Following the Holy Spirit with Dr. Jim Harris
Today’s show features Dr. Jim Harris, President of The Jim Harris Group.
“The Lord said, ‘I want you to go in a different way.’ I said, ‘Ok, what is it?’ He said, ‘I’ll show you.’ So it was all about faith not a blueprint. Here’s what I learned: I was being too head lead, idea lead, opportunity lead, money lead, it’s-an-open-door-it’s-gotta-be-from-God lead, and that’s exactly how all secular business people, non-believers, that’s how they’re led in business.”
Ray: Hello, everyone, this is Ray Hilbert, your host here at Bottom Line Faith, and welcome to another edition of our program. For those of you, if this is your first time listening, thank you for joining the show. And if you’re a regular listener, you know here at Bottom Line Faith that our goal is to lift the hood, if you will, and tinker around in the engine of Christian Leadership. Here, we get a chance to interview some of the top Christian business owners and leaders across the country. Followers of Christ in arts and entertainment and government and it has just been an amazing journey in the last few months here at Bottom Line Faith.
Well, I have a question for you. If you are in business, are you ready to unleash your unfair competitive advantage in the marketplace? Every believer in business desires to hear those words “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Yet, few of us are ever taught how to fully leverage our most powerful competitive advantage. We’re going to hear and learn how to do that on today’s edition of Bottom Line Faith as our guest is a very dear–now, Jim, I don’t want to say old friend, but a seasoned friend, Dr. Jim Harris is joining us from Pensacola, Florida. Brother Jim is the president of the Jim Harris Group. He is an international speaker and in high demand. Author of several books. Jim we’re going to talk about our unfair advantage and unleash the power of the Holy Spirit in your business today. We’ll be talking a little bit about that. But, Dr. Jim is highly sought after from some of America’s top companies including Walmart, IBM, BestBuy, Verizon, Johnson and Johnson, the list goes on and on. Jim, welcome to Bottom Line Faith!
Jim: Wow, Ray! Can I take you on the road with me? Just intro me everywhere I go? That was beautiful, buddy! Thank you! And I really like you said seasoned and not old. Thank you really appreciate that.
Ray: That’s right. You and I have lost a golf ball or two. Mostly, I’ve lost most of the golf balls chasing you across the golf course a few years ago. Well, folks, we really, really are in for a treat, because if you’re a regular listener here at Bottom Line Faith, that is really what we’re about is trying to help followers of Christ live out their faith in business. And friends, I’ve got to tell you what all candor, Dr. Jim Harris is truly a thought leader in this space across the country. As I said, written books, has his own blogs has his own content that he brings to companies and leaders all across the country and we’ll get to those things. But Jim, tell us just a little bit of your background and a little bit about what you do on a daily basis.
Jim: Sure. Well, I grew up just south of you there, right? From Indianapolis. I grew up just south of Louisville, Kentucky, small town, graduated from there and went on to study at Western Kentucky University got my bachelor’s and master’s there–degrees and after that, that just enjoyed school so much I continued at the University of Florida. Go Gators! Where I earned my PhD in communication so I had most of my college experience right there just south of you. And then from there I went on to corporate experience we can give them that little bit later. I am married, been married now for almost 25 years ,24 half years to Brenda Welford. Have one son and he is going to be, get this, 21 years old on Christmas Day. So, it’s kind of special to have a son born on Christmas Day.
Ray: Absolutely. And so today, you find yourself doing what, Jim I love what you’re doing. I want to just and will direct folks to your website, but give us a little insight on what you’re doing now on a day to day basis,
Jim: You know, Ray, on a day to day basis, what I’m doing now is a little bit different from just a few years ago. God redirected me from primarily doing keynotes, association speaking, and all of that for 20 years of my independent career. For the last five years now, Ray, I am digging deep into The Word and seeing what God wants to reveal in The Word for business leaders, particularly those that truly want to transform the marketplace for the Lord. And so, my journey the last few years is retained a few retainer clients, a lot of executive coaching and also coaching of pastors as well. I have a lot of one on one time with managers, owners of companies, independent fast growth entrepreneurs. So, a lot of my time nice this day, Ray, is writing, yes. And producing my content, yes. But a lot of it is long term internal relationships with clients and one on one and small team coaching more so now than the keynote speaking that I began my career in.
