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A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

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A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

Popular Christian vocalist Larnelle Harris reflects on his five-decade music career, sharing the valuable life lessons he's learned about putting his family first, allowing God to redeem a troubled past, recognizing those who've sacrificed for his benefit, and faithfully adhering to biblical principles amidst all the opportunities that have come his way.

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Shaped Notes

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Episode Summary

Popular Christian vocalist Larnelle Harris reflects on his five-decade music career, sharing the valuable life lessons he's learned about putting his family first, allowing God to redeem a troubled past, recognizing those who've sacrificed for his benefit, and faithfully adhering to biblical principles amidst all the opportunities that have come his way.

Episode Transcript

Opening:

Excerpt:

Larnelle Harris: God was saying to me, and I didn’t know this till years later, “This is not about voice. This is not about concerts. This is – this is about Me. And we’re not gonna trust in voice, and we’re not gonna trust in all of these outside things. What we’re gonna trust in is Me.”

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: That’s Christian singer Larnelle Harris describing the amazing ways God has really used his music career, which spans five decades now. And we’re thrilled to have him here as our guest on this episode, this New Year’s edition, of Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Hey, John, many of our seasoned listeners will remember Larnelle over many of those five decades actually. Um, Larnelle’s amazing singing voice has been on display, uh, those gifts that the Lord has given him in such, uh, incredible ways. Uh, he was with the Gaither Vocal Band in the late ‘80s. And he’s probably most famous for the duets he sang with Sandi Patty. Um, I’m not sure, but we’ll ask him in a moment. He also sang for Billy Graham crusade for 30 years. And he was featured at Promise Keepers. I think I may have been at one of the events you sang at…

John: Up in Boulder.

Jim: …Actually…

Larnelle: Yeah.

Jim: Boulder.

Larnelle: Yeah.

Jim: And, uh – but behind all of that success and many music awards – four or five Grammys over the years – uh, most important to him is his commitment to Christ and, uh, what faithfulness means in this journey of life. Bottom line, these are the reasons why we wanted to talk to Larnelle – to talk to him about faith and music and worshipping the Lord and what it’s meant to him over these many years.

Body:

John: Yeah, and I remember, uh, Jim being at a radio station in East Texas back in the ‘80s playing Larnelle’s music. We had record albums. And his stuff was there and go-to music for us.

Jim: That’s great.

John: And, uh…

Jim: So you were spinning the music, huh?

John: We had the vinyl going.

(LAUGHTER)

Larnelle: Well, thank you for that. And I got to tell you I have come all the way from Kentucky, and it’s the first time that I didn’t come – I’m not singing anything.

John: Not yet at least.

Larnelle: Huh?

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Not yet – there you go.

Larnelle: Not yet.

Jim: Well, no, we love it, and we appreciate the journey all the way from Kentucky to Colorado. So…

Larnelle: Well, and it’s good to be with you. It’s been many years since I’ve been here. I was here for one of the, uh, chapel services. It’s been years.

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Larnelle: It’s been years and years and years ago.

Jim: This campus though, right?

Larnelle: Yeah. Well, I’m going to assume.

Jim: Yeah.

Larnelle: But, uh…

Jim: Yeah, we’ve been here…

Larnelle: …It was here.

Jim: …Since ‘94…

Larnelle: Yeah…

Jim: …So…

Larnelle: …Really enjoyed it.

Jim: …In this location – what a wonderful thing. I want to start with your family of origin because I think it’s really a great story – a victory story as you called it.

Larnelle: Yeah.

Jim: Uh, and I understand your parents had rough backgrounds, like so many of us. You know, I don’t know what it was about that era – you know, the parents of us now that are in our 50s and 60s, but they – you know, it was just kind of the ‘20s and the ‘30s. And there was some just funny stuff going on with…

Larnelle: You know, there was…

Jim: …Bootlegging and other stuff. But what…

Larnelle: You know, there was…

Jim: What was going on in your family?

Larnelle: Well, my mom was a lady staunched in her faith. I mean, she loved the Lord. She was a Pentecostal Holiness woman. She – and she was a prayer warrior in the…

Jim: So she was serious?

