3:18– My background and testimony
6:39– How did your faith become really real for you?
11:48– A little about Eastway Custom Homes
16:29– What is the hardest thing you’ve been through as a business owner? And how did your faith help you through it?
26:16– Advise the 20 year old you
27:49– The 4:23 Question
Home building has been in Guy’s family for several generations. Guy has been an owner of the UBuildIt franchise since 1999, and he started Eastway Custom Homes in the late 1980’s.
Eastway Custom Homes strives to shift the focus of home-building back to the original intent of a home as found in the Bible. Through their Discipleship Builder Program, building crews as well as home-buyers walk through a three-month training program where they get to experience the building process while gaining knowledge and reverence for what a home should really be. Guy hold degrees in both architecture and construction management.
Ray: Hello, again everybody, this is Ray Hilbert, and I am your host here at Bottom Line Faith. And this is the program where we get the incredible opportunity to travel the country and talk with and interview some top Christ-followers in business and in marketplace leadership. We talk with CEOs, and business owners, and high-capacity executives, and managers, and occasionally we have the opportunity to talk with top-tier athletic coaches, actors, and celebrities, and so forth. But what we’re all about here at Bottom Line Faith, this is the program where the analogy we like to use is, we’re going to lift the hood and we are going to tinker around in the engine of Christian leadership. We like to learn how these top capacity leaders think, how they plan, how they fail, how they live out their faith in the marketplace, and how God is using them to fulfill the calling He’s placed on their lives. And so, folks, if you are a first-time listener, welcome to the program. You can learn more about bottom line faith, you can listen to the dozens of interviews we have posted at our website at bottomlinefaith.org, that’s bottomlinefaith.org. You can also scroll down to the bottom of the page there, and you can subscribe and become a regular listener to the program, whether you use iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, whatever your podcast platform is, you can sign up there at Bottom Line Faith.org. Well, let’s get rockin’ and rollin.’ I am really, really jacked, Russell; Russell is our producer here, I am really, really jacked about our guest in the studio today, and this is one of my dearest friends in life, and I really, I didn’t tell him this but, I just planned this cause every time I get a chance to have time with this guy, I’m blessed and I walk away a better man. And so, yeah, we’re going to do an interview, but I’m really being selfish with this one today, folks. We are welcoming into the studio my friend and now to be your friend, Guy East. Guy is the CEO of Eastway Custom Homes, right in my hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. Guy, welcome to Bottom Line Faith, my brother.
Guy: Glad to be here brother Ray; it’s good to be here.
Ray: Well, you and I have over last years begun to develop, at least I treasure our friendship-
Guy: As do I.
Ray: And every time you and I speak, every time I get time with you, as I just shared, I feel like I’ve spent time with someone to help me grow closer to the Lord. You are an encourager, you are a blesser, and you also in a very special way challenge me in my walk, so that’s what I’m expecting that our listeners are going to get today, so no pressure.
Guy: No pressure. I am what I am, so whatever they hear, they get to hear and be blessed, hopefully.
Ray: That’s fantastic, and Guy, we’re going to learn more about your company and in particular how you really view your business as a ministry to serve the Lord. But, just give us some background; kind of how you grew up, where you grew up, how you came to faith in Christ; just give us a snapshot there.
Guy: Yeah, well I grew up in Indianapolis, really, after my mother died in Iowa, after my father had graduated from Stanford, and we were at his first job at a university. And so at eight-years-old having been born in San Jose and had one stop in Iowa, my mother died unexpectedly in childbirth with my sister, who died as well. And so that changed the trajectory of my father’s life, which actually affected me and my siblings. So I think what’s really important to know, right there is that at my mother’s funeral, an eight-year-old boy, I was at her calling, and it was an open casket, I remember looking at my mother and I was so close to her, I was the first oldest son out of four children, and I just remember asking her, that I thought, “Mom, who’s going to take care of me with you gone?” And she wasn’t listening and she wasn’t responding, obviously, but I was an eight-year-old kid and so it was as if the hand of God came down on my shoulder and as I’m asking this, and actually what I later found out, that I was up there long enough to where the ceremony was delayed because I was having this conversation, that ended up being with God.
