud and clear that they need to be appreciated.

Love costs. It isn’t easy. Make no joke. Love costs pride, it takes effort, sensitivity. Love builds people up sincerely. We think things, lets say them. Let’s sincerely and genuinely compliment one another and appreciate one another. We want to do little things, let's do them. Let's get out
of the common herd.


The goal I am speaking of is love! Love, we need it, this is what everyone needs and yet few give it. Everyone is out to get, why don’t you give. You know you and I want a friend so badly - maybe more than anything else. Why aren’t there more of them around. Each year we learn more and more what friendship means. Friends accept us for who we are, eager to please us and an eagerness to share and listen in joys and sorrows. True friends are few and far between. Everyone needs one and we are so busy trying to earn a friend that we never have the time be one. This is life - friendship. Without it, we have nothing! We need a friend. Life was made this way.


But don’t you wish there was someone that knew you intimately. Your background, circumstances, chemistry, psychology, feelings. One who could gather all the material, put it together and bring the deepest solution to you - adapted to your personality - tailor made for you. And to top it off someone that really loved you. Someone that loved you enough - well even to die for you. It sounds too good to be true doesn’t it. But it isn’t impossible and this person is available to you. He has already proved his love for you because he has already died for you.


I want to recommend someone to you that wants more than anything to be your friend. I don’t know your problem and I can’t really help you with it but I can point you to the solution, in the Bible the friends of the blind man did. I can point you to the Lord Jesus Christ. He has the solution to your problem, to your life, to you future. Because He is the future. He is life. Knowing Him is your answer. The answer to your problem is essentially this.. Knowing Jesus Christ.


I would like for you to think with me about “what was the most important day in the life of Jesus Christ,” and then to explore what this might mean to each one of us. One night in my dormitory room at the University of Pittsburgh a few friends and I were discussing just this question. “What was the most important day in Christ’s life?” I remember that we started with Christmas. It was obvious to us that without the birth God could never have entered our world in flesh. Someone countered that by saying that if Jesus Christ had not died on the cross for our sin, then the birth would have no meaning for us. Someone else chimed in and said the obvious - If Jesus Christ had not risen from the dead, then Jesus Christ was not who He said He was and the birth and the cross would have no meaning. The resurrection was evidence that the saving work that Jesus Christ came to do was completed.

So it was the resurrection that brings meaning to Christmas and to the cross. Without the resurrection Christmas would be just another birthday and the cross just another execution. The Apostle Paul agrees with this by saying in I Corinthians, “That if Christ be not raised from the dead, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” Adolf Harnak, a German theologian said this: “To me Christianity stands or falls with the resurrection.”


The question really is this: Is Jesus Christ who He said He was? He made fantastic claims. If they were true then He is to be worshiped as the Lord of the universe. If they were a lie, then He is to be considered the biggest hoax in history. If Jesus be not raised from the dead, then our preaching is in vain, our faith is in vain, and we are wasting our time here being made fools of.


Listen to some of Jesus’s tremendous claims:

“I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” (How about that? Wonderful hope or a cruel joke.“ "I am the bread of life.” He claims to be our sustenance. “I and the father are one.” Image of invisible God. “I am the way, the truth, the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.” He doesn’t say He points the way to the father or life, but that he is the way, the truth, the life. If you want life, get to know Christ. “I am the vine, you are the branches.” Bear much fruit. Do you want purposeful, meaningful life? Get to know the Lord Jesus Christ.


The truth of the resurrection is indisputably essential. When Jesus died on the cross, even the disciples gave up hope. They were in despair, even though Christ had told them that he would be raised after three days. They did not expect it because nothing really made sense until after the resurrection; they only experienced gloom. The enemies of Christ on the other hand took precautions at the grave. They placed Jesus in a tomb and sealed it. They rolled a huge stone in front of the entrance and then sealed it. To be sure that no one would try to steal the body, Roman soldiers were put there to guard it. As far as Christ’s disciples and enemies were concerned, Christianity was dead!