Larnelle: Oh, she – dead serious.

(LAUGHTER)

She wore that white dress with them big buttons run down the front.

Jim: Yeah, right!

Larnelle: And, boy, she’d flat run over you in a service.

(LAUGHTER)

Because she – you know, she was not sophisticated. She would shout. In fact, that whole church back there in Danville, Kentucky, people would come from all over the state to witness what they called a watch care service. That was the service from, uh – bringing in the new year. And the drums would be going. The cymbals – somebody would have a tambourine. A pastor would get up and speak, and the place would just erupt. That’s what I grew up with.

Jim: Yeah.

Larnelle: It was a fervent – it was a fervent worship. So it was no surprise to me that my mom prayed my dad into the kingdom.

Jim: Yeah. So tenacity, perseverance, all of that was part of her character.

Larnelle: It was…

Jim: Sure.

Larnelle: …Indeed. And so she was not going to sit still and have her husband, uh, not be a part of the kingdom.

Jim: So she prayed him in?

Larnelle: She prayed him in. I can remember, uh, sitting at her knee as a little boy – I mean, four or five years old – and she’d be praying for dad. He’d be knocking on the door. And, uh, it – the circumstances was such that she couldn’t let him in. Now, I’m very young kid. I don’t know all the dynamics of grown-up relationships, but there was a lot going on. And she’d be praying for him. And it was – and a lot of his friends were praying for him because Dad was a good guy. He was trying to make a living.

Jim: Sure.

Larnelle: Um, her prayers – do you remember in Scripture where it wasn’t the faith of the paralytic, it was the faith of the friends and those…

Jim: Right.

Larnelle: …Who loved him. And they took him up on the roof. And I can imagine that every prayer that my mom prayed was taking another shingle off of that roof…

Jim: What a beautiful way to look at that.

Larnelle: …Until, finally, he could be dropped down to the face of Jesus and look Him square in the face. And you know what happened? God healed him of the greatest disease that there is – the most insidious, um, malady that there is – sin.

Jim: Yeah. What was he coming out of? – Just for the listener to be able to paint that picture – so the environment that he came out of, why your mom was praying so much for him?

Larnelle: Yeah, well, he became…

Jim: What was happening?

Larnelle: Well, his dad went to prison.

Jim: Yeah.

Larnelle: And there are things that – I have a 90-year-old aunt in Danville, and there are still things that she will not tell me, you know, about those…

Jim: She’s been sworn to secrecy?

Larnelle: Sworn to secrecy.

Jim: My family has that same thing.

Larnelle: Yeah.

Jim: That’s what I’m talking about.

Larnelle: Yeah.

Jim: It’s like, “What did you do?”

Larnelle: Yeah.

Jim: And they won’t tell you.

Larnelle: Yeah. You know what? And some of it might be beneficial. I mean…

Jim: Yeah.

Larnelle: …You know, over the years, you…

Jim: But some of it’s benign.

Larnelle: Yeah, and some of it – yeah.

Jim: And you’re going, “Oh, that’s it?”

Larnelle: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: I mean…

Larnelle: Exactly.

Jim: …Wow, okay.

Larnelle: Exactly. It was life. It was life.

Jim: In your case, the family – the adults around you were bootlegging. I mean, that…

Larnelle: Yeah.

Jim: …Was kind of the thing.

Larnelle: Hey, not only them.

Jim: Selling beer and…

Larnelle: Listen – yeah. And, you know, I could sell you a pint. This is a dry – this is a…

Jim: And you became a salesman…

Larnelle: Oh, yeah, I could sell…

Jim: …As a little – as a young kid.

Larnelle: …You – what do you want? I could sell you a pint as well as anybody else. I was – uh, and this is a dry county. This…

Jim: Right.

Larnelle: I mean, yeah, this is a dry place. So – but I also remember – and I don’t want to tell too much because you got to read the book. But there are…

Jim: Oh, it’s good. It’s a good read.

Larnelle: I remember, uh, when Sammy Dexter came – who was the detective in town and came to our home.

Jim: You remember his name?

