Speaker Series Presents…Ed Kobel
Our special guest speaker Ed Kobel, President and COO of Debartolo Development, brings a story of his life and business; from successes and failures; and how relying on God helped him through it all. Join us as Ed talks about listening to the Holy Spirit and how it can impact your life today.
Man in the Mirror Bible Study
Special Guest Speaker: Ed Kobel
Patrick Morley: Our speaker today is a friend. His name is Ed Kobel. He is the President of the DeBartolo Development, LLC. DeBartolo is a big deal in central Florida because if you’ve even been to the Altamonte Mall or the Florida Mall then you’ve been to a property that was developed by Ed’s father. In fact, Ed DeBartolo, Senior invented the regional mall, so it’s quite a family legacy. Ed is a father, two daughters, and husband of Becky. They live in Tampa.
Patrick Morley: He started his life out as the son of a German-Swiss immigrant family, grew up with his mother in Pennsylvania and ended up joining the military where his first job was a spy. He traveled around Eastern Europe posing as a student during the Cold War, so that was an extremely interesting start. When it came time to decide whether or not to reenlist, he decided to go into real estate with a formal colonel and it didn’t work. He said he couldn’t sell anything. But he did have a knack for investments and so he did 81 small investment deals until finally he had some other business men take him under their wings. Ed now takes businessmen under his wing, but there were several businessmen who took him under their wings and showed him the ropes of real estate.
Patrick Morley: At the same time, began inviting him to events just like this, many events just like this where after hearing about how to integrate faith and business over a number of these events he finally decided to embrace the Christian faith in his own life and he’s going to tell you a little bit about that story this morning, both about faith and how’s he’s integrated that into his life.
Patrick Morley: There was a time where he has several 100s of millions of dollars in shopping centers and the market tanked, and he was let with a whopping debt. I don’t know if I should tell you this, but I saw it in writing, so I guess he’s going to be okay with me telling you this. But he had $115 million in debts that he couldn’t pay back. Did I say $115 million? Yes, I did. But he and his wife Becky decided that God wanted them to honor him by trying to work through all of that, never sensing that there’s any promise that he would be able to, but that it’s part of Christian character to try to work through those problems. It took give years but they were able to work through all of those problems and repay all of those debts. That’s why Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse … pronounce is Suisse?
Ed Kobel: Suisse, yeah.
Patrick Morley: Yeah, Credit Suisse then extended them a $500 million accommodation to go and do deals, then it was off to the races. Somewhere along the line Ed was given the opportunity to do a deal that would provide technology services to the NFL and it was at that point that Ed decided it was time to reach out to the brother that he knew he had, but the brother who didn’t know that Ed even existed. Because, you see, Ed’s father was Ed DeBartolo, Senior, but that had been through a relationship that was not part of his marriage. He reached out to Eddie DeBartolo, Junior who most of you would know has won five Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers and a great reconciliation took place, a family was reunited. Because of the Lord working in Ed’s life there is a redemption that took place there. Then now today those two brothers are in business together and it’s our honor and privilege this morning to be able to welcome and to hear from … I wonder if you’d join me in welcoming Ed Kobel. Take that.
Ed Kobel: Thanks a lot. Little intimidated being here, so say a prayer for me. I hold Pat … I read his book about 30 years ago when I was a young father, so just being here is very exciting for me, I appreciate it. Thanks for the warm introduction.
Ed Kobel: I thought I’d start off with a funny story about Pat. When Pat was five he stayed home from church one Sunday with his mom, he had a sore throat. His father and the rest of the family went to church, they came home and they had palm fronds. Pat said, “What are those?” His father said, “Well today was Palm Sunday and we waved these in the air to honor Jesus riding on a colt.” Pat said, “I can’t believe it. The one day I miss church Jesus shows up and gives away free pony rides.” Not to be left out of it, when Brett was young, he was leaving church when he was six one day and his father was outside, Brett was playing and he waved. As he was running out the door the pastor was there and Brett looked at the pastor and said, “Hey Pastor, when I grow up I’m going to give you money.” The pastor said, “Why would you do that?” Brett said, “Well my dad said that you’re the poorest preacher we’ve ever had.” Hopefully you won’t say that after I leave here today.