Now here is where it gets exciting. What would you do if you were God on this tremendously important day - so much was at stake. How would you use Jesus on the day of the resurrection?


It wouldn’t take me long to know what I would do. I don’t think I could resist in taking Him over to Pilate's house. I would knock at the door. The servant would take us into the courtyard, and when Pilate came, I would say to Jesus, “Show him your hands.” And to Pilate, “Say you are sorry!” … But mostly what I would do would be to expose Jesus to as many people as I possibly could.


I would start off with a big parade - many chariots filled with disciples, yelling that Jesus is alive! He is who he said He was! The Messiah! “You are forgiven!” -I would have had horns and drums. I would wind through every one of those narrow Jerusalem streets inviting people to the “Jerusalem Metropolitan Colosseum” for a rally. When the place was packed, I would bring Jesus Christ out and have Him show the wounds. Have testimonies to the fact that, yes, this was Jesus, and not an impostor. Then I would have Him repeat the claims He said of Himself before he was crucified!

Is this what God did? No, anyone who thinks that doesn't understand the heart of the Savior. God simply does not see crowds. He sees the individuals in the crowds. He sees their needs, their potentials, their zest for living. From the beginning to the end of Scripture, we see God’s concern and love for persons. It talks in terms of people, not crowds. We all know names of Bible characters - persons like Adam, Eve, David, Isaiah. Shepherds, king's, tax collectors. In the New Testament there are unforgettable glimpses of Jesus’ concern and attention to the individual people. Luke writes that Jesus was passing through Jericho, and the crowds were pushing and shoving to get close to Him. He was on His way to Jerusalem. Suddenly He stopped under a tall sycamore tree and looked up. There hugging a limb jutting out over the road was Zacchaeus - an ornery tax collector, despised by the people. In full view of everyone Jesus says to Zacchaeus, “Come on down. I want to go home with you.” That little guy with beating heart scampered down that tree so fast.


Jesus sees individuals in the crowd that needed Him. He didn’t give Zacchaeus a lecture on shaping up his life. He loved him, accepted him just as he was. Then another crowd scene. This time Jesus was on His way to Jairus house. Jairus was a ruler of the synagogue. He was at the top of the success ladder in this religiously-oriented community, but he had a daughter who was dying, and he came to Jesus for help. Jesus didn’t even answer him. He just started walking towards his house where the dying girl lay. Jesus doesn’t see rich, poor, position rank - He sees individuals and their needs. Their hurts and joys.


So the crowd was walking with Jesus. Jostling Him as they went with an air of excitement and anticipation of what Jesus would do at Jairus house. Suddenly Jesus stops. He whirls around and says, “Who touched me?” The disciples say, “Whoa! What do you mean who touched you? Everyone touched you!” But Jesus felt that special touch of need. He felt power go out of Him, and He stopped, looking for that individual person in the crowd.


It was obvious who it was. A woman stood trembling and she came forward and confessed saying that she had a flow of blood for 12 years, had spent all her money, had been to many physicians, but instead of getting better, she had gotten worse. She thought that if she could just touch the hem of his garment, she would be made well, and she was. The sad part is that this poor woman who had suffered so much didn’t even know that she couldn't go right up to Jesus Christ face to face and share her problem. She didn’t even know that God loved her just as she was and wanted to hear her story. So she had to sneak up behind. Jesus could have kept right on walking, knowing someone was healed, but He stopped because there was some that needed something a lot more important than being healed.

On the most important day in history God spent the day as He always does. He went to people who needed Him - individuals, not crowds.


John 20: 11-16 Mary Magdala was weeping at the tomb. The Gospel of Luke tells us that she has been healed of demons by Jesus. Jesus had given her life meaning and now He was dead. She came to the tomb to anoint His body. She just wanted to be near Him. Jesus appeared. She thought He was the gardener, until He said, “Mary”. She knew immediately who He was. No one seemed to treat her with that much esteem. She said, “Master.”