Larnelle: I – oh, yeah. Sammy was a good guy. And – and…

Jim: You’re, like, 9, 10 years old?

Larnelle: At that time, yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

Larnelle: Yeah, and he came and took my dad off.

Jim: Right.

Larnelle: And it was a traumatic thing for mom and me. I can almost remember…

John: So your dad was arrested?

Larnelle: He was arrested and tried and spent some time in prison.

Jim: What did that do for you? I mean, I’m always a believer in the pendulum of God – for the wisdom, if you can see it as a boy – which I felt – a very similar story. My dad wasn’t bootlegging, but he was on the other end.

Larnelle: Sure.

Jim: He was on the receiving end of it. And in some ways, as a child, being 9, 10, 11 years old – he died when I was 12 – there are some positives that can come out of that where you’re observing this as a boy and going, “Okay, I don’t want to do that. I don’t…”

Larnelle: Yeah.

Jim: “…Want to be like that. I don’t want to suffer the consequences.”

Larnelle: Exactly.

Jim: Did you have some of that process?

Larnelle: I did. And I got it from him.

Jim: Oh, interesting.

Larnelle: And when he is – now that he’s – he is, at this time, uh, pretty tied into the church. He is, uh, the pastor, is – seemingly can’t go to pray for someone in the hospital as he takes my dad.

Jim: Yeah.

Larnelle: And now his – his occupation, which is not bootlegging, but he’s always been a – loved to cook. And so now he’s a baker. He comes out with a…

Jim: Wow.

Larnelle: …With something else.

Jim: So he goes to jail, comes out…

Larnelle: Comes out…

Jim: …As a baker…

Larnelle: …As a baker.

Jim: …And then sets up a business?

Larnelle: Uh, one of the old boys in town, Mr. Burke, hired my dad at Burke’s Bakery. It’s a very famous bakery…

Jim: Yeah.

Larnelle: It’s still going. And now I go into the shop and see my dad making doughnuts and pies and cakes and, uh…

Jim: Now you’re talking.

Larnelle: …I’m – now we got something. And he’s taking those donuts, and he’s dipping them in that sugar. And he holds them up. Now, we shouldn’t eat this stuff, okay?

Jim: Right.

Larnelle: But now he’s holding – he puts them up on the rack. And you pull one off, and you taste it. And you said – and with pride – “My dad made that.”

Jim: That’s amazing.

Larnelle: This is my dad’s new life. And now, again, we talk about the training up a child.

Jim: Yes.

Larnelle: Who needed to see that? I really believe that most of what has happened in my life over the years has been due to that episode – those days watching my mom and dad take a situation and turn it around through prayer.

Jim: Right.

Jim: How old were you when you came to Christ?

Larnelle: I joined church when I was 12.

Jim: Okay.

Larnelle: Okay. I didn’t, uh, really make a comment because I didn’t understand it all, okay?

Jim: Yeah, sure. I mean, it sounds odd – the blood of Jesus…

Larnelle: Yeah. Oh, man.

Jim: …And what does that mean? And that’s scary.

Larnelle: Who can wrap that around? Yeah.

Jim: Yeah. So what happened? You were…

Larnelle: Well, I met an old boy by the name of, um, Stan Morris. Uh, I was auditioning actually for a group called The Spurrlows.

Jim: As a teenager…

Larnelle: Well…

Jim: …Or even younger.

Larnelle: …I’m out of college now.

Jim: Okay.

Larnelle: And we have jumped forward a bunch. Uh, and Stan explained it to me for the first time. But what happened was that set this up – I was 16 years old, and my dad, through the years – they always had fast cars. He and his uncle would…

Jim: Well, they were bootlegging.

Larnelle: They had to have them, you know, running through those hills.

Jim: Okay.

Larnelle: So there was a new highway, uh, U.S. 127 between Danville and Stanford, Kentucky, about 10 miles. And they just put in this new highway. It was flat. And I’m saying, today, today, I’m gonna find out how fast this thing will go.