Ed Kobel: Really guys we want to talk about … Pat told a bunch of this story … but the greatest thing in my life is what I call abiding. There was some Christian research done that I got introduced to about 15 years ago and let me give you a definition of abiding. It’s having a daily quiet time with your heavily father, it’s journaling, if you think about it, whatever the father says you’re in communion with the creator of the universe. If he says something to you shouldn’t we write it down? I was taught this by Henry Blackabee. I got picked and just my wife says I’m the Forest Gump of real estate, just show up and … So I got picked with the president of Walmart, Procter & Gamble, and FedEx and another guy around a table with Doctor Blackabee and Doctor Case. It was experimental. They had been praying and they heard from the the Lord that revival is going to come not from the church but through men in the marketplace. I did this experiment 15 years or so ago. They said we’re going to spend three years with this table of guys, we’re going to meet three times a year for two days and we’re going to see if we can get these knuckle heads to hear from God.
Ed Kobel: Amazingly, we started hearing from God. I want to tell you that I became a Christian and as Pat alluded to as the illegitimate son of DeBartolo, Senior. He disappeared from our life when I was about six. As Pat said, he had another family, my brother Eddie, my sister Denise, and a wife 60 miles away from where my mom and I lived. Grew up pretty humble beginnings, one room apartment, and that’s really how I got in real estate when Senior abandoned our little family. My mom’s heart was broken and she turned to alcohol first and then she turned to drugs to feel that pain. The landlord could come by looking for the rent and being seven years old I was embarrassed to talk about my mom’s condition so I would always say, “Mom’s sick.” The landlord showed grace and mercy and say, “Oh, that’s okay.” He would take me for walks and talk about taking these old Victorian homes and breaking them into one and two room apartments. I was intrigued by that concept. Then he would give me little odd jobs to do, so he’d pay me so I could pay him back for the rent. That was really how my real estate career got started.
Ed Kobel: Then, as Pat said, I had a chance back when I was in high school the Vietnam War was going on and so we had lots of friends on the block who were older, they were in Vietnam and they’d send us letters. They were heart wrenching letters. We’d have assembly hall in our high school where I grew up in Pittsburgh in the inner city. The recruiters would come and tell us how great the Army, Navy, Marine Corps is. I thought hey in 10th grade I’ll sign a delayed entry contract to go in the Army because I could get a free education and healthcare benefits, and they’d be also benefits for my mom and a dependent. I thought this is great. I felt like how bad … as a kid you don’t know how bad could it be in a war. Fortunately, by the time I graduated, the Vietnam War ended about three months ahead of time. Ended up in a counterintelligence school, they call it spy school, and it’s a year long program.
Ed Kobel: That’s really the first time I heard about Jesus. I showed up to this new school the first day, check in, get my bunk, go to the mess hall, chow line, sit down at a table, and everybody introduced themselves. There was about 12 guys there and these were all Vietnam veterans. It was a combination facility where Navy and Navy Seals and everybody’s cross-training. Here I am out of high school, little punk kid and I got these multi-tour Vietnam veterans there. I sit down and I’d start to chow and the guy puts his hand on me and says, “Well wait, we’re going to pray before we eat.”
Ed Kobel: I’d never done that before so I stop with a mouthful. The guy next to me bowed his head, asked the lord to bless it, we started to eat and then part way through the meal that gentleman, these guys were telling me about all their duty and how difficult it was in Vietnam. The one man who prayed said, “Hey Ed, would you like to pray to receive Jesus Christ?” I looked at the table and all eyes were on me. I rejected the message because I didn’t know what the answer is that they wanted me to do. Because I felt this peer pressure, I declined the message but a funny thing happened, that man on this giant military installation every day for a year I would see him and he would say, “Hey, I’m praying for you to graduate from this school.” I rejected the message of Jesus Christ that he had shared with me.
Ed Kobel: Got out of the military, had a great time in the military. I got out. As Pat said, I served with a colonel, I went to college in Colorado and was going to night school. I served with a colonel who had retired and bought a real estate company. He offered me this great job in real estate, so I got my real estate license, going to school at night, taking care of my mom. But in the first couple months I realized I was too young, nobody was going to buy a home from me because I didn’t know anything. I went back to the colonel and said, “Colonel, thanks for this opportunity, but I’ve got to get a real job that pays some money.” The colonel really poured some truth into me and said, “Hey, you’re using your veteran’s benefits to go to school free, but unlike what we taught you in spy school you’re missing out on the bigger picture. You have other resources and your other resources are you can buy real estate with no money down.” I ended up with some tutelage from him buying a little four unit apartment building, fixing it up, selling it in about 100 days and made $37,000, which in 1979 was a lot of money. Did it 81 more times and that’s how my real estate career took off.