Ray: Well, I love it, Jim and your book “Our Unfair Advantage: Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business” what an incredible title. What exactly as a follower of Christ is this unfair advantage? Tell us about that.
Jim: It’s an amazing story, Ray of how this book came about. As I mentioned, about five years ago, the Lord said, I want you to go in and different way I said, “Okay, what is it?” and He said, “I’ll show you.” So, it was all about faith and not a blueprint. Now, you know me in the years I would come up with some crazy ideas and do some crazy things. I thought it perhaps was of the Lord, but here’s what I learned. This is the birth of the book I learned Ray, that I was being too head-lead, ideal-lead, opportunity-lead, money-lead–it’s an open door, it’s gotta be from God-lead and that’s exactly how all secular business people, non-believers, that’s how they’re lead in business. It’s a great opportunity we’ll make a ton of money. It sounds so good. You know, we’ve got to hurry up because they’re not going to have let us have this deal, you know, it’s going to close out by tomorrow.
And what is that unfair advantage? The Lord dropped on me this revelation, may I say, that instead of being head-lead, ideal-lead, opportunity-lead. Boy, I got great plans, I’m going to do great things for the Lord. He taught me that the single most important thing to do as a business person is to be led by the Holy Spirit, to be Spirit led. To drop everything you do in business, 18 inches from your head, from your ideas, to drop it down to where Holy Spirit lives inside the believer. Because Holy Spirit knows everything about everything past, present, and future. He’ll even tell you things to come. So, to me, the single greatest key anyone can live these days as a business person, or just in life, is to be led by the Holy Spirit. That’s what the book was birthed.
Ray: I think that is incredibly powerful. And I also suspect that there are some listeners right now that are just going that sounds incredible, but it also sounds really difficult or impossible to actually trust and wait on the Holy Spirit to lead in my decisions, to give me wisdom and you said, even foresight of what’s to come. Can you share maybe an example of how you’ve seen that work for a business leader?
Jim: Well, I can tell you how it worked for me.
Ray: That’s perfect.
Jim: When I went through this process, when the Lord said, “I want you to write a book about Holy Spirit.” You know, you had that in my prayer time in my communion time, I said, “Lord, I’m just really getting to know Holy Spirit.” I was like, you know, for 60 years of my life, I basically saw I don’t mean this sarcastically at all Ray, at all. I kind of saw Holy Spirit as my get out of hell free card, you know, it was about salvation, and that’s great and then just pray and work. But the Lord said, there’s more to this than just getting into heaven with salvation. It’s really about being just like Jesus was. He didn’t do anything unless the Father told him to. He didn’t say anything unless the Father told Him to. He was being led by the Holy Spirit, his entire ministry. And I said, “Well, I’m just learning now really, how to tune into this Father.”
He said, “That’s why I want you to write this book. I want you to teach others through your own experience, how to get in touch with Holy Spirit and be lead.” It was a frightening step. It was frightening because I’d never done that before I said, “Okay. Sure. Show me what you want to do, Father.” And He gave me in the book, six keys, six—I don’t know what to call them–keys or principles for you want to call them but I learned six things that help me better listen, tune and tune in to Holy Spirit leading me than just letting my own head and ideas lead me.
Ray: Well, let’s park there just for a moment, Jim. We probably just for the sake of time of our program today, won’t be able to dive into all six, but would you maybe just give us one or two highlights of those six principles or those six insights that you share in your book?