(LAUGHTER)

So I get this thing out on the beginning of that highway. I rev it up. She kind of skirts back and forth then grabs the road and takes off. So now, uh, I lose my nerve. I mean, this – we are – I am moving, okay? And I lose my nerve. And I pull over to the side of the road. I’m almost in Stanford – the 10 miles.

Jim: Yeah, that 10 miles…

Larnelle: Yeah.

Jim: …Went fast.

Larnelle: My – my knuckles are hurting because I’ve been holding onto this wheel. And now I didn’t notice that the state police had pulled up behind me. And so I’m sitting there. Cop gets out of the car, and he walks up to the driver side of the window. And he said, “Kid, you could have killed yourself.” I mean, he was – he was…

Jim: So he saw it?

Larnelle: …Afraid for me. Yeah. “You could have killed yourself.” He said, “Listen, I’m gonna put you down for 70-plus – 70-miles-an-hour-plus. I don’t know how fast you were going, and I wasn’t gonna kill myself to save you.” When I met Stan, he introduced me to the One who did just that – who allowed Himself to go to the cross for me.

Jim: Wow.

Larnelle: And that news broke my heart.

Jim: You caught it.

Larnelle: I caught it. I caught it. I had my degree in hand. I was going out. I was going to be, uh, teaching school. I had met my wife – uh, that I thought was gonna be my wife – Mitzy. And some 47 years later, we’re still having fun.

John: She’s still your wife.

Larnelle: She’s still – yeah. But that news broke my heart. And when Stan explained it, I went back to that event and said, “My Lord, thank you so much for what you’ve done.” And then I was in a position where I could begin to grow…

Jim: Yeah.

Larnelle: …And grow in the Lord.

John: Yeah, we’re talking to Larnelle Harris today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller. And you can find Larnelle’s book, Shaped Notes – and I want to read the subtitle because it really is where we’re going next, I think: “How Ordinary People with Extraordinary Gifts Influenced My Life and Career.” Look for that at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Larnelle, let me go back. And it’s wonderful – I think in very similar ways we tracked. I mean, I was – I became a Christian at 15 but wobbled along. I didn’t really understand it. Then when I was 22, that’s when the Lord really got a hold of me. And there was a greater fullness to my understanding, it sounds like, very similarly…

Larnelle: Yeah, because…

Jim: …To your life.

Larnelle: …We allowed it.

Jim: Yeah, and…

Larnelle: Yeah.

Jim: …I think you just mature. You’ve seen more of life. And in your 20s, you’re beginning to make big decisions, and you know that God needs to be a part of this.

Larnelle: That’s right.

Jim: I think as a teenager, sometimes you can put God to the side because there’s so much going on. But in that respect, um, your teachers and other adults in your life had a tremendous influence for you – same, again, for me. And I want you to speak to your experience with those teachers who, as you described in your book, were kind of like lookouts…

Larnelle: Yeah.

Jim: …For those kids that had potential. How did that work for you in your music career?

Larnelle: Well, they were saying – those old teachers – “It’s out there. You can have it. You can be someone. Guess what? We know because we’ve been out there.”

Jim: So they encouraged you?

Larnelle: Oh, they encouraged us – a lot of kids. Um, and I don’t think that this has anything to do with economics or – or, uh, living one side of the track or another. I think that many of us, uh, have people in our lives who have, in one sense, given us a dream, helped us find a dream…

Jim: Yeah, identify it.

Larnelle: …Identify and sometimes just scoop the top off it, so that you look out, and you can go as far as you are willing to work to go.

Jim: In your context, I think it was Ms. Georgie if I remember correctly.

Larnelle: Oh, man.

Jim: But in that context, I mean, you weren’t excited about music. And a lot of – a lot of professional musicians, they get on it early, and then that’s their drive, that’s their passion. It didn’t really happen that way for you, right?

Larnelle: It did not.

Jim: Ms. Georgie and others had to encourage you to say, “You can do this. You’re pretty good.”

Larnelle: They really did. Ms. Georgie used to get on my last nerve, to tell the truth about it.

(LAUGHTER)

She – she…

Jim: But what a great thing.

Larnelle: Oh, yeah. She, um – uh, every kid in town took piano lessons from her, first of all, okay?