Ed Kobel: Becky and I, met Becky, she was a title agent. At first she had no interest in me because I was a doofus. I had a bad mouth, smoked, drank, had fast cars, racing, all the bad things of an ex-military guy. She was a pretty model, competitive tennis player, wanted nothing to do with me. Eventually, I wore her down. But we ended up getting married and I wanted to go from being a slum lord to being a developer. I started networking at events like this. I would show up at any event where there were a group of people and all of a sudden I met … This was taking place in Colorado Springs at the time. I met a guy named Ed Rudolph, big good looking guy. He won three medals in the Winter Olympics, a gold, silver, and a bronze as a speed skater, big developer at the time. I was trying to interview because I wanted to make a leap from slum lord to developer and the best way to do that was on the job training, which is part of what they teach in the military. Unfortunately, at that point in time, the prime interest rate was 21. Remember those days anybody?
Ed Kobel: Nobody was hiring in real estate because nothing was going on. I went back to Mr. Rudolph a second time after he rejected me and I said, “Look, you don’t have to pay me because I have all these rental properties, so I’m not really looking for payment, I’m looking for education.” I said, “Look, I’ll take your car down to the car wash,” he owned a car wash down the road. Which was kind of a set up, he had a cool Mercedes that I really wanted to drive. I’ll take the trash out, I’ll do whatever, but the deal is, you don’t have to pay me, but I get to sit in on any meeting. If you’re meeting with the mayor I’m in on the meeting. If you’re meeting privately with city council or with your bank I’m in, I’m learning. I’m your little shadow. He goes, “Okay.” He takes out his Mercedes key, tosses it to me, said, “Go get the car washed, take the trash out on your way.” It was perfect.
Ed Kobel: Then the interest rates started to reduce and we started to do some things, and things took off. I put together a shopping center that I really thought he was going to do. He ended up at the end he said no. He set me up, he said, “No, you know what? I’m not going to do it because I think you can do it on your own.” He was just speaking truth. He also spent time with me and invited me to a Bible study that he held in his boardroom. I didn’t own a Bible. I didn’t know any of the stories, Joshua, I knew none of those things, none of those names, none of those stories. He and the guys just worked with me, never embarrassed me and they just gave me time.
Ed Kobel: I would just encourage, as I look around the room there’s a lot of guys close to my age, just try to grab a young guy. You got a lot of wisdom and just pour into him man, it’s so powerful. These guys poured into me and they were very patient with me. Every month there was meeting like this, a CBMC, a Christian Businessman’s Committee, and every month these guys would get the front table, set me right here. They felt like the closer I was to the speaker maybe that Christianity thing would weigh in on me.
Ed Kobel: Here’s how bad I was, I was still drinking, smoking, and this girl, this was just before we got married, I was sleeping with, she’s now my wife, but we were living together. I didn’t want to tell these guys who were pouring into my that my real objection was my sin in my life. Here’s how bad it was, I was a real stinker, I would lie to them and say, “Well, I’m really hung up on Darwin’s Theory of Evolution,” which is kind of lame because I’m not an academic like Pat, he’s got how many PhDs? You got a ton of them.
Patrick Morley: Right.
Ed Kobel: I was a knuckle head and they knew, they were so gracious they knew and they just loved me anyway in spite of myself. After about six months of these luncheons, all of a sudden, a guy named Doctor [Comms 00:18:01], he was actually from Cape Canaveral, he was the lead scientist to put a man on the moon. After he did that he said, “Hey, I’m done. I’m going to go around the world and tell people about Jesus.” He was a speaker, he came out and he opened up his comments, and he said, “I’m going to debunk evolution for you.” Boom, right there I’m convicted. I’m saying to myself, “Uh-huh.” The guys around they table they’re like little smiles like he’s going down today.
Ed Kobel: Sure enough, he started talking and the spirit came on me. He wasn’t even done and I just felt the Holy Spirit move and I just started weeping, crying like a baby. It was kind of a little embarrassing after a while. Of course he gave the invitation to invite Christ into my life and I prayed to receive Christ. It was a slow process. I had to go back about a month and a half later, tell my girlfriend at the time what I did and said, “Hey, we’ve got to separate, we’ve got to move apart. We’re living in sin.” She’s like, “Who’s the other girl?” It didn’t go well at first. Anyway, we worked through that, we moved apart for two years and then got married the right way, so there was some changes. It wasn’t a radical on the gutter to the top of the pyramid, but it was a process because I’m slow. Then we got married and we took off. We built the shopping center that Mr. Rudolph set up for me to go with. We took off and we did about $300 million worth of projects and just had a fabulous run, made $10 million a couple years in a row, bigger houses, more expensive clothes, better vacations, all the stuff.