And it was as if God actually wrapped his arms around me, and he answered my question. He says, “I will be with you. I will take care of you.” And so I’ve had, I really feel, like I’ve always had a super dose of faithfulness because after hearing that confidence, being confident of that experience with God was life changing. Now I didn’t come to know Christ till fifteen years later, though, and I went through the rebellious stage, and just about 3 years after, I married my childhood sweetheart. We dated for 7 years and then after college graduation we married, and I think she realized that, boy I married this pagan here, even though I sat in the front pew of a Presbyterian church. My father and stepmother were Elders of the church and very involved, but I had not heard Jesus in any of the sermons, and I was on my own path. But, you know, it was something special I was working on a tall high rise project downtown Cincinnati, and my wife said, “Hey, there’s a movie out here by Billy Graham, ‘The Prodigal;’ let’s go see it.” And so that movie, at the age of twenty-three, I saw that movie then thought, I think they’re talking about me in that movie, so I went back the next night and I realized that God was calling me, and then I confessed my faith right there overlooking Cincinnati that night.
Ray: So at age?
Guy: Twenty-three, I was twenty-three. Yeah.
Ray: So newly married, relatively newly married at that point right?
Guy: Yeah, three months.
Ray: What happened then? Just give us, now you’re into early adulthood, how did your faith become really, real to you? More than just a conversion but, give us examples, walk us through how that began to shape up for you.
Guy: So, my father was from the greatest generation. I must say that, he was a Dean of Liberal Arts, he was actually the debate coach at the Nixon/Kennedy debate when it was held in San Francisco in the early 60’s and so he was very involved with his university, loved children as well, and became very involved and giving back to the Boys & Girls Clubs as well. But he wasn’t always around and even though he set up a good model, maybe my willingness wasn’t really as he wanted it. So after some rebellious running around and doing what we do in the teenage years, I realized married my childhood sweetheart, was thankful that we were married, but it wasn’t until, really, I would say the night after 9/11 happened. I will say what really began to solidify my face was not in 1983, but actually was 18 years later in 2001, when a small group that we were with, the leader challenged us to begin walking and praying with our wives and praying for not only our marriage, but praying for our country, because our country was in a time of crisis at that time.
And so that began, really two days after 9/11, my wife and I began a discipline of prayer walking that took us an average of five miles a day. Even on the days we didn’t walk, it was over 18,000 miles a year, we seemed to walk. But we would go seventy to eighty minutes and we would pray for neighbors, we would pray for the students on the school bus going by and on the bus drivers and the administration, and of course, our family, our children absolutely. We would pray for a marriage, we pray for family, so it really became a very, very fun discipline and to the point where we thought, well, if we don’t get up, and some mornings it was very tough because it was cold out, and we had a rule like, if it gets to 5,° we can take a pass, but then we thought, “Well, who’s going to pray for these people, if we don’t go out and do it?” And so that was really our motivation. And so that discipline continued up unto just two weeks shy of fifteen years. You talk about a launching point, and so that discipline was beautiful. I think because of that we were able to stay married, stay happily married and grow in our marriage and become one as Genesis 2:24 tells us, is that we are to become one, united in flesh. But that really didn’t happen until two weeks shy 15 years of walking and that’s when my back gave out. And I was at a coaching event, I was coaching on the sidelines for a football game, and my back gave out, and it was close enough to where an ambulance was talked about, but I was too prideful. I did not want to be carried off of the sideline as the coach-
Guy: And so that was when I was introduced to Psalm 32. And that was, the psalm of repentance and forgiveness, and in Psalm 32, David writes, “He says when I was silent, my bones wasted away, but when I forgave and ask forgiveness for my sins and pretenses, I was washed as whiter than snow.” And so I began to think about that, cause my bones were wasting away, my back literally gave out, a slipped disc, and that was causing all kinds of of trauma and problems. And so in that process of getting diagnosed with that, I also realized that I had a heart calcification. And so it was not just one big problem, but two. And so that turned, that Psalm 32 came into play, and I realized that maybe there was hidden sin in my life that I had not yet dealt with. And I didn’t know what that was cause it wasn’t obvious. It wasn’t like I was an addict of anything especially after the discipline of walking so much, and praying so prayerfully, and having already started off with a head start on faithfulness to begin with. Until I realized, that maybe in some areas of my life, in this case, it was purity. I had not mastered sin as God challenges in Genesis 4:7. “Sin lurks at our door. It crouches waiting to get in, and we must master it.” And I have not mastered that, and so that was life-changing. When I became aware of that, my back eventually healed, my heart healed and avoided surgery, and I’ve had nothing, but I’m on fire right now for the Lord in a bigger way than ever before.