Jim: Oh, she was the piano teacher?

Larnelle: She was the piano teacher.

Jim: That says it all right there.

Larnelle: That’s right. And she…

(LAUGHTER)

She found out that I could carry a tune…

Jim: Okay.

Larnelle: …Okay? And – but I’m a boy soprano. Listen, you don’t – you haven’t lived till you’ve lived the life of a boy soprano. You get teased. I mean, it’s a tough life.

Jim: Okay.

Larnelle: But she would take me around to various teas and things and…

Jim: Women’s meetings.

Larnelle: …Around Danville, Kentucky…

Jim: Yeah.

Larnelle: …All six and a half acres of it, you know what I mean. And she – uh, but she went to my mother one time and said, “Ida May, you should not let Larnelle play any sports in the dust because…”

Jim: Oh, no!

Larnelle: Listen…

Jim: Every sport’s in the dust!

Larnelle: …Every sport’s in the dust.

(LAUGHTER)

“Because the dust will hurt his voice.” So I gotta tell you, she really did get on my last nerve. But she – as I got older – and in fact, I did my first concert at the First Baptist Church, Danville, Kentucky, Ms. Georgia Donehy playing the piano. I’m 9 years old. I’m in my little gray suit. There’s a picture. Listen, the book is worth the picture. Just get the book to see the picture. And – and the great thing about it is she didn’t want anything. She didn’t want anything. She was just a lady that God had put into my life for a time. And as I got older, you know what I hope? I hope that every town has one – a Ms. Georgie who will not give up, who will worry you to death, who in her own little way, continues to needle because she is, again, saying, “It’s out there.”

Jim: Yeah.

Larnelle: “It’s out there. And – and you can get it.” And Ms. Georgie and Ms. Stevens and Mr. Summers and all of those teachers in an all-black high school – uh, not high school – really grades 1 through 12 consolidated – when I was a senior, uh, and went to what was known as Danville High School – but those grandmas and grandpas and teachers, um, administrators, spoke life. So people ask me why – what – why did you write the book? Because of them.

Jim: But, um, you did have some difficulty in your career, too. I was particularly drawn to some of the early gigs, if I can use the lingo, that you had to decide am I gonna be part of this? Describe kind of the faith decision you had to make to not want to be in nightclubs and things like that, where it was a – a dark environment…

Larnelle: It was…

Jim: Not a good environment.

Larnelle: Yeah. And I got to tell you, um, when I got out of college and met Stan and really began to understand what a faith walk was about, a lot of my decisions changed. I mean, I – I came out of school with a – with a degree in voice and, uh, uh, was ready to, uh, to go into the Kentucky school system and – and teach my old band director, who had – McCauley Arthur – who had taken me around to various schools – uh, colleges – in his own – on his own dime. I was ready to do that. But a lot of that changed because now I got to consider what God is doing in my life.

Jim: Right. It was serious for you.

Larnelle: It was very serious – and if I’m supposed to be in The Spurrlows or whatever group it’ll be here. And I did end up in some dark places…

Jim: Yeah.

Larnelle: …Trying to figure this out. Uh, but I believe wholeheartedly that as it was as when I was growing up and learning about who God was that I was being protected as I went along and learning that there was some stuff that I was going to run across that I would have to throw out of my life, some places that I would not be able to thrive. It was too dark.

Jim: Yeah.

Larnelle: Thirty days from that day, I called Mitzy, who was now pregnant with our first and was – this is two, three years later. And she was home with her doctor and her mom. And I called her. And I said, “I’ll be home in 30 days.” And I had no idea what I was going to do.

Jim: Huh. Just been on the road.

Larnelle: It – just – I had been on the road. I was anemic. I was sick. I had vocal issues.

Jim: Yeah.

Larnelle: I had the formation of nodules on my voice. I didn’t have, you know, full-blown, but I could – I was…

Jim: It was impacting?