Ed Kobel: All of the sudden, the Lord really needed to adjust me. I think he just wanted to humble me and put materialism in a perspective, so he created something just for me called the savings and loan crisis. As Pat said we were on a $100 million plus loan. All of a sudden, all the money had we’re paying, we’re trying to keep properties, and we’re selling properties at big discounts. All of a sudden, we’re out of money. Our lawyers and accountants say, “You owe $100 million on this one shopping center.” We weren’t yet 30, by the way. He said, “You should probably file bankruptcy and after a few years get on with your life.” I’ll never forget, it was really the first time I think I prayed with Becky. We sat down, held hands, and we called upon the Father.
Ed Kobel: I want to just tell you that something amazing happened in that unity. Psalm 133 the Lord says: “In unity I’ll command a blessing.” We came together in unity. But the other point I’d make is that if you’ve prayed to receive Christ you’re in dwell with the Holy Spirit. When we’re in dwell with the Holy Spirit then Bible says, all through the Bible, that we have communion with him. If Pat and Brett could get Warren Buffet to come and speak to you all one morning that’d be cool. We’d be taking notes, what’s Warren’s stock tip. Bill Gates, he’s got all kinds of great ideas, we’d be listening to that. Then they’d leave and that would be it.
Ed Kobel: But today guys we’ve got a chance, if you’re walking with the Lord you’ve got access to the creator of the universe 24/7. I just want you to ponder that for a second because we call it abiding. Abiding is having a daily quiet time with the father, journaling, writing down what he’s telling you or what’s on your heart and then it also is bearing fruit. If you look at your life are you bearing fruit for the kingdom? What the Bible promises us in John, Jesus speaking he says, “Satan came to steal, kill and destroy.” Jesus says, “I came to give you an abundant life.” Now, when we talk about that, if we look at the Greek and the Hebrew that doesn’t mean stuff, that means an abundance of peace, love, joy, and hope and it’s much more important than the stuff. If your life is chaos, if you’ve got some things that aren’t working right, I would have you really look at the heart of your Christian walk.
Ed Kobel: In fact, Doctor Blackabee said in that first day, in the first five minutes of that three year class, he challenged this little group of executives and he said, “Hey, if you’re not hearing from your Heavenly Father on a regular basis, the very heart of your Christian walk is suspect.” Man, that hit me like a ton of bricks. He also went on at that point and he said, “How many of you hot shot CEOs have a quiet time?” We’re all a bunch of A guys and we all raised our hand. The average time was five and a half minutes. Doctor Blackabee then challenged us one more time and he said, “What would it look like in your life if you had your quiet time with your journal, with your Bible talking to the Father and you didn’t get up until he dismissed you?” Well I’ll never forget the president of Walmart said, “That’s crazy Doctor Blackabee. I run a global company.” The president of FedEx, “That can’t be done.” Doctor Blackabee, he had a little potbelly, he’s like the Pillsbury Dough Boy of godliness, he never argues. He would just say to this little table of guys, “That’s between you and the Father.” We are all convicted.
Ed Kobel: I’ll never forget, I left that first day of that three year class. I go home to Tampa. We had a little part of our bedroom and had a little bedroom and had a little table, we called them a prayer table. I’ll never forget, I went there and I said, “Okay Father, today’s the day. I’m going to go from 5 minutes to 10 minutes,” big, big stretch. I’m journaling and I’m talking to him. The other thing is to keep off your electronics because something ticks or buzzes, I’m like a bunny rabbit, I’m off. All of a sudden, times goes by I figured, “Man, that feels like 10 minutes,” and I look, it was about an hour and 15 minutes.
Ed Kobel: I’ll put it to you this way, abiding, hearing from God is not something you have to do, it’s not legalistic, it’s something we get to do. I was up about 3:11 this morning and about the same time night before, not because I’m worried, not because I’m anxious, because I can’t wait to hear what the Father and I are going to do today. It applies to everything. If you have parents that are aging, if you have adult children, if you have young children, you have business, you want to get business. It applies to every aspect of your life. In the Book of John the Father says, “Look, I know your name, you know my name. I know your voice. You know my voice.” He’s speaking to us. Think about this, taking that passage, if he’s speaking to us he’s talking to us about our circumstances today.
Ed Kobel: I think a failure of American Christianity is we pray to receive Christ and we check the box, and that’s where I was. When I prayed to receive Christ, when that rocket scientist gave that testimony that day, I was 22 years after, what I would call a nominal Christian. I knew I was going to Heaven. I had even taught for five years Henry Blackabee’s experience in God at an adult Bible study, but I had gone to a place that I described as resignation where I stopped reading my Bible because it didn’t really make sense and I thought, “You know what, I’m just going to listen to the smart guys. I’m going to read Pat Morley’s book. I’m going to listen to my pastor and whatever they tell me to do I’m going to do.
