Have you ever wondered if you are hearing the voice of God… or is it just your conscience?
Do you ever have experiences during the day that bring up a situation from your past that you had thought nothing about at the time? They cause you to tilt your head and think, “That’s very odd.”
Maybe you are seeking the Lord and hear His voice, yet you struggle to apply it to various aspects of your life…
Recently, we sat down with one of Curt Landry Ministries’ congregants who wrote a book that speaks to these specific areas. Jim Hollars, the author of Unleashing Faith, is a quiet and private businessman. Others describe him as someone who keeps to himself and certainly doesn’t share any personal details. Jim agrees.
So how did this private businessman from rural Oklahoma get the idea of writing a book that lays out the struggles and revelations from his personal life for the world to read?
Little did Jim know that the Lord had a plan to strengthen his character, build communication in his marriage, and bless him in his obedience. And God hasn’t stopped there…
Question: What insights do you hope people can gain from reading your book?
Jim: Honestly, I’m not entirely sure. There came the point and confirmation from the Lord that this was His and always had been. I don’t know what the Lord wants to do with it; I just know it was something He wanted to get out.
I don’t know if this message will reach one or two people or a lot. It’s so far out from what I do. I wait on the Lord every day to give me something new.
Whether Jim realizes it or not, he is living out the biblical principle of Psalm 37:5…
“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”
It began several years ago as he went out one morning to feed his dog, Faith. As he poured out the dog food in Faith’s dish, he heard the Lord say, “You’re going to write a book.”
Jim: I heard this from the Lord, and it sounded funny to me. I came inside the house and sat down and thought about what it meant. I got a pen and paper and started jotting down a series of one-line titles as the Lord was talking to me. It turns out those words became the title of each chapter of the book.
Nine days later, the book was written. Over the course of a week and a half, I would sit down and hear the Holy Spirit’s voice, and I’d start typing, and it went from there. It was a shock to me.
Jim tells us of many instances in his life when he would make statements to coworkers, friends, and family members regarding his plans. Statements such as, “I would never live there” or “I won’t ever do that, that’s not me.”
Well, Jim had one thing right—it wasn’t in his character to do some of what God had planned. But that’s what God does. He uses the most unlikely people to get His message out and to build His Kingdom.
Interestingly enough, Jim’s book may have started with interaction with man’s best friend, but the real origins can be traced back years before he was feeding Faith that morning…
Jim: It was 1985, and I was working for the government. A group of coworkers and I were on our way home from an event and we were in the middle of nowhere. We stopped on the road, and one of the guys rolled down the window. We heard a loud racket. On one side of the road was a really nice home and on the other an older home.
I asked, “What is that loud noise?” My coworker said, “It’s a dog kennel. Can you imagine living there in that beautiful home and have to listen to that all the time?”
I said, “No way on God’s green earth would I ever live there.” Remarkably 2 years later I married a young lady whose parents owned that home, and we put our home right there in front of that kennel.
Jim explained that these kinds of “coincidences” frequently happened in his life, starting at a young age. God even used his dog’s name, Faith, to confirm His will.
Jim explains that during these seemingly mundane interactions and happenings, God was trying to reveal to him, “I know those are your plans, but I’ve got something else for you.” Other times the Holy Spirit would say something to him, and someone later would say, word-for-word, what he heard from the Lord.
This is what Unleashing Faith is all about… listening for and understanding the confirming Word of God and making sense of the world around you. It's about seeking God's voice in the midst of the racket around you and looking through a lens of the Holy Spirit’s fire.
Question: What do you think most people get confused about when discerning the voice of God?
Jim: I think a lot of times, Believers think they don’t hear from God during their day. I hear them say, “My conscious said…” But many times, that is the Lord speaking to them.
At a young age, I was a guy who doubted everything. I had numerous interactions and things happen that now I understand to be the Holy Spirit. It was sometimes frightening to me because I didn’t realize what was happening and I didn’t have anyone to go to for clarity.
Too often people don’t know that they are hearing from God, but they don’t have anything to help them identify it. That’s where the book comes in.
Hearing from the Lord is kind of like a blurry vision. But when you recognize who’s giving it to you, it all comes into focus.
Sometimes God speaks to us through a vision, an audible voice, and other times impressions. Whatever the message He is telling us is often a broken record, and you can’t shake it. It keeps coming back to you.
When you look at God’s written Word, you see how the message of Jim’s experiences aligns with truth…
Friends, family, and a Christian mentor may confirm God’s message.
- “Where there isno counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is”—Proverbs 11:14
- “…to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places…”—Ephesians 3:10
It aligns with prophetic words spoken over you.
- “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.”—1 Timothy 4:14
It stretches you outside of your comfort zone.
- “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do,forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 3:13-14
You will have peace about it.
- “…and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:7
It shapes your character to be more like Christ.
- “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to beconformed to the image of His Son…”—Romans 8:29
Question: How has writing this book, and what you’ve learned from it, influenced or shaped your marriage?
Jim: She [Jim’s wife, Piper] kept me going when I wanted to give up. But there’s been a significant change in our lives the last couple of years. Mostly to do with the fact that I’ve always held things to myself. What I’d hear or see I kept to myself.
But through this, I found the Lord was speaking to her, and it required our communication to tie the ends together. It wasn’t natural for me because in my job there are many things discussed in confidence, so I just don’t talk much.
But now we sit down and talk, do devotions together every day, and many times things that have happened, or that I’m hearing or seeing, are confirmed in our devotional time together. That time together is often the other piece of the puzzle I’ve been missing.
Question: What’s it like to sit down and read the book now?
Jim: You’re going to laugh but… I find it hard to read. It’s hard for me because it contains so much personal stuff I would’ve never talked about. But that’s how I know it’s from the Lord.
Once in a while, I’ll sit down and read parts because I hear the Lord say, “You need to read it because you need to dig deeper into what’s in there.” It’s as if each time I read it, it unlocks more understanding that I hadn’t even considered.
Unleashing Faith takes you on a journey and opens your ears and eyes to the Lord so that you can begin to follow His ways and walk in confidence on the path He has designed for you. Jim has also included a workbook at the end of the book to help you apply the discernment to every aspect of your life: finances, depression, fear, doubt, and more.
Unleashing Faith has unlocked doors of communication between coworkers, spouses, and families.
Go HERE to learn more about Jim’s faith journey that unleashed his faith!