Larnelle: It was impacting everything. And so I got home, and now I’ve got to find a job. We’ve just bought a little house. Listen, the payments were $120 a week. I thought, “There’s no way, no way we can make that.” And God remained faithful through that time. We never missed a payment on anything. We never missed – we didn’t go through any hard times, any of that. But I went through some emotional hard times. And God took me to His word, and I began to just take baths in it. And I did that, and my relationship with Him was growing and growing, and it was growing to the point that I could say this, and this was the – this was the open door – “Lord, if you are going to allow my voice to be taken, if I’m not gonna sing anymore” – I’d go to doctors, and they’d say, “You know what? – I’m not certain that you’re gonna sound that way anymore.” And I was able to say, “Lord, if You’re gonna allow that, then You must have something awfully good coming.”

Jim: So it wasn’t bitterness? You didn’t look in that direction.

Larnelle: It was bitterness at first. Hey, you know, you go through all the stages.

Jim: Yeah.

Larnelle: It was bitterness. And it was why me? And it was anger. And I went through all those stages – all those psychological, uh…

Jim: Norms.

Larnelle: …Cartwheels and…

Jim: Yeah.

Larnelle: …Norms. But I finished because of the word of God in my heart and – and really, again, trying to understand all of this. Because you know what? Even in, uh, where we were playing, we were simply preparing, uh, music to go and sing and win people to Christ. It – this was just a way for us to sit still and work on our music. So – and I’m going, “I’m doing the right thing here,” I mean, I thought. And – but, you know, I got to the point in Scripture, and I said, “You know what? You’ve got something awfully good coming. I don’t know what it is. But…”

Jim: That’s a good place to be…

Larnelle: It’s a great place to be.

Jim: …Where you can have that faith in Christ. It’s be content in all things, right?

Larnelle: And it is – and it was a lesson. God was saying to me, and I didn’t know this till years later, “This is not about voice. This is not about concerts. This is – this is about Me. And we’re not gonna trust in voice, and we’re not gonna trust in all of these outside things. What we’re gonna trust in is Me.”

Jim: Yeah.

Larnelle: And it’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten.

Jim: Wow.

Larnelle: There’s a song that – you mentioned Sandi.

Jim: Yes.

Larnelle: Sandi and I sang this song, “I’ve Just Seen Jesus.” A few people have heard it.

(LAUGHTER)

And I love singing that and especially with her. And there’s a line in that song – it says, “All that I’ve done before doesn’t matter anymore.” Why? Because Jesus is alive, and He has covered it all and wants more than anything else for those of you who are listening, to be the integral part of your life if you will put yourself in the place where He can do His work in your heart and in your life. It’s a lesson that I’ve never forgotten.

Jim: Yeah. And I love that. That is what it’s about. And, uh, so often, especially, I think, in these areas of the arts, whether it’s acting or music, even Christians flounder there because they – it’s a heady thing to win Grammys and to do those things. I love the story of your wife Mitzy when you won your first Grammy.

Larnelle: Oh yeah.

Jim: And she left you a note. Do you remember what that note said?

Larnelle: Oh, I do. Listen, I still have it.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: I think – tell the folks what that was because, to me, I think this is – this is what a wonderful spouse can do for you.

Larnelle: Oh, man. And well then she is the greatest! Okay?

(LAUGHTER)

I had been nominated for not one, but two – two Grammys that year. And, uh – uh, first of all, I didn’t believe it. When I got the call I thought, who is this, you know?

Jim: One of your friends pulling a joke.

Larnelle: And – yes. And then I sat in the corner when I verified that it had indeed happened, and I said, “Oh, oh, my goodness, someone’s listening to this stuff.” And, uh – but we went to the – I went to the Grammys. She didn’t go. But when I got home, she had a little party for me. And we had some friends and family over. Now, my wife, when – she was teaching school. She has her master’s in special Ed, so she he was up early, out. And so she would always write a note. It would always be on the kitchen table giving me my chores for the day.

Jim: The list.

Larnelle: The list. I still get it.

Jim: That is good.

Larnelle: So I – I get up and here is what it said: “Larnelle, I love you. We’re so proud of you. Now, take the trash out.”

(LAUGHTER)

Now, I have to tell you that I was going to the trash with newspapers that had my picture in ‘em. Yeah, should I…

John: And she put it in there, right?