Jim: Absolutely. Let me just share two of them very quickly. One of them is what I like to now call Ray, the greatest team building strategy ever created. Now, we hear about team building I’ve done team building for years, you have too. Having a strong team is a, we want that we need that to test it business, no doubt about it. But here’s what the Lord suggested to me said, you know, the greatest team building strategy ever is having a co-witness with Holy Spirit with other believers. For example, you have the same Holy Spirit living in you, Ray, that I have in me, we have the same Holy Spirit. So, one of the biggest keys that I’ve learned for business people is with others around you, or maybe outside, like at a Truth At Work, CEO, group—seek a witness, don’t just think, ask people. Is that a good idea? What do you think about it? What do you feel about it? That’s getting back to being head-lead.
But, do you have a witness what does Holy Spirit say to you? So, number one seek a witness. And secondly, and I’ll just say this right now, because this is probably of all the things out of the book, Ray, the most powerful takeaway for most business leaders, and it’s an exhortation as well as an encouragement. One of the six keys is pray bold prayers. Business people typically pray, my aunt might I say very wimpy prayers. “Oh, Lord, help me make budget this month.” What he has, John 10:10 super abundance in our plan. He wants us to experience His love, His favor, His provision, super-abundantly. Not in a selfish way, but Jabez was a righteous man, he said, “Lord blessed me indeed. Enlarge my territory.” And God said, “Okay, I’ll do that.” Because Jabez, I believe, was bold enough to go ask. And so, one of the things I really encouraged my coaching clients, my audiences I speak to, is to pray bold prayers, become a 10 X prayer, like Daniel was and all of his buddies. Pray 10 X prayers, they were 10 times wiser, 10 times better than those around him. Pray 10 X prayers. Go forward. Be bold.
Ray: It takes a certain amount of faith to pray those kind of prayers.
Jim: We live by faith, not by sight. Not by blueprint. We live by faith. That’s exactly right, Ray.
Ray: Well, folks, we are speaking here at Bottom Line Faith with Dr. Jim Harris out of Pensacola, Florida and his website if you would like to learn more about his speaking about his books and other content that he makes available and his coaching services, please check him out at Dr.JimHarris.com. Well, Jim, let’s hit the pause button just for a moment. Or actually, the rewind button we will come back and pick up on our conversation in just a moment. But let’s talk a little bit more about your background. Let’s talk about some of the lessons learned over the years. You’ve had a number of years in corporate, you’ve had a number of years leading companies, leading management teams and so forth. Just talk with us about the hardest business decision that you ever had to make and specifically, Jim, what role did your faith play in that decision?
Jim: Well, one of the things that I must admit, and it’s not it’s not good to admit this, is that some of the hardest business decisions I’ve made include not only having to fire employees, having to resign from positions, but in most cases, Ray, the sad truth in my life is that when I was at teenager, going into my college years, and all through my fast track, up to a corporate 500 position, and leadership, development and training position with a Fortune 500 firm, my faith didn’t play a role in it. And, and so I walked away from the Lord and some of the biggest decisions I made, and some of the toughest ones were made without His input and that truly, the role of faith was not, and that’s where I had some of my greatest failures. I trudged along with success for many years, but there was still all the failures there too. So, I’m ashamed to admit that for some 25 years, I was not walking in faith and frankly, that’s the biggest mistake I’ve made in my life, not staying close to the Lord, when I knew I should have.
Ray: Well, thank you for, and I wouldn’t expect anything other than true candor and authenticity from you. So, so thank you for that. And now that even adds greater context to some of your opening comments about not making these decisions out of head knowledge or world knowledge or education, or even necessarily personal experience, but learning to walk with the Holy Spirit. So that sounds like perhaps your greatest regret, so to speak, or certainly greatest lesson learned is making those decisions on your own is certainly going to lead to failure. Is that what you’re trying to tell us?
Jim: Yes, sir. Exactly. 100%. It’s as simple and as hard as that. Yes.
Ray: So now, as you’re in this new chapter of life, and you’re not only trying to live this out for yourself, but also training and equipping and coaching others, what would be two or three biblical principles that you believe are critical for the follower of Christ to apply in their leadership, in their company, or their organization?
