In my preparation to become a field superintendent in building construction…my chosen career…I spent a large portion of my early-to-middle twenties working in as many different building trades as I could…such as residential framing, finish carpentry, remodeling, residential drywall, commercial drywall, commercial lather on a 22-story high-rise in downtown Los Angeles, mason’s tender on the masonry block portion of the construction of a supermarket store, and laborer on a large department store in a shopping center in Homestead, Florida, for three months during my summer break in junior college.
From ages twenty-eight to thirty-one I broadened my experience by working three years in residential construction customer service for a large builder…first as a repair-person and then as head of the department.
I then furthered the advance preparation of “paying my dues”…of “learning my craft”…by working as an assistant superintendent for two and one-half years in production tract housing…before becoming a superintendent in my middle thirties…completing a bachelor’s degree in construction management at age 38 by attending night classes.
Because my goal from the beginning was to become a construction field superintendent…during these years as a tradesman, in customer service, and as an assistant superintendent…I took detailed notes and made rough sketches of what to do and what not to do as a jobsite superintendent…to be able to influence the work…at key milestone points…to run more smoothly and as error-free as possible.
These notes and sketches became the material for four books published by McGraw-Hill (1995-98)…on how to avoid problems, crashes, and collisions between the various building components…in housing construction…which I began writing and illustrating at age thirty in 1982.
This is not unlike many careers where people “work their way up from the bottom” in order to learn their craft…before moving up into a supervisory/leadership position.
I should disclose here that I became a Christian at age 18…and received a very clear and supernaturally confirmed calling two years later…to become a construction superintendent…which would take-up too much space here to describe adequately and in detail.
My personality is such that I would describe myself as being a rather slow and deliberate thinker. I usually need to “go once around the block” before I figure things out…in nearly everything in life. I am not an instantly “savvy” or “with-it” person by nature…needing first to experience or observe something in action before it clearly “sinks in.”
I would guess that this is true for many people.
The inspired approach of making an early investment of first-hand, varied building trades experience upfront…worked well for me…because when the time came to be a full superintendent in charge of my own projects…I had developed a good sense of how to proactively think-ahead to organize and schedule the work.
But equally important, I had also built-up over the years a personal database of close to two-thousand problems and issues to avoid…which if eliminated upfront through constructability analysis and by using detailed checklists sequenced to each successive phase of the work…removed these subtle debugging problems altogether before they had a chance to enter unnoticed by stealth into the construction…which otherwise would create the seemingly inescapable, repetitive daily syndrome of “putting-out-fires” that plagues the jobsite management of many new construction projects.
How this all relates to this book about the real truth about God…is that this approach of advance preparation toward a very specific and well-defined future goal…in my work career…also informs part of my understanding of the underlying purposes and intentions of God-composed journey of faith life-scripts…demonstrated in the biblical narrative stories of faith.
Most importantly…this informs a unique worldview having purpose, meaning, and hope for human life…that when understood in its novel, elevated, and unconventional aspects…turns out to be light-years ahead of any atheistic, naturalistic philosophy for life.
If our very short-length lives here are intended to be an experiential preparation for the upcoming reality of eternal life in the kingdom of Jesus Christ…this then turns upside-down all standardized priorities within worldly conventional normalcy and thinking (Mt. 6:33).
It more accurately defines the true spirit of God-composed journeys of faith. It more accurately defines the essence of the Christian life.
Some of the most unconventional, non-worldly verses in the Bible…that describe the elevated outlook of the people engaged within their God-composed journeys of faith life-scripts…can be found in Hebrews 11:12-16:
12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
God-composed journeys of faith life-scripts are intended by God to create the context for the advance preparation of Spirit-born Christians to enter into the kingdom of Jesus Christ…now and in the heavenly world to come…by being part of the active solution of fixing specific and wide-ranging problems here in this world…sometimes solely and simply by becoming a better person “in Christ” right where we find ourselves…through the divine foresight, insight, and premeditated planning of God.
This is what I experienced in my divinely orchestrated apprenticeship in preparation to become a building construction superintendent…imperfectly performed by me at many points along the way…yet perfectly planned and managed by God in its conceptually insightful program…and in its uniquely innovative, final outcome.
Should the goal in life be to acquire material wealth, elevated social status, personal acclaim, and financial security…or should our goal be to walk within a journey of faith with God…allowing Him to reveal to us the talents and abilities He created within us…in unselfish service to other people and to the world-at-large…while leading us into the all truth of John 16:13 as preparation for eternal life in the upcoming kingdom of Jesus Christ?