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Hunt challenges messengers to give God control
Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications
November 19, 2010
4 MIN READ TIME

Hunt challenges messengers to give God control

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

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.”