Johnny Hunt, vice president of evangelism and leadership at the North American Mission Board, delivered the chapel message Wednesday, Feb. 27, in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium. Hunt is an authorformer senior pastor of First Baptist, Woodstock, Georgia; and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
His message focused on Luke 9:23.
“Then Jesus said to them, if anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and come after me.”
Hunt shared his personal testimony about dropping out of high school, and told about his past addictions to gambling and alcohol. He detailed the story of how the Lord carried him through those addictions and that only by God’s mercy was he saved.
Hunt shared that he grew up in a broken home and didn’t grow up going to church. He also talked about the powerful grace and forgiveness of God.
“I’m not going to heaven because I’m better than you,” he said. “I’m going to heaven because I look to Jesus and He pardons my sins.”
He encouraged students to look to God and ask Him to show them what in their life is not of the Lord, just as he learned to do.
“I would pray daily, ‘God, show me anything in my life that doesn’t resemble you and take it away.’”
Hunt was born in Lumberton, North Carolina. He is a member of the Lumbee Native American Indian tribe based in North Carolina. His father left the family when he was seven years old. He became an alcoholic and gambler at a young age, dropping out of school at 16 and managing a poolroom. He then experienced a radical conversion to Christianity during this time, which he details in his book, “Out of the Poolroom.”
Following his conversion, he was mentored by several men from his home church in Wilmington, North Carolina, and came to the realization that God had called him to ministry. He has earned degrees from Gardner-Webb College and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary also received honorary doctorates from Immanuel Baptist Theological Seminary, Covington Theological Seminary and Tennessee Temple University.