Ed Kobel: It was a waste of 22 years of my life until Doctor Blackabee and these other guys poured into me and taught me how to hear from God and it’s real easy. There’s two prerequisites to hearing from God. One is you have to pray to receive Christ because without the [inaudible] of the Holy Spirit all bets are off. Secondly, you have to have a willing heart, it’s that simple. I could have prayed with you in the parking lot, came in here and you don’t have to be as educated and as experienced as Pat or Brett. You can be a brand new Christian with a willing heart and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and this comes together for you. It’s that easy, it’s powerful, it’s life changing and it’s my passion, as you can tell, to tell people young and old. We’re seeing lives change. We do a lot of retreats at our ranch. We have a working cattle ranch on the Florida-Georgia line and we do telephonic conference calls, John’s been through some of them.
Ed Kobel: We’ve got guys that their lives are changing and you think about it, many of you are in the business community here in Orlando. I’ll give you an example, we’ve got a young guy in north Florida, he’s got four BurgerFi restaurants, maybe you’ve eaten at a BurgerFi. We say, “How are you going to take Christ into the marketplace in your business?” Well guess what? He’s got 12,000 customers a week and I’m going to say that’s probably in the top five churches in the state of Florida, 12,000. He’s out there trying to reach 12,000 people, plus his vendors and his employees.
Ed Kobel: You start to think how do I live out when I hear from … I’m going to freak you out now, Pat didn’t give me permission to use this word so I might get fired on the spot. When you’re abiding and you’re hearing from the Heavenly Father, and then you obey, we’ll talk about that in a second, when we hear from the Heavenly Father and you obey what he tells you to do next, your next step, you enter into the supernatural.
Ed Kobel: That’s what I didn’t have, that 22 years as a nominal Christian, I didn’t have that cool supernatural stuff that you experienced that you read in the Bible. I just didn’t think it was for me, I was at that point of resignation and I said, “I guess I’m not that spiritual guy. I’m just not that guy. There are other guys that have that gift or whatever you want to call it, but that’s not true, that’s a lie. Everybody has access to this.
Ed Kobel: Back to my story, I owed $100 million plus and Becky and I prayed. The Father said, as Pat alluded to, don’t file bankruptcy. Now there’s no condemnation, if somebody in here has filed bankruptcy there’s no condemnation in that, that’s just what the father had for us at that moment of time. We said, okay, we’ll go on this journey and we’ll see if we can get this money paid back. Five years, all kinds of cool stories of God’s intervention. Long story short, we got everybody paid off, didn’t file bankruptcy, but now we’re down to zero, maybe slightly negative net worth.
Ed Kobel: I said, “Hey, that worked out pretty well, even though I’m broke. But now let’s go to the Father,” this is it, if you’re talking to the Father and you want ideas for your business he’ll give them to you. You want ideas for relationships he’ll give them to you. I said, “Father, what’s next? What do you want me to do?” In a nanosecond he downloaded a business plan. I write it out, clean it up, and then I go back to him I go, “Okay, I understand the business plan, it’s in my skillset as a real estate developer”. Now I have zero assets at this time. I said, “Okay, how do I fund it Father?” I’m praying, I’m having this kind of conversation with him. He says, “You’re going to Wall Street.”
Ed Kobel: Now I’d never been to New York City, never been to Wall Street. By the way, didn’t finish college. I just decided this real estate thing took off so I cut out a year early, so I didn’t really have a pedigree for Wall Street for the world standards, but it didn’t matter because it was the Father’s plan not Ed’s plan. Go to Wall Street and as Pat mentioned, ended up getting $500 million with no assets, doesn’t make sense. What you’ll find as you go on this journey, abiding, hearing from God, obeying, entering into the supernatural is the cool stuff is going to start happening to you. Another amazing thing that is going to happen is you’re going to have an evangelism explosion in your life because people are going to say, “Hey man, why is all this cool stuff happening to you?” He goes, “Hey, you know what, I’m talking to the Father, I’m journaling and I’m obeying.”
Ed Kobel: Let me tell you about obeying. Obeying is a small step for us. What I see in my life is it’s constant, it’s throughout my day. A little example is there’s a Panera Bread just in front of our office, just down the street a half a black. I’ll whip in there on my way to work after the Father dismisses me from our quiet time together and I’ll get a big iced tea to go fire up the caffeine engine. The father will say, “Hey, see that homeless person at that table outside of Panera? Buy him breakfast.” Now, not a big crisis, but I’m looking at my watch because I know my assistant’s got a conference call set up and if I do that I don’t know how long that’s going to take, I’m running this through my mind. I’ve got to make a decision am I going to obey the Father or am I going to obey the urgency? I email my assistant and say, “Hey, push that all back half an hour.” Boom, gets some egg sandwiches, couple bottles of water, sit with that homeless person.