Mary was the first one to whom Jesus appeared. Not because she was important and carried a lot of influence. She didn’t. She was a single woman who spent most of her life as crazy. Plus, she was a woman. In Jewish society in Jesus time, the men would thank God daily that they were no women or slaves. Jesus came to her because she needed him.


That same day two ex-disciples were walking to Emmaus - their faces drawn in misery. They were talking of how great it was to have been with Jesus, how rich and full life was when they were with Him. Now He was dead. Jesus then began walking beside them unrecognized. When they arrived at their home they invited Jesus into eat with them. When Jesus broke the bread and gave thanks, they must have noticed the nail prints in His hands or the quality of the prayer, but they recognized that it was Jesus. They were so overjoyed that the Scripture says they ran the seven miles to Jerusalem to let everyone know that He had risen. It was all true. Life wasn’t over. It was just the beginning.


Then we know Jesus revealed Himself to Peter. Peter was miserable. He had denied Christ three times and then went out and wept bitterly. The Scripture doesn’t record how Jesus revealed Himself but my guess is that He put His big arms around him and told him that he was forgiven and that he loved him.


Then Jesus sometime that day visited the remaining disciples who were wanted Him. Did God blow it? Did He waste this important day? He came to a single woman, a couple farmers, a room full of trembling men. Certainly not! They were so transformed, so filled with the love of God and so aware of His presence that they went out and changed the world and you and I are a result.


On the most important day in history He came to those who needed Him; how much more so now. He is risen. He is available. Is there anything that holds you back from the Risen Lord? Do any of you think that you might not be important enough or good enough for Him? Some of you might feel that, “Yes, Christ died for all people, but I’m different.”

Jesus does not want us to miss the point. In Luke 15, our New Testament lesson, He says that if a person had 100 sheep and one was lost, he would go after the one. when he found it, he would rejoice and have a party. God feels that same way when one person who is lost comes back to God. Jesus is saying that if all the people in the world were perfect - never sinned and you alone were the stinker, there would have been a Christmas for you. Jesus would have died on a cross for you, and He would have risen from the dead for you. And if you responded to Him, there would be great joy in heaven. Jesus died for sinners. The only way to qualify is to be one!!

Years ago I was at a football practice at a local suburban high school. I saw the manager who was a friend and asked him if he would like to come to our Young Life weekend that we were having in two weeks. He said he thought he would be busy. I told him I sure would like to have him come. He said he didn’t have any money. I told him I thought I could get some for him to help and that I would really like to have him come. He said he didn’t think so and then he ran off kind of out of control. He began to run all over the pace. He got another fellow to throw him some passes, and he would run all over the place. He got another fellow to throw him some passes, and he would run, fall down. It was strange. He was putting grass stains on his pants. Well, when practice was almost over, I began to leave. This little guy with long blond hair ran up to me and said, Chuck, do you really want me to come?” I said “Yes. I sure do.” He said, “I might ruin the trip for the other kids.” I said, “Please come.” I wanted him to come more than ever. I realized that he was running around so much earlier because he was asked to go somewhere just because he was him.

I couldn’t wait until the weekend because I knew that probably for the first time, he would hear that he was worth a whole lot and that God thought he was something special. Before the weekend was up, he had opened his life up to the love of God and was the most thrilled, loving guy at the weekend, and there was great joy in heaven. Christ has done all He can on His part. He has lived, died, risen for us. He has said He loved us in many ways. It is up to us now. Love will not force itself. Some of you might never have responded to Jesus and have always been sort of in the crowd looking on as a spectator. Some of you might never have known that God wants to have a relationship with you personally. That is why in the book of Revelation, there are recorded the words of the Risen Christ, which say: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and sup with him and him with me.” He waits for us to respond. Have you opened the door wide to your heart and asked Him to come in, giving Him your joys, problems, and cares?

Many of you have already opened your life up to Christ, but maybe there is a problem or care that you are keeping from Him for some reason. Give that to Him. He cares for you. He thinks you’re something really special.

-Chuck Reinhold

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