Jim: You know, it’s interesting, we’ve already mentioned one of them and we said it as kind of a, not as cavalier, but as a side point. I would write, I would suggest to all the listeners, all the business leaders, men and women, the number one best principle is to walk by faith, we don’t walk by sight. We can have three and five-year strategic plans, and we should plan, but that is not the ultimate decision maker, that is not the ultimate way in which we live out our faith. We live out our faith by faith. Faith is being sure of what you hope for, and certain of what you don’t see. We take everything to the Lord, but put more faith in your faith than your business plan. Than your blueprint. That would be number one. Number two, one of the biggest lessons, Ray, I’ve learned the last few years, and I put it in this phrase, “There’s more.” There’s more to not only The Word but also to His favor, to His provision, to His prosperity, and I don’t mean that in a selfish “I’m going to get rich way” prosperity is just a great life.
There’s more than many of us press into or even expect. We expect too little. We live too little. We live with a scarcity mentality and there’s nothing scarce about heaven. There’s nothing scarce about the Kingdom of Heaven. God is a gracious, overflowing, overwhelming Lord, and He wants us, in fact, Jesus said, well, He wants us to bring heaven to earth. So, there is more, there is more. And in fact, as 3 John 2 says, “We will prosper in business as our soul prospers.” So, the more that we prosper in our soul, and live and walk by faith, then God when we step into our destiny, then He has the resources already there that you need, He’s just waiting for us to step into our destiny to what He pre-created us for and when we do, we don’t have to worry about resources, they’re there. So, walk by faith, and always remember that there’s more. Keep pressing into the more.
Ray: I want to just relate that back to what you said a little while ago about this. Praying bold prayers, praying 10 X prayers. It seems to me that that’s very connected to what you just shared about walking by faith, and then living and actually acting with the assurance that there is more and so what this brings to mind, Jim, for me, is this concept of scarcity versus abundance. And I and I got to believe in your coaching that you’re trying to train and equip leaders to understand the difference and the impact that that mindset plays. Would you just speak to that? Your thoughts on the difference between scarcity and abundance when it comes to dealing in the business world?
Jim: Absolutely. You know, it comes from really being transition in our mindset in our spirit, if you will, from being a natural leader to a supernatural leader. I don’t mean Superman flying around, but Jesus was, if you will, a supernatural leader, and everything that He saw, He saw in a supernatural, beyond just our what we see, what we feel, what we smell, it’ll beyond our physical senses. We have been taught for so many years, that we can only do so much, we can only run so fast and go so high and we’re only so smart. We’ve been taught to live in a world of scarcity. You know, don’t try to–don’t try to get too much. Don’t be selfish, for example, praying for prosperity, praying for financial favor on your business. It’s not for you to keep anyway, each of you to feed the kingdom. When God and Jesus said, “Go into all the world.” That takes some money! So, if you’re going after just to make your bank account fat, that’s not prosperity. God’s not to honor that. But if you’re a flow through, then that is that is Godly prosperity, keep a little bit on the side and flow it through for the Kingdom. We don’t think big enough. We don’t think in that type of super-abundance. You know the cup runneth over in Psalm 23. God knows when the cup is full, but he just wants to keep blessing those that are blessable.
Ray: And a lot of times, I think followers of Christ, hey, that preaches good, but it lives hard, because when it comes down to the application, that’s the real rubber meets the road, right? To understand that, hey, my job as a follower of Christ is to trust Him and to serve Him and leave the results in his hands. I believe, if I’m listening well Jim, you’re saying He’s got great results in store, but our job is, we gotta trust and work and leave the results in his hand. True?
Jim: That’s–yes, sir. That’s exactly right. It’s like the–like the traditional song we all grew up with Trust and Obey. There’s no other way.