Ed Kobel: Now, the Father didn’t say, “Hey, lead that person to Christ,” or, “change is life,” just show love. Here’s breakfast. I just want to tell you I love you man, the Father told me to do it. There’s little things and then those little things as we obey become bigger things. But if you need an idea for your business or you need an idea for a relationship struggle, if you need an idea for retirement, whatever, the Heavenly Father is there and available to you and ready to intervene in your life. But we have to be intentional about it and that’s something that we’ve seen as we’ve been able to teach this around the country, that we tend to rush our time with the Lord and we tend not to believe that we can hear. Like I said, that’s where I was for 22 years. I didn’t really believe that was for me. I didn’t think that was available to me.
Ed Kobel: But I’m going to take a break now and just open it up for some questions before we go on. Anybody? Sir?
Question #1: Hey, I have a question. Thank you so much for coming to speak. This is awesome. When you talked about the cool stuff, something that came into my head was at the end of Jesus and Peter’s interaction physically on Earth Jesus told Peter, “Hey, you’re going to be crucified.” How would you, looking at the Bible, say how did Peter experience that cool stuff knowing that he was going to be crucified? We know that he did. We know that he had joy. We know that he did many awesome things and acts.
Ed Kobel: Absolutely.
Question #1: What I wanted to ask you is like when the cool doesn’t look cool on the outside looking in, how is it still cool with Jesus?
Ed Kobel: Well I think for me it’s not a straight path. What I’ve found is the old me is I’m not saying you’re going to go through life when you’re abiding with no issues, just like your example of Peter. But, what I am saying is you’ll go through whatever circumstances the Father has for you. You can walk through them with peace, love, joy, and hope.
Ed Kobel: I’ll give you an example, one of my best friends is here in Orlando. Seven weeks ago today she found out she had cancer, double mastectomy two and a half weeks later. Through it all, up until yesterday even talking to him, peace, love, joy, and hope when you get the call for cancer. The Father’s going to provide the mechanism because he made a promise to us on that abundant life promise in John 10. You wouldn’t say that how was cancer cool stuff in our intellectual stuff. But when you see and she’s writing a blog, she’s writing a book, she’s impacting 1,000s of people around the world with her blog, it’s unbelievable, it’s a tear jerker and just powerful testimony of going through this. That’s kind of what it looks like.
Ed Kobel: Now in business, it can look a little bit differently. I’ll give you an example of hearing from the father. In fact, the root of it is right here in Orlando. In 2007, while abiding, the Father speaks to me that there’s going to be a real estate correction. Wow, as a real estate guy that’s pretty important news, write it down. Now, he didn’t say when, he didn’t say how, he didn’t say what. He just said, “Hey, there’s going to be a real estate correction.” I go back, go in, talk to my executive staff say, “Hey, Father said…” now we don’t have a Christian company so not everybody lines up like little ducklings and say, “Okay, what should we do.”
Ed Kobel: This was debated. The debate goes and then here’s how cool the Father is when you’re abiding, the very next day the Lord is going to speak to you in a language that you understand in the physical. This table is physical. The spiritual trumps the physical, think about that for second. What’s that mean? The Book of Genesis, the Father spoke the world into existence. You’ve all read it, right? Spoke the land, spoke the sea, spoke the sky, spoke the lights, spoke the dark. The spiritual trumps the physical. When you get that and you start walking in that confidence, you experience the supernatural, you’re going to experience the cool stuff.
Ed Kobel: The very next day my staff is struggling with this revelation that I share with them from the Father. Now, the very next day we’re working on a site in front of the Orlando Airport. We were going to do a Target center there. The seller and I had negotiated but not yet signed a contract to buy 35 acres there for about $4 a foot. I called the seller the next day after this revelation and he says, “Oh man, I’m so sorry. I signed a contract with a different firm at $15 a square foot and they’re going to give me 25% of the deal with no obligations, no signing loans, none of that.” I told my staff, “Wow, we just lost that deal.” They’re like, “Hmm, that’s interesting.” Then a couple days later same thing happens in Clermont. All of a sudden, believers and non-believers saw in the physical what the Father had said in the spiritual. Follow me? So he was forewarning us.