Larnelle: Should I be doing this? “Take the trash out. And, listen, don’t forget that trash that you missed. You missed it last time in the garage.”

Jim: In the can.

Larnelle: “And I love you. I’ll see you later.”

Jim: I love it.

Larnelle: And you know what? She’s just an old country girl who…

Jim: Man.

Larnelle: …Uh, doesn’t – not…

Jim: She’s not impressed.

Larnelle: Not much excites. Yeah, not impressed.

(LAUGHTER)

I wish they would – and I’ll tell you some other people not impressed – the people – we’ve been in the same church for many, many years. My, uh – my kids, who are now grown – we have grandchildren – they went to daycare at our church. And, uh, I’ve tried to use those Grammys and some – I’ve been on the Deacon Board and Finance Committee. I’ve tried to use the influence of those things…

Jim: Yeah, right.

Larnelle: …At some of those meetings. It doesn’t work.

Jim: Yeah, right.

Larnelle: So they don’t work there.

Jim: They’re also equally unimpressed.

Larnelle: But I tell you what they do – they have allowed me to get my feet in some doors that I…

Jim: Oh, sure.

Larnelle: …Probably would not have ever gotten in.

Jim: Um, you know, here at Focus on the Family, Larnelle, we’re about the family. And what I love about your career, and one of the reasons I was really fascinated to have you on the program, was how you manage that with the kids and everything else. You gave a great story there about Mitzy, but you seem to always be able to put your family first. There’s lots of business people that listen. There’s, you know, lots of self-made people that are listening. They’ve poured a lot into their career, their vocation. They’re proud of it, and they should be. But at the same time, some people will look back and say, “It cost me too much.”

Larnelle: Yeah.

Jim: “It cost me my marriage. It cost me my family.” So if you’re a writer of the Proverbs, what would you say to those, in keeping all of this balanced?

Larnelle: You know, um, and she’s smart enough to do it, but I’m not. But the Lord, uh, put this on our hearts – in order to have some quality time, you have to have some quantity. That’s the proverb. Um, we, uh, over the years wanted each other to know, uh, to be aware, and wanted our kids to know that at any given moment, regardless of what was going on – because sometimes I did have to travel, sometimes she was out – that at any given moment, I’d rather be with you than anybody else in the world.

Jim: Isn’t that a great feeling?

Larnelle: That’s a wonderful feeling.

Jim: I can relate to that. I love that. Um, this has been powerful. I hope people, uh, will write to us here or call us. Uh, go online. Get a copy of Larnelle’s book, Shaped Notes. And it’s a great testimony to God’s work in your life. And it’s an encouragement to all of us who can see similar milestones in our own lives…

Larnelle: That’s right. That’s true.

Jim: …And to remember to praise Him for it and to give Him credit for those many good things, and even the tough things, because we learn through that. And, uh, you’ve done it well, putting it all together in Shaped Notes. Thank you for being with us.

Larnelle: Well, what a joy. Thank you for having me.

Closing:

John: Well it really was a thrill to have you here in the studio with us. And I’m certain our listeners enjoyed hearing about your journey of faith. And um, we’re gonna encourage you to get a copy of that book from Larnelle Harris when you stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: And John, we should make Shaped Notes available to anyone who wants a copy. Send us a financial gift of any amount today and we’ll send that book right out to you as our way of saying thank you. If you can’t afford it, let us know. I’m sure friends who support the ministry will be happy to help us get a copy into your hands. And if we haven’t heard from you in a while or if you’ve never supported Focus on the Family, would you please consider doing so today? We depend upon the generosity of friends like you to help us produce programs like this one and provide resources like our websites and counseling and Larnelle’s book.

John: And again, our website is focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 800-A-FAMILY later this week to make your donation.

Well, coming up next time, we’ll hear from financial expert Dave Ramsey, who has some very practical advice about kids and money.

Teaser:

Dave Ramsey: So that 13-year-old – it’s not the first time they ever heard, “Oh, you have to work for money.” They’ve been hearing it since they were three.

End of Teaser

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