Ray: Well, folks, I told you you were going to get encouraged. I told you you were going to be challenged and learn from this man of God, so thank you, Guy. So let’s transition; let’s talk business. Tell us a little bit about Eastway Custom Homes, what you do, how long you’ve been in this industry, and we’ll get to the ministry side of that, but just help us understand your company.
Guy: Yeah. My great-grandfather was a home builder up in Chicago and northern Indiana region. I never met him, but I did meet some of his clients. My father was the dean, and my mother’s father was an engineer, and so here I had a builder an engineer, and a teacher, really, in my family legacy. And so it was, I loved building from the get-go. I just love being able to look at buildings going up, I love the smell of lumber, and I thought that is something I could do. Most of my family members are PhDs or doctors, vets, what have you, and I was a black sheep of the family. I thought, “Well, I’m the one that’s going to want to use my hands,” and so I really grew up early as a carpenter, and l loved building, and that love took me from that application to a college degree. And I was able to actually get two college degrees, one in architecture and the other one in construction management. I ended up with a company that was my dream company and it was located here in town; they built sports stadiums and I was somewhat of an athlete want-to-be. And so being able to build these massive sports stadiums, and plus I was a history fan, too. Looking back at the Roman coliseums, and the Parthenon, and looking at some of these big open stadiums in buildings that would allow for sports performance, especially those covered, was a fascination to me. And so being involved with a company that was my favorite one, the number one company to be with in the country for my my profession, who employed me. And I will say that I may not have been the best candidate for a job but my father said, “Well, if you want something bad enough, just pretend that you are there.” And so he said, “Don’t send your resume in, don’t mail it, don’t call; you go to work.” And I said, “Well, Dad,I don’t have a job yet; they don’t know me from Adam.”
And so I showed up for work, all dressed and ready to go. On my first day, I walked in to the reception office, and I let the receptionist know I’m here to work. And that was kind of a funny thing that actually led to a good relationship with that receptionist,, which actually led to a few interviews right on the spot. This took over six days of doing. I showed up to work, I think my sixth day and was finally hired, and I was not going to say no. And I knew that it was easier for people to say no over the phone, or no over the internet than it is say no to the face. So I needed this job; it was my top company that I wanted to be with. So that’s how I got my first job. I then realized after being on some very high profile projects after that, they were the number one sports stadium builder in the world, but I realize that there was so much dysfunction with the employees only because there was very little grounding of family. So one family would or one manager, or superintendent would travel every two to three years, and so there was never, the roots never took place, at any one town. And that actually had some very severe, adverse effects on the family structure. And I noticed that fairly early on. I said, “Well, I’m trying to avoid that.” My great-grandfather on my other side, he distilled back up in the hills of Indiana and spent a lot of time in jail. And he was not a very good father figure to my father, and I want to avoid that. I’ve heard too many stories about that, plus it wasn’t natural, and it wasn’t fun to think about. So I thought,”I have a better plan for my family.” So that was when we decided moving every two years was not healthy for our potential family, my wife’s grandmother got sick and we were forced to come back to Indianapolis after traveling for eight years. And then that’s when we actually started our construction business here in town, in the late 80’s, and been in business ever since.
Ray: And so you’ve been a business owner since the 80’s, so you’ve obviously seen ups and downs and you know good economies, challenging economies, and so forth. So as you look back over your career, what’s the hardest thing you’ve been through as a business owner, and how did your faith help you through that?
Guy: That’s a big question. I want to say that there have been three times where I was a day away from bankruptcy and somehow, even the check in the mailbox type of story; I have one of those stories were the check was in the mailbox and that provided enough to get by, and that leads us to the next project, next deposit, and the next payment. So, gosh, building is not the easiest business and profession, and it’s fun, but it’s not, there’s very few barriers to entry. Anyone could be a builder, anyone could be. So I work a lot with a wide variety of people from all walks of life, and many of them I have been told and I wouldn’t necessarily agree with this, but the average education of a subcontractor would be an 8th grade eduction, whether that’s true or not, I completely look past that because I look at the individual now the person, as a person who has been given a gift, and that is needed as part of the whole. So they are one part of one body, and we’re going to put that gift to use and so what no matter what their education level is, it doesn’t matter to me as long as they’re proficient in what they do.
Ray: So you’ve talked about than three times in that course of business ownership being right at the brink of bankruptcy. What role did your faith play in getting through those incidences?