Ed Kobel: At the time, we had about $900 million of real estate under development across the country. Now, the crisis of belief was as the president am I going to redirect the ship? When you have that information, you got to then make a decision. Are you going to keep going as a developer when you’re seeing this unfold or are you going to stop? We stopped, monetized, basically caught the top of the market, not because we’re smarter than anybody, we just happened to be following the Father.
Ed Kobel: Let me tell you something, this isn’t special to me, this is special to all of us, because in John he says, Jesus speaking says, “I’m going to give you the Holy Spirit.” It goes on to say, “And the Holy Spirit will tell you of things to come.” Think about that as a Christian businessman, businesswoman. This is going to sound weird, you’ve got supernatural powers. Are you using them? Are you experiencing this? If you’re not, we want to get you on board man. We want to change your life with this message.
Ed Kobel: Another question anybody? Sir?
Question #2: Yeah do you discern hearing from the Father versus just some kind of your own…
Ed Kobel: That bad pizza I had last night?
Question #2: Yeah.
Ed Kobel: Yeah, it’s real easy. The same guy I mentioned whose wife has cancer, they just had a baby not too long ago, little Bella. If you think about, everybody’s been around a baby, you bring the baby home from the hospital, googoo, gaga, eating pooping, that’s it, nothing going on. But about five days into it you walk into the room with the baby and you say, “Oh little Bella.” Boom, what happens? Her little eyes, she knows your voice. It’s the same thing with your Heavenly Father.
Ed Kobel: In a couple of days you’ll know the voice. There will be no mistake. In fact, in the scriptures it says it, there will be nothing. It also says in the scripture, “I will make my will clear to you.” A lot of times a lot of Christians they get a lot of questions like what’s God’s will, here’s my problem, what’s God’s will. Let’s ask him. He says in his word, “My will is not a mystery. You don’t have to go to the top of the mountain or the bottom of the sea, just ask me, I’ll give it to you.” Too often, we’re not slowing down to ask him, or like the old add, I would go and say, “Hey, here’s this project I want to do Father, will you bless it?” Rather than hey, I’m talking about doing a joint venture with Pat Morley on this land development deal in Orlando. Do you want me to be in business Pat? Do you want me to be in a land development deal at this time of the cycle Father and waiting on him to answer? Usually, right? That’s how I was. I’m giving him stuff, “Hey, bless this.” I’m talking to him. I’m telling him what to do.
Ed Kobel: Now, a lot of people challenged me at that point and said, “Well wait a minute Ed, what are you saying? I’ve got a PhD like Pat Morley, and I’m smart and I got all this experience. Are you telling me I should throw out my PhD and my experience, and just throw all that to the wind?” Absolutely not. All I’m telling you is an alignment of interest. Ask the Father about that deal when he says, “Yes, go and do it,” then use all your experiences that he’s given you, rather than the way I was doing it is, here’s my deal, bless it, I want to run with it. Big difference.
Ed Kobel: Another question?
Speaker 6: I just got a comment. I got invited [inaudible] and I just joined it. About two months ago I came to Jesus, decided I wanted to change my life. Came home from that event [inaudible] and told my fiancé that I no longer wanted to live in sin. To hear you say that after yesterday when my fiancé moved out, and I was struggling-
Ed Kobel: Sure.
Speaker 6: … I was trying to abide by God, but I was starving to death. I felt so alone. I’m so struggling with this. Then you talk about cool stuff. I come here [inaudible] and you gave me my answer.
Ed Kobel: Praise God.
Speaker 6: You know as hard as it is I’m abiding by God and I feel like I have a journey in ministry ahead. I don’t know what that looks like.
Ed Kobel: God’s going to honor that. Let’s stand on that promise. There’s no doubt about it, God’s going to honor your decision. That doesn’t mean she’s out, she’s going to have to come to that decision to honor him.
Speaker 6: She didn’t obviously handle that.
Ed Kobel: She didn’t handle it, neither did my now wife. She’s like, “Who’s the girl? Is it April?” She rattled off all the names of the sexiest girls in Colorado Springs at the time. I said, “No, no. Could be, no.”
Ed Kobel: Another question, sir?
Question#3: I was going to ask you with the busyness of today’s environment, especially for young people like you said devices, just school, and pressures, and things, what are some ways that we can focus on spending that time [inaudible] it seems like there’s 1,000 other things to do.
