Hunt challenges messengers to give God control
November 19 2010 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

Johnny Hunt did not shy away from hard truths in his sermon to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) annual messengers.

Hunt, an N.C. native, former Southern Baptist Convention president, and pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., addressed messengers Nov. 9.

Hunt’s presence at the meeting was a visible reminder that God’s grace is great enough to sustain believers during trials.

A recent Baptist Press headline read “Hunt recounts bout with emptiness.” The article explained how Hunt, experienced a season of physical, emotional and spiritual dryness. An incredibly busy routine eventually caught up with Hunt and left him “leading on empty.”

From the start he called on North Carolina Baptists to examine their hearts and consider whether or not they truly trust God with their lives. Speaking from James 4:13-17, Hunt pointed out that James charges the people with failing to come to God and involving Him in their plans. When the Lord is not “in the mix,” something bad happens whether believers intend for it to happen or not — they become practical atheists. They start planning without seeking God’s guidance and wisdom, thinking they can do it all on their own.

The hands of God must be all over the life of a believer. Hunt said he has learned that each day he must “surrender anew to the Lord” and “acknowledge that my life and my future are in the hands of God.”

The text from James talks about people who have already made out a business plan. Hunt said the merchants, while not faulted for planning, are at fault for omitting God from their plans. “We are to allow space for Him to step in and interrupt or alter our plans,” Hunt said. “God has never shown me A to Z.”

James rebuked the people because they wanted too much control. “Woven into our heart’s fabric is the desire to have full charge,” Hunt said. “This passage views ourselves as the final authority over our lives and then living as if this were true.”

Hunt spoke to the pastors gathered in Greensboro, saying he believed the sovereign Lord has a specific place for each of them to serve. In order for pastors to know what God has in store for them they must pray and determine to follow His leading instead of setting out on their own with no regard for His guidance.

Hunt illustrated the necessity of trusting God by reading verse after verse that speaks to the brevity and uncertainty of life. James 4:14 reminds believers that nothing is certain, not even tomorrow. “Life slips through our fingers,” Hunt said. “If you’re going to do something for the Kingdom you better do it now.”

Hunt pleaded with the crowd to consider if they are doing what they know God has called them to do — no matter the consequence. He told how he recently suffered a 24-hour illness but still wanted to preach Sunday morning. Not because he felt like he should, but because God had so burdened his heart with a message that he had to preach. “Have you had the burden of God lately?” Hunt asked.

Believers ought to live with an “if the Lord wills” attitude instead of an attitude that reflects boasting and arrogance. This type of right thinking will help Christians stay focused on taking their instruction from God and not anyone else. Hunt bluntly stated that it is not the deacons or the laity who “pull my string.”

“You’ve got one focus,” he said. “We’ve got to mobilize our people to reach the nations.”

Hunt said believers defy, deny, disobey or delight in God’s will. “If we know we’re supposed to take the gospel to the nations and we don’t, we’re sinning,” he said.

“Maybe the greatest offense against the Great Commission is not what we’re doing that we need to stop doing, but what we’re not doing that we need to start doing.”

Hedonism keeps many believers from doing what they know they need to do for the cause of Christ. “We love pleasure too much,” Hunt said. “Beach houses, hobbies; we’ve got so much tied up there there’s little left over for the Kingdom of God.”   
11/19/2010 5:19:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 6 comments




Comments
Gene Scarborough
NEGATIVE---I just point out inconsistencies between words and action!!!!
11/22/2010 6:23:31 PM
Jonathan Jenkins
Gene - It seems that the more posts I read, you are the one that seems to enjoy and start most of the "internal bickering".
11/22/2010 11:12:45 AM
Gene Scarborough
In a perfect world people would always practice what they preach. I personally like Johnny Hunt, but his recent health problems and his constant ego problems deserve examination and correction. The egos of Peter and Paul were a stumbling block in Jesus' day too!

Just remember, people like him are pastoring mega churches and leading the SBC these days.

It is an honest observation that Jesus called us to be servants rather than Pharisees. If Jesus called for such, I would be remiss to not say what I did and encourage all NC Baptists to value the high road of service over show.

[b]Are you also going to say we are growing in numbers and giving after 40 years of CR leadership?[/b] Johnny has pointed out why we are failing--and that change is needed--lest we wonder around the wilderness of ego-driven / internal bickering which has us now sidetracked from our main focus---MISSIONS!
11/21/2010 7:46:58 AM
jack
Gene Scarborough - I don't think anybody's early life, Hunt included, unless you can make a direct connection to the current situation has any reason to be discussed. He's a good enough man to have bettered himself by fixing that problem. Let's fix the SBC and I'm sure he can help.
11/20/2010 9:20:17 PM
Josh Parsons
And Gene is off to the races, slinging mud yet again.
11/20/2010 8:32:55 PM
Gene Scarborough
[b]For me, Johnny Hunt gives a mixed message[/b]---and I know him well personally and professionally.

Personally, I was quick to get in touch when he became SBC President--and have stayed in touch as he encountered his collapse with fatigue, etc.

Professionally, I served the Noonday Baptist Church about 3 miles south of his mega Woodstock Baptist Church. It was at the cusp of N. Metro Atlanta growth when Hunt was called as pastor.

[b]Now, here is the reason for my observation as to a mixed message being given:[/b]

(1) While Johnny is a great preacher, he virtually ran over the old downtown-located church leadership and split that church with no qualms about it.

(2) His life story reflects terrible early personal corruption and a changed life after salvation---in other words "he sinned very interestingly!"

(3) He is a fellow SEBTS alumni. Charles Paige was my contemporary who "made it big" in Charlotte First. The question here is: [b]"Does big always make for better" when your personal and family health is involved and sacrificed?[/b]

(4) "He called on North Carolina Baptists to examine their hearts and consider whether or not they truly trust God with their lives. / [quote]James rebuked the people because they wanted too much control.[/quote] 'Woven into our heart’s fabric is the desire to have full charge,' Hunt said. “This passage views ourselves as the final authority over our lives and then living as if this were true.”

Does it not seem strange that a minister with a supposed "servant attitude" rolled over leaders in his own local church and now absolutely runs a mega church just north of Noonday where I served????

Frankly, I'm having a tough time seeing consistency and authenticity here. I hope to see more of it---if Johnny will adjust his ego-driven leadership and not kill himself and his family relationships in the process.

[b]Ego conrol is at the heart of real religion which makes Servants of Christ's followers. I'm just not seeing much of it these days over NC and other places Johnny Hunt travels.[/b]
11/20/2010 6:24:09 AM
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