Guy: Boy, when you bank and put all of your effort into a business and it seems like out of left field that you’ve got a savior that’s come about, and I will say that I’m not the best at– well for example, I will tell you that when I hit my thumb with a hammer, there are some people who say, “Praise Jesus,” and there are others who might say some other things, and I’m the latter one. I wish that I could hit my thumb and say, “Praise Jesus,” and likewise I wish when I was going through trials, that it would be my first inclination to say, “Lord help me through this, but usually there is a short, little hiccup. I’m going through a phase of, “I could do this on my own,” but I know the Lord really gets a way in me, and I think, “I can’t do this without you, Lord.” I think it’s always a faith-building exercise for me.
Ray: And an ongoing basis; I appreciate that. I pray that we don’t stub toes while we’re on the air or anything here. So, folks, we are speaking with Guy East. Guy is the CEO at Eastway Custom Homes, and you can learn more about Guy and his company at eastwaycustomhomes.com. Check them out on the web at eastwaycustomhomes.com. So, Guy, I know that your business is really, not only are you passionate about the work itself, but you really believe that God has called you into this. And so there’s some unique aspects of your company, some unique aspects of how you do what you do. Why don’t you take a couple of moments here and help us understand that calling and what are some of those unique aspects of how you go about even some of the training you do, and how that approach to home building is really unique with you?
Guy: Right we have, thank you for that question. I definitely feel that this is a calling, and I have not heard about this anywhere, so it is really a privilege to be able share that with the listeners today. So what we have created through really the grace of God is what we call the Discipleship Builder Program. And so a discipleship program, as we know, is one that allows us to get to know Christ, and if you’re disciplining someone else, you get to know Christ with them and getting to closer to Christ. Well what we’ve seen in the building business, is a complete neutralization of what I believe is an original intent of homes and houses to begin with from the Old Testament all the way through the New Testament. So we know that the four things that home gives really are safety and protection, health, family identity, and an economic boost. So those four things are what we know now, and if you have any trouble understanding what that might be think of someone who is homeless. Think about their health. Well, are they in a healthy environment under that bridge overpass? Probably not. Think about their protection and safety. If I was a homeless woman, wow, that would be tough on the streets. Neutralization of what I believe an original intent. We think about family identity, there is no place as a homeless person to take your kids or your wife home to, and then you look at the economic boost.
A homeless person might be more focused on that next meal then they are about having a roof over the head at that time. But there is a fifth element that has been forgotten, and that’s a spiritual element. And throughout the course of the Bible, we were told that that home is to be used for teaching about God. It is a analogy that is used. God uses the home as a heaven or as Jesus; come home to Jesus. Even Jesus himself talked about his father having a house that’s waiting, and Jesus is preparing a place for us. We look at Paul in the book of Acts and the last sentence or two of Acts as Paul has rented a house and he’s allowing anyone to come in this is home to hear the word of God. And so the word of God just is not used, it’s been watered down too much. Home building has become really more about building towers of Babel, than it has being a place to meet those five basic needs as God intended. And so what we’re doing with the Discipleship Builder Program is actually bringing an awareness back to that. So we have a training program that lasts about three months and involves actually building your real home. We train builders and we train customers through this discipleship building program so whether you’re a the builder or a professional, or whether you’re having a home built for you, either one, you’ll be able to take the step back in time and be able to bring back a reference of what building was intended to be. I wish I would have started this earlier in my life, I have realized that also in the book of Acts that Artemis was a craftsman and he was in a Greek town, and when Paul came in to do his ministry, Artemis who was a Greek craftsman, of man-made idols and objects. He was very offended because that’s how he made his living and Paul came and ruffled the feathers a little bit. I believe that there are a lot of builders out there, like myself, that have spent their lives as Artemis has done, building man-made Idols or man-made objects like nice custom homes without any reference to Christ at all. We want to change that.
Ray: So you’re talking about, obviously we don’t have time on the program to get into it, but you’re talking about, you’ve developed training for that, certification for that, these builders and customers can be formally trained and understand that process and how that can be the outcome. Is that correct?
Guy: Yeah, that’s right. There’s daily devotionals all the way through a 210-day build process. Everything is usually based on the number 7. So we have the seven Cs of construction, we have actually seven weeks, seven months of building. It includes very, very little things, like when you start a project, you put a temporary power pole out on your project, and you put a meter right there that needs that. Well, our temporary power poles are shaped in the shape of a cross, and as we know from the Israelites, who were wondering the desert, they actually had a standard and a banner, a flag, a family flag, which are basically family crests, that goes at the top as well. So there are very many things like that that we go through; we have home decisions, groundbreaking ceremonies, definitely Sabbath day is respected.