Ray: I love it. Jim, our time is flying by, as it always does here at Bottom Line Faith. And so, I want you to maybe just think with me for a moment that there’s someone listening to the program right now. And maybe they’re discouraged. Maybe they’re a business owner, a President, a CEO or manager, what have you and they’re really struggling right now with living out their faith at work, or really trusting God to this level that you’re describing to us? What advice would you have for them? What encouragement would you pass along to them as they’re listening to you right now?
Jim: Two things. Number one, very quickly, we have the option as business leaders in the marketplace, whether in government, education, Arts, Media, you know, like we are in the economy and the actual for-profit communities. We have the option of either being covert or overt. We have the option that we can be covert operators not 007’s per se. But think about it this way, what we want to do is wherever we’re placed in the marketplace, we want to gain influence and our particular mountain if you will, we want to turn the ears of the top leaders to the believers of God. What we want to do is become so excellent at what we do that we become the Joseph that goes to the Pharaoh with a seven-year—14-year actually, economic and agricultural plan. We want to be the Daniel that turns the ear of the Nebuchadnezzar that said, this is the wisdom of the Lord.
This is how you walk in faith. We will become the Nehemiah’s, that because of something so deep in our heart that says that’s just not right, that they asked God for the supernatural revelation of how to rebuild the walls in 53 days. That all comes from just being covert going into the top leader and saying, “This is what we need.” and God will honor that. Moses going to Pharaoh, so we don’t have to be necessarily overt like I am in the marketplace. You don’t have to become you know, totally overt and just wear it as some say on your sleeves a lot. I encourage people if you are more impactful being a covert operator, doing your work well and rising to where you can then go to those men and women in your prominent mountain area and be an influencer for good to be a Mike Pence to a Donald Trump, glory to God, you’re living in your destiny, don’t be discouraged.
Ray: Those are great words of encouragement, because I think so many times we I don’t know, if we just think that you know, to be a real holy Christian, to be an effective Christian, you’ve got to, you know, have your Bible verse on your business card, or on your invoices, or your bumper sticker, or whatever the case may be, on your website. And what you’re sharing with us, Jim, is that it really is going to be in the excellence of our work and making a real impact. It’s going to give us a platform, as you described, a covert opportunity to radically transform the marketplace for Christ as–did I get that? Did I catch that well?
Jim: That’s exactly right. And as Solomon wrote, “When you do your work well, when you excel in your work, you will stand before kings, you will be noticed.” And that’s where we influence the culture regardless of the mountain that we’re in. That’s where you can influence the culture, you want to turn the ears of the leaders. It only takes two or 3% right of anybody in any group be it the government, be it the education only takes a very small minority to change the entire culture. And so, I’m encouraging, it doesn’t take a lot. It just it just takes the Gideon army, not the 30,000 just to 300, it takes just a small amount to really transform a culture and that’s what’s bringing heaven to earth. We want to bring heaven to earth to transform the marketplace for the Lord.
Ray: You know what I love about this conversation, Jim? And I mean this with absolute transparency and candor is, you sound like you actually believe this stuff. I mean, you know, I mean, you’re talking to us about leader after leader in the scripture and example after scripture, not only their names, but the results. I mean, you’ve studied this, and you believe this, and you’re seeing this make a difference, right? I mean, this isn’t just theory to you. This is real stuff.
Jim: This is real stuff. And, frankly, Ray, I’m just beginning and believe it or not, I have just in the last year, I’ll be 64 years old in this July. I’m just now understanding what my destiny is. How about that, I’m stepping into my destiny. You got a piece of that today. Helping equip and replace marketplace impactors to help transform the culture, whoever they may be, for the kingdom of God. Bringing heaven to earth. So, you’re hearing from me a fresh revelation for my destiny.
Ray: There you are, folks, if you’re listening right now, and you’ve been wondering what God may have for you by listening to this little program called Bottom Line Faith, I think it’s been well worth your time. I know it’s been well worth my time. And Jim, this is what I love about this is I get to have these kind of conversations and be encouraged and recharged by great leaders like you. So, my friend, thank you for your spirit of encouragement and your words of exhortation today. This has been fun and I can’t believe that, you know, we’re coming up on the end of our interview here. And so, wow, will you come back sometime? Will you come back?