Ed Kobel: It’s funny, I was just telling a story to one of the guys here. A young guy came to me Tuesday. We’ve got a class in our boardroom Tuesday that is abiding. His name is Joey, he’s got a double masters in finance and accounting. Smart, smart young guy. He’s engaged to get married in the spring and he said, “Hey, I’m abiding every other day, every third day. I’m trying to grow my business. I want to get wealthy. I’m going home at 9 o’clock at night. I try to do my abiding, trying to leave the house at 6 AM and then I usually get home at 9.” He said, “What do I do?” I go, “You got to man up bro. You got to reach down. You got to grab some testosterone.” It’s this simple, do you believe the promises of God and the Bible or do you not as a man? You got to own it.
Ed Kobel: Malachi 3 the Father says, only time he says trust me. He says, “Hey, trust me with your time, your talents, your treasures.” Here’s what we’re teaching mostly millennials. We have a millennial focus, we’re doing a lot of CEOs, but all of a sudden the Lord’s brought a lot of millennials. You know what we’re teaching them? 50/50. What the heck is 50/50? Are you man enough to give the Father 50% of your time and 50% of your money? It’s blowing their minds. We’ve got young men … We just had 12 of them at our ranch, average age 26 and a half, average income $1 million. One of them went to college, they’re living this out. They took the 50/50 challenge, they’re writing checks, they’re getting involved in ministry. They’re getting on advisory boards and boards of ministries and they are taking this message into their business, unashamedly, unabashedly, giving out the gospel traction in commercial businesses. They’re not afraid of what’s going to be on CNN or what’s going to happen and how they’re going to get misaligned as an evangelical Christian.
Ed Kobel: But what’s happened is we’re listening to the opinions of the other side. We’re letting those opinions of every day news affect how we interact with our Heavenly Father. We got to take control. Think of it, there’s a lot of businesses represented here. Think if every business man and woman here started living this out in their business? We’d turn Orlando upside down. We’re seeing it happen in Tampa. We’re seeing it happen in Jacksonville. We’re seeing it happen in Phoenix. We’re seeing cities become changed from a handful of men living it out, standing up and believing what the scriptures say, and taking a step in faith and saying hey, now here’s the cool thing, the Father doesn’t expect you at this second to have that superhero power. But if you have a willing heart and your challenge with Lord, I really think I should get to work, just if you say, “Hey, Father, show me how to live this abiding out.” Guess what? He grabs you by the hand, he says, “Okay, brother, let me show you. Come on son, let me show you how to live this out.” Powerful. That’s entering back into the supernatural.
Ed Kobel: We’re going to wrap it up here. What I want to say to you in conclusion is if you’ve never prayed to receive Christ I’m going to give you an opportunity to do that. If you’ve done it and you’re sort of like I was for 22 years, you want to rededicate yourself this morning, let’s do it. I want to challenge you to learn how to abide and you can contact the guys and we can do a class for your whole group here, a weekend or however you want to do, we got all kinds of different ways to do it. But, we want to help you go to this next level. Yes, it’s great if you pray to receive Christ and you know your eternity is set and you know you’re going to Heaven, that’s fantastic. But you’re missing out on … Think about the Lord’s Prayer, he said, “Thy will be done on Heaven as it is in Earth.” The only way to do that is through abiding. The only way to do that is by having an intimate relationship with him where you’re hearing from him, obeying, doing what he’s telling you to do and changing the world. This is a room full of world changers. We can change Orlando right now, this year, not five years in the future, this year guys.
Ed Kobel: Bow your heads with me if you would. Heavenly Father, I think you so much for this opportunity to be with this group this morning. Thank you for Pat and Brett for what they’re doing here and around the world with Man in the Mirror. We thank you for the content and the great books, and the pamphlets, and everything. I hand them out weekly. But Father, right now we’ve got some folks that have not prayed to receive you and some that have that have maybe gotten to that stage where I was of just resignation, not living a life of belief, not abiding. We just want to clean that up right now Father on the spot, on the premises. Guys, just pray silently with me.
Ed Kobel: Heavenly Father, I know that I’m a sinner. I know that I’ve been on the throne of my life. You’ve not been on the throne of my life. I want to fix that right here, right now in Maitland, Florida. Father, I want you to take the throne of my life. I want you to be in control, I want you to speak to me. Father, I want to hear your voice. I want what Ed’s talking about. I want to live the rest of my life in that covenant relationship where we have that communion, where I’m excited to get up in the morning. I’m hearing from you and I’m journaling, and I’m living it out, and I’m holding hands with you walking through this journey of life because you’re speaking live into my circumstances today. I thank you for eternal life, that’s important. That’s eternity. But Father, I also want what we’re talking about this morning right now. Father, I just invite you into my life. I invite you take over and to help me be the man or the woman that you want me to be. I ask all this in the great name of Jesus.
Ed Kobel: Thank you all very much.