Ray: So I’m just going to put a plug in, if I may, you didn’t ask me to do that. If you are listening the program, and you think, “Wow, this sounds really interesting. I’d like to have perhaps a different experience in building a home,” maybe you’re in the market, I think they should check out your site, right? They should go to eastwaycustomhomes.com. Maybe they’re a rebuild saying, that listening to our programs, and, “Wow what an amazing thought that could be, to actually have a building process based on Scripture; based on God’s intent around home in these five purposes of a home.” You’re really trying to disrupt and transform an industry, aren’t you?
Guy: Yeah, really want to do the right thing with what God has called us to do and me to do. So the intention is not to disrupt it, but it is naturally happening.
Ray: I love it. Well, folks, check out Guy East at eastwaycustomhomes.com and learn a different approach, a Godly approach, to leveraging of business for Kingdom’s sake and building a business, and building a home on a kingdom model. And so just two questions now. I want you to advise the twenty-year-old Guy East. As you look back, what would you say sitting across the table from the twenty-year-old you? What advice on life or business, faith what would you have for the twenty-year-old Guy East?
Guy: I got to think, I didn’t know the answer right off the bat. Humility comes right to the top. I think we’ve got to humble ourselves. I was not a very humbled twenty-year-old, very prideful. I thought I could do everything, but when we understand that the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit is much greater than anything we can do, if we get on board with that and understand the power of the Holy Spirit; boy, I wish I could go back to when I was twenty. I wish I didn’t wait till I was in my fifties to understand that. So I would be humble and I would stay in tune to what Christ and what God is telling you, cause he is speaking to you. It’s just often times like listening to a radio; we just flip it over with one flip, and you’ll get static. And we live our lives in too much static, to not hear God, and so you need to dial it in to what God is telling you. And if I would have done that when I was twenty, boy, who knows what I have accomplished, but I’m thinking on 8:28, Romans 8:28 there that God will use all of that for good anyways, and His glory.
Ray: That’s fantastic. So the last question now is going to be about looking forward and those of you who are regular listeners here at Bottom Line Faith, it’s kind of our trademark question. It’s called our 4:23 question, based out of Proverbs chapter 4, verse 23, were Solomon writes, “Above all else, guard your heart for from it flows all of life.” So Guy, let’s end our conversation today on this question. You have a chance, let’s just fast-forward; you’re at the end of this side of eternity and you have a chance to sit down with your family, your friends, your loved ones, those who are most precious to you, and you get it pass along your one piece of advice. So, fill in the blank, above all else…
Guy: I would say listen to the Lord or listen to those who listen to the Lord. Those come to mind, but since this is a business program, I would also add in there, you have a lot of business listeners, I would say even something more impactful but on par with listening is a practice, and that is something I practice and that is, no Bible, no business. So don’t go in the office ever without being in the Bible first.
Ray: I love that. So also then if you know your Bible, you’re going to know your business.
Guy: Yes. Right.
Ray: So with no Bible, there will be no business, but know your Bible and then you’ll know you’re business.
Guy: Yes, that’s right, that’s good.
Ray: Awesome. Well, folks, I hope you can have a better understanding now of why I opened the program the way I did, because this man, Guy, he’s just a godly man who’s walking with the Lord and is encouraging and training and equipping many others to walk with the Lord.He’s a disciple maker, and he’s an encourager, and now you’re learning how he’s also disrupting in transforming an entire industry. At least that’s the vision that God’s put on his heart, but also the model. Guy, thank you for joining us here at Bottom Line Faith. I hope that you’ve been encouraged and blessed; I know that I have, and I’m sure our listeners have, but just thanks for being here today.
Guy: Well, thank you for having me, Ray.
Ray: Well, folks, that wraps up another edition of Bottom Line Faith, and this has just been so encouraging for me. And again check out our website at bottomlinefaith.org, become a subscriber, pass along your friends, let them know this is the place where we learn from top Christian business leaders on how they’re living out their faith in the marketplace. Until next time, I am your host, Ray Hilbert, asking you to consider how God will use you in the marketplace for his glory. God bless and we’ll see you soon.