Jim: I would love to, Ray! Thank you very much. This is very enjoyable. I just really appreciate it. I just pray blessing for you and favor. What a great, great ministry you have here and I just pray God just supernaturally abundantly blesses you through this. Thank you for this opportunity.
Ray: Well, that that is very kind of you. And yes, I receive that blessing. And so Jim, for our regular listeners, they know that the last question I always ask here at Bottom Line Faith is the same question. They know what’s about to come. But if you’re a first-time listener here at Bottom Line Faith, we affectionately call this our 4:23 question. Proverbs 4:23. And that’s why we call it our 4:23 question. And, and let me just read this, Jim, let me give a little bit of context. And then I’m going to ask you one last question. So, folks, Proverbs 4:23 says this, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it determines the course of your life.” There are some biblical scholars who indicate and believe that these words may have been among his last words. And so, if you can imagine, he’s gathering his friends, he’s gathering his family, he’s gathering his loved ones and he’s kind of circling them up and he said, “Look, I’ve given you all this great advice, all these wonderful pearls of wisdom principles upon which to live. Now, the one thing I want you to remember, above all else, guard your heart.” So, Jim, this is the question, last question. Let’s just turn the clock forward, we don’t know when this will be, but let’s just say it’s toward the tail end of your life, this side of eternity. You have the opportunity to give that one piece of counsel that one piece of advice to your family, your friends, your loved ones, and now your friends here at Bottom Line Faith, I want you to fill in the blank, above all else—
Jim: Always and only be led.
Ray: Say that again.
Jim: Always and only be led by the Holy Spirit.
Ray: That’s powerful in that I think that is transformational. Would you agree?
Jim: It has been for me, and for those with ears to hear it has been for them too. Yes, sir.
Ray: And it’s actually quite counter to how we’re taught in this world. Because we’re always being charged be a leader take charge, and you’re saying you’ll be a leader by taking the follow by being led.
Jim: Yes, sir. Exactly.
Ray: Jim, what an honor. What incredible privileges. Is there anything else? Anything else you’d like to share here with our listeners before we have to end our time together today?
Jim: Yeah, I’d want them to get on your case about us not playing any more golf. I miss that buddy! We got to get back out there. Bang it around a little bit.
Ray: Well, I lose so many golf balls, it’s a very expensive habit or hobby. So, you’re, you’re a lot better than I am. So, maybe if you promise to loan me a dozen golf balls I will play.
Jim: I built the house on a golf course 19 years ago. We’re still in it. I thought hey, I’m an independent guy. I’ll play a lot more golf. Hasn’t worked out that way.
Ray: Well, I tell you there’s a reason spelled backwards is flog. So, some of you will get that. Well folks, what an incredible pleasure and what an incredibly valuable few moments we’ve had with Dr. Jim Harris today here at bottom line faith. Folks, check him out online at his website doctorjimharris.com. If you’re looking for a great keynote speaker or more importantly, frankly for long term transformation as for a coach, for a consultant to help you lead and build your company on proven biblical principles and practices. Please check out doctorjimharris.com. Folks, if this interview has been encouraging to you, check out our library of interviews at bottomlinefaith.org. That’s bottomlinefaith.org and this program is hosted and brought to you by our ministry at Truth at Work. Check us out at truthatwork.org. And if you are a Christ follower and you’re looking for a community of other Christ followers, your business peers, if you will, that you would be interested in meeting with in a roundtable environment, check us out at truthatwork.org. Dr. Jim, thank you again, brother. It’s been incredible having time with you. We’ll talk soon. Thank you for being a guest here at bottom line. Faith.
Jim: Thank you so much, Ray. God bless you, buddy.
Ray: Folks, this is Ray Hilbert saying so long and we’ll see you next time at Bottom Line Faith. God bless.